Winter in California – #30

Last December, I found myself in Texas wondering where to spend the winter.  I could go southeast to Florida, or I could just go home to California.  Looking at a map, the west coast didn’t look much farther than Florida, so I headed west. 

Map (2)

I spent awhile in The Lone Star State, seeing former California friends and visiting a cousin I knew about but never met.  Evelyn’s dad and my grandmother were brother and sister. 

Cousins

Driving west across Texas, I came across the National Center for Illustrated Children’s Literature in Abilene.  For a former school librarian, this was like Disneyland.  I was able to see original works of art that had been published in familiar children’s books. This center hosts notable children’s book illustrators a few times a year. 

In Midland, I stopped to see the childhood home of President George W. Bush.  That evening I camped in Monahans State Park which is surrounded by sand dunes. 

It was kind of exciting to reach I-10, even though I was still several days away from home.  I-10 is a familiar California freeway.

In Arizona, I stayed in Benson and visited Tombstone, an interesting wild west town.  Now I know more about the Shootout at the OK Corral.

My niece & family hosted me for a few days in Tucson.  It’s always fun hanging out with Kim, Harrison and their girls.    Nieces

Ah… now I was back on familiar roads and enjoyed driving west on I-8.  On December 20, I pulled into a campground east of San Diego. My calculations showed that I had driven 17,000 miles since leaving California in July, crossed 31 states and made two trips into Canada. 

A few days later, I was in Riverside celebrating Christmas Eve with family and good friends.

Something I missed on my adventures was driving in familiar cities on familiar streets.  It was really nice being on streets and freeways I knew.  I could put the GPS away for awhile.  I was hoping for typical warm weather and sunny days in Southern California.  However, this was one of the coldest and wettest winters California has ever experienced. 

I loved connecting with friends and family.  My kids and I celebrated a birthday and attended a play together.  One week, I think I had coffee, lunch, dinner or yogurt with someone every single day!

 LHH

It was great being back in my home church for a few weeks.  This was also a good time to get my car serviced, arrange for new eyeglasses and see my tax guy. 

The trailer needed maintenance, so I left it at the dealer for a week.  BFF Angela (See #27 – Lucy & Ethel) asked if I would help her display at a trade show.  At the end of January, we drove to Las Vegas and set up a booth for her company, Classy BottleToppers (classybottletoppers.com).   We learned a lot, made some sales and connected with other entrepreneurs who are successfully marketing their products.  On our last evening there, we went to the Cirque du Soleil production of The Beatles LOVE.  

Back in Southern California, it rained and rained and rained.  One afternoon, ducks were swimming through my campsite! Ducks

Spring slowly returned to the Southland.  I enjoyed hiking and seeing wildflowers in Palm Springs.  One Saturday, the ladies from my church visited Shields Date Gardens and I was able to join them.

My daughter and I went to a bridal shower for a young cousin and a few weeks later, our family was at her beautiful outdoor wedding. Wedding

Cousin Millie & Rob took me to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve to see the amazing poppy bloom this year.  While there, I had a dent on my car fixed, thanks to a good friend of Rob’s. 

 I also got to visit my oldest first cousin, Richard, age 93, who passed away just a few weeks later.

Richard

When April arrived, I knew it was time to get back out on the road.  I wanted to allow plenty of time to travel to Waxahachie, Texas for a women’s camping event.

My winter in California wasn’t always sunny & warm, but it warmed my heart to be there with people I love.   red-heart

Punxsutawney Phil and other Pennylvania Peculiarities – #29

Every year on February 2nd, a groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania makes an appearance (or not) to predict the weather for the next 6 weeks.  In October, I was camping a few miles from Punxsutawney and decided to see where Phil, the groundhog, hangs out. 

punxsutawney sign

It was surprising to see the influence that Groundhog Day has over this quaint town.  I saw Groundhog Lanes, Groundhog Plaza, Groundhog Lube and Oil, and many other businesses with Groundhog in their names. 

All around town were these cute figures of groundhogs representing whatever business they were planted next to.  My favorite was the US Postal Service groundhog.

A few miles away is Gobbler’s Knob, the actual site of annual Groundhog Day festivities.   It was deserted the Sunday afternoon I visited. 

In fact, I went right up on the platform and looked into Punxsutawney Phil’s house.  When Groundhog Day events make the news on February 2nd, I’ll know exactly where they take place!

What is a groundhog, anyway?  It’s also known as a woodchuck and is a member of the squirrel family.  German immigrants brought the groundhog story and tradition with them when they came to America.

Leaving Gobbler’s Knob, I was soon in Amish country, as evidenced by this sign.   I saw a buggy up ahead of me on the narrow, curving road.  There was an endless double yellow line which meant I couldn’t pass.  So I slowed down to a horse trot and enjoyed the scenery until there was a place to go around the buggy carrying a young Amish couple.

buggy sign

Driving around this part of Pennsylvania, I scanned the area radio stations.  That’s how I stumbled onto WKHB, AM 620 in Pittsburgh and Frank Powaski’s Polka Festival.  It was kinda fun listening to upbeat polka music while meandering the backroads.  

polka dance

Arriving back at my campground, I thought about having some ground hog (a hot dog) but decided that a bowl of chili on a rainy fall day sounded better.

 

 

Sunday Mornings – #28

Over the last several months, I have had the privilege of attending different churches with friends and relatives as well as by myself.  Some churches were huge (Hot Springs, Arkansas) and some had fewer than 30 people (Eagle Point, Oregon). 

Friends in Montana took me to the “Bluegrass” worship service.  Songs were accompanied by banjo, guitar and fiddle.

In Minnesota, I visited Paul and Janice’s Lutheran church.  I loved the liturgy and hymns accompanied by a pipe organ.

While visiting my nephew’s family in Missouri, I got to see my 16-year old great nephew play in the church orchestra.

Massachusetts had some really old churches.  I attended a Congregational Church near my campground that was established in 1703.  Their building dates from 1837.  

Near Sturbridge, Massachusetts, I worshiped with a much newer congregation that had only contemporary music.  On the way in, I met another Lorraine who invited me to sit with her. We found much in common besides our names!

Quaboag

In Dubois, Pennsylvania, I was very happy to attend the church of Pastor Mark who I had known in California.  He is not only the pastor, but also administrator of the Christian school affiliated with the church.  It was great sharing a meal and renewing friendship with Mark, Deb and their family.

In another part of Pennsylvania, I decided to attend Calvary Chapel of Lebanon.  This church was in a stately brick building that had been a Catholic school.  It was interesting to see a few women with head coverings, and it made me wonder if maybe they had a Mennonite background.  I was in Amish and Mennonite farm country, after all.

In the Calvary Chapel I visited near Richmond, Virginia,  several men wore suits and ties, including the pastor. The church met in what looked like a former shopping center.  The music for this service was hymns only, accompanied by guitars.

CC

On a November Sunday at Bridgepoint church in Gloucester, Virginia, the singing started out with “You Make Me Brave”. I had heard it on the radio but never paid much attention to it.  Seeing the words up on the screen kind of got to me and I had trouble getting through the song. 

For You make me brave
It’s You who make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
It’s You who make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises You made

People have told me I’m brave, but really, I’m not… just crazy adventurous, I guess.  Christmas decorations were beginning to go up around this part of Virginia.  I wasn’t feeling very brave that Sunday in rainy cold weather, with trailer water heater troubles. I looked up the song on YouTube later and played it about 10 times.  It’s my new favorite.

In North Carolina, I attended a church that was established in 1793. I was in tobacco country.  A few folks lit up as soon as they left the church building.

Martin Luther King once commented:  “… the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning”.  Sadly, I found that to be true as I traveled farther south.  

The churches I chose to visit were pretty much the same in format, but with regional differences.  It was wonderful being able to worship with people all over the US in many different settings.  I always left filled up and glad I went.  Folks were friendly and welcoming.  Several times, I was invited to stay for coffee and fellowship following the service.   It’s encouraging to me to know the Church is alive and well in our country.

Steeple

 

 

Lucy and Ethel – #27

Angela is the sister God gave me when I was all grown up.  We have been best friends for over 35 years.  Our husbands taught together at two Christian schools.  We were next door neighbors for 14 years and our kids all played together.

Kinneys Fritches 1989

We call ourselves Lucy and Ethel because of the crazy adventures we’ve taken together. A little over a year ago, Angie went with me to the RV Show in Pomona when I was starting to look at travel trailers.

RV Show

Recently, she flew to NC and stayed with me for a week.

 

Our first stop was at the home of Angela’s cousin, Danny near Canton, NC.  We parked the trailer at his home for a few nights and enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with his family.

Danny lives on property that Angela’s great grandfather, a Confederate soldier, obtained after the Civil War.  There are still some old buildings on the site of the original homestead.  Nearby is a cemetery where Angela’s great grandparents are laid to rest.

One day we toured The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, the largest privately owned home in the US.  Built in 1895, it was elaborately decorated for Christmas. 

Later, we drove to The Grove Park Inn where we had been told there was a National Gingerbread House Competition.  As we pulled up near the parking lot, a woman was stopping each car and speaking to the driver.  I told her we wanted to see the gingerbread houses.  She said we had to have dinner reservations at the hotel in order to see the houses, and that there was no parking available.  We pulled into the parking lot to turn around and Angie said something about trying to get in anyway.   Ahead of us was a friendly-looking parking lot attendant.  We asked him about the gingerbread houses, and he informed us that we could park in the multi-story hotel parking structure, so we did!  We made our way up to the 8th floor, got off the elevator and found ourselves in a hotel service corridor.  We didn’t know where to go, but straight ahead of us was a door marked STAFF ONLY. Staff onlySo of course, Angie opened it and we went right in.  Suddenly we were in the busy hotel kitchen!  We got some funny looks from the staff but just kept walking until we came out into a large banquet room filled with guests enjoying the holiday buffet. 

Soon we saw the first of several displays of gingerbread houses that were placed throughout the hotel.  The entries must be completely edible, except for the base, and 75% has to be gingerbread.  They can be any shape, not just houses.

After viewing several displays and watching a video about the winning entry (Gearing Up for Christmas with the pink racer), we settled into a couple of rocking chairs on an upper floor to watch the sunset. 

I told Angie I was NOT going back through the kitchen, and eventually we found a legitimate way back to the parking garage! 

A few days later we stayed with Angie’s former co-worker who retired and moved to Tennessee last year.  We moved into Judy’s house for a couple days.  It was nice to sleep in real beds, enjoy plenty of hot water and watch Hallmark Christmas movies.  Judy took us all around her beautiful lakeside community.  We saw deer in her back yard, and she fed us like royalty.  The day we left, there was a light dusting of snow in the morning, but the roads were clear as we made our way to Nashville.

After setting up in our campground, we drove around the grounds of The Grand Ole Opry.   Stopping at Will Call, we picked up our tickets for the next day’s Backstage Tour.  The Opry gift shop was filled with all things country music.

Later we followed Guy Fieri’s recommendation and ate at Martin’s BBQ Joint for delicious, genuine Southern Bar-B-Que!

The next morning, I discovered that my outside water hose had frozen in the 24 degree temperature overnight.  It was hard getting the frozen hose off the frozen faucet with my frozen fingers and then hitching up the trailer.  I was very glad we had good heat inside so I could thaw out.  While Angie was getting ready, I said, “We need propane.  I’m going to go up to the camp store and get some.”   So, completely forgetting that I had already hooked up the trailer, I pulled out of the site and drove to propane location.  One of the campground workers ran toward my car, waving his arms and said, “You’re dragging a cord.”  I looked out, saw my trailer behind me (!) and my electrical cord bouncing along.  I stopped the car, rushed back to the trailer and discovered Angie laughing uncontrollably.  She had just rescued my coffee maker and saved it from crashing to the floor.  Oh my.  It was a total rookie mistake and could have been a lot worse.  After I got the propane, we went back to the campsite, hooked to the electricity again and finished getting ourselves ready for the day.  Embarrassing. 

Despite the crazy beginning to our day, we enjoyed the Backstage Tour of The Grand Ole Opry and lunch afterward at the nearby Opry Mills Mall.  I have to admit that I don’t know much about country music.  The tour guide kept mentioning names of performers that everyone else recognized.  I just smiled and nodded.  

Grand Ole Opry

That afternoon we drove to Memphis and again camped in temperatures that dipped below freezing at night.  This time, I didn’t hook up the water hose!  The next morning, we drove to Elvis’ Graceland.  His home is pretty much the way it was when he died over 40 years ago and contains lots of interesting memorabilia and facts about his life.  A separate building houses some of his cars and costumes.

We ate at Gladys’ Diner, named for Elvis’ mom.  A feature on their menu is the Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana sandwich, a favorite of Elvis.

Later that day, we drove to Little Rock and settled in to an RV park along the Arkansas River.   At a Kohl’s store, Angie bought a top to wear on the plane ride home.  Many of her clothes have sparkles or sequins, and when she flew to North Carolina the week before, she set off a bunch of alarms at the airport TSA checkpoint!

Jeans sparkle

The next morning, we hugged goodbye at the Little Rock airport.  What a wonderful gift to have my BFF with me for a week and another Lucy and Ethel adventure to remember!

lucyandethel

 

 

 

 

My New Hampshire Blakes – #26

Hampton, New Hampshire is a beach town.   

Hampton Beach NH

Hampton is where my first Blake ancestors from England settled.  Jasper Blake arrived in the area sometime around 1643.  I was born with the name Blake and am ten generations down from Jasper.  My curiosity led me to find out where the early Blakes forged a life on this continent.    

Hampton NH map

My search took me to the Hampton Historical Society located in the Tuck Museum of Hampton History.

A staff member greeted me warmly and asked how she could be of help.  I told her I was a Blake descendant and asked for any information on early Blakes in the area.  She knew about Jasper Blake and started me out with a large red book.

Jasper Blake book

There was verification of the same lines of descent in this volume that had been passed down to me through my family.  Good to know it was documented by others. 

Across the street from the Tuck Museum is Founders Park (dedicated in 1925) with stone monuments to the area’s first settlers.  Jasper Blake has a stone in the park among them. 

Some other folks at the historical society told me about Blakesville, an area of Hampton where Blakes for generations built homes and owned farms.   The neighborhood included Blake Lane and homes that had once belonged to Blakes (and maybe still do).

Pine Grove Cemetery is where the many of the founding settlers were buried.  Early graves were unmarked, had a common rock, or a wooden marker that has disintegrated over the last 350 years.  I didn’t find a grave for Jasper Blake who died in 1674.

Pine Grove Cemetery

I wondered where Jasper Blake might have had land or a farm.  Some of the other books at the historical society indicated where he may have lived.  When I drove out that way, I saw rolling hills, broad expanses of green meadows, thick woods and new homes in landscaped clearings.

My Blakes eventually moved 50 miles west to the community of Louden, NH. There are a lot of Blake names in that area, too.  (Blake cemetery on Blake Rd, etc.)  A few of my family migrated south to Boston, Massachusetts, including my great grandfather William Ashton Blake.   He always loved New Hampshire, though, and wrote a poem about it in 1917 when he was living in Oregon.  

It’s a long way to old New Hampshire,                                                                                           It’s a long way to go                                                                                                                           To the old homesteads of our grandsires                                                                                    That we cherish and hold so dear.                                                                                                  It’s far to dear old Granite State                                                                                                    And its legendary lore.                                                                                                                      It’s a long, long way to old New Hampshire,                                                                                But my heart’s right there.

I loved New Hampshire, too, and was glad to see where my people settled generations ago.

 

Maine Lobster – #25

Disclaimer:  Vegetarians might want to just skip this one.

For years, I subscribed to Yankee Magazine and often read about Lobster Rolls.  It seemed that every so often, Yankee did an article featuring the best places in Maine for Lobster Rolls and other lobster cuisine. 

Yankee lobster

I wondered:  What exactly IS a Lobster Roll?  I found out when I camped in Wells, Maine.

Wells Maine

According to Wikipedia, a lobster roll is “a sandwich native to New England made of lobster meat served on a grilled hot dog style bun with the opening on the top rather than the side.  The filling may also contain butter, lemon juice, salt and black pepper.”

Lobster cartoon

A local at the campground recommended Fisherman’s Catch for lobster rolls.  

I ordered the special which featured a lobster roll at market price, French fries and coleslaw.  Market price turned out to be pricey, but hey, how often am I in Maine?

Lobster Roll

The restaurant had a cute outdoor eating area arranged around a boat, so I perched out there to enjoy my dinner.

Lorraine in Maine

 

 

A couple from Massachusetts joined me, and we struck up a conversation about their state.  They were visiting Maine for a few days and, like me, had also decided to have the lobster roll special.   

 

 

 

My view while savoring lobster and crossing another item off the bucket list!

Wells beach

 

 

 

 

Return to Camelot – #24

Last January, several months before I left on my trip, I saw an item in Yankee Magazine about St. Mary’s Church in Newport, Rhode Island. 

On September 12, 1953, a grand 19th-century church in Newport hosted the closest thing to a royal wedding New England had ever seen, as a floppy-haired freshman senator from Massachusetts married a debutante photojournalist. Today that historic event—the wedding of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier—is re-created each Tuesday, July through late October, inside the church where it happened.

I added it to my list of things to see.

JFK wedding

In the first week of October, I happened to be camping in Massachusetts and decided to drive to Newport on a Tuesday afternoon.  Google got me to St. Mary’s Church in good time, and I parked in the lot across the street.

St M exterior 2

There was a group of about 30 people there for the afternoon’s presentation known as Return to Camelot.  The presenter was Father Kris, pastor of St. Mary’s, along with a young man named Cody who is the Organist and Music Director.

Father Kris

Our tickets had a copy of the wedding invitation printed on the back.  

Invite

There was a video montage of vintage film clips and wedding photos.  Jackie’s step brother recorded his memories of the day a few years ago, and those were included.  We learned that Jackie’s wedding dress was made of fifty yards of silk taffeta.

Dress

John and Jackie stood in a receiving line for 3 hours greeting 1,300 reception guests. 

Cody, the organist at St. Mary’s, played and sang selections used at the wedding. 

Cody

After the video presentation, anyone who wished could have their photo taken at the very same kneeling bench used by the Kennedys. 

St Mary’s church was established in 1828, and this present building was constructed in 1848.  It was designated as a National Historic Place in 2008.

Old post card

 

On my way home, I passed the exit for Fall River, Massachusetts.  Fall River…  Why did that sound familiar?  Oh yeah, Fall River was the home of Lizzie Borden.  I thought about trying to find her house but decided to end my day on a positive note and keep driving. 

 

 

My Witch Grandmother – #23

Almost 326 years to the day of her execution, I visited Salem Massachusetts to see where my 8th great grandmother, Margaret Stephenson Scott, was hung as a witch on September 22, 1692. 

Salem sign

She was accused, tried and had the misfortune of being in the very last group of eight victims executed in Salem. 

TrialThe governor shut down the trials shortly thereafter and those in prison were pardoned.

The historic residential streets of this pretty town are far removed from the horrors and injustice of the witch trials.

There are stone benches around the Witch Trials Memorial Green.  Names of the twenty victims are carved into the benches.  I saw notes and flowers, some from descendants like me.  A note on Margaret Scott’s bench read: “We visited today… Your 10th great granddaughter… We keep your name alive in our lives.  We remember you in our prayers….” 

Walking by each bench, I was troubled as I read the names of those unjustly executed and their last words, now etched into stone.  

I can deny it to my dying breath

I am not guilty

Oh, Lord, help me! I am wholly innocent of such wickedness

I am wronged

God knows I am innocent 

My ancestor Margaret Scott, had been a widow for 21 years.  She lost 4 of her 7 children in childhood.  She was impoverished.  All these factors converged to make her different, and she was accused by one of her neighbors as a witch.

Accuser color

As a widow myself, I was left with a lot of questions.  Where were her friends and family?  Were they also afraid of being accused in the hysteria that gripped Salem?  Margaret had a son, Benjamin Scott, with a family of his own.  With the fears of the time, perhaps he was reluctant to come to the defense of his mother. 

The church is commanded to care for widows and orphans.  Where was the church?  The minister, Samuel Parris, was a controversial figure and his own teen aged daughter may have been one of the accusers. 

In 2017, a new memorial wall was dedicated at Proctor’s Ledge, site of the hangings.  One prominent speaker remarked, “We would like to think that we’ve learned from the evil and traumatic choices made 325 years ago. We would like to think we’ve become better people. The truth is the lessons of Salem are not just learned once, but must be learned and relearned by each generation.”

Walking the streets up to Proctor’s Ledge, I felt a profound sense of injustice. I can imagine the last 8 victims being taken there by cart, knowing the tree and rope were for them.  There was no appeal or recourse.  They had been accused, there was a verdict, and now there would be hangings.

Proctor's Ledge 3

In an interesting footnote to the trials, an ancestor from the other side of my family, Aaron Way, was present at some of the trials.  He is on record as being opposed to the belief in witches.  Aaron was put in stocks for speaking out.

Stocks

 

Randolph and Quincy – #22

Randolph, Massachusetts is the town where my dad was born and grew up.  I looked forward to spending time there and seeing some of the same houses, buildings and streets he knew as a boy.  Things have changed a lot in the 100 years since he lived in Randolph, but I saw many structures and landmarks that would have been familiar to him. 

Randolph sign

Driving on Russ Street and Wilson Street, I looked for the house where Dad’s family lived until 1920.  An old plot plan of the area indicated where the house should have been.  I saw only a newer home… surely not the house I was looking for.  I drove on down the lane and suddenly, there was an outcropping of rocks right in the middle of the street.  I remembered an old photo of my dad with his mother and baby sister and felt pretty certain that these rocks were the same ones. 

Quincy is not far from Randolph.  My grandparents lived in Quincy before moving to Randolph, and other relatives lived there, as well. There are two houses on Ridgeway Street built by my Leake kin.  The green house was constructed by great-uncle John Leake.  The tan-colored home was built by great grandfather Thomas Leake.  Thomas later moved to Alberta, Canada,  and built a similar-looking house in Spirit River. (See Blog Entry # 9)

As a 9-year old, my dad lived in his Uncle John’s house for a short time.  After Dad’s father died, his mother parceled out the younger children to other relatives for a few months.  Behind these homes is the Sailor’s Home Pond.  Dad remembered his parents ice skating on this pond when he was a little boy.  Summer & Winter views.

One other stop in Quincy I wanted to make was to see the grave of Ronald Blake, a brother my dad never knew.  Ronald died when he was just 6 years old.  The cause of death was meningitis with complicating factors of middle ear and mastoid disease.  In the days before antibiotics, Ronald was unable to fight this infection. Rest in peace, Uncle Ron.

Ronald J Blake

On Sunday, I visited First Congregational Church of Rochester which was near my campground.  It was established in 1703.  This building dates from 1837. 

On the way there, I had to stop for these guys to cross the road.

Also near my campground was the global headquarters of Ocean Spray Cranberry.  Mmmm…. Turkey and cranberries.  Must be getting close to Thanksgiving!

 

Lexington, Concord and Waltham – #21

One rainy afternoon, I drove to the Lexington Visitors Center in Lexington, Massachusetts to take the Liberty Ride, “a 90-minute tour along the Battle Road Scenic Byway”, according to the brochure.  I was not disappointed.  Our costumed guide was also a Revolutionary War re-enactor and he shared his interest and knowledge of the Battle of Lexington with our group.

 

The tour stopped at Lexington Green, site of the opening battle of the Revolutionary War.  British soldiers marched through Lexington on the way to Concord to seize and destroy arms the Americans had hidden there.  A statue commemorates Captain John Parker who commanded the militia.   

 

Paul Revere rode through the countryside waking up every able-bodied man and alerting others to ride to neighboring farms.  We drove past Revere’s capture site.  I must have missed that page in my history book because his capture was new information to me. 

Revere2We also went to Minute Man National Historic Park.  Our guide took us to the North Bridge which spans the Concord River.  There was an important standoff between American patriots and British forces here. 

Bridge3One hundred years after the battle, a statue was placed at the west end of the bridge.  The artist, Daniel Chester French,  also sculpted the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.  On the base of this bronze sculpture are inscribed words by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Here once the embattled farmers stood, and fired the shot heard round the world.”  The statue captures the spirit of ordinary farmers who took up arms against the British.

Minuteman

Our route took us through Concord which was home to several notable American authors including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.  Louisa May Alcott also lived here and wrote her famous Little Women in this house. Alcott2In a nearby house and yard, Concord grapes were developed by Ephraim Bull in 1849.  They say the original vine is still growing.

Bull2

 I loved this tour and am glad I happened to see the brochure for it. 

Leaving Lexington, I drove a few miles to Waltham.  I found the home of my dad’s grandmother (Nana).  Dad spent a lot of time there as he was growing up.  Sometime around 1920 when Dad was 7, his father became seriously ill and could no longer work.  The whole family—parents and 5 children—moved in with Nana.  My dad’s father lived only 2 more years before dying here in this house in 1922.  

Waltham house

I would have loved to peek inside, but it’s a multi-family dwelling now.

The Waltham Watch Factory is a prominent structure along the Charles River.  Precision watches were produced here for over 100 years.  Some of my dad’s family held jobs in the factory.  I drove by to see what it looks like today.  The building is being leased for office space and luxury loft apartments. 

 

On the way back to my campground, I was treated to a few glimpses of fall color.