Plymouth (think Pilgrims) and Cape Cod – Massachussetts

P1150469 Lucy in DogglesP1150467

Near our campsite at Scusset Beach State Park is a 14-mile loop bike trail that runs beside the Cape Cod Canal.  What a perfect day to try out Lucy’s new eyewear!  I’m not sure what Lucy thought about her “doggles”.  We were pleased that she didn’t try to take them off, although she did keep her head hanging low.  Maybe she’s embarrassed.  Everyone we passed thought the doggles were hysterical (in a precious way, I’m sure!)


A short drive up the coast from our campsite is historic Plymouth.  We went there to see where the pilgrims landed in 1620 after crossing the Atlantic Ocean in the Mayflower.  We saw the Plymouth Rock which is supposedly the boulder on which the Mayflower pilgrims first stepped….what is left of it, anyway.  Over the centuries, it has been moved several times and broken each time.  At one point in time, an axe was kept next to it so that souvenir chunks could be chipped off!  It now is about 1/3 of its original size and is protected by gratings and covered by a portico.  Still, it’s a rock.  Yawn.

Plymouth Rock

Continuing our walking tour, we viewed various statues and monuments to the early settlers and the Wampanoag sachem chief who befriended the Pilgrims and helped them survive.  Of the 102 original pilgrims, only 51 survived the first year.  Legend has it that the Pilgrims who died in that first winter were secretly buried and their graves planted over to conceal the number of dead.  This granite sarcophagus now contains many of the recovered bones.

IMG_1719 Sarcophagus containing recovered bones of Pilgrims who died in the first winter secretly buried on Coles Hill

The Jenney Grist Mill is a 17th-century living history museum with guided tours through the mill and demonstrations of corn-grinding.

IMG_1733 Jenny Grist Mill

We walked through Burial Hill which is the oldest European graveyard in New England.  Gravestones date to the late 1680’s, and it is claimed that some of the Mayflower passengers were also buried here.  It was interesting to read the words used to identify and honor the deceased on these old gravestones.

IMG_1755 Plymouth Burial Hill

The National Monument to the Forefathers is the largest free-standing granite statue in the world and the 3rd tallest statue in the US.  It represents the figure of Faith with one foot on Plymouth Rock and one finger pointing to the heavens.  The other figures on the statue represent the virtues of the Pilgrims: Morality, Education, Law, and Liberty.

IMG_1773 Natl Monument to Forefathers

I have to admit that the best part of the day was having lunch at the CabbyShack Restaurant and Pub which was featured on the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate – Guilty Pleasures”.  Yummmmmm.

IMG_1702 CabbyShack

We had a bit of a hiccup in our campsite reservation at Scusset Beach which left us without a campsite for 2 nights right in the middle of our 10 day stay!  So Mike’s good friend Mike Grady invited us to ‘camp’ in his driveway at his Cape Cod home (aka the Irish Riviera).  We had to drive The Bear over a really old bridge (the Sagamore Bridge) with very skinny lanes and a very high curb.  We decided to hog both lanes and just drive down the middle.  It was still hair curling.  When we reached Mike’s house, we all assessed the situation.  A few branches would have to be clipped because of our height.  But when we attempted to back in, we were going to be too close to the overhead power lines.  So we came in from the other side of his arced drive and voila!  Then we ran an extension cord to his house to provide the power needed for our refrigerator.  Uh-oh.  The grounding prong on our plug was broken.  Weird.  So Mike went to the hardware store, bought a new plug end, and spliced the new plug onto our house cable.  Finally, everything is working, and pop!  We were sucking too much juice and tripped the circuit breaker in Mike’s house.  He switched us to a circuit with less of a load and then finally we were all set to begin the festivities.

IMG_1786 Ellen and Mike Grady and us

P1150413 Bear at Gradys

Mike and Mike’s friendship goes back almost 40 years.  They met in the 1970’s when they were both starting their careers in Federal law enforcement.  The stories of ‘way back then’ these two tell are hysterical!   We had a great weekend with several fantastic bike rides on the ‘rail trail’.  The weather was perfect and we rode 24 miles the first day, then 26 miles on a different route the second day, and took a 1 ½ hour morning walk before breakfast on Sunday!  We enjoyed many happy hours on the patio deck, eating, drinking, story telling and laughing.  Ellen is a great cook and every dinner was a feast.  I’m so happy that our original campsite reservation got screwed up, because we wouldn’t have wanted to miss creating this wonderful memory.

P1150372 Mike and Mike bicycling P1150414 Day Two Bike Ride

P1150422 Me and Mike in Cape CodP1150447 Stairs to beachP1150446 Shells on Cape CodIMG_1794 Cardinal cropP1150434 Ellen, Mike, Linda, Mike

We are now at the Wompatuck State Park campground in Hingham, MA (near Boston).  We are only minutes from Mike’s hometown of Quincy.  We plan to visit his favorite aunts, cousins, and his best buddy from grade school and high school.


My Tin Can Sailor Remembers Those Years – Rhode Island

The Town of Narragansett, Rhode Island is the home of Fishermen’s Memorial State Park.  We booked 10 days at this former World War II defense installation which was disguised as a farm.  The silo, still standing, was used as a command post and observation tower, and is now used as the park headquarters.

IMG_3650 farm style

While bicycling in the park,  the old ammunition bunkers can be seen under the hiking trails.

IMG_1686 Fishermens Memorial campsite IMG_3644

IMG_3668 Lucy loves her beef bone

The campground is on Point Judith Road.  The Point Judith Lighthouse is a 51-foot tower built in 1857.  It contains a fourth-order Fresnel lens from Paris which is still in use today.  Unfortunately, the gate to the lighthouse complex was locked in April 2013 and off-limits due to damage from winter storms, so we couldn‘t get too close.

IMG_1672 Judith Point Lighthouse circa 1810

Lucy made a friend while we were at the lighthouse.  She is also a Bichon Frise, but she looks a little chunky compared to ‘lean and  leggy’ Lucy.

IMG_1676 Lucy makes a friend

We went to Battleship Cove (maritime heritage museum) in Fall River to tour the world’s largest collection of US Naval ships.  Mike served in the Navy as a ’tin can sailor’ from 1967-1971 as a radarman on the USS Holder.  The USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. at Battleship Cove is a destroyer just like the one he was on.  We walked all over the deck and up and down what felt like miles of skinny hallways with lots of doors, hatches and little rooms with specific functions.  Mike showed me where he worked, slept, shopped, ate, and recounted many stories from his memory of those Navy days.  And just in case his service dates lead you to believe that he may have gone to Viet Nam, no.  He was on the ‘love boat’.  He did three tours – His first tour was a NATO goodwill tour in the North Atlantic, including England, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, the Azores, Caribbean Islands, Florida (during Spring break!), New York, and Iceland.  His second tour had great stops in Spain (Barcelona), France (Villefrance), Italy (San Remo, Naples), Greece (Athens), and Malta.  His third tour wasn’t so great as they went to Turkey, Crete, and Spain but the ports weren’t as good as his love boat tours.  He recalls how “The Sand Pebbles” movie starring Steve McQueen was released about the time he was in Ireland.  American sailors were idolized by all the girls and the story ends as Mike’s eyes glaze over and he stares off into space.

Tin Can SailorsIMG_3819 BattleshipIMG_3743 Papa chips paintIMG_3687 Mike's bunkIMG_3737IMG_3716

Our close friends in Bristol, Rhode Island, Mark and Darlene, returned from their jazz fest weekend in New Orleans in time to party with us for a few days.  Darlene and I worked together as peers before I retired almost 10 years ago, and have remained close ever since.  Mark and Darlene also own a B&B in Louisiana called The Caldwell House (  It is a 106-year-old villa which was awarded the “Best Small Town Inn of Louisiana for 2013” by the ‘Official Best Of’ travel show.  When we took off on our sailing adventure, Mark and Darlene promised to meet up with us wherever we might go.  And they did!  They met us in Ensenada Mexico, Cabo San Lucas, Miami FL, Mallorca Spain, and Santa Margherita Ligure Italy.  Now that we are in the “land yacht”, we’ve planned a wild vacation this summer at a location which you will hear more about this summer!

Darlene Mark Mike LindaIMG_3851 Darlene and Linda

For our final day in Rhode Island, we feasted on a delicious and decadent Mothers Day Dinner with Mark, Darlene, and Darlene’s mother Rita.  Mark made an impressive pitcher of Sangria (which went straight to my head), and Darlene showed off her culinary skills.  Totally sated, we found our way back to the campsite.  In the morning, we broke camp and headed up to Massachusetts.  We are currently in Scusset Beach State Reservation at the north entrance to the Cape Cod Canal.


New York! New York!

Well, actually the title should be New Jersey, since that is where we spent our week (with one day in New York).

Finding an RV park near my girlfriend Barbara’s house in New Jersey, especially an affordable one, was a challenge!  We ultimately found a Passport America park that gave us 5 days.  Once again, we found ourselves bouncing down a gravel road on the final turn to the campground.  This is another one of those parks that look like people live here full time.  It isn’t trashy, but a number of the RV’s have little fences, skirts, planters, Christmas lights strung around, and garden gnomes standing guard.  The ground is mostly dirt and I don‘t even remember if there was a picnic table.  None of that mattered because we planned to be gone every day doing things with Barbara and John anyway.

IMG_3512 road to Timberland Lakes campsiteIMG_3627 Timberland Lake campsite

Barbara and John met us at the campsite when we arrived, so they could observe the set up process.  We dazzled them with our RV expertise and got a kick out of seeing Barbara’s eyes get big when she witnessed (from inside the coach) how it transforms from a bus to a ballroom.  We enjoyed a bottle of Barbara’s wine (she belongs to a wine-making club), and planned our excursions for the week.  We enjoyed dinner at their favorite Portuguese Restaurant and discovered the joys of Licor Beirao.  I’ve definitely got to buy a bottle of this yummy liqueur.

P1150317 me and Barbara with Licor Beirao drinksP1150313 Mike and John with dessert

The following evening they hosted a backyard cookout to introduce us to some of their neighbors and wine club friends.  We were happy to see JoAnne again.  JoAnne and Barbara vacationed with us last year on our boat in the Bahamas.

The next day we ventured into New York City to tour the 9/11 Memorial.  I’m so glad John was driving because there is NO WAY I could drive in that traffic.  From the highway, I could see the new skyline of New York City.  The new World Trade Center tower is the tallest building in the USA at 1,776 feet.

IMG_3525 NYC

The Memorial consists of a plaza with two pools set in the footprints of the original Twin Towers, and a Museum.  The Museum is still under construction.  The pools have 30-foot waterfalls cascading from all sides, then descending into a void in the center of the pools.  The names of the 2,983 men, women and children who perished in the attacks are inscribed in bronze around the edges of the pools.   The placement of their names are based on “meaningful adjacencies” that reflect where the victims were on 9/11.  Mike found the name of his childhood friend who was killed on 9/11.IMG_3547 South Tower Pool IMG_3550 South Tower Pool IMG_3553 Kevin Patrick Connors IMG_3562 South Pool with Museum IMG_3564 World Trade Center tallest building IMG_3565 North Tower Pool IMG_3566 North Tower Pool IMG_3567 memorial plaza

The survivor tree is a single Callery pear tree found in the wreckage at Ground Zero.  The finished Memorial Plaza will contain 400 white oak trees, in addition to the Survivor Tree.  The bark of the tree is markedly different pre-911 and post-911.  All new growth is smooth.

IMG_3569 Callery pear survivor tree

We spent the afternoon walking around New York, after enjoying a delicious lunch at a restaurant in Battery Park.  Barbara enjoyed a walk down memory lane as we strolled through Greenwich Village.  She lived in the village when she got out of college.  Lots of old memories came flooding back and she enjoyed seeing how much it has changed, as well as how some things never change.

IMG_3576 Mike in Battery Park on The East RiverIMG_3611 walking in the villageIMG_3618 Greenwich VillageIMG_3614 Greenwich VillageIMG_3621 Cafe Wha

On our final evening, they took us to the Paper Mill Playhouse in Milburn, NJ where we saw a production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie”.  It was toe-tappin’ fun.  Mike and I rarely get to the theatre, and this was the third play we’ve seen in a year (not counting our grandchildren‘s school plays, which are the best!).

IMG_3634 Me and Mike selfie e

So now we’re in Rhode Island where we will spend time cavorting with our friends Mark and Darlene!  We’re staying in Naragansett and I plan to eat some clam cakes!