Virtual Travel – Virginia

Today’s visit is Virginia, starting in the Washington DC Suburbs.

2016 11 05 148 Arlington VA

 

History

1962     1972 – State Capitol     1975 – Houdon Statue of Washington in the Virgnia Captiol     1977 – St Johns Church Richmond     1981 – Yorktown Battlefield     1982 – Stratford Hall  Plantation Westmoreland County Robert E Lee Birthplace     1984 – Monticello     1988/1989     1990/1991 – Appamattox Court House     1998 – Mount Vernon     2000

 

The Virginia State Capitol dates from the 1780s, housing the Virginia General Assembly. This group is known as the oldest elected legislative body in North America, having been founded as the House of Burgesses in 1619. (Photo from Wikipedia)

Virginia State Capitol - BCWH

 

State Symbol

State Spirit – George Washington Rye Whiskey.  George was a whiskey producer, and this product is in tribute to that.

 

 

Jamestown – The first permanent English settlement in the New World.

2016 11 08 92 Jamestown VA

 

 

Antietam Battlefield – The Battle of Antietam is one of the costliest day in American history, with over 22,000 dead and wounded in the battle.

 

 

Roads & Bridges

1954     1958 – Hampton Bridge and Tunnel     1964     1965     1966     1967     1970     1973 – Interstate 64     1992

 

 

Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnels. The area around Norfolk has numerous bridges and tunnels, including the 23 mile long Bay Bridge and Tunnels.

 

 

Udvar Hazy Air Museum. The National Air and Space Museum at Dulles International Airport in suburban Washington DC.

 

 

 

Oceans

1980 – Norfolk     1986- Sailing ship The Godspeed     1994 – Assateague Island Lighthouse     2004 – Eastern Shore     2006 – Jamestown Settlement ship Susan Constant     2012 – Virginia Beach     2016 – Chesapeake Bay – Tangier Island

 

 

Assateague Island & Lighthouse. This island is shared with Maryland, and contains wilderness area and the feral horses.

2016 11 07 148 Chincoteague VA

 

 

 

 

Mountains

1978 – Mabry Mill     1992 – Bicycling     1996 – Grayson Highlands State Park     2008 – Mountains Ravens Roost Overlook blue Ridge Parkway Nelson County     2010 – Blue Ridge Parkway  Crabtree Falls      2014 – Virginia Forestry 100th anniversary. Swinging Bridge Willis River Trail – Cumberland National Forest

 

 

The Skyline Drive was one of the earliest scenic parkways completed in the United States. It opened in 1935, and runs for 105 miles along the mountains in western Virginia.

 

Mary's Rock Tunnel on Skyline Drive Shenandoah National Pa… | Flickr

 

 

Virtual Travel – Oregon

We have reached the end of the trail – the Oregon Trail. Welcome to Oregon.

 

 

State Capital & History

1958     1975     1976     1992

 

The Oregon State Capitol is in the city of Salem. This building was completed in the 1930s, replacing a more traditional looking building that dated from the 1870s. This building was destroyed in a major fire in 1935.

 

 

Symbols of the Day

State Crustacean – Dungeness Crab (photos from statesymbols.org)

 

State Mother – Tabitha Moffatt Brown. Tabitha was 66 years old in 1946 when she traveled the Oregon Trail from Missouri. Once there she built a home and school for orphans, as well as provided writings that gave a female view of the times she lived.

The Mother of Oregon; Tabitha Moffatt Brown

 

 

 

The traditional end of the Oregon Trail was in the town of Oregon City, now a Portland suburb.

End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center | City of Oregon City

 

 

 

Portland is the largest city in Oregon, and the center of business and industry. While Portland borrowed the expression ‘Keep … weird’ from Austin, Texas, it is well deserved, as the city has it’s own unique vibe in the arts, culture and entertainment.

It is a beautiful city, one of my favorites.

 

 

Portland is known as the Rose City – and it is appropriate. They even have an evening Rose Parade in May, but in true fashion it is not a bunch of floats of flowers like Pasadena, it is a colorful event that is billed as ‘The Cleanest Parade in the Country’, as the last few things to pass are street cleaners, and all the attendees put their trash away!

 

 

 

Eugene is home to the University of Oregon. Along with nearby Cottage Grove it was also the filming location for Animal House.

 

 

Grants Pass has a number of fiberglass, decorated bears around town. Many are made and sold to raise money for local non profits.

 

 

Jacksonville is a picturesque small southern Oregon town. In the 1850s it was a gold rush town, today it thrives on tourism.

 

 

 

The Oregon Coast

1967     1969     1998

 

2016 06 02 80 Oregon Coast

 

Florence, Oregon is a town of 9000 along the Oregon Coast, where it meets the Siuslaw River. It is also home to Sea Lion Caves, This massive cave is at the bottom of a 300′ high cliff.

 

 

Heceta Head Lighthouse is one of the postcard views of the coast.

 

 

Yaquina Head Lighthouse is another picturesque lighthouse just up the coast. Nearby coastal areas are teeming with life.

 

 

Tillamook once had a naval air station with blimps. As a result they have a massive World War II era hangar.

Lincoln City has a motel with a great collection of giant Tiki Men.

As we moved north we arrived in Seaside, which has a statue of Lewis and Clark at the Ocean, but they actually arrived further north at Astoria (next).

 

 

Astoria, Oregon is where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. As noted it is where Lewis and Clark founded Fort Clatsop. It has a long fishing industry history.

 

 

 

Volcanoes and Mountains

1970     1972     1983     2001     2003     2005     2007     2009     2011     2013

 

 

Oregon is filled with volcanoes.

 

 

Crater Lakes is one of the most beautiful places we have ever been. It is situated high in the mountains, and gets pounded by snow all winter. We arrived in early June when the roads had just opened.

Crater Lake is a result of a collapse of a volcano. As a result it is the deepest lake in the country, with a depth of almost 2000′.

It is home to a National Park.

 

 

 

Waterfalls

1974     20000     2015

 

 

Oregon has numerous beautiful waterfalls, most are along the Columbia River Gorge east of Portland.

 

 

 

Multnomah Falls is the tallest at 611′, but there are many beautiful waterfalls in this area and beyond,

The Rouge Gorge downhill from Crater Lake has a number of smaller ones, but still a beautiful setting.

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Michigan

Welcome to Michigan.

 

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Great Lakes

Michigan is known as the Great Lakes States, and the plethora of road map covers featuring them is evidence of the importance to the state.

Maps – 1947 – Lakeshore     1968 – Soo Locks     2000 – Lighthouses     2001 – Great Lakes Great Times     2010 – Fishtown in Leland     2012 – Unidentified Small Harbor

 

Bordering 4 of the 5 Great Lakes gives Michigan 3,288 miles of shoreline – more than any state other than Alaska. With that much shoreline, they have a large collection of lighthouses.

Below are two from the Lake Michigan area near Ludington.

 

Below photos are from various internet sources

Big Sable Point Lighthouse, Michigan at Lighthousefriends.com Lighthouses of the U.S.: Michigan's Western Lower Peninsula

Beautiful Lighthouses in Michigan Worth a Visit | Michigan

Point Betsie Lighthouse Lake Michigan Canvas Print

3 Michigan Lighthouses To Receive State Preservation Grants – CBS ...

 

 

Transportation in Michigan

Maps – 1951 – Unidentified Country Road     1974 – Modes of Transportation     1975 – Interstate 75     1993 – Boats and Cars     2005 – 100 Years of Michigan Transportation

For more than 100 years Michigan has been the automobile manufacturing capital of the world.

 

 

Detroit area map from 1951 – before freeways. Detroit, and other midwest cities, were the first cities in the world built with the car in mind.

Government State Michigan 1951 1.jpg

 

Most of the main roads are multi-lane, with very wide median strips to enable ‘Michigan Lefts’.

In virtually the entire world there are left turn lanes, and protected by traffic light left turns. In Michigan where  there is a boulevard, there are no left turns – rather you turn right, immediately jump over to the left laen, do a U turn, and go on your way.

How the 'Michigan Left' turn became a thing

 

This photo from the Woodward Dream Cruise shows the northbound traffic, with a U turn to return to Marshall Street Westbound . Also note the No Left Turn sign at the intersection itself.

2016 08 20 121 Detroit Woodward Dream Cruise.jpg

 

 

Michigan has a long history of railroads throughout the state. While much of the passenger traffic is gone there are still some nicely restored stations throughout the state.

 

In the small town of Hickory Corners is the Gilmore Car Museum. Built across a campus like a small town, they have a fantastic collection of American cars, plus numerous buildings that have either been moved there or built there to recreate the original.

Below are some examples, a diner moved from Connecticut, and the Cadillac dealership.

The Sinclair station is in a nearby town.

 

 

Grosse Pointe is a wealthy suburb of Detroit. Each year they the Great Lakes Boating Festival at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club.

 

 

 

 

 

Parks

Maps – 1965 – Douglass Houghton Waterfall     1980 – Au Sable River     1989, 2011, 2014 – Sleeping Bear Dunes     2009 – Roadside Parks     2013 – Pictured Rocks National Seashore Cruise     2016 – Isle Royal National Park

There are a number of National Park Service locations in the state.

 

 

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It spans 35 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, and has dunes over 200′ high.

2008 08 18 63 Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park MI.jpg

 

 

 

Tahquamenon Falls State Park is in the Upper Peninsula. There are two waterfalls in the park, with the upper falls dropping 48′, with a width of 200′ making this one of the highest volume waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. It’s nickname is Rootbeer Falls, due to it’s color.

 

 

Grand Marais is at the eastern end of Pictured Rocks National Seashore.

 

 

Pictured Rocks is one of the most dramatic locales in the east.

 

 

 

Variety  

1970 – Winter in Michigan     1976 – Bicentennial     2003, 2006, 2018 – Collages of Seasons and Regions

 

 

Frankenmuth is a faux German town. It is a huge tourist spot.

 

 

Grand Rapids is the second largest city in the state, far behind Detroit.

 

Meyer May House is a classic Frank Lloyd Wright design located in Grand Rapids.

2008 08 19 29 Grand Rapids MI Meyer Mey House.jpg

 

Also in Grand Rapids is the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

 

 

Battle Creek had a forest of trees killed by the emerald ash borer disease. Rather than just clear cut them, they had a number of carvers come turn it into something special.

 

 

Marquette is the largest city in the Upper Peninsula. It is also home to Northern Michigan University. With the long, cold, snowy winters they have opted for a domed football stadium. This one is special as it is primarily wood.

 

 

The Upper Peninsula people (affectionately known as Yoopies) are a unique bunch, with a creative side.

 

 

 

Bridges

1971 – History of Bridges     1984, 1997, 2007, 2017 – Mackinac Bridge

 

Government State Michigan 1970 1.jpg

 

The Mackinac Bridge is the most famous bridge in the state. It connects the Lower Peninsula to the Upper Peninsula.

 

Among the others in the state is the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, Canada

 

Sault Ste Marie International Bridge Arch Greeting Card for Sale ...

 

In Battle Creek they have a park where they take all the old obsolete county road bridges and used them in the hiking/biking trail.

 

 

 

 

Detroit – 1973, 1978, 2015

 

 

Tiger Stadium – Home of the Detroit Tigers from 1912 until 1999. It sat empty for 10 years before the city tour it down – but not without much fight from the community.

2008 08 16 104 Detroit Tiger Stadium.jpg

 

 

It was replaced by Comerica Park.

2006 06 13 Detroit Comerica Park 3.jpg

 

 

The Detroit Institute of Art has an amazing Diego Rivera mural depicting the industrial life of the city in the 1930s.

2019 04 07 71 Detroit Institute of Art

2019 04 07 69 Detroit Institute of Art

 

 

The Guardian Building in Detroit is one of the best art deco skyscrapers in existence.

 

 

The Fisher Building is another great art deco building.

2019 04 06 141 Detroit Fisher Building.jpg

 

 

Detroit is Motown.Unfortunately many of the auto factories have long closed like this massive former Packard factory.

 

 

The Woodward Dream Cruise is the largest classic car gathering in the world. It occurs each August in the suburbs just north of Detroit.

 

 

Detroit is home to one of the most important New Car Shows as well.

 

 

Henry Ford spent much of his fortune on building Greenfield Village. He moved actual buildings in (like the Wright Brothers Bicycle Shop) to build the town.

 

 

 

1987 – Mackinac Island

Government State Michigan 1987.jpg

 

This entire island became Michigan’s first state park in the late 1800s.

Main Street (from Wikipedia)

A street, surrounded on both sides by two- and three-story buildings. One person is riding on horseback in the middle of the street, while others are walking on the sidewalk. Bikes are parked at the curb.

 

Hotel

A grand escape awaits at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

 

 

 

1996 – State Capitol

Government State Michigan 1996.jpg

 

Lansing is Michigan’s state capital.

State Flag

Flag of Michigan

 

State Seal

Great seal of Michigan

 

State Wildflower – Dwarf Lake Iris

Dwarf lake iris (iris lacustris)

 

State Children’s Book – Legend of Sleeping Bear

Book cover: The Legend of Sleeping Bear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colonia, Uruguay – January 2020 – A Historic Town

The town of Colonia del Sacramento was founded in 1680 by the Portuguese in what was then a southern territory of Brazil. Over the next 140 years it changed hands numerous times between the Portuguese and the Spanish, always remaining an important port.










The historic district is designated by UNESCO as a World Site. Many of the cobblestone streets date from the 17th an 18th century.

The buildings, while not as old, are still very historic.




















The Basilica dates from the early 1800s.





Nearby are the foundations of the buildings from the 1600s.





After visiting the church we continued our tour of the old town.













The lighthouse is situated next to a 17th century convent remains.











































Portions of the original city wall remain, having been restored.





We ended our walk around town crossing through the gate that lead originally to a drawbridge.






Biloxi, Mississippi – May 2019 – No Blues In Biloxi

Welcome to Biloxi, Mississippi.



Biloxi has to be the only town in America that built their freeway exit ramp over the beach and slightly into the ocean.



Nearby is the rebuilt Biloxi pier, replacing the one destroyed by Hurricane Katrina



Being on the Gulf Coast, Biloxi has palm trees on the beach giving it that tropical feel.



In some perspectives it feels like a beach town.



One of the more impressive buildings in town is the Frank Gehry designed art museum.



Biloxi has had a long history of gambling, and from the 1990s on large casinos were built directly on the beach.



Biloxi is one of the larger gambling meccas in the country outside of Las Vegas.



The tall hotel/casinos dwarf their small motels across the main boulevard along the beach.



But there is more to Biloxi than the casinos. The town is only a couple of hours away from New Orelans, giving the town itself a similar look and feel.

The Half Shell Oyster House not only is a great looking building, but the food was fantastic.



Nearby is MGM Park, a minor league baseball stadium for the Biloxi Shuckers – a middle tier farm team for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The name celebrates Biloxi’s heritage in the seafood and oyster industries.



The crowd was sparse for this Thursday evening game.



Their mascot is a giant seagull named Schooner.






Western New York – May 2017 – Roadside America attractions

As with all trips one of the highlights is finding the offbeat things in an area, and our route to Buffalo was no different.

 

First stop – Barcelona, New York Lighthouse

2017 05 13 9 Barcelona NY Lighthouse.jpg

 

Silver Creek, New York – Valvo’s Candy – Dolly The Waitress

2017 05 13 10 Silver Creek NY.jpg

 

Eden, New York – America’s only Kazoo factory

2017 05 13 19 Eden NY Kazoo Factory.jpg

 

Buffalo – Roswell Park Hospital Giant Buffalo Nickel

2017 05 14 67 Buffalo.jpg

 

Buffalo – Canalside – Shark Girl

2017 05 14 74 Buffalo.jpg

Eastern North Carolina & Raleigh – Late Fall 2016 Road Trip – Day 7

Our Thursday morning saw us leaving the Outer Banks westbound, with our first stop in Edenton, North Carolina, a quaint town from the Cotton is King Era.

2016 11 10 1 Edenton NC.jpg

The original cotton mill is now a condominium building. The town also had well-kept majestic old homes of the pre-Civil War period.

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Edenton’s waterfront of the Albemarle Sound was picturesque with tall leafy trees growing from the water with roots visible above and below the surface. The roots seemed to wrap around the tree trunk and support it in the water. The lighthouse at the edge of the pier was not a tall columnar structure as most lighthouses but a unique lighthouse constructed as a two story home with a widow’s walk and a large lantern placed on its roof.

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Edenton’s Chowan County Courthouse is one of the oldest courthouses in the country. Built in 1767, it is one of the finest examples of public Georgian architecture in the American South. Edenton was settled in 1658 and incorporated in 1727, and is counted as the first permanent European settlement in North Carolina.

2016 11 10 18 Edenton NC.jpg

In addition, to the courthouse and the Confederate Soldier memorial in the square, Edenton has the famous Historic Hicks Field, a baseball stadium that is now home to the John A. Holmes High School Aces as well as the Edenton Steamers of the Coastal Plain League. So, we as baseball fans wanted to see it.

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Hicks Field was built in 1939 as a Works Progress Administration project at the corner of East Freemason and Woodward, adjacent to the high school. The main structure is a wooden grandstand with a roof that was built to accommodate slightly more than 500 people. The main grandstand is the oldest remaining wooden grandstand of its type in the state of North Carolina.

Hicks Field was home to minor league baseball and semipro teams up until 1952, including the Edenton Colonials of the original Coastal Plain League, the Albemarle League, and the Virginia League. Players such as Bob Feller and other major league all-stars have stepped foot inside this historic stadium.

2016 11 10 23 Edenton NC.jpg

A stop in Zebulon brought us to see the Carolina Mudcats high A baseball stadium. The Mudcats are affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers and play at Five County Stadium. The friendly office workers there allowed us to enter the stadium to take photos and they even opened the gift shop for us so that I could buy a t-shirt for my collection. A perfect photo op from the top of the stands captured a shot of the field with the water tower outside the stadium painted as a baseball in the background.

2016 11 10 31 Zebulon NC Carolina Mudcats baseball stadium.jpg

Since we used to live in Raleigh, I tried testing my memory with names of the roads. I remembered the main roads although the area has developed a great deal. One thing that had not changed was the Char-Grill.   The Char-Grill has a company motto, “Simpler Times, Simpler Choices.”  This place cooks up classic hamburger patties cooked over charcoal flames and serves red hot dogs. The hot dogs are in a casing that looks very red unlike any other hot dog that I have ever seen. There is a protocol to ordering, you need to check off your options of your order slip and drop the paper order into a slot. The place was very busy but after a short wait we heard our name called for our order for pick up at the other window. The burgers are great but not the best we ever had.

2016 11 10 34 Raleigh NC.jpg

We drove into downtown Raleigh and parked the car across from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

2016 11 10 39 Raleigh NC.jpg

We walked to the North Carolina State Capitol for a self-guided tour of the building’s three floors. The Greek revival Capitol building, completed in 1840, currently houses the offices of the Governor of North Carolina, located on Union Square at East Edenton Street.

2016 11 10 48 Raleigh NC State Capital & Museums.jpg

During much of the Colonial period, North Carolina was without a fixed capital. Governors lived in their own homes and the Assembly moved from place to place, meeting in private homes, and in courthouses when available. In 1722 the Assembly selected Edenton as the capital, but years passed by as the center of the population had shifted westward. in 1788 a State Convention voted to set a capital plan for Raleigh, based on the then nation’s capital of Philadelphia.

Construction of a State House began on the town’s central square in 1792. First occupied in 1794, the building served as the capitol until it burned in 1831. The cornerstone of the present State Capitol, constructed on the site of the former State House, was laid in 1833 and the building was completed in 1840. The Capitol remains largely unaltered from its completion of 1840.

2016 11 10 52 Raleigh NC State Capital & Museums.jpg

The Capitol building also housed the original state law library and the geology department. The geology room had cases lining the walls shelved with rocks labeled by type and specific name. The next room that we viewed was the House of Representatives chamber which follows the semi-circular plan of a Greek theater in an architectural Corinthian style. The Senate chamber was decorated in the Ionic style of an ancient Greek temple.

The Capitol is a cross shape, centering on a domed rotunda where the wings join. The rotunda stands 97-1/2 feet from the floor to the crown atop the dome. Centered on the interior ground floor of the rotunda is a statue of George Washington depicting him in a Roman general’s uniform with tunic, body armor, and a short cape fastened at the shoulder.

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The North Carolina Museum of History is where we began our tour of the museum with the early history of the settlers along the coast, then into the tobacco and industry era where we learned that the Portuguese brought the first African slaves to America before the English arrived.

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On February 1, 1960, four African American college students sat down at a lunch counter at Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina, and politely asked for service. Their request was refused. When asked to leave, they remained in their seats. Their resistance in the act of a sit-down helped to ignite a youth-led movement to challenge racial inequality throughout the South; a small section of that lunch counter is in the museum.

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In addition an authentic slave’s cabin plucked from a southern plantation and reassembled in the museum was also on display, showing how harsh their life was.

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An athletic prominence of North Carolina section honored those athletes associated with the state in their professional sport with large banners of the athlete and some memorabilia. Most surprising to me was a tribute to the golfer, Arnold Palmer, a Latrobe boy, has a connection to North Carolina from his college days at Wake Forest University. Motorsports hailed Richard Petty and showcased his race car. The football section highlighted Carl Ellis who played for the Minnesota Vikings, and Buck Leonard for baseball. Many more professional and college athletes were also admired.

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Since we still had a bit of time before the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences closed, we headed over there for a speed tour.

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The museum had exhibits of local wildlife past and present. Models of dinosaurs stood stories high and skeletons of a sixty-foot sperm whale and a blue whale hung from the ceiling. Preserved and embalmed fish, birds, and insects were displayed in recreated environments.

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We had a quick dinner at Panera’s before venturing to the PNC Arena to watch the Carolina Hurricanes play ice hockey against the Anaheim Ducks. Because nearby Durham was hosting a UNC-Duke football game, the ‘crowd’ was sparse, announced at at 4000 allowed us to move around seats throughout the game for various angles of shots.  The Carolina “Canes” lost the game 4-2 to the Ducks.

2016 11 10 166 Raleigh NC Carolina Hurricanes.jpg

A short drive later we arrived at our hotel in Durham, a Hampton Inn, that was packed with the aforementioned football game fans.

St Johns Newfoundland – Late Summer 2016 Road Trip – Day 10

At 7:30 a.m. the restaurant on the ship opened for breakfast and we were waiting. The breakfast buffet was overpriced; the hot food was only warm and not good. Since we still had a couple of hours to go we went for another walk on the top deck to get some exercise. We walked eight lengths from one side of the ship to the other side guessing that it equaled one mile, not to mention a great sunrise.

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At last – Newfoundland! Driving off the ship onto the road, we followed an old drunken Newfoundlander in a truck who swerved to the right nearly off the road and over the center line in front of oncoming cars, but fortunately we were able to quickly get past him, hitting neither him nor any moose, of which there were plenty of warnings.

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The 90 minute drive into St. Johns, Newfoundland went without incident. As soon as we reached town, we headed back out to the east to nearby Cape Spear to be at the easternmost point in Canada and North America (no more further east landmarks on this trip!).

2016 09 05 33 St Johns NL Cape Spear.jpg

Because of its proximity to convoy routes during the Second World War, a gun battery was installed at Cape Spear to defend the entrance to St. John’s harbor. The bunkers and gun barrels offer a sheltered view of the ocean. Barracks and underground passages leading to the bunkers were built for the use of troops stationed there. The gun barrels and bunkers are still there which we explored a bit.

2016 09 05 38 St Johns NL Cape Spear.jpg

The Cape Spear Lighthouse is the oldest surviving lighthouse in Canada, operating since 1836. The structure consists of a stone light tower surrounded by the lightkeeper’s residence. In 1955 a new lighthouse tower was built on the site using the active light from the original lighthouse. The historical park gave us a glimpse into the life of the keeper. Glass chimneys were kept upstairs of the keeper’s house so that the lightkeeper could clean and replace them on a three hour regular schedule. The life of a lighthouse keeper seemed isolated and hard.

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Next we drove to Quidi Vidi (pronounced by the local residents, as “Kiddy Viddy” a neighborhood in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. The neighborhood is named for both Quidi Vidi Lake and Quidi Vidi Harbor – known locally as “The Gut”.  Located in Quidi Vidi is the Quidi Vidi Battery Provincial Historic Site, which had significance as a battery during the War of 1812.

Quidi Vidi was known for once being a historic fishing village dating back to the 1600’s and still maintains the look of a fishing village today. This tightly tucked in a ravine village is also home to Newfoundland’s largest microbrewery, the Quidi Vidi Brewing Company which seems to be the only business in the town.

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St. Johns is listed as the oldest English settled city in North America but there is dispute in that Jamestown, VA could be the oldest English settled city also. Our next stop was at Signal Hill which overlooks the city of St. Johns, high on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and St John Harbor.

Due to its strategic placement overlooking the harbor, fortifications have been built on the hill since the mid 17th century. The final battle of the Seven Years’ War in North America was fought in 1762 at the Battle of Signal Hill, in which the French surrendered St. John’s to a British force under the command of Lt. Colonel William Amherst. Lt. Colonel Amherst renamed what was then known as “The Lookout” as “Signal Hill,” because of the signaling that took place upon its summit from its flagmast.

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Historical military barracks are nestled in the hill and the tour guide explained the life of a soldier stationed at the Queen’s Battery Barracks during the 1860’s when the barracks were built. The barracks furnished fold up cots and British styled table and benches of the era and a fireplace. The guide showed us the high-waisted trousers and short jackets worn with a tunic and leather shoes that the soldiers had. The shoes had metal plates fastened with ten tacks to prolong their wear since each soldier was only issued items annually.

Large cannons set at the front of the barracks protected the harbor below. Ruins of gunpowder storage once stood within thick walls and thin roofs in case of accidental explosions. We hiked the trail back up the hill to see Cabot’s Tower.

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Located at the highest point of Signal Hill, overlooking the entire city and the ocean, Cabot Tower is a Gothic Revival style of architecture. Built of red sandstone, it is a two story, 30 foot, square structure with a three story, 50 foot octagonal tower. The first transmissions received in North America by Marconi were at Signal Hill, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador in 1901 and Glace Bay, Nova Scotia in 1902.  In 1933, a Marconi station was opened on the second floor of Cabot Tower, which operated until 1960. In 1920, one of the first wireless transatlantic transmissions of the human voice was made there.  A few items honoring Marconi were displayed on the second floor the tower.

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We walked onto the open deck of the roof of Cabot’s Tower for a look of the city. It was extremely windy, so windy in fact; it was difficult to open the door to get back into the building. As soon as we entered the building again, the staff closed off the roof for safety reasons.

Leaving Cabot’s Tower and driving into the city allowed us to see the colorful houses. Each wooden-sided home was painted a bright color different from its neighbor. The city of St. John’s is well known for its jellybean row houses that started in the 1970’s as a way to inject new life back into the declining city. Residents jumped onto the idea whole-heartily and spread the colorful palette outward so that the majority of the city is a jellybean row house street.

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We found our boutique hotel, The Jag, in downtown St. Johns near the convention center. After check-in we walked the streets a bit and opted for an early dinner since we missed lunch. We went to Green Sleeves, an open bar cafe with pub grub, with a beer and burger for dinner. They servered us in a Rolling Rock glass etched with the familiar 33 words which begin “from the glass lined tanks of Old Latrobe” but because we were in the bilingual country of Canada these words were also etched in French on the glass. I explained to the waitress the significance of Latrobe to our family, I asked her if I could buy the glass as a souvenir.

After checking with the bartender she said that if the glass was not there when she returned to clean up, oh well. We got the hint and the glass seemed little compensation for the very long wait that we patiently had for our food order.

It was fifty minutes before our food arrived. The restaurant gave us a discount on the food and apologized for the delay while they catered the wedding upstairs. When we got back to our hotel, the housekeeper knocked on the door to deliver us chocolates. It was a nice gesture and a good ending to a busy day, and as example of how our trendy hotel in far off Newfoundland was the best of the trip.

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New Brunswick – Late Summer 2016 Road Trip – Day 8

Another early start, on the road by 6 a.m., and we were off to the northeast. After entering our first destination into the GPS I found that it had me turn off U.S. 1, which turned out to not only be the quickest route (bypassing one of the numerous wanderings of U.S. 1 along the coast), but it took us up and down some fairly large hills, across bogs, and through a couple of small towns resulting in a really fun 30 mile segment, not to mention really waking you up as I was really pushing the Audi on the smooth curvy road.

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After stopping in Machias, Maine for a quick McDonalds breakfast (have you ever noticed that in the morning every McDonalds in the world has what seems to be the same 4 or 5 old men in them solving all of the world’s problems – a great reality TV show would be to go around and pull them from really random places and have them argue it out on live TV – but I digress).

Another hour down the road and we arrived at West Quoddy Park, the easternmost point in the USA not counting the Aleutian Islands that cross the International Date Line. As we drove into West Quoddy Park the Travelling Wilburys sang “At the End of the Line” It was perfectly timed as we rolled into the drive of the park and reached the end of the road.

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The park has a lighthouse and cottage set at the bottom of a hill; below the lighthouse cliff were boulders exposed because of low tide. The water shimmered from the sun as a fishing boat chugged through the large isles of rock with only a small fence separated the hill where we stood and the craggy shore but we could see stretches of land across the water.

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After heading north a bit we reached the edge of Calais, Maine, where we were to cross into New Brunswick. After a brief stop at the border crossing where we were asked a few questions and had to show our passports, we were on our way onto a recently built freeway. Just ahead we rolled into the visitor center to get a map, where the very helpful visitor center workers recommended we make a brief stop to view the waterfalls in the town of St George, only 20 miles ahead (or as they said about 30 kilometers).

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Continuing on we arrived in St. John, New Brunswick, to see the Mortello Towers, small defensive fort that was built as a coastal fort. The tower stands up to 40 feet high with two floors and typically had a garrison of one officer. Their round structure and thick walls of solid masonry made them resistant to cannon fire, while their height made them an ideal platform for a single heavy artillery piece, mounted on the flat roof to fire in a complete 360° circle. The Mortello Tower, was used in the War of 1812. We were not able to enter the tower because of renovation but stood at the base of the tower looking out to the sea.

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St John is the largest city in New Brunswick with a metro population of a little over 100,000 people, as a result they have a decent downtown where we found the City Market, the oldest continuous farmer’s market in Canada, for our lunch. We ordered a shrimp platter and fish and chips from an open shop vendor. While eating our lunch, we noticed that all the signs were in English and French. Even my can of root beer was labeled in both languages, root beer on one side and racinette on the other side of the can. There were bilingual signs for street posts, and car license plates too; New/Noveau Brunswick.

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All of the southern New Brunswick borders the Bay of Fundy, on the places that was very high on my list to visit. As we left St John we found the Fundy Trail, a park featuring a road hugging the coast with stunning views in every direction that includes over 20 spectacular lookouts, a waterfall, and 600 million-year-old rock formations. We stopped at one of the vistas looking out into the New Brunswick coastline, sparkling water and a view of Nova Scotia in the distance.

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We followed the Fundy Trail as far as the Salmon River where we walked across the suspension bridge. The bridge had a ten person limit and bounced a lot as we walked on it but the bridge is only 25 feet off the ground so it was not a fearless act. Our journey took us pass the Sea Caves at St. Martins, New Brunswick but it was high tide and the caves were only accessible by kayak now and not accessible to walk to the caves.