Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Trips Continue

My First Maine Experience

Back in 2005 my family and I set out on an excursion to Maine as well as the other New England states. This was my very first experience in this region of the U.S. My parents had honeymooned here so they knew what to see while we were there. I remember this trip fondly as one of my very favorites since we got to camp as well as see the ocean which never really happened on the same trip. The nature in that Northern region of the country is some of the most beautiful I have ever seen and believe I will ever see again.
Ben and Jerry's Factory
Our first major stop was in Waterbury, Vermont at the wonderful Ben and Jerry’s factory for a delicious tour. I am a huge aficionado of everything ice cream so this tour was heaven for me, especially since at the end of the tour we were able to taste new flavors that had just come into production. We were also able to visit the Shelbourne Museum, which was fantastic for a family of history enthusiasts. They had every kind of history imaginable, even a home, made from freight shipping containers. Into Maine we drove and finally to my absolute favorite place in the world; Acadia National Park. We stayed in the Seawall Campground which was a five to ten minute walk to the ocean front. It is the type of place a person should go to when they need to escape the chaos and stressfulness of everyday life. It is heaven on earth in the form of a National Park.
Bass Harbor Light
In Acadia we took the Park Loop Road around the entire park sight-seeing as we went along. We went to see the Bass Harbor Lighthouse and for dinner that same evening I had my very first lobster dinner at a lobster pound. The best seafood in the world was eaten on this vacation. The lobster, potatoes, and corn on the cob was to die for, along with heaping bowls of clam chowder. Another wonderful adventure in Acadia is waking up to see the sunrise atop Cadillac Mountain. We woke up at 3:30 AM! We packed hot chocolate, blankets, and sweatshirts all so we could say we were some of the first people in the U.S. to see the sunrise that morning. It was absolutely breathtaking to watch the vibrant shades of oranges and reds rise above Bar Harbor below us. We also were able to go on a ranger led trip to tide pools getting the chance to handle seaweed, starfish, and sea urchins. Amazing is all that can describe that experience.

Cape Cod Beach
We took a day trip into Canada before a passport was required and saw a lighthouse only accessible during low tide. Franklin Roosevelt’s summer cottage was nearby as well so we took a tour of Campobello Island, a home I could definitely summer in. We were away for my eleventh birthday and my parents surprised me with a birthday cake snuck into the camper’s oven. We sadly left paradise to head down east to Cape Cod. We stopped at the Portland Light where the Perfect Storm was filmed. It was a fancier region and a lot less camping went on. The best thing about this leg of our journey was getting a fire permit to have a bonfire on the beach. We got to take a whale watching tour out of Provincetown and actually spotted some whales. It was a magically experience in New England and I loved every minute of my time there. My biggest hope is to someday have a house on a lake in Maine where I can enjoy the natural beauty around me every day. Maine is perfection and by far my favorite state.

"Not all who wander are lost." -J.R.R. Tolkien

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fond Memories of First Vacations

My First Vacations

My family took the road less traveled by; as we explored campgrounds and natural wonders not plotted on any map. I don't recall every single trip that we took growing up, but I do fondly recall the long car rides when reading was my only companion to stave away car sickness. The views that passed by my window were like scenes in a movie. Where else do people get to see mountains or fields of wildflowers bloom before them each summer. God blessed me with a passion to learn and appreciate the special qualities in things. Without my travel experiences I wouldn't be the well-educated, eclectic college student I am today. My personality is a melting pot of my tastes and interests. Every trip we took seemed to have a specific soundtrack to it as we rolled down the roads. Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline on some, The Beatles, Queen, and ZZ Top on others; no matter the songs we rocked and Dad taught me to jam early on even when you're driving. I also remembering the most interesting discussions between my parents and myself occurred on long car rides.
Mom and I (me rocking pink bibs)

Luckily I have all of our travel journals saved from each of our vacations for reference but my earliest memory of a long vacation is my family trip to Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Our first stop was at Indiana Dunes National Seashore at their campground. I recall going to the beach there and my father got pooped on by a seagull. It was also at this campground, that our trailer was parked near a sand dune. Coincidently I had the grand idea that sand would taste like salt, since it appeared to look like table salt. I was playing around with a spoon, digging in the sand and curiously took a bite. It was an awful idea and I never again intentionally tasted sand.
Young Sarah digging in the sand
We took the train from Indiana into Chicago a few times that trip, and I recall being stuck on the train for two extra hours on one trip in due to another train being derailed. In Chicago we visited Navy Pier, the Shedd Aquarium, the planetarium, as well as the Museum of Science and Industry. On to Milwaukee to more adventures at the Miller Brewing Company where I got all jacked up on root beer. We moved on to Oshkosh, to my very first plane ride on a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor and then when I through with that one I hopped into a two passenger plane, taking my Young Eagle Flight with a complete stranger, soaring into the skies. In Minnesota we went to the Split Rock lighthouse which I recall was absolutely beautiful. We stayed in Toledo on our way home and of course stopped at the delicious Tony Packo’s for what I believe was the very first time. Tony Packo’s then became our Mecca on trips north and made every long car ride worth it. Home wasn’t far when we were there and I knew that upon return I would be with the rest of my loving family.

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life”
-Jack Kerouac, On the Road