Featured

Quick Stops: fast, fascinating, fun, funky!

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Peek a boo, I see you

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

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

First stop: Old Brazos River Bridge

Where in the world is it?

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

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

Second stop: Anson, Texas

Where in the world is it?

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

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

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

It’s a fact, Jack!

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

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

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

Mike and Kellye

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

©2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Woodstock, Vermont and Billings Farm & Museum

 

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

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

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Street view of downtown Woodstock

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

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Another street view

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

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

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

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Barns and Silos
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Happy Heifers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next trip…

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

Mike and Kellye

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

©2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Woodstock, Vermont and Billings Farm & Museum

 

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

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

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Street view of downtown Woodstock

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

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Another street view

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

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

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

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Barns and Silos
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Happy Heifers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next trip…

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

Mike and Kellye

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

©2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Beautiful Plants and Flowers of New England

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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…

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Water lilies on a pond at Acadia
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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.

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Can anyone identify this gorgeous plant?
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We found ferns everywhere we looked
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Mountain Ash. The clusters of lipstick red berries made them hard to miss.
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Does anyone know what this pink plant is called?
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This majestic tree is on the grounds of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park, near the visitor center.
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Sunflower in a garden in New Hampshire
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Viburnum
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Pink Viburnum
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Velvety mosses carpet the forest floor
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We had to include this hot pink zinnia that we found growing near the Vermont State House
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Staghorn Sumac
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We aren’t sure what kind of tree this is (birch, maybe?), but we thought it was interesting.
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Asters
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We are tempted to call these sedum, but we’re not sure. Can someone confirm?
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Stunning dahlias found in a garden in Bar Harbor
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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!)

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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…

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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.
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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

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

©2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Bar Harbor, Maine

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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.

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From the top of Cadillac Mountain, a view of Bar Harbor, Frenchman Bay, the five Porcupine Islands (foreground), and a cruise ship in port.
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Street view. Hotels and restaurants across from the waterfront.
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The beautiful Bar Harbor Inn sits right on the water.
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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!

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On the waterfront   

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.
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Village Burying Ground
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Interesting history about the Village Burying Ground
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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.

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Until the next trip…

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

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

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

©2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Virtual Road Tripping Ideas

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Wyoming Capitol Building

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

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Bridge at Acadia National Park

YouTube

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

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

Texas

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Texas

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

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

Netflix

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

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

Prime Video

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

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

Books

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

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

Around the Web

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

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

 

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Reflections of Boston

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

Mike and Kellye

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

©2020

Featured

Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire

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Franconia Notch State Park is located in the White Mountain National Forest between the towns of Lincoln, New Hampshire and Franconia, New Hampshire. This park has much to offer in the way outdoor adventures, just to name a few:

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  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Scenic Drives
  • Waterfalls
  • The Flume Gorge (fee required)
  • The Basin
  • Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway and Ski Resort
  • Lakeside beach

We had limited time to spend at this park, however, we felt that we got to do most of the things we wanted. We wish we would have had time to take the tram to the top of Cannon Mountain, but it was raining or overcast the whole time we were there. A little rain and a few clouds have never stopped us before, so come along as we do some hiking and see some of the sights at Franconia Notch State Park.

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We made a late afternoon stop at The Basin. It was a relaxing walk from the parking lot to the trail, and then a nice little hike along the trail above The Basin.

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The Basin

Although it looks man made, this granite pothole started being created by rushing water from a melting glacier after the last ice age 25,000 years ago! The Basin is thirty feet across by fifteen feet deep, and the water is almost perfectly clear. Swirling water continues to shape The Basin today.

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As we hiked the trail above The Basin, we found more small waterfalls and a small flume. The forest in this part of the park was gorgeous.

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At just under four miles round trip, the Flume Gorge trail was the most strenuous hike of our trip, but it was well worth the effort. As you will see in our pictures below, the scenery is outstanding.

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Visitor center and trailhead. Food, a gift shop, and restrooms can be found here.
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And, we’re off…
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From the trail: the Pemigewasset River
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Covered bridge over the river, built in 1986

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Avalanche Falls
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Mosses, plants and trees growing right out of the rocks

Many different types of trees, shrubs, ferns, mosses, and fungi, made for beautiful scenery in the woods.

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View of the trail
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Ferns growing on this moss covered log
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Ferns
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Moss and mushrooms growing on a stump in the middle of the trail
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A pretty view of the river from the trail

We’re going to wrap this post here. Thank you so much for joining us at Franconia Notch State Park. We hope you will stop by our site again for more posts from New England, lots of other destinations, and some tips to help make your travels easier. If you’re not already a follower, become one. Follow us on Facebook, and tell your friends about us. We want to be friends with them, too!

We will close this post with a photo of the cloud covered White Mountains of Franconia Notch.

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Ghostly clouds dance above the trees at Franconia Notch

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road (or at a state park!) 

Mike and Kellye

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

©2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

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

Getting There:

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Cholla cactus blooms

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

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

Recommended RV parks in Carlsbad:

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

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

Destination: Guadalupe Mountains National Park

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

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

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Pine Springs Visitor Center

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

The Pinery Station

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

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

Frijole Ranch

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

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

Hiking McKittrick Canyon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of the other plants that were in bloom included:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike and Kellye

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

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

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

Acadia National Park

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

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

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Bar Harbor and Frenchman Bay from Cadillac Mountain summit

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

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

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

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Sand Beach under sunny skies
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Rocky coast at Sand Beach

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

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Wave crashing in Thunder Hole

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

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

Other Acadia Highlights…

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

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

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

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

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Wonderland Trail
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At the end of Wonderland Trail

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

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

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

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Until the next trip…

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

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

©2019