Since our last two hiking trips in Missouri, Bill has wanted to go to the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts. But we had to wait for a few issues to be taken care of and for the weather to warm up. Finally, everything came together in April. As a bonus, we were able to fit a week in Vermont first, then to the Berkshires the following week.
Here is a quick recap of our week in Wilmington, Vermont, with the details in two blog posts:
The week of April 16-23, 2022
April 16 Arrived but first took a tour of the Visitor Center Bennington VT April 17 Easter Service, snow, Hoot toot whistle trail (hiked 4.6 miles) April 18 Haystack Mt. (Hiked 4.1 miles) April 19 Day off hiking so drove to NH for groceries April 20 West Lake Trail (Hiked 6.2 miles) April 21Catamount Cross Country Ski Trail (Hiked 3.3 miles) April 22 Toured Hildene Mansion April 23 Drove to Pittsfield, MA
On April 16, 2022, we arrived in Wilmington, Vermont with no expectations. Bill only had a few days to book the week but thought it might work out. It was also Easter weekend so thankfully, there were openings. After all, this is the cold north so, unlike other “warmer” locations we tried, there was availability. I trusted my Travel Guide, my husband, on this one. Thankfully, he exceeded ANY expectations I could have had!
We stayed in the historic Crafts Inn, 10 West Main St., Wilmington, Vermont. From the informative website:
A little history about The Crafts Inn
The Crafts Inn, along with Memorial Hall (which is next door), were designed by architects, Mead, McKim & White, with the New York firm of Stanford White. White was considered one of the preeminent architects of his time. The architectural designing of the Inn and Hall was started in 1898, Memorial Hall was opened mid-December 1902 in time to have Christmas celebrations for the town, and Craft’s Inn was opened on February 10, 1903 by Major F. W. Childs and was called ‘Childs Tavern’ at that time. The hotel was built more as a resort for visitors who would be staying for an extended period, as opposed to other accommodations in the area, designed largely for travelers passing through. A lot of people would come up from the city. The men would send their families up for a long-term stay, maybe for a month during the summer. It was a very popular place back then….”
A few pictures inside and outside:
The best feature of not only the Inn, but the town, was the relaxing environment. From my first phone call to the Inn about two hours before our check-in, until we checked out and drove away, we were impressed. The staff was second to none. All were very friendly and wanted to make sure our stay was the best.
About the only thing we could complain about this week was the unpredictable weather! Friends and family thought we were a bit crazy to head so far north in mid-April. BUT I did check the weather forecast and there was absolutely NO snow predicted. I should have taken a picture of a sign that indicated the snow season was over on April 15. Remember, we arrived on April 16. We had a nice snow shower Sunday afternoon but it didn’t stick. But as everyone in Vermont knows, you can never take the weather for granted! Monday, warnings were issued, between 5 – 8″ of snow was coming Tuesday evening! But I am ahead of our week in Vermont.
This was NEVER in the forecast when we made our reservations. We are glad, otherwise, we would have missed one of our best hikes ever!
April 17, 2022, Sunday was Easter so of course, we had to find a church. No problem, there was a precious young fellowship around the corner, in a historic church building. We found such a wonderful body of believers and heard an outstanding message for this most Holy of our holidays. While it was hard to not be with any of our family members, I told them, I felt like we were with long-lost relatives – after all, we really are family!
“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” Matthew 28:6
After church and eating, it was time to get acclimated to the terrain. We were surprised it began to snow as we headed out. Seriously! Bill said we’ll just stay out as long as we don’t get cold. It was only a five-minute walk from the Craft Inn.
Here is a slide show of the rest of our first exciting Vermont hike:
This was an excellent trail! It was well marked and had plenty of beauty along the way. It had rained a lot the day before and then the wintery mix as we started. So there were some soggy and slippery areas. We decided to walk back via a hard-packed gravel road in the interest of time. Why not go enjoy the hot tub and sauna?
April 18, 2022, we decided to drive to Brattleboro to pick up some provisions. While it was only 23 miles from destination to destination, it was predicted to take nearly 40 minutes! Oh well, it was a very windy and cold day, at least it was warm in the car. The weather forecast said 5-8 inches of snow overnight. On the way, we saw a Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters. Bill’s favorite hiking shoes are no longer made (so we thought) so he’s looking for a replacement. We tried to park nearby to shop there but no convenient parking places close by. So we skipped it and ended up in New Hampshire. Bill knew that was where we were going. I didn’t see a welcome sign but could sense a bit of difference in attitude as we grocery shopped. That’s when Bill told me we were now in New Hampshire. Interesting!
April 19, 2022, the weather was perfect for a great hike! And guess what, we only got about an inch of snow, not the 5 – 8″ predicted. It melted as the sun began to shine. We had so many places to choose from that, using All Trails, we decided to stay close to Wilmington. The gas prices are just ridiculous so why not stay close to our Inn? We picked a four-mile hike with great views. We had no idea what we were in for as we are “out of practice.” We didn’t look closely at the elevation! Thankfully, our only complaint was the last 3/10th mile to the summit. Due to the snow, only three visible markers didn’t seem to be doing the job. Fortunately, a local hiker came by and agreed to blaze the way for us! She ended up taking a picture of us at the summit.
4/20/2022 We were not sure if I could hike when we planned this trip. My orthopedic surgeon said it’s just arthritis, which comes and goes. So far so good, so next we went on the West Lake Trail, 5.9 mile out and back and the elevation wasn’t apparent. When will we learn? But we have to remember, we are in the mountains. Also, prefer loops when that is an option. Still, this looked inviting because it was considered moderate. To us, surprisingly, this ended up being one of the best hikes we’ve ever been on! And probably not for reasons others would agree. It just threw everything at us as hikers! Here is a slide show:
It was interesting to talk to a new owner around “West Lake” which is really called the Lake Raponda. She and her husband actually just purchased the land, which borders part of the trail. They are from Boston, Massachusetts, and will build a summer home on the lot. She was just in town to check it out! She explained the closest place for us to sit and enjoy a refreshment was on the other side of the lake, a bit too far at this point. So we made our own picnic area on a fallen tree. I didn’t take a picture but we could see the lake enough to enjoy our reward!
4/21/2022 Our last hike in Vermont was the Catamount Cross Country Ski Trail. It sounded moderate. But the melting snow made the trail a mess. We had an alternative trail where we parked, near the trailhead. We took the packed gravel road alongside the creek. At the end of this trail, we hiked and walked at least 25 miles. So our next day will be a scenic drive to a historic location.
I am out of downloading and uploading energy. So I will save that drive and what is now one of our favorite tours for the next post! All I can say is, can anything top this week? Stay tuned!
Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountainssing together for joy” Psalm 98:8
As I started writing this, we finished our second week of hiking and sightseeing in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. These have been two AMAZING weeks. We had no idea if I could hike – I could – nor how the weather would be. We only had one unexpected snowstorm. Thankfully, we brought all of our cold-weather clothing, gloves, hats, etc.
We enjoy history as much as we enjoy hiking. We found a perfect balance in both locations. It’s a good thing I’ve had to rest my knees a bit. If not, we would have missed out on some great sights and history lessons.
For me, the Lincoln Family Summer Home, called Hildene near Manchester, Vermont is now one of my all time favorite historical homes! When Bill first mentioned it for a “day off of hiking” something didn’t make sense. I didn’t recall any mention of a Lincoln summer home in Vermont. Lincoln’s Presidential Library is still one of my favorite museums. Sadly, we visited it when I wasn’t blogging about our travels so no pictures or written memories. Other than how it was so well done but …. Hang on
A few years later, we toured Mary Todd Lincoln’s childhood home in the heart of Lexington, Kentucky. We have a blog post about that visit.Click here toto learn more about her early life. She had a sad childhood, then lost all her children but her eldest son, Robert. I can’t imagine her distress and pain over those losses. It is even harder to imagine how horrific it was for her beloved husband to be shot while watching a play, only to die the next morning. Apparently, all this heartache caught up with her as she eventually was placed in a sanitarium.
Robert was Abraham and Mary’s only child to survive to maturity. An ugly side portrayed at Mary’s home/museum was Robert’s relationship with his widowed mother. No wonder. He had her committed to Bellevue Place Sanitarium in 1875. Needless to say, it did not make me want to see HIS summer home, Hildene. But I read a little bit about it, so since it was not a day to hike, why not? It was a beautiful day to drive. While writing this blog post, I found a wonderful article about the reconciliation of Robert and his mother. It gave more background which was fairly presented. Click here to read more.
As an aside, someone on a hiking trail recommended this “Relive” app so decided to try it on our drive through the Green Mountains. Let me know if you can see our drive from Wilmington to Manchester. I’ve recorded a few more of some of our hikes. Practice makes perfect and I need more practice!
Hildene is formed from two old English words: “Hil” meaning “hill” and “dene” meaning “valley with stream.” Robert and his wife Mary gave their Vermont home this name because it is perched on a hill overlooking the Taconic Mountains to the west, the Green Mountains to the east, and the Battenkill river flowing through the great Battenkill Valley below….
Hildene is rooted in Abraham Lincoln’s values, making them our own and relevant to the 21st century.”
Hildene is considered the most significant Lincoln site outside of Illinois. Situated in Manchester, Vermont, it is the site where the Lincoln family lived from 1905 to 1975. Built by Robert Lincoln, the oldest child of President Abraham Lincoln, the 412-acre estate consists of the mansion, formal gardens, “Sunbeam” (a 1903 Pullman Palace Car), a goat dairy, Dene farm, and miles of trails for hiking and snowshoeing. The site’s unique aspect is that the Hildene Foundation, which preserves the property, has transformed Lincoln’s values of integrity, perseverance, and civic responsibility into actions: sustainability, preservation, conservation, and education, all of which you can experience when you visit.
We arrived too late for the only guided tour of the day, at 11:00. But, a very knowledgeable docent was available. He gave us lots of valuable insight. This beautiful 8,000 square foot 24-room is a Georgian Revival mansion. Three generations of Lincoln’s lived in the house, from 1905 until 1975. The mansion was built with electricity, telephone connections, and a hot air heating system. About 90% of the furnishings were original.
While it was supposed to be “just a summer” home, Robert Lincoln was said to spend about 80% of the year here. Robert died in the home in 1926. His wife maintained the home until her death in 1938. Upon her death, her daughter, Mary (Peggy) Lincoln Beckwith inherited the home. She lived there until her death in 1975. She and her brother, Robert Lincoln Beckwith spent considerable time there as children. Neither one had children so upon their deaths, the family lineage of Abraham Lincoln ceased. Allegedly. Hang on again. I seem to learn more when researching the places we visit afterward to verify my memory and add more facts – to write-ups such as this one.
I uncovered information I had not heard before. First, the researchhelped me correctly remember the story of the condition of the mansion in 1978 when the Hildene Foundation took ownership.These days, my memory is only good for about 20 seconds. What I uncovered was even more fascinating than I hoped. I’ll have to save some of this for a future visit to another Lincoln memorial. But here is what I found to substantiate what the Docent said about what a mess the house was in when it was finally taken over by the Hildene Foundation:
Peggy Beckwith moved to Hildene after her mother’s death and stayed there for the rest of her life. She spent her days golfing, dabbling in oil painting, sculpting, photography, and chain-smoking cigars. Because she tended to dress in knickers and men’s shirts, rumors spread about Peggy’s sexual orientation. No one knows for certain whether the rumors were true, but it is certain that growing the Lincoln family tree was not in her plans. She never married and never had children.
Housekeeping wasn’t in her plans, either. When she died in 1975, the mansion was in disrepair and was overrun with animals, including raccoons. ‘She’s an odd one,’ said Lincoln scholar Ralph G. Newman at the time. ‘I would call her an eccentric recluse. She doesn’t give a @#*! about Abraham Lincoln, and she’s rebuffed any attempts by historians to interview her or look for family papers on the farm.'”
I found a few favorable facts about Peggy. She was a pilot and owned several planes. She had a runway added to the property but I couldn’t find anything to substantiate that claim. I do want to get this posted as I still have to write up our week in Massachusetts, but I could keep digging up and reading about this family! But the other important detail in the article quoted above is there is an heir-apparent still living today. I believe more Lincoln historians are ignoring it but the fact of the matter is a 17-year-old (Timothy Lincoln Beckwith born in 1968) was able to claim part of the inheritance left by Robert Todd Lincoln. Hopefully, one day I will be able to write more.
This 24-room Georgian revival mansion has been perfectly restored. But yet, it is the sad legacy of one of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln, who was not appreciated by his children and subsequent heirs. But yet, his legacy is living on in the museum, mansions, and humble sites pertaining to his life. A few pictures I took downstairs inside of this amazing Mansion:
My favorite part of the house was an exhibition room dedicated to the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. Around the room were numbered excerpts from Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, delivered on March 4th, 1865 during the fourth year of the Civil War.
I typed up the quotes with their corresponding “numbers” as they went around the room. Several were my favorites so you will see additional information and pictures. First, the entrance way.
On March 4, 1865, only 41 days before his assassination, President Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office for the second time. Lincoln’s second inaugural address previewed his plans for healing a once-divided nation.”
The below numbered quotes, 1 – 13 were from displays around the room, dedicated to Lincoln’s second inaugural address. I took pictures of each display, so they typed them up and inserted them. So any errors, are mine! I only included a few pictures of the displays with the quotes plus a few other displays worthy of inclusion. Actually, the ENTIRE room is worth viewing! We encourage others to go and visit this historic mansion.
“At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement, somewhat in detail, of a course to be pursued, seemed fitting and proper.” Abraham Lincoln
“Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention, and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented.” Abraham Lincoln
“The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself; and it is, I trust reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.”
“On the occasion corresponding to this for years, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending war. All dreaded it… All sought to avert it.” Abraham Lincoln “I worked night and day for twelve to prevent the war, but I could not. The North was mad and blind, would not let us govern ourselves, and so the war came.” Jefferson Davis
“While the inaugural address is being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war… Seeking to dissolve the union, and divide effects, by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nations survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.” Abraham Lincoln
“One eight of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest.” Abraham Lincoln
“All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the government claimed no right to do more than restrict the territorial enlargement of it.” Abraham Lincoln
“Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it had already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier Tryon, and a result less fundamental and astounding.” Abraham Lincoln
“Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged.” Abraham Lincoln
“The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes ‘Woe unto the world because of offenses! For it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!’” Abraham Lincoln
“If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove and that He gives to both the North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him?” Abraham Lincoln
“Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toils shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.’” Abraham Lincoln
“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.” Abraham Lincoln
I found the rest of the statement from Number 9, so worthy to get the complete quote:
Each (party) looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces…(but) the prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.”
Hildene House Lincoln Room
The Docent was outstanding. Apparently for the price of admission, if you miss the guided our Docents are available and await your questions. I wish I had recorded all he said, but I thought I would remember the important tidbits. But hopefully, this blog has captured the essence of this beautiful mansion and the legacy behind its creation.
After we spent an hour or more inside, we went outside to see the garden and the views in the back.
After admiring the view, we went back through the welcome center. We made a few purchases to take back to our neighbors. They are watering our flowers! Everything for sale was “local” merchandise. We could have spent a fortune there.
Next, we went and put on more warm weather gear and walked to the Pullman. We had actually wanted to walk around on the hiking trail. But we were running out of daylight. No way Bill would drive in the mountains in the dark! We were greeted by another Docent. He was so knowledgeable. He impressed me but Bill questioned some of his “historical” facts. There may have been a slant but I did fact check what I could remember and the facts were true.
Preamble to the US Constitution, also on display:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….”
This is the final blog post of our hiking in the Ozark Mountains for 2021. Our first Ozark hiking trip this year was in eastern Missouri, south of Saint Louis in Desoto, Missouri. You can catch up here. Our last blog post was the start of our week in the Branson, Missouri area. Interesting, where we stayed is called Ozark Mountain Resort. I used that as a play on words, so to speak, in my blog post titles! We enjoyed the mountains in both areas. However, I have a relative who lives in Arkansas who also likes to hike. He said it is even better there. So hopefully, one day, we will hike in Arkansas!
We ended on a cliff hanger in thelast blog post, sort of. Did we visit the cabin where Matt and Aunt Mollie lived? Yes and no. We didn’t explore the history of Branson soon enough so we missed it. We had our Thanksgiving dinner in the Shepherd of the Hills complex. It was too cold and windy to go explore what all was around the restaurant. So we missed it and now have another reason to go back. We will also explore more of the history Branson. I am a bit fascinated with Harold Bell Wright’s writing and his life in case you didn’t notice in the last blog post. He is given a lot of credit for putting Branson on the map so to speak. I want to explore that idea. But in this blog, I am digging into a more obscure historical figure. Hopefully, next time we visit I will have more answers.
We have three hiking excursions, Thanksgiving Dinner and a visit to historic downtown Branson in this post. I enjoy writing these memories in this blog as it helps me relive them! And we do go back and refer to our posts from time to time – to remember where and when we visited…..various areas!
We have not regretted our decision to NOT buy a Class B RV. We wrote about our dilemma on how to travel in two posts, here and here. We finally figured it out. This is our third road trip as we return to our love of hiking. This is the start of our most recent travels in diary form.
On November 11, 2021, we departed our home in Myrtle Beach. We took two days to drive to Bill’s brother’s home near Boonville, Missouri. It is just over 1,000 miles and without stopping, takes around 16 hours. In case you aren’t familiar with David and his wife, Linda, you can just about catch up to their lives in a post written here. Most recently, their was some good news is that he has taken a turn for the BETTER in his battle against cancer. Modern medicine has done all possible to eradicate his body of the disease. He was told there was nothing more they could do but offered palliative chemo. In the meantime, they have looked at alternative treatment methods. The latest CEA test results were encouraging, for those familiar with CEA tests.
11/19/2021 After a week with David and Linda, we went to Branson, Missouri to hike! That’s probably not what you think of when you say you are going to Branson, is it? More about that below. From there, we returned to the Fayetteville, Arkansas area to visit with my aunt, uncle and cousins. Then we went to Little Rock area. I have cousins to the south and north of the city. After all that, we headed back to Myrtle Beach. According to this map, it was about
You may have figured out from our last post, when we said we were lost in the woods, we found our way out. If you missed it, click here. We had taken a short hike, about two miles, in a heavily treed park nearing dusk. We did finally see enough daylight to find our way out! And perhaps you may also have figured out, I can hike! We haven’t been in the mountains since March 2019. Let us continue with recent travels that took us to the Beckley area of West Virginia and in particular, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve (NRG).
Day 3 August 24, 2021
Miner’s MuseumOur friends from Beckley highly recommended we visit the Exhibition Coal Mine and Youth Museum in the City of Beckley. It is the #1 activity according to Trip Advisor and it was well worth it! We bought our tickets and had about 45 minutes before the underground mine tour began. We enjoyed the quaint museum. We always like to learn local history. We certainly appreciate what miner’s did for our country to provide fuel for heat and energy for transportation. So this really was beyond anything local! Continue Reading
December 2018, when we decided to sell our motorhome and “get off the road” Bill asked only one thing. He wanted to take at least 3-4 road trips a year. I agreed but I wasn’t sure how it would work out. Long story short, it hasn’t. We did manager a few fabulous hiking excursions while we traveled to see family. Otherwise, the travel/hiking bug began to bite us big time. BUT we just didn’t know how to make it work. Finally, it looked like buying and traveling in a self-contained Class B would make it possible. We wrote two blog posts, Is it Time to Hit the Road and Van Life – Pros and Cons, as we began to seriously consider it. This blog post will explain why we decided against it. We figured it out when we took a side trip in West Virginia on our way from Pennsylvania where we attended the funeral of a precious relative, Bill’s second cousin, to attend my mom’s Celebration of Life service in Virginia.
We were able to visit the Governor’s Executive Office! Each Governor gets to select what pictures he wants displayed. She explained to us about two but not who the man was in the middle. Or else we forgot!
Our first stop after a family weekend in Mount Vernon, Illinois, Bill’s mother’s birthday celebration, was to visit Indianapolis. We stopped at the Capitol Building for a tour and then headed south to Bloomington to do some hiking. We really enjoy history and where else can you get a great history lesson? This was our 5th such Capitol tour: Frankfurt, Kentucky; Montgomery, Alabama; Madison, Wisconsin; and, Harrisburg, PA. While our tour guide was good and we were able to go into the Governor’s private office, he was away, this one ranks 5th as far as “wow” factors. But it was still a very good visit and we would recommend it.
Our two top tours tie for #1, Madison and Harrisburg showcased history and the majesty of the physical buildings. We would put Frankfurt next followed by Montgomery. All were enjoyable and we are grateful we saw each. Indianopolis was lacking in the amount of history we cherish and the building wasn’t showcased like the others. But there were many things that set it apart from the others. It was pretty cool they were in session – first time we’ve seen it.
Indiana is one of 8 states that have all three branches of government working in the historic capitol building. All seven Executive officers, 100 members of the House and Senate and five Supreme Court Justices have working offices in the building.
From our home in Myrtle Beach, to Gatlinburg, Tennessee; to Mount Vernon, Illinois; to Indianapolis, Indiana; to Bloomington, Indiana; to Newport, Tennessee; back to our home. 30 hours of driving time and 1.848 miles.
We’re on a two week road trip, which we didn’t spell out in our last blog post (click here if you missed it). We’ve been working hard on our new home (closed on it on 2/1/2019 in Myrtle Beach), getting it ready for our daughter, son-in-law and grandsons to spend their Easter Break with us. We needed a bit of a vacation break, but more importantly, we needed to spend time with Bill’s mom – to celebrate her 98th birthday and to be supportive of Bill’s brother and his wife. They have been her caregivers for the past five years. We are trying to cram as much as we can into two weeks while driving from Myrtle Beach through the Smoky Mountain National Park; to where his mom is in Mount Vernon, Illinois; to visit the State Capitol in Indianapolis, Indiana; to do some hiking near Bloomington, Indiana and then to spend one night in Newport, Tennessee to finish our drive back home.
We left you with a cliff hanger last blog post, so without further delay, let’s see how our third hike in the SMNP turned out! Continue Reading
Newfound Gap Overlook and trailhead to Charlie’s Bunion. It was a bit chilly up here!
Wow, so much has happened since our last blog post. We are still getting settled into our new home – as well as changing our domicile to South Carolina. I really want to write a post on what one has to do to become a resident of this great state – it’s not as easy as it was to become residents of Florida. I don’t want to forget and who knows, maybe one day some family members or friends will want to move here. It would be great to have the steps written down for them. But onto more exciting things!
When we got off the road, we knew we weren’t through traveling. Just like when we first bought our 5th Wheel on September 4, 2013, we didn’t know how our travels would work out. And now we can say the same thing about “settling” down – we know there is still so much to see in our great nation and so many things on our bucket list to see.
One such place was Smoky Mountains National Park (SMNP). We first visited the area in 2012. We stayed in a cabin in the Pigeon Forge area with our daughter, son-in-law and grand pup. Sadly, I didn’t write a blog post about the trip but I have pictures posted on my personal FaceBook page. We did a few of the same hikes, so I wanted to refresh my memory about them – but somehow, those pictures now seem to be lost in the outer spaces of the internet. Anyway, we knew this was a place we would return one day to do more hiking. We actually tried to get here several times in our motorhome but something always came up to hinder us….
We only had about 80 miles to go from Cook Forest to Black Moshannon. See all the green – those are more state and national forests. We would have loved to visit each place.
We are a bit behind in our blogging-it’s been over a month since our last post! Hopefully, I can still do justice to our last two stops in our wonderful Pennsylvania summer travels.
We arrived at our next stop, Black Moshannon State Park, on Father’s Day. We were there for eight days. We were able to attend church at Cook Forest before we hit the road since we weren’t going far. Check-in (and out) time in the Pennsylvania State Forest Campgrounds is 3:00 pm. Our trip was only 80 miles and took us just over two hours since we also fueled up. We couldn’t rush out so it was great to attend a worship service church at the campground – and then fellowship a little with some of the attendees.
We prefer to not travel on Sundays, let alone a holiday. But it doesn’t seem like Father’s Day puts as many people on the road as Mother’s Day. Wonder why? One thing we learned here in Pennsylvania – and it does seem to be common in many other state and federal campgrounds – they book up on Friday and Saturday nights. You have to book ahead unless you don’t mind changing sites or just going Sunday – Friday. Continue Reading
Bill drove our motor home 800 miles over the nearly two months we were in Pennsylvania.
We’re in the Wilds!!! See the bottom picture in our last blog post to see how Pennsylvania is broken down regionally. Anyway, trying to decide where to finish our last two weeks in Pennsylvania was no easy task but we felt the Wilds calling our name. So much to see, so little time!
We’ll admit, we were pleasantly surprised at how much we’ve enjoyed this beautiful state. Surprised because it is Bill’s home state – he never really “saw” the state! Bill had hoped to make it up to Lake Erie and to the Allegheny National Forest, but the clock was ticking, we needed to return to Virginia on June 27, 2018.
Bill’s focus this summer, after reviewing places to hike in Pennsylvania was to find state parks where we could start our hikes from our campsites. Our last two weeks, we finally stayed in two locations where we could do this and we loved it! Continue Reading
Fredericksburg, VA to Dillsburg, PA, via Warrenton (B) to get us on US Highway 15 and avoid DC traffic, then to Dillsburg, PA (C) to Shawnee State Park (D) and now to New Stanton, PA
Bill is from the New Stanton/Greensburg, Pennsylvania area. Sadly, it takes funerals to reconnect with family in our culture today. We all seem to move and it’s not easy to go back – until we grow up. So we returned on May 23, 2018.
After we were married, we lived in Bill’s hometown – for 1 1/2 years. I’m so grateful as it gave me an opportunity to get to know Bill’s parents and extended family. We both come from small families so it is nice to remain close to the few family members we have – and that is not easy since we all live so far apart. But for the funeral of Bill’s Uncle Warren in November 2016….
We drove our car up from Myrtle Beach to attend Uncle Warren’s funeral – our motor home was safe there for a few days. We reconnected with many and it was as if we hadn’t been apart for 40 years! One second cousin has a fifth wheel Recreational Vehicle (RV). They camp in it at Myrtle Beach every summer. So it was easy for us to connect and share adventures! She also said there is some good RV campgrounds in the New Stanton area if we ever decide to bring our motor home. So that started the wheels turning our heads….
Our drive from Dillsburg to Shawnee State Park, 113 miles.
We are enjoying our short drives from location to location to maximize our adventure days this summer. (Click here to see our short drive in our last post.) We never know what we may be facing driving our 40′ motor home towing our car, so Bill likes to be cautious with the routes he takes. This may not have been the most direct route, but in the mountains, we needed the safest.
The 119 mile drive to Shawnee State Park was uneventful so we made record time, arriving by noon time on May 17, 2018. On the way, we decided to call the office to ask if there had been any cancellations. For the six days we would stay here, we initially booked two sites, our first two days we’d be on an electric only site and then we’d move to a full hook up site. We’ve noticed in most state parks (and many federal parks as well), the weekends are always booked, which means we may have to change sites for our week-long stays. It seems the prime spots in this case, sites with full hook ups are booked on the weekends during “peak” season. We know this is a reality so we’ve learned how to work around it. The weather forecast wasn’t Continue Reading
Our drive on Route 15 from Fredericksburg to Dillsburg. We drove 151 miles and took 3 hours 22 minutes. Compliments of Google Maps Timeline.
We will be flying to attend a wedding in Sacramento on 7/8/18. This has dictated our summer plans – we don’t want to be too far from our home base, Fredericksburg for multiple reasons. More on that later.
Our summer travels will be to see as much of Pennsylvania as we can in 52 days! Although Bill is from Pennsylvania, he has never appreciated the state like we now do after traveling to North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Bill’s goal is to see enough of a state to really grasp it’s essence. We’ve had grand plans, but a month has passed as I write this and we haven’t begun to see the state as we originally hoped. Mainly, because we are traveling “slo-mo” to really enjoy each stop. Continue Reading
It’s officially Spring so time to end our Winter Series posts! As mentioned in a few previous posts, we really weren’t sure how our winter would go – but we never imagined all the freezing, literally freezing weather we were in and that we dodged a tornado! That post, it is written here if you missed it.
But first, let’s look at the conundrum Bill felt. He is the “driver” and the one most knowledgeable about what he can handle on our journeys. He does ask for my input but I usually say, “whatever you can handle (driving) is fine with me.” He does a spectacular job and since we want to do this for a long as possible, why should I try to muck it up? Continue Reading
The drive from Fort Pickens to Gunter Hill Park was 179 miles and took approximately 3 1/2 hours drive. Then to Foscue Creek Park, only 90 miles, taking about two hours due to the speed limits. The drive up to Red Bay was 173 miles and took just under four hours, again, due to speed limits!
Last winter, we discovered Gunter Hill Park, Montgomery, Alabama, an US Army Corps of Engineers Campground (COE). It met all of our basic requirements for a long stay, so it was tentatively penciled in for this winter. It depended on the weather and our hopes to make it up to Red Bay, Alabama. The weather turned out to be good enough for us to make it happen. We’re glad we have been “winterized” as we’ve adapted to a cooler winter than most “snowbirds” seek when they head to Florida or Arizona for the winter.
We departed Ft. Pickens on 1/16 and stayed at Gunter Hill Park for 10 days until 1/26. Friends highly recommended Fescue Creek Park, it fit our route nicely. We were there from 1/26-3/1/2018. The distances and times are in the caption of the map, which were all about perfect for how Bill prefers to drive. And it’s really about all my body can stand as well! We both have the common age-related lower back aches but it seems to bother me more than Bill – or else I just am more vocal. I can at least get up and move around a little while he is driving. Continue Reading
Continuing our journey, now along the Florida Panhandle and along the Gulf of Mexico. First stay was at the Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Gregory E. Moore Campground, then onto Fort Pickens Campground. While it was only 65 miles, it took nearly two hours due to construction, stop lights and general traffic along Highway 98.
Wow, it’s been a month since we last updated our winter travelogue! As we said in an earlier post, click here if you missed it, we really weren’t sure what our travels plans would look like this winter – so we’re glad we didn’t set any expectations. This past month has been a whirlwind.
We love the beach and knew we wanted to spend a month on the beautiful beaches off of the Gulf of Mexico. This much we knew and planned back in July. My mom lives in the panhandle with my oldest sister so we knew this was a primary destination in January. To get good sites for the two weeks in each location, you have to reserve six months ahead. First stop is Topsail Hill State Preserve Park Gregory E. Moore RV Campground.
Our first day here! It was a cool 51 degrees with a nice breeze. This is the walkway over the sand dunes from the campground to the beach. It’s nearly a mile walk from our campsite. They do run trolleys from the campground to the beach – but we aim for walking 5 miles every day.
This year, we arrived on January 16 and stayed until January 30, 2018. Two weeks is allowed per camper in the Florida State Parks. Once I get as old as Bill, we can stay for a month here, two weeks under his driver’s license (proof of Florida Residency and our age) and two under mine. But no rush! LOL
Here is a slide show to put things in perspective a bit:
Putting our winter in perspective. We fled Fredericksburg on December 26, 2017. The cold seems to have followed us!
Love the tide charts for the Gulf of Mexico.
We wanted to see it all, so here is our route from our campsite, to the beach and then around the lake and on the nature trails.
Isn’t this beach beautiful!!!
So now you may see why this is a favorite destination for us! We fell in love with it our first visit in March 2015. We talked to a couple there who were work campers. It sounded like something we would like to do. My mom would only be an hour or so away so we could spend a month or two or three here! We interviewed for the job and it looked like we were in….but then the Ranger who “hired” us (it’s a volunteer job with free “rent” in exchange) ended up changing jobs before we could cinch the deal. We’ve pretty much decided it probably wouldn’t have worked out for us….😢
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park beach on the Gulf of Mexico our second day here.
This year, we had a real treat – something we have wanted for a while, to bring a grandson on another road trip! We had our oldest grandson, Colin, with us for ten days in Myrtle Beach soon after his brother, Bryce was born. We wrote a little about that wonderful time here, in case you missed it. We cherished that time with him and look forward to another journey with him. Our decision to go get our youngest, he’s nearly 2 1/2 years old now, was a bit spontaneous. We had to have a luxury car just for situations like this. So the biggest downside of Topsail for us is it’s a LONG way from our grandsons (and their beloved parents)! So this month, we drove our car 2,300 miles to get him and return him, taking us 36 hours of driving time! But it was so worth it. Both of our grandsons also love the beach so we look forward to many more fun travel days ahead!
We were on site #66. Bryce felt right at home!
We really weren’t sure how Bryce would travel. Thankfully, he did great as long as we let him out to stretch his legs every few hours. He’s potty trained so it helped us make sure he got his exercise. He is also a GREAT sleeper, needing 2 to 3 hour naps and he sleeps 10 to 12 hours a night. So we got the rest we needed as well.
This one pictures says it all!!! It was a bit cold, but so sunny and this kid loves it!!!
Bryce’s response when he realized we were leaving the beach for the day!
But he was easy to get back on track! He loved riding around the park on his trike
There was a playground near our site so of course, Bryce had to go every chance he got!
Bryce wanted to “touch” every dog he saw! He made lots of friends as he learned how to safely approach a new dog! He’s probably a dog whisperer…
What little boy can resist climbing a ladder? He loves helping his papa!
Bryce was actually only at this location for one week. Bill and I had a week here by ourselves when we decided to go get him. Then it was time to move closer to see my mom and sister, only about 65 miles away, still on the Gulf of Mexico.
On January 30, 2018, we moved onto Fort Pickens Campground on the Gulf Islands National Seashore Park. We stayed here last year, but didn’t discover it until near the end of my time with my mom. We wrote about our time in the Florida Panhandle – when we discovered this treasure – written about here.
I drove Bryce in the car and we left ahead of Bill so he could disconnect everything without a little “helper.” If you know what we mean! Bryce and I stopped in to see my mom, sister and her dog Ruby before we met Bill at the campground. Bryce is my mom’s 7th great grand child. It was time she met him.
Bill and Bryce checking out our new homesite. We thought it was longer than in reality. We just fit. And now having Bryce on a blind corner will mean he must not be out of an arms length. Thankfully, the speed limit was 5 MPH and most every drove very slow.
We arrived here in Fort Pickens on Tuesday, January 30, 2018. Our reservation was for two weeks, ending on February 13. My mom saw Bryce twice, but fortunately it was before she was contagious. Mom wasn’t feeling very good our third day there, so I went to see her alone. Sadly, my mom had contracted the flu and was hospitalized that night. The hospital was close by, so I spent two days visiting her there – and then I came down with it! What a miracle neither Bill, Bryce nor my sister caught it.
Our walking here was on the nature trails. This entrance was right by our site. Bryce enjoyed our nature walks and especially all the dogs who were also out for their exercise.
Bill is compelled to walk at least five miles every day. Bryce accompanied him everyday, by giving Bill an “extra” good workout once Bryce’s legs needed a break.
This campground had lots of doggies! So of course, Bryce got to meet each and every one!
Boys will be boys! Bryce managed to break the kitchen sink sprayer connector, just being a boy! Thank goodness for Amazon, we found the replacement part and Bill repaired it quickly. While Bryce was napping!
Bryce loved riding around the campground, checking out the other vehicles. This one sure caught his attention!
Bryce kept asking to go to the beach. It wasn’t as convenient from our campsite to get to the Gulf of Mexico. But this trail was close by to the sound. It was sandy, so he was happy!
We were just exploring so we didn’t know what to expect. Bill took him back another time with his bucket and shovel
There wasn’t a playground at this campground. But we found something just as much fun. A hill of pebble gravel when it was too cool for the beach.
But he asked daily to go back to the beach. He loved playing in the sand.
The water was crystal clear on the sound side as well. Much calmer, too.
So how did I get sick while Bill and Bryce were OK? As soon as my symptoms started, I saw a doctor and was put on Tamiflu – was told to rest for a week and wear a mask. It was recommended Bill get on it as well, so his doctor got him started. And then I wore a surgical mask to keep the germs to myself. I also wore it in the hospital, but I must have contracted it before she was in the hospital. (Do you think I rested? Oh how I wanted to….)
Ugh, the first time I’ve had the flu in decades! So this was how I kept from spreading it.
Bryce had to get into the act and copy his MeMe! He was so funny wearing it and it helped him not be afraid of me!
We arrived here in Fort Pickens on Tuesday, January 30, 2018. Our reservation was for two weeks, ending on February 13. She had two days to see Bryce, but fortunately it was before she was contagious. Mom wasn’t feeling very good our third day there, so I went to see her alone. Sadly, my mom had contracted the flu and was hospitalized for five days. The hospital was close by, so I spent two days visiting her – and then I came down with it! What a miracle neither Bill, Bryce nor my sister caught it.
Using FaceTime, Bryce spoke to and saw his mom, dad, brother and his doggie, Ollie, every night. He especially was excited to talk to Ollie and kissed him good night! He really loves dogs. All good things had to come to an end, so it was time to get him home. Since I was still sick, our daughter decided to fly to Atlanta and we meet her there to return him. Bryce enjoyed the airport and was so happy to see his mom. He wouldn’t let go of her for a minute – except to hug us good bye! We loved our time with him in spite of me being sick.
We knew we needed to extend our time here so I could see my mom more. Sadly, this very popular campground was booked, but miraculously we found a really good site back in Campground A – where we stayed last year. At first, only two nights were available – then we checked it the next day and managed to get three nights in a row on the same site.
We stayed on this site from 2/13-16/2018. It’s in Campground A, site #16. It’s a smaller campground as you can tell. Our neighbors had moved out. We have more room on the right because the nature trail path is there, but not shown in the picture. The dump station, dumpster and bath house are only a few hundred yards from any site. Very convenient, but smaller sites and the trees can interfere with your parking.
Mom was finally feeling good enough for a little outdoor time. So I brought her over to see our new campsite.
There are a few of downsides to Fort Pickens. Mainly, it only has water and electric, no sewer. Last year in Campground A, we were close to the dump station, so Bill just carried a five pound bucket of gray water over each day. And we were right by the showers. But in Campground E, we were as far as you could be from the dump station. So he broke down and bought a blue tote tank. Sadly, the weather was so cold here our first week or so, we didn’t use the bathhouse – besides it wasn’t that close to us either.
This is a National Park, so they honor the “America the Beautiful” Passes. We didn’t mind only paying $10/night last year, but the price doubled this year. And it’s really a drive to go to the grocery store. But there are a few restaurants nearby. We haven’t tried them, but others said they were good. Here is the link to the campground for more information and reservations: Recreation.gov< strong>After that whirlwind of a month, we headed Montgomery, Alabama. We stayed here last year and decided we would return for 10 days on our way to the Tiffin Service Center for a few minor repairs to our home.
Grandchildren are the crown of the elderly….Proverbs 17:6
Connect this to our last map. We arrived from Dillon, SC to the Jacksonville area, first stop over New Years Eve long weekend at Sunny Oaks mobile home and RV Campground, then Hanna Park & Campground for two weeks, to Jellystone RV Park, Madison for one night to Topsail Hill State Preserve Park, where we’ll stay for two weeks..
In our last post, we said we may talk some about what is ahead for us for 2018. We only dropped a hint or two and to be honest, we don’t really know what is ahead for us! I recently read the blogs of two couples we have been following since we began on the road: The Lowe’s – what we love about their blog is their details about all of their hikes – which we also love to do; and, Wheelin’ It – they give such practical advice and great tips for the full – time RV lifestyle. The Lowe’s just posted their 2018 travel map and plans – which we all know is always subject to change, but at least they know their general direction. As for Wheelin’ It – they usually do the same! But their current blog tells us why they are not this year and that they areselling their motor home, carand all that goes with it – to move to Europe and travel there. If you want a fully decked out rig with all the latest and greatest plus a car and hitch, check out their blog! Be sure to mention you learned about it from us and we can split the $150 “referral fee.” LOL
So it is with a little envy we read others exciting travel plans. It seems we are now in a routine and so far, our travels aren’t changing much from last winter. We enjoyed our time this year (January 1 – 15, 2018) in Hanna Park and Campground, we planned to write a post about it. But never had time! We did write a bit about it some last winter, first here where we discovered it, and then here, when we stayed for a week last March. We (Debbie) vowed to return! Bill, not so much since he’s the one who drives the motor home and was concerned about taking a tree down – or it taking us out. Anyway, there isn’t much to add to the two posts, except one thing. And it is still that slice of heaven we found last year! The only difference is the sustained freezing cold weather here – but then the whole east coast and probably the midwest are in the same freezing boat. 😱 That wasn’t the one thing, btw.
Our site this year, down two from last year.
This was on our day two and it remained cold the entire time here!
Back to our winter clothes and bundling up! But we’re still happy.
it was so cold and windy on the beach, we hit the trails – conveniently located from our home!
Day three, out on the beach but we have to get used to the tides and sand here.
The majority of our stay ended up being like this! We got in five miles nearly every day after three days.
The year 2017 was a game changer for us. Bill had to learn how to live with heart disease. He has done exceptionally well and his doctor is his biggest fan (next to me, of course) and knows he can continue on. What it has meant in addition to how he eats and exercises is how he manages stress. Now that’s been a battle, especially when things happen he can’t control like two flat tires on Interstate 95 (one of the busiest highways on the east coast). Actually, he did much better than he did with our first blowout on a state road in Florida – but also a busy highway. And now with sustained freezing cold weather – since we LEFT Virginia on December 26 – when we thought we were fleeing freezing cold weather. Actually it just hitched up to our bumper and has followed us. ❄️❄️
This new life style has meant we had to change how we travel – more or less! We had decided before hand, we prefer to only drive the motor home roughly 200 miles between stays and to stay about two weeks. This is most desirable. But there are times it isn’t feasible. We have to balance our travels with our budget and still try to keep our nightly stays around $20. We learned if you stay a week or two, you get a good discount – thus our desire for that as well as we want to get to know the area and see all we can see.
But this past year, we seemed to be consumed with our exercise routine and cooking fresh. So we aren’t sightseeing as much as we once did – although we hit a home run in Wisconsin this past summer. It’s ideal to be able to get in his “mandated” walk of five miles a day straight out our door. We did that beautifully in Hanna Park – and we do that at Pirateland. And then we still remember how disappointed that Wilmington, NCwon’t be our future home when it is time to get off the road. We continue to obsess a bit over it….so that means while at Hanna Park, we had a revelation.
The beach at Hanna Park is every bit as good if not better than Myrtle Beach! And like we did at Myrtle Beach, we decided to look up the beach to see if there isn’t a place we could call home. We did look down to the south and decided that lifestyle wouldn’t fit us. So what beach is up the coast? Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island:
It was love at first sight – or actually a re-look. We did visit Amelia Island years ago. It didn’t really strike us as a future home. For whatever reason, this time, after we really checked out the beach, did we see the potential. GRANTED, it is way too far from our daughter and her family. We do still hope and dream they will see the light and move to Florida….
Our first view approaching Amelia Island from A1A. We approached it from a different road when we came a few years ago. What’s not to love?
Then we began to drive on a beautiful road like this – with a walking trail next to it the entire length!
We saw the sign for this, so looked it up on the web. Looks fabulous, but we want some place realistic….This is “just” a resort!
Of course, we had to hit the beach! We didn’t see this when we came before….didn’t really know what we missed.
We could easily walk five miles on this beach. And like Atlantic Beach at Hanna Park, the tides didn’t really affect the times of our walks.
We talked to a resident of the area. These condos are each a cool million or more! So much for that lifestyle….
uh oh, what are we doing? This neighborhood is in our price range….
I won’t elaborate any more except to say, we are now going to look at more places up and down the east coast, in South Carolina and Georgia, as potential places to eventually settle. We think we have now ruled out North Carolina. While it will be farther than I would prefer, Bill just can’t handle continuous freezing weather. We’ve acclimated but it’s just been one miserable winter.
And now, back to our plans for 2018? Not that we feel we need to have that exit plan in place should we need to get off the road, let’s just say it has a less stressful feel to it to think about it. For now, we just hope to enjoy each place we visit – which now seems to be more for a purpose than just “adventure” – although we still think life is nothing but full of adventure!
We are starting 2018 on the same route as we did in 2017! It’s “Trip One” to start our warm winter travels! Fredericksburg, Virginia to Dillon, SC to Jacksonville, Florida.
It’s that time of the year, so Happy New Year! We enjoy reading a snapshot of others’ year end blogs so hope others enjoy ours as well. And writing ours helps us keep our travels in perspective. We are still enjoying our lifestyle in spite of the challenges we’ve had this year. But that’s why it’s even more important to look back.
First, it helped us to look at what we wrote last year (click here if you missed it).WOW, our start this is is the same as last year. Once again, we started the New Year fleeing freezing cold temperatures in Virginia. We forgot how bad it was last year when we tried to close our slides to leave Fredericksburg. The slide toppers were frozen with a sheet of ice! This year, we had the slides pulled in for over two weeks to stay warm which we have never had to do before. The winter storm Benji arrived ahead of any other storms we’ve fled from in these four years of traveling. Continue Reading
How can we possibly write about all that we did while in Wisconsin, from June 15 to July 13, 2017? We were so active, we just didn’t have time to regularly write posts of our travels for this month. I’m sad as we are already losing some memories we were making that we try to capture in our posts. So we’ll start with some summaries and see how it goes. First, let’s learn a little about Wisconsin.
We decided to tour Wisconsin after Bill “noticed” it was directly above Illinois – where we visited family. After our family visit, we needed a route back to Virginia, where we will spend August. It seemed natural to go to Wisconsin rather than Michigan, our original plan….more about that route later! Continue Reading
In Illinois, From Lake Rend (green dot) to Utica (B) to Tomson (C). Then to Dodgeville (checkered dot), WISCONSIN!
Oh where to start??? It’s been a month since we last wrote a travel post. Let’s back up to June 6, 2017. We’ve been hitting the road hard and we have had an AMAZING summer so far! If you want to see details/pictures, we post almost daily on our Travel Facebook page, so stop by, look around at our photos and like it if you haven’t already. If you have, thank you! In addition to this lame excuse for not blogging, some of the remote areas we visited didn’t have many cell towers. Oh the internet access woes of full time travelers!
We decided to spend a month in WISCONSIN! How did that happen? When Bill was trying to plan our route back to Virginia, he originally planned to go via Michigan and a northern route. But then something drew his eye to Wisconsin. And we learned a lesson recently: No more “flying” through a state – we want to savor our journeys as we go….
So we decided to see a few new places as we headed north to Wisconsin from Lake Rend near Mount Vernon, Illinois. Bill does an amazing job of finding GREAT places to explore on our routes. Our first stop was in Utica, Illinois, home of Starved Rock State Park.
Our first leg there, to Utica was our longest so far, 284 miles, nearly 5 hours of driving – and not what we prefer, but thankfully, the trip went smooth as silk! We stayed in Hickory Hollow Campground, which had it all! It is a Passport America park ($20 cash and excludes weekends) for full hook up, 50 amp and wifi. It was conveniently located with easy access in and out and very well maintained. Our site, G3, was relatively flat. We did have an issue with the 50 amp circuit breaker. It blew a few times – so they sent out their on-site electrician who fixed it in a flash! He said they were going to close soon for a short time to re-do their electric hook ups. Continue Reading
Our 2010 Tiffin Phaeton QTH Motor Home, accompanied by our 2013 Cadillac SRX, or TOAD. This was certainly a PEAK, our site in Amity Campground, Lanett, Alabama.
On May 12, 2017, we celebrated our second anniversary of the purchase of our motor home and our TOAD (the car we pull behind us). Bill drove the motor home 13,152 miles in those two years and we’ve driven our TOAD, 34,000 miles! So we are in a reflecting mood after we read “Wheeling Its” recent blog, The Art of Slo-Mo RVing, etc., where they talked about how their full-time RVing has evolved. We could relate: we prefer slo-mo and we want to smell the roses as we travel.
We are not complaining but we have put ourselves on time constraints since we return to Virginia every three months (or there about) to spend a month or so with our grandsons – and their parents! In the meantime, we have been trying to saturate southeastern USA. But things happen and sometimes we have to miss many flower gardens and gems. Things like RV repairs. Between our time in Red Bay at the Tiffin Service Center, the tire blow out repairs and our recent generator repair, we’ve spent a little over three months in parking lot “campgrounds” since we bought our motor home. We have always made the best out of it. But since we want to see it all, it causes us to sometimes travel faster than we want. And our Summer 2017 travels are falling into that category! I’d say since we left Fredericksburg on May 2, 2017, we’ve experienced some real challenges – the main one will be in an upcoming post!
Sunset, which was reflecting on our motor home in Amity Campground, Lanett, Georgia. Watching the sunset nightly, a location we didn’t want to leave….but we must move on!
Our trip from Dan Nichols County Park to our next stop was only 127 miles, about a two 1/2 hour drive for us since we also stopped for diesel fuel. We wanted to arrive early as our mission for this stop (Thursday, May 4, 2017) was for our generator be repaired. We were headed to Freightliner in Gaffney, SC, but thankfully, my call ahead sent us down the road to Spartanburg. They don’t seem to fix “broken” generators at Freightliner, only service them. What a miracle Atlantic Cummins, who does, was close by.
We traveled close to this area a few years ago. We spent a day with Bill’s cousin and her husband, who live near Charlotte, NC. We didn’t write a full blog post about our time there, but what a grand time they showed us by taking us to the Billy Graham museum and property. Continue Reading
Three out of four smiles is pretty good. See below for the one smile and three other goofy faces!
After the month of April, with our grandsons and their parents, it was time to hit the road! Our grandsons are now just over 3 1/2 and 20 months old. It’s getting easier to leave – for me, but I am sure not so easy for our daughter. Our oldest grandson understood we’d be back. The baby, well, he’s still a baby to us!
We have a general idea about our summer travels. But first things first. Our generator went out on us at the start of our winter travels. We’ve only ever used it once in our two years of owning it. It is our “back up electricity” as I had to explain to my mom. One cold night, a campground’s power went out for an hour or two – the Electric Company got it going again. About an hour later, the campground circuit breaker went out again for another hour. We were thankful we had our generator to stay warm!
While we were in Fredericksburg for the month, Bill did try to find someone to try to get it started to no avail. While he’s mechanical, he didn’t want to try to fix it. Reluctantly, he pulled out the manual, called Onan (the manufacturer), then went to the RV Geeks YouTube channel to figure a few things out. He managed to change the air and oil filters, which was not so easy since the manual used a pencil drawing, Onan wasn’t much more help, but the YouTube video helped. It still wouldn’t start, throwing an error code 36. Continue Reading
We are traveling in part, to be honest, because we can’t agree where we want to live! As we celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary (4/11/1975), we can say we don’t do anything without praying over it and both of us agreeing to it. Of course, it may seem obvious, why not settle in Fredericksburg near our daughter and family? We certainly do want to be near them, but we lived in Fredericksburg for 10 years. When we moved there, it was a sleepy rural county. We loved it! But by the time we left, it was becoming a boom town. And now, it has outgrown its roads. It is just one big traffic jam! We recently heard a sermon titled, “Never say never!” But Bill does tend to say, we’ll never live there….time will tell.
So what do we really want? We love mountains for challenging hikes and clean mountain air – but we could never handle the winters there. And really, driving winding and steep roads isn’t comfortable for us. We also love the beach. But what great beach area doesn’t have a busy season? And remember, we don’t like traffic. This winter we experienced EVERYTHING we love about our full-time lifestyle. Continue Reading
Next stop and to our final US Army Corps of Engineers (COE) campground was an easy drive, just over 85 miles to Eastbank Campground, 153 Eastbank Road, Bainbridge, GA 39819, telephone number (229) 662-9273. We were there from 3/14 until 3/16/2017
We enjoyed our time in southwestern Georgia. It’s very rural, but the road system is really nice. Thanks to Jimmy Carter a local Georgian told us! After last summer in rural Kentucky, we made sure of our route the night before we traveled. The directions were not crystal clear on the website, so we called and talked with one of the camp hosts. She said to call them when we were just about 5 miles away so she could “talk” us in as many people end up at the dam! She didn’t seem to think the signage was very good, but if you have a passenger who focuses on the signs, there were more than she said. Anyway, here are a few pictures of our journey there:
It just doesn’t get prettier than this! Our drive through Bluffton, Georgia. Note the nice state road, well marked and even a shoulder!
There is just something special about the sun setting on water! This view is of Sandy Creek, which flows into Walter F. George lake. Picture from our campsite in Cotton Hill.
Originally, we thought we’d just write one post about the three back to back stays in the US Army Corp of Engineer (COE) campgrounds. There was so much similarities about them, but as I began to write, the words just kept flowing. WOW, we did more than it seemed at the time….
After our camping experience in Gunter Hill(click to read our last post if you missed it), in Montgomery, Alabama, our expectations were pretty high for our next stay in Cotton Hill. Coupled with the fact friends we made in Fort Pickens really liked this campground a lot! It did not disappoint, except we were sad to learn they had a contract dispute with the county over the sewerage so the sites this year were not full hook up sites. But had 50 amp and water. Continue Reading
Our trip from Davis Bayou (click to read), Ocean Springs, Mississippi, to our next destination was just over 200 miles. It was an easy trip and we arrived around 12:30 pm. We knew we might be a little early, but we learned that COE park check out times are 3:00 pm! Little did we know….
Our first experience in a COE was last summer. We stayed in the Land Between The Lakes (LBL) COE “Canal Campground,” click here to read about our fabulous time there. It took three posts to write it up since there was so much to do and we hope to return there one day. As I am writing this, we now have stayed in three, back to back stays, this winter. I had hoped to write about all three in this one post, but we did so much in the Montgomery, Alabama area, it needs its own post. Continue Reading
Florida route started in (green dot) Jacksonville, to (b) Dunnellon, then (C) Zephryhills, to (D) Micanopy, to (E) Sneads, to (F) Navarre, to (G) Fort Pickens, to (H) Holt, then crossed over into Alabama, (I) Robertsdale, then to (checkered dot) Ocean Springs, Mississippi.
The Davis Bayou Campground is our 10th RV park/campground since we arrived in Florida on January 6, 2017. We were in this National Park from February 19 to 26, 2017. It is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore Park. We discovered it when we were in Fort Pickens, Pensacola(Part 6 of our winter travels), Florida. It is a continuation of the Gulf Islands Seashore! Since we had such a wonderful time in Fort Pickens, we thought we’d go farther west than we had originally planned and try it.
The Lure of the Islands in the Gulf of Mexico
What is it that entices people to the sea? Poet John Masefield wrote, “I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied.” Millions of visitors are drawn to the islands in the northern Gulf of Mexico for the white sandy beaches, the aquamarine waters, a boat ride, a camping spot, a tour of an old fort, or a place to fish.
This was our day 2 here. Isn’t the sky amazing? We are on site #3. Can you see us? Nice concrete pads.
We fell in love with Alabama when we lived in Mobile from 1986 – 1988. We just clicked with it, from it being on the Gulf Coast with gorgeous beaches nearby, in the Central Time Zone, to the Azaleas, to living in the Bible Belt, and to the down home southern hospitality! We really enjoy visiting Alabama any chance we have. And you may remember, Red Bay, Alabamais where we take our motor home yearly for routine maintenance!
We still love it in spite of the fact it was in Mobile where our marriage collapsed. For those who have been following our blog since the beginning or you are a family member or friend, you are aware of our story. The GREAT news is that our marriage and family was restored. We visited Mobile in 2012, taking a long motorcycle trip, nearly 600 miles, from Sebring, Florida. We wrote a short blog post about it, call “The Lost Years.” I’m sorry I didn’t write about all the historical places we visited while there. Things we didn’t appreciate while we lived there.
Since May, 2016, we hoped to stay the month of February in Gulf Shores, Alabama, along the Gulf of Mexico. As mentioned in a previous post, those plans were sadly changed. We are making the best of it, but are still trying to figure out the best way to be in a warmer climate during the winter. We are having a blast, but these 1,432 miles driven in the motor home, staying in 11 different campgrounds/RV Resorts in just over a month and a half hasn’t been our ideal. But that is how you see lots of new things…. Continue Reading
Our travel from Three Rivers State Park (green dot), to Emerald Beach (B) in Navarre, to Fort Pickens (checked dot).
When we started our winter travels from Virginia on January 4, 2017, to stay somewhat warm, we really had no idea how our travels would turn out. We are still a bit gun-shy, so we don’t like to make reservations until we are on our way to a particular RV park/campground. We’ve had four family emergencies in our three years on the road where we’ve had to cancel our reservations, turn around or set aside our travel agenda for a time. When we started this winter series, I wasn’t too optimistic about coming up with a way to label our travels. So if you have been following along, you can see I have modified our titles, which means things are getting a bit more exciting!
We are now in our eight RV Park/campground since we left fled the snow in Virginia. We know reservations in the warmer parts of Florida between January and March are tight, slim, and expensive. Thus, we have been bouncing along, not staying anywhere too long. Although, we have not paid the high prices we thought. Anyway, we had planned to spend a month in Gulf Shores, Alabama with friends we made last time we were at the Tiffin Service Center in Red Bay, Alabama. We called the couple a few days before we made the reservations in Fort Pickens. They said they would have the scoop on where we could stay….only to learn the husband had just passed away. 😢 You know, it just puts life into perspective! So our plans have again changed, but then, we really didn’t have any plans set in stone.
Bill has driven our motor home just over 1,300 miles since we left Fredericksburg on January 4, 2017. In just one month, we’ve now stayed in six different RV parks in Florida: start) Sunny Pines, Jacksonville; B) Ross Prairie State Park, Dunnellon; C) Country Oaks RV Park, Zephyrhills; D) Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park, Micanopy (just south of Gainesville); E) Three Rivers State Park, Sneads; Current) Emerald Beach RV Park, Navarre.
We’re here from January 26-31, 2017 and continuing our journey to stay warm this winter and to discover new places! It’s easy sometimes just to return to the same old place, but we are trying to resist. Since we are returning to familiar areas to see friends and family, it’s been a bit of a challenge. We’ve really enjoyed our travels so far. But we feel we scored a touchdown at our next stop, Three Rivers State Park, Sneads, Florida. Everything went about as perfect as could be. We had a perfect travel day from Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, but one of our longer trips so far, at just over 200 miles and taking us 3 1/2 hours. Continue Reading
Our site while in Zephyrhills, Florida. Nice oak tree we were under, except during the Tor Con 5!
To catch up, Part 2 of our winter travels left off with us in Country Oaks RV Park in Zephryhills, Florida. We stayed here January 17 to 24, 2017. The 55+ RV park was very basic (actually a manufactured homes park with a field area turned into about 8 RV sites) in a small town. While it had full hook ups (so important since we will be without sewer over the next three stops), we had to drive to get in a walk. The Park had a “special” where you could stay a week for $99 if it was your first time there. It was well worth it. We only ate and slept there since we were mainly in this area for the Tampa Super RV Show and to see a nephew, his wife and meet their baby. Continue Reading
Our first night on Campsite 9, Ross Prairie Campground. It’s a pull through, electric and water. No sewer. Nice bath houses and a dump station.
We have so many campgrounds to stay week or less lined up for the month, we’ll just post our travels in various parts. We were in Jacksonville in our last post, found here. We really enjoyed our time there. We’ve stayed around Jacksonville in the past, just for a few days, to allow Bill to reminisce about the “good old days” and for us to explore sights unseen. Little did we realize we would be able to get in a workout regime, get a handle on our new way of cooking, find such a great campground on the beach with great trails for hiking and get our itinerary set for the month. Continue Reading
This is the day the Lord has made! We loved our walks on a fabulous trail around this beautiful lake. It looked different every day but this was the best day, blue skies and sunshine.
If you read our Reflections on December 2016, we had a bit of a rough December. We failed to mention on top of everything else how cold it was – but then, it’s been a cold winter about everywhere! But living in a motor home isn’t ideal for temperatures in the low 20s and let along the teens. It was so cold, we had to bring in our slides for a few days to have less square footage to heat. The day we were pulling out (we had them opened for a few days) the moisture turned to ice in the slide covers! This was the third year of RVing and spending December in Fredericksburg, Virginia. So this was the third year we had to literally “flee” a freezing winter storm, they are now naming them so this was Helena. Continue Reading
This was our favorite geologic site, Fern Bridge, although it was challenging to hike down to see, but so worth it.
“We’re going to have to rappel our way out of here!”
Yep, deep down into our hike to see Fern Bridge, Bill hollered that up to me! He says some of the funniest things on our hikes. I should do a better job of recording what he says….
We are continuing to write about our time in our last Kentucky campground and this time, it’s a state park. Click here if you missed the previous post about our arrival.
After a good nights rest, we were ready to conquer Three Bridges Trail (TBT) and see some of the best the natural geological sites in the park. We tried to find Smokey Bridge the night before, allegedly the biggest of the three. We actually had walked right past it! It was hidden by the trees. The only way to see it, you had to walk down lots and lots of manmade stairs, my nemesis. We skipped it.
We’re now using the All Trails app to help track the elevation in our “mountainous hikes.” The TBT turned out to be the perfect hike and I captured it correctly: Continue Reading
This is our final stop in Kentucky and what a great place to end: Carters Cave State Park and Campground, Olive Hill, Kentucky. I’ll call it the Campground in the rest of the post. What a wonderful summer we’ve had!
Since Bill is the driver and is good at researching places visit, he sets our itinerary. I’ve never had a problem with his choices, except I really wanted to see some family members in Louisville. It was just too far north and too much traffic for his comfort. 😞 Plus, we had decided we wanted to do a lot of hiking in the mountains this summer…. Continue Reading
This is the sight we see as we exited the Mountain Parkway to Slade.
Slade, Kentucky is the home of the Natural Bridge State Resort. It’s a very small town, population was 303 in 2010. The Red River Gorge is also here. If you look up Slade on Trip Advisor, you will want to come! There are so many things to do if you love nature and the outdoors. It’s located at exit 33, off the Mountain Parkway. There is also a nice rest stop at this exit. If you think you somehow passed your exit coming from the west, which we did as we saw 4 Guys RV Resort back a mile or so, you can easily turn around at this exit – in a motor home towing a car! But we didn’t miss our exit, we had to exit here (the picture shows where we exited, drove to the A-frame business, turn left and drive west a few miles. Read our first post about this area if you missed it by clicking here.Continue Reading
We’ve been hoping to get an amazing photo of our motorhome. Here is one attempt. We had to include Old glory in this photo with Red River Gorge in the background.
We wrote about about our fabulous hike in Natural Bridge State Park on our first day in this area – which is nestled in the Daniel Boone National Park (DBNP). If you missed it, click here. Then we wrote about our not so fabulous hike in the Red River Gorge, also nestled in the DBNP. If you missed it, click here.
We’ve decided to return to the Natural Bridge State Park (NBSP) for the rest of our hikes while we are here. On July 13, 2016, we headed back to NBSP for what we hoped would be a 7 & 1/2 mile hike, Sand Gap Trail. Yes, we thought we were ready for a long hike! We used All Trails to take us to the trailhead, which is in the State Park. It got us close, but we had to ask for help. So went to the Gift Shop to ask for directions. We were told the trail was closed due to a storm, there were too many trees down, AND they had to rescue some people stuck on it last night. She suggested we hike on Hood’s Branch Trail, close by. She also said to watch for the copper head snakes. Oh this sounds exciting! Continue Reading
Photo image of Kentucky, captured from GoPoCo.org website
This map shows where we had multiple hiking adventures, from July 11 to 18, 2016. We were in the blue area, Powell County, Kentucky. We also drove over 60 miles on July 16 to Lexington, marked by one of the three orange stars, one day. We’ll have a post about that trip.
We stayed in a brand new RV park, 4 Guys RV Park. Some parts are still under construction, but it didn’t bother us. The office hours are of an evening, so we didn’t get a map or the Wifi password until after our hike to Natural Bridge. We were told the Red River Gorge (RRG) is excellent for hiking. I guess he was kind and didn’t mention our age….😁 I said we love to hike, so I guess he thought we looked fit enough (or again he was kind) to not mention how rugged it is!
Anyway, we were psyched from our hike the day before to Natural Bridge. And after hearing the affirmation the RRG is great for hiking, we were told to take the Historic Nada Tunnel. We were ready to tackle the RRG – or will it tackle us? Continue Reading
Daniel Boone National Forest from the Forest Service, USDA home page. We are near the top, just under the sign that says “I-64”
On July 11, 2016, We headed north from London, Kentucky to our next adventure, just 70 miles north and slightly east. “The Daniel Boone National Park (DBNP) embraces some of the most rugged terrain west of the Appalachian Mountains. Steep forested slopes, sandstone cliffs and narrow ravines characterize the land…Spread across 21 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky, more than 708,000 acres of national forest system lands are managed within a 2.1 million-acre proclamation boundary.” We’ve emphasized rugged as I don’t think we read about the forest from this website! Continue Reading
We were excited to learn this trail head was only about 5 minutes from our campground. We arrived here just before a big thunderstorm hit the area. Glad we checked our weather app, so we didn’t try it on our first day here.
Our last few days (July 8-10, 2016) were filled with two nice hikes in God’s creation and one day worshipping Him with a large congregation of other believers. We love the peacefulness of hiking in the woods. We like to focus on the goodness in the world so let’s take a quick look at our last two hikes, one starting the descent down from this picture and the other was across the street.
The name, Sheltowee Trace Trail intrigued me so I had to look it up and found great information from this website about this 290 mile long trail. Here are a few excepts from the web: Continue Reading
Our first hike at Cumberland Falls State Park. This should have been a clue to what eastern Kentucky is made of!
As said in our last post, we came to this area for a few reasons. We are continuing our trek back to Virginia through Kentucky, to spend about 5 weeks with our grandsons. Both were born in August, so we plan to do a lot of celebrating as the oldest one turns three and our baby turns one.
You can read all you want about an area, but until you are actually there start walking around, you never know what you will like, what you will discover or how the weather will affect your plans! We really had no expectations, just that it sounded like Kentucky was a beautiful state and we planned to find that out – and we can confirm, it is full of beauty! But we’ve had so many unexpected surprises along the way. Most good, but eastern Kentucky hiking is not for the faint of heart! Continue Reading
Just a snap shot of the campgrounds (in red) and the many different locations (in green) where e’ve visited. Click on the picture to go to our live map.
We are finally getting into rhythm with Kentucky! We had a rocky start when we first arrived in the Land Between the Lakes in late May. Click here if you missed that post. We hoped our difficulty was not a sign of things to come while in Kentucky. Well, guess what? It was! We’ve had to turn around, unhook, go back, and make more u-turns in Kentucky than ever! But we are on roads less traveled and it has all been worth it!
Our trip to London, Kentucky from the Mammoth Cave area was just over 100 miles. We are actually enjoying the short trips between stops, and we have decided to stay longer at each location. Seven days per location has become comfortable, and we stayed eight days in the Mammoth Cave area. Continue Reading
We are loving our rural road adventures in Kentucky – once we learned to read the “signs” better. I haven’t really talked much about the four times we’ve had to turn around: twice we had to unhook the car and twice the turn around added a total of 60 more miles to our journey….Thanks to Pam over at Oh the Places They Go! who recommended we use Google Earth to check out the roads before we go. And now we do ….
Anyway, who knew there could be so much history, so many sights to see and such great hiking in rural Kentucky! When Bill first decided we’d drive through Kentucky on our way from Illinois (to see his mom) back to Virginia (where our grandsons live), it was easy after seeing how many state parks there are. We thought there would be good hiking and a few points of interest around all those parks. We’d hope to camp in parks-But alas, we’ve discovered many of them don’t have 50 amp hook ups, what we need to run our air conditioners in this HOT summer! But we did find two and now we’re staying NEAR the parks
We are now up to our third day (July 1, 2016) in Cave City, Kentucky, which is just 10 minutes from the amazing Mammoth Cave National Park. We actually thought we’d get in a lot of hiking after exploring the caves and visit the Corvette Museum. Bill did mention there was a Train Museum to think about for a rainy day. Um, not sure I’d like that much more than looking at cars. We discovered an outdoor venue to explore (more to my liking), the South Union Shaker Village not far from Bowling Green (read here if you missed our last post) and now we’ll finish the rest of the story…. Continue Reading
National Corvette Museum from the website: corvette museum.org
It took three posts to really capture the essence of why we came to this area. But there was one other reason Bill picked this area. Can you guess?
What I hoped to do was lots of hiking. But it ended up raining so much, we had to find some indoor things to do. Can you believe the Mammoth Cave National Park has 84 miles of trails! These trails are not just for hiking but some are designated for bikes and horses. There is also canoeing and kayaking at this park. We only got in one day of hiking, but it was 8 miles! And it was a glorious trail. Click here to read more about the trails and view maps. Continue Reading
Walk with a Ranger on the Heritage Trail and to the Old Guides Cemetery.
After our Frozen Niagara Falls tour, we asked about additional things to do at this wonderful visitor center. We learned of two free opportunities (most tickets sale tours were sold out): a 45 minute long Porch Talk by a Park Ranger and a walk with a Ranger on the Heritage Trail. We love listening to their stories, so we enjoyed both. The Porch Talk conversation was with about 20 others and the Heritage Trail walk with two other couples. Their talks were open for questions and answers. They seemed to fill in the blanks from our tour and added to each others knowledge. Below are the interesting tidbits I picked up from these talks, from our Frozen Niagara Falls tour, as well as from materials provided at the visitor center. Most of the areas discussed below are available to see on various tours. Continue Reading
Mammoth Cave National Park, A World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Preserve
Finally, Bill got me here to see the world-famous Mammoth Cave National Park in south central Kentucky! I talked about our anticipation to visit here in our last post, Caves or Caverns.
We made our reservations to Cave Country RV Campground a week or so ahead since we knew this was the 4th of July holiday weekend. We knew we couldn’t get into the campgrounds in the park, so we didn’t really explore them. Soon after we arrived, we decided to add a day on to our stay. We loved the warm welcome we received and all the brochures we were handed to help us make the most of our time here. There was so much to do in this area, but first, let’s check out Mammoth Cave National Park, which is part of the America the Beautiful pass program. Our tickets for the tours were half price! Continue Reading
Bill doesn’t remember traveling very much with his family, except every summer, his family went to the Jersey Shore. But he remembers visiting Mammoth Caves in Kentucky with his parents and an Aunt when he was 18 or so. The caves left a great impression on him. Every time we visit caverns, he says he can’t wait to bring me here – and we are finally here! This is the fourth cave system we have visited in our marriage. So before we talk about the Mammoth Caves, let’s figure out the difference between caves and caverns and then look back at our previous three caves or were they caverns? Continue Reading
Patti’s Restaurant and Mr. Bill’s Dining Room from an article in “The Lake News” dated June 18, 2015, announcing they had been awarded the “Certificate of Excellence Award” from TripAdvisor
Let’s continue with our time travel from our “Part 2” last post, which you can read here if you missed it.
Patti’s 1880’s Settlement Fine and historic dining in a casual atmosphere! If we heard it once, we heard it a dozen times, we had to eat at Patti’s Restaurant, especially the pork chops! We rarely eat out, saving it for special occasions, family times or when Bill just needs a break from cooking! We had the opportunity to eat here with our new friends and former neighbors at Columbus-Belmont State Park. They recommended we stay in Canal Campground and gave us lots more pointers. And they also recommended we eat here. They live in Paducah, so it wasn’t too far for them to come join us. And now, of course, we will have to visit them in Paducah on our next trip to Illinois. It’ll be on the way.