As a four-decade Certified Travel Agent, international airline employee, researcher, writer, teacher, and photographer, travel, whether for pleasure or business purposes, has always been a significant and an integral part of my life. Some 400 trips to every portion of the globe, by means of road, rail, sea, and air, entailed destinations both mundane and exotic. This article focuses on those in the United States.
Originally accessed by Floyd Bennett Field–New York’s first municipal airport–Manhattan, experienced from the water with island-circling boat cruises, was channeled through its museum, theater, and restaurant arteries, and from the heights of its Empire State Building and no-longer existence World Trade Center. It became the threshold to its Lower-, Mid-, and Upper-Hudson Valleys, which were characterized by Bear Mountain, West Point, the Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, the vintage aircraft Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, dinners in the Culinary Institute of America, plays at the Rhinebeck Center for the Performing Arts, and visits to the Hudson River School of Painters venues.
The Catskill Mountains, ablaze with autumn, afforded skiing at Hunter Mountain and Ski Windham, and natural scenery, such as its Kaaterskill Falls, and became the next step to the Adirondacks, famous for its glittering blue Lake George, its numerous boat cruises, and Fort Ticonderoga.
Further north and to the west was the Finger Lakes region, with its sculpted, waterfall-lined Watkins Glen chasm, Glenn H. Curtiss and National Soaring Museums, boat cruises on Keuka Lake, where Curtiss himself tested his seaplane designs, and outdoor lunches at area vineyards.
The New England area encompassed six states.
Maine, the first of them, provided an epicurean experience with its Atlantic-caught lobster and shrimp, but its topographical duality included Bangor, Bar Harbor, and Acadia National Park on the coast’s Mount Desert Island and the lodges and forests at Rangeley Lake inland.
Neighboring New Hampshire was equated with knotty pine cabins on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, the vessels, such as the MS Mount Washington and US Mail Boat which plied it, and the tiny motorboats from which fishing lines hung to catch what later became dinner. The White Mountains, with their main North Conway entry point and numerous notches, was accessed by a myriad of ski lifts and gondolas, including those up triumphant Mount Washington, the crown of its peaks.
Vermont, with its mirror-image Green Mountains, was characterized by a crossing of Lake Champlain, the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, Green Mountain National Forest, the Mount Snow Ski Resort’s Grand Summit Lodge, an ascent of Mount Snow itself on the Bluebird Express Scenic Chairlift, Benington Battlefield State Historic Site, the Covered Bridges Museum, the Grafton Village cheese making facility, Plummer’s Sugar House for maple syrup, and the Robert Frost Stone House Museum, whose setting provided inspiration for his poetry. The Molly Stark Trail afforded a 48-mile scenic drive through the southern region.
Massachusetts, slightly further south, offered the major city of Boston with its Freedom Trail and its harbor-moored USS Constitution; the smaller towns of Plymouth, where the Mayflower first touched its now-famous rock; Salem, with its House of the Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Birthplace, and Witch Dungeon Museum; the battle sites of Lexington and Concord; and the Berkshires on the state’s western side. Sights here included the historic Red Lion Inn, the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Herman Melville home from whose window the mountain that inspired his classic, Moby Dick, was visible, and a drive up Mount Greylock, Massachusetts’s highest point, for spectacular views and lunch.
The gilded mansions hugging the Newport, Rhode Island, shore gave way to the casinos in eastern Connecticut, the Essex Steam Train in the Connecticut River Valley, the USS Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine in Groton, the Connecticut Coast with its Mystic Seaport, Yale University and the Broadway “try-out” Shubert Theater, and the Long Island Sound crossing ferries.
The Mid-Atlantic States:
The seven Mid-Atlantic States, descending from New Jersey to North Carolina, included the District of Columbia.
New Jersey’s beach-lined shore, with Cape May and its Victorian architecture, and its Atlantic City casino complex, was balanced inland by numerous aviation sights, such as those of Naval Air Station Lakehurst, location of the 1937 Hindenburg airship disaster, and Naval Air Station Wildwood.
Pennsylvania offered considerable sight and geographical variation. Scranton, in its northeastern portion, provided opportunities to sample early, track-based transportation modes at the Steamtown National Historic Site and at the Electric City Trolley Museum. Further south, after a cross of the Delaware Water Gap, were the winter ski resorts, such as Big Boulder and Jack Frost, in the Pocono Mountains. And still further south was Pennsylvania Dutch Country, accessed by Reading and Lancaster, which offered aviation exposure through its Mid-Atlantic Aviation Museum and glimpses into simple, natural life with its horse-drawn buggies, lack of electricity, Good n’ Plenty Restaurant, and shoofly pie.
A tour of the extensive Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and a ride on the Strasburg Railroad, the oldest steam train in the United States, rounded out the area’s attractions. honda financial services customer service