The next day, New Years Eve, we spent steaming the carpet, laundry, etc so were too tired to do anything. The resort was having some type of get- togther, but we just didn’t have the energy to go. Boy are we getting dull. I probably wouldn’t have been able to wear all my finery anyway to just have a few drinks. One of the towns we went through to get here did have an Elk’s, which is the first one we have seen in many states, but we haven’t checked it out yet. A very quiet New Years Eve.
New Year’s Day it poured here so we just stayed in and watched the Rose Parade and read books. I made onion soup (I’ve had better) and ham and lima beans just to keep busy. There isn’t a supermarket anywhere around here so am going to have to start curtailing my culinary talents (yea). Update - Bob found a Wal-Mart so filled up on groceries (nuts).
The next day we took a short drive around the area. There is one small town after another - some are better kept up than others - but very few have nothing more than a post office, antique stores, gas stations and car repair places still operating. Accord itself had very few places still open. There are some really great old buildings and homes all over.
Our next little town was High Falls, NY. It was another quaint little town with a lot of historical buildings and sites. One of the sites is the remains of the B&H (Baltimore and Hudson) canal are still in evidence so it was a pretty interesting drive although Bob does not like New York drivers. They are rude, inconsiderate and love to honk their horns. We had a quick lunch in a very neat little cafe.
A couple of days later we took a drive to New Paltz which is a historic town founded in 1678 by 12 Huguenot families who had fled religious persecution in northern France. The main attraction is the district that includes seven of their original stone houses, the earliest built in 1705, as well as a burial ground and reconstructed 1717 French church. The tours of the inside of the houses ends in Oct., but we still got to see the outsides. Downtown New Paltz still has a lot of the old buildings in use and is really quaint. We had lunch in a really old building that boasted over 500 beers (they aren’t cheap), but the food was delicious. It is also a college town and a tourist mecca, so was really crowded.
From there we took a short hop over to the Hudson River. The main road takes you over a bridge to Poughkeepsie, which we didn’t want to do, so we finally found a road that wound down right to the river. We were so close I could dangle my feet in the water (I didn’t). Got some good pictures.
On the way back we stopped at Minnewaska State Park whose main features are rock climbing and hiking, but they have a beautiful mountain top lake and lots of streams and falls. One of the main falls is Awosting Falls, a beautiful 75' waterfall. Minnewaska Lake is also a very pretty site. Bob had a field day taking pictures.
On the way home we stopped by a place called the Mohonk Preserve which has 6500 acres of cliffs, forests ponds, fields and streams. We didn't have time to do much more than go to the visitors center but in the summer it would be a great place to return to and explore. After that we headed home. It was a really full day, but we enjoyed it. Thank goodness, because it poured the next couple of days.
Next we decided to tour the Catskill Mountains, but ended up taking us 3 days. The first day we decided to visit the town of Woodstock. Getting there took us along the south shore of Ashokan Reservoir which supplies the water to New York so isn’t a recreational lake. It is really large, but could only see bits of it through the trees. Also, there were lots of streams (also called Kills which is a Dutch word for stream), waterfalls (the biggest of which is Kaaterskill Falls and all the cliffs along the road were covered with icicles. All the houses were fairly large and old, but most were being kept up, plus there were remnants of rock walls all through the woods. It was a great drive and lots of picture taking opportunities. We got to Woodstock that is a very picturesque tourist town loaded with art galleries and hippie type stores. In the 1920's it was known for its maverick concerts and other things and in 1969 the Woodstock Festival got so big it had to be moved to Yasgur’ s Farm in Bethel, NY, so contrary to popular belief the 1969 Festival was not held in Woodstock. Anyway, it really started getting cold and the wind started blowing as we went on to Hunter and Tannerville where a major ski resort is located. It did start to snow and with the wind became a blizzard at times, but did not last long so no help to the ski slopes. On the way back from Tannerville, we went over a small pass (about 2500') and at the top there was a very pretty lake called Notch Lake. There was about 4 to 5 inches of snow on the ground here and it was still snowing very lightly. There has been no snow in the Northeast and the resorts are really hurting. We continued on through a beautiful canyon to Phoenicia and then to home.
ur next drive from Sundown to West Shokan took us through beautiful Peekamoose Canyon and there were so many streams, waterfalls and icicles it was unbelievable. The road was extremely narrow and followed Peekamoose Creek.This was in the southern part of the Catskill Mountains We seemed to stop every mile to take another picture. The first falls we stopped to photograph was High Falls on High Falls Brook which feeds into Peekamoose Creek. It was unbelievable and we saw part of the north shore of Ashokan Reservoir on our way back. We got back early so got caught up on some chores.
Lastly, but not least, we drove to Bethel looking for the famous Woodstock Festival. It wasn’t advertised, but we took a chance on a road that advertised an art complex and luckily we came upon a security person and he directed us to the right spot. There is a plaque depicting the 1969 event surrounded by beautiful grass fields and slopes and across the street is a makeshift stage that they now use. It is a beautiful area and are just completing a huge art complex that should open this year. I can now say I was at Woodstock. The drive there was full of old inns, motels and cabins, most of which were pretty derelict and the towns were shabby and barely making it. This is the area that in the 1920s the Rat Pack and other big name entertainers were regulars, which is why there are so many old inns and motels. There are several pretty lakes, but are now private so there is nothing to draw tourists anymore. It is really sad that so much has turn to ruin. Another thing that was very noticeable was the number of huge Hebrew schools. On our way back we went through Ellenville that has an Elk’ s Lodge and since it was Friday they had a dinner so we stopped and had a few drinks and dinner for $8.00 that included a regular salad, seafood salad and a huge plate of roast beef, potatoes, gravy, carrots and a desert. It is a small lodge, but they have one entree dinner every Friday (volunteers) and usually draws about 30 people. They also had a 50/50 drawing, but we didn’ t win. They are the only lodge still open in this whole area. It really was a fun evening.
On Monday the 15th, we had to go to Kingston for our regular shopping at WAL-MART. While driving through the town we found a street that had some beautiful old homes and the street was wide enough to pull over and part to grab some photos. This town, like all of the rest, has homes dating to the 1700's. Some of the town is very well kept and restored and others, WELL not so well kept. One of the old buildings is the Bogardus Tavern. This tavern was the site of the meeting place of the first New York State Assembly on September 10, 1777. Visiting this part of the country is like taking a stroll back in time. Another piece of trivia - gas, cigarettes and wine are expensive here. Gas runs about $2.50 a gal. and a box of wine runs about $15. An expensive place to live. Wuzzy is still hanging in there. He does nothing but sleep and eat and is so full of knots we are probably going to have to shave him again. We bought an oil filled radiator to help with the heat and he has decided it is his and always is wrapped around it. We don’t know how he keeps from being burned. On Thursday, we leave here and head south to Virginia with an overnight stay in Quakertown, PA. We’ll stay a week in a campground about 60 miles west of Washington DC and hopefully we will get in to see the Capitol. Then we stay for 4 nights at Fort AP Hill, Bowling Green, VA. That is fairly close to some historical sites such as Jamestown and Williamsburg. Then on to Fort Story, Virginia Beach, for a several night stay at the Cape Henry RV Park on the base which is right on the beach. So stay tuned and the latest updates will be coming in as they occur.
We got underway for a one night stay at Tohickan Family Campground at Quakertown PA. It was supposed to be an easy 127 miles, but because we were on narrow, crooked country roads in the Poconos with 45 mph speed limits it took us over 3 hours. As soon as we crossed over into PA the roads got bad just like the last time we came through western PA., also lots of truckers who just as soon as run over you as move over. The scenery in the Poconos was pretty through and there were a lot of icicles on the cliffs. We also went over the Delaware River, which is really pretty, and went by a ski run that was valiantly trying to blow man made snow on the hill. The campground sits right on the bank of Tohickon Creek right next to a grist mill with the creek running through it and just beyond the entrance was a covered bridge. It wasn’t a very pretty campground, but had a lot of nteresting features and we were facing the creek, also there were actual people in the campground, unlike the last 2 we were at where we were the only ones there.
The main part of Quakertown is really a trip back in time - totally awesome, but has really grown so the outskirts are just any large town. We decided to go out to eat and Richlandtown was close by. It’s really historic with great houses and buildings, but only few are still operating. They only had one place to eat, the Richlandtown Inn, and it was in a pretty old building (built in 1812 as a stagecoach stop) so we weren’t too sure about eating there. Were we surprised! The interior was like stepping back in time, but the tables had linen tablecloths and the waitress was very nicely dressed and the service was first class. The menu was extensive, very high class and both our meals were the best we have eaten on our trip, plus reasonably priced. We complimented the chef before we left.
The next day took us through a portion of Maryland and West Virginia into Front Royal, Virginia. Virginia is a beautiful state with its green rolling hills and trees and lots of huge beautiful stone homes, buildings and a lot of cemeteries (which has been true all throughout our drive through the East). I think VA is right behind TN as being my favorite. Even though the drive was beautiful we hit heavy winds and Bob was exhausted by the time we got to the campground (Skyline Ranch Resort). The campground is located in rolling hills of the Shenandoah Valley and has all the amenities, including a great clubhouse with a state-of-the-art gym, hot tub, etc. They have a gorgeous Shetland Pony and 2 Potbelly Pigs that are the fattest ones I have every seen. Bob feeds them carrots and even though the horse has cataracts he knows when Bob is coming and he and the pigs come running, or in the pigs case as fast as they can waddle They are absolutely adorable. The Shenandoah Valley is nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and another Appalachian mountain range with the beautiful Shenandoah River winding through it. It is the prettiest valley I have seen. Friday, the first night we were here, we had a wind storm with gusts up to probably 40 and at times I thought we were going to lose our slides. It kept Wuzzy and me up most of the night; however, it was cold and clear and the stars looked so spectacular it was like you could touch them.
Our first excursion was to drive into Front Royal to wash the car and get some tourist information, plus the fact that we can buy wine in grocery stores. That was our first stop, but wine is still fairly expensive here, but gas is under $2 (yea). Front Royal is another old town with lots of charm and lots of history.
When we took a drive along the Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains that is part of the Shenandoah National Park. It extends 205 miles and parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway (which we drove part of when we were in North Carolina), but we were only able to drive 40 miles of it. The park lies astride a beautiful section of the Blue Ridge mountains, which form the eastern rampart of the Appalachian Mountains between PA and GA. It is a narrow, winding road traversing the mountain providing spectacular views of the valley, river and Massanutten (a 40 mile mountain) to the west and the rolling Piedmont country to the east and in the distance you could see at least 5 other mountain ranges shimmering in the distance and was totally surreal (all part of the Appalachian Mountains.). It was awesome. When we got home Bob went out and dug out the portable tv satellite dish and started setting it up. He had it all set up and leveled but found that a tree was directly in the line of sight so after some words, he picked up the dish and moved it. He got lucky as soon as he set it down in the new position we had a good signal. Sometimes good things do happen. We have good television again, plus we have cell phone service again.
Today (Sun) we stayed home to do laundry, catch up on my cooking and travelog - and for the first time we are getting substantial snow. We came north for the snow, getting none with everyone in the west was getting it. It is still snowing right now at 4:00PM with an accumulation of maybe 2 inches. Sure is pretty. Before we left it rained for several days so I decided I was going to cook some soups (which I have never done) so after consulting my cookbooks and a trip to the grocery store, I was ready. Unfortunately, I didn’t consider the time line and I had all these ingredients. There is just so much soups you can cook at any one time and have freezer room, plus a couple weren’t that good. I finally took one out of the freezer and put it into the convection oven. I didn’t know you can’t put plastic in convection - it melted. We had canned soup that night. I still have a ton of onions left over so am probably going to have to chop them up and freeze them. My madness is over and now I am just waiting for our budget to enable me to get back to my KFC or McDonalds. We did stop for lunch recently and they had a buffet with chicken wings. I was in my glory and even snuck some in my purse. Bob just doesn’t get the finer things in life.
They have several caverns in the area so first we went to Skyline Caverns. It was one of the biggest we have been to and had all the usual features plus Anthodites that are found in only a few locations in the world which are also known as “Orchids of the Mineral Kingdom” and are absolutely beautiful. There was also a 37' waterfall into a wishing well and a shallow lake that reflects the ceiling making it look like a fairyland. The walk was fairly easy and only 50 steps so was a great excursion.
The next day we were going to D.C., but it started snowing so we decided to go to Luray Caverns that is the biggest we have seen so far and was outstanding with its cathedral-sized rooms with 10 story high ceilings. The formations were so large and in your face, plus the major feature is the Stalacpipe Organ. The haunting sounds are created by hammers hitting stalactite formations covering more than 3 acres. Totally awesome. There were 70 steps getting out, but I finally made it up them.