Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

New England #4 – Vermont

July 15 - 20, 2016: 

We decided to take a little break here and stay a little bit longer.  We will be here in Vermont for the next 5 days.  This gives us some down time to relax and to catch up of some domestic chores like grocery shopping and laundry.  With the quick moves of just a few miles and the constant touring, it starts to feel like a whirlwind or more like a vacation instead of like life! This will be a small slow down for us.

The trip from Littleton MA to our new site in Brattleboro Vermont was just 80 miles through some very pretty country settings.  Our new site was just a few miles into Vermont at the Brattleboro North KOA.  This is a very small campground of maybe 40 sites.  We had great end of a row site that had loads of room.  We also can’t say enough about the friendliness of the campground hosts here.  We would stay here again too!

Bridge going from New Hampshire to Vermont

The Vermont - New Hampshire line.

Our nice site at the KOA.

Besides getting the laundry done and restocking our food supply we managed to get a couple other fun things done too.   On one day we did a six mile bike ride round trip on a trail along the West River.  The trail is a Rails to Trails trail that was once the old West River Railroad track bed.  This trail was mostly hard packed sand, weeds, and some gravel.  It wasn’t a difficult trail at all but it was challenging since we didn’t know the trail. 

Went through a covered bridge to get to the trailhead.

Then we crossed this old green iron bridge.  Actually that is how the directions read too, go through the covered bridge and then make a turn on to the old green bridge.

A man and his dog on the river next to the trail.

On another day we took a short 1.5 mile hike on the Putney Mountain Trail.  The trick with this trail was getting to and then finding the trailhead.  This area is definitely where people retire who don’t like people.  The houses out here are far apart and difficult to get to.  We were on roads marked as not maintained by the state or county and are only seasonal.  The hike was a fun little walk in the remote woods to get a feel for the real Vermont.

This was a trip!  We had to use GPS coordinates to get to the trailhead as we didn't have cell phone service here.  These roads are only used in the summer months.

We found loads of maple sap pipe lines running in the woods.

The trailhead was not marked very well.

Once we got to the actual trailhead it was marked then.

View from the summit

The town had sheep on the summit to eat away the weeds

After the forest mountain hike we had dinner out in Brattleboro. We went to the Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery that overlooked the Connecticut River.  There was a long wait to get a table outside in the main dining room so we took a table on the top floor that was mainly a bar.  We sat and had couple local beers and ate some pretty good bar food with a great view.  This was a perfect ending to our visit in Vermont.

The bar area

Over looking the Connecticut River

That's about it for Vermont for us.  We were just barely into Vermont and there is so much more to Vermont than what we are reporting here.  

On to New England # 5 - New Hampshire

Stay tuned!

New England #3 – Massachusetts

July 12 - 15, 2016: 

We didn’t have to drive very far again to get to our new site in Massachusetts from Rhode Island, just 95 miles.  Actually our next big move won’t be until we leave Quebec City in Canada.  All of our moves for the month of July will be less than 100 miles!

We are staying at the Minuteman RV Resort that is very close to Boston.  Minuteman is another campground that is very much in the woods with really tall pine trees.  So again, our satellite TV is out of the question here!  

The office and entrance to Minuteman campground.

Except for the satellite issue the campground is very nice; we would most definitely stay here again.  As for TV, we had something like 60 channels on our regular batwing antenna so not having satellite was not any issue for us. 

Our site at Minuteman.  Nice large site!

We had three goals while here and we met 2 of them.  First was easy, stay in MA so we could put our state decal on our map; done.  Second was to visit Salem MA as neither of us had been there and we wanted to see the witch stuff.  Third was to do a commercial tour of Boston.  We have both been to Boston a few times but have not really seen a lot of the sights in the city.

We had a family of turkeys wander through our site.  We counted 11 babies and 2 mothers.
So the Boston tour didn’t happen.  It didn't happen mostly because we just didn’t plan very well for it.  We were going to be doing it on a weekday so we would need to contend with rush hour traffic so we decided to take a train. 

Our first attempt failed due to not finding a place to park near the train station.  An internet blog site has said that we should avoid the closest station to us, Littleton MA, due to no parking and to use the Concord station.  We found out, too late, that there was more and easier parking at the closer station, Littleton.

Anyway, we tried again the next day but just couldn’t get it together in time to leave early enough and have time for the tour.  The train trip was about an hour and we needed half an hour just to get to the station.  The  2 hour Boston tour closed at 5 pm and we figured we would need 3-4 hours for the tour as we would probably stay longer at some of the sights. 

We also needed to contend with the train schedule itself. The trains were spaced out to the point that it was difficult to do a plan B. We were either in Boston way early, 9am, or too late, 3pm. By the time we were ready to leave we didn’t have enough time to make the train we wanted and the next one was too late for us to make the tour.  So we just didn’t do a Boston tour this time.

We did manage do the Salem tour though and it was great! We drove an hour to Salem MA to have dinner and to do the Hocus Pocus Haunted Salem walking tour. We also went to the witch dungeon museum.  The museum did a mock witch trial from the 1600s transcripts, very cool.

During the witch trial.

An actual piece of the building from the original 1600s witch jail. 

The walking tour started at 7 pm so we had dinner beforehand at the restaurant FINZ on the bay in Salem.  We both got pretty full so having a walking tour after was just what we needed.

Had to have lobster in New England!

The haunted Salem tour was pretty long as walking tours go, just over 2 hours!  

We can say that this walking tour was one of the best we have had in the USA.  The main reason it was so great was due to our tour guide, Susan Metzger.  She really brought the city of Salem alive for us.  She gave us interesting facts, intrigue, and history. And then she topped it off with a visit to the Salem Witch Trials memorial at dusk. The memorial bears witness to the 16 women and 4 men who lost their lives in that dark period of Salem’s history.  She gave us the good, the bad and the great of the city of Salem. Just can’t say enough about the tour she gave us.

Our tour guide, Susan.

Just something along the way in Salem that I thought was cool!

Statue of William Conant, the founder of Salem MA.

Where most of the witches were buried.

This spooky house is next to the witch grave yard.  It's for sale!

Interesting tidbit.  These gravestones are not on the actual graves.  In the old days of Salem people paid to be buried near the church and to remain for many, many years.  However, after some time, the church wanted to expand so they removed the tomb stones and put them in storage while they built on top of the bodies.  Later, the tomb stones were put in front of the church.

This is very dark picture of the memorial to the people who were accused of being witches and killed.  Very nice that this was done!

After the tour we had to drive an hour back to our site in the dark, not fun!  Before we left though, we got some ice cream and sat outside to enjoy it.  It was a great end to a great day before we made the long drive on unknown roads in the dark. We made it back and were safely in bed by a little before midnight.

That was that for Massachusetts!  Now, on to number 4 of the New England states, Vermont.

Stay tuned!

New England #2 – Rhode Island

July 8 - 11, 2016:  

On to our second New England state, Rhode Island!  We headed out Friday for our 80 mile trip up to the Aquidneck Island part of Rhode Island.  That is the central part of the state where Portsmouth and Newport are located.  We are only here for a short 2 full days of touring time so we picked Newport to center on.

Crossing into Rhode Island

Crossing the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge to Aquidneck Island RI

We both had been to Newport before with the last time being on a cruise we took back around 2000 or 16 years ago.  We didn’t remember much about it except that it was cold and it was just after the 4th of July, almost the same time we are visiting now!  All I remember is looking at the harbor from the ship and nothing else.  We plan to change that limited perception on this visit.

We signed up for a walking tour of the city of Newport that was given by the historic society of Newport.  We can’t say it enough that taking these tours are one of the best ways to see and to understand the area you are in.  Walking tours are also very cheap!  This tour was over 2 hours and cost $17 a piece, just can’t beat that!

Newport court house overlooking the "Long Pier"

Where we started our Tour.  This building was the first built using an American born Architect.

Original Quaker meeting place from the late 1600s.
Still in use today and still doesn't have electric.

View toward the bay from the court house.
This "long Pier" has had merchants along both side since the early 1700s.

Original Newport military building from the revolutionary period.

Touring Trinity Church.  Was the Church of England in the 1700s

Believe it or not, us in a church.  This the pew of George Washington and
much later, the queen of England, Queen Elizabeth.

Trinity Church

The oldest operating tavern in the USA, the White Horse Tavern.
Has been operating since 1673.

We had lunch in the White Horse Tavern and took a look around inside.

I also did my own tour by taking one of my walk/runs near our camp site.  We stayed at a municipal campground called Melville Ponds in Portsmouth.  Our site was very near the Narragansett Bay side of the island.  I did my hike and run trip from our site to the eastern shore of the Narragansett Bay.  

Our site while in Newport Rhode Island

We don't usually have a fire but we decided to cook dinner out on a fire.
We had pork chops and baked potatoes.

The hike itself was not that impressive but the view after arriving was fantastic!  The furthest point of the hike took me to the old Newport and Narragansett Bay Railroad overlooking the bay.  It was still early in the morning so there was a little fog on the water with a couple of lit up tugs working barges up the bay.  That was pretty cool!  The total hike round trip was just 4 miles so I finished up with an extra mile around the campground to get my usual 5 miles. 

Trail pictures from my hike to the bay.

Narragansett Bay with Prudence Island in the background.

Now we are off to our next state, #3 Massachusetts.

Stay tuned!