Coloring the Void

living nomadically

Archive for the tag “museum”

Letting the Days go by

We made the quick jump from south of Boston to north of Boston with no problems and little traffic, landing in Salisbury Beach State Reservation. The campground was the opposite in every way from Wompatuck State Park. The sites were wide open, close together, and had electric and power. While it wasn’t as close together as a typical tourist area private RV Park, they were really close together for a state park. Looking back at our pictures, neither Mike nor I stopped to snap a few of the campground. Probably too excited to be back at the beach!sal61sal62

We did quite a bit of touring in the area, and not much hanging at the beach, though. There are so many wonderful towns to check out!

We went as far north as Cape Porpoise, a village just past Kennebunkport, a town we loved when we had visited about 15 years ago. It is still a beautiful town, though it is getting kind of crowded. On the way back, we drove Shore Road, where the Bush compound is located and stopped to admire the view.


Pier 77/Chowder House restaurant entrances. Too bad it was 10AM, too early for chowder.


Views along the Maine coast


more views from Maine


and yet another. Can you blame me? The coast is beautiful!


St. Ann’s Episcopal Church – right on the coast with a beautiful ocean view.

Our favorite town to visit in that area of Massachusetts is Rockport. It is a beautiful little town right on the coast with some of the best lobster rolls outside Maine.

For me, this is the perfect New England coastal town to set down roots – too far from a city to commute but close enough to a city to visit, plenty of things to do and places to eat, and an unhurried attitude in the people who live there. If only it wasn’t so far North! Though the weather is somewhat tempered by the sea, the winters still get a little too cold.

We also passed through Gloucester, a town that used to be my favorite New England town. Over the years, it has gotten so big and so crowded, it is hard to even find one’s way around, let alone find a place to park. We did manage a spot down at the waterfront where we waited out some of the traffic before heading back to camp.


We didn’t spend much time in Surfside, a beach town right next to Salisbury Beach. Our initial first impression was that it was a miniature version of Ocean City, MD and we just weren’t in the mood for crowds and boardwalk fries. We did run around Newburyport though most of our time there was checking out the boats. We were still debating the merits of different traveling styles and whether or not being live aboards was a viable option.


We even managed a stop in Salem for a day. Unfortunately, we picked the one day a week the Peabody is closed. We did manage lunch and a beer at Beer Works. We weren’t thrilled with the fruit beers (a little perfumy) but the pale ale and the witch city red were good.


One of the historic wharves of Salem.


The Burying Point cemetery, right next to the Witches’ Memorial.


The “Friendship of Salem” just before the haul out.


Stickworks, art by Patrick Dougherty


Because buried deep inside my brain somewhere is Beavis. Or Butthead.

Most of the time we were in Salem, our thoughts were on getting to the local ASPCA. We had finally decided we didn’t want to live without a dog or two in our lives any longer and we wanted to find a dog that needed a family. We struck out in Salem. There were only five dogs in their shelter, all pit bulls. The wonderful volunteer did tell us that they would be receiving a ‘shipment’ by the end of the week, but we would be gone by then. As we would find all over New England, there aren’t as many dogs needing families up here as there are down south so the shelters here rescue them and get them shipped north. We decided we would continue to look as we headed north anyway.

We had a great time in Salisbury Beach. The weather was perfect, fellow campers are friendly, and there is a lot to do in the area (maybe too much). Some day we may return and will definitely include this campground in our list of places to stay.


Watching the ships roll in

Scenes at the Cape Cod Railroad Bridge, the railroad crossing for the Cape Cod Canal. Trains still use it though we were never able to catch one on it. The bridge goes up and down, spending most of its time up for boat traffic.

At the Woods Hole Science Aquarium. It is free to get in and great for kids (or adults who love sea life). It isn’t very big but they do have touch tanks and lots of information. Mike and I both grew up on Jacques Cousteau and followed the explorations of Alvin, so  visiting Woods Hole was a no-brainer. The small town ended up being one of our favorites though we didn’t get to spend much time there.


Probably the prettiest lighthouse we visited was Nobska Point Light just outside of Falmouth. The location is sublime (even in the rain) and just what one would expect of a New England Light house.

Falmouth is also a boating town, with a fairly large marina (by Cape Cod standards) and tons of mooring balls. They have a very good, small farmer’s market and a great, walkable downtown core. During our stay, we tried Maison Villatte for desert (amazing chocolate and almond croissants and bread). We had lunch at La Cucina Sul Mare and really enjoyed their lunch specials and their incredibly reasonable prices; definitely a place I would go back to. The food was prepared well. We met a friend for burgers and beer at Liam McGuire’s Irish Pub. Both were good as was the conversation. While we couldn’t stay for the daily live music we were assured that it was the big draw for the standing room only crowd. If you go, get there early!


We thought the red boat would make a perfect Great Loop Boat. Its a little larger than we want but the big windows and all that deck space would be a wonderful place to watch the world drift by.


Dexter Grist Mill in Sandwich. They still grind corn here, and they sell it, too. In the pond, we watched fish mark and protect their territory, making small circles free of debris which they circled to keep other fish out.

On another rainy day we passed through Barnstable and stopped at the Coast Guard Museum for a visit. Our actual reason for being there was the Old Jail, built in 1690. Its history is pretty cool but we didn’t get to see any of it – no one was there. It sits on the grounds of the Coast Guard Heritage Museum, so we wandered through that instead. The museum had displays starting from the beginning of the existence of the coast guards, right through modern times. What I found most fascinating was the light ships – boats that were constructed to be used as light houses where light houses couldn’t be built. Yes, I lead a sheltered life; I had never heard of them. There are none operating in the US (as commissioned light ships) at this time, but they can be found in places like New York, Virginia, Michigan, and Delaware. None currently on Cape Cod.


See that little point sticking up on land way way over there (about center right in the image)? That is the Sandy Neck Lighthouse in Barnstable. Unless you have a boat, a resident sticker, or the ability to walk ten miles (round trip) in sand, that is as close as you can get to it. I had none of the above (okay, we could have walked the ten miles but had absolutely no desire to) and so we viewed it from the Barnstable Beach. Two things we noticed about parking on Cape Cod: the beach parking is expensive ($20/day, every day) and people go to parking lots and sit in their cars, especially parking lots with a view. All over Cape Cod, from the time we arrived to the time we left, there was not one parking lot we visited that did not have at least one car with a person in it just sitting. In some places, there were ten or more; some reading, some napping, some eating, some just staring. But there was always a person hanging out in their car. We go a lot of places. We have been all over the country and hung out in a lot of parking lots. But we have never seen anything like the parking lot vigils in Cape Cod.  Why? We will never know.

There was even a car parked at the Sargo Tower in Dennis. Okay, that is our jeep and it was us. The Scargo Tower was built specifically for the view. While we didn’t get the full view the day we were there, the view was pretty impressive. On a clear day, one can see all the way to Provincetown, which is where my camera was aimed for the bottom picture. We could see the Cape Cod Bay, but not any further.

We visited Chatham one day, a very pretty town at the elbow of Cape Cod. We caught the “Sharks in the Park” installation but missed out on the “Lifeboats in the Shops” scavenger hunt. I guess we don’t shop enough.  We managed to find (and get up close to) the Chatham Lighthouse and the beautiful beach attached.



As you can see, the beach has some great sand bars off shore. From a map, it seems they stretch for miles. If we ever return, we will head here with our kayak. It looks like a great place to play Robinson Crusoe for a day.

We then headed up to Chatham Pier and Fish Market but it wasn’t open. We did get to see a few seals though, and a lot of work boats.



If you want to buy a float, this is the place to do it. They also have wicked fudge. Eastham.

We also found another lighthouse, Nauset Light which had been moved a bit away from the coast. Fascinating fact about lighthouses – they each have their own light pattern. This enables boat/ship captains to verify their location at night or in fog when land masses can’t always be seen. This particular lighthouse is the one on the Cape Cod Potato Chip bag.ma301

We also spent an entire day wandering around Provincetown. It is like Key West of the North with the same funky beach vibe and far out people.





This picture was taken a few hours earlier than the one before it. The streets get crowded as the day progresses.

The Pilgrim Memorial can be seen from just about everywhere in the town.



The remains of the Provincetown Theatre



We ate lunch at the Lobster Pot. Good food but pricey, a tourist location.




lots and lots of boats in P-town.


We also spent some time wandering the coast of Provincetown – there is a lot of it!


The bay is taking back the land, including the parking lot. Way off in the distance (near center) is another lighthouse (Race Point Lighthouse).


The causeway will take you to Woods End Light Station on the Provincetown Spit. The lighthouse is that bump above the couple’s head.


Our two weeks on Cape Cod went very, very fast. We only saw and did about half of what we planned to. We never made it to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard. We didn’t spend a lot of time at Cape Cod National Seashore.  We didn’t eat a gazillion lobsters or gallons of chowder. Time got away from us. If we had been ‘vacationing’ for two weeks, we probably would have done all that and more but we would have been exhausted afterwards. We tried that last year in Alaska and burned out after about 10 weeks of non-stop go. So we took it easy in Cape Cod and still enjoyed every minute.

One thing Cape Cod did was solidify our desire for a boat. We spent hours looking at boats and debating the kind of boat we want. Like RVs, there isn’t a single boat that can do everything we want well. But there are a few that can do much of what we want well enough. Being raised around the Chesapeake Bay, we love gunkholing. Sailboats are very limited in their gunkholing ability (don’t tell a sailor that!) so we are looking at shallow draft trawlers. Our previous boat would float in 18 inches of water and we loved getting all the way into little creeks to hide away from the deep vee and sailboat crowds of the bay. With that settled, we debate on towable vs. non-towable and keep going back and forth, debating live aboard size vs. ability to drag the boat around the country visiting water from coast to coast. Depending on the day, we vote for one or the other. Some day we will figure it out. Or, the perfect boat will magically appear in front of us one day like a rainbow and it will be too good to resist.


taken while driving.

Bannack State Park

Bannack State Park isn’t too far from Clark Canyon Reservoir. It had some of my favorite stuff, old abandoned buildings, so we decided to take a look.


A back road to Bannack State Park

We took a back road to get there and managed to knock quite a bit of mud off our jeep that we had picked up the day before.  It was a very pleasant drive but the highway we returned on was much faster. We did manage to catch site of some antelope grazing in the area.


Antelope in Montana

Bannack State Park preserves the original capitol of Montana Territory. Gold was discovered in a local creek and the rush was on. The town got pretty big but the gold eventually ran out, and so did the town. Some stayed and continued trying to mine up into the 1950s when the rest of the town was abandoned. The state of Montana took it over and turned it onto a state park.

As far as ghost towns go, Bannack has an amazing array of buildings. There are over 60 in various states of repair. Some cannot be entered due to conditions, some are being used as storage sheds, some have been cleaned up and restored and can be walked through.  The one thing I noticed is that most of the spaces were empty; there was no evidence of daily life here in the buildings one could enter. All the furniture was hidden in locked houses.


Bannack – the back side.


detail where repairs are not completed.


Church in Bannack


rooms in a house. They liked the extensive use of wall paper.


note the checked floor. It seems to be linoleum, which would place this firmly in the 20th century.

barber chair

The barbers chair in the saloon.


hotel. Used until the 1950s or so.


saloon bar


a room behind glass. the ‘fog’ is from the glass.


A kitchen. Used until the 1950s.


Building. The setting was beautiful and I would have considered living here…

house interior

house, shot through a window.


another interior, shot through the window.






the streets of Bannack

The school.

The school

Bannack State Park was a great day stop for a few hours of walking and peeping. We had a beautiful, warm day in which to wander around. The park also has a campground and a couple of the larger sites back up to Grasshopper Creek, where the gold was found creating the town. It would be a nice overnight stop.

A tip for photographing through windows: Often, one cannot get a good shot of what is inside due to reflections on the glass. If one puts their camera lens up against the glass, one can get a pretty decent shot of what is inside. Granted, one cannot aim their camera for a particular location inside, but there can be some pretty interesting stuff to see. Because the lens is so close to the glass, the camera will not focus on it but will focus on what is further away (this is the same principal of shooting through a fence – make sure you are closer to the fence than the object you want to photograph). Let your camera do the work. Because the lens is braced on glass, slower shutter speeds are less of a problem.

Bars and Cars in Deer Lodge, MT

We broke camp at Salmon Lake State Park and headed to Deer Lodge, MT. We needed water and a laundry so decided to park at Indian Creek Campground a private park at the edge of town.  The sites were well spaced, the electric and water good, the laundry room priced reasonably and clean.


A farm outside Deer Lodge, MT

Our reasons for heading here, other than clean clothes, were the museums. Considering the size of the town, there are a lot of museums here! There is also a National Historic Site, Grant-Kohrs Ranch, but we ran out of time. It was unfortunate, as I really want to know what those giant catapult looking things are out in the fields…

After parking and eating lunch, we head to the old Montana State Prison. I don’t know why, but I love visiting old abandoned prisons and have found them all over the country. This particular prison was built in the 1870s, so I thought it might hold some really interesting sites. To be perfectly honest, Eastern State Penitentiary blows this place away. It doesn’t hurt that Al Capone was kept there. None-the less, the Montana State Prison is pretty interesting and worth a stop if in the area.


the main and administrative building

exercise yard

exercise yard


a cell – turned into a double cell when prison crowding became an issue. These are really tiny boxes…


a sink in the women’s prison area that was turned into a max security area.

cell block

cell row. These were stacked four high. Artwork on left is part of a current installation of local artists – the works related to prison life


Mike on the wrong side of the law…


A theatre built much later – used as a reward for excellent behavior. Currently in really bad shape and closed.

Attached to the Prison is a car museum. We really had no expectations but wandered into the room anyway. Turns out, this is one of the most extensive car collections we have ever seen!  There are at least 100 cars, starting with the first car ever built. We saw cars we didn’t know existed, cars where there may be one still in existence, cars that were so pristine they looked as if they never set wheel on a US road, especially one in Montana.

dl9dl10dl11I loved the amazing details on the older cars. The amount of detail work required to build them must have been phenomenal. It is surprising, considering the technological advances, that today’s cars are not nearly as detailed as past cars. In fact, our cars today are much more utilitarian and much more lacking in personality. But, I guess our cookie cutter cars look good next to our cookie cutter houses.


Check out how shiny the chrome is on this baby. Even the paint is polished.


The first pop up camper!

The first pop up camper!

fins! This is a station wagon. Note the curved glass details...

fins! This is a station wagon. Note the curved glass details…

and eyebrows! Cars need eyebrows. Then you know what they are thinking.

and eyebrows! Cars need eyebrows. Then you know what they are thinking.


yes, a pristine VW bus.

yes, a pristine VW bus.


the first (and only?) amphibicar! a 1967 Amphicar made in Germany. It went 70 MPH on land and 7 MPH on water. The previous owner, the Butte City Sheriff, used to drive it in Echo Lake on weekends.  Next to it was the very first mas produced electric car – around 1971.

A custom VW dune buggy. It was a 1973 beetle, modified in Australia for the movie, "The Road Warrior." Pretty cool looking car!

A custom VW dune buggy. It was a 1973 beetle, modified in Australia for the movie, “The Road Warrior.” Pretty cool looking car!

While I only have a few posted here, there were dozens and dozens more. Photographing here was difficult, as the cars are squished together and lighting is horrible. But there is a huge assortment of trucks, muscle cars, model ts, you name it, they probably have it. Even the last model Studebaker (it was a beautiful car) and my personal favorite, the 1955 Thunderbird convertible. If you love cars and are in Montana, this is a must stop. The only problem is it could take hours to tour. Every time you think you are done, there is another building and showroom around the corner.


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