On day 11 we visited two different mansions in Newport, Rhode Island. This was our last leisurely day before hitting the road back to Michigan. The tour guides at the mansions mentioned a few times about the history of the mansions being a part of the gilded age. For sure, the lifestyle of the people that would have owned and lived in these “summer cottages” was in a different world than the one I live in, or most anyone else for that manner.
In Bay City, we have some beautiful homes along Center Avenue and once a year the owners open some of them up for the public to visit and see inside. These homes in Bay City would maybe be suitable servants quarters for the mansions in Newport.
The first mansion we visited was “The Breakers”:
The second home we visited was “Chateau-sur-Mer”:
They were nice to visit and see the extravagant lifestyle that some people in this world actually live in (or used to live in). But as for me, I like my little 1200 square foot single story ranch home with attached two car garage.
On day 10 we first visited Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. There is a memorial at the cemetery that lists the name of Thomas Davenport who is my direct ancestor born in about 1615 in England and immigrated to the United States around 1635.
Next stop Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Followed by a short visit to another cemetery, Old Buriel Hill in Plymouth, where Adoniram Judson, a pioneering missionary, is buried.
Then a quick trip up the Cape Cod peninsula, just to say we’ve been there, and then on to Newton, Rhode Island and a visit to the gilded age.
Our second day in Boston found us at places where people with above normal income or above normal IQ’s can be found. Fortunately, no one stopped me to check my IQ and they did accept my credit card for our dinner.
Spent the whole day following the red bricks of the Freedom Trail in Boston. We took the green line subway from near our hotel and got off right at the beginning of the trail on Boston Common. I am just going to show a few of the pictures we took along the way from the Boston Common to Bunker Hill.
On the next leg of our journey we spent 3 nights in Bangor, Maine with two full days of visiting Acadia National Park. Well, almost two full days, minus the time it took to head back on day one to Bangor to have our rear brakes fixed.
On day one in Acadia we did the park loop trail with lots of short stops here and there. Especially nice was the ride up to the top of Mount Cadillac and the stop at Sand Beach.
Day 2 in Acadia was nicer than day 1 for a couple of reasons. The first being that the car felt much better with the new brakes. The second being that we went on the west side of Mount Desert Island (where Acadia National Park is located) which had much less traffic and people. First we hiked to the top of Acadia Mountain.
Then we did another two mile hike on the Ship’s Harbor Trail at the southern shore of Mount Desert Island.
After the hikes and a quick stop to see the Bass Harbor Light Station we ended our day in Bar Harbor checking out the shops and having some lobster rolls.
Sunday morning, upon leaving Bangor, Maine, we first stopped to see the big statue of Paul Bunyan in the downtown area of Bangor. Then we went and worshiped with the folks at Essex Street Free Baptist Church, founded in the 1850’s. This was a very small church currently looking for a Pastor, with very friendly people who made us feel right at home. The church was founded in the 1850’s so it has been around a long time.
A genealogy rabbit trail that was fun to go down. After dinner tonight (lobster roll, mmmm good) we took a quick trip up to Bradford, Maine where my genealogy records had some history of the Blake family. Our plan was to just get a picture of the sign for the city (which was hard to find as there is really not a city to speak of) and as we drove past the one intersection in the town we came to the “Corner Cemetery”. So we stopped to look at the headstones to see what we could see.
We did not find any Blakes, but we did find one headstone with the inscription of “Mary wife of James Speed”. Those names definitely rang a bell, so I took a few pictures and I checked out what I had on those names. It turns out that this Mary is my 4th great grandmother. First, the headstone.
The death date matches exactly with the death date in my records. I also had her birth date as November 19th, 1799 which agrees exactly with the information on the headstone with her age as 81 yrs. 11 mos. & 8 ds. This headstone is probably the source of the information as I did not have a good source for this date, just information from some other persons tree.
Her headstone was way in the back of the cemetery with none others nearby.
From Ancestry I was also able to get pictures of Mary and her husband James Speed, which I show below.
The family connection is as follows:
James Speed (b. 1803, d. 1892) and Mary Elizabeth Reeves (b. 1799, d. 1881) (married 6 Feb. 1823 in Bradford, Penobscot County, Maine, USA) Parents of: 3rd Gr. Grandmother – Harriet (Hattie) Speed (b. 1828, d. 1897) Hattie married Alonzo Blake (b. 1835, d. 1902) in 1855 in Bradford. Parents of: 2nd Gr. Grandfather – Wesley A. Blake (b. 1856, d. 1885) Wesley married Kate (Catherine) Jean O’Melia (b. 1859, d. 1911) Parents of: Gr. Grandmother – Nora O’Melia Blake (b. 1883, d. 1979) Nora married Hudson Dexter Mead (b. 1868, d. 1950) Parents of Hudson Dexter Mead II (m. Mary Esther Magill) Parents of Gloria Jane Mead (m. Frank Davenport II)
And voila, the parents of me. Do you see the resemblance?
Day 3 we spent driving through the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.
We stopped at a lot of sites and even did about a mile or so stretch of the Appalachian Trail near Hanover. The pictures below are from the trail. Another couple thousand miles and we could have done the whole thing.
Spent the night in North Conway, New Hampshire. On day 4 we went to Mount Washington (the highest peak on the east coast) and rode the Cog Railway train to the top.
The view at the top was spectacular. The Appalachian Trail actually goes to the top of the mountain on it’s way to Maine.
After the trip to Mount Washington we made our way to Maine where we will spend day 5,6 and 7. But before Maine I present a sample of our selfie’s along the way.
Our first anniversary celebration trip is underway. We will be checking off six more states on our quest to stay in all 50 states. The first two days was a lot of driving to get to Vermont via New York. We did stop at Niagara Falls for a bit and stayed overnight in Rochester New York.
Day two was still mainly in New York traveling through the Adirondack Mountains, eventually staying overnight in White River Junction in Vermont. Finally took a good selfie by the Sacandaga River along highway 8 in New York.
A little before getting to Vermont we needed a quick stop to attend to the call of nature. Mary decided to take a picture of my meditation time.
I think I just discovered that my great grandfather Louis Thomas and great grandmother May (Fultz) Thomas were the inspiration for the painting “American Gothic”. The painting was done in 1930 and the picture shown below of my great grandparents was taken in 1942. I guess I will let you be the judge. Now I know that the painting was done in Iowa, and supposedly the woman is the daughter in the picture even though we normally assume she is his wife. But maybe the artist took a vacation to Halifax Nova Scotia and was inspired there, took a picture of my grandparents, and then did the painting back in Iowa.
Spent a day visiting a couple places in Michigan’s thumb that I had never visited before. We spent a few hours at the Octagon Barn (https://www.thumboctagonbarn.org/) just outside of Gagetown. Did not take any pictures there but the website can fill you in.
Then we traveled about another ten miles and spent some time at the Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park. Just a small place with about a 2 mile hiking trail and the site of Michigan’s only known native American Indian rock carvings. You can visit the DNR website here for information on this state park: http://www.michigandnr.com/ParksandTrails/Details.aspx?id=490&type=SPRK
The website has the better pictures, but here are a few I took along our walk: