Saturday, September 14, 2019

Our New England Vacation!

The Spouse (Randy) and I went on a lovely vacation over the last week of August.  We didn't really have any set plans as to where were were going until just a few days before we left, since why not procrastinate?  I had mentioned maybe going to Salem, MA so he took that idea and ran with it. 

We left home after a leisurely breakfast on August 26.
We crossed the Bluewater Bridge and drove across Ontario and crossed back into the US in Buffalo, NY.  
We pick up a TV station out of Buffalo and have seen commercials for a place called Mighty Taco.  Randy was intrigued and we thought it would be fun to stop there for lunch. 
The trucking company I work for happens to have a terminal in Buffalo, so I asked our guys there if it lived up to the hype, or was a glorified Taco Bell.  They all suggested going somewhere else.
 But we went anyway and thought it was pretty good!  I had a bacon burrito and they make it with Canadian bacon, so it was amazing.  We also stopped there on the way home, to try other things - LOL!
We spent our first night in Rutland, VT - which was quite funny that my sister met a guy while she was in Florida last spring and this is his hometown!  So we had to selfie with the sign and send to her. 
 This is the gorgeous Wilson Castle in Rutland.  We stopped and walked around the outside, but didn't go in.  You can rent this place for weddings & they hold ghost tours, too.
I had my first pumpkin spice iced coffee of the season in Vermont!

We stopped in Barre, VT at the Hope Cemetery, since that's what I like to do.  Randy graciously plans our vacations around cemetery visits for me!  I'd seen pictures and this place was absolutely beautiful. 
Our next stop (I wish I hadn't dinked around so long at Hope Cemetery!) was Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. 
First of all - I had no idea New Hampshire was so pretty!  I love the mountains anyway, and it was just spectacular. 
So.  Mt Washington is the highest peak in the Northeast US at 6288 feet and had measured wind speeds of 231 mph back in 1934.  Insane. 

Before we left home, Randy made sure my car could shift into low gear, since he planned on driving to the summit. 
OMG.  I made the mistake of looking down from the passenger seat. 

The road up the mountain was barely wide enough for 2 vehicles.  My poor Ruby was screaming by the time we got up there and really close to overheating.   Luckily it was at least 20 degrees cooler up there. 

And they had turnouts so you could pull over periodically on the way down to let your brakes cool off!  Even having the car in lowest gear, we still needed to ride the brakes some. 
They closed the road going up at 5pm and we got there at 4:55!  
Which only left us about 20 minutes by the time we got to the top to look around.  They close the summit at 5:45 and start shooing people back down the mountain. 
The weather station is chained to the mountaintop!!
 I couldn't stop saying "Oh WOW" when we got to the parking lot up top. 
Yes - Chuck (in case you don't know about Chuck, he's like Flat Stanley - I take him travelling with me and take pictures of him in fun places & doing fun things)
he looks rather photogenic here. 
If you didn't want to drive yourself, they have shuttles and even an old steam train you can ride.  This is what they use in the winter!  A van on tracks!

Our second night, we discovered that North Conway, NH is apparently some sort of a vacation destination!  The Hampton Inn hotel has huge & had a waterpark.  
I don't know why we almost always manage to get a room that is directly under someone who does jazzercise all night.  
 I saw this place just a few short miles from the hotel, so we had to stop the next day!  It's part of a place called the Christmas Loft.   Btw - I have a blog and all major social media for H'ween, too.  I'll be posting more about Hope Cemetery & this place there. 

Our next stop was into Maine and to the Atlantic coast.  We stopped in Two Lights State Park for a short time.
And that was it!  We stopped for less than an hour and just enjoyed the waves crashing on the cliffs, then left.

 Next was yet another cemetery!  Sleepy Hollow in Concord, Massachusetts.

This isn't THE Sleepy Hollow with the Headless Horseman, but it was equally cool in it's own way.
 Here we have "Author's Ridge" with a collection of well known authors that most of them knew each other while alive and are now buried in the same area.  Yes, I'm posting headstones, since they're fascinating!
 Nathaniel Hawthorne
William Ellery Channing, poet
 Louisa May Alcott
 Daniel Lothrop, publisher
 Ralph Waldo Emerson
Henry David Thoreau
I'm sure there's a story behind the tree full of origami cranes.

Nights 3/4/5 were spent in Boston. 

But the rest of this evening (day 3) was a wash, since I started getting a headache as I explored Sleepy Hollow and it developed into a full-blown migraine.  I may have had one before in my life.  My heart goes out to those who get these regularly!  It's awful! 

Day 4, (thankfully was feeling better) we took the hotel shuttle to the train station and went into Boston. 
I wanted to see the USS Constitution, since why wouldn't a former US Navy sailor want to see the oldest still-commissioned warship?? 
 Artistic view of the mast.
 It was super cool to explore and to chat with the crew members.  I learned most of them are straight out of boot camp (except for supervisors, of course).  They had to apply for this duty station and only the ones with the highest evaluations got chosen.   The one kid told us they choose new sailors for this because they don't have any experience with the modern Navy yet. 
 USS Cassin Young, a WWII Destroyer now part of the National Park Service & open for tours (except for when bad weather was rolling in, like when we were there)

We left Charleston Navy Yard and went for a Duck tour! 
 These amphibious vehicles are fun & the tour guide was a huge goof, but interesting, too.
 It started to rain while we were on the Duck, so we pretty much gave up on playing tourist.  
But first - dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe (since they closed the one in Detroit - sniff!)
 The chair says...
This unoccupied seat is dedicated to the
memory of those brave men and women
and to the sacrifices each made
serving this country.

Rolling Thunder, Inc.  Massachusetts Chapter 1
Donated in Memory of Carl Sutera, Vice President of
Rolling Thunder, MA1 to Hard Rock Cafe Boston

We are all thankful.
God Bless You.  God Bless America.


Day 5 (I think) - my birthday!!

We took the shuttle to the train station again and then onto the commuter train to Salem!!
Chuck stayed in the hotel room with a note introducing himself to housekeeping (LOL!!!) while we explored Boston, but today he went with us!
 We had noticed the Granary Burying Ground and King's Chapel Burying Ground while on the Duck and Randy noted that they would be easily worked into our travels. 
 Look at some the details on these stones!
The date in this heart is 1687.
I love the lounging skeleton on this one!
A Boston train station mariachi singer.

Salem ended up being more of a struggle than either of us planned.  We got to the commuter train at the last possible minute and were running down the platform when I managed to pop a ligament my knee again!  Which mean our *walking* tour and all exploring around there was painful. 
Rainbow crosswalk!  
This is such a cool poster!  It's for an art & adoption event "unique to Salem, MA" and happen to be going on today, "Caturday" September 14!
We're just going to have to go back, since 1/2 day isn't anywhere near long enough to see everything.  We did make it to the Museum.
And the people working there loved Chuck and the story behind him!
After going thru the museum, we found a very nice pub (nearby) for dinner and then did the haunt & history tour.  This is where I saw a lot of things I would have liked to explore during the day!
Like this cemetery that was right next to the Witch Trials Memorial Park. 
What was funny was as the guide was telling us about a "lady in white" - we suddenly saw one!  This lady was dancing & spinning & running all thru the stones!  We were all flabbergasted!  
It ended up being a very spry elderly woman wearing a regular mid-calf length pale flowered skirt and white blouse with a cardigan, but still!  She picked the perfect time to do whatever it was she was doing, in the shadows on the far side of the cemetery!

Oh, fun fact - the last stop on the tour was the Gardner-Pingree house.  Was owned by an old sea captain whose only family was his niece / housekeeper. Her son thought it would be a good idea to hire someone to help the old man end his life so they could get their inheritance.  So the house is supposed to be haunted by the old man.  Anyway, the Parker Brothers board game people used the house for a while and the very first edition of the game Clue is based on that house!  Its picture was on the box and the floor plan was used for the game.   Pretty neat!

So day 6 was the highlight of the trip for Randy!  We left Boston and drove into Newington, CT.  Home of the ARRL
If you don't know anything about amateur (ham) radio, then it means nothing to you.  But this is where the headquarters is and also the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station, W1AW.   Licensed visitors can go in and operate the station, using that call sign.  And when other people hear W1AW on the air...they want to make contact with it!  I have been licensed for over 10 years, but don't get on the air much, so I thought maybe I would here, for shitz & gigglez.  But Randy got on there and was getting what they call "pile-ups" where up to 4 people would be trying to get thru to him!  Uuhhhhh, I'll pass!  So I opted to just sit back and watch him enjoy himself.   
They also have a "museum" of all sorts of old radios inside HQ and you can see the lab where they test & build radios. 

Once his time was up, we hung out in the station for a while while Randy chatted with Joe NJ1Q, the station manager.  The ARRL has a podcast that I listen to where Joe is one of the main speakers, so it was neat putting a face to the voice, but he wasn't what I expected!  
He was actually talking to someone from Russia when I took this. 

We left W1AW and had dinner then checked into our hotel fairly early.  This is the first time we'd made it to the pool during the whole trip, and we got there before all the kids from the cheer & soccer groups that were also in the hotel made it down there.   We just sat in the hot tub and enjoyed ourselves.  

Day 7, we headed home.  Both times we crossed the Canadian / US border, they noticed Chuck in the back seat. 
 The first time, the guy asked Randy to put his window down.  We just looked at him funny, since it WAS down!  But he meant the back window.  He just looked and then asked a couple routine questions.  Crossing into the US, Randy had the window down already and the guy looked for a second, then commented about safety for everyone!  

We got home at a reasonable hour, about 9:30 pm.  
It's always nice to get home to your own shower & bed!

1 comment:

  1. Holy Black Cats! Looks like a great time Salem is on my Bucket list once the kids get a bit older.


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