August 6 – 12 Maine, Massachusetts and New York

We arrived in the lovely port city of Camden, ME.  I had been here years ago and spent only a few hours and it wasn’t enough.  I vowed to spent more time in this enchanting town and my wish came true! We dry-camped at the State Park and the weather was surprisingly nice;  we were bracing ourselves for a heatwave, but it turned out to be perfect, barely hitting 80 degrees and the humidity was keeping in check.  A thunderstorm rolled through that evening, pushing out the inversion that had been invading the coastline.  

The next day took the rig downtown and discovered that the parking spaces were not very accomodating for RVs – anywhere!  We wound up parking next to a church on Free St and Elm; there was a opportune curve on the street that accommodated us perfectly and we were within a respectable walking distance from town. 

We decided to breakfast at a spot that overlooked the harbor, marveling at the Clipper ships as they embarked on their morning excursions.  We wandered through the shops and happened upon a few galleries. The Small Wonder Gallery on the waterfront had some lovely nautical watercolors and prints that we added to our collection.  The Once at Tree shop had some fantastic woodworking, and other expertly curated pieces of art, and I was able to pick up a piece for one of my relatives.  These we had shipped to a friend since BigB can only take on so much.  I had visited this shop years ago and wondered if it was still there, and much to my delight it was. 

Camden, Maine

Camden is the essence of a New England setting complete with a fishing village and harbor. There were no vacancies anywhere and it’s understandable as to why.  There aren’t so many shops that you feel completely depleted by the afternoon.  In fact we found we had time on our hands so went back to the campsite and took a hike along the shoreline trail.  It doesn’t take you to a beach, but you can hike down to the rocks and boulders.  We sat down in the temperate afternoon breeze, gazing out to the Clipper ships in the distance, their sails shimmering in the sun.  A mist started to roll in, and I sat and meditated, listening to the incoming tide breaching the rocks, the salt air expanded my lungs and mind.  

A serene moment on the shore

We hiked back to the camp and had a nice fire and I broke out the s’mores once again; a guilty pleasure warranted under such circumstances.  The park grew dark and quiet and we slept like babies, bathed by the woods.  I love our occasional stops in campsite vs. RV parks – the latter being more like glorified parking lots in most cases. 

Our campsite at Camden State Park – yeah that is a neon palm tree!

Camden turned out to be everything I had hoped it would be and more; we couldn’t have asked for a more consummate visit – all the elements came together in perfect harmony.

We headed to Boston, bracing ourselves for the impending heat wave – we watched the thermometer rise to 100 degrees as the area was being blistered by record-breaking heat.   Thank god for air conditioning!  We were staying at the KOA in Middleboro, just outside of Boston, and were lucky to get a site in partial-shade.  

We opted to get a rental car to make it easier to get around Boston.  We landed on the waterfront and decided to do the Boston Tea Party Tour that turned out to be quite impressive including a replica of the actual ship used during the rebellion. I even threw tea overboard!  It’s fabulous to be able to experience our country’s history as we travel around the U.S. 

How liberating

We drove through Boston, checking out Fenway Park and later met up with some former co-workers of Bob’s for a nice meal. It turned out to be a pretty productive day despite the heat🥵

We headed out the next morning to visit with a friend, Janice Swanson, whom I hadn’t seen in 28 years and was vacationing on Sagamore Beach.  On the way we stopped by Plymouth as Bob is from…Plymouth, England and it was great checking out the Mayflower II and Plymouth Rock.  It was brutally hot and humidity pushing the temperature above 100 degree mark and I was glad to move on.  It really makes you feel like a slug – a really shriveled slug.

Plymouth Rock

We arrived at Janice’s charming beach retreat in Sagamore near Cape Cod. It was such a joy to see her and I was also greeted by another long time colleague, Mary Beth.  I worked with these gals back in the 80’s, when we were twenty-something’s during the software boom in Southern California.  It was a special time back in the day when Ashton-Tate was the fastest growing personal computer database company in the world; Boomers remember those days!  We were the top dogs along with Lotus and WordPerfect; later put out of their misery by – yep you got it – Microsoft.  We had front seats to a revolutionary time alongside the likes of Apple.  

We couldn’t have asked for a better setting!

We had parted ways but in the early 90’s I caught up with Janice in London on my way to Nepal; we hadn’t seen each other since; now 28 years later.  

We ate lunch and walked along a quintessential New England beachfront – it was hot but manageable with a cooling sea breeze and the surf bathing our feet. It was too bad we couldn’t have spent more time together but our schedules didn’t sync as much as we would have liked.  Still, it made for a great memory and we will always have a special bond.  

We don’t think about aging really until it catches up with you, and to see one another so many years on, it cultivates a certain level of gratefulness and respect that we have all struggled along through the years, making our transitions with as much grace as possible.  We joked about the shoulder pads from the 80’s and kicking our smoking habit.  Seeing some of her kids now grown added to the marvel.  

We bid a fond farewell, along with a Cape Cod bag and some napkins that I will cherish, and headed to Barnstable to the Cape Cod Brewery Harvest Host where we parked up for the night in their parking area.  They had a beer garden and we sat for a while, talking with a nice couple as the predicted thunderstorms rolled in, breaking the feverish heat that had been plaguing New England for days.  

We headed down through Rhode Island and Connecticut, pulling up to a lovely rest stop built from stone. The weather was perfect and we had tea in the shade.  We headed out for New York, bracing ourselves for the traffic.  Our stop is the Liberty Harbor RV Park in Jersey City right across the bay.  

I had been to New York a few years back as a contributor to a Rolling Stone Magazine article on the Children of Scientology (refer back to my about section on my website for further info), but hadn’t had a chance to check out all the sites. 

The next morning we took the Liberty Harbor ferry that dropped us off walking distance from the World Trade Center.  The WTC had created its own weather with cloud formations swooning around the top.  We had decided to take the Big Bus Tour to get around and headed for the Empire State Building. 

The mighty World Trade Center making its own weather!

We got off at Times Square amidst all the calamity and found a bite to eat.  We were now in the epicenter of the New York City vibe.  The New York crowds are a good precursor to those wanting to travel to Japan or China; there the crowds are so thick you don’t bother apologizing and just worm your way through the fray.  The tour of the Empire State Building is wonderfully impressive, displaying a full history of its construction along with the movies and a digital display of King Kong peeking through the windows which was really cool.  They really ham it up as part of the tour.  

We arrived at the observation tower and while crowded, it wasn’t that bad.  We got a fabo 360 view of the city, albeit from a terrifying height.  Art Deco permeates every aspect of the building and it’s too bad that this style has been left to the likes of history and nostalgia; a relic of a time and place where class and style were paramount.  I actually pine for those days – much like a character from “Midnight in Paris.”  Bob and I marveled at the detailing that culminates into this enduring icon.  

We left by way of the requisite gift shop and headed for the Chrysler Building.  Even though the heat wave had broken it was still warm and muggy.  When we got to the entrance we were told it was closed due to Covid🤬 We were certainly dismayed as this was a bucket list item. We could only marvel at the structure from afar.  We decided to take a break at Grand Central Station where we sat in awe at the ceiling depicting celestials and gods.  We had gelato and sorbet with iced lattes at the Italian cafe; there is a reason why you can’t find a Starbucks in Italy – like pizza, the Italians know when their craft is superior.  

Grand Central Station in all its glory

We headed back to the Wall Street District to check out the bull, only to discover there was a long line of tourists wanting to take pictures.  We did sneak in a selfie from the side and then called it a day. We took the ferry back to Liberty Harbor, fascinated by this form of commute that so many coming from New Jersey endure every day.  The river is teaming with yachts, ferries and jet skies; it’s a form of commerce I have not been that close to and immerses you into another aspect of the New York culture.  And the view is unbeatable as you pull away from the dock.  The landscape of New York is truly in a class all by itself, setting itself apart from the rest of the world, a maddening melting pot, teaming with diversity. 

I am now at an all time record on steps! 

We spent the evening winding down and washing off the mugginess of the day. We headed out the next morning to take the ferry back over and the find out way to Battery Park where we take another ferry to the Statue of Liberty.  It was a perfect morning in the 70’s and the humidity had dropped dramatically. We were really in for a treat.  When we docked we walked along the beautiful waterfront esplanade on and equally beautiful morning.  When we arrived at the Battery Park terminal we were greeted with the hordes of tourists such as ourselves waiting to board the ferry.  I had gotten the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty tickets packaged into our Big Bus Tour which came in handy and proved to be less of a hassle.  

We squirmed our way to the top deck for the best view and of course most everyone else had the same idea.  But we managed so the lovely lady as we cruised into the port of Liberty Island.  What an impressive site she is!!!!  We wandered around the base and then went to the museum where we were blown away by the digital displays of her initial conception and construction.  What an unbelievable feat and why the French are such great allies; it only reinforces my affinity for the French culture.  

The ultimate symbol of liberty – thank you France!

By the time we got something to eat, and when you factor in the long lines and general logistics it was already early afternoon.  We decided to not disembark on Ellis Island and go straight back to lower Manhattan to catch the Big Bus to Central Park.

We got off near 5th Avenue and walked by Radio City Music Hall and the famous Rockefeller Center where instead of a skating rink, it is now a roller skating rink for the summer. We then walked with the masses of shoppers along 5th Avenue where all the major players, Gucci, Ferragamo, Henry Winston, Dior etc. were all staking their claim; it reminded us a bit of Honolulu; while all the stores are along the main drag near Waikiki, in New York they are bigger and bolder as if saying “here I am,” and then the next one is saying “uh, uh, sister, Here I AM.”  

We walked through Central Park East, but didn’t get as immersed as we would have liked.  It would be nice to come back in the fall when the leaves are turning and spend some serious time in the park.  We got some soft scoop ice cream and decided for the sake of time to take the subway as the afternoon had pretty much slipped through our fingers; it’s cheap, and a visit to New York isn’t complete without a stint on the legendary New York Subway.  

We got off near the WTC; I get really choked up at the memorial.  I have pictures from my last visit so no need for any further representation here – it’s a must do, and when I look at the waterfalls cascading down the abyss I can only think of the tears that have been shed for all of those who have been lost from not only the horrific events of September 11, but for those who continue to defend our liberties. 

This day was a day about the importance of liberty and freedom. New York represents so many things; art, theater, architecture, hope – but the most enduring aspect of New York, at its very essence, is liberty.  The city displays this proudly, in an unsurpassing manner I have not felt anywhere else.  I forgive your maddening pace that I can only take in doses, because at your core, you are the apple that I desire a bigger bite of🗽