Nova Scotia Road Trip! - 2002

Fabulous 37 - day Road Trip! F rom Florida to Nova Scotia and back

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T ABLE OF C ONTENTS Driving Day ................................................................................................................................................ 5 Delaware ................................................................................................................................................... 5

Chesapeake Bay .................................................................................................................................... 5

Delmarva Peninsula .............................................................................................................................. 5

Assateague Island National Seashore ................................................................................................... 6

Cape Henlopen State Park .................................................................................................................... 7

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge ............................................................................................... 8

Kennett Square, PA ................................................................................................................................... 9

Longwood Gardens ............................................................................................................................... 9

Brandywine River Museum................................................................................................................. 10

New Castle, DE ........................................................................................................................................ 11

Philadelphia, PA ...................................................................................................................................... 12

Independence Hall National Historical Park ....................................................................................... 12

Philadelphia Museum of Art ............................................................................................................... 13

Connecticut ............................................................................................................................................. 16

Driving the Pikes.................................................................................................................................. 16

Bishop Family Farms and Orchards..................................................................................................... 17

Hammanasset Beach State Park ......................................................................................................... 18

Mystic Seaport .................................................................................................................................... 19

Rhode Island............................................................................................................................................ 20

Block Island ......................................................................................................................................... 20

Newport .............................................................................................................................................. 24

Massachusetts......................................................................................................................................... 28

Cape Cod National Seashore............................................................................................................... 28

Marconi Station................................................................................................................................... 30

Duck Harbor ........................................................................................................................................ 32

Plymouth ............................................................................................................................................. 34

Saugus ................................................................................................................................................. 38

New Brunswick, Canada.......................................................................................................................... 41

Hopewell Rocks &The Bay of Fundy ....................................................................................................... 44 3

Flower Pot Rocks................................................................................................................................. 44

Cape Enraged ...................................................................................................................................... 47

Prince Edward Island (PEI) ...................................................................................................................... 50

Confederation Bridge.......................................................................................................................... 50

Tignish ................................................................................................................................................. 53

PEI - North Cape ...................................................................................................................................... 54

Wind Farm & Lighthouse .................................................................................................................... 54

Gulf of St. Lawrence & PEI National Park............................................................................................ 56

Capital City - Charlottetown................................................................................................................ 57

Nova Scotia.............................................................................................................................................. 59

Cape Breton Highlands National Park................................................................................................ 59

Whale Watching.................................................................................................................................. 65

Meat ("Loaf") Cove.............................................................................................................................. 67

Cape North - Ingonish ......................................................................................................................... 69

Broad Cove Mountain Trail - Ingonish ................................................................................................ 71

Franey Mountain trail - Ingonish ........................................................................................................ 74

Middle Head Hike - Ingonish............................................................................................................... 77

Freshwater Lake Hike - Ingonish ......................................................................................................... 77

Cape Breton Island .................................................................................................................................. 79

Fortress of Louisbourg ........................................................................................................................ 79

Halifax...................................................................................................................................................... 86

Peggy’s Cove ........................................................................................................................................... 87

Swissair Flight 111 Memorial Site ....................................................................................................... 87

Yarmouth................................................................................................................................................. 91

Around Town....................................................................................................................................... 91

Cape Forchu Lighthouse...................................................................................................................... 96

Annapolis Royal .................................................................................................................................. 98

Bad Weather Forecast....................................................................................................................... 101

CAT Cancelled Due to Weather............................................................................................................. 102

Back to the USA..................................................................................................................................... 104

Maine with Relatives............................................................................................................................. 106

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Visiting with Relatives in New Hampshire ............................................................................................ 107

Mount Washington Hotel ................................................................................................................. 107

Madison Boulder............................................................................................................................... 109

Lake Winapausakee Cruise............................................................................................................... 110

Moultonburg, New Hampshire ............................................................................................................. 112

Castle in the Clouds........................................................................................................................... 112

Visiting in Syracuse, NY ......................................................................................................................... 114

Farmer's Market................................................................................................................................ 115

Walk at Onondaga Lake .................................................................................................................... 115

Apple Festival .................................................................................................................................... 116

Green Lakes State Park ..................................................................................................................... 117

Niagara Falls .......................................................................................................................................... 118

Driving South Through Ohio.................................................................................................................. 123

Kentucky................................................................................................................................................ 124

Kentucky Horse Park ......................................................................................................................... 124

Berea ................................................................................................................................................. 127

INDEX..................................................................................................................................................... 129

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N OVA S COTIA N OVELTIES

September 12 to October 23, 2002 Do it Yourself Road Trip

D RIVING D AY Day 1 - A day for pushing our way north to Emporia, Virginia—we did not really stop anywhere other than for gas and potty breaks! We made good time and covered the 554 miles in about 8 ½ hours. Our motel was satisfactory and our dinner at Western Sizzler was acceptable.

D ELAWARE

C HESAPEAKE B AY Day 2 - We got up and out by 7 AM this morning heading for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel hoping to beat the commuter crowds. Except for having to stare right into a blindingly brilliant sunrise, the trip was easy and we reached the start of the bridge by 8:15 AM. This engineering marvel is really quite startling—it’s very strange indeed to just start out over the waters of Chesapeake Bay and then suddenly see the bridge disappear and suddenly reappear a mile in the distance with no visible connection between the two parts! We learned that the Bay is an average of 21 feet deep and that the depths over which the bridge travels are 25 to 100 ft. The first portion of the bridge (17.6 miles) was completed in l964 and cost the incredible sum of $200,000,000! The south leg was finished in 1999 and cost $250,000,000! Four artificial islands were constructed as bases for the tunnels. The two tunnels are about 1 mile long each. We stopped at the guest plaza which comes before the 1st tunnel and looked around and inside the little restaurant and gift shop. Pat bought a couple of souvenir booklets on the bridge and the Chesapeake Watermen. D ELMARVA P ENINSULA Next, we started up the skinny finger of land that leads from the bridge to the Delmarva Peninsula. This is flat but pretty farmland with some pretty wonderful old farmhouses and estates dating back to the 17th century. This area has suffered a severe drought this year, a fact borne out by the burned cornfields everywhere. The corn was never able to develop at all and there are acres of dry, brown stalks telling the melancholy tale. The crop which seemed to be doing okay was soybeans—these plants were usually deep green and healthy looking. Dotted along the road were little produce stands, exhibiting watermelon, cantaloupes, peaches, tomatoes, and squash. When we entered Maryland, nothing really changed—this state’s eastern shore is also quite rural. We were surprised to see what a good road carries the traffic through this area—divided two-lane highway. Though the area is rural, we saw little or no livestock, though Virginia seems full of chicken farms.

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A SSATEAGUE I SLAND N ATIONAL S EASHORE Our goal was Assateague Island National Seashore and after a longer ride than we expected, we finally got there. This part of the island is in Maryland. We went to see the ponies, of course. And we did see 4 of them; however, it was funny because the ones we saw were in the parking lots and along the roads. These horses can look fat but we were assured they are really bloated by all the salt in their diets. All the grasses and plants they consume have high salt contents and the horses are even able to drink some seawater with impunity.

However, they do drink considerably more than usual for equines. It was good to see these small horses and know they have been on these islands for 200+ years.

We also visited the beach and it looks very like Cumberland Island or Big Talbot at home—high dunes behind the beach and sand just like Jacksonville Beach. The water wasn’t any colder than at home either. We saw deer on Assateague as well—first, a doe with a fawn and later a deer resting under a tree. It is a lovely park and gave us a neat picnic spot too.

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C APE H ENLOPEN S TATE P ARK After leaving Assateague, we drove further up 13, looking for Cape Henlopen State Park. This was interesting mostly for its World War II concrete observation towers which looked to be about 50-60 feet high. These had been used to spot German U-Boats along the way. Now, they afford a wonderful view of the land around—in particular, the ferry station which connects this area to Cape May, New Jersey. The wide beaches were lovely and well-used.

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B OMBAY H OOK N ATIONAL W ILDLIFE R EFUGE Time seemed to be running out on us, but we went to Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge anyway. This is a really wonderful place! We saw many critters here: deer, a bunny, cormorants, stilts, avocets, egrets, ducks, and small unidentifiable wading and shore birds. The 12-mile nature drive was quite pretty and we were there for a really wonderful light on the grasses and ponds. The refuge has ponds and higher ground and seems to be “managed” as far as water levels are concerned. The eastern border is the Atlantic.

We had supper in Smyrna, Delaware, before trying to find our Motel 6 in Wilmington’s suburbs. Our supper was good and there is no sales tax in this state. We liked that a lot. Now we are in our tiny little, renovated Motel 6 room (after some frustrating searching) ready for showers and rest. A great day and some really pretty landscapes!

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K ENNETT S QUARE , PA

L ONGWOOD G ARDENS Day 3 - What a wonderful day! We started off at Longwood Gardens, a goal of ours for many years— and it was well worth the wait! First, we went downtown in Wilmington to see something of the city before going out to the suburbs and Kennett Square, PA, where du Pont built his gardens. We saw the Christina River and the Riverwalk the city has created and it looked very nice. There are some very large governmental-looking buildings in downtown as well, but we have no idea what they were since Dover is the capital of the state. Out in Kennett Square, we found the Gardens with ease and were actually a little early. Everything opens at 9 and we were among the first inside. The visitor center has a little 4-minute movie to orient you to the Gardens and helps you find what you might be most interested in seeing. When you emerge from the visitor’s center, you are met with the “Cow Lot” which is a lovely greensward with benches and some statuary on the periphery, but mainly just lush green grasses. To the right is the rose bower which was not in bloom while we visited, partly because of the severe drought PA has been suffering this year too. The roses are the climbing-type strung about huge horseshoe-shaped arches all around a center courtyard. We could all picture how beautiful it would have been at another time of year. We continued walking around and everywhere wonderful foliage, plants, shrubs, flowers met our eyes. Everything is labeled and often additional information is included. We were all surprised at the number of things which are blooming in September. There are many water features on the property but none of them are operating because of the drought—the only one permitted to work is directly behind the visitor center and we missed it! The gardens are multi-tiered so there is always something different to divert the eye. There are many trees of immense size and strangeness as well as the more common varieties. Again, we were shocked to find bald cypress thriving at this latitude. Du Pont (1870-1954) bought the original part of the garden from people who were going to lumber out the many prize specimen trees which the first owners, the Peirces who had received the land grant from William Penn, had carefully and lovingly planted there. Mr. du Pont then bought other neighboring farms to increase his holding to the 1000+ acres now in the Gardens. He built a matching annex onto the original farmhouse and used that place as his home on the property. His crowning architectural achievement, however, was the 4-5 acre conservatory building. What a magnificent place it is! He had always stated that he would build a conservatory that people could go inside and enjoy and he really pulled it off.

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The Conservatory contains so many special rooms with particular plantings that we spent several hours there. Of course, the wonderful magic wand they give you for free listening on various topics in the gardens made it all more interesting and informative. There is everything there from a cactus garden to Mediterranean gardens, to the banana “orchard,” to the Cascade Gardens, to the tropical plant rooms, to the palm terrace, estate fruit house. The buildings have huge columns of stone supporting the interior structure and the roofs are glass to allow the light to pass through. Most of the columns are covered with climbing plants, like ficus and clematis and roses. The floors are done in many different materials from marble to tile. The Idea Garden outside was wonderful too: with many innovative uses of flowers and grasses and other plant materials. We also saw a collection of old tractors from 1928 on. How droll that exhibit was in telling us that when Mr. du Pont first bought the tractors, his men refused to use it after a couple of trial runs because they thought the loads looked messy and that they were doing it better! We had a couple of sessions in the Garden Terrace Restaurant as well. Their corn chowder was really super; however, their misleadingly advertised peach cobbler was a disappointment since it was neither a cobbler or made with fresh peaches as the ads strongly suggested! However, the food did get us through a long day at the Gardens—we spent about 6 hours there and walked our legs off—we are all quite a bit shorter than we were when we started. B RANDYWINE R IVER M USEUM Reluctantly, we bid the Gardens goodbye so we could get to the Brandywine River Museum before it closed at 4:30 PM It is only about 4 miles down the road from the Gardens so it was an easier trip than was the leave-taking. The museum incorporates an old mill with a newly constructed caracole- shaped building for the display of Andrew Wyeth’s work, as well as that of his father, Newell Convers Wyeth, and his son, Jamie Wyeth. Andrew is much the best of the three artists and we rather liked seeing his work in the setting where he painted so much of his life’s work—the Brandywine River Valley. There were three floors to the Museum and Andrew is on the top floor. There were a few other artists minimally represented, chiefly if their presented work had some connection with the Valley. None of us really liked Jamie’s work and we could see that Andrew had certainly bested his father— who was a very competent illustrator and magazine contributor. Strangely, some of his pictures looked better to me when they were printed in the magazines than the originals on the walls. Kay found a picture by a woman, Alice Barber Stephens, which really struck her—“Women in Business” from a series of six articles published in a magazine. The picture is quite dramatic in portraying the encounter between a wealthy woman looking at some materials and handwork while a much more needy woman is waiting on her. The faces are very real and the attitudes of the two main characters speak volumes of the times.

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N EW C ASTLE , DE After we left the Museum, we headed for downtown New Castle, DE, so that we could see this “first city in the first state.” This city was founded by William Penn in 1682 and many of the buildings date from very soon afterward. As an example, Jessop’s Tavern where we had a most delicious supper dates from 1724. It was a narrow building with low ceilings but very atmospheric. We all made delicious choices of what we wanted to eat and all of it was really special! The town is so quaint and full of period buildings, quite well preserved and cared for. Lots of federal style homes and plenty of green spaces all around as well. The little town is built on the banks of the Delaware River and one of its commons runs right along the waterfront. Another important green space is right in the center of the town. All 1000 acres of the green space was donated by William Penn and has been managed by a special Board of Trustees ever since. It is not owned by the city or state, but by those trustees. We are home again to our little narrow Motel 6 room, but everyone is full and happy and ready for more adventures tomorrow. Today was beautiful, including the weather, but by afternoon, storm clouds had gathered and we hoped that this area would finally get the rains it so desperately needs. But by 7 PM when we returned home, no drops had fallen.

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P HILADELPHIA , PA

I NDEPENDENCE H ALL N ATIONAL H ISTORICAL P ARK Day 4 - We gave in & enjoyed a McDonald’s breakfast before leaving our cramped Motel 6 in New Castle, Delaware around 8 to head to Philadelphia. We want to see the “Cradle of our Country’s Birth and Infancy” up close and personal. That meant visiting Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and Valley Forge. We got to the center of the city about 8:45 AM to find that the area is pretty much sealed off with security—National Park Service patrol cars, security check points, concrete bunkers, etc. However, the rangers were friendly and helpful—so we quickly found our way to the Visitor Center to get our tickets for the Independence Hall National Historical Park visit. The security checkpoint was in a temporary trailer and there were six large Rangers manning it. We passed without incident even though both Pat and Kay had Swiss Army knives. They told Pat to keep hers at the bottom of her fanny pack and they never saw Kay’s. How reassuring is that? Then we crossed the street and entered the “backyard” of the Independence Hall complex (consisting of the Hall itself, the old city hall, and the Congress building). The ranger took us in to see the insides of the building which had been built originally to serve as the Pennsylvania State House. It served as the home of the Continental Congresses and then later as the Congress of the infant USA (1790-1800). We entered the Supreme Court chambers first where the ranger told us about the personal freedoms which had been guaranteed to the colonists (or so they thought) as citizens of Great Britain. As the conflicts between the colonists and the crown increased, these freedoms were abridged and infringed upon. These tensions were part of the slow rolling towards the Declaration of Independence and war between the colonies and the mother country. Next, we went across the hall to the Assembly Room where the delegates from the states met to debate how to seek redress for their wrongs and then how to write a Declaration of Independence which could be endorsed by the states and serve notice to Great Britain that the colonists were serious. Our ranger was very good at presenting the facts concisely and yet with drama and suspense. Later we were allowed to go in the Congress Building to see the first House of Representatives and, upstairs, the first Senate Rooms. Much smaller than the Chambers in Washington, they were ample for the legislators of that period. As in Washington, the House is plainer than the Senate. It was stunning to realize that we were looking at the actual rooms, the actual chairs, and tables and desks that the Founding Fathers occupied during their revolutionary debates. John Hancock really sat at the desk on the elevated podium and presided over the disputatious delegates. Ben Franklin actually sat in that chair at the Pennsylvania table. Later at the Congress where the Constitution was written, George Washington presided. Though most of the delegates were different from the ones who wrote the Declaration of Independence, Ben Franklin was at both. He sat closer to the railing but still at the Pennsylvania delegates’ table. It was hard to grasp the reality of the scene but we all

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agreed that the whole complex should be guarded at whatever the cost because this is our tangible link with that courageous and wise world—the men who formed our country and wrote its documents were titans. The Constitution has been amended only 17 times since 1791! Yet it has allowed our country to grow, change, develop, and modify daily life. The central values still obtain— our personal freedoms (the amazing Bill of Rights). Following that moving and fascinating presentation, we went over to the Visitor Center again to see the special exhibition of the Magna Carta (presented by the Perot Foundation). It was quite well done and explained how the Great Charter underlies not only Britain’s freedoms and rule of law but also our own. It is the basis of our personal freedoms and the common law as well. The copy on display is one of only 17 extant contemporary copies of the document and is truly as important to us as to the British. We walked around the corner to Arch Street to see Ben Franklin’s grave in Christ Church Cemetery. The list of his accomplishments on the wall surrounding the cemetery is truly stupefying—what a brilliant man he was and how active and accomplished too. P HILADELPHIA M USEUM OF A RT One of those little tourist trolleys attracted our attention next and we decided to join a tour. We discovered that we were able to get on and off at various points in the city so that was a plus as well. Most of the points of interest we wanted to see were on the route and we were happy to see the Philadelphia Museum of Art (where we got out and enjoyed the free visit there). But we also saw Elsforth Lane, the Society Hill section of town, the new City Hall. Philadelphia looks like a very livable city and there is a lot of green space here (more than 10 times the amount of NYC’s Central Park).

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Another of our goals had been to get a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich and we bought one at the corner where the trolley dropped us the last time. It came from a “roach coach” parked there to take advantage of the tourists as well as any townies who might pass by. Actually, the sandwich was quite good—tasty with grilled onions and white cheese on a huge bun. We all enjoyed the sandwiches and were glad we had held out for one. Then we made a huge and much out of the way trek to Valley Forge National Historic Park to see where George and boys over-wintered in 1777-78. By the time we reached the Park, the Visitor Center was about to close. So we bought an audio tape and watched the little movie on that winter ordeal. Then we took off on the auto-tour. Unfortunately, the tape was not very good—there were no prompts regarding points on the tour and we could never get the tape to correspond to the places we were passing by. However, it was nonetheless very interesting to see replicas of the little cabins they soldiers built to keep themselves warm during the cold Pennsylvania winter. The terrain was quite beautiful and all of us were surprised at how big the site is. Rolling hills and many lovely trees and so many deer that we stopped counting them. The Schuylkill River is one border of the area and we got glimpses of it occasionally during the driving tour.

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Then it was time to leave Philly and head for our home away from home in Maple Shade, NJ. We found a much more direct route through the city and across the Ben Franklin Bridge (over the Delaware River) and then to New Jersey. Only a little bit of trouble finding Motel 6 (a much nicer and more comfortable one than our last one in Wilmington’s suburbs). Now we are in residence and waiting for 9 PM when we will see “The Sopranos” on HBO. Tomorrow we head for Connecticut but must get through New Jersey and New York first.

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C ONNECTICUT

D RIVING THE P IKES Day 5 - Today was a day we had all dreaded because it involved leaving New Jersey via the NJ Pike & the Garden State Pike and somehow getting around NYC without getting sucked into one of the tunnels or on some road that only went to the City. We left Maple Shade at 6 AM hoping to miss some of the rush hour crush and were a little dismayed by the overcast skies with their promise of rain. However, for the most part, the rain held off except for some “spits and starts.” The much feared NJ pikes also were not so intimidating after all either. Sharon (driver) & Lois (navigator) got us through the rough spots and over the Tappan Zee Bridge with no real problems. On the NJ Pike, it was a little hairy with huge semis barreling down on us and all the traffic ignored the 65 mph speed limit. The Garden State Parkway separates cars from trucks and that was delightful! Because of the low clouds and rainy conditions, we could not see the skyline of NYC from any of the supposed vantage points, but we were so relieved that we had avoided the city that we did not care. When we crossed over into Connecticut, we decided to take the Merritt Parkway since our map indicated it as a scenic drive. Well, probably in full leaf time, it is very scenic but today it was lushly green and not too awful crowded either. The many small bridges over the Parkway were interesting because they were so varied: some stone, some steel, some plain some very ornately decorated, some with vines growing all over their sides, and some “clean-shaven.” They helped to keep interest on the road. We decided to take another scenic highway indicated above New Haven and since we had determined not to go there anyway, we bypassed it by driving on a small road which passed through some charming small towns. Connecticut is surely a part of “New England” with the wonderful “greens” or “commons” at the centers of townships and white churches with slender spires reaching from the Puritan earth to the empyrean.

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B ISHOP F AMILY F ARMS AND O RCHARDS

The horseshoe shaped route we had selected took us back down to I-95 where we found our first real CT destination—the Bishop Family Farms and Orchards. As soon as we reached the place we saw the signs indicated where to go to pick raspberries on your own and we headed there first with great anticipation. We followed the dead-end road, Dunk Hill, around to the fields and drove in through the opening where others had obviously been before us. It turned out that there was no attendant on duty, so we just jumped out of the car and ran into the “aisles” between the bushes. The berries were delicious and Sharon & Lois ate quite a few while trying to fill a couple of cups for the Pat and Kay. Finally, the mosquitoes and our shame at such abundance stopped us and we got back in the car. Kay enjoyed hers very much but I don’t think that they are Pat’s favorite berry. The store along Route 1 is splendid with fresh home-grown fruit as well as some imports, homegrown veggies, bakery goodies, and other delicious snacks. We all picked out the apples and other fruits we wanted to sample: Kay and Pat bought plums and Kay decided to try “pluots,” a cross between plums and apricots. Lois bought blackberries, more raspberries, and peaches (Pat bought a peach too). We also got a package of “apple cider donuts” because they sounded so appealing.

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The little town of Guilford is quite historic with many buildings from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, so we decided to explore it a bit before going our way. It was its own rewards for sure. The houses are quite charming, in excellent repair, and most of them sported the date of their construction which certainly satisfied our curiosities. We were very happy with our auto-tour as conducted by ourselves. H AMMANASSET B EACH S TATE P ARK Then Route 1 beckoned and we headed for Mystic, but we did stop along the way and visited Hammanasset Beach State Park which was very dramatic. Talk about the “rock bound coast of Maine! There was a sand beach as well, but the huge glacial erratics were what caught our eyes. Turns out there really was a glacier in the area 18,000 years ago. The melting of this glacier left a huge moraine which is today Long Island. But much of the coast of CT is also moraine left by the retreating glacier and the draining of the Great Glacier Lake that sat inland before the “dam-like moraine wall broke and the sea came roaring in. Now the coast is about 300 yards more inland that backs in those “good old days.”

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M YSTIC S EAPORT Finally, we reached Mystic Seaport and started looking around for an inexpensive place to stay. That was certainly a “scarlet ribbons” experience. After checking out 4 different places, we finally selected a Howard Johnson Inn because it offered queen-sized beds. It was also the cheapest of the places because it gave us an AARP discount. Mystic Seaport is a very interesting section of the old shipbuilding city which has been carefully and lovingly preserved and presented. All the old buildings have displays covering fascinating aspects of the whaling and cod fishing industries as well as the shipbuilding trades. Volunteers were present in most of the buildings and on the ships we could board to answer our many questions. Such trades as rope making, cooperage, small boat construction, ship smithing, chandlery, and figurehead carving were presented in compelling detail. The three ships we could explore were the: L.A. Dunton (a cod fishing ship), Charles W. Morgan (whaling ship), and Joseph Conrad (a luxury yacht & a training ship). The Dunton and Morgan were sobering testaments to the miserable, dangerous, and confined lives that whalers and cod fisherman endured. It was hard to see any “romance of the sea” in these vessels. The volunteers aboard were enthusiastic and brimming over with information and we asked many questions.

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At 5 PM, the exhibits began to close though the grounds stayed open until 6 PM. By then, however, we were all aware of just how hungry we were and we left to find Angie’s Pizza as recommended by our “hotelier” at the Howard Johnson. The restaurant turned out to be a casual eatery that served truly delicious pizza! The crust is made right there on premises and the toppings are fresh and super! We all left that little spot quite satisfied after having fasted so much during the day. We thought we could get our laundry done here only to find that the laundry we passed on the way to our room was for the hotel’s use—not the guests. So we gave up on that idea and now we are all getting showers and preparing to enjoy our queen-sized beds.

R HODE I SLAND

B LOCK I SLAND Day 6 - Got a date with a daydream—and it came true today! McDonald’s started us off with a good breakfast and then we drove to Galilee to catch the high-speed catamaran ferry to Block Island—at long last—I can’t even remember how long it’s been that I have wanted to visit this place. We found a car park right across the street from the ferry pier that charged $10.00 per day & then we bought our tickets (round-trip) for the day. We left at 8:30 AM for the 30-minute ride and knew that we would be returning at 4:30 PM. The clouds were a little too low for my taste as we started out and the sea delivered some long slow rollers that kept the catamaran moving about a bit. Kay was just a little green but the trip was so short that she made it all right. The ferry was actually quite comfortable and larger than we expected. It had airplane type seating in the middle of the cabin and tables with benches along the sides. There were both an open air deck and an enclosed room on the boat’s top. Upon disembarking, we felt a good stiff wind and noted that the sky had not really lifted very much. Quickly we came to a group decision NOT to rent bicycles after all but instead to rent a car. So we called a fellow who offered both bikes and cars and he quickly came to his lot and we were all set— car was actually cheaper than 4 bikes would have been! After completing the paperwork, we jumped in and headed into the island’s only town - New Shoreham. At the Chamber of Commerce, across from the Old Harbor (we had landed at New Harbor across the island), we got some maps and trail descriptions and marveled as we watched the sky clear and the blue come through the clouds like a laser show. By the time we found the road to the north part of the island, the sky overhead was a huge blue ceiling over our happy heads. Our goal at the north end was the North Light.

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The beach along which we walked to reach the lighthouse was littered with large stones, ground smooth in the surf and decorated with strangely pretty seaweed. The water was a deep marine blue but it sparkled under the growing sunlight. Walking along the water’s edge was definitely the least

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difficult because the sand above the tide line was very loose and slippery. Above the beach, grasses like spartina and thick shrubs of beach rose grew densely. Behind them was a freshwater pond.

The North Light is one of two on the island and they have personalities of their own—both are houses with the lighthouse part attached to the front so that the house and tower are one piece. The North Light is currently not functioning and the wooden building itself is in need of repair. The Block Island Conservancy and the Historical Foundation are working to raise money to rehab the place and we can only hope that they succeed because the lights are unique. After this wonderful walk, we hopped back into the comfy Buick and started back towards town to grab a bite of lunch before exploring the south end of the Island. The New Harbor was glimmering with sunlight on white sailboats with their taut sails when we arrived back in town. We walked along the main street until we found a restaurant with a menu to our liking and went inside. The clam chowder was good as were the Reuben sandwiches.

Back on the road again, we went to the South Light—it had been moved in 1993 because the cliff on which it sat was eroding away under it. We learned that this brick tower & house combination weighs 2000 tons and moved with a system of hydraulic jacks and rails over which the structure was moved. We still could not feature how the whole thing held together under the strain of the move. It too is in disrepair and money is being raised to rehab it as well. This light does continue to function both as a light and as a site for foghorn blasts to keep ships away from the treacherous shores of this beautiful island.

From the South Light’s home cliff, we could look away up and down and see the amazing Mohegan Bluffs. People were down on the beach, probably 150 feet below the cliff tops, but we thought the view from above was definitely the best. The whole scene was reminiscent of the scenery on the East Coast of Argentina where we saw the elephant seals and sea lions. Rocky and seaweedy beaches below the steep but crumbling cliffs.

Rodman’s Hollow was our next goal—this is the heart of the Greenway system established by the Nature Conservancy in the 70s and 80s (and still ongoing). About 35% of the island has been

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protected from development by the Nature Conservancy, the BI Conservancy, BI Historical Foundation and other interested parties. The population is obviously very friendly to the idea of preservation as well or none of this could have happened. The Greenway paths are open to everyone and it is said that the whole island could be covered in the 35 miles of trails. Pat, Kay, and Lois took a short walk into the Rodman’s Hollow and found it quite lovely—thick copses of various beach shrubs including the ubiquitous beach roses. The route we chose led us down into the “hollow” which is simply a low place in the island created during the glaciation period of moraine building. Then we climbed up again onto a knoll which gave us 360 degrees of views around—interestingly, the whole area is ringed with rather large houses but the Hollow still seems pristine and untouched! When we rejoined Sharon at the Buick, we explored more of the island by heading out to the Coast Guard Station at the south end of the Great Salt Pond through which we had entered into New Harbor. We could not get out there due to the increased security but we could see around it and into the Pond. Returning to town, we headed to the Ice Cream Place for our reward for hiking and were enjoying it mightily when Kay realized that her binoculars were missing. She thought about it for awhile and then remembered that she had put them down when Pat was taking a picture of her & Lois at the end of the hike. So back we drove to the bottom of the south section of the island and there they were, right where she had left them. That was a relief since these are some of her favorite glasses. By then it was about time to meet our friendly car rental agent and surrender the Buick. He told us that the average car renter put about 22 miles on the car—we had put 69 miles on ours! We explored every road we could find and feel like we have a good grasp of how wonderful Block Island—that honored member the Nature Conservancy’s Last Great Places—looks in September! Then it was time to reboard the Athena for our ride back to Rhode Island’s mainland coast. The ride was smoother and we sat out on the top deck and enjoyed the sun and breezes. Block Island was a dream come true and we all much enjoyed its beauty and wildness in the midst of long human history and development. Next, we pointed the car towards Newport and the mansions! By the time we reached the city and found a place to stay (a Ramada Inn) we decided that we would rather get the clothes washed right there and eat there as well instead of going out for a sunset hike on the Cliff Walk in front of the great mansions of the super wealthy! Pat and Kay enjoyed their lobster dinner (1st one of the trip) but Sharon and Lois enjoyed their baby-back ribs less. However, we were all glad to get the laundry done even if it did take until 10:30 PM A gay black fellow kept us entertained during the long periods of washing and drying.

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N EWPORT Day 7 - Another beautiful New England day—this time in Newport, RI. We got drinks at Burger King and then went downtown (our motel last night was actually in Middletown—a cheaper next door city) to see the colonial section of town (saved, rehabbed, and preserved pretty much singlehandedly by Doris Duke as a civic project to benefit the whole area) before checking out the “cottages” of the rich and famous. The colonial section is centered in the area of Thames Street and Broadway and it is very colorful and quaint. The streets are very narrow and the houses are skinny row houses. Even the commercial buildings are in keeping with the architectural dictates. Bellevue Avenue is the street of the financial titans of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We drove along it, gasping at the opulence and sheer size of these outlandish “castle cottages.” But equally breathtaking was the Rhode Island coast on which all these mansions sat. The beach drive was just beautiful and even the more recent homes were huge and wonderful. On the way back, we found the beginning of the Cliff Walk and went for a truly memorable “hike” along the front lawns of the mansions. We learned later from a volunteer that the state legislature had mandated an easement from all the owners that permitted the public to walk along the coast.

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Technically, each section of the National Trail belongs to the house behind it but federal and state monies constructed the actual trail. Of course, the most stupendous of the houses is The Breakers of Cornelius Vanderbilt II who was the very first member of the 400 in American culture. The house is completely covered in scaffolding now and has recently been re-roofed as well to the tune of $2 million dollars. We walked about 5 miles, counting out and back, in the sunshine and admired the formidable mansions along the way. The coast was so striking and the rocky beaches so picturesque that we hardly noticed the different surfaces of the Cliff Walk itself. Part of it was concrete, part macadam, part sand, and part huge flat granite boulders like giant stepping stones. It was quite exhilarating to be sure!

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At the home of Alva Vanderbilt who was a staunch supporter of women’s suffrage, we saw a wonderful Chinese pergola where she invited leaders of the movement, like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony to have tea and coffee while they discussed strategies and hopes. Newport is truly like a fairyland, as unreal as Disney World. Our next goal was Cape Cod and we left Newport about 11:30 AM. It wasn’t a very long way and we stopped at Cranberry Flats to find out where we might stay on the Cape while we visited. A very helpful man made some suggestions about what to see and how to get there and he also gave us a couple of coupons to use for big discounts at the Wellfleet Lodge & Motel. So we left him to head directly to the area to try to secure reasonable lodging for the next two nights. The Wellfleet Motel was indeed a bargain with these coupons--$85.20 per room for the two nights! Pretty unbelievable really. After this coup, P’town was our first destination on the Cape. We stopped at the first visitor center we reached for the Cape Cod National Seashore to gather information and maps. We got some suggestions for ranger walks and other activities. The lady ranger gave us some ideas about what to do in P’town if all we had was an afternoon to spend there. She told us to head

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for the Visitor Center there and go up on the Observation Deck for the 360-degree view there and then go out to the beach to see what that looks like.

Then we should head for P’town itself and walk down Commerce Street to absorb the feel and atmosphere of this artsy town. We did all that but our walk down the Commerce Street was disappointing—instead of seeing all the gay fellows and gals enjoying themselves, all we saw were middle-aged heterosexual couples and groups like ourselves. We found a restaurant to have lobster again (or whatever anyone wanted) at even cheaper rates than the night before. Kay said it was even better!

After a brief visit to the A & P for a couple of supplies, we drove back to the Wellfleet & are now in our wonderfully spacious rooms enjoying some rest and relaxation as well as rerun “West Wing.”

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M ASSACHUSETTS

C APE C OD N ATIONAL S EASHORE Day 8 - We were up at 7 AM this morning and went at 7:30 to the little breakfast café here at the Wellfleet Motel. The eggs and raisin toast were good and fairly inexpensive. Sharon stayed in her room and ate from her own stash—thrifty girl that she is. Then we were ready to find our ranger walk up at High Head at 9 AM.

Ranger Walter met us at the trail head and there were about 20 of us in all. His purpose he told was to introduce us to “dune mechanics” and to give some idea of the human history of the area and the impact our species has had on the action of the dunes. We walked over the parabolic dune area with our guide pointing out various types of vegetation. He explained the glacial history of Cape Cod by getting down on his knees in the sand and plowing up the ground in front of him to show us how the “mainland” was formed. Then he demonstrated the wind action on the dunes and how much of the “land” is really only blown sand constantly on the move.

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