Thursday, September 23, 2010

Whale Tales

If you're looking for a beautiful, quiet, serene place to relax, Vermont is the place for you! But make sure you arrive before the leaves begin to peak in the fall, because we heard it gets pretty crazy around there. The hills surrounding Brattleboro are loaded with trees so you know when the leaves have peaked, it's quite a show that most wouldn't want to miss. When we arrived there on September 11th, the leaves were just beginning to change so we were able to explore the place in peace and quiet. The area is home to THE VERMONT COUNTRY STORE, a place many of us have seen only from a mail order catalog. We heard the original store was a fun place to visit, but since it was an hour away we chose to see their other store closer to “home”. If you're into nostalgia, you'd love this place.

What we really enjoyed though, was the peace and beauty of the scenic landscapes, the covered bridges and the tranquility that hung in the air. As we traveled through Vermont I absolutely fell in love with the place. But then we got to Maine!

Our first night here, Trevor enjoyed his first freshly caught lobster. I'm not a fan of seafood, but I did enjoy the little science class we held at the table as we dissected the carcass that contained Trevor's dinner. I never knew lobsters were as gross as I had expected!

Every year my parents rent a house for a week on the ocean in Kennebunkport, Maine. (Hi Mom and Dad!) They've been telling us for years what a beautiful area it is, so we put it on our itinerary for our trip down the east coast. We had a great time visiting with them and my aunts and uncles there. The place really is gorgeous and an awesome place to sit and relax on the deck with the ocean just a few steps away. The downtown area is filled with quaint little shops where you can shop your heart out (if you don't live in a motorhome), and not far from there, you can view Former President Bush Sr.'s compound situated on a small peninsula on the ocean.

On Friday we pulled up stakes and went north to Bar Harbor for the weekend. Saturday morning we visited Acadia National Park. What another beautiful place. You don't see many people without a camera there and for good reason!

In the afternoon we went on a Whale Watching Tour. We had so much fun! Saw a lot of whales, but mostly their backs as they were logging at the surface of the water and then their tails as they went down for a dive. I did catch a quick glimpse of one whale's face, but didn't catch it with the camera. I was really hoping to see one jump out of the water, but we still had a great time! If you ever go on one of these tours, SIT IN THE BOW OF THE BOAT! It was pretty cold out there on the ocean and you would think it'd be best to sit on one side of the boat or even inside, but contrary to popular belief, the best place to be is in the front. I don't know why, but it's much warmer there, the ride over the waves is a blast, and the view is great! Near the end of the four hour trip Trev and I toured the rest of the boat. Saw a lot of people green around the gills and not enjoying the trip at all. We made haste back to the bow where it was much more fun.

Sunday morning we went back to Acadia for a hike before heading back to Scarborough, Maine. You can get a pretty good workout there on hikes that lead you through the woods and onto rocks along the ocean shore.

Our stay here at Bayley's Camping Resort is coming to an end. This is a nice place with lots to do. The ocean's nearby, where hurricane Igor contributed to our viewing pleasure by blessing us with roaring waves filled with surfers. Back at the campground there's fishing, swimming in any of their three pools, soaking in the hot tub, kayaking, mini golf, basketball, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, some of these things are off season now, so we didn't get to enjoy them, but I'm sure as we head down south, some of these things will become more available to us.

Leaving here, we'll be off to visit my sister in Washington D.C., then down to Virginia and on to Myrtle Beach for awhile. Looking forward to seeing y'all down south real soon! We miss you all, North, South, East and West!

Love, Trevor and Roni

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Poconos

It's hard to believe we've been in the Pocono Mountains for almost a month already. There's certainly been no lack of excitement. On the way here we boondocked on some county fairgrounds in Ohio and then in western Pennsylvania, where we caught the last few numbers of a Christian band in town that evening. When they finished the gig and began tearing their equipment down, we were treated to the sounds of Third Day over their awesome sound system as we were snuggling in for the night.

The Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania don't have much in common with the Rockies. For one, they're not as high so it's much easier to breathe here. There are no snow caps and there's no purple mountain majesty, but these mountains do contain some gems of their own, one of them being Bushkill Falls. If you're ever in the area, this place is definitely worth checking out. The roads leading to the place were shut down because of a traffic accident, so we arrived too late in the day to explore the park like we wanted to. But this place is awesome! There are different paths with waterfalls all over the place. We were only able to hike one of them because it was so late in the day, but still, it was a great workout and the scenery was awesome!

Always looking for a good photo op, I asked Trevor to take me to Claws 'N' Paws Wild Animal Park where I hoped to score some good animal shots. On the way there, we stopped by a supermarket for some cash and I had to do a double take when I glanced over at a van in the parking lot. Inside, there was a woman with a dog that looked very much like a deer. On second glance, I saw that it was a deer! After finally convincing an unbelieving Trevor to take a look, he just had to ask the woman if he could photograph the deer. The woman told Trevor that she and her husband went to a petting zoo to take pictures one day and found that a doe there had rejected her fawn. The couple took the fawn home, bottle-fed it, and have been raising it for 5 years. There are so many unanswered questions about how this all works out for them, but it did get me daydreaming about the possibilities of what I may be able to come home with that day.

The mountains here are a little difficult to see through the trees, but we did get some good views from the train we rode in Jim Thorpe, PA. I haven't made this well known amongst most of you, but here goes: I love trains! I always have. We used to take a train from Minnesota to Indiana to visit my grandparents when I was a little girl. I loved everything about it! The old train depots, the view from the cars, the sound of the wheels on the tracks, the conductors uniforms, it was all a great thrill for me. Once when I was about 11, my sister and I took the train home alone, after a visiting our grandparents in Indiana for the whole summer. It was the first time I can remember going to the dining car. My sister and I went there to get something to eat. It was much fancier than I expected it to be with the white linens on all the tables and the prices on the menu! We only had enough money with us to share an ice cream sundae, but that was fine by us! The whole trip was great, and we especially felt so grown up because we were doing it all on our own. Here in the Poconos, I was thrilled to share Trevor's first train ride with him. Granted, it was only a one hour trip, but it was still a thrill!

This past weekend was such a special blessing for us because we were able to visit with our dear friends, Gordon, Christy, and their two dogs. It was a little bittersweet, as the only reason they were able to visit with us at the campground was because Christy's father had passed away about 2 hours away from us in New York. On their way back to Georgia they were able to spend the night here in a cabin about 50 feet from our RV. We got to have the dogs in the RV with us because they were not allowed to stay in the cabin. It was great to spend time with Christy and Gordon and it was great to have something to pet!

After saying goodbye to our dear friends on Sunday, we headed out to explore some of my Italian roots at La Festa Italiana, an annual event with good food and great music in downtown, Scranton, PA. The food was good, but we really enjoyed a Tribute to Frank Sinatra done by Chris DiMattio and Ken McGraw's Brass & Ivory Band. We got our first taste ever of Gelato (an Italian ice cream) there, and later enjoyed a nice fireworks display there in the ELECTRIC CITY, so called because of its history of being the first US city to have an electric street car.

The month we've spent here at Silver Valley Campsites has been great. We've had some interesting neighbors come and go, one of them being an Elvis impersonator and his band who pulled in at 3:00 on a Friday morning. Somehow they've managed to tour the country while squeezing 7 adults into one bus. With no slide-outs? They must be pretty laid back people to be able to tolerate that for any length of time. They didn't stay long, but we did get the opportunity to see them in action at the local county fair. They were pretty good. We've enjoyed the 2 swimming pools, one of them indoors where you can get a good workout in without bothering anybody, ( no one else wants to be indoors in this beautiful weather), and the occasional visits by the neighborhood herd of deer. On Friday evening, we'll be moving on toward Maine, hoping to meet the season's change of color and then follow it down toward Georgia. We've missed you all down there a lot and are looking forward to seeing y'all as we stop by for a short visit on our way down south. Take care!

Love, Trevor and Roni