American Locations 17 – Hampton Beach, New Hampshire

This trip goes from Cincinnati, Ohio, to the Boston area, then up the New England coast all the way into Canada, then back through the Adirondacks to the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York.

We drove north on Hwy. 1 out of Massachusetts into New Hampshire. We took Hwy. 101 to Hampton Beach, where we found a good seafood restaurant and gorged on fried cod, clams, and shrimp, with fries, slaw, and hush puppies on the side. A feast. We then drove south on 1A and secured a site at Hampton Beach State Park.

The next morning we drove back north up 1A to Hampton Beach.

Where we found this cool statue.

I don’t know if there was a sand volleyball tourney going on, or if the game is always this popular here.

I do know there was a sand sculpture competition taking place.

It was free admittance, and not too crowded.

There were a lot of entries to admire. There were some corporate sponsors.

But most of them were more inventive.

Some were making a statement, although it could be difficult understanding what it was saying. This one I believe was commenting on all the trash washing up on the shore.

Whoever would have thought sand could be erotic?

The night before a storm had hit, and rain had damaged some of them. Some artists were still repairing the damage while we were there.

Although on this one the damage actually works. It looks like the characters imprisoned in the cube are smashing their way out.

After relaxing on the beach for a while, and eating more good seafood on the boardwalk, we continued north in our motor home along the coast on 1A.

Next Location – Perkins Cove, Ogunquit Beach, & Kennebunkport, Maine

American Locations 16 – Newburyport & Plum Island, Massachusetts

This trip goes from Cincinnati, Ohio, to the Boston area, then up the New England coast all the way into Canada, then back through the Adirondacks to the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York.

Time to shift gears. Nearly all the previous posts have been about other trips taken to sites in the Boston area, other parts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Now to resume the camping trip. From Boston we drove north on I-95 to Newburyport. Our first stop was at Maudslay State Park, to the east of the city.

We hiked some trails.

We walked along the Merrimack River. The park was on its east bank.

After driving into Newburyport to eat lunch, we drove on to Plum Island, just to the east and south of the city. We started at Newbury Beach.

It was surprisingly sandy, and not rocky like you expect a New England beach to be. We then drove south into the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.

We parked the motor home and hiked some wetland trails.

Thoroughly worn out, we climbed back into the motor home and drove through more of the refuge.

Late that afternoon, we left Plum Island and the Newburyport area and headed north out of Massachusetts into New Hampshire.

Next Location – Hampton Beach, New Hampshire

American Locations 15 – North of Boston

This trip goes from Cincinnati, Ohio, to the Boston area, then up the New England coast all the way into Canada, then back through the Adirondacks to the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York.

We visited several other sites while staying in Lowe, Massachusetts, with Connie’s daughter and family. One place was Walden’s Pond.

Here is a Wikipedia entry about Walden’s Pond:

Formation, from “The Ponds” (Walden, 1854)[edit]

While living in Walden Woods for two years beginning in 1845, Henry David Thoreau contemplated Walden Pond’s features. In “The Ponds” section of Walden, published in 1854, Thoreau extols the water’s physical properties. He details its unparalleled water quality; its clarity, color, and temperature; its unique animal life (aquatic, bird, and mammal); its rock formations and bed; and especially, its mirror-like surface properties.[14]

Thoreau contemplates the source of the pristine water body in the woods. He observes that it had no visible inlet or outlet, and considers the possibility of an unidentified spring at the bottom. Noting the kettle landform‘s ramparts and resilient shore, he concludes that a unique, natural geologic event formed the site, while recognizing local myths:[15]

Some have been puzzled to tell how the shore became so regularly paved. My townsmen have all heard the tradition — the oldest people tell me that they heard it in their youth — that anciently the Indians were holding a pow-wow upon a hill here, which rose as high into the heavens as the pond now sinks deep into the earth, and they used much profanity, as the story goes, though this vice is one of which the Indians were never guilty, and while they were thus engaged the hill shook and suddenly sank, and only one old squaw, named Walden, escaped, and from her the pond was named. It has been conjectured that when the hill shook these stones rolled down its side and became the present shore. It is very certain, at any rate, that once there was no pond here, and now there is one; and this Indian fable does not in any respect conflict with the account of that ancient settler whom I have mentioned, who remembers so well when he first came here with his divining-rod, saw a thin vapor rising from the sward, and the hazel pointed steadily downward, and he concluded to dig a well here. As for the stones, many still think that they are hardly to be accounted for by the action of the waves on these hills; but I observe that the surrounding hills are remarkably full of the same kind of stones, so that they have been obliged to pile them up in walls on both sides of the railroad cut nearest the pond; and, moreover, there are most stones where the shore is most abrupt; so that, unfortunately, it is no longer a mystery to me. I detect the paver. If the name was not derived from that of some English locality — Saffron Walden, for instance — one might suppose that it was called originally Walled-in Pond.

Romanticism, from “The Ponds” (Walden, 1854)[edit]

Also in “The Ponds,” Thoreau describes incorporeal experiences around the water, both experiences related to him by others and his own.[16] Thoreau, who was well read and a transcendentalist, and therefore presumably intimately familiar with Romanticism, relates the stories in a way that could be argued to interpret or reveal the pond as the locale of the Grail Legend in the Americas. In the following passage, Walden Pond’s vanishing treasure chest echoes the protagonist’s fleeting encounter with the grail in Wolfram von Eschenbach‘s German romance Parzival, and the pond’s canoe is reminiscent of the boat in A Fairy Tale.[17] (Goethe, who was a Classicist, not a Romanticist, positively viewed Parzival.)[18] Thoreau wrote:[16]

An old man who used to frequent this pond nearly sixty years ago, when it was dark with surrounding forests, tells me that in those days he sometimes saw it all alive with ducks and other water-fowl, and that there were many eagles about it. He came here a-fishing, and used an old log canoe which he found on the shore. It was made of two white pine logs dug out and pinned together, and was cut off square at the ends. It was very clumsy, but lasted a great many years before it became water-logged and perhaps sank to the bottom. He did not know whose it was; it belonged to the pond. He used to make a cable for his anchor of strips of hickory bark tied together. An old man, a potter, who lived by the pond before the Revolution, told him once that there was an iron chest at the bottom, and that he had seen it. Sometimes it would come floating up to the shore; but when you went toward it, it would go back into the deep water and disappear … When I first paddled a boat on Walden, it was completely surrounded by thick and lofty pine and oak woods, and in some of its coves grapevines had run over the trees next the water and formed bowers under which a boat could pass. The hills which form its shores are so steep, and the woods on them were then so high, that, as you looked down from the west end, it had the appearance of an amphitheater for some kind of sylvan spectacle. I have spent many an hour, when I was younger, floating over its surface as the zephyr willed, having paddled my boat to the middle, and lying on my back across the seats, in a summer forenoon, dreaming awake, until I was aroused by the boat touching the sand, and I arose to see what shore my fates had impelled me to; days when idleness was the most attractive and productive industry.

We also visited Mass Audubon’s Ipswich River Wildlife Nature Preserve. It was a good place to hike in the woods.

But the main attraction is the Ipswich River.

We saw people kayaking, but the rental place wasn’t open.

Of course, another reason to go to Ipswich is the Clam Box. I didn’t take any photos of the place, so this image is off their web site.

Another location close to Stowe was Purgatory Chasm, inland and to the south. It was a great place to crawl around on the rocks. You could walk around on the bottom.

Or climb up the sides.

Way up the sides.

To the very top.

It was a lot of fun if you enjoy climbing. But there was this one place.

I should have known not to go in there. It was so narrow I had to turn sideways to pass through. The passage had a gradual descent at the entrance, but a steep way out. Once I got down there I couldn’t turn back because there were people behind me. And it was too steep for me to make it out. I had to be pulled out by my son-in-law. So embarrassing.

Now I am ready to resume the camping trip.

Newburyport and Plum Island

American Locations 14 – Mystic, Connecticut

This trip goes from Cincinnati, Ohio, to the Boston area, then up the New England coast all the way into Canada, then back through the Adirondacks to the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York.

Driving south on I-95 from Boston through Rhode Island into Connecticut, we arrived at Mystic, on the coast.

You always see people fishing wherever you go on the New England coast.

Just like you always see plenty of sandy beaches, but hardly anyone ever in the water.

And always a lighthouse.

Like every other coastal city in New England, there is a marina. But the reason we visited Mystic was to see the Mystic Seaport Museum. That’s it across the harbor to the right.

A closer view.

And even closer.

There’s a big anchor to greet you at the entrance.

And plenty of other anchors around.

Did I mention anchors?

See that sign in the previous photo on the red barn in back? H. B. DuPont Preservation Shipyard? This is a working museum where historic ships are restored and repaired, often in the old-fashioned way they were built centuries ago.

Here is one they were working on while we were there.

Here is rope being made the way it was done in the 1800’s. See that heavy rope looped around at the bottom left? This is the machine used to weave it.

There were other old buildings you could walk around and see.

And this recreation of the 19th century waterfront at Mystic.

They had their own lighthouse.

Check out all the old-fashioned wooden lobster traps stacked up here.

We could go inside some buildings, such as this doctor’s office.

And this church.

But the main attraction of the place is the ships.

There were historical interpreters explaining things to landlubbers.

And we were allowed to board one tall ship. This ship had 2 wheels.

Notice the rope wrapped around them. I assume it is connected to the rudder.

And the head.

It always amazes me that they had open fires on these old wooden ships. I guess they had to cook their food somehow despite the fire hazard.

What they used to pull up and lower the anchor.

If you are wondering what that woman seated to the left is looking at in the previous picture, they were giving a demonstration of how the sails were unfurled.

From this angle it’s hard to tell, but that’s 2 women up there. As you can see, no fall protection or harnesses.

Sailors needed to be sure-footed and not afraid of heights. I’m sure at times those ropes they are standing on would have been wet and slick, and the wind would have been blowing hard at times, and if the sea was rough the boat would have been pitching all over the place, swinging the sailors up there around and jerking them pretty hard. I’m sure it was fun.

After walking around all day it was good to find a place to sit.

Late that afternoon we drove north to the Mohegan Sun Casino in Norwich, Connecticut.

We were exhausted and hungry. We didn’t do much gambling, but we had a good buffet and a great room to crash in for the night.

Next Location – North of Boston

American Locations 13 – Newport, Rhode Island

This trip goes from Cincinnati, Ohio, to the Boston area, then up the New England coast all the way into Canada, then back through the Adirondacks to the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York.

We have made several trips to Newport, Rhode Island. This is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been in. For starters, we drove the 10 mile Ocean Drive along the coast. It provides some great views.

There is also the 3.5 mile Cliff Walk, a paved path between the ocean and some of the historic ‘cottages’ (mansions, actually) that Newport was known for at the end of the 1800’s and early 1900’s. The ocean is on one side and these Gilded Age mansions on the other. A great stroll.

We toured Breakers, the largest of the cottages. BTW, the NFL owners held their annual meeting at the Breakers this past week. Pictures are not allowed inside, so I could only photograph it from the outside. The front.

The view from the back porch. The Cliff Walk passes just below the hedge and fence at the back.

This is from the yard looking at the back of the building.

From other sides.

A neighboring cottage.

We also toured Rose Cliff.

Imagine sitting on this balcony with such a view out over the ocean.

The back lawn of this cottage also overlooked the ocean.

There were more extensive gardens here than at Breakers.

The back of the cottage was more impressive than the front.

Besides these cottages – there are 14 of them open to the public – there are many other preserved historic buildings in Newport.

There was a church.

Many notables, including American Presidents, have attended.

But the most interesting area of this most interesting city was the waterfront.

And the harbor.

One of our visits coincided with a gathering of tall ships. They had all gathered in Boston for the 4th of July, but the waterfront there was mobbed. So we didn’t go, instead driving to Newport to see them on our way home from a family visit. The tall ships had sailed directly there from Boston. They are something to see. And it wasn’t nearly as crowded as Boston had been.

As we were leaving Newport we drove across the Claiborne Pell/Newport Bridge to the other side of the harbor. The bridge can be seen in the back of the photo.

I pulled over here because one of the largest tall ships was under full sail cruising through the harbor. The wind was blowing so hard and the sails were catching it in such a way the entire ship was listing at more than 45 degrees, nearly parallel to the water, and it was moving really fast. It was amazing to see. The tall ships were giving cruises, and the people on this ship were getting a good one. The reason I didn’t get a photo or movie of it was there were no public areas on this side of the harbor. This place I did get a photo of was private, and I was promptly chased off as soon as I stopped. But I still got to watch the tall ship for a short while. To think something that big could move so fast.

Then we made a mistake. Heading back home, we just punched our destination into the Garmin and didn’t think about our route. We were used to leaving for home from the Boston area, which took us on I-90. This far south, we were plotted to go west on I-95, which took us into New York City. We were caught in a massive traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge. While we were stuck on the bridge we could look south down the Hudson River and see the skyscrapers of Manhattan. We sat there for hours. My wife kept urging me to get off the Interstate and find another way, but I couldn’t see myself wandering around lost through Brooklyn, or the Bronx, or wherever we were. So we endured it. Once we got across the bridge and into New Jersey we got off and checked into the first motel we came to. It was pricey, but we were exhausted. We finished the rest of the trip home the next day without incident.

Next Location – Mystic, Connecticut