Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Berlin, Ohio - Amish Country

Amish buggies and Wal-Mart parking lot in Millersburg, OH

Farmhouses, Windmills, clotheslines, beautifully kept gardens
Amish Country Buggies . . .

We spent last night at Wal-Mart in Millersburg, OH watching the Amish families ride up in their buggies. There was a special shed made just for the horse and buggies. While the men watched their horses the women and children shopped. Some of them didn't even leave till 10:00pm (in the dark). They had batteries hooked up to the lights on their wagons, even at that I'm sure it was a rather dark ride home. I also wondered about the children hovered down in the baseboards at the adults feet. As far as I could see there was no way of strapping them in. But of course in the old days I don't suppose you would want to be strapped in behind a horse.

I tried to be respectful and not photograph faces. Some photos I wanted to take but couldn't out of respect for the Amish - Women mowing grass in their long dresses, children riding beneath the feet of their parents on the buckboard floor, the beautiful healthy faces of the women and children. And if they weren't riding the buggies, they were on bicycles with their long dresses. A different world than what I am used to.
Walnut Creek Farmstead

Picturesque Barn at Walnut Creek
Canned goods, humongous kitchen and living room with bare furnishings
The Farm at Walnut Creek . . .

We did visit a working farm at Walnut Creek which was educational. In the photos above you can see a huge wall of canned goods, gigantic kitchen in the basement. They would have a basement kitchen for use in the summertime and then an upstairs kitchen for winter use. The basement kitchen would be very large to do canning and probably large family get-to-gathers in. The homes are sparsely furnished with no closets. The clothes and shoes would be on racks against a wall in the bedrooms.
Devil swan - he actually left his mark on a little girl who tried to befriend him before he chased me up the bank
And of course no visit to the farm is worthwhile if you don't get chased by a swan. My disheveled look was caused by a swan chasing me up the band beneath a covered bridge. And of course Guy enjoyed feeding the livestock.

This is such a beautiful area but it is very touristy. A lot of crafts to draw the people into the town. The flea markets are all comprised of commercial wares, not junk, so there are not any really good buys here. We did eat dinner in an Amish restaurant. The food was bland - not much flavor, as I am accustomed to a lot of flavoring in my food - being from the South. We are spending tonight at Scenic Hills RV Park outside of Berlin in the heart of Amish Country. It is a Good Sam's park, so we only get a 10% discount. It is a nice campground, cleanly kept. The Amish take pride in keeping everything very clean and neat.

Everything is closed down tomorrow being Sunday, the day of rest, so we are probably heading. I believe we have hit most of the high spots on this trip that we had intended to and I'm kind of anxious to get back home for awhile. I has been a good trip and one that we will remember. But I think our craving for the Northeast has been fed and we will be on to a different area on our next trip. Maybe out West. We will see!!!

Monday, September 08, 2014

Niagara, here we come!

Onward to Niagara Falls . . .

Two days and nights were spent at Niagara County Campground and Niagara Falls area. Nice inexpensive Passport America campground about 22 miles from the falls. It beats paying a fortune for one of the other parks closer in. We were out in the country with the cows and fields of corn and beans.

left - Cave of the Winds, top right - Maid of Mist, bottom right - observation tower

Cave of the Winds on the American Side - Too close for comfort
Powerful Niagara . . .

Niagara was a welcome treat as we climbed the stairs to the Cave of the Winds and rode the Maid of the Mist up close to the Horseshoe falls. Cave of the Winds was too close for comfort and provided a total drenching. Had it not been for my cheap camera, I wouldn't have taken pictures here. And on The Maid of the Mist we were so close that we couldn't hold our eyes open and I didn't attempt to take any upclose photos here. It literally felt like a curtain of water enveloping us. So glad we saved our free sandles from walking the Cave of the Winds earlier. We would have been drenched top to bottom if it weren't for the raincoats and shoes they provide for you.

Oh, I found a souvenir. I've been wanting something hot pink, so I found a hooded coat from the Maid of the Mist - hot pink!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Massachusetts and Norman Rockwell Museum

No Wildlife in New England . . .
Except for one roadside moose (pictured above), there is very little wildlife in the Northeast. Canada has squirrels and crows. And Massachusetts has a metal moose! Go figure!!!

A visit to Norman Rockwell's Museum . . . 
Norman Rockwell Museum and Studio
A visit to the heart of Massachusetts is  not complete without seeing Norman Rockwell's Museum. The studio above was moved from downtown Sturbridge to the Museum, but it is intact as if he was still working inside.

Wandering through the museum, I couldn't help but think of my own family. I saw family members everywhere I looked. I was raised in the country and during the time period that Rockwell painted about.

My cousin, Rita and I would sit in her attic bedroom and dream of being movie stars

For my cousin, Beverly, who is into genealogy

This is my cousin James, who was a lineman working in Florida

Town of Sturbridge
Rockwell's home and studio in far right side of painting above
A docent at the museum explained that Rockwell's intent in his paintings was to see how high he could get the eyebrows on his subjects. He was big on expressions. He loved the children in the community and always had children stopping by his studio after school to visit. He must have been a very interesting artist to know.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Back in the USA

Back to the US of A . . .

Our trip across the border into the US was uneventful except that I lost my tomatoes. I got to keep the peaches I bought this morning, but the tomatoes had to go. Something about diseases!  

We spent our first night back in the US at a really nice new Wal-Mart in Calais Maine along with a couple of other RVer's. A very accomodating and friendly place to boondock for the evening, we picked up a pizza to cook. This was the first time I had used my convection oven and it worked like a dream.

The morning found us up too early to retrieve our guns and ammo from the gun shop, so we found a little restaurant on the river to eat a large plate of corned beef hash and eggs. This place reminded me of the movie "Grumpy Old Men". You knew this was the place that locals ate every morning, because of the banter going on between the older patrons. 
Pretty much by ourselves on the hill and neighbor below with rebel flag

tornado damage from 2011

We were on the road a few hours today so we stopped tonight in Brimfield, MA at Village Green Family Campground. It is neither Good Sam's nor Passport America, but this was a good little spot to slow down for the night. At first it looked run down but on closer observation and after talking with some of the area residents I found out the real issue. Seems that in 2011 a tornado came through and really tore the place up. You could see that there were once large trees and a nice lake. The campground used to be a lot bigger. But there is evidence that the owners are working hard to put the place back in shape. A number of campers spend the summer here and we ran into our first camper in the North with a rebel flag. Made us feel right at home.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Hopewell Cape at the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick

Hopewell Rocks . . .

Spent the afternoon visiting Hopewell Rocks. Saw both the high tide as well as the low tide and it was fascinating. We walked on the ocean floor and took tons of pics. Guy is much more photogenic than I am, so you will always see more pics of him than myself. Look at the different colors in the rock behind him. And of course in the picture to the left you will see the 
7 level staircase that we had to traverse to get to the bottom. Funny thing is that you would think the bottom of the sea floor would be muddy and dirty, but no, it wasn't. The bottom is mostly rock and very hard packed dirt.

Danger Signs written in English and French
Note the signs above. I found the warning signs interesting. There are stories of people being caught down below by the high tides. I can certainly understand how this happens. You can walk for quiet some distance up and down the coast. If you lose track of time, you are going to get stuck down there. They tell you to find the tallest rock you can find and stay there till the tide recedes. Don't think I would want to be caught - especially at night.

Camping tonight . . .

Spending the night at Ponderosa Pines Campground next door. It's a nice clean place with a little pond to float your boat and you can also see the ocean from the campground too. Spaces are not too close and they are level and our little RV looks like a dot among the "big boys". Below are some of the little wildflowers found at the campground. 

Things on my list to do - I still need to pick up a souvenir before we leave Canada. I'm looking for a good hoodie and some hat pins (which I have not seen anywhere).