Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Anniversary Trip Recap

This year, for our annual anniversary trip, we headed in the same general direction as last year....North. Our destination was a bit different though. Our goal? Finish visiting the states of New England and see some sites along the way. How did we do? Pretty darn good.

Day 1: We departed work @ 2:30 and hit the road. Our destination was Milford, CT. It was a convenient stopping place for the first night, we didn't really have a plan in mind for there. On the way, we only hit a small amount of traffic at the George Washington Bridge and on I-95 in CT. We were a bit shocked by this, but it was very welcome!

Day 2: In the morning, we headed down to Silver Sands State Park and took a walk on the boardwalk there. I snapped some photos of Charles Island and some rock formations people had made in the sand. I am pretty sure this one was actually pointing due north:

Milford Beach and Charles Island

From there, we hopped on the road and started driving north towards White River Junction, VT. Along the way, we stumbled upon the Basketball Hall of Fame, and it was also a good time to take a break, so we went there (more on this later). From there, we continued driving along until we saw a sign for the "Bridge of Flowers" and decided another detour was in order. I would have loved to see this bridge during the spring when everything was in bloom, but it was still pretty nice, and there were some falls near by. After that, we proceeded on to White River Junction, VT.
Bridge of FlowersDSC_5555.NEF

Day 3: We began Day 3 planning out our route. Our first stop was Quechee Gorge (or as they like to call it, Vermont's little Grand Canyon). The view down into the gorge from the bridge was awesome, and I managed to snap some decent pics standing there. I haven't had time to do much work with the photos, so here is the best one I currently have posted:

Quechee Gorge
Quechee Gorge

Our next stop was the Mt. Washington Auto Road which is apparently America's oldest man-made tourist attraction. It climbs to the peak of Mt. Washington, the highest point in the Eastern United States at 6,288 ft. It is also home to "The World's Worst Weather" being the location where the highest wind speed directly recorded at the Earth's Surface: 231mph. The drive up was amazing with beautiful views of the Presidential Mountain Range. We stopped several spots on the way to the top for photos, and then reached the peak and climbed the stairs to the observation post on top. This part of the trip was very reminiscent of Stelvio Pass in Italy.

Mt Washington Auto Road
View from Mt. Washington

From Mt. Washington, we proceeded on to our destination for the night, Bath, ME. Once there, being our actual anniversary, we went out for dinner and both had Lobster (we were in Maine, what else would we eat). It was a good evening

Day 4: Our first stop on day 4 was an old US Fort, Fort Popham. This fort was never completed and never attacked, but US forces were stationed at it multiple times.

Fort Popham
Fort Popham

From Fort Popham, we traveled up to the Maine Wildlife Refuge. I managed to snap some great wildlife photos while we were there, and saw something that I had never seen (and will probably never see again): an albino raccoon. There were quite a few deer in the pen across the way, but the fences are short enough that healthy deer, if they so choose, can jump the fences and leave the refuge. We saw most of the refuge, but were both wearing down, so we skipped the birds and marsh areas of the refuge. The only other event for the day was driving through "The Big Dig". Having seen numerous TV specials about it, it was cool to actually drive through it.

Day 5: After crashing for the night just outside Rhode Island, we made our final push of the trip. On to the Statue of Liberty! When we arrived, the line was long and moving slowly. I had considered buying tickets online the night before, but I didn't have a printer, am always iffy about using the hotels public computer, and didn't see any benefit since according to the website, Pedestal tickets were sold out for the day, so we would only be able to visit the island anyway. Once we finally got our tickets, we proceeded to the security zone (1 of 2 we passed through). We catch the boat to Ellis Island, walk around a bit, and then hop on over to Liberty Island.

Somewhere between boarding the ferry the first time, and boarding it to visit Liberty Island, we realized that our tickets actually granted us Pedestal access. Great surprise there! So we headed straight to the statue and headed inside to get a view from the pedestal. This is where we were met with security checkpoint #2. After walking up 2 flights of stairs, we were in the museum in the pedestal. It had some interesting items, but we were more interested in going up, so we proceeded up another 2 flights, then caught the elevator to the top of the pedestal.

NYC from Statue of Liberty
NYC From the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty

What an amazing view it was! We then started working our way down the various levels of the pedestal via the stairs until we finally reached ground level. Hot, tired, and ready to roll, we caught the next ferry back to NJ, hopped in the car, and sat in traffic. Somewhere on the turnpike, I hoped out of the driver's seat for the first time on the trip, and let Chrissy handle the last (mostly traffic free) leg home.

Now, about the Basketball Hall of Fame: we seem to have started a trend now. Last year we went to Cooperstown, this year the Basketball Hall of Fame, maybe Rock & Roll and Football Hall of Fames next year? Who knows. But I do know that the states we have left to visit are all to the west now, so it won't be as easy a trip to knock more of those off our list.

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