Quick Trip to the Northeast - Day Five

Today's eventual destination for me: home!

But first, we had a few places to visit before Matthew took me to the airport.

First stop: The Springfield Armory National Historic Site

Springfield Armory National Historic Site

This is one place Matthew was really looking forward to visiting! This is where George Washington gave authority for rifles and muskets to be manufactured to be used starting with the Revolutionary War. The actual armory closed in 1968. Currently, the historic site houses an amazing collection of historic military firearms.

Civil War rifle eaten by a porcupine

There is no entrance fee for this site, so if you happen to be in the Springfield, Massachusetts area with a major history buff, be sure to put this place on your list of places to visit!

Next up, the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut

Mark Twain House and Museum

We did go on the tour of the house, but we were not able to take pictures inside the house. Very interesting to hear more about Mark Twain's life on our tour and see the inside of this amazing home. Definitely worth the tour price!

Practically right next door is the home of Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Beecher Stowe's home

One thing we learned while reading up on her life, her husband also attended Bowdoin College in Maine! If we had more time, I would have liked to go on this tour also, but it was getting close to the time I needed to get to the airport.

All of the stops on our Northeast trip

Overall, this was an incredible trip! So happy to have had this time to spend with my son, exploring part of our country together.

He has now been to 44 states and I have been to 39. 

Our family travel map of the USA

We may need to start a new map charting all of our other country travels soon!

If you haven't read the other days of our trip, you can read day one here, day two here, day three here, and day four here.

Where have you traveled lately?

Quick Trip to the Northeast - Day Four

Today's starting point: Portland, Maine

Today's destination: Springfield, Massachusetts

First stop, Starbucks in Maine...with no luck finding a Been There mug. We stopped at a couple of Starbucks in Maine, but were told that the mugs there sell out as soon as they get them in stock. I have looked for them online, but crazy people are selling them for $25 to $60...what! I don't need one of the mugs THAT badly!

Anyway, back to the trip and some of today's stops along the way.

Normally, the quick route from Portland, Maine to Springfield, Massachusetts would be about 3 hours and 11 minutes. But Matthew needed to get to Vermont to check that state off of his list of states visited. So we took the scenic route from Portland, Maine over towards Brattleboro, Vermont. This route would take us more like 4 hours with no stopping. But Matthew found a few things for us to explore today.

First up, Franklin Pierce's grave site in Old North Cemetery, Concord, New Hampshire:

Franklin Pierce's grave site
Franklin Pierce's grave site

This grave site was a little easier to find than Joshua Chamberlain's. But you can see that both men were graduates of Bowdoin College.

On the drive to Vermont

I was enjoying being the passenger on the drive today!

Next stop, trying to find Rudyard Kipling's home...

Is this Rudyard Kipling's home

We knew this one would be a long shot, especially since the home is not open to the public. Apparently, the home in Vermont is where Kipling wrote 'The Jungle Book' and a couple other books. At least we can say we were on Kipling Road in Vermont.

We never saw a Starbucks while we were in Vermont, so no luck on the 'Been There' mugs in this state either.

And just like that, we were back in Massachusetts...

Massachusetts state line

We both found somewhere to stop by before heading to the hotel for the night.

Dr. Suess National Memorial Sculpture Garden

The Dr. Suess National Memorial Sculpture Garden is a free area to explore in Springfield, Massachusetts. This is definitely a must see spot!

This next stop is probably ever LEGO-loving boy's dream spot!

Outside LEGO USA headquarters

If you are ever in or near Enfield, Connecticut, be sure to swing by the outside of LEGO USA Headquarters to see these giant LEGO bricks! Not really anything else to see here, but definitely a photo worthy stop!

Since there are no In 'n Out Burgers on the east coast, we settled on Five Guys for dinner. Still prefer In 'n Out Burgers, but I loved the cherry milkshake at Five Guys, yum!

Cherry milkshake at Five Guys

And just like that, we were at the end of day four...

Sunset from the hotel room

The last sunset on the east coast from this trip...

Missed the posts from the first three days? You can read about day one here, day two here, and day three here.

Stay tuned for one more post from this trip!

Quick Trip to the Northeast - Day Three

The main things on the agenda for today: short hike in Acadia National Park and drive back down to Portland, Maine.

Initially, Matthew was wanting to do the Beehive Loop. But he wasn't feeling 100% (darn allergies!), so the park ranger suggested the Great Head Trail. This trail starts out across Sand Beach (I know, original name, right!), then up the side of a hill and around the perimeter of a small peninsula. The views were amazing!

View from Great Head Trail Acadia National Park

At one point, there was a group of kids on a park ranger walk, so I asked if one of them could take a picture of me with Matthew.

Matthew and I at Acadia National Park

Driving through the park in early June, all I could think about was how amazingly beautiful this must be in the fall with all the autumn colors! I really need to think about planning another trip out here in the future!

Since it was getting close to lunch time, and we were both starving by this point, we decided to get a quick drive thru lunch and start our drive down to Portland.

Before we got to Portland, we stopped in Brunswick and drove by Bowdoin College. Joshua Chamberlain (colonel of the 20th Maine, class of 1852) and Calvin Stowe (Harriet Beecher Stowe's husband, class of 1824) are just two famous students who attended this college. 

During our Civil War reenacting days, we started out with the 20th Maine. So Matthew did a quick bit of research and found that Joshua Chamberlain was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery which is close to Bowdoin College. Since it had just been Memorial Day, all the little United States flags made it a little bit easier to search for his grave site. After a bit of walking around, we found it:

Joshua Chamberlain's grave site Pine Grove Cemetery

If you go to the cemetery, you will find the grave site over on the far right, close to the fence.

Once we left the cemetery, we just had to go to Freeport to see the L.L. Bean flagship store! This place has multiple buildings and a huge boot outside one of the buildings:

L. L. Bean Flagship Store Freeport Maine

We stopped into the Starbucks across the street to see if they had any of the Maine Been There mugs and we didn't have any luck. The guy behind the counter said they sell out of them as soon as they get a shipment of them. Since we had one more night in Maine, I was hopeful that we would find a Maine mug.

We still had one more full day together and more driving to do the next day.

Stay tuned to see what we ended up finding next!

Did you miss day one and day two of the trip? You can read about day one here, and day two here.

Quick Trip to the Northeast - Day Two

The overall plan for this day was to drive from Plymouth, Massachusetts to Bar Harbour, Maine. Since we would be driving right through Boston, I told Matthew he should pick two places he really wanted to see in Boston.

Place #1: Granary Burying GroundMatthew wanted to stop here because Benjamin Franklin's parents are buried here, as well as Paul Revere. Well, the traffic into Boston was quite heavy that morning AND the traffic in Boston was super crazy! We drove past the cemetery, couldn't see any parking. Then we saw a sign for public parking. Pulled into the parking garage, drove through the whole thing, couldn't find one available parking spot! So, we decided to head out of town and go to the other place Matthew wanted to see.

Place #2: Bunker Hill - Bunker Hill is the site of the first major battle of the Revolutionary War. There is a monument (kind of looks like the Washington Monument) on top of the hill and a museum across the street. We walked around the monument and took a peak in the museum.

Bunker Hill Monument

The Freedom Trail Walk looks like it would be an amazing thing to do AND Boston is probably very interesting to explore, but our goal for this day was to make it all the way up to Bar Harbour. So exploring Boston and the Freedom Trail will have to wait for another visit.

From Boston, you have to drive through part of New Hampshire to get to Maine. If I had been driving and if this was my trip, I would have stopped at each of the state signs to take pictures. BUT, this was not my trip, I was just tagging along!

Since I was not driving at this point, I did get a photo of the Maine sign from the car as we entered that state!

Maine state sign

The drive from Plymouth, MS to Bar Harbour, ME is over 300 miles, so we definitely had to have a bit of coffee for the drive.

Coffee sign in Maine

We drove the coastal route in Maine which takes you through a lot of small towns. We drove right past Bowdoin College and the L.L. Bean. As we drove past these places, we talked about stopping by them on the way back down.

I did do some of the driving and finally got to the point where I just had to stop and stretch for a bit. This is where we stopped:

Penobscot Bridge

This would have been a really cool spot to explore! Inside one of the towers is an elevator to the top! And Fort Knox is right next to the bridge! I will have to add this to the list of places to stop at if/when I ever make it back to Maine.

After we made it to Bar Harbour, we checked into our hotel and looked for a place to have dinner. Before dinner, I really wanted to get another photo of sunset from the east coast. We tried to work our way over to the west part of the island and finally found a great spot:

Sunset in Maine

Apparently, during low tide, you can walk across a land bridge to one of the smaller islands. Another thing to plan for a future trip!

For dinner, Matthew had pulled pork sliders and I had clam chowder, yum! Then we shared a piece of homemade blueberry pie:

Homemade blueberry pie

It was delicious!

Did you miss day one of our trip? You can read about it here.

And stay tuned for day three of our quick trip to the northeast!

Quick Trip to the Northeast - Day One

One of these days, I need to share more about our time in Italy...

But, I have to tell you about a quick trip to the northeast I made just last week!

When my son started his current job, he had only been to 12 of the 50 states. 

Most of our travel while our kids were growing up was just in California. Although we did take two trips back to the east coast, and a few road trips to Idaho, Colorado, and Arizona.

Matthew had a bit of extra time between events and told us about a road trip he was planning, driving through six of the northeastern states, three of which I had never been to either.

Before this trip, Matthew had been to 38 states and I had been to 36.

I am still not sure if he was completely on board with me tagging along with him on the trip, but I quickly booked a round trip ticket (thank you Southwest Rapid Reward points!) to meet up with Matthew in Providence, Rhode Island.

My flight left Oakland at 5:30am, which meant that I had to roll out of bed at 2:30am in order for us to make it to the airport.

Thankfully, it was an uneventful travel day and I finally landed in Providence about 5pm eastern time.

I quickly stopped by the Starbucks before meeting up with Matthew and picked up my first souvenir of the trip:

Rhode Island Stabucks Been There mug

Our first destination was Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was only about an hour from Providence, and we really couldn't make a trip to this area and NOT see where the Pilgrims may have landed.

The drive through Rhode Island was a quick one. It is, after all, the smallest state!

Once we arrived in Plymouth, we saw a sign for the Forefather's Monument. After we checked into our hotel, we wanted to head out to see Plymouth Rock, but we saw another sign for the Forefather's Monument. So, we followed the sign and decided to see what this was:

Forefather's Monument Plymouth Massachusetts

While we were there taking in the shear size of this huge monument, a lady told us about Kirk Cameron's documentary called 'Monumental' which explains all of the details about this monument and others like it in the United States. I found a clip of it on YouTube. So powerful!

Then we took a short drive down to the coast to find Plymouth Rock:

Plymouth Rock

None of us were there almost 400 years ago to say or not whether this is or is not the actual place where the Pilgrims landed, but still. For people who enjoy the history of this country and the reasons why this country was founded, it was pretty amazing to just walk around this area.

We also saw statues of William Bradford and Massasoit:

William Bradford statue
Massasoit statue

We could see evidence that the town is getting ready for the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrim's landing. Can't even imagine how many people may come through here in two years!

Then after watching the sunset, we had a late dinner and headed back to the hotel to get ready for a long day of driving ahead.

Massachusetts sunset