EPIC US ROAD TRIP 2017

DAYS 2 & 26-33 - NORTHERN COLONIES / NEW ENGLAND & CANADA - VERMONT, NEW HAMPSHIRE, QUEBEC & NEW BRUNSWICK (CANADA), MAINE, MASSACHUSETTS & RHODE ISLAND

 

Image || Fall foliage in Acadia National Park, Maine.

Quick Link Regional Highlights

New Haven, CT
Burlington, VT
Montpelier, VT
Barre, VT
Moxley Bridge, Chelsea, VT
Lincoln, NH
White Mountains National Forest, NH
Littleton, NH
Quebec City, QC (CAN)
Trans-Canada Highway (CAN)
Hartland, NB (CAN)
St. Stephen, NB (CAN)
Eastport, ME
Lubec, ME
Campobello Island, NB (CAN)
West Quoddy Head, ME
Bar Harbor, ME
Acadia National Park, ME
Cape Cod, MA
Providence, RI

Epic US Road Trip 2017 – New England / Northern Colonies & Canada

New England. Rugged rural wilderness. Exploratory drives. Tidy, sleepy towns with cosy shops & cafes. Country fairs. Wineries. Pumpkins. Crisp air. Lobster & chowder. Blueberry pie. Lighthouses. Farmsteads & barns. Covered bridges.

New England — the birthplace of America — is filled with rich history, cultural attractions, fascinating cities, scenic villages, and outdoor adventures at every turn. Discover white sand beaches, and lighthouses, brilliant fall foliage, expansive lakes, panoramic mountain views, and dockside restaurants with delicious seafood chowder, lobster, and blueberry pie.

DiscoverNewEngland.org

Regional stereotypes abound, but it’s the brilliant and unrivalled fall/autumn foliage show that makes this region of 6 northeastern US States – Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island & Connecticut – the bucket list destination par excellence that it is this time of year.

On the Kancamagus Highway of White Mountains National Forest, New Hampshire. October 23, 2017.Autumn/fall covers the New England region in colour. It slowly comes alive with vibrant autumn hues of auburn & scarlet, the seasonal reduction in chlorophyll, green pigments found in leaves, ensuring the region’s millions of maple, hickory & dogwood trees yield spectacularly to tones of vivid autumnal purple, gold, orange and yellow.

Peeping Peepers
The natural fall foliage phenomenon occurs every year throughout a large swath of the Appalachian Mountains, right from Canada in the north through to northern Georgia in the south (we sampled the early fall delights of the All-American Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina on day 27 of last year’s epic US road trip, not to mention the autumnal delights of Upstate New York’s wild Adirondacks in getting here to New England proper), but nothing quite compares to the fantastic foliage display one is treated to on a late September to early November foray into rural New England. And it – an autumn foray into rural New England – is quite the attraction. It’s estimated that some 8 million people descend on the region every year with each New England state tourism website doing its utmost to provide some kind of ‘fall foliage tracker’ to highlight the best of the spectacle for visitors, a.k.a. leaf peepers, ‘leaf peeping’ an established and informal term for the activity of travelling & photograph the foliage. Don’t mind if we do.

EPIC US ROAD TRIP || Day 2

 

Overlooking New Haven Green, New Haven, Connecticut.

 

“… the only show in town… one can’t but help get the feeling, and even accounting for New Haven’s formation over 6 decades before Yale’s, that if not for the university then there would be little reason for the city of New Haven to exist at all.”

AN ORIGINAL THIRTEEN || One of the original Thirteen Colonies. Founded as a colony in 1636. Became a crown colony in 1662.

connecticut_glossy_square_icon_256Connecticut

State Nicknames – The Constitution State; The Nutmeg State; The Provisions State; The Land of Steady Habits. State MottoQui transtulit sustinet (He who transplanted still sustains). Admitted To The Union – January 9, 1788 (5th state). Population – 3.6 million Connecticuters (29th most populous state). Area – 5,570 sq miles (3rd smallest state – only quaint Delaware & time Rhode Island are smaller). Capital – Hartford. National Parks – 0. National Scenic Byways/All-American Roads – 2/0. Famous For – Being home to America’s insurance business (the country’s first insurance company opened in Hartford in 1810 & today finance and insurance is Connecticut’s largest industry); drafting what is considered North America’s – and maybe the world’s – first constitution, the so-called Fundamental Orders as adopted by the then three-year-old Connecticut Colony in 1639; building the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, in 1954, the first submarine to complete a submerged transit of the North Pole (1958); being home to the WWF, the World Wrestling Federation (headquartered in Stamford); the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. State Highlights – Nautical Mystic & time-honoured towns bordering the Connecticut River. Connecticut Titbits – New England’s southernmost state is named after the river that slices clean through its centre from north to south, the name being derived from the native Mohegan word quinnehtukqut, meaning ‘place of the long river’; Connecticut has a rich maritime history even though it technically doesn’t have any oceanfront – its coastline sits on Long Island Sound, an estuary; the state’s per capita personal income is one of the country’s highest and it has the third-largest number of millionaires per capita in the US; George H. W. Bush, the 41st president of the US, grew up in Greenwich & his son, George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the US, was born in New Haven; Connecticut clams to be home to the world’s first hamburger (1895), Polaroid camera (1934), helicopter (1939) and color television (1948); the world’s first automobile law – a speed limit of 12 mph – was passed by the state in 1901, 7 years before the introduction of Ford’s Model T; Connecticut became, in 1937, the first state to issue permanent license plates for cars; bottoms up – Connecticut (along with neighboring Rhode Island) never ratified the 18th Amendment, a.k.a. Prohibition.

Connecticut. State #1. On the streets of New Haven, Connecticut. September 28, 2017.

The first state line picture of this road trip. Plenty more to come, plenty more opportunities to get a better picture. At the Connecticut/New York State & the entrance to the Merritt Parkway, Greenwich, Connecticut. September 28, 2017.

Day 2 || September 28, 2017

Route || New Haven, Connecticut to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 312 (502)
Posted From || Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Today’s Highlight || Yale University, New Haven

Day 2. The first full day. We took a look around New Haven this morning, a glorious but windy morning in America’s oldest planned city (it was laid out in orderly blocks way back in 1638).

New Haven

Connecticut (CT) || The city is home to the Ivy League Yale University, the reason we chose to overnight here last night on our first night of the wider road trip. Little did we know then that Yale is pretty much the only show in town; it’s New Haven’s largest employer, taxpayer and catalyst for economic development and while touring the Gothic-heavy campus one can’t but help get the feeling, and even accounting for New Haven’s formation over 6 decades before Yale’s, that if not for the university then there would be little reason for the city of New Haven to exist at all.

Cross Campus, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. September 28 2017.

YALE UNIVERSITY – STERLING MEMORIAL LIBRARY || Cross Campus, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. September 28. 2017.
I’m not too sure which is more important for getting accepted into Yale, money or brains. Either way, I suspect you need copious amounts of both. Founded in Saybrook, Connecticut in 1701 as the Collegiate School, relocated to New Haven in 1716, and renamed Yale College in 1718, this is the 2nd oldest Ivy Leaguer after Harvard (founded 1636). The Alma mater of 5 US presidents, including 4 of the last 6, the campus is, as one might expect, a rather picturesque riot of thick Gothic buildings. One of over 260 buildings gracing the vast campus complex, the library building seen here, the Sterling Memorial Library, more resembles a cathedral than a library (externally at least, where it displays some impressive relief work above the front entrance doors). Completed in 1930 and today serving as Yale’s primary library, it houses some 4 million volumes, most of which are stored in the building’s seven-storey tower, a.k.a. the Stacks, the library’s dominant feature.

You join those who have come here as students, scholars, and visitors for over 300 years. We hope you will make your own discoveries here and gain a sense of the many contributions Yale graduates and faculty have made to this country and the world.

– A ‘Welcome to Yale’ posting in the Visitor Center of Yale University, New Haven.

Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. September 28, 2017.

Ivy League
With connotations of academic excellence, selectivity in admissions and social elitism, the Ivy League is a collegiate athletic conference comprising sports teams from 8 private institutions of higher education in the Northeastern United States – Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut), University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) , Princeton University (Princeton, New Jersey), Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island), Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Hampshire), Cornell University (Ithaca, New York) & Columbia University (New York City, New York).

Hewitt Quad, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. September 28, 2017.

In a region that is home to Yale University and the birthplace of the hamburger, Greater New Haven imparts tales that have evolved into the cornerstone of American history with inventions such as the cotton gin, Frisbee (the sport seemingly invented by Yale students) and the lollipop. The perfect home base to experience the arts, great shopping and dining and picture-postcard beach towns.

CTVisit.com commenting on the New Haven region

Ye olde books behind protective glass in the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. September 28, 2017.

Walking through Old Campus, the oldest part of the Yale University campus, New Haven, Connecticut. September 28, 2017.

Branford, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. September 28, 2017.

In getting from New Haven to the state of New York (before continuing on through New Jersey and into Pennsylvania), we drove the Merritt Parkway, the first National Scenic Byway of the wider road tip. Suffice it to say, it won’t be the last.

The entrance to the Merritt Parkway on the New York/Connecticut state line. September 28 2017.

The entrance to the Merritt Parkway on the New York/Connecticut state line. September 28 2017.

National Scenic Byway #1 – Merritt ParkwayUS Scenic Byways Logo
Set in natural surroundings, Merritt Parkway’s significant design brilliantly integrates the craft of the engineer and the artist. The bridges along the route are excellent examples of Art Deco, or Art Moderne, styles of the 1920s and 1930s. Magnificent foliage abounds in both spring and fall.

NATIONAL SCENIC BYWAYS & ALL-AMERICAN ROADS

US Scenic Byways Logo
While each state can and does designate its own Scenic Byways, a National Scenic Byway is a road recognized by the US Department of Transportation for one or more of six ‘intrinsic qualities’, they being archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic. The program was established by Congress in 1991 to preserve and protect the nation’s scenic but often less-travelled roads and to promote tourism and economic development. The National Scenic Byways Program (NSBP) is administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

The most scenic byways are designated All-American Roads. These roads must meet two out of the six intrinsic qualities. An All-American designation means these roads have features that do not exist elsewhere in the US and are unique and important enough to be tourist destinations unto themselves.

As of November 2010 there are 120 National Scenic Byways and 31 All-American Roads located in 46 states (all except Hawaii, Nebraska, Rhode Island and Texas).

EPIC US ROAD TRIP || Day 26

 

Church Street Marketplace in Burlington, Vermont.

 

“A lot of Burlington life seem to revolve around its central Church Street Marketplace, an award-winning redbrick-heavy pedestrian mall running for 4 blocks. A leafy & strollable precinct of shops, cafes, bars & restaurants which opened in September 1981, the so-called ‘gem in the crown of the Queen City of Burlington’ was inspired by the transformation of the main shopping district in the Danish capital of Copenhagen from traffic-snarled eyesore to attractive pedestrian mall.”

New England – The Return

After 25 days & 5,229 miles – half of which was spent driving as far into the Deep South and away from New England as we could go, the other half saw us New England bound – we’re almost done. For the most part, we’re done with history; we’re done with music; we’re done with daily hours of Interstate driving; and we’re certainly done with the warmer temperatures of the south (I’ve long since dispensed with the flip-flops but an innate pig-headed stubbornness to persist with shorts will, I fear, last only another day or two at most). Today is Day 26 (of 33). We’ve a week-plus left and we find ourselves perched on the edge of a lake, Lake Champlain in the Adirondacks of rural Upstate New York, itself perched on the very edge of New England. New England. The geographical region of North America this trip was initially centred on. New England. In the fall/autumn. We saw the leaves first fall in Tennessee on Day 18 and have been treated to some nice fall foliage in parts of Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Upstate New York almost every day since. But this, New England in the fall, is as brilliant as autumn foliage gets, an unrivalled natural display of spectacular and vibrant autumn hues that makes the 6 northeastern states we’re about to explore the bucket list destination par excellence that they are this time of year. Welcome to a week+ of slow, exploratory drives through rugged, rural, big-countryside New England, a week of crisp air ‘Leaf Peeping’ autumnal purple, gold, orange and yellow.

Buildings of Church Street Marketplace, Burlington, Vermont. October 22, 2017.

Day 26 || October 22, 2017

Route || Lake George, Upstate New York to Montpelier, Vermont.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 143 (230)
Today’s New England Highlight || Church Street Marketplace, Burlington, Vermont

A day of two halves, the wild Adirondacks of Upstate New York in the morning & a ferry crossing into New England proper in the afternoon. We only drove a little over 50 miles of Vermont roads today, our introduction to New England. But 50 miles was still sufficient to get us from the shores of Lake Champlain, Vermont’s western boundary with New York State, to Burlington, its largest city, & from there to the outskirts of Montpelier, its capital, itself over half way towards the state’s eastern boundary with New Hampshire. Yep, it’s a small place, Vermont. Pretty too. Oh, and quiet & dark. Noticeably quiet and inexplicably dark.

Approaching Vermont & New England. Crossing Lake Champlain, and the New York-Vermont state line, en route from Essex, New York to Charlotte, Vermont. October 22, 2017.

vermont_glossy_square_icon_256Vermont

State Nickname – The Green Mountain State. State Mottos – Freedom and Unity and Stella quarta decima fulgeat (May the 14th star shine bright). Admitted To The Union – March 4, 1791 (14th state). Population – 625,000 Vermonters (2nd only to Wyoming as the country’s least populous state). Area – 9,600 sq miles (6th smallest state). Capital – Montpelier. National Parks – 0. National Scenic Byways/All-American Roads – 1/0. Famous For – Being the first state in the Union to outlaw slavery; forests (80% of the state is forested); maple syrup (the state is the leading producer of maple syrup in the US); cheese, specifically Vermont’s signature sharp cheddar; dairy farms; quarries (both the country’s first marble quarry & the world’s largest ‘deep hole’ dimension stone granite quarry are in Vermont, the largest slate producer in the US); ice-cream (Ben & Jerry’s was founded in the state in 1978 and is still headquartered here); boutique wineries, small-batch distilleries & craft breweries (Vermont has the most microbreweries per capita in the US); 19th century covered wooden bridges (over 100 in the state alone); hiking; fishing; winter sports; for having the smallest & least populous state capital in the US (Montpelier); being the birthplace of Mormon leader Bringham Young. State Highlights – The great outdoors & rural fall drives. Vermont Titbits – The origin of the name ‘Vermont’ is uncertain, but likely comes from the French Les Verts Monts, meaning “the Green Mountains”; it’s the least-populous state in New England & the region’s only landlocked state; Vermont was ranked the safest state in the Union in 2016; along with California, Hawaii and Texas, the state is one of only four US states that were previously sovereign states given that the original 13 states were formerly colonies; progressive Vermont state became the first state to recognise unions for same-sex couples through legislative action with the introduction of civil unions in 2000; squat Vermont – it is the only state that does not have any buildings taller than 124 feet (38 metres).

Vermont. State #19. New England bound. On the ferry crossing Lake Champlain from Essex, New York to Charlotte, Vermont. October 22, 2017.

Regardless of the time of year that you choose to visit Vermont, the attractions and destinations that await are plentiful in all corners of the state. Truly a four-seasons state for tourism, weather is no factor in finding a good time in Vermont. If getting outdoors is what you have in mind, many of the ski resorts that dot the Green Mountain State are almost always offering some sort of outdoor activity. During the milder weather months, bodies of water and recreation trails beckon around the state. Should the arts, culture or historical sites be high on your lists of interests, Vermont’s museums, galleries, artisan shops and factories are always opening their doors to curious visitors. There are so many neat places to visit in Vermont, that it can sometimes be difficult to know where to begin!

VermontVacation.com

Thumbs-up at the Vermont-New Hampshire state line off Interstate 93 over the Connecticut River, October 24, 2017.

Burlington

Vermont (VT) || Although it only has some 42,000+ souls, making it, get this, the least populous city to be the most populous city in any US state, lakeside Burlington is still Vermont’s largest urban centre. OK, so there isn’t a whole lot to see or do in or around the town, but the pretty & hip café culture college town has an unmistakable small-town vibe that may just be its biggest draw.

The spire of the 1816 Unitarian Universalist Church, the oldest remaining place of worship established by white settlers in Burlington, at the north end of Church Street as seen from Church Street Marketplace, Burlington, Vermont. October 22, 2017.

CHURCH STREET MARKETPLACE || Church Street Marketplace, Burlington, Vermont. October 22, 2017.
A lot of Burlington life seem to revolve around its central Church Street Marketplace, an award-winning redbrick-heavy pedestrian mall running for 4 blocks. A leafy & strollable precinct of shops, cafes, bars & restaurants which opened in September 1981, the so-called ‘gem in the crown of the Queen City of Burlington’ was inspired by the transformation of the main shopping district in the Danish capital of Copenhagen from traffic-snarled eyesore to attractive pedestrian mall.

Imagine yourself here at the beginning of the 19th century; you would probably have to pick up your skirt above the muddy ground to get up on a plank sidewalk, and protect your hat from obstacles encountered on your way. Pedestrians needed to keep their eyes open to avoid being hit by horses or carriages on this heavily used street, at the top of which one could see a church that was built in 1816. Because of this, the inhabitants originally designated the street “the brick church street”. Already noted in the street map of 1797, Church Street was one of the main routes on the north-south axis of the city of Burlington.

– reproduced from text on display on Church Street, Burlington

Church Street Marketplace, Burlington, Vermont. October 22, 2017.

EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE || The ‘Everyone Loves a Parade‘ mural off Church Street Marketplace, Burlington, Vermont. October 22, 2017.
Thirty-eight metres (124 feet) long, 5 metres (16 feet) high and turning heads since 2012, the Everyone Loves a Parade mural off Church Street Marketplace is kind of unmissable. You could spend a long time analysing its contents, a chronological look at 400 years of Burlington & Vermont state history, from the 1609 arrival of Samuel de Champlain – explorer, settler, the Father of New France & Quebec City & the first European to map & document Lake Champlain – right up to the present day. A work by renowned Canadian muralist Pierre Hardy, known for his inventive and meticulously-detailed large-scale pieces, it employs the Trompe-l’oeil (French for ‘trick the eye’) art technique in which highly realistic imagery creates the illusion that the subjects depicted are three dimensional. As the mural itself states, ‘the people in this mural are builders, leaders, and stars who contributed to what Burlington and Vermont are today.’ Who knew Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the US (1923-1929), and John Deere, of tractor fame & inventor of the first steel plow, were Vermonters, or that British author Rudyard Kipling wrote and illustrated his 1894 literary classic The Jungle Book while living in Vermont. Well I didn’t, not until today that was.

Montpelier – First Impressions
We were sure it was the state capital of Montpelier, a short 40-mile drive east of Burlington. Positive actually, we just couldn’t see a whole lot of it to verify. It seemed abandoned, was eerily quiet & dark. And it wasn’t even that late – approximately 8 p.m. It was almost like the last person who left for the evening turned off the lights as they were leaving. And this is a state capital, albeit the smallest one there is. There was nowhere obvious to lay our head, no neon advertising the presence of the kind of refuge welcomed by the likes of us after a day on the road, which immediately told me they don’t get many of ‘the likes of us’ around here. Hell, there weren’t services signs of any kind. Nothing. ‘Well this is a bit different. The locals, evidently undisturbed by tourists, must get around on instinct,’ I thought, ‘but only during the daylight hours.’

We needed the help of a crude map sketched out on the small piece of paper by a gas station employee to find sanctuary for the night, the Comfort Inn & Suites at Maplewood, it actually in Berlin, a town about 5 miles south of Montpelier. Maybe the state capital will be a bit more open in the morning, Day 27. At the very least we’ll see where we’re going, and see what we missed of the city tonight, if anything.

EPIC US ROAD TRIP || Day 27


Autumnal colours of White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire.


“.”

Day 27 || October 23, 2017

Route || Berlin, Vermont to Franconia, New Hampshire.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 213 (343)
Today’s Highlight || The fall foliage of the Kancamagus Highway of New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest

Day 27.

Montpelier

 

Vermont (VT) || .

AN ORIGINAL THIRTEEN || One of the original Thirteen Colonies. Province of New Hampshire established in 1629, chartered as a crown colony in 1679.

new_hampshire_glossy_square_icon_256New Hampshire

State Nicknames – The Granite State; The White Mountain State. State Motto – Live Free or Die. Admitted To The Union – June 21, 1788 (9th state). Population – 1.3 million New Hampshirites (10th least populous state). Area – 9,350 sq miles (5th smallest state). Capital – Concord. National Parks – 0. National Scenic Byways/All-American Roads – 3/0. Famous For – Levying no general sales or income tax; the New Hampshire primary, the first primary of the US presidential election cycle; quaint towns; having an extreme state motto (Live Free or Die); mountains, including the highest peak in New England (Mount Washington, 1,916 metres/6,288 feet); summer and early autumn county fairs; winter sports; lazy lakeside vacation cottages; Old Man of the Mountain, a 12-metre-tall (40 foot) natural White Mountain face-like rock formation that resembled a jagged profile of a face and which collapsed in 2003 (but which still adorns state licence plates a state highway markers). State Highlights – The White Mountains. New Hampshire Titbits – The state was named in 1629 after the English county of Hampshire; it was the first of the British North American colonies to establish a government independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain’s authority and, in 1776, was the first to establish its own state constitution; the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was born out of the July 1944 Bretton Woods Conference, a gathering of delegates from all 44 Allied nations at New Hampshire’s Bretton Woods, the aim of which being to regulate the international monetary & financial order following the end of World War II; New Hampshire was the first US state to have a legal lottery; famous New Hampshirites include The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown, Alan Shepard, the first American in space (May 1961) and one of only 12 men, all Americans, to have walked on the moon, and Christa McAuliffe, the first private citizen selected to venture into space but who perished in the January 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster; the world’s largest video arcade, Funspot, is located in New Hampshire; in 1996 the state became the fist to install green LED traffic lights (having been first state to install the red and yellow variety); in 2007 New Hampshire became “…the first state to recognize same-sex unions without a court order or the threat of one.”

New Hampshire. State #20. That extreme motto & Old Man of the Mountain on the New Hampshire licence plate as captured in Lincoln, White Mountains, New Hampshire. October 23, 2017.

We might be biased, but we think you’ll agree. New Hampshire is the place to be if you’re looking for thrilling and memorable experiences that feel like they’re in your own backyard. (That is, if your backyard happens to be a 4,000-ft. peak.)

VisitHN.gov

Thumbs-up at the New Hampshire-Vermont state line off Interstate 93 over the Connecticut River, October 24, 2017.

EPIC US ROAD TRIP || Day 28

 

The iconic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

 

“North America’s oldest walled city and the cradle of French civilization in the New World. I can understand why North Americans (& the Chinese… oh the Chinese are everywhere) love its jumble of tight & atmospheric walled lanes, but for us it’s just like any other quaint European town that’s a short Ryanair flight from home (but of course it’s a million miles removed from anything you’ll find over the border in the US).”

We first saw a Tim Hortons in upstate New York on day 24 (we did, of course, pull over for a double-double & donut). We first saw French signposting on day 26 in Vermont (they – Vermonters – claim this is to keep the neighbours happy). So, I guess it was coming. Today, day 28, we cheated. Or did we? Umm. Is an epic US road trip still an epic US road trip if you leave the contiguous 48? Umm indeed. And now that we’re here we’re debating, over a Moosehead or two, whether to take the long way back to the US. Another night in Canada? Oh, may as well be hung a sheep as for a lamb.

Photographing the St Lawrence River from the balcony of the Hotel Terrasse Dufferin, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. October 24, 2017.

QUEBEC CITY || Photographing the St Lawrence River from the balcony of the Hotel Terrasse Dufferin, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. October 24, 2017. || We’ve a balcony overlooking the famous Quebec City Terrasse Dufferin, an elevated boardwalk at the tip of Old Quebec. Founded in 1608, this is North America’s oldest walled city and the cradle of French civilization in the New World. I can understand why North Americans (& the Chinese… oh the Chinese, who we haven’t seen anywhere over the past 27 days, are everywhere) love its jumble of tight & atmospheric walled lanes, but for us it’s just like any other quaint European town that’s a short Ryanair flight from home (but of course it’s a million miles removed from anything you’ll find over the border in the US). We’re staying at the Hotel Terrasse Dufferin, a 180-year-old creaking (in a good way) Dame, a stone’s throw from the uber-swish Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. We can see it from our balcony, something the Fairmont doesn’t seem to offer.

EPIC US ROAD TRIP || Day 29

 

On Autoroute 85/the Trans-Canada Highway in Quebec, Canada.

 

“Staying in Canada tacks on over 100 miles of dashboard time to the drive from Quebec City to eastern Maine, with the consolation that you get to drive a 560 kilometre (350 mile) stretch of Canada’s famed Trans-Canada Highway.”

We’re en route to the easternmost point of land in the continental United States. That’s a place called Quoddy Head State Park in Maine, somewhere, and while road-trippin’ the US east, we were always going to search out (those who know me know I love visiting geographical extremities). Getting there via Canada, however, was never part of the plan, the chance to do so by driving a section of the Trans-Canada Highway too good an opportunity to pass up. So that’s what we did today, Epic US (& now Canada) road tip Day 29.

Heading south on Autoroute 85/the Trans-Canada Highway in Quebec, Canada. October 25, 2017.

TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY || Heading south on Autoroute 85/the Trans-Canada Highway in Quebec, Canada. October 25, 2017. || Staying in Canada in getting to eastern Maine tacks on over 100 miles of dashboard time to the drive from Quebec City, the consolation being that you get to drive a 560 kilometre (350 mile) stretch – from Quebec City to Longs Creek, New Brunswick – of Canada’s famed Trans-Canada Highway. Opened in the early 1960s and traversing all ten Canadian provinces, it runs from coast to coast, from the Atlantic to the Pacific & vice versa, for a whopping 7,821 kilometres (4,860 miles) making it one of the longest routes of its type in the world. There wasn’t a whole lot to see on the road today (the rain didn’t help), about the most photogenic part of the drive the distinctive white-on-green maple leaf Trans-Canada route markers we’d encounter every so often.

At the New Brunswick-Quebec provincial border on the Trans-Canada Highway north of Edmundston, New Brunswick, Canada. October 25, 2017.

New Brunswick. We aren’t supposed to be here, but we obviously are. We had to come to Canada to get wet (and to find me donning long pants, even though it’s still unseasonably mild/warm throughout the whole of North America right now). We’re hoping the rain goes away when we cross back over into the US tomorrow, Epic US/Canada road trip Day 30 (of 33). At the New Brunswick-Quebec provincial border on the Trans-Canada Highway north of Edmundston, New Brunswick, Canada. October 25, 2017.

EPIC US ROAD TRIP || Day 30

 

Rain & the world’s longest covered bridge in Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada.

 

“… it was a very wet, the incessant rain trying its damndest but ultimately failing to put a damper on a day that was for me rather momentous, a day when I clocked my 50th US State.”

What a miserable f***in’ day, climatically speaking. We saw a lot of water today, road trip day 30. Not because we finally reached the New England Atlantic coastline, but rather because there seemed to be no let up in the dredging inflicted on this supposedly picturesque portion of the US northeast. Yes, it was a very, very wet day, the incessant rain trying its damndest but ultimately failing to put a damper on a day that was for me rather momentous, a day when I clocked my 50th US state.

The Easternmost point in the USA. West Quoddy Head, Lubec, Maine. October 26, 2017.

EASTERNMOST POINT & 50TH STATE || West Quoddy Head, Maine. The Easternmost point in the USA. October 26, 2017. || OK, what follows is a bit of a boast, something I’m not very comfortable with, but here goes. In getting here, to West Quoddy Head in Maine, the easternmost point of the US mainland, I’ve now visited the geographical 4 corners of the contiguous 48 (& lots in between): the northwest (Seattle, Washington – March 2013); the southwest (San Diego, California – April 2013), & the southeast (Key West, Florida – July 2013). But, and more importantly, in crossing over into Maine from New Brunswick, Canada, I’ve now visited all 50 US states. That’s kind of neat. Boast over.

Apart from getting wet and reaching milestones, today saw us crossing a timezone; saw us leaving Canada (twice); saw us entering the US (also twice); saw us crossing the world’s longest covered bridge; and saw us, once again, wondering why there are no lights in New England – Vermont, New Hampshire and now Maine are spookily dark states then the sun goes down (rumour has it the states in question, even in Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ US of A, are too stretched to pay the lighting bill). Oh, and they are awfully boring places to be too. I understand it’s out of season right now, but gosh. There’s no doubt New England is drop-dead gorgeous this time of year (assuming the sun shines). Expect plenty of leaves. Just don’t expect a party. Yawn.

CANADA

Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada. October 26, 2017.

HARTLAND BRIDGE || Dating to 1901, this is, as the text states, the longest covered bridge in the world. Forget the Trans-Canada Highway. This alone is worth coming to this remote part of a remote Canadian state for. Maybe. Actually, probably best to just stop by if, you know, you happen to be in the area. We did. (No doubt resulting from a hangover from the old days, the bridge is still listed as being 1,282 imperial feet long, a tad over 390 metres.) Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada. October 26, 2017.

Route 3, New Brunswick, Canada. October 26, 2017.

MOOSE & BEARS || Attention. Moose & bears by Route 3, New Brunswick, Canada. October 26, 2017.

At the Canada/US border crossing in Saint Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada. October 26, 2017.

BYE BYE CANADA || OK Canada. I enjoyed you this time. You’re alright, I guess. We could be friends again. See you next time. At the Canada/US border crossing in Saint Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada. October 26, 2017.

USA

SiriusXM failure. US coastal Route 1, Maine. October 26, 2017.

SIRIUSXM FAILURE || Satellite radio failure. I’d like to blame the rain, but it was more than likely the remoteness. On US coastal Route 1 in (remote) eastern Maine. October 26, 2017.

Water Street, Eastport, Maine. October 26, 2017.

EASTPORT, MAINE || Aptly named Water Street in Eastport, Maine. I know someone who grew up here. I can’t blame him for leaving. There’s only one way out – it’s the same as the way in and there’s not a whole lot going on in between. It’s the easternmost something in the US – city, I think, even though it has less than 1,500 inhabitants. I would have liked to stick around a tad longer, but the driving rain – at its horrible worst today here in Eastport, whose streets resembled mini rivers – ensured that wasn’t going to happen, to say nothing of the place being a veritable ghost town. Eastport, Maine. October 26, 2017.

Eastport, Maine. October 26, 2017.

Eastport, Maine. October 26, 2017.

Lubec, Maine. October 26, 2017.

LUBEC || Not far from Eastport is Lubec, the easternmost town in the US. Lubec, Maine. October 26, 2017.

Lubec, Maine, USA, as seen from Narrows Road across Lubec Narrows on Campboello Island, New Brunswick, Canada. October 26, 2017.

BORDER SHENANIGANS || Lubec, Maine as seen from Narrows Road across Lubec Narrows on Campboello Island, New Brunswick, Canada. October 26, 2017. || A bridge from Lubec crosses over Lubec Narrows to Campboello Island, a 14-kilometre-long by 5-kilometre-wide island that’s part of Canada (New Brunswick, to be precise). The island goes nowhere; it’s a dead end, ‘Alcatraz’ according to the Canadian border official who granted us access back into Canada mere hours after departing the country further north in Saint Stephen. Somewhat bizarrely, we told the official we’d only be a few minutes (in Canada). True enough, and with nothing to see on the island (not now, out of season), we were back in Lubec, back in the US state of Maine, but not before capturing this picture of Lubec as seen from Campboello Island.

maine_glossy_square_icon_256Maine

State Nicknames – The Pine Tree State; Vacationland. State Motto Dirigo (‘I lead’, ‘I guide’ or ‘I direct’). Admitted To The Union – March 15, 1820 (23rd state). Population – 1.3 million Mainers or Mainiacs (9th least populous state, New England’s least populous state and the least populous state east of the Mississippi). Area – 35,300 sq miles (12th smallest state, but still the largest state in New England (it’s larger than New England’s 5 other states combined) & the largest state east of the Mississippi). Capital – Augusta. National Parks – 1 (Acadia, New England’s only National Park). National Scenic Byways/All-American Roads – 3/1. Famous For – Being tucked-away-up-there remote; rugged wilderness & forests (83% of the state is forested, the most forest cover of any US state); its jagged, rocky coastline; seafood, especially lobster (some 90% of the nation’s lobster supply is caught off the coast of Maine); fishing villages; moose (the state mammal); Moxie, America’s first (1884) & Maine’s official soft drink; shipbuilding; blueberries (Maine produces some 99% of all blueberries produced in the US). State Highlights – Contiguous 48 extremities & Acadia National Park. Maine Titbits – The first of the region’s European settlers were the French in the early 1600s, they naming their New France colony (present-day eastern Quebec, the Maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island, & Maine) Acadia – it is believed the origin of the name ‘Maine’ came from these early settlers who named it after the former French province of the same name; it’s the only US state with a one-syllable name; formally part of Massachusetts, Maine became a sate in its own right in 1820; in 1851, Maine became the first state to ban the sale of alcohol, a movement that eventually took hold nationwide as Prohibition; being the easternmost state in the union accounts for why Maine is the only state in the US to border only one other state (New Hampshire to the west); in 2010, a study named Maine as the least religious state in the US; the state’s Jackson Laboratory is the world’s largest non-profit mammalian genetic research facility & the world’s largest supplier of genetically purebred mice; Maine also produces some 90% of the country’s toothpick supply.
EPIC US ROAD TRIP || Day 31

 

Fall foliage. Acadia National Park, Maine.

 

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EPIC US ROAD TRIP || Day 32

 

Race Point Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

 

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AN ORIGINAL THIRTEEN || One of the original Thirteen Colonies. Province of Massachusetts Bay, a crown colony chartered in October 1691.

massachusetts_glossy_square_icon_256(Commonwealth of) Massachusetts

State Nicknames – The Bay State; The Pilgrim State; The Puritan State; The Old Colony State; The Baked Bean State. State Motto Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem (‘By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty’). Admitted To The Union – February 6, 1788 (6th state). Population – 6.8 million Bay Staters/Massachusites/Massachusettsians (15th most populous state & New England’s most populous state). Area – 10,565 sq miles (7th smallest state). Capital – Boston. National Parks – 0. National Scenic Byways/All-American Roads – 1/0. Famous For – History; the Boston Tea Party; the Salem witch trials; highly regarded academic institutions (Harvard University and MIT, both located in Cambridge, are both regarded as among the top institutes worldwide for higher learning & academic research); the Red Sox; chowder; being the birthplace of 5 US presidents; the Boston accent; the fist US state to legalise gay marriage. State Highlights – Boston’s Pioneering history Freedom Trail. Massachusetts Titbits – The state is named after the Massachusett tribe, the indigenous population which once inhabited the east side of the area; over 80% of Massachusetts’s population lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry; .
EPIC US ROAD TRIP || Day 33

 

Providence, Rhode Island.

 

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AN ORIGINAL THIRTEEN || One of the original Thirteen Colonies & the last to become a state. Province of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations established in 1636. Became a crown colony in 1679.

rhode_island_glossy_square_icon_256Rhode Island

State Nicknames – The Ocean State; Little Rhody. State Motto – Hope. Admitted To The Union – February 6, 1788 (6th state). Population – 1 million Rhode Islanders (8th least populous state). Area – 1,214 sq miles (smallest state). Capital – Providence. National Parks – 0. National Scenic Byways/All-American Roads – 0/0. Famous For – Being tiny; sailing (Newport claims the title of Sailing Capital of The World, as does Annapolis, Maryland); chickens (the Rhode Island Red, the official state bird, revolutionised the poultry industry); making silverware and fine jewelry. State Highlights – Providence & nautical Newport. Rhode Island Titbits – Despite its name, the origins of which are unclear, Rhode Island is very much connected to the US mainland; it was founded in 1636 as a religious-tolerant settlement by a Roger Williams, he naming his site Providence (“having a sense of God’s merciful providence unto me in my distress”) having been banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his religious views; progressive Rhode Island was the first American colony to abolish slavery (1652) and the first to declare independence from Britain (1776); keeping with the religious-tolerance theme, Brown University, founded in Providence in 1764, was the first college in America to accept students regardless of religious affiliation; also, the first Baptist Church & synagogue in America were founded in the state (in Providence in 1638 & in Newport in 1763 respectively); it may be the smallest geographically, but the state’s official title of ‘State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations’ is the biggest mouthful of any US state; 1 million+ Rhode Islanders crammed into such a small area makes the state the 2nd most densely populated (after New Jersey); although only 37 miles (60 kilometres) wide by 48 miles (77 kilometres) long, tiny Rhode Island still boasts 384 miles (618 kilometres) of (mostly craggy) coastline; the state capital of Province is the only city in the US to have its entire downtown enlisted on the National Register of Historic Places; Rhode Island was the 2nd state to abolish the death penalty (after Michigan) & the 2nd to last to make prostitution illegal; the era know as The Industrial Revolution started in Rhode Island with the development and construction in 1790 of Samuel Slater’s water-powered cotton mill in Pawtucket; it’s the state is the only state to still celebrate Victory over Japan Day (VJ Day); bottoms up – Rhode Island, together with neighbouring Connecticut, never ratified the 18th Amendment, a.k.a. Prohibition.

The End!

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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