Day Trip to Boston on the MBTA

A Day Trip Into Boston
(from Newburyport)

If you want to visit Boston the best way to get in to the city is on the MBTA (@MBTA on Twitter).  No worries on parking or driving and there is no shortage of ways to get around the city whether it is bicycle, bus, walking or the T (metro/underground/subway).  A bit old fashioned, you did have to pay for your ticket in cash so please have dollars available to pay the conductor on board the train.  Some stations may have ticket dispensers but Newburyport did not at the platform where we arrived.  The carriage was clean and while it hadn’t been modernised to electric yet, it still was a fast ride, even if it did feel like the 1970s for anyone used to modern train travel.

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The train to Boston North sits at Platform 2 at Newburyport

There is no shortage of tour companies offering historic tours in Boston.  We selected Super Tours because they were, quite frankly, super and they also went to Cambridge and Harvard and they were friendliest when we didn’t know what we were doing when we saw one of their buses at the North Station.  We hopped on and asked where to buy a ticket and the driver told us to get on board and she’d let us off at one of the stops where you can buy a ticket.  None of this is very clear to the arriving passengers and no central information is obvious if it exists at all.  So we went out to the street and saw a bus which we hopped aboard.

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There were lots of great photo opps while on the Super Tours bus tour.  This, crossing the river, was one of my favourites showing the skyline of Boston, the traffic and the T.

The tour was entertaining and gave you a complete overview of Boston.  You can download a map here noting that there are three routes.   We got off only once – at Cambridge – to purchase tickets and to run into the shopping mall for a quick bite to eat before picking up the tour again on a different bus.  The shopping mall had just about anything you could want in a mall, including an Apple Store where we stopped and charged up our iPhones for a few minutes while looking at the latest ipads!

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The corner where Newbury Street meets Clarendon.

Both of our drivers did a great job of not only narrating the drive but also of being drivers.  Some of the sights along the way included:

Beacon Hill, Newbury Street, Boston Common, Cheers Bar, Fenway Park (baseball stadium), Theatre District, Faneuil Hall, Old South Meeting House, Massachusetts State House, Charlestown Navy Yard (USS Constitution) and so much more.  We were able to see all of these things and you can easily hop off and hop on at your pleasure.  The buses arrive about every 15 to 20 minutes though I’m sure it depends on the day and season so check on that.

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As you see markets along your route throughout Boston, you can easily hop off at the next stop and do your own discovering.

We didn’t opt to do the other loops – Seaport and Harvard – or do the Super Duck Tours which goes into the actual harbour.  They also do a scary tour if that is more your thing.  We were very pleased with the value and the quality of the experience and would highly recommend it as a good overview to the city.  Plan on at least a full day or two to really take advantage of it – especially if you have the time.  Then perhaps once you get an overview you can buy an ordinary transit pass from the MBTA.

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History is everywhere in Boston and the Old State House is a gem amidst the modern.

So much has been written about all the great places to visit along this tour that it isn’t the point of this blog story.  The point is that you can easily get yourself into Boston if you’re staying in the suburbs and you can easily tour Boston without ever having been there before and have a great time.  So get out and enjoy!

 

 

Amazing New England Town: Marblehead, Massachusetts

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Marblehead, Massachusetts is a place that is rather out of the way though very close to Salem which is visited by throngs on tourists.  Marblehead is the real New England that is not quite discovered and you can’t help but think that’s what some people here would like.  It is all part of the charm of this town that isn’t so busy.

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The picture-perfect town hall at Marblehead, Massachusetts.

In some respects it is one of those great places that time has passed and tourists really miss. This is the beauty of the place. Well, that, and the fact that there are so many historic structures in the town, We arrived by car but with bicycles in tow so we stopped first at the restaurant on the water called The Barnacle.

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The Barnacle restaurant on the water in Marblehead, Massachusetts

It was a smallish place with a tiny bar and a route to the main dining room that probably sat twenty people and the corridor was only wide enough for one between the bar and the dining room. There is outdoor seating out back overlooking the water too. It is absolutely charming. The food was above acceptable but the ambiance is classic New England and you really can imagine an era long before cell phones and even automobiles out here.

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Typical commercial street in historic Marblehead, Massachusetts

This restaurant is a gem and part of the experience of a bike ride around the town.  It can be hilly in bits and isn’t the most leisurely of places to go bike riding.  If you were to come by car and park you could still see quite a bit as the town is compact and there is something to see in every street to be sure.  We cycled to the waterfront and there are a few restaurants there (The Driftwood and the The Landing) along with some shops nearby.

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The Landing restaurant on the waterfront where you can see fishermen bringing in their catch for the day.

There are public toilets here and you can watch fishermen bringing in their catch here too.  There is a town park nearby, Crocker Park, which is a must-visit while here.  It is peaceful and gives you a chance to contemplate the history of the town and just watch the sea.  It also has incredible views and is rather high up a hill.

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Inland view from Crocker Park which overlooks Marblehead Harbour in Marblehead, Massachusetts

Throughout the historic district you can find houses to see that are generally from the 17th and 18th centuries.  The town is a warren of narrow streets and little lanes that are a delight to discover on foot or bicycle.  We thoroughly enjoyed our little visit and especially our lunch and views of the water from Crocker Park.  A trip to Marblehead is definitely well worth it for an authentic and historic New England experience.

 

Newburyport, Mass.: Very English in New England

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One of the main shopping precincts in Newburyport looks very much like an English town centre.  There were plenty of places to explore in the town.

 

There is are several guides to Newburyport online that may be of some help – this one is pretty good if you can get past the myriad of real estate advertising on it.  But it is better than a chamber of commerce business directory which doesn’t give you a feel for the area.

We had lunch at Ceia Kitchen + Bar located just up the hill in the town center. There’s no shortage of interesting places to explore here and lots of great little shops to poke into. I had the lobster Mac and cheese and it was incredible.  It was different too!  A bit of truffle flavor!

 

Lobster Mac and Cheese at Ceia really sets the standard for judging others.

 

The town has a railway station with direct and frequent service to Boston North which is, as expected, on the northside of the downtown.  We stayed in Salisbury and rode our bicycles over the bridge and it was pleasant and easy.  A new bike trail now connects the two.  Under the bridge they’ve done a great job with merging history and art with a space that normally would be unappealing.  On another day we took the MBTA into Boston for a day from Newburyport and it was really easy.

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One of the roads leading down to the main “square” at Newburyport.  Filled with lots of interesting shops and restaurants and charm.

The most interesting bit of the town I thought was how much it reminded me of some towns the same size in England.  Not surprising since it was New England but interesting.  There’s also a tourist information center of course and everything is in close proximity and easy to walk.  The shopping tends to be a bit upscale though there is something for everyone.  It isn’t one of those pretentious towns – at least I didn’t find it as such.  We stopped for frozen yogurt on the square – more upscale than a simple soft cone but still it was frozen yogurt and if you’re on a budget, it won’t break the bank.

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Interiror of Ceia Kitchen, Newburyport

Even the park along the waterfront is reminiscent of parks in England.  A great place to stroll and relax.  We didn’t do anything specific when here because quite honestly the entire town is the destination and activity whether you are looking to stroll, shop, drink, eat, view and buy art, or just people watch it is a great place.

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There is a lighthouse on Plum Island and the grounds are open all year round but with limited hours.  Well worth a look-see.

Nearby you can do a tour round Plum Island which we did and found interesting.  There are nice views and some history to discover.  It takes maybe ten minutes to get there from the town center of Newburyport and worth a poke over.  For lighthouse fans, and who isn’t, there’s a lighthouse sometimes called Plum Island lighthouse and sometimes Newburyport Harbour lighthouse, to visit and a historic ground with several interesting buildings.  There’s also a few restaurants out there and enough to keep you entertained for a short day trip or side trip from Newburyport whether you just like views or looking at houses and beach scenes.

Coastal Meander: Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine; Finding the best beach towns in New England

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Coastal Meander: Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine
Where are the best beach towns in New England

A trip to include Salisbury Beach (Mass.), Hampton Beach, Rye & Portsmouth (N.H.),

For some incredibly scenic views and plenty of places to stop along the way, try the coastal road from Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts north to Old Orchard Beach, Maine. This route takes you along a stretch of road that gives you plenty of opportunity to stop along the way and do whatever you like from upscale dining and shopping to pretty basic family fun to nature photography to learning more about the history of some of these locations.

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Start your northbound coastal trip at old time Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts which is about as original as a beach destination gets.

If coming from the south, take I-495 around Boston and get off at the Salisbury Beach exit just before the 495 and the 95 come together. It frequently backs up here and the problem seems to be happening in Massachusetts but the solution to the traffic is probably in New Hampshire or Maine. Take the 110 east all the way to Salisbury Beach. It meanders a bit and becomes Beach Road/1A in Salisbury. As you get closer to the coast the businesses become more and more tourism-oriented.

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Typical stunning view of the coastline as you travel from Salisbury Beach, Mass. through New Hampshire and on into Maine.  This is just south of York Beach, Maine.

The Knotty Pine Motel is one of several that are classic old school accommodations that in many places, like Florida or New Jersey, have vanished. There are cottages and motels as well as campgrounds. The classic Pines Campground is one we’ve stayed in twice and most of its sites have no sewer hookups and you can’t get a cell or satellite signal in much of the campground but its old fashioned feel is what is attractive about it. Though certainly the low prices are attractive to some campers. This is Beach Road or 1A which you’ll take north once you reach the mid-century town center of Salisbury Beach. It is fairly well preserved with some modern additions and a place where the smell of beach pizza and skee bowl signs take you instantly back in time.

 

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The road isn’t all coastal but it is all beautiful – this stretch of road was cool and covered with nice curves and gorgeous houses along the way too.

Follow 1A north past some great examples of laid back, old school, beach cottages on the way up to New Hampshire where you’ll pass some variations of look and feel along the way past Hampton Beach and Rye Beach until you veer inland and follow the signs to US1 or US1 Bypass.  You’ll come to Portsmouth which is a large town and we visited here on a different day trip but you can stop if you like – that’s the beauty of a day trip with many options.   Either one heads north and takes you through Kittery, Maine where there are a variety of outlet stores that have seen better days. No real reason to stop unless you’ve never been to an outlet mall in your life. We then took Haley Road to Route 103 which cuts into 1A about York Harbour.  Before long you’ll come up to York Harbour Beach and then the town of York and  York Beach. Again, easily you’ll have opportunities to stop and eat if you desire or just prowl around and do some shopping or stop and take some great nature shots with your camera.

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No visit to Ogunquit, Maine is complete without a stroll along the Marginal Way with no time pressures and the reward of a cocktail and lobster roll at the end.

Continue north to Ogunquit and stop here to walk the Marginal Way and soak up the town’s well preserved summer experience. I’ve written about Ogunquit before and it is a must do if anywhere in the area. Continue north along the US1 and follow signs to Kennebunkport (you’ll stray from US1 onto Route 9 and follow that into the town) which is another charming little town on the water with ample restaurants and shops to keep you busy on your stop.

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Passing through Saco, Maine on the way to Old Orchard Beach.

All along this route you can detour to any number of places but eventually you come upon Saco (taking Route 9 back to 1 via Biddeford) which is an old mill town that has repurposed its mills and preserved them. The town is quite attractive and charmingly has very few T-shirt shops and ice cream shops though there are at least one of each that we found.

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Kennebunkport is a charming little town that is easy to walk around and soak in.  It is well worth a stop as is a lot of the towns on this route.

Carry on along Route 9 and you’ll eventually enter the town of Old Orchard Beach. There are some shorter options too.  This is an amazing place that is jam packed with every tacky tourist thing in America. There are amusements along the seafront as well as a historic pier that has some attractions you’ve not seen in decades such as beach caricatures and air brushed license plates. No shortage of things to do here and there are plenty of campgrounds within range of all the action.

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The Pier at Old Orchard Beach is full of people and old school attractions with a bar at the end.  It is definitely worth a stroll out.

Somewhere along this stretch of road you’ll have found something that is perfect for you and what you’re looking for. It could be for an overnight or a week or a season. There are campgrounds on the water, cabins within walking distance of towns, there’s upscale, down market, honkey tonk and toffee nosed. This is America and a section of New England that is diverse, beautiful and historic. You can easily do this route in a day with plenty of stops and this route is easily customized to whatever you want to do and see.  You can even go up along this route and back on the expressway in a day without hurrying yourself too much.  Enjoy it all and soak it in because there are many people taking the I-95 who are missing this entire experience.  And you could do variations of this route each day for a week and still not see it all.  So get off the main road and explore.

A Day in Salem, Massachusetts

Got a day to spend somewhere cool?  Try Salem, Massachusetts

Having heard about Salem my entire life and been fascinated by the horrific stories of the religious fanatics who executed 19 innocent women for being witches, I was quite excited to finally visit here. But my interest in the story was a bit less so than discovering the town where it all took place and what life must have been like back in the 17th century for these people in Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Salem is loaded with creepy images.

The town is relatively small though it does have some suburban outlays but quickly you pass grand houses and enter by the town common where we found it relatively easy to park – actually right in the same block as the Salem Witch Museum. We didn’t go in but it probably is worth a visit. Instead, we walked around to get a feel for the town including the incredible Essex Peabody Museum which had a Rodin exhibition during our visit.

The Salem Witch Museum looks fabulously haunted.

The pedestrian precinct in the town center was quite lively with people dressed as witches and all sorts of T-shirts for sale as well as lots of fun tacky tourist memorabilia related to the witches. I found it quite fun to actually look at the stuff sold and even bought a T-shirt and some witch mints along with a tacky magnet. But it was so fun!

Salem, Massachusetts has a very walkable and compact downtown with several blocks for pedestrians only.

We walked to the waterfront and on the way found the visitors center run by the National Park Service where a small museum exists, clean restrooms and staff to answer questions about the town. They pointed us to the waterfront and we meandered along the red line painted in the street and sidewalk to follow which makes it easy for visitors to do a circuit. We popped into the old custom house and then the Narbonne house
which was rather interesting as it was a well-preserved middle-class house that at one time had a penny shop in it.

View from upstairs in the old Customs House along the waterfront of Salem, Massachusetts

We stopped for food at Brodie’s Seaport which had a very good lobster roll. It is just a few blocks from the House of the Seven Gables which is one of the most famous places in Salem.  We also meandered through the manufactured harbor district which you can avoid if you don’t have time for anything not really authentic. There are some shops and restaurants there and it is a nice little area – just has no historic value in a town that is packed with history.

If you do spend a bit of time in Salem you will soon realize that you need to spend even more time there to truly appreciate this great destination.  It has loads of history, loads of kitsch, loads of incredible art, great architecture, fun street walking, wonderful waterfront, and so much more.  It really is a place you need to spend some time in and we would love to go back – perhaps overnight parking for RVs like Savannah offers would be enough to entice us back!

Discover Warm Mineral Springs in Florida 

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Having lived in Florida for over 35 years, and as much as we like to travel, you’d think we’ve seen every attraction and been everywhere in the state.  Definitely not!  So with a weekend off, we decided to check out Warm Mineral Springs.  We found Myakka River RV Resort – a former KOA branded property – near Warm Mineral Springs and decided we would check it all out one weekend and include a visit to nearby Venice. 

The view out of the back of our RV at Myakka River RV Resort, Venice, Florida

 The campground certainly wasn’t what I’d consider a resort but it did have a pool and some excellent views from some of the sites that backed up to the natural area.  Others backed up to the old US Highway 41 which is still heavily used as a local road actually.  The office is small and there’s a pool table in the recreation center along with a small pool but it is priced reasonably for the most part.  We were there in the off-season so that helps.  During season, it is considerably more and not a great deal for Floridians to go camping because the daily rates become very high.

Even the old mid-century motel is still functioning and has some of the best mid-century style architecture on the west coast of Florida, including its sign.

  Down the street from the campground, and on the way to Warm Mineral Springs itself, we passed the Warm Mineral Springs Motel.  It is absolutely one of the coolest mid-century motels in the state without question.  The sign and the building is incredible and it still functions as a motel.  This really is a prized find for anyone interested in style and architecture and specifically anything mid-century modern. 

Warm Minteral Springs in Sarasota County, Florida.

 This is Florida’s only warm mineral springs – in this case the water is a constant 30 C/87 F degrees.  When I stepped in I didn’t think it was all that warm but then it wasn’t cold either.  We bought our tickets – a day pass is $20 – from the box office and sauntered along the hallway to reach the Fountain of Youth and cross a small bridge to scope out the scene.  If you don’t encounter the Russian language here, you must be in the wrong place.  It is everywhere and almost all reviews of the park mention this.

The Fountain of Youth at the Warm Mineral Springs, Florida

 

  For probably two hours we did what most people were doing.  We sort of went around in a circle around the perimeter of the water sometimes floating along and sometimes walking.  This seemed to be the thing to do and most of the Russian-speakers were doing it.  We didn’t hang out on the grass or in the seats as there were bugs of both flying as well as walking type around – nothing major just ants and what locals call “noseeums” and others call gnats or midges.  There’s a small shop as you enter where you can buy basic souvenirs and some basic food and drink items. 

The mid-century tile sign for Warm Mineral Springs outside the entrance.

 All in this was a great day and one that I would suggest anyone try.  It is all part of the great Florida adventure.

A Day in Philadelphia

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Sometimes you just don’t have enough time to spend in a destination but you want to go there and experience it quickly.  I hadn’t been to Philadelphia for decades despite having grown up in Pennsylvania so we decided to take a quick trip to the city and take in some sights and spend just a little bit of time there mostly to see if it was worth a planned trip back.  It definitely was!

 

Independence Hall Philadelphia

We stopped at the large welcome center in the historic district where they had places to charge your phone.  We couldn’t get reservations for Independence Hall so do that in advance on the internet if you do plan on going.  What we did get was to sneek into a tour of the building next door which was much more intimate and just as interesting.  I’d been to Independence Hall years ago – and I mean decades ago really!

There is plenty of architectural gems to find in Philadelphia. Just look up.

A quick walk around downtown to where the old JohnWanamaker Department Store was takes you through lots to see. Macy’s takes up the old store location and I just couldn’t go in because I loved Wannamaker’s too much.  We also went into the nearby Walgreens for something and it was an incredible store.  I know.  Walgreens shopping as part of the tourist experience but it was a beautiful space on the third floor.  Somehow deodorant and shampoo was elevated to an new level and it cost the same as in a suburban box style Walgreens.

But it is something rather American that makes this story and experience fascinating to me as I write this well after this trip.  The memorable experience was the Walgreens as well as the historic experience of the founding of the country.

Theres plenty of easily accessible parking near the historic district of Philadelphia

Parking in center city Philadelphia isn’t all that difficult and certainly no reason not to arrive by car.  We found parking rather quickly and it wasn’t so much that we could remember weeks on just how much it was.  It is in many of these non-descript streets – of which there are many in Philadelphia – that make the city intriguing as there are bits and pieces – clues almost – that gives you a glimpse into the soul of the city.  I have no idea what the wall on the left of the above photograph is but it is clearly artistic and clearly not marked just like the old building in the first photograph.

The most beautiful third floor of a Walgrrens ever in centre city Philadelphia

So you have no reason to not visit the city.  It is easy from any of the suburbs to run the car in – though it might be easier and quicker with public transport.  Whether it is a Walgreens, Independence Hall, one of the many museums, historic districts, hundreds of restaurants or whatever catches your eye, you are sure to enjoy a quick day in the city.  We’re glad we popped in and can’t wait to return for a far more relaxing and exploratory time.

The Natural Bridge

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One of America’s original tourist attractions is still stunning and awesome as it must have been to people like Thomas Jefferson. The Natural Bridge is a great place to view nature and the fascinating natural bridge itself .  We went directly there and from there to the campground nearby.  There was ample room in the parking lot for our 35 foot motorhome.  The gift shop was a bit spartan as it was the end of their season and it’s feel harkened back to a time that predates theme parks and was actually quite nice to feel imagining all the visitors who had gone through the space in the past.

You cant totally capture the beauty of the Natural Bridge with a camera.

It doesn’t take long to visit if you’re in a hurry but it is the type of place I’d recommend at least two hours for because this is all about the feeling of the place and taking in the natural beauty.  A shuttle does carry you back to the top but it isn’t that difficult to climb back up the steps – there are places to rest along the way and plenty to see.

The stream midway down to the Natural Bridge even seemed historic to me.

You can actually go right under the bridge and even beyond.  It was spectacular and in places it felt like places we’ve been before with the exception of the incredible natural bridge itself.  There are historical markers you can read that bring you up to speed on the history of the place.  The most amazing thing to me was the feeling of so many people having been there in the past.

Once through the store we decided to head towards the campground.  We selected the KOA Natural Bridge because it was nearby and a quick on/off the expressway.  They can be a bit more expensive than many campgrounds but we believe it is worth it as they are consistent and offer the amenities we like.  Not the most level of spots, you can see the picture of our site with a nice little deck included.  We loved it there and would return again!

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The KOA Natural Bridge campground was a great base for exploring the area.

The Smithsonian Museums in a Day in Washington

So it takes days to really experience the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC, but sometimes you just have a day to do it.  What do you do?  Make the most of your time and realize that this isn’t the best way to fully experience any museum.  So we managed to get into DC (there are many ways of doing this but one of them is NOT driving an RV in – we did that once – and expecting to park it) which you can get all sorts of information on elsewhere.  My sister took us and we parked at the Ronald Reagan Building a short walk away from The Mall where most of the Smithsonian museums are located.   From here you can walk to everything I’ve mentioned – including The White House if you haven’t seen that.  I used to live in the district so we were pretty much up to just hit as many museums in a day that we could while still absorbing what we saw.

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You can walk by the Washington Monument or head up there and go inside!

First up we hit the National Museum of American History.  Next to this is the National Museum of Natural History so that’s an easy pair to hit.  There are excellent restaurants in both so you could just do both of these. We went down The Mall towards the Capitol and passed the National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden.  There is another building next to the National Gallery called the East Building that is also on that side of The Mall.

National Museum of American History, Washington DC

We went for a walk across The Mall to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum and managed to enjoy some of that for a bit as well.  There are fast food restaurants here that will work quite well for families.  Next to this is the Museum of the American Indian and next to it the United States Botanical Gardens – which I’d been to for a reception and I don’t suggest going in if you have allergies without some Loratadine.

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There are always temporary exhibits at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History that are fascinating.

On the way back we passed some sculptures and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.  This was Joe Hirshhorn’s collection and passion.  His wife, Olga, who just recently passed, was quite the character and I got to know her as part of my work in the museum field but we didn’t stop by there today though you easily could.  The Smithsonian Castle where there are also exhibits worth seeing is just beyond that.  It also serves as a visitor center so it is a good place to start your day if you’re unclear of what you want to see and do.  And if this weren’t enough, round the corner from the Castle is the Freer and Sackler Galleries featuring art primarily from Asia.

 

Chrysler Mini Van

A Chrysler mini-van at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History.

I’ve worked for several museums that were Smithsonian Affiliates – and had been to the Smithsonian a number of times on business whether it was for a conference or a mission to borrow artifacts.  But this was the first time in a long time I’d been there just as an anonymous visitor and it was really quite nice.

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A pottery exhibit at the National Museum of American History – Smithsonian, Washington, DC

Back to the visit.  You can honestly spend a day at Air and Space alone – and you must get out to Dulles to see the new facility there.    The amazing exhibits here never fail to engage my senses.  To be able to see some of the space artifacts and to ponder their use is an incredible thing.   And there is a variety of things to do from films and exhibits to interactive exhibits and hands on things for the kids.

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The space artifacts at the Air and Space Museum are absolutely awesome.

You can create your own whirlwind of museum activity in a day if you want.  And if that is all you have, by all means, it can be done as you have read here.  I’ve spent most of my career in museums so certainly a week spent going round the museums at The Mall even would be not enough, but you really must go no matter how much time you don’t have.  Always well worth it and truly a national treasure to be preserved is The Smithsonian.

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This Mark di Suvero sculpture on The Mall in Washington DC is one of many outdoor scultpures and artwork you can see.

 

A Day in Ogunquit, Maine       

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Why you should include Ogunquit, Maine on your bucket list 

Ogunquit, Maine, is an easy day trip from many places in New England and is well worth visiting for a day and more if you can.  It is the type of place you could imagine yourself settling into for a week or a season of quiet relaxation.  I imagine the locals probably think the town gets overrun by tourists but it didn’t feel that way to me on our visit.  We drove up for the day from Salisbury Beach, MA where we had our RV for the week.

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The view of Ogunquit Beach from along the Marginal Way in Maine.

The air is clean and crisp and the water views incredible.  The restaurant selections are pretty amazing too.  Did I mention the air was clean and crisp?  I’m sure people take this for granted but that was a pretty incredible thing.  And there are hills and cliffs and a beach and a trolley.  The one thing you must do I think is walk the Marginal Way and soak up the laid back feel the area gives.  You can easily imagine a simpler time when the upper middle class spent their summers here years ago.

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Old hotels are immaculate along the Marginal Way with plenty of places to stop and take in the clean air and great views.

This is great old school summer vacationing at its best with cabins and large hotels that don’t have brand names and most likely close during the off season with grass made for croquet and Adirondack chairs.  The beaches are not powder white sugar sand like you see in the west coast of Florida but that was quite alright by us. There were plenty of people schlepping beach chairs to the beaches.

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Barnacle Billy’s in Ogunquit, Maine, 50-70 Perkins Cove Road.

At the end of the Marginal Way you’ll find a couple restaurants.  We stopped at Barnacle Billy’s and had really quite excellent lobster rolls and drinks.  From there you can go to the nearby historical museum, which was closed when we stopped by, and stroll the beautiful grounds.   It is easy to loop back to the main town center from he for the usual t-shirt shops and ice cream but just being here was special and magical.

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No shortage of visitors during summer and shops to visit in Ogunquit.

There is plenty to return for as the town has an excellent playhouse and an abundance of activities and restaurants to try.  It’s also an easy base for day trips to places like Portsmouth, Old Orchard Beach and even outlet shopping in Kittery.  So whether you stay in Ogunquit or just venture there for a day, there’s great reason to visit as well as stay for a more extended period of time.  Whichever you do, you’ll find plenty within an hour or so drive of Ogunquit.

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