Day 18! Lake Pleasant, NH to Elmira, NY

So, the long awaited day has arrived …………

We had a long drive, leaving New Hampshire and travelling through Vermont into New York state. We passed Lebanon Airport and Windsor, birthplace of Vermont in 1777 and in Wilmington we saw Dot’s Restaurant! I think our Dot must be moonlighting, I’ll have a word with her about that!

Dot's Restaurant!! Wow!

Dot’s Restaurant!! Wow!

Vermont has no major roads that we saw and so it took us longer than expected to drive through it. We expected our drive to Elmira would take six hours but after a couple of stops and then a major accident, it took seven. At least the drive was lovely and sunny.

Vermont is lovely and seems to be mainly made up of trees so there wasn’t really much to photograph as we travelled along, but we did see this rather oversized chair!!

The Big Chair

The Big Chair

We are now together with two of our best buddies Dot and Nat (JB will be here on Sunday) and spent a lovely afternoon and evening catching up, laughing and enjoying a lovely meal together and an evening stroll.

Three Besties!

Three Besties! Me, Dot and Nat

2 Girls and a Boy!

2 Girls and a Boy (Si)!

Dot, Nat and Si at Aldridge Park

 Nat, Dot and Si at Eldridge Park

Day 17! Lake Winnipesaukee

We decided an easy day was the order of the day as tomorrow we have a six-hour drive to Elmira in upstate New York.

Tomorrow is a very special day as we will be meeting up with our best pals, Dot, Nat and JB. Those of you who know me well or have been following the blog for a while will know that Dot and Nat are my ‘Twilight’ best buddies. It’s been two years since we were all together so as you can imagine, we are all very excited!

The Gang May 2013

‘The Gang’ May 2013

So, we drove back to Lake Winnipesaukee but this time went to the west side of the Lake to a town called Wolfeboro. It’s not very large, the population at the 2010 census was just 6,269, but as it’s a holiday destination it was very busy. Parking’s a problem but we were very lucky and managed to find a space just off the main street.

Lake Winni at Wolfesboro

Lake Winni at Wolfeboro

The town was granted by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth in 1759 to four young men of Portsmouth, New Hampshire and named Wolfeborough in honour of English General James Wolfe, who had been victorious at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. In 1763, 2,300 acres were added to the 60 acres reserved for the governor. Colonial Governor John Wentworth, his nephew, established an estate on the site, known as Kingswood. Built in 1771 beside what is now called Lake Wentworth this was the first summer country estate in northern New England. Settled in 1768, the town was incorporated in 1770.

Wolfeboro

Wolfeboro

Over the years Wolfeboro, whose town motto is “The Oldest Summer Resort in America” became popular as a summer colony, particularly for families from Boston and southern New Hampshire. Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, Kurt Vonnegut, Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon have spent time in Wolfeboro and in August 2007, French President Nicolas Sarkozy holidayed there too.

It has loads of little shops and eating establishments. Of course, we shopped and then we ate, at Jo Green’s Garden Cafe. We sat on the upper deck and the view out over the Lake was just wonderful.

Lake Winni at Wolfeboro

Lake Winni at Wolfeboro

 

 

Downtown Wolfeboro

Downtown Wolfeboro

On the way to Wolfeboro we passed through Chichester and Alton! It really is enough to confuse the already confused!! For those of you living outside of the UK, we have town named Chichester and Alton too.

We then travelled back to New London for our dinner reservation, The New London Inn Coach House Restaurant, again! Again, I had the wonderful steak and Si had …………… scallops! Again, I forgot to take pictures but believe me, it happened!

There was one thing I forgot to mention on yesterday’s post and that was that we saw a man being arrested on the main street, handcuffed and put in the back of a police car! Well, that’s not something we see very often, if at all, where we are from! Apparently, he was being arrested for DUI, driving under the influence of alcohol. We were told that it happens quite a lot here in New London. My goodness, you wouldn’t think it was that kind of place, it’s very small and very quiet. Hey ho, you never know!!

To cap it all, when we arrived at the restaurant tonight there were two police cars parked outside! We thought they must have been waiting to breathalyse Si as he left after dinner but when we asked the receptionist what was ‘going down’ she said that one of the policemen was her boyfriend and he’d locked his keys in his cruiser and had to phone for backup to bring out a spare set of keys!!!!!!!!

Day 16! Lake Winnipesaukee

Today was again supposed to be cloudy with rain but once we left for Lake Winnipesaukee the sun came out and we had another really lovely, hot sunny day.

I had a thought after posting yesterday regarding travelling at speed ………….. that’s a way to smooth out wrinkles!! Just a thought …………. well I had drunk a glass or two by then!!

We last visited the Lake some 20-odd years ago together with Squam Lake. Again, for those old enough to remember the film ‘What About Bob’ an hilarious comedy with Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss, was filmed on Lake Winnipesaukee.

The area was full of families and young people enjoying their vacation. There was also romance in the air!

Young Love at Weir Beach

Young Love at Weir Beach

Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in New Hampshire. It is approximately 21 miles (34 km) long (northwest-southeast) and from 1 to 9 miles (1.6 to 14.5 km) wide (northeast-southwest), covering 69 square miles (179 km2)—71 square miles (184 km2) when Paugus Bay]—with a maximum depth of 212 feet (65 m). The center area of the lake is called The Broads (just like Norfolk).

The lake contains at least 258 islands, half of which are less than a quarter-acre in size, and is indented by several peninsulas, yielding a total shoreline of approximately 288 miles (463 km). The driving distance around the lake is 63 miles (101 km). It is 504 feet (154 m) above sea level.

It has been a popular tourist destination for more than a century, particularly among residents seeking a safe haven from the summer heat of Boston and New York City. The Native American name Winnipesaukee means either “smile of the Great Spirit” or “beautiful water in a high place.” At the outlet of the Winnipesaukee River,  the Winnipesaukee Indians, a subtribe of the Pennacook, lived and fished at a village called Acquadocton. Today, the site is called The Weirs, named for the weirs colonists discovered when first exploring the region.

Winnipesaukee is a glacial lake and over millions of years the area has been under ice thousands of feet thick four times.

Today we stopped off at Weirs Beach, a lovely spot and decided to take a ride on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad. It was a two-hour trip and our conductor today was Conductor Tim. We had a very interesting chat and found out that he’s a star in his own right because he has five websites, one of which is AsktheBuilder.com. I’m sure we’ve visited that site in the past. What a small world it is!

We also had a lovely chat with John the ticket seller. Both Tim and John are very interesting chaps.

Conductor Tim

Conductor Tim

 

Ticket Man

Ticket seller, John

The railroad was first built in 1849 and was originally a primary route for business and vacation travel between Boston and Montreal. Our route today took us along the western shore of the Lake and Paugus Bay.

Our Train

Our Train

 

 

 

The 'Winni Express' - don't know it's real name!

The ‘Winni Express’ – don’t know it’s real name!

Here’s a couple of ‘old geezers’ enjoying the ride!!

Si on Train

Si on Train

 

Sand on Train

Sand on Train

It will come as no surprise that we chose to sit in one of the dining cars and enjoyed a Hobo Picnic Lunch of rolls, crisps, cookie and a drink, served to us by, I think, Theresa. 

Theresa (we think!)

Theresa (we think!)

Included in the price was either a Hobo pack back or brindle stick! (Thanks Conductor Tim for giving me the correct name). I can hear you asking “what are they?” Well, here they are. Of course I’d want the brindle stick, it’s nice and big to put in one of the suitcases, because as you know, there’s plenty of space in them …… not!!

Hobo Back Pack and Stick

Hobo Back Pack and Brindle Stick

 

The trip and the scenery were great. People all along the route were waving at us and there were two people on a jet ski who decided to try and keep up with the train, which they did and were waving at us when all of a sudden and for no apparent reason they both suddenly fell off. We all laughed, it was quite a funny sight but that didn’t deter them, they both clambered back on and took chase once again.

Jet Skiers

Jet Skiers

Here are a couple of videos taken from the train.

There was also a balloonist on the train who occupied his time making all kinds of balloon animals and funny hats for the children. He was very good.

Balloonist

Balloonist

After we left Weirs Beach and were heading home we stopped off at a place called ‘Meredith’ because yesterday as we zoomed through the town I happened to spy a magnificent waterfall so today we stopped to take a look.

Completed in 1818, the canal and waterfall connect Lake Waukewan and Lake Winnipesaukee and once powered several mills. Now it is the centerpiece of the Mills Falls Marketplace and Hotels.

It was a fun day and finished off tonight with another superb meal at The New England Inn Coach House Restaurant. I had just about the best steak I’ve ever consumed and Si had prawns with grits (rice pudding to you and me) followed by a delicious pork chop. (Sorry, no photos today). We so enjoyed it we are going there again tomorrow!! ‘Boring’ I hear you cry, try somewhere different!

 

 

 

Day 15! Squam Lake, NH

We were told to expect thunderstorms today but we were very lucky and saw no rain at all until we were on our way back to the Inn this afternoon and then it ‘tipped’ down. After that the sun came out and it was gorgeous again.

After a lovely breakfast this morning of french toast and sausage we decided to head for Squam Lake. For those of you reading this and are old enough to remember the film ‘On Golden Pond’ well, that is where it was filmed.

The countryside around here is very lovely but it takes a long time to get anywhere due to the speed limits. They are very low! At one point we went on the Freeway and actually managed 70 mph. The G-force was incredible and I told Si to beware nose bleeds!!

We passed through many pretty villages, one called ‘Andover’, that made us laugh as we used to live in Andover, Hampshire back in the UK. At one point we even drove through Bristol. Being ‘old folk’ as we are, we sometimes forget that we are actually driving in the US and not the UK.

Anyway, I digress ……………………..

We first visited Squam Lake over 20-odd years ago and not much seems to have changed. We didn’t go out on the lake on this trip as we did that last time, instead we spent our time at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Centre. It was great!

The Centre is an environmental education center and zoo founded in 1966 and opened to the public on July 1, 1969.  The mission of the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is to advance understanding of ecology by exploring New Hampshire’s natural world.

The science center uses live animal exhibits, natural science education programs, and lake cruises, to educate visitors about the natural world. Using the outdoors as a classroom and native New Hampshire animals as teaching ambassadors, the science center teaches the ecological concepts of adaptations, populations, interrelationships, and habitats.

We were lucky enough to arrive at the same time as about 10,000 young children!! Young children make a lot of noise!!

Here are photos and videos of some of the animals we saw on our visit. All these animals were found injured in the wild or orphaned. They are kept at the centre if it’s not possible for them to be released back into the wild.

Bobcat

Bobcat

 

Bobcat

Bobcat

Ground Squirrel

Ground Squirrel

Coyote

Coyote

Mountain Lion

Mountain Lion

Fox

Fox

Coyote

Coyote

Eagle

Eagle

Owls

Owls

Black Bear

Black Bear

Black bear

Black bear

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s another couple of ‘wild’ animals enjoying a snack!

Si eating pizza!

Si eating pizza!

Sand eating Pizza

Sand eating Pizza

One of the highlights of the day was our visit to the Otters! They were crazy, check out the videos. In this first video the otter was ‘performing’ non-stop for about 15 minutes!!

There’s no sound to the next video.

Now that’s what you call a back stroke!

There’s a beautiful garden at the centre too, here’s one of the flowers, complete with bee.

Flower with bee!

Flower with bee!

Tonight we went into town for dinner at The New England Inn Coach House Restaurant. The food was so delicious I forgot to take photos but Si had Korean Style Short Rib, he thought it was pretty d… good!! I had horseradish crusted cod and that was pretty d… good too. Si had maple syrup creme brûlée to finish and I had black coffee with Frangelico …. delicious!

All in all, a good day!!

PS: Just realised I’ve missed something out!! For our dear friend Ann …………… you asked me to be on the lookout for cowboy boots!! Check this out, unfortunately not for sale, but interesting non the less …. it’s a bird house!!

The boot!

The boot!

Day 14! Canterbury, NH

The Inn we are staying at has its own lake and small beach with sailing facilities, tennis and BBQ. We think we may go kayaking later in the week! Watch this space ……….. some of you know I’m not really a water person and can get seasick on a mill pond!! Lucky I have Carol’s bracelet!

We are rather ‘out in the sticks’ here, there isn’t even a mobile signal! The countryside is lovely, full of trees, very green and loads of small country roads!

The Inn at Pleasant Lake

The Inn at Pleasant Lake

Sand at the Inn

Sand at the Inn

Pleasant Lake

Pleasant Lake

After a lovely breakfast, we decided that today would be a gentile day and so decided to visit the Shaker Village and Museum in Canterbury!! Canterbury, New Hampshire, USA that is and not Canterbury, Kent, UK!

Well, we found today’s history lesson fascinating. Especially as it all started in England!! Sorry to those who hate history but that’s all we have today.

Our guide was Darryl, he first moved to the village when he was 18 months old and is the only person now left who knew the last inhabitants. His father helped start the museum. The children who lived at the village would plant a tree that was then named after them and was theirs to look after and nurture. He is an historian and his knowledge of the Shakers’ history was truly amazing. This is Darryl with his tree.

Darryl

Darryl and his tree

Canterbury Shaker Village is a historic site and museum. It is one of the most intact and authentic surviving Shaker community sites, and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1993 and “is dedicated to preserving the 200-year legacy of the Canterbury Shakers and to providing a place for learning, reflection and renewal of the human spirit.”

Canterbury Shaker Village was established in 1792 when followers of founder Mother Ann Lee formed their seventh community in Canterbury, New Hampshire, which remained prominent for 200 years. The Village has operated exclusively as a museum since 1992 when the last Shaker sister in residence, Ethel Hudson, died. The last four remaining Shakers live at the Shaker Village in Sabbathday Lake, Maine. At its height in the 1850s, 300 people lived and worked in over 100 buildings on 3,000 acres at Canterbury Shaker Village.

Shaker Village

Shaker Village

The religious group that we know today as the Shakers was formed in 18th-century England when dissidents from various religions, including English Quakers and Methodists, formed a religious society based on prophetic doctrine. The group, formally called the United Society of Believers, were known as Shaking Quakers, or Shakers, because of their use of ecstatic dance in worship.

Shaker Village house

Shaker Village house

The Shakers emigrated to the United States in 1774 and eventually established nineteen self-contained communities from Maine to Kentucky. Canterbury Shaker Village is one of the oldest, most typical and most completely preserved of the Shaker Villages. The Village contains the only intact, first-generation Meetinghouse, built in 1792, and Dwelling House, built in 1793, in their original locations. Overall, the Shakers were the most successful communitarian society in American history.

The Shakers’ revolutionary Christianity shocked their contemporaries. They challenged almost every mainstream ideal of American society during their time. Shakers believed in community ownership, pacifism, dancing in worship, equality of the sexes, celibacy, and living simply. Most Protestants of the day found that bringing dancing, whirling, and clapping into a sacred space and elevating it above the word of God, spoken by an ordained minister, was sacrilegious. But to the Shakers, the dancing signified a communal, not individual, relationship with God, which was a powerful symbol of the Shaker cultural system.

Shaker Village grounds

Shaker Village grounds

They believed in community ownership, but were aggressive entrepreneurs, launching industry after industry, developing and adopting new technologies, and reinvesting the earnings into community enterprises to encourage greater growth and productivity. At their height, they were highly successful in competing with the outside world. By the 1830s the Shakers at Canterbury were rich in buildings, land, cash, wood lots, livestock, produce, industry, community possessions, and community skills. The Shaker “brand” quickly became known for quality, integrity and reliability. Shakers cared for the poor and used resources and profit for social good.

Because one of their believes was celibacy, this started to be a problem as the members of the Village began to age, so in order to attract more people they sent out missionaries to ‘spread the word’. Eventually, they began taking in orphans and homeless children in the hope that they would stay when they grew up. At the age of 21 they decided whether to remain within the community or leave.

Whole families would come to the Village but once here the parents, although married in the eyes of the ‘outside world’ would separate inside the Village and together with the children, would all become ‘brothers and sisters’. Once modern ways arrived it was the start of the decline as women got the vote and were able to work and earn their own living, they no longer depended on the safety of the Village so left to start new lives and the young people became more attracted to the outside world and its modern ways.

Of the four Shakers left in Maine, three are aged over 50 and one younger man in his thirties has just joined them so who knows, perhaps there will yet be a Shaker ‘revival’.

So, now you know the history of the Shakers (if you’ve read it all that is!!) and when someone starts talking to you about their ‘Shaker’ kitchen you’ll know just where it all began!!

Day 13! Bar Harbour to New London, NH

Yet another post 24 hours late!! I won’t bore you with the details of why!!

Well, as the saying goes, “all good things must come to an end” and so it was today when we said farewell to our friends at Stone Throw Cottage. We had the most wonderful stay and will be returning as soon as possible and will stay longer next time! It was just like being with family. The china was even called ‘Queens’ and was from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) collection no less! In a conversation with Jerry I happened to mention in passing that I didn’t like mushrooms and sure enough when he cooked anything that included mushrooms he did a ‘special’ one for me without. Now that’s what I call attention to service. Jerry and Kim are the most accommodating hosts and the breakfasts and afternoon treats were just wonderful.

Thank you, it was ‘lovely’!!!!!!!!

Our hosts Jerry and Kim

Our hosts Kim and Jerry

Goodbye Maine, hello New Hampshire!

Worth a visit

 

 

NH

Due to horrendous traffic, our journey up to New London took a lot longer than anticipated, 6.5 hours. We were a little concerned when we were unable to find New London on any maps but ‘Margaret’ (sat nav) got us here in the end. Bless, she’s not so bad.

We are now staying a The Inn on Pleasant Lake, it dates back to 1790. Will tell you more about the area once we’ve explored!

 

Day 12! (Part 2) July 4th! Bar Harbour

The sun shone for the glorious 4th celebrations.

4th of July Flag

For those who have never experienced the 4th of July celebrations here in the US, there is always a town parade. Literally anyone from the town can take part from the youngest to the oldest and they are always very colourful and very noisy.

The Bar Harbour parade was no exception. It went right past our B&B (Stone Throw Cottage, Bar Harbor) so together with our fellow guests, all Americans, we had a superb view from our seats at the edge of the drive. As the floats pass by the people throw sweets (candy) into the watching crowd. By the time the floats reached us some had already given their supplies away but we still managed to grab a few. For one of our group, Mary, sweet collecting is one of the highlights of her day, she was quite successful.

 

Shriners at the parade

Taking part in the parade

 

The Parade

The Parade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the parade

In the parade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve made some wonderful new friends at the B&B, they are all lovely people, very friendly (even on July 4th!) and together, the eight of us have put the world to rights. Here we all are enjoying the parade.

The Gang watching the parade

The Gang watching the parade

From the left we have, Mike, wife Cathy, me! Mary, husband Wayne, Chris and wife Kathy. Mike and Chris are brothers who just happened to both marry gals with the same name! Good job they are spelt differently or there could be some confusion.

After the parade we decided a hike was in order and went off in search of beavers at Witch Hole Pond on Mount Desert Island. It was a three mile hike and although the beavers were sleeping and didn’t appear we did see a turtle, lots of people on bicycles and people running (mad fools, it was rather hot).

Selfie at Witch Hole Pond!

Selfie at Witch Hole Pond!

We took our first ‘selfie’ today, shame we didn’t have a ‘selfie’ stick, this photo is full of our faces!

 

 

 

 

 

Turtle in Witch Hole Pond

Turtle in Witch Hole Pond

 

 

 

Acadia River

Acadia River

Sand at Witch Hole Pond

Sand at Witch Hole Pond

 

Being a Saturday and a holiday, you can imagine what the crowds were like in town and trying to get something to eat was more difficult than usual. We had wanted to go back to ‘Fathom’ but when we tried to book an early table we had been beaten to it by all the locals. The hostess said she would call the B&B if there was a cancellation. Anyway, we didn’t hear anything so decided to make our way into town to try there.

What we didn’t know until later was that five minutes after we left the B&B, Fathom called and said they had a cancellation. Our dear host, Jerry, jumped on his daughter’s bike after realising he couldn’t use the car and his own bike had a flat tyre and chased us into town to give us the good news but alas, he couldn’t find us. Jerry deserves a medal, Bless him!

We ended up in a restaurant called Blaze. I was very impressed because the first thing I noticed after sitting down was the Plymouth Gin. Well, those who know me well know that Plymouth is my ‘tipple’ but alas, not very common in US hostelries, so this one already had a five star rating as far as I was concerned. Secondly, I noticed Frangelica sitting on another shelf! Well, this place should now be rated as 10 stars. Si, get on to Trip Adviser immediately! I love Frangelica with my coffee. The food was good too!!

People who have followed our blog since 2013 will know that invariably we need to purchase an extra suitcase to take home all the goodies we’ve bought. This time I was determined that would not be the case and made sure that the three suitcases we did bring, had plenty of room for ‘purchases’ on the way home. Alas, I’m now starting to worry a little as the ‘purchases’ are mounting up, especially after a walk along Bar Harbour shops. I dread to think what Si will say if I tell him we need to invest in a fourth suitcase!! Watch this space ………………

It was our intention to go and watch the firework display but after our shopping trip we settled in on the B&B’s porch with a couple or three, bottles of wine and stayed there for the rest of the evening with some of ‘the gang’ putting the world to rights instead. It was a real hoot, just ‘lovely’, we laughed and laughed with our new buddies.

We thought, ‘hey we’ve seen Disney’s 4th’s fireworks’ can Bar Harbour’s be any better? We were assured later that they were magnificent so that’s a lesson learned. The next time we visit on the 4th we’ll make sure to go and watch the display.

Stone Throw Cottage

Stone Throw Cottage

 

Day 11! Acadia National Park (3) and Mount Desert Island

Before I write about today’s adventures, I must congratulate our resident photographer on his latest achievement …………… he has won the Caxton FX June Photographic Competition and will receive the grand prize of £100 for his photograph of Sunrise at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park in Utah. For those who have not seen the photo before, here it is:

Mesa Arch with the reflection of the rising sun

Mesa Arch with the reflection of the rising sun

After I did the blog yesterday we decided to stroll into the village to get a ‘little something’ and ended up back at McKays. I certainly had a ‘little something’ a crab cake ……….. Si’s ‘little something’ turned out to be fish and chips!!

On the way back to the B&B we discovered that the Bar Harbour Band were playing in the park so we stopped to listen and enjoyed them playing “When the Saints go marching in” which is very apt for us as we are Southampton F.C. supporters!

The Bar Harbour Band

The Bar Harbour Band

Si at McKays with his fish and chips!

Si at McKays with his fish and chips!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We spent a very pleasant couple of hours this morning having breakfast and chatting with some of the other guests here at the B&B. It’s amazing what we all find to talk about!

Our first port of call today was a visit to The Wild Gardens of Acadia at the Sieur de Monts Spring in Acadia National Park together with the Abbe Museum. The Wild Gardens reflect the typical habitats as found on Mount Desert Island. More than 300 native species are labeled to make identification easy in nine separate display areas.

A butterfly at the Wild Gardens

A butterfly at the Wild Gardens

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bugs at the Wild Gardens!

Bugs at the Wild Gardens!

Symbolically speaking, Sieur de Monts Spring is perhaps the most significant and meaningful place on Mount Desert Island. It is ground that honors the vision, passion, and dedication of a private citizen who devoted his adult life to the fulfillment of the dream that became known as Acadia National Park. George B. Dorr (1855 – 1944), even though from a life of privilege himself, worked incessantly to preserve and protect the land and waters of Acadia for all future generations to enjoy.

Sieur de Monts Spring (Again an official photo)

Sieur de Monts Spring (an official photo)

The Abbe Museum has a wonderful collection of early Native American artefacts. The collections now represent 10,000 years of Native American culture and history in Maine.

 

 

We then travelled on to see the Bass Harbour Head lighthouse (apparently, it’s well know to photographers) and taking a photo required a fair amount of agility! The best way to get a good shot is out to sea in a boat) but as we didn’t have a boat with us this morning it meant climbing over rocks, along with many others, all trying to get the best shot possible.

Bass Harbour Head Lighthouse

Bass Harbour Head Lighthouse

Si (I'm free!, it's a British joke) at Bass Harbour Head Lighthouse

Si at Bass Harbour Head Lighthouse

Sand at Bass Harbour Head Lighthouse

Sand at Bass Harbour Head Lighthouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the lighthouse it was time for lunch so we headed for Thurstons Lobster Pound, it’s a well known eatery for the locals and was recommended to us by our host, Jerry, here at the B&B. Well, the intention was to eat lobster but sadly, when we walked in and saw the poor live lobsters being weighed before cooking. we just could not condemn those poor creatures so instead we had lobster and cheese toasted sandwiches!! At least we didn’t have to see the poor thing staring at us before eating!

Sand and Pineapple Gimlet at Thurstons Lobster Pound

Sand and Pineapple Gimlet at Thurstons Lobster Pound

 

 

 

Maine Floats

Maine Floats

 

 

 

 

Talking of food, which I always seem to be, dinner tonight was at a restaurant called Fathoms. Si thought he’d died and gone to Heaven when the waitress said one of their specials of the day was pork belly! Well, you know how he feels about that, said it was delicious and followed it with scallops. One of these days he will turn into pork belly and scallops!!

Si at Fathoms

Si at Fathoms

So, tomorrow is the 4th of July! There will be big celebrations all around. Si and I will probably be hiding somewhere inside the B&B ………….. just in case the natives don’t take too kindly to us Brits being present at their celebrations!!!!!

Day 10! Acadia National Park (2)

We watched the England Ladies football last night, how disappointing for all concerned. Still, today is another day and I’m pleased to report that the sun came out …… hooray! It’s been very hot.

After a lovely breakfast of fruit, eggs benedict and a nice chat with some new guests here at the B&B we set out for our second day of adventure in Acadia National Park.

Stone Throw Cottage

Stone Throw Cottage Garden

It was our intention today to visit the Parkman Mountain waterfall and this we did. We started out sure of foot but suddenly realised we were heading in the wrong direction! The map was very poorly printed! Turned around and went back and in the opposite direction only to find we were wrong again. Eventually we saw a trail and took that, it got us to where we wanted to go but alas, it was a very steep climb. The waterfall was lovely and well worth the walk.

No, it's this way!!!!

No, it’s this way!!!!

 

Parkman Mountain Waterfall

Parkman Mountain Waterfall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parkman Mountain Waterfall

Parkman Mountain Waterfall

Us at the waterfall

Us at the waterfall

We were told about a rather lovely garden nearby that was worth a visit so we did that next.

The Asticou Azalea Garden was created by lifelong resident of the village, Charles K. Savage, in 1956, with the financial assistance of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. It features a selection of rhododendrons and azaleas, including the Rhododendron Canadense, Maine’s native azalea. Styled after a Japanese stroll garden, the fine-gravel paths are raked regularly in a manner that suggests flowing water. There is also a sand garden, where this effect is repeated but with the addition of stones, which are meant to represent islands.

Sadly, the rhododendrons and azaleas had all finished flowering but the garden was still a magnificent sight to see.

Asticou Gardens

Asticou Gardens

Savage was also the owner of the nearby Asticou Inn, so after visiting his gardens it seemed only polite to visit his Inn for some hard-earned lunch!

As you can imagine, lobster is one of the main foods in this part of the world so today we partook of lobster quiche with garden salad …………….. absolutely delicious, especially when accompanied by a glass of vino! Dessert also seemed the order of the day so Si decided to try the popovers!! He described it as a rather large profiterole and I agreed, the popover itself was rich tasting. I indulged in flourless chocolate cake with raspberry sauce.

Si's Popover!

Si’s Popover!

Needless to say, after that lot we were ready for a nap!

Sand's Pud!

Sand’s Pud!

However, before we did that, we stopped off on the way back to take another look at Cadillac Mountain to see how it looked in the sunshine after yesterday’s disappointment when it clouded over and rained. Today the sea was bluer and the islands greener.

Cadillac Mountain in the sunshine!

Cadillac Mountain in the sunshine!

We also called in at Seal Beach on the way back to the B&B to see if we would be lucky and see some but sadly it wasn’t to be.

I’m now being told we need to go for a walk after our lunchtime indulgence so I’d better hop to it ……………… catch you all tomorrow!

Day 9! Acadia National Park

So, after a lovely breakfast of fresh fruit, blueberry pancakes and bacon we set off for day one of our adventures in Acadia National Park. Our B&B is literally on the edge of the Park so not too far for us to travel.

The day started cloudy but not too bad but thunderstorms were forecast for later. Not quite as nice as the weather you are all having back home!! Luckily, we are carrying most of our home in the back of our vehicle so we are prepared for all weathers!!

Now for a little history …………….

Acadia National Park was originally created as Lafayette National Park in 1919 but was renamed in 1929.  It is the oldest National Park east of the Mississippi River.

The area was originally inhabited by the Wabanaki people. While he was sailing down the coast of what is now Maine in the fall of 1604, that well know chap, Samuel de Champlain observed a large inshore island. He wrote:

“That same day we also passed near an island about four or five leagues [19 to 24 km] in length, off which we were almost lost on a little rock, level with the surface of the water, which made a hole in our pinnace close to the keel. The distance from this island to the mainland on the north is not a hundred paces. It is very high and cleft in places, giving it the appearance from the sea of seven or eight mountains one alongside the other. The tops of them are bare of trees, because there is nothing there but rocks. The woods consist only of pines, firs, and birches.” He named it Mount Desert island.

Over four centuries later, the area remains essentially the same.

Looking back at Sand Beach

Looking back at Sand Beach

Unlike Yellowstone, Yosemite etc we are told there are no ‘wild’ beasts to be found here ……… however we have been told that we may be able to see some beaver …………. so watch this space! Today we visited Otter Cove but alas didn’t see any. There is a place called Seal Harbour so perhaps we will have some luck there later in the week. Even though there’s a lack of creature sightings the Park does not disappoint and is very beautiful, very green with some dramatic coastline.

Acadia Sea Shore

Acadia Sea Shore

 

Otter Cove

Otter Cove

 

 

 

 

 

We drove up to the top of Cadillac Mountain and passed many cyclists breathlessly making their way to the top, it’s 1530 feet (466 metres) above sea level. When we reached the top it was blowing a hooley and was very cold. I expect some of you are asking why Si didn’t hire a bike and cycle to the top just like those other brave souls …. I did ask that question myself but sadly am unable to print his reply!!!!!

Us two on top of Cadillac Mountain

Us two on top of Cadillac Mountain

This afternoon it did start to rain but no thunderstorm yet but it should clear by late afternoon. Lucky for us we were ensconced in a restaurant having lunch when the bad weather hit.

Sand at Acadia Sea Shore

Sand at Acadia Sea Shore

 

 

 

Si at Acadia Sea Shore

Si at Acadia Sea Shore

 

 

 

 

 

Jerry our host here at the B&B was telling us this morning about Popovers! Well, we thought they sound familiar and guess what, they turn out to be basically our Yorkshire Puds but butter is added to the mixture. They bake them in either muffin tins or tins that make them stand up straight then eat them for afternoon tea with butter and jam!! Okay, eating cold Yorkshire Puds, may be not quite our cup of tea. They even add cheese to the mixture. However, at the restaurant this lunchtime there were loads of people doing just that. This is the description of a Popover:

‘A popover is a light, hollow roll made from an egg batter similar to that of Yorkshire pudding, typically baked in muffin tins or dedicated popover pans, which have straight-walled sides rather than angled.’

popovers-21

Perhaps I’m missing something here but I’ve never considered eating a Yorkshire Pud with jam ………….. have any of you?  I think I need to test this out on some of my friends ………. anyone free for afternoon tea?

Day 8! Concord, MA to Bar Harbour, Maine

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.

Portland

Portland

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

Stone Throw Cottage

 

 

 

 

 

Our bedroom

Our bedroom

 

 

Our bathroom with whirlpool tub and shower

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

Si at McKays

Sand at McKays

Sand at McKays

Sand's Steak at McKays

Sand’s Steak at McKays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we ate we were entertained by a local guy called Bob Bowman

Bob Bowman

Bob Bowman

who played lovely tunes on his electric guitar. All in all a very lovely evening!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow we explore Acadia National Park!

Day 7! Lexington and Concord, MA

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!!

Sand saving the Apple Watch!!

Fire Engine!

Fire Engine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Buckman Tavern

Buckman Tavern

Minuteman at Battle Green

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.

Hancock-Clarke House

Hancock-Clarke House

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

North Bridge

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

Sand at The Colonial Inn

Si 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!!

Day 6! Cape Cod to Concord, Mass via Plimouth Plantation (Yes, I have spelt it right!)

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

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

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 Plymouth Plantation in the year 1627

An inhabitant of Plimouth Plantation in the year 1627

 

 

 

 

 

 

An inhabitant of Plymouth 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

Summer home of the Wampanoag

A Native American of the Wampanoag Nation

A Native American of the Wampanoag Nation

Sand learning about the Wampanoag way of life in the 17th Century

Sand learning about the Wampanoag way of life in the 17th Century

A Native American of the Wampanoag Nation

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!

Day 5! Provincetown

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

Provincetown House with both U.S. and Portuguese flags

Provincetown House

Provincetown House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This guy’s a little cheeky!

Scavanger

Scavanger!!

Provincetown Beach

Provincetown Beach

Provincetown Kayaks

Provincetown Kayaks

Seamans Bank!

Seamans Bank!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!!!!!

Sand in Provincetown

Sand in Provincetown Harbour

Day 4! Chatham

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

Chatham House and matching Playhouse

 

 

Chatham house

Chatham house

 

 

 

Sand Structures in Chatham

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

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

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!!).

Chatham Lighthouse

Chatham Lighthouse

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!!

Monomoy Refuge

Monomoy Refuge

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Bird's Nest

Birds’ Nest

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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!!

Day 3! Nantucket

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 Gray'

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

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 Main Street

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

Nantucket’s Oldest House

Brant Point Lighthouse

Brant Point Lighthouse

Brant Point

Brant Point

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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 lighthouse at Hyannis

Hyannis Port

Hyannis Harbour

The Sea Coast Inn (our 'home' for our stay in Cape Cod

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!!

Day 2! Newark, New Jersey to Hyannis, Cape Cod

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?

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!!

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Si and his scallops!

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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.

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Si with his coffee


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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!!

Day 1! Time to Fly!

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 Presecco!

Si with the Prosecco!

Sand with her Presecco too!

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.

Day 29! Home Time

As we were at the airport and then sat on a plane for nearly ten hours I was unable to complete the blog yesterday.

We finished our holiday in the casino of course and once again, left on a high note. If ever you’re there make sure to check out the Monopoly machines. Besides us, we saw lots of people having lots of luck on those machine, they are fun to play.

We are now back in Blighty, reminiscing about our great vacation. We saw so many wonderful things, met so many wonderful people and learnt lots of things along the way and the weather was a mixture of snow, sun and heat.

Our flight was uneventful and we were very glad to see the car waiting to bring us home. The flight was full, 475 people! I didn’t know a ‘jumbo’ held that many. When we checked in we were told the flight was full and overweight! That was a little disturbing.

As you can imagine, a flight leaving Vegas on a Sunday was full of the young, beautiful and single making their way home after a rather lively stay!! Most of them were not interested in having an alcoholic drink, they’d had enough during their stay.

All I have to do now is unpack the cases! We had two bags overweight but the kind lady at check-in just charged us for one bag so $60. Unfortunately for us, our three cases were chosen to be opened and searched by security. I always pack them the way Homeland Security tell us too but still they pick on us. I think they must think we are a couple of scoundrels or some such!!

We were just working out how long we’ve actually been awake and it’s 31 hours! Mind you I did sleep for a couple of hours on the plane, Si never sleeps, and we’ve had a little nod or two this afternoon but all in all we don’t feel too bad.

I think the World Cup has kept Si going and I’ve been catching up with my soaps plus we’ve watched the season finale of Game of Thrones!! Roll on next year and Season 5.

For me, I think the one thing I will never, ever forget is driving up the 14,000 mountain, Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs. It was more hairy than driving the Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Si’s favourite place was the Grand Tetons. In particular, seeing the Moulton Barn and of course the great privilege of having five photos featured on Flickr’s Explore.

Alas, it saddens me to have to say, once again, ‘farewell’ to all our loyal followers. To thank you for your interest and for the comments you posted. It’s nice to know we are not just ‘talking’ to ourselves.

So, until we all meet again, we would just like to say ………………..

(I do not own the video or its content)

arrivederci, adeus, hejdå, 再见, zoi geen, zai jian, tot ziens, au revoir, tschüss, shalom, ciao, じゃね, anyeonghi gasyeo, poka/Пока, adios, hejdå, tạm biệt, vΘleft, farvel, ya sas, tókša akhé,

 

 

Day 28! Las Vegas

Well, the ‘wind down’ is almost complete!

We’ve said ‘farewell’ to the pool. It was very windy this morning and only 84ºF but the wind ceased and it warmed up somewhat.

England’s playing Italy on the television so that’s keeping Si occupied and I’ve been re-packing the bags. Fingers crossed, we should only have to pay excess baggage on one. The lady at check-in may be kind to us, they don’t always worry so much about baggage weight on the way back!

Oh dear, England lost, not good. Let’s hope they can make amends when they play Uruguay next Thursday!

Goodness, good job we are ‘suited and booted’ as they say, ready for dinner, as the lights in the bathroom have just fused ……………… the maintenance brigade are on their way!!

Some time later:

We’ve been to our ‘farewell Vegas’ dinner. We went to Sensi again here at the Bellagio as we love it there. We had a superb meal. I had just about the best filet mignon I’ve ever tasted, it just melted in my mouth and the mash potato made with wasabi and cream was out of this world. Si had his favourite (no, not ribs) but crispy shrimp and then diver scallops. We both shared the chocolate soufflé for dessert. We won’t need to eat for a week!!

Sand outside Sensi

Sand outside Sensi

Flowers outside Sensi

Flowers outside Sensi

Our Chocolate soufflé

Our Chocolate soufflé

Si at Sensi!!!!!! Not the best photo in the world!

Si at Sensi!!!!!! Not the best photo in the world!

Sand inside Sensi!

Sand inside Sensi!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The evening finished on a high note gambling-wise, so no complaints there!

Tomorrow afternoon we fly home and land on Monday morning so our final post will be from good ol’ Blighty!!

See you ‘across the pond.’

 

Day 27! Las Vegas

It’s busier here today, the ‘weekenders’ have arrived ………. the young, beautiful and unattached!!!!

It’s a cooler day, only in the 90’s, there’s a breeze but it’s not until you come indoors you realise just how hot the sun still is. Shade and lots of suncream still required! We don’t want to come home looking like a couple of leather chamois!!

After time round the pool and food, we went back to the Aria Cafe again,

Si at the Aria Cafe

Si at the Aria Cafe

we went to see Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil. They describe the show as a spirited voyage through an abandoned theater where an extraordinary circus comes back to life. Populated by a motley collection of off-the-wall characters and incomparable acrobats, Zarkana is a visual vortex set in a twisted acrobatic fantasy universe where, little by little, chaos and craziness give way to a true celebration. Zarkana™ is a quintessential Cirque du Soleil spectacular featuring an international cast of 70 world class acrobats, aerialists, jugglers, high wire and trapeze artists.

Sand at Zarkana

Sand at Zarkana

One of the Zarkana performers

One of the Zarkana performers

One of the Zarkana performers

One of the Zarkana performers

It was great and probably the best Cirque du Soleil show we’ve seen. We had fantastic seats and were very close to the stage. There were times when our hearts were in our mouths. One trapeze artist missed his partner’s hands and fell but luckily they had a safety net!!

Tomorrow is our last full day so I will need to start sorting out the suitcases. We are overweight (the cases that is, not us!!) so excess baggage will probably have to be paid!!

 

Day 26! Las Vegas

I’ve been meaning to say that although it’s very hot here in Vegas, even from early in the morning, it’s surprising how chilly/cold the water is in the Bellagio Pool!!!

Anyway, as usual, we started the day around the pool. True to human form, we are sitting in the same place around the pool each day. Si goes down about 9 a.m. to get us a shady spot, that way we can stay out longer. It’s brave souls who can lie out in that hot sun for any length of time!

We’ve had some lovely photographs taken by a professional photographer. We were having dinner at Sensi the other evening and she came round and asked if we wanted our photographs taken. As it’s always difficult to get any decent photos of the two of us when we are on holiday we decided it would be a good idea.

One other piece of news! You remember I said that we had progressed up the reward card ladder after just a couple of days? Well, we have progressed again, we are now at Gold level. One of the perks is that we can go straight to the head of any queue for food!! Hooray! We also get 20% off purchases ……….. what a shame the suitcases are already full up!!

We had lunch at a new venue today, the Aria Cafe at the Aria Hotel. As usual, here’s a photo of Si enjoying his eats.

Aria Cafe

Aria Cafe

Si enjoying lunch at the Aria Cafe

Si enjoying lunch at the Aria Cafe

We have decided which show to go and see. There’s a new Cirque du Soleil in town, Zarkana, so we will be going to see that tomorrow evening.

Here are some more photos of the Bellagio Reception and Atrium and an interesting sight on the Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas showgirls.

Bellagio Reception

Bellagio Reception

Bellagio Atrium

Bellagio Atrium

Atrium 2

Las Vegas show girls

Las Vegas showgirls

Day 25! Las Vegas

Well, thank  goodness normal service has been resumed! I don’t know what the problem was last night with the wifi.

Yesterday’s question of should I be drinking alcohol in the morning has been answered! We both had the cucumber French 75 just after midday, they were delicious.

French 75 is a cocktail made from gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar. The drink was created in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris—later Harry’s New York Bar—by barman Harry MacElhone. The combination was said to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful French 75mm field gun, also called a “75 Cocktail”, or “Soixante Quinze” in French. The French 75 was popularised in America at the Stork club in New York.

The drink’s recipe was first recorded in The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930. The recipe in the Savoy Cocktail Book uses gin. A later cocktail book, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, by David Embury, claims that the French 75 is a Cognac-based drink but being a gin drinker myself, I’ll go with the gin. All the French 75’s I had have called for Plymouth gin to be used and that, as some of you know, is my most favourite gin of all time!

Whenever we stay at the Bellagio there’s one thing we just have to do and that is to go to the Petrossian Bar for their nibbles, cheese plate and cocktails. The cheese plate is the Chef’s selection of seven cheeses, several of which we haven’t even heard of, together with two types of apple, fig, apricots, raisins, two types of bread and a delicious type of crisp bread.

the Petrossian Bar at the Bellagio

The Petrossian Bar at the Bellagio

Si at the Petrossian Bar

Si at the Petrossian Bar

Sand enjoying her French 75 at the Petrossian Bar

Sand enjoying her French 75 at the Petrossian Bar

Marta playing at the Petrossian Bar

Marta playing at the Petrossian Bar

Petrossian has been named one of America’s best hotel bars by the hospitality industry’s Santé Magazine. These mixologists are the most seasoned professionals in their field. It is open 24 hours a day and has live music in the form of a pianist, today a lady called Marta was playing the Steinway grand piano.

I think the cocktails must have had an good effect on our gambling as we’ve had another very successful day, again with Mr Monopoly at the Aria hotel being very kind to us!!

Sand's a winner!

Sand’s a winner (I think she’s had one too many French 75’s!)

Some of our winnings!

Some of our winnings – not bad for a $20 stake!

We’ve taken a few photos of the Bellagio Atrium. The Atrium is a big draw for tourists. Every season is recreated with exceptionally gorgeous plants, flowers and trees thoughtfully arranged to inspire full splendor. Specially designed lighting spotlights every flower to accentuate its best features. To ensure the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens maintains magnificence 365 days a year, 140 expert horticulturists theatrically arrange gazebos, bridges, ponds, and water features uniquely for the Holidays, Chinese New Year, spring, summer, and fall!

The Bellagio Atrium

The Bellagio Atrium

Snail flowers in the Bellagio Atrium

Snail flowers in the Bellagio Atrium

Frog flowers at the Bellagio Antrium

Frog flowers at the Bellagio Antrium

Flower art in the Bellagio Atrium

Flower art in the Bellagio Atrium

 

 

 

 

Day 24! Las Vegas

Hi everyone, I’m having trouble with the laptop at the moment so can’t log on to the Blog. Everything I typed yesterday has disappeared so I’ll have to start again later. I’m typing this on the iPad but the photos are not on here of course!!

Hope to get back to normal later!!

Hooray, normal service has been resumed!!

All this ‘winding down’ is very tiring! We are up and at the pool by about 9 a.m., have some breakfast, spend about three hours there, in and out of the pool and then it’s off gambling, shopping and dining. When is a person supposed to rest!!??

Bellagio Pool Area

Bellagio Pool Area

Bellagio Pool Area

Bellagio Pool Area

As you would expect, it was very hot again this morning.  It’s 8.00 p.m. now and it’s still 100ºF.

Bellagio Pool Area

Bellagio Pool Area

Bellagio Pool Area

Bellagio Pool Area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just like yesterday we were up and round the pool bright and early and had granola parfaits for breakfast. There is a pool service so we don’t even have to move off our beds, we just order what we want from the ‘pool waitress.’ I’ve discovered today that they serve a cucumber French 75!! Would it be wrong to be drinking alcohol before midday? Decisions, decisions!

Bellagio Pool Waitress

Bellagio Pool Waitress

It was time to return ‘the beast’ and Margaret to the rental company today. So we took them back before heading off for dining, gambling and shopping. This year in three weeks we travelled 3,712 miles.

Even though Margaret had her ‘moments’ it was still sad to say goodbye. When we had dropped the car off we went round to the rental office to speak to Fred. You will remember he was so helpful when we collected the car three weeks ago and heard of the trouble we had last year.

Well, he was serving someone but as soon as he saw us he rushed over and shook hands and wanted to know how our holiday had been and if the car had been okay. We thanked him and said everything had been wonderful. He was so pleased that we had taken the time to speak to him.

We were supposed to have gone to see Mac King, the magician, this afternoon but the show was cancelled due to unexpected circumstances which was a shame. We had VIP seating and Si was terrified that he would be asked to go on the stage so I think he was secretly pleased it was cancelled.

So, as our afternoon was ‘free’ after all, we went to have lunch and check out the shops at The Venetian and Palazzo hotels. We ate at another one of our favourite Wolfgang Puck restaurants, Postrio in  St. Mark’s Square of The Venetian. As usual, the food was delicious. When a restaurant serves Plymouth gin you know it’s something special and Postrio serves Plymouth, enough said!

Postrio restaurant

Postrio restaurant

Si enjoying his lunch at Postrio

Si enjoying his lunch at Postrio

Well, at the shops in the Palazzo Hotel they have a Jimmy Choo shoe shop and JC had started their season sale today! How can anyone who knows me well expect me to walk past a JC shop with a sale on! Well, of course I couldn’t, I just had to go in and take a look. It wasn’t my intention to buy shoes on this trip but when a girl is confronted with a 50% shoe sale what is she expected to do? Well, buy, buy, buy of course!! Due to a shortage of suitcase space I only bought one pair of summer shoes.

Sand's new chop's!

Sand’s new choo’s!

You can also take a gondola ride at The Venetian. We’ve done that previously, it’s very pleasant as the Gondolier sings as he rows!

Gondola at The Venetian Hotel

Gondola at The Venetian Hotel

We had great gambling success at the hotels, we tripled our money! Let’s hope it continues.

We got a cab back to Bellagio as it was rather too hot and too far to walk and when we told the cab driver where we were going he said “oh, going home then.” That’s just how we feel about the Bellagio. We’ve been coming here a long time and every time we walk into the lobby we feel as though we’ve come home. Everything’s so comfortable here, it’s like putting on a pair of old slippers!

 

Day 23! Las Vegas

Well, now we are in Las Vegas I’m afraid the photos will not be as spectacular as they have been but we will try and take some interesting ones for you and fill you in on what we are up to.

The temperature today started at 95ºF and rose to 105ºF so it’s been a tad hot!! We started the day by spending time at one of the pools here at the Bellagio. The pool area is beautiful and tomorrow we will take my small camera down with us to take some better photos for you to enjoy. In the meantime, here are two I took on my phone today. The sparrow came to enjoy breakfast with us!

Bellagio Pool

One of the Bellagio Pools

Sparrow comes for breakfast at the pool!

Sparrow comes for breakfast at the pool!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The MGM Group, of which Bellagio is part, runs a reward scheme called MLife. You get rewarded for hotel stays, dining, gambling and shopping and we found out today that although we’ve only been here one day we’ve already progressed to the next level!! Crumbs, I don’t look forward to getting the hotel bill at the end of the week!!

The Bellagio Atrium is one of the most beautiful places to see and we will be posting some photos later. We need to go down early to take photos before it gets busy with visitors. Each day for an hour they have live music for everyone to enjoy and today it was a guy playing an electric harp. It was very lovely.

A musician playing in the Bellagio Atrium

A musician playing in the Bellagio Atrium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sand at Caesers Palace

Sand at Caesers Palace

We dined early today at one of our favourite restaurants over at the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace, it’s a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, Spago. The food is always excellent.

Spago

Spago

Si drinking ......... not eating for a change!

Si drinking ……… not eating for a change!

Sand at Spago enjoying a cocktail

Sand at Spago enjoying a cocktail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We didn’t exactly excel at our gambling tonight. I did have a rather good spell playing a Monopoly machine but eventually the little man and his dog took all my winnings. We kept our spirits up though by enjoying some cakes, hot chocolate and coffee. Perhaps our luck will be better tomorrow!

Sand losing all her money on the Monopoly machine!

Sand losing all her money on the Monopoly machine at the Aria hotel – no, the drink and ash tray are not mine!

Day 22! Moab, Utah to Las Vegas

Well, we left Moab under cloudy skies and it had been raining! Raining in Moab in the summer, unusual! We only had to travel 50 miles and blue skies were back again and the temperature started to rise. By the time we reached Vegas it was 108ºF, so a little warm!!

We had a very disturbed night’s sleep because for some reason we kept getting rattles around our room. One was coming from the fridge, so in the end we had to get up, pull it out and unplug it. We never found where the other one was coming from so it continued to drive us crazy all night.

If that wasn’t bad enough, this morning we lost Margaret!! Got into the car ready to set our route for Las Vegas and wait ………. where’s Margaret? She wasn’t with us. Now I’m usually a very organised person and I always check the hotel room before we leave but somehow she had been left behind. I returned to our room and just couldn’t find her, panic ensued. I eventually found her hiding in a ‘safe place’ where I’d hidden her the night before when we went to dinner. Relief all round, especially on Margaret’s part. She knew she was heading home and there was no way she wanted to be left behind in Moab!

I must report on last night’s meal at Jeffrey’s Steakhouse. It was, once again fantastic. I had the French 75, gin and tonic and enjoyed a great steak with the largest jacket potato I’ve ever seen. Si had the ‘special’ which consisted of a ribeye steak with shrimp and soft-shell crab. It was my intention to photograph the meal but we got talking to a lovely couple on the next table and all thought of photography went right out of my mind! I think the French 75 had a lot to do with it!

The drive from Moab to Las Vegas was quite boring and very uninteresting but the photographer’s apprentice did manage to photograph a few things along the way.

From Moab to Las Vegas

From Moab to Las Vegas

Water Tower on the road from Moab to Las Vegas

Water Tower on the road from Moab to Las Vegas

From Moab to Las Vegas

From Moab to Las Vegas

The inevitable road works on the way from Moab to Las Vegas

The inevitable road works on the way from Moab to Las Vegas

One interesting thing we saw at a place called Hurricane, about 131 miles from Vegas but couldn’t manage to photograph as it was on the opposite side of the road, was the largest Walmart (Asda) distribution centre we have ever seen. There must have been 500 trailers ready to be loaded up with goodies!

Well, we’ve had a lovely dinner, fish and chicken for a change and managed to actually win a little in the casino. Let’s hope we don’t have any rattles in our room tonight and can get a good night’s sleep!

 

 

 

Day 21! Moab, Utah

So, today begins our holiday ‘wind down’. We came to Moab as we needed a halfway point on our return trip to Las Vegas. Although this is our third visit to Moab we have still managed to find a couple of places we had never visited before and as usual, have not been disappointed.

It has been very hot here today, 95ºF and we think that the mosquitoes must have hatched  because they seem to be everywhere! We have decided that we would much rather hike in temperatures of 70ºF rather than the 90’s. Because it’s so hot we cut our day short but we managed to see all we wanted to.

We started off visiting Landscape Arch in Arches National Park. The hike is just 1.6 miles, with gradual slopes, but it did seem rather longer than that to us but it was well worth the effort.

Sand on the walk to Landscape Arch

Sand on the walk to Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch

Si at Landscape Arch

Si at Landscape Arch

Sand at Landscape Arch

Sand at Landscape Arch

 

Desert Bouquet on the walk to Landscape Arch

Desert Bouquet on the walk to Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch is the longest of the many natural rock arches located in the Arches National Park. The arch is among many in the area known as Devil’s Garden in the north area of the park. It was named by Frank Beckwith, leader of the Arches National Monument Scientific Expedition, who explored the area in the winter of 1933–1934, and can be reached by short walk/hike of about 1.5 miles along a maintained trail.

The Natural Arch and Bridge Society (NABS) considers the Landscape Arch to be the longest natural arch in the world, having measured the span in 2004 at 290.1 ± 0.8 feet (88.4 m), which is slightly longer than a measurement made by the Society in 2006 of Kolob Arch in Zion National Park Since 1991, three slabs of sandstone measuring 30, 47, and 70 feet (9.1, 14, and 21 m) long have fallen from the thinnest section of Landscape Arch, prompting the Park Service to close the trail that once passed beneath it.

On 1st September 1991 hikers were actually sitting beneath the arch and thought they heard thunder cracks but in fact it was a 60 foot rock slab breaking off above them. When the dust settled 180 tonnes of fresh rock debris lie on the ground. Luckily, no-one was hurt. It is thought that unseasonably heavy rains for ten days before the incident had filled pore spaces within the sandstone and the the added weight may have finally overwhelmed the rock slab in its timeless struggle with gravity.

Then, we visited Dead Horse Point State Park (that’s where Si went to last night) so that I could see for myself how beautiful it is.

Panorama shot of Dead Horse Point

Panorama shot of Dead Horse Point

Dead Horse Point

Dead Horse Point

The Park features a dramatic overlook of the Colorado River and Canyonlands National Park. The park is so named because of its use as a natural corral by cowboys in the 19th century. The park covers 5,362 acres (2,170 ha) of high desert at an altitude of 5,900 feet (1,800 m).

The plateau is surrounded by sheer cliffs 2,000 feet (610 m) high with only a narrow neck of land 30 yards (27 m) wide connecting the mesa to the main plateau. Thus it was easy for cowboys to simply fence off this narrow neck, and keep rounded up wild horses from running away.

The Legend of Dead Horse Point: There are many stories about how this high promontory of land received its name.

According to one legend, around the turn of the century the point was used as a corral for wild mustangs roaming the mesa top. Cowboys rounded up these horses, herded them across the narrow neck of land and onto the point. The neck, which is only 30-yards-wide, was then fenced off with branches and brush.

This created a natural corral surrounded by precipitous cliffs straight down on all sides, affording no escape. Cowboys then chose the horses they wanted and let the culls or broomtails go free. One time, for some unknown reason, horses were left corralled on the waterless point where they died of thirst within view of the Colorado River, 2,000 feet below.

One useless fact: The area was also used in the final ‘Grand Canyon’ scene of the 1991 film Thelma & Louise.

One of the fun things about driving around the parks is looking for faces in the rocks, this is one the ‘photographer’s apprentice’ saw!

A face in the rock!

A face in the rock!

Tonight we will be dining at Jeffrey’s Steakhouse. We ate there on our trip last year and it was fantastic so we thought what better way to end our visit here than by eating there again. I will once again be sampling the French 75! That’s a very special gin and tonic. Good job I’m writing this blog before dinner!!

Tomorrow we leave Moab and have another long drive (we seem to be doing a lot of them lately!) to Las Vegas where we will be spending the last week of our holiday lying in the sun, eating fine food and drinking fine wine!!

It occurred to me that in yesterday’s ‘Special Post’ I forgot to tell you what Si’s name is on Flickr, It’s ‘simonsaint’ and also that it might be a good idea to give you a link to his actual Flickr page so you can have a look around if you’d like to. Click here to visit his page.

 

 

Special Post! Flickr Explore

I think you will agree that some of the photos Si’s been taking on our trip have been stunning. Some of you know he’s a member of Flickr and in 2013 on average per day, 1.6 million photos were uploaded to Flickr from people all around the world. I don’t know what the average for 2014 is but you can bet it’s around that figure.

Well everyday Flickr choose 500 of the most interesting photos of all those uploaded and put them on to what they call ‘Explore’. It’s hard enough to get one photo on Explore but our Si in the past three weeks, ever since we arrived in the U.S., has had the honour of having five of his photos shown on there. The highest position for one of the photos being number six.

He already had another three featured on Explore, two from 2012 and one this year.

This is the link to Flickr Explore for all those who may be interested in taking a look.

These are the photos from the past three weeks:

Adam on the Trail Ridge Road

Adam on the Trail Ridge Road

Lone Tree on Lake Yellowstone

Lone Tree on Lake Yellowstone – got to number 6 on Explore

The John Moulton Barn

The John Moulton Barn

Bear Lake

Bear Lake

String Lake

String Lake

 

Day 20! Colorado Springs to Moab, Utah

Today has been another long driving day, seven hours in all. We did stop for some lunch at the ………….. Rib Grill!! Well, where else would you expect us to stop! Here’s a photo of ‘his nibs’ enjoying a few. I had chicken, much healthier ………… well maybe not, they were fried chicken sliders with fries and garlic bread!

Si at the Rib Grill!

Si at the Rib Grill!

We left our hotel in Colorado Springs and said goodbye to Patrick. He’s a young man with a  photographic degree but at the moment he’s working there doing just about everything it seems from valeting the cars to checking people in. A very pleasant young man.

I have to say that Colorado Springs turned out to be quite a surprise. I just wanted to go there because I used to watch Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and wanted to go up Pikes Peak. Si wasn’t convinced any of it would be any good. We were both very pleasantly surprised how lovely it was and how many places to see there were. We hope to return one day.

Colorado is probably the most beautiful of all the U.S. States we have seen, it is absolutely stunning.

Today we travelled through a range of temperatures, we had to cross the mountains to get to Moab and were travelling up hill and down dale, we went from 6,035 feet above sea level in Colorado Springs to 10,600 feet and then down to 5,200 feet here in Moab. The temperatures ranged from 57ºF to 95ºF here in Moab. Crazy!!

Here are some photos of our trip today taken by our photographer’s apprentice!

Road Trip

Road Trip to Moab

Road Trip

Road Trip to Moab

A place with No Name!

A place with ‘No Name’ on the way to Moab!

Road Trip

Road Trip to Moab

Entering Moab

Entering Moab

Tonight, Si went out to Dead Horse Point State Park to take photos at sundown. Here’s one.

Dead Horse Point

Dead Horse Point

 

Day 19! Colorado Springs

First of all a big shout out of “Happy Birthday” to my niece Karen whose birthday it is today 5th June. Hope you’ve had a great day!

It occurred to me today that in my post yesterday I forgot to mention the one big thing about being up at the summit of Pikes Peak ……………. the doughnuts! The one thing you just have to do when you get there is have the world-famous and yummy doughnuts, the only ones made at an altitude of over 14,000 feet and of course we did. They were delicious.

Doughnuts at Pikes Peak summit

Doughnuts at Pikes Peak summit

Well, so much beauty to see and so little time!

Today, we started our day with a visit to Manitou Springs. General William Jackson Palmer and Dr. William Abraham Bell founded Manitou Springs in 1872, intending the town to be a “scenic health resort.” It has been the quintessential tourist town since the 1870s, when visitors discovered the healing waters the Ute Indians had been drinking for years. Many of the town’s mineral springs still function today and the water is free.

Manitou Springs

Manitou Springs

Manitou's original cog railway

Manitou’s original cog railway

After a walk through the town we moved on to the Garden of the Gods.

The Garden of the Gods’ red rock formations were created during a geological upheaval along a natural fault line millions of years ago. Archaeological evidence shows that prehistoric people visited Garden of the Gods about 1330 BC. At about 250 BC Native American people camped in the park. They are believed to have been attracted to wildlife and plant life in the area and used overhangs created by the rocks for shelter. There are many native peoples who have reported a connection to Garden of the Gods, including Ute, Comanche, Apache, Kiowa, Shoshone, Cheyenne, Pawnee and Lakota people.

The Utes’ oral traditions tell of their creation at the Garden of the Gods. Petroglyphs have been found in the park that are typical of early Utes. They found red rocks to have a spiritual connection and camped near Manitou Springs and the creek near Rock Ledge Ranch bordering Garden of the Gods. Other tribes traveled through Garden of the Gods. The Old Ute Trail went past Garden of the Gods to Ute Pass and led later explorers through Manitou Springs. Starting in the 16th century, Spanish explorers and later European American explorers and trappers travelled through the area, including Lt. John C. Freemont and and Lt. George Frederick Ruxton who recorded their visits in their journals.

The area was first called Red Rock Corral. Then, in August 1859, two surveyors who helped to set up Colorado City explored the site. One of the surveyors, M. S. Beach, suggested that it would be a “capital place for a beer garden.” His companion, the young Rufus Cable, awestruck by the impressive rock formations, exclaimed, “Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods.”

Well, I think the sign says it all!

Well, I think the sign says it all!

Si in the Garden of the Gods

Si in the Garden of the Gods

Sand in the Garden of the Gods

Sand in the Garden of the Gods

Rock formation in the Garden of the Gods

Rock formation in the Garden of the Gods

Rock formation in the Garden of the Gods

Rock formation in the Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods

 

 

The Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods

Balancing rock in the Garden of the Gods

Balancing rock in the Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods

Kissing Camels rock in the Garden of the Gods

Kissing Camels rock in the Garden of the Gods

Amish Girls visiting the Garden of the Gods

Amish Girls visiting the Garden of the Gods

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panorama shot of the Garden of the Gods

Panorama shot of the Garden of the Gods

 

Cliff hanger at the Garden of the Gods

Cliff hanger at the Garden of the Gods

Busker in the Garden of the Gods

Busker in the Garden of the Gods

Tomorrow we leave our lovely hotel and Colorado Springs for Moab, Utah where even more wonderful sights await us. We have visited Moab many times but it never fails to delight!

We have been staying at The Mining Exchange. It was constructed in 1902 by civic benefactor Winfield Scott Stratton who made his fortune in the Cripple Creek gold boom of the 1890’s. The building’s purpose was to house the Colorado Springs Mining Exchange and promote regional mining companies and their stock. It was, and still is regarded as the most substantial and intact building associated with Stratton that remains. It was the first structure in the city to rise above four stories and housed Colorado Springs’ Mining Stock Exchange in the 1920’s. The building had several steel vaults, preserved to this day, they are used to house hotel supplies.

The building was purchased three years ago by Perry Sanders who then set out to build The Mining Exchange. Extensive and elaborate renovations were made, with a very conscious approach to restore the building to its original grandeur, preserving the magnificent piece of architecture that it presents to the landscape of Colorado Springs. In 1900 a Colorado Springs’ Resident said it was “The handsomest, the largest and most substantial structure in the city.”

The Mining Exchange

The Mining Exchange

 

 

Day 18! Colorado Springs

So, today we decided to ‘do’ Pikes Peak. We set off in what we thought was the right direction, heading north out of Colorado Springs and quickly realised we were going in the wrong direction! I have to say that it wasn’t Margaret’s fault this time because we hadn’t plugged her in. It was human error.

But, all was not lost because when we realised our mistake we were going to turn around when we noticed we were at a place called Briargate and Si suddenly realised that we wanted to go there anyway because we wanted to visit the Apple store that was located there. We needed to buy another portable drive because the one we’d brought with us to back-up the laptop has thrown a wobbly and won’t work! Amazon, expect an email from me when we return!

We headed back south and soon found Pikes Peak Highway. Pikes Peak is known as America’s Mountain. The Highway is 19 miles long, is a two-lane road ascending more than 6,000 feet in elevation to 14,115 and we were going to drive it. The Ranger said the 19 miles would take us one hour to drive.

Crystal Reservoir on Pikes Peak Highway

Crystal Reservoir on Pikes Peak Highway

Panorama shot of Crystal Reservoir

Panorama shot of Crystal Reservoir

Some people travel to the summit by cog railway. It was first built in 1891 and runs continually today.

Cog Railway

Cog Railway

Well, goodness me, it was one hairy drive. I thought the Trail Ridge Road was scary, this was much, much worse. There were sheer drops round hairpin bends, it was like being on a switchback! I dread to think what my blood pressure reading must have been. Si was okay because he was on the ‘safe’ side. At times I just couldn’t look over the edge and was holding on to the car door handle for dear life. Some of the drop offs are 1,000 feet down! We were told to turn off the air-conditioning going up and when driving back down to use low gear.

Winding Roads on Pikes Peak Highway

Winding Roads on Pikes Peak Highway

The views of course were stunning. We were way above the tree line and as we turned each corner and looked up you could see the cars above just getting higher and higher.

Pikes Peak Highway

Pikes Peak Highway with Pikes Peak in the distance

Half way up the road we stopped to change into jeans as we were told it would be really cold at the summit but when we got there it wasn’t too bad even though there was some snow and we didn’t need thick jackets.

Can you imagine racing up this road to the summit. Well, daring drivers have been doing just that since the first race in 1916. The race continues today. Mining magnet Spencer Penrose arranged the race to advertise his new mountain auto highway. The first winner, Rea Lentz, sped to the summit in just 20 minutes and 55.6 seconds. Can you imagine driving at speed on a dirt road. It was only fully paved in 2011! The hill climb is the second oldest race in the US behind only the Indianapolis 500.

At the summit is a memorial dedicated o Katherine Lee Bates (August 12th 1859 to March 28th 1929). She was an American songwriter and was the author of the words to the anthem ‘America the Beautiful’.

The first draft of “America the Beautiful” was hastily jotted down in a notebook during the summer of 1893, which Bates spent teaching English at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. Later she remembered:

One day some of the other teachers and I decided to go on a trip to 14,000-foot Pikes Peak. We hired a prairie wagon. Near the top we had to leave the wagon and go the rest of the way on mules. I was very tired. But when I saw the view, I felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse.

Anerica the Beautiful

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About half-way up stands the Historic Glen-Cove Inn built in the late teens early 1920s. It has always been somewhere for travellers to stop and refresh themselves.

The Glen Cove Inn

The Glen Cove Inn

Photos from the summit.

Pikes Peak Summit

Pikes Peak Summit

Pikes Peak Summit

Pikes Peak Summit

Panorama of Pikes Peak Summit

Panorama of Pikes Peak Summit

Si at the Summit

Si at the Summit

Sand at the Summit

Sand at the Summit

 

On the way back down there is a compulsory brake check by a ranger. This is because if the breaks overheat they will stop working and no-one wants to be without breaks at this height. Our’s measured 8% so we were given a ‘well done’ because Si was driving down correctly. Well done Si!

Almost back to Earth!

Almost back to Earth!

It suddenly occurred to me that I’ve taken a couple of photos of Si at dinner but have forgotten to post them. So this is me righting a wrong! I decided to have a nice healthy salad …………. this one would last me a week!

Sand with her healthy salad!

Sand with her healthy salad!

Si with his short ribs!

Si with his short ribs!

Si with his Po' Boy shrimp sandwich!

Si with his Po’ Boy shrimp sandwich!

 

Day 17! Rocky Mountain National Park to Colorado Springs

Well, that Margaret (sat-nav), she definitely needs to go back to sat-nav training school. We plugged her in this morning for our drive to Colorado Springs and she said there were no hold-ups and the drive would take just over two hours.

Wrong! We had only been driving for 20 minutes when we came across road works that held us up for 45 minutes!!!! Work was being done to widen a road and it entailed rock blasting! When we eventually managed to drive through I actually saw the man attaching the wires to the plunger to blow up the next lot of rock. I said, “Punch it Margaret” to get our car moving. Didn’t fancy being under that lot of rock when it came tumbling down.

The queue!

The queue!

Following the Pilot Car

Following the Pilot Car

Then, we drive ten minutes down the road and there’s another set of road works. Luckily, we arrived just as our traffic was being let through so we didn’t have to wait.

One sad thing we saw en-route was more flood damage to homes along the river. The homes had just been abandoned with appliances as they were when the waters hit. Very sad!

Flood damage!

Flood damage!

It was quite a pleasant drive until we reached Denver!! I don’t know if it’s because we’ve been driving on little quiet roads for the past two weeks but I was scared to death!! At least four lanes of traffic all the way through Denver, drivers swopping lanes like maniacs and even through road works they didn’t slow down to the required speed. It was worse than driving in London! I just wanted to sit on the floor of the car and hide until we were out the other side!

We did see the ‘Mile High Stadium’ the Denver Bronco’s stadium.

Mile High Stadium

Mile High Stadium

Still, it was all worth it in the end because we’ve arrived at our hotel and they must have known the trauma we had been through because we were given a complimentary upgrade and are now residing in the grandest of suites.  It’s also the hottest we’ve had on our trip so far. When we arrived it was 91 degrees, so nice and warm!!

Tomorrow we start our adventures here in Colorado Springs by visiting Pikes Peak. We now have to go and try out the award-winning restaurant they have here. Bon appetite!!

Day 16! Rocky Mountain National Park

We’ve had a very full day and managed to see a lot of wildlife for a change.

We started out with the sight of Mr and Mrs Duck crossing a main road together but unfortunately didn’t have the camera handy.

At Milner Pass we again crossed the Continental Divide!

Continental Divide

Continental Divide

We decided to go back to the Trail Ridge Road today, to the valley, to look at the Holzwarth Historic Site. As we passed over the summit It wasn’t quite so cold and it didn’t snow.

In 1917, John Holzwarth Sr. staked a homestead claim in the valley with the intent of building a cattle ranch. After the Fall River Road through the park opened in 1920, the ranch was re-developed  into a popular resort known as the Holzwarth Trout Lodge. The Lodge is now part of the park and preserved as a historic site. The Holzwarth homestead depicts the rustic, unpretentious dude ranching of the 1920s.

Buildings from the Holzwarth Ranch

Buildings from the Holzwarth Ranch

Buildings from the Holzworth Ranch

Buildings from the Holzwarth Ranch