Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Northeast Trip - Kennebunkport

We arrived at the Silver Springs Campground in Saco, Maine (near Kennebunktport) about 1:30 Monday afternoon.  The drive from the Boston was uneventful and took us a couple of hours.
Along the way we stopped at the Maine Visitors Center/Rest Area for some maps and info.  Don't know why I snapped a photo of Tom and Cathy's rig and not ours -- but here it is.
We decided to grab a quick bite to eat in the Roadrunner before we continued on into Maine.

After we got all set up at the campground, we took it easy, explored the area and ran some errands.  Pam and I ran to Wal-Mart and dropped off some clothes at Goodwill before we returned to our campsite.
We got some firewood and then sat around the campfire with Tom and Cathy and plotted our activities for the next day.  It has been a bit cloudy but we have only had a few rain showers and are enjoying the warm and sometimes cool weather.

The next day, we went drove along the coast.  One place we stopped was Old Orchard Beach.  There were a few determined enthusiasts who were going to get some beach time regardless of the cloudy sky and cool temps.
And the pier with shops.  And then we drove along the coast to see what we could see.
Not surprisingly we saw a lot of boats, seaside homes, tourist cottages and fishing villages.
And one eye doctor...
About lunch time we found a restaurant on the water in Kennebunkport.  It was under going some additions and construction work but we found a table and had a great meal.
Nothing like a bowl of clam chowder with oyster crackers on a cool rainy New England day!
Kennebunkport is a quaint little town that was fun to drive through.  We took the road that went right near former President George H.W. Bush's home and stopped for pictures.
Then we stopped at Bayley's for some fresh lobster.
We got them cooked there and they were still hot when we attacked them back at the campground.  They were excellent!  Even better than our meal a few days ago.

We are thoroughly enjoying our Northeast trip to Maine ~ thanks for joining us!

Next stop:  Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park
Until next time...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Northeast Trip - Boston

We drove our car to the metro in Boston, otherwise known as the 'T'.  We rode it down to the Boston Common where we could pick up the Freedom Trail and Faneuil Hall.

One of the best decisions we made was to get a two day pass on the Old Town trolley tour.  It was a great way to get around Boston.  The drivers/guides are very good and have a lot of interesting details.
We started out at Boston Commons and walked some of the Freedom Trail past the Granary Burial Grounds (cemetery) - the resting place of Paul Revere, John Hancock, Samuel Adams and others.
After walking past the Kings Chapel, Old South Meeting House, the Old State House and Boston Latin School (where Ben Franklin attended), we stopped for lunch at Faneuil Hall.

It wasn't the original Cheers Restaurant, but it was just like the other one in another part of town and we enjoyed our meal.
We also stopped at Bunker Hill and Charlestown Navy Yard, were the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides) is berthed.
The next day we took advantage of the 2 day pass and rode into Boston on the T to the Fenway Park stop where we did the entire loop on the Old Town Trolley one more time.

We got off near Fenway in time to walk around the old ball park and take it in.  It is really a memorial experience.
Our seats were way out in center field but we had a terrific time watching a close game.  The Sox won in a close one, beating the Marlins 6-5.

We had a great time in Boston and have to come back.  There is way too much to see in a few days.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Our next post from Kennebunkport, Maine...

Northeast Trip - Plymouth and Cape Cod

Our first excursion with Tom and Cathy was to go south (we were in the Hanscom AFB FamCamp northwest of Boston), drive around the southern side of Boston toward Plymouth and Cape Cod.
We started out at Plymouth Rock and took a picture with William Bradford
and one of the Mayflower II.

Then we stopped for lunch at a lookout point along the way to Cape Cod with a tower built for some prominent locals that had a cool little observation point.
Then it was up the cape to the Visitors Center at the Seashore National Park, Cape Code.  From there we saw a video that explained the glacier impact on the area a long time ago.
It also referenced some stopping points along Cape Cod including the Marconi Wireless Station.  It was from here Marconi built the first transatlantic wireless communication station in 1902.  Large towers were built but gave way over the years to erosion and was relocated to Chatham.

Further up the way, we found a beach that was a bit cool but some folks were sunbathing and taking advantage of the sunny June weather.
We continued on our way to Provincetown ("C" on the map) above.  There we parked the car and walked around town.
It was the busiest town on Cape Cod and a tourist destination for vacationers and folks like us.
We picked up some post cards, got a sweatshirt, walked around some more and headed out of town.  We decided it was still a little early for dinner so we drove back out of the cape toward Falmouth.  We went along the side roads and it was a lot more scenic.
We were looking for some lobster and found it at the Lobster Claw Restaurant in Orleans on Cape Cod.  We were not disappointed!

After dinner, we took a nice drive through Falmouth and back up to our campground at Hanscom AFB near Bedford, MA.

It was a great day and a fun trip!

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Next -- our time in Boston on the Freedom Trail and at Fenway Park.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Northeast Trip - Lexington/Concord

It was a 250 mile trip from West Point to Hanscom AFB FamCamp which is outside of Boston.   The drive was uneventful and we arrived about noon.
We got set up with water and electric and had to wait two days to move over to full hookups.  But that was no problem.
The campground is near the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway which was built on an inactive railroad.  We road down to a Starbucks and then on to the Lexington Green for a look around at some of the historical sites.
Minuteman Statue on the Lexington Green

We were in time to hear George, one of the local historians/docents give a tour of the Lexington Battle Green.  
It was here that the opening shots of the American Revolution was fired on April 19, 1775.   The skirmish left seven Americans dead when 700 British engaged with 79 militia.  The British continued to Concord on a mission to capture and dispose of known colonists munitions stored there.
Paul Revere and William Dawes were sent from Boston to warn the colonialists the British were coming!  They came right through Lexington. Neither made it, but another who joined them (Samuel Prescott) did.

Near Lexington and Concord, the National Park maintains a very well done series of displays and historic sites at the Minute Man National Park.  The park is along "Battle Road" and includes the site where Paul Revere was captured during his midnight ride and the North Bridge where 'the shot heard around the world was fired'.
The Old North Bridge was the first site during the Revolutionary War where colonials gave the order to fire upon the British.  It was never determined who fired the first shot but it was also the first victory for the American militia and ended with the British retreating.

Concord is also known as the birthplace of Henry David Thoreau and the beginnings of the transcendentalist movement of the 1830's and 1840's.  Thoreau spent two years living in the small house on Walden Pond writing his classic "Walden; or Life in the Woods".
In addition to Thoreau, the area was a familiar place for thinkers of the day including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Bronson Alcott (father of Louisa May Alcott - author of 'Little Women'), Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller.

Emerson lived in The Old Manse which also served as a meeting house for many of them.
One of our last stops in Concord was the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery which is the final resting place of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
We were glad to have spent a couple of days in Lexington and Concord seeing these places.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Next time -- in to Boston!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Northeast Trip - West Point

We have wanted to see Maine for some time and decided this was the summer to do it in the Roadrunner.  Almost 20 years ago, we took a family trip and tent camped from Gettysburg to Boston and back.  But we never made it to Maine.

We picked another stop on the route which has interested us - West Point.  We have been to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis and we wanted to see West Point.
The military Recreation Area at Round Pond was a couple of miles away and adequate.  We had water and electric with the dump station close by.  The drive up to the campground was a bit steep but the road was recently paved and not bad.

We started our tour at the Visitor Center.  West Point has very excellent museums and displays.  The one at the Visitor Center included a short orientation movie and great displays with one of a replica cadet dorm room.
We took the bus tour and found our guide to be very well versed and knowledgeable.  We saw beautiful vistas overlooking the historic Hudson River Valley and walked among the statues of Trophy Point.
Thomas Jefferson was a leading voice behind the establishment of West Point, founded in 1802.  In the early days, the U.S. relied heavily on leaders and military experts from other countries.
It began as an engineering school with 10 students but by 1808 Congress authorized the expansion of the Corps of Cadets to 300.  The Commandant's quarters and Superintendent's quarters were built in 1819 and 1820 and are still used today.

The West Point Museum is excellent with an interested balance of facts, maps and displays.  Just the right amount of each to keep it interesting.  We saw a couple artifacts included Napoleon's pistol and sword.  There was another display of Hermann Goering's baton and some of Hitler's pistols.
We saw displays of early revolutionary war figures,  Civil War generals from both sides (Lee, Grant, Jackson and Sherman), World War I and II and famous men including Eisenhower, Bradley and MacArthur (a graduate as will as an Academy Superintendent).

We got a map for the Cemetery Walking tour and found the grave sites of Lt Col George A. Custer, Gen William C. Westmoreland, Lt Col Edward C. White (first American to walk in space). 
One interesting note was that the sisters Susan and Anna Warner lived close to West Point and are buried in the cemetery.  They held Bible Studies for the cadets and Anna wrote the words to 'Jesus Loves Me'.  
Our last stop at West Point was the beautiful Cadet Chapel.  It was build in 1910.

We  had a great time at West Point and were glad we took the time to see it.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Our next stop on our Northeast Trip to Maine is - Boston!

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Time in DC

We recently spent some time in Washington DC seeing our son Adam.  I was working online for the first week but we managed to get together and go out to eat and see some sights.

This is Mother's Day when we got together for lunch in Alexandria with Kelly and Jon, Melissa and Adam.

Later we got tickets to the Evening Parade as the USMC Marine Barracks downtown at 8th and I.
We have seen this excellent concert/performance four or five times since 1993.  It is always a marvel to see these young men and women from the USMC Marine Band (The President's Own) and the USMC Drum and Bugle Corps perform.  In addition, Marines perform a precision 'silent drill' and marching sequence that is quite something.

We love baseball and got some tickets to see the Nationals play at their gorgeous new downtown stadium.
We arrived early, had excellent seats and watched the Nats play the Mets.  It's been a while since DC had a contender but they are near the top in the National League East.

We stayed the Andrews AFB FamCamp in Maryland.  I got to play golf a couple of times on Saturday morning and that was fun.  We also had a chance to host some old friends at the campground.
Pam, Jayne, John, Mike, Sue, Dene
We have known these folks since we moved here in 1992.  As a full-timer, folks are always having us over when we come visit, so it was nice to finally cook for them!

The FamCamp is very convenient to downtown Washington and the price for a night's stay is $16.00.  We usually check out three places when we look for a place to stay:
  1. Woodalls
  2. RV Parks Review and for potential military campgrounds, we check out
  3. U.S. Military Campgrounds
We have found over the last couple of years that we have stayed at a lot of military campgrounds.  They usually are adequate and prices usually range from $15 - $22 / night.  We like that.

A feature on the US Military Campgrounds web site is a customer evaluation link where we can rate the campground. I filled out the Interactive Customer Evaluation for the Outdoor Recreation/FamCamp and was not complimentary about the care of the campground.  I thought some aspects of the campground could be improved and listed them.  To my surprise, the Director of Outdoor Recreation asked if we could meet.  Ali and the Lt Col who run Morale, Welfare and Recreation sat with us for an hour and I went through my list.  I had 7 items in 'Good Things' and 7 items in 'Things that could be improved'.  I was very impressed they took my comments and concerns, were not defensive, and even said we were the first people in her four years she has been Director, that have take the time to offer constructive ideas.  So, if you get the chance, I'd recommend you provide an evaluation -- you never know, you may find a receptive ear!

That's all for now and for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles.  Next -- our journey to the Northeast and Maine!

Thanks for joining us!  Until next time...