Early in our marriage (circa 1995), my wife and I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on vacations. But we still wanted to go and see places. Living in western New York, we decided to take a week-long driving trip around New England. This was in mid-late May, so before many things were crowded.
Our first stop was Lake Placid, NY where the 1980 Winter Olympics had taken place. We spent about half of a day here exploring. We took an elevator ride up to the top of one of the ski jump ramps. That sure looks scary when you are looking down it. We walked up the bob-sled course, and then down along the luge couse. It was funny that there was a UPS or Federal Express drop box at the top of the two runs. It kind of looked abandoned there. I kept wondering what would happen if I had dropped something in there to be delivered. It might still be there.
We left Lake Placid, caught a ferry across Lake Champlain into Vermont, and stayed overnight at small campground where we set up our tent. In the morning, we got up, and headed north to Vergennes where we toured the Vermont Teddy Bear factory. I enjoy good factory tours, and this is probably the one I have enjoyed most. The tour guide rattled off bad puns (bear feet, bear chested, etc, etc), and seemed to be enjoying himself, and the rest of us enjoyed ourselves along with him. His patter was well memorized so I am sure he had done it many many times. He knew the puns were bad. But he was still enjoying himself! That made it fun!
We continued our drive through Vermont, and visited the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream factory where we toured the factory. The tour guides seemed bored, and my wife and I were bored along with them. They gaves us a small sample of a single flavor at the ned, and that was it. This was one of my least favorite factory tours. Surprising. I would have thought the Ben & Jerry’s tour would have been much more fun.
We drove some more. I thought about driving down to see Killington, the ski resort, but decided it didn’t merit going a couple hours off route to see a closed ski resport. We then found another campground to pitch our tent for the night.
The next day we drove into New Hampshire. We stopped in a small maple syrup place where they made maple syrup candy, and we took a tour there. Since this was pre season they were really set up for the tour, but the lady took us around anyway. It was interesting. Nothing fancy, but then we weren’t expecting a lot either.
We continued driving and visited Mt Washington. Mt Washington has the highest elevation of any place in the north eastern United States, and you can drive right to the top. We bought a tape the entry station which gives history and describes things that you see on your drive up. They check your car to make sure it looks like it will make it up. And then as you drive up and down the steep road, you need to have your car in low gear. The elevation is over 6000 feet. We took our pictures in front of the post at the very peak. After our visit to Mount Washinton, we continued on towards Maine.
We drove through western Maine and drove around in the area where many of Stephen King’s novels take place. Nothing spooky though.
We stopped in Bangor and saw Stephen King’s house (47 West Broadway, Bangor, ME 04401). He lives in an old historical house with a large wrought iron fence surrounding it (there are wrought iron bats and spiders on the fence). I parked across the street and video taped the house for a few seconds, and then got back into the car and we drove away. He may have been inside thinking there goes another one of his nutjob fans. Don’t know.
We stopped in used bookstore, and they did have 1st edition Stephen King books, some of which were signed, but no bargains.
We drove to Acadia National Park, and found our campground. Since it was pre-season, the place was mostly empty. They told us to take any empty spot we wanted. We found a nice spot down by the water. We had only planned on being there a day, but we ended up staying there for several days relaxing. We drove up to Cadillac Mountain where my wife slipped and skinned her knee, and was gushing blood. I mean that curb that she stepped off of was a whole two inches high (my wife is a klutz). We walked along the shores finding shells. We ate lobster at a restaurant in Bar Harbor. It was a very relaxing time.
After we left Acadia, we stopped in Freeport Maine, and visited the LL Bean store. Didn’t buy anything, but it was interesting.
We drove down to Massachusetts and stayed in a campground in Gloucester. We had paid reservations for the next day to go whale watching but the next day, they said the weather was too rough, and offered us a harbor tour. Huh? I didn’t want a ride around the harbor for the amount of money I had paid so I got a refund. We did have some great fish and chips, and clam chowder while in Gloucester!
Next we stopped in Salem, and visited various witch related things. It was kind of interesting, but much of it was kind of hoakey too. After Salem we headed to another campground and spent the night.
The next day we got up, and headed into Boston. I had a brochure for a computer museum. We paid something like $10 to park a distance away. The tickets to the museum were like $8-10 if I remember. The computer museum was stupid! It was targeted to little kids. They had a only few interesting displays. Some of the displays were broken. It was very disappointing!
After that, we headed to the MIT museum. This place is very cool! I have been there couple time now, and it is great. The displays change from time to time. The holography stuff is way cool. The little artwork machines are neat. The strobe stuff was interesting. My favorite part is the museum of hacks! Hacks are elaborite MIT practical jokes. They actually had the mock-up of the campus security car that was placed on the roof of the Great Dome. They had the device that was place in the field at the Harvard Yale football game that inflated a big balloon marked with MIT all over it, and then blew up spreading a cloud of talcum powder. Lots of fun stuff!
We drove passed Harvard just to see what it looked like. A lot of faceless brick buildings, at least from the street. At least I can say I’ve been to Harvard.
We stayed at the same campground which was out by Lexington. The next day we checked out, and took our time seeing various revolutionary war stuff. We passed Walden Pond.
Then we headed to Cooperstown New York. We found the campground, and they were packed. What the? Every place we had been to had been empty, and we had no problem getting sites without a reservation. But I had forgotten about Memorial Day Weekend! Duh! Fortunatly they had a no-show, and we got a tent site.
The next day we visited The Baseball Hall Of Fame, and spent most of the day there. That was very interesting, and I would like to go back sometime. The town was filled with interesting little shops.
After that we drove home. It was a fun and relaxing week. It is always so relaxing when you dont really HAVE to be any particular place at a particular time, and you can just wing it.