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Published: November 17th 2020
JOHNNY'S JOURNEYS: NEW HAMPSHIRE, VERMONT and MAINE 2017
September 25, 2017 (Monday)
I am wide awake with excitement when our alarm clock tells me it is 3:45. Seems
like we have not forgotten any items. Bethany drove us to the Mobile airport and we
arrived at 5:45. Using the self check-in kiosk was easy. TSA has us as “pre-screen”
which meant not having to take off our shoes. A few minutes after 6:00 and we walk
the familiar path towards the gates.
There were thunderstorms to the east and I was fascinated by the lightning. I think I
got some good video footage. It was unusual that the plane was only half-full. I was able
to move and sit by my wife. Right on schedule, the sun rises at 6:26. I was pleased to
snooze a few times on the flight to Charlotte, NC.
The American Airlines flight leaves for Manchester, New Hampshire around 10 a.m.
This is our first vacation in New England! Janet has a window seat this morning and we
nap a few more times. It is a very pleasant 84 degrees in Manchester, when we land at
12:15. And the luggage arrives too! We had rented a car from Thrifty and we're soon in
our Hyundai Tucson, with New York license plates. Our route is west on Hwy. 101.
Our first stop is in Bedford, established in 1750. Parking at a library, I take a few
photos of the historic district. Up ahead, in the town of Amherst, we see the Black For-
est Cafe and Bakery. They tout themselves as servers of comfort food. I order Shaker
cranberry brisket with mashed red potatoes and broccolini. Janet had seared scallops. On
my next visit, I'll get the PEI mussels. We then ordered a large slice of cake to go.
A vacation goal for us is to visit lots of covered bridges. In Merrimack we drive over
the Stowell Road Covered Bridge. Built in 1990, it crosses the Baboosic Brook. Such a
relaxing sound, listening to the babbling brook below. Nearby, I thoroughly enjoyed see-
ing stones stacked up as natural fences.
We then found the Cresson Covered Bridge, built in 1859. Then south of Keene, we
drove across the Carlton Covered Bridge. Though it dates back to 1789, it was rebuilt in
1869. I stopped in Winchester to ask for directions. Driving through the countryside, we
came across the Coombs Bridge Road Covered Bridge.
I drove to a service station and bought some water and got directions for two more.
The Slate Covered Bridge shows a date of 2001. It also had a sign showing a $5 fine for
riding or driving over this bridge faster than a walk! Then on the banks of the Asheulot
River, (a NH Protected River), I walked across the Thompson Covered Bridge. Built in
1832, it was reconstructed in 1993. A historic marker tells about the Homestead Woolen
Mills Dam. This rock filled, timber crib dam was originally built in the 1850s. The dam
was removed in 2010. Successful? We crossed over six covered bridges on our 1st
Continuing west of Keene, we drove into Vermont.. The Green Mountain State. There
was a gorgeous sunset over the Green Mountains about 6:30. Our inn this evening is in
Wilmington, in southern Vermont. The Old Red Mill sits on the north branch of the
Deerfield River and was built in 1828. Several years ago, it was converted into a quaint
old inn. And it is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. It's just delightful.
After settling in, I walked around the corner to Dot's Restaurant. That's good timing
as the place closes at 8:00 in this small town of 1900 people. I ordered a corned beef
sandwich on Canadian oatmeal bread. And I got Janet a hot pastrami on rye. Just what
we wanted. And then for dessert was the large slice of white cake with walnuts and
maple flavored icing from the Black Forest Cafe. Yum! Seems like there were only five
rooms occupied for the night. I went down the stairwell to street level. It was mighty
dark... almost abandoned looking on the first floor. In bed early tonight by 10:00.
September 26, 2017 (Tuesday)
Waking up about 7:00, I wandered around the downtown area. There are pretty plants
at a bridge which crosses the Deerfield River. There's a statue of Molly Stark, mother of
11, and the wife of Revolutionary War General John Stark. The marker tells a little
history about the Revolutionary War victory at Bennington.
I purchase a few pastries at the local Dot's Restaurant. We eat them after checking out
of the Old Red Mill Inn and drive west on Hwy. 9. About 20 miles later, we've reached
Bennington. We drive through this pretty little town until arriving at Bennington Monu-
ment. It's the tallest building in Vermont, standing at 306 feet high. An elevator takes us
to the observation level. And we can see about 30 miles through the haze, including New
York and Massachusetts. On August 16, 1777 our new country earned a victory over the
British in a turning point in the Revolutionary War: the Battle of Bennington. (I noted it
was exactly 200 years later that singer Elvis Presley died.) We then bought souvenirs
(sweatshirt, book, pins, postcards) to remember this historic spot.
We love driving across covered bridges... so much nostalgia. And there are 3 more
close by which all cross over the Walloomsac River: Silk Road, Paper Mill and Henry.
All 3 were built in the 1800s. We passed the entrance to Bennington College. Bethany
had an invitation to come for a visit, when she was a high school senior. Bennington is
recognized by the Princeton Review for campus beauty. It is also ranked among
America's “Top 10 Brainiest Colleges.”
We then backtracked on Hwy. 9 for Wilmington. This little stretch of road is called
the Molly Stark Trail. Near Woodford, we had a short stop to walk down to the river. It
looked like a wonderful place for a picnic. Upon reaching Wilmington, we turn north
onto Route 100. This is the beginning of the Green Mountain Highway, as designated by
the Reader's Digest book: The Most Scenic Drives in America.
We pass by meadows and mountains as we're at the edge of the Green Mountain
National Forest. In West Dover we stop at the Valley View Saloon for lunch. I believe
the fried haddock was the best I've ever eaten. Janet enjoyed a corned beef sandwich.
There are so many photo opportunities. It is just beautiful in the mountains, as leaves
have started turning red, gold and yellow. The fantastic fall foilage is not at its peak for
about three more weeks. But for two folks who live near the Gulf of Mexico, this is
We saw 5 or 6 “Moose Crossing” signs. As hard as we looked, the moose were hiding
today. Up ahead we stopped along the roadside and had a short visit at the Granville
Reservation. The highlight was Moss Glen Falls. It's one of the tallest waterfalls in
Vermont. So soothing to only hear the gentle rush of the water and the forest sounds of
the babbling brook.
There is no telephone reception in this rural area. Bethany called us as we arrived in
Waitsville. She and her grandma had been shopping and located a wedding dress and
veil. I stopped for directions and we arrived at the White Horse Inn about 6:50. It is so
charming. Across the street is Mount Ellen, which is the state's second tallest mountain.
This is a split-level inn with three stories. We kinda liked the “mud room” to store wet,
muddy boots and umbrellas.
We settle into Room 207, which is called Snowball. Other cute room names include:
Periwinkle, Snowflake, Inverness and Sugarbear. We drive a few miles to the Hyde Inn
Bar and Restaurant. Janet loved the “local beef” burger with Vermont cheese. And I had
the meatloaf with mashed potatoes, carrots and green beans.
Back at the inn, we stayed an hour in the great den with its huge fireplace. Relaxing
zen music played as we enjoyed fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and raspberry tea.
This was very soothing on the nerves, after a full day of traveling. In bed by 11:00
September 27, 2017 (Wednesday)
With a 7:00 wake-up call, we're looking forward to breakfast. Chef Allen gives us
several options. We choose a potato-basil frittata, chocolate waffle with strawberries and
cousin Bill's Vermont maple syrup. There was also yogurt, a banana, blueberry scone,
and tomato and grapefruit juice. Afterwards we strolled down to a small pond. With a
few chairs for the guests, this is the definition of tranquility! 9:30 and we're on our way.
Only 5 minutes after leaving, we're in Fayston and come upon the Battleground
Covered Bridge. Built of steel and concrete in 1974, it provides access to the Battle-
ground Resort and Condominiums.
Next up was the small town of Bristol. It's famous attraction is the Bristol Rock. This
huge boulder is a remnant from the last Ice Age. In 1891, The Lord's Prayer was carved
on it. It's l1ocated just a few feet off the highway, and I just needed to get a photo.
We're soon in the Oldest City in Vermont, Vergennes... settled in 1766. At one square
mile, it is also the smallest chartered city in Vermont. And now we'll join another Most
Scenic Drives in America route. It's the Lake Champlain Loop. Farther north we saw a
covered bridge at the Shelburne Museum. We could probably spend a whole day here at
the museum, but that will have to be another visit.
Then we arrive at the largest city in the state, Burlington. As we drive by Champlain
College, we see dozens of students going to classes. This is the fourth different name for
this small college of 2200 students, since it was founded in 1878. And we won't forget
the spectacular views, looking down onto Lake Champlain.
Leaving the city behind, we cross a bridge and reach the southernmost island located
in Lake Champlain. There are lush green pastures, golden hayfields, fragrant orchards,
sparkling blue waters, white sailboats, and the Adirondack Mountains to our west. We
exit the highway and drive into the entrance of Grand Isle State Park. This is the place to
enjoy a fresh breeze and take in the beautiful scenery. The historic lake is named for the
explorer Samuel Champlain. He was here in 1609 and claimed the land for France.
Continuing to drive, I see a souvenir store in Alburgh: New England Via Vermont.
There is a unique flag there; half American and half-Canadian. An amateur Civil War
museum there was quite informative. Being from south Alabama, I did not recall a Civil
War battle in Vermont. In nearby Albans, 22 Confederate soldiers robbed 3 banks of
$210 thousand in October 1864. And soon 6 were captured in Canada. This seemed to be
the northernmost skirmish of the 1861-1865 U.S. Civil War. Also in the store were
rocks, fossils and minerals available for the tourists. Our daughter graduates from
Geology School in a few months. Hey, we got some nice Christmas gifts for her! We
continue on Hwy. 2 until we are now in New York.
Canada is one mile away. Bon Jour! We are now in Quebec. Our first time in this
Province. We drive about 5 miles and see nothing but almost flat farmland. Montreal and
Quebec will have to be seen on another visit.
Back in Vermont and we stop for a 4:00 lunch in St. Albans. At Durty Nelly's Irish
Pub, we ordered two Irish Shepherd pies. Next is one original and one Mexican poutine
for our sides. Janet gets a Guiness stout beer while I have a Gumption Hard Cider, which
is crafted in VT.
As we continue on our journey, we drive through Smuggler's Notch State Park. This
is a good time to be here... as the road is closed during the winter. There are dozens of
very sharp curves. We pulled off for some photos and a little hike. Lots of hiking trails
here, but also bouldering, ice climbing, cave exploring and mountain biking.
A few miles from Stowe is the heart of snow skiing country... Mount Mansfield,
which is the highest mountain in the state. This evening we will stay at the Innsbruck
Inn. Opened in 1972, it was fashioned after ski chalets in Innsbruck, Austria. And there
is a connection with Stowe's Billy Kidd being the first American to win a Silver medal
in Alpine Skiing at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. There is a stream at
the back of the property, complete with a covered bridge. Of course I had to visit the
cold water swimming pool, hot tub and indoor hot sauna. Fun! A great day, ending at 11.
September 28, 2017 (Thursday)
We're up at 7 and enjoy breakfast at 8:30. Wow, French toast, blueberry pancakes,
bacon, scrambled eggs, sausage, potatoes, yogurt, coffee, cranberry juice and apple
juice. And a chilly 64 degrees outside. Inside the dining room are several photos and
posters of snow skiing. Looks like a lively place in the snowy winter months.
As we checked out about 9:30, I told the desk clerk that I had looked at dozens of
hotels/motels/inns in the Stowe area. We decided to stay here because we had spent 3
days in Innsbruck, Austria on our honeymoon.
We drive south again on the scenic route 100. Near Waterbury, Janet and I pass Ben
and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory. Looks like lots of folks are going to tour the factory this
morning. This site manufacturers about 350,000 pints of delicious ice cream daily.
We will now drive on I-89 for awhile. We're soon going through the capital city of
Montpelier. With a population of about 7,5000 this is the smallest capital in the country.
Such pretty scenery as we go through more of the Green Mountains. And we re-enter
New Hampshire near White River Junction. Our plans today are to take a Reader's
Digest Scenic Drive up the western part of the state: New Hampshire Highlights. From
riverside lowlands, this drive climbs to higher ground, where waterfalls leap and land
where the wind whips across mountain tops... This is the Granite State and some people
say that granite is New Hampshire's most abundant crop.
This scenic drive starts at Hanover. We feel like college students again as we drive
through the campus of Dartmouth. This school is one of the elite eight Ivy League
colleges. One of the country's oldest colleges, founded in 1769, it has a student enroll-
ment of about 6600. Janet comments on the The College Green, the grassy heart of the
Driving through Lyme and Orford, we see Vermont, just west of the Connecticut
River. Our next little stop is at the Bedell Bridge State Historic Site. This was the site of
the second longest covered bridge in the country, which connected New Hampshire to
Vermont. The two-span covered bridge was destroyed by a violent windstorm in 1979.
Ironically, it was on the same day when Hurricane Frederick damaged Mobile, Alabama.
Near Woodsville we stop at a roadside produce market. We bought a bag of Macoun
apples. A cross between McIntosh and Jersey Black varieties, these apples are aromatic,
extra sweet and juicy with a hint of crunch. We were pleased to also purchase cheese and
Vermont maple cream. The apple fragrance in our rental car was heavenly!
In Woodsville we see our first covered bridge of the day. The Haverhill-Bath bridge
was originally built in 1829. This 256-foot long bridge was in use for 170 years, before
being “retired” in 1999. We walked to the Saltwater Seafood Restaurant for lunch and I
ordered clam strips and butternut squash. Janet had the full belly clams. So good. Many
hours later and I was thinking I had almost eaten too many.
Okay, the map shows that the Swiftwater Covered Bridge is just a few miles away. At
Littleton we head east to the little town of Bethlehem. (Made me think of Christmas.) I
had made reservations at the Hearthside Village Cottage Motel. This was a surprise des-
tination for Janet. In fact, I have several surprises for her on this trip. It is so cute. There
are 16 quaint, picturesque cottages which are quite cozy. (www.hearthsidevillage.com
This is the night we turn on the heater, as the temperature should drop down to 41
What next? Take a long nap. Later on I worked on my travel diary and ate one apple
for dinner. That was enough for me. In bed at 11:00.
September 29, 2017 (Friday)
I awake at 7:00 and look through several brochures I had picked up from a hospitality
room. It's 37 degrees this morning. I drive into the downtown area to retrieve some
breakfast. I loved the name: Maia Papaya. Its a coffee shoppe and I bring back a bagel
and decadent bread puddin' french toast (sliced and grilled with maple syrup). Ready to
take on another day.
We will take another Reader's Digest Scenic Ride: White Mountain Wonderland.
“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep”, wrote Robert Frost. He was moved by the icy
beauty of the White Mountains. Most of this scenic drive is within the boundary of the
White Mountain National Forest.
The first stop is the Franconia Notch State Park. We went to Echo Lake beach. I took
some great reflection photos, looking at the notch, carved out by glaciers. There's Mount
Lafayette at 5249 feet. Its summit is the highest point in the Franconia Notch.
The next stop was at the “Old Man of the Mountain”. This 40 foot high rock forma-
tion was immortalized by Nathaniel Hawthorne when he used it as an inspiration for his
short story “The Great Stone Face”. The image even appears on state license plates. In
2003, the forces of nature succeeded in crumbling the five blocks which make up the old
man's face to the ground. Volunteers had worked for 90 years to shore up these blocks
with chains, cement, plastic covering and steel rods.
Nearby we saw a few fly-fisherman at Profile Lake. This area is so peaceful! In 1896
Julius Ward wrote “this place is where you forget the outside world and give yourself up
A short distance later a sign about the Appalachian Trail caught my eye. A retirement
idea for a bucket list trip is to drive the entire A.T.... in all 14 states. I never thought that
today, I would actually get out onto the trail. At Liberty Springs, I “walked the Appala-
chian Trail” for about 5 minutes.
Our journey next takes us across the Kancamagus Scenic Byway. This stretch of Hwy
122 reaches a height of nearly 2900 feet and is about 34 miles long. This is one of the
best places in New England to enjoy the Fall foilage. At a scenic observation point, one
sign explained three zones found here. The Northern Hardwood Zone, the Boreal Forest
Zone and the Subalpine Zone. Of course, there are different trees and bushes for the
A little later, we stopped at the Lower Falls, our first waterfalls of the day. Then we
drove across the Albany Covered Bridge, built in 1858. Then we saw a neat sign: Brake
for Moose: It Could Save Your Life!
In the town of Conway, we stopped for lunch at the Sweet Maple Cafe. First choice
was haddock chowder, but was already sold out. So, we ordered chili with beef and a
turkey panini. It was a pleasant little place.
Our second covered bridge to visit today crossed the Saco River. Located in Conway,
it was built in 1890. In North Conway we passed by a McDonalds. By the golden arches
a sign read “Get a Lobster, Before It's Gone”. In Bartlett, a covered bridge has been con-
verted into a gift shop. There are tons of cute souvenirs here. Christmas presents???
At Bretton Woods, we drove through to the Mount Washington Resort. An amazing
place to see. We decided that we need to stay here on a future visit. Driving back to our
cottage, a sign touts “Bethlehem – Poetry Capital of New Hampshire”. We found a small
grocery store nearby. We'll have peanut butter sandwiches and fresh apples for supper.
September 30, 2017 (Saturday)
Up around 7:15 and I returned to the Maia Papaya for a takeout breakfast. One bagel
and cream cheese and I get another bread puddin' French toast. We then drive 302 East
past Bretton Woods. Then stopped by the Willey House and enjoyed a little stroll by the
Saco River. We're retracing some of yesterday's drive.
At North Conway we rejoin the R.D. White Mountain Wonderland scenic drive. In
Jackson we see two more covered bridges. One is called Honeymoon Bridge and was
built in 1876. And there is another one at the Wentworth Golf Course. A scarecrow near
the parking lot waved at us.
It's mostly cloudy today but we decide to drive the Mount Washington Auto Road.
It was opened in 1861 and touts itself as the highest mountain in New England at 6288
feet. A sign there reads “The Worst Weather In The World”. Maybe because the
temperature can drop so far... so quickly. Or because in 1934, the highest recorded wind
speed on our planet occurred here: 231 Miles Per Hour. The world's first mountain
climbing COG railway was built here in 1869. This is the second steepest rack-and-
pinion railway in the world.
It is 8 miles to the summit and visitors travel through 3 separate zones. At the top is
the fragile Alpine Zone. It was a very windy 33 degrees when we arrived at the Tip-Top
House. And there was snow on the ground. Within 10 minutes we were completely
engulfed in clouds. I had to do the tourist thing and have my photo taken at the Mount
Washington Summit sign: 6288 feet. From here, visibility was less than 50 feet.
Driving down a few miles, clouds clear away and we can see below us again. On a
clear day, people can see 4 states, Canada and the Atlantic Ocean... If only we were here
yesterday, when there were no clouds on the summit. It was quite treacherous driving
with no guard rails. This drive is not for someone with a fear of heights. There are abso-
lutely stunning views. At the Halfway house, only the foundation is left now. There were
pink granite rocks all around us.
Once again we are on the R.D. Scenic Road. We see lots of wild turkeys as we drive
north along the Androscoggan River. Next, we drive through the 13 Mile Woods. It is a
sustainable forest for recreational use. As we enter Errol, with a population of 170, it is
the end of our scenic road for the day.
Driving southeasterly, we stop and take the obligatory photo of another state sign. We
are in Maine. This is my 38th
state to visit. We soon pass by Grafton Notch State Park.
Two quick highlights here were the Moose Cave and Mother Walker Falls. Our final
stop this evening is Bethel, known as “Maine's Most Beautiful Mountain Village”. The
Grand Victorian Inn, built in 1890 has lavish decorations, beautiful rooms, exquisite
food and wonderful hospitality. These are a few reasons this is designated as “One of the
Ten Best Inns in New England”.
Chef Anthony has prepared dinner this evening at the restaurant on the first floor. We
start with two bowls of clam chowder. Then I order seafood, while Janet has pasta. I find
an Auburn Tigers football game on television. A 49 – 10 victory will have me happy for
another week. We use a chair as a step-stool to climb into the bed. I finish the night with
a jacuzzi. I'm totally relaxed for an 11:30 bedtime.
October 1, 2017 (Sunday)
I'm up at 7:00 and see where it is 37 degrees outside. While Janet is in the shower,
I'm flipping channels on the t.v. What do I see on the Travel Channel? A commercial
from Sweet Home Alabama. It touts Mobile, AL as the birthplace of Mardi Gras in the
U.S.A. Wow, 1500 miles from home and I'm looking at my home state.
There's a lovely setting for breakfast this morning in a gorgeous Victorian house. We
have a good view of Main Street in Bethel, Maine. Blueberry cheesecake French toast
and quiche are big favorites. Yogurt with roasted granola, fresh fruit and pumpkin bread
make us want to soon take a return visit.
It was interesting having to step onto a chair to reach our high mattress. The spacious
bathroom has two scalloped sinks, a heated towel rack and a jacuzzi. This is special.
There are woods and small towns/villages for about 90 minutes. In Hiram, population
1620, we stop for a surprise visit with an old friend from Montgomery. Diane seems
stunned to see us and we apologize for arriving unannounced. Our cell phone was not
receiving a signal. She is the older sister of my college roommate, Joe. She continued
with her canning and we talked for almost three hours. Oh yes, there was a lot to get
caught up with. Her 90 year old husband, Jack, came in from the garden and chatted
with us too. He can speak 12 different languages and has traveled to OVER 100
countries. He has truly led a remarkable life.
Upon leaving, we drove down a one lane back road to Barkers Pond. Such a serene
setting. This is an absolute getaway from the busy, stressful world. We continued our
eastern drive as we meandered through small villages until we finally hit the big city of
We arrive in Old Orchard Beach around 5 p.m. The Seacliff Motel is adjacent to the
beach. Yes, we can see the Atlantic Ocean from our room!! It's such a thrill to hear the
roar of the ocean... and the pounding of waves.
Backtracking on Hwy. 9 a few miles, we arrive at the Clambake Restaurant. No lunch
today, so I'm very ready for my first lobster dinner. We each order a Lazyman Lobster
dinner. Janet gets the garlic butter topping, while I have the seafood stuffing. They have
already done the peeling for us. Included are mashed potatoes and cole slaw. There are
several moose heads mounted on the walls. Looking at acres of wetlands, through the
large windows at sunset, was a wonderful way to welcome the evening. I can now check
this Maine lobster dinner off the bucket list.
Back at our motel room, I talked to Bethany for a few minutes. Janet then chats with
her a long time while I go out to the pool and hot tub. I have a nice visit with a Montreal
couple. They tell me that thousands of large clams have been washed ashore. I'll check it
out tomorrow. In bed by 10:30.
October 2, 2017 (Monday)
6:00 alarm and we're greeted with 45 degree weather. I sure need my jacket as I
walked down to the beach. Orange and pink begins to show in the eastern sky. Fewer
than 20 people out at 6:40 this morning as I view another gorgeous sunrise. But my big
surprise is seeing thousands of large clams that have washed ashore. It might be due to
hurricane activity... hundreds of miles away. The seagulls had an absolute feast!
A short drive to Scarborough, est. in 1658, and I find a Dunkin Donuts shop for a
quick breakfast. We leave about 9:45 and will follow Route 1 on another R.D. Scenic
Drive. This one is entitled: Maine Coast. “Rocky, rugged and with few sandy beaches,
Maine's craggy midcoast is the legacy of long gone Ice Age glaciers”.
We drive through or around South Portland, Portland and Falmouth. We get glimpses
of bays, marshes and wetlands on our east side. Janet reads to me as I drive north on
Hwy. 1. Our Scenic Drive route this morning takes us through Brunswick, Bath and
Wiscassett. Exiting the main road, we drive down to Boothbay Harbor. “Once a little
fishing village, Boothbay Harbor has evolved into a bustling summer resort. Wind-
jammers and other craft set out from the quaint waterfront for sightseeing tours of
lighthouses, seabirds, whales, seals and off-shore islands”.
My biggest surprise of our trip is today. And Janet sorta figured it out. We have reser-
vations to board Capn. Fish's boat and go out WHALE-WATCHING!!! Both of us had
this adventure on our bucket list. There were about 50 of us as we left Pier 1 at 1:00. We
slowly passed several hundred buoys as we went out close to 20 miles. Each of
the 400 lobstermen mark their buoys a different shape, color or design. It was a thrill to
see a bald eagle soaring above us.
80 minutes later, we finally see the spray from a blowhole. And then, yes, our first
whale sighting. What a thrill!!! The fin tale of the whale surfaces for a very short period
of time; usually 2-3 times. Then it plunges for about eight minutes today. All our eyes
peer out, anxiously awaiting the next sighting. After they dive down for 5-7-8 minutes,
they could pop up anywhere. It was suggested to video rather than photograph these ma-
jestic mammals. They're only above the surface for maybe ten seconds, before going
under to eat again.
A second fin whale appears as we see the blowhole spray in the distance. Our captain,
Steve, brings the boat in closer. Then we see a third FIN whale. We're going in large
circles now and we see two MINKE whales. These are among the smallest of the great
whales. All in all, us tourists see FIVE whales today! So memorable...
Returning to Boothbay Harbor, I read that there are over 70 lighthouses on the coast
of Maine. I think I saw 3-4 on today's adventure. We drive further north and will stay the
evening in Ellsworth, ME. Janet and I stop by a Freshies Deli for our dinner. There's a
chicken salad/ cranberry/ walnut wrap with chips, apple, coca-cola and cookies. We find
the Homestead Motel in Ellsworth and settle in for an early evening. In bed by 10:00.
October 3, 2017 (Tuesday)
Up at 6:30 and will soon visit the office for a continental breakfast. 8:00 and the
office is still closed. So I go to a nearby service station and buy yogurt and honeybuns
for breakfast. Okay, we have a quick breakfast and leave the motel around 9:30. And so
we prepare to visit the country's first national park, east of the Mississippi River.
This is our first trip to Acadia National Park. This is Janet's 18th
national park; while I
have been to one more than her. This park is known as the Crown Jewel of the North
Atlantic Coast. With 3.5 million visits each year, this is one of the 10 most visited U.S.
National parks. The 27-mile Park Loop Road is the go-to scenic drive around the east
side of Mount Desert Island. Atop Cadillac Mountain, we could have admired the quiet
beauty of the water below us for hours. I thought the pink granite was gorgeous. At one
location, we saw two large cruise ships.
A little while later, we got the chance to see the Bass Harbor Head Light Station.
There are three lighthouses within the boundaries of Acadia National Park. And that was
our goal, to see all three today. One of our favorite areas today turned out to be the
Somes Sound. With massive boulders / rocks, blue waters and green trees everywhere,
this was an amazingly tranquil place. And we're pleased to see a large, soaring falcon.
Bar Harbor was our afternoon destination for lunch. We were looking for the Cherry-
stone Restaurant. There was a large outdoor, but enclosed, eating area. Each of us had
been wanting to order clam chowder and a lobster roll!!! It did not disappoint.
As we drive northerly, I think of my high school friend, Wilkes. He has had an EPA
job in Maine for years. Tonight we shall stay in the small town of Machias. One block
from the airport, we have reservations at the Bluebird Motel. Yes, this is a pretty small
place, with about 1200 residents.
October 4, 2017 (Wednesday)
I had set the alarm clock for 5:00. Do I have another big surprise for my wife today?
We drive northerly and at 5:30 we're at the West Quoddy Lighthouse. There is a famous
little granite marker in front of the lighthouse. “Easternmost Point in the U.S.A. West Quoddy
Head... Lubec, Maine.” And this morning's surprise? We were 2 of 11 to watch
the first sun rays dawn on our great country! The original tower was built in 1808. The
16-striped (red and white) tower here today was constructed in 1858. This was such a
beautiful setting for a lighthouse.
Oh Canada! We drive across the bridge into New Brunswick. This is our second new
Canadian Province on this trip. We drive to the end of Campobello Island to see East
Quoddy Lighthouse. It is only accessible at low tide. So, there is a very short window of
opportunity to actually visit the lighthouse. You may be stranded for 8+ hours. Wow..
I guess we've spent enough time in New Brunswick and set our sights on a return trip
to Machias. The busy Bluebird Ranch family restaurant will be our stop for breakfast.
One short stack of pancakes for Janet, and she chooses the fresh maple syrup. I go with a
large stack of pancakes with blueberry sauce. There were 400+ wild blueberries in the
sauce. And there was a huge dollop of whipped cream. Don't think I've ever eaten so
many blueberries in one sitting. But I'm up for the challenge anytime. Down on Main
Street and we check out of our motel at 11:00. We will be driving Hwy. 1 southwards. A
sign shows that it's 2065 miles to Key West, Florida.
In a little while, we enter the Schoodic National Scenic Byway. I was not familiar
with this one. Then we drive by the Waldo-Hancock Bridge. It was designated as the
“Most Beautiful Steel Bridge” of 1931. It crosses the Penobscot River, and looks so very
We drive through Portland... then on into Portsmouth. Our time in Maine is now over
as we cross back into New Hampshire. We check into the EconoLodge in Manchester
Tonight we'll have snacks for supper as we have some packing to do this evening. We
were able to talk to Bethany for a little while. She misses us, too. I finally catch up with
my travel diary. As I looked over some notes, I had forgotten we went through some
“famous” named small towns. There was Berlin, Bethlehem, Dublin, Lisbon and Milan
in New Hampshire. We drove through Jamaica and Peru in Vermont. And drove through
Norway, Denmark and Belfast, while in Maine. Interesting!
October 5, 2017 (Thursday)
We receive a 7:00 wake-up call and go downstairs for a Continental breakfast. Today
we have muffins, yogurt , juice and coffee. The setting was an old brick building. It
looked like an old mill house, probably built in the 1800s.
We easily find the Thrifty Car Rental return center. In ten days Janet and I drove 1893
miles. We use our TSA pre-check cards and await a 10:45 flight to Philadelphia. Leaving
the airport, we look at the large Exit 4 sign atop our EconoLodge.
Okay, we have a little time in Philly for lunch. At the Germantown Biergarten, we
order a Baurenwurst with horse-radish mustard and sauerkraut; plus a soft pretzel with
plenty of cheese. Very good...
We're about 45 minutes late leaving the City of Brotherly Love, as the plane “backup
staff” was not to be found. There was a short flight to Charlotte and we leave there at
5:45. Change the watches, then we're home in Mobile at 6:30. Life is good!!!
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