We left Maine with a goal to get to Pittsbugh by a certain date as I was flying out for Dreamforce in SF. However, it's a long drive to Pittsburgh so we planned on making a couple of stops along the way in NH, VT and NY. Our first one was in Franconia, NH near the White Mountains. It was a fantastic! The entire area is absolutely gorgeous. This is one of the areas that we definitely want to return to after our trip.
We left Bar Harbor Wednesday around noon for our 4.5 hour trip to Franconia. I was worked during the entire drive and, as usual, the GPS gave Cathy some wacky directions so we ended up taking the scenic route. Nevertheless, we arrived around 6:30pm and pulled into our spot in the dark. The couple that ran the campground were extremely nice and always helpful. The husband was from Louisville and their parents live in Sarasota (more south Florida connections!) and were visiting the campground. Season had just ended so the park was nearly empty so they spent a lot of time talking with us about places to visit and things to see. They warned us that there were a couple of bears nearby but unfortunately we never saw them. The girls were quite upset.
Thursday morning we got up and started in full force with school and work. We wanted to knock of a little early in the afternoon as there were plenty of mountains around that weren't going to climb themselves!
Our first stop of the day was Bald Mountain; which we were told was a ten minute hike to the top (uh.... no!). Kira was not happy with the trail as it was very uneven and rocky. Going up was much better than the way down and I even had to carry her a couple of times. However, after awhile got some confidence in her and was hopping over rocks with the other female billy goats. The top of the mountains had a great view of the valley and we took some fantastic pictures. We posed for a couple so that they look like we are falling over the edge!
Our next stop was the Old Man of the Mountain, a series of five granite cliff that appear like the profile of a man's face. Unfortunately, a large part of the rock fell 20 or so years ago so it's not quite as impressive as the photos. They erected some hokey poles on the ground to simulate what it once looked like so if you stand in just the right spot... it looks somewhat like the original cliffs. #lame It was however a nice little walk and we met three couples from Sarasota.
We hopped back in the Jeep and headed down the the mountain pass for Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves, a series of caves and man-made walkways. Unfortunately, we arrived 30 minutes before they closed so we decided to come back the next day. So the day was over for sightseeing and we headed back into Franconia to see what there was for dinner options. We found a really cool little B&B/restaurant/brewery called Woodstock Inn Station & Brewery. Awesome beers (I took home a growler of beer!), cool little town pub atmosphere and great food. We also met more people from Sarasota!
Friday was our last full day in NH and after school and work we headed out to run some errands before going back to Lost River Gorge. We were selling our condo so we needed to have the papers notarized and the lady at the RV park told us to go to the bank down the road. The bank was dead and we probably spent 30 minutes talking with all of the tellers about the kids, our trip, foster care and getting suggestions on where to go. Super nice ladies and they also notarized our documents for free!
We headed back to Lost River Gorge for the hour or so trek through the paths and caves. I had to make a phone call for work so I missed most of the fun but apparently the girls had a blast. Again, Kira wasn't crazy about walking through small entrances and uneven surfaces but Cathy pulled her through most of the caves. The two billy goats loved it! We took a number of great pictures!
It was snack time (the girls somehow know exactly when it's snack time) and we just happened to be passing by the Woodstock Brewery again on the way to our next adventure so we stopped in for a quick appetizer and awesome beer. Then it was off to The Basin which turned out to be pretty cool; a little stream with some interesting falls and scenery. The girls were not as thrilled with the water as they were with the leaves and we had to break up a number of leaf fights before we left. It was starting to get dark and cold and Cathy hates the cold.
The ladies at the bank told us there was huge candy store (Chudders) a couple of towns over and we promised the girls we'd go take a look. After 30 minutes or so we walked out with some bags of candy, moustache straws and some novelty gifts. As we were walking back to the Jeep, I noticed a cool little building down the alley on the water. It turned out to be the Schilling Beer Co. that we'd heard about so we stopped in for dinner. I was less than impressed with the entire experience. They stuck is in this little alcove isolated by ourselves, the pizza wasn't thrilling and they only had a couple of beers that I liked. The highlight of the evening was Lexi falling on the curb on the way out and busting her lip wide open.
Saturday morning we were leaving New Hampshire for Vermont but we had one last stop to make before pulling out. Everyone had raved about "Polly's Pancake Parlor" and how we "needed" to go. So we slept in a little later than usual, got up and got dressed and then headed to Polly's Pancake Parlor. I was this little 60 year old farmhouse that had been converted to a restaurant 20 years ago. They make everything from scratch, with large portions and chocked full of awesomeness! We waited with the other throngs of people outside for 45 minutes but it was worth it. I even put a "PPP" sticker on the RV bumper which is usually reserved for Army and brewery stickers. It was that good!
We returned to Fransted just before noon, packed up and pulled out for Vermont. It was a dreary day and started raining shortly after we left.
Dates: October 1 - October 4
RV Park: Fransted Family Campground, Franconia, NH