Baseball fans in Boston and New York are probably blaming our New England tour group for jinxing their teams. Both lost their chance at a World Series birth on the days we were there.
At the end of this last week, all 45 of us tired but happy explorers boarded our big Alaska-painted bus for one last time and made our way from Midtown Manhattan through the busy Lincoln tunnel over to the airport in Newark, New Jersey for the flight home.
That's our motor coach in the background. Hard to miss with it's Alaska paint scheme that includes a grizzly bear.
Now, I wish I could invite you all over to the house for a big supper then roll out the screen and give you a slide show of all our pictures. That’s not possible of course..plus I remember how my mom’s good cooking and dad’s home movies could put dozens of relatives and friends sound asleep in minutes. So even though I run the risk of causing you all to doze off, here are a few more highlights from our glorious time in New England.
We were anxious to try some real Vermont maple syrup. Who knew the best in the country was made in NEW HAMPSHIRE by this guy, Jim Fadden. He has the awards to prove it.
This covered bridge in Woodstock, Vermont is one of several spotted on our tour.
I don’t think any of us were prepared for the amount of flood damage in Vermont and the Berkshires brought about by torrential downpours from Hurricane Irene in early September. Remarkably, most of the road damage had been repaired by the time of our arrival there. All of the fun stops were open for business too including Bennington’s Apple Barn and Orchards in Southern Vermont.
Lots of pumpkins and unusually colored moose at the apple barn too
Although our group had already been treated to apple pie and ice cream upon our arrival, Doc O'shea couldn't resist another Honeycrisp
The Berkshires are where many of the well-heeled elite from Boston and New York would come during the gilded age for a little R and R. They built humungous mansions for themselves and called them “cottages.”
One of the smaller cottages is this one called Linwood built over a century ago by Charles Butler a big shot New York lawyer. It stands on an estate where the Normal Rockwell Museum is now located.
This is the view from lawyer Butler's cottage. That's Norman Rockwell's art studio in the background. It was moved here from downtown Stockbridge, Mass. After the Rockwell museum opened some 20 years ago.
Inside Rockwell's studio. Note one of his infamous pipes at the lower right.
A quaint little tavern in Lenox, Mass. A person could overdose on "quaint" in New England but this place had the best clam chowder and French onion soup I've ever tasted.
I wore my Vikings sweatshirt on Monday just to demonstrate my loyalty and to spite our tour guide and driver who are both from Wisconsin and Packers fans.
Our next stop was a tour of the Hancock Shaker Village. There are only about 4 actual Shakers left and the history of their religious sect is too detailed to go in here but our guides wore traditional Shaker garb and spoke of the Shaker's amazing religious fervor and innovative yet modest inventions.
The Shakers were known for their amazing wood craftsmanship such as seen on display here at the village.
Our final destination; New York City. A local guide joined us for a motor coach tour of Manhattan. One of the first stops was at the World Trade Center site and memorial. No one except special guests are allowed to visit the memorial just yet because construction of the new World Trade Center tower is underway and already soars above most city skyscrapers. Our viewing vantage point was from the Bank of America building across the street.
Seven Bank of America employees died on 9/11. Our guide stands before a special fountain built in their memory.
The new World Trace Center 1 reaching higher and higher
Site of the former twin towers and the new trees that mark the 9/11 memorial
A stroll through Central Park
All aboard the Liberty and Ellis Island ferry. Amazing view of the NYC skyline including the new WTC tower under construction
The sun's reflection off Lady Liberty's torch made it glow as if actually burning
Ellis Island. It's said the ancestors of 100 million americans passed through here
The Great Hall where all immigrants had to be processed. 2% did not pass muster and were sent home. Can't imagine their dispair
One of the ferry boats that daily transport thousands of tourists to Liberty and Ellis Islands
Once again, New York City lived down to my expectations as far the incredible congestion and people with their condescending attitudes.. but we loved all the places we visited. Both Linda and I agree that one of the most unforgettable experiences of our tour, and there were several, was attending the Broadway musical, “Anything Goes” starring the Toni award winning actress and Broadway diva, Sutton Foster. We had great seats and the show was simply spectacular!
One of the Toni Award winning dance numbers from "Anything Goes."
I know these Keloland/Holiday Vacations tours aren’t within everyone’s financial reach but if you ever find it possible, I’m pretty sure you’ll treasure the experience .