Thursday, June 23, 2016

Father's Day in the White Mountains


Unlike Mother's Day for Father's Day 2016 the weather was gorgeous and were able to go to Glen Ellis Falls and a whole lot more driving about 330 miles from home, through the White Mountains, and back home again.


Our trip started with one of our favorite drive which is from home, through Winthrop to Bethel and into Gorham, New Hampshire.  There is just something about that drive that we truly love.  Once in Gorham we hit Route 16 south towards Jackson stopping at Glen Ellis Falls.


There is a well marked parking area and you have to take a tunnel under the road on the third mile hike towards the 64 foot waterfall.  The trail is well maintained and features of stair the descend to the base of the falls that is well worth the walk for the spectacular view.  Granted I did not have a 30 pound Wesley boy strapped to me, but I think Kate felt it was well worth it as well.


Leaving the falls we continued south on 16 turning onto route 302 towards Bartlett.  Route 302 cuts right through the heart of the White Mountain National forest and Crawford Notch State Park.  This is one of, if not the most, scenic and beautiful road I have ever driven on.


We had destinations in mind and even though I made a couple impromptu stops to snag a couple pictures we passed some places that we are definitely going back to in the future.  Which is exciting knowing we have a reason to return and explore more.



From 302 we turned onto Route 3 south which turns into I-93 south through Franconia Notch State Park into Lincoln.  We stopped in Lincoln to check out Fadden's General Store.  It's hyped as having the best Maple Syrup in New Hampshire.  It was a bit of a let down, but we did buy some of their syrup and Kate got a maple cream soda. It was terrible, but very creamy.



Next we stopped at Chutter's second location which features a 60 foot candy counter.  I have wanted Frooties so bad but have not been able to find them anywhere in Maine and I don't want to buy them off the internet.  The Chutter's Littleton, NH store featured a 100 plus foot candy counter, the World's Largest, and they have Frooties.  Well Lincoln does not.  The store is nice, but it was a massive disappointment.

Staying in Lincoln we stopped for lunch at Black Mtn. Burger CO., a placed voted as New Hampshire's best burger.  The inside is really nice with a great set up, you can eat outside if you choose. The table we have was very high, which I was okay with because when you're eating a messy burger you want to be close to the table top keep the mess off your clothes.


Kate got the Swiss Mushroom Burger, I got the basic Cheddar Cheeseburger adding Bacon to it, we both got fries.  The burgers were fantastic!  Really one of the best I've ever had.  I wouldn't hesitate for a minute to go back there again.

Continuing our journey on the Kancamagus highway we exited the White Mountain National Forest in Conway New Hampshire and headed south to the Madison Boulder.


The Madison Boulder is the largest known erratic in North America at 83 feet long and 23 feet high and 37 feet wide.  Take a look at the photo with Wesley in front of it.  It's very impressive!


Continuing south east we cut back into Maine on route 25 into Porter stopping at the Porter-Parsonsfield Covered Bridge which spans the Ossipee River.  Originally built in 1876 it was rebuilt in 1999 and is closed to traffic.  Wesley loves him some closed covered bridges, walking across them, yelling, and apparently dropping rocks through the gaps floorboards.  He found a rock and picked it up and dropped it through, when he heard the plop of it hitting the water he let out a pleasantly surprised noise.  So we gathered up a lot more rocks and he went to town.



Driving home we passed a place that had multiple signs advertising penny candy. Even though I would most likely be disappointed I turned back to Sunrise Corner and ventured in, I was not to be denied on this day for they had frooties!!  Sadly they were 5 cents each but I didn't care and bought giant bag that had a handful of each flavor.  I spoke to the owner Jason who stated that they just added the candy 4 years ago and it was a success, it certainly was today.



We got home just about 7pm when Paul was getting there with the Pizza so we could watch the Money in the Bank PPV on WWE Network.  It was a great ending to a truly wonderful day!


Thanks for reading!

Later Readers!

Map of our Adventure

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Grandad

I first met John Neighoff at Tuesday Night dinner back when Kate and I were dating.  I had been told all about him how even though he was in his late 80's he was still full of life, riding his motorcycle, golfing, flirting with the ladies at the bank and other things one wouldn't expect someone of his age to still be doing.  He sounded a lot like my grandfather Bump and I told Linda that he even in his late 80's he was still working at the golf course, playing a round every day, cutting his own firewood and other things one wouldn't expect someone of his age to still be doing.

Turns out they golfed at the same golf course and Grandad knew my Gram-Gram and Bump and spoke highly of both of them.  Once Grandad arrived Kate introduced us and he gave me an unexpectedly firm handshake and said something along the lines "So you're dating my Katie?" like I was doing something wrong.  I later learned that Grandad is very fond of his girls, not that he doesn't care for his boys, but the girls edge them out just a bit.

At dinner Linda told Grandad that I was Raymond's grandson.  I the mention of Bump's name his face light up, he got bright eyed and I was good as gold in his eyes from them on.  He then proceeded to tell me a story, one that he has since told me many times and I'm going to share it here.

"You know how I met your Grandfather?  I was heading into the clubhouse at the golf course and he was heading out, I saw he was wearing a Navy ship hat so I asked him, did you buy that or did you earn that?  He said "I earned this son of a bitch!"  We've been friends ever since, I really like your Grandfather."

They truly were friends, they didn't know each other in the war but they were in a lot of the same places, probably at the same time.  At our reception I looked over at one point and they were sitting together talking to each other, I don't know what it was about but they were laughing and having a good time.  I snapped a couple photos capturing the moment.

When Bump got sick Grandad asked me about him all the time.  When Bump died, after I left Gram's I wasn't sure what to do with myself but I knew that I had to go and tell Grandad in person because I just did.

When I arrived at his trailer my stomach jumped into my throat.  His car door and trunk were open, the lawnmower was sitting out in the middle of a half mowed lawn and the front door to his home was wide open.  I thought to myself "If I find Grandad laying on the ground or on the floor in his home I'm not going to be able to handle this."

I parked very cautiously looked around and called his name a couple times with no response.  I slowly walked up the stairs because I was dreading the worst and just didn't want that to be true.  I finally made it to his door and peered in and what I saw left me relieved and confused, he was sitting in his chair reading a book.

He was very happy to see me.  I asked him about his car and he said it started to rain so that's why he hadn't finished mowing the lawn.  I asked him about his car again and he said that's why he left his mower out.  So I just went outside and shut the trunk and door making sure the keys weren't left in it.

I told him about Bump, I started to cry, he started to cry, we talked a long time.  He thanked me for coming and telling him and said it was okay that we cried because Grandfathers are very special people and that Bump was very special man.  He gave me a big hug and told me that I should call him Grandad from now on, which I have.

My last visit with him we talked a lot about what he did in the war, the places he'd been and the things that he'd seen.  He told me about climbing to the peak of Mount Vesuvius and almost falling into the volcano.  A couple days later he was at a hospital visiting a friend, walking down a long hallway with a window at the end he was looking at Vesuvius when it suddenly erupted, March 18, 1944.

We had a really great conversation that day talking about coming home from the war, meeting his wife, moving to Maine, the gas stations he owned and more.

I only had the pleasure of knowing Grandad for a little over 3 years, but he, as well as the rest of Kate's family welcomed me and Canaan & Addison into their family like we had always been there.

Thanks Grandad

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mother's Day Rainout

This year for Mother's Day Kate wanted to go to La Festa Pizza in Dover, NH.  To justify driving all the way for Pizza I plotted a day trip out of it that would see use travel through Western Maine into New Hampshire checking out covered bridges, water falls, and more.

The forecast was predicting rain but the amount and when varied so we took a chance and just went anyway.  It didn't work out that well.


Our first stop after was the Hemlock Covered Bridge in Fryeburg, Maine.  Of all the covered bridges in Maine this is the only one that is way out in the willy-wags.  In-fact the road that it is on is gated and closed from November 1st - May 1st.


Wesley was very excited to get out of the Vanna and stretch his legs.  He walked back and forth over the bridge several times and we got some really great photos.

We continued one with out next stop being Glen Ellis Falls in Jackson, NH however the rain started coming down and prevented that from happening.  However we were able to check out the Honeymoon Bridge in Jackson.


Because of the rain we decided just to take the drive to Dover and forgo other planned stops for another day.

The drive along route 16 was quite nice, and at one point when the rain let up we did stop in the village of Chocorua at a dam on the Chocorua River.  It was so gorgeous how the homes along the shore were reflecting off the calm water.


The little dam was cool as well and it did something to the water falling over the edge causing a rippling effect to it.  It was neat!


We arrived in Dover for a late lunch at La Festa Brick & Brew Pizzeria.  The place is pretty awesome and I wish we had one like it around here.  They have a huge selection of buying by the slice or you can get a whole pie.  Kate got a few various slices and I got a large New York style pepperoni, because pepperoni is my favorite.




If we ever go again I'll be more apt to get some various slices rather than pepperoni.

We stopped at a Duston's Market & Bakery after, Kate got a few baked goods including a rather delicious chocolate eclair.  I got myself over 1000 day aged Canadian Cheddar cheese that was phenomenal! Also I found some new kettle chips that i had never had before, Good's out of Adamstown, PA.

The drive home was fine until we hit some downpours in the Richmond area.

Incidentally we crossed the Saco River 8 different times.

Later Readers!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Southern Maine Exploration

Greetings!

On Monday April 25th Kate and I had a rare weekday off together and with the weather holding nice that day, why not take the time and explore a new part of the State.

Portsmouth Harbor Light, in the background Whaleback Light
Our journey actually began with a 100 plus mile to New Hampshire starting us off at Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse.  Originally built in 1771 the current tower was built in 1878.  Located at Fort Constitution the whole area is on the grounds of the US Coast Guard.  During certain hours you can follow a blue painted line from the parking area to the Fort.



We got lost on the way and had to double back through Portsmouth.  We were both taken back by the narrow streets and old colonial homes.  It was beautiful and a sight to be seen.  Many of the houses were marked with the year they were built and we've never seen so many 200 year old homes in the same area.



Heading back into Maine we stopped in Kittery at Fort McClary.  Kate was fascinated by the 1864 Granite Wall, she couldn't stop raving about it.  Our next stop was down the road at Fort Foster which was an active military fort during World War I & II.


From Fort Constitution, Fort McClary, & Fort Foster you could see Whaleback Light, located in waters belonging to Kittery, Maine it was first built in 1831.  The best photos and the closet view from land is at Fort Foster.



We continued down the road to York checking out the Old Burying ground and the grave of Mary Nasson the alleged Witch of York.  When she died in 1774 her husband put a stone slab down on her grave, some believe it was to keep animals from digging up her grave, others to prevent her from raising from the dead.  We found lots of change on the grave that other visitors had left.




Also located in York is the famed Cape Neddick Lighthouse.  Built in 1879 on Nubble Island about 100 yards of shore it is one of the most picturesque lighthouses in Maine.


For lunch we stopped at a place that I have wanted to go to for years but it just never worked out, Flo's Steamed Hot Dogs. Located on Route 1 in York Flo's has been serving up steamed hot dogs since 1959 and they are showing no signs of stopping.


Kate and I each had a dog dressed up "The House Special" with Flo's Relish, mayonnaise, and celery salt.  Sounds gross but it is so delicious!  I'm going to write more about out stop at Flo's on my hot dog blog.

With full bellies we headed up to the top of Mount Agamenticus and took in some pretty nice views.  They have a Learning Lodge and several trails around the summit.  On clears days you can see Mt Washington, we could not on this day.


Next stop was in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport for the blowing cave and the Wedding Cake House.  Sadly we missed the tide on Blowing Cave, similar to Thunder Hole you need to gt there as the high tide is coming in.  The Wedding Cake House in rough rough shape.

We finished the day in Cape Elizabeth at Two Lights and Portland Headlight.  The Cape Elizabeth Two Lights were built in 1874 and both remained in service until 1924 when the West Tower was deactivated while the East Tower is still in service.

Cape Elizabeth West Tower
Cape Elizabeth East Tower
Portland Headlight was built in 1791 on the behest of George Washington and is on the grounds of what is now Fort Williams Park.  From this light I was also able to grab some great photos of Ram Island Ledge Light.



It was cool but we had bright sunny weather all day.  I'd say it was quite a productive day as we were able to take in seven lighthouses, three forts, a witches grave, steamed hot dogs and more.

It was great to explore a part of the State that we hadn't hit yet, however we both agree that the driving was out least favorite part.  Lots of interstate and the majority of Route 1 that we traveled was high traffic and congested areas.  Last year on our trips in the mountains and highlands was all back roads and low traffic.

I have a few more ideas for day trips that will take us into western Maine and some New Hampshire as well.  I think I can speak for Kate when I say we look forward to more day trips this Summer.

Later Readers!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easter Weekend & Other Goings On


Easter weekend was  pretty great weekend.  Saturday morning, March 26th, after getting home from my night shift I slept about 3 hours and then got ready to take Canaan to the Pinewood Derby.  I had missed last years because Wesley was born!


It was a fun time and it only took a few hours.  Canaan didn't have as good as showing as last year but did manage to win 1 of the eight heats he competed in.  He had a great time and I'm really proud of him.

Saturday was also Kate's 30th Birthday!  To celebrate the occasion I took her on a fancy dinner to The Sedgley Place in Greene.  The menu changes every week except for a couple entree's and it's a fixed price for the five course meal.  They stagger how each course is brought out and it took just about two hours from beginning to end.


When I called and made the reservation I stated that was my wife's birthday and asked for a secluded spot.  We were seated on the second floor in the back corner.  It really was secluded compared to the rest of the floor and we loved it.  The staff was amazing as several people waited on us through-out the evening.  Everyone we spoke with was very nice and outgoing.

First course was a homemade cheese spread on crackers that was waiting at the table when we were seated.  They then brought us a fresh made mini loaf of wheat bread, it was warm and delicious served with a honey whipped butter.  Our second course was an appetizer, Kate had the French Onion Soup Au Gratin and I had their Creamy Vegetable Soup.  They were both fantastic.  The third course was a salad, Kate had the Caesar Salad and myself the Tossed Garden with house made balsamic vinaigrette.

The main entree was next, Kate had the Seasoned Pork Tenderloin wrapped in Bacon, served with a sweet potato hash and caramelized onion demi-glace.  I had the Fillet Mignon wrapped in bacon topped with a Bearnaise sauce and caramelized shallots garnished with steamed broccoli.  All entrees come with either seasoned roasted organic potatoes (my choice) or creamy garlic egg noodles (Kate's choice) and two fresh vegetables which were glazed carrots and steamed cauliflower in a cheese sauce.  I don't like cauliflower but this was fantastic!!

We found out that the owners of The Sedgley Place grow all the vegetables that they serve in the restaurant in greenhouses year round, and they are organic.  That's pretty fantastic really.

Dessert there were several options but we both chose the same, Peanut Butter pie on an Oreo Cookie crust.  It was so thick and delicious that I had to order a glass of milk to help wash it down.  The water just wasn't cutting it.

All in all it was a fantastic experience, something neither of us had done before.  It was great to try something new.

After dinner we met Emma, Caleb, Uncle Steve, & Aunt Laurie at Roosters for a drink and a nice visit.  They were in town for Easter.  We couldn't stay late because Jesse was watching little Wesley Boy.  Even though she said we could stay out until 2 am we really couldn't have done that.


Sunday morning we went to church for Easter Service.  It was a nice morning and the kids really like going to Church and participating in everything.  They even sang a song during the service.

We had dinner at Aunt Carolyn's which was wonderful.  GG made this orange jello with carrots and i think she said pineapple.  Based on the way it looked it should have been disgusting, but it was surprising very good.

Linda has written a nice song to the tune of "I've Got You Babe" entitled "We've Got You Dad" for Grandad, it was really good and quite emotional.  It was sung by Linda, Steve, Carolyn, Krista, Seth & Caleb with all but Krista and Carolyn playing the guitar.  After we all sang Yellow Submarine, I videoed both songs.

Sunday night John and I recorded Episode 3 of our podcast "What Did You Watch This Week?".  That's right John and I have a podcast on the Nerdy Legion podcast network.  It started a few weeks back when I guested on "Off The Ropes" another podcast on the Nerdy Legion.  My cousin Paul and his friend Martin essentially started this network, mostly Martin, with their Valiant Central Podcast show.

After I guested on one episode of "Off The Ropes" they invited me to be a regular and have dubbed me "The Dean of Wrestling".  I proposed to Martin and Paul John and my idea for a show talking about the TV shows and movies that we had watched recently.  Basically what we had done for the last 20 years, just recorded.

The third episode was just posted on Monday, 28th, and we are having an awesome time!  The second episode already has over 1500 downloads, which we are very impressed with.


If you want to check out our podcast you can here: What Did You Watch This Week?


My wrestling podcast with Todd & Ronnie is here: "Off The Ropes"

Both shows are also on iTunes if you're wondering.

I've got another very excited project that has been in the works for a while.  I haven't said too much about it because I don't want to say anything until it's in hand, but another important step was complete Sunday night and it should be almost complete!

Later Readers!

Here are some photos of the kids at church bedecking the cross.