Wandering Around America One State at a Time – North Carolina

State 30:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state in my series is

North Carolina

North Carolina became the 12th state on November 21, 1789. The capital is Raleigh.

From the Great Smokey Mountains to the Outer Banks, there is a lot to explore in North Carolina. Waterfalls and beaches, hikes and scenic drives, mountains and racetracks, wildlife and wildflowers  –  these are just a few of the things that make North Carolina memorable.

Back before our RVing days we wandered around the Outer Banks seeing the lighthouses and beaches, visiting the Wright Brothers Monument where they took their first flight, and taking the ferry from Hatteras to Ocracoke.  Another ferry took us from Ocracoke back to the mainland where we visited Bath where the pirate Blackbeard once lived.

If you love waterfalls, you won’t be disappointed in North Carolina.

It doesn’t get any better than a campsite with a beautiful view. Our campsite in Asheville was perfect for hanging out after hiking or touring the fabulous Biltmore Estate.

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Blondie taking a break at our campsite at Campfire Lodgings in Asheville
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Biltmore Estate in Asheville
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Sunset at Campfire Lodgings in Asheville

I felt as if I had gone back in time to Mayberry as we wandered around Andy Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy.

We ended our tour of the Charlotte Motor Speedway in the winner’s circle.

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In the Winner’s Circle at Charlotte Motor Speedway

One of the hikes we made was on Whiteside Mountain in the Nantahala National Forest.

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Whiteside Mountain in Nantahala National Forest

Whether it’s the leaves showing their fall colors or the flowers showing their brilliant blooms, the vibrant colors of the North Carolina mountains change with the seasons.

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Fall Colors on the Blue Ridge Parkway

We explored Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway and Mingus Mill in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park near Cherokee.

And if it’s wildlife you’re looking for, try visiting in the fall where you might see the bugling elk in Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico      New York

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – New York

State 29:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. We have never been to New Jersey so the next state in my series is

New York

New York became the 11th  state on July 26, 1788. The capital is Albany.

A few years ago we camped in Niagara Falls, Canada. After exploring the Canadian falls we made a day trip into New York where we had close up views of the Bridal Veil Falls and got soaked as we walked along the decks on the Cave of the Winds Tour.

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Bridal Veil Falls as seen from Canada
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Niagara Falls USA

You will get wet if you take the Cave of the Winds Tour!

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You can’t get much closer to the falls that this
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Up close to the falls on the Cave of the Winds Tour
Walked under the American Side of Niagara Falls in New York
That’s Henry waving from the Hurricane Deck

Our next stop in New York was Golden Hill State Park. Although the park is located about thirty miles by water from Niagara Falls the drive is a little bit longer. This peaceful state park was exactly what we needed after the excitement of Niagara Falls. Where else can you have a view of a lighthouse and one of the great lakes from your campsite? We enjoyed touring the Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse and Blondie enjoyed swimming in Lake Ontario. The highlight each day was watching a gorgeous sunset over the lake.

I recently returned from a fantastic Mother-Daughter Weekend in New York City. We did all the things on our bucket list and much more. The best part of the weekend for me was seeing the city with my beautiful daughter.

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Minnesota

State 21:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state is

Minnesota

Minnesota became the 32nd state on May 11, 1858. The capital is St. Paul.

Our first visit to Minnesota can be described in one word – SNOW. It started snowing shortly after we left Wisconsin one morning in early April. As we traveled west on I-90  we crossed the Mississippi River into Minnesota with the wind blowing snow horizontally across the interstate. It was so bad we pulled off the interstate and spent the night at a Holiday Inn Express in Winona. I will be forever grateful to the kind employees who put us up in a downstairs room with our Labrador Retriever. There was a restaurant in the hotel and they even had an indoor pool so we were roughing it in style.

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Crossing the Mississipi River to Minnesota in a snow storm
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Snowing over the Mississippi River
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Terrifying icy road conditions in Minnesota – at times we couldn’t even see the road
Icy trees beside the interstate
Icy trees beside the interstate
Overnight Camping at a Holiday Inn Express

The next morning the hotel let us have a late check out so we could wait until the roads were safe enough for travel. Later that day we checked into Blue Mounds State Park and we were the only campers in the park. With snow on the ground and temperatures below freezing the water was turned off and the dump station wasn’t operating. It was a great adventure!

Camping in the snow at Blue Mounds State Park

20070413MN-(6)The weather was much better on our other visits to Minnesota. During our stay at Temperance River State Park on the Minnesota North Shore we enjoyed wandering around Split Rock Lighthouse and on the huge boulders beside Lake Superior.

Split Rock Lighthouse on Minnesota's North Shore
Split Rock Lighthouse on Minnesota’s North Shore
Minnesota’s North Shore
Island in Lake Superior on MInnesota's North Shore
Island in Lake Superior on MInnesota’s North Shore
Minnesota North Shore

20100606Minnesota-North-Shore-(89)We loved visiting the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park so much we camped there twice.

Mississippi River Headwaters in Itasca State Park
Mississippi River Headwaters in Itasca State Park
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Walking across the headwaters of the Mississippi River
Mighty Mississippi River near the headwaters
The mighty Mississippi River near the headwaters
Walking across the Mississippi River near the headwaters
Walking across the Mississippi River near the headwaters
Sunset over Lake Itasca
Sunset over Lake Itasca

We made several visits to the St. Paul area to visit family. While there we visited the Mall of America and the Minnesota Arboretum.

A trip to the Spam Museum and the Green Giant Statue were on our bucket list as we traveled through Minnesota.

Some of the wildflowers and wildlife we found in Minnesota.

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Michigan

State 20:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state is

Michigan

Michigan became the 26th state on January 26, 1837. The capital is Lansing. Michigan is the only state with two peninsulas.

Our wandering around Michigan took us to three great lakes, two national lakeshores, huge sand dunes, magnificent waterfalls, a beautiful island with no motorized vehicles allowed, a lock connecting two great lakes, lighthouses, and gigantic cliffs.

Our Michigan journeys included camping in Muskegon State Park on Lake Michigan and in Lakeport State Park on Lake Huron.

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Swan in Muskegon Channel
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Beach on Lake Huron in Lakeport State Park

We picked a beautiful day to explore Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan.

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Dune Climb at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
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450 feet above Lake Michigan at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

We had a great view of the Mackinac Bridge from our campsite at Macinaw Mill Creek Campground. The campground was our home base for a visit to Mackinac Island.

Mackinac Bridge at sunset
Mama Swan with babies

 

After crossing the Mackinac Bridge we spent a few days in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, otherwise known as the UP. We spent a day marveling at the spectacular waterfalls in Tahquamenon (rhymes with phenomenon) Falls State Park.

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Upper Tahquamenon Falls
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Lower Tahquamenon-Falls

We drove up to Sault Ste. Marie for a look at the Soo Locks.

Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie
Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie

Another day was spent exploring Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

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Sable Falls
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Miner’s Castle
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Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Our campsite at Porcupine Mountains State Park was right next to the rocky shore of Lake Superior.

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We enjoyed seeing a few of Michigan’s Lighthouses.

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Massachusetts

State 19:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state is

Massachusetts

Massachusetts was one of the original thirteen colonies and became the 6th state on February 6, 1788. The capital is Boston .

On our one and only trip to Massachusetts we wandered around two gorgeous waterfront towns.

Our first stop was Gloucester where we visited the Fisherman’s Memorial. The Man at the Wheel Statue faces the sea. Across from the statue beside the waterfront is a List of Names honoring not only those men known to be lost at sea but also the men and ships lost without record. The number of men and ships who left from Gloucester and never returned is staggering.

Sebastian Junger’s book “The Perfect Storm” (and later the movie starring George Clooney) told the story of  the fishing vessel Andrea Gail from Gloucester that went down with all of it’s crew during the storm of the century in 1991. The names of the crew members are included on the List of Names at Fisherman’s Memorial.

Man at the Wheel Statue at the Fisherman’s Memorial, Gloucester, Massachusetts
Gloucester Fishermen’s Memorial
Just a few names of the people lost at sea –  Gloucester Fisherman’s Memorial

The Ten Pound Light was visible from the Gloucester waterfront. Many fishing vessels were tied up at docks.

Ten Pound Island Lighthouse, Gloucester
Gloucester Fishing Boats
Gloucester Fishing Boat

We also stopped to stroll around Rockport with it’s beautiful harbor.

Rockport Harbor
Rockport Harbor

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland