We then got into the more hilly part of VT and it is just as I visualized – lush, green and trees everywhere – so beautiful. The towns are so picturesque and situated right down in the trees. I love it here. We got to our campground (Limehurst Lake CG - $33.00). The lake is fairly small, but they have canoes, kayaks, swimming and even a large water slide for the kids. It is really pretty neat.
Then onto Northfield Falls, VT to see some of their covered bridges, which are still in use! There are lots and lots of covered bridges in the area, but we only stopped and saw four of them. Three were on the Cox Brook in Northfield Falls and the fourth was on the Dog River, also in Northfield Falls. Pretty neat. We had trouble finding diesel and after exiting twice and going through a couple of stations, on the 3rd exit we finally found a diesel station, but had to wait behind some truckers. Diesel in VT $4.689. Gas for the truck is $3.759 per gallon. That was the cheapest. At some stations it was $3.899 per gallon. Sure is getting expensive to move this rig. Glad we will be parked all summer. It cost almost $1000 for fuel between Spooner and Maine.
We left at 6:30 am and hit a traffic jam in Barre – don't know where everyone was going as there is not much there. All through VT and NH the streets were narrow, but the old buildings were very well kept up and all were still in use, some dating back to the 1800's. There were so many beautiful old churches I didn't even start to take pictures. We went by 2 very big theme parks, Santa's Village and Six Gun City which were not in an area you would expect them, thus, no pictures. We took US 2 and we thought Hwy 17 was bad – no comparison. In VT and NH the road wasn't too bad, except through the towns and they were one after another and the road was very narrow, windy and up and down mountains (we would call them hills but here they are mountains). Going into New Hampshire, we went around the northern end of the White Mountains. Stopped at a pull out and took a couple of pictures of the White Mountains. Mt. Washington is in the White mountains, but could not see it from where we were. It has a cog railway which goes up to the top. Bob says we might come back and take it. Mt. Washington is the highest peak in the northeastern U.S. It is noted for its severe weather and still holds the worlds wind record of 231 mph. NH is as beautiful as VT and, except for the road, the towns were just as picturesque and well kept up. We stopped in Gorham, NH for brunch. It was a neat little town with mountains all around. old steam train parked on the far side, which we found out later that it is a tourist train. Bob said we might have to go back and take a ride. The restaurant didn't look like much from the outside, but inside was really nice and the food was great. After that, it was down the road again.
Then we hit ME – the road was absolutely atrocious and the towns are not kept up at all. The terrain was pretty much the same as the other two, but everything else looks run down.
We finally got into Meadowbrook Camping and the park doesn't look very well kept up either, but we met the owners and a few of the other camp workers and all were really fun and seem to be very low key. One of our jobs will be to cook and serve lobster and man the small store. The men do a lot of outside work, such as making new picnic tables, installing/upgrading electrical hookups and a lot of other maintenance. The park is basically in two parts, one is in a meadow and out in the open, the other half is wooded. We are right on the edge of the woods and don't get good TV reception. Chris, the owner, guarantees that we will have decent reception even if we have to prune some trees. The wooded section is really quite pretty and old fashioned camping. They also have 4 log cabins and one log Cottage. They are really nice and 2 of the cabins are in the woods, the other two and the cottage are at the edge of the woods. There is also a very large beaver pond which can be fished without a license.
Of course, I had to have lobster and corn-on-the-cob (just to see how it is done) as it is a full lobster and I had no idea how to crack it – I've always had just the tails. It is was pretty funny and after all my lobster fantasizing – I would rather just have the tails. They also have steamer clams and Bob is all for that. He loves his steamers. Well, I'll get this off and in the next letter let you know how everything is going.
We are more or less settled in at a nice spot at the edge of the woods. We have a problem because of the trees we have TV satellite problems, especially when the wind blows, which it does a lot. Our only other recourse is move down to the loop, but they only have 30 amp service and I rather have 50. (note- we finally got tv after the boss and bob mounted the antenna on one of the cabins 150 feet across the road and then buried the cable.
We took a short drive into Brunswick, Me to do some shopping. Tried to find Wal-Mart. After stopping for directions 3 times we finally found it.(the directionc we got were very vague.) Brunswick is a very picturesque town. It has a lot of old historic homes and buildings. It is also the home of The Brunswick Naval Air Station, which has an exchange and a commissary.
We did have dinner at the historic Kennebec Tavern & Marina in Bath, ME. I had Maine shrimp which are like our popcorn shrimp in the West and Bob had blackened salmon, but decided he likes the West Coast salmon better. Centuries ago the Abenaki Indians gave the Kennebec River its name meaning “long level water”. In the 17th century sailors called this area of the river “Long Reach” named for a 3 mile stretch of the river which provided the sailors deep anchorage and good landing sites. In Aug of 1607 two ships carrying 120 settlers and equip. settled at the mouth; however because of thesevere weather and deaths and strained relations with the indians,they abandoned camp and along with a supply ship and a 30-ton pinnace Virginia, which was the first vessel built in America by Englishmen. Though this colony was settled before Jamestown, it was unable to survive its difficulties and, therefore, records do not clam it as the oldest settlement in America; however, the event did allow Bath to claim the title “Birthplace of American Shipbuilding”. Which is still being done today.
Our first site seeing trip was to historical Fort Popham. Since construction commenced in 1861, the entrance to the Kennebec River has been guarded by Fort Popham, a Civil War era fort that was built to protect the shipbuilding interest in Bath as well as the state capitol in Augusta. Although it was never completed it is still an impressive example of military engineering.
We then went back up the peninsula and and down another to Boothbay Harbor. This part of Maine is fairly rugged, most of which is not very pretty. There are some nice places, but far and few between. Even though there are inlets and bays everywhere there are so many woods you can't see much of the water unless you are right on it – and the roads are atrocious. Boothbay Harbor is a typical harbor town, narrow streets and no parking. We stopped for lunch right on the bay which was filled with lobster pots and boats, boats and more boats. We went on up the other side of the peninsula, but again with the trees – couldn't see the water. All in all, it was a pretty good day.
On the way back from Booth Bay Harbor we stopped at the Booth Bay Railway Village. It still had not opened for the season but Bob was able to get some photos. We may have to go back as they have quite a collection of antique cars and railroad equipment.
We headed out early this morning. It is about a 3 hour drive to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor . It is a pretty drive, but our butts were pretty sore by the time we got there. The truck in not a comfortable as the jeep. There were towns one after another – some very pretty, some old and a few shabby, but all were interesting. There were beautiful old homes, which most have been turned into inns, and the old towns we very picturesque. We followed Penobscot Bay most of the way, but because of the trees we could only see it when we got to a town that was on the bay. It is huge and beautiful. I really enjoyed the drive except for the length of it. Bucksport, ME was where we crossed to the North side of Penobscot Bay. The Penobscot Narrows Bridge is a very unique bridge. It is a suspension bridge but all of the suspension is in the center of the bridge separating the lanes of traffic. It also has observation towers on the south towers which is open to the public. The tower is 420 ft tall. It is the first of it's kind in the U.S. and only the third in the world. The other two bridges with observation towers are in Slovakia and and Thailand.
We arrived at Acadia National Park at about 11:30. The visitor center had 55 steps to get into the building. There was a handicap entrance but it was poorly marked. The history of the Park is very interesting: The park and surrounding areas were formed by glaciers and now sites on nothing but granite. John D Rockefeller, Jr. became enamored with the area and in 1913 began building 45 miles of crushed stone roads and 17 spectacular stone bridges only to be traveled by foot, horse or carriages – no automobiles. It is now called the Carriage road, some of it's bridges can be seen from Park Loop Rd. You even go under some of the bridges. Upon finishing it he donated it to what became Acadia National Park which was established in 1916 by Woodrow Wilson. It originally covered 6,000 acres, but now covers more than 40,000 acres. As people die their property is donated to the park. A painter soon came to the area and as soon as his pictures got to New York, etc. the rich and famous came in in droves and built huge mansions (called cottages) and Bar Harbor became their playground. That started waining as they got older and in 1947 the “Great Fire” burned more than 17,000 acres on the island, including all but one of the “cottages”, and along with the origination of the Income Tax, The Great Depression and WW II ended the cottage era. The park became in disarray, but in future years it was revived and the roads and bridges (which survived the fire) repaired. Today they are still in use except to cars. There are still some magnificent homes on the islands. Most of the islands are privately owned or have been donated to the park.
From the Visitor Center, we continued on the Park Loop Road which is 27miles long and takes in most of the parts of the park that is are accessible by car. Our first stop was to go up to the top of Cadillac Mountain which is the highest mountain on the eastern seaboard. It is 1530 high. Other High points were Jordan lake, Seal Harbor, Bubble Lake, and the Carriage Road and it's bridges. The Carriage road was built by mostly by John D. Rockefeller. All of the bridges are all built of steel reinforced concrete covered by natural stone, so they look like they are completely built of stone. There is one exception to this. It is the Bubble Pond Bridge. It is built entirely of natural stone. There are several gates into the carriage oad with a couple of gatehouse at the two main entrances to the road. The road goes to Seal Harbor where the road actually goes over bridge which is one of the carriage bridges. The only place an auto is allowed on the carriage road. From there, we headed back toward Bar Harbor.
We finally got to Bar Harbor and I am in love with it. If we could afford it,which we can't, I would love to live there. Their shoreline, ocean, islands, and quaint down town is awesome even though you wouldn't be able to get 'downtown” during tourist season. We got into town and worked our way through traffic down to the waterfront. We lucked out and found a parking spot right across the street from the pier where the tour boats are moored. It was 3:30PM. We went over to inquire about the cruises. There was a cruise leaving at 4:00 PM so we really timed that right. It was on a Nature Tour boat called the Acadian. It was very windy, but not too cold. It was a 2 hour tour Frechman's Bay and many of the islands and their history, the Eagle Rock Lighthouse, plus we saw eagles and sea harbor seals. The tour also showed many of the mansions that are built up on the cliffs. Some are pretty magnificent. These are not the original mansions as they were all burned in the great fire of '47. We also cruised by the Porcupine Islands (several of them) and Lemon Island and then finally back to the pier. It was a two hour cruise and the tour guide was a local gal who was born and raised on Desert Island. She was a wealth ofinformation. We got back in a found a restaurant right across the street from the pier and had a lated dinner. We then headed back home and arrived home about 10:30. A long day but very enjoyable.
We did get to the Maine Maritime Museum which encompasses 20 acres. From 1894 and 1920 the partnership of Sam Percy and Frank Small constructed 41 wooden schooners, including the largest wooden sailing vessel ever launched in the US – the six-masted schooner Wyoming. A permanent part of the museum since 1974, the historic shipyard buildings are now filled with exhibits, tools and machinery exploring the story of Percy & Small and their leading role in Maine's commercial shipbuilding history. There are rotating demonstrations and chidren's activities in the summer. It was really interesting, but because there was so much walking we had to do the old wheelchair trick. We also toured the Donnell House built in 1892 and restored to closelyrecreate the way the Donnel family lived. We were able to tour most of the house including the family room , library, kitchen, bedroom and the entry. Most of the woodwork is in cherrywood. However, some of the woodwork from the remodeling is in oak. It sets on top of the hill overlooking the shipyard and the Kennebec River. A very impressive home. The house was the shipyard owners home.
They also offered different cruises (the museum is on the Kennebeck River)and we chose the lighthouses of the Kennebeck River cruise (6 in all) which ended where the river runs into the ocean. It was a 2 1/2 hr ride, but it was well worth it even though there were 4 small children getting very restless and one woman who never shut up thewhole trip. The trip included the Doubling Point Lighthouse, Kennebec Range Lights, Squirrel Point Lighthouse, Perkins Island Lighthouse, Pond Island Lighthouse and Sequin Island Lighthouse which is where the Kennebec river meets the Atlantic ocean. Usually it is too foggy to see Sequin Island Lighthouse. They've only seen it three times this year and we were lucky that we could see it. This coast canreally be foggy.
We took a short drive to Sebasco Resort which is on a bay, but you can see the ocean from there. It is a nice resort with cabins, condos and houses to rent, plus permanent residents. They also have a really nice restaurant which overlooks Sebasco Harbor. The patio dining area gives a great view the marina and harbor. We had lunch on the patio and watched the sailboats come and go. They also have a lighthouse and you can rent a room for $200/night. The harbor is really very pretty with a lot of boat traffic in and out. The resort offers a water taxi to take boat owners out to their boats.