We stayed with our good friends (Al & Lori) in Colchester Connecticut for a few weeks.
They played the part of tour guide and have shown us all around New England.
We spent an afternoon hiking at Diana’s pool in Chaplin CT. Diana’s Pool is a section of the Natchaug River where a series of small falls and cascades have carved out some fantastic pools. The largest being named Diana’s pool.
This is a very popular location for fishing or hanging out by the water on hot days. Swimming is not officially allowed, but people do swim here.
Diana’s Pool is 15 feet deep in places and looks like a small pond surrounded by large rock walls. The Natchaug River enters the pool over several waterfalls. Several trails snake along the river banks and provide scenic overlooks of the area.
Just north of the pool is a series of ruins.
We spent a beautiful afternoon and evening on Gardner Lake in Salem CT sailing and boating with Al and Kyle. We sailed the whole lake (529 acres) and visited the only island in the lake, Minnie Island, Connecticut’s smallest state park (.88 acre).
We took turns sailing around the lake. Al and Kyle seemed to really like our inflatable sailboat. I will not be surprised when they have one upon our return visit to the area next year.
The wind picked up some as the day went on, so the ride got to be a little faster.
As the sun began to sink into the skyline, we towed the sailboat back to the dock with Al’s Black OPS Fishing boat and headed ‘home’. About 10 minutes from shore Al’s boat ran out of gas but thankfully he picked up a spare fuel container on one of our trips to Cabela’s.
We did not hear the haunting piano music rising from the murky lake bottom emanating from the sunken house 100 yards offshore, maybe next visit.
We had a great time today and hope to sail Gardner Lake again before hitting the road.
Al took us on drives to show us the historic stone walls of New England. If you drive between any two places in New England on the back roads, along the way you’ll see miles upon miles of stone walls.
Stone walls are the boundaries in fields built by the first settlers in the area. Fields were cleared of trees; many were plowed and planted, and “rockpicked.”
Most of New England’s stone walls were built between the Revolutionary War and the period just after the Civil War but some may also be much older, built by ancient Indian tribes or even Celtics. By the end of the Civil War, more than 240,000 miles of stone walls— enough to circle the earth 10 times at the equator — spread like capillaries over a virtually treeless New England. Most walls were waist high because it took too much effort for a man to pile the rocks any higher.
These stone walls, whether they frame a pasture or seemingly run wild off into the woods, evoke a sense of place, of history.
Mohegan Sun Casino
We went to the Mohegan Sun Casino buffet ($25) with Ades, Kathi, Al and Kyle. Huge spread, lots of choice and variety. Found a lot of good food including prime rib, pasta bake, cheesecake and more. After dinner we walked around the casino, played some games, bought some souvenirs and took a few pictures (poor lighting for pictures). As usual we spent most of the time laughing and having fun. Great friends, great times.
On another visit to the Mohegan Sun, we went to Bobbys Burger Place. After seeing the burgers being delivered to the other patrons (red, under cooked), I asked for mine to be well done. It arrived as red as the others. I was given an attitude when I demanded a refund. Worst of all, I never received a refund but was CHARGED TWICE by the moron manager that can’t operate his own register. Stay away from Bobbys Burger Place!
We also had the opportunity to catch a nice fireworks display from the roof of the parking garage. While it was no Macys fireworks show, it was very nice and better than expected.
We visited Foxwoods Casino and ate at the Festival Buffet. A few bucks cheaper than the Mohegan Sun buffet and plenty of good food. Everyone seemed to do better in the Foxwoods casino too. The security guard made me put my camera away. Pictures are my right and I find that very oppressive, so I will not be returning to the Foxwood’s Casino.
We visited Cabela’s a couple times while in town. Hard to pass up a bison burger (elk burger, cheese steak, boar, etc). We also took Al and Lori for a ride in the RV to Cabela’s (we needed to use the RV dump facilities).
Amazing the number of rude, inconsiderate people who park tiny little cars in the RV parking lot. There was no where left to park RVs, but plenty of spots open for cars.
We organized a group dinner at Modesto’s Restaurant. After a mediocre dinner with bad service, we were each given a bill with a $10 tip added (even couples were given individual bills to maximize the tip). In some cases this was a 200% tip. I don’t mind tipping really well for good service, but this was anything but good service, and 200% is a bit much.
When the group protested, the restaurant manager threatened to call the police. We all agreed that they should call as we were being robbed. The manager then quickly changed it to a flat 20% gratuity. Even though that was still too much for what we received, we agreed to pay as at least it was much more reasonable.
We hiked a gorgeous section of the rugged New England coast at Beavertail State Park, located in Jamestown, Rhode Island. Known for offering some of the most beautiful vistas along the New England coastline.
Beavertail’s most popular activity is sightseeing, and can be done from the comfort of a vehicle, in one of the four overlooks or on foot, from the rocky coastline. Beavertail also provides some of the best saltwater fishing in the area, along with offering scenic hiking trails.
Del’s Lemonade is the best! Del’s is a brand of frozen lemonade, typically found in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. Dels frozen lemonade is often compared with Italian ice or slush. It is made from crushed ice, lemons, and sugar.
We ate dinner at the Smokehouse on the waterfront in Newport Rhode Island. After dinner we walked a checked out some of the shops before cruising back to Colchester.
On a beautiful Saturday morning we drove to Boston and toured the New England Aquarium and the water front area. At 6pm we boarded the Voyager II for a whale watching cruise. An hour and a half ride through Boston Harbor and out into the Atlantic Ocean to the Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary to see humpback whales, finback whales, minke whales and pilot whales from aboard a high speed catamaran.
Once we were out to where the whales were, the boat just drifted around, giving us time to enjoy the whales.
We were able to spot several whales, and a even young whale showing off. We circled the area for about an hour, enjoying a beautiful sunset while the whales entertained the crowd.
The return trip to the dock we were treated to a fireworks show from somewhere on the northern Boston shoreline, a near full moon and a spectacular view of the Boston Harbor lit up against the night sky.
We also went to the Bass Pro shop and to dinner at the Blue Fin grille while in Massachusetts.
Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire
Found some local honey (Maine Wild Raspberry Honey) while shopping at various road side stores.
After a long day touring the New England country side, we stopped to enjoy the sunset and a nice dinner at a quaint ocean-side restaurant (Lobster Cove) in Port Harbor Maine with Lori and Al. The haddock, lobster, pot roast and a hamburger were all very good.
Stay tuned, more to come …