Friday, August 3, 2018

Massachusetts - Littleton


Our move on July 5, 2018 took us to Littleton, MA which is just outside of Boston. We stayed at the Boston Minuteman Campground. This is a very pretty park with a mix of RV sites, pull-throughs and back-ins, cabins and tent sites.
We were in Site A, a back-in with full hook ups. The sites are a little wider than normal and have a picnic table and the coolest fire pits we have seen.

There is a pool, playground, game room and an activity area with Bocce Balls, Ladderball and Cornhole.
The fenced dog park is nice and big with shade trees. WiFi was good and our Verizon signal was strong. Laundry and bathrooms were clean. We paid $54.90 a night with no discount.

We toured the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston, MA, which means we have now been in all of the Presidential Libraries and Museums. Jimmy Carter's in Atlanta, that we visited in March 2016, is still our favorite.

The exhibits included his campaign, with videos of his and Nixon's debates. We liked the Michigan connection!

While his time in office was cut short, he certainly made an impact on our country. Displays included copies of his speeches with corrections typed in red. Of course the most famous was his quote of what you can do for your country. His appeal to the rest of the politicians is one that can certainly still be made today.
One alcove was dedicated to the Space Program. What are your memories of man landing on the moon?

November 22, 1963. Everyone has a story of where they were when Kennedy was shot. Such a sad day. 
Nancy was six years old and can still remember coming home from school and her mom sitting in the basement in front of the TV, crying so hard. 
Les was 14 and remembers the President of the School Board coming to his classroom to tell them. Everyone was shocked by the news.

They have a darkened hallway with small video screens that show the TV coverage and Walter Cronkite choking up while announcing Kennedy's death.

Jacqueline Kennedy was born on July 28, 1929. She worked as the "Inquiring Camera Girl" for the Washington Times-Herald. During the Presidential campaign she wrote a weekly newspaper column entitled "Campaign Wife."

The upper left picture is when she was three years old, The upper right is her writing one of her columns. Bottom left is a cartoon she did for the paper of JFK washing out his socks in a hotel room. Bottom right is her wedding day.

Outside of the museum there is a large platform where you can see across the bay to downtown Boston and watch the airplanes come in for a landing.
This is one of the most scariest places we have landed, flew here in the Winter and the whole place was a sheet of ice - thought for sure we were going to slide right off the runway and into the water!
JKF's boat, "Victura" sits on the lawn, Les got a great shot of the skyline with the boat. In 1986 the Amvets dedicated the Carillon Bell as a living memorial to all Veterans.
L: Plane coming in ~~ C: Carrillon Bells ~~ R: JFK's sail boat. 
There was a special exhibit called JFK 100. It has 100 different items from his life, starting with his first formal photo from November 1917. There was a drawing of a tree from the early 1920's. Family items were included, his mother kept a file box that had information about each child, listing their health info, school accomplishments etc.
We loved this banner that
 hangs outside the museum.

The Garden Gnomes were from a set of six, each one a caricature of a Cold War Leader. They were a gift from a citizen of West Germany.

After touring the JFK Library we headed to Salem, MA. Every time we get into a touristy town we realize what horrible tourists we are! Considering our lifestyle we find this rather funny.
There are a number of museums you can tour and of course blocks and blocks of stores and resturarnts. We had planned to park and wander but we could never find a parking spot.
The Old Burying Point was on our list, we know this shocks you! At the entrance to the cemetery is a courtyard with stone memorials to the 19 women and men who were killed for practicing witchcraft. Most were hung but a couple were pressed to death. Fear will lead people to do some crazy things.

There is another memorial to them, Protector's Ledge, at the spot it is believed they were hung. There is a plaque for each of the nineteen, with their name and the date they died. There were 13 women and 6 men, one of them a Reverend.

The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, MA is the final resting place for Thoreau, Hawthorne, Alcott and Emerson. Their family plots are all close together on what is called the Authors Ridge. Can you imagine the conversations at a book group with all of them?

Henry Thoreau (1817-1862) lived in Concord and along with his writing he was a staunch abolitionist. He was also a historian and naturalist.

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) was born in Pennsylvania, but grew up in Concord. She was also an abolitionist and strong feminist. She never married and stayed in the Concord/Boston area.

Both of their graves were decorated with small rocks and pens and pencils left as a memorial to them. On Henry's grave is a note of thanks in a small plastic bag with a pencil stub. "Thank you for inspiring me." Brent McCleary

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) lived and traveled world wide, with his last residence being in Concord, MA. He died while on a recuperative trip to the White Mountains in NH. His pallbearers included Longfellow, Emerson, Alcott Sr (Louisa May's father) and Holmes.

Ralph Waldo Emerson's (1803-1882) is the most elaborate and his two wives are buried on either side of him. He was born in Boston and after living in England he returned to Concord, MA. He was one of the founders of the Transcendentalist Movement. All of the authors buried here were members.

In our travels to get Roadside Oddities we were in three states in one day! Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
We checked two more Peter "Wolf" Toth Indian carvings off our list.

"Enishkeetompauog" stands in Sprague Park in Narragansett, RI. He was carved in 1982 and is the 42nd carving. He is 20-feet tall and is made from a Douglas Fir.

The second one is in Plymouth, MA. The first one we have found in front of a McDonald's. This one was carved in 1983 from a Red Oak tree. He is the 45th carving and stands 30-feet tall. He is titled "Enisketomp."

While in Plymouth, MA we of course had to check out the Plymouth Rock. It is housed in a pillared pavilion to protect it from the elements. It sits a few feet below the platform you stand on, assuming to protect it from the people who come to see it! There is a Park Ranger on duty who tells the history of the rock. The Mayflower Ship usually sits in the bay but it has been removed for repairs, there were still lots of beautiful boats to admire.

The Irish Round Tower in the St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Milford, MA  was designed by Reverend Patrick Cuddihy in 1894. It is said to be a replica of the famous Glendaloungh Tower in Ireland and was built to commemorate the Irish immigrants of Milford.

There is much discussion as to what the towers were originally built for. Some say they were Watch Towers, other say they were Bell Towers, and some others say they were where the Monks hid important documents to keep them safe from invasions. Whatever the reason the landscape of Ireland is dotted with them.

There were a few other cool headstones as well.

Quirky and more historical Roadsides were on our route.
The John Brown Bell is in a park in Marlborough, MA. Soldiers from Marlborough were part of the group that surrounded and captured insurrectionist John Brown in Harper's Ferry in 1859. Their reward was the arsenal bell, which was brought home and enshrined in this tower. We visited Harper's Ferry back in May.
Just down the road from the Bell is a Carved Ant that sits at the entrance to an exterminator.
The overpasses in Pawtucket, RI are all painted to look like the outside of houses! We loved these signs we kept seeing everywhere, Thickly Settled!!

The "Modern Diner" is a customized and factory-built "Sterling Streamliner". They were manufactured in the late 1930's and early 1940's. It was chosen to be the first diner in the nation to be accepted on the National Register for Historic Places.
Diners originated in Providence, RI with the first ones being horse-drawn canteens created by Walter Scott in 1872. They sold pies, coffee and light food to people who worked at night when restaurants were closed.

While the lines on the road probably aren't really a Roadside, they are an Oddity! These Patriotic Lines are in Chelsea, MA, just across the river from Boston.

This really was a multi state stop. One of our days took us into New Hampshire and Maine, and down memory lane. Our daughter Katrina lived in Dover and Newmarket, NH, while attending graduate school at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
The top left picture from 2006, is one we took as we pulled away to head back to MI after moving her into her apartment, top right picture. Yes, Nancy cried like a baby. Bottom left is Dover, NH and she worked at Rite Aid in Newmarket.

She also worked at the York's Wild Kingdom in York, ME before moving back to Michigan. It was fun to visit the Zoo and her old stomping grounds.
The entrance road into the zoo is lined with boards that have a silhouette of an animal with a question to answer. Do you know the answers?

We of course had the dog with us so Nancy went into the zoo and Les and Mielikki went in search of a dog park.

Nancy laughed at the Baby Goat laying on top of its mother. It doesn't matter what species, kids will be kids! The Prairie Dogs were one of Katrina's favorites.

The Butterfly House is always a favorite and this one didn't disappoint. There are Baby Alligators and a Black Headed Swan as well.

Nancy even caught a pair of butterflies mating.

Up next is Bristol, New Hampshire and the White Mountains.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way.
~ Check Lists
We have discussed check lists in previous posts to help us remember everything that needs to be done setting up and taking down. You would think after all this time we wouldn't need them anymore. But it is always a safety net for us.
Nancy has discovered she needs one when making reservations.The last few stops have held some surprises for us. She has a notebook that she lists everything in for each stop: Camp name, address, phone, cost, site information, special directions, and the local sites to see.

 There are certain things we always look for in a campground and ask about.
First is a decent price and any discounts they may offer. Then we move on from there:
~ Pull through site - much easier then having to unhook the tow dolly.
~ Full hook-ups. Water, 50 amp electric, and sewer hook-ups. Our current site does not have the last item and we thought it did.
~ Is there a shady spot, it helps to keep the RV cooler.
~ WiFi, again our current place does not have this and Nancy forgot to ask.
~ Laundry on site, again our current place does not have this and the question wasn't asked.
The last question we ask is:
~ Will our GPS bring us right to the campground. Many times it will take us past or not quite far enough.

Nancy has now made a list on the inside cover of her notebook to keep her on track!

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