New England Fall Foilage

Greetings everyone, wow, its been awhile since I’ve posted a blog.  Life has certainly been…well life!  Since my wife and I took the time to enjoy each other on a well deserved vacation to New England; I thought I’d take the time to share with you the amazing scenery New Hampshire and Vermont has to offer.

Neither my New_England_Vacation_2015-102wife nor I had been to either of these states but we’d heard the fall foliage was spectacular.  Our goal was to make a road trip out of it and the plan simple – fly into Boston, rent a car, drive, sleep, and drive some more.  Where, we didn’t know, but that’s the way we wanted it!  You see, every road trip we’ve ever taken has had a timeline attached to it (A to B by this time, which mean X amount of hours per day, you get the idea).  As the scheduled departure approached we quickly realized we were planning our trip over a 3 day holiday weekend.  We did a quick search for lodging…sure enough every hotel was completely sold out.  Sleep in the car we thought…lets get the ultimate road trip experience.  Great idea, yet completely dependent upon the car the rental car agency decided to give us.  Insert plan C, bed and breakfasts.  After a fair amount of screen time we found one B&B that had an opening (due to a last minute cancellation mind you).

 

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Farm life

Windy Hill Bed and Breakfast, a working farm outside Jackson, NH.  A diamond in the rough, pun intended! There was a two night minimum, we had no choice but to call this “Home Base” and go from there.  Our wish list:  Mount Washington, waterfalls, Castle in the Clouds, covered bridges, the Kancamagus Scenic byway and of course, a place to watch the Packers on Sunday (thank you honey).  Accomplishing all things on the wish list…to be determined!

Off we went.  Landed in Boston, got the rental car (turn out they gave us a Jeep Grand Cherokee, we could have slept in the car, oh well) and immediately hit our first hurdle…the airport exit.  After a few trips around the airport property, mission accomplished!  Nothing could stop us now.  We drove up the coast, avoiding freeways if at all possible (our goal the entire trip) to Portsmouth, NH.  I could go through our entire route/vacation (shot me an email if you wish, I’d be happy to go through it) but I’ll let the pictures do the talking.  (Click on the image for a slideshow of images from the trip)  These two tiny states pack a powerful punch of topography, scenery, nature, history and of course Fall Foliage.  Enjoy and thanks for reading.

Click on the image for a slideshow.

Click on the image for a slideshow.

 

Leprechauns and Landscapes…the Finale!!

At last…we are here, I hope you have enjoyed the journey thus far, I know I’ve enjoyed having you in the back seat.  Hop in for one last ride, and unfortunately one last piece of bacon.

Ireland3-34Patrick was yet again ready for us with a nice breakfast.  As before, we poked his brain for local knowledge and advice.  His advice…drive past the sign that says “No cars beyond this point” in the Gap of Dunloe. The Gap of Dunloe, as you will recall from my previous posts, is a rather isolated mountain gap with very narrow roads (as evidenced in the pictures!). The roads are meant for locals who own property out that way (talk about prime real estate!), and in the summer during tourist season, the roads are impassable unless you rent a pony and trap or hike. Being the middle of October, Patrick said we’d be lucky to see more than a few cars.  Thus, once we reached that fateful sign, we drove on like we knew what we were doing!  Thankfully, Patrick was spot on, and we only saw a handful of cars that unsurprisingly, handled the blind curves and tight shoulders with ease and speed.  The road has a lot of areas where you can pull to the side and let traffic by with mere inches to spare.  The road has no name, its simply named the Gap of Dunloe.  It twists and winds (as you’ll see) between the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks Mountain (to the west) and Purple Mountain (to the east).  It’s about 7 miles from north to south. Within it are five lakes: Coosaun Lough, Black Lake, Cushnavally Lake, Auger Lake, and Black Lough (north to south). These lakes are connected by the River Loe. Between the first two lakes is an old arch bridge called the ‘Wishing Bridge’ so named because it is said that wishes made while upon it are destined to come true…only wish (pun intended) I had know that while I was there.

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Once through the “Gap” the roads connects with R568 abd N71.  Just pass Lake Looscaunagh is Ladies View, a celebrated panorama of Killarney’s lakes.  The name stems from the admiration of the view given by Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting during their 1861 visit.  As one would expect, there is pub to replenish your “gas tank” and your stomach.

Muckross HouseSince my wife loves waterfalls, naturally our next stop was the Torc Waterfall.  The Owengarriff River tumbles nearly 60 feet off the base of Torc Mountain to reach its destination, Muckross Lake.  Along the lake shore sits the Muckross House.  The Muckross House is a mansion with sixty-five rooms built in 1843.  It was bought by a wealthy Californian miner as a wedding gift for his daughter and her husband and later presented to the State in 1932 in memory of said daughter – Killarney National Park thus was formed.  The house, gardens and traditional farms are all free and open to the public, with guided tours of the house’s rooms available for a small fee. The front entryway has a plethora of mounted trophy heads, including an enormous rack of antlers from the Irish Elk (extinct), found preserved in a local bog.

At this point we had some time for a few last minute shops and then we hit the road back to Dublin.  I’ll spare you the 4 hour drive and get to the good stuff – the pictures (click on the image below for the final Ireland gallery)!  Before I do that however, I’d like to thanks for joining me on this trip.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the dialog and more importantly the photos.

Cheers!

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Click image for the final Ireland gallery