1. The Adirondack 46ers are a group of people who have climbed all 46 of the mountain peaks over 4,000 ft. in the Adirondack mountains. Interestingly, only 42 of the peaks are actually over 4,000 feet but they stick with the original 46 for tradition.
2. The Prospect House, a large hotel built by Frederick Durant in Blue Mountain Lake in the late 19th century, was the first hotel to have electric lights. This was very amazing for a hotel which was in the complete middle of nowhere at the time of its construction.
3. The Adirondack Park is larger than any of the seven smallest states in the United States: Hawaii, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Delaware, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. It would take these five national parks added together to equal the size of the Adirondack Park: Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Everglades, and Great Smoky National Parks.
OK, so these facts may or may not be all that interesting…but you all know how I feel about lists. As a diversion from the NY Thruway, I opted to take the Adirondack Central Trail to get myself to Vermont on Sunday. This roughly 100 mile drive has great scenery with lots of lakes and water activities. And antique shops. One roughly every 3 feet…kind of like Starbucks. (Andrea, my apologies. The pics from the Adirondacks were not great so I’m leaving them out. My pics from NH’s White Mountains will make up for it in the next post so stay tuned for that.)
I wanted to be able to consult with the Vermont tourist information center but by the time I neared the border it would’ve been closed. I ended up spending the night in Whitehall, NY whose claim-to-fame is that it is the birthplace of the U.S. Navy. Whitehall is an interesting place on some level…a town you could imagine as a bustling, active and beautiful colonial port at some point in time. However now is not that time. They’re trying hard with a nice new waterfront park but it is difficult to ignore the decaying buildings and centuries old houses that are sagging across the street. It is for towns like these that I think road trips are the most valuable as they offer an interesting perspective into the demise of small town American life. For every Whitehall, NY there are hundreds, thousands of other little towns in the U.S. like it and while I’ll not claim to be a lover of small town life…I felt a little sad for Whitehall, NY and what it used to be. But I digress…
Woodstock is a great example of why I love New England…cute colonial and federal style houses, trimmed lawns, pedestrian-friendly downtowns, covered bridges like this one:
The great thing about the New England states is that everything is really close together. I consulted the map and determined that coastal Maine wasn’t too far away so I would head there for the afternoon with the intention of driving the lovely coastline from Portsmouth, NH to Portland, ME where I would dine on all sorts of sea critters…or at a very minimum get a famed lobster roll. Oh the plans I had for Maine.
It is important to note here that I’ve had incredibly good luck with weather on this trip so far…upper 70s, lower 80s and no rain. That all came to a screeching halt the minute I crossed over the New Hampshire border into Maine. The weather was a bit wretched but I guess that is to be expected in the coastal climates. No worries…there were all sorts of historical markers on my map down in the harbor area of Portsmouth that I was going to check out come hell or high water. If you haven’t guessed by now…I’m a big history freak so much of my tourist activities revolve around these types of activities. It was going to be great..except that I never actually found these historical sights. If they exist they were not marked well by the Portsmouth historical people so I finally gave up and headed into Maine. By pure accident I ran into one of the historical locations I was looking for…that of Fort McClary. As far as historical sights go, this one isn’t too interesting but I was grasping at straws since I had heretofore considered my trip to coastal Maine unsuccessful. For fun, here is a picture of the remains of the fort…and an only slightly better picture of the water from the fort.
In times like these it is important to adjust our expectations and as it became clear that US-1 was not actually a coastal road with views of the water I was going to need to do some adjusting. I quickly decided the very “Maine-y” thing to do would be to find a cute seaside motel and hunker down in a cozy seafood restaurant while the rain continued to pound. That was such a great plan. Unfortunately, due to my rather indecisive nature I kept passing what would have been suitable lodgings and eateries in the interest of finding the “perfect” one. Wiser persons than I would’ve reasonably realized that the perfect anything doesn’t really exist and would’ve just picked one and been done with it. Nope. Not me…I pushed on until I was in Portland, nowhere near the sea and in rapid realization that all lodgings in the Portland area were filled. So where did I end up? No…not my seaside lodgings with a seafood meal…but an over-priced Holiday Inn off of the Maine Turnpike and dinner at Friendly’s. Oh the plans I had for Maine.
I’m going to try to get caught up on posts before I leave Montreal on Friday afternoon. The good news is that while Maine was not as picturesque as I had hoped, it is the only lowish point of the trip so far. Yesterday in New Hampshire and Vermont more than made up for Maine (which is still a lovely place…just not cooperative this week). Not bad for two weeks of traveling. And the Civvy is holding up nicely…we got 41 miles to the gallon today. Thank god for Honda.
Tags: 3 - New England/Canada, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont