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Quick trip south

All kinds of things are happening right now. Some are good, and some are not so good. Not bad, just not good and this is what lead to this quick trip.

Our daughter and family may be moving to Japan for 4 years. Her husband is a marine and for his last tour he requested Japan. While this could be a fun and exciting time for all, it’s also a time of many uncertainties. My wife’s health, my wife’s mothers age / health, not to mention all the milestones we will miss with them being so far away. 2 will have their 16th and 16, and 18th birthdays with no family members to congratulate them. Oh, well I realize there are many much worst things to deal with.

So the trip to the Bushlkill Falls, PA area was to meet our daughter so she could pick up the misses for a 3 week stay down there with them. I’ll go all the way to Quantico, VA the first part of April to pick her up, but not until I have spend a few days there with them.

I plan on spending the morning with one of the grandkids and going to have an ice cream or 2, maybe a candy store or bakery stop mixed in there as well.

So this last trip was nice albeit a bit wet, but that’s way better than snow. Especially since I had my snow tires removed the day before.

The ride is a pleasant one and generally traffic free except for a few areas. The Boston and Hartford areas can be a nightmare if you hit them the wrong time of the day. COVID has changed this some but we didn’t take any chances and left early enough to hopefully miss mush of the traffic.

So we met at the Country Kettle Candy and other cool stuff store. Other cool stuff includes but is not limited to: Jewelry, Candles, Hand Bags, Signs, Drinks, Jams, Jellies, BBQ Sauces, Mixes, t-shirts, and very nice selection of high-end Disney ceramics and such. Our daughter was running behind, so my wife and I spent 30 minutes or so on the inside shopping before our daughter got there. Once she did, we went to lunch before we did anything else. I asked the young lady at the counter if this place was a good choice, she said “I’ve never heard of it”, but if you want a nice place with a great mix of foods, I’d say you must try “Alaska Pete’s”. Now I did check with someone else and online and my first choice was closed for the day, so in the end Alaska Pete’s was a fine choice. So what did we have and was I t any good you ask. Before I tell you, and should say, they were very pleasant, helpful, friendly and following ALL the guidelines set forth by the Governor / US for COVID pre-cautions.

I will say, asking for water and getting a bottle of spring water was a bit of a surprise (at $2.50 per bottle), but somewhat understanding. I had a delicious cup of Hot Coco.

I went with an appetizer for my meal. Philly Cheese Steak Spring Rolls and Mozzarella Sticks, both of which were awesome. My wife went with a cup of French Onion Soup, which she said was very good (needed a bit more salt was all), and our daughter had (ok so the ladies split they’re meals) the Rubin Sandwich. they both agreed it was a great choice and I’ll say one thing, it was a BIG sandwich. We opted for no desserts, mostly because of the time. My day was going to be between 12 and 14+ hours long (depending on the weather and traffic heading back and I had plenty of candy if I got hungry for a sweet, not to mention, I planned on stopping at a Baskin-Robbins or 2 on the way home. I LOVE there Ice Cream. It was going to be 1 stop if they had quarts of what I wanted, and 2 stops if not. It turned out to be a 2 stop trip, but I now have 3 quarts of the Ice Cream.

Oh, Rainbow Sherbet, World Class Chocolate and Gold medal Ribbon were what I got.

So to wrap this up. The weather going back was rainy and foggy, the driving was fine except for most folks were driving like the weather was much worst? I got home at 9pm, had some more ice cream, wen to bed.

Yes, another trip to Manchester, vt

This time it was with my brother and his lovely lady friend Joanna. We were going to do blown glass and visit Abe Lincoln’s sons home ( and a fine estate it is.

The grounds are well maintained with a home that i’d Be happy to call mine even as it is right now, and grounds that are wonderful to walk. We didn’t get it all in, as folks got pretty tried (it was 90 plus degrees out), after some 2 hours touring the home and garden area. There is a Pullman car museum , which is where he made his mark and money, and a few other parts to the grounds. Oh well maybe another trip back.

we went to lunch after this at a quaint little place just down the street called pounce bistro, It was more of a place for them and granola folks. the 3 of them enjoyed enjoyed their sandwiches very much. Mine was fine, but not what I would have like. Well that’s not true in a sense. If they would have had iceberg lettuce and tomato’s I would have enjoyed my sandwich as well.

from here it was onto glass blowing. It was nice seeing Andrew and his staff. I choose not to make anything this trip leaving plenty of time for my brother and his lady to make what they wanted to make. Turns out my brother made both pieces as his date wasn’t in to it much.

after this we walked around a bit in the area, which included stops at a number of quaint shops,

Catching up on trips

Wow not sure what to write about but I’ll have plenty of time to think. Let’s start with a recent trip to Quantico to drop off my wife and mother in-law at our daughter and her family for a short visit. It turned out shorter than planned as you now know there it a healthcare issue gripping the country. They were suppose to be there for 3 weeks but as the days went by, it became clear that they were going to be lucky to. Get a week or more out of the trip. Between more folks getting sick, states closing or closing things down, including highway rest areas along the route, which for my wife is a big deal. She is very sick and some of her med’s cause her to need to stop frequently to use restrooms. This seemed like it was going to be an issue the more time went by, so I decided to let her know I was heading down 2 weeks early. The trip down the first time was uneventful but the return trip down was interesting at best. With rest areas closed and many restaurants along the route also closed, making stops along the way home needed to be planned, and it wasn’t to big a deal in the end as many fast food places were opened just for folks like us,just to use their rest rooms. It was still interesting as we had to watch for signs along the route.

Trip down south

We kicked around several options for this years fall trip and ended up cutting it down from 2+ weeks to 8 +- days, and instead of Chicago being our main destination we ended up with several stops in va, md, pa and ny. Why you ask, well mostly because traveling is getting harder for my wife, and she wanted to save a long trip like that for next year when we will have a new vehicle- maybe a highlander, not sure yet, we will be trying it out on an extended test drive, and if it doesn’t work and by work I mean if it isn’t more comfortable on the long haul then our Avalon, then we’ll see what else is out there that is.

Ok so enough about that. We will be making stops in the Berkshires area then onto intercourse, pa with these first day nights just helping to make the trip a bit easier. No sense in getting tired before we even start our vacation. From intercourse we will make our way down to the sharpsburg, MD area to check out some civil war sites then over to the Winchester, VA area on our way down ‘to quantico to spend some time with our daughter and her family, we will be heading back to Maine Saturday with stops in the Gettysburg’s area to take the grandchildren apple picking, after which they will head back home and we will make our way to the Saratoga area for a few days, and then back home.

So far we’ve had a wonderful meal at mazzeo’s italian restaurant in Lenox, ma. This is a very big restaurant with a wonderful staff and a nice large menu with something for everyone’s taste. My wife had the chicken lobster Newburgh with a Hollandaise Sauce- she gave it 2 big thumbs up. I started with an order of mozzarella frittata, which was an outstanding way to start, to this I had ziti Pasquale and this turned out to be a wonderful choice. Our waiter was pleasant and helpful with suggestions a long the way to make sure we got dishes we would be happy with. On the way back to the hotel I stopped to get some drinks for us and a few lottery tickets. This turned out to be a good thing in that I won $130.00, which was nice as the hotel clerk screwed up entering my cc and it got blocked causing me to pay cash for the room, and yes, you guessed right, $132.00 for the room

Our hotel, well that turned out to be the worst part of the trip so far. The Howard Johnson hotel, whil,it,looked nice from the outside, I can’t say for the inside. Ok, so it was clean, but it had a strange odor-which was a strong odor of musty smell and water, which way have come from rooms close to our with jacuzzi. The second floor was closer to us then we thought in that, we could hear every step and thing they did, which made for a long night.

Tonight we are at a best western in intercourse which we have stayed at before. Nice and clean, quiet and no odors, other then those from the local farms.

Tonight for a meal we went with a recommendation from the young lady at the front desk. The first thing we found out is there are no places in the area open on a Sunday, now the area isn’t a big deal as it only means a 10-15 minute drive to several options. Her choice was issac’s sandwich shop which she said had a killer spicy tomato bisque- so we took her up on her suggestion and headed out on another short drive for something to eat. Now this normally wouldn’t be a big deal, but we had been driving all day and my wife was tired from all the driving, but she was also hungry and this time hunger won out. Turns out it was a pleasant surprise in that it was a very good sandwich shop with a killer spicy tomato bisque and a very good roast beef sandwich, and it was next door to a very large train museum that had we known about before I’m pretty sure we would have visited this place by now, oh well maybe next time.

Noe the somewhat funny thing is this restaurant was in the upper right hand corner of the square. Ok let me break this down better. So the hotel is in the lower left hand corner of what turns out to a square when it comes to main roads, with issac’s being in the upper right hand corner, which I point out only because of the route I choose to take to get there. Either way was the same distance but this way, there was nothing but beautiful homes and farmland while we took the other way back and you guessed it, dozens of restaurants that way and all in the upper right hand corner,so yes, much closer.

So my wife just pointed out a few things that makes her wonder who named some of the towns in the area. Blue balls, Virginville, littetits and intercourse to name a few of the towns.

So this morning in an hour or so, we will be heading for sharpsburg and some civil war sites a bakery and who knows what else we’ll get in the day.

Ok, so it is now a few days later, we did the site of the Battle of Antietam (a must see for any civil war buff). I found it as nice albeit a bit smaller then Gettysburg, and somewhat lesser known, yet more important then Gettysburg.

After a few hours there we headed to our hotel in Winchester.

So out time in Quantico was very nice, always pleasant visiting our daughter, son in-law and grandgirls. Our time was spent doing a bit of everything including visits to occacun, va ( a must stop for folks who like to see and enjoy small town America , stops in warrenton and Gettysburg. Warrenton is a wonderful little town with tons of pride. They have an annual scarecrow contest that covers all of Main Street, and outstanding pastry shop called the red truck bakery- to die for cinnamon buns and strawberry / cream cheese pastries amongst the many treats.

Play at Monmouth playhouse 8/10

We had a great time. The night started out early with our son and fiancé stopping by early to have a bite to eat. This consisted of home made chicken noddle soup and steak sandwiches, and let’s not forget, wonderful pastries that the kids brought, from a bakery in Falmouth. Brownies, cheesecake, raspberry thingy and a chocolate chip cupcake-very nice.

So after we eat and caught up a bit, we head to the Monmouth playhouse located in Monmouth, me, about a 30 minute drive from the house. The theater has gone through a renovation and looks wonderful. I should say that the evening drive, the 3/4 moon and clouds, we could have been going to see the legend of sleepy hollow and it would have been apropos, but it was not the legend we were going to see, instead it was the hounds of Baskerville- a Sherlock Holmes mystery- an outstanding production! A wonderful cast, many of whom played multiple people and did it splendidly. simply put, go if you can, it will be well worth it.

We (my wife and I) have seen many plays / musicals, and for me, this ranks in the top 2 best I’ve seen.

We will be headed back here next weekend to see murder for 2, with a favorite couple and my brother and his lovely lady friend, Joanna. This will be 2 times in 2 weeks, and my first times back in 40 years, which I might add, has been way to long. Click here for a brief history about the playhouse

That’s it for now, but I will try to post something after this next weekends event

Lubec maine

I will get to this trip shortly, but first a little piece on last night 8/10

Damn it I had been typing for some 10 minutes and forgot to save, so let’s start over

We have been talking about going to Lubec for sometime now, heck we have done many trips up and down the east coast and a bit west, and haven’t explore the great state of Maine much, that is about to change.

Lubec Maine for those who don’t know it, it the most easterly part of Maine, USA (a claim disputed by the fine folks of Eastport Maine – island verses main land thingy going on here)

Lubec is a very quaint, very quiet, very peaceful place to go and relax, as is most of the drive to get there. Oops warning Will Rogers, low battery (step back in time, sorry about that) so I will plug this baby in, and finish later. Yes I can type while plugged in, if I wanted to.

Ok so i’m Charged and ready to go.

We stayed at a lovely place not 2 feet from the waters edge

While Most of the rooms sit on the waters edge I will say, not to stay in the rooms closest to the restaurant. Only because they are closest to the dock as well, not bad views, just a bit louder when sitting on your own little deck.

I don’t know why these are not right? Oh well these are photos from our room as well as a few from the morning sunrise. I took more with my camera and haven’t up loaded them yet. I will say- while you (I and others) look pretty dorky taking pictures with an iPad it does work easier uploading them into the blog.

So the bottom line is this, Lubec while out in the middle of nowhere is worth the drive and time to get away. Oh, did I mention the sun comes up real early here. I went out to get pictures around 3;30am, and my automatic headlights didn’t even come on, because of how light it was.

Lubec, Eastport and surrounding areas are all worth a bit of your time. Take route 1 and then hug the coast line whenever you can, the small towns, hamlets and villages along e way are quaint with some great views of the Maine coast line.

On our way, we did stop in Castine, which is where the coast guard academy is located, and a few lighthouses. Another prime example of Maine.

Great long weekend in VT.

So here is a nice 3 day trip through VT. Some trip is fun with your spouse or with your kids, grandkids

Depending on what you do, can do, find time to do, this trip has a little something for everyone. Below are links to many of the places for this trip.

These are fun places to explore and get away for a while. Enjoy time with loved ones and heck eat some Ice Cream, it doesn’t get much better than that folks.

Depending on when you do this trip, you could easily add Lost River – and or Polar Caves – to this trip (Anytime after May)

The stops outlined are just a few of the many stops and things there are to do in the area. Ben & Jerrys is a great place to start. tour the factory, check out the cemetery out back and see all head stones of the gone for good and never made it ice creams, after this get yourself a big sundae and enjoy.

After this head on over to Cold Hollow Cider Store / Mill (you will pass a Chabot Creamery / outlet store along the way, and a blown glass shop where you can watch as they make some amazing things –

Manchester Blown Glass for doing it yourself! Another trip, another day.

Ok, so back to this trip. After these stops, you can head over to Stowe, VT, head on over to Burlington. Stowe is a great little town, with plenty to see and do and heck, you are so close, I’d do it. Get out walk around, check out the side streets, so much to see and do.

From here, while there is more to do in the area, you can’t do everything, so I’d head over to Burlington but if you want to do more here, I’d consider heading over to Smugglers’ Notch –

Ok, if you have gone on to Burlington, another area with a ton to see and do.

• City Parks

• Shops

• Aquarium

• Bike Paths, Walking Paths

• Lake Champlain

Consider taking a ferry ride to NY? If you do, you’ll want to think about another trip, because there is so much to do, once on the other side (NY)

The Adirondack region has 4 days worth of places to go and things to see. Lake Placid, see the hockey rink, where the great “Miracle on Ice” USA Olympic Hockey Game took place. Walk and explore downtown Lake Placid. Go Fly Fishing, Explore the region, with over 100 places to see and experience, and yes, PLENTY of great places to eat.

Walk around Mirror Lake, go to Saranac Lake’s Region. See all the Olympic villages, ski jumps and so much more

Ok, so we are not doing the NY trip here, let’s get back to the VT area. From downtown Burlington, just a short walk or drive, you have the Aquarium, walking paths and the Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory, a nice 30 – 45 minute distraction. After this you can go to Dankin Farm store, or head on over to the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, were you can make your own Teddy Bear. WAY to many options, but a ton of fun for kids and adults alike.

OK, so now it’s on to Mt. Philo (opens in spring or a brisk walk in the winter to the top). Awesome views of the Lake Champlain Region and parts of NY.

Depending on time, who you are and are with, and budget, you should schedule time at the Shelburne Museum –

If time allows, try to find Ollie the Camel –

Special request – Car/Truck Museum loop

I stopped by a friends business the other day and while there, he introduced me to a friend of his and said that with all the traveling I do, I might be able to help him. turns out the man was wondering if there were any car/truck museums in the area, he could take his grandkids too.

I asked what is “in the area mean?”, because for me it is 1 days drive, while for him it might have to be within a 100 miles or so. We chatted and I told him of a nice loop he might want to do with them, but it is best as a 2 to 4 day loop, he say go ahead and tell me all about it – I did, he’s now planning a trip.

Yes this is a wonderful trip during Fall Foliage, just REALLY hard to get a room during this time, unless you book in advance.

Here is a map showing the general route to get the most car museums in a visit. It still a 2-3 day trip, and you not stopping much. You’ll likely find it a better 4 day trip. As much because of the hours for each museum, which you’ll WANT to check before heading out

Here are several links to museums in this article.

Ok, so you have an idea where they are, you just have to decide how much time you have. This whole loop would be a better 4 day trip. AGAIN, check with each place, as they often close to change out exhibitions, and for general renovations. Not to mention, some are closed during the winter months.

If you take a side trip near Schenectady,, NY, be sure to stop by Morrette’s King Steak, for an awesome Steak Sandwich. 126 Erie Blvd.

After lunch, head on over to Krause’s Homemade Candy:

A few photo’s from some of these museums. I’ll add more in the coming days, once I upload them.

First 10 photo’s are from Classic Car Museum, NY
From the Mack Truck Museum
At the Mack Truck Museum, from the movie Transformers

Days, 4 through 14 on our trip last year

So a lot has happened and some of it cause me to drop the ball on keeping up with our travels, so I will try to wrap it up in a nutshell.

From Colonial Williamsburg we headed down to Jacksonville, NC to visit with our daughter and family for a few days. While there we got over to Wilmington, NC for the day. I should point out, that this area of NC got hit pretty damn hard by Hurricane Florence. I will say they are doing a great job of getting things back to normal, as quickly and safely as they can.

Yorktown Monument, just outside of Colonial Williamsburg
Fountain at Jamestown Historic Museum

Many stores and restaurants in downtown Wilmington, are still close, as are many in Jacksonville, and New Bern, NC. All areas we went to visit while down here.

Battleship, North Carolina in the harbor in downtown Wilmington, NC
Waterfront dock in downtown Wilmington, very nice and several shops along the way
Another part of the nice long water front walking dock

One of the towns hit REALLY hard by the hurricane was Pollacksville. These pictures don’t tell the story very well, but I can tell you, that after speak with several folks from the area, that many of the homes in these pictures, were abandoned and the folks said “Good-bye” to the area with no plans to come back. They said “There is nothing here worth saving and it will cost us more to tear down the home and rebuild, so we are moving on” and they just left everything behind and went somewhere to start over.Many of the homes had anywhere from 8′ to 15′ of water in the homes, many up to the second floor.

This bridge was underwater during the hurricane
This building had water up-to the white sign by the telephone pole, the last hurricane, and this time, the water mark was up to the 2nd row of shingles on the roof, and it like many of the other buildings in the area will be getting torn down
All the streets in Pollacksville looked like this or worst. Dozens of homes were destroyed and will be torn down. More then 75% of the homes in this town are likely torn down by now, should be torn down by now, or have been abandoned for someone else to deal with … Very sad

After a few days visiting the kids we headed back home, but not before stops in DC., VA, PA, NY, VT then home.

VA., was our first layover before going to Gettysburg. We choose this area because there was a few yarn shops for mother to shop, a candy store and a bakery or 2 for me.

I wish I could remember the few bakeries, because they were awesome, but it’s now 6 – 8 months later … and yes, she enjoy the few yarns shops we found along the way, and even purchase some yarn to make socks on the trip, I should say, some more socks.

We are now in Gettysburg, PA and settling in for a few days. The first day, we are going to get a private tour of the Gettysburg Battle areas. This tour was a gift from our Son and his girl friend (at the time, now his Fiancee).

We arrived a bit early because we weren’t real sure what was going to happen. We checked in and were told we could wait over there and someone would be right with us, and low and behold, a few minutes later a nice gentleman introduces himself as our driver for the tour. He ask if he was driving or if I was driving, I said, “you know what, why don’t you drive, seems like you know the route better, and this should work out better for all parties involved.”

Great choice, he did know right where to go (No big surprise), and he had the tour down to a science. Where to stop, where to slow down, where to let us out to look around. He was an outstanding guide and Real glad the kids did this for us, and I would recommend it to anyone going to Gettysburg, which by the way, we will do again real soon, and this time, spend 3-4 days here, and REALLY check the area out.

I say this because while our guide was awesome, he did have to do his best in a bit over an hour, so there were TONS of places and things to see that we simply didn’t get a chance to do.

With over 1350 monuments, markers and memorials at Gettysburg, it takes a lot more then an hour to see them all.

Cute sign for a Mainer to see.

So from Gettysburg, PA we were off to Paradise, PA for the night. We / I choose this area because it is close to Intercourse, PA, and Bird-in-a-Hand, PA, both areas I like to stop and get some supplies before heading home. Supplies you say, yes, Grandma Jack Caramel Popcorn and a dozen or so other flavors

And from there to a few specialties shop selling damn near anything person with a sweet tooth could want, from Gummie Candies, to Whoopie Pies, to Beef Jerky to fresh squeezed juices and shoefly pie to name but a few things

The next morning we headed on our way back to Maine, with stops in PA, NY and VT., mostly to get gas, pee and stretch of legs. We did stay over night in a little place just outside of Saratoga Springs NY, – Clifton Park, NY.

I should point out that most of the hotels we stayed at were very nice, mid range hotels, some better then others but for the most part, all are places we’d stay again. This trip Best Westerns got the most visits, and a Ascend Hotel (these are one of the newer brands from Choice Hotels, a few but all aren’t new or clean), Hilton / Hampton Inn Suites and a few home2 suites, Which are becoming our favorites. This is mostly because they are newer and the rooms are clean and larger, something we have to take into consideration now with my wife’s health, as we need to Mix her drugs each day, put the drug into a cassette and attach the cassette to the pump and such, and it needs to be as close to a sterile area as possible.