Friday, November 28, 2014

Plymouth Rock

"Here is a stone  of which the feet of a few outcasts pressed for an instant, and the stone becomes famous: it is treasured by a great nation; it's very dust is treasured as a relic."   Alexis De Toqueville, 1835

The numbers 1620 are carved into it. It has been moved more than a few times.Only one-third of it's original size, it has broken and split many times. It's final resting spot is under a canopy on the water. For a rock, it's pretty darned famous. Plymouth Rock is supposedly where the first religious freedom seekers from Europe set foot into the New World of the United States. 

For Americans, it is a symbol of the beginning of our nation. Legend has it that those first Pilgrims arrived  on The Mayflower and set foot on this rock. Then to celebrate the first harvest in their new land, they had a great feast to celebrate their new found freedom. Thanksgiving.

The rock was moved from the waterfront to the town square of Plymouth in 1774 as a symbol of liberty for  the 13 Colonies who were ready to gain independence. When it was placed in the wagon to be moved, it split. It was moved again in the 1830's to it's place back on the waterfront where it remains to this day. Part of Pilgrim Memorial State Park, run by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you can visit not only Plymouth Rock but also a replica of the Mayflower, The Mayflower II.. 

Happy Thanksgiving from The Unpaved Road! If you're celebrating tomorrow, I hope you have the happiest of holidays!

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Thursday, November 20, 2014


I had never been to Denver before until last year, and now I have been twice. My son moved there a year ago and we have been able to visit at Christmas time and now this past fall. Totally different city each time of course, due to the weather. The first visit we went to the Christmas Market, the ice skating rink, ate dinner and did a little shopping at the 16th Street Mall. In a beautiful snowfall with really large, fluffy flakes. And the above picture shows it this past fall. Gorgeous sunny day, didn't need a coat, lots of people outside.....and no snow.

Our second visit to Denver we rambled down the 16th Street Mall again - this time we didn't do any shopping. Just enjoyed the sunshine and some piano playing. Did you know Denver has pianos all down the 16th Street Mall for your playing and listening enjoyment? They do! And they have decorated bulls all over the city, too. We stopped for a drink at a Champagne Bar at Larimer Square. (I don't know why we didn't do Larimer Square at Christmas - I'm sure it looks beautiful all lit up - but I'm guessing we ran out of time.) Larimer Square is shops and restaurants with a couple outdoor cafes. A really cute area of the city.

I've been obsessed with the big blue bear looking into the Denver Convention Center since I first heard about it. I don't know why. And we didn't get a chance to see it on our first visit so everyone humored me and walked over to see it. It's called "I See What You Mean" and I even heard that The Ladies Fancywork Society of Denver created a huge blue crocheted ball to shackle to the bear as another art installation. Which was promptly stolen.

Next we headed to Wynkoop Brewery which was the first craft brewery in Denver. There's outdoor seating and an upstairs pool table. Beer. Food. But we didn't eat as we were headed to the Cherry Cricket in the Cherry Creek area for some of Denver's best burgers. Only healthy eating when on vacation.

A fun day in Denver. And I still haven't made it to The Tattered Cover Bookstore, the newly revamped Union Station, the Denver Mint or a Rockies Game. Always more to see and do.

We did however make it to Snooze....a breakfast, lunch and brunch place made famous by a MTV Real World cast who apparently ate there all the time while filming. I don't know about that but I can easily say that their Pineapple Upside-Down Pancakes were out of this world!

From the menu:" Buttermilk pancakes with  carmelized pineapple chunks, housemade vanilla creme anglaise and cinnamon butter." Oh my, my! One of the best pancakes ever! If you go: There are four Denver locations. They do not take reservations. Be prepared for a long wait. We went around 11am on a weekday morning and had a 30 minute wait so weekends must be a bear.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Shenandoah National Park

So every time we drove my oldest daughter off to college we would pass Shenandoah National Park and it's beautiful mountains. And I would always say " We should go to Shenandoah. Next time let's stop at Shenandoah". But we never did. Until this fall. Our good friends called and said "Let's meet at Shenandoah and drive Skyline Drive". And I'm so glad they did.

We started at the Southern end of Skyline Drive - which is 104 miles long and takes about 3 hours to drive. The fall color was spectacular.

The further north we drove, the bigger the crowds. Skyline Drive is one of the most popular leaf peeping spots on the East Coast and there were plenty of people to prove it. In fact, parking at Skyland Lodge was almost nonexistent and people were making their own spots up everywhere.

What a beautiful drive - any time of year! But certainly in the fall. The color was great, the views were breathtaking and around every curve we just kept saying "How could it be any more beautiful?".I'm so glad we were able to spend a weekend enjoying the fall color of Skyline Drive- and now Mr. UR doesn't have to hear me make plans to visit anymore. Done.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Road to Nowhere

 You can do alot of things in Juneau, Alaska that you can do in the lower 48. You can shop at a discount store, live in a residential neighborhood or go out to eat. But one thing you can't do in Alaska's capital city is get there by car. Juneau is only reachable by plane or boat. There is, however, a road that goes in and out of Juneau - The Glacier Highway. Or The Road to Nowhere, which is  Alaska's State Route 7 that  heads out of Juneau ending near Bridget Point State Park .

But a beautiful Road to Nowhere it is. We rented a car for the day - a beautiful Alaska summer day - and headed out of Juneau, past the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal. We decided to drive the road, seeing the sights, and possibly end with a hike.

The first thing we came upon was construction. Yep, the two  lane Road to Nowhere, in the middle of nowhere, had construction going on. The two lane road was down to one- with a long enough wait to shut the car off. But the best construction wait ever - you couldn't beat the scenery while you waited. And take a few photo.

When we arrived at the end of the road, we found people camping at Point Bridget State Park and a hiking trail. The trail had a large sign at the beginning warning of bears - and since I hadn't prepared much for the hike- decided to skip this one. And it was time to head back.

We stopped at the  Shrine of St. Therese, part of the Catholic Diocese of Juneau, overlooking  the Lynn Canal. It was built in the 1930's,and was  intended to be a log chapel, but was built of beach stone from the area. It is open daily to people of all faiths. We took a walk around the grounds and inside the chapel. What  a beautiful and very peaceful place.

This eagle was hanging out on the water - probably because these fish were there also.

We stopped for a bite to eat at the very popular Hot Bite, voted one of the best seafood dives by Coastal Living magazine. Be prepared for long lines and delicious milkshakes. (Try the nutella flavor!) It sits in pretty Auke Bay, overlooking all the fishing boats, and has outdoor seating.

What a fun day!

Click HERE to go see Keryn's beautiful photos of the Petrified Forest at walkingontravels!