August 22nd-30th, 2003
Unique and recognizable images come to mind when one mentions New England. Scenes of picture-postcard perfect colonial villages, foggy fishing piers decorated with lobster cages and colorful buoys, rolling mountains lush with evergreens and deciduous trees that paint the hills red, yellow and orange in autumn, and of course, the historical covered bridges that dot the landscape. Just about everyone in the world is familiar with these sights, and people come from across the globe to see them firsthand.
In our many years of traveling we had yet to visit this corner of the country, so we set out one August day to remedy that situation. Our vacation would take us through many of the northeastern states, including New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. Along the way we hiked many of the beautiful trails, strolled through flowering meadows, watched Fin whales feeding in the Gulf of Maine, and toured several of the classic New England villages.
We began our adventure with a stop at Lake Placid, New York. While there we toured the Olympic Village and rode the bobsled run, hiked to the top of Mt Jo in the Adirondacks, mountain biked at Whiteface Mountain, and scanned the roadside cliffs for nesting Peregrine Falcons. All of this was done in one crazy day, and then we continued our drive to Vermont with a crossing of Lake Champlain via the ferry to Burlington. The ferry ride was smooth and made all the more scenic by a beautiful sunset. Catching the last rays of sunlight was a jet skier who used the wake of the ferry as a platform for some impressive maneuvers. We watched him slice across the surface of the lake until we arrived at the Burlington dock.
The Green Mountains were our Vermont destination, and Camelís Hump State Park would be our next hiking launch pad. We spent a beautiful summer morning climbing to the rocky summit of Camelís Hump, and then we toured the scenic roadways on our way to New Hampshire. Several roadside stands were selling pure, local maple syrup and honey, beckoning the driver to stop for a delectable treat. Along the way, we also spotted several scenic covered bridges that looked like they jumped straight out of another era. Adding to the historical atmosphere was a stop at Woodstock, Vermont. Famous world-wide as the quintessential New England Village, this town really delivers with great architecture and local charm.
No trip to New England would be complete without a stop in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, especially for hikers like us. Renowned for blustery weather, even in the summer, the White Mountains can really challenge even the heartiest hiker. We got a small taste of this bluster, when we hiked to the summit of Mt Jefferson. Feel free to read our detailed report of this hike and many others at our sister site Natural Born Hikers.
Next on the agenda was the state of Maine, and I have to say that it was my favorite state. The scenery is outstanding, from the mountains of Baxter State Park to the rocky coast of Acadia National Park; you canít go wrong in Maine. The wildlife is abundant, and even moose become a common place sighting. This is true, particularly, in Baxter State Park. We saw a total of four moose in the day and a half we were able to spend there. The first was seen just along the road past the entrance station, the next two were spotted at Sandy Stream Pond, and the fourth was an up close and personal sighting along the Chimney Pond Trail on our way to Mt Katahdin. Each and every sighting was exciting and a privilege. After summiting the highest point in Maine, Mt Katahdin, we headed down to Acadia National Park. This park was definitely a highlight of the trip. A beautiful coastline and scenic trails offer the visitor a great way to get a taste of Maine. Speaking of a taste of Maine; you must stop at a lobster pound for a classic New England ďlobsta dinnahĒ. Our choice was the Trenton Lobster Pound since it is one of the oldest establishments in the area, and they surely did deliver an excellent meal. You can get a whole lobster for around $15.00, and donít forget all the ďfixinsĒ. Your choices include cole slaw, potato salad, and blueberry pie. We had them all and enjoyed every bite!
Acadia National Park offers the traveler fantastic vistas and challenging hiking trails. Among our favorite trails were The Beehive, Ship Harbor Nature Trail, and Otter Point. Especially scenic areas can be found along all of these trails, not to mention, Sand Beach and the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. For a spectacular way to end the day, arrive at Bass Harbor at sunset and catch the last light of the sun glowing on the granite rocks and the lighthouse. Then the next morning you can be one of the first to see the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain, an Acadia tradition. Our last day in Maine was spent on a whale watching trip in the Gulf of Maine. We went with the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company and spent a wonderful day observing Fin whales. We saw several mothers and calves swimming side by side, and even a rare sighting of a male escort. At the end of the cruise we had seen eight Fin whales, not bad for only $25.00, and by the way, they have this great policy that if you donít see a whale you get your money back! You canít go wrong with that kind of guarantee.
The last state on our journey was Massachusetts. We stopped at Salem, The House of the Seven Gables, Minute Man Historic Park, Walden Pond, and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Each of these destinations highlights a rich state history and should not be missed.
One cannot come away from a trip to New England without an immense feeling of respect for the historical significance of these states. In addition, the landscapes and wildlife will inspire awe in even the most jaded traveler. Below you will find a gallery of photos from our vacation, and hopefully they will convey the beauty of this special region. Enjoy.
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