So what and where have I been lately.

Connecticut Lake, 1, 2 and 3 (are located in the tippy-top of the NH border, just outside of Colebrook). While heading here, I stopped at Beaver Brook Falls. Folks a great place to stop and enjoy the scenery .

I drove a bit farther down the road this time, and found one hell of a great little store with some of the freshest, tastiest fudge and a great selection too, AND it is out in the middle of NOWHERE! I’ll check my package at home and up-date, but I believe it’s called  Treats and Treasures, I’ll be damn if I can figure out who stops here, or what justifies all that they have here, but I’m sure glad they do.

If I had to guess, they must sell their fudge to others in the area, as they have WAY to much for one little store, maybe some 20 kinds?

 

Up-coming trip

Hi. Well in the coming weeks I will be headed off to Ausble Chasm, in NY, then off to Wild Walk in Tupper Lake, NY. Not sure where we’ll be after that, but I will try hard to write about it.

Things at work have been simply put “Freakin Crazy” so I for one, am looking forward to a few days away.

 

Stay tuned for all the details.

On the road with Dominik, Morette’s King Steak, B.A. Sweeties & more

Pepere, 6am, that’s so early.

Yeah, but he got his butt out of bed and we hit the road. Now I should point out, he went to sleep in the car for a few hours, but hey, it was 6am after-all.

Our trip was going to take us to Morrette’s King Steak for lunch, then on to Erie, PA for the night. The next day was going to be filled with stuff to do including a stop on the shores of Lake Erie for a round of frisbee golf, after-which  it was on to B.A. Sweeties, (worlds largest candy store) a stop in Little Italy in Cleveland for lunch and from there to Daffin’s Chocolate Factory in Sharon, PA, and from here to our hotel for the night. The next day had another round of frisbee golf and a quick drive over to Logan Airport to pick up memere, who was retuning from a trip to CA., to visit the grand girls.

So let’s start with the drive to Morrette’s King Steak (see below the photo’s for more on Morrette’s) (http://www.morrettesonline.com). It was pretty much an uneventful drive of about 5 hours. The weather was fine albeit a bit overcast and off and on rain, but uneventful other then that. We did make a few stop to stretch our legs. One of these stops was at Twin Bridges in Stoddard, NH. You likely can’t tell from the photo, but these bridges were built with NO cement!

Stoddard_Stone_Arch_Bridge

Twin Bridges

twin bridges b

From here it was pretty much on to Morrette’s King Steak. We arrived at Morrette’s about 20 minutes before noon, so the service was fast and very pleasant. Now a bit of the story on this place.

http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2014/may/22/landmark-morrettes-founded-1947-will-serve-last-me/

Fast forward a few years and Frank and Kathy Martin have purchased the shop and reopened it pretty much as it was (they have added a few healthy dishes?) So I’m sure you are wondering how was it – Freakin Awesome! Now I should point out, that they serve their steak sandwich with Pizza Style Tomato sauce, which is something I grew up on (ok, so I had a few when I was a kid, I can’t say I grew up on them, but I do love it this way – Heck that’s how I order it everywhere I get a steak sandwich). I had a steak, cheese, mushrooms and tomato sauce, while Dominik had his with just steak and cheese wiz, both were “King Size” and didn’t last to long on our plates. These along with some great french fries made for a great lunch and more then enough in our bellies for the rest of the trip. Oh, thank you ladies for the great Lemon Meringue  pie. To anyone who is wondering, Dominik and I give Morrette’s 2 thumbs-up

Ok, so from here it was off to Erie PA for the night. I say this like it was right next door, it’s not, it’s about 5 hours west of Schenectady, NY. As the name of the blog implies, we got on the back roads and headed towards Erie. It wasn’t but an hour or so, when we started to see “Snow”, which for those who don’t know it, but being from Maine, we had hope for sunny warm weather and were not liking this at all.

Now there are a few other things I should point out. Both Dominik and I had our eyes focused and road signs looking to see anything that was worth stopping to see, and yes, we found something.

We were some 75 miles from Erie, when we came across an area with strip malls and such.  We had planned on eating something once we got to the hotel, but what before my wondrous eyes should appear but a Krispy Kreme donut shop. I pulled a quick u-turn and headed on in for some of their world famous “Hot” “Fresh” (making them right when we pulled in) “tasty”, “sticky”,  “soft” Honey Dipped donuts:)

We got us a dozen assorted for dessert to eat after supper, your right, they didn’t even make it to supper. Most, but not all,  did make it to the car. Yes there are many places with great donuts, hell, I could tell you of a dozen places myself, and some right here in Maine, but none like these.

Frosty’s, (now available at many Hannaford’s) Italian Bakery, Labadies Bakery are just a few here in Maine that rank right up there.

Honey Dipped

Krispy_Kreme_Doughnuts

 

So where did I leave off … oh yeah, Krispy Kreems, folks stop if you are every near one, get the hot Honey dips, you’ll be glad you did.

So after Kripy Kreems, we headed to our Hotel for the night,  The Clarion Hotel Lake Erie, which proved to be a fine choice. No it wasn’t the finest hotel in the area, but as inexpensive hotels go, if was very good. Quiet, Clean, well staff a pleasant stay all-in-all

The next morning we decided to try out the breakfast, and like many of the Choice Hotels (this is one of those), the breakfast we plentiful. Fruits,  Juices, Waffles, Meat, Eggs, Yogurt, Hard Boiled Eggs, Donuts and pastries and hot coffee. Again, not the best breakfast around I’m sure, but a damn good one, at no extra cost, yes, FREE with your nights stay.

Breakfast took about 30 minutes or so, and now it’s on to our first frisbee golf course … right on the shores of Lake Erie. Did mention it is still snowing lightly, cold and windy. The course was about an hours drive from the hotel, which was fine, no traffic to speak of and the car heater works just fine.

Man talk about funny. So we get to the frisbee course and it is RIGHT on the shores of Lake Erie, and this day there is a stuff wind and it’s snowing. Windy enough that we would throw the frisbees to the left to go right, and in front of us to go backwards. It is a great park, with nice walkways, animals, fountains and so much more. It just wasn’t the day to be there for us. Dominik loves wearing shorts year-round, but even he, ran to the car and put some pants on. Which proofed to be waste of time, because 3 holes later we were both so damn cold, we couldn’t feel our fingers. We called it quits and head towards the world’s largest candy store:  B.A. Sweeties in Cleveland, OH. This took about an hour to get to and my grandson was like “Whole cow pepere is all of this the candy store”?  Sure is, let’s go inside and have a great time.

– http://www.sweetiescandy.com

Now I think it’s important to say, “I was very good this time folks”. We didn’t spend but maybe $100.00 on candy (last time I was here it was much closer to $400 or was it $500.00:). We did our thing and now it’s time for lunch and Little Italy in Downtown Cleveland. If you like walking the streets of an area and everything is of one ilk,  then you’d love visiting here. Italian everywhere you look, and some of it, is simply outstanding! We walked around a bit, until I saw the place I remember from my last visit and it was then I told Dominik, there’s the place were we are having lunch, and maybe some dessert too.

– http://www.prestisbakery.com

We each had a slice of Sicilian pizza, Dominik had Cheese and I had ham and a Tomato Caprese (Which was awesome:), me loves my tomatoes. We ask the young lady behind the counter what other places we should visit while in the area, she gave us a few places that we should visit, including another pizza shop. The pizza shop was ok, but we both have had better pizza then her suggestion. Speaking of pizza, Dominik said that Muccui’s in Portland is still by far, the best sicilian pizza he’s ever had. I need to make a note here, I, me, Skip, choose to leave here without even as much as one pastry, not one!

Next on our trip was Daffin’s Chocolate Factory in Sharon, PA, some hour + – drive from here. Now while it was nice, had I known it was going to be like this, I would have spent the hour plus right there in Little Italy and been much happier, and I believe Dominik agreed. We stayed at Daffins about $65.00 or so, then headed the car northeast to our next hotel.

The drive was going to be a long one, but I wanted to get with 4-5 hours of Logan Airport as we were picking up Memere Jo the next day (she was coming back from CA., visiting the Grand Kids out there).

As it got dark both of us decided we needed something to eat before we got to our hotel (which was looking like 9-10:30 ish this rate), so we both started watching the signs on the road for something to eat, but not fast food. We saw a sign for Luigi’s in Dubois, PA and decided to give it a try.

– http://www.luigisristorante.com

Dubois is a small city (8,000 +- residents) some 200 miles west of Scranton, PA area. Getting off the highway and finding this place wasn’t real hard, but it’s not  right off the exit. Good thing there were billboards with good directions for this place, not that we wouldn’t have found something else if it was necessary. Anyways, Luigi’s is a family owned and run Italian Restaurant right in downtown Dubois (which is much bigger then downtown Auburn, ME with some 35,000 people?). It was the only place opened when we pulled into town, which was fine as eating was what we were there for.

They were quick to greet us at the door, sit us down, take our drink and appetizer order, to bad the meal wasn’t as quick. The place was book solid. Damn near everyone from Dubois must have been here tonight.

Food, good, but not great. That’s not fair, seeing we only had a few things off the menu. Now some of this rating is because it took 45+ minutes to get served. I went with the house special Italian Steak and Dominik decided to try the Philly Stromboli for our meals. We started with an order of fried Mozzarella, which turned out to be pretty damn good. Good enough that I wish I had waited until having these to order. I say this because I would have ordered thr Chicken Parm with the same sauce that came with the fried cheese, but after asking and being told all the sauces had stuff in them, I went with the steak.

oh, stuff i.e., Onions, Green Peppers, Celery … none of which I like in my sauce, but turns out the sauce that came with the cheese was just that a nice sauce with no stuff in it. I will say, my steak was one of the most tender I have had in a restaurant in a long time. Dominik’s Stromboli on the other hand, was not at all what he was expected.

– Shaved Steak, French Fries, Cheese and a dressing, all rolled up in a pizza dough. Much like a calzone, but just different. Dominik didn’t have but maybe 3 bites and he was done, and I never even tried it, silly me. I could have eaten that and he could have eaten my steak. I guess we won’t be stopping when it’s late and we’re real hungry again, unless it’s a safe stop. Would I go back, Yes, I think I would. Heck I owe to them and me to try stuff else. When and if I ever go back, I will ask what the house specialty is, and give that a try.

Well a bit over an hour later and we’re headed for our hotel and what should be a good night sleep (would have been better if you didn’t snore so loud pepere:( )

Nest day, another breakfast at the hotel and then off to play frisbee golf, on the way to Logan Airport. The frisbee golf course was a very nice place in the middle of nowhere PA. A reservoir built by the Army Core of Engineers just outside of Scranton, PA (Prompton Lake Disc Golf). It’s a 2 tie launch giving you a 36 hole (Basket) course. Again, what seemed like a great course, but so damn cold and windy we only got in 5 holes before we were to cold to play. I will be back here in warmer weather to play.

– http://poconogeographic.com/?page_id=45, scroll down a bit to see about the park / course.

It’s now on to Logan, Memere and get our asses back to Auburn.

I had a wonderful, albeit short trip and I will do it again, I’ll just not stop at Daffins Chocolates, so I can spend more time in Little Italy and playing frisbee golf (and trying to find a downtown or 2 to explore and enjoy).

Some of the places I / we have been this winter

While I haven’t been off the beaten path as much this winter as usual, I have been out and about on a few nice trips.

Just before the Holidays my wife and I did a weekend away to Burlington, VT area. We also got away to Kittery, ME  Outlets for some Holiday shopping.

I took a trip to King Arthur Flour / Shop in Vt., first with our daughter and secondly with our son (he wanted to go and check the place out, and get Christmas Gifts for his sister)

Check out our daughters facebook page to see why we go to King Arthur Flour (https://www.facebook.com/blondiescookies)

For me the trips with our daughter and our son are great ways to be with them, catch up, and just talk. With our daughter it’s shopping, eating out then home. Our son is much more of the outdoor type, so I added a side trip to Quechee gorge (which is not the same in winter time).

The trip to Burlington, VT was very nice and over due. We go to VT a fair amount each year, but hadn’t been to Burlington for a few years, and even when we were there last, we didn’t spend as much time exploring downtown as we did this time.

It’s one hell of a downtown. Ton’s of shops, pleasant folks, outdoor activities and more. I learned a few things this time around (I can say that I don’t know everything because my kids aren’t likely to ready this). So what did I learn.

Canadians don’t tip. I got this tid-bit of information from a few waitresses who seemed to push off the Canadian customer a bit. I asked what that was all about, and they told me that they don’t tip. They said they aren’t mean or rude, it’s just that Canadian’s don’t tip here, because they don’t tip in Canada, it’s just the way it is.

OI also found out, that there are A LOT of Canadians on any given day in Burlington. It’s close, it’s cheaper here then there, and there are more shops to choose from. They also come down to fly out of Burlington, when flying just about anywhere, because even with the costs of a hotel, parking and such, it’s still cheaper then flying out of Canada.

Coming soon, worlds largest Chocolate & Candy Store trip

Or so each of these companies claim.

While I have been on the road a fair amount since my last post,  it’s often been a business trip only and hard to find time to explore.

In any case. I will be hitting the road soon with our grandson to visit the worlds largest chocolate store and the worlds largest candy store, or so they say.

Chocolate store is in Sharon, PA and candy store is in Cleveland. We’ll be mixing in a round or 2 of Frisbee Golf, a stop in Little Italy in Cleveland, and who knows what else – not likely to be to much, as we will be leaving Wednesday morning, bright and early from Maine and need to be in Boston Friday afternoon to pick up my wife from the airport. She’s heading to CA to visit 3 little munchkins and their parents.

 

Next day – Dover, NH and home

So we got back to our hotel earlier then we thought it was (daylight savings time sucks), but tried, so early was just fine with both of us.

The next morning started out like any other morning from a hotel. Cup of coffee for my wife, get out the ironing board and iron the cloths she would be wearing for the day, while I hopped in the shower so we could hit the road.

We had hoped to try Amore’ out for breakfast, but that didn’t happen (maybe next time). It gets 4.5 stars on just about every web site where folks can post reviews about places to eat.

-http://www.yelp.com/biz/amore – breakfast-ogunquit

– http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g40790-d474493-Reviews-Amore_Breakfast-Ogunquit_Maine.html

Anyway we headed in towards Kittery to see what we could find for breakfast or for christmas shopping. Our first stop was Stonewall Kitchen outlet / factory. A very nice place for those of us who like food gifts (and a chance to try out some jams, jellies, sauces and more with pretzel sticks and crackers, hey what can I say, I was hungry).

We finished here and decided we both wanted a bit more in our tummy’s then sauces, jams and dips. I knew my wife enjoys Ihop, so I head that way (in hopes of surprising here again). Well the surprise was on my – the place had an hour plus wait? No one in their right mind would wait 20 or 30 minutes to eat here, let alone an hour or more!

I decided we would head towards Dover and hope to find a local restaurant to have breakfast / early lunch. Now we didn’t spend much time here, but I’m sure we’ll go back. The downtown is very big and has what looked like many interesting shops to check out. Oh, we didn’t get to check ay out because they were closed for the day (Sunday and all). Oh, back to eating. I went in to the hotel next to where we parked and asked them were we might get a great breakfast and the nice lady at the front desk gave me 2 choices. We went with one farther downtown (the walk would help give us more of an appetite).  The name of the restaurant is called Weeks, and we both enjoyed our meals very much.

 

Weekend away. Ogunquit, ME / Dover, NH

This was a surprise getaway for my wife, and I think I might have pulled it off.

A surprise because she didn’t know about it, and a surprise because I managed to pack ALMOST everything we needed without her knowing. Yes Almost. I forgot our tooth brushes and other personal goods, but nothing we weren’t able to pick up at the local grocery store.

So we started the day late- around noon time, and headed down the Maine turnpike for what was going to be a walk on Marginal Way in Ogunquit, ME. From there I was going to take her to dinner then when we were both to damn tried to go any farther, I was going to pull up to the hotel (which I booked a few hours before I picked her up) and say “let’s stay here for the night”. Which was pretty close to how it happened.

– http://theadmiralsinn.com

Check out these links to see more about the oceanside walk … do it folks, it’s awesome.

– http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g40790-d104969-Reviews-Marginal_Way-Ogunquit_Maine.html

– http://www.ogunquit.org/aboutOgunquit.php

The walk on the ocean path and the walk downtown took a bit longer then I thought, so I pulled in the hotel a bit earlier then planned. As I mentioned earlier, my plans were to go out to eat, and then go to the hotel.

After checking in, getting our few things to the room, we freshened up and headed out to get those few things I forgot and for dinner. While the front desk did suggest a place to eat, when we got there it was still an hour plus before they opened, so we (I) decided to head towards Portsmouth for something to eat. Portsmouth because there is not much opened in the Ogunquit area this time of year. Yes there were a few others, but Portsmouth has dozens of options for eating so here we come – well sort-of. After driving for 20 minutes or so we came up on what looked like a new restaurant and decided to give it a try. The name of the place is The York River Landing. We got there a bit before 5 (dinner time) which worked out good for us, as the service was quick to react and the food was nice and hot (well most of it). Our meals were good, and it was a great choice stopping here. I had Prime Rib and my wife had a Salmon dish with roasted vegetables. I don’t bring my cell phone with me, so sorry folks, no pictures (of my meal?)

After dinner we headed into Kittery for a bit of shopping for the holidays. We stopped at a few stores which shall remain a secret as our kids my read this (Who am I kidding, they won’t read this, BUT just in case).

Knowing we were headed back this way tomorrow, we called it quits and headed back to our hotel for the night. Now folks, this meant driving by a huge candy store and NOT stopping!

So this is the end of this part of the story, I’ll start a new one for the next day.

Trip to NY, Mustang Museum, Howes Caverns, Cooperstown and more

We’re back, and we had a great time.

karl@designsbyskip.com for comments

Our day started about 7am and our first stop was planned for noonish at the Hemmings Motor News Museum in Bennington, VT. This was also planned as a gas stop and possible lunch stop, all of which happened.

Here are a few photo’s from the museum. Oh, I should mention, that for what ever reason, me and my camera were not on the same page for this trip, and I don’t think I go any REAL nice photos:(

hemmings C

hemmingsA

HemmingsB

After our stop here, we went on to find a place to eat, and like everyone else, when there are 2 or more people who have to make a decision, lunch was looking like a big “I don’t care, what do you want?’

We ended up picking Bennington Pizza, and boy, turned out to be a great choice. Yes it’s just pizza, but it turned out to be some of the best, tastiest pizza any of us had had ever, or at least for along time, and I should mention the wings were pretty damn good too.

From here we headed on to the Saratoga Museum to check out there 50th Anniversary Mustang Exhibition.  The drive was a bit over an hour and a pleasant one, driving over the back roads of NY.

Upon arrival the place seemed to be buzzing with all kinds of activity on the grounds, but none of it about the museum. Turns out they were getting ready for a country western concert that night.

We checked in at the museum and got started exploring not only the wonderful, but small Mustang exhibition but also the second floor which had several wonderful cars from several companies and racing venues. If you are in the area, please add this to your list of stops to make.

http://www.saratogaautomuseum.org

Nice piece here on the all Wheel Drive Mustang … that never was.

http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2014/07/03/one-of-three-ferguson-all-wheel-drive-mustangs-visits-the-saratoga-automobile-museum/

After the afternoon at the museum we headed off to our hotel for the night. The hotel was only about 40 minutes from the museum which was nice, as we normally get into our room between 8 and 9 at night, but not this time. We got in a bit after 6, unpacked and check the area out and still got to bed before 9.

Oh, as for the hotel, Quality Inn in Albany. The rooms were nice enough but they turned out to be smoking rooms (who has these anymore)? So I point this out, because it was seeping in a ashtray. The front desk did give me a bottle of Febreeze , but that didn’t help much. So I went to my car and took my liquid scent and put dozens of drops all over the place, and this included in the air conditioner and hoped that after coming back from taking a hot tub that it would smell better.  Upon returning it was better, but after awhile all it was, was Country Apple fragrance cigarette smell:( No, they had NO other rooms.

The next morning we got up early and headed down to see how breakfast looked and if it was going to be worth eating, and damn if it wasn’t a pretty good. We eat and we left.

Now on the road and heading towards Howe Caverns (about an hours drive) I fill this in later …

Cooperstown was another hours drive

 

On the road with our grandson, VA and back …

If you would like to comment on this or any other posts here: karl@designsbyskip.com

Wow, 4 days and it only seemed like 2. We picked up where we left off  last year. Ok, so let me explain a bit. We generally take a small road trip / vacation with our grandson each year (and hope to do it with our grand-daughters real soon), and last year, while it was planned, it didn’t happen because at the last minute, my wife got called to jury duty. This was a bit of a disappointment to our grandson, but I did step up and spend a few days with him on a shorter road trip. we ended up at Morrette’s King Steak in NY for lunch and stopped and played frisbee golf at a few places and stayed over-night in VT, but I digress.

So this year, no jury duty and we added a day to the trip to make up for missing last year (and for my wife’s comfort). We started out Tuesday morning with a goal of getting to Harrisburg, PA for our first nights stay, and yes, for those who are wondering, and or those who know me, I did stop and feed them (Inside joke, ask me about it). Oh, are goals for this trip were, Luray Caverns, Natural Bridge few local farmers markets / malls and the over to Rough and Tumble Museum (steam engines galore) then to Stroudwater, PA and stops at one of the largest candy stores in America and over to a pie making store and  bushkill Falls, then home.

Below are a few pictures from our first (not known to these 2) stop. Which was at Shikellamy State Park over-look scenic area (a must stop if you are in the area).

over-look

over-look2

A photo from the web site: (click on photos, to make larger)

1400px-Shikellamy_State_Park_Overlook_Panorama

1280px-Shikellamy_State_Park_Overlook_from_river

From here it was on to our first hotel for the night, and that didn’t go as planned either.

I had printed out the information to the Comfort Inn downtown Harrisburg, but I’ll be damned if any of us could find it, once there?

Yes it was dark, yes my wife was tried and miserable  (oh did I mention, she had a cold that lasted the whole trip:( ). In any case, we ended up at the Holiday Inn HARRISBURG-EAST , which was a fine stay, great no, but more then good enough after the end of a long day. Now don’t get me wrong, it had some strong points, like one of the largest TV’s of any hotels we have been in for quite some time (maybe  a 36″ or 42″ flat screen tv). It was reasonably quiet, comfortable and clean and I guess in the end, what more can you ask for.

The next morning, which was to early for my wife and grandson, got started around 7am with showers for everyone and breakfast which was real good and real expensive (for a breakfast). 3 people $45.00, but hey, what’s a vacation without a few nice, over priced meals.

After breakfast we headed back to our room to freshen up, pack and be on our way.

Now I was hoping getting onto the highway was going to be a short drive, but nooo, not me. I had to drive all over the freaking place just to get back on track. Now this isn’t a big deal from me, but my wife, well let’s just say, she doesn’t like it, when our day starts out this way. Now there is some good in this, and that is we get to see places and parts of the city we won’t normally drive thru, and hey, that’s not bad… right? I will say, some of this was the GPS, some of this was the road signage, and yes some of this was me. I will say, that this does give some credence to up-dating the GPS software whenever possible even at the high costs they get for up-dates.

Ok, so where was I, oh yeah, we were trying to get on the highway and get to Luray Caverns as quickly as possible. It took about 3 hours +- but we finally got here, and now it’s time for our 2 hour tour (you did sing this in the key of Gillians Island right).

Unlike the elevator ride at Howe Caverns in NY, Luray’s is a steep set of stairs to climb down, but once you are down there, it sure is nice. Not sure how much bigger, but it is bigger.

I’ll get back to the story later, I’ve got to get some work done, after all we leave in 2 days for another little world-wind trip.