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

Strawbery Banke Museum and Portsmouth, New Hampshire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next trip…

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

Mike and Kellye

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

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

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

Portland, Maine

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Recommended hotel in Portland: Hilton Garden Inn – Jetport.

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

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Remnants of Hurricane Dorian and islands off the coast of Portland

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

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

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

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Long Wharf

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

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

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Old Port Street View

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

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Another Old Port street view

One unlikely bit of history sits right on Long Wharf…

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

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

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

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

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

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Ram Island Ledge Light

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

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

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

Until the next trip…

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

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

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

©2019