Today was a driving day as we were moving from Concord in Massachusetts to Bar Harbour, Maine. It’s been a sunny, warm day and the drive took us about 4.5 hours.
There were a lot of places along the way that were familiar to us, namely:
Chelmsford, Tewksbury, Andover, Haverhill, Portsmouth, Middleton!, Bradford, Salisbury, Amesbury, Kingston, Durham, Dover, Scarborough, Portland, Falmouth, Bath, Plymouth and Newport to name but a few! It made us feel as though we were back in the U.K.
My brother, Tony, will be interested to see a photo of Portland as he’s due to dock there on his forthcoming cruise to the U.S. and Canada. Bro, We didn’t see a lot of Portland but what we did see looks lovely.
Roundabouts are not a common site in the U.S., but where they do have them, they are mostly called ‘circles’ but this was a new one, ‘rotary’.
Rotary or Roundabout
We were warned to keep a look out for Moose in the road but sadly we didn’t see any.
Beware the Moose
I have to say that the historic B&B we are staying at is a gem, it’s right in the middle of Bar Harbour and is true to its name, the Stone Throw Cottage B&B. It literally is a stones throw from everything! It was built in the 1860s and while the exterior is original the interior has been beautifully restored. Our room is the right hand corner one.
Stone Throw Cottage
Our bathroom with whirlpool tub and shower
We ate at McKays tonight, it was recommended by Jerry, the owner of Stone Throw Cottage and the meal was fantastic. For all of you who take an interest in what we consume on our holidays, and I know some of you do, Si had the grill which consisted of ribs, pork belly, sausage and something akin to corn bread! I had the Bistro Steak (no fillet tonight) with mash and beans. We had an interesting desert of whisky ice cream with candied bacon!! The candied bacon is not recommended but the ice cream was delicious!!
Si at McKays
Sand at McKays
Sand’s Steak at McKays
While we ate we were entertained by a local guy called Bob Bowman
who played lovely tunes on his electric guitar. All in all a very lovely evening!!
We had an exciting start to the day! We were just getting dressed when the fire alarm here in the hotel went off. What do we do on these occasions? Well, like most people we stand and wait to see if it will stop and then question if there really is a fire and should we leave the building! Well, as it continued and no one told us otherwise, we collected up what we considered to be the important things, bag with money, cards, passports, air tickets etc, my phone and of course my Apple Watch! There was no way I was going to leave that behind!
Sand saving the Apple Watch!!
The fire brigade turned up en-masse but it seemed to be a false alarm, we were only outside for about 10 minutes and then they let us back in and we headed for breakfast.
Here begins today’s history lesson!! I do love a little bit of history!
So, after all the excitement we headed to Lexington. Lexington is a town located in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. Settled in 1641, this town is prominent for being the site of the first shot of the American Revolutionary War, in the Battle of Lexington and Concord at dawn on 19th April 1775, colloquially known as the “Shot heard around the world” when news spread about the revolution.
Having received word that the regular army (the British troops) had left Boston in force to seize and destroy military supplies in Concord, several dozen militiamen gathered on the town common, and then eventually went to Buckman Tavern to await the arrival of the troops. Definite word reached them just before sunrise, and Captain Parker’s company of militia left the tavern to assemble in two ranks on the common. Following the arrival of the army, a single shot was fired, by whom, is still not known. With this shot, the American Revolutionary War began.
Sand at the Minuteman memorial at Battle Green
The Hancock-Clarke House played a prominent role in the Battle of Lexington and Concord as both Hancock and Samuel Adams, leaders of the colonials, were staying in the house before the battle.
It was to this house that Paul Revere, an American silversmith, engraver, early industrialist and a patriot in the American Revolution rode from Boston to alert the Colonial militia to the approach of British forces before the battle began.
Then it was on to Concord. After the battle at Lexington the British troops marched on to Concord to confront five companies of Minutemen and five of non-Minuteman militia who occupied a hill near North Bridge, they totalled about 400 against the British light infantry companies from the 4th, 10th, and 43rd Regiments of Foot under Captain Walter Laurie, a force totaling about 90-95 men. The British retreated across the river and the two sides faced each other across the North Bridge.
A brief exchange of fire ensued which saw the first instance of Americans firing to deadly effect on British regulars, after which the British retreated. Ralph Waldo Emerson, positing that world history pivoted at that moment (an assertion that is disputed, as earlier events at Lexington Battle Green could be termed the true opening of the battle), called the first shot of this skirmish the “shot heard around the world” in his 1837 poem “Concord Hymn”.
And so it was that things would never be the same again. The American Revolutionary War or American War of Independence was fought in the United States between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen of its former North American colonies, which had declared themselves the independent United States of American. Although the war lasted from 1775 until 1783, independence was formally declared in July 1776.
Here ends today’s lesson!
I thought I’d post some photos that missed yesterday’s post.
Last night we went to The Colonial Inn for dinner. We last went there 23 years ago! It was just the same. The food was lovely and my mimosa was just heavenly! The film ‘House Sitter’ with Steve Martin and Goldie Horn was filmed in and around Concord and one scene was actually filmed at the Inn. Most of you won’t have heard of the film, it was filmed in 1992!! We actually arrived in Concord back in 1992 the day after they had filmed at the Inn. What a shame, if we had arrived a day earlier we may have been famous!!
Sand at The Colonial Inn
Si with his lobster at The Colonial Inn
Tomorrow we move on to Bar Harbour, Maine and Arcadia National Park. We will be staying at a lovely historic B&B. The breakfasts look divine!!
What a dreadful night we had in Hyannis last night! It poured with rain all night and the wind was blowing a hooley!
We thought this morning what a good job it was supposed to be a driving day today because the inclement weather wasn’t going to let us do much outdoors. However, I’m pleased to say that by the time we reached Plimouth (it is spelt like that because in the 17th Century they spelt everything phonetically) Plantation the rain had stopped and the weather improved a little and we were able to walk around without getting wet.
We last visited the Plantation about 20 years ago!! Where does the time go? In the meantime they’ve built a lovely visitor’s centre and museum. The actual plantation is just as we remembered it.
Plimoth Plantation with Cape Cod in the distance
The Pilgrims’ (the name given to those who had travelled on the Mayflower from Plymouth, England to a new life in America) landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620 and the Plantation depicts how the colony may have looked and the people who actually lived there during 1627.
Plimoth Rock 1620
Once you enter the actual plantation all the ‘inhabitants’ remain in character and will only converse as if it’s still the 17th Century when they arrived. It makes for very interesting conversation and I have to say they are so believable that it feels as though you are actually talking to people who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620 and settled in Plimouth.
An inhabitant of Plimouth Plantation in the year 1627
An inhabitant of Plimouth Plantation in the year 1627
Before entering the Plantation there is the Wampanoag Homesite to visit. This is a recreation of the homesite of Hobbamock – a Pokonoket man who lived in Patuxet/Plimoth Colony in the 1620s. Hobbamock and his extended family lived across the brook on the south side of the Pilgrims’ fortified town.
Summer home of the Wampanoag
A Native American of the Wampanoag Nation
Sand learning about the Wampanoag way of life in the 17th Century
A Native American of the Wampanoag Nation
We have now arrived in Concord (home of the first shot of the American Revolution and Louisa M. Alcott, author of the novel Little Women). Fingers crossed that the weather is kind to us tomorrow!
The day started cloudy and cool, turned sunny and hot and now it’s cloudy and cool again!! Very strange!! Good job we threw those jeans in the cases at the last moment!
We drove to Provincetown (P-town) this morning, it’s a small coastal resort town located right on the tip of Cape Cod. It’s a quaint little town with narrow streets and is known for its beaches, harbour, artists and tourist industry. It has loads of tourist shops and restaurants, has a huge Portuguese population and is known as a vacation destination for the LGBT community.
The year-round population is just under 3,000 with a summer population of as high as 60,000! Being a weekend it was packed, lucky we arrived early to secure a parking spot.
A gentleman called Bartholomew Gosnold named Cape Cod in Provincetown Harbor in 1602. In 1620, the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact when they arrived at the harbor. They agreed to settle and build a self-governing community, and came ashore in the West End.
Though the Pilgrims chose to settle across the bay in Plymouth, the outermost portion of Cape Cod enjoyed an early reputation for its valuable fishing grounds. The harbor was considered the best along the coast. In 1654, the Governor of the Plymouth colony purchased this land from the Chief of the Nausets, for a selling price of two brass kettles, six coats, 12 hoes, 12 axes, 12 knives and a box!! If only land was as cheap to buy today!!
Provincetown House with both U.S. and Portuguese flags
This guy’s a little cheeky!
Seamans Bank!! There’s not a lot to be said about this bank!! We decided not to stop to make a deposit or a withdrawal!!!!!
How does the song go? …………… “What a difference a day makes?” That is so true! We went to breakfast this morning in shorts and tops and then came back from breakfast and changed into jeans and wet coats!! Yesterday was a fabulous hot, sunny day ………. today it’s cloudy, raining, windy and cold!!
But being British, did we let that ruin our day? Of course we didn’t, we drove to Chatham, the US one not the English one and had a lovely time looking around the town with its very quaint houses and wonderful shops. We must thank our gym buddy, Janet, for this recommendation and also for the loan of her book all about New England!
Chatham House and matching Playhouse
Sand Structures in Chatham
We managed to find a few lovely things to buy. We visited one shop that was called Pentimento for the ‘discerning lady shopper’ …….. that’s me apparently, for I purchased the most fabulous dark navy top imaginable. I must surely now book a trip to Las Vegas for a very fine dining experience because that’s the kind of place it would be appreciated. The clothes were just fabulous and the dresses for weddings, well, they made me want to get married all over again!
After the shopping was done we made a trip to the ‘grist mill’, that’s a windmill to you and me! The windmill was the Col. Benjamin Godfrey Windmill built in 1797. It operated continuously for 100 years. It’s had many owners during its long life. It stands 30 feet tall, has an octagonal diameter and three floors. It was fully restored in 2010-2012 and now grinds grain in just the same way it did two centuries ago.
Si at Grist Mill
Whilst we were there we discovered the Chatham Labyrinth. This was constructed in 2012 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the town of Chatham and was a gift for the people of and visitors to Chatham from the clergy of seven churches in Chatham and is often considered to be a symbol of our human journey.
Sand at the Chatham labyrinth
We also visited the site of the Chatham lighthouse (I think you can expect to see a few more lighthouses before our trip is over!!).
It was along the shoreline of the lighthouse that the ‘Mayflower’ sailed. On the 6th September, 1620 the Mayflower left Plymouth, England to sail to America with 120 passengers. After 66 days on the 9th November, they sighted the coast of Cape Cod, turned south and sailed past in an attempt to reach their original destination of the Hudson River. However, the shoals of Pollock Rip forced them to turn back and head north passing the same spot again. The ship continued north in search of a safe harbour and on the 11th November came around the tip of Cape Cod and anchored in now what is known as Provincetown Harbour. In December 1620, after staying in Provincetown for five weeks the Pilgrims sailed across Cape Cod and made a permanent settlement in Plymouth.
If the Pilgrims had managed to continue their original journey to the Hudson River area there would be no Cape Cod, Plymouth or New England story today.
After visiting the lighthouse and although the weather was rather inclement, we decided to make a visit to the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. Its goal is to provide habitat for migratory birds. The size of the refuge is 7,604 acres (31 km²) with varied habitats of oceans, salt and freshwater marshes, dunes and freshwater ponds. It was a lovely walk along the sands, the tide was out so we were able to walk quite a distance and I took the opportunity to collect some more sea shells. We don’t mind that our trainers are now full of sand and so is the car!!
As we drove back from Monomoy we discovered this birds’ nest sat atop the electrical wires!! Still, it must be warm and cosy up there!
Speaking of the ‘car’, it occurs to me that we haven’t published a photo of the current ‘beast’ so here it is.
The ‘Beast’ 2015
On our way to Chatham this morning I was rather overcome with delight when, as we sped along the highway, I suddenly spied one of my old favourite shopping haunts, Talbots!! They used to have outlets in England but due to the economic turndown of some years ago they suddenly and without notice, closed all the UK stores! I was totally overcome with grief as they were the one outlet where there ‘petite’ range always brought me great pleasure. Needless to say, on the way back from Chatham we stopped off and took a look at the store and I managed to find something very pleasing to the eye and commiserated with the sales lady about happy days gone by.
We’ve finished our day of site seeing with a wonderful meal at a restaurant here in Hyannis called Schooners. Wonderful food and wine. It was my intention to take a photo of Si enjoying his coconut shrimp but by the time they arrived I’d had a glass or two of the vino and completely forgot! Hey ho, there’s always tomorrow ………………. see you then!!
I mentioned yesterday that we would be visiting Nantucket today and that’s just what we did, by way of Hy-Line’s Fast Ferry, the ‘Lady Grey’ (Nantucket’s nickname is, “The Little Grey Lady of the Sea”, which refers to the island as it appears from the ocean when it is fog-bound.) I’m pleased to report that I wore Carol’s bracelet and was not troubled at all by the dreaded travel sickness so I think it’s safe to say that it’s a winner!!
The ‘Lady Grey”
Sadly, just as we were about to board the ferry a poor young lady in front of us fainted!! Just like that, she went down just like a sack of spuds, smashed her face and knee on the concrete and she was out cold. Luckily there was a doctor and a paramedic waiting in the crowd to board the ferry too so they took care of her until an ambulance arrived, which I have to say was very quickly. It was rather a shocking start to the day and sadly for the poor young lady, she was taken off to the hospital and so didn’t make it to Nantucket today after all.
On a lighter note, I’m sure her Mum will be pleased that she took her advice and was wearing nice underwear!! Oh my!!
Nantucket is an island 30 miles (50 km) south of Cape Cod, in the state of Massachusetts. According to the 2010 census, the population at that time was 10,172. It is a tourist destination and summer colony and during the summer months, the population of the island increases to about 50,000, due to tourists and seasonal residents!!
Nantucket Brick House
The houses on the island are wonderful and in 2008, Forbes magazine cited Nantucket as having home values among the highest in the US. Looking at some of the houses today you can understand why! The National Park Service cites Nantucket, designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1966, as being the “finest surviving architectural and environmental example of a late 18th- and early 19th-century New England seaport town”. All the houses on the island have to be built from either brick or wooden shingles. Wooden shingles is definitely the favourite but the shingles usually have to be replaced about every 10 years.
There are loads of little shops full of the kind of things that you ‘have to buy’ because you can’t possibly live without them!! We managed to find a few of those things today!
Nantucket’s cobbled Main Street
The boats are magnificent too! Just wait until we win the £120 million on the Euro Lottery …………… chandlery here we come!!!
Nantucket is full of beautiful houses from the 18th and 19th Centuries but the oldest one on the island was built in 1686 and is the Jethro Coffin House. The house still stands today on the original foundations with the four fireplaces just as they were when it was built. There were various items that the lady of the house used for cooking and one we saw was a metal waffle press that had to be imported from Holland!! A waffle press from the 17th Century, I think we’ve seen it all now!! I didn’t know they were even making waffles back then.
It’s still the case today as it was back in the 17th Century that because Nantucket is an island and is mainly a tourist area, that everything has to be brought over from the mainland.
Nantucket’s Oldest House
Brant Point Lighthouse
It was very hot today but that didn’t deter us from walking to Brant Point to see the lighthouse. I took the opportunity to have a paddle in the sea, the water was lovely but the photo of me doing it, not so!
Sand at Brant Point
Here are some pics that we took last night on our way to Baxter’s for dinner.
The lighthouse at Hyannis
The Sea Coast Inn (our ‘home’ for our stay in Cape Cod)
We will be exploring more of Cape Cod tomorrow, fingers crossed the weather plays its part!!
Today’s really been a driving day getting us to our first site seeing destination, Cape Cod. The day started nicely enough, lovely breakfast at the Marriott, then we went to collect the hire car from Hertz! We were upgraded to a Prestige car, an Infinity, (I shall post a photo tomorrow) it takes seven people, so plenty of room for two plus luggage, even the Barrett’s luggage!!
Then, we discovered that Margaret (sat nav) was living in this car too!! I’m sure you remember her from our previous trips. She sent us round Newark Airport twice including the ‘u’ turns, before we managed to find our way out and on to the Interstate and heading towards Cape Cod. The drive down was very stressful, the traffic was horrendous but we arrived in one piece.
We forgot to get the camera out before we started our trip this morning so I must apologise for the lack of good photos. This should be remedied tomorrow when we start our site-seeing properly with a ferry trip to Nantucket (some of you know that I suffer from travel sickness quite badly, so I must remember to take my travel pills before we set out). Although, I have to say that my dear friend and neighbour, Carol, has been very kind and given me her special bracelet that seems to cure such awful things as travel sickness and apparently, falling over too! I shall report back after our trip to Nantucket!!
This is one photo I managed to snap on my phone during the trip ……………. you sure do see some strange things on the sides of bridges ……..
Is that Tin Tin?
I have to say that Cape Cod is very prettyl. We’ve just enjoyed a wonderful meal at Baxter’s Fish and Chip restaurant. Si, as usual, had his scallops, at least 12 and I had fish bites. Needless to say I couldn’t finish them all even though they were supposed to be an appetiser!!
Si and his scallops!
Sand with her fish bites and wine!
We were served by the lovely Kate, aka Princess. She’s studied in London, South Kensington no less and loves it so much that she intends to return very soon with her family. This is Kate with Si.
Si with his coffee
Sand with her Cafe Baxter’s …. rum, Baileys, Frangelico and coffee …. boy was it strong!
It’s a miracle that I can actually type this blog whilst under the influence of the Cafe Baxter’s!! Kate tells us that Baxter’s are famous for their strong drinks!! I can certainly agree with that statement!!
On our drive today from Newark to Cape Cod, it was obvious that the earliest settlers in this part of the U.S. came from England because many of the places were very familiar to us …………… Swansea, Taunton, Somerset, London, Tiverton, Newport, Warwick, Coventry and Bedford to name but a few!
Tomorrow morning we catch the fast ferry to Nantucket for the first serious site seeing of our trip. So catch up with us later tomorrow, Thursday, when hopefully, Si will have ‘done the business’ got his camera out and taken some decent photographs!!
Well, here I am at 4.30 in the morning (it’s now Wednesday 24th here), wide awake, writing this blog! Of course my poor old bones thinks it’s 9.30 and I should be at the gym working out and waiting for Bex’s spin class to start at 10.00!! Sue, Nicky or John, I trust you will be taking care of my bike while I’m away!!
We started our holiday at Heathrow with lunch and cocktails then on to Duty Free (well, it would be rude not too) and then proceeded to while away the time waiting for our flight to leave by taking ourselves off to one the airport lounges. I had forgotten that when I booked the lounge they said we would get a free bottle of Prosecco. Well, you can imagine, what with the cocktails and the free Prosecco we felt quite happy flying ‘across the pond.’
Si with the Prosecco!
Sand with her Prosecco too!
We flew over on one of Virgin’s new Dreamliner planes. It still had that ‘new’ smell to it. It was very comfortable. They ‘made’ us eat lots of food and drink alcohol too!! For all the techies out there, here’s a video of the first Dreamliner being built.
It has electronically lit windows which means the old window blinds have gone and instead you press a button until the window starts to darken but you can still see out and it has more oxygen and moisture in the air so you feel fresher when you arrive at your destination. It’s all about comfort and health monitoring. It even had wifi! ‘Boring’ I can hear some of you saying but I find all this ‘stuff’ interesting.
The only downside to our trip was on the approach to Newark Airport when we came across some very black clouds and a little lightening too!!! But it all worked out okay.
Well, I guess I’d better see if I can get some more sleep before breakfast or it’s going to be a very long day.
Our first port of call on this trip is Cape Cod so we’ll ‘catch you there’ later on today.