Saturday, July 16, 2016

Acadia National Park

After visiting Somerset, it was time for us to head to Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island(MDI) to locals. Many others are more familiar with the port city of Bar Harbor.
After a quick bite in Wells, Maine, we stopped overnight at Cabela'a in Scarborough. This was a first for us. But they have a very nice area for RV's and truckers. Also convenient for a little shopping and looking at the giant fish tank  and the lifelike stuffed animal displays.
The next day we travel a bit up Route 95 to Augusta and then east on Route 3 to Belfast and /Route 1 north to Ellsworth.  These classic buildings are in Searsport, on the water.  Both have large grounds with the first being the Homeport Inn and the second being the Captain A.V. Nichoils Inn.
These links are interesting for the history and pictures of the buildings.
Click on the history tabs and room tabs to see pictures of the 1800's in Searsport and rooms
The inns are on Penobscot Bay.
If you have not been north in a while the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory are an impressive new addition.
You can access the Observatory by heading for Fort Knox.
Jan and I love Acadia.  This view from Jordan Pond is but one of many in the park.
We hiked around the pond again , 3.5 miles.
Along the way , a nesting loon.
We stayed one night in Blackwoods National Park Campground. That was all we could get since we don't make reservations.  Acadia is a very popular national park attracting visitors from all over the world.  The rest of our stay we enjoyed at Bar Harbor Campground(no reservations-first come first served) which was great.  It was also only 2 miles from the visitor's center where we could take the free park buses to Jordan Pond and Bubble Pond for hikes. We also could easily park Lady Blue in the Visitor's parking lot for a great bike ride around Witch Hole and Eagle Lake. If you visit with an RV, you might want to park here and take a bus into Bar Harbor rather than fight the traffic and parking.
The first half of our hike was mostly on boardwalks.
  We appreciate the work it took to build them , Bailey!
Continually impressed by the clarity of the water.
Kayakers enjoy Jordan Pond.
We thought Emilie, Madison, and Lucas would enjoy this unusual twisted tree trunk.
Another view of the Bubbles mountains
The picture on the home page of our blog was from the beginning of our retirement 
13 years ago(can you believe it?).
Still a great stop after the hike for the Jordan Pond popovers and strawberry jam.
Check this link for Jordan Pond House info  Jordan Pond House
There are 45 miles of carriage roads in the park.  Most are just for hikers and bicyclists. Some are also for horses and wagons. None of the 45 miles are for cars.  John D. Rockefeller Jr spent some 30 years building these carriage roads from about 1913 to 1947.  He loved engineering and hired the best road engineers.  The roads have three feet plus of gravel, they are set for perfect drainage. We never encountered a single pothole or ditch created by runoff.  Amazing. This was around Eagle Lake.
A number of active beaver lodges.
Just one of many great views along the way.  Many of the hikers and bicyclists would stop at various views such as this to rest and take in the view , sometimes have a snack or lunch.
You might be able to tell that this picture is taken from a fair height considering the size of those good sized sailboats. Jan and I are not ashamed to admit that we walked a few hills.
Our hike from Bubble Pond to Jordan Pond was about 5 miles.  Again, beautiful views all along the way.  And a nice encounter with one of the wagon rides.
Close by Jordan Pond is this Jordan Pond Gate Lodge.  We believe the road engineer lived in this house
while the roads were being built.  It is still occupied .
A pleasant and quiet beach at Seal Harbor
Beach roses are in full bloom at Seal Harbor
A quick peek at Northeast Harbor. 
We did not visit the quiet side of Acadia or the West Side this visit.
Perhaps next time.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Emilie's Graduation Party

Okay, it has been a while. 
But we have been enjoying family, friends, lobster, and a bit of touring.
First---continuing the week after Emilie's graduation was the party.
And the high school graduate of honor was Emilie, above, with her
new car.  She is thrilled to have a vehicle for commuting to school and work.
Can you tell?
From left to right
Marcel, Emilie's brother, Emilie, and sister Kathryn
Definitely sisters!
Entertainment was provided by Alison and Keith with their karaoke system 
Definitely a hit of the afternoon.
Keith is always ready to act out the songs.
The smiley cousins.
Left to right: Madison, Lucas, and Emilie
Patty always has a great voice. 
Singing " I'll Stand by You" to Emilie .
Mom and children have always been quite close.
Aunt of many talents, Alison made this beautiful  crocheted blanket for Emilie.
The tent in the background sheltered some excellent home made foods.
Lucas had a great time
Even had an assist from another young guest.
This was Scott and Rachel's picture of Lilly, not from the party, but a perfect place to add it.
Don't you agree!
What's Karaoke without a Disney song?
Madison, Rachel, Lucas, Alison, and Scott
Patty, Gary, and Emilie with , probably, Emilie's 
favorite graduation gift.
Do you know how hard it is to get these people together???
Back row: Marsha, Sean, Dave, Nancy, Linda, Gary, Alison, Scott, Rachel
Front row: Madison, Emilie, Lilly, Jan, and Lucas
We stayed for the party at Whispering Pines in Hope Valley, R.I. 
This campground allowed tents as well as RVs which was great for Sean and Madison.
All that marathon running seems to be agreeing with Sean.
Madison enjoyed the ceramic craft at the campground.

After the party, Jan and I headed down to Fisherman's Memorial State Park in
 Narragansett, Rhode Island.  Point Judith lighthouse is close by.
And ,of course, Iggy's Seafood which is now open in a new building.
Jan and I think it might have been more than 40 years ago that we had dinner here with friends Richard and Gail.This is the Coast Guard House Restaurant, built in the late 1800's in Narragansett, Rhode Island. This ;link will give you some history and pictures.
The Coast Guard House Restaurant
This is on Ocean Road  on Rhode Island Sound .
We were heading east to Somerset, Massachusetts to visit friends and almost hopped back on Route 95. But then we realized we had plenty of time and decided to take the slow route(actually mileage was very close) via Newport, Rhode Island and the bridges.
There are some great views.
We went over three bridges.
The Verrazzano Bridge.
The Claiborne Pell Bridge
With some great views of Newport and the Rhode Island Lighthouse.
And then the Mt. Hope bridge heading into Bristol, Rhode Island.
Because we had to stop at an old favorite Quitos on the harbor.
We would stop here after biking at Colt State Park which is right across the water.
Fried clams are still excellent!
You can pick up your seafood and eat it right on the water
Our destination.
A visit with friends Dave and Nancy.
Dave prepared fresh from the ocean lobster on the grill. Gourmet!
We also had a chance to have a great visit with friends Gail and Richard!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

From Tioga, Pa. to Emilie's Graduation in R.I.

From our dry camping site in Ives Run.
This Ring-Necked Pheasant lived nearby and would pass by Lady Blue every day.

Not easy to get a picture, though.
This is through the screen door.

This is from our back window on a very rainy day.
The view is towards Hammond Lake and the sunset.
I decided to focus on the raindrops on the window rather than the outside scene.
Our route was one similar to other years.
We head south to Mansfield , Pa and then east on Route 6.
This stop is at Winding Hills Orange County Park in Montgomery , New York.
From here we latch onto Interstate 84 , over the Newburgh Bridge.
From there it is Route 691 in Connecticut towards Meriden, then Route 66 to Route 147
and Route 79  south to Hammonasset Beach State Park in 
Madison, Ct.
This is a great park.  558 open sites like our dry camping spot above.
All are within walking distance of the beach.
There are some significant new additions to the park this year.
There is a giant new combination shower and concession stand building.
There is also a new renovation of their Meigs Nature Center.
We always look forward to getting together with Jan's sister Marsha and her husband Mark.
Avid bicyclists, they took time to take us on a tour of the Thimble Islands in Stony Creek , Connecticut.
A nice, sunny day with a little bit of wind.
The islands are part of Long Island Sound.
Our 45 minute tour takes us to see 25 inhabited islands.
The largest is 17 acres and the smallest is just big enough for a gazebo.
The islands are of a sturdy pink granite.
Some that are close to shore have water and electric from shore.
As you might imagine, we are talking about multimillion dollar real estate.
Some have been placed on pilings to avoid a repeat of the devastating 1938 hurricane.
All of these are occupied only in the summer.
Even if you do not take the island cruise, the small town is a beautiful visit.
Not what we expect sometimes close by the hectic Route 95 corridor.
But actually, there are a number of small coastal towns that are well worth a visit.
But , of course, our main reason for being here right now is to see the graduation of
Emilie, our first granddaughter.  
Her last performance with an accomplished concert band with a great conductor.

The ceremony was very nicely done at Ryan Auditorium at University of Rhode Island in Kingston, Rhode Island.
Here is the proud graduate, ready to take on the world!!!
A lot of good friends in this class on a very happy day.
Is Gary a proud Dad?  You bet!
As is Mom Patti!
Grandma is super happy and proud!

Mom and Dad and Emilie.
Emilie was very creative with decorations on her cap.
After graduation a wonderful meal at Two Ten Oyster Bar in South Kingstown, Rhode Island.
Here is Grandma, Emilie, and friend Kyle.
Here is a link to the restaurant. Check it out for pictures that will make you instantly hungry.
What a great weekend for graduate, parents, and grandparents.
Way to go Emilie!!!!