Marvellous Mystic and Montauk

Our next port of call was Connecticut, where we went to see Mystic Seaport, one of the best museums I have ever been to and definitely well worth a visit. It was here at the seaport that the weather finally broke – rather dramatically. As we began to explore the open-air museum, the heavens opened and it rained – really rained! We are used to rain in Scotland, of course, but this was something else! As we ducked and dived between whaling ship, whaling museum, 19th Century general store and blacksmith’s forge etc. we were absolutely drenched! Still, we had some wonderful conversations with the knowledgeable staff and volunteers, learned a lot and had a great time. Still, we had only seen a fraction of what there was to see there.

We stayed at the lovely, historic Whalers Inn in Mystic and headed out for a drink that evening. As luck would have it, we stumbled into a local bar which had the friendliest clientèle ever! They helped us plan our journey to Montauk, Long Island the following day and we had a great chat. We would have loved to linger longer here. Fortunately though, with the help of the friendly locals, we established that we could spend a little longer in Mystic the following morning and so could return (on the same tickets) to see more of what we had missed at Mystic Seaport.

After seeing more of Mystic Seaport, which again we thoroughly enjoyed, we took the ferry from New London to Orient Point. It was the 11th September and we were moved to see a number of tributes to those lost in the tragedy as we made our way towards Montauk.

Long Island traffic was rather frenetic, but we made it to Montauk in time to take a quick look at the lighthouse on the point and to visit the beach before it got dark.

The day ended with a pleasant surprise as our standard motel room in the Hamptons was upgraded to a suite! That was a pleasant turn of events on what was, sadly, our final day in the States.

Reluctant as we were to end our holiday, we were still glad to be going home to our dog, our chickens, our garden and our lives here. Fingers crossed that we will be able to return again before too long.

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Provincetown, Cape Cod

Belatedly, let me relate the next part of our adventure. After leaving Boston we took a quick look at Harvard and some of the University buildings before we headed south, making our way out and around the beckoning finger of Cape Cod.

After the mosquitoes that we had all those problems with earlier in the trip, we guiltily decided that we would not camp but would stay in indoors accommodation for the last few days of our trip. We took a room at the Harbor Hotel in Provincetown.

The hotel/motel was delightfully Mad Men style, familiar from so many movies and television programmes. It had wonderful views over Cape Cod Bay which we enjoyed from the outdoors terrace after taking a look around baking Provincetown.

Provincetown was busy bustling and filled with an interesting mix of tourist tat and interesting galleries. We sat on a bench dedicated to the dogs that came over the Mayflower. It was a really dog-friendly place – shame we could not sneak our dog on the plane!

At the hotel, we met a friendly lady who was visiting with her mum and sisters – she too keeps chickens and we had a chat about our set up here and compared notes.

We felt a little guilty about not camping – even more so as we sat, that evening after dark, around a gas powered outdoors camp fire! Such a non-sustainable and crazy idea and one that seemed to be fitting considering our decision to eschew our usual real camp fire and tent pitch.

Gloucester, Salem and Boston

The following day we moved on again, both of us feeling rather more cheerful though both now pretty itchy too. We did a little of what we had planned to do the day before but which I had felt rather to tired and drained to do. We took a quick look around Gloucester, which we felt was an honest and ‘real’ place and which we both liked. The oldest seaport in America had definitely left us with a good, if fleeting, first impression.

We then made our way to Salem where, since we did not have much time, we decided to visit the Witch House, an interesting museum where the judge of the Salem Witch Trials once lived with his family. I understand that this is the only building in Salem still standing that has a connection to those events and if only for that reason, it was worth a visit. We also saw a number of historic houses in the neighbourhood.

We would have liked to have spent a little more time in Salem but we also wanted to have time to see Boston so we moved on. We checked into the Milton Hotel, in Boston in the mid afternoon and set out right away on foot to see some of what Boston had to offer. We walked across Boston Common and began to follow the red line of bricks that marks the Freedom Trail. We got a good taste of the city before retiring to the hotel for the night.

More Maine, Massachusetts and Mosquitoes

Rather belatedly, I will continue to update you on what we did during the second half of our trip. We arrived home on Sunday and both my husband and I were straight back to work on Monday so we are still trying to adjust and get back into the swing of things.

So, after we had taken a quick look at Bass Harbor Lighthouse and left Bass Harbor we took route 1 south to another campground close to Kennebunkport. Salty Acres Campground gave us a peaceful pitch with views out over the river, though we were rather closer to neighbouring pitches than we would have liked. Still, we had a campfire and enjoyed our evening. Unfortunately, I had been bitten rather a lot by Maine mosquitoes and was feeling quite itchy and as the night progressed I became rather unwell, which I think was some sort of a reaction to the bites.

By morning I felt really woozy and had a terrible ear ache so unfortunately we did not spend much time exploring the area but rather headed off on the next leg of our journey, finding some painkillers on the way. Fortunately, the painkillers kicked in and I was soon feeling a bit more normal again, if still rather itchy, taking in route 1 as it passed us by. Though since I was unwell we unfortunately did not manage to make any scenic detours along the coast.

We arrived in the Cape Ann area of Massachusetts around lunchtime and since I was feeling a bit better, we explored a little of the cape, making our way through Gloucester and round the scenic route to picturesque Rockport and back before we found our campsite and pitched up.

It was still very hot (30-34 degrees throughout the afternoon) and so we simply relaxed around the pleasant, quiet and half-empty Cape Ann Campsite. We had a pleasant, large site in the woodland. As the evening drew close, however, I decided as I was still not feeling 100% that I would rather sit inside the tent rather than enjoy a campfire as I did not want to get any more bites, so we just read and chatted with me inside the tent and my husband outside.

Until this point my husband had been rather lucky and the mosquitoes had all gone for me but with me inside the tent, the mosquitoes all went for him. It was only the following day that he realised how many times they had got him!

We had been through the low point of the trip but after this, things got much better again!

Maine

After crossing the state line into Maine we made quick time as we headed for the coast. We were aiming for Mount Desert Island, around 245 miles from our Crawford Notch campsite. As I write, we are about to spend our second night on the ‘quiet side’ of the island, at Bass Harbour campground, right on the edge of Acadia National Park.

Today we’ve had a lovely day exploring the island. We visited Bar Harbor and had one of Maine’s delicious lobster rolls before taking the loop Road through the national park. We took the road up to the top of Mount Cadillac, which was incredible, less dramatic and alarming than the Mount Washington route and yet offering some more amazing views. Had we more time, we would definitely have hiked within the park and got to know it better. Instead, once more, we were just passing through.

We are now around half way through our adventure and tomorrow morning we will be heading south to see some more of the beautiful coast of Maine.

New Hampshire

I thought of books I have read by the author, John Irving as we entered New Hampshire and I could almost imagine rounding a corner to see the Meany Granite Quarry or something. Stony river beds wound through the forest as we headed on towards the White Mountains and I am almost sure that I saw a black bear in one of them, just a silhouette in the distance.

We visited the delightful little town of Franconia before heading for our next campground in Crawford Notch. There we camped in a beautiful forest clearing just a few feet from another river, where we cooled off in the much cooler water after pitching up.

After a reasonably early start we headed for the Mount Washington Auto Road. It is a rather lazy way of reaching the top of a mountain perhaps but not without its challenges! Honestly, I am not that bad with heights but I have to say I have never been more terrified in a car! Don’t get me wrong, it was exhilarating but coming up the mountain road without guard rails is definitely not for the faint hearted!

After completing the road and making it safely back down we started the long journey to the coast of Maine.

Vermont

After leaving North Adams we travelled along a stretch of the scenic Mohawk Trail before crossing the state border into Vermont.

Taken from the car on the Mohawk Trail.
Taken from the car on the Mohawk Trail.
Deerfield River
Deerfield River, Charlemont

Vermont’s route 100 took us up along the eastern fringes of the Green Mountain National Forest, dipping in and out of the verdant forest whose leaves were just beginning to change. I can just imagine how spectacular these trees will be in a month or so but already the route really did deserve it’s ‘scenic’ title!  So many apple trees lined our route, all heavily laden with fruit.

Route 100

On our first night in the state we stayed at the Winhall Brook Camping Area, where we took a dip in the West River which was warm in the surprising heat, then settled down to enjoy a campfire with only the local wildlife for company. At one point we were startled by a grumpy looking mammal plodding by just feet from us. We are still not entirely sure what it was!

West River, Winhall Brook Campground
West River, Winhall Brook Campground
Our tranquil pitch.
Our tranquil pitch.

Fortunately for us, we were able to spend a little more time in this charming, friendly state. Continuing north on route 100 we camped in a quiet backwater at Maple Hills Campground.

On the way we saw picturesque waterfalls:

Waterfall

And the pretty town of Warren, VT:

Warren General Store

Vermont continued to impress with its laid back cheerfulness as we briefly explored Burlington for breakfast and meandered through Montpelier before leaving this state too as we made our way onwards.

Henry's Diner - a great place for breakfast in Burlington.
Henry’s Diner – a great place for breakfast in Burlington.
State House, Montpelier
State House, Montpelier