Thursday, September 29, 2011
We drove all morning until we got to Mount Desert Island which has Acadia National Park on it. The city of Bar Harbor is also here. We got us a campsite in the Blackwoods campground inside Acadia National Park and then went to the visitor center to get some information on hiking. We decided to do half of the loop drive this afternoon and then returned to Bar Harbor. One of the side legs on the loop road was up Cadillac Mountain which is 1530 feet tall. From here you could see Frenchman Bay. When we got to the top a cloud was passing and it was really foggy. We went back down about ¼ mile and the view was clear.
There were 2 gatehouses in the park that are at the beginning of the carriage road. The carriage roads are for walking and biking only. They have a horse drawn carriage that will take you down them also. They were built around 1932. When we got to Bar Harbor we went to a brewpub and shared a beer. Then we went into the center of town and stopped at a tasting room for Bar Harbor Brewing. They had four beers on tap to try but they also let us taste four more in bottles that were stronger. We talked beer with the server and he was a young homebrewer, he was the one who let us taste the beers that were “under the bar.” These are beers in their Manly Men series and are limited release. They were all very good. We will be going to the brewery for a tour tomorrow and will purchase some to take home.
We came back to the Casita and Jim grilled a steak for us. The next door campsite people came to talk to us. They have a Scamp and are from Massachusetts. He told us of a really good place for lobster rolls in Bar Harbor, so we will try one tomorrow.
We had breakfast and showers and then drove to St. Croix Island International Historic Site about five miles from camp. It commemorates the attempted French settlement in Canada which led to the founding of New France. Lieutenant General Pierre Dugua set sail from France to North American in 1604 and after exploration he sailed into the Bay of Fundy and up the St. Croix River in early summer. He found an island to provide control of the river. His men started construction of fortifications and the ships returned to France leaving 79 men to spend the winter. By the time the ships arrived the next June 35 men were dead. Further exploration found a better place for settlement across the Bay of Fundy and St. Croix was abandoned. You can’t visit the island but there is an interpretive trail with statues that leads to the edge of the bay and you can see the island in the middle of the river.
We returned to the Casita and made lunch to take with us. We took pictures of low tide on the St. Croix River. This river has bore tides like the Cook Inlet in Alaska. We crossed the 45th parallel and took a picture. We drove to Eastport, the easternmost city in the U.S. This city used to rival New York as a port. On the shore is a large statue of a fisherman. This statue was made by the Fox network for the TV show “Murder in Small Town X”. It is now dedicated to Angel Juarbe. He won the $250.000.00 prize for the TV show and soon after died as one of the first N.Y. fireman responding to the World Trade Center attacks. We continued on down the coast to Pembroke and went to Garnet Point on Cobscook Bay.
There are 68 lighthouses on the Maine coast and we went to the first one today. West Quoddy lighthouse is the easternmost point in the U.S. It is a beautiful lighthouse that is painted red and white.After leaving the Quoddy lighthouse we drove across the Roosevelt International Bridge onto Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada. We went to Roosevelt Campobello International Park. This is the island where President Roosevelt’s parent spent the summers. He spent his summers there and after he married Eleanor his parents bought a house for them as a wedding present. We toured the house. The island has two lighthouse and we drove to both of them. East Quoddy lighthouse is only accessible during low tide. You have to climb three sets of iron stairs and cross rocks and a bridge. When we got there the sun and tide were perfect for pictures. Before leaving Campobello Island there is a picnic area with the Mulholland lighthouse near the Roosevelt Bridge so we stopped there also. We drove into the town of Lubec, Maine and then returned to the Casita. It was low tide so we stopped to take a picture where we were this morning at high tide
Jim made pancakes for breakfast this morning. He put some blueberries in the batter and then we had Vermont maple syrup on top of them and bacon. He can cook good pancakes. Before leaving we drove down the road a few miles to the Sunday River covered bridge, built in 1872. There are only eight covered bridges in Maine.
After hooking up we drove to Rangeley, Maine. On the way we drove through Grafton Notch State Park and stopped at a couple of falls. We also stopped at a really pretty lake near Errol, New Hampshire with some sailboats on the water. After coming back into Maine we stopped at another one of their covered bridges. This one was Bennett-Bean covered bridge and was built in 1898. There was a really great campground at it and Jim wanted to stay but the office was closed and we didn’t know how much the site would cost. Just before the second covered bridge we stopped on the side of the road to take a picture at a beautiful stand of trees that were turning colors.
We continued on to Rangeley State Park and got a site there. At night I cooked the small pumpkin I had bought from a farmers market about a week ago and had some ham. The pumpkin was good. I think I will get another one and next time cook it the way mother used to.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
We left Vermont this morning. We drove back across the state and New Hampshire again to get to Maine. When we left it was very foggy and we had a few showers along the way. We drove back through the Groton State Forest Road because the road we wanted to drive was closed today for repairs. It was a little farther for us to drive but the trees along the road were really showing color. The only problem was it was a curvy, hilly road with no shoulders and no pull offs. The pictures we took were through the windshield while driving. We found a camp site a few miles north of Bethel, Maine. We unhooked and drove to Sunday River Brewing a couple of miles away and had beer. They had a really great pumpkin beer which I had them mix with IPA. We talked to a man at the bar who lives in the area and he suggested a little drive that was scenic so we took it before returning to the Casita.
We got up to a sunny morning and drove around on the island we are on and stopped at a couple of antique stores. It started to cloud up after we had lunch so we drove into Burlington and went to Magic Hat Brewing. We had tasters of eight of their beers on tap and got a couple of t-shirts. We then drove to Switchback Brewing. They didn’t have tours today but we got one anyway. Yesterday we met a lady who works there when we were at Zero Gravity Brewpub. She told us to come today and she would show us around. We sampled two of their beers and Jim got a t-shirt.On the way to the breweries we passed two more bridges. The Shelburne covered bridge was built in 1845 and is a two lane bridge. The Spade Farm covered bridge was built in 1824 and is the second oldest covered bridge in Vermont. We went to two more breweries that we had to drive about 45 minutes to reach. We drove through some really pretty countryside. We went to Otter Creek/Wolaver Brewing in Middlebury and to Bob Cat Café and Brewing in Bristol. It was getting late and rather than cook dinner we stopped at the VFW Hall in Winooski -- they were having a hamburger and hot dog cookout. We ate there and then returned to the Casita. It started to sprinkle a little and is supposed to be rainy for the next several days.
We left camp and drove to South Hero, Vermont (on Grand Isle). On the way we went south about 11 miles out of Montpelier and drove to Northfield Falls. There were four covered bridges in the span of about a mile. Slaughter House bridge was built in 1872 and was over the Dog River. The other three were on Cox Brook Road. Station Bridge was the first and over the Dog River. The other two were Lower Cox Brook Bridge and Upper Cox Brook Bridge. All three were built in 1872 also. We got a campsite at Apple Island Resort on Grand Isle in Lake Champlain. Jim wanted to go into Burlington to three brewpubs -- Vermont Brewing, Three Needs Brewery and Zero Gravity Brewing. Vermont Brewing was founded by Greg Noonan, a pioneering microbrewer and author of “New Brewing Lager Beers”. Jim has an autographed copy of that book. Greg died a couple of years ago.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Jim decided we needed to stay another day and go to the town of Barre and visit the Rock of Ages quarry, the biggest monumental granite quarry in the world – 50 acres and 600 feet deep. The granite deposit here is 10 miles deep, so they won’t be running out of it any time soon. The granite is of very high quality and has exceptionally fine grain. We toured the quarry and the fabrication facility and watched them engrave headstones. On the grounds is the only granite bowling alley in the world. It was built as a prototype but didn’t work out -- it was too smooth for the ball to grasp while rolling. Jim and I tried it. I bowled down 3 pins and Jim got 5. There were rubber bowling balls to use.
The lady at the quarry told us that the Hope Cemetery in Barre was really beautiful. All of the headstones and mausoleums were made of granite from the quarry By 1895, skilled artisans from around the world, especially Italy, had been flocking to Barre to become a part of the booming granite industry. One of the main uses of granite throughout the country was in tombstones and memorials. It is estimated that one third of all memorials in the United States came from Barre. We noticed that many of the tombstones had Italian surnames. Silicosis from breathing granite dust meant that the granite workers and sculptors could expect an early death. Knowing this, many of them carved their own tombstones. The cemetery is a popular tourist destination, and has been referred to as a "'museum of granite sculpture," the "Uffizi of Necropolises", a “gallery of granite artistry," a "sculpture garden" and a "huge outdoor museum." Driving or walking through the cemetery to look at the sculptures and memorials is common practice and is encouraged.
On the way out of town we stopped at the Barre VFW and had a beer. They had a beautiful granite monument to purple heart veterans. One of the men we talked to at the bar (the one holding the beer bottle) said he had worked on the monument.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
We washed and dried our sheets and took showers before heading out this morning. Since it is raining today we thought it would be a good day for inside activities. The first item on the agenda was to go back to the Cabot Creamery and take the tour. We ate more cheese. This was the second time to take a cheese factory tour -- we visited Tillamook in Oregon a few years ago.
On the way to take more tours we saw two more covered bridges. Although most bridges are for public use to cross rivers, the Martin Bridge was for private use by a farmer to get his cattle across a river. It has a gate inside the bridge to keep his cattle in his field. It was built in 1890.
The next stop was at the Bragg Farm Sugarhouse where maple syrup is made. They told us about the cooking process and we watched a short movie. They had an awesome soft serve maple flavored ice cream that we ate. We purchased some maple syrup for some of mom’s friends in the nursing home.
The next stop was the Green Mountain Coffee factory. They don’t have tours but they have a visitor center. The visitor center was flooded, as was most of main street in Waterbury (what an ironic name, given the flood). Green Mountain had set up another location for visitors. We saw pictures of the town that showed the flooding after hurricane Irene. There was still a lot of clean up going on in town. I had a pumpkin spice coffee with real cream and maple syrup added. Jim got a regular coffee.
We were going to stop at the Alchemist Brewery but it was on Main Street and had a sign in the window – “We Will Return”. On the way a couple of miles down the road to the next stop we happened to see Alchemist Cannery. They only make one beer here -- a double IPA. The flooded brewery/restaurant made about seven. We stopped and tried the IPA and talked with one of their brewers. It was next door to the last stop in town we were planning to go to -- Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory. We didn’t take a tour since we already toured Blue Bell in Brenham and knew how ice cream was made and packaged. But we did get a couple of cups of ice cream. They have some flavors only served at the factory and not sold in stores so those are the ones we bought.
Jim wanted to stop at three more breweries on the way back to the Casita. We only got one beer and shared them at each place. We had eaten so much junk we usually don’t eat. One of the breweries was especially neat. It was the Brewery at the Trapp Family Lodge. The same von Trapps from the movie “The Sound of Music”. The lodge is run by the youngest son of Baron von Trapp and his son. The Trapp family built the lodge in 1941 in Stowe, Vermont, after coming to the U.S. After being cloudy or rainy all day, it cleared up at 6:30.