Friday, September 20, 2013

Time in New England

Hello there, it seems ages since I updated the blog so I thought I would make a concerted effort before Sunday to bring you up to speed.

Firstly I have big news...Rob has got a new job. He went for an informal interview before we left for our road trip to New England. While we were away he got an email offering the position and he starts on October 1st. It means more money for him which is great, but he also gets his own van, and the area he will be covering will be more central. As far as the long hours and being on call, we won't know too much about that until he gets started. He is pleased and I am thrilled for him as I really think he was quite put upon in his current role and for very little money.

Now, the road trip...What a superb time we had, so much amazing scenery to take in. I think it's fair to say I am quite smitten with New England and cannot wait to go back. It took us around 8 hours to drive to Bangor in Maine where we stopped for the night. We certainly didn't hurry and I think that was a plus when it came to crossing over the border at Calais, New Brunswick, as I believe it can get pretty busy, however by the time we crossed there was no one there. We got or visa waivers from the office, paid a very small fee of about 6 dollars and across we went.

After spending the night in Bangor we headed on and drove around 5 hours to our main base for most of the week which was a town called Barre near Montpelier (the capital of Vermont) located in central Vermont. I lucked in and found a fantastic Inn there which had the biggest rooms, complete with kitchen area, iron/ironing board and a huge bathroom. The rooms were well appointed and the price was amazing at $65.00 per night. I do think the rate varies depending on the time of year, but I would definitely go back there again. It was so peaceful.

In total we spent 4 nights there and drove out everyday on routes that myself and Rob had already planned which covered many scenic areas and a huge amount of covered bridges. In total we pretty much covered all of central and northern Vermont. The next time I go back I want to do the southern parts and work my way across more of New Hampshire and Southern Maine.

Barre in Vermont is home to the the 'Rock of Ages' Quarry, the largest and I believe deepest Granite Quarry in the world. We took the tour and found it very interesting. The Rock of Ages quarry is the second most popular tourist attraction in Vermont, second only to Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Tour.....Which we didn't do as it looked a bit naff. We did however visit a Cold Hollow Cider Mill which produces non alcoholic cider. Great little place, the gift shop alone is worth the visit. They make and sell cider donuts, which are pretty damn tasty.

Our last full day driving around in Vermont was extremely hot. The temperature reached over 90 degrees and the humidity was shocking. This, it turned out was the beginning of the tropical storm that was about to hit. As we drove back later from Burlington to Barre the sky got darker and darker and we could see a lot of fork lightning. Now if you don't already know this, I have an extreme phobia of storms and this was not good for me. I was getting incredibly panicky and kept making Rob drive in the opposite direction, I think I nearly drove him insane, until we finally got back to the safety of the inn. The next morning the weather was beautiful, we headed off into New Hampshire along the Kancamagus Highway. What was to have been a relatively short 3 hour drive from Barre to Portland, Maine, turned into a stop and go session as this particular stretch of highway takes you though the White mountains and some spectacular scenery. Waterfalls, mountains, covered bridges, Gorgeous!

As we finally got nearer to Portland, once again the skies turned dark. We had to get to a camera store where I had pre-ordered a wide angle lens for my camera. We were only in the store around 15 minutes and when we came out the sky looked like Armageddon, thunder and lightning was crashing down around us and the rain was unbelievable. I was so terrified I was nearly sick. Poor Rob had to try and navigate to the hotel which was about 3 miles from the store in what can only be described as a wall of rain whilst I covered my face with a coat so I couldn't see the lightning. It was so close to us, far worse than the storm in Vermont. I can laugh about the situation now, but I am not sure Rob ever!

The next day the weather was gloomy but it cleared up pretty quickly thankfully as I was desperate to get out to Portland Head Lighthouse and take some photos. Such a beautiful and iconic lighthouse.
After spending time there we headed on our way back to Bangor where we were stopping for the second time, we got there late again...and it was raining hard once again! The next morning the weather was finally back to normal, the sun was shining and we made the most of our time and went to Acadia National Park, visiting Bar Harbor and some other scenic spots including another iconic lighthouse at Bass Harbor.  We then wound our way up the coast of Maine, passing through some very pretty towns and stopping at one more lighthouse in Prospect before crossing back over the border into New Brunswick where we stayed overnight at St Johns before driving back home early last Sunday morning.

All in all we cranked up just over 3000 miles in little over a week. I am still editing images, and hope to share a few here over the next week or two before I get distracted by Fall Colours.

Besides the scenery there were a couple of things that took a bit of getting used to...traveling in miles again instead of kilometers, I swear psychologically it took us longer to get places in miles! And of course the other thing you notice is the huge difference in sales taxes and prices, the taxes are far lower there than here, in New Hampshire there is no sales tax at all. The tax rate in NS sucks and prices are way too high! We paid around $13.00 in Maine for 18 bottles of Bud Light, you can pretty much triple that if you bought the same here.

The cats were glad to see us and have been ultra affectionate since our return. Shakespeare immediately got in the luggage as much to say, next time I am going with you!

An A'Tract'ive Display, Maine

Jenne Farm, Vermont

Martin Bridge, Vermont

Sabbaday Falls, New Hampshire


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