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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Camden, Maine

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Camden Harbor on Penobscott Bay

Quintessential Maine. Camden is often referred to as the “jewel” of the coast, and now we know why. Could we live here? You bet. In a heartbeat.

This place is beautiful, and it is home to Camden Hills State Park, as well as the Camden Snow Bowl. How many towns can boast having a seaside harbor and a ski area? We doubt there are very many.

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Camden street view

First settled in 1772, Camden is clean, pretty, and adorned with quaint, well-kept buildings and residential areas. Honestly, there is something pretty to see here, no matter where you look.

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Private homes in a residential area. Note the pink and white hydrangeas.
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In our opinion, nothing epitomizes New England better than a tall white church steeple.
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Hydrangeas are abundant in Maine. These were in Camden’s Harbor Park.

Harbor Park is a natural space along the harbor, complete with sidewalks for strolling and benches for relaxing. We could have sat on those benches and stared out at the harbor all day (or set up an easel and spent the day painting scenes from the waterfront), but the road was calling and we had to get back to our trip up the coast.

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We also found these busy bees on bottlebrush flowers in Harbor Park

Everywhere we went, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, had beautiful flora. Whether it was trees (not too many of those where we come from), or shrubs, or the abundant flowers, we were captivated, as you will see as you follow our posts.

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The Camden Public Library
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The amphitheater on the grounds of the public library is designed to host a variety of events and overlooks the harbor. Imagine a wedding taking place in this gorgeous setting!
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Another harbor view with the bay in the distance.

From the Native American Indians who once called this area home, to the colonists who settled the area after America’s independence, Camden holds a treasure trove of history. By 1858, Camden had become a thriving harbor town, and during that time of abundant growth six shipyards had been built!

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Sailboats. There’s just something special about those tall masts.

Over the last century, Camden has become the summer home to many who live in large cities along the Eastern Seaboard. In 1892, a fire destroyed most of the town, but amid the devastation, the wealthy summer residents got together and invested in its rebuilding, resulting in the town we see today. Trivia: the Camden Yacht Club was established in 1912.

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Final destination of the three-mile-long Megunticook River. The water from these falls dumps right into Camden Harbor.

We almost bypassed Camden, as it wasn’t on our original itinerary. On a whim, we decided to make the jaunt from Maine’s capital city of Augusta to see what all the fuss was about. That decision was probably the best one of our entire trip. We were so glad to have gotten to spend a couple of hours in beautiful Camden, and now we’re able to share it with you.

That’s going to wrap up our visit to Camden, Maine. Stop back by for more posts from our New England road trip, as well as other trips, RV trips, tips and tricks, and perhaps just some pretty pictures. We welcome your input and comments. After all, we post for you!

We are going to close this post with the Maine State House.

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The Maine State House in Augusta

Built of Maine granite, the State House was completed in 1832, just twelve years after Maine became an independent state from Massachusetts. Minerva, the Roman goddess of Wisdom stands atop the dome.

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