Well, we made it! Kathy & I arrived on Maui this past Tuesday, and that marks our 50th state visited. We’ll be here about 10 days, home on Friday, March 4.
We’ve got a pretty busy schedule and I’ve been taking a lot of photos. But I don’t think I’m going to spend much of my time at the computer, so here are a few shots from our first evening and first morning to give you all something to look at.
The scenery here is amazing, the people are terrific, the weather is beautiful and we are eating lots of fish. I love Poke, and like lobster in Maine, Hawaii is the place for Poke! 😉
Some might say that it is hard to do a lot in Rhode Island, but I don’t think that is true. While it’s a small state, it packs a lot into a small area.
We had originally planned to just spend a day in the state, but when we made a last-minute adjustment to our itinerary we were able to add an overnight in Narragansett before backtracking just a bit to Connecticut. Narragansett is a lovely seaside town with lots of beautiful waterfront homes, without the hustle, bustle and big money of Newport. We spent an evening and most of the next day exploring the town as well as Cape Elizabeth and the Port of Galilee.
And I had my first of many Lobster Rolls! It wasn’t the best one I had, but you never forget your first one. 😉
On our drive from Mystic to Rockport, MA we passed through Newport. We had originally wanted to overnight in Newport but were put off by high hotel prices and low availability. When we drove through we quickly realized why – it was the first day of the annual Newport International Boat Show! Duh – our research had not discovered that. 🙁 So we gritted our teeth, drove through the crowded streets and out to Fort Adams State Park for views of the Newport Harbor, the Claiborne Pell/Newport Bridge and views back toward Narragansett. As it turned out, we were very glad to have spent the extra time in Narragansett, as we would have ended up really shortchanging the state without it.
By the standards of a Rhode Island local, we certainly missed a lot. I’d be happy to return someday, possibly even to Newport. But we saw and photographed enough to “check it off the list” and moved on to the rest of New England. More to come, soon!
How could you pass up a distillery named ‘Wiggly Bridge?’ You have to stop, right? 😉
Kathy & I enjoy stopping at wineries and distilleries on our road trips. Partly because we like bringing home souvenirs, but mostly (really!) because we love hearing the stories. Each place we visit has a story or two about their history, their products, their facilities and more. Sometimes many stories!
While we were in Rockport, MA, we visited two distilleries. Wiggly Bridge was about an hour up the road and just across the Maine border in York. We combined that with a visit to Bob’s Clam Hut, a local and tourist-favorite clam shack in Kittery. Two for one! 🙂
The story behind Wiggly Bridge is that it started as a bit of a joke between father and son, and turned into a full-time business. They even taught themselves how to build their first still. The distillery is located in an old barn, and windows in the tasting room look down on the distillery. A tour there starts at the bar with a cocktail made with one of their products, moves “across the room” to look at the distilling room, then returns to the bar for a tasting. The distillery produces whisky, rum, vodka, gin and agave spirits. Since this was our first stop we limited ourselves to a whisky and a rum.
After that, we drove back to Gloucester, MA to Ryan & Wood Distillery. Owner and co-founder Bob Ryan did our tasting and told the stories. If it wasn’t for two guys who walked in just as we were finishing our tasting, we might still be there listening to Bob. 😉 But we were “saved” and managed to get away with just four bottles – a rye whisky, a wheat whisky and two gins, one of which is aged in former rye whisky barrels. Yum!
Later in our trip, as we traveled from New Hampshire to Vermont, we stopped at the Vermont Spirits Distillery in Quechee, VT. Their claim to fame is a vodka made from maple sugar. We tried it and it was interesting, but to me it wasn’t something I wanted to bring home. Their 15 Hands bourbon and their bourbon barrel aged gin were pretty tasty, so we did bring home some samples of those.
In New York, we stopped by Finger Lakes Distilling, where we tasted but didn’t buy. We were mostly killing time before a wine tasting. 😉 Their spirits were quite good, but since we were already getting overloaded (in the car, in the car!), we decided to pass until next time.
Also in the photo above is Gunpowder Rye from New England Distilling Co. We didn’t visit there, but Kathy had that at a bar in Maine and loved it so much we had to track some down in Bar Harbor. That also made the trip home!
We visited three wineries in the Finger Lakes Region of NY but bought from only two. We purchased wine from Heron Hill and from Atwater, but chose to pass on wine from Dr. Konstanin Frank. We liked all of the wine but we were kind of choosy about whether we were getting a deal or not. If I can get a good discount and/or free shipping, I’m interested. Otherwise I can always buy online from home. Plus, we already have a pretty good supply on hand at home! 😉
One of the fun things about the Finger Lakes wineries is that we were introduced to several new – to us – varietals. Blaufrankisch is a grape that is widely grown in Europe and was introduced in NY from Austria. Baco Noir is a hybrid winemaking grape created in 1902 by French botanist François Baco. The unique climate in New York state is ideal for growing these types of grapes, and the results are really good. We were quite impressed and will continue to keep NY in mind as a source of good wine!
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot – there was also maple syrup from Vermont! 🙂
We capped off our adventure today with a cruise on Seneca Lake and a visit to both a distillery and a winery. More souvenirs! This is a pretty typical and boring tourist shot but it is a landmark in the town of Watkins Glen.
Kathy & I drove to Rochester today to visit the Eastman House and – more importantly – meet up with some of our photo friends (more on that later). This photo is not necessarily representative of the experience but is one of my favorites for the day.
We’ve got one more day in the Finger Lakes before we head south on Saturday. We should be sleeping in our own bed on Sunday and are looking forward to it!
Other than the Wright Brothers, perhaps no other individual is as important to the history of aviation than Glenn Curtiss. Just a few years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight in 1903, Curtiss, almost single handedly, improved and advanced the newfangled airplane to see ever expanding commercial, military and personal application.
Curtiss’ various ventures centered in the area around Hammondsport, New York. The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum is a tribute to this aviation pioneer and is a fascinating place to learn about this area of aviation history.
I’m finding it quite easy to make these early morning excursions when I am in an interesting place to photograph. I went out this morning in front of the lodge where we are staying. It is still cloudy, although forecast to start clearing today. The soft cool morning light made long exposures easy. In this case 7.5 seconds on a tripod gave the water a nice blur while preserving some of the detail.
I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post that we are now officially at 49 states! The last one, of course, is Hawaii. We have plans to go there in February.
We happened upon this spot on our drive from Lake Placid to the Finger Lakes area of New York. Within minutes the breeze picked up and erased the reflections. A reminder to shoot what we see when we see it.
We’re now in Vermont, but I wanted to post another photo of some of the small amounts of fall color we’ve been seeing. This is from a spot along SR 112 – before the official start of the Kancamagus Highway. We actually had (slightly) better conditions on the west side of the “Kanc” while the Highway itself was largely socked in with fog.
We visited Quoddy Head State Park today, location of the Quoddy Head Lighthouse as well as the Easternmost Point in the US. That gives us the two easiest of the four, along with Key West. The Northernmost and Westernmost Points are a bit more challenging. 😉