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

American Locations 5 – Boston: The Freedom Trail and Minuteman National Historic Park

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.

Paul Revere.

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.[10][11] 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 GuerriereJavaPictouCyane, 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.

Constitutions 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.

Next Location – Salem

American Locations 4 – 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.

Next Location – Boston

American Locations 3 – Niagara Falls, Canadian side

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

American Locations 2 – Niagara Falls, American side

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.

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.

Totally drenched.

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.

Next Location – Niagara Falls, Canadian side

American Locations 1

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.

Next Location – Niagara Falls, American side