Day 3 was another FULL day. Arriving by our water taxi again we walked across Manhattan and onto the Brooklyn Bridge.
We had been told that not only was this a good way to get to Brooklyn it was one of the best views back toward Manhattan. Once on the other side we caught a ride on the “Hop-on/Hop-off” bus to continue our education on Brooklyn.
Crossing back to Manhattan, our bus took us over the Manhattan Bridge which in my mind gave us a better view of “The City” than that we saw from the Brooklyn Bridge next door (that is the Brooklyn Bridge in the distance).
This route took us by the United Nations Building
and onto our next stop, the Rockefeller Center.
We wanted to take the elevator up to the “Top Of The Rock”
so that we could gain one of the best views over Manhattan Island that there is.
Well from the top we went all the way back down to the bottom…(well I shouldn’t call it the “bottom” should I?) when I’m talking about Times Square…
Oh ya, one more thing...they really do have a lot of car, bus, TAXI, and pedestrian traffic.
Now it's back to the Taxi terminal and the finish of another great day in NYC
_We're still in our first day in NYC and we have a number of things we really want to accomplish. I wrote about the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and arriving on Mahattan already, now I'll relay a little bit more... We have a very close friend here and getting together with Paul was paramount. I won’t get into what Paul does for a living but he has a very important job dealing with all the transportation in, around, and under “Ground Zero” and other locations around Manhattan. Now let’s get back to the present… We stepped onto Manhattan we immediately walked up to Ground Zero.
_With the re-construction flying out of the ground, we decided to walk the perimeter and view it from as many positions as possible. What an amazing sight and “site”. Unfortunately we couldn’t get into the just opened 9/11 Memorial but we sure made the best of seeing everything else. Everywhere we walked, we were looking up. No doubt, the New York skyline is a "Sky-line"...
_Right next to Ground Zero is the Financial Trade Center. If you will, notice the building from GZ coming through the glass dome of the FTC.
_After 22+ years, Louise and I finally had a chance to get together with Paul, and we met him in the lobby above. The 3 of us stayed in the city late that night and did a lot of catching up...oh ya, over a beer or two...
_Meeting with Paul, walking the GZ site, and our morning tours of Ellis and the "Lady", we made our way back to catch our water taxi and head "home".
_Waiting for our taxi we saw another "boat" heading out...and who knows where...
Well this is going to be a little bit different from the writings I’ve been doing. It fits as we’re talking about our journey into New York City and for me to write about a city of that size could find me writing for a long, long time. Soooo, I’m going to write a little and show a few selected pictures (they say that a picture is worth a thousand words…). We were riding the water-taxi back to Liberty Island and our car when we noticed that a full moon was rising above the city...what a great sight !!!
We drove into the Liberty Island park to catch the tour boat out to Ellis Island and onto the Statue of Liberty and found out that we could park there for $7 a full day. Liberty Island is also the location that housed the largest railroad system in the early part of the 20th century. Unfortunately it is nothing but large beautiful building
_that is hardly used (except to sell the tour boat tickets) and a ghostly area were the trains landed to load and unload the hundreds of passengers coming and going to New York City and beyond.
_After catching our tour boat to Ellis Island we walked the building and grounds, watched the movie and took in a great lecture explaining the background of Ellis Island.
_Our next boat took us to the Statue of Liberty...what an amazing sight when you get to see it in person...
_We had planned for a full day and now that we've spent the first 4 hours visiting Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty we take the boat to Manhattan...
_It was amazing to see just how brown the waters surrounding Manhattan were. It is all because of the heaving flooding that took place from the latest hurricanes over the last month. Two days before we arrived to see New York City, they opened the memorial to Ground Zero so there was a tremendous amount of police presence, ribbons, and flags from the waterfront to the interior of Manhattan Island.
_They also dedicated a couple new sculptures...
_To follow history today, we drove into Boston. After paying a toll to cross one of the bridges into the city, we made our way down to the Naval Yard and the location of where Paul Revere started his ride to warn the patriots. It’s also the location for the Bunker Hill monument. On the morning of June 17, 1775 an event that no one would have thought would happen, happened. It all started when King George III instigated a new series of taxes on the Colonists and the results came down to what is known as the “Boston Tea Party”. With the rights of the colonists being squeezed the thought of tossing 342 chests of tea, valued at over $1 million in today’s currency came to reality…it was done and the line was drawn. Getting back to June, 1775, the garrison commanders noticed that a change had developed over night on Bunker Hill. “Late in the evening of June 16, William Prescott passed over Bunker Hill and led 1,200 men to Breed’s Hill and, Under the direction of Richard Gridley, built an earthen fort.” As the sun rose that morning the commanders knew things would never be the same again. After making preparations for attack, the British garrison landed on the shores of Charleston and marched forward to Bunker Hill.
_It took 3 different charges before the Kings army finally routed the militia but it didn’t come without a huge loss to the regulars. As they made their first attack on the “Hill”, they started noticing the decline from 2,200 men to less than 1,000 after the last surge. Well anyway, while taking a tour with the ranger we were not only learning more about Bunker Hill history but were also walking the walk. Bunker Hill is now surrounded by million dollar “Brownstones” (townhouses) but Bunker Hill still stands on its own. Standing tall at the crest of the Hill is the granite obelisk that was completed in 1843.
_As I stood in front of the obelisk and noticing that it must have a great view at the top, AND also noticing that there was a doorway leading to a series of 294 steps,
_I challenged myself to “see that view”… With 3 short stops on the way up I found myself pretty cocky for getting there…I made it and am able to talk about it. Now all I have to do is make it through the rest of the day as we haven’t been to the Charlestown Navy Yard yet. From 1814 to the end of the second war (1943) the Charlestown Navy Yard has been a major player in ship building. The first ship was the USS Independence, the battleship of its time, to the 170 Navy vessels that the Charlestown Navy Yard built for WWII. They finally closed the ship yard in 1974 and turned it over to the National Park Service to keep and serve to and for the people of this country. Tied to the docks in the yard are two examples of what was constructed there. First is the USS Constitution, with the three huge masts standing tall and mighty,
_and the other is the USS Cassin Young, representing (and doing a great job of it…) the WWII class destroyer the fastest and most versatile ship in the fleet.
_As I opened the front windows of the coach this morning we found a “Turkey Farm” sitting in front of us. Wild turkeys that is… Two groups totaling 13. I stepped out of the coach to take a picture and it didn’t seem to bother them at all, I guess they aren’t as “Wild” as I thought. The Elks Club sits on 8 acres and borders up against a 50 acre state park so I guess the turkeys have a lot of human contact and feel safe as long as they aren’t carrying a shot gun. Breakfast finished we head out for another adventure. Well “adventure” might be a little strong but we did take a morning to visit the Saugus Iron Works, which is being taken care of by the National Park Service.
_The Saugus Iron Works was built 16 years after the Puritans settled in Boston. They built this impressive, large manufacturing complex at the time when there were only a dozen or so in Europe. This facility was powered by 7 large waterwheels, some of which were rigged to work in tandem with huge wooden gears connecting them.
_A wharf was built on the Saugus River after the river was diverted and made larger to handle the requirements of the “Works”.
_The iron was to be loaded onto ocean-going vessels and shipped up and down the eastern coast and all the way to England. The original manufacturing site served as a training ground for skilled iron workers for what would become America’s iron and steel industry. The blast furnace, forge,
rolling and slitting mill, warehouse, and dock area were all reconstructed on original sites between 1948 and 1953 and that’s what we experienced during our visit. Attached to the visitors center sits the “Iron Works House”.
_This 1680’s mansion house, which was constructed about 10 years after the iron works CEASED production, is still standing on its original location.
_From the very moment we pulled into the Elks here in Saugus, we were told about the Elks up the coast at Gloucester. Not only do they have a club that has one of the best views in Gloucester it has some of the best food at reasonable prices. Well we don’t want to say we didn’t get there so we drove out this afternoon for the best fish and chips I’ve ever had. We’ve stayed and visited at a large number of Elks clubs this journey and I’ve got to say that joining the club a year ago has been one of the best investments we’ve ever made. Not only for the RV parking that’s made available to us but also the wonderful HOSPITALITY. Today’s visit to Gloucester was no different. On our way to lunch at the Elks we drove by a sign that caught our interests…The Hammond Castle.
_Neither one of us had any information about the castle or the Hammonds so we were totally taken by what we saw and found. John Hays Hammond, Jr. is known as “The Father of the Remote Control” and one of America’s premier inventors with over 400 patents and ideas for 800 inventions that he has had his name associated with. All that Hammond accomplished his patents are still second only to Thomas Edison. Hammond built his medieval style castle between the years 1926 and 1929.
_This was to be his personal home and a backdrop for his interest and collection of Roman, medieval, and Renaissance artifacts. Even to this day and long after his death, the castle is used by hundreds who come every year for a Renaissance week.
_Discontent had broken out between the British rule and the American colonies in 1775. On the 19th of April the British were commanded to march out from the Boston harbor and find all the guns and ammunition that they believed the colonists had hidden away in Lexington and Concord. This is when the silversmith Paul Revere and William Dawes started out from opposite sides of the British compound and rode out to warn the colonies that the “British are coming”… Well today Louise and I drove the route that the British and the “riders” took and we made a day of living their history. Our first stop was at the visitor’s center in Lexington for the best introductory movie we’ve ever seen. It really set the moment for us as we were walking across the street to Lexington Common, the first place that the British and the Minute Men were to meet toe to toe…
_It just happened that the Minute Men were in the Buckman Tavern
_as the sound of the British troops sounded from down the hill. 77 men then walked out to stand in the way of the 700 fully uniformed and armed British. The first shoot was fired and one patriots fell. No one knows for sure from what side the first shot was fired but there was no doubt that they know who won that first confrontation. From Lexington Common we followed the original “road” that the British troops marched in hopes of finding the arms of the militiamen and arresting the rabble-rousers Samuel Adams and John Hancock. This road was about 10-12’ wide and lined with a 3 foot rock wall on both sides. Today you can still find the rock walls running all the way from Lexington to Concord. Our next stop was at the location where Paul Revere was captured and Dawes and Prescott escaped to continue spreading the word. A few miles further up “the road”, we arrived at the bridge crossing the Concord River and the location where the largest Minutemen contingent brought the British to a halt.
_At this point the British turned and started heading back to their compound with the Minute Men striking at them from all sides and all the way to the sea and the protection of their cannons. Along the same road we found this home with a beautiful covered front porch and a sign welcoming us to the “Wayside, Home of the Authors”.
_The Wayside house has had some amazing families living there including THREE published families. This was the only home owned by Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of “The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, and Twice-Told Tales. Before Hawthorne bought it, the house belonged to Bronson Alcott, who renamed it “Hillside”. Here, Louisa May Alcott
_and her sisters lived much of their childhood described in Little Women. Another author that lived in the Wayside was the children’s author Harriett Lothrup who used the pen name Margaret Sidney and wrote Five Little Peppers.
_Our stop in Portland, Maine has been interesting to say the least. While waiting out the arrival of Hurricane Irene we found it interesting in finding our way around Portland. Now Portland isn’t the largest city we’ve ever been in but it wasn’t all that easy to find your way around in either. If you were using the names of the streets in the city, the street names were very evident as you approached them but the street you were traveling on only showed up at the start and the very end. If you were to take a slight angle or 90 degree curve while staying with traffic, it would change names on you. Finally after the first day of confusion and distress we were able to get around by recognizing the buildings of the days before while negotiating the city. In the “Arts” district of Portland we found the home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
_You could almost feel his presence here in Portland with all the tales of his life and art that made up so much of Portland’s past. He was even highly evident when we visited the Portland Head Lighthouse. One of the markers at the lighthouse told the story of “H.W. L.” walking down and visiting with his friends (the master of the lighthouse) and writing some of his best works of poetry. The Portland Head Lighthouse also has another historical name attached to it.
_This lighthouse was dedicated by President George Washington… Now we’re really getting into our countries history. All while of getting around the city and seeing some of the sights and sounds of Portland, we were patiently waiting for the arrival of Hurricane Irene.
_We were aware of the possibility of Irene coming all the way up the coast while we were in Rockland and then when we arrived here in Portland it became evident we were right in the path. Then as we watched Irene coming across New York and the surrounding states we became more anxious. Fortunately for us and the people of Maine, what was left of Irene went west of us. We did get some of the winds and rain, but far from the damaging types that hit all around us. During this week we have stayed busy traveling up and down the coast visiting and exploring. In the 30 miles north of us we visited the cities of Bath, Yarmouth, and Freeport. Bath, Maine is well known for ship building and its magnificent waterfront.
_Bath has been building the large sailing ships dating back to the early 1800’s and has found that it can still build the large ships of today. We could only see a couple of the semi-finished navy vessels sitting at their docks while we were crossing the bridge as the buildings and fences keep all the curious eyes denied. Freeport is the home of L.L. Bean and a beautiful little community sitting along the shores of the Atlantic.
_I say on the shores of the Atlantic but it’s really the beaches of the many inlets that separate Freeport beachfront from the vast expanse of the ocean. As we walked one of the many parks of the area we looked out to see one island after another making a huge buffer from the crashing waves. Yarmouth is like most of the small towns of Maine…beautiful, old, quaint homes and businesses all sitting along narrow tree-lined streets and a waterfall flowing from the Royal River.
_We have found the feeling of warmth isn’t only because of the weather here in Maine. Yarmouth has another reason for the tourist to come and visit…The DeLorme Headquarters for the famous map company and EARTHA.
_Eartha is the world’s largest rotating and revolving globe and sits in the front window of their showroom while dwarfing everything else around it. Now before we leave town, we've decided we just have to take a drive to the shore and find dinner...LOBSTER AGAIN ???