Adventures beyond time

Adventures beyond time

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York

The Senator Inn and Spa knows how to serve a complimentary breakfast. We were offered a vat of real oatmeal, not an envelope of instant, fresh fruit salad, cereals, bagels and a rotating toaster, raisin bread (yum), whole milk yogurt (yeah), hot scrambled eggs, hot sausage, and coffee served at the table, with real coffee cream. Ahhhhh, delightful. We left as happy customers.

The drive across the state on blue highways was beautiful. There was traffic, but it was not unpleasant. Bidding Maine farewell, we crossed New Hampshire, mostly on Route 2 with Mt Washington in view much of the time.

We stayed with Route 2 through much of  Vermont, crossing green mountains thinking of all the great cheeses made in this lovely state. The valley of Lake Champlain was as welcome a sight as the mountains had been.

We took the ferry from Charlotte to Essex NY. Tempted by the lakeside restaurant, we decided to head farther into the Adirondacks. On the way over, we had allowed Google maps to direct us around some of the little towns, but today we wanted to see them.

We stopped for lunch in Elizabethtown. Luck was with us. We randomly chose the Deer's Head Inn. Our choices included a board of local cheeses. Of course we chose it and were treated to two cheeses from Nettle Meadows(Kunik and Early Snow) and a tomme from Ausable. Also local honey and delightful crusty breads.

Despite a brief strong downpour, we arrived in Saranac Lake in good spirits from our cheese finds. We stayed at the newly re-opened Hotel Saranac. It has been restored well. Our room is small, but then they surely did not blast out all the concrete block walls in the restoration, and normal rooms were small back in the day. The appointments are thoughtful and comfortable.

The bar is grand, and has an outdoor patio with fire pits in the tables. Too bad about that downpour! We did not feel disappointed to have to stay indoors.

Today we are off to get Stela!
Back on the blue highways

Going through all the small towns today

Crossing Lake Champlain on the ferry

Lunch at the Deer's Head Inn


A stop in Lake Placid to stretch our legs

Outdoor bar area at the Hotel Saranac

Fire pits in the tables

Indoor bar area

Cocktail time


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Another New Place to Stay; More Trails to Walk; More Lobster Dinners

The third Alma hotel was not a posh as the first two, just more the size of a European hotel room than an American one. Stela would not have fit with her crate, but she is off at doggy camp having a grand romp so it worked fine for us.

We started the day at our most posh place, Alma hotel #2. Russ slept in a bit, while I made coffee and read my novel in the living room, with the electric fireplace on for ambiance :) Ah, what a vacation!

When we got our act together, we dug out our hiking boots and off we went to see more trails. We figured that climbing up into the car-top carrier to find our walking sticks would be over-the-top old-person cautious, so we didn't. We opted for the seaside trails. The first, Shiphaven -called Harbour in French-, took us along cliffs above the Bay of Fundy. Mist and fog rolled over us. The temperature dropped about 10 degrees. The sea breeze made us wish for wind breakers while we walked down the hills on the boardwalks and glad for the relief from the exercise on the way back up. Gorgeous views!

The second one we had chosen went to a copper mine. It was closed for repair. Darn.

Third on our list went along the cliffs, but the folks who were coming back from it warned that you really needed walking sticks because it was narrow, steep, and full of roots. Uh Oh. 

On to number four on our list. Like a goldilocks trail -- just right. We walked down a Devil's Millhopper long stairway to the low tide "beach." We walked on the bottom of the Bay, where the water would return in 4 or 5 hours. Very cool place.

Our fifth trail was Dickson Falls.  The Falls were lovely, but the gorge was spectacular.

For the final few hours of looking around, we found a pond formed by a glacier, like Star Lake. It was equally deep, but much smaller. The shared geological history made it special for us.

We returned to town for another round of tuna tacos and fish chowder. Steve taught me years ago in Prague that I should not resist repeated a meal I loved, so I followed his advice.

We went to the oldest restaurant in town when it got to be dinner time  and settled for lobster rolls instead of whole lobsters this time. We could still be exploring that Park. Maybe we need a return trip.

Forgot to mention that the water in all of the Fundy National Park and Town of Alma is not potable!  They are under a boil order and are so nonchalant about it that I suspect they have been and maybe will be forever. Perhaps 550 campsites, plus all the hotels, makes for more people using whatever sewer system they have than it can deal with. Brushing your teeth with bottled water gets to seem normal.

Today, Tuesday, we set out on for Maine. We arrived in Hallowell near Augusta about 1:30. For an hour, we had been discussing where among the 15 or so restaurants in Hallowell we would have lunch. We we got to town, all the roads were being dug up . . . all of them. Perhaps they are putting in storm sewers? It was a traffic mess.

However, it eased our restaurant choice because we zipped into the first open parking lot, resulting in a spectacular lunch of lobster fried rice and crispy noodle pad thai. Thank you fate!  I had read about a River-Rail-Trail in town. We sought it out and walked about 3 miles, but it had no shade and was less than advertised for ambiance. Oh well, it helped exercise off some of our lunch.

We are settled for the night in the Senator Inn in Augusta. Our room is huge and we are more than comfortable. Ahhhh! Smile.
Setting out on the Shiphaven Trail

Red spruce at the first part of the trail

Bay of Fundy from the cliffs above

Foggy and breezy, almost always

The rail keeps you from falling :)

Lots of steps

From the bottom of the steps it is just a beautiful

Quite a gorge

Down to the road. time to start back up

Looks different from this perspective

I am captivated by their interpretive markers
This is at the "beach" at the end of another trail we walked

This is how you get to the beach

And how you get back from the beach

There were steps at the Dickson Falls too

The stream that creates the falls

Pretty nice Falls

My tuna tacos!

Guiness with dinner

Hallowell's River, Rail, Trail walk

Hot, and not too appealing after all the tress at Fundy :)

The river was there

And pretty chairs by the parking lot

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Found a Room; A Sunday of Hiking Rather than Driving

The place we had stayed on Saturday was "completo", but we found a great condo at the Cliffside Suites above the village. We had a bedroom, kitchen, and huge bathroom, plus a patio outside with a grill and table and chairs. Despite those amenities, in the evening we drove down the hill and had our second lobster dinner in as many nights.

We spent most of the day hiking. The temperature was in the 60s. We first hiked a 5-mile trail in the forest. It was mainly hardwoods and hemlocks, surprisingly like the Adirondacks.

Next we hiked a 3-mile trail around a bog. It was not like the Adirondacks. The bog is 8,000 years old and 4 meters deep. Sometimes the edges decompose. The rotted spots are called "flarks". They are like quick sand and so dangerous they even trap moose. Plants struggle to survive the harsh, acidic soils of the bog. They are stunted and stressed. We took lots of pics.

I have been impressed by the interpretive panels here. They make me want to learn more.

By the time we finished those walks, we were ready to rest and settled on an outdoor cafe for tuna tacos (me) and fish chowder (Russ). We then moved into our Cliffside Suite and decided to forget about Nova Scotia all together this trip. We again could not stay where we were because it was full for the next night, but found another place in Alma and booked it.

We made plans for the return trip, since our ones through Nova Scotia were now defunct. Adjust and adapt!

Yay. Another day of hiking and lobster coming up.
Clear and helpful trail markers
The first trail on Sunday was quite Adirondack-like
The bog is 12 feet deep with dead vegetation
Stunted growth near the bog because of the thin, acidic, waterlogged soil that is poor in nutrients because the plants don't decompose, they turn into peat that forms the bog
The tide is in when we return to town
High tide
The staff seem to fill depressions with the downed branches and tree trunks that they clear from the trails
Mushrooms galore
And berries, not to eat
More mushrooms
And more mushrooms
8,000 year old bog
Such a lovely woods