Monday, October 27, 2014
Road Trippin: Fall in New England
By the time I was done planning the Mr's use or lose vacation time, an almost week vacation doubled to include Niagara Falls on the American side, a few nights in Vermont, a work week in Bar Harbor Maine and because I've always wanted to see it and with the success of our new favorite show, we added a few nights in Sleepy Hollow, New York on the loop back.
Come along for the adventure!
First was our stop off in Niagara Falls. We had to do Cave of the Winds and went up and had the falls pummel us on the hurricane deck.
The Mr had a wonderful time and was like a kid. We wandered the area and saw the top of Horseshoe Falls and watched the Maid of the Mist boats we rode when we went on the Canadian side in 2010. We walked further up and watched the crazy fast water that would eventually dump you over the falls. This was honestly our only "relaxation" stop. We just kind of hung out at the hotel, the Giacomo for most of the night, ordered in, watched TV, explored the hotel and got a great night's sleep on their comfy bed. I wish I could say the phrase "comfy bed" applied to the rest of the trip but it didn't. Ugh.
The next morning we got up before the sun (a regular occurrence this trip) and I couldn't help but notice as we were on our way to Vermont, we would practically pass Sharon Springs, NY where the Beekman Boys had their store. I was all over that shizz!
We picked up two jars of raw cinnamon honey. To say it was the most heavenly thing I've had in my tea, on my flapjacks, on my sweet potato, etc is an understatement. Completely amazing and I just saw they are expanding to the second floor soon. I've already called road trip again. Given there's a cozy hotel across the street it might be a nice quiet stop on the way to somewhere else as well.
We got to Vermont and had a wonderful time exploring the Stowe and Montpelier area. Our favorite experience was a place called Bragg Sugar Farm.
We had to watch a little video about maple syrup making but we didn't mind and then we got to sample the grades and such afterward. We both liked the same grades (Grade A mild amber and Grade B which is the best for cooking/baking) The woman said the fact we agreed on the same grades was rare because people usually have big ol' fights when it comes time to buy and one couple was even like "we'll have to take this outside." I don't know what she got him to agree to but he won that one from what we heard. We got to try maple creamees, which is maple soft serve ice cream. HOLY BALLS Y'ALL!! SOOOOO good! We got baby ones because we knew we were trying them elsewhere but they weren't good so I wished I'd gone full Monty on the ones from Bragg. If you're in the Stowe or Montpelier area, make sure you stop by Bragg Sugar Farm!
We stopped by Emily's Bridge in Stowe. You can read more about it here.
On our way to Maine, I had a surprise up my sleeve for the Mr. When we're on vacations, it's kind of "our thing" to go on crazy roads that make people want to barf from fear. I found such a road in Mt. Washington Auto Road in Gorham, New Hampshire. Before we got there, he pointed to it's snow capped mountain and said "oh my gosh is that snow up there??" I non chalantly said yes and giggled inside saying to myself "and you're gonna be on it in a few minutes!"
We went 6200+ feet up and went from beautiful fall trees to stunted pines to barron snow covered landscape. Good thing we had our winter coats! It was windy but we had fun exploring the summit and looking at the beautiful ice and snow formations on anything that would stand still on the summit from chains to banisters to railings, etc. The bottom right up there are what we nicknamed "snow feathers" and they're formed from the super high winds at the summit. Simply stunning. The Auto Road is now closed for the season but if you plan peak season in New England next year, put this on your to do list...this was in our top three favorite things from the trip.
When we finally made it to Bar Harbor, it was later so we just grabbed dinner a few streets over from our rental home. It was chilly on the patio but nothing some hot tea and chowder couldn't take the edge off of. The next day we headed to have our first real lobster experience. Lobster boils is what I think they call them where they slap ya a big ol lobster, mussels, taters and such.
The Mr was adequately weirded out by the whole thing but was a good sport and ended up enjoying it. I was glad for the experience but the whole ripping apart an intact animal was more than my pansy ass would like to imbibe in again. I prefer to keep my head in the ground where my meals come from. Internally, I named him Larry and thanked him for his life. When we got back and we saw live lobsters in the tank, I said a prayer for them and promised if there was a way to bust them out without going to jail, I'd consider it.
We strolled Bar Harbor's streets and were frankly very surprised at how touristy they were. We've been to Hawaii, Florida, Vegas eons ago, Memphis and have never felt a true tourist throng until we came here. Wow! Between cruise lines and buses, it was flooded with people and we reveled in the two slower days in town on Sunday and Monday and maybe a little on Tuesday. To escape the masses, we took a stroll on the Shore Path.
It runs the coast line and then back into town at the quiet end. Worth a stroll should you go for great views of all of the ships, big and small, in harbor!
The next day was Acadia National Park. I was so excited! We went up for sunrise at Cadillac Mountain. While the shot below makes it look like there were only a few people there, there were probably over 100 so it was not a quiet, zen experience.
What we are into? Movies. What's the Mr into? Stephen King . So what did we do? Oh yeah...we saw the Pet Sematary house and noted the hilarious placement of the "children at play" sign that now resides where Gage bit it by the Orinco truck.
We also swung by Stephen King's home in Bangor (red house, lower left above) and then on to Mount Hope Cemetery to the spot where Stephen presided over the house keeper's funeral. (Lower right above)
On our way back, I decided to take a detour to another surprise I had in my back pocket if we were in the area. Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory.
I think it was built to replace the old bridge in 2006 and we went straight to the top.
The views were amazing...
Toward the end of our stay, we went at low tide and walked across the sandbar to Bar Island.
You've got a 4 hour window (two hours before low tide and ninety minutes to two hours after) that the sandbar is exposed for you to walk (or drive) across. When the tide rolls in, any cars or people stuck on the bar or on the island will be SOL until the tide rolls back out. We got there plenty early and did the hike to the other side and top of the island.
The view of Bar Harbor was breathtaking.
We had the most amazing time in Bar Harbor and we're glad we were able to enjoy some down time as well as active adventures.
On the way to Sleepy Hollow, we made a pit stop in Portland to see the light house.
Truly a classic lighthouse! We didn't have time to peruse the town but we definitely want to go back because it looked pretty cool there!
Then we arrived in Sleepy Hollow and stayed a few nights.
We visited the Olde Dutch Church, the Headless Horseman bridge and the author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving's grave.
We stopped by the lighthouse after strolling through the park.
We had a beautiful view of the Tappan Zee bridge and that gap under the bridge before the first peak? You can see the Manhattan skyline through there...kind of a big ol' tease.
You know we got our pumpkins in Sleepy Hollow this year. I mean, come on!
At night, we took a two hour lantern tour of Sleep Hollow Cemetery.
It was really cool and I'd take any of the tours they offer as well. Super knowledgeable guides and such history in that place.
It was a very long drive but we had some good stops to break up the monotony and we had this little ditty play every hour and fifteen minutes on the 26 hour playlist I made to remind us to do calf raises and ankle pumps so we didn't get a blood clot from being bum bound so long.
It was a wonderful trip and I hope all of you consider doing it at some point because it's so beautiful. If you'd like to see more pictures, swing by my Instagram!
Pay attention as the week winds down, I may have picked up some souvenirs I'll be giving away to a lucky reader!
What was your longest road trip?
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