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Posts Tagged ‘Trip 2 Spring 2009’

 

 

 

Keg tapping

Keg tapping

 

 

June 12,2009

Oh, Frankenmuth, we sing your praise.  

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Frankenmuth

Frankenmuth

We stayed at our very first “Jellystone” campground here, something we never anticipated doing, not having children or grand-children yet in tow.  But, this location is within walking distance of the Bavarian Festival, in full swing this weekend. So we went with that flow…3625413522_4ce36daec1_m

 

 

Cold weather buddies

Cold weather buddies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The campground was also within walking distance of Bronner’s  CHRISTmas Wonderland.  Almost indescribable.  We started our tour there in the Silent Night Memorial Chapel, a replica of the  chapel in Oberndorf, Austria, where Stille Nacht, was first composed/performed.

 

Stille Nacht Chapel

Stille Nacht Chapel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We could have gotten lost in the huge store complex, but our dancing feet needed to get to the Bavarian Festival a few miles down the road.

 

 

 

 

The Olympics were underway – the Fire Dept, local athletic clubs, Dental Practice/Bank emloyees, etc. were competing in the watermelon-eating contest when we came on the scene. 

We got some beer and barbecued pork sandwiches  for energy to dance the night away. Older people put us to shame.  We’ve got a lot of dancing to learn!

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Wonderful park, lovely sunset. We meet next-door neighbors from Argentina.  They have a European rig. Also a nice couple who are living out of a Sprinter van.

 Lake Erie Sunset

Lake Erie Sunset

 

Lake Erie sunset

Lake Erie sunset

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I’m so far behind in blogging but don’t want to forget these two.  Such different experiences, but both memorable in their own way.

The first was the Minuteman Campgrounds, close to Lexington and Concord.  It’s been in the same family for a long time and their love and care is evident.

 

Office at Minuteman Campground

Office at Minuteman Campground

 We’re used to staying in state parks when they’re almost empty, so we enter this private campground with trepidation.  Not to worry –  our site is amazing.

 

Minuteman Campground campsite - Concord MA

Minuteman Campground campsite - Concord MA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite fire pits ever.  I wanted to set up a nativity scene!

 

Stone fire pit Minuteman Campground

Stone fire pit Minuteman Campground

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stay a second night and get to talk to one of our “neighbors” – he’s there for a some kind of  period gun-shooting contest.  He tells us they’ll all be in costumes in the morning and I get up in time to catch a few of them.

 

Nice gun-toting neighbors

Nice gun-toting neighbors

 

 

The second campground is hard to get to, and when we get there, we almost want to turn around and head the other way.  It’s packed with seasonal trailers. Row after row. And more recreational vehicles, golf carts, motorcycles, etc. than we’ve ever seen in one place.  We reject the first site they suggest for us, it’s so crowded we’re not sure how we would back into it (and we’re SMALL!) so we find a site in a less crowded area and settle in.  

And then we take a walk at dusk. We are dumbstruck by the lights, strings of all kinds and colors, flags, banners, decorations, tiki bars, full screen porches, patios, rock gardens – and everywhere campfires with loungers, chairs, so many people sitting outside together, kids playing, music blaring.  We aren’t used to this. 

We go off to see some history the next day and come back to the same site.  We take another long walk. Once it’s completely dark, I’m seriously concerned we might get lost – there’s a whole city here, block after block of huge rigs, lit by firelight.  Where do we turn to get back to our campsite…was there a flamingo on the corner?  A bear statue? An American flag? 

But we do find our way back, and climb back into the Navion. Sometime while we were gone, or later in the night, we have a visitor.  We don’t know about until we pull back out of the site in the morning.

 

Snapping turtle who lived under our Navion overnight

Snapping turtle who lived under our Navion overnight

 

 

Thank God we still have our toes, after walking around in the dark, and then in the morning, oblivious.  It’s the largest snapping turtle I’ve ever seen and ornery as all get out.

And, this is where I have a mind-set change on this campground.  The nicest young man comes out of his trailer when he sees Dick trying to move this prehistoric beast with a stick.  He tells us that this turtle does this all the time and is not a happy camper.

Snapping turtle snapping at stick

Snapping turtle snapping at stick

 

 

 He goes to borrow a shovel, for transport to the pond, while his wife and some kids join us for the event.  It’s not an easy process, but the man perseveres and gets the turtle back into the water.  We talk for awhile about what this time spent together as a family means to them (they’re seasonal, so the rig stays, they come on long weekends). He was so cheerful, helpful and friendly.  I thought who wouldn’t want to have neighbors like this?

 

Snapping turtle going for a ride

Snapping turtle going for a ride

 

 

 

 

I would skip the reptilian variety however…

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We did.  We entered through the checkpoint of the Mount McGregor  Correctional Facility, the guards flagged us on, after warning us not to let Taylor out of the RV – “I’m going to pretend I didn’t see that cat,” one armed guard said. So Taylor has become an outlaw.  What picture of him will appear on the FBI’s most wanted list, if his life of crime continues, one can only imagine…

Anyway, we circle up the mountain, passing shiny barbed wire and a huge facility we know better than to take pictures of, up and up until we come to our destination.  The Ulysses S. Grant Cottage State Historic Site.

Ulysses S. Grant State Historic Site

Ulysses S. Grant State Historic Site

 

 

It is undoubtably the strangest entrance and surroundings any president could have to commemorate an important time in their history.  But it was here, in a lovely cottage, that Ulysses S. Grant died.  The Civil War General and two-time President of the United States, in the last stages of throat cancer, came here to draw strength from the air and beauty of the Adirondacks, so that he could finish his memoirs.  Three days after completing them, he died.  The prison grew up around this beautiful spot at the top of the mountain years later.  In his day, there was a swank Adirondack hotel, with daily train service, bringing hordes of visitors to enjoy the cool mountain air, and while Grant was there, get a view of their dying president.

They have left the house and its’ contents exactly the way it was the day he died.

The bed Grant died in and stopped clock on mantle

The bed Grant died in and stopped clock on mantle

 We saw the bed he died in, the chairs he used to sleep in, when he could no longer sleep lying down, his folded shirts, toothbrush, the hand-written note cards which were his substitute for speech when he could no longer talk.

Grant's chairs for sleeping and personal items

Grant's chairs for sleeping and personal items

 

 

 

 There were even the original flowers sent for his funeral, set up in the dining room, where his ice-packed coffin lay on the dining room table, before the train that brought him to the mountain, would take him back down again to lay in state.

Funeral flowers in dining room

Funeral flowers in dining room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I have to figure out whether I add his biography or memoirs to my rapidly expanding list of books to read from this trip.  The end of OUR story is that we passed successfully through the prison guards again, so I guess our escape plan worked.

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Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

 We took an hour and a half guided tour of Emily’s home, where she was born and died – and the next door home of her brother, Austin, adulterous husband of one of Emily’s best friends, whose young mistress wound up being responsible for the early publishing of Emily’s previously unpublished poems.

 

A pretty complicated, scandalous tale for staid, Calvinistic Amherst.  We had a fascinating tour guide,  who has developed a new theory about Emily’s Master Figure (a continuous scholarly debate as to who/what it is) and has published a paper and is researching a book, based on that person.  She’s in the real married man camp, but suggests one not considered previously.

There still remain so many questions about Emily, not yet resolved.  Why did she wear the white cotton dresses?  Was she in love with her sister-in-law?  What were her religious beliefs?  Was she a shy virgin or did she know passionate love?  Why did she become a recluse?  Was she just an eccentric artist unwilling to bow to convention, or unbalanced?  A little or a lot?

It was a great tour/visit and I’m definitely going to take a closer look at her poetry after this – and read at least one or two biographies.  I say this after each historical stop…good enough reason for believing in heaven, an eternity to catch up on reading.

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This day is for my  Mom and Dad. Right up their alley, as they might have put it. They’re gone now, but I feel them at these sites, whispering in my ear, enjoying every minute.

I start the day at the home of Louisa May Alcott.  I’m alone on this visit  (Dick has some work he needs to do and stays in the RV).  But if Mom and I would have been here together, there would probably have been some kind of electrical failure in the house, just due to our combined excitement.  It is “Little Women” heaven.  To actually see the costumes they wore when putting on their plays (including the boots Louisa (Jo) made for her dashing male role), the artwork throughout the house from May (Amy) who achieved great artistic success later -and so many of their personal possessions, including the table where Louisa wrote her most famous and successful book, balking all the way, thinking it boring.   I could go on and on. An absolutely amazing family, in an amazing time in Concord Massachusetts.  

We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside so all I have is an outside shot.

Louisa May Alcott House

Louisa May Alcott House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For my Dad – Thoreau’s Cabin at Walden  Pond.   I have a funny memory of his trying to find this for us on a family vacations some forty-five  or so years ago.  First, it was hard to find Walden Pond.  He finally got us there,  there were hot dog stands and people swimming and picknicking.  He asked many people he encountered where Thoreau’s cabin was.  Nobody he asked had ever heard of Thoreau. 

It’s a different story today.  We saw a recreation of his cabin and walked around the whole of Walden Pond.  The original site has been found by archeologists, so the foundation is outlined.  As history has it, people had been commemorating the site a few feet away (starting, we heard with Bronson Alcott, who took someone to visit his friend).

Walden Pond as viewed from Thoreau's House site

Walden Pond as viewed from Thoreau's House site

 

 

 

The outline of his cabin

The outline of his cabin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Mom and Dad for bringing me into these wonderful worlds.

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We walk into the theatre for the orientation film at the Visitor Center, and before it even starts I’m totally captivated and intrigued.  There is a regular projection screen on the right, but the rest of the place has the look of a theatrical stage, a tavern scene on the left, with real table, chairs, mugs, fireplace, etc. (and a door that will later reveal a filmed character narrator) dimly- lit painted scenes of a town and country-side on either side of us, parts of which will come to life (“one if by land, two if by sea” lanterns, etc.) and various windows, fences and other props that feature in the telling of the “shot heard round the world” and how the opening battle of the American Revolution came to pass.

In an opening talk, a National Park Ranger told us about how large groups of bored and rowdy school children visit frequently.  And become silent and enthralled as the lights dim and the story of this pivotal point in our nation’s history unfolds. I haven’t been bored or rowdy for awhile now, but it definitely had the same effect on me.

Then off to Lexington to see where the British first fired on the militiamen.

 

Lexington Village Green

Lexington Village Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Buckman Tavern, where Lexington Militia met on April 19, before shots were fired on the village green and history changed forever.

 

Buckman Tavern, Lexington MA

Buckman Tavern, Lexington MA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Minute Man National Historical Park is very linear – marking important sites along the way.  We stopped to see  Hartwell Tavern, where people watched the British soldiers marched proudly by on their way to Concord, but returned, panicked and disorganized on their way back to Boston.

 

Hartwell Tavern on Battle Road

Hartwell Tavern on Battle Road

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musket firing demonstration, Hartwell Tavern

Musket firing demonstration, Hartwell Tavern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then it’s off to literary heaven for me.  The Wayside, home of Louisa May Alcott (Little Women) and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Margaret Sidney (Five Little Peppers books), among so many other famous residents and guests – so much literary, political and philosophical activity going on there, if the walls could talk we’d be deaf in a minute.

The Wayside, Home of Authors - Concord MA

The Wayside, Home of Authors - Concord MA

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