A New Hampshire Adventure, What’s Joe Got to Do With it?

What’s Joe Got to Do With It?

My good friend Joe is 13 years younger than I am. He refuses to believe that I’m not as spry as I once was and cuts me no slack. I can’t wait until he’s my age and see how much his joints hurt! That being said, Joe is headed back to Sunny Florida. He was up in the Northeast for 2.5 months  on a job search. During that time he got a reminder of what the weather is like 8 months out of the year…cold, gray, snowy, rainy. But before he left he sent me another challenge. http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/new-hampshire/waterfall-roadtrip-nh/

The Ultimate New Hampshire Waterfall Roadtrip

Everyone knows that you need water to have waterfalls and what better time of the year in the Northeast than after the spring rains and snow melt? Saturday was a beautiful day with temps predicted to hit the 80’s. I looked at Joe’s Ultimate New Hampshire Waterfall challenge and decided I’d tackle at least part of it. Since its a 5 plus hour drive to even get to the White Mountains I knew I wouldn’t be able to get in more than 2 or 3 stops. I didn’t follow the stops as outlined in the article as I’ve been to some. I wanted the easiest stops since time was limited.

Lincoln, NH

I arrived in Lincoln, NH at just about noon. Although I wasn’t really hungry I knew my first stop would be Sabbaday Falls and I didn’t want to chance having my blood sugar drop after hiking up to the falls and back. (As a diabetic you have to be aware if these things)  For a cheap, quick stop I grabbed a cheeseburger at MacDonald’s. I know yuck.

Time to head up the Kancmagus Highway.

Finding Sabbaday Falls

Even though it has been 6 years since my New Hampshire vacation, the Kancamagus still felt  like an old friend. I recognized so many places along the way to the  Falls. As I drove the Kancamagus rose, eventually reaching an elevation of just under 3,000 feet at its highest point at Kancamagus Pass on the flank of Mt. Kancamagus near Lincoln, NH.

Sabbaday Falls is on the downside after you pass this high point. Coming from Lincoln you’ll see a sign for the Falls and Picnic Area on the right.


It’s a Nice Walk

The parking area was packed with cars and as I prepared to hike up to the falls I met lots of dogs  and their people, families and serious hikers. One photographer with his tripod over his shoulder charged past me in a big hurry. I’d soon see why.




It’s a Matter of Dress

Navy Dress Code hasn’t Changed!

When I was visiting the USS Constitution I was impressed by the way the sailors were dressed in period costume. But I was corrected. These may be vintage duds but the are still official Navy Uniforms.

The Pike and Sailcloth


When you approach the entrance to the dry dock you are greeted by a crew member. The one who met me was carrying a Pike. I asked him what it was and he said it was a boarding pike. He immediately demonstrated how the sailors would crouch, bracing themselves and point the  tip of the pike toward the gunnel. When the enemy tried to board they threw themselves on the sharp point. As he went on to say, we didn’t have to kill anybody. They did it all themselves!

He explained that his pants are made of sailcloth so if a cannon ball ripped the sail they could cut a patch from the legs of the pants.

The 1813’s

The crew in those days referred to their dress code as the 1813’s. It’s a official Navy uniform  and its wear is still prescribed in the Navy uniform regulations. Prior to 1813 and during the War of 1812, the  enlisted crew served in whatever clothing they owned when they joined the service.


The “uniform” evolved as crew members began to buy clothing that looked like other sailors eventually they all started looking alike, creating a “uniform” appearance.

There are many types of Navy Uniforms

My brother was in the Navy and over the years I got to see several uniforms. I know there are service dress uniforms,  worn for official functions not rising to the level of full or dinner dress. they are seasonal with white worn in summer and blue in winter. I’m partial to the white myself.

Service Dress Blues for male junior enlisted personnel are based on the standard Navy jumper in navy blue, colloquially referred to as “crackerjacks” because of the Navy-uniformed figure that adorns the Cracker Jack snack box.

Of course there are the Full Dress, Dinner Dress uniforms, Working uniforms, shipboard working uniforms and the list goes on. I think it would be a full time job to keep straight when to wear what uniform!

So that’s a wrap

I love the uniforms and I thought seeing these young men wear them with such pride, even through they could be mistaken for a costume, was very uplifting.

Nothing quite like a man in uniform!





You know Its Spring in Boston When

How do you know its Spring in Boston?

Spring in Boston means different things to different people. To some it’s opening day at Fenway Park.  When the boys of summer come back north it must be spring, even if it snows. For others it’s the Boston Marathon, a 120 year tradition. For me we have to have the warm sunny days. And that’s just what we had on Marathon weekend.


It’s Spring so what did I see?

Taking the red line from Braintree, MA to the Park Street station in the heart of Boston is an adventure in itself. When I boarded the “T” the man seated across from me had his shoes off  and was stretched out over 3 seats. After a couple of stops he moved over to my side, still barefoot. Then he began calling out the stations. That amused him for one or two stops. After that he began trying to light things on fire with a disposable lighter. I kept a close eye on him until he finally left the train. My stop came next…Park Street.

Protesters, Police and the State House

As soon as I came up from the underground I spotted the protesters. These aren’t organized  protests but the end of the world type protesters. They always seem a little crazy to me. Today there were 3 protesters and a self appointed minister, each taking  a turn sharing their messages.


As I took in this spectacle a mob of bicyclists came flying around the corner. All decked out in their police  gear. I thought they would spread out through the Public Garden but no, they continued peddling down the path in a mass of blue and yellow.


Leaving the chaos that is Park Street behind I trekked up the hill to the State House with it’s golden dome gleaming in the sun. The various sight seeing trolleys continuously stopping to drop off and pick up tourists. A costumed narrator explained the black regiment to any and all who would listen.


On a Carousel, Fintstones and Dinos, and no lines or waiting

As I strolled on through the common I passed the Boston Carousel which was doing a splendid business.


I paused when I heard a whistle blowing , then the pounding of feet and there came a dinosaur chasing men dressed as Fred  Flintstone and women as Betty and Wilma.


Must be a Bedrock Road race.


But I got the biggest laugh when I spotted what was surrounding the playing field near the Boston Common Garage.


Row after row of Port-a -potties. There’s be no lines and no waiting here! Ahhh Spring in the city! What could be better?


How I met a Full Time Traveler

How I met a Full Time Traveler

Last week I took a few hours off  from work to take a class at the Boston Center for Adult Education. http://www.bcae.org/Located on Arlington Street near the Arlington T stop on the Green Line.  I took a class there a few years ago and it was an excellent experience even if I haven’t used the skill set I was working on. Now I was back again to meet the Boston Blogger, Brittany from Boston http://brittanyfromboston.com/; a full time traveler and blogger.

Who is Brittany from Boston?

Brittany is a full time traveler whose home base is Boston. Her blog is full of the places she’s been and hints for things to do and see. She first came to my attention when she was interviewed by a TV news station. She is young. I mean seriously young, I won’t reveal her age even if I knew it but I’d say under 30.

Boston Swan Boat, Public Garden

Like  I said, Brittany travels full time and I want to know how she does it. Not how in the sense of booking her trips but how can she afford it with no income? Did she win the lottery or something? Was she independently wealthy?  Inquiring minds want to know!

According to the news report she quit working 2 years ago to begin her international adventure. I immediately signed up for her blog and bought her E book. Its free to sign up for the blog but the E book is $9.99. If everyone who discovers her blog buys her book she could be making a tidy sum there.

The Budget Travel Class

The class wasn’t about Brittany so much as it was about how to keep travel expenses under control. I know quite a few tricks but I don’t always use them so I wanted to see if I could get any new ones as well as meet Brittany in person. So here I was  on a Thursday afternoon heading into the BCAE in Boston.

The class was small which allowed for a lot of personal interaction with Brittany. Her tips ran from the obvious…like traveling on a “shoulder” season to the more unusual like “couch surfing”.  She told of staying in Hostels all over the world, some for as little as $5.00/per day. On one adventure she work on a yacht to pay her way.   She shared photos from her journeys and stories of her trips and some misadventures. Of course, like a good TV show, everything worked out fine. She was standing in front of us all in one piece.


I can’t tell you her specific tips because  then I’d be stealing her lesson plan. Suffice it to say that I enjoyed her class and enjoyed meeting this extraordinary young lady. Times sure have changed since I was her age! (For the better)

Grand Canyon

Let’s all keep traveling!


Raff’s Cafe, Haverhill

Fresh Start

Back at home I put the unpleasant airline experience behind me making plans with Joe to go Maple Sugaring. Vermont was holding it annual Maple Sugar Festival. On that weekend sugar houses, craft stores, Inns and Restaurants across the state celebrate all things  Maple by opening their businesses to truckloads of tourists. Maple is King this weekend from pancake breakfasts to crocheted maple leaves! I was interested in the sugar houses with their boiling, bubbling sap but it would be quite a drive to get there so Joe suggested meeting at his sister’s restaurant, Raff’s Cafe,  for breakfast before we headed to Vermont.

Raff’s Cafe

Raff’s cafe  is located at 620 Primrose St, Haverhill right off RT 495. It’s in a little strip mall. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch, open from 6 AM and closing at 2 pm.

When I walked in around 9 am it was completely full. I made a detour to the “powder room” to wash off the hour + drive.  When I came back out a small table had opened up. I introduced myself and experienced a flashback from Cheers…where everybody knows your name!

I’ve been friends with Joe for more than 30 years but had not met his sister. Still when you’ve been friends for so long the family hears your name and they made me feel like they had known me forever. The dynamics of the staff and the customers also made me think of Cheers. Lots of banter and no one seemed to be a stranger. Clearly this was a popular local breakfast spot.

While I waited for Joe I was offered coffee, tea, hot chocolate a soft drink, water…something, anything…even my breakfast! Joe’s sister, Bobbie-Jo suggested I have my breakfast and they’d leave an empty plate for Joe telling him he’d already finished his (joke). I finally caved and accepted a hot chocolate with loads of whipped cream. (Yummy) I’d just finished it when Joe arrived.

Bobbie-Jo and Chuck, Co-Owners

We ordered breakfast which came cooked to perfection by Chuck, the co-owner. Our table was near the kitchen and I was entertained by the oldies that drifted out the half door.


I was amazed at the prices. The menu was comprehensive with all the old favorites and all very reasonably priced! (see page 1 below) In fact I’d have said they were priced below average. I love bacon but am very fussy about how its cooked. The bacon here came out of the kitchen cooked to perfection! I also had French Toast, another win!


You can’t beat this little gem for price, quality or friendliness. If you are in the area, stop in. I am sure you won’t be disappointed!

Photos by Joe St. Jean, Take Pride Photography

(This endorsement is totally unsolicited. They didn’t even know I was writing about them)