We do love our campfires! Check out this one from one of Jay’s solo camping trips in Vermont.
We do love our campfires! Check out this one from one of Jay’s solo camping trips in Vermont.
We were about a half hour into our drive to the Cape on Labor Day weekend when we suddenly heard a horn honking incessantly on the highway. Jay was driving in the middle lane and I was in the back with Paris and asked “Is someone honking at us?” Just then, a big rig in the slow lane caught up with us and made eye contact. This prompted Jay to look closely at the rear view camera and he yelled back to me “Inky’s hood fell off!”
After waiting to safely pull over, we stopped in the breakdown lane and jumped out to take a look. The hood didn’t come off completely thanks to a safety strap connecting the hood to the frame, but the drivers side dragged on the ground and a big chunk was missing. We used two bungee cords to secure the hood to Inky and jumped back into Lady T.
We’ve traveled all over the country with Inky and never had an issue with the hood, so as I was stewing in aggravation, I thought about what could of caused this. Earlier in the week, Inky had service at our regular mechanic, so I dialed them up to ask a few questions. The person who answered happened to be the one who completed the service on Inky and admitted that he had a little difficulty with the hood latches! We appreciated his honesty and he said he would inform the owner of the issue. Within a hour of my call, we received a service notification for after the holiday.
We dropped Inky off the following Tuesday and it turns out, his color is one of the rarest to find replacement parts for since Smart discontinued selling gas powered models in the U.S. in 2017. The shop initially found a blue “service flap” as their called at a junk yard but when it arrived, it was in worse shape than ours. They then called a Mercedes dealer in Boston, who assured them they were shipping the correct part number. What they didn’t note is the correct part number is now silver because our blue is no longer available.
The shop called us to explain what happened and texted a few photos of the silver hood installed. Silver matches the trim perfectly and we thought it looked pretty cool, so we gave them the green light to keep it on. They also returned the original damaged hood, which we’ll keep handy in case we need an emergency replacement.
We would like to thank Absolute Auto in Shirley, MA for their outstanding service! Another mechanic would have likely passed the buck and this would have cost us a few hundred dollars to replace. Absolute has been taking care of all our family vehicles for several years, including Lady T, and we will continue to give them our business.
Check out these pics and let us know what you think!
This past Memorial Day weekend, we headed to Maine’s Acadia region for some “down east” camping. We chose Pleasant Hill Campground in Hermon, Maine and spent a day each in Bangor and beautiful Bar Harbor.
This was Paris’ first camping trip and we created a fun little space for her in Lady T’s bunk area. We were a bit nervous about how she would handle the four-hour drive, but after some initial excitement and a few attempts at helping Jay drive, she settled down and slept until we were almost at the campground. Also, this was our first time officially towing Inky. In May, we had a Furrion Wireless RV Observation System installed to help us keep an eye on things from behind and we absolutely love it! Check back soon for an official review video.
Pleasant Hill Campground was clean and relatively quiet, and we were assigned a nice site with plenty of space for Paris to play. We didn’t explore the campground too much because it was raining when we arrived, but the office staff was friendly and we liked that the park was only 20 minutes from Bangor.
Bangor is a small city on the Penobscot River, with a rich history in the lumbering industry. Today, it is perhaps best known for its most famous resident, writer Stephen King. Bangor also claims to be the birthplace of the over sized lumberjack, Paul Bunyan, who is commemorated with a 31 foot tall statue that looms over downtown Bangor.
I’m a lifelong Stephen King fan, so the first place we visited was his Victorian mansion on Broadway Street. There are many such houses in Bangor, built by the lumber barons in the late 1800’s, and with the exception of a few people taking pictures outside the spider webbed front gate, you wouldn’t know a famous person lived here. I doubt Mr. King spends much time at home, but it was still fun to visit! We also checked out The Rock and Art Shop in downtown Bangor, which sells all kinds of rock and mineral specimens and other unique items.
The following day, we visited Bar Harbor, home to one the top 10 most visited national parks in the country. Situated on Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park is truly one of the most beautiful natural spaces in the U.S., and it’s visited by upwards of three million people a year. We didn’t have time to visit the park on this trip, but we enjoyed strolling in downtown Bar Harbor and had a delicious homemade frozen treat at C.J.’s Big Dipper. Check out the pics below!
My annual tent camping and hiking trip took me to Branbury State Park in Vermont. Branbury offers lean-tos, tent and RV camping and boasts a natural sandy beach on the beautiful Lake Dunmore. Lake Dunmore has a surface are of almost 1000 acres spanning three miles long and a mile wide. It is a popular destination in the area for all kinds of water activities from boating, jet skis, or just relaxing on the shoreline soaking in the sun. Branbury State Park taking up almost 70 acres incorporates park of the lake with canoe and kayak rentals as well as a snack bar located next to the playground.
I set up camp at the Birch Lean-to quickly on Sunday and then headed a half hour north to visit family for a few hours and “borrow” some firewood from my uncle’s house nearby before heading back and taking a walk around camp before relaxing by the fire.
On Monday, I woke up early and headed out for some hiking. There are a few trails that started right near my campsite, but on the advice of a park employee, I went about a quarter of a mile down the road to the Silver Lake trailhead, where I found the Falls of Lana and Silver Lake. From the parking area, the trail is pretty much an access road leading to the falls and eventually Silver Lake.
I downloaded the My Tracks app to record my hike using my phone’s GPS and at the end of the day, I spent just over 4.5 hours on the trails covering about 6.5 miles. I hiked around Silver Lake and explored the Falls of Lana as well as a side trip to Lenny’s Lookout, which offered great views of Lake Dunmore from above. Check out a map of my hike here.
Since I have gone to the Green Mountains the last couple years for my tent camping, I think next year I may have to go to the White Mountains! Have a look below for some photos.
A couple of weekends ago, we camped with Lady T and Inky at a small rustic campground called Pines Camping Area in Salisbury, MA . We chose the Pines because it was close to Salisbury Beach and also within an hours drive to Cape Ann, which we planned on visiting that Saturday.
Unfortunately, we didn’t end up leaving until 6:30 PM because the traffic going north was backed up for hours. The drive to the Pines was just over an hour but by the time we arrived, set up, and ate dinner, it was already dark. After dinner, we hopped in Inky and cruised down to the Salisbury Beach Boardwalk for an evening walk and a soft serve treat.
Salisbury Beach extends from the mouth of the Merrimack River to the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border and is a popular destination for families, who enjoy the many free events held throughout the summer around the boardwalk area. It’s also within just a few miles of Hampton Beach, New Hampshire’s most popular beach.
The next morning, we were up and out early on our way to Cape Ann. Cape Ann is located in northeastern Massachusetts and includes the coastal communities of Gloucester, Rockport, Essex and Manchester-by-the Sea. Gloucester is the country’s oldest seaport and still one of the busiest fishing ports in the country.
After driving around for a little while, we found parking on Main Street and spent a half hour checking out the shops. We also attempted to visit the Eastern Point Light, a historic lighthouse located in Gloucester Harbor. If you’re driving, the lighthouse can only be accessed through a private gated community. When we approached the gate, the security person wasn’t there so we just drove through. We still had difficulty getting to the lighthouse and by the time we found it, we were a little aggravated and decided it wasn’t worth it to pay $10 to park.
Our next stop was Rockport, MA and Bearskin Neck. Bearskin Neck is a small neck of land that juts out into Rockport Harbor and has a unique shopping area that used to be a collection of old fisherman and lobsterman shacks. This busy little tourist area is surrounded by water and offers picturesque views of the Atlantic Ocean. We spent a couple of hours exploring the shops and took several pictures of the harbor.
On the way back to the campground, we saw a sign for Plum Island and quickly detoured. Plum Island Beach was the first beach I ever visited and I hadn’t been there in over 30 years. We drove the long, connecting road to the beach area as far as we could go and paid $10 to park in a small lot along the beach. Plum Island is home to hundreds of wildlife species and is a very popular ocean fishing area. We took a long walk on the beach just as the sun was setting, and picked up a handful of shells along the way.
Plum Island is part of Newburyport and since we were so close, we decided to end our day there. Newburyport is another popular tourist destination and the birthplace of Francis Cabot Lowell, the American textile pioneer after whom the city of Lowell, Massachusetts (our hometown!) is named. There are lots of great shops and restaurants here and while we were deciding whether we should eat out or back at camp, Mother Nature made the decision for us with a fast moving summer rainstorm. We ducked into a burrito place called Dos Amigos and had a delicious dinner while waiting out the rain.
We had a lot of fun exploring Cape Ann and although we didn’t spend much time at the campground, we were happy with the service we received at the Pines Camping Area. Thanks for reading and check back soon for a special announcement!