We spent a few days at home in Cumberland tending the garden and enjoying the birds, including this rather large pileated woodpecker.
We went to a beautiful spot on the Damariscotta River owned by our good friends Joan and Bruce, a location that we agreed not to disclose. It was the epitome of mooch-camping, with a pool, dock, and nice power boat with captain and first mate!
We traveled to Eustis and stayed at the very popular Cathedral Pines Campground on the shore of Flagstaff Lake. It’s a beautiful setting and was crowded with families, mostly from Maine. Our site was right in the middle of everything, and too close to the noisy basketball court!
We rented a canoe for a paddle down the west part of Flagstaff Lake – no photos from a tippy canoe!
We enjoyed a fun dinner with Rudy and Tessa.
We then headed west where we saw some lighter traffic.
We went down through Rangeley where there was quite a bit of damage from the thunderstorms that happened during the preceding days. We drove over the Height of Land with its views of Lake Mooselookmeguntic.
From Route 17 we headed east through Byron Notch and by Tumbledown Mountain on the Byron to Weld Road to Mount Blue State Park. We had lunch looking out from Center Hill towards the Northern Appalachian Mountains, including Old Blue, Elephant, Tumbledown, and Little Jackson Mountains.
We spent a beautiful day touring the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay courtesy of our friend Chip. When I took Mom to the gardens ten years ago or so, it was a short walk to see the entire facility. Now it is more like a hike to see everything, and you can return again and again, because the plants, colors, and scents change constantly.
And all the plants.
Beautiful waterfalls and ponds
We certainly recommend that you try to visit the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay!
While not strictly travels in our van Sylvie, Doug and I are doing some fun things around Maine. After we returned from Range Pond we headed to Orr’s and Bailey Islands to help launch the motorboat we own together with my sister Kristin, the Yellow Weasel, aptly named by our nephew Rudy. It was a beautiful calm afternoon at Garrison Cove.
Sylvie is back on the road again! Life changed in March for everyone, so our plans to head to the American west are postponed for now. We are planning to spend time visiting places in Maine and maybe other northeastern states and eastern Canadian provinces.
We are very lucky to have friends who let us park in their driveway and plug into their electricity in Rangeley!
Then there was the scramble back down Bald Mountain. Two miles up and two back. It was very worthwhile in the end!
The next morning we headed west and south by Route 16 and Route 26 through New Hampshire and on to Stoneham, Maine, where we had a nice lunch and visit with Doug’s brothers Clay and John, and John’s wife Bette. Along the way we saw one small moose, too briefly to photograph!
On Thursday, March 12, 2020, we arrived in Tarrytown, New York, to visit cousins Susanna and Jonathan. They fed us well, both dinner and breakfast the next day.
On Friday, March 13, we drove home to Cumberland, just in time to go into stay at home quarantine. We logged 9,224 miles for our first trip in Sylvie. We hope to head west in the next couple of months, but timing is out of our control now.
We hope everyone stays healthy – we will blog again when we are allowed to get out on the road, hopefully soon!
After staying at Candy Hill Campground in Winchester, Virginia, we set out to see the sights of Winchester. A pretty little town, but its claim to fame certainly seemed focused on Patsy Cline and the headquarters of George Washington in one century and Stonewall Jackson in the next. We then headed to Pennsylvania, crossing the Susquehanna River and north past Gettysburg.
Then it was a chocoholic’s dream.
With our sugar high and chocolate cabinet filled, we went on to French Creek State Park in Elverson, Pennsylvania. Social distancing was becoming the norm. We felt sufficiently safe, even walking around the woods. It’s a nice park.
The land was owned by Thomas Jefferson. A highway runs over the top.
We walked up the Cedar Creek Trail. It was peaceful and pretty. This is the water body that created the bridge over millions of years.
Thuja occidentalis (eastern arbor vitae tree)
From park signage:”Before dying in 1980, this more than 1600 year old specimen of the arbor vitae tree was the oldest and largest known in the world. Its diameter measures 56 inches. Depending on climatic conditions that determine its growth rate, the arbor vitae increases in diameter about one inch every thirty years.”
It was March 9, 2020 and daily we were learning more and more about the corona virus, so we were happy to be heading home to Maine. We headed up the Blue Ridge Parkway and made a few stops.
We had lunch at Doyle’s River Overlook on the Appalation Trail.
On our way through Virginia we saw a few new signs. It was just after the switch to daylight saving time: “Spring forward with Jesus – Don’t fall back into sin.”
Also: “Store the Bible in your heart, not on a shelf.”
We had more civil rights education to experience at this lovely, working farm in rural Virginia. Booker Taliaferro Washington was born to a slave mother on this tobacco farm, where he, two elder brothers, and his mother lived in the Kitchen Cabin. He never knew his date of birth and his father was never identified. In spite of living in the kitchen and his mother being the plantation cook, they often went hungry.
Freedom came when he was about 10 years old and still living on the plantation. Booker taught himself letters and found his own way to school in Hampton, Virginia, 500 miles from home, where he arrived with no tuition money. He learned to clean and thus paid his way. Later he developed Tuskegee Institute and founded the National Negro Business League. He was honored in many ways: the first African-American to receive an honorary degree from Harvard, the first on a US postage stamp, the first to have a US ship named after him, the first on a US coin, and the first with a national monument in his name.
We continued north to the Natural Bridge-Lexington KOA for overnight, another nice spot. It was March 8, 2020.