Holidays and Other Excursions

Tag: autumn colours

Mt Washington Cog Railway

Saturday 8 October 2016

An early start this morning – we are leaving the hotel in the dark.

We are heading to the Mount Washington Cog Railway via Crawford Notch.  As we head along in the coach we are generally half asleep when suddenly the sun peeps over the horizon lighting up the adjacent hillside with a blaze of autumn colours – and of course none of us get the picture as we were not expecting it!  Absolutely stunning.

On our way we see signs to Bretton Woods.  In 1944, 730 delegates from the 44 nations forming the Allies met at the Mount Washington Hotel at Bretton Woods and laid the foundation for post war economic activity – the Bretton Woods agreement.  This underpinned world economics until 1971.

The Mount Washington Cog Railway was the first rack and pinion railway opening in 1868 and it remains the second steepest line in the world – not bad for the first of a kind.  Snowdon did not come along until 1896!  Mt Washington is only 3 miles long and has an average gradient of 1 in 4.

The reason for our early departure is that we have to be on the 08:00 departure as it is steam hauled, later trips are handled by the fleet of bio-diesels.  The locos are at the rear of the one coach on the ascent to the summit and then lead on the way down.  As I recall our steam train was followed to the top by a couple of bio-diesel powered trains which then had to return before we could do so – so we had a longer period at the top.

There are some wonderful photos of the railway, the views themselves and the autumn colours.

On arrival the view is very clear and we can see all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.  Whilst we were there it seemed to get colder (not very warm in the first place) and the the weather closed the view down a little – so the early start was extremely worthwhile.

Our coach returns us to North Conway and in consequence we do have a part day off.  This enables Jackie and I to wander into the adjacent shopping mall so that as is usual on trips to the USA I can acquire some inexpensive jeans.  As with our last visit to Florida I am also looking for some trainers but for some reason (I think my feet must have gone funny shaped) none of them seem to fit well – even if I try different sizes.  We also eat in the mall – very convenient for the hotel as it could not be closer.

New England in the Fall

Tuesday 4 October 2016

We are on our third Great Rail Journeys holiday (India [Palace on Wheels] and Canada [Rocky Mountaineer] were the previous trips); this time we are going to visit New England in the Fall.  We are on what I think is an “extra” trip as it is not a normal departure day for GRJ and unusually is a BA flight, so adding air miles for our future holidays!

Our flight destination from Heathrow is Boston but we return to visit the City at the end of our holiday and we are soon on a coach down to the coast staying at ShoreWay Acres Inn, Falmouth.  The coach journey along the US highways is smooth but most of the foliage we can see remains green and although there is some evidence of colour changing it is not significant.  Are we going to be denied the autumn colours which are the entire point of the trip?

Falmouth is south south east from Boston and being an early settler location we pass signs for Braintree, Weymouth, Plymouth and Barnstaple (among others) as we head to our destination which is still on the mainland.  We are however not far from the island of Martha’s Vineyard which we shall visit in a couple of days and we are right on the coast.

The hotel is perhaps a little old fashioned but reminds me very much of the TVs view of the world in the nature of ‘Murder She Wrote’.  We wander out to the small Main Street which has an interesting variety of shops, including a bookshop.  We had previously identified a restaurant (the Quarterdeck) which is packed with customers.  We order a starter and main course each, forgetting we are in America.  The starter is large and the main course larger still; not surprisingly many customers seem to order only a main course.  Jackie hears another customer order a martini and regrets not being able to follow her example!  Jackie then orders a white Zinfandel.  This of course turns out to be slightly pink and we all know how much Jackie enjoys a rosé!  We stagger back to the hotel feeling somewhat bloated to say the least.