Diary Extract (Portsmouth – Mountain region)
We started the day with breakfast at the hotel, the first time an America hotel had offered us such a thing, it’s a shame the beds didn’t live up to expectation otherwise this would have been the best hotel yet.
After breakfast we went to a museum called Strawbery Banke; the houses were set up for a mixture of era’s. There was a man who made barrels, a lady who spoke about the Jewish people who came over to the United States, and a lovely garden. The lady gardener said she struggled with orchids! It got very hot again today almost unbearable wondering around in the heat (wonder if I will get used to it in Miami!).
Late afternoon we went to find a kayak rental shop near Newcastle (just down the road but another beautiful shipping town.) All except mum went out on the kayaks for three hours touring around the islands in a large channel linking to the main river and ocean, this was a peaceful ride with a double and single kayak – we each took turns. In the mean time mum explored Newcastle, there was some enormous yachts in the harbour there.
We then got a take away from a very popular place with the locals just down the road hidden in the depths of a local forest, I really like these secluded treasures – reminds me of the movies!!
Today started with breakfast – no waffles today. It was hot and humid again. Our first visit of the day was to the USS Albacore, a submarine that had been built in Portsmouth. It was hot and cramped inside, hard to imagine a large crew of 55, living there. Next we went up the coast to Maine, to see a lighthouse. There were lots of people on the beach, despite it being misty, probably due to the high humidity. The lighthouse was on an island so we couldn’t get close, but did get a few pictures, and then shared some fish and chips and salad (the cafe was expensive, and we are mean!)
Leaving Maine we returned past Portsmouth, then it was about 80 miles into the mountains. About half way we could see storm clouds in the distance, and then we saw lightening before hitting the storm front on. We had to stop the car along with many others on the hard shoulder – you could not see to drive. The thunder roared overhead, and the rain beat down on the car, then there were hail stones the size of chick peas and more torrential rain. It must have lasted at least twenty minutes. We made a rest room stop about five miles on; they hadn’t had the storm there.
Setting off again, we drove through miles of forest, the occasional camp ground or cabins, and beware of moose signs (“Watch out for Moose – it could save your life!”) About five thirty we reached our destination, which has outlet malls, hotels, fast food restaurants. There is a crazy golf outside the hotel.
Whilst in the mountain region we went hiking up in the woods. This place reminded me of what you see in american films with a creek or small lake at the bottom of the mountain and LOTS of kids or 20+ year olds swimming, drinking and generally having a good time. Whilst walking we were warned of a mother bear and her cubs seen running around in the forest – I did think I caught a glimpse of them but I can’t be sure – I guess at least we didn’t bump into them! The humidity was just as high up in the mountains as back in New York so walking was slightly uncomfortable, luckily the view from the top was worth while.
The main thing I realised when traveling this region was the change in scenery as we travelled up the country from New York. Overall a hugely enjoyable trip experiencing lots of the american culture!