EPIC US ROAD TRIP 2017

DAYS 22-25 - KENTUCKY & THE GREAT LAKES - KENTUCKY, OHIO, MICHIGAN & NEW YORK

 

Image || Rear view reflections on New York State Route 80 by the edge of Otsego Lake, Upstate New York.

dMb US State Digest

Kentucky (KY) | Ohio (OH) | Michigan (MI) | New York (NY)

Quick Link Regional Highlights

Maynardville, TN
Sneedville, TN
Coeburn, VA
Jenkins/Burdine, KY
Hyden, KY
Sandy Hook, KY
Olive Hill, KY
Greenfield, OH
Dayton, OH
Erie, MI
Cleveland, OH
Cooperstown, NY
Lake George, NY
Lake Shore Drive (Ticonderoga, Crown Point, Westport & Essex), NY

Epic US Road Trip 2017 – Kentucky & The Great Lakes

We were just passing through. Four days, four States and 1,506 miles of passing through. Having gorged on the history & music of the Eastern Seaboard & The South for three weeks straight, Kentucky & The Great Lakes offered something of a respite. It got chillier day by day and what leaves we saw as we approached a New England fall enticed. Yes there were highlights, a return to rural Kentucky, a quick box-ticking foray into (& out of) Michigan, the shores of Lake Erie, the shrine to America’s beloved National Pastime that is Cooperstown’s National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum & the lake-heavy forested wilds of Upstate New York’s Adirondacks the notable highs from this portion of the wider road trip. But the feeling that we were only passing through never really abated, not until the job was done and were were perched by the shores of Upstate New York state’s Lake George on the very edge of New England itself. And in getting us there Kentucky & The Great Lakes region, and just like it did last year, did a damn fine job.

Just passing through. Heading northeast. New England bound. Fall by the side of Interstate 90, a.k.a. the New York State Thruway/the Governor Thomas E. Dewey Thruway/AMVETS Memorial Highway, Syracuse, Upstate New York. Day 25. October 21, 2017.

EPIC US ROAD TRIP || Day 22

 

Rural. On the Tennessee/Virginia State Line, US 33, Hancock County.

 

“Shunning US Interstates, and in a successful bid to join the cartographical hometown dots of many an old-time country music or bluegrass heavy hitter, we went deep off the beaten track for a total of 307 green & windy miles through northern Tennessee, southwestern Virginia and southern Kentucky. Three states, 300+ miles and many a small-town USA highlight, none of which you’ll find in any guidebook.”

Day 22 || October 18 2017

Route || Knoxville, Tennessee to London, Kentucky.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 307 (494)
Today’s Highlight || Rural, small-town USA

We went rural today, road trip day 22. Shunning US Interstates, and in a successful bid to join the cartographical hometown dots of many an old-time country music or bluegrass music heavy hitter, we went deep off the beaten track for a total of 307 green & windy miles through northern Tennessee, southwestern Virginia and southern Kentucky. Three states, 300+ miles and many a small-town USA highlight, none of which you’ll find in any guidebook. I guarantee that.

Americana. Sneedville, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.

Knives, amo, smokes, kerosene and, em, free coffee. We ventured into the neighbouring shop to use the toilet. While here we attempted to buy a few coffees. We tried to pay but were given them for free. I’ve still no idea why. The Irish charm working its charm on charming small town USA maybe. Sneedville, Hancock County, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.

Tennessee To Kentucky Via Virginia
Almost, but we weren’t quite done with musical Tennessee just yet. Suffice it to say, we took an alternate route today in getting from Knoxville (back) to neighboring Kentucky via (southwestern) Virginia. As I said, we were joining the rural dots while crossing quiet state lines. First up today was Maynardville, 25 miles north of Knoxville.

Maynardville

Tennessee (TN) || Founded as Liberty & renamed after ex-congressman Horace Maynard, Maynardville bills itself as ‘The Cradle of Country Music’. And why not. Country singers Carl Smith (1927-2010) and Roy Acuff (1903-1992) were born here. Both are Country Music Hall of Fame inductees (Acuff, ‘The Smoky Mountain Boy’, was inducted in 1962 as the first ever living inductee, & Smith in 2003) & both are commemorated by plaques embedded in the wall of the town’s boxy Union County Court House.

Maynardville, ‘The Cradle Of Country Music’. Union County, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.

He’s the biggest singer this music ever knew. You booked him and you didn’t worry about crowds. For drawing power in the South, it was Roy Acuff, then God.

– Hank Williams commenting on Roy Acuff

DR CARR OFFICE || The historic Dr. John H. Carr office building in Maynardville, Union County, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.
I wish I knew what & who this was all about (insights were not forthcoming), the very small, very yellow and very old (= historic) office of a Dr. John Harvey Carr (1888–1936). Quaintness personified, I believe it’s still in use today as an art gallery cum workshop, a very small one.

There’s little else to see in Maynardville (population some 2,500), apart from the aforementioned plaques & the Dr. Carr building, and they won’t detain you very long.

FALL FANATICS || Maynardville, Union County, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.
If last year’s trip thought me anything it is that the Yanks, especially those in the sticks, love Halloween. And they prepare for it well in advance; we’ve been looking at pumpkins since landing 3+ weeks ago now.

BE BACK SOON || Maynardville, Union County, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.
A mid-morning ‘Be Back Soon’ (if at all) in sleepy Maynardville.

COUPE DEVILLE || For sale by the side of US 32 outside Maynardville, Union County, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.
I loved this. As always in rural USA, today we saw plenty of abandoned, rusting & has-seen-better-days transport options by the side of the road. However, this, an immaculate 1989 Cadillac Coupe deVille with 74,000 miles (119,00 kilometres) on the clock, has obviously seen some TLC of late and is now for sale. I can’t imagine it reaches a wide audience sitting by the side of a road in rural northeastern Tennessee.

Sneedville

Tennessee (TN) || Fifty miles from Maynardville & just shy of the Virginia state line, rural gets very rural in Sneedville, population 1,300. One of the poorest towns in the US with a population over 1,000 it may be (so says Wikipedia), but at least it can lay claim to being the hometown of Jimmy Martin, the only reason we found ourselves on the streets of the town receiving dubious stares from the locals; Sneedville is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else and non-locals stand out.

Americana. Sneedville, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.

Americana. Sneedville, Hancock County, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.

JIMMY MARTIN || Sneedville, Hancock County, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.
The only reference we could find to Sneedville’s favourite son, Jimmy ‘The King Of Bluegrass’ Martin (1927-2005), was this sign on the fringe of the town. Instrumental in developing the bluegrass ‘high lonesome’ sound as a member of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys, Martin was, by all accounts, a volatile, high-strung character both on and off stage, traits which kept him from realising his lifelong dream of becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

A few miles beyond Sneedville and it was finally time to say goodbye to musical Tennessee.

On the Tennessee/Virginia State Line, US 33, Hancock County. October 18, 2017.

Crossing briefly back into Virginia. On the Tennessee/Virginia State Line, US 33, Hancock County. October 18, 2017.

RURAL SIGHTS & ABANDONMENT || By US 33 just beyond the Tennessee/Virginia State Line, Hancock County. October 18, 2017.
Show-off Halloween displays fronting whitewashed houses amid impeccable display lawns that contrast starkly with unkempt, detritus-plagued surrounds of tumbledown houses & sagging barns; flags (both the Star & Stripes & the Stars & Bars); mile after mile of rusting roadside farm machinery, cars, trucks & tractors; rolling fields, forests & roller-coaster-esque roads. You see & experience them all in rural USA this time of year. They are all eye-catching, but it’s the abundant abode abandonment that’s most striking, most photogenic.

We didn’t spend long in Virginia this time around, spending just enough time as was needed to get reacquainted with the state’s so-called Crooked Road, it’s Heritage Musical Trail that we spent a few days driving last year. Although it was brief, it was good to be back among the musical mountains of the Virginia’s extreme west & southwestern regions. It’s not a particularly large state (the 15th smallest actually) but there’s a very different feel to life over here compared to the historied Eastern Seaboard side of the state.

Coeburn

Virginia (VA) || Very few of the sleepy settlements along Virginia’s musical Crooked Road, if any, can top Coeburn‘s All-Star lineup of past & present bluegrass A-listers. The dual brother duo of Jim & Jesse McReynolds & Ralph & Carter Stanley are already bluegrass royalty, something Ralph Stanley II, the present generation of Clinch Mountain musicians, may attain someday. (Danny O’Quinn jr? A professional stock car racer).

Coeburn, Wise County, Virginia. October 18, 2017.

CHARMING COEBURN || Coeburn, Virginia. October 18, 2017.
A right little charmer was Coeburn, its beautiful redbrick-heavy downtown a showcase of antique lamps, brick sidewalks, pedestrian bridges &, this time of year, tasteful fall decorations. Yep, a right little charmer indeed.

FRIENDLY LOVE || Coeburn, Virginia. October 18, 2017.
There weren’t many of the 2,000 or so souls that call Coeburn home out and about on the charming streets of the town on this particular October Wednesday afternoon, but there was plenty of love; we could feel it. After all, the town does have the motto ‘The Home Of Friendly People’.

The Country Music Highway, US 23, Virginia. October 18, 2017.

COUNTRY MUSIC HIGHWAY || US 23, southwest Virginia. October 18, 2017.

National Scenic Byway #5 – The Country Music HighwayUS Scenic Byways Logo
We hit the Country Music Highway last year too in northeastern Kentucky. Today was the return, this time in southwestern Virginia, US 23 accounting for over half the 25-mile drive from Coeburn to the state line with Kentucky. And rather appropriate it was to drive the highway given the day that was in it, and totally coincidental as it tuned out – we didn’t realise on either occasion, this year or last, that we were on the road until we saw the roadside signage, necessitating a stop for the obligatory photo op.

The sites and sounds along the byway capture all aspects of the region’s history, including Native American culture, pioneer settlement, coal mining, country music, crafts, architecture, the Civil War, and natural resources.

www.fhwa.dot.gov commenting on the Country Music Highway

On the Virginia/Kentucky State Line, US 23. October 18, 2017.

KENTUCKY THE RETURN || On the Virginia/Kentucky State Line, US 23, Pound Gap, Virginia. October 18, 2017.
It’s good to be back in Kentucky. I loved it last time.

dMb US State Digest

kentucky_glossy_square_icon_256Kentucky

State Nickname – The Bluegrass State. State Mottos – United we stand, divided we fall; Deo gratiam habeamus (Let us be grateful to God). Admitted To The Union – June 1792 (15th state). Population – 4.4 million (22nd most populous state). Area – 40,409 sq miles (37th largest state). Capital – Frankfort. National Parks – 1 (Mammoth Cave). National Scenic Byways/All-American Roads – 6/0. Famous For – Horses, horse farms & the Derby; bluegrass (the region, the grass & the music); bourbon; being photogenic; KFC; Abraham Lincoln (born in Hodgenville); Fort Knox; baseball bats; Muhammad Ali (born in Louisville); karst landscapes; caves; quilting patterns. State HighlightPicture-perfect Bluegrass Country; bluegrass (the music); Mammoth Cave National Park; rural, back country drives. Kentucky Titbits – Kentucky boasts the world’s longest cave system; it also has more navigable miles of water than any other state not called Alaska; the state produces 95% of the world’s supply of bourbon whiskey, and the number of barrels of bourbon being aged in Kentucky (more than 5.7 million) far exceeds the state’s population; the name Kentucky means ‘meadow lands’ in several different Indian languages and was specifically applied to this region of the country, thereafter Europeans adopting the name to apply to the state; Harland Sanders, a Kentucky colonel, launched Kentucky Fried Chicken at his service station in North Corbin, Kentucky, in 1930. Supposedly even back then it was finger-lickin’ good!
Keeneland, Lexington, Kentucky, USA. September 27, 2016.

Kentucky. State #15 this year, state #24 last year when this picture was captured in Lexington, Kentucky. September 27, 2016.

Jenkins & Burdine

Kentucky (KY) || It’s only three miles over the state line from Virginia to the neighbouring settlements of Jenkins & Burdine/East Jenkins. Founded on land purchased for a coal mine operation in late 1910, incorporated in 1912 & named after one of the founding coal company directors, present day Jenkins as we found it was just like Coeburn, Sneedville & Maynardville before it – dead but photogenic. We still found enough to keep us busy for a few minutes as we (unsuccessfully) searched out evidence of the town’s most famous former musical resident, master fiddler Kenny Baker.

Jenkins, “A City Built On Coal”. Letcher County, Kentucky. October 18, 2017.

Burdine, Kentucky. October 18, 2017.

Burdine/East Jenkins, Letcher County, Kentucky. October 18, 2017.

Jenkins, Letcher County, Kentucky. October 18, 2017.

KENNY BAKER || Sam Bentley Cemetery, Jenkins, Letcher County, Kentucky. October 18, 2017.
We were pretty sure, and still are convinced, that Kenny Baker is buried on the very steep slopes of the Jenkins Sam Bentley Cemetery, we just failed to located the grave. Born in 1926 and buried here somewhere after his death in 2011, Baker is considered one of the most influential fiddlers of the bluegrass genre and is best known for his 25-year tenure with the ‘Father of Bluegrass’ Bill Monroe and his group The Blue Grass Boys.

Hyden

Kentucky (KY) || A 65-mile drive on rural southeastern Kentucky roads got us from Jenkins to Hyden. With a population of less than 500, Hyden was the last, smallest & sleepiest of all the rural northeastern Tennessee, southwestern Virginia & southeastern Kentucky settlements we visited today. There were signs on the outskirts of the town commemorating the Osborne Brothers, Sonny & Bobby, born here in 1937 & 1931 respectively & still going strong on the bluegrass scene today, but nothing in the veritable ghosttown of Hyden itself.

Hyden, Kentucky. October 18, 2017.

On the Osborne Brothers Way, Hyden, Leslie County, Kentucky. October 18, 2017.

HYDEN || Main Street, Hyden, Leslie County, Kentucky. October 18, 2017.
‘In The Heart of The Mountains’ & the county seat of dry Leslie County, which bills itself as ‘The Redbud Capital of the World’, Hyden was established in 1878 and had since had two moments in the national spotlight – in December 1970 as the nearest settlement to the Hurricane Creek mine disaster (which killed 38 miners and was immortalised in the Tom T. Hall’s song ‘Trip to Hyden’) & in 1978 when ex-president Nixon made his first public speech here after his resignation following the Watergate scandal.

EPIC US ROAD TRIP || Day 23

 

Quilting pattern. Railway Street, Olive Hill, Carter County, Kentucky.

 

“Portions of the town of Olive Hill… were as quiet as we’d come to expect from rural Kentucky, but the town is both big enough (population over 1,500) to boast some activity and its residents curious enough to approach us wondering what on earth we obvious out-of-towners were doing poking around somewhere like Olive Hill. “Blame Tom T,” we said. Who else?”

Day 23 || October 19 2017

Route || London, Kentucky to Dayton, Ohio.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 376 (605)
Today’s Highlight || Olive Hill, Kentucky

We continued north today, but stayed rural. Stayed small town America. Today, Day 23, was also the last day of musical homage on this particular road trip, a second successive day of searching out the sleepy hometowns of past musical greats. En route we crossed a state line, bidding adieu to the photogenic quilting patterns of rural back road Kentucky while being welcomed back to Ohio. Things are a tad busier here on the outskirts of Dayton. More drab. I miss quiet & colourful Kentucky already, just like I did having left it for Indiana last year.

A quilting pattern adorning a barn in Rural Elliott County, Kentucky. October 19, 2017.

Sandy Hook

Kentucky (KY) || We passed through Sandy Hook on Day 30 of last year’s Epic US Road Trip so nothing of it today was a surprise. It was all very familiar, and all very familiarly quiet. The bronze statue of the town’s favourite son, hugely influential country music singer Keith Whitley (died of alcohol poisoning in 1989 aged 34), is still strumming its guitar in the town cemetery; the old timers are still frequenting the Frosty Freeze Restaurant to catch up with the local gossip over some simple, hearty fare; and the tumbledown barns in the surrounding rolling countryside are still as photogenic this year as they were last.

KENTUCKY QUILTING PATTERNS || A quilting pattern on a barn in rural Elliott County, Kentucky. October 19, 2017.
We noticed them on our back county Kentucky drives last year but never fully grasped until now the whole quilting pattern thing the state has going on. Many of the 120 counties that comprise the state of Kentucky have joined the craze, banding together to display a part of their cultural heritage in a statewide art project the aim of which being to brighten up Kentucky’s rural back country roads in an effort to lure tourists away from interstate highways. And for those lured (or lost), eye candy awaits in the form of hundreds of unique & colourful square quilt panels affixed to roadside buildings, flood walls and rustic barns creating a series of quilting trails. It’s just another reason, as if another one were needed, to love Kentucky.

It’s not just quilting patterns. Colourful murals, mostly sprucing up what looks like bedraggled abandonment, adds to the art gallery nature of a back road Kentucky drive. Elliott County, Kentucky. October 19, 2017.

Olive Hill

Kentucky (KY) || Portions of the town of Olive Hill, a 20-mile drive north of Sandy Hook, were as quiet as we’d come to expect from rural Kentucky, but the town is both big enough (population over 1,500) to boast some activity and its residents curious enough to approach us wondering what on earth we obvious out-of-towners were doing poking around somewhere like Olive Hill. “Blame Tom T,” we said. Who else?

A once-busy railroad town incorporated in 1884, Olive Hill’s claim to fame is as the birthplace of country singer & songwriter Tom T. Hall (1936-present). The Storyteller, as he is known, ‘used his God-given talents to become famed as one of America’s balladeers, telling in music form the story of the common folk and the daily happenings which color their lives,’ so says a plinth dedicated to the town’s most famous son, a plinth situated adjacent to Olive Hill’s long, fetching Historical Mural.

HISTORIC MURAL || A portion of the Historical Mural lining W Tom T Hall Blvd in Olive Hill, Carter County, Kentucky. October 19, 2017.
Created by Northeast WIA Youth between 2002 & 2006, the wall fronting Olive Hill’s old High School, now home to the Carter County Public Library and Center For Art & Education, charts the history of the town and its immediate surrounds in vivid fashion. There’s quite a lot to take in – stretching for some 150 feet (46 metres) seems to suggest that there’s a lot more history to sleepy Olive Hill than initially meets the eye.

STURGILL’S || Sturgill’s Music Center, 169 Scott Street, Olive Hill, Carter County, Kentucky. October 19, 2017.
The talkative & affable old lady keeping shop in Sturgill’s Music Center was only too happy to dust off old pictures to appease our curiosity while proving her connection to Tom T, her late husband having been both a good friend and band member. The shop cum museum has been a cultural mainstay in Olive Hill for over 55 years, forever promoting the pickin’ of Kentucky bluegrass as opposed to the cutting of it.

Abandonment on Railroad Street, Olive Hill, Carter County, Kentucky. October 19, 2017.

RAILROAD STREET || Walker’s Family Restaurant, Railroad Street, Olive Hill, Carter County, Kentucky. October 19, 2017.
One of the few businesses still to be found on Olive Hill’s largely abandoned Railroad Street, the site of the town’s now restored but unused passenger depot (trains haven’t trundled into Olive Hill since the tracks were pulled up in the mid-1980s), we didn’t need to ‘Sound Horn’ to attract the attention of the owner of Walker’s Family Restaurant; taking pictures out front of his establishment both lured him out & got us talking. He was curious why we were in Olive Hill at all, we were curious as to why this portion of Olive Hill seemed abandoned. ‘Times are not as prosperous as they used to be’, we were told. I can only imagine.

Breaking the rules on Railroad Street, Olive Hill, Carter County, Kentucky. October 19, 2017.

We drove from Ohio to Kentucky last year, from Kentucky to Ohio this year, crossing the Ohio River both times.

dMb US State Digest

ohio_glossy_square_icon_256Ohio

State Nicknames – The Buckeye State; Birthplace of Aviation; The Heart of It All. State Motto – With god, all things are possible. Admitted To The Union – March 1 1803 (17th state). Population – 11.6 million Ohioans (7th most populous state). Area – 44,825 sq miles (34th largest state). Capital – Columbus. National Parks – 1 (Cuyahoga Valley). National Scenic Byways/All-American Roads – 4/1. Famous For – The Wright Brothers; being a perennial swing state in presidential elections; Amish communities; cows; roller-coasters – the world’s greatest concentration of them can be found at Ohio’s Cedar Point Amusement Park. State Highlight – Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Ohio Titbits – Although nearly all of the waterway belongs to neighbouring Kentucky & West Virginia, Ohio is named after the region’s Ohio River which defines the state’s southern border with Kentucky; eight US presidents have had Ohio as their home state, the most of any US state; the state had the country’s very first fully professional baseball team, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, now the Cincinnati Reds.

Ohio. State #16 this year, State #23 last year when this picture was captured in Chesapeake, Ohio. September 26, 2016.
There’s a lot going on here on the Ohio plate, a lot to decipher. Present, of course, are the state’s three nicknames of Birthplace of Aviation (although their famous first flight happened in North Carolina in December 1903, the Wright Brothers were from the state of Ohio), The Heart of It All (presumably because Ohio’s geographical location means it links the Northeast to the Midwest, not to mention the fact that no matter where you are in the state you’re only a one-day drive of 50% of North America’s population and 70% of North America’s manufacturing capacity), & The Buckeye State (partly because many buckeye trees once covered Ohio’s hills and plains). But there’s more on here, including Light & Flight – as well as the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, the inventor of the microphone, the phonograph &, of course, the light bulb, was also a Buckeye. Go Ohio!

This year. At the Ohio-Pennsylvania state line on Interstate 90, Conneaut, Ohio. October 20, 2017.

Greenfield

Ohio (OH) || It’s a 2-hour drive north from Olive Hill, and a 60-mile, 1-hour drive south from Dayton, our overnight location for this day, to Greenfield. Named after its rural appearance and technically a village according to Ohio state law (even though it has a population of just under 5,000), it’s a tow… sorry, village that wouldn’t have seen us at all if not for its musical connection to one of the country music’s most underappreciated proponents.

JOHNNY PAYCHECK || On the outskirts of Greenfield, Ohio. October 19, 2017.
Born Donald Eugene Lytle in 1938, Johnny Paycheck was a country music singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and Grand Ole Opry member who achieved his greatest success in the 1970s (specifically with 1977’s “Take This Job and Shove It”) before a period of drug, alcohol and legal problems ultimately led to his untimely death in 2003 at the age of 64. One of the genre’s most underrated performers, we visited his grave in Nashville‘s Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery only 3 days’ earlier.

EPIC US ROAD TRIP || Day 24

 

The City of Cleveland as seen from Huntington Beach off Lake Road, Bay Village, Ohio.

 

“…we crossed Midwestern state lines by venturing out of Ohio & into Michigan (road-trippers need to tick state boxes), out of Michigan and back into Ohio, out of Ohio and back into Pennsylvania, sampling, in the process, two very different versions of Erie – one in Michigan, one in Pennsylvania – and paying a few tolls, a necessity round these busy parts.”

Day 24 || October 20 2017

Route || Dayton, Ohio to Erie, Pennsylvania.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 393 (632)
Today’s Highlight || The shores of Lake Erie

A busy day on the road today as we edged that bit closer to New England. We started the day splitting time between a Dayton Cracker Barrel & laundromat (road-trippers need to eat & be clean); we saw water again for the first time since Day 17‘s Lake Pontchartrain, 1,000 miles to the south on the Gulf of Mexico, skirting the shores of Lake Erie today taking us both past some impressive lakeside mansions and through the city of Cleveland; we crossed Midwestern state lines by venturing out of Ohio & into (Pure) Michigan (road-trippers need to tick state boxes), out of Michigan and back into Ohio, out of Ohio and back into Pennsylvania, sampling, in the process, two very different versions of Erie – one in Michigan, one in Pennsylvania – and paying a few tolls, a necessity round these busy parts. The 1-day-removed sincerity of back road Kentucky seems a million miles away at this stage.

Approaching the end of Day 24. Eastbound on busy Interstate 90, northeastern Ohio. October 20, 2017.

DAYTON || Waiting. laundromat. Dayton, Ohio. October 20, 2017.
There’s not a whole lot to say about Dayton, southwest Ohio’s manufacturing centre & home to National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, apart from the fact that we bedded down in what was easily the worst room we’ve frequented in what is now 60 days of US road-trippin’ (between this year and last) – locations are memorable for a myriad of reasons, not all of them good. Oh, and our Dayton daylight hours were spent shared between Cracker Barrel & this laundromat before heading north for Michigan.

We’re ultimately heading east, but decided on a slight out-of-the-way foray across the state line with neighboring Michigan, at its closest some 160 miles due north of Dayton.

dMb US State Digest

ohio_glossy_square_icon_256Michigan

State Nicknames – The Great Lake(s) State; The Wolverine State; The Mitten State; Water (Winter) Wonderland. State MottoSi quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice (If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you). Admitted To The Union – January 26, 1837 (26th state). Population – 10 million Michiganians (10th most populous state). Area – 96,700 sq miles (11th largest state & the largest east of the Mississippi). Capital – Lansing. National Parks – 1 (Isle Royale). National Scenic Byways/All-American Roads – 2/1. Famous For – Making cars; Motown/soul music; breakfast cereal (Kellogg’s is headquartered in Battle Creek Michigan, the so-called Cereal Capital of the World); forests; beaches; being split in two (the mitten-shaped Lower & Upper Peninsulas) & surrounded by water, even though it’s an inland state; unemployment, abandonment & boarded-up buildings – Detroit, a.k.a. Motor City, is ‘restructuring’ after decades of decline and the capitulation of its once-lauded motor industry. State Highlights – Gritty Detroit, Mackinac Island & the rugged & isolated Upper Peninsula. Michigan Titbits – Michigan is surrounded by 4 of the 5 Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron & Erie) which gives rise to a lot of water-related boasts: it has the longest freshwater shoreline in the world (& among US states, only Alaska has more shoreline, freshwater or otherwise), more than 11,000 inland lakes, more than 36,000 miles of streams, over 100 lighthouses and navigational lights, no part of the state is more than six miles (10 kilometres) from a natural water source or more than 85 miles (137 kilometres) from a Great Lakes shoreline, & the state ranks first in US in the number of boat registrations; one of America’s marquee car brands, Cadillac, is named after the founder of Detroit, French explorer Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac; Henry Ford perfected the moving assembly line manufacturing technique for automobile production in Detroit in the 1920s churning out the Model T, the world’s very first mass-produced, affordable car (today Ford, GM, Michigan’s largest company, & Chrysler are still headquartered within the Detroit metropolitan area); half of the state is forested land, mostly the remote hardwood forests of the Upper Peninsula; although nicknamed the Wolverine State, there are no longer any wolverines, a stocky shaggy-coated carnivorous mammal, to be found anywhere in Michigan; it was the first state to guarantee every child the right to tax-paid high school education & the first state to provide in its Constitution for the establishment of public libraries; opened in 1930, the mile-long Detroit-Windsor Tunnel under the Detroit River, today the second busiest crossing between the US & Canada, was the world’s first auto traffic tunnel built between two nations.

Michigan. State #17. Erie, Michigan. October 20, 2017.

Pure Michigan. Thumbs-up at the Ohio-Michigan state line. October 20, 2017.

The open road is alive and well and waiting to take us to Pure Michigan. Whether you are an urban adventurer or an outdoor enthusiast, a foodie or a thrill-seeker, traveling with your family or making memories with friends – you are on the brink of planning a vacation so unique, it can only be classified as Pure Michigan.

– Michigan.org

State Box-Ticking
Crossing into Michigan was a box-ticking exercise if ever there was one – we drove in one way, north on Interstate 75, the Detroit-Toledo Expressway, and out another, south via a combination of US Route 24 & E. Sterns Road. We didn’t expect to see anything of note en route but as it turned out a quick foray into southern Michigan did throw up a roadside highlight. Cue the Trabbic Pumpkin Farm.

TRABBIC PUMPKIN FARM || Tomfoolery. Trabbic Pumpkin Farm off E. Sterns Road, Erie, Michigan. October 20, 2017.
Thumbs-up at state & attraction signage is one thing, but Michigan, as brief as it was, provided something a little different. No doubt there are pumpkins around here somewhere, and lots of them. It’s just that we didn’t see any (although we didn’t look). All we saw were these awesome hay bale characters, too big and way too enticing to ignore. We couldn’t resist. After all, we needed an Epic US Road Trip 2017 Michigan highlight and suffice it to say options were limited.

Back in Ohio and it was time to head east via the Ohio Turnpike.

OHIO TURNPIKE || Toll ticket torment on the Ohio Turnpike, Toledo, Ohio. October 20, 2017.
The main conduit between Pittsburgh & Chicago, the 241-mile (388 kilometre) Ohio Turnpike was built in the early 1950s and opened in 1955, a year before the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 authorised the construction of the Dwight D. Eisenhower-championed US Interstate Highway System.

LAKE ROAD || As seen from Lake Road skirting the southern shore of Lake Erie, Bay Village, Ohio. October 20, 2017.
We left the Turnpike, preferring a leisurely afternoon drive east to Cleveland via Ohio’s swish Lake Road instead of hurtling there via more dulling Interstate. This shore-hugging stretch of the 3,200-mile, California to Massachusetts US Route 6 has some rather grandiose lakefront property (with some equally grandiose price tags). They were impressive enough to make me pull over more than once.

Lake Road. No doubt a favourite among Realtors. Bay Village, Ohio. October 20, 2017.

HUNTINGTON RESERVATION || The distant city of Cleveland as seen from Huntington Beach of the Huntington Reservation by the shores of Lake Erie, Bay Village, Ohio. October 20, 2017.
Today part of Cleveland Metroparks and once the country estate of wealthy Cleveland industrialist & philanthropist John Huntington (born in England in 1832), the lakefront Huntington Reservation is one of the oldest reservations in the greater Cleveland area and still contains many of the unusual botanical specimens brought from Europe by Huntington himself. As a recreational hub for the Greater Cleveland area, it provides lake access for walking, picnicking, boating, fishing, bird watching and swimming, its beach the first on the shores of Lake Erie and in the state of Ohio to attain Blue Wave certification (2011), a national environmental certification designed to help maintain robust, healthy and vibrant beaches.

Cleveland

Ohio (OH) || Founded by European Americans in 1796 and home to the pyramid-shaped Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we only passed through Cleveland and thus didn’t see much of note, but I was still struck by how small Ohio’s second-largest city (after the state capital of Columbus) is – we drove from one side of the major Great Lakes port city, one with a population of just under 400,000, to the other in a few minutes, although, and as seen below, entering the city at the end of the day as opposed to exiting it meant we avoided the worst of the traffic.

Eastbound on the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, Cleveland, Ohio. October 20, 2017.

EPIC US ROAD TRIP || Day 25

 

The Hall of Fame Gallery in The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, Upstate New York.

 

“As a baseball fan, I’ve long since wondered why the national shrine to the National Pastime is in a small Upstate New York village. The museum had, emm, this base covered, as one would expect it to.”

Day 25 || October 21, 2017

Route || Erie, Pennsylvania to Lake George, Upstate New York.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 430 (692)
Today’s Highlight || The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown

Second only to 480-mile Day 17, today, 430-mile Day 25, was the last day we’d spend getting to New England. We’re (almost) here now, perched as we are on its edge ready for our week-plus-long leaf-peeping assault on an autumnal US northeast, the central purpose of the wider road trip. But that’s for tomorrow (& beyond). Today was all about New York State. We crossed it – all of it, west to east – in getting here to Lake George with a stop off en route at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in quaint Cooperstown. That was about the only thing we saw on Epic US Road Trip Day 25 besides long stretches of tolled Upstate New York Thruway.

Long stretches of New York State Thruway (or US Interstate). Bluegrass Junction just eats ’em up. Heading east today on the New York State Thruway/Interstate 90/AMVETS Memorial Highway, Upstate New York. October 21, 2017.

Erie, Pennsylvania, our overnight location for Day 24, is only 20+ miles shy of the New York State line.

dMb US State Digest

AN ORIGINAL THIRTEEN || One of the original Thirteen Colonies. Province of New York established in 1664. Crown colony from 1686.

ohio_glossy_square_icon_256New York

State Nicknames – The Empire State; Excelsior State; Knickerbocker State. State MottoExcelsior (Ever upward). Admitted To The Union – July 26, 1788 (11th state). Population – 20 million New Yorkers (4th most populous state). Area – 54,500 sq miles (27th largest state). Capital – Albany. National Parks – 0. National Scenic Byways/All-American Roads – 2/1. Famous For – Niagara Falls; the Statue of Liberty; Contrasts (largely rural Upstate vs. industrial, urban Downstate); cookie-cuter suburbs (the practice of mass-producing homes was first perfected on Long Island); modern-day baseball (first took hold in & around New York City with the formation of the Knickerbockers social club in 1845); 9/11. State Highlights – Indefatigable & kaleidoscopic New York City (NYC), the most populous city in the US, a global city, the oft-described cultural, financial & media capital of the world and the greatest city on earth; the flash Hamptons; rural upstate drives. New York Titbits – New York State and City, which makes up over 40% of the state’s population, were both named for the 17th century Duke of York, the future King James II of England; the state boasts four of the world’s most-visited tourist attractions, three of them in NYC – Times Square, Central Park, Niagara Falls and Grand Central Terminal; if New York State were an independent nation, it would rank as the 12th or 13th largest economy in the world, depending upon international currency fluctuations; NYC’s New York Post was established in 1803 making it the oldest running newspaper in the US; Oneida’s 51″ x 81″ (28.68 square feet) Cross Island Chapel, with room for 2 people, is the world’s smallest church; the first railroad in America ran a distance of 11 miles between Albany and Schenectady; southeastern New York State’s Catskills Mountains are the home of the legend of Rip Van Winkle, brown trout and fly fishing; NYC was the first capital of the US. In 1789 George Washington took his oath as president on the balcony at Federal Hall; the country’s first pizzeria was opened in NYC in 1895; Joseph C. Gayetty of New York City invented toilet paper in 1857; the first cattle ranch in the US, in Montauk on the eastern tip of Long Island, dates to 1747; the state’s Adirondack Park, established in 1885 as the first state preserve of its type in the US, is larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Olympic National Parks combined; also, formed in 1885, Niagara Falls State Park, home of Niagara Falls, is the oldest state park in the US; New York state’s Genesee River, the only river that completely crosses the state, is one of the few rivers on earth that flows south to north.

New York, State #18, the first US state to require licence plates on cars. Dewitt Service Area, Interstate 90/AMVETS Memorial Highway, Syracuse, Upstate New York. October 21, 2017.

I LOVE NY || New York likes to be different, so how’s about an unintentionally different pose at the Pennsylvania-New York state line, Interstate 90, Ripley, Upstate New York. October 21, 2017.
When in New York, be it state or city, one is never far from the now-iconic I Love New York logo. A pop cultural icon, it was designed for of a hugely successful advertising campaign that has been in use by the state since 1977 to promote NY tourism.

Welcome to New York State! Discover the many wonders that make it the country’s most desirable vacation destination and enjoy some of the many fun and exciting things to do here. Experience the endless treasures that New York State has to offer.

iLoveNY.com

Within minutes of crossing the state line into Upstate New York and we were encountering a toll booth. We quickly got used to them on this day.

NEW YORK STATE THRUWAY|| More toll ticket torment, this time courtesy of the New York State Thruway/Interstate 90/AMVETS Memorial Highway, Upstate New York. October 21, 2017.
Just over 300 of the 430 miles we clocked today were spent heading in an eastward direction via the New York State Thruway, known officially as the Governor Thomas E. Dewey Thruway for former New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey. Running for a whopping 496 miles (798 kilometres), from the Pennsylvanian state line in the west to the outskirts of New York City in the east, makes this the longest toll road in the US, not to mention the 5th busiest. The first stretch of the road opened in June of 1954, before the creation of the mid-1950s nationwide Interstate Highway System, & today it comprises 6 different highways. Today we drove a 301-mile stretch of Interstate 90, itself designated within New York State as the AMVETS Memorial Highway, which put a combined $13.60 dent in our coffers via three separate toll payments (E-W: Ripley to Lackawanna, 67 miles, $3.15; Buffalo to Herkimer/Mohawk, 212 miles, $9.45; Canajoharie to Amsterdam, 22 miles, $1).

THURWAY SERVICE AREAS || Tim Horton’s at the DeWitt Service Area, New York State Thruway/Interstate 90/AMVETS Memorial Highway, Syracuse, Upstate New York. October 21, 2017.
Things are noticeably different on the New York State Thruway compared to the nationwide Interstate Highway System. The signage, the exits & the services. All different. Seeing a Tim Hortons for the first time today (we’re even seeing signs for Canada) saw us picking up a Timmies & a few donuts to accompany us for the remainder of the drive east to Cooperstown.

Cooperstown

New York (NY) || Sleepy Cooperstown, a charming little village perched at the southern tip of New York State’s narrow Ostego Lake and with a population of less than 2,000, must either thank its lucky stars for the attention bestowed upon it by the presence of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Either that or it bemoans the tourist influx.

COOPERSTOWN & THE COOPERSTOWN HISTORIC DISTRICT || Main Street, Cooperstown, Upstate New York. October 21, 2017.
An attraction in its own right, most of the historic pre-1900 core of the village of Cooperstown, including the stretch of Main Street seen here, is part of the Cooperstown Historic District, a grouping of over 220 buildings that collectively achieved listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Facades of Main Street, Cooperstown, Upstate New York. October 21, 2017.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum – Every Fan’s “Field of Dreams”
Five hours it took us to cover the 320 miles separating Erie, Pennsylvania from Cooperstown, New York, the reward at the end of it a kid-in-the-candy-store experience at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Batter up!

NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM || The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Main Street, Cooperstown, Upstate New York. October 21, 2017.

Pay tribute to the great achievements of our country’s heroes by visiting one or all of our 15 Halls of Fame.

iLoveNY.com

With all due respect to the other 14 Halls of Fame in New York State, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is where it’s at. In its noble bid of ‘Preserving history’, ‘honoring excellence’ and ‘connecting generations’, the Cooperstown experience is everything I expected and wanted it to be – a wide-eyed educational immersion of all things baseball, from its very beginnings through to the present day and with an obvious emphasis on its elite protagonists. We spent an enthralling few hours in here. I could have spent a whole lot more but closing time had other ideas.

HALL OF FAME GALLERY || The Hall of Fame Gallery of The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, Upstate New York. October 21, 2017.
Spread over 3 floors, The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is a many faceted shrine to the game with permanent & changing exhibits & galleries galore, a theater, a library and an interactive statistical database. Suffice it to say, all of that supplements the main event, the Hall of Fame Gallery. Only the crème de la crème – just over 1% of the ballplayers privileged enough to have gotten the chance to lace ‘em up in the Big Leagues, a monumental achievement in and of itself – make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame, those enshrined (on average 4-6 a year since The First Class of 1936) immortalised via small bronze plaques permanently displayed here in Cooperstown’s Hall of Fame Gallery. It’s a who’s who gallery of baseball icons. Household names. The very best of the best to ever play the game.

Baseball fans everywhere agree that visiting the Hall is an experience that not only celebrates the game they love, but is a journey through the past.

– Excerpt from the official National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum pamphlet

The Babe. Elected to the Hall of Fame as a member of The First Class of 1936. The Art of baseball exhibition in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, Upstate New York. October 21, 2017.

BASEBALL ROOTS & THE NATIONAL PASTIME || A display in the museum of The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, Upstate New York. October 21, 2017.
People have played stick & ball games for thousands of years throughout the world, but baseball as we know it today first took hold in and around New York City in the mid-19th Century, a social club devoted to the game, the Knickerbockers, accredited with being the first organised baseball team of its kind. Upon its formation in 1845, the Knickerbockers would pen 20 rules for their version of base ball – then called the ‘New York game’ – which eventually laid the foundations for today’s multi-billion-dollar game (& industry), it evolving over the past century & a half into the nation’s beloved National Pastime, one ingrained in most facets of modern-day American society.

The Final Goodbye. Derek Jeter, eligible for Hall of Fame inclusion in 2020. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, Upstate New York. October 21, 2017.

Why Cooperstown?
As a baseball fan, I’ve long since wondered why the national shrine to the National Pastime is in a small Upstate New York village. The museum had, emm, this base covered, as one would expect it to. Seemingly, and in a desire to solidify the National Pastime’s American roots, sporting good magnate Albert Spalding handpicked a commission in the early 1900s that ruled an Abner Doubleday, a Civil War hero, created the game of baseball in Cooperstown in 1839. Most historians balked at that – baseball, evolving from similar bat and ball games, had been played for decades previous – but Cooperstown, which capitalised on the commission’s findings to build a baseball museum in the game’s alleged birthplace, remains to this day the spiritual home of the game.

Doubleday didn’t invent baseball… baseball ‘invented’ Doubleday, a thriving legend that reflects Americans’ desire to make the game our own.

– Text reproduced from a display in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Trevor Hoffman, a 2018 Hall of Fame Inductee. A display in The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, Upstate New York. October 21, 2017.

Cubs Win! Finally. A World Series 2016 base on display in The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, Upstate New York. October 21, 2017.

EPIC US ROAD TRIP || Day 26

 

Boating on Lake George as seen from Fort William Henry, Lake George, Adirondacks, Upstate New York.

 

“Thank god for the lake is all I say, saving the day despite getting the bum end of the deal; the lake has given the seasonal village its name, while the village in return has given the lake tourists, and lots of them. Long (32 miles/52 kilometres long), narrow, deep and known as the Queen of American Lakes, Lake George shimmers & shines…”

Day 26 || October 22, 2017

Route || Lake George, Upstate New York to Montpelier, Vermont.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 143 (230)
Today’s Adirondacks Highlight || Lake Shore Drive, Upstate New York

Pulling out late yesterday evening from Cooperstown, 105 rural miles (170 kilometres) to the south, ensured we arrived by the shores of Lake George under the cover of darkness. I expected it to be busier, even on a late October weekend. But we didn’t see a whole lot of people, found it hard to find a bed, a TV on which to watch the Yankees exit the Postseason to the Astros in Game 7 of the ALCS (we’re in New York, right?), food & a beer after 10 p.m. on a Saturday night. Lake George revealed itself & was a whole lot more inviting today, Day 26, the day we finally made it to New England proper by leaving the State of New York for neighbouring Vermont, and we made sure to sample some of wild charms of New York’s Adirondacks en route. It – the Adirondacks – is not quite New England yet but it’s damn close and if New England proper is anywhere near as pretty as this then we’re in for quite a visual treat over the coming days. I just hope New England itself isn’t this quiet.

A real New England primer. Fall foliage as seen from New York State Route 9N/Lake Shore Drive, Adirondacks, Upstate New York. October 22, 2017.

The Adirondacks
New York’s Adirondacks mountain range, a largely circular massif about 160 miles (260 kilometres) across, lends its name to this extreme north-eastern corner of the Empire State. Snuggling all neighbourly love-like up to the border with Canada, this is cabin country, an outdoor lovers paradise, a mostly untouched region of 40-plus peaks, forests, parks, trails, rivers and lakes. It’s wilderness (glancing at any map of the region will reveal a lot of officially-titled ‘Wilderness’ areas) with a smattering of quaint & sleepy towns whose residents happily live the quiet life 24/7 or whose vacationers while away their limited downtime sampling it.

Upkeep on Montcalm Street, Ticonderoga, just one of the quaint & sleepy towns we passed through today en route from Lake George to Essex to catch the ferry across Lake Champlain to Vermont (& New England proper). Ticonderoga, Adirondacks, Upstate New York. October 22, 2017.

Lake George

New York (NY) || Perched on the southern shores of Lake George, the Village of Lake George is the southern gateway to the Adirondacks. Belying its majestic & heavily forested surrounds, the village is something of a kitsch fest; it’s overrun with motels, arcades, tacky souvenirs shops and, in season, people (they know the value of the tourist dollar here and no mistake).

LAKE GEORGE || Boating on Lake George as seen from Fort William Henry, Lake George, Adirondacks, Upstate New York. October 22, 2017.
Thank god for the lake is all I say, saving the day despite getting the bum end of the deal; the lake has given the seasonal village its name, while the village in return has given the lake tourists, and lots of them. Long (32 miles/52 kilometres long), narrow, deep and known as the Queen of American Lakes, Lake George shimmers & shines, and it certainly did today on a sunny late October Sunday.

By the shores of Lake George, Adirondacks, Upstate New York. October 22, 2017.

LAKE CRUISING & FRENCH & INDIAN WAR || The Minne-Ha-Ha II & the Lac Du Saint Sacrement moored by the shores of Lake George, Adirondacks, Upstate New York. October 22, 2017.
Given the tourist numbers, it’s no surprise that forays out onto the waters of Lake George are de rigueur. In operation since as far back as 1817, making it the oldest company in the Lake George region, The Lake George Steamboat Company claims the lion’s share of the Lake George cruise market, accommodating cruisers in 1 of its 3 vessels, two of which are seen here docked at the company’s base by the shores of the lake. In the foreground is the slender chimney of the sternwheel steamboat Minne-Ha-Ha II, in operation since the late 1960s and today the last steamboat operating on Lake George. In the background is the smoking stack of the 4-deck flagship Lac Du Saint Sacrement, the largest and newest boat in the company fleet. In constant operation since 1989, its name comes from the original name of Lake George – the lake was renamed after King George II of England following the French defeat to England in the 1756-1763 Seven Years’ War (known as the French and Indian War in North America), hostilities which resulted in the French ceding all of its North American territory east of the Mississippi River to Britain, regional history which is documented in the reconstructed Fort William Henry overlooking the lake, another Lake George attraction.

Lake Shore Drive – Lake George +81
Of course we could have driven in (the Lake Champlain Bridge in Crown Point the obvious choice), but, and this being a road trip aside, we preferred to sail. Available New York State ferry crossings west into New England’s Vermont (some ferries only operate to seasonal schedules) dictated how far we’d venture north of Lake George via the region’s snaking Lake Shore Drive. As it turns out that was a distance of 81 miles (130 kilometres), from Lake George to Essex, a tiny settlement only 55 miles (88 kilometres) short of the Canadian border. The mostly lake-hugging drive via the western shore of first Lake George, so-called Millionaire’s Row for its abundance of lavish lake-fronting inns & mansions, and then Lake Champlain took us (slowly) through some pretty but sleepy settlements, not to mention some nice lakeside scenery.

BOLTON LANDING – LAKE GEORGE +11 MILES || Chic’s Marina on Lake George’s Huddle Bay as seen from Lake Shore Drive, Bolton Landing, Adirondacks, Upstate New York. October 22, 2017.

TICONDEROGA – TO BOLDLY GO – LAKE GEORGE +40 MILES || Montcalm Street, Ticonderoga, Adirondacks, Upstate New York. October 22, 2017.
Its position at the crossing between Lakes George & Lake Champlain has given Ticonderoga, from the Mohawk tekontaró:ken, meaning “it is at the junction of two waterways” – its name. Located on a direct navigable water route (via rivers & the two aforementioned lakes) between New York & Montreal means this region has been traversed by natives for centuries, although the settlement of Ticonderoga itself only dates to 1804. That said, with a population of 5,000 this is one of the larger lake-hugging settlements round these rural parts of Upstate New York’s Essex County. Well known in Sci-Fi spheres, one of the town’s biggest draws is its faithful reproduction of Hollywood’s Stage 9 at Desilu Studios (now Paramount Pictures) where the original 1966-1969 Star Trek series was filmed. Meticulously recreated over a 14-year period by superfan James Cawley, the recreated sets have been drawing Trekkies since its 2016 opening at 112 Montcalm Street.

LIBERTY MONUMENT & HANCOCK HOUSE || The Liberty Monument fronting the Hancock House, Ticonderoga, Adirondacks, Upstate New York. October 22, 2017.
Another faithful Ticonderoga reproduction here, this one listed on the National Register of Historical Places since 1988. The town’s fetching Georgian Revival-style Hancock House is a mid-1920s replica of the original 1730s Hancock Manor that once stood on Beacon Hill in Boston, the residence of Thomas Hancock, the uncle of John Hancock, American revolutionary patriot and the first signer of the Declaration of Independence. Home today of the Ticonderoga Historical Society, the museum here delves into history of both the town and the greater Adirondacks region via its collection of photographs, manuscripts, artifacts, and books. Out front of the house, sitting in the middle of a traffic junction marking the end of Hague Road & the start of Montcalm Street, is the bronze, somewhat squat-looking Liberty Monument. In situ since 1924 and itself listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1989, it is topped by an interpretation of Liberty while its lower portion is composed of four life-sized figures – a Native American, a Frenchman, a Scottish soldier and an American – symbolising the four groups whose military exploits form a large part of Ticonderoga’s often bloody history, the monument’s plaque stating ‘To Commemorate The Successive Struggles In And About Ticonderoga By The Indian-French-English And American Nations’.

CROWN POINT – LAKE GEORGE +50 MILES || Crown Point, Adirondacks, Upstate New York. October 22, 2017.
Only 10 miles north along the southern shores of Lake Champlain, Crown Point‘s location at the narrows of the lake made it a strategic location for combative European powers during the mid-18th Century; both the French, in 1731, and then the English, in 1759, built forts here. Remnants of the forts remain, but today Crown Point, a settlement of some 2,000 that was first settled around 1800 with an influx of settlers from Vermont, is as sleepy as all the other settlements around here, especially on a somber Sunday afternoon in late October.

WESTPORT – SLEEPY HISTORIC SLEEPER – LAKE GEORGE +68 MILES || Ballard Park overlooking Lake Champlain, Westport, Adirondacks, Upstate New York. October 22, 2017.
It would seem the settlements get smaller the further north you go, the closer you get to the Canadian border. Westport, 18 miles north of Crown Point, population of some 1,300, was established in 1815. Small it may be, but rural Westport boasts great lake views and many a beautiful & historic structure, mostly restored or preserved remnants of a time (mid-19th Century) when Westport was a fashionable upstate resort town. It’s also famous as the birthplace of the Adirondack chair, a simple outdoor chair made of wood or man made materials first designed here in 1903, and for being home to Camp Dudley, YMCA, dating to 1885 & the oldest continuously running boys summer camp in the US. So there’s quite a bit to Westport that wouldn’t seem obvious at first. A sleepy historic sleeper indeed.

Main Street, Westport, Adirondacks, Upstate New York. October 22, 2017.

ESSEX FERRY DOCK – LAKE GEORGE +81 MILES || North, South (via road) or East (via ferry) to New England (Vermont). At the Essex Ferry Dock off Lake Shore Drive, Essex, Adirondacks, Upstate New York. October 22, 2017.
Thirteen miles north of Westport is the ferry dock in Essex (population 650), our gateway across Lake Champlain to Vermont & New England proper.

LAKE CHAMPLAIN FERRY || New England bound. The Essex, New York to Charlotte, Vermont ferry crossing Lake Champlain in Upstate New York. October 22, 2017.
Operating year-round (although it is susceptible to heavy ice), the no-frills and quick (30 minutes or so) 3-mile (5 kilometre) crossing of Lake Champlain from Essex, New York to and Charlotte, Vermont (or vice versa) has been in operation in one form or another since around 1790 (although it has only been a year-round service since 1998). Until the lake was bridged in the 1920s (further south in Crown Point), this was the primary route for cross-lake travel and still today it ferries some 1 million fare-paying passengers a year.

Epic US Road Trip 2017 Home

NEW ENGLAND / NORTHERN COLONIES || Connecticut

DAY 01 110 miles || T.F Green Airport, Rhode Island, to New Haven, Connecticut

MIDDLE COLONIES || Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland & Washington D.C.

DAY 02 312 miles || New Haven to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

DAY 03 098 miles || Gettysburg to Lancaster, Pennsylvania

DAY 04 149 miles || Lancaster to Atlantic City, New Jersey (via Amish Country & Philadelphia)

DAY 05 201 miles || Atlantic City to Washington D.C. (via Lewes, Delaware & Annapolis, Maryland)

SOUTHERN COLONIES || Virginia, The Carolinas (North Carolina & South Carolina) & Georgia

DAY 06 206 miles || Washington D.C. to Richmond, Virginia (via Monticello, Virginia)

DAY 07 240 miles || Richmond to Manteo, North Carolina (via Williamsburg & Jamestown, Virginia)

DAY 08 003 miles || Outer Banks – Manteo, North Carolina

DAY 09 003 miles || Outer Banks – Manteo, North Carolina

DAY 10 038 miles || Outer Banks – Manteo, North Carolina

DAY 11 032 miles || Outer Banks – Manteo, North Carolina

DAY 12 274 miles || Manteo to Wilmington, North Carolina

DAY 13 192 miles || Wilmington to Charleston, South Carolina (via Myrtle Beach, South Carolina)

DAY 14 285 miles || Charleston to Macclenny, Florida (via Savannah, Georgia)

THE SOUTH || Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi & Tennessee

DAY 15 397 miles || Macclenny to Mobile, Alabama (via Tallahassee, Florida)

DAY 16 167 miles || Mobile to New Orleans, Louisiana (via southern Mississippi)

DAY 17 480 miles || New Orleans to Fort Payne, Alabama (via Meridian, Mississippi)

DAY 18 142 miles || Fort Payne to Sparta, Tennessee

DAY 19 121 miles || Sparta to Nashville, Tennessee

DAY 20 070 miles || Nashville

DAY 21 198 miles || Nashville to Knoxville, Tennessee

KENTUCKY & THE GREAT LAKES || Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan & New York

DAY 22 307 miles || Knoxville to London, Kentucky (via Maynardville & Sneedville, Tennessee; Coeburn, Virginia; Jenkins & Hyden, Kentucky)

DAY 23 376 miles || London to Dayton, Ohio (via Sandy Hook & Olive Hill, Kentucky & Greenfield, Ohio)

DAY 24 393 miles || Dayton to Erie, Pennsylvania (via Michigan & Toledo & Cleveland, Ohio)

DAY 25 430 miles || Erie to Lake George, New York (via Cooperstown, New York)

NEW ENGLAND / NORTHERN COLONIES & CANADA || Vermont, New Hampshire, Quebec & New Brunswick (Canada), Maine, Massachusetts & Rhode Island

DAY 26 143 miles || Lake George to Montpelier, Vermont (via Ticonderoga, Crown Point & Westport, New York & Burlington, Vermont)

DAY 27 213 miles || Montpelier to Franconia, New Hampshire (via Barre & Chelsea, Vermont & Lincoln, New Hampshire)

DAY 28 253 miles || Franconia to Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

DAY 29 326 miles || Quebec City to Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada

DAY 30 330 miles || Woodstock to Bar Harbor, Maine

DAY 31 244 miles || Bar Harbor to Portland, Maine

DAY 32 280 miles || Portland to Hyannis, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

DAY 33 123 miles || Hyannis to T.F Green Airport, Rhode Island (via Providence, Rhode Island)

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