East Coast Journey – Spring 2017

It’s been a while since we posted a blog and a lot has happened! We wintered in Florida and are currently working in Massachusetts and the journey between the two states brought us much adventure! Here are the highlights from the fun places we stopped along the way in the order we visited them.  We purchased a membership to Passport America before we started the journey which gave us various discounts at RV parks along the way. It paid for itself after the first couple of stays.

St. Augustine

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View from Fort

Our first stop was St. Augustine, Florida. We stayed at St. John’s RV Park in St. Augustine. It was a no frills park, but clean and close to where we wanted to be.  We used the Old Town Trolly to get around town and back to where we parked. The first evening we just rode it around for sightseeing. The next day our first stop was at the Fountain of Youth Archeology Park, the original location of our nation’s first European settlement. We drank from the fountain of youth, enjoyed the beautiful grounds, living history exhibits and artifacts. We thought it was well worth the admission price. Next we went to the fort, Castillo de San Marcos, built by the Spanish in the 17th century and one of only two forts built of coquina making it able to withstand cannon ball blasts exceptionally well. We also did a tour of the St. Augustine Distillery and walked the streets enjoying the waterfront and old buildings. St. Augustine is a fun town and has something for everyone.

Charleston NC

For our stay in Charleston we chose the friendly local Walmart RV park haha. The only negative there was that both our RV and jeep had a sticker from a local brewery on them in the morning. I contacted the brewery to complain (thinking it was their way to advertise) and ended up getting a free beer in exchange for our troubles. Charleston is one of the oldest cities in the nation, originally settled in 1670 but became a city in 1783 so the architecture is a look in to the past. We did a walking tour of historic buildings and had a nice lunch after.

Outer Banks

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Our next stop was the Outer Banks (OBX), a series of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. We were mostly expecting fantastic scenery, but we got that along with many other interesting places to explore! Here we stayed at Sands of Time Campground in Avon, NC.  Using that as our home base we ventured out to visit the lighthouses and wildlife refuge at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. We have been working on our bird identification skills, but have a long way to go as we could only identify about half of the birds we saw. Next we visited Wright Brothers Memorial at  Kitty Hawk. It is a windy place, which is I guess why they choose it. They had a replica of the hanger they used as well as markers on the ground that showed where the first four flights landed.  It was amazing to see where the first fights took place. From there we went to a much older historical site. We went to Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. This is the location of a 1585 English fort and then in 1587 the first English Settlement . This later became known as the lost colony of Roanoke. This settlement was before both Jamestown and Plymouth, but it didn’t last long. The settlement wasn’t exactly thriving so later in 1587 they sent the governor back to England to bring back supplies. However, the timing wasn’t great. A war had just started between England and Spain. This caused a two year delay in his return. When he finally got back in 1590 everyone was gone, including his granddaughter and first child born in America, Virginia Dare. There was no trace of the colony, no belongings and no people. The only thing left behind was a single word  “Croatoan” carved into a wooden post.

Besides great wildlife and great history the Outer Banks also has great seafood. Fishing is a huge part of the local economy. We were able to find a little seafood market that had fish right off the boats and a small kitchen that would cook it up for you on the spot. We tasted Sheepshead  fish for the first time and it was delicious.

At this point we drove to D.C but will have another blog just for that because we did so much there!

Williamsburg/Jamestown

On our way up to D.C. we stopped at another lovely Walmart so we could visit Williamsburg and Jamestown.  Part to the city of Williamsburg has been preserved as a living history museum. Everything is as it would have been in the 18th century.  We have been to a few other living history museums, but this one was by far the largest at over 300 acres.  To continue the theme we visited the Historic Jamestowne that is run by the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation in conjunction with the National Parks Service.  We also visited the privately run Jamestown Settlement. The settlement was also a living history museum, but not done nearly as well as Williamsburg. However, they did have re-creations of the three ships that originally come over to start the settlement. Megann loved them.

Philadelphia

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Congress Hall

 

 

We stayed at the Campus Park and Ride in Phillidelphia. This was our most expensive stay and by far the most like staying at Walmart. It was in a pretty sketchy part of town but, it was close to downtown, gated and had power. The first place we visited was Independance National Historic Park which encompasses numerous historical places including Liberty Bell Center, Independance Hall, Congress Hall and the Benjamin Franklin Museum. This city is so full of history! It was so exciting and humbling to stand in the same building where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were debated and signed. Also historic but mostly drawn in by the food we visited Reading Terminal Market, the country’s oldest continuously operating farmers market. The market has just about every type of cuisine  you can think of including Pennsylvania Dutch fare which we were super excited about. We stopped midday to get a Philly cheese steak from a street vendor and it was delicious. Of course one of the main things we wanted to do was run up the “Rocky steps” but the NFL draft was set up there so they were inaccessible! What a bummer! We did get pictures of the statue though.

One day we decided to venture out of the city and just took a drive through Dutch country, stopping in small towns to shop for local goods and crafts.

Niagra Falls

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Next we drove ALL the way across Pennsylvania AND New York to get to Niagra Falls. We stayed at the Cinderella Motel and Campground in Grand Island, NY. This was also a pretty no frills type of place but worked out perfect for us. We are really glad we made the trek up to the falls because it really is breathtaking! We rode the Maid of the Mist boat right up to base of the falls and highly recommend doing it if you ever visit. It is crowded but is definitely the best way to feel the immense power of the falls. One thing we had heard and can confirm is that the Canadian side of the falls is where the life of the party is. The U.S. side has a great park but the Canadian side has casinos, restaurants, clubs and shopping. We did venture over to visit Tim Horton’s, made famous to us by the show How I Met Your Mother  haha. Unfortunately while we were there it was so foggy we couldn’t see the falls. Oh, and being near Buffalo meant we had to stop for Buffalo wings!

Journey’s End

The last leg of the journey with Big Berta was to Oakham, MA for our workcamping gig at Pine Acres Family Camping Resort. The remainder of the trip was uneventful, in a good way, and we arrived a few days early so we had time to make one more side trip before starting work:

Acadia National Park

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View from Cadillac Mountain

Our trip to Acadia was a short one and we just went up in the jeep and stayed at a hotel. We really only had one day in the park but we made the most of it driving the main park road, taking a short hike, having lunch in Bar Harbor. The coast line actually reminded us a lot of Washington and Oregon’s coast, rocky with great views.  On our return trip we drove down the coast passing through Portland and Kennebunkport, both of which I had heard about from my Grandma Lu who had made a trip to the North East and loved this area! We, of course, had to stop and get our first lobster roll in Kennebunkport. The scenery in Maine is unbelievable and the small coastal towns are fantastic. We can’t wait to do more exploring, especially when the leaves start to change.

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