Updated: Jun 15, 2019
We spent about six weeks exploring New England which it was not nearly enough to appreciate all there is to see and do. Our favorite campground in Maine is in a less traveled part of Acadia National Park, at Schoodic Campground. This immaculate camping area feels like it was designed by Disney engineers. Sites were strategically located to avoid feeling like you were close to anybody. The roadway was meandering asphalt with finely dressed small gravel edges. The landscaping felt like everything was designed by a professional and laid out with impeccable precision. It looked so natural and yet perfect at the same time, which made me think it was engineered from scratch to look exactly the way I was seeing it. Every stone, every tree.
I found out from a Park ranger that the area had been owned by a private party who developed the campground in coordination with the National Park System, then donated it to the NPS upon its completion. I encourage you to go there and see how the bathrooms and ranger station were designed and built. Form follows function, picture perfect, truly inspiring design that fits the environment. It’s an amazing place.
The home architecture in New England is very interesting to us West Coasties. I was especially intrigued by the popular three-segment designs where there is a main two-story house, a connecting one level section that might house a kitchen or sunroom, and a final section that might be a garage, or was, and now it’s been converted into more living spaces. We saw many older homes sagging in disrepair, but happily many that were active restoration projects. Many were obviously completed projects with meticulous details that helped it to stand proud and boast of its heritage, now renewed and ready to inspire others to keep up the tradition. Like the icing on a cake, people in New England really get into planting flowers, taking advantage of the short summers to beautify their homesites as if to celebrate having survived another harsh winter.
Another interesting custom I noticed was common in New England is how much people use granite. New Hampshire is the Granite State and boy do they use it everywhere. Street curbs are not made from concrete... they use granite.
We meandered around Vermont, New Hamshire, and the far east portion of New York that borders Lake Champlain. We especially enjoyed the NY State Park at Crown Point, just across a bridge from Vermont. Here you see our RV in the lower left and you can make out the shape of the naval fortress and its signature European design. The campsite we had had a magnificent view just across the highway from the Fort with this amazing view.
As we made our way back to Oregon, we wanted to stop in to see our new friend Grant in Lexington, Kentucky, the guy we met in Montana a few months earlier. He had told us he would show us around Lexington and we ended up spending parts of three days being chauffered around the surrounding countryside. We visited the Woodford Reserve bourbon distillery and visitor center, a real treat. We got to hear much about the history of this area, which has grown a lot in the last few decades, in part thanks to Toyota who built what is now the world’s largest Toyota manufacturing facility, part of which sits on the farmland where Grant grew up. We stayed with Grant an extra night, parked in his driveway, sipping his wonderful margaritas and soaking in more of the history of the area and sharing our various travel goals with each other.
From Kentucky we dashed on across the country, dodging a tornado near Oklahoma City, and later driving through a bit of snow in northeastern Arizona on our way to visit old friends near Phoenix. These two photos were taken at sunrise just outside the Petrified Forest National Park:
The following three shots are from Palo Duro State Park in northern Texas:
We got a chance to see some really nice state parks in Arizona. This view is at Lost Dutchman State Park just outside of Phoenix' NE boundary.
We meandered our way to Los Angeles to visit one of Kathy’s sons and then made our way north to get back to Oregon. We were anxious to see how we might be of help to Kathy’s parents living at the Oregon Coast.
Recap: Our trip to Glacier NP was about five weeks and 3000 miles and the trip to New England and back was about five months, 12,000 miles and took us through 26 states.