Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Chapter 17 - Saint Johns to Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick

June 26th, Day 30: Just for the record, I did not take this photograph to the left. I will explain later why I had to "lift" someone else's photo off the internet.  I will only state at this point that our goal today is to visit the rocks in this photo that are known by the name Hopewell Rocks.

Our drive from Saint John over to our campground near Hopewell Rocks should have taken us no more than 2-1/2 hours according to Garmin, but somehow, whether it was my mistake or Garmin's, we ended up near the end of our trip driving almost twenty miles on a poorly graded gravel road in the middle of nowhere driving at only 20 mph or less.  Behind our vehicle and trailer was a dust cloud that must have risen miles into the sky. When we finally arrived at the Ponderosa Pines Campgrounds, I jokingly mentioned to our receptionist about our long drive on the gravel road, and she immediately commented "You were following Garmin, right?" Apparently we were not the first to experience such an adventure. In either case, the drive over to our campground was a natural splendor not to be missed. I had not realized that the Maritime Provinces were so mountainous.

Our space in the Ponderosa Pines Campground was also sort of a natural splendor as we were shaded under tall pine trees and the view in front of us was a beautiful lake. Again what seems to be a common Canadian campsite problem, we had no television coverage and the Wi-Fi signal at our trailer was weak.  Nevertheless the beauty of our surroundings offset any of these deficiencies.  Besides, there were always good books to read or just sit with a cool drink and enjoy the scenery.

We knew once we arrived and had hooked up our travel trailer that we had to go visit Hopewell Rocks.  This was particularly important because we had reviewed the tide tables online for the Hopewell area and we knew that the peak of the low tide was occurring around the noon hour and we very much wanted to walk on the beach and around the rocks. Incidentally, the rock formations are nicknamed "Flower Pots" because of the tall shape of the rocks and the fact that trees and plants are growing on their tops.  Kathy is in this photograph on the beach area around the rocks holding on to Cabo. Can you find her. She is waving.

The tide waters of Fundy Bay here at the far eastern end of the bay rise and fall on an average of 50 feet every six and one-half hours and fortunately when we visited the Hopewell Rocks today the tide was almost at its lowest. I took the photograph of Cabo and Kathy from the stairs leading down to the beach which at 110 steps was no easy climb back up for this senior citizen.  I heard someone ask "Where is the elevator" although I cannot believe that they were serious. The bottom of the stairs are under water at high tide. Incidentally, the high tide for this area occurs today and tomorrow at after six o'clock in the afternoon and with the long walk to get to the area and the additional cost, we decided not to revisit the Hopewell Rocks during the high tide level.  We returned to our campground by early afternoon content that we had experienced another great day and that we will save any further exploring of New Brunswick's coastline until tomorrow.  The nighttime was cool and we had a great night's sleep.

June 27th, Day 31: Our plan today is to drive west along the coastline of New Brunswick and the Bay of Fundy until we reach the entrance to the Fundy National Park and then depending on time and stamina we would decide what to do next.  The drive by anyone's standards should be described as a passage along a Scenic Byway. It made our day.  Our first stop was at an old wooden covered bridge named the Sawmill Creek Bridge. According to the sign the bridge was built in 1905 and as you can see in the photograph cars are not allowed across the bridge (probably for good reason).
Most of our drive west this morning was down the narrow and winding New Brunswick Hwy 915 where views of the Bay of Fundy were frequent.  When we spotted a sign naming Mary's Point we turned left and followed the road until we arrived at a small unpaved parking area on the left where we could view a small lighthouse as well as what looked like a long ago abandoned and rotting wooden ship that was entirely sitting on the shoreline. The area was called Shipyard Park buts it's remote location makes it seem unlikely that this is a highly popular tourist attraction despite the lovely 360 degree views.
When we left the Shipyard Park and continued down the road towards Mary's Point the road soon became another gravel road and while the scenery and many of the small homes along the road were quite beautiful, we were very happy when we eventually returned to the paved highway.  Our next planned stop was to be the Cape Enrage Lighthouse. This lighthouse sitting on the high cliffs above the Bay of Fundy has been in operation since 1838 and the current light tower is over 140 years old. As you can see in the photograph of Kathy and Cabo, the wind was blowing hard and the temperatures were in the low 60s.  It was a wonderful setting.
While most of the photographs that we took today and have included in this travel blog show the Bay of Fundy in the background, not all of the beautiful scenery on our drive was along the water.  This photograph to the right was a very typical and lovely view of the countryside of southern New Brunswick. Tall coniferous trees and long range mountain views (and almost deserted roads.)

By the time we arrived at the Fundy National Park we had been on the road about 2-1/2 hours and while the drive through some of this huge park might have been fun we decided that it was best that we return back to the campground.  Naturally we first needed to stop into the park's Information Center to buy essentials, like souvenirs.  We did after all drive into the park if only a few miles.

On the return drive back to our campsite we took a different route which took us through a small village by the name of Alma. It was here where we crossed a river running into the Bay that we saw a very common sight here in the Bay of Fundy area - fishing boats sitting on the river bottom. When the tide goes out it leaves the rivers and other inlets almost dry and the boats have no choice but to wait out the low tide sitting on the rocky river bottoms. This must really goof up the work schedule of these poor fisherman since the tidal hours are constantly changing.

Once again we relaxed all afternoon and evening.  Tomorrow we head even further east, this time all the way over to another one of Canada's provinces, Prince Edward Island. This will be the furthest east that we have ever driven in North America. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Chapter 16 - Bar Harbor to Saint John, New Brunswick

June 24th, Day 28: Our drive from Bar Harbor, Maine to Saint John, New Brunswick took us four hours and we left at our campground in Bar Harbor at 8:00 am and we arrived at the Rockwood Park campground in Saint John at 1:00 pm. Oh yes, I need to mention that the Canadians had turned their clocks back one hour thereby stealing one hour of our lives. Despite the four hour drive it was quite relaxing as there was very little traffic on the highways and while Route 9 running up to the Canadian border was a winding, mostly two-lane road, once we entered Canada the road became a divided four-lane highway that was fairly straight and fairly level and must have cost the Canadian government millions to build as they had to cut their way through the rocky mountain sides.  And here again, the highway was almost empty of cars and trucks, a wondrous feeling when we recall the horrible traffic jambs around Washington, DC. The scenery composed primary of coniferous trees on rolling mountainsides was just magnificent.

Our campground in Saint John was a part of a huge 2,200 acre public park named Rockwood Park. Within the park besides our sizable campground was a golf course, a small zoo, lots of small lakes used for swimming and boating, as well as many hiking trails. The part of the park where our campground was located was at the top of a tall rock cliff that overlooked the City of Saint John as well as part of the huge Bay of Fundy. We were fortunate that from our own campsite we had the benefit of this view particularly at night when the lights from the hundreds of moving cars and thousands of city lights blinked off in the distance. This would have been one of our top camping spots so far this year were it not for the fact that we had no Wi-Fi service at our site nor did we have any cable or antenna TV service. We have no doubt been spoiled for these two features have become really important to us as travelers as they give us a chance to learn was is going on in the world around us. Another sort of negative was that the view from our campsite while really panoramic did reveal in a kind of negative way for us tourists, that the City of Saint John was very industrial. While the above photograph may not clearly show this, in the foreground there is a huge railroad yard and in the background are factories and smoke stacks, and over on the Bay of Fundy we can see tanker ships obviously at dock waiting to be loaded.  Frankly we might have preferred to see a picturesque fishing village for our first stop in Canada, but here we are.

It came as no surprise to us that my cheap cellphone, purchased and serviced by Net10 Wireless in the United States, did not offer service in Canada so I knew that we needed to purchase an inexpensive local cellphone. We also needed to find a bank so that we could exchange some of our American money into Canadian funds. And as always, we needed to buy our daily supplies.  This afternoon we accepted the fact that rather than being tourists here in Saint John we needed to find a Walmart (that's right) and as Saint John is the largest city in New Brunswick (population around 70,000) and the second largest city in Canada's Maritime provinces, we knew that this should not be a problem. And it was not. We returned back to our campground around four o'clock, frustrated by all of the traffic both in the stores and on the roads, and happy to finally have a chance to sit back and relax. Kathy took this photograph of the city at night long after I had fallen asleep. Probably no later than 8:30 pm.  There was still some light in the sky.

June 25th, Day 29: Honestly, we had to do a little research to find interesting places to visit here in Saint John as the city itself is not steeped in history as some of the other interesting places we have visited. While the area was first occupied by the French with a fort as far back as 1631 and was the site of battles between the English and the French and later between the Americans and the English during the American Revolution, virtually nothing remains to show tourists of Saint John's early history. The one historical site that we did find was a structure built during the War of 1812 that was called the Carleton Martello Tower. The tower was built to hold cannons to be used to defend the city although no attack ever occurred and the tower was used mostly just to store munitions.

Following our visit to the tower we decided to go visit another popular attraction within the city called the Reversing Rapids. While the photograph to the left does not show very well what is happening down in the Saint John's river gorge, we do know that the flow of the river at this narrow point is dramatically effected by the rising and falling tidal waters of the Bay of Fundy into which the river is flowing. When the water in the Bay of Fundy is at its low point (low tide) the water in the river rushes rapidly towards and into the Bay.  The water in the bay however, about every six and one-half hours, can rise as much as 30 feet (high tide) thereby rising dramatically above the normal water level of the river and thus causing the tidal waters to push rapidly up the river.  In other words, what is happening during the high and low tides is a reversing rapids first one direction and then the other direction. When we visited the Reversing Rapids (from the viewing platform) it was during the period of low tide in the Bay of Fundy.

Our final visit of the day was to drive into the downtown area and check out what historical old buildings or homes that we might find and also check out what the harbor area around the city center might have to offer.  Frankly we were very disappointed. Most of the land around the harbor was filled with large industrial plants and businesses and the city itself was a typical large city with little if anything visually special.  Because of Cabo we did not go into any of their local museums which might have been interesting. We did park however, near the King's Square park and after walking around the park and looking at statues, we then walked south down King's Street towards the Saint John Harbor. Everything was neat and clean but nothing that we saw strongly drew our attention. We returned back to our campsite by noon. We again relaxed and continue to read our books. Cabo as always fell asleep on one of our lawn chairs. As you can see in the photograph below our backyard today was a very cozy place to sit and quietly read a book.

Tomorrow we have around a 2-1/2 hour drive over to a campsite near the eastern end of the Bay of Fundy near The Rocks Provincial Park. This area of New Brunswick is very rural when compared to the busy city of Saint John and we very much look forward to the contrast. It is also an area in New Brunswick again made famous by the tidal elevation changes within the Bay of Fundy.  In this area however, the water elevations can change up to 50 feet over a period of only six and one-half hours.  Might make for some interesting photographs.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Chapter 15 - Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island, Day 3

June 23rd, Day 27: Our plan today is to first explore the Village of Bar Harbor, Maine and then spend another three hours or so driving around the coastline of Mount Desert Island that we did not cover yesterday when we drove through Acadia National Park.  Admittedly while we have not travelled through much of Maine, it is hard to imagine anything more beautiful in Maine or in our whole country for that matter, than Mount Desert Island and its rocky shorelines, high mountains, and small fishing villages.

It is probably foolish on the other hand to refer to Bar Harbor as "a small fishing village." While the village has a full time population of only a little over 5,300 residents, its main focus is tourism and not fishing plus the population during the summer months probably quadruples. The downtown area is loaded with hotels, stores, tour boats including sailboats, and dozens of seafood restaurants. There are also many old homes within the village and along the coastline that if for sale would be in the multimillion dollar range. This was a fun place to visit especially in the morning before the crowds started to arrive.

Of course one of the prettiest things about the village of Bar Harbor is its location on Frenchman Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The harbor is loaded with boats most of which are small fishing boats although as can be seen in the background in the photograph to the left (of the handsome soldier with cannons) there are also large sailing boats used to take passengers out to view the many islands off the coast including Bar Island, Sheep Porcupine Island, and Burnt Porcupine Island.

Perhaps we will find out later if Cabo likes lobster although we already know that he loves ice cream. We suspect that ultimately regular dog food will be his least favorite dinner especially if we spoil him by feeding him a delicious Maine lobster.

One of the fun things about driving around the coast of Mount Desert Island is visiting the little towns and their small harbors filled with small fishing boats. We must have passed through four or five of these small villages including Seal Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Northwest Harbor, and Bass Harbor and the views from each of these towns was very similar to this photo to the left.  Kathy and I both agreed that anyone of these villages would be a fun place to spend the summer months especially if the weather is as good as it has been these past few days.

Despite the fact that we were on a narrow and winding two lane road, we pulled our car over so that it was at least half off the road and we took about five photos of this lobster boat stopping and checking their cages in what we noted on the map to be Somes Sound. This was our favor of the photographs since when the photograph is enlarged, the buoys and the seagulls can both be seen. (The photo can be enlarged by clicking on the photo.)

We ended our tour of Mount Desert Island by visiting the lighthouse at the southern tip of the island.  This lighthouse named Bass Harbor Head Light was built in 1858 and stands about 58 feet above the mean high water level.  While this photograph does not really show its location with respect to the water, the lighthouse stands on a rocky cliff within fifteen feet of the waterline and the crashing waves at high tide. As far as we could determine the lighthouse still functions and is overseen by the United States Coast Guard.

For dinner tonight Kathy and I agreed that it was time that we both enjoyed a good Maine lobster and since lobster rolls seemed to be the local favorite, that was what we ordered.  Kathy seemed particularly ready for tonights feast as she was dressed in her new lobster hat complete with her new Maine sweatshirt with a new embroidered lobster patch.  Dinner was excellent.

After dinner Kathy joined with a group of local campground artists (mostly little kids) here in our KOA campground to make colorful tee-shirts which from what I could see consisted of dipping with an extreme amount of talent a white tee-shirt into various buckets of different colored paints.  The end result of all this talent is reflected in this photo.  Kathy will wear her new shirt with great pride in the future. A cute souvenir tee-shirt in any case.

It was a really good day for us and as an end result we went to bed early.  Tomorrow we become Canadians for at least a month.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Chapter 14 - Old Orchard Beach to Bar Harbor, Maine

June 21st, Day 25: One of the things that surprised us about driving on the interstate highways in the northeast and particularly here in Maine, is that it seems like every few miles we arrive at another toll booth. Last year we drove all of the way out to Seattle, Washington without finding toll booths, but today during our four hour drive up to Bar Harbor, Maine we had to stop at three different toll booths. I am not positive but I believe it has something to do with the fact that Maine is a Democrat voting state and loves to tax its citizens every way that they can. Anyway, we should not complain. It was a small tax and their highways are in good shape.  We arrived at our KOA campground on Mount Desert Island (Bar Harbor) just before noon and other than running out for a few supplies in downtown Bar Harbor, we stayed at the campground for the remainder of the day. It was a pretty and very quiet site. A good place to spend a relaxing afternoon.

We decided almost immediately upon arrival that we would spend three nights at this campground which happens to be our last campground before we enter into Canada. Our primary reason for the additional day was that we wanted to spend the entire morning and part of an afternoon of the first day touring only Acadia National Park.  We felt very strongly that we should arrive early to avoid the crowds. Once we have visited Acadia we decided that it was best to spend an additional day at least in the morning viewing the small town of Bar Harbor. The rest of the second day we will drive around the rest of this beautiful island of Mount Desert, its name being kind of a spinoff of the name given to the island by Samuel de Champlain who after visiting here in 1604 called it the I'Isles des Monts-deserts.

June 22nd, Day 26: Kathy and I have visited many of the national parks in our country including Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, the Great Smoky Mountains, Everglades, to name just a few, but without doubt, Acadia National Park has to be one of the most beautiful of all of the Parks.  It is also perhaps one of the least well known of the major parks particularly since its location in northern Maine is somewhat remote. In our opinion what makes this park so fascinating is its diversity. There is its rocky coastline, its woodlands, its interior lakes, and the park features the tallest mountain on the Atlantic coast of the United States. Unfortunately our iPad photos of this park do not do justice to the beauty of the scenery.  One just has to visit Acadia National Park and this wonderful island.

The drive through the park is approximately 27 miles long with maybe one third of the distance showing views of the coastline and the remainder of the heavily forested interior as well as in part a large fresh water lake, named Jordon Pond. The last section of our drive was up the steep side of Cadillac Mountain which rises to 1540 feet above sea level. Views from this almost treeless and rocky top of this mountain are just breathtaking.

At one point during our drive along the Atlantic Ocean we could see across an inlet Bay what appeared to be a huge home. Kathy shouted out jokingly "I want to buy that house."  That "house" was probably not a house at all, but a hotel, but it's location right on the rocky coast of Maine placed it at the top of the world in our minds.

This photo of Kathy and Cabo looking out at the rocky shoreline tells it all.

This photo to the right shows Kathy with Cabo looking out at the lake named Jordon Pond located in the interior of Acadia National Park. While we did not take any photographs, there is a very excellent restaurant at the south end of this lake that serves an outdoor lunch each day on a large lawn area with a view of Jordon Pond.

This final photograph was taken of Kathy and Cabo at the very top of Cadillac Mountain.  The views were incredible in every direction.  While the photograph does not clearly show the detail, way down below Kathy and Cabo along the seashore is the Village of Bar Harbor.

As we stated earlier, our plan tomorrow is to explore the village of Bar Harbor as well as to take a drive down the western side of Mount Desert Island perhaps to see a more rural side of this beautiful Island. We also hope to find a small restaurant that will allow us to lunch with Cabo at our sides and finally get the opportunity to have the highly regarded Lobster Rolls. These lobster rolls are advertised on the signs outside almost all of the restaurants that seem to cover this lovely island.  As always, we look forward to our next days of travels.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Chapter 13 - Salem to Old Orchard Beach, Maine

June 19th, Day 23: Our drive up to our next campground in Old Orchard Beach, Maine was scheduled to take us around two hours although we were delayed somewhat because we realized when we were ready to leave that we were out of propane and that we needed to stop and refill the tank. When we are driving and obviously our travel trailer is not hooked up to electricity, we need propane to keep our refrigerator cold. We sure do not want our beer to get warm and our ice cubes to melt. Fortunately between the internet and our Garmin we were able to locate an open U-Haul dealer on this Sunday morning and we stopped and had our propane tank refilled.  We arrived at the Paradise Park Resort in Old Orchard Beach just before 11 am and shortly thereafter we were all hooked up and ready to settle down at our new home. In the above photo Kathy stands beside our travel trailer that is parked in front of a lovely little fishing pond, our front yard. Our new home for the next few days.

As always we chose our campsite based on its high ratings on the AAA website and as almost always they were not wrong. While we had never heard of the town of Old Orchard Beach it is apparently well known to Northeasterners as all of the local RV parks in the area were almost full including ours, despite the fact that it is still only mid-June. The downtown area along the beach was also filled with visitors walking the streets and sitting on the beach. To us Floridians this seemed really strange for the high temperatures this afternoon were only in the low 70s and to see people standing or even sitting in the freezing water was unbelievable.  Incidentally, we chose this particular location in Old Orchard Beach because it is half way between Maine's largest city, Portland, and perhaps it's most famous city, Kennebunkport, summer home of the Bush family. The above photo to the right shows the crowded streets of Old Orchard Beach.

Old Orchard Beach sits on a section of the Atlantic Ocean called Saco Bay. The name Saco comes from an old Indian name meaning "where the river comes out." The sandy beach shoreline along the Saco Bay extends for about 10 miles with the Nonesuch River entering the Bay at its northern end and the Saco River at its southern end. The photograph to the left shows to some extent the huge width and length of this beach. Old Orchard Park is situated at about the mid-point between these two river mouths. This afternoon we decided to drive north along the Saco Bay and the Atlantic and then tomorrow we will drive south and continue on to Kennebunkport.

This photograph of Kathy and Cabo shows them looking out into the mouth of the Nonesuch River. Fishing boats were everywhere as were restaurants serving all types of the local seafood. This is Maine after all.

We were tempted to stop and eat at this outdoor restaurant that overlooked the Nonesuch River and despite the fact that it was around 3 o'clock in the afternoon, it looked like most if not all of the tables on their "dock" were occupied. Today is Father's Day and fathers like seafood.

Kathy thought of purchasing one of these cute little birdhouses that were for sale and hanging out in front of the restaurant but she decided that Maine's birdhouses might not quite match the d├ęcor in our Florida home.

Kathy did stop however, at one of the busy shops in Old Orchard Beach on our way back to our campground and she purchased this cute sweatshirt that was covered with our country's stars and strips and displayed the name of our current home, "MAINE. 

Once we returned to the campground we spent the remainder of the afternoon sitting out on our lawn chairs looking out at the pond and discussing the beauty of the seashore along the south coast of Maine.  We look forward tomorrow to driving south out of Old Orchard Beach along the seashore and visiting Kennebunkport.

June 20th, Day 24: We left our campground this morning after a great nights sleep with temperatures only in the high 50s. We decided that perhaps the best way to avoid the crowds was to get an early start so we departed out shortly after 8 am headed this time south along the coastline of Saco Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. One thing that we noticed yesterday and again this morning is that almost every other house along the highway was either listed for rent or for sale and Kathy and I had a great time as we slowly drove along saying to each other "Let's rent that one" or "I'd buy that one." I think that we both agreed that this would be a great place to spend the summer (certainly if we were younger.).

Once we arrived in the small downtown village of Kennebunkport we were ready to buy here immediately. At this point in our morning's journey it was still only 9:30 am which meant that while most of the stores were still closed, it also meant that there were few people in the streets and little traffic and that was great.  We could also park our car and walk around. We purchased a cup of coffee and meandered along the streets.

There was also this beautiful hotel located right in the center of Kennebunkport and we decided (in our dreams) that if we could not find a suitable home to rent or buy, this would be the place to spend next summer. But I will bet that this place has a really high price tag per night. . . . thus destroying the dream immediately.

Anyone who does not try and photograph President George H.W. Bush's summer home in Kennebunkport is either a foreign terrorist or a Democrat and while access to their home is controlled by a gated private road, there was a pull-off spot along the highway where we and others could take photographs. Obviously with this somewhat lack of privacy, none of the Bush family members dare to sunbathe nude in their backyard.

We took many photographs this morning and early afternoon and it would not be practical to try and place all of them in this blog. Rather we have attempted to show just a cross section of the photos with the purpose of trying to relate the beauty of this area of southern Maine.  Hopefully it has been displayed. Tomorrow we are headed up to northern Maine to Bar Harbor and the Acadia National Park.  

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Chapter 12 - Bourne to Salem, MA

June 16th, Day 20:  Today our plan is to drive the 65 miles or so from our campsite in Bourne out to the end of Cape Cod and the City of Provincetown. Baring any stops we expect that this will take us around 1-1/2 hours one-way traveling on their main road highway 6.  Unfortunately, as we soon learned, the drive was pretty boring as there was little scenery of interest. It really was not until we turned off the main highway and headed for the Highland Lighthouse located not far south of Provincetown and the tip of Cape Cod, that things got really interesting.

Highland Light is the oldest and tallest lighthouse on Cape Cod rising 170 feet from the ground. The original lighthouse constructed on this site was built back in 1797 and as it was constructed of wood, it was eventually replaced in 1833 by this current brick structure. As you can see in the above photograph, the lighthouse rises above the 17th hole of the Highland Golf Course. Given the opportunity both Kathy and I would have loved to have played this course although I could see us losing lots of golf balls as most of the fairways that we could see consisted in large part of tall grass. The particular fairway shown in the photograph above being an exception as the hole was only a par 3.

In some ways the scenery as we neared the tip of Cape Cod reminded us of our drive along the Outer Banks in North Carolina although here the sand dunes were much larger and in many cases more scenic.  This photo to the left was taken from the observation deck of the Province Lands Visitor's Center located at the most northern tip of Cape Cod that is accessible to cars.

Our trip out to the end of Cape Cod would not be complete without a visit to the small coastal town of Provincetown with a year round population of only around 3,000.  According to what we read after visiting Provincetown the summer population can be as high as 30,000 which does not surprise us since while it is only mid-June now, the downtown was crowded, and the few parking lots that we did find with room to park were grossly over priced.  We decided to accept the reality that our visit here would be short and we would have to be content with just a few quick photos taken either from the car or from a short distance from the car where we had parked illegally.  Not the first time.

We suspect that since walking seems to be the preferred or perhaps the only means of moving about in this village, that most of the summer tourists are younger than ourselves and content while on vacation to sit on the beaches during the day and drink beer and eat lobster in the evenings in the many small bar/restaurants that we saw while driving around the village. I guess we have been there, and done that. With all of that said, and from what we saw, Provincetown was a charming little village and it was here (before the village was built of course), that the Pilgrims first stepped foot on the sandy shores of America.

The return drive back to our campground was nothing special and once there we were content to just relax, have a nice cold drink, and discuss the wonderful sights that we have seen over the past few days. Tomorrow our plan is to head up to our next campground located near Salem, Massachusetts but not before stopping off and enjoying lunch with my sister Anne and her husband John at their home in Hingham located just southeast of Boston.

June 17th, Day 21: We arrived at Anne's and John's at around 10 am after a not so bad drive of a little over one hour. We visited them several years back but we had forgotten how lovely their home was in the beautiful setting of Hingham (at least beautiful any other time but the six months of winter.) Joining us for lunch was John's and Anne's daughter Karen who lives near by with her husband and children.  We said goodbye to all of them shortly after noon knowing of course that we would be seeing John and Anne up in Nova Scotia on July 5th.

The drive from Hingham to our campsite up near Salem, Massachusetts was as we expected, awful.  It seems that everyone in the Boston area was headed north on the same roads that we were. In some instances the road changes occurred so rapidly that even Garmin could not keep up and in our shared confusion we at one point incorrectly drove pulling our travel trailer into the Boston International Airport. Anyway, we finally arrived at our campsite on Winter Island about 45 later than we had originally planned. We knew when we arrived that we would be setting-up our travel trailer on a huge parking lot with much the same charm as camping at a Walmart. We had chosen this particular campsite solely because of its proximity to historic Salem. What we did not expect was the spectacular scenery surrounding this parking lot which was a combination view of the Atlantic Ocean and the Salem Harbor. This photograph of Kathy looking out at the Fort Pickering Lighthouse and the Atlantic Ocean does not due the view justice.
The map to the right shows a small red circle which is marking the location of the peninsula with the name of Winter Island. The City of Salem is on the left side of the map. As you might see from this map, the water view from the tip of the "island" is more than 180 degrees. The harbor is loaded with boats of all types and once we finished hooking up our trailer, Kathy, Cabo, and I spent several hours just walking around Winter Island enjoying the views.

We are not the only ones enjoying the views today since we shared the shoreline with a bride and groom and their wedding party who were obviously taking wedding photos.

This little peninsula island also has some other special features besides just the view. It is the site of an old fort by the name of Fort Pickering named after Colonel Timothy Pickering, an adjutant general of the Continental Army during the American Revolution.  The original fort began way back in 1643 and was still in use as a blockade into the Salem Harbor during the Civil War. Not much of the old fort remains today but this photo to the right shows me standing in front of the entrance to the old ammunition storage shelter. This old fort which was free to visit and dogs were allowed, was about a one minute walk from our travel trailer.  This evening we again relaxed sitting outside for a while watching the people come and go and the boats returning from the sea: sailboats, fishing boats, cruisers, and even a ferry boat returning from the island off the coastline near Salem.  It was a good evening. "Almost heaven . . . " quoting Kathy.

June 18th, Day 22:  I walked outside early this morning, much earlier outside than usual, and at exactly 4:55 am I took this photograph of the Fort Pickering Lighthouse. The view in person was much better than the view shown in the photo, but that is always the case. Today Kathy and I have two things planned, well actually Kathy has one thing planned; I have two things planned.  We both want to see historic Salem. I want to visit a special place in my family's history.

My 9th great grandfather, Edward Baker, arrived in America from England sometime in the late 1630s.  The history of this man is fairly well documented including by myself in my family history blog at www.Bakerfamilytree.blogspot.com. In Chapter 26 of this blog I begin the story of my Baker ancestors beginning with the story of Edward Baker. Not long after Edward's arrival in America he was granted 70 acres of land near the present day village of Saugus. His land was on the side of a small hill just west of Saugus that today still bears the name of Baker Hill.  One of the streets leading up this Baker Hill is named Baker Street.  You guessed it.  We went to visit Baker Hill and Baker Street, ancestral home of my Baker family.  Baker Hill is today crowded with homes and winding streets. Pretty boring for the most part. 

Historic Salem is really a great place to walk around and despite the advancing age of all three of us and my aging right knee, we walked at least 1-1/2 miles (slowly) through this historic old city. We also took many more photographs that we could possibly include in this blog but I must admit that the photo to the left was one of my least favorites. I thought I might get a few minutes of rest in the "stocks" but it did not work. People kept walking by me yelling in anger "Witch, Witch" and pointing at me.  Truth is that one of my great grandmothers was tried and found guilty as a witch in Salem but fortunately despite spending a year in prison she escaped the hanging that tragically ended the lives of most accused witches. (See Chapter 38 in Bakerfamilytree.blogspot.com).

Kathy was tempted to purchase a souvenir in this outdoor market in front of Salem's historic Court House building until she checked out some of the prices.  Much of what was being sold was high priced artsy stuff and most of it all hand made. This was definitely not a souvenir store.

This photo of Kathy and Cabo was taken by a small old historic building located within what was called the "Witch Trials Memorial" alongside the Old Burying Point Cemetery. While it is true that several of my very distant cousins are buried within this cemetery including one that was hung as a witch in 1692, Rebecca Nurse, we resisted the temptation to wander through this old cemetery. My direct ancestor that I mentioned earlier was buried in a city other than Salem.

Again, there are many lovely historic old buildings within Salem although too many of them I am afraid seem to honor the awful period during Salem's history when innocent women were accused of being witches, quickly tried, and equally quickly hanged. I guess the old witch trials draw the tourists so the merchants of Salem play this up big.  Anyway, we enjoyed our walk but were glad to return home by early afternoon.  Tomorrow we head up into Maine.  First timers, never been to Maine.