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Road Trip NC to Maine to Cape (part 2)

This is a part 2 of my month long rv trip to the North East. Read the first half by clicking here.!

Vermont

From Old Forge and Saratoga we headed to Arlington, VT arriving at the Camp on the Battenkill. It’s a very large, wooded campground with nice sites, some right on the river.

Arlington is where Norman Rockwell lived for 14 years. I enjoyed reading about his time there on the New England Historical Society Website.

      “Rockwell had trouble painting the black eye in Triumph in Defeat, so a newspaper ad ran requesting a child with a black eye. Wire services picked up the story, and Rockwell offered $5 for a ripe one. A prison warden wrote that there’d just been a riot and he had dozens of black eyes and a father joked he’d give all his kids a black eye for $5. A toddler named Tommy Forsberg had acquired a shiner, and his father drove him from Massachusetts to the studio of Norman Rockwell in Vermont.”

Rockwell and his family left Arlington in 1953. His home is now a bed-and-breakfast, The Inn on Covered Bridge Green

Inn on Covered Bridge Green

The view from the Inn is this church and covered bridge.



This corner of Vermont in the Green Mountains is called the Shires, I had never heard it called that and it turns out it is a fairly new designation. “A picturesque New England region nestled in the Southwesternmost corner of Vermont, the geographic designation may be Bennington County but in recent years residents and visitors alike have come to affectionately call this area, the Shires of Vermont.”


Arlington is a small town located between Bennington and Manchester Vermont. Manchester has a beautiful downtown with lots of local shops as well as the flagship of Orvis, it is a beautiful building. Orvis also has a fly fishing school there. I loved to watch my dad fly fish, the line whipping back and forth.

Manchester is also the home of Hildene, we were disappointed that it was closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, the days we were there. Hildene is the historic home of Robert Lincoln, only child of President and Mary Todd Lincoln to survive to adulthood. The estate has beautiful gardens, restored 1903 wooden Pullman palace car, goat farm and cheesemaking facility, 12+ miles of walking trails, teaching greenhouse and cross-country skiing in winter. Bummer we didn’t get to see it.

The American Museum of Fly Fishing is in Manchester as well.

The Southern Vermont Arts Center was a real treat. It sits on property that was once owned by Orvis and through some changing of hands, divorces, etc, it ended up being the art center. The grounds are huge with hiking trails and a large sculpture collection. The drive is about a mile long winding through the woods.

they had a great exhibit of work made from recycled materials
And I was very impressed with the egg tempera work by Mary Schwartz

Bennington was a disappointment, the best thing we saw there was this old fire station and a craft gallery, but it was not the one we really wanted to see.

I then parted ways with my traveling companions and I drove to Maine. I spent the first couple of nights near Rockland.

Rockport

In this same harbor are the remains of lime kilns.

During the 19th Century, Rockport was a major supplier of lime to East Coast markets. These kilns converted limestone rock supplied by 15 local quarries into lime used to make mortar & finish plaster. The burned lime was packed into wooden casks and shipped by schooner . In 1843, all 100 lime cargos came from Rockport, Camden, and Thomaston kilns. In 1859, it was a $100,000 industry shipping 156,500 casks. A disastrous fire in 1907 came at a time when cement was beginning to replace lime in building construction. The industry continued for a few more years but never fully recovered.

In Rockland I really enjoyed the Farnsworth, I don’t remember it being that big (but then it’s been 40 years since I’ve been there!), several things caught my eye especially, one being a dress decorated with shells by Brian White. Then just down the street at Dowling Walsh Gallery I saw a show of his being put up. The first piece I saw was an owl in the window then inside his sheep, wow! For some reason I thought they were clay but as I read about his work there is zero clay involved unless it’s something he found and he added to his piece. Most of his sculptures are made of shells.

Of course the Farnsworth has a lot of work by the Wyeths, there are the iconic pieces by Andrew but I also love the equally skilled work by Jamie and his choice of subject matter.


At a stop in Camden I ran across the Riverhouse Foot Bridge. I have a photo of it I took years ago but could not remember which town it was in! Lots of neat shops and some beautiful homes.


I decided to visit Cape Clyde where you catch the boat to Monhegan Island, where Wyeth spent a lot of time painting.

On the way I caught some highly decorated pottery in a studio window out of the corner of my eye. I turned around and unfortunately the studio was closed but as I stared in the window the potter showed up, George Pearlman. We had a long conversation about how his work evolved, he started with underglazes like I use. I ended up buying a piece from him (the one on the left).


On the way back to Rockland I stopped to tour The Langlais Sculpture Preserve celebrating the work of sculptor Bernard Langlais. His work is pretty funky but don’t be fooled, he studied at the Corcoran School of Art, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the Brooklyn Museum School, and received a Fulbright Scholarship to Oslo, Norway.  I love his work and here is a map of where you can see his pieces.

This is his too. I love the way he attached wood to the painting

I’m excited to have more room and more time to garden in my new home. I haven’t seen many dahlias around New Bern and I was bowled over with those I saw on this trip. Up there you have to dig them up every year, well knowing me that would never happen so am pleased to read that you don’t have to do that in zone 8. My favorites are the informal ones.




I’ve passed by Acadia National Park a number of times but never stopped. I have to say I was a little disappointed with Bar Harbor but the Park is beautiful, to really see it though you need to get out and hike. Since I was by myself I didn’t think that was a particularly good idea so I just drove through the park.

On the way there I happened to pass Bar Harbor Weathervanes, I had been looking for one for my new garage. I enjoyed meeting Bill McElvain the owner. He told me about his dad that started the business and how he has continued with it and his children are continuing the tradition. He told me about the molds they use and how those have evolved through the years. To make a weathervane, Bill first carves the two sides of the design in wood. Then, he creates cast-iron molds for the designs. Finally, the copper is hammered into the mold and the two sides are soldered together. And YES I found one I like. I will have to say I did my part in supporting artists in almost every state we visited!

While I wasn’t thrilled with the town of Bar Harbor I did have a wonderful lobster lunch on the dock, and a FABULOUS campsite at the KOA.

On my way to Southwest Harbor I came across this beautiful Museum and Garden at Somesville.

Rockland, Rockport, Camden, Belfast, all I had heard of or been to before but I have never heard of Castine. It is one of the oldest towns in New England. What a jewel! The entire town is on the National Register. It’s like going into a Norman Rockwell painting.


From there I headed south again, next stop Boothbay Harbor….


…and the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens a highlight of the trip. I loved a lot about the garden, the fact that a lot of it is planted in an informal way, the hiking trails through the woods have benches along the way and if you get tired you can make your way to the main trail and get picked up by a cart. But the best thing was seeing the …Trolls by Thomas Dambo. I had seen some of his trolls once before in Breckenridge, CO so was thrilled to see them again! He is a master of recycling and has created his trolls all over the world. Every one is different and every one has a story to tell. There are several videos on his website talking about his work, he’s very passionate about recycling and has made some incredible pieces.

Two bald eagles flying overhead

I visited every gallery in town and in the Gleason Gallery I saw some of George Pearlmans pottery. The gallery director told me I should drive to the Ocean Point Loop, turn right at the only stop light in town and you can’t miss it. There is a small parking lot and parking all along the drive, right on the water, but those are not for rvs.

On my list for next years visit is to find all of the sculptures on the Sculpture Trail. Here are just a couple of those in town.

The long footbridge in the harbor was built in 1901 at a cost of $1,500, and it originally had a hand-operated swing span to allow large vessels to reach the head of the harbor.

A lot of what I’m interested in painting right now is gardens so I took LOTS of photos of with painting potential.

In Portland I stopped to visit folks I used to work for in Aspen, they live in this beautiful home on West Prom.

It was early so missed visiting the Maine Crafts Gallery, but will put it on the list for next time.

Kennebunkport, Ogunquit, Kittery, York were all next. Love them all.



Where I got my wind spinner on my last trip here – Maine Art Hill.

There are a lot of really nice shops in Kennebunkport. Abacus (American Craft Gallery like Carolina Creations), Dannah’s and others.


I HAD to walk the Marginal Way to Perkins Cove, that’s what you do when you come to Ogunquit. The town was so packed with people there was no where to park so I went very early in the morning and found a spot and by the time things started opening up I was gone.



Walking back to my car I saw this rock wall with inspirational stones attached. I will have to say most places I went were good about wearing masks. I did most of my own cooking on this trip but on the few occasions I ate out I tried to eat outside.

I got a major dose of vitamin C on the Maine coast. I have never seen so many rose hips in my life. They were everywhere so I didn’t feel guilty snitching some here and there.

It is a good thing my rv has a pretty short turning radius considering that is is 22 1/2 feet long. I am not adverse to turning around, sometimes more than once within the hour. Spotted this neat looking garden shop near Kennebunk. Snug Harbor Farm, beautiful!



Cape Cod

Love driving 6A even though I got caught in what I’m told is the every weekend traffic jam. Finally made it to Brewster to spend the night then spent the next day exploring Chatham, Harwich and other towns along the south coast.

Cape Cod Lavender Farm

Then the next day got up early to take the ferry to Marthas Vineyard. We spent our first day exploring the Campground Associations Gingerbread Cottages. Last time I was on MV was in 1972!

When I was on MV before I only saw Oak Bluffs, so this time we rented a car and got to see the rest of the island. Beautiful!

Our luck ran out and we caught the tail end of one of this summers many hurricanes and it was supposed to pour all day long.

We toured the island between raindrops.

We drove by the end of the road that goes to the new estate of the Obamas and saw a big black SUV turn down it. We visited several art galleries The Field Gallery, Martha’s Vineyard Glassworks, but my favorite was Cousen Rose Gallery, we went to a great farm shop, The Grey Barn, and a wonderful quirky book store in Edgartown, Portobello Road.

And you never know when you are going to run across a flower pot full of chickens.


Well fortunately it didn’t pour until we got to Chappaquidick. The bad news there is there are 3 roads – 2 dirt and 1 paved. I thought we were going to get washed away so never made it to the infamous bridge, instead turned around at the Japanese Garden which we didn’t get to see either. Oh well next time.

The Oak Bluffs Inn where we stayed, loved sitting on the porch.

We made it back to the mainland and our campground in time to be treated to dinner at the Lobster Pot by it’s owner. We got to meet some of her kids and I was gifted one of their cookbooks.

Our last day on the Cape we took the bus into Provincetown and did what you do there, shop, go to galleries, people watch. We walked down to the end of Commercial street and got back to where we started, I wanted to go to the other end too where more galleries are, but we were already pooped so caught a pedicab, I’ve never ridden in one before. Price was whatever you wanted to give.

I still remember the first time I took a photo of this couple in 1972
A church door in Wellfleet


After returning to the campground we went to Wellfleet, a sweet little town just a few miles away.

Then we started home. Our first two nights were spent in Moodus, CT, a place I had never heard of but ended up loving, right on the Connecticut River. Of course we had to take the The Chester – Hadlyme Ferry. It doesn’t matter how short the ride is I can’t pass up the chance to go on a boat ride. It takes just 5 minutes to make the crossing. It began service in 1769, was originally operated by Jonathan Warner who owned the land on both sides of the Connecticut River.  Warner’s Ferry, as it was called back then, connected King’s Highway in Fort Hill, Parish of Chester to Norwich Road in Lyme.  The Original ferry was pushed across the river using long poles. A steam-powered barge began to serve the ferry crossing in 1879.

From the ferry we saw Gillette Castle built by William Hooker Gillette, noted actor, director, and playwright.


Chester is a sweet little town with some nice shops like Lark. There I found the work of local artist Jill Butler. Her work is delightful, whimsical, and colorful. I bought notecards, a book about Paris, and some placemats by her. Turns out I already owned one of her books Paint Brush in Paris!

This is a sweet house in downtown Chester

Another neat place in the area is East Haddam. A wide spot in the road but neat.

Essex is where the Connecticut River Museum is and the area surrounding it is quintessential New England with white stately houses.

We were a little disappointed in Old Saybrook and Old Lyme but did love the Studio 80 Sculpture Grounds. It is on the grounds of the studio of Gilbert Boro. Here is what he had to say about it “It brings me great joy to watch people of all ages interacting with my sculptures, which is why I created my own four-and-a-half-acre sculpture grounds adjacent to my studio in Old Lyme, Connecticut.   Considering the environmental, social, and political disorder all about us, I believe that public art brings some semblance of beauty to all of us who take the time to look.  My full-scale outdoor sculptures, as well as other works by contributing artists, can be seen year-round on the grounds.  Entry is free and open to the public. ” Since my new house is on a double lot maybe an idea for me (too many ideas, not enough time.)


Other things to see in the area are The Katharine Hepburn Museum and the Florence Griswold Museum. >

Then off to East Stroudsburg, PA, on the way I made a few stops like at Hudson Beach Glass in Beacon, NY, and Peters Valley Craft School . I also stopped in Milford, PA which is across the river from Peters Valley, and visited Grey Towers National Historic Site, which I had never heard of. It was built in 1886 by James Pinchot. He was disturbed by destructive logging practices that were taking place in the country and encouraged his oldest son, Gofford Pinchot to go into a career in forestry. He became had of the Division of Forestry in 1898 and in 1905 was head Chief Forester of the newly created United States Forest Service. He later became Governor of PA in 1922.

Winding our way south I wanted to stop at Chadds Ford at the Brandywine River Museum again but they were flooded by the same storm that flooded the subways in NYC. The artwork was not hurt but the grounds had many feet of water on them.

I’d been to Longwood Gardens (detailed in a previous blogpost), before so did not stop there. But passing through I saw this intriguing yard for Chadds Ford Barn Shoppes where I stopped and took photos of these cool, funky, birdhouses.

The last night we spent at the POND State Park in Delaware worth a return visit!

The highlight of the last leg of the trip was stopping at various Garden Centers and picking up plants for my new garden by the time I got home there wasn’t much floor space left.

It was a great trip!! What’s next? So far next trip is a few days in Charlottesville then to the BVI’s in January. In the meantime I have a LOT of artwork to get done for the Studio Tour, November 6th and I’m the featured artist at Carolina Creations in November.

I got lots of inspiration for it on this trip.




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Road Trip NC to Maine to Cape (part 1)

Since I sold my house and my new house renovations are nearing completion I left on a month long road trip to the NE with 3 other ladies, me in my rv, and the other 3 ladies in 2 trucks pulling trailers. I’m used to traveling by myself so my mantra was “I’ll meet you there”!

Heading north to Virginia I stopped by Hope Plantation the home of former Governor David Stone. The plantation complex offers insights into the late 18th- and 19th-century rural life in eastern North Carolina.

Also on the grounds is The 1763 King-Bazemore House which is a great example of vernacular architecture. It is one of the few remaining examples in North Carolina of mid-eighteenth century “hall and parlor” design. The home has been restored and furnished based on the 1778 inventory of owner, William King.


Virginia

Heading into Virginia the Bacon Castle, is just outside of Surry. It is the oldest brick dwelling in the US, built in 1665 for Arthur Allen. It was originally known as Allen’s Brick House but became known as Bacon’s Castle in 1676 when Nathaniel Bacon’s men occupied it during the uprising that became known as Bacon’s Rebellion.  It is part of the National Park Service.

I also stopped at a neat little shop I discovered on my last trip up that way, in Surry. 

Jamestown Ferry

Our first two nights on the road were spent at Chickahominy Riverfront Park. So I cut off a few miles and avoided the traffic of Norfolk by catching the Jamestown Ferry. It’s just a little bigger than our local ferries, and my timing was perfect, I waited about 5 minutes to board. There has been a ferry running here since 1925.

The campground was perfect too, it’s right on the Capital Trail that runs from Jamestown to Richmond, is on the Chickahominy River. There are trails, fishing, splash pad, horseshoes and other games, and it has an amazing pool. 

The bike ride to Jamestown from the park is about 7 & 1/2 miles and at mile marker 5 is the Spoke & Art, where a cup of coffee and a muffin hit the spot. You can also rent a bike there, even a recumbent trike like mine! The last time I was there they had a trio playing in the outdoor dining area.


It was pretty hot but much of the trail was in the shade and is paved. We rode to the Historic Jamestowne Visitors Center, ducked in to cool off and after riding back to the campground spent a couple hours in the beautiful pool. 

From there I headed west, taking Hwy 5 along the James River and past the James River Plantations. I drove back to a couple of them, just to have a look. Some are grand, some are not! Shirley, Westover, and Berekley are the ones that are most famous but there are many more. Shirley Plantation, settled in 1613, is the oldest plantation in Virginia and the oldest family-owned business in North America, dating back to 1638.

Shirley – photo a little crooked!


I’ve been collecting Virginias LOVE sculptures around the state. I didn’t realize that there is a website listing where most of them are. And that the state reimburses communities and companies that commission a LOVE sculpture as part of the states branding “Virginia is for lovers”. You have to apply for the funding and if approved they state will reimburse you for $1500 towards the cost of construction. What a neat idea. Since, as of this writing there are over 275 LOVE sculptures around the state, it will be a while before I have seen them all. But here are a few that I HAVE seen.

This one is at the Spoke & Art and is designed by my friend and famous sculptor Don Drumm of Akron, Ohio


I drove through downtown Richmond and spotted a few murals I liked and ended up going through a beautiful neighborhood I hadn’t been in before. It always pays to leave early and get there before things get too hectic. It also saves me money because the galleries are not open yet. I still do my best to support other artists wherever I go!


That night we stayed at Natural Chimney State Park. It is the location of the largest Joisting tournament in Eastern US – I’m personally surprised there is more than one anywhere! In fact it was taking place the day we left and has taken place annually since 1821. What the park is most famous for is its natural towers made of limestone dating from 500 million years ago, a time when this area was covered with water. They range in height from 65 to 120 feet above ground level.

Early the next morning I took off and ended up at the Harrisonburg farmers market – very nice. I wanted to go to the White Oak lavender farm but was too early so I was pleased that they had a booth at the farmers market.

I really like driving the “blue highways” instead of the interstate but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet to get somewhere fast. I usually don’t mind driving 81 through Virginia though because its one of the prettiest interstates I’ve driven.


Pennsylvania

All was well and driving was easy until I hit Harrisburg, PA. It didn’t matter if you went straight through town, like my friends did, or took the bypass, like I did, there was at least a hour that we lost with the traffic backup. So I was glad to get off that road for a bit by going to the Hope Hill Lavender farm just outside of Pottsville, since I missed the other one. The view from their mountain top shop was beautiful.

Next stop Lackawanna State Park. Before going there I made a stop in Scranton, there is some beautiful architecture there. And Steam Town! I didn’t stop this time but have in the past. When I was in my twenties I did a lot of railroad drawings and drawing of railroad depots. Some are even in the Western History Collection of the Denver Public Library. Michael and I rode many of the tourist trains across the country and I ride the train whenever I get a chance.

The Lackawanna State Park is lovely but it was a quick overnight stop so we did not take advantage of all that is there.

Then it wasn’t a long drive to Watkins Glen. Route 6 was touted as an artisan trail but I didn’t see much in the way of art but the scenery, the further west you got, was beautiful.


I spotted Trowbridge (the last name I was born with) on the map and had to go see. I thought it was probably a wide spot in the road, and I was right. There was only one house. A lady was mowing her lawn so I stopped to talk to her, she lived in that house and told me Trowbridge was a stop on the railroad, and later the house was an Inn and the trolley ran out there from Elmira. The only indication the area was called Trowbridge was the street sign. Further north and east I saw a town called Conklin (my mom’s side) but didn’t have time to go there.

In Elmira I stopped to see the Carousel. It was built by Looff and not as detailed as the Philadelphia Tobaggon Company ones I’ve drawn, still it is nice to see it preserved and running. The park it’s in is quite lovely with a beach with dragon boats, different rides and a mini golf course. Elmira is where Mark Twain is buried and he spent twenty summers there at his wife’s sisters house. It was in Elmira that Twain wrote portions of some of his most famous books, including “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” 




A quick stop in Montour Falls led me to meet the wife of Magnus Agustsson, a sculptor, and tour their house/gallery. Born in Iceland, Magnus immigrated to the US in the 1950s and became a prominent Pediatric cardiologist and surgeon before becoming a renowned sculptor. His wife is responsible for the beautiful gardens on the grounds. The gallery is the house his wife lives in and every room is full his sculpture. While walking through the house/gallery, (which was packed) I thought to myself, is that going to be me someday??

It was a little shocking to see this waterfall so close behind this house!

New York – Watkins Glen through Ithica

At Watkins Glen we stayed right in town at Clute Park and Campground- there are absolutely no trees in this park and you are park side by side but it was quiet and you were just across the street from Seneca Lake.



We got up early and hiked DOWN the gorge at Watkins Glen State Park. So glad we read that you
could do that because I would not have hiked up the 832 stair steps. You can take the shuttle for $5 and they drop you at the top. The park has a nice swimming pool too.



We went to Corning just to check to see how the downtown was doing and stop in a couple galleries. One I wanted to go into is now permanently closed, I hate seeing that but there were other nice shops like The West End Gallery, Vitrix Glass Studio, Conners Mercantile, and others. Of course if you haven’t been you need to visit the Corning Museum of Glass.

While walking across the street I spotted this metal train sculpture.

Corning Centennial Sculpture

It is part of a historical memorial dedicated to the Corning Centennial.

And you can’t go to the Finger Lakes without going to at least one winery, there are over 100 in the region. The one we chose had outdoor seating with a beautiful view of the Lake.



We headed out and I took a detour to Ithaca. I had been there before and what I remembered most about it was how steep many of the streets are. This visit confirmed my memory! My brake light even came on for a while, I guess they got a little warm, but fortunately it went out again. 

The Botanic Garden at Cornell University is a gem. They have every plant identified so I got a lot of ideas for my new garden.



The Downtown is thriving and there were three American Craft Galleries within 2 blocks, and a Papperie! Two of the galleries are American Crafts by Robbie Dein, Handwork, and there are many more painting galleries I did not make it to.

The other reason for going Downtown was to see the Carl Sagan’s  Planet Walk.    I’ve always been fascinated and dumbstruck reading about our Solar System and the Universe. This walk is a 1 to 5 billion scale model of our Solar System and it really drives home just how big it is. The Moon and Earth were just a few feet from the sun, but Pluto was 3/4 of a mile away! I drove to it instead of walking, glad I went since Pluto is at the Science Museum. I didn’t take time to visit the museum but will next time. Carl Sagan was Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University in Ithaca and this Planet Walk is in his honor.

The bonus of going to the Sciencenter was seeing this mosaic mural. A few years ago I went to Philadelphia to a workshop and helped Isaiah Zagar work on one at St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, this is much the same style with lots of mirrors. Maybe I can find a place at Rhem to do one, I didn’t think I could get away with one on East Front. 

On my way north I saw a sign for Bellows Falls. I remembered that the Erie Canal passes through there so took a detour. What I didn’t remember was the Women’s Rights Museum.

I took a quick break at Auburn to see Harriet Tubmans Home. She was illiterate, but help scores of slaves escape bondage and went on to become a Civil War nurse, a Union spy, the first woman to lead American military forces in combat and a renowned suffragette.





I drove through Skaneateles wishing I had time to stop but instead headed north to Lysander where my great great great grandfather died in 1837. We cannot find where he was buried but his wife and 12 kids headed west to Ohio afterwards. There is a cemetery in the town but I didn’t have time to walk through to look for a grave. I will have to say Lysander is a beat up little town but Sara Smith Schenck thought enough of it to make this cement planter, the only thing indicating that you are in the town of Lysander.

Now I REALLY had to hurry to get to Wellesley Island State Park. It’s a huge park and well done! And just a short distance to the Canadian border.

The park has a nature center, a marina, a beach, a store, and golf course plus 432 campsites that were very spacious. Wellesley Island is one of the Thousand Islands in this part of the Saint Lawrence River. There are actually 1800 islands, and I was told that to be considered an island, a piece of land must stay above water throughout the year and support a living tree. I have passed in the vicinity of the Thousand Islands both on the Canada side and the US side before but never had time to stop. I’ve read about the Boldt Castle for years and was thrilled to finally have a chance to take the boat ride and to visit it.

From afar it’s pretty impressive but you can’t tell how well it is maintained until you get off the boat. The Castle, boathouse, and island all belong to the The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority. Construction began on Boldt Castle in 1900 for millionaire hotel magnate George C. Boldt as a tribute to his wife. Boldt Castle was designed as their summer dream home. The castle rivals those I’ve seen in Europe. the TIBA is painstaking restoring it, It’s probably half done. And the grounds are exquisite. If we would have read about the boat house we would have taken the boat to see it too, but didn’t realize how impressive that looks from the Castle! Before the TiBA acquired the Castle it had sat vacant and unfinished for 70 years. It’s well worth a visit, and the boat ride was fun too, seeing the other grand, and not so grand homes on the other islands.




Back to Wellesley Island, one of the two towns on the island is Fineview. And in Fineview is Thousand Island Park, founded in 1875 as a Methodist Campground, TI Park thrived as a family retreat with a Chautauqua atmosphere of religious, cultural and recreational activities. It is also full of beautiful gingerbread houses! We ate dinner at the Hotel sitting on the huge wrap around porch.


I took a quick trip to Clayton, just down the road. It has lovely shops, is right on the River, and is the home of the Antique Boat Museum and The Thousand Island Museum. What I enjoyed the most was sitting on the river eating lunch and watching the boats go by.


Then it was time to head to Old Forge, but I wasn’t through with the Thousand Islands area yet. On my way out off the island out of the corner of my eye I caught what looked like giant crows in a field. I was going too fast to stop so had to go to the next exit, 6 miles away, and come back to check them out. Yes indeed they WERE giant crows. They are by Sculptor Will Salisbury. I couldn’t find a measurement of them but I’m guessing they are 10-12 feet tall. Pretty cool.

The stop in Old Forge was very interesting. The camp we stayed at, Bald Mountain Colony, is on the grounds of what once one of the resorts you read about that the Adarondiaks were famous for. One of the earliest camps in the area The Bald Mountain House was on Third Lake in the Fulton Chain of Lakes, and there are 8 lakes in the chain. The Bald Mountain House was an early Adirondack resort hotel built in 1893 near Old Forge, by Charles M. Barrett. Designed to accommodate 140 people, the hotel offered luxurious amenities, daily activities, and relaxing mountain air to guests who often stayed for the entire summer season.

Everyone ate at the main building and there was a casino, horses, boating and all other types of sports to be played croquet, tennis, there was a dance hall, a soda fountain, and a bowling alley . The house was finally demolished in the 1960s when the “tent and trailer blue jeaned crowds” arrived. Now the property holds trailers and has 3 sites for transients like us. 


While there we visited The Adirondack Experience, which used to be called the Adirondack Museum. The new name is more apt I suppose because it consists of 20+ buildings. Much like our history center there are interactive things you can do like paddle a canoe, break up a log jam, climb a fire tower and so on.


The View Center for Arts and Culture is in a beautiful building in Old Forge and they were hosting the 40th Annual Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors. The show was pretty impressive.

And lastly we visited Old Camp Sagamore. It was also built by William Durant and was later owned by Alfred Vanderbilt and now belongs to Syracuse University. Like where we were staying at the Colony, you could stay in the main lodge or in rather nice cabins on the property. In fact you can still do that.


I made a quick stop in Saratoga Springs, remembering how neat the downtown was, and still is.


Next stop Arlington, Vermont!

This was a month long trip so it is taking 2 blog posts to cover it.

Part 2 coming soon.

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Road Trip Colorado and Utah

I’ve been making a trip to Colorado every year for the past 4 years. Michael and I lived there in the 80s and I really miss parts of it. It’s so beautiful but like Michigan, where I am originally from, I don’t want to be there in the winter. I visit my friend who was a woodworker and also owned a gallery for 40 + years.

This years trip took us to Glenwood, Aspen, Grand Junction, Moab, Telluride, Crested Butte, Denver, and Boulder.

On the way west I saw this sign during a pitstop in Frisco. It’s really become a neat little town.

VAIL

And we made a quick stop in Vail at the Betty Ford Alpine Garden. It was founded in 1985. And always have to stop at Piece Art Gallery, used to be Pismo when I knew the owner, a beautiful glass gallery. We carried some of the same artists but the main reason I stop there is to see the work of Stephanie Trenchard. She does this amazing cast glass sculpture. Here is an example. I met her years ago at an ACC show in Baltimore. She had this piece that was 6 feet tall of a lady. I’ve never forgotten it. At the time I could not afford it. There have been a few pieces of art I wish I would have gotten through the years and that piece is probably #1.

This is a crevice garden, I’ve been taking photos of these whereever I’ve seen them, like Botanical Gardens in Montreal, the Bronx, Plants Delight and Denver and plan to make one at my new house. I love the way the rocks are on their edge. It’s what we always called a rock garden but the difference is the rocks on edge I guess.
Columbine, the state flower of Colorado

Glenwood Springs

We always start our trips with a soak in the hot springs in Glenwood Springs, it’s probably the part I miss most about our time living there. It was especially neat to go in the winter with snow all around and steam rising off the pool. There used to just be the old springs but in 2015 they opened Iron Mountain Hot Springs. This year we just went to IRON Mountain because it was really hot out and they have shade. They also have 16 small pools, each with a slightly different temperature, and one larger cool pool. AND they have a bar although I can’t imagine driving home after soaking in hot water, in the sun, for a couple hours, and drinking on top of it. We did not partake!

We stayed at Four Mile Creek B and B owned by a jeweler, and a musician. They both owned a gallery with the friend I was traveling with, A Show of Hands in Cherry Creek – Denver. The rooms are full of art, as is the yard, and the food is really good.


Aspen


An afternoon drive up Hwy 82 gave me my Aspen fix, I love that town and enjoyed the 6 years we lived there. A lot was still shut down from Covid but we walked around and enjoyed the beautiful city. I always love seeing the Maroon Bells, just look to the right as you begin to enter town.

Hotel Jerome

But before we got to Hwy 82 we took the back road to Carbondale – thats Mount Sopris ahead, we could see it out our window from Aspen, from the other side of it obviously.



Carbondale

On the way to Aspen we stopped in Carbondale at True Nature Healing Arts. They have an amazing garden, restaurant, and labyrinth. Did you know there is a website that shows the location of labyrinths around the world? They list 6150 worldwide and 166 in North Carolina, including the one Martin made on Guion Street here in New Bern.




We then headed off towards Utah, stopping in a gallery in downtown Grand Junction. It’s been about 35 years since I’ve been there and they have done a lot with their downtown. It’s full of sculpture and thriving businesses. My favorite part is they took their very wide Main street and made part of it into a park on each block, traffic still goes two directions and there is parking but also now trees, shade, benches, etc.

Cisco


On the way to Moab we took US 6 off of I-70 to visit the wide spot in the road, the town of Cisco. It’s a very funky tiny village but seems to have become a tourist attraction, the official population is 4. It was a railroad town but in Eileen Muza started an artist residency. There can’t be more than a dozen buildings and most might best be described as shacks.



From there we passed Fishers Towers, this is where you first get a glimpse of what eventually becomes the Grand Canyon.

This is an amazing area of some of the tallest freestanding towers in North America.

Just before you get to the towers you cross the Colorado River. Up until 2008 there was this neat bridge over the Colorado River called Dewey Bridge.

It was destroyed during a brush fire so just its skeleton is left.

Remains of Dewey Bridge



I generally don’t like bridges but for some reason I liked this one. It was a suspension bridge, one way, and the decking was wood planks that bounced up and down as you drove over them, so disappointing that others don’t get to experience it.


Moab

Moab was next, I usually go west in the fall but this year I went in June, It was 109 degrees the three days we were there! I LOVE Arches National Park but we didn’t hike too much because of the heat but were able to see most of the major arches and just seeing the canyon walls is breathtaking.



The next day we got up at 5 am to drive into Canyonlands National Park, the road to it is almost across the street from Arches. We got up early to see the sunrise at Mesa Arch. It was a fairly short hike from the parking lot, we weren’t the only crazy people to be there that early, there were probably 40 other people there too. A lot has changed in this park since we were there last, the roads were all dirt and the signage was limited, I don’t think there was a visitors center either.



On that trip we were in our 1969 VW bus and were tooling along when three big horn sheep ran in front of our vehicle, they might have been going 10 miles an hour! In unison they came to a screeching halt and turned to look at us.

This year there were some fires so everything was a little hazy. We didn’t actually see a fire or where the smoke was coming from until we headed south out of town. Don’t know what people do that live where there are fires and have respiratory issues, three days was enough for me to be coughing and having a runny nose.

In this photo you can see the plume of smoke.


Telluride

Telluride was our next stop, visiting all the galleries and shops. The beautiful waterfall is Bridal Veil Falls, a 365-foot waterfall at the end of the box canyon overlooking the city. Hiking and off-road trails pass by the falls and it has a hydroelectric power plant at its top. In winter people actually climb up the frozen waterfall. I say NO WAY.

Ophir, Ouray, and Montrose


North of town we drove part way over Ophir pass, as far as the little mining town of Ophir which has a population of 193. The towns elevation is 9700 feet. I was impressed with the flowers on the utility poles in town and I’m sorry I didn’t get a photo of them or the lemonade stand we stopped at. I said to the girls that they probably didn’t get much traffic (dirt road, over a high mountain pass, 11789 feet), but they said they did pretty well! We did drive all the way over the pass years ago when we had an old Land Rover.



We stayed in Montrose, visiting their botanical gardens, THEY have a crevice garden too!. Montrose isn’t all that pretty but it is the shopping hub for the whole area.

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Ouray is another mining town north of Montrose and over the mountain from Telluride. It also has a hot springs. We were going to soak in it but it was too hot, and there is no shade. So we just gazed at it longingly. Lots of nice shops, lots of restaurants and some galleries, all packed with people.


I remember doing a drawing of this Hotel years ago
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A Trip over Red Mountain Pass was hair raising with logging trucks, no guard rails, and steep dropoffs. You pass Yankee Girl mine and a host of others. There are no guard rails because the road is open all winter, the road is narrow, and the snow plows have to push the snow off the edge.

There is a parking lot across from the Yankee Girl that has signboards talking about the history of the mines and the railroads.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Leaving Montrose it’s just a short drive to the south rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. It’s interesting because there is a lot of red rock around but the cliffs in this canyon are black, or at least appear black due to the fact that it is narrow and is in shadow most of the time. This canyon is one of the best exposures of ancient (nearly 2 billion years old) Precambrian-aged rocks in the world.



A quick stop at a coffee shop in Gunnison, the Tributary, kept us going – then we went up the Gunnison Valley to Crested Butte.

Hmmmm

Crested Butte

I used to do an art show in Crested Butte every year. One year I drove the VW bus over Cottonwood Pass, it’s remote and the summit is 12126 feet, only to lose my clutch half way over it. I managed to make it to Crested Butte and some guys helped me find someone to fix it while I did the art show. These were the days before cell phones. Thinking back I had some very interesting experiences roaming the mountains by myself. I could have gotten out of the jams easier if I would have had a cell phone. Of course who knows if I would have had service. I could do a whole blog post about those experiences! Losing the fuel pump in the middle of an intersection in St George after being in the desert alone miles from humanity; blowing a piston through the top of the engine between Grand Junction and Glenwood where there is NOTHING for miles and miles and hitching a ride with a guy with a gun laying on the backseat; helping people get unstuck on Independence Pass at the narrowest section and being the last person to make it down before they closed it for the winter ; then losing the clutch, yikes!

Crested Butte seemed a little more touristy than it used to be but it was still nice to be there. We ate in a great Thai restaurant, Ryce Asian Bistro, visited all the galleries, and stayed at Elevation Hotel and Spa where we swam in the pool and soaked in the outdoor hot tub.

Front Range

Back on the Front Range we went to the Farmers Market in Boulder, visited downtown Louisville, and looked at murals in Denver.

The mural program in Denver is called Crush Walls, it’s been going for a dozen years. Each year they paint over some of the murals. Last year 80 murals were painted. I don’t know how they decide which ones to keep. These are some of my favorites.

Our last treat was to visit the Denver Botanical Gardens. It’s a beauty.



Then I zoomed home to finish cleaning out East Front Street house, work on new house, and get ready for my next RV trip to the northeast in late summer. And get some artwork done – the Artists Studio Tour is coming up the first Saturday of November – my new place will be one of the stops and then I’ll be the featured artist for November at Carolina Creations.

Stay tuned and stay safe!

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Road Trip 3 Florida State Parks, bats, and butterflies

In May I took my RV to Florida to visit 3 State Parks meeting a friend with her RV. We started at Paynes Prarie Preserve near Gainesville. The park itself covers 21,000 acres, there are hiking trails, biking trails, a large lake, an observation tower, free roaming horses and bison, lots of birds and alligators. The shower in the campground was one of the best I’ve been in and each campsite had a buffer between it and the next one.

One of my favorite things were the American Lotus. Along I-75 you can see them and from the road that goes from the Park into Gainesville.



Frankly the alligators I could do without but we did have an amazing encounter with one on the La Chua Trail which is in the NE part of the park. There is a board walk that goes around a large sink hole called the Alachua Sink, that was filled with hyacinth and gators. As we walked along we could see an alligator here and there along the edge and all of a sudden a plane passed overhead and they all started bellowing. It was really something to hear!

As we were standing on the boardwalk all of a sudden a giant (14 footer) alligator attacked another one that was right in front of us, probably 15 feet ahead. The one being attacked obviously was in the spot the big one wanted to be in. All of a sudden this giant guy came straight at us, and stopped underneath us under the boardwalk we were standing on. We could tell how big he was because the boardwalk was 8 feet wide and he stuck out 3 feet on each side. What an experience! He sat there underneath us (fortunately the boardwalk was about 6 feet above him) for about 10 minutes then continued on his way to another hole.


My friend is also an artist, taught art and science, rides a trike, and owned a gallery for many years, so we have a lot of common interests. I’m more apt to want to see the towns than she and she’s more interested in the alligators than I am but that makes us each go see things we might not otherwise.

We were both interested in seeing 500,000 bats fly out of the bat houses at the University of Florida! Why do they have these big bat houses? Well it turns out bats had taken up residency in a stadium at the University and the smell and mess they made caused the school to take action. They built the bat houses but it took a few years before the bats started to inhabit them. At dusk every night people gather near the houses to watch the bats emerge.

Another thing we enjoyed at the university is the Butterfly Rainforest, a 6,400-square-foot screened exhibit. It was the best butterfly house I’ve visited and I’ve been to a few. The thing I found most interesting is the extensive research lab associated with it. They have one of the world’s largest Lepidoptera collections, representing most of the world’s 20,000 butterfly species and many of the estimated 245,000 moth species. The laboratories focusing on molecular genetics, scanning electron microscopy, image analysis, conservation and captive propagation of endangered species.



I had driven through the little town of Micanopy before, but never knew how to pronounce it – Mick-a-no-pee. It’s just down the road from the State Park, this town is the perfect example of old Florida. There is a great coffee and pastry shop in a typical Florida cracker style house, Mosswood Farm Store & Bakehouse. We talked to one of the owners a bit and told her that we had both been retailers and complimented her on the shop, the merchandise, the way it was displayed, etc. We said the only difference was if our stuff didn’t sell right away we didn’t have to throw it away. She said “we never throw it away, our husbands Hoover it up!”

We took several drives through the countryside and one of the sites we passed was the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, she was the author of the Yearling. It’s in the tiny village of Cross Creek, another “Old Florida” town. The live oaks in the area are amazing. And we saw this turkey and chicks.




We discovered two plants I had never seen before, the White Prickly Poppy, and another called the Tarflower. I am seldom in Florida in May which is probably why I’ve never seen them before.


We rode a bit on the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail, where we were was a bit hilly so we didn’t ride far. Trikes are not known for going up hills easily! But it IS a beautiful trail, we just picked the wrong part of it to ride.


There was a lot more to see in the area that we didn’t get to like the Botanical Gardens, the Museum of Art, the Solar walk, Planetarium, History Museum, lots more trails to hike, and Primate Sanctuary just to name a few things.



Highlands Hammock State Park
From there we moved to Highlands Hammock State Park near Sebring. We didn’t like the campground as much, it was wide open with no buffer between sites but the bathrooms were nice. There are also wilderness campsites in the park. It was, however, a great place to ride our bikes and there is even a bike trail all the way into town and you can ride around Lake Jackson.

CCC Museum

This is one of Floridas oldest parks and the CCC did a lot of work there. In fact there is a really nice CCC museum in the Park. There are 8 hiking trails and a wonderful 3 mile paved loop through the hammock. In many respects, the CCC was actually responsible for the creation of the Florida State Park system in 1935, allowing the state to take advantage of federal labor and funding to improve conservation lands. In all, eight Florida State Parks were developed under the program. The CCC set up the first of its 86 Florida camps in Sebring in 1933, and work in the park began on roads, bridges, the concession building and a visitor center.

Highlands Hammock State Park is home to more threatened or endangered species of plants and animals than any other state park in Florida, and many of these species play important roles in the ecosystems of the park.

One example is the gopher tortoise. These tortoises get their name from the long, underground burrows that they live in – like gophers. Many other species rely on these burrows for shelter, especially during fires.

The only animals we saw in the park were wild boars, an alligator that had obviously been fed because he made a beeline to us when we set up our easels to paint, and a couple deer.

This park is full of old growth live oaks dating back 1000 years.

There is a lot of shopping in Sebring, the Sebring International Raceway, Military Sea Services Museum, a live Theatre, a beach, Childrens Museum, airboat rides, a winery, fishing, and it is just south (30 miles) of Bok Tower and Lake Wales. I visited there last November, my favorite part was the tower and the lily pads.

Lily pads at Bok Tower



Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park
The campground at this park is quite small and this Park is pretty remote and you might say there is really nothing there. It’s touted a a “dark sky” place where you can see the milky way. Yes there were a lot of stars but I was a little disappointed having seen the skies in places like Steamboat Rock in NW Colorado where there isn’t a streetlight for a hundred miles or more. That being said it’s quiet and seeing the wind blowing over the prairie grass is pretty relaxing.

I know you can see the Milky Way from the Park, but conditions have to be right, no full moon for one thing!

Of the three this was my least favorite and would probably not go back. We did ride around Lake Okeechobee and would have ridden our bikes on the trail but at the time many sections were closed.

The neatest thing we saw here were the CaraCara falcon and great sunsets.

This photo is from the Audubon Society, mine did not turn out this good.



So in my opinion Paynes Prairie was the winner! Next up – A trip to Colorado in June.

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Road Trip Birds bikes flowers and art

I went to Ft. Myers for my annual Florida fix. I was pooped when I arrived, getting my house ready to sell, getting the new one remodeled and added on to. One I got rested I was on a quest to see some of the things I’ve missed the past four trips.

My first trip this year was to a botanical garden in Punta Gorda called Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens. The garden opened in 2017 and covers 27 acres. In addition to plantings there are a dozen or so sculptures along the walk that goes out to the Peace River. My favorite is this steel palm.

They host different events, music, plant workshops, yoga, and more. They have done a great job of labeling all the plants and have a nice selection of different kinds of palms and other plants, there is also a butterfly house. The gardens aren’t huge but it is worth a visit if you are in the area.

Another place that was a first was Boca Grande. As the crow flies it is 24 miles from where I stay but by car its 54 miles. You have to drive all the way to North Port before going west. I’m glad I made the effort. It’s a beautiful little town with an amazing beach. The island reminds me of Sanibel but in many ways I liked it better. There is more of a town center and less traffic. There is even a little funkiness left at Whidden’s Marina which was established in 1926, I think there are some of the original items left in the store from the beginning!

Since I got my recumbent trike last May I’ve been traveling with it and looking for trails to ride. Boca Grande has a nice one, Gasparilla-Boca Grande Rail Trail. It’s six miles long and flat, which is great for a recumbent trike since they are not great on hills.

Back in N Ft. Myers

Two streets down from where I stay is a Bonsai Nursery. I knew it was there, I’d driven by it before but you can’t see what it is from the street so I never entered. This year I rode my bike down there and wow! It is an amazing place. They are the largest Bonsai Nursery in Florida with over 150 specimen plants for sale and thousands of pre-bonsai. I had never heard of pre-bonsai but it is a plant that can become a bonsai with some tlc. I think I’m going to try it this year.

Next I went to St Petersburg to go to the Van Gogh experience. It was interesting. My favorite parts were that the paintings were blown up so big you could see how he applied the paint, the brushstrokes, and I loved his quotes, from the letters he wrote to his brother I’m sure.

Of his quotes, this one was my favorite.

I’m leaving some souvenir too!

I always go to the Craftsman House when I am in St Pete, they have a wonderful selection of pottery and other crafts and I always enjoy talking to the owner Jeff.

He mentioned a new glass gallery down the street (opened January 2018). So glad he did, I probably would not have gone otherwise, I couldn’t tell from the name what it was. Imagine Museum. It is the best glass museum I have ever been in. They concentrate on contemporary glass, blown, cast, fused, lamp worked, were all represented.