Featured

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

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Peek a boo, I see you

If you follow our posts, you’re already familiar with Quick Stops. Quick Stops are designed to give a nod to locations to which we can’t devote an entire post. The destinations are completely random and totally fun.

Just get in the car and we will be on our way!

First stop: Old Brazos River Bridge

Where in the world is it?

The Brazos River Bridge is located on the old Highway 380 near Newcastle, Young County, in North Central Texas. The five section truss bridge was closed when the new Highway 380 bridge was built over the Brazos River in 1988. In 2018, the old bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Above is a view of the old bridge from the new bridge with the muddy Brazos River flowing underneath.

Second stop: Anson, Texas

Where in the world is it?

Anson is located approximately 25 miles northwest of Abilene in Jones County.

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Above is the Jones County Courthouse, the centerpiece of downtown Anson. The statue underneath the flags is of Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas. The town and the county are named in his honor.

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The Palace Theater sign in downtown Anson. Like much of downtown Anson, the theater is long defunct, but the sign remains. The town boasts an Opera House that was built in 1907, though, it is now in disrepair and no longer used. Anson’s Opera House was once the largest between Fort Worth and El Paso.

It’s a fact, Jack!

There ain’t no dancin’ allowed in Anson! In 1933, all dancing was outlawed in Anson, except during the annual Cowboys’ Christmas Ball which has been being held the weekend before Christmas since 1885 and is still held today. After bickering between citizens for and citizens (mainly church leaders) against made national headlines in 1987, dancing was once again allowed in Anson – with restrictions. Some believe that the film “Footloose” was based on Anson’s refusal to allow dancing in the town. Trivia: Jeannie C. Riley, who sang the 1968 country hit, “Harper Valley PTA” is from Anson. And now you know…

That’s all for this post. Thank you for joining us on our latest quick stops. We invite you to return to our site again for another great adventure on the road. Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Woodstock, Vermont and Billings Farm & Museum

 

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Serene setting in the Green Mountains near Woodstock. Everywhere we went in Vermont was just this pretty.

Although, Woodstock, Vermont is a popular tourist destination, it is repeatedly called one of the most beautiful towns in the US, and we agree. It is one of the prettiest towns we have visited. We think it is the quintessential New England town.

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Street view of downtown Woodstock

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Visitors should take some time to stroll around downtown. There are great shops selling all kinds of interesting things. We loved F. H. Gillingham & Sons General Store. We are also giving a big shout out to Mon Vert Cafe. They had good service and good sandwiches. The chicken salad was delicious. Give them a try if you’re in Woodstock, and be sure to get a brownie!

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Another street view

Woodstock was first settled in 1768. It soon grew into a thriving community, which took advantage of the Ottauquechee River to power its mills. Other businesses sprang up to sustain the growing town’s economy. At last count, the population of Woodstock was somewhere around 3,000. Many of the residential properties are second homes to people who live in larger cities, such as Boston, which is just a couple of hours away. Did you know that there is a ski area in Woodstock, too? It’s called Suicide Six, and it is touted as one of the best smaller ski areas in Vermont.

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Private residence – white paint with black shutters, so typical of Vermont
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If you have been following our New England posts, you know how we love the pretty  churches, and this one didn’t disappoint.
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Another private residence. Federal-style architecture is very popular in New England homes.

Across the road from the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park in Woodstock lies the Billings Farm & Museum. Once owned by the Frederick H. Billings family, the site is now owned and operated by the Woodstock Foundation, Inc., which was established by Laurance and Mary Rockefeller before they donated their home to the National Park Service.

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Barns and Silos
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Happy Heifers

Billings Farm is a full dairy operation. There is an agriculture museum and gift shop inside the visitor center. The old 1890 farm house and creamery has been restored to its original state and can be toured along with the home’s heirloom garden and apple orchard. In addition to the cows, many other animals call this farm home. Below are pictures of some of the cutest residents.

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Hello, cutie!
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Good afternoon, ladies.
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It’s milking time, girls.
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Having a little snack.

A combination ticket will gain admittance to the Billings Farm & Museum and the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park for two days. Here’s a website link for additional information: Billings Farm & Museum.

About three miles east of downtown Woodstock is the Taftsville Historic District, a 19th century industrial village that grew up around a metal tool factory established in 1793. Today, the Taftsville Country Store, built in 1840, is a popular tourist stop, as is the Taftsville Bridge, built in 1836.

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That is all for this post. We hope you have enjoyed our highlights of Woodstock, Vermont. Be sure to check out our post on the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park, too. Come back to our site often for more great destinations, road trips, Quick Stops, and some great places to camp. We absolutely love having you along for the ride!

We are going to close with a picture of the Vermont State House in Montpelier, the smallest capital city in the US.

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This State House was first occupied in 1859, after the previous building was lost in a fire. The copper and wood dome wasn’t gilded until the early 20th century. The statue atop the dome is called “Agriculture”, and is based on the Roman goddess of agriculture, Ceres.

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road. 

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Woodstock, Vermont and Billings Farm & Museum

 

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Serene setting in the Green Mountains near Woodstock. Everywhere we went in Vermont was just this pretty.

Although, Woodstock, Vermont is a popular tourist destination, it is repeatedly called one of the most beautiful towns in the US, and we agree. It is one of the prettiest towns we have visited. We think it is the quintessential New England town.

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Street view of downtown Woodstock

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Visitors should take some time to stroll around downtown. There are great shops selling all kinds of interesting things. We loved F. H. Gillingham & Sons General Store. We are also giving a big shout out to Mon Vert Cafe. They had good service and good sandwiches. The chicken salad was delicious. Give them a try if you’re in Woodstock, and be sure to get a brownie!

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Another street view

Woodstock was first settled in 1768. It soon grew into a thriving community, which took advantage of the Ottauquechee River to power its mills. Other businesses sprang up to sustain the growing town’s economy. At last count, the population of Woodstock was somewhere around 3,000. Many of the residential properties are second homes to people who live in larger cities, such as Boston, which is just a couple of hours away. Did you know that there is a ski area in Woodstock, too? It’s called Suicide Six, and it is touted as one of the best smaller ski areas in Vermont.

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Private residence – white paint with black shutters, so typical of Vermont
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If you have been following our New England posts, you know how we love the pretty  churches, and this one didn’t disappoint.
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Another private residence. Federal-style architecture is very popular in New England homes.

Across the road from the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park in Woodstock lies the Billings Farm & Museum. Once owned by the Frederick H. Billings family, the site is now owned and operated by the Woodstock Foundation, Inc., which was established by Laurance and Mary Rockefeller before they donated their home to the National Park Service.

IMG_8114
Barns and Silos
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Happy Heifers

Billings Farm is a full dairy operation. There is an agriculture museum and gift shop inside the visitor center. The old 1890 farm house and creamery has been restored to its original state and can be toured along with the home’s heirloom garden and apple orchard. In addition to the cows, many other animals call this farm home. Below are pictures of some of the cutest residents.

IMG_8109
Hello, cutie!
IMG_8107
Good afternoon, ladies.
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It’s milking time, girls.
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Having a little snack.

A combination ticket will gain admittance to the Billings Farm & Museum and the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park for two days. Here’s a website link for additional information: Billings Farm & Museum.

About three miles east of downtown Woodstock is the Taftsville Historic District, a 19th century industrial village that grew up around a metal tool factory established in 1793. Today, the Taftsville Country Store, built in 1840, is a popular tourist stop, as is the Taftsville Bridge, built in 1836.

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That is all for this post. We hope you have enjoyed our highlights of Woodstock, Vermont. Be sure to check out our post on the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park, too. Come back to our site often for more great destinations, road trips, Quick Stops, and some great places to camp. We absolutely love having you along for the ride!

We are going to close with a picture of the Vermont State House in Montpelier, the smallest capital city in the US.

IMG_7953
This State House was first occupied in 1859, after the previous building was lost in a fire. The copper and wood dome wasn’t gilded until the early 20th century. The statue atop the dome is called “Agriculture”, and is based on the Roman goddess of agriculture, Ceres.

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road. 

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

New Hampshire: Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park

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  • Website link: Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park
  • Where is it: Cornish, New Hampshire
  • What is it: the home and studios of sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907)
  • Cost: $10.00 per person age 16 and older
  • Hours: 9:00 – 4:30 from the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend to October 31
  • Much of the park is closed from November to May, however, the visitor center may be open. Check the website for additional information
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Seen on approach to the visitor center, a replica of Saint-Gaudens Standing Lincoln (1887). The original sculpture is in Lincoln Park in Chicago, Illinois. A replica of the sculpture was also placed at Lincoln’s tomb.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who had shown an interest in art at an early age, was only thirteen-years-old when he landed an apprenticeship cutting cameos. During this time, the Saint-Gaudens family lived in New York City where Augustus attended school. When his six-year apprenticeship was complete, Augustus went to Europe to study art in Paris and then Rome.

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Cameos. (We apologize for the glare on the glass.)

Saint-Gaudens arrived in Cornish, New Hampshire, near the bank of the Connecticut River, in 1885 where he rented an old inn from a friend. He quickly adapted the buildings to suit his needs and then purchased the property in 1892, naming it Aspet after his father’s hometown in France. The family used Aspet as their summer home until 1900 when Augustus was diagnosed with cancer and the estate became their year-round residence.

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Aspet
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This is the back of the home and the cutting garden. It is said that Saint-Gaudens had a hand in planning and planting the gardens and other landscaped areas on the estate.
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The Little Studio, built in 1904. Saint Gaudens worked alone in this studio, while his assistants and students worked in other studios on the property.

We were able to tour the first floor of the house, where all of the original furnishings and decorative pieces can be seen. Unfortunately, the home contains no original Saint-Gaudens artworks. The studios and several other buildings on the grounds are also open for visitors to enjoy.

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Civil War Admiral, David G. Faragut Monument (1881). Saint-Gaudens’ first commissioned work, which was won while Saint-Gaudens was still in Paris. The original of this monument is located in Madison Square in New York City.

After the Faragut piece was made public, Saint-Gaudens became a sought-after American sculptor. With business booming, so to speak, Saint-Gaudens hired assistants and began tutoring aspiring artists at Aspet.

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The Shaw Memorial (1884-1897) . Another replica, which stands on the lawn bowling green of the estate. The original of this relief sculpture is in the Boston Common, Boston Massachusetts. Interestingly, Saint-Gaudens worked on this piece for 14 years, and continued making subtle improvements to the cast, though the original had already been unveiled.
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Victory. She appears in Saint-Gauden’s General William Tecumseh Sherman Monument, which stands in Manhattan. She may look familiar because she also appears on the Saint-Gaudens designed Double Eagle Gold Coin (minted until 1933) as Liberty with a few minor changes. For example, the coin depicts Liberty holding an olive branch in her left hand and a torch in her right.

President Theodore Roosevelt, who was a friend of Saint-Gaudens, asked the US Treasury to engage the sculptor to redesign four gold coins and the one cent piece. This was the first time ever that a coin was designed by someone other than an employee of the US Mint.

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Saint-Gaudens was married to Augusta Homer in 1877. Her father, who gave consent for the marriage only after Saint-Gaudens won the Faragut commission, had been worried that the young sculptor wouldn’t be able to take care of his daughter until he was an established artist. (We think that Augustus proved himself very well!) Augusta Homer was a distant cousin of the artist, Winslow Homer. Augustus and Augusta had one child, a son named Homer. Augustus’, Augusta’s, and Homer’s ashes are interred on the grounds of Aspet.

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Thank you for visiting Saint-Gaudens National Historic Park with us. For more interesting information about Augustus Saint-Gaudens, click on the website link at the top of the page. We are going to end this post here, but come back to our site often for more great destinations, parks, campsites, and quick stops. We love having you along on our travels.

We are going to close this post with a shot of the Windsor-Cornish bridge. This bridge, which spans the Connecticut River and connects Windsor, Vermont with Cornish, New Hampshire, was constructed in 1866. It is the longest covered bridge in the US.

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Okay, we can’t resist. Everyone should see the pretty Connecticut River, which creates the boundary between New Hampshire and Vermont, so below is our real parting shot. Quite beautiful, isn’t it? We think that any artist would be inspired by living here.

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Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2020

 

 

Featured

Virtual Road Tripping Ideas

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Wyoming Capitol Building

Bored? Stuck at home? Rather be on the road or camping? We are right there with you. To fill the void at our house, we’ve been using our spare time to take different kinds of virtual road trips. In this post, we’ve put together a list of ideas to help end the boredom. We hope some of these resources will “get you out of the house” and help you start planning your next big adventure.

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Bridge at Acadia National Park

YouTube

Some of our favorite folks to virtually travel with are full-time RVers. These folks travel all over the country giving tips on where to go and what to do and see. They also give reviews on great camping spots, and we promise that you’re going to see some amazing scenery and points of interest along the way, too. In random order, our top six picks:

  • Changing Lanes – best for higher end camping and motorcycle rides.
  • Embracing Detours – best for free camping spots and traveling with pets.
  • Grand Adventure – best for boondocking in very scenic places.
  • Traveling Robert – best all around for travel, RV camping, hiking, and scenery.
  • Less Junk, More Journey – best for traveling the country with small kids.
  • Long Long Honeymoon – best for tips and tricks along with great destinations.

Texas

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Texas

We love for others to see what adventures await in our great home state of Texas. Some of our favorites:

  • The Daytripper – Chet Garner and crew travel to a new Texas city or town every week – PBS – check listings for times.
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife – travel to state parks and recreation areas and view our state’s amazing wildlife – PBS – check listings for times.
  • Texas Country Reporter – ride along with Bob Phillips for amazing places in Texas – various channels – check their website for more information. Here’s a link: Texas Country Reporter
  • The Texas Bucket List – learn about the people, places, food, and fun that Texas has to offer with host Shane McAuliffe – various channels and times – check their website for more information. Here’s a link: Texas Bucket List
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Good Ol’ Buoys

Netflix

We thoroughly enjoyed the two shows listed below. The only problem: they weren’t long enough!

  • Expedition Happiness – join Salima and Felix as they travel North America in a school bus turned RV – movie – 1.5 hours.
  • National Parks Adventure – documentary narrated by Robert Redford – 42 minutes.
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Water Diamonds

Prime Video

While some Prime Video selections have to be rented, the following are included with an Amazon Prime membership.

  • The National Parks – America’s Best Idea – 12 part documentary by Ken Burns
  • America’s 58 National Parks – documentary series with 57 episodes
  • America’s National Parks – 8 part documentary series
  • Best Parks Ever – America’s National Parks – 10 part documentary series
  • America’s Treasures – 8 part documentary series
  • RV – hilarious 2006 movie starring Robin Williams – 1.5 hours
  • National Lampoon’s Vacation – 1983 movie starring Chevy Chase – the ultimate guide for what you don’t want a road trip to be – definitely worth another watch
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West Texas Sunrise

Books

There’s nothing like a good book. Pick up the hard copies or download a couple of our favorites listed below.

  • Dear Bob and Sue – three book series covering Matt and Karen Smith’s adventures while visiting all of the national parks. These are a great read for any national park or travel enthusiast – couldn’t put them down! They have written a couple of other travel-related books, too, so check those out as well.
  • 50 States 5000 Ideas – National Geographic publication which also includes the 10 Canadian Provinces – where to go, what to see, what to do. This is a fun book!
  • On the Road – classic Jack Kerouac novel published in 1959. If you have never read it, now is a great time.
  • Any road atlas – yep, we mean that old fashioned paper map book. Atlas trips are a favorite pastime of ours. Pick a state and see what all it has to offer by “traveling” its highways and backroads via map.
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Fat Prairie Dog

Around the Web

The possibilities are endless for navigating travel related sites on the web. Here are some of our favorite stops:

  • RoadsideAmerica.com – pick any city and state to see what quirky attractions await.
  • AtlasObscura.com – enter a destination in their search box to see what interesting sights can be found there.
  • Explore.org – a collection of live webcams and webcam videos from around the world. Kids will love this!
  • OnlyinYourState.com – enter a state in the search box to find out about people, places, and things in the state of your choosing.
  • TripAdvisor.com we like to search “things to do” in a particular city and state to see what Trip Advisor comes up with.
  • DearBobandSue.com – check out their website for podcasts, photos of their adventures, and more.
  • One for the Money Two for the Road Blog – you’re already here, so look through our archives and revisit some great road trip ideas, itineraries, and photos!

 

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Reflections of Boston

We hope our ideas will help you escape for a few minutes or a few hours. Remember to count your blessings, wash your hands, and turn off the news. Stay safe and well, and we will see you when we can get back on the road.

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2020

Featured

Vermont: Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park

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Tiffany Glass Window – passing the torch to future generations
  • Website link: Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park
  • What is it: it was the home of three families who were passionate about preserving and protecting our lands and resources for future generations to enjoy
  • Where is it: Woodstock, Vermont near the bank of the Ottauquechee River
  • Cost: combination tickets for the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller estate and the also-must-see Billings Farm & Museum, which is across the street – $21.00 for ages 16-61, $16.00 for ages 62 and over, children 15 and under are free. The combo tickets are good for two days.
  • Hiking trails
  • Accommodations and restaurants in Woodstock, Vermont
  • When to go: June through October. The visitor center is open and guided tours of the mansion are available 10:00 – 5:00 from Memorial Day Weekend to October 31.
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Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Mansion

What a beautiful property! Full of history and the stories of the three families that called this place home.

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Exquisite gardens

Charles Marsh (1765-1849), a Woodstock, Vermont lawyer and later a US Representative, built the original house in 1805. His son, George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882), was also a lawyer and member of the US House of Representatives. George was appointed as a US Minister to the Ottoman Empire and then to the Kingdom of Italy, where he died in 1882.

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One of the carriage roads on the property. Can’t you imagine hitching a horse to a buggy and taking a ride through these beautiful grounds and woods?

George Perkins Marsh was concerned with conservationism and land stewardship. He advocated passionately for preservation of the natural environment, and in 1864, published a book, Man and Nature, which spoke of the importance of minimizing man’s impact on our natural resources.

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Pool, Belvedere, and Greenhouse

In 1869, the estate was purchased by another lawyer, Frederick H. Billings, who had gained his wealth by handling land claims during the California Gold Rush. Billings was also a founding partner of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The Billings family enlarged the home and transformed the previously boxy, Federal-style home into the trend-of-the-era Queen Anne Victorian that remains today.  The Tiffany Glass Company designed several stained glass windows for the home as well as some of the wallpapers and fabrics that remain in the home today.

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The belvedere: a summer house or cottage, usually with a view. We loved this tiny treasure.

Billings, also a passionate conservationist, reforested the surrounding woodlands that had been stripped of their trees, and established the dairy farm that lies across the road from the mansion. While not part of the national park (although, they partner with each other in may ways), the Billings Farm and Museum is owned by the Woodstock Foundation, Inc., which was formed by Laurance and Mary Rockefeller.

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Looking out from the porch. At one time, there were very few trees in this view due to deforestation. Thankfully, Frederick Billings was good steward of the land.

 Mary French Billings Rockefeller, the granddaughter of Frederick Billings, inherited the estate in 1951. She and her husband, Laurance, another passionate conservationist who was an advisor on preservation and conservationism to several presidents, were the last owners of the property. They donated the house and surrounding land to the National Park Service in 1992. Mary died in 1996, and Laurance died in 1997.

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Outstanding gardens and plantings at every turn

Trivia: Laurance’s father, John D. Rockefeller donated the land that would become Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Laurance donated the land, an 1,100 acre ranch that he and his father acquired over the course of several years, that is now the Laurance Rockefeller Preserve, which also lies within the boundaries of Grand Teton National Park.

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Another view of the beautiful grounds

Now for a few shots inside the mansion. General tours cover the first and second floors. Special tours, such as the “art tour”, are given during certain times on select days. Check the website link above for details of these additional tours.

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Another Tiffany Glass window as seen in the parlor/music room. Note the fabulous Tiffany wallpaper. This textured wallpaper has been on the walls of this room since the Billings’ renovation in 1869!
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The Dining Room. The woodwork in this home is outstanding. The parquet floors are works of art in themselves, and all of the other woodwork is breathtaking.
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One of the bookcases in the library.

The home remains as the Rockefellers left it when they donated the property to the National Park Service, even down to the family pictures sitting on the mantel in the library and Laurance’s pipe sitting in a tray in the bedroom.

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Master bedroom sitting area. (We’re pretty sure that fan is not orginal to the house)

The mansion is home to an extensive art collection. The collection contains paintings by renowned artists, such as Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Cole, who were associated with the Hudson River School art movement, which, through art and advocacy, promoted conservationism and also led to the establishment of the national park system.

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Albert Bierstadt’s The Matterhorn (date unknown)

Many other paintings, sculptures, and photography are also part of the extensive collection of art in the home. We were disappointed that the “art tour” wasn’t offered on the day that we were there. Perhaps another trip to Vermont is in order.

We’re going to wrap up here. Thank you so very much for touring the Marsh – Billings – Rockefeller National Historical Park with us. We love having you join us on all of our travels! Please stop by our site again for more exciting destinations, parks, or maybe just a Quick Stop. We appreciate your “likes” and comments.

We will close this post with a look at the Ottauquechee River as it flows through Quechee Gorge about five miles from the park.

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Quechee Gorge

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Strawbery Banke Museum and Portsmouth, New Hampshire

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  • Website link: Strawbery Banke Museum
  • Where is it: Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  • What is it: it is a restored neighborhood in South Portsmouth’s historic district
  • Cost: varies, see website
  • One restaurant is located on the property, along with a cafe in the visitor center
  • Hours: May through October, open daily from 10:00 – 5:00 for self-guided tours 

Strawbery Banke was first settled in 1630, and was centered around an inlet or waterway called Puddle Dock, which was filled in in the early 1900s. Today Strawbery Banke is a collection of original buildings – homes and businesses – some of which were occupied until the 1950s. When the neighborhood was destined for demolition, preservationists jumped in to save it, and Strawbery Banke opened as this wonderful museum in 1965.

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The Sherburne House, built between 1695 and 1703 by Captain John Sherburne. We thought the construction of this house was interesting, and the windows really grabbed our attention.
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Wheelwright House. Built during the time of the American Revolution by Captain John Wheelwright, it is a fine example of a middle class home of the time.
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The Dinsmore Shop. The 1800 cooper’s shop was moved to Strawbery Banke in 1985 and is where the museum’s resident master cooper demonstrates the art of barrel making.
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Thomas Bailey Aldrich House. For at time during his youth, Aldrich lived in this home with his grandfather. Years later, the house was repurchased by his widow, and restored to its original condition as a memorial to her late husband. During the 1880s the house served as Portsmouth’s first hospital. Aldrich’s claim to fame was his book The Story of a Bad Boy, which is significant because it was based on his life while living in this house with his grandfather, and it was the first time that a boy’s life had been depicted in American literature. His friend, Mark Twain, would follow Aldrich’s lead a few years later, writing about The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
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The Goodwin Mansion (1872). This house was the home of Ichabod Goodwin, who was a governor of New Hampshire from 1859-1860. The Goodwin Mansion is the only house at Strawbery Banke that does not sit on its original foundation. It was rescued from demolition in another section of Portsmouth and moved to this site in 1963.

Our favorite part of the Strawbery Banke Museum was the Marden-Abbott House and Store. The house was built during the 1720s by a local mast maker named John Marden. Walter and Bertha Abbott purchased the home in 1919 and opened the store, which Bertha operated up into the 1950s.

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Marden-Abbott House and The Little Corner Store
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World War II era grocery items line the shelves of the store
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We were fascinated by the products and the prices
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World War II rationing poster displayed in the store

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At the time of our visit, the store was occupied by a costumed role player, presumably portraying Bertha Abbott, who pointed at our camera and told us that if we went across the street to the harbor we might be arrested for taking pictures (in other words, being spies). “The navy doesn’t want any of those German U-boats getting into our harbor,” she said. She then went on to talk about war rations. “Bertha” and the store were absolutely delightful.

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This house is not on the museum’s grounds but sits across the street from the Goodwin Mansion. We though it was a beautiful example of New England architecture.
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The North Church of Portsmouth. This is a Congregational Church, originally built in 1657, and rebuilt in 1854. The church was restored in 1978. Isn’t it stunning?
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The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, established in 1800, as seen from Prescott Park across the street from the Strawbery Banke Museum. Interestingly, the shipyard, which sits on the banks of the Piscataqua River, is actually in Kittery, Maine, as the result of a boundary dispute that was resolved in 2006. This is the oldest continually operating US naval shipyard.
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World War I Memorial Bridge. This is a vertical lift bridge that carries US 1 across the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth, NH and Kittery, ME. Built in 2013, this bridge replaced a previous bridge that was built in 1923.
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This plaque from the original Memorial Bridge sits atop the new bridge on the New Hampshire side. We took this picture while driving by. Sometimes we get lucky!
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This is the Piscataqua River Bridge which carries I-95 over the river from New Hampshire to Maine. IMG_5732

Coastguard Cutters anchored near the naval shipyard. The large beige building in the background is the old Navy Yard Prison that was built between 1903 and 1908. During World War II the prison saw its highest population of nearly 3,000 men. The prison was permanently closed in 1974 because it didn’t meet modern day prison standards.

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The Sheafe Warehouse. Built in the early to mid 1700s, the warehouse was moved to this location in Prescott Park for preservation and public enjoyment. Art and other exhibitions now take place in this historic building, but it wasn’t open on the day we visited Portsmouth.

For information about the Sheafe Warehouse, here is a link to a great blog site: Sheafe Warehouse.

Honestly, with the history of Portsmouth, the river, the harbor, the bridges, etc., we could continue this post for days. However, we’re going to wrap it up here. We appreciate your visit to our site, and we hope that you will return again for more great destinations. You never know where we’re going to take you next! If you’re not a follower, become one so you never miss a post, and tell your friends about us, too.

We are going to close with a picture of the beautiful New Hampshire State House in Concord.

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Built between 1816 and 1819, the New Hampshire State House is the oldest state house in the US where the legislature still occupies the original building.  The gilded dome is topped by a gold peace eagle, erected in 1957. The land upon which the state house sits was sold to the state of New Hampshire by Quakers whose meeting house once sat on the site. The city of Concord funded the construction of the state house.

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

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Park boundary with El Capitan (left) and Guadalupe Peak (far right) in the background
  • Website Link: Guadalupe Mountains National Park
  • Cost: $7.00 per person (ages 16 and up) for 7 day pass – seniors free with senior pass
  • Pine Springs Visitor Center: open daily 8:00 – 4:30 Mountain Time
  • McKittrick Canyon day use area: gate is open daily 8:00 – 4:30 MST and until 6:00 MDT
  • Frijole Ranch Museum: open daily 8:00-4:30
  • Salt Basin Sand Dunes day use area: no overnight parking or camping, picnic tables and pit toilets available – located approximately 50 miles southwest of Pine Springs Visitor Center – no services
  • Williams Ranch day use area: high-clearance vehicle required for one lane dirt road access – keys must be checked out at the Pine Springs Visitor Center and returned the same day
  • Camping spaces available at Pine Springs Campground – open year-round – no hook ups and reservations are not available – restrooms and potable water are available
  • Dog Canyon Campground: open year-round – located 110 miles from Pine Springs Visitor Center, and approximately 65 miles from Carlsbad, New Mexico – tent and RV campsites available – restrooms are available – no services
  • Backcountry and equestrian camping also available in the park
  • Hotels, additional camping, food, and gasoline available in Carlsbad, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas
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View of the mountains near Guadalupe Pass

Getting There:

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Cholla cactus blooms

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located approximately 53 minutes southwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico and approximately 1.75 hours northeast of El Paso, Texas via US Highway 62/180. El Paso has a major airport.

⇒Travel Tip: there are few services between El Paso and the park. It’s a good idea to have plenty of gasoline, water, and food on hand before beginning your journey. The only services between the city of Carlsbad and the park are 32 miles northeast of Guadalupe Mountains in White’s City near the entrance of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, but the services there are limited. There are no services available in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Recommended RV parks in Carlsbad:

Carlsbad RV Park & Campground – 4301 National Parks Hwy, Carlsbad, NM 88220 – (575) 885-6333, which is closest to the national parks. 

Carlsbad KOA Holiday – 2 Manthei Rd, Carlsbad, NM 88220 – (575) 457-2000, which is about 30 minutes farther but is close to the state parks in Carlsbad. 

Destination: Guadalupe Mountains National Park

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The Guadalupe Mountains are the remains of an ancient reef – beautiful!

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is one of two national parks in Texas, the other being Big Bend National Park. Guadalupe Mountains, however, is home to Guadalupe Peak, which is the highest point in Texas at 8,751 feet. The Guadalupe Peak trail, at a little over eight miles round-trip, is a popular and strenuous hike.

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Pine Springs Visitor Center

There is an interesting museum exhibit inside the Pine Springs Visitor Center. Guadalupe Peak hikers can check in here. Restrooms and a water filling station are available. Outside, there is a short nature trail (the Pinery trail) leading to the remains of the historic Pinery Station, which was a Butterfield Overland Mail Station (pre-Pony Express) used in the mid-1800s. The remains of this station are some of the only ones left of any Butterfield Station in the US. Learn about some of the plants found in the park while walking the paved Pinery trail.

The Pinery Station

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The crumbling walls of the Pinery Station with El Capitan in the background

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Highway access and parking for the Pinery Station is approximately .5 miles northeast of the Pine Springs Visitor Center and is clearly marked with signs along the highway. The parking lot here also serves as overflow parking for the Guadalupe Peak trailhead which is located at the Pine Springs campground near the visitor center. The short trail to the Pinery Station is paved and is wheelchair accessible.

Frijole Ranch

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The Frijole Ranch house, originally built in 1876 and expanded in the 1920s, is now a cultural museum. The ranch was established in order for its owners to raise cattle near several springs located here in the foothills of the Guadalupe Mountains. Subsequent owners grew vegetable gardens and tended large orchards along with raising stock. Click the park website link above to read about the interesting history of the ranch.
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The orchards are behind the white building (which could be an outhouse) on the left. The tin roofed building on the far right was used as a bunkhouse and schoolhouse.

Access to Frijole Ranch is via a well-marked exit off of the highway northeast of the Pine Springs Visitor Center. A short gravel road will lead to a parking and picnic area (with restrooms) next to the Frijole Ranch house/museum. Equestrian corrals and overnight parking for stock trailers are available at Frijole Ranch. This is also the trailhead for Manzanita Spring trail and Smith Spring trail. The Manzanita Spring trail is an easy 4 miles round-trip on a paved, wheelchair accessible trail. Smith Spring trail loop is classified as moderate at 2.3 miles round-trip.

Hiking McKittrick Canyon

Here you can see a wide variety of plants, and possibly some animals that call Guadalupe Mountains National Park home. That, on top of the breathtaking beauty of the mountain scenery, makes McKittrick Canyon a wonderful place to hike. Oak, maple, walnut and many other types of trees can be found in this desert-turned-riparian hideaway. When the trees turn in the late fall, the canyon becomes an even more popular place for hikers. Check the website for the fall colors report in October and November.

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Starting off on the trail leading from the ranger station/contact station where all hikers must check in. Didn’t we have a gorgeous day for hiking?
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A cool creek is a welcome sight on a hot day
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Pratt Cabin – note the stone roof

Wallace Pratt, a Humble Oil Company geologist, first came to McKittrick Canyon in 1921, and eventually acquired about 5,000 acres of the canyon. In the early 1930s he hired Houston, Texas architects and local workers in need of jobs to construct the cabin also known as the Pratt Lodge. Mr. Pratt referred to the cabin as the Stone Cabin, which was constructed of locally quarried limestone. Pratt eventually built another home in what is now Guadalupe Mountains National Park. His second home, completed in 1945, is known as the Ship on the Desert. In 1960, the Pratt family donated their land to the park service. The cabin is open intermittently for ranger guided tours, and there are a couple of picnic tables nearby but no restrooms or water.

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View from the front porch of Pratt Cabin – we could have stayed on that porch all day
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This little lady was as curious about us as were about her
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A shady part of the trail leading to The Grotto

The well-marked turn-off for McKittrick Canyon is located 7 miles northeast of the Pine Springs Visitor Center. Although we went on a hot day, this was one of our all time favorite hikes. It is rated moderate, however, we thought it was an easy, family friendly trail. We turned around at The Grotto (6.8 miles round-trip), but the trail continues to McKittrick Ridge which is a steep and strenuous 14.8 mile round-trip hike from the ranger/contact station trailhead. Restrooms and water filling stations are available at the station. Park passes/admission fees can be paid at the station, however, they require exact change in the form of cash only. Park passes can also be obtained at the Pine Springs Visitor Center.

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Cute and colorful – we saw several of these guys along the trail

One of our favorite things to see on this trip was the blooming New Mexican agave plants, even though the only ones we saw were in Texas!

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We visited the park during the latter part of May when many of the plants were in bloom. Desert plants are magnificent when in bloom, and if you’ve never experienced the refreshing summer rain scent of the creosote plant, you’re totally missing out!

Agaves and yucca plants produce tall stalks that can grow several feet overnight. Many desert animals eat the blooms and the stalks. We watched a mule deer in McKittrick Canyon gobble up an entire century plant stalk in about five minutes.

The normally scraggly-looking cactus plants put on a show during the spring with their brightly colored blooms, such as the cholla cactus shown at the top of the page.

Some of the other plants that were in bloom included:

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Soap Tree Yuccas
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Butterfly Weed
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Prickly Pear Cactus
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Apache Plume with its white flowers and feathery pink plumes
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Delicate Prickly Pear “rosebuds” about to burst into bloom
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Bright orange Ocotillo blooms and a bee
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Cardinal penstemon growing straight out of a rock at The Grotto
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Another agave shot – not sorry. This was a large “agave forest” (our words) just outside the park.

Below are some of the plants and sights that we saw along the road in Lincoln National Forest on the way to Dog Canyon. Some of the plants looked like they had been purposely planted, but that didn’t bother us. We loved taking the back roads and seeing these plants off the beaten path!

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Creosote Bush – and oh, did it smell heavenly
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Yellow Bird of Paradise Bush
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Sweet Acacia
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Free range cattle jam on the road – and this wasn’t the only one we encountered
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This is the state line marker on the gate going in to Dog Canyon campground. Most of the trek to Dog Canyon is through New Mexico, but all of Guadalupe Mountains National Park is in Texas. Remote Dog Canyon is THE place to camp if you want to get away from it all.

We will close this post with a shot of a spectacular Texas Madrone.

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Texas Madrone trees shed their bark to expose their smooth pink wood

Thank you for hanging with us through this long post. There is just so much beauty in Guadalupe Mountains National Park we wanted to share it with you! (And we barely scratched the surface.) We appreciate you traveling along with us on our journeys, and we hope you will stop back by soon for more great road tripping and RVing tips and more exciting adventures. Until then…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Acadia National Park

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  • Website link: Acadia National Park
  • Cost: $30.00 per private vehicle for a 7-day pass
  • Biking, hiking, bird watching, climbing, horseback riding, fishing, swimming
  • Winter activities: cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking, ice fishing, snowmobiling
  • Campgrounds available in the park and outside the park. Make reservations early!
  • Picnic areas are located throughout the park
  • Jordan Pond House Restaurant is the only restaurant located in the park. Other restaurants are located in surrounding communities.
  • Hotels available in surrounding communities
  • Free park shuttles
  • When to go: any time
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Acadia coastline

Cadillac Mountain Summit – a very popular place to watch the sun come up. On our first afternoon at Acadia, the skies were partly cloudy, but, luckily, we could see the views of the surrounding islands and the Atlantic as we walked the summit trail. We were there on a Sunday. The summit was crowded and parking was limited, however, we got a parking place after just a few minutes of waiting. And, it was definitely worth the wait!

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Bar Harbor and Frenchman Bay from Cadillac Mountain summit

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Wild Gardens of Acadia. This feature of the park enabled us to take a peaceful stroll through the gardens where we familiarized ourselves with some of the plants that grow on Mount Desert Island. Next to the gardens is Sieur de Monts Spring, which some believe is the birthplace of Acadia National Park. George Dorr, who was instrumental in the establishment of Acadia as a national park, built the spring house over the spring in 1909.

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Bridge leading to the path to Sieur de Monts spring house pictured in the upper left

Sand Beach. The only beach in Acadia. This is a very popular place during warmer weather, though, the water is cold!

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Sand Beach under sunny skies
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Rocky coast at Sand Beach

Thunder Hole. During high tide, the waves crash into a hole in the rocks and it makes a loud sound like thunder.

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Wave crashing in Thunder Hole

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Jordan Pond Path. This is a 3.5 mile trail around Jordan Pond. Part of the path is on raised boards, part of the path is on flat ground, and part is over rocks. Most of the trail is easy, however, and the scenery is beautiful. We took off early in the morning, and saw no other people for at least the first 90 minutes. What a great hike! We had intended to have brunch at Jordan Pond House, but we finished before they opened.

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Jordan Pond and The Bubbles, which are two small granite mountains
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Boardwalk on Jordan Pond Path

Other Acadia Highlights…

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Beaver Dam Pond, Acadia
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Eagle Lake, Acadia
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Rock bridge over one of the carriage roads in the park

Bass Harbor Head Light. First built in 1858, the light station has gone through several improvements and changes over the years. The light, operated by the US Coast Guard, is now automated, and the keepers house is no longer used.

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Bass Harbor Head Light, Acadia
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Bass Harbor Head Light up close. The red beacon is bright, even in the daylight.

Wonderland Trail. Not far from Bass Harbor Head Light, this is a relaxing, family friendly hike through the woods to the Mount Desert Island coastline and tide pools. 1.5 miles round trip.

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Wonderland Trail
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At the end of Wonderland Trail

We loved our time in Acadia National Park. But, as happens with every park we visit, we wish we could have spent more time there. Acadia has mountains, shorelines, crashing waves, a beach, lakes, lighthouses, forests, and the list goes on… What more could anyone want from a national park?

We hope you will come back to our site for more of our New England road trip posts, other exciting destinations, and tips and tricks to make the most of your travels. We appreciate your support, your input, and your comments. Remember, we post for you!

We will close this post with one more shot of  beautiful Jordan Pond.

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Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

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  • Website link: Palo Duro Canyon State Park
  • Cost: $8.00 per day per adult – free for children 12 and under
  • Tent and RV camping, cabins – various fees
  • Hiking on trails and backcountry, biking, backpacking, seasonal horseback riding stable or bring your own horse – equestrian campground available
  • Visitor center/museum
  • Nature interpretive center
  • Trading post with gasoline, fast food, groceries
  • Large group/event pavillions
  • Summer musical “Texas” in the amphitheater and catered dinner available
  • Wildlife watching/birding
  • Additional accommodations/restaurants in Canyon, Texas and Amarillo, Texas (see our Amarillo post)
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View from the CCC Overlook near the visitor center. One of the red “Spanish Skirts” is seen at the center of the photo.

Our favorite place to camp, Palo Duro Canyon State Park is the crown jewel of the Texas park system. That’s our opinion, anyway. The canyon is not only breathtakingly beautiful, it is the second largest canyon in the US. The name Palo Duro comes from the Spanish phrase meaning “hard wood”. The park is located about 30 minutes south and east of Amarillo, Texas. IMG_5244 (1)The sun was in the right place at the right time for this shot. That usually doesn’t happen for us – we just got lucky this time. No filters. Look at those spectacular colors!

Highlights…

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Can you see him? Well camouflaged, he blends in with his surroundings. The Longhorn Pasture is next to the park entrance.
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El Coronado Lodge. Built in the mid-1930s by the CCC, the lodge now serves as the visitor center and museum. Three CCC-built cabins on the rim of the canyon, just west of the visitor center, can accommodate four people each and can be reserved through the Texas State Parks website.
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This fireplace is all that remains of the CCC camp recreation hall which served as a place for the men to socialize and relax after a hard day’s work.

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The summer musical “Texas” has been performed at the Pioneer Amphitheatre since 1966! The production features outstanding music, singing, dancing, and special effects, all while telling the story of ranching in the Texas Panhandle in the late 1800s. “Texas” is a treat for the entire family. Tickets can be ordered online.

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The cave is a popular destination for those who are brave enough to climb the rocks up to it.

Hiking Palo Duro…

Lighthouse Trail, the most popular hike in the park, is just under six miles round trip, and it’s our favorite! Below are some scenes from Lighthouse Trail.

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Interesting geology
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The Lighthouse
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Capital Peak from Lighthouse Trail. We love the hoodoo at the far left side of the picture.
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Rojo Grande Trail – moderate, although we thought it was easy. About 2.5 miles round trip.
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Kiowa Trail. Easy, peaceful, pretty. About 1.4 miles one way.

Palo Duro has many miles of trails with varying levels of difficulty. Some trails are multi-use, some are for hiking only, and some are for biking only. Mountain biking is very popular in this park. Check the website for all trail details.

Wildlife…

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These deer were about 50 feet from our campsite.
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Looking for love in all the wrong places. Apparently he was hoping for a date, but she totally ignored him.
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Roadrunner

Campgrounds and cabins…

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One of the campsites at the picturesque Mesquite campground.
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Sagebrush campground. This is our favorite campground, and it is within walking distance of the Pioneer Amphitheatre. (How about those dumpsters?) Okay, ignore the much-appreciated dumpsters and check out the gorgeous scenery!
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Cow Camp Cabins. Yep, you guessed it…these were built by the CCC, too.

Palo Duro Canyon has several campgrounds for tent and RV camping, day use areas, and an equestrian campground. This park is also pet friendly, but pets must be kept on a leash and are not allowed in the park buildings. See the website for details and reservation information.

Cool stuff nearby…

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West Texas A&M University wind turbine. It is the tallest (653.5 feet from the ground to the tip of its most upright blade) wind turbine in the US. Located east of Canyon, Texas, south of Texas Highway 217 off of Osage Road. It’s hard to miss this behemoth on the way to the park!

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Charles A. Smith sculpture about a half mile west of the park entrance. These arrows mark trails all over West Texas.
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Tex Randall – 1400 N 3rd Avenue, Canyon, Texas.

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Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum – 2401 4th Avenue, Canyon Texas. This is one of the best museums we have visited. Exhibits include Texas oil production, ranching, art, and paleontology, just to name a few. A visit to this museum is well worth the time and entry fee.
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T-Anchor Ranch Headquarters at Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. Its Texas Historical Commission marker is below.

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Parting shots…

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Another pretty scene in the park.
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Old barn, silos, and attached living quarters (?) found on FM 1541 east of the city of Canyon.
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Randall County Courthouse – centerpiece of the delightful town square in Canyon, Texas
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Meandering river – Prairie Dog Town Fork Red River – on an overcast day in the park
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Another amorous Tom

Well, that covers our overview of Palo Duro Canyon State Park, folks. Please join us next time for another great road trip, and become a follower so you never miss a post!

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019