Category Archives: United States

New york state.

Our car on the country roads

 

Thursday 12th October we left the motel and continued to drive north on I87 leaving it to drive a circuit of the Catskills area. The interstates are useful for getting somewhere quickly but, like all motorways, they aren’t very scenic plus there was no where to stop when I saw something I wanted to photograph. I was looking for a white church, with red trees, green grass and no power lines!

Some nice leaf colour by the river.

Driving through the countryside

 

 

The Catskills is a mountainous region west of the Hudson Valley and hosts a mixture of cultures, both manmade and natural.  In 1894 the state constitution was amended so that thousands of acres will be kept as wild forest lands. It’s the closest place to New York city to see the Autumn leaves.

Interesting Halloween display

 

 

We left the I87 and drove onto route 28 to join the country roads passing through Arkville. This house in Arkville had one of many Halloween displays we saw. Halloween is big business here and the shops were full of costumes and decorations for your house. This garden had so much going on.

 

Beautiful trees in Roxbury

Colourful Tannersville

 

 

In Arkville turn north to Roxbury then head back east on Rte 23 which passes through colourful Tannersville. All the houses and shops were painted in lots of interesting colours.

Autumn flowers with a Halloween theme

Creepy

 

 

The Halloween display outside this shop was a bit scary. I wouldn’t have been surprised if this had been someone dressed up but I don’t think it was.

 

 

Colourful trees by the lake in Tannersville

And also a white church on the hill

Red leaves on the ground

 

After coffee we continued for a few miles east to the Kaaterskill falls. There are so many wonderful hikes in this area and the Kaaterskill falls was recommended to us. With a change of shoes we were ready to go. There were a lot of leaves on the ground already from the recent rain but still a lot on the trees.

There was stunning leaf colour all around the gorge

The top half of the falls

 

The Kaaterskill falls are at the end of an enormouse gorge. It was very autumnal to start with but we soon warmed up when we started walking. The views were stunning. The walk was downhill into the gorge until we came out into a clearing at the middle level. The falls were in the shade but you can still see the strata in the rocks. The falls were greatly reduced at that time of the year but it would be spectacular with the snow melt.

The first stage fell into a pool surrounded in moss.

Amazing colours surrounding the observation deck.

 

Looking up you could see the observation deck which is only a short walk from the car park.

The surrounding colours were beautiful. The water fall continued and so did we.

The lower half of the falls

 

 

 

The two falls together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last part of the path was steps which made it easy to get to the bottom pool. I’m sure in the summer it would be lovely to have a dip but a bit cool that day. I counted the steps back up- 198! My poor knees but it was good to get out of the car for some exercise. The views across the gorge were glorious.

The whole of the gorge and the mountain beyond was a riot of Autumn colours

Looking down onto the falls

Once back at the top we walked to the observation deck to look down onto the falls for more amazing views.

You only need one tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The view from the observation deck was equally stunning

A much nicer airbnb

Our walk had taken several hours but we really enjoyed it. Afterwards we headed back to the I87 because we had about 120 miles to travel north in New York state to the Saratoga springs area for another airbnb. After dinner we arrived at a beautiful New England style house hosted by Joanna with a bedroom, bathroom and sitting room just for us. Really nice and completely different from our Philadelphia experience.

Lake George

Driving passed more beautiful trees.

The Adirondack mountains cover 9375 sq miles from the centre of New York state to the Canadian border. With many peaks over 4000ft high. Like the Catskills to the south, much of the Adirondacks’ dense forest is protected by the state constitution. It’s also a great place to see the colour show of the Autumn leaves. Lake George is the gateway to the Adirondacks. A 32 mile lake with paddle-wheel boats rides on the crystalline water’s. Friday 13th we stopped there for breakfast before our hunt for more Autumn leaves continued.

An old mill house

Beautiful reflections in this lake before the water disappeared over the dam

 

 

 

There were many more smaller lakes and rivers to see on our onward quest towards Lake placid.

 

 

Amazing lower tree line of fir trees but behind it acres and acres of Autumn glory

Amazing scenery

Difficult to catch the right light. Needed more sun

Lake Placid public library

 

Lake Placid is a tiny resort town made famous by the winter Olympics of 1932 & 1980. It is sited by the mirror lake. Unfortunately with the wind that day there weren’t any mirror reflections. We parked up and walked around the town. Every where was fairly small including the local library and this beautiful stone church on a small rise.

Beautiful stone church

The mirror lake but no reflections

 

 

We had a delicious lunch overlooking the mirror lake.

 

 

More Autumn leaves – sorry

The Whiteface mountain toll gate

 

After lunch we drove further north and up towards the Whiteface mountain toll road where the Olympic ski races were held. Whiteface is the only peak in the Adirondacks accessible by car. Unfortunately it had clouded over and the colours of the leaves weren’t great. Furthermore when we got to the toll gate we found it was closed until May!

Spectacular colour

I love these Autumn colours

 

Not to be put off we decided to walk up. It was nice to have the road to ourselves apart from a couple of bikes who also got round the barrier. At first the view was obscured by trees in the fore ground but after about an hour of walking up we came to a clearing designed for picnics where the scenery was magnificent. The sun came out in bursts to improve the colours.

Glorious colours

Mile upon mile upon mile upon mile of colour. It goes on as far as the eye can see.

You can just see lake Placid in the distance

Another view of the lake

Taking a rest before the walk back down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill by the lake

 

 

When we got back down to the car the light had brightened and there were some lovely reflections in a small lake by the toll gate.

 

7

 

Beautiful reflections

Driving along the river

 

We continued to drive through the forest towards Platsburgh where we stayed in a wonderful airbnb with KC in her querky house. Again we had a bedroom, sitting room and toilet to ourselves on the lower floor. We sat in the garden with her in the twilight drinking her homemade wine. Airbnb is certainly the way to meet local people.

Spectacular scenery. The river bank was just a riot of colour

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Pennsylvania

An Amish horse drawn buggy

Monday 9th October we were all packed and ready to leave but it was raining. Gemma’s garden was a fairly steep bank to climb up some uneven steps so we waited until it eased off a bit. At 11.00 we called an uber and went to the car hire place. After the initial  checks we were on our way driving north out of Maryland into Pennsylvania. We headed into the so-called Pennsylvania Dutch community. These religious orders and cultures have been established here since the 18th century. Amish are the best known for their devotion to various degrees of low-tech, plain living but it was really slightly surreal seeing them in the flesh riding up and down the  country roads in their  very characteristic horse drawn buggies.

Sitting in the buggy

 

They were offering rides around the local homesteads in one of these so we decided it might be a nice way to dip our toes into their culture. We shared our buggy with several other families. Levi, our host in his straw hat, Dutch beard and plain garb chatted away about their culture. The first thing we  noticed was that there were no power lines going to the houses.

No powerlines

An Amish farm

As we trotted the few miles around his circuit Levi gave an introduction to the plain way of life they lead. We were fascinated that they did not not allow electricity into the house but discovered that this community, each having it’s own slightly different rules, allows a diesel generator to be run twice a day for just two hours to allow them to milk their cows.  The power is also used for a variety of tasks including charging compressed air tanks up. This compressed air is then used to drive air powered washing machines inside the houses which along with gas lamps prevent the wickedness of electricity from entering the home. So they have washing machines, I could live there!

Bill and I with our buggy

They have a very plain and simple life with a structured day that starts at 5am with milking the dairy herd and ends with lights out at 8pm. Youngsters are schooled in Amish schools and rarely go outside of the community other than for something called a run around where young adults are allowed out into the world to find out what it is like and then given a choice. ‘Come back and follow our way of life or go and never come back’. Unsurprisingly the vast majority return to live in the community for the rest of their lives. For such sheltered folk the world must be a scary place.

Lady in buggy

The first of the glass buildings of Philadelphia

It rained on and off all day as we continued our drive to Philadelphia. We stayed in an airbnb for the next 2 nights. We purposely choose the cheapest accommodation just to see what you got for your money. Could have gone badly but worked out ok in the end. It was in the ethnic area of town and we were the only whites in the area but Deidre was very friendly.  She had 4 rooms available that shared a bathroom and kitchen. It was clean and fairly quiet but i think we’ll go a bit higher next time.

Tuesday 10th we left the car outside the airbnb and took an uber into town, much less stress.

We enjoyed Philadelphia established by Quaker William Penn in 1682. Some if its streets are lined with glass buildings but it’s also the birthplace of American government where the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. For a time in its early years, Philadelphia was the second largest city in the British empire, after London, then, along with Boston, the empire’s undoing. From the start of the Revolutionary War until 1790 (when Washington dc was founded), it was the new nation’s capital.

The city hall, it was difficult getting it all in the photo

Half of the city hall

We started our day at the city hall completed in 1901. It’s 548ft high not counting the 27 ton bronze statue of William Penn which makes it the world’s tallest structure without a steel frame. It holds mostly offices.

Beautiful reflections

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fountain in the square outside is allowed to freeze in the winter for ice skating but that day it was giving some wonderful reflections of the surrounding buildings.

The view from the observation deck at the top of the tower was stunning.

Looking out to the Benjamin Franklin bridge

Looking out over the CBD

Looking down John F Kennedy blvd

The stairway was impressive too.

 

 

There was a lift to the top of the tower but the staircase alongside it was pretty impressive too.

 

 

 

Looking up into the dome

The reconstruction of where George Washington’s house was.

Bill and I continued walking along Market street towards the old city which has been dubbed ‘America’s most historic square mile due to the role it played in the American revolution and the earliest years of American democracy. There is a large L-shaped area designated Independence National Historic Park. It starts where the foundations of George Washington’s house are marked.

The liberty bell

 

 

 

 

Behind the house is the Liberty bell centre which houses the icon of Philadelphia history. Weighing 2080lbs it was made in 1751 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Pennsylvania’s constitution. It tolled on the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. The crack developed in the 19th century and it was retired in 1846.

Independence Hall

A painting of 1776

 

Independence Hall is renowned as the birthplace of American government.  It’s a modest Quaker building and is where delegates from the 13 colonies met to approve the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776. There’s a painting of the meeting in the entrance. It was a beautiful building inside.

The courthouse

The senate with a lot of original artefacts in place

The stunning staircase

A copy of the original declaration of independence signed by the representatives of the 13 colonies

 

The beautiful tower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beautiful Congress hall

Lovely park gardens

 

 

We continued to walk around the old part of the city, it was really attractive.

 

 

Majestic buildings

Interesting street.

 

 

It was  wonderful day and the rain kept away. We got an uber back to the airbnb and luckily not only was the car still there it still had it’s  wheels! Haha only joking wasn’t that bad. More Philadelphia photos on facebook.

 

The Raymondskill falls

 

 

Wednesday 11th we headed out to the Delaware Water gap, a beautiful spot where the Delaware river passes through the Kittatinny mountains. In the pre air conditioning days it was a popular resort destination. It also acts as a border between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The 30 mile road on the Pennsylvania side gave some stunning views and the beginning of the Autumn leaves. We stopped at the Raymondskill falls car park and walked down to the falls for a picnic. The falls were small but very picturesque.

Not a bad selfie

Leaves turning colour

After our picnic walked back to the car.

Btw this is the rental car. The bottom 2 categories, small or compact were the same price so we booked compact. When we picked it up we were offered the next size up for a few dollars a day extra. Having already spent a lot more than we intended we turned down the offer. Then they said they didn’t have any compact and this the smallest car they had!

Bill with the Mitsubishi outlander

A bridge over the river

 

The drive through the trees was beautiful although it clouded over in the afternoon. Frustratingly there weren’t many places to stop. We kept seeing the most beautiful scenes but no where to stop. Eventually we found a car park and I was able to take some reflection photos.

Beautiful river bank

Looking up the river

 

Having driven the Delaware Water gap we made our way back onto interstate 84 then onto the 87. We crossed the border into New York state and stopped at a motel in Poughkeepsie for the night. There were about half a dozen to choose from. The next day was the Catskills.

 

 

Beautiful Autumn leaves

Maryland

Pretty house built around a lighthouse

Monday 2nd October there was no wind as usual so we motored south. We had a day in hand so decided to stop in Magothy bay overnight and dropped our anchor just after 5pm. The waypoint was

39°04.916N

076°27.623W

There were the usual ‘cottages’ around the water’s edge. One of them was set on an island and built around a lighthouse. I can’t imagine it ever being used for navigation that far inside the bay but it looked pretty.

Tuesday 3rd, after taking my turn on the OCC net on the SSB radio, we got underway again.

Big double bridge crossing right over the Chesapeake

This bridge is one of the few possible ways of crossing the Chesapeake from Maryland to Delaware. It was enormous and disappeared off towards the horizon.

Approaching Crab creek

It was a shame we didn’t have more time to explore the bay but October was heavily planned with events and our holiday. I had contacted an OCC member and asked if we could leave Camomile on the jetty at the end of her garden, as advertised on the OCC website. It’s an amazing feature the OCC offer and well worth the membership fee. The marinas in the U.S. are way beyond our budget at over $100 a day. Gemma’s place is just south of Annapolis in Crab creek.

One of Gemma’s neighbours

The jetty is just across from the boathouse on the left of the photo.

There were several other OCC boats anchored in the creek as Gemma allows them to use her jetty to tie up their dinghies.

The jetty is at

38°57.522N

076°31.811W

Gemma is the port officer for Annapolis and her contact details are on the OCC website if you are members.

Bill tying Camomile securely to the jetty.

Screenshot of our position on the chart

The OCC end of season dinner

Gemma moved to the U.S. from the Netherlands many years ago. It was very generous of her to allow us to use her jetty, we were very grateful. It was so nice to be able to  step ashore. Gemma’s house is set up a steep bank which we walked up to look for the supermarket to buy a few supplies.

Wednesday 4th was the day of the OCC US east coast end of season dinner. Gemma and other OCC members did a wonderful job of arranging lifts for everyone. It was nice to dress up for a change.  Some of the cruisers we had met on the Maine rally in August were there along with Dick and Moira from the Westerly called Equinox.  It was nice to see them again.

The lady speaker

Dinner was chicken Cesar salad and a very nice tortellini in a creamy sauce with prawns followed by some chocolate dipped thingys. It was all delicious.

The speaker was a lady from the Chesapeake bay program who spoke about their restoration of the bay and the control of the environment protection they are undertaking.

 

 

Visiting the Annapolis boat show

 

Thursday 5th I spent a very frustrating day trying to book a car for our holiday and kept hitting brick walls! The problem in the U.S. is that everyone carries their own insurance but as we don’t we would have to take out the car hire’s CDW (they insist). This would only cover the hire car if any one hit us or if we damaged it so we needed a second insurance that was a third party insurance that would cover us if we damaged anyone else’s car or, more importantly, them.  I spent all day trying to find cheaper options but gave up in frustration.

The Annapolis boat show

Bill next to the Gin tent – the equivalent of the Guinness tent

Friday 6th again the OCC members arranged for the cruisers to be picked up and taken to the boat show. The Annapolis boat show is almost as big as the Southampton boat show but is divided into two shows, sailboats the first weekend then there’s a 2 day change around with the motor boat show the following weekend.  It was great to see some old friends. We were just standing by the Gin tent when who should wander by but Jason of YOLO and Karen. Haven’t seen them since Malaysia. There were also a number of new friends recently made.

 

Meeting Jimmy Cornell

It was nice to speak to some old friends on the supplier stands. We finally met the guy who organised our new Staylok fittings when we had our rig failure on the way to the Galapagos. Also Will Curry was on the Hydrovane stand. We almost helped him with a sale by telling his client how good our Hydrovane was and how we wouldn’t be without it. Will had a guest on his stand later in the afternoon and that was Jimmy Cornell.  We last met Jimmy at the Cruising Association in London many years ago when he had inspired us to go sailing. It was great to meet him again.

Bill on Solstice

Jake and Jackie of Hokule’a

After the boat show we made our way to Solstice in the marina for the reunion we had been looking forward to. Bill on Solstice had invited our lovely friends Jake and Jackie of Hokule’a, now based in California, to stay with him, also Jack and Zdenka of Kite drove down from Portland where we met in the summer. Neil and Ruth had Rutea across the way and were invited and Behan of Totem joined us later in the evening. It was wonderful to all be together again and catch up on everyone’s news.

Ruth, Zdenka, Jackie and Sue

On Saturday 7th I looked at the hire car situation again including working out if it would be cheaper to fly to Boston and hire a car from there but it was more expensive. I looked at trains but they were also expensive plus public transport isn’t so regular in the States. Buses aren’t so good either so eventually I booked a car at a cost of $25 a day plus over $40 a day for the 2 insurances. Crazy!

Sunday 8th I spent the day cleaning the boat and packing and getting excited.

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