2014-04 From NY to ME

We headed from Newburgh NY along Hwy 84 through 2 capitol cities (Hartford CT and Worcester MA) and through coastal New Hampshire, to a one night stay in southern Maine. We chose a route which we hoped would avoid traffic around the big cities, but unfortunately, we still hit some rush hour traffic outside Boston....ugh.  Our route NY to ME 
Capitol Building in Hartford CT
Our first night in Maine, we stayed at Saco KOA near Old Orchard Beach. This KOA was not yet open to the public but they graciously allowed us to stay as we are KOA work campers! Had the whole place to ourselves, and we "worked" for our site by cleaning up their RV sites, gathering and burning all the fallen branches - free fire wood! :-)
Finally in Maine!

The office and store at Saco ME KOA

In the morning, before hitting the highway north, we took a short drive to Old Orchard Beach which was a ghost town, nothing open. Would like to spend a few days exploring this area sometime.
Old Orchard Beach downtown

Old Orchard Beach Pier

Onward and Northward...
Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory

We took Hwy 95 through the capitol of Maine, Augusta, and then cut over to the scenic route through central coast Maine. Glad we went this way - there were several interesting stops along the way, including the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory, the tallest bridge observatory in the world and the only one in the U.S. Interesting tidbit: the design of the two bridge towers may be familiar because it was copied from the Washington Monument, which was built using granite from this area.
Downtown Ellsworth, ME

Crossing the bridge from Trenton, ME onto Mount Desert Island, our summer home

2014-04 Hyde Park NY and the Hudson Valley

Our second day in New York, we headed a few miles north of the Newburgh KOA to the newest New York state park, Walkway over the Hudson. Originally a railroad bridge completed in 1989, it was converted to a pedestrian bridge which opened in 2009. It is the longest pedestrian bridge in the world at 1.28 miles, and is 212 feet over the surface of the water - a bit higher than that "scary" Chesapeake Bay Bridge, yet not nearly as unnerving! Lots of runners and walkers, it seems a successful and well-used structure with a spectacular view.

A park volunteer graciously offered to take our picture - thank goodness for volunteers who keep these parks in business!

Yes, it was chillly!
Just across the river, we had lunch in Poughkeepsie and then headed a few miles north to tour the grounds of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and the Vanderbilt Mansion, both on shore of the Hudson River in Hyde Park, NY.

Pictures from the day are on our skydrive

My favorite part of the presidential library was sitting down with Eleanor and Franklin!

Strolling around the Vanderbilt Mansion

2014-04 One Day in NYC

It was a 15-minute drive from the KOA to Beacon train station, where we took the metro-north express south along the Hudson River to Grand Central Terminal, about a 60-minute ride.

We spent one long day trekking all over the city...Times Square, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Union Center, World Trade Center, Battery Park...saw the Statue of Liberty from a distance but did not take the boat ride over. Gary ate his way through the city, sampling pizza and street vendor fair all day long. We took one ride on the subway from Battery Park up to Central Park, a lot faster than walking, but glad we walked most of the day. So we saw the city with a $30 train ride (not counting Gary's feeding frenzy). I posted a few pics below, and many more on our skydrive.

Washington in Union Square, Empire State in the background

Carriage rides in Central Park

Gary getting another bite from a vendor near Central Park

A busy Grand Central Terminal

2014-04 From Pennsylvania to New York

The route from Hershey PA to Newburgh took us through Scranton PA, through the Pocono mountains and just past Delaware Water Gap National Recreation area (a couple of places I'd like to explore!), to the banks of the Hudson River 60 miles north of New York City.

Hey, we're home, back in the OC!
We planned to stay just overnight using our KOA travel certificate at the "New York City NE KOA" in Newburgh NY. However, while planning our next stop in southern Maine, I discovered none of the Maine parks were actually opening until May 1....so our plan to stay several nights in Old Orchard Beach, ME didn't work out. So, we extended our stay in New York to spend a day exploring NYC.

The Newburgh KOA is a nice park with big roomy sites, and we had our loop almost to ourselves. Besides NYC, there are other attractions in the immediate area, including George Washington Headquarters on the Hudson and the home of Orange County Choppers.
Nice little corner of the campground to ourselves

Many KOA "bark parks" feature a doggie agility course

They've got new lodges being set up

We immediately noticed a healthy mosquito population, even this early in the spring!

2014-04 A few days in Hershey, PA

We stayed at Thousand Trails just outside of Hershey

Big clubhouse, lake, miniature golf, pool - nice bones but in need of maintenance
We headed north from Washington DC through Harrisburg PA to Hershey, where we stayed for several days, catching up on laundry, stocking up at the local Costco, and visiting the local sights, including Hershey's Chocolate World, Hershey Gardens, and an outstanding local brewery, Troegs. I really enoyed the distinct grapefruit taste of Perpetual IPA, and their outstanding "snack bar" with all homemade breads, fresh ingredients and herbs, yummy!
Morning visit to Hershey's Chocolate World

Horribly over-priced store at Chocolate World

Hokey "small world" style ride replaced the factory tour

Hershey Gardens

The magnolia trees were in bloom and spectacular

Hershey amusement park in the background

Enjoyed our tour at Troeg's Brewery - excellent beer!

2014-04 Orchid show at the U.S. Botanical Garden Conservatory, Washington DC

The U.S. Botanical Garden was having an orchid show, which was fabulous. We spent about an hour wandering through the indoor gardens of the conservatory, while awaiting our shuttle ride home. Glad we didn't miss this!

Below are a few of our pictures, plus quite a few more on this link.

2014-04 Day 2 in Washington DC - Memorials, west end of the mall

Our second day in DC was Saturday, the day before Easter - and wow, it was busy! This was our day to explore the east end of the mall including the Washington Monument (not yet open since from the earthquake repairs), White House (which we could not even get close too, due to Easter festivities preparation), WWII, Vietnam, Korean War Memorials, and the Lincoln Memorial where we sat down to eat lunch overlooking the reflecting pool.

Gary "boycotted" the Martin Luther King Memorial because it was made in China (I think just because he was tired and didn't want to walk all the way over there and around the tidal basin!)...so he headed back up the mall towards the Capitol Building where we would meet up at the botanical gardens. I walked thru the Martin Luther King, Franklin D Roosevelt and Jefferson Memorials around the beautiful tidal basin where the cherry blossoms had just faded away except for one lone tree. It was a beautiful day and there were lots of people peddling around the basin in paddle boats, and a high school concert band playing on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. So glad I walked over to the Jefferson Memorial (which I had missed on each of my previous visits) - it is impressive.

On the way back up the mall, I walked by the Holocaust Museum (which I have toured on a previous visit), Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and the African American Art museum which was not crowded at all and well worth the visit! Then I met up with Gary at the National Botanical Gardens.

Again, we took lots of pictures, a few are posted below and more at this link.