Friday, July 11, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
We ventured out on one of our days to visit Ringing Rocks Park in Bucks County. We learned about this park, after leaving Pennsylvania the first time, while watching a PBS special. Having the opportunity to visit this state again, we could not pass up the chance to visit this unusual park. This park was comprised of a huge open area full of nothing but rocks of all shapes and sizes. These rocks were of a composition that, when hit with a hammer, various tones were produced that resembled musical sounds. When a group of rocks are hit by several people, the combined sounds resemble a song of sorts. Definitely a strange, must-see kind of place.
We said good-bye to Pennsylvania for a second time and headed to Williamsport, Maryland today (7/7), which is near Hagerstown. Antietam Battlefield and Harpers Ferry State Parks are nearby as is the C&O (Chesapeake and Ohio) Canal. This area is filled with history.
Our campground is on the Conococheague Creek. Maybe we'll find time to explore a little of the area before we leave Wednesday.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Our time in Connecticut has been refreshing after days of rain in our previous locations. We realize that there are many areas in desperate need of rain (we hear ya in South Georgia), but we are very grateful for a few days to venture out of the cozy but close confines of our home on wheels. We have had two beautiful days of sunshine with warm breezes.
We have enjoyed some down-time and half-day excursions to visit the Mystic Seaport and the Mystic Aquarium. During our visit to the Mystic Seaport, we happened upon the Wooden Boat Show that was being held along the Mystic River. So, in addition to visiting the ships along the river, we were able to see some really beautiful wooden boats sailed/brought to the area just for this event.
A highlight of the day was being able to climb aboard the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaling ship in the world. Built in 1841, she is jewel of the watercraft collection of Mystic Seaport, presiding over a fleet of more than 500 historic vessels.
Mystic became famous as one of the few remaining shipyards for building huge wooden ships. We took a water taxi from one end of the museum to the other. The museum has 17 acres and a recreated village along the river. The train still operates on a turnstile bridge that opens across the river to let boats pass. The slave ship used in the move Amistad was built in Mystic. The Mystic River flows into Long Island Sound. During our visit the river was alive with sailboats, peapods, kayaks, water taxis and all manner of boats. We saw a wooden catamarand from Scotland, which had been built in England. Lots of wooden boats were down from Maine just for the show. There are lots of sailing programs for children and young teens in the area.
Visiting lighthouses has always been intriguing for us. The more challenging the walk or hike, or the more stairs to the top, the better (for Jerri). While the Mystic Lighthouse was easily reached and visible, it still was beautiful in its own way.Friday was pretty much spent in Mystic Seaport, about 15 miles from our campground home. Saturday we had a wonderful down day in the campground taking it easy. We rode our bikes through the campground and rented a paddle boat on the lake. Today (6/29) we ventured to the Mystic Aquarium and Olde Mystick Village. This aquarium is like a mixture of Sea World, a regular aquarium, and a theme park. Exhibits were indoors and outdoors. There was an indoor marine theater with a presentation of California sea lions; a 3-D dive experience which was like a theme-park ride; outdoor tanks with Beluga whales and African penguins. We are also in close proximity to the Submarine Museum, the US Coast Guard Academy at New London, the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation and Museum, and Foxwood and Mohegan Sun casinos. Connecticut has lots of state parks in the area to choose from but the price for non-residents is higher and higher still on the weekends. Some state parks charge by the car and others by the person.
The 4th of July holiday changed our plans a little with campground reservations difficult to get this late, so we'll be leaving Connecticut on July 3rd and traveling to Mt. Pocono, PA for the holiday weekend, then continuing southward.
Happy in our mystic travels,
Friday, June 27, 2008
The Minuteman Campground was our favorite New England campground so far. We had a lovely corner lot with lots of big boulders and tall trees, we could have enjoyed it much more without the daily incessant rain. On the one really nice day (6/25) we went to Boston. Drove to the Riverside parking complex and took the green line into Boston where we signed on for the Super Trolley Tour. We toured through much of the city and saw lots of sights, like Fenway Park [yes, there was a Red Sox game that night]. We didn't have tickets to the game but definitely rode the train back with every single Red Sox fan. We were packed on the train like sardines until after the Fenway stop.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The 'hubcap' bird of Skowhegan/Canaan will surely miss us, probably more than we miss her. Every morning beginning around 5:30 AM we were awakened by metallic tapping sounds. Peaking out the window revealed nothing and no one - opening the coach door revealed nothing but the sound stopped only to resume after the door was closed. Finally, the culprit was discovered - a small bird pecking at it's reflection in the right front hubcap of the coach - and only our coach - not any of the neighbors'. Later we observed this same small bird feeding its half-grown baby on the ground. We thought the baby must have fallen from the nest or something, but we found no nest. After mentioning it to the campground hosts we were told there is a bird in Maine that feeds its young on the ground.... We felt honored to have been chosen. We finally saw a Maine sunset the only evening it did not rain and it was quite lovely.
Leaving Maine we discovered the FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association) national monument located at Good Will-Hinckley, Maine. Maine shows distance in both miles and kilometers on major roadways. There is a 5-cent deposit charged on every 2-liter or can of soda and the only way to get the deposit back is at a redemption center. This was the only form of 'recycling' we saw in Maine.
We're now in Littleton, Massachusetts at the Minuteman Campground, and FYI, actor/comedian Steve Carell was actually a rural mail carrier in Littleton before hitting it big - and he was born just over in Acton, MA. Littleton could become famous one day soon (or not).
Today (6/24) we ventured out to West Fitchburg, Lunenburg and Shirley (Shirley was incorporated in 1715) and other small villages in the area. Tomorrow we plan to take the train into Boston and walk the Freedom Trail.
Until next time - travel for the fun of it and seek joy in the small things.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
After indulging on decadent ice cream, we rode on down the road to the Cold Hollow Cider Mill. We tasted samples of cider, mustards and Legenday Cider Donuts. Across the way from the cider mill was Grandview Winery. Once again, we could not pass up the opportunity to taste-test the wines that are produced there. We had to taste a variety of wines before deciding on the one to purchase. There are actually many other places along Route 2 to stop and sample syrups, jellies, and candies. Many call this tour the "belly ache" tour. Fortunately for us, we called it quits after the ice cream, cider and wine.
In our travels today, we went through the state capitol of Vermont - Montpelier. A bit of trivia should you need it in a future Trivial Pursuit game - Montpelier is the smallest of all the state capitols in the U.S. It is really just a small town and could be mistaken for any other little village in the area except for there being a building with a gold dome on it as you pass through. Burlington, VT is actually the largest city in VT with a population of 60,000.
We wanted to mention the amazing number of people we have met from Georgia in our few short weeks of travel. While in Northern Virginia at the birthday party we attended, we met several ladies who live in Peachtree City. In Pennsylvania, we were parked next to a couple in the RV Park who was from Anderson, SC. Then, while on the Amish Experience Tour, we sat in front of a man who used to live in Athens and then Habersham county on a chicken farm. He now lives in Texas but would love to live in North Georgia again. We tried to sell him our house but he wasn't ready to make the move just yet. Now, in Vermont we met a couple who lived 31 years in Douglasville, Ga. but who have recently moved to Hershey, PA due to a job transfer. They remain huge Georgia Bulldog fans and say they miss Georgia. They were very friendly and provided us with a list of things to see and do in the area. Tonight they came over to visit and informed us of two more campers in this small RV Park who are also from Georgia. It is definitely a small world!
There remains much to be explored in this beautiful area but we will be moving on over to Maine in the morning. It is amazing how much unique beauty we have found in each of the areas we have stayed. It only gives us impetus to keep doing what we are doing so we can keep visiting places again and again to see what we didn't get to see previously.
As Ben & Jerry would say...
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Our guided tour to Philadelphia was fun. We were both able to ride and look at the sights along the way rather than one having to drive and the other one having to read a map and navigate, with both of us missing a lot along the way. We visited "the most historic square mile in America" which included Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross House, Old Christ Church, a Quaker Meeting House and several other key sights. One very interesting point of interest were the "busy-body mirrors" that were on the houses in Elfreth's Alley during Revolutionary times and now. This alley is lined with row-houses that have been continuously inhabited since the 18th Century. Even back then, there were 'nosy Nellies' who wanted to keep up with what was going on around them. It would have been nice to spend another whole day visiting the Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum. We did see the steps that Rocky ran up at the Museum of Modern Art but we were not allowed to get off the tour bus to run up them ourselves. A funny thing about the 'city of brotherly love' - if the traffic is stalled just lay down on the horn (no, it did not speed things up), but apparently it's how this city shares the love.
On Thursday (June 5) we drove up to Saugerties, NY to stay in the Saugerties/Woodstock KOA. We have enjoyed a little down time during our stay here. The little town is at the southern edge of the Catskill Forest Park. Jerri did some hiking and visiting waterfalls. There was a moderately challenging hike to Kaaterskill Falls. The rocks, roots and mud were well worth the steep climb to the top to see the 260 feet high waterfall, the highest in NY.
Today we visited the Saugerties Lighthouse. Who knew there was a lighthouse here? It is a stone lighthouse on the Hudson River at Esopus Creek originally built in 1838. The lighthouse is a half-mile hike best done at low tide since the trail is only four feet above sea level and high tides can cover part of the trail. It has a full-time keeper and the upstairs is a B&B now [really expensive].
We were a little disappointed in the village of Woodstock. Not sure what we expected but what we found was not it. Lots of shops with antiques and tie-dye stuff (even head shops) but it was very touristy. Most of the shop owners were either really old hippies or newbies to the area. We passed a couple of 'old' hippies on the sidewalk and couldn't help but notice that personal hygiene is still not a priority. The Woodstock Music Festival in 1969 was originally scheduled to be held here but the venue was changed to Bethel, NY. There's a new museum at the Bethel Center for the Arts paying homage to 'Woodstock,' but it was a whole day trip in itself with advance tickets highly recommended. At least we can say we've been to Woodstock, NY....
We really wanted to visit Opus 40 and Quarryman's Museum, a six-acre environmental bluestone sculpture built from an abandoned quarry over 40 years' time. Just our luck, Opus 40 was closed when we arrived because a wedding was being held there. Maybe another time.
So, we are off to Lake George, NY in the Adirondacks tomorrow. We will spend a few days there and then move over into Vermont, where we want to visit Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury, VT. We have admired the work of the artist who founded and who lives and works at Dog Mountain. There is also a Dog Chapel there where we and our dogs will be welcome.
For those of you wondering about our three dogs Troubie, Homer and Frannie, they are doing fine and have adjusted to the traveling life pretty well. It seems that one couch is about as good as any other one. "Home is Where the Couch Is."
Until next time...
our journey continues.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Thursday (May 29th) we went to Hershey's Chocolate World in Hershey, PA. It was a good day trip without being too tiring. Visited Chocolate World and the Museum but opted out of the theme park. We became well versed in Milton S. Hershey's legacy to the world and the history of Hershey (the town and the chocolate). If you visit you must buy chocolate - the chocolate smell is wafted everywhere, vending machines are outside, chocolate and everything resembling chocolate is inside... Jerri found a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when KitKat came around. The photo says it all.
Friday (May 30th) rode out to September Farm, a dairy farm that makes and sells their own artisan cheeses. Definitely need a GPS to find with so many turns. The cheese is very tasty and melts well. The cheese curds make a salty snack with crackers and fruit. We rode to the Green Dragon Market which is like a huge weekly indoor/outdoor flea market where you can find almost anything (except a parking place). We finally found the perfect tag for the 'Whoo Hoo Wonder Bus.' A fitting memorial to the lost but not forgotten 'Beach Bum' flag.
We ate lunch at the Revere Tavern in Paradise, PA which was previously owned by James Buchanan, the 15th President of the US. We found out his sister was married to Stephen Foster (the famous songwriter, i.e. My Old Kentucky Home, Oh Susannah).
Beacon Hill Drive (where the campground is located) is like an Amish freeway. Every day buggies and carriages travel up and down going to town. The people we see are friendly and usually wave back or say 'hello' or 'good morning' if you speak first. They do not make eye contact. Yesterday three Amish children pulling a red wagon came to our campsite selling homemade bread, strawberry and rhubarb jam, fresh asparagus and horseshoes. We bought a jar of jam.
Today (May 31st) we drove a couple of miles up the road to Centreville Bulk Foods. The small store has no electricity and is lit by propane lanterns at the end of each aisle. They accept cash. We rode on up the road to a Giant supermarket which designated a special place for buggies to be harnessed while shopping. All of this has done nothing to dampen our curiosity about the Amish.
We are loving our adventures in discovering America!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Let's refresh our memories of the Outer Banks. The Hatteras Lighthouse was great. While Jerri climbed the lighthouse, Kathy sat in on a lecture on the plight of the endangered Piping Plover. There were only 7 nesting pairs last year. Of course, humans are the largest detriment to the little birds. The ferry trip to Ocracoke was nice as was the island. Ocracoke is a good 40 miles from Waves. BTW the Outer Banks is the longest group of barrier islands in the world at 130 miles in length.
As we said in a previous post, we are still mourning the loss of the 'Beach Bum' flag. It blew away one night never to be seen again. Another night we were under a tornado watch and saw rotating clouds right above us. Another camper that had been through a tornado told us that if there was just a little more wind it would form a funnel cloud. Whew...close call....
Loved the OBX and will definitely plan to come back again and maybe stay longer next time.
We left the OBX and traveled to Pohick Bay Regional Park in northern Virginia. The park was a nice change from the beach with lots of trees and mountain laurel in bloom - very shady and cool. The roads were paved, which made riding the bicycles nice. The park quickly filled to the max over Memorial Day weekend, and just as quickly emptied on Monday, leaving us and a quiet handful of campers to enjoy the beautiful nature trails.
We took the Metro into Old Town Alexandria one evening, which was a very nice change. The park is just down the road from Mason Neck National Wildlife Preserve and Gunston Hall. We spent a day exploring the immediate area. Pohick Bay Regional Park plus Gunston Hall plus Mason Neck totals 5,500 acres of nature and preserves with lots of hiking and bike trails. Pohick Bay is a small bay off the Potomac River across from Ft. Belvoir, while Mason Neck is located on Belmont Bay across from Maryland.
Gunston Hall was the plantation home of George Mason, author of the Virginia Declaration of Independence which served as the blueprint for the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution. Mason attended the Continental Congress but was one of three who refused to sign the Constitution on the basis that it gave too much power to the government and failed to ensure the rights of the individual [go George Mason!]. The tour of Gunston Hall and the grounds was rich with history and we had a docent all to ourselves for the tour.
Left Virginia this morning, bypassed Washington and Baltimore to a small campground in Intercourse, Pennsylvania. We arrived in the heart of Amish country this afternoon. The campground is just across the road from a working Amish farm. During dinner we watched the farmer harrow part of the field with six mules and a manual draw plow that he stood and rode on. There are lots of Amish and Mennonites in the area and we are curious about their beliefs and differences. Everywhere you look there are horse-drawn carriages riding up and down the roads. We were fascinated by a bicycle-like contraption - it looks like a bicycle but has no pedals or chains. The rider stands on one foot on a platform and pushes with the other foot - more like a scooter than a bicycle. We'll try to get a photo of it so the description will make sense.
There are more things to see and do here than one would think. Gettysburg and Hershey's Chocolate World are short day trips away.
Happy Travels, K&J.