Bar Harbor, Maine

Wow!  We’re now in Bar Harbor Maine and it’s been over a year since we started living in our trailer.  We are all thriving on the trip and the many new places, faces, and adventures.  There have been so many interesting people who travel full time or live in the areas and frequent the campgrounds to get away from it all for a weekend.  I just spoke with a lady in the laundry room who lives in their RV 7 months out of the year.  She reminded me of how little time is need to clean the trailer versus a house along with all the maintenance which is so true!  We remain unsure of continuing or stopping the trip and we are exploring both options.

Bar Harbor is spectacular with Acadia National Park nearby and all the towns of Mount Desert Island.  We biked the carriage roads of the NP, “swam” the frigid waters of Sand Beach, and took a boat tour out into the harbor to view the fireworks on the 4th in the fog!  Special place and Bar Harbor Campgrounds is a top notch park.  I now have a freezer full of wild Maine blueberries that I pick right near our campsite.  Smoothies, cakes, muffins, shakes, yum!

Off to New Brunswick soon…

Poland Springs & Camden Maine

We stayed about a week in the Poland Springs Campground in Maine and it rained most of the time – a lot of rain!  So much that some of the roads washed out in the campground and when we were leaving we got stuck.  But we used the boards we haul on top of the van to stick under the tires for traction.  It worked and we were off to Camden Hills State Park.  Very nice park.  We got lots of rain here too.  We rescued some French speaking Canadians who were stuck in the mud using Bob’s trusty boards!  They sweetly rewarded our good deed with some maple syrup and wine.  The town of Camden is so pretty with lots of great little shops and eateries.  The YMCA is wonderful with a steam room!  Still no moose sightings.

West Point, NH and VT

To catch up, here are the places we’ve been since D.C.:

USMA – West Point – we stayed at the base campground which was very nice, on two ponds and extremely woodsy.  It rained a lot but we still managed to bike the campus which is huge!  The museum was great and we did some homeschooling in the campus library and swimming at their pool where we got to see the cadets up close.

North Hudson NY:  We stayed at a Jellystone RV Park which had a great pool. We went to Lake Placid (touristy), The Wild Museum (expensive for few exhibits – films were great) and visited the historic John Brown’s farm (interesting civil war story).

Lake Dunmore, Middlebury, Burlington, and St. Johnsbury VT: Awesome feel in Vermont – saw a bumper sticker, “Keep Vermont Weird” but it’s not wierd, just rural, quiet, small town, lots of great co-ops and small farms. We loved it.  Burlington is an awesome town on the wonderful Lake Champlain.  Stand-up paddling is big; something we hope to get into in the near future.  Ben & Jerry’s, Cabot Cremery, Maple syrup farms, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (best collection of live owls ever!) - all great gigs.  In St. Johnsbury go to the town museum & planetarium – great collection of taxidermy birds – amazing.  We are so hooked on all the local farmer’s markets!!

Danville HN: Branch Brook Campground – a little scary at first, not cleaned up after Irene – they lost 2 bridges and in need of some updates, but our sunny, grassy site was amazing, the pool was nice and the campground was right on the Pemigewasset River.  We floated it on our blow-up rafts and also did a half day canoe trip which was fun an relaxing.  Father’s Day was celebrated at the  yummy North Woodstock Brewery.

 

 

 

Middlebury, VT

 

 

Washington D.C.

Wow there is so much to see in D.C. it is mind-boggling.  We had to go two days and could have spent even more time, but, frankly we got a little burnt out on it all.  We enjoyed the Capital tour and the Library of Congress tour – both filled with much information and reinforced the American History studies we’ve been doing.  The museum of Natural History was neat – the girls liked the Hope Diamond the best?!  (They are into rings lately and have accumulated quite the collection.  They must get it from Grandma Pat because Mom is not a jewelry person…)

On day two we took the Circulator bus to the Lincoln Memorial and saw all the war memorials (World War II was most impressive).  We also visited the Holocaust Museum and the American History Museum.

Korean War Memorial

Both days were concluded with a lovely dinner with Ron Paananen, Bob’s friend from Seattle who now works in D.C.  He graciously taxied us around and got us back to the train station after 2 long days of sight-seeing. Thanks Ron!

Ron and Bob

Columbia, MD

We are home again – sort of.  We lived here before Bainbridge so we still have lots of memories here.  We stayed at Fort Meade RV Park and had a great time visiting old friends.  Herb and Tracey Savje were great hosts for a BBQ along with Madison and Kelsey.  Brunch with The Hagars was amazing and we got to see the Longs too.  Our Dunloggin neighbors, the Wilkerson’s also hosted us and it was so fun to walk around the old neighborhood and visit with the Marthineses too.  What was odd was how everything seemed the same as when we left…except the kids were all much bigger and prettier!  We loved our home in Ellicott City, but after seeing it, we do not miss it.  We realized that our ‘mobile’ home is home for now and we are all still lovin it!

Annika, Carly, Peyton, Maggie, Lexi

Regina, Audrey,Madison, Tracey, Kelsey, John, Maggie, Carly, Sue

Blue Ridge Parkway and Bluegrass Music!

We loved cruising the BRP with no trucks and a speed limit of 45 mph.  The scenery is amazing – farms, mountains, and tons Rhody bushes – too bad they were not in bloom while we were there!

We stayed in Galax, Virginia right off the parkway.  We loved the Galax Theater with live Bluegrass Music and the Smokehouse Grill was so delicious that we ate there twice!  We visited Barr’s Fiddle Shop and met the great banjo player Stevie Barr.  He even fixed Susan’s recently purchased banjo and played it for us – our own private concert!  Stevie Barr is featured in the PBS special “Give me the Banjo” and played with John Berry in the Grand ol Opry!

Music has become a major theme to the trip with the girls playing guitar and ukulele and now Mom learning the banjo!!  So fun!  Maggie is also an amazing songwriter so we are gearing up for Nashville next Spring. 

Asheville NC

Dreher Island State Park SC (Stopped here on the way to Asheville):  I must mention this place on Lake Murray because it is one of our favorites.  Nice big sites right on the Lake in a beautiful, relaxing setting.

It is true!  Asheville NC is a very cool town.  We enjoyed the town, the brew pubs, and the family friendly atmosphere.  It is one of the contenders of a possible new home.   The Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway are nearby to give it that wonderful outdoorsy feel.  We hiked, biked, and sampled the local fare which was the freshest and yummiest ever with the farm to table philosophy.

 

Charleston, SC

4 – 10 April

We are so fortunate to be able to stay on these bases!  Joint Naval Weapons Base in Charleston has a nice quiet RV Park on base in the housing area surrounded by woods and streams and bike/hike trails.  The fitness center has fitness classes and the library was perfect for homeschooling catch-up after Spring break in Mayport.

Charleston was a neat city, and bigger than I pictured it.  We toured the beautiful Edmondston-Alston House built in 1825.  The Alston family and General Beauregard watched the bombardment of Fort Sumter from the piazza of the house in 1861.  Lots of good history lessons here.

Easter was a blessed day here and we celebrated our risen Lord with a fun bike ride on the trails leading to an old plantation site near the base.

Mayport, Florida

19 Mar – 3 Apr

We were all very excited about this stop since we planned in advance, and had both my Mom and Bob’s brother and family come join us for Spring Break.  They stayed at the Navy Lodge right on a beautiful private beach on board NAS Mayport.

Most mornings I met my Mom for a walk on the beach.  It was nice to watch the sunrise, gather shells and just relax.  We went into Jacksonville and St. Augustine to see the sights.

When JT, Karen and Amanda arrived we all hit the beach and the girls learned to Boogie Board!  The waves were the perfect size for learning.  We built some snazzy sandcastles too.

We enjoyed the authentic Singleton’s Seafood Shack near the Coast Guard base, the carriage ride around St. Augustine, but mostly just hanging out with family!