Murdo Girl…A fun find

We spent Sunday hanging out in Charlotte, NC. The RV park we found is filled with racing enthusiasts during NASCAR season because it’s within walking distance of the Charlotte Motor Speedway. It wasn’t the prettiest location, but the weather was so beautiful, we didn’t spend much time there anyway. Besides, we were on a mission.

Several months ago our daughter, Heidi, ran across some information on a restaurant called The McNinch House. It happens to be in Charlotte, NC.

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The circa 1892 Queen Anne style home of the Victorian-era was owned by long time Charlotte Mayor, Sam McNinch. When he passed away in 1929, his daughter, Mattie McNinch, who never married, resided in the home. She lived there until 1978.

Here is how it’s described:

The McNinch House is of the authentic Queen Anne/shingle style. The house currently stands on the National Historic Register. The exterior of the house is covered with shingles on the upper portion, clapboard on the lower portion, and patterned slate on the roof. tower, wings, gables, and porches are massed together and topped with an eyebrow window. The interior has fine, richly molded woodwork upstairs and down, created by Victorian craftsmen led by world-famous architect Mr. Karl Bitter, who duplicated many of the designs at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, including the beautiful coffered ceiling in the library. The ten fireplaces are all tiled and there is a three-way fireplace opening into the foyer, library, and dining room.

The McNinch House has been owned and operated as a restaurant by Chef Ellen Davis since 1989.

It’s a lovely place and I’m sure the food is to die for, but it wasn’t going to be open again until Tuesday and we were leaving on Monday. Besides that, we didn’t have reservations far enough ahead of time, and Kip didn’t bring a coat and tie.

No big deal! We got sandwiches at the Potbelly downtown and ate them at a table outside…

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It was a relaxing afternoon and the dogs were excited they got to come with us. They were the objects of a lot of attention from others out enjoying the beautiful day. Downtown Charlotte has a very cultural atmosphere and has several beautiful old churches standing tall along narrow streets.

We’re in Hendersonville, NC now. We love this place and we get to see some pretty special people here…

Still loving the fall colors…

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Murdo Girl…Arlington National Cemetary

Thursday…

We decided to drive the 26 miles instead of taking the train to see Arlington National Cemetary. We got to Georgetown, which is in close proximity, without a problem and found a place to park. We stopped at a coffee shop so Kip could get a danish. I had a mocha to help warm me up.

As it turned out, by the time we got to the Cemetary, we found we had dressed too warmly. I needed the stocking hat in the morning, and when it got too hot, I couldn’t take it off. I guess I need to bring a lighter weight hat to change into. Life is full of challenges like that! Hat hair can be a real problem. Especially if your hair doesn’t look that great before you put the hat on.

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Watching the changing of the guard was a profound experience. It’s surreal. The ceremony takes place every hour on the hour in the winter months and every half hour during the summer. I didn’t get a very good video, but you can see a little of the ceremony here. I couldn’t get it edited for some reason, so you’ll have to suffer through the girl to my right messing with her hair and my hand trying to shield the sun.

 

A couple of junior high kids got to help place the wreath. It all takes place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Almost 500,000 are buried in Arlington National Cemetary and there is an average of 28 internments per day.

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Below is President John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s grave. You can barely see the eternal flame in the picture.

We had delicious slices of pizza at an outside cafe before heading back to camp.

Here is a drive-by shot of the Pentagon.

Today is Sunday…We’re in Charlotte, NC catching up with ourselves…

Murdo Girl…Like a rolling stone.

Written Friday night.. 

We left Maryland around nine o’clock this morning and drove in the rain all day before stopping around four this afternoon. We’ll drive the remainder of the way to Charlotte, NC tomorrow where we plan to stay two nights.

We really enjoyed our brief stay near Washington DC. The first day we took the train to the Washington DC Mall which is where the Smithsonian Museums are as well as most of the monuments and government buildings. 

We paid almost a hundred dollars for a “jump on and jump off” bus ticket, but it was a bit of a waste. The bus was never there when we wanted to jump on, so we ended up walking most places. It was still a super fun day.

Eleven blocks to go!

This is as close as we could get to the White House

The sign says this is the White House Christmas treeI thought they brought one in each year.

This is the Post Office that became a Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue.

For those of you who aren’t on Facebook and didn’t see this…I spotted Randy and Toni Martin as we were getting on a bus at the Lincoln Memorial. They were getting off. Randy and I worked together fifteen years ago. Quite a coincidence!!

SeeYa is holding up well!

Saturday morning…

I’m going to get this posted. I’ll do a blog later about our visit to Arlington National Cemetary. We were extremely impressed!

We’re having some difficulty finding good RV spots on the weekends. Everyone is having Halloween camping parties! We’re still calling places for the next two nights…wish us luck!

Murdo Girl…Another look back

Monday afternoon, we took the short ferry ride to Ellis Island. I will admit I was not fully aware of the part it played in the history of America.

On the ferry ride to Ellis Island..

It was the gateway for over twelve million immigrants in the over sixty years it was in operation (1892 – 1954).

As many as forty percent of all current U.S. citizens can trace at least one of their ancestors to Ellis Island.

At first most of the people who immigrated to America were from northern Europe. Later, things began to change and more and more immigrants began pouring in from southern and eastern Europe. They made long and difficult trips across the ocean in the hopes of a better life. Many were escaping poverty, famine, drought or religious persecution. 

Often times the husband would come first to get established before his family came. It might be years before a reunion could be arranged and sometimes so much had changed, and there had been so little communication, the families couldn’t face their new life and challenges together. Other times, the families left behind, found they couldn’t leave their homes in the old country.

Once here, the immigrants had to be registered and processed before they could leave and begin their new lives. They usually traveled by train unless they remained in the New York area. 

There were many countries represented and so many different languages spoken, that communication was difficult. Some were sick and weak when they got off the ship. They had to prove they had the skills to support themselves, or a family that was already here and established. Some were found to be criminals. About ten percent were sent back because the criteria could not be met. Sometimes Ellis Island was referred to as the island of tears.

During the peak years, those arriving had to wait in long lines to be processed in the room pictured below.

These young women are meeting their future husbands for the first time. Enlarge the plaque below by tapping on it with your fingers and read about these arranged marriages.

The old train station near the island is deserted and eerie.

I took this picture from the ferryIts my favorite of the day.

Going by the Statue of Liberty on the way back

There are many recorded human interest stories about the people of Ellis Island and what they endured. They tell of the successes and the failures of these people who became a big part of the rich texture of our past and molded our future. 

I encourage you to look up some of the other interesting facts about this very significant piece of American history. It was quite an experience to stand where they stood…to look at the small dormitories they slept in, and see displays of personal items the immigrants brought with them. Items that represent many different cultures. Families have generously donated these treasures to the museum.

There was also an area that showed what was left when it closed suddenly and how it began to deteriorate until it became part of the Statue of Liberty project and restoration began.

It was an enlightening experience…

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We left our spot in Jersey City on Sunday and made our way to Washington DC. We’ve been on the go ever since. Maybe I’ll be able to quit chasing my tail tomorrow and catch up.

I gave up chasing my tail around. I’m trying to help MG relax

 On our walk before we left…

On the way out of town…

Thanks for letting us share this adventure with you. It really adds to the fun…

 

Murdo Girl…A day to remember

I’ll bet not too many people traveling in an RV with three dogs and a cat, and towing a Jeep, could conquer New York City in a day and a half. You can come pretty close if you stay at an RV park-it. (I call it park-it because it really isn’t a park where you put your awning out and sit around a campfire.) The beauty of it is, it’s only a ten minute walk from a ferry that takes you to the financial district, Ground Zero and the Freedom Tower, plus the 9/11 Memorial and Museum…or …The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Each ferry ride is less than twenty minutes. 

We also had near perfect weather. We spent the afternoon we got there walking to and around Liberty State Park.

Cyndie: I’m so glad to be off that scary ride. We don’t have to get on a boat do we?

Sammie and Pattie: Are there places to hide?

The next morning we walked the dogs, turned the TV to their favorite channel, and went to see Ground Zero and the 9/11 Museum and Memorial. We even went to the top of the Freedom Tower and got back to the RV in time to walk the dogs again.

The museum honoring those who lost their lives and the countless others whose lives were shattered by the events of that day, was a highly emotional experience for Kip and me. When you see in person, all of the tangible evidence left in the wake of the horror this country was subjected to on 9/11/2001, it can’t help but have a huge impact. Even seventeen years later.

I think the thing that touched my heart the most, and one of the many things that brought tears,  was one of the quotes stenciled on the wall. The wife of a young man killed in the World Trade Center said she didn’t want that day to end. She said even though it was a day filled with horror, it was still a day she had shared a part of with her husband. 

A little ten year old girl wrote a letter to her favorite baseball player, Derek Jeter. Her father had been the pilot on flight 175. (The highjackers slit his throat.)

I took the above shot standing directly  below the tower. The next one was from the ferryboat the next day.

The view from floor 102 of the tower…

Except for a section of the museum that held a lot of the more personal items and things that should be seen in person, we were allowed to take pictures. That section also had the remains of the building that formed a perfect cross. A symbol that meant and still means a lot to many. I found this picture on the internet.

I didn’t take many photographs. These few include the “survivors” stairs and a couple in the section honoring the dogs of 9/11. 

You really must experience for yourself, this incredible display  representing the many acts of kindness, heroism and evidence of  miracles, as well as vivid reminders of the devastation this nation was subjected to that day.

Above: The Ladder 3 firetruck.

Tomorrow…Ellis Island and Lady Liberty.

Murdo Girl…SeeYa in the city

We left our spot near New Haven, Connecticut yesterday morning and headed for Manhattan. The GPS said our new RV spot for the next couple of days was just a short ninety-eight miles away. We were pretty proud of the fact we had found a place that looked really close to everything we wanted to see. It was a lovely drive. We navigated through some tricky places, and we were congratulating ourselves on our ability to remain calm and follow the GPS map… and the reassuring voice of the GPS lady we have come to trust. Less seasoned RV travelers could surely benefit from our obvious expertise, we decided.

Then…for some reason, we have yet to figure out, our GPS lady turned on us.

Kip: This place is in Jersey City, right? We’re supposed to exit in a couple of miles and head west through the Bronx. I figured we’d probably stay on 95 and go across George Washington Bridge and then down to New Jersey.

MG: Remember the other day when we thought the GPS lady didn’t know what she was doing so we didn’t follow her map and we got lost?

Kip: You’re right. She must know a better way.

A little while later…

Kip: I can’t possibly turn up that street! It’s too narrow and there are cars parked on both sides. I’m going to have to go straight!

Mary: Wait! GPS is rerouting. That’s never a good sign. Haven’t we been on this street before? Watch out for the pedestrians!!!

Kip: What is that up ahead?

Mary: Let me look on the map. That’s the Queensbury Bridge. I think the GPS lady wants us to go across it.

After going around in circles to find a street that would accommodate us (never mind the Jeep we’re towing), going around a construction crew twice, and listening to two GPS ladies, (by this time, I had my cell GPS going too), we made it to the bridge that we hoped would get us closer to our destination…

Kip: We can’t go on this bridge!

Mary: What are you doing? We’re stopped on a very busy highway. We have to keep moving!!

GPS lady: Clearance violation! Clearance violation!!!

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Kip: It says maximum clearance is eleven feet! We’re eleven feet and six inches!!

Mary: I think that bridge’s clearance looks higher than it says.

Kip: Me too!

GPS lady: Clearance violation!!

Kip and Mary: Shut up!!

Silence as we proceeded to go across the bridge…Both of us are ducking our heads. It had to be close, but we didn’t hear any “ripping off the roof” noises.

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After we said, “Thank you, God,” we saw a tunnel up ahead. There was a guard waving at us to stop.
 Kip slowed down and managed to get his window open. The guy yelled something and Kip said, “No.” The guy nodded and we proceeded to go through the one and a half mile long Holland Tunnel. It dawned on me that all three dogs had disappeared with the cat. We later found them hiding under the table.

Mary: Did that guy ask if we had propane? (We do…)

Kip: Maybe…I couldn’t really hear him.

Silence…even both of the GPS ladies kept there mouths shut.

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After getting through the tunnel without blowing up, we cautiously breathed a sigh of relief. We were on the New Jersey side. We made it to the less than beautiful, but absolute best RV spot ever. I will tell you why we love it so much when I write about yesterday afternoon and today…probably tomorrow.

Kip: Well at least we know we won’t blow up in a tunnel even though we have propane.

Me: I bet they’re trying to find us now. That guard is probably telling the authorities,”That guy had propane and lied about it!”

GPS lady: (I had accidentally hit the microphone on my cell and she thought I was trying to verbally ask for directions.) “I don’t know what to do with… that guy had propane and lied about it!”

Kip: Oh great! She’ll probably share that with Google…

So far, we have escaped the law. We plan to head out before dawn tomorrow. Stay off the streets of New York…

 nps means not my picture. I was busy when we encountered the bridges and tunnels…

Murdo Girl…Every day can’t be perfect

We left this beautiful spot close to Provincetown yesterday morning…

And hit the road toward New York City. We stopped at a Walmart along the way to pick up a few supplies, make a quick sandwich, and walk the dogs. We decided we weren’t going to make it all the way to New York, so I called and switched our reservations to Sunday and Monday night. 

We passed through parts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island yesterday and started looking for a spot for the night when we hit Connecticut. Apparently, people aren’t adventuresome here. There didn’t appear to be anything at all, until I spotted something off the exit we were about ready to pass by. Kip managed to make the turn and we drove the eight perilous miles up narrow roads to what looked like a pretty nice park. We drove right up to the gate…that didn’t open. That’s when we noticed the little sign that said, “See you in 1919.” Now what? We were faced with unhooking the car, and trying to back SeeYa out of a pretty tough spot. We spent a couple of minutes wondering who was to blame for this predicament when we saw a guy in a truck drive by. He was inside the gate. He stopped to dump some garbage in a trash bin, and I jumped out to catch him, hoping he would be able to find a way to get us through the gate so we could turn around and leave. 

Fifteen minutes later, he did just that, and we got out of there and headed back to the highway. About an hour later, we were considering the prospect of finding a place to boondoggle when I found another spot on the internet. Their website said they were open all year, so we took the exit. This time we called before we got there. (You might have to hit us over the head with a board, but sometimes we learn.)

On the third try, a guy answered and said to come on in. And here we are. It’s Sunday morning and we’re preparing to head out! First, we’ll stop at this quaint little restaurant for a delightful breakfast.

If you have been inclined to say a prayer for us, now might be the time to do it! This place we’re going to sounds like our best option to be able to see the sights and take care of the dogs and cat. The reviews stink, but it’s all about choices. It’s within walking distance to a short ferry ride to the city and we’re supposed to be able to see the Statue of Liberty from our camping spot which in the pictures looks like a parking lot. 

Stay tuned! Kip and Mary camping in New York City could get interesting! Gotta go!

Murdo Girl…Cape Cod..Provincetown

When you’re on an RV trip, sometimes you have to shoot from the hip. There is virtually no way you can adhere to a schedule, and if you get thrown by an interruption or a change in plans, then RV Travel is not for you.

After our long day, and our eight mile walk through Boston Common and beyond, Kip and I were a little slow getting going yesterday morning. We had intended to drive to New York, but there was an issue…I wanted to see Cape Cod, which is only about forty miles from the Boston/Cape Cod KOA where we were staying. We decided to walk down to the office and pay for another day. It was a good plan.

Unfortunately, there was no room at the inn. They had booked the entire park for the whole week-end. We hurried back to the RV and got everything ready to go before the eleven o’clock check-out time. Then we headed for Cape Cod.

I had taken a few minutes to check online for a reasonably priced RV park that hadn’t closed for the season. I found a couple that looked like they would work, so we headed down the road without calling either of them. Why? Well, because we didn’t know how much time we wanted to spend there. I had been terribly disappointed the night before, when while doing some research on a TV show that had made me fall in love with Cape Cod, I discovered it had been filmed in Mendicino.  Cabot Cove was in California of all things. The entire ‘Murder She Wrote’ series was 3000 miles from the truth!

Anyway it all worked out!

In the last pic, we were turning into Sweetwater Forest RV Park in Brewster, MA. I forgot to take pictures when we got here, but I will later this morning. It’s next to a horse ranch and the off season rates aren’t bad at all.

After we got settled in, we put the dogs in the Jeep and drove to Provincetown. It was just like I had pictured the little town of Cabot Cove would look like.

Pilgrim Monument was built in 1910 to commemorate the first Pilgrim’s landfall in 1620 and the signing of the Mayflower Compact in Privincetown Harbor.

The downtown area has numerous quaint bed and breakfasts. I can imagine Provincetown is covered up with visitors in the spring and summer.

I wish I had captured more of the neighborhood homes. The streets are very narrow and the town is hilly. The homes are all two story and almost all of them have the New England style shake siding. I love them!

I was trying to show the picures of the weathered old women painted on the side of the building in the distance.

Below are pictures of the sand dunes.

I can’t wait to see what today brings! Happy Saturday!

Murdo Girl…Eight miles in Boston

By the time we packed up and left Maine, Wednesday, and got settled in at the Boston /Cape Cod KOA, it was almost 3 pm, so we decided to spend the remainder of the beautiful afternoon taking the dogs for a nice long walk and then we ran some errands.

Arriving in Boston

SeeYa did not like the tunnel and neither did the rest of us. We lost the GPS signal in the middle of it. This tunnel requires a lot of lane changes and there are a couple of exits inside there. Kip remained calm and managed to get us out. Then he skillfully backtracked through the tunnel and found the correct route, while I yelled, “Come back GPS lady! Come back!”

Time to relax

We took the dogs for another long walk in the morning and after getting them all settled, we headed to catch the train to Boston. It was an hour long ride to downtown. When we arrived, it was bitter cold. We finally made our way to Boston Common where the Freedom Trail begins. There was a nice little coffee shop across the street, so we warmed up with coffee and thick slices of banana bread. By the time we got started on the trail, the wind had died down, so it was considerably more comfortable.

On the train…

Coffee shop…

We decided to walk the red path on the Freedom Trail that takes you to several points of interest.

Thank you for the suggestion, Anne. It was a great way to see a lot of history.

You can see the red Freedom Trail in some of the pictures. It should have been easy to follow it for the easy 2.5 miles. Right?

Kip’s favorite stop…The USS Constitution

John Paul Jones, Kip McNinch, and his flapper hat wife, Mary, all graced the decks of the oldest commissioned ship in the United States Navy…just not at the same time…

Is there a bakery in Paul Revere’s house? No? Oh, wait! Here’s one!

Unfortunately, we lost track of the Freedom Trail a couple of times and the 2.5 miles turned into eight! (This was according to my fitness watch.)

I was beginning to wish we had followed cousin Bobby’s advice and taken the bus tour, but then the banana bread and danish along with the nice lunch of pumpkin soup and delicious cornbread would have showed up this morning. My only mistake was wearing those boots.

When we got back to camp, we decided to put the dogs in the car and drive the 15 miles to see Plymouth Rock.

Here it is…

Actually, Plymouth was beautiful…

It has taken me two hours to download these pictures (slow internet). Some of these are Kip’s. My battery ran down because I had to use the walking GPS a couple of times. I have several more and maybe better pics, but I have to get a move on. My feet hurt and the dogs need walking before we pack up and head for our next adventure!

Murdo Girl…A lobster lesson

We had a busy day yesterday, and I was so full and so tired after enjoying a wonderful trout dinner at the Muddy Rudder, I chose bed over blog. 

We were really excited to get to spend time with our friends, Pat and Jerry Davis’ daughter, Amy Rorer, her husband, Keith, and almost 13 year old son, Nate.

Kip had thought about it all day and decided he was going to tackle a WHOLE Maine lobster. He almost chickened out, but the server told him they didn’t have four pound lobster tails.

Amy took some priceless pictures. Kip and I were both grateful that Keith was sitting close enough to show him how to dismantle his dinner. He loved every morsel of meat. He even went whole hog and upgraded his potatoes. (On the way back to the RV we stopped at a gas station to air up a jeep tire and I went inside and got him an apple turnover for dessert.)

The process…

(The first challenge was to get the durnned bib on.)

(Keith quickly showed Kip how the cow ate the cabbage…an old Wyoming expression.)

My trout was delicious and we really enjoyed the time we had with this fun family!

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Earlier in the day we drove to Cape Elizabeth and Two Lights State Park. The day was sunny and crisp, but there was no wind and it felt good to walk along the trails. Everywhere we go, the puppydogs get lots of attention, especially Cyndie.

Old army bunker on the beach…

The dogs enjoyed the 10,000 sq ft dog park at the KOA

Today, we’re off to Boston! Anybody have any relatives there?