Monday, July 06, 2015

New England Vacation: Days 4, 5, And 6

We slept in very late the morning of day four recovering from the last two challenging days.  We checked out of the hotel, walked past the meth/crack smokers in the parking structure, and arrived at the rental car place.  They gave us a Kia Soul which felt huge and they consider a subcompact - lime green so we wouldn't lose it in a parking lot.

The drive out of Boston was straightforward  (thank you ez-pass) and we arrived in Concord by noon.  After a great lunch we started the literature portion of our vacation.  In Concord we would visit three homes once lived in my authors.  These included homes of Emerson, Alcott, and Hawthorne before visiting their final resting places in the Sleepy Hollow cemetery (we found all of their graves except for the headless Horseman's). (Literary sites one through four.)

A grape arbor built by Henry David Thoreau for Ralph Waldo Emerson.
On the way out of town we visited Walden Pond made famous by Thoreau (literary site number five).  Here we saw a reconstructed cabin in a place where the original Thoreau cabin never stood.

Walden Pond.
We had a rough time finding magnets in Concord.  Very few souvenir shops - ie. none.  We did manage to find a few and we bought some pins that could be made into magnets.

We ended our day near Lowell, MA.  Took us a while to find a hotel. It took a stop at a restaurant with WiFi for us to finally find it.  In the end it turned out to be conveniently located to our next destination - Kerouac's tomb and memorial.

The fifth vacation day started in a cemetery.  In Lowell we visited Jack Kerouac's grave before visiting a monument dedicated to Kerouac in the National Historic district of downtown Lowell.  (Literary site number six.)

Jack Kerouac's Tombstone inscription.
Next we drove through the countryside on our way to Jaffrey, NH.  The drive was delightful with the road lined with thick forests but, after a while, the road started to feel a bit claustrophobic.  Not sure how I would handle it if I lived here.  There were also a shortage of street signs that made it hard to confirm where you were.  I resorted to looking at people's mailboxes ... thank you to people who put their complete address on their mailboxes.

The grave of a Nebraska native - Willa Cather.
In Jaffrey we visited the grave of one of the Wife's favorite author: Willa Cather.  Willa Cather was born near Red Cloud, NE and the Wife had attended a conference dedicated to her in Redcloud just a couple of weeks before our visit to her grave.  The Wife produces a small baggy of Nebraska soil that she dumped on her grave.  (Literary site number seven.)

From there we drove through more countryside including some in Vermont before we ended up in Windsor, VT.  There we ate a late lunch at the same diner frequented by the late J.D. Salinger.  I topped my lunch off with a piece of homemade red velvet cake.  We visited the nearby covered bridge, the longest wooden bridge in America, that links Windsor, VT with Cornish, NH where Salinger lived.  (Literary Site number eight.)

The longest wooden bridge in the United States and the longest two span
covered bridge in the world built in 1866 for $9,000.
We crossed the bridge twice before we left Winsor and headed to Franconia Notch.  We arrived late at our hotel right outside the park.  I talked with the owner of the hotel and he confirmed that rain would be moving in over night.  This changed my plans a bit since most of my planned activities here were either outside or required good visibility.

The Flume Gorge trail.
While the wife rested in the hotel I drove to the visitor center and did the first of my activities: hike the Flume Gorge trail.  The hike is interesting but short being only 2 miles.  The hike is along a river and several cataracts so the sound of falling water is never far away.  The first half climbs a bit and involves wooden steps along the gorge and rushing water.  Nothing more relaxing than the sound of water in nature.  Sadly, the GPS that I had packed was forgotten back as the hotel so I don't have elevation and distance numbers. The good thing is all the biking I've been doing served me well here.  By the time I got to the top of the Flume Gorge I was sweating profusely like I usually do but I was not nearly as winded as I usually feel.  This bodes well for my Rocky Mountain National Park trip in August.

We ended the day with a very good dinner.  We were going to walk the downtown but just about every place was already closed ( on a Saturday night!!! ).  The towns of Lincoln and Woodstock were full of bikers with a biker rally taking place not far away.

We woke up on day six to rain, the leftovers from Tropical Storm Bill.  We stopped at the Franconia Notch visitors center and bought magnets and snacks.

The second activity I'd hoped to do was take the tram up to Cannon Mountain.  The first tram in the United States had been located here.  The rain and the low clouds put the kibosh with that plan.  Taking the tram today would have been a trip to the inside of a cloud and the insides of clouds are kinds of boring.

Determined tree.
We left through the north end of the park passing a trailhead for the Appalachian Trail (AT) along the way.  The last thing I'd wanted to do is walk a little on the AT.  It would not be.  It will just have to wait til I walk there from Georgia.

A famous UFO abduction took place near Lincoln, NH.
I read a lot about it when I was a gullible kid.
Leaving the north end of the park we turned west.  A nice, but wet, drive through New Hampshire and Vermont.  We took a short ferry ride across lake Champlain to the New York side.  As we waited for the ferry the sun came out and it became quite warm.

We rode a ferry similar to this one across Lake Champlain.
We entered the Adirondacks in a mix of sun and heavy rain.  We stopped for a nice lunch near Keene, NY.  We turned south (only a hundred miles from where those escaped convicts were still on the loose) and drove the length of the Adirondacks passing small towns hidden amongst the trees and along the shore of tranquil lakes.  I enjoyed the scenery along this drive.  I itched each time we drove past a trailhead sign.

We ended the day in a rundown place in Herkimer, NY with crappy WiFi.  Tomorrow we would take a cruise on the Erie canal before driving to Niagara Falls.

Pictures can be found in my 2015-06 New York, Boston, New England Google Photos album.

To Be Continued ...

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