On the Road With Doris & Ez

We're going on a road trip!!!! Could be three weeks could be three years, we'll see. Read below to see where we are now.....

Sunday, September 09, 2007

New Hampshire, New York and Virginia - August, September 2007

We had a couple of sights to tick off of our “don’t miss list” as we headed west from Maine. But first we headed to New Hampshire for a couple of nights. We loved driving through the small towns and the hardwood forests where the leaves were just beginning to change. We tried to imagine how spectacular they’ll be in another month or two when they’re in full glory. Another plus – in three days we never encountered a single presidential candidate – amazing! Ez indulged me by spending an afternoon searching for all of the covered bridges in the area. I guess I owe him one, but I got some great photos.

We really logged some miles (unusual for us!) on the next leg of our journey to Montezuma, New York in the Finger Lakes Region. I always picture New York as such an urban area, so I was again pleasantly surprised to be driving through rolling green hills dotted with picture perfect farms with red barns and silos. We passed neat-as-a-pin Amish and Mennonite farms with draft horses in the barnyard (but no power lines to be seen). This is also wine country, so we stopped for a tasting at a couple of the vineyards and picked up a couple of bottles of surprisingly good Riesling.

But our ultimate New York destination on the "don't miss list" was Niagara Falls. Now, I admit, I always thought Niagara Falls was just a cheesy honeymoon destination with low-rent motels. And the American side does have its share of seedy gift shops and tourist attractions; the Canadian side has more of a Vegas feel with casinos and high-rises. But we spent most of a day touring the falls, and now I’ll put Niagara on my Top Ten List for this trip.

We traveled to several scenic points overlooking the falls, but my favorite stops were the ones where you get wet! After donning our “souvenir” raincoats and sandals, we hiked to the Cave of the Winds (which isn’t a cave at all) and climbed so close to the windswept mists from the American Falls it felt like being in a shower. I made the mistake of wearing jeans on this adventure, and they were soaked from the knees down! But what a thrill to be standing so close to the thundering torrent.

We got another “souvenir” raincoat for the boat trip on the Maid of the Mist. Standing on the open deck, we sailed up the Niagara River to the base of the Horseshoe Falls where we were surrounded by the roar of the cascading water. Nothing cheesy about this experience! That evening we capped off our Niagara Falls adventure with a swell dinner in the revolving restaurant at the top of the Skylon Tower on the Canadian side of the falls. After the up-close-and-wet adventures of the day, it was nice to sit back and watch the illuminated falls from a distance.

We headed south from Niagara, made a quick overnight stop in Pennsylvania, and then headed to the Shenandoah Valley region of western Virginia. Once again, the scenery is worth writing home about - hardwood forests, rolling hills, lush fields and quaint historic towns. We spent most of a day touring Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson (and the building pictured on the back of the nickel). Like Mount Vernon, Jefferson’s home and farm have also been restored to appear as they did when he lived here. Monticello is not only architecturally stunning, Jefferson also designed lots of unique features (such as pocket windows and built-in sleeping nooks) to make the building more efficient and convenient. When you tour this beautiful home, it’s easy to imagine what a joy it would have been to live here so long ago.

We also toured Montpelier, the home of James and Dolly Madison, which is also nearby. Although the grounds were stunning, the building itself is undergoing major restoration and the walls inside have been stripped down to the lathe. Not very elegant, but interesting to see the meticulous work that goes into the complete restoration of an historic home.

We’ll continue to head west across the Allegheny Mountains and into Tennessee. Check back soon for another update.


Anonymous Linda in T-town said...

Continuing to love following you as you wind your way around the country....

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Brenda Welsh said...

Hi Doris and Ez,

I just sent you a message, but I'm not sure it went through. I hope you got it, if not, let me know. Take care, Brenda Welsh

12:52 AM  

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