I just dont want to ever forget the last day driving home.
Clear antique-blue-glass skies brought us all the way across the White Mountain range of New Hampshire, passing majestic Mt. Washington with its snow cap, through pretty bridges over sparkling rivers and several small towns on the beautiful Route 2 to Bangor. Sound too good to be true? It was all true. Absolutely unreal beautiful so close to home. The final stretch from St. Stephen to Saint John was, in a way, the prettiest of all.
It was the road trip of a lifetime. We drove 10,500 kms and saw many amazing things… some planned and some surprises. It was wonderful to be away and wonderful to come home. Thanks for reading and following along.
Now the fun of sorting through all the glass I bought. Imagination is off and running in the Nellyglass Derby.
Final photos of the journey on day 36 – North Conway to Saint John
We were up and out the door by 7:00 am and into town for breakfast at the South Street Cafe (excellent breakfast sandwiches). Before leaving Bennington, we made a quick stop to see the windows of Sacred Heart Francis de Sales church. A congregation was just gathering for mass and one member told us this is one of the largest churches without internal pillars. It is simply beautiful. Gothic by design but warm and welcoming inside. For all photos, see Gallery/World Windows.
Then off we went on the roller coaster ride up and down and around the lush hills of Vermont’s Green Mountains toward North Conway, NH. The road in many places followed steep and fast flowing mountain streams. We saw three or four covered bridges along the way in quaint towns all with majestic mountain backdrops. This is a place we can definitely see ourselves returning someday perhaps in the fall.
Finally we arrived in North Conway and found our hotel, the Old Red Inn. We stayed here once 27 years ago when Ryan was 3 and Sarah was 1 on a trip home from visiting Monica’s sister Marg and husband Gary in Toronto. It is still just as we remembered… homey little cottages with 60’s decor, propane fireplace, floral wall paper, pine wanescotting… absolutely perfect for our final night of this journey.
After some outlet mall shopping, we had a delicious Mexican dinner at Fiesta Jalisco and then retired to our cottage for a glass or wine and some blogging. As I write this, we’ve got the windows open for the fresh mountain air, the sun is dappling through the trees and the birds are singing all around the Inn. Peaceful and happy, both of us are just a little sad that tomorrow we head for home but are also anxious to return to family and friends. On the positive side, now that we are leaving the States the Canadian dollar should start to climb for the rest of you.
Here are the photo highlights of day 35 – Through the Green Mountains to North Conway NH
The temps today crept up to 36 celsius so there must be a thunderstorm brewing.
I was up early and let Monica sleep while I went for a city walk to get some shots. At 7:00 am, it was quiet and the sun was already fierce. I saw the war veterans monument and several churches, all closed at this hour but I would get to visit three of them later in the morning, and the home of Harriet Tubman who served the “Underground Railroad” after the Civil War (1865) by smuggling 300 blacks out of the United States and into Canada.
- St. Marys church – purples and blues predominate… lovely mural of the Assumption.. simple but beautiful windows
- Westminster Presbyterian – I ran in myself while Monica waited in the car… there is only one significant window here… a stunning Tiffany Rainbow.
- Willard Memorial Chapel – the interior completely designed by Tiffany. We were toured through the chapel by the very knowledgeable “Ed” who gave us the full history of the Case family (1850’s fortune made in corn starch and a descendent son credited for inventing sound for cinema films). The Chapel is dark, solemn and very different from most churches…. almost gaudy and signifies Tiffany’s journey into the abstract. The main window scene with Jesus and Peter on the water is stunning.
Leaving Auburn, we headed east through Skaneteles, a beautiful town on the lake of same name. Here we quickly saw St. Jame’s Episcopal church. Then eastward we zipped past Syracuse, Albany, straight through Troy at rush hour and finally to Bennington Vermont. A really lovely town in the foothills of the Green Mountain range.
Here we saw the grave site of Robert Frost in the cemetery of the Old First Church (oldest church in Vermont) plus the 306 foot megalithic monument to the Battle of Bennington in 1777 (John Stark was the victor). However, temps and humidity were too high for any more serious sightseeing, so we called it a day early and enjoyed some Finger Lakes wine in our hotel.
Here are the photo highlights of day 34 – Auburn NY to Bennington VT
This was a stellar day in many ways. Beautiful bright blue skies and warm… no, no… hot! The temps soared to 34 degrees by afternoon but we were comfortable most of the day in the air conditioning of our car except when we got out briefly to see something amazing.
Today we saw several examples of both God’s and man’s handiwork… seven spectacular waterfalls, five award winning wineries and a church with windows that knocked me out.
It is late in the day as I write this and we are tired, so I won’t add the text details of the day. Suffice it to say that the New York Finger Lakes district did not disappoint us. We loved it here once before and we love it even more now. If you get the chance to visit, you will discover for yourself the tranquil splendor of the area.
Here are the photo highlights of day 33 – Waterfalls and Wineries
We are in the beautiful Finger Lakes district of upstate New York. Monica and I were here five years ago and fell in love with the area. It’s very nostalgic to be back again.
We started the day with a quick zip into the downtown of Rochester to see three outstanding churches all within a few blocks of each other; Downtown Presbyterian (Tiffany windows), First Universalist (a ceiling rose window) and Christ Church Episcopal (Tiffany windows). I was extremely lucky to get into all three as they were not open to the public that early in the morning. However, the receptionists all complied with my mournful begging. Spectacular windows… only a sampling posted here. For all photos go to Gallery/World Windows.
By 10:00, we were cruising over the lush green hills toward Keuka Lake (west in the district and the one shaped like a sling shot). It was so nice to be off a four-lane highway and down to 70 km per hour instead of 120. Quite by chance we happened along a secluded little church at the foot of the long peninsula of Keuka Lake called the Garrett Memorial Chapel. It was open (to our delight) and filled with beautiful stained glass windows. Coincidentally, these windows were designed by Frederick Wilson who worked for Tiffany Studios and who also designed the windows of Reid Memorial Church in Richmond, Indiana (we were there about 1 week ago).
From there we visited two wineries that we had seen before, Dr. Konstantin Frank and Heron Hill, both on Keuka Lake… I had accidentally deleted the photos from my camera 5 years ago so I had to return the get and secure the photos this time… plus we bought really good wine which is better than what we remembered. (They have improved). Monica tasted while I had grape juice (I’m the designated driver).
Next we visited the Watkins Glen State Park to hike the gorge trail and get some incredible photos of the magnificent water falls (there are 19 falls within a 1.5 km trail). The weather was perfect… 18 degrees C and no wind. Even better, no masses of tourists as would be the case later in the summer. All the senses are fully engaged here including getting a bit wet from the waterfall spray… it is outstandingly beautiful. Bonus, I saw a snake!!!! Loved that.
By 5pm, we found our hotel… rested and blogged with a nice glass of wine, and at 7pm walked two minutes from our hotel to the lake shore for some evening photos and then next door to a great restaurant called The Wild Flower Cafe and Crooked Rooster Pub. Awesome food… deep fried brussel sprouts, salmon and jambalaya.
Here are the photo highlights of day 32 – Rochester to Watkins Glen
This was an 8.5 hr travel day that took us across three states (Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York) and into three remarkable churches.
First stop was downtown Cleveland to visit two churches. Monica skillfully navigated me through morning traffic and onto a parking spot on Euclid Ave. From there we walked 2 miles along Euclid to Public Square. Along the way we passed through Playhouse Square with its fantastic and world’s largest crystal chandelier which hangs over the street. The morning sun was in the perfect sky for a light spectrum show as we walked past it. A million shrads of every-colored light sparkled in our eyes. The camera cannot show the brillance but it was amazing!
At Public Square, we visited Old Stone Church, Cleveland’s oldest building dating to 1820 when Cleveland was nothing more than a village of a couple hundred people. Here we saw four Tiffany windows, a John Lafarge window and several other windows. Spectacular!
On the walk back to the car, we visited Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. Dark and brooding in comparrison. The windows in the nave are all single windows while the transept and apse windows are giant composition windows. There are many windows in this cathedral and I posted only a few here. For all photos go to Gallery/World Windows.
Leaving Cleveland, we travelled east into the beautiful rolling hills of northern Pennsylvania to the town of Franklin. Here we visited St. John’s Episcopal church and saw truly the most beautiful church yet on our travels. I had researched these Tiffany windows and knew what to expect but was not prepared for the magnificence inside. Eight triptych windows in the nave, Jesus and the four Evangelists in the apse and a huge rose window in the west. Absolutely gorgeous and (hands down) my favorite church to date.
Then the final drive to Rochester, New York where we will cool the jets for a couple of days and enjoy the Finger Lakes wine district.
Here are the photo highlights of day 31 – Cleveland OH to Rochester NY
It was a six hour drive from Justice Illinois to Cleveland Ohis with no stops except for fuel. Monica navigated us straight downtown and into the parking garage on the waterfront where we spent the next three hours thoroughly enjoying the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. What a blast! We had so much fun… it was extremely nostalgic for both of us hearing songs from the past and seeing famous costumes, music instruments and other rock celeb memorabilia. Throughout the museum, we watched three movies; Past and Present Inductees, Dick Clark clips from his years on American Bandstand and a 3-D U2 concert (wow). I took dozens of photos and really struggled to narrow it down to my favorites.
After the museum, we strolled to Public Square in the heart of the downtown. Being Sunday afternoon, it was very quiet with hardly any traffic. Downtown Cleveland is absolutely beautiful as my pics will show. Shiny, clean, attractive. We saw the Cleveland Browns football stadium, the Science and Nature Museum, several city sculptures and fountains and the lovely architecture of the buildings.
Then away we went to find our hotel in the west end of the city and dinner right next door at Bob Evans restaurant. Simple wholesome dining and lots of it… we were stuffed. Tomorrow morning before we head east, we are returning to the downtown briefly to see a church that was closed today. Hopefully traffic won’t be a nightmare.
Here are the photo highlights of day 30 – Cleveland Ohio