Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania

The last adventure of our trip brings us to the borough of Jim Thorpe. Jim Thorpe was a famous Native American athlete. He was what we know as before Bo Jackson or Dion Saunders multi-athlete. He won Olympic gold medals, played professional football and baseball.

Jim Thorpe

We started our journey at the Asa Packer Mansion. Completed in 1861, it was the home of Asa Packer (1805–1879), a coal and railroad magnate, philanthropist, and founder of Lehigh University. The mansion is one of the best-preserved Italianate Villa homes in the United States, with original Victorian furnishings and finishes.

The Asa Packer Mansion was built over a cast iron frame and cost $14,000 dollars. It contains a total of three stories, 18 rooms, a red-ribbed tin roof, and a two-story covered porch.

Asa Packer Mansion

Upon the death of Mary Packer Cummings, Mr. Packer’s daughter, the home was willed to the Borough of Mauch Chunk (today Jim Thorpe) to remain as a memorial to her father and his many accomplishments. The borough, not certain what to do with the home, closed it, and for 44 years the home sat idle.

Inside the home, everything is original, all of the furniture, carpet, wallpaper just as it was in 1912. It’s truly a beautiful home. I have never seen anything so old with everything original. Asa paid workers 50 cents plus room and board a day to hand carve all of the woodwork inside of the house. It took a year and a half to complete the hand carvings. How would you like workers in your home for a year and a half?

Asa never fully forgot his humble beginnings, his generous deeds spoke for him. A philanthropist throughout his lifetime, Asa gave 33 million dollars to the town of Mauch Chunk and the Lehigh Valley. At the time of his passing, Asa retained an estate valued at 54 and a half million dollars.

Because Mary Packer left the home to the town, the 5,000 residents all own the mansion. Very cool.

Next door was Asa’s son’s home which is a bed and breakfast today. It looks to be a mansion in itself.

Harry Packer’s Home

We then walked the streets of Jim Thorpe looking at shops and restaurants. We had lunch and then headed to the old jail.

The jail was built in 1869–1870 and is a two-story, fortress-like rusticated stone building. It has thick, massive walls and a square, one-story guard turret above the main entrance.

It features arched windows on the main facade and the turret. There is a basement that was used for solitary confinement until 1980. The building is most notable as the jail where a number of suspected “Molly Maguire’s” were imprisoned while awaiting trial in 1875–1876 and subsequently hanged. There is a movie about the hangings that was filmed at the old jail.

Dungeon in the basement for solitary confinement

In cell 17, there is a handprint left by Alexander Campbell, a “Molly Maguire” who was hanged in 1877, to proclaim his innocence. Legend has it that despite many attempts to remove it, including building a new wall, the mark remains today.

List of people hung in jail
Gallows in jail for hangings
Cell Room

We enjoyed our day in Jim Thorpe, there also is a passenger train that departs from town. Cute town with plenty to do.

Naismith Basketball Hall Of Fame

Our first stop was the museum. Dedicated to James Naismith, who invented the sport in Springfield. The Hall of Fame was opened and inducted its first class in 1959. They have inducted over 400 basketball individuals. There are coaches, players, referees, contributors, and teams inducted. Penny Marshall (Lavern and Shirley) is a big basketball fan and has contributed several items.

Outside of building

In the lobby, they had some of the more notable players’ game uniforms, shoes, basketballs, and some trophies.

They also had an imprint of their shoes.

Shaquille O’Neal
Size 22
Michael Jordan
Size 13

As we walked into the museum, this quote from Wilt Chamberlain says it all. “They say nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they would make up their minds!” Great Quote.

Next, you could size up to Muggsy Bogues at 5’ 3”. Look at Missy towering over Muggsy. Missy’s response was “ I could of played”.

The tour starts on the third floor overlooking the court. You got to shoot hoops on the court at the end of the tour. They also had a peach basket to shoot on. Pretty cool!

There were a lot of jerseys. Below are some of the players I was looking for.

Michael Jordan
Dr. J
Meadowlark Lemon
Lorenzo Charles
1983 NC State

There were a lot of films on players, memorabilia, and trophies.

College trophies above, to the best of each position. Pretty cool trophies named after a player.

The basketball hall of fame museum was about all of basketball, men, women, NBA, College, and a few other leagues. It included basketball’s biggest fans, coaches, and referees.

Missy wasn’t excited about going, but afterward, she said she enjoyed it more than the baseball. I had told her it would be good.

I got to hold the NBA trophy.

As well as try my hand at being an ESPN Sportscenter announcer.

My first experience with reading a teleprompter.

I finally got to hang out with my buddy Shaq!

We both enjoyed our visit, I only have the Football Hall of Fame left to visit.

Mount Washington and The Vermont Country Store

Early morning came……… EARLY! We had reservations for the Mount Washington Cog Train at 8:30 am.

Mount Washington is the highest peak in New Hampshire at 6,288’. You can either drive up or ride the cog train. We decided to take the train.

1 passenger train
We had this steam locomotive

The cog trains are in their 152nd season climbing to the top of New England. The track has inclines as much as 37 degrees. They have both steam and diesel locomotives. Its track is straight up the mountain. It takes 1 hour to climb at a speed of 3-4 mph. The Cog train has these large cogs that pull the train up the track. There were 5 cogs on our train. The steam engine then uses air pressure instead of steam coming down the mountain. There is a brakeman inside of passenger train to keep the train from pushing the locomotive down the mountain.

Once we got to the summit the fog cover was so heavy it was hard to see anything.

We made it
Train in fog
Brakeman working the brakes on train
Picture of our steam locomotive who pushed passenger train up the mountain

They claim to have the worst weather in the world in Mount Washington. There have been lots of deaths on the mountain. The highest recorded wind speed was 231 mph. Part of the Appalachian Trail runs up Mount Washington. The trail is the very first trail in America. It was first laid out in 1819.

At 10:30 am the temperature was 61, feels like 57 degrees at summit.
Wow, that warning sign is brutal.

Our next adventure was back across Vermont. Weston, Vermont is home to the original Vermont Country Store.

The store is very large. It’s 3 buildings to make 1 big store. Our day concluded with driving to Springfield, Massachusetts.

Vermont and New Hampshire

Vermont is very much about Maple Syrup and Cheese. New Hampshire ‘s motto is “Live Free or Die”. Which would you prefer to be known by?

Our first destination is Mount Mansfield, the highest mountain in Vermont with a summit that peaks at 4,395 feet above sea level. The toll road is 4.5 miles up. The scenery was typical Vermont post card quality.

Beginning of trail
Lots of views
The yellow is a bloom from a flower
Flowers on mountain

Next we drove by Fisher Bridge in Wolcott , Vermont. The last railroad covered bridge in use in the United States.

As we drove towards New Hampshire, we stopped in a small town with a farmers market open on a Wednesday morning. This little girl (about 6 years old) came up to Missy and I and was talking jibberish, just jibberish, not making any sense too me. Missy figured out she was telling us about a butterfly cocoon on a tree. I had no idea what she was saying. She kept saying “CHRYSALIS” over and over. Thought it was just jibberish coming out of her mouth. Me, never heard such a word in my life, and this 6 year old is telling me this.

Green capsule looking is the Chrysalis it’s probably gonna make a monarch butterfly

She then wanted to show us the Chrysalis. She was right and I stand to be stupid!!! It’s the new skin forms the chrysalis that covers the caterpillar’s body. When the skin hardens, it takes on a green color. The color helps the chrysalis blend in with vegetation, which makes it less noticeable to passing birds and other predators. So I learned something today from a 6 year old.

After crossing into New Hampshire, we saw a covered bridge gift shoppe in Bartlett.

1790
There’s a store inside the bridge

Our destination was Jackson, NH. And yes they have a covered bridge there too, built in 1876, the bridge was nicknamed “Honeymoon” bridge from the tradition of lovers kissing under it for good luck.

It’s a bit wider than bridges I have seen before

In Jackson, NH they have a puzzle store. Missy was in heaven, she bought 3 puzzles.

In Vermont and New Hampshire every little village has the large church steeples with bells.

Next in Conway, NH we saw another covered bridge, the Swift River Bridge, est 1869.

Next the Saco River Bridge est 1890.

River under the bridge

Finally the Jackson Inn, the Inn was the summer home of the Baldwin family who made Baldwin pianos. It’s an old home converted into an inn.

Jackson Inn

Closet next to our room

Harry Potter Closet

So I hope y’all are enjoying my blogs, for us it’s a new adventure everyday! Our country sure has a lot to offer.

Witch Dungeon, Maple Syrup Farm and Stowe, Vermont

Our last order of business in Salem, Massachusetts was the Witch Dungeon Museum. What made this worth seeing was it touched more on what happened after they were found guilty.

Which Dungeon Museum
Salem, Ma

Salem’s laws were unique to the rest of the states for witches. If the accused admitted guilt then their lives were sparred.

After being told that they would be shown mercy if they confessed, 54 of the accused witches admitted guilt. Families and friends often urged their loved ones to confess to save their lives. Families sometimes turned on one another. When Margaret Jacobs confessed to witchcraft, she implicated several others, including her grandfather, Reverend George Burroughs.

From February to May, events escalated until 180 residents had been accused of witchcraft. Formal action was taken against 144 individuals, who were often chained and thrown in jail for months under harsh conditions. At least 55 of the accused were tortured or terrified into admitting guilt. Neither the young nor the old were spared. Four-year-old accused witch Dorcas Good went insane after spending months in prison and watching her baby sister die while in jail with their mother, who was later hanged. Three women and two infants died while imprisoned.

Ultimately, 19 individuals who had refused to admit guilt were hanged and another was pressed to death.

Around the end of September, the use of spectral evidence was finally declared inadmissible, thus marking the beginning of the end of the Salem Witch Trials. Although spectral evidence, evidence-based on dreams and visions, wasn’t the only evidence used in court during the Salem Witch Trials, it was the most common evidence and the easiest evidence for accusers to fake.

Massachusetts Governor Phips, who had returned from the colony’s border, was shocked by the state of the trials. Already nineteen had been hanged and more and more influential and important people were being accused. One of these people was his wife, Lady Phips. The governor put an end to the trials immediately and dissolved the Court of Oyer and Terminer (to hear and determine ). He also released all those who had been accused but not yet stood trial. Finally, he established a new court known as the Superior Court of Judicature to hear once more the cases of those who had stood trial and been sentenced to death. He then offered apologies to the families accused of being a witch.

So I wonder if the Governor’s wife wasn’t accused of being a witch would Governor Phips had declared the witch trials unconstitutional.

Torture for the witches included being put in the dungeon with some cells only big enough to stand up inside. There was no luxuries for the witches.

Interesting facts about the accused witches

We then headed north, driving to Montpellier, Vermont to go to an eighth-generation maple syrup farm.

I learned that trees can produce maple syrup for many many years. The process to make maple syrup is a detailed process. It’s not just catching the sap in a bucket. They tap the trees with a drill in the early spring when the ground freezes at night and warms up during the day. It takes a lot of sap from a tree to make a gallon of syrup. The people who own the maple syrup farm are farmers. They can’t make a living on maple syrup alone. After a maple tree is planted it takes many years before it produces sap.

Tubing connects from tree to tree to gather the flow of the syrup
Tap in tree

The sap runs for about 20-30 days a year. We had some maple-flavored ice cream that was very tasty.

Next, we drove to our destination of Stowe, Vermont. Stowe is a ski resort town at the base of Mount Mansfield, the highest mountain peak in Vermont. There is no snow here now. We did get to see our first covered bridge. Emily’s bridge is supposed to be haunted. The story states that on the day of her marriage, Emily was stood up at the altar. In a state of despair, Emily took her life at the bridge.

The covered bridge is still being used today

Many people who have visited the bridge have experienced disturbing paranormal activity. People have reported scratch marks appearing on vehicles that were parked on the bridge and being touched or scratched by Emily’s ghost. Often strange noises are heard on the bridge, such as footsteps, ropes tightening, and a girl screaming. Many have also reported seeing a white apparition around the area of Emily’s Bridge. People that have parked their vehicle on the haunted bridge say they tend to hear banging noises from Emily hitting the vehicle on the outside, or a dragging sound across the tops of their cars. The most distinct paranormal events tend to take place between the hours of 12 AM and 3:30 AM.

In the town of Stow, we saw the classic view of what you think of Vermont and its beautiful church steeples. We just need snow to complete the picture.

One if by land, two if by sea

Our adventure took us on the old town trolley along the freedom trail. The first stop was The Old North Church in Boston. This is the church steeple that Paul Revere had a person hang lanterns in the steeple, one lantern meant the Redcoats were coming by land and two lanterns by sea.

The steeple was high enough to be seen from a distance

After seeing the patterns, Paul Revere crossed the river to Charlestown the night of April 18, 1775, and then borrowed a horse to report to John Adams and John Hancock that the British were coming and with great force. This is the story of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.

Paul Revere

Contrary to what history has taught us Paul Revere never said “The British are Coming”. He also never finished his midnight ride, the British detained him before he ever got to Concord. Samuel Prescott was the only one of three riders that made the journey to Concord to warn that the British were coming. Paul Revere’s ride became famous from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem.

We next walked a few blocks over from the church to Paul Revere’s home.

Front of Paul Revere’s home

Paul Revere had 16 children in 30 years. They said he always had 5 or 6 children at home at one time. Paul became quite the businessman in Boston. He was a silversmith. He used the profits from his expanding business to finance his work in iron casting, bronze bell and cannon casting, and the forging of copper bolts and spikes. In 1800, he became the first American to successfully roll copper into sheets for use as sheathing on naval vessels. He was a Massachusetts militia officer. He was a member of the Sons of Liberty. Paul Revere left his mark all over the city of Boston which can still be seen today.

Back of Paul Revere’s house

We then passed by the skinniest house in Boston. A plaque outside the house reads, “The Skinny House Est. 1862.” In addition to its odd dimensions, the home also has a spiteful history of sibling rivalry, which contributes to its local lore and tourist appeal.

Two brothers are said to have inherited the property from their deceased father during the Civil War, and one built himself a massive home, while the other was away fighting. When the latter returned home, he found only a shred of property remaining. The soldier decided to build the narrow house out of spite, blocking his brother’s sunlight.

Today’s cost to buy this house $1.2 million

We kept moving down the freedom trail until we came upon the U.S.S. Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides, is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. She is the world’s oldest ship of any type still afloat. It was launched in 1797.

USS Constitution

We then saw the monument for the battle of Bunker Hill. It looks like the Washington monument with the Bunker Hill monument being older. It’s a rare monument in America where the Americans lost the battle. It was an early battle in the American Revolution with bloodshed. This became pivotal to the war.

Battle of Bunker Hill monument

We then jumped on the trolley to see where the Boston Tea Party took place. The Boston Tea Party was a political protest that occurred on December 16, 1773, at Griffin’s Wharf in Boston, Massachusetts. American colonists, frustrated and angry at Britain for imposing “taxation without representation,” dumped 342 chests of tea, imported by the British East India Company into the harbor. It took 3 hours to dump the tea. The event was the first major act of defiance to British rule over the colonists. It showed Great Britain that Americans wouldn’t take taxation and tyranny sitting down, and rallied American patriots across the 13 colonies to fight for independence.

Replica ship in harbor carrying tea

The Granary Burying Ground in Massachusetts the city of Boston’s third-oldest cemetery, was founded in 1660. It is the final resting place for many notable Revolutionary War Patriots including Paul Revere, the five victims of the Boston Massacre, and three signers of the Declaration of Independence; Samual Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Trent Payne.

Samuel Adams
John Hancock
Paul Revere

Today was a busy day, but I felt like I saw a lot of cool history. Boston has a lot of history for one city. Massachusetts was very important to the development of our country without English Rule.

Salem Witch Trials and The House of Seven Gables

Beware the following content contains information about witches! It is not for the timid! You have been warned! I accept no responsibility for any bad MOJO that might occur!

Today started with us staying in Salem, Ma because of tropical depression Henri. After going to breakfast we went to The House Of Seven Gables. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote the story about the house in 1851. The house was built in 1668. It has 17 rooms and over 8,000 sq feet. It is the oldest 17th-century mansion in New England. There were secret rooms and stairwells in the house. Today people claim the house is haunted.

House of Seven Gables

Next to the house and museum is the house of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace, July 4, 1804. Both of these houses are in really good condition for their ages.

Nathaniel Hawthorne ‘s homeplace 1750

The two houses are near the bay where we walked and saw the Salem Maritime. This is where ships came in for trade until the harbor water became too shallow for the newer larger boats.

The building is where they collected taxes on the goods of the ships

We then walked about a mile to see the museum of the Salem Witch Trials and found this nice statue of Roger Conant, the first settler to Salem, Massachusetts in 1606. His hat looked like a sorcerer‘s hat. He lived from 1592-1670.

Across the street was America’s oldest candy company, Ye Olde Pepper Companie Manufacturing Confectioner since 1806.

Oldest Candy Company

The Salem witch trials occurred in colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft, the Devil’s magic, and 19 were executed. Eventually, the colony admitted the trials were a mistake and compensated the families of those convicted.

The museum story was of January of 1692, Reverend Parris’ daughter Elizabeth, age 9, and niece Abigail Williams, age 11, started having “fits.” They screamed, threw things, uttered peculiar sounds and contorted themselves into strange positions, and a local doctor blamed the supernatural. Another girl, Ann Putnam, age 11, experienced similar episodes. On February 29, under pressure from magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne, the girls blamed three women for afflicting them: Tituba, the Parris’ Caribbean slave; Sarah Good, a homeless beggar; and Sarah Osborne, an elderly impoverished woman.

All three women were brought before the local magistrates and interrogated for several days, starting on March 1, 1692. Osborne claimed innocence, as did Good. But Tituba confessed, “The Devil came to me and bid me serve him.” She described elaborate images of black dogs, red cats, yellow birds, and a “black man” who wanted her to sign his book. She admitted that she signed the book and said several other witches were looking to destroy the Puritans. All three women were put in jail. This was an old fashion which hunt.

With the seed of paranoia planted, a stream of accusations followed for the next few months.

On May 27, 1692, Governor William Phipps ordered the establishment of a Special Court of Oyer (to hear) and Terminer (to decide) for Suffolk, Essex and Middlesex counties. The first case brought to the special court was Bridget Bishop, an older woman known for her gossipy habits and promiscuity. When asked if she committed witchcraft, Bishop responded, “I am as innocent as the child unborn.” The defense must not have been convincing, because she was found guilty and, on June 10, became the first person hanged on what was later called Gallows Hill.

By the end of the Salem witch trials, 19 people had been hanged, and 5 others had died in custody.

We then took a look at a memorial for the 19 that were hanged. Below is one of 19 memorials carved in stone. The one below says; Sarah Wildes Hanged July 19, 1692

Simple and to the point.

Next we saw an old cemetery dating back 3 Centuries.

The Salem Witch Trials came about from the strict Puritans religious standards and intolerance of anything not accepted within their scripture.

A strange story as we were traveling on our trip in the car, about 4 days ago, the car radio reported that more than three centuries after a Massachusetts woman, Elizabeth Johnson, was convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to death, she’s finally on the verge of being exonerated – thanks to a curious eighth-grade civics class.

Why Elizabeth was not exonerated is unclear but no action was ever taken on her behalf by the state general assembly or the courts.

Possibly because she was neither a wife nor a mother, she was not considered worthy of having her name cleared. And because she never had children, there is no group of descendants acting on her behalf.

Isn’t this crazy that this story came about while we were traveling on our trip to Salem, Ma? After 3 Centuries?

Hannah has heard that beginning October 1st, everything gets decorated big with the witches in Salem. The amount of tourism reaches its peak for the season. She lives about 5 minutes from this fun event about to unfold beneath her very own eyes. I am excited for her.

Cheers to Everyone

If Hannah knows anything, she knows breakfast. We had breakfast in Salem, MA at Dotty”s and Rays, Salem”s oldest diner since 1958. A great place to start your day.

After breakfast, we headed to Lexington/Concord to see the Orchard House. The Orchard House was home to Louisa May Alcott. It was first built between 1690-1720. The Alcott’s moved into Orchard House, which was then a two-story clapboard farmhouse, in the spring of 1858. At the time of purchase, the site included two early eighteenth-century houses on a 12-acre apple orchard. After moving more than twenty times in nearly thirty years, the Alcotts had finally found their home place at Orchard House, where they lived until 1877.

Orchard House

In 1868, Louisa May Alcott wrote her beloved classic novel, Little Women in her room on a special “shelf desk” built by her father. Set within the house, its characters are based on members of her family, with the plot loosely based on the family’s earlier years and events.

Desk wheee she wrote Little Women

Fortunately, there have been no major structural changes to the house since the Alcotts’ time, with ongoing preservation efforts adhering to the highest standards of authenticity. Since approximately 80% of the furnishings on display were owned by the Alcotts, the rooms look very much as they did when the family lived here, causing many modern-day visitors to comment that, “A visit to Orchard House is like a walk through Little Women!”

Next we headed just down the road a piece, to the site where on the night of April 18, 1775, hundreds of British troops set off from Boston toward Concord, Massachusetts, in order to seize weapons and ammunition stockpiled there by American colonists. Early the next morning, the British reached Lexington, where approximately 70 minutemen had gathered on the village green. Someone suddenly fired a shot, it’s uncertain which side, and a melee ensued. When the brief clash ended, eight Americans lay dead and at least an equal amount were injured, while one redcoat was wounded. The British continued on to nearby Concord, where that same day they encountered armed resistance from a group of patriots at the town’s North Bridge. Gunfire was exchanged, leaving two colonists and three redcoats dead. Afterward, the British retreated back to Boston, skirmishing with colonial militiamen along the way and suffering a number of casualties; the Revolutionary War had begun. The incident at the North Bridge later was memorialized by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his 1837 poem “Concord Hymn,” whose opening stanza is: “By the rude bridge that arched the flood/Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled/Here once the embattled farmers stood/And fired the shot heard round the world.”

North Bridge

This spot we visited today is where our country stood up to the British and fought to become our own self-governing country. If not for the brave minutemen we might have been an entirely different country.

Next, we headed into Boston to visit the bar from the show Cheers, in Beacon Hill. “Where everybody knows your name.” Its a iconic bar in Boston where you can go and relax and enjoy time with friends. A Boston trip is not complete without visiting Cheers.

Adjacent to Cheers is the Boston Common, it’s a Central Park in Boston, Ma. Since 1684, it is the oldest city park in America.

In this park is “Make way for ducklings, statues with Mrs. Mallard and her eight ducklings are there for the young and old to see. The city decorates the ducks during holidays to attract sightseers.

Picture from Hannah’s personal photo gallery collection taken last winter of ducklings dressed up for Christmas

The statues are from Robert McCloskey’s 1941 beloved children’s classic, Make way for the Ducklings, where Mr. and Mrs. Mallard come to Boston when searching for the perfect home for their soon-to-be family. They find the Public Garden, and decide to spend the night on the little island in the Lagoon. Today the story continues with these ducklings.

We then walked up Beacon Hill to the Union Oyster House, from 1826 it is the oldest operating restaurant in America. The Union Oyster House serves traditional New England food – oysters, lobsters, clams, baked beans, steak, and chicken – just as it did years ago. It also was known as a place that John F. Kennedy frequented a lot. I give the lobster two thumbs up!

After dinner, we strolled over to Mike’s Pastry. Founded in 1946, Mike’s Pastry is located in Boston’s historic North End on Hanover Street. Michael Mercogliano (the “Mike” behind the famed Mike’s Pastry) created the one-of-a-kind cannoli that keeps loyal Bostonians and tourists coming from around the world to enjoy. With 19 different Cannoli’s to choose from, it is a fun experience just to stand in line to order your favorite cannoli or pastry.

What I am seeing in Boston is that age and tradition are what make this city unique. I look forward to our next adventure.

Cooperstown, NY Baseball Hall of Fame

Our adventure took us from the Catskills Mountains to Cooperstown, NY to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Today is all about baseball, America’s favorite pastime, where the boys of summer gather to determine who will become World Series Champions.

Baseball Hall of Fame

For baseball enthusiasts, this is where baseball started. The museum opened in 1939 and houses every inductee plaque to the major league hall of fame. As a baseball player this is the ultimate award.

Babe Ruth’s plaque

I have been lucky to now have seen the Hall of Fame, Louisville Slugger Bat Museum, and attend many games at a number of different stadiums.

In my opinion, baseball is more than a game. There are probably more international players than in any sport we have in our country. What baseball does is bring the kid out of adults. Everyone probably has some memory of throwing and catching a ball. It’s an escapism from the adult world to being a kid again.

As a kid, I didn’t play organized baseball but it didn’t mean I couldn’t love the game. I remember going with my dad to ball games and rooting for the Salem Pirates. Getting excited when someone hit a homerun or stole a base. I remember standing with everyone for the national anthem and hearing the PA announcer say, “play ball!” I remember standing and singing, Take Me Out To The Ball Game, during the seventh-inning stretch. I got excited if I got a foul ball or even an autograph.

Baseball helped to teach me math, keeping statistics of my favorite team. I collected thousands of baseball cards, which I still have, and always got excited opening the wrapper and chewing the gum.

Brooks Robinson, the best fielding third baseman ever to play the game, came to Roanoke for a grand opening of a bank in Roanoke in 1972. I went to my second-grade teacher, to ask for permission to leave school to attend. My teacher’s response was that I could go only if I got her an autograph too. I remember telling Brooks this and him laughing and granting my teacher’s request.

Some of the best sports movies are from baseball with great one liners. The Bad News Bears, The Natural, Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come”. A League of their Own, “ There’s no crying in baseball”. The Sandlot, “You’re killing me smalls”,to name a few.

There have been many of characters to play baseball. We had Mark “The Bird” Fidrych, Babe Ruth, Yogi Berra, Luis Tiant, Billy Martin to name a few. Some of the mascots were just as colorful as the players. The San Diego Chicken would make any kid or adult laugh. All in the Hall of Fame museum.

Baseball had the kissing bandit, Morganna, whom famously rushed the field on many occasions and kissed MLB players. She has been described as “baseball’s unofficial mascot” and “the grand dame of baseball”.

Morgana kissing George Brett during a game

Baseball has always had streakers that ran across the field during the game. Everyone always got a good laugh while cheering for the streaker to avoid security.

Also, there was the Bob Uecker commercials. Google them for some laughs. He was the Rodney Dangerfield of baseball.

Baseball has always been famous for its baseballism too. Yogi Berra said it best with his words of wisdom.

A few of his most famous sayings:

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

You can observe a lot by just watching.

It ain’t over till it’s over.

It’s like déjà vu all over again.

No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.

Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.

A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.

Seeing the player’s names at the Baseball Hall of Fame museum brought back these memories for me. I saw names of players I hadn’t thought of in years. Most players from yesterday had nicknames. Hamerin Hank Aaron, say Hey Willie Mays, Joltin Joe Dimaggio, Willie “Pops” Stargell just to name a few.

Baseball has also been a very colorful sport over the years. I have to mention my favorite team the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the 1979 World Champions. They wore the old pill box hats with mix and match polyester uniforms.

The 1979 Pirates team song was “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge. Their slogan was, “ if you hear any noise, it’s just me and the boys bopping”!Captain Willie Stargell gave out stars for their hats for individual achievements. What a fun bunch of individuals who came together as a team to win the World Series.

On deck circle from Pittsburgh’s old Forbes field 1909-1970 in Hall of Fame Museum

In Cooperstown, there were plenty of shops with baseball memorabilia. Every kid needs an MLB baseball. A Cooperstown slogan I liked was, “Cooperstown a drinking town, with a baseball problem”. The town itself was very small, but very cute. We enjoyed coffee and an old fashion doughnut at the corner bakery.

We then drove to Boston in time for a baseball game at Fenway Park. Fenway Park opened in 1912 and with the green monster wall is one of the iconic ballparks today, The Fenway Franks are a must as well as the Dr. Mcgillicuddy shots. Thank you Connor for a great time.

The Green Monster

I hope this post brings back some sort of memory or interest. Enjoy

Kutztown, PA to Windham, NY

Our trip to visit Hannah in Salem, Ma began with a 6-hour drive to Kutztown, Pa. I had never been to Kutztown but heard of the German Festival they have every year. Our timing wasn’t that of the festival but with just an overnight stay we figured we would adventure around town.

Our first stop on our journey was lunch and then the Lindt factory in Carlisle, Pa. Lindt chocolate is probably my favorite chocolate treat. If you have never had one, think of it as a soft chocolate tootsie pop with a liquid flavor in the middle. After getting the “Special”, 75 pieces for $25 I calmly, with a sincere look, asked for my Lindt Master Swiss Chocolatier application! The cashier didn’t take me seriously and just laughed as if I was joking. Oh well, maybe another time. I am now set for chocolate on our trip.

After arriving in Kutztown we decided to look around town. Our first stop was Folino Estate Winery. We did a tasting and discovered a blueberry sangria, blueberry syrup in Riesling wine with a sugary rim. Very different, but quite tasty. The winery had lots of different wines, with grapes of their own and grapes from other vineyards. This vineyard was like the IPA of wines with many infused wines.

We explored downtown Kutztown and ended up driving on some backroads singing our favorite songs like we were the artists. We sort of made our own fun while adventuring around Kutztown.

The next morning we headed for the Catskills Mountains of New York, you know where Rip Van Winkle slept for 20 years under a tree. Oh, how it would be nice to sleep for just a day. I have my eyes out looking for Rip while I drive through hoping I might get to nap with him. I wonder is there a difference between a “Yankee” snoring and a “Rebel” snoring, I should be careful it might start another civil war!

I think we could be friends! Haha

Somewhere in a remote spot in the mountains of New York, we ran across our first covered bridge. Halls Mills Bridge. I find covered bridges soothing like sailboats on the water.

Halls Mils Bridge

Our drive avoided the toll interstate roads while putting us on back country roads and two lane highways. This route only added 20 minutes to our destination of Windham, NY. I have never seen the countryside of New York and who would ever think New York has grass, trees, flowers, and cornfields. We decided to stay in the Catskills Mountains at a hotel called Albergo Allegria in Windham, NY. I reserved the Millennium Suite, and what a wonderful hotel it is. Windham, NY is known as the “gem of the Catskills,” with Windham Mountain and its ski trails.

Albergo Allegria

After arriving we decided to have some lunch and then venture out. The hotel clerk was very nice and gave us suggestions. Our first destination was Kaaterskill Falls, with being perhaps the crowning jewel of the highest cascading waterfall in New York State. Dropping in two tiers at over 260 feet. Much prettier than the Empire State Building in the city.

Missy on trail to Waterfall
167 feet drop
View from above waterfall

Just further down the road was the Laural House, built-in 1852 as a 50 room boarding house. By 1884 it was enlarged to accommodate 300 visitors. It was located on the edge overlooking the falls. It operated until 1965 and in 1967 it was burned to the ground to make way for the Laurel House campgrounds. Unfortunately, New York State does not respect historic structures, and they have a reputation for burning historic structures.

Laural House, Can you believe they burned it down?

As we headed back to our hotel, we passed by South Lake with all of its beauty in the mountains of the Catskills. The mountain air is fresh and the temperatures cool making the Catskills a favorite destination during all four seasons for New Yorkers.

Before our trip, I decided I would experiment to see where you couldn’t order sweet tea, Windham, New York wins! It’s strange to think of the amount of sweet tea drank in the south and not in the north. That’s probably why Rip Van Winkle slept 20 years, he didn’t have enough sugar in him!