Adventures in the Villa



2022-10-08 Bella Vista, Arkansas

We have a mostly free day today. Time to stay relaxed and to watch some college football!

We walked through the park… There was a craft show/flea market/car show…

There was also great beauty. Lynda gets all excited about “fall colors”. I just see dead leaves…

Mid day we drove the few miles into “downtown” Bella Vista. It is really just a few shopping centers…

But the real reason for the drive was to see the Mildred Cooper Memorial Chapel.

Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel is a chapel in Bella Vista, Arkansas, designed by E. Fay Jones and Maurice Jennings and constructed in 1988.  The chapel was commissioned by John A. Cooper, Sr. to honor Mildred Borum Cooper, his late wife.  The chapel was designed to celebrate both God and his creations.

Located on a wooded site along Lake Norwood, the chapel has become a popular tourist destination in Northwest Arkansas. It is also popular as a venue for wedding ceremonies.

Architect Jones apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright, and designed a building with numerous windows open to the landscape.

Jones used 31 tons of steel and 4,460 square feet of glass to create a series of tall, vertical Gothic arches that run the length of the chapel. Though it looks like an open-air structure, the chapel is glass-enclosed and air conditioned.

We managed to sneak in for 5 minutes between weddings… It is a stunning place!

We returned to the Villa to watch some more college football…

This evening we visited “Simple Pleasures”. This is a rural event venue which features lots of old and classic cars and lots of nostalgia…

1958 Cadillac convertible. Perry Mason drives a black one like this in several episodes…

1959 MGA. Note the license plate…

SPEBSQSA is the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America. Their motto, “We sing that they shall speak” denotes their activities in charitably supporting people who cannot speak…

I am very familiar with SPEBSQSA. When I was in college I sang in a Barbershop Quartet. Due to the fact that there were no math majors in our group, we had 12 members…

But I digress…

Here is a 1958 Chevy Impala. My brother had two of these… A black one in high school, then a gold one later on…

We ventured “out back” to another car barn…

My father had a 1941 Buick. Of course, it was not a convertible…

He bought it just before WWII. After the war, with the car shortage, he sold it and used the money to buy a house…

Lynda’s family had a 1959 Chevy like this…

Frank Lloyd Wright loved to drive Lincoln Continentals like this. He always had them custom painted “Cherokee Red”, his favorite color. (If you look at the photos I post of Wright houses you will see this color often. It was often used for the color of the concrete floors…

This is a 1957 Continental, just like David Rockefeller used to drive from New York City to his weekend house in Sleepy Hollow and to his summer home in Maine…

This collector know his continentals…

It is not a Lincoln! Continental was a separate division of Ford and had no connection to the Lincoln division…

After viewing the cars we returned to the main building and had a lovely dinner, followed by some silly games, and ice cream sundaes…

After the event we returned to the villa. We watched more college football.

An enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-08-14 – The Oregon Trail caravan … Day 17 – Traveling Fort Bridger, WY to Montpelier, ID

We spent just one night at Fort Bridger, and we move today to Montpelier, Idaho. This will be a three state day: Lunch in Wyoming, Dinner in Utah, and sleep in Idaho.

We began again with the ever-changing Wyoming landscape…

We are headed to the Fossil Butte National Monument.

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These bluffs are the shoreline of an ancient inland sea… The fossils we will be seeing are all sourced from here…

We proceeded to the Visitors Center

We were not the first to arrive…

Inside is a nice collection of fossils found nearby. There was also a good video showing how the fossils are found and extracted… Also, there was a man uncovering fossils as we watched…

We saw a crocodile…

A palm frond…

And a turtle…

We discovered that many rocks contain lots of Carbon…

In fact, note the Calcium Carbonate shown here; you will see mention of it later in this blog…

More views of the bluffs…

We headed out and shortly found a fuel stop and an opportunity for lunch…

More Wyoming landscape…

And then we entered Idaho!

We parked the Villa at the RV park, and headed over to the National Oregon/California Trail Center…

We had a guided tour of the exhibits depicting life on the trails, from getting prepared and buying provisions to actual travel down the trails…

There was an entire gallery of artworks prepared by a local husband and wife team…

We heard descriptions of the wagon, and contents (1,200 – 1,500 lbs. of food), and life on the trails…

We saw a typical supply store where anything you wanted could be purchased…

Then we heard some tall tails after we spent a few minutes inside a simulated wagon ride…

After the museum we headed south to Utah for dinner… We soon found ourselves on the shores of Bear Lake.

Bear Lake is a natural freshwater lake on the Idaho–Utah border. About 109 square miles in size, it is split about equally between the two states. The lake has been called the “Caribbean of the Rockies” for its unique turquoise-blue color, which is due to the refraction of calcium carbonate (limestone) deposits suspended in the lake. Limestone! I told you I would mention it again! Its water properties have led to the evolution of several unique species of fauna that occur only within the lake. Bear Lake is over 250,000 years old. It was formed by fault subsidence that continues today, slowly deepening the lake along the eastern side. In 1911 the majority of the flow of the Bear River was diverted into Bear Lake via Mud Lake and a canal from Stewart Dam, ending 11,000 years of separation between the lake and that river system.

Today the lake is a popular destination for tourists and sports enthusiasts, and the surrounding valley has gained a reputation for having high-quality raspberries.

Unfortunately, due to smoke from fires in Oregon, the air is very hazy, obscuring the mountains across the lake…

On our way to Bear lake we passed a marvelous Mormon Tabernacle in the town of Paris, ID.

We entered Utah…

We stopped for a little refreshment before dinner at Coopers, a restaurant at a golf course in Fish Haven, ID

At the appointer hour we arrived at the Bear Trapper, in Garden City, UT…

All the Airstreamers are here!

After dinner Lynda and I walked down to the shore of the lake.

Garden City is a vacation area tourist place, much like the coast of Maine, Cape Cod, and the Wisconsin Dells. Lots of ice cream and fast food places that are absolutely overrun with tourists out for a good time. The traffic was terrible…

Boaters are everywhere…

And late on a Saturday afternoon in August the line to bring your boat trailer in to take your boat out of the water was hours long…

We returned to the Villa in time to see the sun set into the smoke…

An enjoyable time was had by all…

2017-07-28 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Leaving Campobello Island; Two border crossings, and into New Brunswick

We began our travels off the island by crossing the FDR bridge, towards Maine.  As we waited at Customs, we admired the lovely views:


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It took quite some time to get through Customs back into the USA.  First of all, this is a tiny station, normally only serving this tiny island; also, because 25 Airstreams began streaming across the bridge starting at about 9:00… Each trailer was inspected – we had not seen this in our three previous border crossings; apparently they are looking for either animals or people – they opened all the larger cupboards and closets. They also checked the refrigerator, probably for fresh meat or produce.  In any case, they let us back into the USA and we were on our way.

We drove generally north, to the Canadian border, and went through Canadian Customs; similar to our last experience, they seemed mostly concerned with things that we might be bringing into Canada and leaving there.  Again, I refrained from mentioning the contents of our holding tanks, which we intended to empty at the first opportunity…

Moncton, New Brunswick, is a relatively large town; its claim to fame is that it is the largest city near the Hopewell Rocks, the best place to experience the extreme tides of the Bay of Fundy. (More on this tomorrow…)

So we settled into Campers City RV Resort in Moncton, NB, and readied ourselves for the coming days:

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First order of business was to go to Costco and restock the wine and liquor cabinet, since the Canadian Government frowns greatly upon bringing vast quantities of wine and liquor into Canada from the USA.  Also, I live on 5-8 bottles per day of Kirkland Vita-Rain water (fake vitamin water that has even fewer vitamins than real Vitamin Water…).  And we needed plain Kirkland water for coffee and such.  Plus, my daily diet consists mainly of Pure Protein Bars, available only at Costco.

The Costco was only 1.2 miles away; we gleefully set out for our shopping spree.


First of all, it was backwards… But I could deal with that. But:  NO WATER!  How can Costco NOT have 2-3 aisles of water?  This Costco had NO WATER. No plain water; no sparkling wter; no Gator-Ade; no Vita Rain water.  Nothing!  Next insult?  NO ALCOHOL!!!  No Makers Mark, no wine, nothing. Apparently the Canadian Government thinks only the Canadian Government is capable of selling wine and liquor…

Fortunately for me, we did find my protein bars, so we stocked up on them; we are spending the next 5 weeks in Canada: who knows when we will be able to buy them again…?

In any case, we returned to the campground woebegone and wretched. Our spirits picked up a bit as we set about to arrange happy hour: table clothes on the picnic table, chairs, food, wine, etc.  All set; then:  RAIN!  Giant Rain!  Pouring Rain!  We had checked with Steve Jobs and he had promised: NO RAIN!

We scrambled about, and pulled what we could inside.  And we waited. As they say in these foreign parts, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes…”. So, after 10 minutes the rain stopped, and we restarted… Happy hours ensued, and an enjoyable time was had by all…


As is our custom, here are our GREAT grandchildren…

Erin, Roisin, and George, looking on…



Ian, and his dad, Kevin:




2017-07-27 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Campobello Island – FDR and Eleanor…

We began our day in the rain.  It was very overcast and foggy.  We drove to the lighthouse:

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The lighthouse is on the northernmost tip of the island, and it is only accessible at low tide; at high tide it becomes its own island. Tides here are about 18′-20′, this being within the Bay of Fundy. (More on that in a few days…)

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First you have to climb down steep steps to the “beach”, which, at high tide, is the ocean floor…) Then you have to walk across the rocks and seaweed and climb up steep steps on the opposite side to access the lighthouse.

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We’ve seen lighthouses before, and several people had already slipped and fallen by the time we arrived, so we stayed on the safe upper path…

After enjoying the view of the lighthouse we drove through the rest of the northern part of the island. This area is very sparsely populated, and the scenery was beautiful.

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These small “islands” are actually salmon farms:

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We then headed to the main attraction of the day: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s “cottage” here on the island…

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Franklin Roosevelt spent many enjoyable vacations at his summer home on Campobello Island in New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy.

FDR’s “cottage” has been preserved, and is almost exactly as it was in 1920, the summer before Franklin was stricken with polio. We were able to tour the first and second floors of the 34-room memorabilia filled cottage. Guides were stationed throughout the home to offer interpretation and answer questions about the house, its historic furnishings, and the family.  Interestingly, a ramp installed a few years ago provides easy access to the first floor, although FDR never added a ramp to accommodate his wheelchair… (But, then again, he had “people”…)

The “cottage” was built in 1897 for Mrs. Hartman Kuhn, of Boston.  It is next door to the cottage of FDR’s parents, where he summered as a child.  Mrs. Kuhn developed a fondness for Eleanor when Franklin and Eleanor summered at his mother’s cottage next door. A provision in Mrs. Kuhn’s will offered her cottage to FDR’s mother, Sara, for $5,000.00.  Sara purchased the furnished cottage and 5 acres of land in 1909, and gave the cottage to Franklin and Eleanor.  The growing family spent summers in the cottage from 1909 to 1921.  FDR altered the design of the house in 1915, when he added a new wing to provide additional space for his growing family.

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FDR’s cottage exhibits design principles of the Arts and Crafts movement, and also elements of early Dutch-American Colonial architecture.  Considerations in the design of summer homes of the era were comfort, orientation to a scenic view and to the sun, and a “picturesque charm” so valued by the Arts and Crafts Movement.

I’m told that the cottage contains 34 rooms, 18 of which are bedrooms and 6 of which are bathrooms, although I didn’t count them.  The third floor, which we didn’t see, contained guest rooms and servants’ rooms, and, I assume, 3 bathrooms… There was even a bedroom on the second floor for Louis Howe, FDR’s political adviser…

The Kitchen:

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The Servants Dining, in the Kitchen:

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The Laundry:

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The Master Bedroom:

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The cottage was considered quite modern for its time, but had neither electricity nor telephone.  Kerosene lamps and candles provided light.  Seven fireplaces and kitchen coal and wood-fired stoves provided heat.  It even had hot and cold running water for bathing, cooking, and cleaning.  (Many cottages on the island had neither kerosene lamps nor running water… these people prided themselves as being “rustic”, but they also had servants to feed the fireplaces, light the candles, cook the meals, haul the water, and empty the chamber pots…)    The water came from storage tanks on the third floor of the cottage.  The storage tanks were fed by gravity from a tank atop a nearby windmill. Drinking water came in large bottles by horse and cart, from a spring called Barrel Well.

Every summer, the Roosevelts brought a nurse and a governess to tutor and instruct the children, and several servants to run the cottage.  Campobello residents were hired to help with the daily chores.

The rear of the house (note the screened porch):

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The view from the house:

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The rear of the house from the water’s edge, at the dock:


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Lynda standing on the dock:

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In addition to the Roosevelt cottage we were able to see the Hubbard Cottage… It sits adjacent to FDR’s cottage, on the other side of where FDR’s mother cottage was:

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(They are working on replacing some siding; thus, the cherry-picker…)

Only the first floor was available to tour, but there were grand rooms to see:

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And a grand porch:

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The rear of the house:

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We spent the middle of the day at Josie’s porch, a local coffee-house and general community hang-out.  But they had good internet access, so we spent some quality time catching up on important things…

Later that afternoon we had “Tea with Eleanor”. We assembled at the Wells-Shober house; we were led into parlors and dining room where the 49 of us sat and enjoyed tea and cookies. Two docents spoke for about 45 minutes on the life and times of Eleanor Roosevelt.  She had a tough life growing up, losing her parents at an early age and attending boarding schools in England and other parts of Europe.  It was interesting to hear all this; she never sought the limelight, and hated politics, but she did what she knew was right. After FDR was struck down by polio, it was she who went out and gave speeches to keep FDR in the public eye. After FDR’s death she continued to champion women’s rights and civil rights. During WWII she traveled the world, meeting military personnel in hospitals. She wrote personal letters to the families of everyone she met; sometimes she wrote 12-14 hours per day for months on end to give these families some sense of comfort.

She last returned to Campobello Island in 1962 for the dedication of the FDR bridge from Maine onto the island.

The Wells-Shober Cottage:

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Waiting to be taken in:

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Hilarity ensues as we try to find our places:

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The docents, telling their stories:  (The short one is a 10th generation islander…)

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After the tea, the ladies of the caravan assembled for a group picture, as is the caravan’s tradition…

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After tea we returned to the campground and readied ourselves for another travel day. We had a “Drivers’ Meeting” to discuss timing and routing.  We met in the campground recreation room; apparently they’ve been having good times, based on this sign…

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As always, an enjoyable time was had by all…


2017-07-26 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Travel day to Campobello

Today is our last day in Maine. We are moving once again, this time into New Brunswick, Canada, specifically to Campobello Island, the summer home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

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We left the campground in Trenton about 10:00 am, and headed north on highway 1, a small, 2-lane road that leads further and further away from civilization. Finally, after about 2 ½ hours we turned east and drove through the town of Lubec, which claims to be the easternmost city in the USA. Who am I to argue?

We went through customs, with our experience being similar to crossing the border in Niagara Falls, which we did back on June 24.   Once onto the island we found our campground and settled in.

Campobello Island is located at the entrance to Passamaquoddy Bay, adjacent to the entrance to Cobscook Bay, and within the Bay of Fundy. The island has no road connection to the rest of Canada; the bridge we drove over connects it to Lubec, in Maine. Reaching mainland Canada by car without crossing an international border is possible only during the summer season and requires two separate ferry trips, the first to nearby Deer Island, then from Deer Island to L’Etete.

Measuring 8.7 miles long and about 3.1 miles wide, it has an area of 15.3 sq miles; the island’s permanent population in 2011 was 925.

Campobello has always relied heavily on fishing as the mainstay of the island economy; however, the Passamaquoddy Bay region’s potential for tourism was discovered during the 1880s at about the same time as The Algonquin resort was built at nearby St. Andrews and the resort communities of Bar Harbor and Newport were beginning to develop. Campobello Island became home to a similar, although much smaller and more exclusive, development following the acquisition of some island properties by several private American investors. A luxurious resort hotel was built and the island became a popular summer colony for wealthy Canadians and Americans, many of whom built grand estates there.

Included in this group were Sara Delano and her husband James Roosevelt Sr. from New York City. Sara Delano had a number of Delano cousins living in Maine, and Campobello offered a beautiful summer retreat where their family members could easily visit.  From 1883 onward, the Roosevelt family made Campobello Island their summer home.  Their son Franklin D. Roosevelt would spend his summers on Campobello at the family home from the age of one until, as an adult, he “acquired” his own property — a 34-room “cottage” — which he used as a summer retreat until 1939.  It is next door to Sara and James Roosevelt cottage.  You might wonder why he chose to live next door to his mother?  Simple:  She bought the house and gave it to him.

It was at Campobello, in August 1921, that the future president fell ill and was diagnosed with polio, which resulted in his total and permanent paralysis from the waist down. Roosevelt did strive to regain use of his legs but never again stood or walked unassisted.

During the 20th century, the island’s prosperity from its wealthy visitors declined with the change in lifestyles brought on by a new mobility afforded by automobiles, airplanes, and air conditioning in large inland cities. Nonetheless, for President Roosevelt, the tranquility was exactly what he and his family cherished, and the property remained in their hands until 1952 when it was sold by Elliott Roosevelt (Franklin and Eleanor’s fourth child). Elliott decided to sell the house after his mother, Eleanor, had sold it to him. Elliott sold it to Victor Hammer and his brother Armand Hammer of Boston and they owned it up until 1963. However, they said Eleanor was always welcome to come whenever she pleased, and her last visit was in 1962 to attend the opening of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Bridge connecting Campobello Island to Lubec, Maine. In 1962 the brothers tried to sell it but got no takers; (The were asking $50,000 for it, fully furnished with all the Roosevelt furniture…) they subsequently donated the cottage to the U.S. and Canadian governments in 1963 as an international park. The Roosevelt Campobello International Park is the only one of its kind because it is run by both the Canadian and American governments, the park being located in Canadian territory. The park is now equally staffed by both Americans and Canadians.

In 1960, motion-picture producer Dore Schary and director Vincent J. Donehue made the film Sunrise at Campobello, based on Schary’s Tony Award winning Broadway play of the same name. Starring Ralph Bellamy as Franklin D. Roosevelt, the film covers the years 1921 to 1924 at Campobello Island and events leading up to Roosevelt’s nomination as the Democratic Party’s candidate for president.

So now you know more about Campobello than most Americans do.  (If people DO know about Roosevelt’s time here, they are always surprised to find out that it is in Canada…)

We went for a walk and found a nearby beach on the bay.  The land mass you see in the background is Grand Manat Island; Nova Scotia is beyond that, across the widest part of the Bay of Fundy…


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Some folks have asked for a better picture of the Squarestream on this caravan; here it is:

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This is a 1989 32′ Airstream Land Yacht. It is aluminum skinned, but instead of rivets they used high-strength epoxy to attach the skins to the frames. It resulted in a much more rigid unit. However, they were not popular with the traditionalists, so the series was dropped a few years later.

And, as is our custom, here are pictures of our grandchildren, as they learn all about water balloons……

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2017-07-26 Ian and Roisin

2017-07-25 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Maine – Scoodic Peninsula and Seal Cove Auto Museum;

Our adventure at Acadia continued for another day. This time we headed out to the Scoodic Peninsula.

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This place is on the mainland, across the bay from Mt. Desert Island, to the east.  It is about a one hour drive, because you have to drive way north and east before you can begin the drive down the peninsula.  Much of the peninsula is also part of Acadia NP, but there are other towns – many are working lobster towns.  But it was another beautiful drive, very remote and quiet.  We found many great views and quiet towns and harbors.

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In Winter Harbor we stopped in at their Farmers’ Market and bought blueberry scones for a special breakfast treat (tomorrow):

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There is a sculpture in the bay at Winter Harbor of a stylized whale tail; we saw it at low tide, and later as the tide was coming in:2017-07-25 Scoodic - Winter Harbor Whale Tail Sculpture 01

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We saw Winter Harbor, Prospect Harbor, and Gouldsboro…  And plenty of rocky shoreline:

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When it was time for lunch, we stopped it at Smokey’s BBQ and Lobster. Texas BBQ here in Maine!  But, we are in Maine, so we had fish and chips instead…

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Our afternoon destination was Seal Cove Automobile Museum, back on Mt. Desert Island.  The museum’s collection is the legacy of Richard Paine, a local resident whose passion for cars and their related history led to his buying and selling many collectible cars throughout his life. Upon his death the collection was culled by selling off duplicate cars to create an endowment to keep the cars that tell the story of the beginning of the automobile age.

The collection features some of the earliest automobiles and motorcycles, as well as clothing and accessories, from 1895 through the early 1920s. The cars represent the stories about invention and innovation, art, design, women’s rights, and social and economic changes that came about through the automobile.  Inventors were experimenting with steam, electricity, and gas-powered engines.  There were no standards – anything that might work was tried.

The current exhibit, Auto Wars: Then & Now, explores the debate a century ago over whether or not to allow cars on Mount Desert Island.  The exhibit is presented in a “choose your own adventure” style, allowing YOU to decide whether you would have been for or against cars on the island.  In a nutshell, the wealthy summer residents, who considered their lifestyle to be “rustic”, were opposed to cars on MDI. The locals, who needed the convenience of easy transportation, were in favor. For many years those opposing cars won out, but finally, in 1916, cars were allowed, and this decision forever changed the nature of MDI.

Two cars were of particular interest to me:  A 1934 Ford, with a body custom made in Germany, and custom fitted to a 1934 Ford chassis. It was the design of Edsel Ford, and it was his personal car at his summer cottage on the island.  It became a prototype for the Continental which was released shortly thereafter.

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Also, while not an old or rare car, I liked seeing the 1991 Mercedes SEL; it belonged to Laurance Rockefeller, and it was the car that he kept at his summer cottage year ‘round.

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If you recall from an earlier blog post, David Rockefeller also had his favorite summer cottage car, a 1956 Continental, which we saw at Kykuit in Pocantico Hill, New York:

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After enjoying the exhibits in the museum we headed back to the Villa. Tonight the caravanners enjoy a BBQ – hamburgers and all the usual sides; we began by finishing off the leftover cheese and wine from Monday’s party… And an enjoyable time was had by all…

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2017-07-24 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Maine – Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park, Seal Harbor, Northeast Harbor, and Lobster!

Mt. Desert Island is quite a beautiful place, with rocky shores and quiet harbors.

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Like Newport, RI, Mt. Desert Island was a favorite place for the very wealthy to have summer cottages.  However, rather than being sophisticated and elegant, filled with grand, showy homes, like Newport, MDI was known for its quiet, rustic ways.  Homes, while huge, and filled with servants, were simple, wood houses, with fireplaces and always set back into the wilderness.  Some of the houses from the late 19th century survive, but many were torn down by the 1950s because they were obsolete and too rustic for modern living.  The descendants of the original families who had homes here (Fords, Rockefellers, Astors, Vanderbilts) still have homes here, and many come for the summer season; but the houses are not as visible – they are mostly hidden in the woods…

The heart of social life, for those who participated, was (and is) the town of Bar Harbor. Many elegant hotels line the waterfront. Many of the families, though, stayed away from the town – they preferred to be in the woods, and along the sea, living the simple life – swimming, sailing, and taking long carriage rides along the carriage roads (mostly built by John D. Rockefeller). In fact, most of the land making up Acadia National Park was donated by the Rockefeller family.

We had been warned about the terrible traffic both in Bar Harbor, and in Acadia; we also were warned about road construction in the area.  So, armed with good maps we set off at 7:00 am (along with Larry and Kathy Warrren) to get an early start on the day.  We easily found the “good” road, and we easily found parking in Bar Harbor.  We strolled down empty streets; the only people out this early are folks heading for the whale watching boats. We were soon at our destination – Sunrise Café.  We enjoyed a nice quiet breakfast in this tiny place, then we walked along the Shore Path. The path runs right along the water’s edge, and it extends from the edge of town for about 1 ½ miles. We then could walk back along quiet residential streets. It was a great way to start the day.

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Once back to the car we headed up Cadillac Mountain, the tallest “mountain” along the Atlantic coast – about 1,500 feet elevation. (In California we call these “hills”…)  From here you can see all the islands surrounding the main island of Mt. Desert Island.  The views are stunning!


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As the park began getting busy we headed to the quieter side of the island, where many of the original wealthy families had their summer cottages.  We stopped in Seal Harbor, a beautiful place, and amazingly quiet.  The town of Seal Harbor consists of a church, an empty store building, a coffee house, and a bookstore.  And, of course, a real estate office.  There are three or four houses along the water’s edge, and many more in the hills.  All the houses are simple, neat, and unassuming.  There is a tiny Yacht Club perched on the side of the hill overlooking the harbor.

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Someone even built a very nice new vacation house right at the harbor’s edge:

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The next town is Northeast Harbor, a bustling place, filled with many art galleries. The harbor is much larger, and ferries run regularly between the harbor and two of the larger islands just off shore: Great Cranberry Island and Little Cranberry Island.  Many houses dot the streets of the town and the surrounding hills. People who live in Seal Harbor must come here to shop and eat.

2017-07-24 Bar Harbor 13


By now we were ready for lunch. We had been tipped off to another fabulous lobster pound, Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound. Only it was much more of a restaurant than a lobster shack. They served wine and offered napkins, eating utensils, and tools for eating the lobster.  Lobsters were great, but it was not as much fun as a real lobster pound…

We decided to call it a day and head back to the Villa. Tonight we had GAM #5, and we are hosting.  As we arrived at the RV Park it started to rain.  And it continued to rain.  Cold rain.  Maine rain.  We decided to have our GAM inside The Villa – all 10 of us.  It was cozy. But it was much nicer than sitting in the pavilion out in the cold.  We had great snacks and there was free flowing wine as we got to know another set of new friends. An enjoyable time was had by all…


2017-07-23 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Maine – Travel day to Trenton, ME; Wine and Cheese; Hobby Show and Tell

We on the move again.  (Have I said that before?  It is part and parcel of the caravan life…)  Today we move just 36 miles down the road, to Timberland Acres RV Park in Trenton, Maine.   Why move just 36 miles?   Searsport was great, with lots of support and activities put on by the RV park staff – meals, campfires every night, and the yada yada.   But the park was a little rough around the edges, with oddly sloping sites and no sewer connections.  But it was right on the water, and they provided great services.  There are always trade-offs. Timberland Acres had large, beautiful pull-though RV sites, but was pretty bland otherwise – exactly opposite from Searsport.

We stopped along the way at Home Depot, where I bought some nuts:

2017-07-23 Airstream Home Depot 02

We pulled into our site and hooked up and set up.  The Caravan was pretty much alone in this section of the park:

2017-07-23 Timberland Acres 06

2017-07-23 Timberland Acres 05


We took some walks, and at 6:00 pm we had a cheese and wine party – basically happy hours, with all the food and wine provided by the caravan.  After hours of wine and cheese, out leader, Trevor, asked people to tell the group about their hobbies.  Somewhere along the line this turned into yarn-telling.  And hilarity ensued.  You might be surprised, but I had a few yarns to add to the mix…

2017-07-23 Timberland Acres 03

2017-07-23 Timberland Acres 02

2017-07-23 Timberland Acres 01

Late into the evening (about 8:30 pm) we retreated to the Villa and retired.  An enjoyable time was had by all.

Again, this being moving day we have few pictures. However, I do have darling grandchildren, so I post pictures of some of them (and their friends):

2017-07-23 Roisin and Ian


2017-07-23 Ian



2017-07-22 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Maine – Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory, Fort Knox, Bucksport, Camden and More…

We had a full day on our agenda today.  We started by driving 12-13 miles to the Penobscot Narrows Bridge.  This is a beautiful bridge across, what else, the Penobscot Narrows.

2017-07-22 Penobscot Narrows Bridge 06

The Penobscot Narrows Bridge is a 2,120 feet long cable-stayed bridge (I explained this term a few days ago, in Boston…) that carries the highway over the Penobscot River.  It replaced the Waldo–Hancock Bridge, built in 1931.

The old bridge was state of the art when it was built in the 1930s, but it was discovered be be suffering from corrosion and was in danger of failing in 2000.

The Penobscot Bridge is also home to the Penobscot Narrows Observatory, the first bridge observation tower in the United States and the tallest public bridge observatory in the world. The tower reaches 420 feet (128 m) into the air and allows visitors to view the bridge, the nearby Fort Knox State Historic Site, the Penobscot River, and Bay.  To get an idea of how this thing is:

Bunker Hill Monument:   221′

Statue of Liberty:               305′

Penobscot Observatory:   447′

Washington Monument:  555′

This thing is tall!

2017-07-22 Penobscot Narrows Bridge 03

2017-07-22 Penobscot Narrows Bridge 01


2017-07-22 Penobscot Narrows Bridge 05

We admired the bridge from below, then took the high-speed elevator to the observatory at the top on the tower.

The views were spectacular!

2017-07-22 Penobscot Narrows Observatory 07

The approach and abutments from the old bridge can be seen below:

2017-07-22 Penobscot Narrows Observatory 04

The new approach to the new bridge requited 158,000 cu. yds. of granite to be carved out of this hillside:

2017-07-22 Penobscot Narrows Observatory 11 158000


After the bridge observatory we went to see Fort Knox.  No, this isn’t the one with all the gold – that one is in Kentucky.  This one is a perfect example of locking the barn after all the horses have been stolen.  After being attacked during the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary war, and the War of 1812, Congress authorized the building of this fort.  It was a state-of-the-Art fort, built between 1844 and 1869, but it was never actually finished, and it never saw any action in any war.

2017-07-22 Fort Knox 03


2017-07-22 Fort Knox 02

2017-07-22 Fort Knox 21


It was a fun tour, though. The cannon bays, the soldiers’ quarters, and the general design were all very interesting.

There is a replica of a period-accurate cannon that they fire every hour on weekends.  Once you hear this cannon fire , you can just imagine what it must be like to hear 30, 40, 60 cannons firing  continuously. Just this one is deafening! Every time we hear its BANG! I instinctively looked around for a scoreboard…!

2017-07-22 Fort Knox 23

2017-07-22 Fort Knox 24


Next on today’s agenda was a drive over the bridge to the town of Bucksport.  It had a nice harbors, but most businesses looked woebegone and wretched.  When we arrived we ran into the tail end of their anniversary parade.  We parked out of the way, and walked the main street. Post-parade they had a festival along the waterfront.  But what could not be ignored is this town is going “paperless”.  In late 2014 the local paper mill closed, and today it is being dismantled.  Unfortunately, this town has no reason for being. I hope something in the local economy springs up to support the town, but it is pretty sad today.  A water-front house, a 13 room colonial, 7 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 3,200 square feet, is asking $168,000 – about $50 per s.f.   Another New England town is about to bite the dust.

2017-07-22 Bucksport 01

You get a nice view of the bridge and fort across the harbor:

2017-07-22 Bucksport 02 - Bridge and Fort


Finally, we are off to Camden, Maine. It is a cute little town with a cute little harbor and it is home port for many Windjammer antique sailing ship cruises.  The harbor area is dripping in charm.  There is no real industry here other than tourism.  We walked around the town, enjoying the sights and the views, and even some of the shops.  We had lunch on the waterfront, and all was great.

2017-07-22 Camden 18

2017-07-22 Camden 12

2017-07-22 Camden 16


We returned to the Villa, stopping for groceries along the way.  We went for a walk on the beach; Lynda found this baby eel in the tide pools:

2017-07-22 Searsport Eel


Happy hours ensued, and an enjoyable time was had by all…

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