BOURNE IN THE USA

NEW ENGLAND
New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts

New England Photo Gallery

 

 

NEW ENGLAND

New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts
(29th August to 12th September 2010)

 

Adirondack Mountains - NEW YORK (29th August 2010)

 

Our journey from the Thousand Islands to New England takes us through the Adirondack Mountains in New York state. Our route takes us on some very small roads with quaint little villages. Everything is immaculately looked after with clean painted houses and tidy lawns. All the villages have a smart town hall and New England style churches with steeples. We pass through Lake Placid, which looks really nice. It hosted the Winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980 so has had a bit of investment. You can see the ski areas in the background. The going is slow but it's an enjoyable drive.

 

Burlington - VERMONT (29th August 2010)

 

At Plattsburg, NY we catch a little car ferry across Lake Champlain to Grand Isle in Vermont. There's a sandy beach on the other side with lots of people swimming in the water and playing. It's not far to our hotel in Colchester, which is just outside Burlington. In the evening we drive into Burlington which is a smart university town. There's a pedestrianised mall running up the centre of town with lots of outdoor seating and live music. We opt for an Irish bar and have a great meal. Burlington feels like a fun town and a good place to spend a bit of time. There are lots of shops here as well as nightlife.

 

NEW HAMPSHIRE (30th and 31st August 2010)

 

It's a beautiful drive across Vermont running alongside a large river. The area is full of trees, some of which are already turning red and yellow for the autumn. Again, all the little villages are well kept with wood boarded houses and log cabins.

At Woodsville we cross in to New Hampshire and almost immediately come across one of the famous Covered Bridges in Swiftwater. It's a nice spot to stop for our picnic lunch as there is a little waterfall underneath the bridge that you can sit next to. The bridges are designed with a cover to stop the bridge underneath rotting in the winter weather. Most of them are from the mid 19th century though some have had to be renovated or replaced.

 

White Mountain National Forest

 

We're now in the White Mountains following the Wild Ammonoosuc river. We pass a sign for the Appalachian Trail that crosses this area on it's 2000 mile journey from Maine to Georgia. Lincoln is quite a big town with lots of family attractions, like water slides and mountain resorts. There's a lot of skiing here in the winter. Passing through Lincoln we get on to the scenic Kancamagus Highway (great names round here) which winds round the forested mountains and through the Kancamagus Pass. It forms part of the White Mountains Trail – a circle you can drive round the mountains.
We're soon at Passaconaway village and the Jigger Johnson campground, which is run by the National Forest. It's a wonderful empty campsite in the thick forest. The pitches are huge and flat with trees all around so you have lots of space between campers. There are even showers which is a bonus for $20 a night. It's around 86'f here. At night the campsite is pitch dark, with no electricity, and the creepy sound of coyotes goes on all night!

 

Zealand and Sabbaday Falls

 

On our second day we drive to Conway, passing a few more covered bridges on the way, and take the White Mountain Trail to Zealand Lower Falls. The trailhead is really obscured so few people are here. We walk the half mile to the Lower Falls. The falls are more like an area of white water rapids that you can slide down like a water chute for about 30 feet. Rich gets straight in and rides the rapids, screaming like a girl. Half way down there is a deep hole that you tumble in to before being thrown on down the hill. I reluctantly have a go, nearly losing my bikini bottoms on the way. I'm not so brave as Rich but I manage to get down with only one mouthful of river water. It is actually great fun, but after Rich bruises his bum quite badly we decide not to push our luck! It's so warm you can stand in the cold water and not feel chilly at all. We're slightly put off when we think we spot some small leeches!

We have a drive round the area a little longer, going past some posh ski resorts and adventure parks. It's so green here, with wonderful mountains, lots of waterfalls and creeks and hiking trails. Our last stop today is at Sabbaday Falls. It's a short walk up hill to the falls, which although in their late summer stage are still impressive. The water is moving slowly enough to get some nice photographs. Above the falls is a little swimming area amongst the rocks and trees.

 

MAINE (1st to 5th September 2010)

 

Leaving New Hampshire, we take the Bear Notch Road, which passes through a gap between the mountains, surrounded by trees. At a little town called Jackson we drive over another covered bridge, which is a “honeymoon” style; it has a walking path to the side as well as the traffic route.

Our route out takes us past some more impressive ski resorts such as Bretton Woods and the famous Mount Washington Hotel where Winston Churchill and three US presidents once stayed. We see Mt Washington in the distance, though it's a little cloudy up there.

The road crosses in to Maine and there are lots of new England style villages, with quaint white churches and wooden houses. Everything is clean and freshly painted. It's impressive that they can keep those houses so immaculate considering the extremes of weather here.

Before long we get to Bangor and the motel that we've booked. We get a chance to catch up on the internet and find out that Hurricane Earl is heading our way in the next few days. It's a big one and predicted to hit the New England coast by the 3rd September. It's so hot here my eyeballs are burning. It's something to do with being inland of the hurricane. It's in the 90s and very humid.

 

Acadia National Park (2nd and 3rd September 2010)

 

It's only a short journey from Bangor to the coast and on to Mount Desert Island, part of Acadia National Park. The coast line here is wonderful, with lots of tiny islands and trees growing right up to the beach. We go directly to the Blackwood Campground and get our pitch assignment. Again this is a wooded site, with lots of tall pines all around the pitch. The camp has flushing toilets but no showers.

Acadia has a park loop road running through it as well as the public highway and 57 miles of Carriage Roads that are not open to motor vehicles.

In the afternoon, we take a drive around the east part of the island, stopping at Thunder Rock to listen to the roaring waves. The ocean is starting to get a bit lively already though the air is warm and still. Further along at Otter Point we sit and enjoy the rocky coast and watch the seabirds and lobster pots bobbing about. We drive west over towards the quaint little town of Seal Harbour, passing some of the hand built granite bridges that cross the carriage roads. Sitting on a cliff edge, I spot the white head of a very large bald eagle, watching the water. By the time Rich gets the camera out he's flown off. There are some amazing houses round here; big New England style mansions, right on the water's edge. It's a stunning location, they must cost a bundle.

On our second day, we very bravely set the alarm for 5am and get up to watch sunrise from the summit of Cadillac Mountain. By the time we sneak out the camp and get on the main park road it's starting to get light. The mountain summit is 1,527 feet, the highest point on the Atlantic coast. The top is the first point to see sunrise in the USA. The sky is a beautiful pink as we scoot past the views of the Porcupine Islands. At the summit the sun has just broken the horizon over a slightly misty sea and islands. It's beautiful. There are quite a few hardy people up here watching the event. It's warm and pleasant just to sit and watch the sun creep through the clouds and brighten the sky.

On the way back down we stop at one of the ponds which are more like big lakes and watch the early morning light. We drive back to the campsite to have some breakfast. At the entrance we learn that the camp is closing down and we have to be gone by 5pm, due to Hurricane Earl heading our way. The trees on the island have shallow roots so they are worried about them falling over on to campers. So we pack up camp, and drive to Bar Harbour to find an internet connection. We get a room in a motel in Ellsworth, just north of here. I'm happier that we're not going to be under canvas as no one seems to know how bad the storm will hit. Now we can relax for the rest of the day. We park up at the harbour and wander around town. Bar Harbor is a nice town, though quite touristy.

There is a Hawk Count set up on the top of Cadillac Mountain from 9am to 2pm everyday so we drive up there and join in. The wind is starting to pick up so there aren't as many hawks as normal, but we do see a Merlin, lots of Turkey Vultures and a Sharp Shinned Hawk. It's warm and sunny, so a pleasant way to pass a few hours.

We spend the afternoon exploring the western part of Mount Desert Island. At Bass Harbor we wander down to the 1858 lighthouse that is still functioning. Around the back we spot a very large spider that Rich gets some good photos of. A squirrel is busily pulling berries off a bush and burying them under a tree. He poses for some comical photos of him with a mouthful. Our drive takes us up the side of Somes Sound, the only fjord on the east coast of the USA. The island is filled with pretty cottages, small harbours with fishing boats bobbing about and inlets and ponds surrounded by trees.

 

Ellsworth and Hurricane Earl (3rd September 2010)

 

We check in to the very pleasant Eagles Lodge motel in Ellsworth and get a good meal at Helen's restaurant nearby. The Main Street has some nice old buildings though mostly shops rather than restaurants or bars. At least we can now relax and let Hurricane Earl do it's worst!

We awake to a wet and windy morning. The hurricane hasn't been as strong as expected. There's quite a lot of rain about but it's due to clear up by midday. We check out by 11am and as we drive down the coast the sun breaks through the clouds and it's a gorgeous day. The heat and humidity of the last few days has dropped and it's a pleasant 80'f! The coastal road is very scenic, with little harbours and villages with the usual new England cottages and antique shops. The roads are quite busy heading north, we assume with holidaymakers who have delayed their travels due to the hurricane.

Bradbury Mountain State Park (4th and 5th September 2010)

 

Our next camping stop is at Bradbury Mountain State Park. The campsite is wooded and quiet. A lot of people have their sleeping bags out drying off. It looks like they got a lot of rain last night. The camp has some rather open vault toilets that look like no deterrent to mosquitoes, though they are clean and don't smell. It also has some nice new showers in a wooden building, with sinks and power. The sounds of the forest keep me awake a bit and I'm sure I hear coyotes in the night.

Portland

 

We drive to the town of Portland. We park up by Lincoln Park, and wander down to the waterfront, along the High Street, and up to Commercial Street. We have a look at the shops and some of the red stone Victorian buildings. There seems to be a lot of nightlife here, plus good shopping and cafes. We mooch round the gift shops and have a coffee. We both agree that Portland would be a nice place to spend some time. Further down the coast is Fort Williams park which houses the lovely Portland Head Light lighthouse and an old Battery. Lots of people are out in the park flying kites and playing games.

Portsmouth, NEW HAMPSHIRE (6th September 2010)

 

We whizz back in to New Hampshire's coast and visit the town of Portsmouth. It's a naval town and has a real British feel. The Market Square has some nice red brick buildings around a meeting house. There are a few old world little pubs and outdoor eating spaces. It has a good vibe. People are queuing around the corner of one cafe for brunch. It seems Americans will wait a long time for good or famous food! We stop in one shop that is full of funny novelties and bad taste greetings cards.

The town has a section of old housing fenced off as a living museum called Strawberry Banke. The houses look really quaint with people in costume wandering around. On the waterfront the park looks over the same type of large lifting bridge that we saw in Duluth. It's a proper working harbour with huge ships moving building materials and a large naval base.

MASSACHUSETTS (6th to 8th September 2010)

 

Boston

 

Our next stop is Boston, Massachusetts. We've timed things well as it's a bank holiday and the roads are fairly quiet. After paying around $10 in tolls we get into the centre of Boston's waterfront and park up in an all day car park for another $16. (at least it's cheaper than London) Our bellies draw us into a nice looking waterfront bar/restaurant called Joe's. It's very popular with people sitting outside in the sun watching the harbour. We sit at the bar and have a tasty chicken salad and a burger, with a few drinks. Feeling better, we set off to walk the Freedom Trail. Boston has more sites directly linked to the American Revolution than any other city. This 2.5 mile walking route links them together, along with other historic sites. It is marked around town by a red brick line. We follow the red brick road and learn about how the British got kicked out of America! Boston is an easy town to wander round and is more compact than London or New York. We have fabulous weather so lots of people are out on foot or eating at pavement cafes.

The historic buildings have generally been well preserved from the 18 th century and mix well with modern architecture. After wandering past churches, the old State House, Meeting House and burial grounds we walk over the Charlestown Bridge and into the old 1800 Charlestown Naval Yards. The USS Constitution is docked here. It was built in 1797 and was nicknamed “Old Ironsides” for her resilience against cannon fire in the 1812 war with Britain. We wander round the deck for a while then have a look at a more recent warship from WWII.

 

Myles Standish State Forest, Barrett Pond camp (6th to 8th September 2010)

 

This campsite is our home for a few nights. The road through the forest seems to go on forever and it feels very remote. Eventually we get to the Barrett Pond campsite and we find our pitch. This is yet another gorgeous setting and our pitch is set up high, looking through the trees on to the water of the lake. There are only a few campers around us and it's very quiet. After dark there's a shout from our neighbours and a large raccoon has come into their gazebo as bold as brass and pinched some barbecue chicken off the table. He runs off with it up a tree and sits and glares at them.

 

Cape Cod

 

Shaped like an upraised arm, bent at the elbow, Cape Cod extends 70 miles into the sea south of Boston. Much of the Cape is designated as National Seashore under the NPS. The rest is filled with beautiful wood clad houses in immaculate grounds, many having antique shops and art galleries in their front rooms. This is evidently a summer playground for the wealthy; very nice too! Our first stop is Sandwich, the oldest town on the Cape. It's a quaint village with a white spired church and a central pond with a working Colonial-era gristmill that still makes cornmeal.

We carry on down Route 6A and arrive at the town of Dennis. We grab a sandwich and head for the town beach. A path leads through the gorgeous sand dunes to a white sand beach where families are playing in the water. Some of the beaches are private so it would seem these little public areas are very popular.

At Eastham, we stop at the National Seashore visitor centre. They have a nice location on the banks of a salt pond. The museum area has interesting exhibits on early settlers, wildlife and the whaling industry. Getting face to face with a stuffed racoon gives you an idea of their size!

Route 6 takes us all the way to the end of the Cape to Provincetown. The Pilgrims evidently first landed here in 1620 and stayed for 5 weeks before pushing on to Plymouth on the mainland. There's a 252 feet monument to the Pilgrims here; the tallest granite structure in the US.

On the return road from Provincetown we enter the National Seashore lands and pull up at Herring Cove Beach. The grassy sand dunes round here are spectacular. It's fairly quiet but this place must be mobbed on a summer weekend. Although it's in the 80s, the wind is a bit strong to sit out for long so we continue on the road. We're running out of time a bit so we just stop to see a couple of lighthouses at Nauset Light Beach before taking the main road back out to the campsite.

 

Plymouth

 

We drive into the town of Plymouth and park up by the visitor centre. They have a nice brochure of the town and a walking guide around the historic sites. It's a lovely sunny day. Plymouth is famous as the landing place and settlement of the original “Pilgrims” from England in 1620. The walk takes us past the replica of the Mayflower ship and on to Plymouth Rock which represents where the pilgrims were supposed to have touched land. Coles Hill behind was a burial area and has a statue of Massasoit, a Wampanoag native who befriended them. Of the 104 pilgrims that came over on the Mayflower, only half of them managed to survive the first year. We walk inland and along the river where the first settlement began, to a working grist mill. The town centre is nice with lots of restaurants and galleries.
After a very large ice cream on the seafront we drive a short distance to the National Monument to the Forefathers. The 81 feet stone monument features Faith standing with her foot on Plymouth Rock, holding a bible and pointing to heaven. Around her are Morality, Education, Law and Liberty. The statue is said to have inspired the design of the Statue of Liberty. Faith's finger got struck by lightning recently and had to be replaced. Also, an osprey has decided to nest on her head, giving her a nice crown of sticks. The monument was completed in 1889.

 

NEW YORK - Lockport (9th to 12th September 2010)

 

Our next location is not strictly speaking in New England but a little detour. Our friends Dave and Cissy, have invited us to their house in Lockport, near Niagara Falls, for the weekend as they are having a big hog roast. It's a long drive from Massachusetts so we have a stopover in Syracuse on the way.

 

The guys have a wonderful house with loads of land and a big barn to party in. We pitch up the tent in the back garden. About 150 people descend on them for the weekend and we drink, dance and sing in to the very early hours of Sunday morning. Dave cooks up a 180lb hog in a charcoal oven and they put on a huge buffet. They have great friends and family and we're made to feel so welcome (and hungover!).