Monthly Archives: September 2012

A Final Word

Our internet access was a bit hit and miss for the last couple of days of the holiday so the blog fell a little by the wayside.  Never mind, we are now home and I just wanted to tidy up a few loose ends before this blog goes into hibernation until our next holiday.  I am not sure when or where that will be.

We arrived back in Australia at 5.15am today after about 20 hours of travel.  We flew from Washington DC to Dallas and then from Dallas to Brisbane which was a 15.5 hour flight.  The first flight was delayed by almost an hour which meant we were cutting it very fine to catch our international flight.  I did a couple of quick sprints through Dallas airport (probably the most running I have done since I left school).  Unfortunately, our luggage did not end up on the same flight so we had to complete the paperwork in Brisbane and our suitcases should be delivered to our home tomorrow.

During the trip I tracked all of our spending and although I have a few figures to finalise I can report that our budget ended up looking like this.

Daily spending (included entertainment, transport,groceries, eating out, souvenirs) was $110/day.

We had paid for our airfares, accommodation and train travel beforehand and when I added this in and averaged it to a per day cost it became $400/day.

I have not included money that I spent on gifts (birthday and Christmas) as these would have been bought whether we were at home or overseas.  In fact, the items I bought were because they were unique and/or a very good price.  I did not include clothes which we bought for ourselves as this had been planned.  We had deliberately avoided buying clothes/shoes in the previous 12 months with the direct aim of buying these items overseas.

The only souvenirs we bought were a book on the Civil War that The Duke purchased and a souvenir photo from our cruise around Manhattan Island.

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and I hope you have had fun reading about it.

Till our next trip it is au revoir for now.

You can follow my more mundane life on my other 2 blogs – Organised Castle and Eating For Health.  I hope to update these soon.

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Today We…..

……followed the sign,

went through the archway,

across the bridge,

through the bush,

past another sign,

through the sand,

alongside tidal mud flats,

and finally found the lighthouse.

Saugerties Lighthouse is quite unusual (apart from the design) in that it is located on the Hudson River, over 200 km from the nearest ocean.

You can read more about the history of the lighthouse here.

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Not So Vain

Today we have made our way from Vermont to Woodstock, NY.

In the words of Carly Simon we ‘went up to Saratoga’ but our horse didn’t naturally win – in fact the racing season finished on September 3rd so it was pretty quiet but I took these photos just to prove we had been there.

This was the only horse we saw!

And here is the track.

If only I had packed a frock and been here a week earlier!

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Covered Bridge Crawl

I was very keen to see some of the old covered bridges on this trip.  We have taken some circuitous routes to find some – The Duke would possibly tell you that I have led him up the garden path on more than one occasion in our quest.  The results have been amazing.

This one is not in current use.

From the inside.  Once you step inside these bridges it is eerily quiet – takes you back to another century.

On a laneway to a couple of farms.  I scrambled down the riverbank to get this photo.

Still being used so you need to keep an eye out for oncoming traffic (not that there is much on these roads).This was washed off the pylons in 1927 flood and recovered downstream and put back by the local residents.

The bridges are all unique – both from the outside and the internal structure.  The lattice bracing on this one is quite different.  Note the new timber in the roof – hopefully this means it will survive the ravages of time a little longer yet.

Some have no ‘windows’ and others are of varying shapes.  Here is a view of the river from a bridge ‘window’.

Unfortunately, several covered bridges were destroyed during Hurricane Irene last year but many are still standing but you do need to go searching for them.  It has been great fun finding them tucked into remote spots of countryside.

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Tasting Vermont

Today we went sightseeing in the area east of Burlington and managed to find quite a selection of foodie destinations.  Vermont is at the forefront of local, artisan food and beverage production.  Naturally, we did our best to sample a range of local produce ranging from cheese to apple cider and chocolate.

The Cold Hollow Cider Mill near Waterbury was our first tasting stop.

Next was Cabot Cheese.  The main factory is further east but we went to the store in Waterbury and Lake Champlain Chocolates happened to be next door.  I bought a small piece of chocolate fudge and we also purchased some pure Vermont maple syrup to bring home.

Finally, we checked out Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream.  Although it is known and available internationally, Vermont is the home of Ben & Jerry’s.  We had a small dish of strawberry ice-cream to share.

We enjoyed seeing the graveyard – memorials of flavours which have been retired and some that never really made it.

This is located up the hill behind the complex and it is signposted but I doubt that I would have noticed it if I had not read about the graveyard in the Lonely Planet guidebook.  The epitaphs are hilarious – there is clearly someone with a real flair for writing.

The other local produce which we have been supporting is the small breweries.  The Duke has tried several different brews while we have been here and pronounced most of them as very good, although a blueberry ale did not quite make the grade in his opinion.

Tomorrow we head further south in Vermont so keep watching for what we find next.

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The Natural Environment

The first part of our trip was spent in large cities and consequently the major feature was the built environment.

We are now in areas where the focus has definitely been on the natural environment and the preservation of it.

We spent 2 nights in Bar Harbor and spent a full day exploring Acadia National Park.  First we went to Schoodic Point on the northern side of Frenchman’s Bay.

The view looking across part of the bay.

The view from Schoodic Point looking east.  Nova Scotia is beyond the horizon.  No you can’t see it, Owen!

We then drove around the Park Loop Road of the main section of the park on Mt Desert Island.Today we were in New Hampshire in the White Mountains.  We drove to the summit of Mt Washington in the White Mountain National Park.  It is an amazing road which is not for the faint-hearted.  The road was built in the 1850s which is a remarkable feat of engineering.  The scenery was spectacular and was well worth the 8 mile ascent.

This was the view from one of the observation areas on the way up Mt Washington.

It was not that windy today – thank goodness!!

There are chains to stop the building blowing away.

And just to prove we really made it to the summit.

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Cruising the Coast

We have spent the last 2 nights at this gorgeous cottage in Cape Elizabeth.

Today we drove from Cape Elizabeth to Bar Harbor via a somewhat scenic route.  Our goal is stay clear of the interstate highways as much as possible and we certainly achieved that today.  A combination of my research, a map and the satellite navigation device, nicknamed “Grace” (by the grace of God we will get there) managed to guide us along some minor coastal roads where we saw lots of amazing scenery.  I did not take too many photos because it is impossible to stop for every view you glimpse.

However, here are a few photos of what we saw today.

The Portland Head Light at Fort Williams, Cape Elizabeth.

Pemaquid Point was some way off the closest through road but it was worth it to see this classic structure.  I love lighthouses and with 60 of them along the Maine coastline there are plenty to choose from.  I am happy to have seen a few today.

It was a glorious day to be mucking about in boats.

Even though it is the beginning of fall, all things summer are still being celebrated.  There are flowers everywhere.  Every home, shop, business and lampost has hanging baskets, window boxes and flower beds bursting forth with colour.

We bought some produce at this farmgate stall.  It was all fresh and beautifully set up.  I hope to buy some fresh, wild blueberries in our travels over the next couple of days.

This is the view of the head of Penobscot Bay and the bridge from Bunksport.  Once we saw the name ‘Penobscot’ on the map we simply had to see it as the only time we had heard the name was the character in MASH, Lieutenant-Colonel Donald Penobscot whom Margaret Houlihan married (a bit contemporary trivia for you).  There will be more trivia, I can assure you, before this trip is over.

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Shop Till You Drop

Today we drove from Boston to Cape Elizabeth and one of the things I had firmly on my agenda was to go to the outlet shops at Kittery.  It would be impossible to go to all of them so we simply parked and went into about 10 shops in all.  We had a clear plan of what we were looking for so did not spend too much time wandering aimlessly.

The Duke wanted some new business shirts and ended up buying 6 shirts and 4 ties.  As well as being discount shops there seemed to be sales on everywhere and the shirts were $22 each and the ties about $19 each.

I found 100% merino wool sweaters with 3/4 sleeves so I bought 2 – a purple and a black one for $44 each.

The purple one.

The purple one was bought to wear with this skirt which I already own.  The colours are not true but there is purple in the skirt.

The black sweater will also be suitable to wear with many of my clothes but I am particularly keen to have it to go with this skirt.

I also bought this red sleeveless vest.  It cost $28.  I have a pink one in a similar style and wear it a lot.  It is nice to have some bright colours in a winter wardrobe.

Finally, I found this lightweight, lined navy and white skirt for $25.  It has loose pleats off a waist yoke and side pockets.  It will be great for work in summer with a fresh white top.

It was not all about us either.  I bought these pyjamas for Miss O and Izz.  They were $8 per pair.

Everything was heavily reduced, some by well over 50% and they were all things that we had considered beforehand so definitely some good bargains which will be well used.

We will do some more shopping at other outlets on our travels but that is all of the shopping for the moment.  Tomorrow we intend to explore some of the natural environment and history of the district, including the beaches and lighthouses.

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Please Come to Boston

Following the lyrics of the song, we did come to Boston.  It was really only a short trip and like some many other areas we will visit we have barely scratched the surface.

It was a 4 hour train trip from New York which I enjoyed.  Much of the time the track hugs the coastline so we saw a variety of coastal, semi-rural and city scenery.  You learn all sorts of things if you keep your eyes open and have access to the internet.  As we pulled into Bridgeport I noticed a ferry which was named “P T Barnum” and when I googled the name and read the comprehensive entry in Wikipedia I found out all sorts of information about Barnum and his close association with Bridgeport.

We are staying in a studio apartment which is close to the shops and transport.  Yesterday we went to both Trader Joe’s and Wholefoods to buy a few provisions.  While it does not sound particularly exciting I was fascinated to see them in real life as I have read mention of both stores at times in other blogs.

Today we continued our lesson in early American history when we walked most of the Freedom Trail – a marked trail of historic buildings and sites.  One was the Old State House, where the Declaration of Independence was read from the balcony for the first time to the citizens of Boston.

The Union Oyster House is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the USA.  It has been in existence since 1826 but the building dates back to the early 1700’s.

Tomorrow morning we are picking up a hire car and beginning a new part of our holiday.  We will be driving through parts of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York State (a small portion) as well as Connecticut, Rhode Island and back to Boston over the next 12 days.

Come along for the ride as we search out craft breweries, farm-gate stalls, scenic views and covered bridges.  I had hoped to see some early fall foliage but am not sure about that as it has been a long, hot summer here and was 33C in Boston today.


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