Cocoa Beach Wedding


One of the reasons we chose Orlando as one of our stops was because my daughter, Casey was getting married on the sand at beautiful Cocoa Beach. She is not really my daughter, but just like a daughter to me.  Her fiancé, Brian and she had most of the arrangements made, but we wanted to participate as much as possible.

We arrived at the KOA on Whippoorwill Lake and parked facing the lake.  It turned out to be a great RV park and in a convenient place for our needs.  My grandson, Kody, arrive a day before the wedding and we were thrilled to get to see him too.  It also gave us the opportunity to try out having company in the RV.  Fortunately, that worked out okay in spite of the fact Kody is a tall young man.  He slept sorta sideways on the dining room bed.  It probably gave him character!

We were afraid of rain on the day of the wedding, but Brian and Casey received the gift of an hour of perfect weather and a rainbow over the ocean behind them during the ceremony. In Florida it can be raining one minute and sunshine the next. After the ceremony, we all threw promise stones in the ocean.

The wedding diner was at the Sunset Seafood Restaurant and the manager, Susan, did a wonderful job making everything perfect for the wedding party. She even provided flowers she bought herself.  The restaurant is on the canal facing the sunset and provided a special place for the dinner.  It could not have turned out any better.  We were grateful it was such a lovely evening.


After the wedding festivities were over, we did not visit any of the usual tourist places like Disneyland, Universal Studios, Lego Land, Epcot Center or even Gatorland, but we did see the Kennedy Space Center.  It was named after President Kennedy to celebrate his dedication to the space program and his vision of landing on the moon.


The  center is a spectacular facility with rockets, space capsules, movies, space shuttles and everything to do with space for you to see and touch.  You can even touch a piece of the moon. We saw Launchpad 39 A and B, which has been used to launch every human space flight for NASA.  We also saw the Saturn V Rocket  and the Atlantis shuttle along with tons of items from the Apollo program.  What a thrill!

The area is also a nature preserve and is home to thousands of birds, rattlesnakes, panthers, manatees, alligators and all manner of wildlife.  If there is one thing you should see in the Orlando area, the Kennedy Space Center should be it.  We will just have to return to see the other Orlando attractions.



We met Michael and Gini on our Antarctica trip just over five years ago.  Of course, like most people you find an affinity with on vacation, they invite you to come by if you are ever in the neighborhood. Well, we eventually got to Hilton Head, South Carolina on our trip around the U.S, and gave them a call.  Unfortunately, Michael was away on an elk hunt, but Gini was home and welcomed us to their beautiful home on Spring Island near Hilton Head.

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We were parked at Hilton Head RV Park and Marina on the marina and it was hot. We toured the island after getting set up and went to Sea Pines Resort and Harbor Town for lunch.

When we got home, we got ready to barbeque dinner and one of our neighbors came by and said, “Put that away. We are having a Low Country Boil and you guys are invited.”   We didn’t know what a Low Country Boil was, but we weren’t going to miss it!  And we are so glad we didn’t.  Jerry, Billy and Theresa, along with her son and his girlfriend made us comfortable while they put sausage, potatoes, corn, shrimp and crab in a huge pot. When it was done, they used a broom stick to pull the inside pot out and threw the whole thing on a table.  It was beautiful!  Then everyone piled their plate high with the food.  What a feast.  It was a wonderful night with great food and new friends.

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The second day we drove to Savannah Georgia, where I had lived for a year or so as a child on an Army Base. It only took about 45 minutes to get there and we availed ourselves of a trolley car historical tour of the city and then took a walk along the river. Savannah is a beautiful city with lots of history and also has been the setting for several books, the most famous of which being Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, written by John Berendt.  It was a New York Times best seller for 216 weeks.  Savannah is also the home of song writer / singer, Johnny Mercer.  The founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low, was born in Savannah.  With its cobblestone streets, historical buildings, and 24 city squares it is a lovely city to visit.

The next day we drove to Spring Island to visit our friend, Gini. Spring Island is a gated area and a preserve. It has about 5,000 acres and only 120 residents.  If you like nature and privacy, this is the place.  Gini took us to lunch and showed us around and it was a lovely day spent with a friend.  We were only sorry we missed Michael.  She even took us to see her doctor as Lennard had a very sore back.  (Too much bending and driving)

The rest of our time was spent at the RV site with Lennard in recovery, but we did have a lovely dinner with our neighbors, Craig and Nancy at the restaurant on site.  They live in Key West and gave us some great information for when we are there in October.

Tomorrow we will be on our way to St. Cloud Florida and are happy to be going to my daughter, (Like a daughter anyway) Casey’s wedding to Brian the weekend after next!  I can hardly wait.

The Biltmore Hotel: Can You Imagine Living Here?

If you have been to Europe, you have certainly seen some beautiful castles and estates.  There are few castles or estates in America, and the Biltmore is probably the largest private estate in our country.  It was built by George Vanderbilt and opened on Christmas Eve 1985. Its 178,926 square feet of floor space now sits on 8,000 acres and is still owned by the Biltmore family, but open to the public.  Mr. Vanderbilt was fond of French Renaissance chateaus and commissioned Mr. Richard Hunt to design one for him in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. He also commissioned Mr. Frederick Olmstead to design the grounds and gardens. He included a village on the estate. Biltmore Village was designed by Hunt and Olmstead on the property with a church, farms, shops and a dairy.  The village is just below the home, but sold in 1921.

George Vanderbilt loved the Blue Ridge Mountains and wanted to make his retreat there.  The home took five years to complete and employed over a thousand workers. He was an avid traveler, mostly in Europe, and he furnished the home with art and furnishings from all over the world. He was a bachelor when he first began the task and later married Edith. They had one daughter, Cornelia and her ancestors currently oversee the estate.  George Vanderbilt had an untimely death from complications of an appendectomy when he was only 51 and Edith was left to handle the estate.  During the depression, the estate was first opened in 1930 by Cornelia to the public to help pay for the upkeep and to stimulate tourism in Ashville.  Thankfully, it is still a living, historical museum, giving pleasure to the thousands of people who visit it each year.

This amazing home has four acres of floor space, 250 rooms, including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces, three kitchens, indoor swimming pool, bowling alley, banquet hall, billiard room, music room, tapestry gallery, gymnasium, and library among the 250 rooms. There are paintings and etchings, most of which were personally chosen by George and Edith.


The estate still has several gardens, a farm, and now a winery.  The gardens and grounds were designed by Frederick Olmsted.  Mr. Olmstead established the first forestry education program in the U.S on the estate.  There is a three mile driveway approach and a pond with a waterfall, as well as hiking trails, and a river running through the property.

Currently, the estate has a farm yard, several restaurants, and a hotel on the property at Antler Hill Village. You can access both the home all of the estate for one entrance fee.  At first glance the fee seems extravagant, however the value is well worth it.  We could have spent a week there.  I just think of what it must have been like to live or visit there during its heyday.


The crack of thunder woke me up at 2:30 AM, rolling across the Pamlico Sound on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, growling, rumbling and sizzling.  With thoughts of hurricanes and nor’easters entering our head, along with the high humidity, we decided to leave the Outer Banks of North Carolina a day early and head for the high ground of Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway.


Skyline Drive


Skyline Drive Road


The Blue Ridge Parkway is a magnificent road 469 miles long running through Virginia and North Carolina.  We were able to drive 400 miles of it from Rockfish Gap, VA to Ashville, NC.  The last portion of it contains tunnels that are too low for our RV to get through.

We stayed in Waynesboro, VA the first two nights, which allowed us to take the tow car over the Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah Valley the first day.  This drive travels through Shenandoah National Park for 109 miles.  It is a concert in forest and mountains, giving those who traverse it a beautiful drive through the length of the park.  Driving back we took Highway 11 through small historical towns where civil war battles were fought.  We did make one stop at an Urgent Care, as Lennard had gotten stung the night before and his arm was alarmingly warm, red and swollen by the afternoon from wrist to elbow.  The Lovely Physician’s Assistant took good care of him and started him on antibiotics in case it was becoming infected.  I won’t post a photo…too ugly.

The second day we began our journey along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We were awestruck by the beauty and variety of scenery along the way.  There were forests, views of Blue Mountains across valleys, rocks and flowers, along with the beginning of the changing of the leaves for fall.  We would miss the brilliant fall colors, but there were few vehicles of any type on the road, so that was a plus.  That night we stopped in Lynchburg KOA and took the evening to see Popular Forrest, Thomas Jefferson’s retreat, built in 1806.  It was the first octagonal home built in America and designed by him.  In the evening we hiked to the Natural Bridge, a huge bridge carved out of limestone.  At nightfall we were lucky to see the stunning light and music show at the bridge.

The third day, while traveling to Fancy Gap  we stopped at an overlook to find about fifteen hawk watchers counting the hawks migrating through the area to the south.  We also found a crossing of the Appalachian Trail and took the time to hike a mile on it. Further down the road, we stopped at a National Park living display of early life at Mabry Mill.

Independence was only about 45 minutes from Fancy Gap, where we were camping for the evening, so we took the time to attend a Bluegrass Music jam in a historical 1908 Courthouse there.  They played “Old Time” music which is the music of Southern Appalachians, handed down from generation to generation. There were about 10 musicians there playing, fiddles, banjos, a dulcimer, and a bass fiddle. The next day was mostly traveled over the plateau portion of the Parkway.  Each day we took at least a one to two mile hike.

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Our last day on the parkway was just as beautiful, but much more challenging, as the road over the highest point was comprised of twists and turns on a narrow road with branches hanging over the road so low they hit the top and sides of the RV.  We saved the day with a two mile hike to beautiful Linville Falls and ending up at a street festival in Ashville that night.  And… to finish off the night we ate dinner at Bouchon, a lovely French Bistro, sitting in the evening light on their patio.  One of the few nights in the last few weeks we had eaten out.  We needed a break after the day’s drive.

We had one more day in Ashville before we headed to Sevierville, Tennessee for the Tiffin Ralley.  (Our RV’s manufacturer ralley.) We would take that day to spend at the Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate.  The dogs got taken to a doggie daycare and we were off for the day.  It was so spectacular, I had to put it in a separate post!


RE-blogged from Adventure Cass. She did a great job of showing the different aspects of our great city.


“throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Las Vegas. Where do I even start? There is nothing in the world quite like it. If you’ve ever been, you’ll know exactly what i’m talking about. The neon lights, the casinos, the entertainment; it’s encapsulating and you become completely lost in the atmosphere. I spent an entire week here in December 2013 and it was incredible!

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Our new sun shade: I love it.


Kayaking on the Sound

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I could stop there with just hot and humid, but there is a lot more to the Outer Banks than just the weather.  The Outer Banks are a long stretch of barrier islands and sand dunes that separate the Atlantic from the coast and the Pamlico Sound.  They are almost 200 miles long.   You can find wild mustangs near Corolla, fishing, crabbing, sailing, kayaking, kite sailing, wind surfing, dolphins, whales, off-roading on beaches and sand dunes, Light Houses, the Wright Brothers Memorial, the North Carolina Aquarium, swimming, hang gliding on famous Jockey Ridge, and Cape Hatteras National park.  We didn’t do all of those activities, but did see quite a lot of the Cape Hatteras area and Ocracoke Island.

We camped at Frisco Woods Camping for RV’s and tents.  It was a nice campground, but so crowded during Labor Day you were squeezed in like sardines.  But, that was probably true of most campgrounds over the Labor Day weekend.

Our first venture was to Ocracoke Island, only accessible by an hour’s ferry ride.  It is a quaint little island that reminds one of Hawaii many years ago.  There is a lighthouse there, first lit in 1854. It is the oldest operating lighthouse in North Carolina and is in the National Register of Historic Places.  Most people on the island get around by golf cart.  We spent the better part of the day there and had lunch at the marina.  (Dogs allowed on the deck)


After a day of hanging around the campground, the next day we drove to the Cape Hatteras lighthouse.  It is 210 feet tall and the tallest brick lighthouse in America.  Lennard walked to the top while I waited with the dogs.  The heat that day was about 92 degrees with 90 % humidity.

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Next we drove to the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, NC.  It is located near where Wilbur and Orville Wright first flew in a powered, heavier-than-air machine, for a sustained distance.  The focal point of the memorial is a spectacular stone monument. There is also a life size sculpture of the first flight and the famous photograph by John T. Daniels.  It is really something to see.

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To end the day we walked across part of the dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head.  Not too far though, as the sand was hot that day for little four footed girls.  It is the largest sand dune on the East Coast.  It is also the most visited park in the North Carolina parks system.  And that is a lot of sand!

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We decided to have a crab fest with our neighbors, Billy and Susan from Virginia. Well, the great crab catchers, Lennard and Billy used crab nets for several hours and what did they catch…nothing.  But, the crabs got away with a lot of chicken necks for sure.  Fortunately our other neighbor, Roy, felt sorry for us and brought us 2 crabs so we would have something to eat.


Lennard learning how to crack and eat crab.

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The next morning Billy and Susan took us for a ride on the beach in their 4X4.  Did we get stuck? Of course!  What would a day on the beach be without getting stuck?  We did get out quickly, as Billy is an expert on the sand.

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We met a lot of nice people here including Billy and Susan, Rob and Kendra, Donna and Rick, and Diane, Steve and Roy.

We are ready for the next part of our journey…a drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Smokey Mountains and our Tiffin Ralley.


During our travels, we have had the privilege to run into all types of people with backgrounds, jobs and history different from our own.  That has been what has made our journey so much more interesting than just seeing the country… although that has been pretty spectacular.  We have met Alaskan natives, Harley riders, crab and lobster fishermen, truck drivers, environmentalists, shop owners, bicycle riders, beach goers, mountain climbers, pot smokers, campers and of course RV’ers. Among the most different and kindest were the Amish in Pennsylvania.

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We stopped in a suburb of Lancaster, PA right in the middle of Amish farming country, next to the small community of Bird in Hand.  The farms were beautifully manicured for miles around the towns, and each farm had a huge variety of flowers in their yards.  The Amish drove their horse drawn carriages along the roads and shopped in the local stores.  That gave us the opportunity to have conversations with them and we found them outgoing and good natured.

There were vegetable and fruit stands along the roads and most of them were operated on a trust basis. Signs would let you know how much the produce was, so you just took what you wanted and left the cash.  What a great way to shop and it was so delicious.

We did take two tours. One was on a shuttle that showed us around the farming countryside and stopped at a couple of Amish farms.  One for local quilts and one for local candles. The second tour was at an old Amish farm and house where we were able to see the inside of a typical Amish home and learn a little more about their culture and history.

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Most of the time they are referred to as Pennsylvania Dutch, but in reality they are mostly descendants of Swiss Germans and speak German in their church.  Their religion is Christian and they are usually  baptized between the ages of 16 to 25.  They are allowed to choose their own partner, but can never divorce.  They wear plain clothing and do not utilize most modern conveniences such as automobiles, electricity or telephones.  Most families do have a telephone on the premises for emergencies, but it is not kept in the house. They only go to school through 8th grade and are schooled in one room schools for all grades.  They do pay taxes, but don’t participate in social security or contribute to it.

Frankly, there is a lot to be said for some of their customs, and there is a lot we can learn from how they are living and how they treat others. IMG_0916 P1030706 P1030714 P1030729

Hershey Pennsylvania was only about an hour away, so we took one day to see that famous town. Even the street lights were shaped like Hershey kisses.  We learned how to taste chocolate and became cholate connoisseurs.  You just have to use your five senses, as you let the chocolate melt on your tongue.  Difficult job!

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The most important thing we learned about Hershey was that Milton Hershey, who developed Hershey Chocolate, was the benefactor of the Milton Hershey School for orphans and the underprivileged.   This private school serves over two thousand students every year and none of the families have to pay a dime for it.  Most of the graduates end up going to college and if their grades are good, they get scholarships towards the University of their choice.  Mr. Hershey and his wife, Kitty, who died at an early age, left a legacy of several million dollars to keep the school going.


Milton and Kitty Hershey

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Since we had three weeks before our ralley in the Smokey Mountains, we decided to head for the beach on the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Cape Hatteras.  Woo Hoo!  Tell you about that next time.


IMG_2485Before heading down towards Portland and Boston, we stopped for the night in Rockland, Maine.  The nearby town of Rockport has a quaint downtown shopping area and a breakwater path built out into the bay about a mile.  At the end of the breakwater there is a lovely lighthouse.  A walk along this in the early evening was just the ticket to wind down.

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While in Rockport, I was able to meet and buy a book from a local author, Carl Howe Hansen.  His book, Destiny, is the story of two brothers who have been brought up in the area to appreciate sustainability on nearby Pine Island.  When one of them creates a bacteria to dissolve oil spills and the other comes home after years of dropping out, the story comes together in a crisis of monumental proportions.  You will love this story set on Maine’s coast.  His characters are well developed and the story should be one we think about, because it is not that far out of possibility! I loved this book.

Scott and Donna along with Donna’s sister, Debbie and her husband, Tom met us at Bayley’s Camping Resort in Portland Maine.  It was so nice to meet up with friends.  The next day we had a late brunch at Lily’s on the beach, Lobster Benedict of course, and in the evening Lobster at Houts; also on the beach side.

As some of you may know, our kayaking on the marsh the next day cost a little more than Lennard anticipated, as he fell in trying to get out and had his I-phone in his pocket…uh oh! At least he was able to replace it for the minimal cost at the local I-phone store.


Seen on the marsh

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Touring downtown Portland and the Portland Head light took most of the next day.  We even did a little shopping and had lunch.  That called for margaritas at the pool in the afternoon. Gosh, life is tough these days.

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Bella and Gypsy got a spa day while we toured the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport.  What an amazing place.  All the nearby stores are geared toward outdoor living, and the flagship store was the largest outdoor clothing and gear store I have ever seen.


Debbie and Tom were kind enough to allow us to park in their long driveway in Haverhill, Mass. That allowed us to not only get to know them better, but to see a Red Sox game at Fenway Field and walk the Freedom Trail in Boston.  We are grateful to them for the opportunity.

The Red Sox lost, but the experience of seeing the game at Fenway Park was wonderful.  A once in a lifetime experience for us.

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Walking the Freedom Trial in Boston is like a living history lesson.  You can see where the Boston Massacre took place, see Old Ironsides, and visit Paul Revere’s House and lots more.  It is a 2.5 mile walk, but because it is so interesting, you don’t realize you are walking that far. Along the way you will see tour guides dressed in costumes depicting the day.  In the museum at the Old State House, one of the deacons gave a presentation, in character of a merchant of the day.  It was informative and enjoyable. Then we got to have lunch at Cheers. No one knew our name.  That’s not fair!

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We took the City ferry from the Wharf back to downtown Boston for $1.60 each.  What a bargain that was!

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The best dinner we had in Boston was at the “Debbie and Tom Restaurant” with lobster, steak and chops along with fresh corn and homegrown tomatoes.  Excellent.  Thanks Tom, Debbie and Donna for the great meal.  Scott and Donna… we will catch you in Vegas in the fall!


Our next stop is in Amish country in Pennsylvania.  It will be an entirely different experience.


We took the scenic route towards Maine through Vermont.  Unfortunately, we took one wrong turn and ended up on a road that had a 10 foot covered bridge.  Yes, we had to unhook and backtrack about five miles.  I don’t need to repeat some of the language my husband uttered.


No it didn’t come to this…yet!


We spent the first night at Camping on the Battenkill, which was a lovely, forested campground. The second night we stayed at Alpine Mountain RV Park.  The water there was contaminated so we did not hookup.  Our winding mountain route took us through small towns like Woodstock, Manchester and Bridgewater, where everyone seemed to be having a garage sale.

We arrived in Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island, at the Desert Narrows Encore RV Resort by early afternoon on the third day. I had booked a space facing the bay and it was a stunning view.

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After getting settled, the next day we drove to Acadia National Park, one of the most famous National Parks in our nation.  Our first stop was Cadillac Mountain, which afords you an expansive, stunning view of the entire valley and the ocean below.

P1030207 P1030201 P1030199Then we headed to Bubble Rock. I thought it would be a view of a rock in the ocean, but it really was a huge rock on the edge of a cliff where everyone one takes a photo of themselves looking like they are pushing it off the cliff.  Tourists are funny that way! And we hiked UP about half a mile to do that!

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Lobster rolls were on the agenda for lunch. We drove into Bar Harbor and found it so crowded there was hardly room on the sidewalk to pass by.  Fortunately, Stewman’s Lobster Pound allowed dogs on their terrace and we had a delicious lunch there.  Practically all the casual restaurants that serve lobster in this area are called Ponds.  A pound is a large holding area in the ocean to keep lobsters in.  In the evening we chatted with our new neighbors, Steve and Tara from Long Island in our new mosquito net, dining tent. We love that tent!

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Because we were disappointed with the crowds in Bar Harbor, the next day we drove south to Deer Isle and the small fishing village of Stonington.  The setting was idyllic and after a lunch on the terrace of Fisherman’s Friend Restaurant, we took the mail boat to the Isle Au Haut, part of the Acadia National Park, just for the ride through the off lying islands.

P1030253 P1030244 P1030234 P1030230 P1030250That night we spent the evening chatting with our friends, Steve and Tara again, sharing stories of the day’s travels. Tara is hilarious when she tells stories about her life.  She should write a book!


Steve’s beautiful Harley


Schoodic Point called our name the next morning.  It is also a part of Acadia National Park, but about a 45 minute drive north.  There were very few tourists, so we were able to just drive and stop to take photos of the spectacular coast line as we wished.  We continued up the coast line to the Quoddy Head State Park to see the Quoddy East lighthouse. Then drove to the Eastern most point in the United States, Lubec, Maine. And on to New Brunswick after having a lobster roll at McDonalds of all places.  Lennard said it was actually great.

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We crossed the Roosevelt International Bridge into Canada to Campobello Island and stopped at the Roosevelt Summer Home.  We took the self-guided tour and found the home was maintained with impeccable taste, keeping almost all of the original furniture and décor.  I had forgotten how important Eleanor Roosevelt was to human rights and FDR’s New Deal.  I had also forgotten he contracted polio after visiting a Boy Scout camp. He only returned to his beloved summer home three times after that. The home and the view of Funday Bay was spectacular.  The Bay of Funday was formed about 200 million years ago when Europe broke off from North America and the Atlantic poured through.

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The sister lighthouse is to the Quoddy East lighthouse is Quoddy Head West Lighthouse on Campobello Island. It is only accessible when the tide is out.  We were lucky to get there when we cold cross over to it. When I say lucky, I say it lightly, as it is a dangerous trek through rocks covered with seaweed and up and down three high metal ladders and across one bridge.  We had to carry Bella and Gypsy up the ladders. It was worth it.  The view was beautiful and the lighthouse was a historical monument in working order.  We loved walking around it.


Not my best side!

P1030406 P1030404 P1030402The weather which had been threatening to rain all day, began pouring down just as we reached the car and continued all night.  We had dinner on the way home at a quaint little lobster pound of course. Not just raining, but pouring.  We were glad we weren’t in a tent! No chatting in our dining tent tonight.

August 12…our anniversary.  We decided to go back to Acadia Park, and after a drive down the ocean side of the park to see Sand Beach and Thunder Hole, we had an exquisite lunch at Jordan Pond on the lawn overlooking the pond.  It was a foggy day and we could see the fog settling over the pond among the forest.  It was just like Downtown Abbey except there were other people there.  We finished the day at the other end of the island at Bass Harbor Lighthouse.  In the evening we had dinner in our tent and then sat with Tara and Steve telling stories in their new dining tent.  (Like ours, they ordered theirs from Amazon and had it delivered here at the RV Park.) Satisfied our Amazon crave for a while!

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Okay, laundry and cleanup before we head down to Rockport for a night and then Portland Maine where we will meet Scott and Donna Yea!


As we were driving around the Northeast Harbor on Mount Desert Island.


The cloudy day made for lovely views on the last day of our sightseeing on Mount Desert Island. This was on the far side from Bar Harbor, away from the maddening crowds!


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Arriving in Buffalo, we pulled into the KOA on Grand Island.  What a great camping spot with ponds, a lease-free dog park, and a little creek running through the camp.  After two days of regrouping, we took a short trip to downtown Buffalo to see the new Canalside Park.  It is a redevelopment area next to the Military Remembrance Park.  It was hot, but we managed to cool down with a few minutes sitting in the shade and a beer. The next day we took the RV in to get the back air conditioner repaired.  While it was being worked on we went to Lewistown.

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Lewiston is a historical village and the site of the first European settlement in Western New York.  It was also the site from which the US invaded Canada in the first major battle of the War of 1812.  It sits just across the Niagara River from Canada.  We spoke to the Harbor Master there, who told us they have a couple of people a week try to cross over to the US from Canada every week.  You could almost throw a rock across the river it is so close. In fact, it is also an area where slaves were ferried over to Canada so they could be free.  A lot of history for a small town.


Pointing the way to freedom

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We retrieved the RV and got ready to meet our good friends, Jim and Joanne, at their hotel for dinner at the Left Bank restaurant downtown Buffalo.  The next morning my cousins, Darlene and Rick, from Scarborough, Ontario, Canada joined us at the KOA. Jim and Joanne joined all of us for a sightseeing tour of the American side of the Falls, led by Rick, who seems to know every road in the nation!  We also saw the Whirlpool where the river has currents that can take you 150 feet under in a second.  That night we had a BBQ at our RV in perfect weather.

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The next day Rick took us to the Canadian side of Niagara, where we saw the US and Canadian falls, and the view is much more magnificent.  Then we drove to Niagara On The Lake for lunch.  This quaint, British style, town has so many beautiful flowers on the streets and near the stores and restaurants, you would think you were in a magnificent garden.  There were horse and carriages on the streets and old buildings with ornate facades from another century.  It was just beautiful.

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That night we went to the Anchor Bar for Buffalo Wings.  This restaurant was started by a family and still is owned by the same family.  One night the kids came in late with some friends and wanted something to eat.  Mom had some leftover wings so she fried them up, added some spicy sauce and Voila, Buffalo Wings were born.

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Sunday we took the morning Bedore tour of the American Falls.  Our first stop was back at the whirlpool and then we went to the Cave of the Winds.  What an experience.  You wear a poncho and traverse stairs until you are right next to the falls with the water cascading down and the wind carrying the water over you until you are drenched.  It was hilarious and so much fun!  We then went on the Maid of the Mist boat that takes you right next to the falls.  We of course wore the fashionable ponchos again to keep us sort of dry. It was very exciting as the falls thundered down above us.  You can’t imagine the power of the water and the thunderous noise unless you actually experience it.

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We were sorry to see Rick and Darlene leave that afternoon. That evening we took the tour to the Canadian side and went on the Journey Behind the Falls.  You take an elevator down about 150 feet and traverse a tunnel under the falls until you can see out a cave to the falls from the inside.  You can also go to a viewing station to get up close to the falls again.  Not quite as exciting as the morning, but great too. Then we drove to the Flower Clock and the Canadian Hydroelectric power station.  The hydroelectric power dam is not a large as Hoover Dam, but generates more electricity.

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After dark we went up the Skylon Tower to view the falls with the lights on them, and then to a parking spot to see the fireworks over the falls.  Both were exquisite.

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The next day we had lunch with Jim and Joanne before they left for Las Vegas.  Now we are getting ready to travel to Maine over the next couple of days. We are looking forward to visiting Bar Harbor before we travel down to Portland to meet up with Scott and Donna, who are making their way across country right now.  Stay tuned!