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

Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

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Scenic Highway 112 aka the Kancamagus Highway aka the Kanc is a National Scenic Byway that traverses 34 miles of the beautiful White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.

You’re probably wondering why we chose to do a New England road trip when the leaves weren’t turning. The simple answer is: we didn’t want to fight the crowds.

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The White Mountains

As crowded as some of our destinations were during non-leaf peeping season, we can’t imagine what it is like in October when the trees turn. With that said, we were not disappointed in the least about seeing Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont on the cusp of autumn. Although we did see a few trees showing their colors, we thought the foliage was beautiful as it was – green. So now that we’ve cleared that up, hop on board, buckle up, and let’s do the Kanc.

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The Kancamagus (Can-cuh-ma-gus, sort of rhymes with August) Highway begins in Conway, New Hampshire, if you’re driving West, but a few miles up the road in North Conway, we decided to stop for lunch. Our pick: Muddy Moose Restaurant & Pub. The weather was perfect, so we were able to sit on their patio, have a great burger, and enjoy the fresh air in the White Mountains. We are giving them a high five because their food and service was great. Thanks, Muddy Moose!

Back on the road in Conway, we stopped to see our first covered bridge.

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The Saco River Bridge was built in 1890 and spans – you guessed it – the Saco River.
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The Saco River as seen from the bridge.

Our next stop was the Saco Ranger Station. While a drive on the Kanc is free, a special pass is required for parking at the scenic areas. The ranger gave us a great map of the highway along with some other information, and he told us about the can’t-miss sights along the road. After that quick stop, we were off on our adventure.

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There are six National Forest campgrounds along the Kanc. All have potable water, bathrooms, parking, open fire places, and picnic tables. None of the campgrounds have RV hook-ups. Campsites are generally available from mid-May through mid-October, and most are only available on a first-come basis. Wood for campfires cannot be brought into the national forest. For information about camping on the Kanc, contact the White Mountain National Forest Ranger District. Additional campgrounds and hotels are available in Conway, North Conway, and Lincoln.

Albany Covered Bridge

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The White Mountain National Forest Covered Bridge was constructed by the Town of Albany in 1858 and renovated in 1970.

Lower Falls Scenic Area

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Scenic falls on the Swift River

Rocky Gorge Scenic Area

We spent about an hour at Rocky Gorge. The area had well maintained walking trails, a bridge, rocks, pools, and even a small flume. This was one of our favorite stops along the Kanc.

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A small flume at Rocky Gorge
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The (rock filled) Swift River at Rocky Gorge

Russell-Colbath House Site

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The Russell-Colbath House, a historic farmhouse that sits near the Kancamagus Highway

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Across from the house is a small cemetery that is still maintained by the Town of Albany. What is it about old cemeteries that piques our interest? The age of the graves, perhaps, or maybe it’s the interesting headstones. Doesn’t it make you wonder who these people were, and wouldn’t you like to know their stories?

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Many of the graves in this cemetery are marked simply by fieldstones, such as the two in the right foreground.

And, here is the interesting but sad story of Ruth Russell Colbath, the wife of Thomas Colbath. For the rest of her life, Ruth maintained her family home and the farm with the help of her children and a local handyman. No one ever solved the mystery of what Thomas was doing for all those years.IMG_7632 (1)

Sabbaday Falls

This was our favorite stop on along the highway. The hike to the falls was wonderful, and the falls… well, see for yourself.

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Sabbaday Falls

The earthy scent of the lush, green forest and the crashing of the water on the rocks. That’s our kind of hike, and we loved every minute of our time here. The US Forest Service has added bridges, stairs, and viewing areas for ease in accessing the falls. There is also a picnic area near the parking lot. The hike is about .6 miles round trip with a 75 foot elevation gain.

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Serene scene
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From Sugar Hill Overlook. A few of the trees are about to start changing into their fall colors.
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Here’s one getting a head start on its autumn colors.

Lincoln Woods

This is the trailhead into the Pemigewasset Wilderness and the Franconia Mountain Range. Apparently, this strenuous trail is not for the faint of heart.

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Suspension bridge over the Pemigewasset River
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The Pemigewasset River as seen from the bridge
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Look who we found near the parking lot!

At the end (or beginning, depending on which way you’re going) of the Kanc is the town of Lincoln, New Hampshire, which was our stop for the night.

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In Lincoln, we had dinner at Gordi’s Fish & Steak House. Does roasted beet salad sound good? Homemade clam chowder? Steak and baked potato? We loved their atmosphere, food, and service. This restaurant came highly recommended by the folks at our hotel, Holiday Inn Express. High fives, to Holiday Inn Express and to Gordi’s!

We’re at the end of this journey, but stop by again for more of our New England road trip, tips and tricks, and other exciting destinations. Become a follower on our site and on Facebook, and we would very much appreciate it if you would tell your friends about us.

We’re going to close this post with one more look at beautiful Sabbaday Falls.

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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.

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Penobscott Narrows Bridge and Fort Knox, Maine

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East tower of the Penobscott Narrows Bridge and the Penobscott River

If you like bridges, add this one to your bucket list! The Penobscott Narrows Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge spanning the Penobscott River on US 1 in Maine, connecting Verona Island to the town of Prospect. The bridge boasts the highest bridge observatory in the world in its west tower. All 2,120 feet of this span are stunning, and of course, the surrounding scenery is gorgeous, too.

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The Penobscott Narrows Bridge and Observatory

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The bridge opened on December 30, 2006  and was a replacement for an earlier bridge that had been built in 1931. The observatory, which officially opened in May of 2007, afforded us wonderful views of the river, Penobscott Bay, the quaint town of Bucksport, Maine, Fort Knox, and even Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. Combo tickets for the observatory and Fort Knox were a bargain at only $8.00 per person.

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West tower and observatory
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The Penobscott River emptying into Penobscott Bay as viewed from the observatory.
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A view of Fort Knox from the observatory

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Fort Knox was built between 1844 and 1869 as a guardian of the Penobscott River. Fortunately, Fort Knox never had to face a battle. It was also the first Maine fort to have ever been built entirely of granite. Perhaps that is why it is still in such good condition today. Fort Knox State Historic Site is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark.

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Front and entrance (sally port) to Fort Knox. Note the embrasures for the cannons.

Note: because we are not experts on military jargon or architecture, we refer to those holes in the walls “gun holes” simply because it’s easier to remember than “embrasure”. Though it never saw battle, this fort had the means to be heavily armed if needed.

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More “gun holes”. This type is called an arrow slit or loophole.
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Inside the fort, these arched “rooms” are called casemates, and each one could hold a cannon.
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Men’s quarters, storage vaults (in the parade ground), and storerooms (arched areas with doors and windows on the far right). A bakery was located at the top of the stairs next to the storerooms.
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“D” Battery overlooking the river

This was an important stop on our road trip up the Maine coast. Although we were anxious to get to Bar Harbor, we were glad we got to spend a couple of hours here. We highly recommend adding these landmarks to your itinerary if you’re going to be in Maine.

Thank you for joining us as we travel along the coast of Maine. Come back to our site for more exciting posts from New England, as well as other destinations, and tips and tricks. We appreciate your support, your comments, and your input. We do this for you!

We are closing this post with a look at the pretty riverside town of Bucksport, Maine, which is located across the river from Fort Knox.

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Oh, how we love those New England church steeples!

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

Portland, Maine

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Recommended hotel in Portland: Hilton Garden Inn – Jetport.

We flew in to Portland on the southern edge of Hurricane Dorian. Dorian had turned away from the coast of Maine and headed for Nova Scotia. Fortunate for us, but not fortunate for Nova Scotia. The skies were dark and dreary as we approached the Portland International Jetport. Luckily, the clouds cleared by the time we picked up our rental car, and the weather turned out perfect.

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Remnants of Hurricane Dorian and islands off the coast of Portland

This was our second visit to a New England state, however, it was our first visit to Maine. What an incredibly beautiful state! Hop on board as we start our latest road trip with a few of the sights in Portland.

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Taken from the dirty window of our plane. The brown and white yacht located in the upper center-left of the picture was for sale. We were told that it costs $45,000.00 just to fill its gas tank!
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Another dirty plane window picture: cruise ships. Port of Call, Portland, Maine. (Keep scrolling. We promise the photos get better.)

Our first stop was the Old Port section of Portland. As we found with other ports in Maine, this one was alive with throngs of people (we even saw a wedding!) and parking was limited and costly. There happened to be three cruise ships in port on our first evening in Portland. When the cruise ships are in port, there are large crowds, but we didn’t let that stop us.

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Long Wharf

IMG_7000 (1)At the end of Long Wharf is a restaurant called DiMillo’s on the Water. We loved DiMillo’s so much that we ate there on our first night in Maine (fresh sea food, of course) and on our last night, too. Originally a car ferry, the floating restaurant has been beautifully redone and is anchored next to the marina. They have THE BEST clam chowder we have ever tasted. We even asked if they could ship to Texas! (Sadly, they couldn’t.) The other food we had there was excellent, too. 

The Old Port area has lots of restaurants and shops that stay open a little later to accommodate the cruise ship passengers and other tourists.

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Old Port Street View

Note the cobblestone street in the image above. The first permanent settlement here was established in 1633! Obviously, there is a lot of history in Portland, but we will let you delve into the research yourself.

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Another Old Port street view

One unlikely bit of history sits right on Long Wharf…

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Three panels of the Berlin Wall
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Portland Lobster Company and some of the buildings on Commercial Street along the waterfront
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Watery Reflections

Portland is also home to the Portland Head Light, located on Cape Elizabeth which is on Casco Bay in the Gulf of Maine. (Quite an address, huh?) The Portland Head Light was commissioned by George Washington and first lit in January of 1791. It is the oldest lighthouse in Maine.

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Today, the light is still an important beacon and also utilizes a (loud) foghorn to warn ships away from the rocky coastline. The US Coast Guard maintains and operates the light, while the grounds and light keeper’s house are owned by the town of Cape Elizabeth. A small museum is also located on the property, which sits next to a park where the remains of Fort Williams can be seen.

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Portland Head Light
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Commemorative plaque on the side of the keeper’s house (1965)
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Cape Elizabeth’s rocky shoreline and a view of South Portland

In addition to the rocky coast, the entrance to Casco Bay also has several rocky ledges that sometimes are visible and sometimes are covered by shallow water. One of these ledges, Ram Island Ledge, is the home to another lighthouse that is just a few hundred yards from the Portland Head Light.

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Ram Island Ledge Light

(Note the lobster trap buoys dotting the water in the background.)

The Ram Island Ledge Light was first lit in 1905, and was in use for about 100 years. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. In 2010, the defunct light was put up for public auction. We believe the light is now the private property of an area doctor. Interestingly, this light supposedly has a twin that is located near Boston.

That’s going to do it for our highlights of Portland, Maine. Come back again for more exciting destinations, road trips, and RVing tips and tricks. We will be covering more of our 1,200 mile, three state, New England road trip in future posts, so stay tuned!

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

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Twin windmills near Post, Texas

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: The Flume

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Where in the world is it?

The historic Carlsbad Irrigation Flume, known locally as The Flume, is located in Carlsbad, New Mexico. It’s an aquaduct that diverts water from the Pecos River to an irrigation canal. The Pecos River was once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records because The Flume caused it to be the only river in the world that actually crossed itself.

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Looking down the irrigation canal toward The Flume

For more information about Carlsbad, New Mexico and Carlsbad Caverns National Park, click this link to our post: Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go to Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Second stop: Throckmorton, Texas

Where in the world is it?

Throckmorton is located 111 miles west of Fort Worth at the intersections of US Highways 380 and 183/283. It is the county seat of Throckmorton County. The Great Western Cattle Trail passed through here during the nineteen years it was in use from 1874 to 1893. Trivia: Dallas Cowboys great, Bob Lilly, once lived in Throckmorton.

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The Throckmorton County courthouse was built in 1890 and in 1978 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Restored to its original state in 2014, the courthouse is also a Texas Historic Landmark. The population of the county was a whopping 124 when this courthouse was originally constructed.
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This is the original Throckmorton County jail, built in 1893. The sheriff’s offices were on the first floor, and the prisoner cells were on the second floor. The old jailhouse now serves as a museum.
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This metal sculpture of a pioneer woman is located in a tiny park area next to the Throckmorton City Hall. Check out that huge prickly pear!

It’s a fact, Jack!

Twenty-six miles southeast of Carlsbad, New Mexico lies the only WIPP in the country. What in the world is a WIPP, you ask? Well, it is a Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. It is a repository for defense-generated waste, including clothing and tools among other things, that have been contaminated with or contain man-made radioactive materials and other elements such as plutonium. This type of waste is called Transuranic or TRU for short. The plant opened in 1999, and now our country’s radioactive nuclear waste is being buried almost a half mile (2,150 feet) underground in an ancient salt bed in the desert of eastern New Mexico. The plant is operated by the Department of Defense and with 1,200 employees is one of the largest employers in New Mexico. And now you know…

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