Friday, November 7, 2014


Though we live in the East during the fall months, it has been years since we have traveled to New England to see the fall colors.  This year we signed up with VBT for a bike trip to Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard in Early October.  Since this was a place we had never visited my husband found a bridge tournament in Sturbridge, MA the week before, so we made it a real vacation.

The colors of the leaves were beautiful and vibrant on the sunny day we traveled north, and I took many photos from the car as we barreled along the highways at high speed - not the best way!!

When we arrived at our hotel in Sturbridge we took a short walk to work out the kinks and found this lovely lake not far from where we were staying.

Having a free day before we planned to play bridge we drove to Lexington to see new friends who we had met the year before on a bike trip to Sicily.  They had a wonderful farm that has been in the family since 1884, and we found Jim at their "stand" fronted by this incredible array of pumpkins.

We wandered through the store with mouths watering at the beautiful fruit and vegetable there for purchase.  I wished I lived nearer because I knew I would never again just go to the grocery store!

Jim Wilson met us and gave us a tour of the "behind-the-scenes". Having already spied the case of pastries, all made on site I was hoping to see where they were made.

We did - in this exceptionally well equipped kitchen where this "Halloween House" was under construction.   I would have loved to be there to see it finished and on display.

Before going outside to see some of the fields and the displays for the Halloween Hay Ride for children, we passed through the green house filled with Poinsettias soon to be ready for market.  A wonderful experience andwonderful people who do so much for their community.

After a special lunch with Jim and Cindy Wilson we rode through Lexington before returning to
Sturbridge, and this statue in the center of the square exemplified the history or our country and the revolution that was fought here,

Back in Sturbridge we checked out the location for the bridge tournament the next morning, which was by the shore of this lovely lake.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Our first day in Cape Cod we were "blessed" with rain, so we decided, after moving into our motel, to drive to Provincetown,

 The rain brought out the colors of the trees so there were some advantages.

We had been told that the sand dunes at the end of the peninsula were large and on a good day you could take a jeep tour through them.  They were still beautiful from the road,

The main street of Provincetown was paved in brick, and the shops decorated for the fall Holiday.

There were all kinds of shops, restaurants and art galleries -

And window displays.

We also went to the town docks where the fishing fleet was base and enjoyed this statue of a humpback whale, the collection of colorful floats, and of course the working fishing boats.

Driving back "up-island" we stopped near dusk, at the Highland Light (also called the Cape Cod Light).  Built in 1857 it is the oldest and tallest of the many that were built over time to serve as warning beacons of the dangerous shoals off shore.

I loved the old weathered rail fence by the light and the marshes near-by


Since our bike trip was to begin in Chatham, we left our motel in Orleans and decided to see their fishing fleet before heading over to explore the new town.

We found the location, but no boats.  However it was a beautiful morning so we spent a bit of time wandering around the shoreline and the dock and too shallow inlet.

We stopped at a beach for a short walk and found it filled with the remains of horse shoe crabs of all sizes.  I couldn't resist putting a few of the smaller one in the car to take home.

We next stopped at a marina outside of Chatham on a lovely protected bay, with a passage to the sea.
Even though it was late in the season and many boat were already shrink-wrapped and up on racks, there were still plenty at their moorings in the water.

We moved on to Chatham and spent some time at the Fish Pier, which advertised a lot of activities for the summer crowds.

The commercial fishermen were loading their lobster traps onto their boats in preparation for the next trip to the Atlantic Ocean.

And the Harbor Seals played around and under the docks, safe from the Great White Sharks no doubt lurking in the open water beyond.

There was a small separate island just off the coast that added extra protection for the boats.

Before moving on to the town to locate our hotel for the next few days and to meet our VBT guides
and fellow riders, we drove  to the Chatham Light, quite a tourist stop even this time of year.

From there we took a long walk on the beach, not the white sand that we are used to on Long Beach Island, NJ but nevertheless with impressive dunes separating it from the higher land.  Even those are obviously been eaten away by the ever encroaching water.

There was quite a large sandbar just off shore that channeled boats into a narrow path - that I am sure at low tide could be treacherous.


Our first day of biking on Cape Cod (after a short ride the day before) was along the roads and bike path that follow the old Railroad Path, i.e. rails to trails. Since we got a late start ad were not as fast as the younger bikers I did not stop for photos, as much as I wanted.

That is except for this one time when the colors of the marsh beside the trail were irresistible.

We caught up with a lot of the group at the Salt Pond Visitor's Center  at Eastham, which had a short film (that we missed) and many displays and information about the ever changing Cape Cod National Seashore.

Before leaving I snapped this photo of Donna and Linda, new friends from North Carolina &
Rhode Island.

From there to went to see Nauset Light, no longer functioning, but immortalized on the Cape Cod Potato Chip bags.
Likewise, the "Three Sisters" no longer in service are on display a short distance from the beach.

The last stop before taking the van back to the Bradford Inn in Chatham was First Encounter Beach where history tells us the Pilgrims encountered the the first Native Indians on Dec 6th 1620. Though there was an exchange volley of bullets and arrows no one was hurt, but it prompted the Pilgrams to move on and set sail again, to land at Plymouth Harbor.
Before returning to Chatham there was a mandatory and wonderful stop at the "Sparrows Chocolate Shop" - a VERY SUCCESSFUL business and obviously an afternoon favorite of locals and visitors alike.

The next time we drove to Wood's Hole to board the ferry to Martha's Vineyard.  As we were leaving the dock I grabbed this shot of the water front.

It was very different than what awaited us on Martha's Vineyard where we landed.


Arriving on Martha's Vineyard at Vineyard Haven we met up with the van and our bikes.

Starting at Vineyard Haven we biked to Telegraph Hill to see the East Chop Lighthouse. It was built in 1869 by Captain Silas Daggett and other local seafarers, frustrated with their unsuccessful lobbies
to build a light there.  Congress ultimately approved purchase of the light in 1875 - and it was known as the "Chocolate Lighthouse" during the 100 years it was painted reddish-brown.

We went on to Oak Bluffs to see see the famed Gingerbread Cottages - listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

After lunch we took the van to our hotel, the Harbor View Haven and Resort at Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard first colonial settlement and county seat since 1642.  The stately, white Greek Revival colonial houses built by the whaling captains have been carefully maintained.  For the past 100 years, Edgartown has been one of the world's great yachting centers.

The following day, cycling the lovely bike paths, we passed this

pretty lake with swans. (photo by Connie).

We stopped for a view of the ocean on our way to the spectacular Aquinnah cliffs, part of the Wampanoag reservation land. These dramatically striated walls of red clay are the island's main attraction.  (unfortunately I lost those pictures!)

The Aquinna Lighthouse, or Gay Head Light (Connie's photo) is perched at the top of the cliffs and is a working beacon that send an alternating white and red light in the night.

The historic fishing village of Menemsha, is home to families who have been in the fishing industry for generations.  It is also the town that Hollywood used in the movie Jaws.

There we enjoyed a delicious lobster roll for lunch at the Menemsha Fist Market, and had time to wander around the waterfront.  (Above photos are all provided by Connie Mccallum)

A stop at the Morning Glory Farm was the perfect opportunity for a group photo.