Featured

Gettysburg National Military Park

Gettysburg has a lot to see and do, and honestly we should have stayed for more than a day. We spent two hours viewing the introductory film, seeing the cyclorama, and seeing the museum. All three are covered in a $15.00 fee at the visitor center. Otherwise, the park is free to visit. The auto tour took another three hours. We hiked one trail near Little Round Top and then walked the entire National Cemetery Trail. In all, we probably spent six to seven hours in the park. If you have never been to Gettysburg, you need to know that the park is surrounded by the town where traffic is heavy and parking is almost non-existent. Downtown Gettysburg is fun and has lots of shops and restaurants, but be prepared to feed a parking meter if you go.

Restaurant recommendations:

Tommy’s Pizza – great for lunch.

The Gettysburger was worth the hour-long wait for a table for dinner. The food was great and the service was excellent. They even have a dog menu if you want to have your fur baby join you on their patio! We highly recommend making a reservation.

The Auto Tour

The auto tour is 24 miles long and can be self-guided or many types of guided tours are available. We chose to do the self guided tour which is easy using the information provided in the park brochure. The tour is well marked with signs so it is easy to follow. We did not stop at every memorial or monument, however, we did stop at all sixteen points of interest described in the brochure.

Eternal Light Peace Memorial – “Peace Eternal in a Nation United”
The Virginia Memorial
State of Pennsylvania Monument
Church at the Lutheran Theological Seminary – Seminary Ridge

The Gettysburg National Cemetery

The National Cemetery is a a somber and extremely beautiful place. While driving through the battlefields, you can’t help but think about what took place there and the lives that were ended or changed forever on those hallowed grounds, but walking through the cemetery really brings it home.

The Soldiers National Memorial at Gettysburg National Cemetery sits on the site of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Cyclorama

The Gettysburg Cyclorama, which is 377 feet long and 42 feet high, is a stunning depiction of the final Confederate assault on July 3, 1863. The painting, one of the largest in the world, was done by Paul Philippoteaux in the 1880s. The building that houses the cyclorama provides special lighting and sound effects that seemingly place the viewer in the midst of the battle. The narrator does an excellent job of pointing out the landmarks and explaining how the battle took place. Seeing this before we took the auto tour really helped us to know what we were looking at. Some of our photos are below, and here is a link to the National Park Service website which has the history of the cyclorama, videos, and additional photos: https://www.nps.gov/gett/planyourvisit/cyclorama.htm

This is a close-up of the photo above. Look closely at the man being carried. It’s a little Easter egg that Philippoteaux added to his masterpiece. Do you see that the man is Abraham Lincoln? They also said that Philippoteaux portrayed himself somewhere in the painting too, but we didn’t find him.

The Gettysburg Museum

So much to see and learn in this museum! It is a definite must-do prior to taking the auto tour. We were particularly interested in the many flags that are on display. Below are a couple of the exhibits.

We’re going to close this post with one last picture from the auto tour. Please come back often to see more of our latest trip. Better yet, become an e-mail follower so you will be notified every time we post. We will not sell to or share your information with anyone.

The beautiful State of Vermont Monument

Thanks so much for riding along with us. Until next time…

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.

©2021

Featured

We’re Finally Back on the Road!

Covid threw us (and everyone else) for a loop, but after a too-long hiatus, a lot of research, and many hours of soul searching, we decided to mask up, pack our hand sanitizer, and get back to business. We are thrilled to share our 1200 mile, five state Mid-Atlantic road trip with you over the next weeks and months, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Our trip began and ended in Baltimore, MD because…well, Southwest flies there. We try to always fly Southwest if possible – gotta love those points! Plus, Baltimore was a perfect central location for everything we wanted to do and see. What we didn’t expect was the heavy traffic. (Wilmington and Baltimore, we’re looking at you!) For a couple of folks from the wide open spaces of West Texas, we weren’t used to taking two and a half hours to go 68 miles. That said, the trip was great and the bumper to bumper traffic in some areas just added to the adventure.

Here’s our cute Kia Sorrento rental car.

Catoctin Mountain Park (Thurmont, Maryland)

Our very first stop on the trip was at Catoctin Mountain Park in Maryland. It is a free entrance national park site that includes a scenic drive, hiking trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, streams, fishing, rock climbing, and cross country skiing in the winter, and it abuts Cunningham Falls State Park, which is the site of the highest waterfall in Maryland. You may not have heard of Catoctin Mountain Park, but we bet you’ve heard of Camp David. The presidential retreat established by Dwight D. Eisenhower and named after his grandson is located in Catoctin Mountain Park. Camp David is not accessible to the public and its location is apparently kept very secretive. We happened to see what we believed to be the entrance because it had official looking gates with signs that prohibited parking, standing, and picture taking.

Oh, the beauty, the delightful bird calls and the earthy smells of the forest. We love a good trail, and this one didn’t disappoint.
Pastoral Catoctin Mountains farm scene from the overlook at the end of the trail

Here’s a handy link to Catoctin Mountain Park for more information: https://www.nps.gov/cato/index.ht

National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes

We didn’t have this stop on our itinerary, but it was on the way to Gettysburg so we took a chance. What a great place to see! The National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes is on the campus of Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The grounds, walking paths, and gardens are beautiful. We got to witness a pilgrimage to the Grotto while we were there, which was an exciting first for us. That is why there are no pictures of the actual Grotto, but below are some shots from in and around the area. While viewing the pictures, imagine walking through a serene garden setting on a mountain top while a carillon rings out “How Great Thou Art”.

Chapel
Reflecting Pool
Beautiful Jesus
Saint Anthony Shrine (dedicated in 1859) near the National Shrine Grotto in Emmitsburg

Here is the link to The National Shrine Grotto if you would like additional information: https://www.nsgrotto.org/

The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Also in Emmitsburg, MD, is the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Born in 1774, she was the first American to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.

Shrine and Basillica

Also of interest in Emmitsburg is the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial which is located just down the street from the Seton Shrine.

Here is the link to The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton: https://setonshrine.org

Here is the link to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial: https://www.firehero.org

That is all we have for this post. You won’t want to miss our next exciting destination, Gettysburg. We appreciate you for visiting our site and riding along with us on our adventures. We would love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment. Until next time…

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

Mike and Kellye

IMG_0254

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.

©2021

Featured

Woodstock, Vermont and Billings Farm & Museum

 

IMG_8027
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.

IMG_8029
Street view of downtown Woodstock

IMG_8030

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!

IMG_8121
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.

IMG_8123
Private residence – white paint with black shutters, so typical of Vermont

IMG_8118
If you have been following our New England posts, you know how we love the pretty  churches, and this one didn’t disappoint.

IMG_8122
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

IMG_8042
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.

IMG_8085
It’s milking time, girls.

IMG_8101
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.

IMG_8126

IMG_8127

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

IMG_0254

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

 

IMG_8027
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.

IMG_8029
Street view of downtown Woodstock

IMG_8030

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!

IMG_8121
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.

IMG_8123
Private residence – white paint with black shutters, so typical of Vermont

IMG_8118
If you have been following our New England posts, you know how we love the pretty  churches, and this one didn’t disappoint.

IMG_8122
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

IMG_8042
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.

IMG_8085
It’s milking time, girls.

IMG_8101
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.

IMG_8126

IMG_8127

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

IMG_0254

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

Beautiful Plants and Flowers of New England

IMG_8065
Bee on garlic chive flowers

As we traveled through Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, we found beautiful plants and flowers at every turn. Most of the flora we encountered was trees, which are sparse in our part of West Texas, so we were enchanted by the sheer numbers of them. What was interesting to us was not only the countless trees, but the variety of trees we saw everywhere we went. Oh, and the flowers were spectacular! Now, because of so much “pretty”, we have created a post showcasing another part of the beauty of New England to share with you. We hope you enjoy…

IMG_7449 (1)
Water lilies on a pond at Acadia

IMG_7532
Beach roses

Some of the plants that we’re showcasing were growing wild and some were in gardens. We have been able to identify a lot of them, but some of them remain nameless. If any of you can tell us what the UFO’s (Unidentified Flowering Objects) are, please leave the answer in the comments section below.

IMG_7195 (1)
Can anyone identify this gorgeous plant?

IMG_7603
We found ferns everywhere we looked

IMG_7524
Mountain Ash. The clusters of lipstick red berries made them hard to miss.

IMG_7189
Does anyone know what this pink plant is called?

IMG_8070
This majestic tree is on the grounds of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park, near the visitor center.

IMG_7629
Sunflower in a garden in New Hampshire

IMG_7046 (1)
Viburnum

IMG_7354 (1)
Pink Viburnum

IMG_7779 (1)
Velvety mosses carpet the forest floor

IMG_7972
We had to include this hot pink zinnia that we found growing near the Vermont State House

IMG_7286
Staghorn Sumac

IMG_7756 (1)
We aren’t sure what kind of tree this is (birch, maybe?), but we thought it was interesting.

IMG_7187 (1)
Asters

IMG_7462
We are tempted to call these sedum, but we’re not sure. Can someone confirm?

IMG_7464
Stunning dahlias found in a garden in Bar Harbor

IMG_7467
More dahlias. Breathtaking!

Okay, one more dahlia, and then we’re going to call this post finished. (It’s so beautiful we couldn’t leave it out!)

IMG_7469 (1)

Thank you for letting us share the beauty of New England’s plants and flowers with you. We hope you enjoyed this excursion through the flora! Please come back to our site often for more pretty pictures, exciting road trip destinations, and lots of other great stuff. We really appreciate your “likes” and comments. If you are not a follower, become one so you never miss a post.

We are going to close this post with hydrangeas. We saw them everywhere we went, and they were exquisite. See for yourself…

IMG_8333
We got caught by the homeowner when we were taking this photo, but his hydrangeas were way too pretty to pass up. When we told him what we were doing, he just smiled and waved. We have a feeling that we probably weren’t the first people to stop by this house for a picture.

IMG_8155
These hydrangeas were in front of the New Hampshire State House.

Until the next trip…

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

Mike and Kellye

IMG_5646

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

img_7912.jpg

  • 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

IMG_7875
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.

IMG_7882
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.

IMG_7908
Aspet

IMG_7897
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.

IMG_7904
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.

IMG_5717
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.

img_7895-1.jpg
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.

IMG_7902
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.

IMG_7883

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.

IMG_7901

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.

IMG_7863

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.

IMG_7872

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

Bar Harbor, Maine

IMG_5664
Bar Harbor sunrise

The town of Bar Harbor sits at the edge of Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, Maine. Incorporated in 1796, Bar Harbor was originally called Eden. In 1918, the name of the town was changed to Bar Harbor.

IMG_7152 (1)
From the top of Cadillac Mountain, a view of Bar Harbor, Frenchman Bay, the five Porcupine Islands (foreground), and a cruise ship in port.

IMG_7296 (1)
Street view. Hotels and restaurants across from the waterfront.

IMG_7294 (1)
The beautiful Bar Harbor Inn sits right on the water.

IMG_7301 (1)
Early evening downtown. The shops stay open later for the tourists.

Traditionally a home for the East Coast wealthy, Bar Harbor has some beautiful old mansions, and gorgeous newer homes. Shopping ranges from fun and cheap to funky to expensive. Parking is limited and every public parking space that we saw had a parking meter. There are many restaurants and bars, too. We had lunch at a cute place called Side Street Cafe where the service and food was very good, and we didn’t have to wait to be seated!

IMG_7297 (1)
On the waterfront   

IMG_7298 (1)

Stewman’s was our top pick for dinner on our first night in Bar Harbor, and we were not disappointed. Lobster roll, anyone? How about a crab roll? This place had great food and great service, plus they played seventies music, so we’re giving them a big shout-out for all of the above! We highly recommend Stewman’s if you’re in Bar Harbor. Did we mention that they have indoor and outdoor dining? So there’s that.

Bar Harbor offers something for everyone in the way of entertainment. There are walking history tours, whale watching tours, guided tours to Acadia National Park, culinary tours, a beautiful golf course, and cruises on Frenchman Bay, just to name a few.

IMG_7536 (1)
This is the Four-Masted Schooner, Margaret Todd, out for an evening cruise.

While walking around Bar Harbor, bits of history can be found at every turn. The town’s historical society has done a great job of erecting “Museum in the Streets” signs describing the many points of interest. We enjoyed walking Shore Path which is a half mile trail that runs atop the cliffs along the edge of the water. There were stories about the old mansions tucked away behind tall hedges and gorgeous flowers to enjoy on our after dinner stroll, as well as watching the boats on the bay.

IMG_7531 (1)
Beach roses aka dune roses can be found all along the coast of Maine. This large shrub is full of rose hips left over after the blooms played out. We thought these were pretty and interesting.

IMG_7496
We were lucky to find a few beach roses still blooming so late in the season.

IMG_7544 (1)
Pink and white hydrangeas in front of a home

We were especially fascinated by the beautiful churches, not only in Bar Harbor, but everywhere we went. The white churches with their steeples looming high above the trees are typically Congregational churches, and we found them everywhere in New England. These beautiful churches epitomized New England for us. So unassuming and welcoming, don’t you just want to go on in?

IMG_7471 (1)
Congregational Church in Bar Harbor

Another Bar Harbor church caught our attention, too. Saint Saviour’s Episcopal Church was first completed in 1877 and over the years has undergone several expansions to accommodate its large congregation.

IMG_7474
Saint Saviour’s Episcopal Church, built between 1877 and 1938, has several Tiffany Studio glass windows, and sits next to the historic Village Burying Ground.

IMG_7460 (1)
Village Burying Ground

IMG_7457
Interesting history about the Village Burying Ground

IMG_7458 (1)
Monument to Union Soldiers in the Village Burying Ground

Thank you for joining us on our tour of Bar Harbor, Maine. We hope that you will come back to our site again to catch up with us on our New England road trip. You never know where we’re going, so check back often. We will have more national parks, great camping spots, Quick Stops, and other exciting posts for you in the coming months, too. If you’re not already a follower become one so you never miss a post.

We will close this post with a picture of some exquisite dahlias we found in Bar Harbor.

IMG_7518 (1)

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

IMG_1074
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.

IMG_7440
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

IMG_6888
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

IMG_7299 (1)
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.

IMG_7378
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

IMG_6682
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.

IMG_5756
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!

 

IMG_1833
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

IMG_5676

 

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

IMG_8055
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.

IMG_8072
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Mansion

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

IMG_8064
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.

IMG_8069
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.

IMG_8066
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.

IMG_8067
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.

IMG_8051
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.

IMG_8068
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.

IMG_8063
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.

IMG_8054
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!

IMG_8052
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.

IMG_8057
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.

IMG_8058
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.

IMG_8060
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.

IMG_5718 (1)
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

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

IMG_6005
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

IMG_0367
View of the mountains near Guadalupe Pass

Getting There:

img_6093.jpg
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

IMG_4638
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.

IMG_6097
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

IMG_6053
The crumbling walls of the Pinery Station with El Capitan in the background

IMG_6060

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

IMG_6019
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.

IMG_6023
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.

IMG_5851 - Copy
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?

IMG_5895 - Copy
A cool creek is a welcome sight on a hot day

IMG_5920 - Copy
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.

IMG_5922 - Copy
View from the front porch of Pratt Cabin – we could have stayed on that porch all day

IMG_5392 - Copy
This little lady was as curious about us as were about her

IMG_5974 - Copy
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.

Below are a few more shots from McKittrick Canyon trail.IMG_5906 - Copy

IMG_5925 - Copy

IMG_5910 - Copy

IMG_5983 - Copy
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!

IMG_5998 - Copy

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:

IMG_6032
Soap Tree Yuccas

IMG_5891 - Copy
Butterfly Weed

IMG_6105
Prickly Pear Cactus

IMG_6091
Apache Plume with its white flowers and feathery pink plumes

IMG_6062
Delicate Prickly Pear “rosebuds” about to burst into bloom

IMG_5846
Bright orange Ocotillo blooms and a bee

IMG_5979 - Copy
Cardinal penstemon growing straight out of a rock at The Grotto

IMG_5986 - Copy
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!

IMG_6115
Creosote Bush – and oh, did it smell heavenly

IMG_6129
Yellow Bird of Paradise Bush

IMG_6125
Sweet Acacia

IMG_6121
Free range cattle jam on the road – and this wasn’t the only one we encountered

IMG_6135
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.

IMG_5867 - Copy
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

IMG_2120

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