A Travellerspoint blog

October 2007

Day 36 (10.7.07) - Across VT to Lake Champlain (Video Added)

We spent most of the day near the New Hampshire border, but high-tailed it to Burlington by the end of the day - small state!

sunny 70 °F
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Miles Driven: 107
Weather: Sunny, a little cooler (70's F)

Shortly after leaving White River Junction, we arrived at a small town called Quechee (pronounced 'qweechee', sort of like squegee but with a 'ch' sound). The big tourist area on the highway was having an antique show and everyone who was at the Warner fall festival in New Hampshire yesterday came over to Vermont for this show! We got there before the extent of the crowds was obvious and I pulled into the parking lot thinking we could stop at the gift shop quickly and move on. Ha! Parking lot attendants directed us to a back lawn, so we parked and decided to check it out. There must have been a half dozen separate craft & gift shops all in a row, including a HUGE antique mall at the end. In addition there were about two rows of tents in front with more antique dealers.

We wandered through the glass blowing shop, a furniture/woodwork shop, a generic gift shop and finally a shop that carried mostly edibles - especially Vermont Cheese's and Maple Syrup's. There was a very long table for tasting all the varieties of Cabot Cheese you could imagine. After some careful comparison shopping (e.g. tasting), I purchased a small block of Tomato Basil Cheese and a Sharp Cheese. I also liked the Ginger Maple Syrup, but at the price I figured I could always add ginger to my own syrup if I wanted. Mom purchases a few things also, I'm sure we'll swap treats over the next few days.

Mom wanted to walk through the toy museum, so we did that also.

We wandered through some of the antique shops/tents also, even though neither of us are much into antiques. Mom was much more disciplined and kept her wallet hidden. I did not do as well, but am afraid to make a full confession in case one of you decides to have me committed! For some reason, I didn't think to take any pictures of this zoo, I did shoot a short video of an antique record player (that I also purchased...)

A short drive from the gift shops was the Quechee Gorge. The travel brochure described this as Vermont's 'Grand Canyon'. This is probably a bad way to describe it as it is a very pale gorge by comparison. Maybe it can stand on it's own a little better if they just described it as a pretty little gorge? Mom was too tired to even get out of the RV at this point (we had spent a long time at the earlier stop), but I felt I needed some real exercise, so hiked the half mile to the bottom. This wasn't very far as the crow flies, but it was a very steep hike and the rocks at the bottom were terrible to walk over (Of course, I had to go all the way across just in case I could get a better picture of the gorge on the other side. My feet still ache).

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In all, the gorge is 165 feet deep and about a mile long (1/2 on each side of the bridge). After all that hiking, the best picture (above left) is probably the one I took from the bridge at the top - near where we parked. On the way down, there was a tree with some interesting growth on it, perhaps some sort of mushroom? If anybody knows what this is, I'd appreciate it if you could post a comment and let us know.

Day_36_-_V.._Growth.jpg

By the time we left Quechee it was already 3 PM and we had only driven 7 miles! It's pretty hard to cover the US in 8 months if you can only make 7 miles a day - but we still had some time left, so headed back up north. Mom wanted to visit a Music Box Museum we learned about at the visitors center. We drove over some back roads again to a town called Randolph. Across from the gas station where we stopped was a really cute Railway Station and downtown area. This is right in the middle of Vermont and is typical of the quaint, small towns around here.

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We made it to the Porter Music Box Museum just as they closed, so I had about 2 minutes to visit the gift shop and buy a CD, that's about it. I did learn however that these are not the types of music boxes you or I would buy. They cost thousands of dollars and play giant copper disks that can be stored and played like records. The music on the CD I bought is lovely, but I think the CD will be quite enough for me.

http://www.portermusicbox.com/default.aspx

Now it was 4 PM and we were still not that far into Vermont. Mom noticed a campground on the map fairly close by, but I suggested we try to see if we could go a little farther. Sure enough, it turned out that we could get all the way up to Burlington on the North West side of the state in about one and a half hours. Burlington has two exits off the freeway, so it's not that big a town, it is a big college town however. It turns out this weekend is Columbus Day, Parents Day at the University of Vermont (here), and of course a big fall foliage tourist weekend - so hotels and campgrounds are full all over. We found a lovely city campground on the shore of Lake Champlain, North Beach Campground, and got one of the last two open spots they had.

Tomorrow, we will check out the Ethan Allan homestead here, then probably start back on our journey eventually towards the far NE corner of Maine.

Posted by jl98584 18:09 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (5)

Week 5 - Massachusetts to Vermont

Day 33

We are in a very nice, quiet campground in Eastern Massachusetts, Wompatuck State Park, about 2 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. We have crossed the US in 33 days! And I'm still feeling fine. There is so much to see. Even in the small towns there are historic places that are fun to visit and see. The leaves are changing. We saw many beautiful trees in N. Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Now that we are on the East Coast, the trees are lovely and as we go north thru Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine we expect to see many more. Yesterday we toured the Fairbanks house. It was built about 1638 by an ancester of ours. My brother-in-law printed out a "pedigree" for me so I took it into the visitor's center. The man was impressed.

Day 35

We are "camped" in the visitor's center in Vermont. We drove north through Massachusetts and into New Hampshire. Camped in Keyser Pond campground. It was a 'family oriented' campground. Much to do as families and for children. We went to the pond and picked up sand for Kathy and saw little fish swimming. The Loons that live there were in hiding. Did our laundry and drove northwest to a Shaker Village. Interesting & on to Vermont where we are now.

Posted by phylisej 05:39 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (3)

Day 35 (10.6.07) - New Hampshire Fall Colors

They are just getting started, but nice so far

overcast 82 °F
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Miles Driven: 80
Ending Mileage: 115397
Weather: Overcast, but warm (82 F), Rain starting at Dusk

We got up early and took care of the Laundry & RV (dump tanks, fill tanks, etc.) - and till left the RV park before 10 AM. Before we left, we drove down to the beach area since this was the Keyser Pond RV Campground. Sure enough there was a lovely, large pond (or small lake) and the tree's were starting to turn colors.

Day_35_-_Keyser_Pond.jpg

On the way back to the highway we saw a small gift shop. What caught my eye was the name, "Golden Pineaple Gift Shop". Outside was a large, golden pinnaple about 6 feet tall (2 meters). It was carved out of wood and painted golden - quite an interesting object to find in New Hampshire. It had many neat things inside but somehow I managed to get out without spending any money. Mom wasn't so lucky.

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Nearby was the town of Warner, NH - which had a Telephone Museum and an Indian Museum that looked fairly interesting from the travel brochures. On the way to Warner, we saw a sign pointed to a covered bridge. This turned out to be from about 1820 was near a place called Waterloo:

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Day_35_-_1.._Bridge.jpgDay_35_-_N..Bridge_.jpg

We drove on to Warner only to find they were having their annual 'Fall Folliage' festival. While it sounded like fun, there were huge traffic and parking problems. It took us an hour to go a few blocks around the downtown detour - so I elected to skip the Telephone Museum (which was downtown). The festival looked like a lot of street vendors (like garage sales), a fiddler and juggler - nothing spectacular (nice, small town festival - but I think it had outgrown it's small town parking & traffic).

After sitting in traffic for an hour, we were able to make it to the Indian Museum. We were allowed to take one photo in the lobby, but none in the Museum.

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This museum was started from a private collection by "Bud" Thompson, who had become fascinated with Native American Culture as a young boy and had collected artifacts throughout his life. What was expecially interesting is that it covered tribes throughout the US, not just in New Hampshire and was organized by region, so the exhibits could be viewed for the northeast tribes, the plains tribes, etc. The most spectacular exhibits were the baskets - some of the basketweaving was unbelieveable and we both liked the museum very much.

Next, we decided to try a Mine off of Hwy 4. Fortunately we took a wrong turn and took Hwy 4A instead. I say 'fortunately' for two reasons: (a) I hadn't read the brochure carefully enough and the Mine was actually closed today, and (b) Hwy 4A went over a low mountain and the fall colors along this drive were the best we've seen yet (in New England at least, maybe better than upper Michigan, I'm not sure yet.) Because of the climate and large variety of tree's, New England is said to be one of the two places in the world with the most brilliant foliage, the other is in Japan. Because of the warm weather recently, we hope to continue to see fall colors for some time (stay tuned!)

Day_35_-_N.._Colors.jpgDay_35_-_NH_Rocks.jpg

OK, the rock isn't really fall colors, but we'd been seeing so many rocks an bolders in New England, thought I ought to photograph one. We did also see a stone house on this drive, what was odd about it was that it looked somewhat like a brick house because the stones were so regular - but it was stone. We also saw many houses connected to barns. In most places, barns are built away from houses both for sanitation and also to prevent a barn fire from burning down the house. However, we suspect the cold winters here dictate a different approach.

Day_35_-_N..e_House.jpgDay_35_-_N..ed_Barn.jpg

There is one more reason why it was good we tooked the wrong road - near the end of Hwy 4A, we came to the Enfield Shaker Village Museum. The community was founded in 1793 and last Shakers moved to another settlement in the 1923, but the museum was still interesting and informative. Enfield, NH has the largest building ever constructed by the Shakers. It is a six story high granite building built in 1837 that was the center of a three family community (family is the Shaker term for a group that shared a communial house - not blood relatives).

Day_35_-_S..ne_Bldg.jpgDay_35_-_Shaker__Mom.jpgDay_35_-_Shaker_Barn.jpgDay_35_-_Shaker_DR.jpgDay_35_-_Shaker_Bdrm.jpg

While Shaker artwork and furniture are known throughout the world, the sect has almost completely died out and there are only three members left in a community in Maine. Their motto was "Put your hands to work and your hearts to God." Their devotion to work and never ending quest to make their efforts more productive resulted in a long list of making things first or making things better, including the flat broom and common clothspin. Mom & I both learned a lot more about this interesting sect and period of American history.

http://www.shakermuseum.org/

We drove on to Vermont where I visited the "Welcome Center" in White River Junction. Dusk was just setting in and I learned we could park there for $3/night (no hookups) and figured 'why not'. We didn't make it very far today, but I figure why drive in the dark and rain if we don't have to? The water and propane tanks are full, the holding tanks empty and battery fully charged. Sleep tight!

Posted by jl98584 15:57 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Day 34 (10.5.07) - Slowly Leaving Boston for NH

We will return to Boston, but after the rest of New England

sunny 82 °F
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Miles Driven: 118
Ending Mileage: 115318
Weather: Sunny & Warm (82 F)

I had planned to make a quick side trip to visit the Fairbanks House, then quickly head up back north so we could get back on our original route to the far corner of Maine. The tentative plan had been to get there by October 1st, which obviously we did not do - so I figured the closer we could get to that, the better. Things don't always go according to plan, but sometimes that's actually for the better.

This morning, Mom said that she really wanted to see the Atlantic Ocean since we were so close to it already. I thought that sounded like a good idea - on the Atlas, it looked like we were very close to it. Well, it turns out that the Boston area is a lot like the Seattle area - a lot of waterfront is taken up by private homes. You can get to the beach, but you have to know where to go! After driving around some beautiful (& Old!) homes and neighborhoods, we made it to Cohasset, which looked like it was right on the beach. We couldn't find a beach, but did pass a post office - which we also needed, so got more postcards and boxes off:

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The folks in the post office were very helpful and explained how we could get to a beach. It wasn't quite a public beach, but they didn't think anybody would bother us this time of year. Also, they thought it was strange that we didn't have an accent! We explained that the way we talked was the West Coast accent and all had a good laugh. After some more driving, we finally could see the Atlantic through the houses, but when we did pass shorelines, there wasn't any place to stop. There were a lot of large boulders (not too tall, but maybe several yards/meters across) - the folks there had built their homes and yards around them. Without anyplace to stop, I didn't take any pictures - there was a little too much traffic to risk just stopping in the middle of the road.

One odd thing I noticed is that the folks we saw out walking, jogging, etc. didn't seem to smile much, in fact many seemed to have a perpetual frown on. However, whenever we talked with someone one on one, they were very friendly and helpful. Must be a Boston thing.

After much more driving along the peek-a-boo coast, we finally came to a beach. It was owned by the neighborhood association so there is a $50.00 annual pass necessary to park there - but we took the postmaster's advice and parked - hoping nobody would fine us for not having a pass (they didn't). It was a lovely beach with soft sand, sea shells (mostly muscles) and a salt smell. The waves weren't very large so I'm assuming the sea was quite calm today (maybe also something to do with the topography).

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We had finally made it to a beach and Mom & I had seen the Atlantic (I took my shoes off and splashed a bit, it wasn't quite as cold as Puget Sound, at least not today). Mom wasn't quite ready to hit the road however, she wanted to drive on out the little spit (as shown on the Atlas) - we drove and drove, it was a very populated and long 'little spit'! I objected to the delay, but in truth it was a beautiful day to visit a seaside area like this. It reminded me a little of Carmel or Sausalito: beaches, quaint houses, ice cream shops & a few art studio's. There were a couple of places where the isthmus was so narrow we had the bay on one side of the road and the ocean on the other. I saw some birds (Cormerants I think). I was going to take a picture of them and decided the houses behind them might be worth including (waterfront is not cheap in Boston either):

Day_34_-_MA_Bay.jpg

The first beach we had stopped at was Cohasset Beach, later we also stopped at another Beach and learned it was called Hull Beach. The second one was a public beach. I can't remember exactly which one (or somewhere else along the way), but I did get a view of downtown Boston through the haze and also a lighthouse across the bay. Like Michigan, Massachusetts is also fond of it's lighthouses:

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We did learn that the Hull area was called Natascot by the Indians. It was a fishing station as early as 1622 and was settled by the Puritan's about 1630. The name was changed to Hull in 1644.

Nine miles later, we finally made it to the end (sort of), at least around the hill at the end. There was small town just about everywhere, so it was a little hard to tell. The road to the last hill split and people had built very narrow homes between the two roads, using every bit of available space for seaside living:

Day_34_-_M..y_House.jpg

So finally, about 1:30 or 2 PM, we started heading back towards Boston. In the town of Hingham was a nice little harbor with convenient parking, so I finally pulled out the tripod for the obligatory 'you were there' picture - Mom & I at the Atlantic Ocean:

Day_34_-_M..Hingham.jpg

I also spotted six or seven Egrets in a tidal bay, but try as I might - this is the best I could do (they were partially blocked by grass, unless I was too far away to get a good shot...)

Day_34_-_Egret.jpg

After stopping for the Egret's about 3 PM, we didn't stop again except at a rest area much later. We followed Hwy 3A to I-93 to Boston, but it was very slow going. It turns out I-93 goes under the Tunnel (big dig?). The RV didn't have any trouble with this, except we only went about 10 Mph most of the way through Boston and on up into New Hampshire, which is only about 26 miles from Boston I think. We got to the rest area just inside of NH about 5 PM. The visitor's center in New Hampshire assured us that every Friday afternoon, the highways out of Boston are this bad since everybody wants to get out of town for the weekend.

New Hampshire is also very good at promoting tourism in their state. We picked up all sorts of brochures on fall colors, waterfalls, museums, historic sites, etc. etc. etc. Looks like this is another place we could spend months (just like all the other states we've visited), so we'll have to pare down the list a bit anyway.

It was starting to get late but I wanted to try to get a little further north, so we drove on to a campground off of I-89 near a place called Henniker. It is a regular campground/RV park, so Mom can take a hot shower in the morning and we can do laundry. They don't have Wi-Fi though and the cell phone service here is slow, dial up like speeds - so it's probably a good thing I don't have very many photo's from today.

Seems like we did a lot of sightseeing for a travel day though?

ps - in case you're wondering, we will see more of Boston, but later. The weather probably won't be as nice, but we're heading back up to Vermont via New Hampshire, then across to Maine, then back down again.

Posted by jl98584 18:29 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (2)

Day 33 - Blog Housekeeping - Photo Info

Great News! Photo Title & Description can now be viewed from within the Blog Entries!

0 °F
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I have been adding titles and descriptive information to photo's all along. However, after reading some recent comments, I (finally) realized that you can't always see this info. You do see the info if you view the photo's from the Photo Album, but most people just see the photo's when I include them in a blog entry.

You may have noticed that I tend to post a bunch of thumbnails together, without putting much info about the individual photo's (thinking that since I had already written descriptive info and attached it to the photo - you could see it).

After realizing the error of my ways, I asked the Travellerspoint people if they could add the descriptive info when you enlarge the photo. They have made this change:

Now, when you click on a thumbnail to enlarge it, the photo window will contain the title & descriptive information!

So the next time you enlarge the picture the Rainbow Bridge, it will tell you that I took the picture from the Maid of the Mist!

Posted by jl98584 19:43 Archived in USA Tagged preparation Comments (0)

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