New England 2004

ur main holiday for 2004 was in New England - we visited Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. There are a lot of photos on this page so for those of you who would prefer to look at only one section at a time, I've created an index so you can jump around more easily.
One or two images that stick in our minds are the chrysanthemums and the pumpkins - they were everywhere!
Another couple of things for me from this holiday are a typical Jonathon pose and the car we hired (Nugget because of his gold colour)

And so to the main pictures...

Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park
New Hampshire


Our first night was in Cambridge, Boston and we wandered up to Harvard (just up the road from the hotel). Whilst we were there we reminded ourselves just how big the food portions are in America!
It was getting a bit dark by the time we'd finished so we had fun taking pictures with the lights.
From there, we travelled up to Maine where we stayed for 4 days. The principal reason for staying there was for whale watching. On the way up, we called in at Kennebunkport and Belfast.
This was our first encounter with pumpkins outside doors, fall foliage and white churches - we were to see a lot more of each of these before the end of the trip.
Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park
Moving away from the city and into a National Park with very little light pollution gives rise to some wonderful sunrises
As I mentioned, our primary purpose in coming to Bar Harbor was to go whale watching which we did for the 3 mornings we were there. The middle morning was very cold (land temp. 2C) but we were very lucky with the weather and even more lucky with the whales.
The first 2 days we saw finback whales, one of them has a bad back (they think) so shows his tail (or fluke) when he dives - this is unusual for finbacks but he was showing his fluke both days so photos were duly taken!
The third day we saw mum and calf humpback whales. The mum is called Siphon - her calf isn't old enough to have a name yet. They put on a really good performance and are very relaxed around the boat.
They also showed their flukes when they dived (normal for humpbacks) but they were much closer to the boat so we got a much better view.
The second reason for choosing Bar Harbor was the fact that it is in a National Park area - on an island (connected to the main land) and therefore we expected it to be pretty. We were not disappointed! The scenery was fantastic and the people really friendly. A good place to eat is the Cafe This Way - recommended to us by Rich Johnson, a local man we met who kindly invited us back for coffee/tea (Jonathon just couldn't resist talking computers and cameras to him!)
There's a loop road that covers a small part of the island/park - we followed this the first afternoon then ventured further afield on the other days. Places we particularly liked were ...
... Sand Beach
... Seal Harbor
... Eagle Lake (left) and Cadillac Mountain (right)
Both the above places were good for capturing the sunsets
Just driving around also allowed for plenty of photo opportunities...
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New Hampshire
From Maine, we travelled south to North Conway in New Hampshire (it was 25C the day we arrived so a bit of a change from Bar Harbor - it was a lot cooler the other couple of days!). Rather than stay in a chain hotel, we elected to stay at the Old Red Inn and Cottages (we had a cottage) where Dick and Terry Potochniak looked after us very well.
It's difficult to know where to start with this beautiful state - there was so much to do and the foliage was incredble.
One of the touristy things we did was go up Mount Washington on the Cog Railway. The gradient got as steep as 37 degrees so one end of the train was several feet above the other in parts!
It was both cold and misty at the top of the mountain (6,288 ft) and the only trip we could get onto was the last one of the day. If we'd said "no" (because it was dark when we came down) we would have missed the sunset.
The other touristy thing was to go up Wildcat Mountain on a gondola ... then Jonathon had this bright idea that we could walk down from the summit (3,980 ft) - I don't think either of us would want to do that walk again in a hurry - extremely pretty with loads of photos but our legs ached like mad the next day.
Walking down did give us plenty of opportunity to take pictures we would otherwise have missed, particularly the close ups of berries, wild flowers and butterflies.
As you can see, fairly similar to the wild flowers we have in the UK.
As we were a little bit early arriving for our gondola ride we followed the Thompson Fall Trail so we did quite a bit of walking that day.
I found some of the roots fascinating - the way they grow above ground!
The second day we were in New Hampshire we followed the tourist route around the White Mountains. As it was Columbus Day weekend, an awful lot of other people had the same idea! First stop was the Silver Cascades.
From there we tootled round to Franconia Notch State Park (see below for an even more interesting root!)
The Old Man of the Mountain's face dropped off in a landslide - interesting to see but no longer looks like a man! The walk to see him took in Profile Lake which was lovely.
Then onto The Basin and Kinsman Falls
We also called in at a couple of overlooks (Cleveland and Sugar Hill) later in the day.
We were hoping to go to Flume Gorge and drive the Kancamagus Highway that day but the FG car park was packed and there were too many cars around to appreciate the KH so we took ourselves out of the main tourist area and went down to Holderness for lunch - what a treat to find Squam Lake and enjoy the view whilst eating.
Having missed Flume Gorge on our second day, we delayed our departure for Vermont for a few hours and went to have a look - glad we didn't miss it - it was a lovely walk.
There are lots of covered bridges in New England. They come in all kinds of designs, some with pedestrian walkways and some without, some with more colour than others - this one is one of the two we saw in Flume Gorge.
We also called into a couple of overlooks (Hancock and Pemigewasset) we missed the day before (it got dark before we got there!).

That's it for New Hampshire

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Jonathon has been to Vermont several times but I'm sure has not been on some of the pretty little roads I found for us to drive on (4 wheel drive would have been better for Lincoln Gap, I admit, but the map gave no indication just how steep up then down it would be!). We stayed in Rutland and spent the first day exploring the nothern part of the Green Mountains and the second the southern half.
Just driving around, we came across some beautiful scenery and, although the overall fall was not as spectacular as in New Hampshire, we got some of our more dramatic pictures of the colour here.
One of the places we visited was the Texas Falls Trail. For me, this is where Jonathon took the picture of the holiday showing the dramatic effect of the red maple leaves against the silver bark.
We did take some other pictures during the course of our walk ...
Whilst we were walking around on the forest trails, I was amazed to find so many different kinds of fungus - I don't think I've ever really thought about it before but it's a vital ingredient for forest ecology so this time I took a bit more notice.
From there we drove to Middlebury - Jonathon will remember our visit here as this is where he left the airline tickets! Thankfully he remembered before we left and rescued them from one of the shops we'd been in to.
One small disappointment was the fact we didn't see a single moose, bear or deer even though there were loads of road signs warning us that they were around. We did see a few squirrels (the greys were particularly prevelant in the park in Boston) and the dragon fly below landed on me to let me know he was there then posed nicely on a rock!
Having done a lot of walking in forests and near waterfalls, we thought we'd try and find some lakes for our last day in the countryside. It was a lovely calm, sunny day, ideal for reflections etc.
The first lake we visited was Beaver Pond (no beavers but a few ducks!)
From there, we moved on to Grout Pond which is much prettier than the name suggests and gave us lots of opportunity to capture leaf colours.

Finally, we had to leave the mountains and go back to the big city.

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Boston is a lovely place to visit and we could have done with more time to explore (and better weather - this was the one place where it was damp and cloudy). Some of the photos reflect the weather conditions but at least they'll give you an idea of what's there to see.
We did what I expect a lot of tourists do in Boston and went on the Freedom Trail. This is easy to follow as there's a red line on the pavements/roads that marks the way and you can get a guide at the information centre at the start in Boston Common.
From there, you simply wander along, taking photos of the places they tell you are significant! First stop Massachusetts State House - the dome is 23-carat gold leaf - then Park Street Church (far right). Opposite the State House is the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial (right).
Next stop is the Granary Burying Ground - the picture on the right is allegedly Mother Goose's grave but I was far more intrigued by the one with the skull and crossbones.
The King's Chapel had too many people to get a decent picture during the day so we revisited at night.
Next was a statue of Benjamin Frankin outside the Old City Hall and close to the City Carpet - a mosaic in the pavement commemorating the first public school in Boston.
Not far from this statue there was a Democratic Donkey and some Republican Elephant feet - appropriate with the elections so close.
We then wandered to the Old Corner Book Store - as this is opposite a huge Borders I lost Jonathon for a while! Just in front of Borders is the Irish Famine Memorial.
The Old South Meeting House was followed by the Old State House Museum
Just opposite here is a circle of cobbles commemorating the Boston Massacre then off we went to Faneuil Hall.
Apparently, they used to test traitors/spies by asking them what was on the weather vane here - it's a grasshopper - all locals know this so if you didn't know you were obviously a baddie!
The area around here was really buzzy with lots of shops and the best food court I've come across close by.
Our next stop was not on the Freedom Trail but was the most moving place in Boston for me - it's the New England Holocaust Memorial. It comprises 6 glass towers (one for each of the major death camps) with the numbers 1 - 6,000,000 etched into the glass (one per victim) together with sayings from people relevant to the time.

You walk through the towers to read the words. The towers had steam coming up from the bottom - I guess to symbolise the gas but it didn't say.

The verse at the end is below.

Back on the trail and on to Paul Revere's House and the Old North Church. The next place was another burying ground but it was shut so no more gravestone pictures!

The last two places on the trail were across the Inner Harbor in Charlestown. First we have Bunker Hill Monument then USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warhip still afloat.

As it was getting dark we decided to stay and photograph the Boston lights - the photo below is of the new Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge.

The plan for Day 2 was to go to the top of the Prudential Tower and take some photos from there. The picture on the right shows that we couldn't even see the top because of the cloud so we wandered around instead.
We spent quite a while in the Public Garden where there was a lovely lake and plenty of flower beds. The grey squirrel higher up the page was taken here - there were a lot of them, all tame and digging up the flower beds - glad we don't have that many in our garden!
Other than the wildlife (water fowl, birds and squirrels mainly), there was a statue of Washington and some really interesting topiary.
Wandering around, there were some very ornate buildings (or decoration to buildings). It seemed there was a fair bit of copper - the building on the right was a fairly common style - the bits that "stick out" were (I think) made of copper originally.
Finally, in addition to lots of references to the Boston Red Sox, there were a huge number of American flags wherever we went.
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