August 2004               


            The Bangor State Fair opened on July 30 and we attended on Monday, August 2 which was senior day.  The fair was very small, even smaller than our country fair back home but we enjoyed our day.  We viewed the small display of quilts and needlework.  The entertainment was all free and we enjoyed the shows of magic, musical entertainment and the main show which was a group who performed music of the 50’s and 60’s acappella.

            We watched the dairy cattle being judged, something we had not seen before.  At the Houston Rodeo, we were fans of the mule pulls, so the draft horse pulls were of interest to us.  These giant horses can really pull the weight. 

            Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada is the site of Roosevelt Campobello International Park. This park is a joint venture of Canada and the U. S. 

            Franklin Delano Roosevelt first came to Campobello Island at the age of 1 with his parents.  The elder Roosevelts came to spend the summers there.  Franklin spent most of his summers there until 1921.   He and Eleanor had a home there and spent days picnicking, hiking and sailing with their children.

            In August 1921, Franklin was stricken with polio while at the house on Campobello.  After 5 weeks he was taken from the island by stretcher. 

            He didn’t return to the island for 12 years and then only 3 more times, in 1933, 1936 and 1939 and then only briefly. 

            The “cottage” belonging to the family is open for tours.  It is a large comfortable house with wonderful views of the water from the front windows and lawn.  The house had gravity fed running water from a storage tank on the roof.  It had no electricity, telephone or central heat.  Heat was provided on the cool evenings by fireplace and light was from oil lamps. 

            Franklin’s mother, Sara, purchased a large stove for the kitchen when he was president and coincidentally, the brand of the stove is “President”.

            The island was a play ground for many wealthy families in the early 1900’s and the park contains 4 of the cottages built during this time.  They are used as overnight facilities for conference groups. 

            We stopped at The Lupine Lodge for a delicious lunch.  The large windows overlook the water and make this an enjoyable place to eat. 

            As the island is small, we drove the length of it on the main highway.  It was interesting to drive through the tiny villages. 

            At the end of the island we stopped to view East Quoddy Lighthouse and watch sea lions playing in the water. This pretty lighthouse was built in 1829.  On our way back we stopped at Head Harbor to look at the lobster and fishing boats

            Herring Cove Provincial Park has a small sandy beach, golf course and camping areas.  It was overcast and cool but there were some folks enjoying the area. 

            We took a side road to a small park overlooking the International Bridge.  The sea fog was rolling in and nearly obscured the bridge.  A lighthouse is also located at this park.

            We got two days of really good weather together and got the rig washed and waxed.  The park didn’t permit washing so we used the product that Protect All has out that only requires using a spray bottle.  It did a terrific job of cleaning.  We then applied a coat of the regular Protect All which we have been using for the past couple of years and find it does an excellent job.   We received lots of requests to do other rigs!

            As fate would have it, 30 minutes after we finished the rig, the rain came.  Dick wanted to get the truck cleaned up but the rain didn’t let it happen.

            The next several days were spent doing daily things.  We did laundry, Dick took our plastic bottles to the recycling center and Millie started a patchwork jacket.  We took evening walks and visited with our neighbors.

            We packed up on Tuesday the 10th and headed west to New Hampshire.  We arrived at the KOA in Twin Mountain and got set up.  We are in the White Mountains and it is a beautiful area. 

            Of course, the rain followed us.  We drove to Montpelier, VT on a rainy day and toured the State House there.  The present building is the 3rd to occupy the site.  The first was a small meeting house type building.  The second was a larger, more impressive building was completed in 1838.  Built of Barre granite, this building was of Greek Revival style.  In January 1857 a fire destroyed all but the granite portico of the building. 

            The present State House was built on the same site on a larger scale and incorporating the remaining portico.  It was completed in 1859 at a cost of $150,000.  Additions were added in 1888, 1900 and 1987.  The dome on the building is of wood construction, covered with 23 carat gold.  Although the building has a dome, it does not have a rotunda.  A statue of Ethan Allen stands near the entrance door on the portico.  On the front lawn are two cannons from the Spanish-American War.  Admiral George Dewey, hero of that war was born in a house that stood directly across the street from the State House and he played on the steps of the State House as a child.

            Interesting interior features are a cast iron stair case, cast iron steam screens (used to disguise the steam heat radiators) and black marble floor tiles from Isle La Motte on Lake Champlain that contain fossils.

            An extensive restoration project has restored the legislative chambers to their 1859 appearance.  The Representatives Hall includes a large plaster lotus blossom on the ceiling.  Each petal weighs about 500 pounds.  The original bronze chandelier hangs from the center.  According to the brochure, this is one of America’s most important surviving gas fixtures.

            The portrait of George Washington over the Speaker’s platform was rescued from the 1857 fire.  The coat of arms of Vermont hangs above the portrait.

            The Senate Chamber has all its original furnishings.  The lighting fixture was found in 1979 and returned to the chamber after being gone for 65 years. 

            The Governors Office is restored to its original appearance.  It is now used only for ceremonial occasions or during the legislative sessions.  The chair that is normally behind the desk (presently being repaired) is carved from timers of the USS Constitution.

            The Cedar Creek Reception Room was originally the State Library until 1888 when it was turned into a reception hall.  A large painting “The Battle of Cedar Creek” was painted by Julian Scott and shows the Old Vermont Brigade in October 1864.  Scott was a member of the brigade and was one of the first Congressional Medal of Honor winners. 

            The beautiful stained glass skylights in the room were covered over and rediscovered when the room was restored.  They had been boarded over and remarkably were in wonderful shape when found. 

            After touring the State House we walked several blocks to the downtown area.  Montpelier is one of the smallest capitol cities in the U. S. with less than 8000 population.  It is, however, home of the New England Culinary Institute, one of the top cooking schools in the country.  We had lunch at the Main Street Grill, run by the Institute.  It was a delicious meal and we thoroughly enjoyed it.  The Institute also operates another restaurant The Chef’s Table and La Brioche, a bakery. 

            Walking back down the street to the State House area, we visited the Vermont Historical Society Museum.  The sets and exhibits of the museum that chronicle the events of history that shaped the state.  It was an excellent museum.

            After a few more rainy days, we were ready to get out and decided to take in a couple of factory tours.  At least we would be in out of the rain! 

            Our first destination was Ben and Jerry’s, located in Waterbury, VT.  It seems that everyone else had decided this would be a good day to visit also.  There were large crowds of folks standing around waiting for the tours.  We purchased our tickets and waited for an hour for our tour time.

            We were first shown a movie on the history of the company, and then taken to a viewing area above the production floor where we could see the two lines working below.  We were given a presentation of the process of making the ice cream and then the part of the tour everyone was waiting for – we were led to the Flavoroom where we were treated to samples of two flavors of ice cream.  After eating our delicious samples, we left the building and went to the ice cream shop where we purchased cones of the wonderful treat. 

            We next headed back towards New Hampshire and our next tour.  Cabot Creamery is located in Cabot, VT.  A sharp white cheddar cheese is the star of the products produced by the creamery.  We were shown a movie on the company, then watched as cottage cheese was packaged on one production line.  The other production line was producing cheddar cheese.  It was interesting to see the milk being processed into curds and the curds being pressed into 40 lb blocks and shrink wrapped to be taken to the curing area to age. 

            After our tour we tried samples of their cheese products, dips and butter.  Of course we purchased some of the goodies to bring home with us. 

            On an overcast but not raining day, we drove to Mt. Washington to check out the Mt. Washington Cog Railway.  This was the world’s first mountain-climbing cog railway.  We wanted to check and see if we needed to purchase tickets in advance.  We wanted to ride the railway to the top of the mountain but wanted to go on a clearer day so we could enjoy the view.  While there we toured the museum about the railway.  We will be coming back for a ride on a prettier day.

            Millie wanted to go to Center Harbor and visit Keepsake Quilting, one of the larger quilting supply shops in the country, so on a rainy, overcast day we drove there.  Millie visited the shop and the cross-stitch shop next door.  We were planning to take a boat ride on Lake Winnipesauke but the rain began harder and it was getting foggy so we scratched the idea and returned home. 

            At 6288 feet, Mt. Washington is the highest peak in the north east and also has the distinction of having the worst weather in the world.  Winds of 234 miles per hour have been clocked at the weather station on top of the mountain.  The summit can be reached by hiking, cog railway or the Mt. Washington Auto Road.  Unfortunately, our truck is too large to be allowed on the auto road.  This road has very strict criteria for vehicles wishing to drive the mountain.

            We picked a day that was sunny and with a few clouds to make our trip up the mountain on the Cog Railway.  This railway was considered so impossible to build that when the legislature was approached for permission to build it, they gave the builder permission to build a railway to the moon. 

            The first engine was dubbed “Old Peppersass” and is still on display at the station at the base of the mountain.  The railway presently has 9 of the strange little engines with tilted boilers.  These are coal burning engines and each pushes one passenger car to the summit of Mt. Washington.  The day we rode, 2 trains made the trip up at our assigned time.  The trip up and back requires over an hour in time each way.  We had a 20 minutes time on top of the mountain for photos, etc. 

            The trip to the top was interesting.  At one point the grade on the track is 37% and it was fascinating to see some of the passengers look as though they were standing at an angle, when in fact they were standing up straight and the car was at a steep angle. 

            When we got to the summit, it had become cloudy and we were not able to see much.  On totally clear days (few and far between) you can see over 100 miles.  It was also very cool, requiring jackets.  Some of the nation’s coldest temperatures have also been recorded here.

            The Mt. Washington Valley was a summer vacation area for the wealthy families during the turn of the century with grand hotels to cater to them.  The Mt. Washington Hotel is the only one of these remaining and is still in use today. 

            Shelburne, VT became our destination on a semi-sunny day.  There we visited the Shelburne Museum.  This collection of over 35 structures on 45 acres of land was founded by Electra Havemeyer Webb.  It is collection of art and Americana with over 150,000 artifacts. 

            We first watched a short film on the founder and her amazing collections.  In the round barn which houses the visitor’s center the exhibit “Pedal to the Metal; A history of Children’s Pedal Cars”.  70 vintage pedal cars dating from 1905-1970 were on display.  We found this exhibit very enchanting.  An area with pedal cars for children to ride was located on the lower level of the barn.

            The Electra Havemeyer Webb Memorial Building was constructed in 1967 to house furnished rooms of the New York City apartment of Mrs. Webb.  The rooms were moved intact to the site.  This building contains many fine paintings by Degas, Monet, Manet, Cassatt and Daubigny. 

            Our next stop was “The Art of the Needle; 100 Masterpiece Quilts from the Shelburne Museum” exhibit.  The museum has a collection of over 400 antique quilts and 100 of the finest ones have been on display this year.  Millie had seen an article on the collection and this was the main reason for our visit.  Many of these quilts are truly works of art.

            We walked through the village, viewing the interiors of period homes, shops with working craftsmen and lots of interesting exhibitions including a lighthouse.  The downstairs of the large barn contained a collection of horse drawn carriages and sleds.  The general store also contained medical and dental offices.  There was a collection of antique dolls and doll houses. 

            One of the most interesting exhibitions is the “Ticonderoga”, the last of the great side-wheel steam vessels to ply the waters of Lake Champlain.  We viewed a film on the gigantic task of moving this giant two miles overland to the museum grounds.  It required several months at a cost of over $1 million in the 1960’s.

            The last building we visited was the Circus Building.  This semi-circular building houses a miniature circus parade that is 125’ long.  Carousel figures, circus posters and other memorabilia were also on display.  Dick has posted photos of this parade in the photo gallery.

            This museum is well worth a visit if you are in the Lake Champlain area.

            At last, a week with sunny weather!  On Monday we drove through the Franconia Notch to Franconia Notch State Park.  The Flume Gorge is a gorge extending 800’ at the base of Mt. Liberty.  A boardwalk follows the walls of the gorge of Conway granite rising to a height of 70 to 90 feet and ranging in width from 12 to 20 feet.  The gorge was discovered in 1808 by a 93-year old woman who was fishing. 

            Avalanche Falls (45’) is at the end of the gorge.  This area has been visited by people since its discovery.  At one time there was a huge rock that was wedged between the walls of the gorge but a flood in the 1880’s forced it loose.  

            After viewing the gorge, the path continues on to the Liberty Gorge and Cascades.  We also crossed the Sentinel Pine Bridge and Pool.  Here the Pemigewasset River forms a deep basin that was formed during the Ice Age.  The pool is 40’ deep and 150’ in diameter, surrounded by 130’ cliffs.  The covered bridge is constructed over a large fallen pine tree.  This tree, 175’ high was toppled during a hurricane in 1938 and bridges the stream. 

            Tuesday was our day to take a trip on the Conway Scenic Railroad.  We drove to North Conway and found a place to park at the railway station.  We had reserved a trip on the Notch Train which was a 5 hour round trip. 

            As we had elected to go first class, we were assigned seats in the comfortable car CP Reed.  As we headed up the tracks to the notch, we were given a historical overview of the valley area and the railway. 

            The railroad was constructed in 1874 and climbs 1300’ to the Crawford Notch.  It follows the valley of the Saco River through the town of Bartlett where it begins to climb along the face of Mt. Nancy and Mt. Bemis.  The Frankenstein trestle crosses under the face of the Frankenstein Cliffs.  The train stopped on the trestle to give us a great view of the valley far below. 

            After passing through the area known as “The Gateway”, we came to the Crawford Depot, built in 1891.  This depot served as the stop for the Crawford House, one of the many large, majestic hotels that existed in this area.  The hotel burned in 1975.  The depot is owned by the Appalachian Mountain Club.  This was the end-point of our trip.  We had an hour to spend there and we enjoyed a picnic lunch and walking around in the area. 

            On our trip back to North Conway, passengers were asked to trade seats across the isle, in order for everyone to see the sights that were on each side of the train.  We thought this was a particularly good idea. 

            One of the stories that were shared with us concerned the Loring Evans family who lived high on the side of the mountain in a section house beside the tracks.  Mr. Evans was a section foreman and the father of 6 children, all born on the mountain.  The railroad would keep an engine and tender ready for the doctor when Mrs. Evans was due to deliver.

            Baby #6 arrived before the doctor.  Mrs. Evans named her Enola.  Spelled backwards it is “alone”.    

            Mr. Evans died and his wife had to care for her brood.  Rather than move into town and try to get by on a railroad pension, she went to work for the railroad cooking for the section crew and continued to live on the mountain. 

            The little house was very close to the tracks and when the little ones were small, she would tether them to a pole with a clothesline so they wouldn’t wander onto the track. 

            When the kids were ready for school, they had to go on the train.  As it is not easy to stop a loaded freight train climbing up a mountain, Mrs. Evans would dress the children, give them their books and lunches and station them beside the tracks 40’ apart.  As the train passed by, a crewman on the last car would grab each of them like a sack of mail and sit them on the train!  This family was a truly strong family.

            Millie had received an email from the lady in Tennessee who is going to quilt her Christmas Quilt.  She can do the quilt now and have it ready for pick up when we come to Nashville the last week of October.  Millie had all the piecing done but had not put on the borders and put together her backing. 

            Wednesday she worked all day on the quilt.  She washed the backing fabric and got it ready to cut.  We don’t have an area large enough to lay the quilt out to make measurements for the borders, so we took it up to the rec room and measured it on the pool table.   Millie then cut the borders and got them sewn on.  Next she measured and cut the fabric for the backing.  We then packed up the quilt and took it down the road to the UPS terminal for shipment.  Millie was really happy to get that on its way.

            Thursday was another sunny day so we decided to take a look at some of the many waterfalls in the area. 

            Our first stop was Lower Ammonoosuc Falls.  The walk from the parking area to the falls was along an old roadway and was an easy level walk.  The last level walk of the day!

            The next falls were on a trail that began behind the Crawford Notch railroad station.  We parked beside the highway and crossed the tracks. Beecher Cascade is a fairly easy half mile hike, one way. 

            We stopped along the highway to photograph Silver Cascade and Flume Cascade.  We had seen these from the train on Tuesday and although you can see them from the highway, the view from the train is more impressive.

            Ripley Falls is a 100’ high falls.  It was a more strenuous hike than the other two we had made and we were really tired when we reached the falls but it was worth the walk. A section of the trail is part of the Appalachian Trail.  Our biggest mistake was not taking drinking water with us. 

            By now it was late afternoon and we hadn’t had lunch.  We continued down the highway to North Conway and stopped to eat.  After an early dinner, we went to pick up some groceries and then took a drive over part of the Kancamagus Highway to Bear Notch Road, which took us back to the Crawford Notch Road.

            Late Friday we drove to the far north of New Hampshire.  There is a section of highway there known as “Moose Alley” and we were hoping to see some bull moose.  We stopped in the small town of Colebrook and had dinner in a little café there.  The town was also hosting a Moose Festival, so we walked down and had a look at the booths before continuing our trip. 

            We drove north to the Canadian border, then turned and headed back south thru the “Alley”.  Now this is not a big populated area, no towns for over 30 miles and we were amazed at the number of vehicles cruising up and down the “alley” looking for moose.  We parked at an area where a number of other vehicles were stopped and watched for moose until after dark.  No moose!  A few miles down the highway, Millie yelled “moose”.  After Dick found a place to turn around, we drove slowly back.  Beside the road was a cow and calf.  The cow left to the woods as soon as we pulled over, but the calf stayed for a minute or so longer before following its mom.  OK, 75 miles of driving for a moose and a half and still no bull.  We have decided that moose with antlers just don’t exist. 

            One highlight of the drive was crossing the 45th parallel, which is the halfway point between the north pole and the equator.

            We passed a farm that had signs for a farm stand.  We really enjoyed the signs.  Going north the first sign said “Fresh Sweet Corn”, and the second sign “50,000 raccoons can’t be wrong”.   The signs south said “Sweet Corn, shop early” and the second sign was “and beat the bears”. 

            Saturday we again went hiking to a waterfall.  Arethusa Falls are the highest falls in New Hampshire at 200’.  It was listed as a moderate difficulty 1.5 mile hike.  Well, it was a rocky, nearly straight uphill hike!  Not easy for a couple of out of shape folks who have spent 30 years living at sea level.  The estimated time for the hike is 1 hour but it took us 2.  We had to stop and rest many times, but we finally made it! 

            The falls were pretty and we were surprised at how many people were hiking the trail. The climb back down to the parking area was also not easy, but we managed to get back in a little over an hour.  We were both exhausted when we got back home.

            Sunday we rested.  Millie read and made some of her famous dinner rolls for our supper.  Later in the evening we had a thunder storm with very heavy rain for about an hour.   We have been seeing trees with fall foliage beginning, fall is nearly here.

            Monday was a grey day and we just hung around the house.  Millie worked on the webpage.  We drove into Littleton for dinner at Applebee’s, then back home.

            It began raining during the night Monday and on Tuesday morning it was still pouring.  We had to hitch up in the rain, which is not fun to do.  The rain stopped about the time we got underway.  We made the 4 hour trip to Rindge, NH and found Woodmore Campground, where we had reservations.  After parking at the office, we walked down into the camping area to check out 2 sites we were offered. 

            After deciding on the only pull thru site in the park, we parked and got set up.  The park is heavily wooded and we were unable to use our Internet satellite.  We will be here for 2 weeks before moving on.  See you next month!

(Be sure to visit the Photo Gallery for more photos.)