I had been looking at some roadside attraction up north, as I had done for the south the previous week, and found a few points of interest. I wanted to go this weekend because of the length of the drive and the fact that my Mom had a three day weekend. I figured we could drive to the furthest point Friday, making one stop as we went north, and spend the night in a hotel then return slowly on Saturday. All week I planned for us to take the trip up with one stop in CT to see the largest jack-in-the-box however on Thursday when I called to check everything was open on Easter Saturday the recording at the kaleidoscope said it was open till 6 on Friday. Well since Friday was supposed to be rainy I thought maybe we should stop there, since it is inside. And we would see the jack-in-the-box last on Saturday since rain was supposed to stop early on Saturday. This would also allow us to leave the hotel later since we didn't need to get back to Mt. Tremper NY by 5 on Saturday.
We hit the road around one on Friday for what should have been a 2.5 hour drive to Mt. Tremper. However I didn't account for the fact that it was the start of Passover and there was extra traffic in the afternoon as many people of Jewish faith had to get home before sun set. Speaking of Judaism at a rest area we saw these two vending machines which I feel are one of those "Only in NY' type things.
Originally my GPS started us on a path to take the Throggs Neck Bridge to the George Washington Bridge and then north through New Jersey; but at some point while we were driving it must have read increased traffic and re-routed us to the Whitestone Bridge so that we would drive north through the Bronx before crossing the Hudson at the Tappen Zee Bridge. Looking at these road trips its hard to believe but I really don't like driving on bridges (or tunnels). Anyway the Tappen Zee Bridge is one that I find beautiful while recognizing that it's structural soundness is often put into question and, in fact, they are building a substitute bridge to replace it. Along the east side of the bridge were many cranes that are currently working on the support structure for the new bridge that I believe is supposed to open in two years.
We ended up arriving at the Kaleidoscope at about 4:55. I tried to open the door and it was locked. A young man came to the door and told us it was closing at 5. I told him the recording said 6 on Friday but he just pointed to the sign on the door that said 5. So we walked back to the car to continue our drive up to Maine. I mean plans are made to be changed, right?
We hit the road and headed north towards Freeport, Maine where we were going to spend the night at a hotel before taking the trip south. When we had crossed the Hudson River at the Tappen Zee Bridge it had been at one of the widest points in order to get back towards Maine we had to cross back. We crossed over on the Castleton Bridge at Schodack Island near Selkirk, NY. And then headed east before turning north again and following the Massachusetts/Maine coastline.
One of the best parts of road trips and long highway stretches is blasting the radio and singing along. As we drove we had to change radio station several times as one country music station would begin to fade away. At some point we started picking up Iconic radio 98.9 and it played a song I hadn't heard in a long time called 'Austin' by Blake Shelton, it has to be one of his earliest hits long before his tv show and him becoming one half of the new country music power couple. Another song that played several times was Brett Eldredge's new song 'Mean to Me' which I think has one of the coolest lines in country music right now. I had heard the song before but the line really hit me while we were driving when he sings "If mine could be the name that changes yours" I thought that is one of the most romantic lines I have ever heard and a beautiful proposal.
As we reached Maine we began to see warning signs about moose. This reminded my Mom and I of our trip to Lake Placid last year when we saw warning sign after warning sign, including a sign warning of deer. ::my blog post about that trip:: Well on that trip last year as we came around a bend in a small Adirondack town all of a sudden (and I do mean that) there was a huge deer in the middle of the road. I stopped so close to him and we sat for a moment before he exited the road. Shortly after that we saw a moose sign and I was like "I want no part of that". Well I had a similar reaction this time too. I like my truck in one piece and uncrushed so seeing a moose is about the last thing I ever want to do. So my Mom was on 'moose duty' watching the side of the highway for any signs of the large creatures. We did see several deer but luckily no moose. As I was pulling into the Hotel parking lot my Mom exclaims "There is a huge moose." So instantly I hit my brakes and I'm like "Where is it and is it coming towards the road." She said "No. It's not a real moose it's a statue, see." Now that my heart attack had passed I looked out the window and saw the statue.
He does look kind of menacing.
We spent a very comfy night at the Hampton Inn in Freeport Maine before heading out early to get to our first Roadside Attraction of the day. But then a marvelous thing happened . . .we got side tracked. Because the most awesome trips are the ones where you see something unexpected. As we were driving on a side street along the highway we passed a huge statue of an Native American.
Look at him towering over the trees and sign. He is very impressive look out for the Casco Bay Trading Post.
We also stopped at the information station across the street from our destination. The bathroom was open but there was a gate closing off all the maps and brochures in the information center. As we stood there talking we realized there was a man sitting inside and that the gate wasn't all the way closed and was unlocked. So I opened it and we slipped in to look at the brochures about things made in Maine.
|You can't take me anywhere|
Because unlocked gates are clearly meant to be opened. Well, we were looking at brochures and my Mom found one for one of our other stops. Then the old man growled at us that he opened at nine and we retreated. Maybe if we had been able to look around longer we would have learned about Maine Department of Corrections Showroom that features hand crafted works by inmates. We learned about it later that week when my Mom was telling a coworker about our trip. I checked it out online and some of the stuff is gorgeous. And if it helps give inmates pride and helps them realize they have skills that can be used and rewarded then I think that is awesome and I would certainly love to support that.
And then we were at our first destination of the day.
|The north pole|
|The cantilever arm|
I thought it was going to be amazing and it was more fantastic then I could have imagined. The descriptions all said it was in the lobby. But that was an inaccurate description. It was the lobby. And the lobby was three stories. One of the employees told us that we had to go up to the third floor because that was the only way to see the north pole. So we complied.
The high def pictures that make up the panels are spectacular. They certainly worked hard for accuracy and even used satellites images to help catch the different colors of the ocean to show depth level. The fact that it was designed and built by Delorme associates must give a strong sense of pride. And what a relaxing and wonderful place to sit on a break and just watch the world go round.
As we were heading up the stairs my Mom pointed out a glass case of coins with a sign above them.
I'm glad my Mom drew my attention to the display because this is certainly something I can work into future road trips. I followed the link listed on the sign, Geocaching, and learned that it is basically a world wide treasure hunt where players hide coins/trinkets and leave clues for others to find them along with a log book to keep track of visits.
Last we made a stop in the gift shop that was filled with all sorts of globes and maps. My Mom recognized some of the globes as ones her and my Dad had purchased years ago for Meg and I. As I was checking out I saw a robot matryoshka set on the counter so even though it has nothing to do with maps or globes I couldn't resist.
The cashier told us that they were going to be getting in a penguin set :-) (something for me to look for in the future).
Speaking of penguins check out these little cuties from our next stop!
Welcome to Len Libby's Candy shop in Scarborough ME. Yes, I went on a road trip with a candy store as my destination and while I love the gummy penguins, as in love to look at them I have not eaten them, the reason for the stop was Lenny the life size chocolate Moose.
Lenny and his bear friends Libby, Chip and Cocoa are made from milk chocolate and the pond that Lenny is standing in is dyed white chocolate. Considering that he was sculpted in 1997 the chocolate is holding up very nicely. While we were there we got some absolutely delicious hand made salt water taffy and, since it was Easter, chocolate bunnies which we haven't tried yet.
Then we were off to our next destination. The drive was roughly an 1.5 hours which was perfect because it would get us there at lunch time.
By the way, side note, only in Maine can you buy lobster at rest stops along the highway . .. I mean maybe you can do this elsewhere but I had never seen it before and found it quite amusing.
Just as we were getting hungry we arrived at:
The Clam Box of Ipswitch
If you are ever in the area I highly suggest stopping by for a meal. I'm not a big seafood person, sure I like crab cakes and some other things but for the most part seafood is my last option. I had planned to get something just because it seemed right, like a cup of New England Clam Chowder, but I also figured I would get a hamburger to really be safe. I didn't need the hamburger. My Mom and I both got cups of the Chowder and split a plate of fried lobster tails. And it was delicious. The portions were huge and it was well worth the price.
After a very filling lunch it was back to the kaleidoscope for round two and hopefully better luck than the previous day. It had changed since the time my Mom and Dad brought us as kids and had grown into a hotel and restaurant.
That silo is the kaleidoscope. When we had been here before I think it was painted sky blue with clouds on it and eyes. The show is only five dollars and it is about 15 minutes. They do have back rests to lean on and watch but the staffer recommended lying on the floor. They have three different shows that they alternate depending on the season. The one we saw was the Patriotic show.
And I almost forgot this adorable little sheep.
Then it was time to head home. Despite the mess up on Friday we had seen everything except the coulrophobia inducing World's Largest Jack-in-the -box located in Middleton CT. That's ok I'll get there eventually.
And finally here is the map of the trip: