Presque Isle State Park, Pennsylvania
This trip goes from Cincinnati, Ohio, to the Boston area, then up the New England coast all the way to Canada, then back through the Adirondacks to the Finger Lakes Region.
We began our New England trip by driving north up I-71 through Columbus to Cleveland. There we turned east on I-90, driving out of Ohio into Pennsylvania. We exited onto Rte 832 and continued northeast into Erie. On the lakefront at the entrance to Presque Isle State Park, Rte. 832 became Peninsula Drive. We drove onto a narrow peninsula roughly 2 miles long that connected the mainland to the isle.
This is from the park’s web site:
Presque Isle State Park is a 3,200-acre sandy peninsula that arches into Lake Erie. As Pennsylvania’s only “seashore,” Presque Isle offers its visitors a beautiful coastline and many recreational activities, including swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, bicycling, and in-line skating.
Presque Isle is a day-use park that provides year-round recreational opportunities. Overnight accommodations are available nearby.
The neck of the peninsula is attached to the mainland four miles west of downtown Erie. The park creates Presque Isle Bay, a wide and deep harbor for the city of Erie. The bay attracts many pleasure boats and worldwide freighters — making Erie an important Great Lakes shipping port.
A National Natural Landmark, Presque Isle is a favorite spot for migrating birds. Because of the many unique habitats, Presque Isle contains a greater number of the state’s endangered, threatened, and rare species than any other area of comparable size in Pennsylvania.
Whether you come to enjoy the sandy beaches, study ecological diversity, or learn about the historical significance of the peninsula, there is something for everyone at Presque Isle State Park.
Peninsula Drive loops around the isle. I’m sure these aren’t the migrating birds the article referenced, but they are the birds we saw the day we were there.
We stopped at other Lake Erie beaches.
Of course, there was a lighthouse.
And other attractions besides waterfront.
These floating vacation rentals looked interesting.
There is a monument to the Battle of Lake Erie.
Here is a Wikipedia account of the battle:
The Battle of Lake Erie, sometimes called the Battle of Put-in-Bay, was fought on 10 September 1813, on Lake Erie off the coast of Ohio during the War of 1812. Nine vessels of the United States Navy defeated and captured six vessels of the British Royal Navy. This ensured American control of the lake for the rest of the war, which in turn allowed the Americans to recover Detroit and win the Battle of the Thames to break the Indian confederation of Tecumseh. It was one of the biggest naval battles of the War of 1812.
Although the battle took place at Sandusky, Ohio, the American fleet was constructed and harbored at Erie in Presque Isle Bay.
From the south side of the Isle you have a view of Erie.
Having spent hours in the park, we drove back onto the mainland to see the Erie lakefront.
There was a small marina.
And like all Great Lakes ports, there is a cut channel connecting other parts of the city to Lake Erie.
Having finished our stop to see Presque Isle State Park, we drove southeast out of Erie and back onto I-90 to continue east.
This trip goes from Cincinnati, Ohio, to the Boston area, then up the New England coast into Canada, then back through the Adirondacks to the Finger Lakes Region of New York.
After leaving Erie, we drove east on I-90 out of Pennsylvania into New York. This was a scenic drive, frequently offering views of Lake Erie while passing through vineyard after vineyard. Grapes grow well here with all the lake effect moisture. What isn’t scenic is all the advertising for info on Niagara Falls, which begins as soon as you cross the state line into New York. No need to stop, you will find all the info you could possibly need once you get there.
Reaching the Buffalo area, we turned north on I-190 and left the downtown area to cross over onto Grand Island. As soon as we were back on the mainland, we exited I-190 onto Niagara Falls Scenic Parkway. We drove along the Niagara River toward the Falls. As we neared, we could see mist boiling high up into the air above the Falls.
We entered Niagara Falls State Park and parked, spending the rest of our time on foot. We walked along the Niagara River to 1st Street, where we walked across the bridge onto Goat Island. Hiking all over the island, we took the footbridge to Three Sisters Islands.
At last, we were ready to approach the Falls. Here is a shot of Niagara River taken from Goat Island Bridge looking upriver toward the 1st Street Bridge.
Another shot of 1st Street Bridge. See how much gets washed down the river towards the Falls.
You can see the river is already fast. It gets much faster. Here is a shot looking upriver to Goat Island Bridge.
Here is a shot taken from Goat Island Bridge looking downriver towards the American Falls. Of course, that is Canada on the other side.
Here is a branch of the river leading to Bridal Veil Falls.
The overlook on Luna Island for Bridal Veil Falls.
Here are some good shots of American Falls. In the first one notice the Maid of the Mist boat in the distance.
See the little yellow people at the bottom of the next picture? More about them later.
I like this picture. Totally calm on the edge of destruction. Of course, he can fly away to safety whenever he wants to. But it still looks cool.
Rainbow shots are always good. Here are my best ones.
Of course, we did all the touristy things. Such as the Maid of the Mist boat ride. Here is a boat passing under a rainbow.
Here is a close-up of one. They really pack people onto these.
Here’s what it looked like to us standing on the deck.
We got closer.
Then back out.
Of course, they were doing this from the Canadian side, too. They were wearing red slickers instead of blue. How else are you to tell Americans and Canadians apart? Despite the slickers, we got drenched.
We also got drenched taking the Cave of the Wind Tour. This lets you walk right into the waterfall. We wore yellow for this occasion.
I love the NO SMOKING sign. I’d like to see someone try to light a cigarette here, let alone smoke one. Even if they could, what possible harm could it do? Everything is soaking wet.
Finishing at the Falls, we drove down river to where the Niagara River empties into Lake Ontario. It’s about 15 miles. Pictured is the International Bridge into Canada.
The river remains turbulent for miles downriver from the Falls.
There is a bend in the river that creates a whirlpool. Fast boats race up the river from Lake Ontario to spin around in this whirlpool. We passed on this activity.
Fort Niagara is on Lake Ontario at the mouth of the Niagara River. We didn’t tour it this time, as I had done that years before. Here is an image I got off the Internet.
Here is a Wikipedia entry about the fort:
The history of Old Fort Niagara spans more than 300 years. During the colonial wars in North America, a fort at the mouth of the Niagara River was vital, for it controlled access to the Great Lakes and the westward route to the heartland of the continent. With the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, however, the strategic value of Fort Niagara diminished. It nonetheless remained an active military post well into the 20th century.
The three flags flown daily above the parade ground symbolize the nations which have held Fort Niagara. Each competed for the support of a fouth nation: the powerful Six Nations Confederacy. The French established the first post here, Fort Conti, in 1679. Its successor, Fort Denonville (1687-88) was equally short lived. In 1726 France finally erected a permanent fortification with the construction of the impressive “French Castle.” Britain gained control of Fort Niagara in 1759, during the French & Indian War, after a nineteen-day siege. The British held the post throughout the American Revolution but were forced, by treaty, to yield it to the United States in 1796. Fort Niagara was recaptured by the British in 1813. It was ceded to the United States a second time in 1815 at the end of the War of 1812.
This was Fort Niagara’s last armed conflict, and it thereafter served as a peaceful border post. The garrison expanded beyond the walls following the Civil War. Fort Niagara was a barracks and training station for American soldiers throughout both World Wars. The last army units were withdrawn in 1963. Today, the U.S. Coast Guard represents the only military presence on the site.
Old Fort Niagara was restored between 1929 and 1934. It is operated today by the Old Fort Niagara Association, Inc., a not-for-profit organization, in cooperation with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Admission fees, Museum Shop sales, grants, and donations provide support for the operation of the site. Membership in the Old Fort Niagara Association is open to all.
We drove back upriver to the Falls, then south back to Buffalo, where we got back on I-90 and continued east.
This trip goes from Cincinnati, Ohio, to the Boston area, then up the New England coast all the way to Canada, then back through the Adirondacks to the Finger Lakes Region in upstate New York.
On another trip to Niagara Falls we stayed on the Canadian side. We got a motel room five or six blocks up from the Falls, easy walking distance. It is much more touristy on the Canadian side.
It’s like walking through Gatlainburg.
Eventually, you approach the Falls.
Once you reach the Falls, there are nice gardens to walk through.
Eventually, you reach the Falls.
They look much the same as from the American side, you just see them from a different perspective.
Like before in the U.S., we drove the 15 miles along the Niagara River to where it emptied into Lake Ontario.
There were other attractions along the way.
And plenty of gift shops. They had a lot of maple-flavored candy.
And more nice gardens to stroll through.
The fastboats to the whirlpool were still running.
We reached Lake Ontario, where the fastboats departed from the Canadian side.
There was a good overlook of the mouth of Niagara River and Lake Ontario.
Of course, a lighthouse.
A view of Fort Niagara, on the American side. And a really nice yacht.
After returning to our motel and resting a while, we got back out at night to see the lights.
Next Location – Sturbridge Village, 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.
Finished at Niagara Falls, we continued east on I-90. After a little ways we stopped for the night at a travel center since it was free. There were no hook-ups, of course, but we were allowed to park for the night. Never again. It was a hot August night, so we had to sleep with the windows open. All the semis around us, and there were many, kept their diesel engines running throughout the night. It was thunderous. We tried moving away from them to a remote corner. Almost as soon as we did another semi pulled up close. So I don’t plan to stay overnight in a New York travel plaza again unless it’s an emergency.
The next morning following a restless night we continued driving east on I-90. It was a pleasant drive through mostly farm country. For a while we followed the old Erie Canal, sections of which are operational. I-90 also took us through the Mohawk Valley. Very scenic. But the farther east we traveled the more urban the landscape. Shortly after passing through Albany and crossing the Hudson River, we continued east into Massachusetts.
As soon as we entered the state we were in the Berkshires. Western Massachusetts is a beautiful drive through the mountains. I always watch for the Appalachian Trail footbridge across I-90. I believe it is near Lee, but I’m not sure. Nearing the middle of the state we left the Berkshires and entered a much more heavily developed region. First I-91, then I-84, and finally I-395 all join I-90 from the south, and the traffic increases exponentially. The pleasant part of the drive was over.
Luckily, at this time we got a break from the drive. We exited I-90 at Sturbridge, which is just west of Worcester, to see Old Sturbridge Village. This is from their web site:
A True New England Getaway
The stories of the past come to life! Visit our village to interact with costumed historians and learn about life in the 19th century. Catch demonstrations, browse our exhibits, and explore the historic village and the local town. Spend a day or a whole weekend here when you plan your summer getaway in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.
There were a lot of restored houses to walk about.
There are plenty of activities for the kids.
We could also venture inside the houses.
Many of the houses had historical interpreters at work.
Outside, too. Such as a shepherd demonstrating how he gives commands to herd a flock of sheep to his well-trained dog by whistling to it. Also, sheep shearing.
There were other things to see outside, such as these longhorn cattle.
And this brick oven.
Rides were given, too.
There was a working sawmill with a saw that was powered by a water wheel. They cut up lumber the same way it had been done centuries ago.
Of course, there was a covered bridge.
And you could just stroll through a pretty landscape.
It was a good way to stretch our legs after a day spent driving. Finished, we continued east on I-90, and were quickly through Worcester and into the Greater Boston metro area. Now the traffic, and the maze of roads, was horrendous. Thank God for Garmin.
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.
This trip blog is different from the others since it is composed from several different visits. In Massachusetts we had family to stay with instead of camping. So I’ll interrupt relating this camping trip and describe other visits we made in our car. My wife’s daughter lives in Stow, which is just inside the I-495 circle freeway. My wife’s son lives closer in, in Beverly, which is on the coast next to Salem, 20 miles or so north from downtown Boston.
We haven’t spent a lot of time in Boston. We prefer the open countryside to the tight confines of a large city. And it can be difficult driving our motorhome through congested cities. But we did take one memorable trip into Boston. We did it with my wife’s son, who was living in Worcester at the time but has since moved to Beverly. He drove us to the nearest commuter rail station to Worcester, which we took to downtown Boston. We got off at the Park Street Station at the edge of Boston Common.
We spent an entire day hiking the Freedom Trail. Here is some info on it from their web site:
The famous Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile red-brick trail through Boston’s historic neighborhoods that tells the story of the American Revolution. From the Old North Church to Faneuil Hall, and through resonant burying grounds, visit the temples and landmarks of the Revolutionary Era.
Here is a list of sites along the trail:
Boston Common, Massachusetts State House, Park Street Church, Granary Burying Ground, King’s Chapel, King’s Chapel Burying Ground, Benjamin Franklin Statue & Boston Latin School, Old Corner Bookstore, Old South Meeting House, Old State House, Site of Boston Massacre, Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House, Old North Church, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, Bunker Hill Monument, USS Constitution
It was a pleasant autumn day, and we took our time. The trail descended down hills to the waterfront, so most of the time we were going downhill and it wasn’t too difficult. Much of the trail passed through an Italian neighborhood, which was filled with wonderful aromas.
We emerged from the T underground station at Boston Commons. We wandered through the cemetery there.
There were statues along the way. Samuel Adams.
And several churches, including Old North Church.
Paul Revere’s home has been preserved.
We walked past Kings Chapel
And other iconic buildings.
We went into the places we were allowed in.
We stopped at an outside market near Faneuil Hall for lunch. I had a lobster roll, of course. We hiked up to the Bunker Hill Memorial. For some reason I didn’t take a picture of it, so here is an image off the Internet.
The Freedom Trail ends at the U.S.S. Constitution.
We boarded and looked around.
Here is a Wikipedia entry about the ship:
The USS Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides, is a three-masted wooden-hulled heavy frigate of the United States Navy. She is the world’s oldest ship of any type still afloat.[Note 1] She was launched in 1797, one of six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794 and the third constructed. The name “Constitution” was among ten names submitted to President George Washington by Secretary of War Timothy Pickering in March of 1795 for the frigates that were to be constructed. Joshua Humphreys designed the frigates to be the young Navy’s capital ships, and so Constitution and her sister ships were larger and more heavily armed and built than standard frigates of the period. She was built at Edmund Hartt‘s shipyard in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts. Her first duties were to provide protection for American merchant shipping during the Quasi-War with France and to defeat the Barbary pirates in the First Barbary War.
Constitution is most noted for her actions during the War of 1812 against the United Kingdom, when she captured numerous merchant ships and defeated five British warships: HMS Guerriere, Java, Pictou, Cyane, and Levant. The battle with Guerriere earned her the nickname “Old Ironsides” and public adoration that has repeatedly saved her from scrapping. She continued to serve as flagship in the Mediterranean and African squadrons, and she circled the world in the 1840s. During the American Civil War, she served as a training ship for the United States Naval Academy. She carried American artwork and industrial displays to the Paris Exposition of 1878.
Constitution was retired from active service in 1881 and served as a receiving ship until being designated a museum ship in 1907. In 1934, she completed a three-year, 90-port tour of the nation. She sailed under her own power for her 200th birthday in 1997, and again in August 2012 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her victory over Guerriere.
Constitution‘s stated mission today is to promote understanding of the Navy’s role in war and peace through educational outreach, historical demonstration, and active participation in public events as part of the Naval History & Heritage Command. As she is a fully commissioned Navy ship, her crew of 75 officers and sailors participate in ceremonies, educational programs, and special events while keeping her open to visitors year round and providing free tours. The officers and crew are all active-duty Navy personnel, and the assignment is considered to be special duty. She is usually berthed at Pier 1 of the former Charlestown Navy Yard at one end of Boston’s Freedom Trail.
By this time we’d had enough walking. Next to the Constitution we caught a water taxi which took us across Boston Harbor to the downtown waterfront.
From there it was a short hike through downtown Boston to the nearest T station, back out to where Chris had parked his car, then a short drive back to Worcester.
We also drove around to see Lexington and Concord, the first battlegrounds of the American Revolution. I was surprised there wasn’t much to see at Lexington. The village green where the skirmish took place was still there, but if there was a memorial it was so small I didn’t see it.
Concord is a different matter. There is a national park extending the 22 miles from downtown Boston, the route the British soldiers marched, to Concord, where the battle took place at North Bridge. I have walked sections of this, even canoed on the river below North Bridge, but, like at Bunker took no pictures. Here is a brief bit from the Minuteman National Historic Park website:
WELCOME TO MINUTE MAN NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
Minute Man is located 22 miles outside of Boston within the towns of Lexington, Lincoln and Concord, Massachusetts. The park commemorates the opening battles of the American Revolution on April 19, 1775 by protecting, preserving and interpreting the significant historic sites, structures, landscapes, events and ideas embodied by these events.
And here are some images. North Bridge
And a section of the 22 mile trail.
It was along roads like this Americans fired on the British soldiers marching from Concord back to Boston. They killed or wounded 250 British, while suffering only 90 killed or wounded themselves. By the time the British arrived at back at Boston they were no longer marching – they were running for their lives. Because of this rout, British soldiers never again ventured outside of Boston, where they were under the protection of the canon on their warships anchored in the harbor.
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.
While staying with family in Stow and Beverly, we’ve seen many places around Boston. One of my favorites is Salem. Beverly is right next door to Salem, so we’ve been there several times. The first time was at Halloween. Salem Commons was filled with carved pumpkins.
That was an experience not to be missed, Salem at Halloween. We saw all kinds of characters roaming around. And a lot of decorations.
Here is what the Salem Commons looks like at other times.
It is quite large, 8 acres.
The Salem Witch Museum is across the street from the Commons.
That is not a statue of a witch on the rock across the street from the Commons in front of the Witch Museum. A Common misunderstanding (I make no apology for the pun, I really like it). It is a statue of the founder of Salem, Roger Conant.
Here is a statue of a witch.
There are a lot of statues around Salem. Such as one of Nathaniel Hawthorn.
The original House of Seven Gables, which Nathaniel Hawthorne made famous with his novel, is one of many old houses that have been preserved. It is operated as a bed and breakfast, which I’m sure is pricey.
Many historic buildings have been preserved, especially by the waterfront. Hawthorn worked at the Customs House. Even back then a writer couldn’t support himself with his writing, he needed a day job.
There are other preserved old houses along the waterfront.
And plenty away from the water, too.
In fact, there is this little candy shop in one that is delicious. It’s only a couple blocks off the water.
The Salem waterfront is a registered historical landmark.
A tall ship, the Friendship of Salem, is anchored there.
You can tour the Sail Loft. It is filled with old sailing equipment.
There is a spit here that goes far out into the harbor.
To a lighthouse.
There are plenty of other places to go in Salem. A lot of fine restaurants with good seafood. A lot of novelty shops. The Peabody Museum has some good exhibits. Willows Arcade is a good place to take the kids. Of course, a lot of tourist attractions dealing with the Salem witch trials. One of my favorite places is Winter Island Park.
There is a lighthouse there, too.
A bit of a beach.
A nice view of the harbor.
There is also a small campground. I’d love to camp there sometime.
Another favorite destination when we visit in Massachusetts is Marblehead. It is on a peninsula just east of Salem, jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. The waterfront district is a great place to walk around.
There are more older houses here that have been preserved than anywhere else I’ve seen. Many date back to the 1600’s.
Our favorite place to eat there is the Barnacle.
We always eat out on the deck.
Overlooking the harbor.
As you can see, the beach is rocky.
But that doesn’t stop people from enjoying it.
Of course, there are less strenuous ways to enjoy the harbor.
This bench is one of my favorites. As you can see, it’s been well-used.
There is a small park.
With a small castle.
With some cool doors. What knockers! Well, thank you, Herr Sherer.
At the other end of the waterfront there is a rocky point with another small park.
But some people have to work here.
Still, it’s a beautiful place on the Atlantic Ocean.
To the north and east of Beverly is Cape Ann. This is one of the most beautiful places in New England. Gloucester is the first destination on the cape. But on the way to Gloucester you pass Manchester-by-the-Sea. Which has a nice sandy beach.
And a nice waterfront to enjoy.
Just beyond Manchester-by-the-Sea is Hammond Castle.
Driving on into Gloucester, the first thing to catch your eye is the huge rock at Fort Stage Park.
The park was once an actual fort.
I’d think twice about sitting on the bench on the left.
There are public beaches here, too. In the summer I’ve seen people on them.
See. But you don’t see too many people in the water. Even in the summer the water is frigid. The few out there wading are probably Canadians.
Driving past the park, you enter the waterfront district
I’ve been there on a foggy day. Makes Gloucester look very atmospheric.
I don’t know who lives here, but, man, what a house, what a view.
There is a picturesque drawbridge to drive across.
And some famous statues to pose by.
We have a favorite place to eat in Gloucester. I like their collection of anchors.
And other décor strewn around outside.
And décor inside, too.
Of course, they have an outside deck to dine on.
With good views of the harbor.
I never get tired of spending time in Gloucester.
From Gloucester, drive east on 127A along the coast to Pebble Beach. Take time to listen to the singing beach for a while. The singing is the noise the waves make as they rush across the rocks back out to sea.
Continue on 127A into Rockport. There is a beach here, too, every bit as rocky as Pebble Beach.
Of course, neither that nor the chilly water keeps people from enjoying themselves
But the main attraction is the waterfront. This is an old fishing community that has turned picturesque tourist.
Now nearing the water. You can see it in the distance.
The second most famous building on the water is the Old Stone Fort. Actually, this is a more recent structure built on the site of the Old Stone Fort, as, obviously, this is neither a fort, nor stone, and probably not all that old.
This red barn is the most famous building. It has been the subject of innumerable paintings.
Somewhere on the waterfront is this statue of a boy riding a frog.
The waterfront, with another shot of the famous red barn.
Another shot with the barn in the background
My favorite photo I took at Rockport. All the little sailboats with tents people are camping out under, and the kayaks arrayed, and the old buildings in the background.
Another of the harbor with the red barn in the background.
The breakwater and the entrance to the harbor.
And, guess what, one last photo of the red barn.
We have a favorite restaurant here, too, although I don’t have any photos of it. The Pearl. It has a dining deck overlooking the harbor, and excellent clam chowder. Here is a photo I got from the Internet.
It is easy to spend an entire afternoon roaming about Rockport.
We followed 127 from Rockport on to the tip of Cape Ann, where Halibut Point State Park is situated. Being on the point, there is of course a lighthouse.
There is an old stone quarry there you can hike around.
But the real treat is being able to walk down to the ocean’s edge.
Here you at the easternmost point of Cape Ann. You are not standing on the side of a calm harbor or a protected bay, but jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. The surf is tremendous. At least it was on the day I was there.
Run for your lives!
There is a trail leading up to a great viewing point.
It is atop a pile of granite slabs that were cut but never shipped. Once these slabs were cut at the quarry they were drug to the water’s edge to be picked up and transported by ship.
It gave great view.
Away from the wild surf there were rock playgrounds. One for the kids.
And one for the grownups to scamper around on.
Once we’d had enough we hiked away from the ocean.
And back to the quarry.
Climbing back into our car, we continued on 127 along the north side of Cape Ann, then across it back to Gloucester, where we turned onto Yankee Division Hwy. We drove on that off the Cape back to Beverly.
To the south of Boston is Plymouth. We’ve made 2 trips there, the first to see the town, the second to see Plymouth Plantation. On our first trip we parked at Plymouth Harbor.
From there we could walk around to see everything. We started by wandering around the harbor.
As you can see in the background, there is a narrow breakwater extending far out into the harbor, including a footbridge for small boats to pass under. Of course, we had to walk it
There are opportunities for boat rides, either for fishing or whale watching, but we did neither.
Before leaving the harbor, we found a good place for lunch.
After lunch, we walked along the waterfront to Pilgrim Memorial State Park. We walked around the Mayflower II, a to-scale replica of the original Mayflower, but didn’t board.
We then walked to see Plymouth Rock.
It is still there, supposedly the original rock, unmoved from its original location, the Pilgrims first set foot on disembarking from the Mayflower in 1620.
From there we walked to Brewster Gardens, the site of the first settlement at Plymouth. Along the way we passed some old houses.
This creek was one of the reasons the Pilgrims built their first homes at this place. It provided easy access to fresh water.
The park at the site of the original settlement is small but nice.
There are statues and memorials.
After, we walked back to our car parked at the harbor and drove north a short ways along the ocean front. We stopped just beyond the breakwater.
And a little further north to get out and walk on the beach.
On or second trip we toured Plymouth Plantation, a recreation of the original settlement. We started with the museum.
There was an interesting garment.
Next was a recreation of the kind of Native American settlement of the era. The exterior of one building.
And the interior.
A smaller structure.
And some Native American artifacts.
There were a few historical interpreters.
Then it was on to the recreated Pilgrim settlement.
A good collection of buildings.
What the open countryside would have looked like back then. Except for the buildings peeking through in the background.
Like Plymouth, we’ve made several trips to Cape Cod. It is south of Plymouth. You drive onto it on Hwy. 3 across the Sagamore Bridge.
The bridge crosses the canal that separates the Cape from the mainland. On the Cape the road becomes Hwy. 6. Turning onto 6A, we kept close to the northern side of the Cape, where there are numerous beaches.
There are other scenic places besides sand. Such as flowers.
There are small communities all along the Cape.
I’m not sure what these people are doing.
But I think that’s their dog swimming around.
There are narrow channels cut into the Cape to give inland communities ocean access for small boats.
Hwy. 6A merges back into Hwy. 6 where the Cape narrows, then juts northward. Soon after this we drove onto the Cape Cod National Seashore, which the Internet describes as ‘over 40 miles & 40,000 acres of dune-filled beaches, salt marshes & hiking & cycling paths’.
It was stormy one time we were there.
Beyond the national seashore is Provincetown, at the very end of the Cape.
We stopped to roam around the waterfront.
This storm-damaged pier had been taken over by gulls.
The Provincetown breakwater.
There are 2 lighthouses.
There is also a Pilgrim memorial.
This marks the spot the Pilgrims first landed. They stopped at the end of Cape Cod before deciding to go on to Plymouth. So their first actual landfall was here, not onto Plymouth Rock.
Cape Cod is a beautiful place to see. Be forewarned the roads can be congested, especially in the summer.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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:
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)
Also in “The Ponds,” Thoreau describes incorporeal experiences around the water, both experiences related to him by others and his own. 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. (Goethe, who was a Classicist, not a Romanticist, positively viewed Parzival.) Thoreau wrote:
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.
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.
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.
We drove north along the coast on 1A. A beautiful drive. In Portsmouth it joined Hwy. 1 to cross the Piscataqua River into Maine. Just across the York River we cut back onto 1A so we could continue along the coast. We stopped at Perkins Cove.
We walked around the harbor.
Before leaving the area we had to choose a restaurant for some fresh seafood.
Then it was off to walk the Marginal Way. As you can see, it was a foggy day.
The Marginal Way is a 1.25 mile paved path along some of the most picturesque New England coast you will ever see.
We saw several artists along the way with easels set up painting the scenery.
Although the scenic view is only on one side of the path.
Some of the resorts on the other side are striking.
It is an easy walk that is rewarding to the senses. As you can see, there are flowers all along the path.
Although there is scant sand, people are still determined to enjoy the undeveloped beach.
There is a small lighthouse along the way.
The Marginal Way ends at Shore Road. From there it is a short walk to Beach Street, where you turn right and walk across a bridge onto Ogunquit Beach. This is a nice sandy beach, but upon arrival you realize why some people opted for the rocks. Ogunquit Beach was crowded that day.
And cold. Very few ventured into deep water.
We walked back to the Marginal Way and walked back to our motor home parked at Perkins Cove. We drove north on Shore Road to Hwy. 1, and continued north out of Ogunquit. In Wells we turned onto 9 and drove into Kennebunkport. We parked along the Kennebunkport River.
After we finished wandering around the waterfront we found some more good seafood before leaving.
Full once more, we drove on Ocean Ave. back to the ocean front, then turned north on Shore Rd. Not long after we pulled over to walk out onto a rocky promontory.
To where we had a good view of George Bush Sr.’s compound.
We saw a fishing boat off the shore, tailed by a pair of black speedboats. We were told that was ex-President Bush in the fishing boat. The two black speedboats were secret service. I don’t know why they were black. It’s not like that helped conceal them, or make them less noticeable. I guess it identified them as secret service. We never saw Bush catch anything.
We wound our way north to 9, then continued north on that, which kept us close to the ocean front. Another beautiful drive. Eventually we turned onto Hwy. 1 and drove on north into Portland.
There are some sandy beaches here.
All of them are not crowded.
But most of the coast is rocky.
Which I found out about the hard way.
We took a harbor cruise.
It took us past a lot of lighthouses.
Some of them looked like they’d been abandoned for a while.
There were also a lot of boats out in the harbor. Pleasure boats.
And working boats.
And big boats.
We also saw some wildlife.
We left Portland after our harbor cruise and found a private campground north of the city.
The next morning we hopped on I-295 and headed north. It led to I-95, which led to Bangor. From there we got back on Hwy. 1A and headed southeast. At Ellsworth we turned onto 3, and drove south onto Mt. Desert Island. We followed 3 to Bar Harbor Campground, where we had reserved a site. Once we were settled in my wife’s daughter and her 2 sons joined us. They had reserved a nearby cabin.
One of the great things about Acadia National Park is its tram system. The park is huge, 47,000 acres, yet the trams will take you anywhere in the park. For free. There are 10 different routes. All routes run to a central location in Bar Harbor, and from there you can switch trams to any section of the park you wish to see. And there was a tram stop right outside Bar Harbor Campground. So once our motor home was set up we never had to drive it anywhere. We could ignore the traffic, sit back and relax, and enjoy the passing scenery. Since I’m the one always driving the motor home, this was a treat for me.
Our first destination was to the top of Cadilac Mountain, the highest point in the park.
Which gave us a good view down into Bar Harbor.
And of the Porcupine Islands spread out in the harbor.
In the following photo notice the cruise ship. There was one docked here during our entire stay.
In the following picture you can see the natural land bridge out to one of the islands in the harbor. The island it connects to is accessible at low tide. You just have to be sure and get back to the mainland in time or you’ll get your shoes, or more, wet.
There are great views from up there in different directions back over the park, also.
Of course, we had to engage in some rock climbing while up there.
Next we went back into Bar Harbor to walk around. Tram central is in a small park in the middle of town, several blocks up from the waterfront, which was where we headed on foot.
I like the ghost moose on top of the building in the next photo.
There was a waterfront park.
With a gazebo.
And a fountain.
This ship in the harbor looked interesting.
There were a lot of interesting ships.
But we needed to do some hiking. So my wife caught a tram back to the campground, while I & her daughter & her 2 sons caught a different tram that took us to the Beehive Mountain trailhead. It was a gentle hike starting out.
But we gained elevation quickly.
The trail soon became more fun.
The views kept getting better and better.
We stopped for rests.
The trail was crowded, so frequently we had to stop and wait for traffic to clear. Which wasn’t a problem, as it gave us opportunities to look around.
I like this mansion I could see off in the distance.
It’s always good to finally reach the top. 2 smiling, 1 gasping for air.
A chance to look around.
A better shot of the mansion.
A lighthouse on one of the rocks in the harbor.
Worn out, we caught the tram back into town, then switched to the tram that would take us back to the campground. A good start to the week.
The next day we caught the tram out to Thunder Hole.
Only it wasn’t very thunderous that day.
Still, we walked all around on the rocks.
Like everyone else.
We got back on the tram and went a little further, getting off at Otter Rocks.
Didn’t see any otters, but did some more rock walking.
This guy looked comfortable.
The next place we got off the tram was at Jordan Pond.
They served meals. We weren’t really hungry, but we would have been interested in a snack and drink. But it was way too busy. So instead of standing in line we walked around the lake.
Like a lot of other people.
And more people. The park is crowded, but it’s also huge. Plenty of space to spread out.
One thing that’s good about other people is you can swap cameras. Much better than selfies.
The last stop of the day was Seal Harbor.
Another picturesque place.
This wasn’t just a tourist stop. A lot of work went on here. See all the lobster traps stacked up?
Especially at the place we were headed.
To eat a good lobster dinner.
After we stuffed ourselves, we rode back to the campground. Enough for one day.
My wife’s son and his family joined us in our campground at Acadia National Park. They pitched tents several sites away. The first thing we did was head for the top of Cadillac Mountain to catch the sunrise. Unfortunately, the trams don’t run that time of morning, so we drove up in two cars. We weren’t alone.
It was a good sunrise.
After, we were ready to head back to the camp for breakfast.
Later that morning we hiked the Precipice Trail. This is looking up from the parking lot at what we would be climbing.
Unlike the Beehive Trail, this one started out hard.
And got harder.
Like Beehive, this trail offered great vistas.
Although it seemed like we had climbed for hours.
We still had a ways to go.
In some places there were railings.
In some places there were bridges.
In some places there was hardly a trail, you just had to scramble up over rocks.
We were getting close to the top.
What a view we had on the way up. The road at the bottom left was our starting point.
Just before reaching the top, there were several sets of steel rungs fastened into the rock face we had to scale.
More good views near the top.
I zoomed in on a cruise ship.
We crashed after reaching the top.
We wandered around a while on top.
We had a good view looking down on Bar Harbor.
Then it was time to start back down.