East Coast AdVANture 2018

Maine-New Hampshire-Vermont-New York

Our first long road trip in our new van was seriously, so awesome. We are truly grateful with how our van has turned out so far and feel relieved that all of our hardwork and dedication is paying off. 20181014_073521.jpg

Trip Highlights:
1. Our Van, of course!
2. Coming INCHES to hitting a deer, but missing it. Our bodies felt like jell-o afterward. Thankful for a stubbed nosed van!
3. Seeing a coyote, bald eagle, deer and moose poop (which is basically like seeing a moose….right?)
4. Having the dogs!
5. Not paying for lodging one. single. night. We tried and we wanted to, but not many campgrounds were open and Wal-Mart is free!
6. Still having access to showers even without staying a campground (we got to use some at a few parks we went to!)
7. Spending less than $500 on the entire trip.
8. Spending a night with relatives at a cabin in Vermont.
9. Our last minute purchase of a portable toilet for inside the van. Gosh, I didn’t like the idea at first, but boy was it handy.
10. All the waterfalls!

No So Highlights:

1. Very little cell phone service.
2. No Speedway Gas Stations (we are obsessed with everything the offer.)
3.  Our GPS taking us the most ridiculous, random ways to get places.
4. Missing cool hikes we wanted to do.
5. No Moose!

We left on a Thursday and it was only supposed to take us about 14 hours to make it to our first destination in Maine…..HA! It took us two days. We used to be the type of travellers who would drive with minimal stops because we. needed. to. get. there. Now, we try to give ourselves enough time to enjoy the drive and not let it be the dreaded part of the trip. While we were driving through New York, we passed a sign that said Watkins Glen. I remember reading about a place with this name on Pinterest and had Liz look it up quickly so we could decide if it was something we wanted to make into a pit stop. Boy, am I glad we checked it out because it was definitely a highlight of the trip and a great way to get our energy rolling for the rest of the time!

On our way to Watkins Glen, we passed a HUGE waterfall just on the side of the road.

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Road side waterfall in Montour Falls.

Totally unexpected for us, but totally A W E S O M E. It was in a place called Montour Falls.

Once we got to Watkins Glen, we were amazed. The entire time we were walking through the natural gorge, I kept saying, “I can’t believe stuff like this exists!” or “I wonder what it was like to be the first person to discover this!” Nature truly astounds me! Water is a powerful force and the way it can carve through layers of rock is unreal. We walked through the gorge and we could see the layers of rock representing so many years of this wonder being made.

I mean, it felt like we were in the middle of Hobbit land, honestly.

After we left there, I had noticed a sign that said “FALLS” with a small camera symbol on it and I wanted to just see what it was…boy, am I glad we did! We just assumed it would be a small, cool waterfall. We drove down this small residential road and almost thought that it didn’t exist until we looked to our right and saw this…

It was SO huge and SO beautiful! This was in people’s backyards. Can you imagine this in your backyard? It’d be incredible!

After that, we continued our trek to Screw Auger Falls in Maine. I had done a lot of research online for Maine’s waterfalls because we L O V E them. They’re so powerful and impressive. I read that Screw Auger Falls was on Maine’s top waterfalls list, so I knew that we needed to go there! I must say, although it was cool to walk along the river, on the boulders and through the woods, I was a little disappointed in this attraction.

When we got to the falls “viewing point”, we stood at the fenced guardrail at the edge of the cliff and all we could see were small trees and bushes that were growing right behind the fence. You couldn’t even see the falls! The only way to get a picture of the falls (which I later realized was the photo I had seen online) was to go down a little bit, step carefully behind the fence and be where you’re not supposed to be.

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Standing on the ledge where we weren’t supposed to be!

We only spent a little bit of time here before we moved on!

We then started our drive to our next destination! It was again, another waterfall hike. We didn’t take into account that the sun would be setting around 6/6:30pm and by the time we arrived there, it was too dark to take a 2 mile hike alone in the woods. We were in the middle of no where, no cell phone service and no one around. We really wanted to do this hike so we said if we can sleep somewhere near by and come back, we will do it in the morning. With no cell service, we weren’t able to search any places to stay, so we decided to say at the trailhead (where we weren’t supposed to)! I was worried about crooked cops or wandering travellers almost all night, but we thankfully woke up safe and sound! Once we woke up and saw that no one else was on the hike, we didn’t feel safe taking the 2 mile trek into bear country with no other hikers. So we bit the bullet and drove to our next spot! Sometimes stuff like this happens and you just have to continue on when you don’t feel comfortable.

We drove to Moosehead Lake, which is where I hoped we would 100% get our shot at seeing moose! We stopped at Lily Bay State Park and when we began our short walk, we saw moose poop all over the beach (I wish we would have saw the Tirdy Works lady out there collecting her goods!), yet no sighting of Moose. I had researched a place where the locals said we would definitely see moose, no doubt. So we hopped in the van and drove where the GPS said we were to go….we ended up on a random side road/two track in the middle of no where not anywhere near the place I read about. We ended up taking a wrong turn! At this point, we didn’t want to go backward so yet again…we continued on.

Our next stop was to drive to a road that drove through Baxter State Park where we thought we would see a lot of amazing views and wildlife. Dogs aren’t allowed at Baxter, so we knew that we wouldn’t be able to explore inside the park. The trip was only supposed to take 1.5 hrs to drive, but little did we know that the entire trip was along a dirt road, with 6″ tall chatter bumps, huge rocks in middle of the road and big potholes! The. Entire. Way. The views weren’t anything crazy either….it just felt like any random dirt road.

The one and only view we had is of what we drove that entire way for, Mt. Katahdin.

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It was huge and spectacular and after a 4 hour drive that was only supposed to take 1.5, I’d say it was worth it! We drove that far, never breaking 20 mph, to take a few photos of this popular mountain.

The next day we drove to Acadia National Park. I couldn’t wait to explore this park! It was so charming! We walked the cliffs on the ocean, felt the cool, salty breeze of the water and the pups L O V E D hiking this place! Along one path we hiked, we were able to go out on little walk outs on to the huge cliffs and boulders and watch the waves crash against the rock.

Our hike around Jordan Pond was rainy and foggy, but still incredibly appealing. The hike around the entire pond was a little over 3 miles. We only hiked some of the trail before it became too dark and we were pretty wet from the rain.

But we got some pretty great photos of the pond and decided we were definitely coming back in the morning to make a trek along the other half of the pond!

Here are the stunning and colorful photos of the same pond the next day!

After this long hike, we drove by a Lobster Pound and got the highly talked about Lobster Roll!

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You guys, this food is expensive! We paid $30 for a lobster roll and fries (that we split). It wasn’t my favorite, could’ve used more flavor, BUT we tried it and can say we have had one.

After lunch we headed to a few other hikes that took us back out to the coast where we walked along boulders and cliffs. It felt so freeing to be out there, with the ocean breeze and not a care in the world. The dogs, once again, loved every part of the hike!

Once we finished our two days at Acadia, we decided that we would stop at some places along our drive back home. First stop, White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. Man, we are so glad we made the decision to drive back through this place because it is seriously, unbelievably gorgeous. We are suckers for mountains, rivers and waterfalls and White Mountain is FULL of all of these! We drove the Kancamagus Hwy which is a popular scenic route that is a good start to a days loop around the entire National Forest.

The next day we were planning on meeting up with Liz’s Aunt Barb and Uncle Garry who were also vacationing in Vermont! We wanted to explore some of Green Mountain National Forest on our way there before we cozied in for the night with them. I bet you’ll never guess what we set out to see….

In the afternoon we drove to the cabin that our family was staying at and had such a great time! We were able to bond over the highs and lows of both of our trips and laughed 20181019_100502almost the entire time. We spent the night playing games and enjoying home cooked meals! Took a break from good ole spaghettios and hotdogs. 😉

We left in the morning and began our trip back home. We were sad to be leaving, but couldn’t wait to get back to states that had Speedway Gas Stations! We were craving their cafe tornados and their yummy frappe drinks!

On the way through New York Liz had found two places that looked incredible and one place, Letchworth State Park was voted to be the #1 state park in the US, so we knew we needed to pay a visit. To me, it seemed like baby Niagra Falls. Even though I’ve never been, I just assume that it’d be very similar! We got there at dusk and knew that we wouldn’t be able to see everything that this park had to offer. SO, naturally, we drove to the nearest Wal-Mart and woke up early to go back!

Our next and last hiking stop until we fully headed home was to the Eternal Flame Falls in New York. It is a really cool and unique fall that has natural gas spewing out of some of the crevices. You can definitely smell it too! Someone had discovered this and put a flame into a small cubby on the waterfall wall and it stayed lit! The flame is usually always lit, but other hikers said to bring a lighter just in case it was out. Thankfully, it was lit for us! Too cool!

Our last and final stop was a pit stop along Lake Erie. This was just to get our legs moving and to be done sitting after a few hours of driving. It was raining, but we saw a couple waterfalls off the cliffs and of course, we wanted to see them. This small walk gave us some hilarious memories (including me falling and tripping over a stream I was trying to cross!). It was foggy, rainy, but really secluded!

Overall, we had a seriously incredible trip and we are grateful to be able to take a lengthy vacation like this one! Every single place we paid a visit to was beautiful and I can honestly say that there are parts of that trip that I will never forget and we will refer back to for laughs and inside jokes!

If you’re still reading this, you’re a champ because this is one long frickin’ post! 😉

 

 

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