Nantucket Island Massachusetts

Back in 2009, I took a little trip over to Nantucket Island for work and as always I found some time to explore the area. The town of Nantucket is actually a combination of Nantucket Island, Tuckernuck and Muskeget islands. Together they also make up Nantucket county which is the least populated county in the state with an estimated year-round population of 10,000 residents that jumps to over 50,000 during the summer tourist months.

Home to a few lighthouses Nantucket home prices have skyrocketed over the years and is now in line or even higher than Long Island or the Hamptons of New York. Nantucket Island was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1966 by the National Park Service.

I found time to visit two of the three lighthouses on Nantucket, Brant Point which can be seen from the ferry boat on the way into the harbor has to be by far the most photographed lighthouse on Nantucket due to it easy viewing from the ferry and short walking distance from the downtown area. Brant Point was the first lighthouse on Nantucket and was built in 1746, burnt down in 1757 and rebuilt in 1758. Up until 1856, the wooden lighthouse was burnt down, damaged by nature and a tornado a few times before it was replaced by its current brick and cement structure.

Sankaty Head Lighthouse was the last of the three built on the island built in 1849, but ended up being the brightest and most powerful one in New England and was considered one of the best in the country due to its Fresnel Lens which enabled the light to be seen 20 miles away. The lens was removed in 1950 and replaced with a newer one, but it is preserved and on display at the Nantucket Whaling Museum.

Nantucket was inhabited by the Wampanoag Indians which is also where it gets its name from and once belonged to Dukes County New York and was given to the Province of Massachusetts Bay as the Europeans began to settle the island in 1691.

Today Nantucket along with Martha’s Vineyard, and Cape Cod Massachusetts have become the most popular tourist areas in the state. Thousands and thousands of people flock to the area for its relaxed beach life. Small cottages, campgrounds, restaurants and small businesses most of which make most of their money while the tourists are in season and many of them close the rest of the year.

I spent a few days working mostly mornings while I was on the Island which left me plenty of time to get out and find a couple lighthouses to explore as well as the downtown shops which lined the cobblestone roads. As you can guess Nantucket, The Islands, and Cape Cod are home to many boats and it’s always cool to see so many kinds docked or tied up to the moorings with their owners in town doing some shopping and exploring.


The Berkshires – Massachusetts

Back in 2009, we took a long weekend and went camping in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. There are lots to see and do in The Berkshires including Mout Greylock, Natural Bridge State Park and more.

Natural Bridge State Park is located in North Adams and it’s most popular for its natural white marble bridge. It’s said that the marble from which the bridge is made of is estimated to be 550 million years old and is the only natural white marble bridge in North America. Take some time and explore the almost 45 acres of the state park and be sure to hang out and listen to the water flow over the marble.Veterans War Memorial Tower

Mount Greylock is also located is also a one of a kind in Massachusetts being the highest natural point in the state. Located pretty close to Natural Bridge in Adams Mount Greylock is known for
it’s impressive views. There is a road that weather permitting will allow visitors to drive up to the top where they can find the 90+ foot high Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower.

On our way home we stopped at Hail to the Sunrise Monument in Charlemont. This monument features a reflecting pool and a statue of a Mohawk Indian. The Sunrise Statue was dedicated in 1932 and honors the five Mohawk Nations that lived in Western Massachusetts.

Bridge of Flowers is located in Shelburne and in 1929 was the idea of Antoinette Burnham when the old railway bridge was abandoned back in 1927 and covered with weeds they could not demolish the bridge because it carried a water main between two of the surrounding towns. Antoinette proposed to turn the old bridge into a garden and with the agreement of the town, the Shelburne Woman’s Club sponsored the project. In 1983, the bridge began a $500,000 repair and facelift and is still one of the most popular and beautiful locations to visit when everything is in bloom over the years.


Ice Storm

The December Ice Storm of 2008 here in the Northeast was the worst ice storm in a decade for the New England area. Most damages came from downed trees, branches, and some telephone poles.

Power to millions of people had gone out and lasted for a week or more in some areas and crippled the area transportation and businesses for days while crews and the National Guard cleaned up.

Here in my area, my parents were without power and me one town over still had it. Since I had the power and it was pretty cold I opened my home up as a family refuge center to my sisters, parents, and grandparents for a couple nights. Fun!

The photos below were taken in my driveway and town.

Clark’s Trained Bears

Clark’s Trading Post in Lincoln New Hampshire is perhaps best known for their trained bears. Clark’s Trained Bears love ice cream and will do just about anything for their special treat. I have been to Clark’s countless times since I was a kid and have seen these bears do some pretty cool tricks.

They play “Bearsketball”, ride a scooter and go back and forth in their swing among many other tricks. It’s pretty neat to watch them and they have been training bears there for generations and is a family owned business. Bear-Playing-Basketball

On our trip to New Hampshire, we camped for the weekend and explored Franconia Notch with is one of the more popular hiking spots for families. It’s a pretty scenic area with covered walking bridges and water flowing down from the mountains through their popular Flume Gorge which looks like a rocky waterslide streaming down the cutout mountain between two walls of stone.

Franconia Notch is also home to the Former Old Man of the Mountain and Echo Lake, all of which is part of the NH State Park System. If you ever visit New Hampshire be sure to fit in a visit to see Clark’s Trained Bears and hike the Notch.

Cape Cod

Cape Cod Vacation 2008

We took a long weekend to The Cape back in 2008 and spent some time exploring Provincetown and the area beaches as well as a visit to the Audubon Society’s wildlife sanctuary in Wellfleet.

The tower you see below is the Pilgrim Monument and was built to commemorate the first landfall of the Pilgrims in 1620. We went up to the top and got some fantastic views of the area.

If you ever make it to Provincetown make sure to hit the beach around sunset. It makes for a nice relaxing weekend when you can spread out a blanket and watch the sun go down on the ocean.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the United States sitting on the border of California and Nevada. It’s not too far from Carson City which is where I was working at the time. I decided to explore the area and can’t remember if this is the California or Nevada side, but either way, it’s beautiful.

The water in Lake Tahoe is really blue and also is one of the top six largest lakes in the United States. I spent a few hours there walking around and taking in the views from up on the hills and down on the rocky shoreline.

Not too far from the lake, you can find The Ponderosa Ranch which is where they filmed the old western show Bonanza.  I think I have some photos from the ranch so be sure to check for those photos in another post.

Old Man of the Mountain

The Old Man of the Mountain was one of the top tourist spots in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The jagged rocks protruding out from the side of the mountain formed a sort of profile which looked like an old man’s face which gave it the name The Old Man of the Mountain.

Also known as The Profile and The Great Stone Face the earliest recorded mention of the Old Man of the Mountain was 1805 and it collapsed just short of 200 years later in 2003 after many years of freezing and thawing. The weather caused a crack in the fixture which was noticed in the 1920s and grew larger over the years and all the chains, waterproofing, quick drying concrete and plastic sheeting could not stop the decay and eventual disappearance of the iconic New Hampshire landmark.

The Old Man of the Mountain falls into the New Hampshire State Parks system along with Franconia Notch. See my post here about Franconia Notch and Clark’s Trained Bears.

Cold River – Mohawk Trail Massachusetts

The Cold River runs through parts of the Mohawk Tail, Route 2 and the Pioneer Valley in western Massachusetts. It eventually meets up with the larger Deerfield River.

Cold River is a semi-popular white water rafting and fishing river. It’s very shallow and makes for a nice hike along the shore or down the middle where the shallow spots are.

I spent the weekend camping at the Mohawk Trail State Forest which has great access to the Cold River. I was only about 20′ from the river’s edge and just listening to the sounds of the water flowing was very relaxing.

Old Orchard Beach Pier

Old Orchard Beach is a small town in Maine that has a big tourist draw. It’s beaches, shops, Amusement Park and Pier make it the perfect resort town for summer family vacations.

The Old Orchard Beach area showed up in the historical records back in 1653 and officially settled in 1657 and got its name from an old abandoned apple orchard in the same area. Today there are tons of little shops that run up and down the strip as well as an amusement park featuring games, rides, and some good greasy food.

The Pier at Old Orchard beach is almost 2000 feet long and is home to many more small shops, restaurants and a large ballroom and I believe is the longest steel pier to date.

We enjoy the close by RV Park/Campground called Paradise Park Resort which is within walking distance to the strip and beach, but also offers a shuttle for those who can’t wait to get exploring.

If you are not a camper there are also lots of resort style hotels and cottage rentals nearby. I think this year we may head back to Paradis with our RV since the last time we were there we were still in the tent.