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

American Locations 12 – Cape Cod

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.

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.

Next Location – Newport, Rhode Island

American Locations 11 – Plymouth, 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.

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.

And churches.

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.

Some interiors.

Ovens.

Vegetable gardens.

What the open countryside would have looked like back then. Except for the buildings peeking through in the background.

Next Location – Cape Cod

American Locations 10 – Halibut Point State Park, 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.

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.

Next Location – Plymouth, Massachusetts

American Locations 9 – Rockport, 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.

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.

Next Location – Halibut Point State Park

American Locations 8

Gloucester, 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.

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.

Next Location – Rockport, Massachusetts

American Locations 7 – Marblehead

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.

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.

Next Location – Gloucester

American Locations 6 – Salem

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.

Next Location – Marblehead