Tom & Charlene's Excellent Adventures travel blog

Stone carvers @ rock of ages

Barre Granite monument @ Hope Cemetery

Barre Granite Quarry

Bar Harbor

NorthEast Harbor

On the road again, so glad to be on the road again. Yes, friends & family we are blessed to be on another adventure. We are heading to Eastern Canada via the New England states. You received our previous log so you automatically receive this series. (Lucky You!) If you don’t want to receive the updates you can delete your name from My Trip Journal or just ignore the notices. Believe me our feelings will not be hurt, many find our ramblings boring. Cell and WiFi service have been spotty so this first edition will be a long one. Anyway – on to our adventure . . .

We left home Monday, August 15 and started with a great breakfast at Bob Evans. We had our last reward points to spend and a free dessert for Tom’s Birthday. We were sure it would be a long time until we saw a Bob Evans again so we took advantage of it. That Western Omelet prepared Tom for a day of marathon driving. Logged 616 mile in the rain to spend the night in Utica, NY. Thanks to the E-Z Pass we zipped through the toll booths (the bill will come later) and averaged almost 17 mpg in our big blue PW woo-hoo – a record mpg.

Tuesday we decided to forgo the Interstate and drove the foothill of the Adirondack Mountains. It was a slower winding trip. Reached our destination of Barre, VT (pronounced Barry) in time to do the factory tour at Rock of Ages. Our church-pew friend Roberta Condon suggested the stop with a factory/quarry tour. The visitors center and factory tour were quite interesting. The have designed and constructed many historic monuments in addition to the memorials they manufacture. We were too late to catch the last bus for the quarry tour. Ate that evening at Ladder 1, a restaurant in the Barre’s former fire department – quite an interesting setting & really good stuffed manicotti.

Wednesday we returned for the quarry tour. The company has been mining the same quarry of Barre Gray granite for over 100 yrs. and have only mined about 1% of the available granite. Rock of Ages has many quarries all over the US and buy from others in Europe & Asia. This is to get the different colors of granite they need. They also sell to other monument companies. In support of the local company the town of Barre designated that only monument of Barre granite may be erected in Hope Cemetery. Because all tombstones are the same color many families were very creative in making their monument stand out.

After leaving Barre we stopped at the Goodrich Maple Syrup Farm and learned about the process of turning sap into maple syrup. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup. Goodrich Farms has over 1000 acres of sugar maple trees. To collect the sap they tap the tree and connect the tap to tubing. That tube is attached to an array of tubes that runs directly into the sugar house. We sampled maple cream, maple sugar and 2 grades of maple syrup. Got our sugar quota for the day!

We then stopped at the Cabot Vermont Creamery for a tour and samples. The Creamery co-op is comprised of 1200 New England farm families that supply the milk for the many cheeses they manufacture. Tom was disappointed to find they did not manufacture ice cream – had his heart set on a chocolate cone!

We enjoyed Bar Harbor, Maine so much last year we decided to stop again on our way to Canada. Our first stop was at the Bar Harbor KOA. When they quoted us $104 for waterfront & $76 for a place in the sun we knew we were at the wrong (for us!) campground. Spent Thursday and Friday nights at the Bar Harbor Campground. Similar names but a world of difference. The camp is unique in that they do not take reservations or charge cards. They fill up every day by noon and is a bargain @ $40/night. We have a really nice spot in a wooded area and a free shuttle into town.

We spent Thursday afternoon driving around the Island. The coast of Maine is very rugged and beautiful. Revisited our favorite sites and found some new ones. Missed North West Harbor last time, found it this time. A true New England summer destination. A very large harbor with lots of boats (yachts & sailboats) and a main street changed to a one-way street May-Labor Day to accommodate the crowds. The shops looked very “exclusive” – let’s just say I couldn’t afford to walk in the door!

Ate at Thurston’s Lobster Pound – it was recommended by fellow travelers last year but we were unable to eat there. Looked like a dump outside and would not have stopped if not recommended. Waited in line 20 minutes to place our order - so worth the wait. Took the advice of a couple in line with us and ordered the soft shell lobster. The soft shell season is at its high point now and is very short. These are young lobster whose shells have not completely hardened, easier to crack open and sweeter meat – with drawn butter – Oh My – what a treat! Finished driving the Island and luckily found a slot to park the RV in downtown Bar Harbor. Waited in line another 20 minutes for delicious ice cream cones.

Friday morning we boarded the Island Hopper Express for a ride into Bar Harbor. The weather was prefect during our stay. Spent the day exploring the town and watching the boats at the wharf. A Holland America ship was anchored off shore and passengers were tendered into town. Walked the shore trail which we missed last trip.

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