Category: Trips

Heading out

By , June 13, 2011 7:23 am

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Just a quick update… I’m headed to Dayton, OH for a couple days to sit a class I’ll be teaching some day. 

Sorry for the lack of updates, but I’ve been running around like a headless chicken.  Expect a bunch of updates later this week as we share our future plans.

Current location: Jacksonville, FL

Tourist For a Day

By , March 4, 2011 3:43 pm

We spent our 11th wedding anniversary being a tourist in DC. It’s fun being a tourist in your own city. Washington DC has so much to offer it is just too bad that most people who live in the area are just too busy or too stressed to enjoy its many parks, world class museums (they are free!!) and history.

We began our day at the National Gallery of Art. We picked the exhibit featuring Paul Gauguin’s work which it available February 27th -  June 5th. What an interesting man! Here is a man who went to the South Pacific in search of happiness in “Paradise”.

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Our next stop was the US Botanic Garden, it is right next to the Capitol building. We’ve been here a few times before and have enjoyed the garden each time. It’s not too big that you feel overwhelmed and not too small that you’ll loose interest.

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Enjoy some of nature’s color in bloom:

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Afterwards we had supper at Neisha Thai in Tysons Corner Mall and then bought ourselves some goodies from Shilla Bakery in Annandale. Yummy!

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It was a good day. Thank you for the sunshine and flowers. And family and good food. Smile

Fun, Family and Mishap at Juniper Springs

By , January 30, 2011 3:48 pm

Juniper Springs is located at Juniper Springs Wilderness and Recreation Area on the Southeastern part of the Ocala National Forest off of SR 40. It offers a full range of outdoor activities.

The springhead area offers swimming, a pleasant picnic area and a great nature trail that runs along the spring creek run. One of the highlights of this place has got to be the canoe run on Juniper Creek, Juniper Springs’ crystal clear spring run. It is 7 miles long and it takes an average of  4 hours to complete the course. Because the course runs through a National Wilderness area, you are guaranteed to see wildlife.

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We had visited the park once before last Spring and we had a blast! We did the canoe run and walked the nature trail.

Last week my sister and her husband were visiting his folks in Kissimmee, FL. The whole family drove up from Kissimmee to Juniper Springs last Friday to do the canoe run with us. We invited another friend of ours along as she has never been on the  canoe run before.

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NOTE: You cannot bring any food/drink in a disposable container on the canoe run (I believe it is an effort to minimize trash in the pristine wilderness area). So, put your food/drinks in a reusable container.

The canoe rental/loading process is a little lengthy. First, you check in at the gift shop. Then you walk over to the canoe rental area to load your canoe on to a cart. After that you wheel your canoe down a path to the take out point and drop it off. Now, walk back to the check in and collect your oars, life jackets and whistle and walk back to your canoe. Before you lift you canoe into the spring, there is a cooler check to make sure that you don’t have anything disposable. Finally, off you go!

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The canoe run has a lot of challenging turns with many low hanging trees that you have to duck under. Some branches are so low, you have to lay back  completely. Since we recently has a couple storms come our way, the water level is higher than normal thus creating “rapids” in a few sections . One fork of the path had a fallen tree completely blocking the entire length of the creek.  We had to get out and lift the canoes over. There are a couple places along the run where you can take a break and stretch your legs. We decided to take a lunch break at once such spot. Jonathan had pulled the canoe half way up the bank. He got out. As our friend got off the canoe, it rocked and SPLASH!!! I was under the water! I was so certain, we would not flip that I put on Canon PowerShot SD770 in my shirt pocket! So, no more still pictures after this moment. I reverted to using the waterproof video camera.

Sometime after this episode, we converged at a point. We hear my sister making funny noises and I turned around with the video camera in hand to catch her & her husband flipping their canoe over. The look on her face and the events proceeding that were priceless! I feel so bad for them but it was so funny! No one was hurt, thank goodness! (You’ll have to wait for Jonathan to edit the video.)

The wildlife scenery is incredible. We saw lots of turtles sunning themselves with their legs spread out, a couple of alligators sunning on the bank and otters swimming around. My sister and her husband saw a snake hanging from a branch. We saw one otter playing in the “rapids”, its heading was bobbing up and down with the waves. There was a variety of birds including blue and tricolor heron. It is a wonderful thing to see animals in their natural habitats.

It took us (3 canoes) about  5 hours to get through. Last time when it was just Jonathan and I , it took us under 4 hours.

We got picked up at Juniper Wayside, located about 4.3 miles north of SR 40, on SR 19. 

The events of the day was certainly memorable:

  • Park entrance: $5 per person
  • Canoe rental: $35
  • Dinner at Lena’s Seafood:  $44
  • Camera damage: $145
  • Whole experience: PRICELESS

Yes, my handy dandy Canon PowerShot SD770 IS is toast! Every time I tried to power it on, I get “Lens error, restart camera” and the camera lens will not retract. I am saddened by my loss but I am already researching a water proof one for my next purchase.

Saint Augustine Beach

By , November 27, 2010 6:41 pm

We took a drive into the city of Saint Augustine this afternoon and did a short  walk at Saint Augustine Beach. The beach was relaxing. The colors were beautiful;  it was a mix of blue, brown, gray and green. It was soothing.

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We Are In The South

By , November 24, 2010 7:18 am

As we drove through South Carolina, I got my first glimpse of palm trees. I love palm trees. They remind me of warm sunny weather. That’s the first sign we were in the South.

We stayed over night at The Oaks at Point South Campground in Yemassee, SC. It is a lovely wooded campground set amongst trees. The trees are covered in Spanish moss. That’s the second sign. The third sign are bugs and warm weather.

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We took a nice morning walk to the lake by the campground. We saw beautiful fall colors, Spanish moss, saw palmettos and wild life. No bugs bothered us! Yeah!

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It was great to see fall colors in the South (palm trees, Spanish moss,warm weather, and bugs).

Good Times in Asheville

By , November 23, 2010 10:51 am

We had a good time in Asheville. We had a relaxing time. We saw water falls. We played football. We had a camp fire. We had good food with good friends.

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We went on a short hike to Douglas Falls in Pisgah National Forest. The hike was short and pretty.

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Douglas Falls has a 60 foot drop.

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We enjoyed a campfire and football in the backyard. We enjoyed some down time too. On our last night, we had  slow cooked pork tenderloins in front of the campfire.

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Guys, thanks for the good times! 🙂

Good bye Asheville, hello Jacksonville. We need to get a couple things in the The Star taken care of. David and Brenda recommended Dick Gore’s RV World. We have an appointment with them on Friday.

Mountain Top Camping

By , November 22, 2010 8:21 am

Campfire Lodgings in Asheville, NC is a great campground with beautiful mountain views. We have seen a bobcat and turkeys here. There are black bears here too but we haven’t seen those.

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This campground is about ten minutes away from our friends, another bonus! We went to downtown Asheville for a nice dinner out with our friends. Asheville is eclectic and artsy. A very cute town with great views of the mountains. What’s not to like?

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On the Road Again

By , November 17, 2010 12:23 pm

We have been parked for over a month and half in Northern Virginia.  It’s been fun seeing familiar places and faces again.

We left Northern Virginia this morning. Thanks to our family for letting us stay with them!

We are making our way down to Florida for the winter. We will be making a few stops before we settle for the winter in Central Florida. We are currently at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Camp Resort At Natural Bridge for the night. There is no other camper in sight that we can see, it is kind of nice to have the place to ourselves. We have Full Hook Up with 50 AMPs, Cable and Internet.  We also have beautiful weather and fall scenery. With our Passport America membership card, the campground was half price. It’s great!

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This our view from inside The Star. The first picture is port side view. The second picture is starboard side view.

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Our next stop is Asheville, NC for about a week. We haven’t seen our friends there in over a year. We are looking forward to seeing them.

Beans and Blueberries!

By , October 11, 2010 10:32 am

After leaving Lubec, we headed for Freeport, ME.  The girls had decided that was a good place to stop for the night, as it just happened to be the home of L. L. Bean.  Confused smile  But, we got distracted on the way there and had to stop at Wild Blueberry Land!

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IMG_4909It’s a strange place with all sorts of blueberry stuff.  I got a cookie (which was yummy).  Dasy got a scone, but I don’t know how that was since she ate it all before I could try it.  However, the coffee was definitely bad.  Sad smile  After sampling the wares and convincing David that he wasn’t actually the Wild Blueberry King, we continued on. Winking smile

At Freeport, we had a rather difficult time getting the RVs parked.  There is RV parking, but it’s basically a few pull-through lanes and is definitely not designed by anyone who’s actually ever driven anything more than 20 feet long. After an hour or so, we managed to get both rigs squeezed in and then did some wandering.  Most of the wandering involved a quick look in the L. L. Bean stores and then a final night out for dinner with Dave and Brenda.  We miss them. Sad smile

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The next morning, we grabbed a quick breakfast, packed up, reattached all our stuff and headed our separate ways.  D&B are probably at home preparing for a trip next month, while we’re currently back at our starting point in Northern Virginia.  We’ve had lots of visits with family and friends and a few issues with our parking spot, which we’ll tell you all about next time! Smile

Sorry it took so long to post, but we keep ending up getting way busier than expected every time we stop for any length of time. Confused smile

About as Far as We Can Go–Lubec, ME

By , October 2, 2010 8:02 am

While we were in Bar Harbor, David suggested we head up to Lubec so we could see the most Eastern point of the country.  It was only a couple of hours, so we figured “why not”.  Now, we’re really glad we went…  It ranks way up there in my list of favorite stops!

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One of our first stops was the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse. It’s called West Quoddy because there’s one that even further East (called East Quoddy).  But that one is in Canada, so West Quoddy is still the Easternmost point in the US.
Note: That’s the basis for the title of the post… it’s as far as we can go and still be in the US.  Don’t worry, we’re still going to go some more. 😉

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Fortunately for us, our campground was located directly across the street from Monica’s Chocolates… a place that kind of puts Lubec on the map and is one of the main reasons to go.  If you like chocolate, Monica’s is worth going out of the way for.  But be warned, you get what you pay for… nothing she sells is cheap, but it may well be the best chocolate we’ve ever had.  Just to give you an idea of what to expect…  when Monica makes hot chocolate, she doesn’t pour powder or syrup in a cup of hot water.  She melts chocolate in a pot! Smile (It wouldn’t surprise me if Dasy wants to do another post just for this). Winking smile

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From Lubec, you can hop across the border into Canada and visit Campobello Island.  Here we found the East Quoddy Head Lighthouse, Roosevelt’s “cottage” and lots of sea critters!  Seals, porpoises, and whales! There were quite a few finback whales, but we also spotted a humpback.  In the pictures below, the whales showing only the backs are finbacks.  The tail picture is a small humpback. We also managed to see several bald eagles while exploring the island!

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Even though the weather turned a bit “icky” for a day or two, we really liked the area and were pleasantly surprised by how much we were able to see.  If you are anywhere near the area, you should definitely make the effort to come up here!

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Unfortunately, this would almost be our last stop with Dave and Brenda. Sad smile  They had to get back home and Dasy started to get an itch to get back to Virginia.  We packed up and headed South, planning to stop one more night with them, which we’ll post about later!

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Aboard the Starfish Enterprise with Diver Ed

By , September 29, 2010 6:05 pm

One afternoon at Bar Harbor we took a boat cruise with Diver Ed Dive-In Theater Cruise aboard the Starfish Enterprise.  The mission of the Starfish Enterprise is to “boldly dive where no one has dived before”. We took the 3-hour Park Ranger Tour.

We checked in at the College of the Atlantic’s Dorr Museum, Diver Ed’s alma mater. The college is a small liberal arts college with less than 400 students with a heavy focus on human ecology. Across the museum was a skull of a finback whale. (We saw them in Campobello Island!) Finback Skull COA

Once we arrived at a spot in Frenchman Bay, Diver Ed suited up and went down. We saw what he saw via the flat screen TV aboard the Starfish Enterprise. What he found he’d put in his grab bag for show and tell. After the show and tell, the critters get released back into the sea. Yeah! 🙂

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 DriverEdScreenThe Park Ranger and Diver Ed and his  entire crew made our trip a real pleasure. It was fun and informative. 

In addition to lobsters, crabs, sun stars, sea urchins, whelks and other critters from the ocean floor that Diver Ed brought up, we also got to see harbor seal, bald eagle, porpoise and great big tunas chasing a school of heron. It was great!

 

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Sunrises and Sandbars – Bar Harbor, Maine

By , September 24, 2010 5:53 pm

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On Monday, we woke up around 4:30 am, made lots of coffee and headed up to Cadillac Mountain again.  This time it was to watch the sunrise.  Cadillac Mountain is the first point of the continental US where sunlight hits in the morning (sometimes).

It was cold and windy.  Dasy mostly stayed in the Jeep and took pictures of me taking pictures.  I don’t really blame her, it was pretty miserable. Confused smile Sunrise wasn’t spectacular, but we were glad we went and it was still nice.  The clouds didn’t cooperate, so we mostly just saw colors and clouds… the sun didn’t actually show up until around noon that day.

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Later that day, we headed to Bar Island.  The island is connected to Bar Harbor only at low tide.  When the tide goes out, a long gravel-covered sand bar appears, allowing people to walk over to the island.  Hopefully they have watches and are paying attention because there’s only a couple of hours before the bar gets covered again and you can’t get back!

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On the way over to the island, we noticed lots of seagulls dropping things from the sky.  They have figured out that they can pry off a mussel, fly up about 20 or 30 feet, drop it on the rocks, then swoop down for dinner.  It’s pretty amusing to watch and is quite interesting.  There’s lots of behaviors and patterns that develop eventually…  “Newbies” will drop stuff on sand and it’s dumb luck if they happen to hit a rock, more accomplished birds will fly over to rocky areas instead.  If a bird goes up too high (presumably hoping to get more of an impact to break a shell), other birds have time to swoop in and steal dinner before he can get back down.  Ravens also hang out hoping to steal some unlucky bounces. Winking smile

Oh, we also saw a seagull hunt down and wrangle a pretty decent sized crab.  We were both a bit shocked that the crab didn’t fare better. Confused smile

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We went to dinner with David and Brenda, then came back to see the tide progress…  Eventually the sand bar and the beach are completely underwater, but even after only a couple hours, you can see the dramatic difference the tide makes.  It’s a pretty interesting place!

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Where the Mountains Meet the Sea

By , September 24, 2010 9:50 am

Acadia National Park is where the mountains meet the sea. The beach at Sandy Beach is a brisk 55 degrees in the summer time. Cadillac Mountain is the tallest mountain on the continental east coast at 1,532 feet. It’s a great place to catch both sunset and sunrise.

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We hiked from Sandy Beach to Thunder Hole with David and Brenda.

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It is amazing that Acadia National Park came about because of the generosity of a few private citizens. Thank you Mister Rockefeller. Thank you Mister Dorr.

Going for a Ride…

By , September 24, 2010 6:37 am

Acadia National Park Carriage Roads

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We took a day to go bicycle riding on the carriage roads in Acadia National Park.  After some minor difficulty, we managed to find parking at Eagle Lake.  Once we’d unloaded and gotten moving, it was a pleasant ride through the woods and around lakes for most of the afternoon.  We mostly just road the trails while chatting with Dave and Brenda.

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We stopped at Bubble Lake for a bit of leg-stretch and a scenery appreciation moment.IMG_4443IMG_4451

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We also stopped on the East side of Eagle lake, where Dasy found some of her favorite fuzzy moss!IMG_4460IMG_4464IMG_4467

We did one final quick stop at the North end of Eagle Lake so we could look back and appreciate our hard work. Winking smile

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Dasy and Brenda supervised while David and I wrangled the bikes back into the vehicles.IMG_4482

On the way home, Dasy and I stopped at a Lobster Pound and had some less-than-spectacular lobster rolls.  Confused smile  Fortunately, our trip wasn’t over.  More next time! Smile

Tide Pools – Maine

By , September 19, 2010 1:38 pm

A little something different today…  We just got back from Acadia National Park.  I figured I’d put my video camera in a tide pool and see what there was to see.  Take a look!

You can watch directly on YouTube (in case you want the HD version) here.

Cadillac and Cats in Maine

By , September 18, 2010 12:15 pm

Yesterday, we went into Bar Harbor for breakfast!  We heard that 2 Cats Cafe was highly rated, so we started there.  Dasy ordered some blueberry pancakes and I had a lobster omelet.  The pancakes were good, but the syrup was made of 100% awesome!  My omelet was a bit too buttery, which overpowered the lobster, but it was good start to the day.

IMG_4344Dave and Brenda had blueberry pancakes down the street at Jordan’s (which they said were awesome).  We met up with them afterwards and strolled around town for a bit.  We bought a couple of trinkets and some ice cream, but otherwise just enjoyed the sights.

In the evening, IMG_3498Dasy and I headed up to Cadillac Mountain to watch the sunset.  We’ll be going back for a sunrise in a day or two.  Cadillac Mountain is the first place in the morning that the sun hits in the United States.  The sunset we saw was excellent, but I didn’t bring a tripod, so I didn’t get many good pictures.  I’ll probably be heading back for that again before we leave.

Today we took the bicycles out to Acadia National Park and rode around on some of the carriage roads, but I’ll save that for the next post!

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The Berkshires and Zip Lining

By , September 14, 2010 8:46 am

We left Rochester, NY area and are making our way to Maine. David and Brenda from OutsideOurBubble.com has been such good hosts and traveling buddies. They took us to see our second Great Lakes, Lake Ontario at the Port of Rochester. And I got to taste three different flavors of milkshakes (from Jonathan, David and Brenda) even though I didn’t order any milkshake. :) 

 

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Our first stop was in Verona, NY at the Turning Point Campground. That night we went out to a churrascaria restaurant. After dinner, Brenda and I wanted to take some pictures of the guys but they kept making faces. We all had a laughing fit; our stomachs hurt from too much food and too much laughing. We ended the night by enjoying a movie at David and Brenda’s RV Home Theater called Runaway Vacation or RV starring Robin Williams which we had never seen before, go figure! It was a hoot!

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Our second stop was in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. We traveled on the Mohawk Trail. There was one hair pin turn, some twisty roads and good scenery. It was too early for fall foliage. We look forward to seeing fall foliage at Bar Harbor.

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We camped at Country Aire Campground in Charlemont for two nights so that we can go zip lining. Zoar Outdoor Canopy Tours did a great job! We all had a blast! Later on that afternoon, we went into the town of Shelburne Falls for a nice stroll on the Flower Bridge. We also dined at Goulds Sugar-House Restuarant the morning before we checked out. The pancakes were good!

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Bar Harbor here we come!

Outside Their Bubble!

By , September 9, 2010 9:12 am

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We are currently just outside Rochester, New York at the home of OutsideOurBubble!  We met Dave and Brenda at the STS-131 shuttle launch in Titusville back in April.  We hit it off and they gave us a standing invite to stop at their place to suck up some electricity and wi-fi.  Winking smile  In a day or two, we’ll be joining with them on a trip to Maine! They’ve been incredibly hospitable to us and we really appreciate that we “get” each other.  It’s nice to spend a bit of time with people who don’t think we’re weird just because our home has wheels!

Geneva and Geneva-On-The-Lake

By , September 7, 2010 1:17 pm

We miscalculated when we would arrive at our friend’s home (Brenda & David from Outside Our  Bubble) in upstate NY. We had told them IMG_3293we’d be there on Wednesday but on Monday afternoon we realized at our rate of driving we would be there on Tuesday! (We are going to be caravanning with them to Bar Harbor later this week. This will be our first caravanning trip, we are excited about it!) Because we didn’t want to disrupt any plans they may possibly have, we decided to stay at Geneva State Park in Geneva, Ohio for two nights. Our final destination that night was supposed to be in Conneaut, Ohio.

What a nice park! I had used the words “what a great little park” to one of our neighbor in the campground and he said “little?!?”, that is when I realized it wasn’t so little. The park is located on 698 acres on the shores of  Lake Erie,  the southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes. The average depth of Lake Erie is 62’. Even though it’s the smallest lake, you still can’t see the opposite side!

campsiteThe park has 89 electric sites and only 4 full hookups. It is surrounded by  mature trees and the sites are widely spaced out (some sites are more shaded than others). We are a 38’ RV and our neighbor has a 40’ RV and he managed to park his tow vehicle on the same pad. The state park offers a lot of activities including fishing, hiking/biking, boating and hunting.

The state park is located just minutes away from a great little village called Geneva-On-The-Lake. The village calls itself  “Ohio’s first summer resort”. The village seems seasonal and comes alive at night during the high season. The village offers restaurants/bars, wine tasting, arcade style video games and fishing.

Another attraction in the region is the Lake Erie wineries and icewine. The region has “15 award-winning wineries”. One of the wineries right in Geneva-on-the-Lake is the Old Firehouse Winery. We ordered a sample tray of their sweet wines. The sample tray includes 10 – one ounce samples of sweet or dry wine and it includes a souvenir glass. We ordered a sample of the sweet wines. We both liked “Frosty Peach”. Frosty Peach is described as “full-bodied, semi-sweet 100% fruity wine with the aroma and taste of fresh peaches”.

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Not bad for a miscalculation!

RV Capital, Amish Country and Corn Belt

By , September 7, 2010 12:59 pm

Northern Indiana covers all of the above distinction. Elkhart County (Elkhart, Middlebury, Goshen and Nappanee) alone produces more than 50% of the nation’s RV. As the RV capital, it rightly has the RV/MH Museum Hall of Fame, all kinds of RV manufacturers/service centers/accessories/campgrounds and rallies.

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The area also has a good sized Amish community, where delicious baked goods and horse drawn vehicles are the norm. We enjoyed the family style Thresher’s Dinner  at Amish Acres Restaurant Barn. Our Dasy’s stomach ached with too much food. 😉 We admit we succumbed to their baked goodies. We bought too many cookies and pies to keep track of, I personally feel like a little piggy! They were good, some more excellent than others.

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Everywhere you go, you see corn and more corn and soy bean. Indiana is part of the corn belt. Corn belt refers to Midwestern States that predominantly grows corn and more recently soy bean. Most of the corn grown are grown for feed.

While in this area we also met some wonderful friends in Plymouth. A couple invited us to dinner one night and showed us his expansive collection of model train communities of towns and villages. The collection covered his entire basement, of course it didn’t start like that. One day his wife went away, when she came back, he had built another section ! 🙂 It is his passion and his stress reliever. We had a great time with them.

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We spent a week at Pla-Mor Campground. At the beginning of the week, there were plenty of sites available but towards the Labor Day weekend the huge campground was almost filled! Right next to us was an old Class A styled Airstream. We have friends from Kenosha that have an Airstream trailer, so we had to take some pictures for them. It could have easily found its place in the RV Museum. 

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