A New England Color Tour and Adventure – Lake Winnipesaukee

Our adventure for today, was to set sail for a journey across Lake Winnipesaukee on what has been called the “most beautiful cruise in New England.” Sail from the home port of Weirs Beach aboard the M/S Mount Washington to Wolfeboro, known as the oldest resort town in New Hampshire. Along the way, the fully narrated trip across the lake was one of the most enjoyable adventures during our Fall Color Tour.

Mount Washington getting ready for our adventure.

Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in New Hampshire.  It is approximately 21 miles long and from 1 to 9 miles wide covering 69 square miles square miles and reaches a maximum depth of 180 feet. The shoreline is approximately 288 miles with many lovely homes dotting the shore. Lake Winnipesaukee is the third-largest lake in New England after Lake Champlain and Moosehead Lake.

On board the Mount Washington there was an abundance of deck space to enjoy the views – and it was a beautiful day for sure.  The original Mount Washington, unfortunately, had a fire and was destroyed.  This ship, the second ship with this name to ply the waters of the lake started its service on Lake Champlain in Vermont and was built in 1888.  To move the ship to Lake Winnipesaukee, it had to be cut into sections, transported by rail and re-assembled on the lake – it started service on the Lake in 1940.  After many years, and new ownership, the ship was again modified in 1982.  At that time, it was again cut in half in the middle extending the length of the ship by an additional 25 feet.

With various lounges and benches to relax, plus snacks available it was truly a wonderful time on the water.

There were spots of color but not a lot – another week or two will work wonders for color around the Lake.
This makes 76 pictures with a life ring we have taken.

After landing in Wolfeboro, we all had an opportunity for lunch and a bit of shopping and a chance to experience this lovely spot on the lake.

After we boarded the bus, we continued to Kennebunkport, one of Maine’s coastal jewels and the summer home to many of America’s rich and famous. Adorned with stately homes, Kennebunkport seems to wait breathlessly for its captains to return from sea.

This is the Bush Family Compound – yes, the President’s place.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to explore – just watched as the town slipped by out the windows of our bus.

This is a partial map of the route we took on this adventure.

As this was our last night of the adventure, we gathered for a farewell dinner to share memories with our traveling companions and get packed for our flights home.

We had a lovely time sharing this adventure with our neighbors and fellow travelers with Mayflower Tours.

This completes our New England Fall Color Tour. It was an enjoyable time with lots to see. Not as much color as we had hoped but there was certainly sufficient to cover our needs. If you missed any, you can look back anytime and see where we have been. Stay tuned for future adventures as we look forward to visiting Iguazu Falls and a cruise on Oceania from Buenos Aires to Miami next March and a Christmas Market Cruise in November of 2024. Of course other adventures could happen at any time and a blog could be happen so stay tuned.

A New England Color Tour and Adventure – Boston and Plymouth

Several years ago, we moved into a 55+ community in Williamsburg VA.  As part of this community, the HOA has a Travel Club.  This Club provides travel adventures for the residents year-round and this year we chose to hop on the New England and Cape Cod Autumn Foliage trip.  We had discussed going to New England to see the fall foliage and this trip solved all the logistic problems – no driving, no hunting for places to sleep – all travel included.

The trip was set for the end of September when, hopefully, the fall colors in New England would be in abundance. So, with 30 or so of our neighbors we set out for this adventure.  Our adventure started off by driving all of a mile over to the HOA Clubhouse where we all boarded a couch and headed to the Richmond Airport.  

After a short flight we landed at Boston’s Logan Airport and found our way to Boston Park Plaza Hotel.  Once at the hotel we were met by our tour director, Debby Swope.  

Boston Park Plaza Hotel – lovely.

Once settled into our room, we ventured across the street to Boston Common and explored a bit of the area.  Having lived in Cambridge (across the river) and Janeen having worked on Newbury Street (which ends at the Common) it is an area we had visited in the past.  Unfortunately, the Swan Boats were not on the pond so no boating today.  However, it was a lovely day and lots of views to take in.

Finally, she got all her ducks in a row!

The following morning, our first tour was an overview the oldest part of Boston – a place we have visited by many years ago.  Our “step on” guide (local guide who joined us on the bus) was very knowledgeable of Boston and did a great job of pointing out significant places along our trip.  

The majority of the ride focused on the Freedom Trail – The Boston Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long path through Boston that passes by 17 locations significant to the history of the Boston and marked with a red brick line in the sidewalk. It winds from Boston Common, to the Old North Church in the North End and the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown.

Copp’s Hill grave yard from the 1660’s.

Stops along the trail include simple explanatory ground markers, graveyards, notable churches and buildings, and the USS Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides.  The USS Constitution is a three-masted wooden-hulled heavy and is the world’s oldest commissioned naval warship still afloat. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to Bucker Hill or Old Ironsides but it was a good overview of the City and the historical significance of many of the places.  

We ended the tour at Faneuil Hall where we had time for lunch and a little exploration of all the markets around the place.

After rejoining our group, after lunch, we boarded the Couch and headed towards Plymouth and Cape Cod.

Plymouth Rock’s Home – it sits in the hollow where the tides can still sweep in and cover it with seaweed.

Plymouth Massachusetts is the home of Plymouth Rock, the traditional site of disembarkation of the Mayflower Pilgrims who founded Plymouth Colony in December 1620.  We are all familiar with the story about the Pilgrims and their establishment of the colony here but it wasn’t until a hundred years or so later there is a written reference to the “rock”.  In 1741, 121 years after the Pilgrims arrived, there is a written documentation about the landing place when it was described in the town boundary records as “a great rock”.  Regardless, the establishment of the colony in this location is significant and the story of the rock is a good timeline marker.

We all took advantage of the time off the bus to explore and take some pictures.  In the Park around the “rock” is the Mayflower II, a reproduction of the original ship which brought the Pilgrims across the Atlantic.  So, back on the bus and off to Cape Cod.

Chuck and Sally – our Neighbors were also on the adventure.

While in Plymouth, we also visited The National Monument to the Forefathers, formerly known as the Pilgrim Monument.

This commemorates the Mayflower Pilgrims and was dedicated on August 1, 1889, it honors their ideals as later generally embraced by the United States.  It is thought to be the world’s largest solid granite monument.

On the main pedestal stands the heroic figure of “Faith” with her right hand pointing toward heaven and her left hand clutching the Bible. Upon the four buttresses also are seated figures emblematic of the principles upon which the Pilgrims founded their Commonwealth; Morality, Law, Education, and Liberty. 

After our visit, we headed towards South Yarmouth where we were booked in for two nights.

A New England Color Tour and Adventure – A Train Ride

Day 6 of our adventure to see Fall Color started at a reasonable time with our having to be on the bus around 8:15 – less hectic than the other days when bus time was 7 or so.  We were leaving the hotel heading to North Conway Village to board the train for a ride through the White Mountains to view the changing colors.  

However, along the way we made a couple of stops to take pictures of covered bridges, color along the road and to enjoy the beautiful day. This location also provided a group photo opportunity which was shared on a photo circle.

The Albany Bridge – There are 58 covered bridges in New Hampshire – this one was originally built in 1857.

Conway Valley Train is a classic rural train ride through the area.   Built in 1872, the heritage railroad serviced passengers and freight for nearly 100 years before coming to a halt in 1961.  Under new ownership in 1974, the railroad rebranded from a freight and passenger train to a scenic excursion train.  Departing from the historic 1874 Victorian Station in the heart of North Conway Village, we had an open carriage journey through scenic mountains of New Hampshire.

Our Group waiting for our train .
All Aboard!

The narrated trip included history of the railroad, sites along the way and general information about this scenic loop back to Conway.  

Debby got help handing out the box lunch sandwich, apple, water bottle and sweet.

Train buffs were given time to tour the gift shop, and then we boarded our replacement vehicle (which had coat hangers and cup holders on each seat!) and headed for our resort hotel. Along the way we stopped for a quick picture or two.

The Omni Mt Washington Resort – was NOT where we were staying

Once back to our hotel, we packed for the following days adventure – a cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee

A New England Color Tour and Adventure – Vermont Country Store and Color!

After our visit to Newport, we hit the road to find Fall Colors!  Our first stop was Brattleboro Vermont which was just an overnight spot and a chance to relax for a few minutes.  The following morning, after breakfast, we boarded the coach and headed out to try and find some Fall Color with the goal of reaching Weston VT and the Vermont Country Store.  Along the way we made a couple of stops, one at Starbucks with a lovely park next to the parking lot.  While not everyone on the coach rushed into Starbucks, it was clear the majority were interested in a hot beverage.

The Ashuelot River Park, in Keene Vermont, was a lovely place to wander around for a few minutes while finishing my coffee.  

Back on the bus we headed towards the Vermont Country Store. We did stop for some pictures.

What a surprise, we hadn’t gone very far when I saw this Bob’s Big Boy on top of Dari Joy! How did this get all the way here? Bob’s started in Southern California.

We made a stop along the way to take pictures of the fall colors.

Many years ago, when we lived in Cambridge Massachusetts, Janeen worked at an importer of wooden ware – H.A. Mack and Company.  The primary focus was the import of wooden ware such as spoons, bowls and lots of other kitchen gadgets.  One of the places they sold to was the Vermont Country Store!  So we have known about this place for many years – back when the original owner, Vrest Orton. ran the place with his wife Mildred.  Since that time, we have received their catalogue every so often and even ordered a thing or two over the years.  However, we have never visited the store even though we passed through the area from time to time when we lived in Cambridge.

Started in 1946, the Vermont Country Store in the village of Weston was inspired by childhood memories of his father’s general store in North Calais, Vermont.  The Weston store became the first restored rural general store in the nation.  Today the place is owned and operated by his son and grandsons – together they are 7th and 8th generation Vermonters. They still adhere to the old-fashion values set by their father and take pride in being the Purveyors of the Practical and Hard-to-Find.  When we have looked for something obscure like Necco Wafers for use on gingerbread houses we reach out to them for sure. When Janeen asked for licorice Scottie Dogs, they rushed them up from in back.

Once in the store, it’s clear there is a LOT to choose from.  Our stop was to be an hour or so but it could have lasted all day with all the nooks and crannies there were to discover.  

I thought we did pretty good getting out only spending $130!

Back on the bus we headed to Woodstock Vermont for a little sight-seeing and lunch.   Woodstock is a small town with historic buildings surrounding the central square and considered to be one of the most beautiful little towns in Vermont.  Being that it was a beautiful day, and the color was beginning to decorate all the trees, the place was busy to say the least.  We finally found a place that had only a 30-minute wait for lunch and enjoyed a nice sandwich on the patio.  

When we got back to the bus, we discovered a problem – the rear end of the bus was open and the driver was checking the motor. It seems the fan belt had broken and we weren’t going anywhere for a while!  

After further investigation, Karim (the driver) found a belt on board another bus, but then there was still the problem of getting it installed.  All he had in the way of tools was a butter knife and a broom handle.

As we were stranded in Woodstock for a while, and we were parked next to the Woodstock Inn & Resort, many of our group went inside for adult beverages and to have a nice place to sit.  The Inn was very generous to us given our predicament.   

Members of our group enjoying the hospitality of the Woodstock Inn

Terry (our HOA Travel Club person) jumped in and even went so far as to ask the Manager if we might borrow some tools to repair the bus!    After a couple of hours, with help from mechanic passengers and borrowed tools, hungry tourists were ready to head to our hotel. Our driver realized he could not get us to the hotel buffet in a timely manner, so negotiated with the boss for a pizza & beer stop en route to the hotel.

We all enjoyed some pizza and beer along the way to our hotel for the evening.

Now off to our hotel where we are staying for two nights!

A New England Color Tour and Adventure – Newport Rhode Island

For a number of years, I have wanted to attend the Newport Jazz and Music Festival but alas I have not been able to put it on my schedule.  While I have known Newport Rhode Island is much more than a just a music venue, I really hadn’t thought about it much.  OK, I remember the America’s Cup Race was held there for many years (until the Cup was lost to Australia in 1983) but beyond that I didn’t have a clue about the history of the place.

Clearly, I didn’t take this picture but it does give you a lovely view of a good portion of Newport.

Our adventure today was to visit Newport – a drive around with a local guide and time to tour The Breakers.  Founded in 1639 Newport was one of the most import port cities in the North American Colonies during the 18th century.  Commerce included the importation and sale of enslaved persons as well as manufactures of whale-oil candles, rum and fine furniture.  The Revolutionary War didn’t help the place much and the entire area declined after the war.  In the mid 1800’s things began to improve as it become a fashionable summer resort favored for its temperate oceanside climate.

During the late 1800’s – The Gilded Age – Newport gained prominence as leaders of finance and industry (the 1 percenters of the time) from New York and elsewhere built ever larger ‘summer cottages’ and enjoyed a glittering social life of dinners, sports and lots and lots of parties.  By the turn of the century, these cottages included European-inspired places with servants to support them during the 8 to 10-week summer ‘season’.

Dwight D. Eisenhower used the house as his summer residence during his presidency in 1958 and 1960.
The front of the Breakers

The Vanderbilt family seemed to particularly like Newport building several ‘cottages’ include The Marble House (1982) and Breakers(1895).  Others included a Nevada silver heiress, Theresa Fair Oelrichs who built Rosecliff in 1902 .  Our focus for our tour was on The Breakers – which is considered the grandest of Newport’s summer “cottages” and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family’s social and financial pre-eminence in the Gilded Age.

The Grand Staircase and a view of the area from the balcony.

Neat little fountain under the Grand Stairs
My lovely Janeen by one of the lamps in the entrance area

However, prior to getting to the Breakers we did drive around the city and in particular the spot where the Jazz and Music Festival is held.  Once we finished our couch tour, we were dropped off at the Breakers to allow us to explore this property.

The Breakers was built between 1893 and 1895 as a summer residence for Cornelius Vanderbilt II.  He purchased the property for $450,000 and he commissioned the creation of the ‘cottage’. This 70-room mansion, with a gross area of 138,300 square feet and 62,482 square feet of living area on five floors, and was designed by Richard Morris Hunt in the Renaissance Revival style; the interior decor was by Jules Allard and Sons and Ogden Codman Jr.

Concerned that the prior house, on the property, had been destroyed by fire, Vanderbilt insisted that the building be made as fireproof as possible, resulting in a structure composed of masonry and steel trusses, with no wooden parts. He even required that the boiler be located away from the house in an underground space below the front lawn.

The interior was created using marble imported from Italy and Africa and rare woods and mosaics from countries around the world.  The project was completed in 1892.  When completed, it was the largest, most opulent house in Newport area.  Upon his death, the property went his wife who outlived him by 35 years whereupon she left it to her youngest daughter Countess Gladys Széchenyi.

This was one of several bathrooms – all about the same size. They include a “sits” bath on the right side of the room and the tub had 4 taps – 2 for fresh water and 2 for salt water.

In 1948, Gladys leased the high-maintenance property to The Preservation Society of Newport County for $1 per year.  It is now the most-visited attraction in Rhode Island, with approximately 450,000 visitors annually as of 2017.

The recent HBO series – The Gilded Age – filmed a portion of their program in The Breakers.

After we finished our tour of the property, we were the last ones on the bus, we headed out to Vermont where we might actually see some fall color!

A New England Color Tour and Adventure – Martha’s Vineyard

While we had lived in New England for several years, we never made it to Martha’s Vineyard.  Martha’s Vineyard sits in the Atlantic just south of Cape Cod and has been a longtime New England summer colony and vacation spot.  For our adventure, today, we took the ferry from Woods Hole to Edgartown on the Island.  We departed by Ferry from Woods Hole.

Over the years, Martha’s Vineyard has been the vacation home of any number of the ‘rich and famous’ including Barack Obama (where his daughter worked as a hostess at one of the restaurant over the summer), Carly Simon, James Taylor, Meg Ryan, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Bill Clinton and many more have called Martha’s Vineyard home. However, during our visit we didn’t see anyone of note. 

Once we arrived, a local guide joined out group to talk about the Island and give insights into its history.

Our guide, Janey for the island

The guide, a 15th generation resident of the island, certainly had a lot of stories but not much real history was shared. While her stories were “entertaining” she spent way too much time talking about what here grandfather told her and not nearly enough time about the general history of the Island.  

However, it was a pleasant day with stops along the way.

A light has been here since the late 1700’s – Gay Head Light

After our adventure around the island, we were brought back to Edgartown for lunch and a bit of free time. When it was time to return to the ferry, our bus driver had to take us to another docking site since Oak Bluffs was closed due to wind & waves. The ferry was loaded with global workers(construction workers from Brazil) returning to Falmouth on the Cape, as well as tourists and visitors.

Some of the shopping areas of Edgartown

Once we were all back on the coach, we made our way back to the ferry for our return trip to Woods Hole and our hotel.

No trip to New England can be complete without having Lobster!  That evening’s dinner, which was booked as a beach lobster bake at the hotel, was in fact that opportunity.  Moving the feast inside meant food other than lobster arrived more quickly, but all who savored sweet lobster meat were satisfied.

Janeen – a happy wife again!

An Adventure Awaits You

Over the last several years, I have been blogging about our various adventures.  I think the earliest blog is from seven years ago!  Since than we have had a variety of adventures and you have been able to travel with us via our blog.  There are sure to be future adventures and future blogs.  However, here’s an opportunity for you to be part of our blog and have a wonderful time all on your own.  

OK, here’s the deal, I have decided to take my family on a River Cruise November 2024, and now I have created a “group” which means savings to anyone who wants to join the party.  We are going on a Christmas Market River Cruise next year, 2024, with UniWorld called Christmas Cruise – Rhine Holiday Markets.  While I know this is over a year away, if you are at all interested in joining our group, a reservation should be made ASAP.  Making a reservation now, meaning placing a deposit, will guarantee you a spot and you would be getting the group rate!  

As this will be a Group Rate, it is best to speak to the travel person who is helping to coordinate this adventure for specific costs and savings available.  As part of the ‘group’ you would be qualified for an additional $300 off per person.    There is no additional cost for a single booking a double cabin on this trip if booked before the end of September.

The actual dates are November 25, 2024 departure from Cologne Germany going to Basel Switzerland ending December 2, 2024.  Travel arrangements would be on your own, but my travel person would be very happy to help with your arrangements.

There are several room types and we are using the French Balcony but there are other less expensive options (Classic) and an even more expensive option (Deluxe Balcony) and locations are best viewed on the website (link below).

Right now, we have 9 cabins booked already – the more the merrier and the greater the savings.  If anyone wants to join the group, I would ask you contact Jessica Causer at 703-762-5053 or email jcauser@mccabeworld.com at McCabe World Travel in McLean VA.  That way you can take advantage of the group discounts.  Be sure to say you are part of the David Lee group. A deposit needs to be placed ASAP with final payment not due until July of next year.  

More information about the cruise, and cabin locations and descriptions is at:  


This way you too would be part of the blog and be able to share your experiences with all your friends.  You are more than welcome to reach out to me if you have any questions I can answer.


Alaska Adventure – Butterfly Farm & Butchart Gardens

It was in August of 1970 that Janeen and I were last in Victoria BC and visited the Butchart Gardens.  All those years ago, we were very different people – married a year, no kids, living in Riverside CA and driving a Jeep pulling a home- built camping trailer on vacation to Seattle with a side trip via ferry to Victoria.   At that time, I didn’t know what a GARDEN person Janeen would become or how critical it was to visit gardens when possible.  So, as this Alaska Adventure had an opportunity to get to Butchart Gardens it was a no brainer to sign up.

Unfortunately, our ship docked late in the day so the actual excursion didn’t even start until about 6:30 in the evening making the trip a night time adventure.  As part of the excursion, there was a tour of a Butterfly Gardens, which was the first stop.

Victoria Butterfly Gardens offers a unique opportunity to wander through a tropical environment to the beauty and wonder of various butterflies along with poison dart frogs, tortoises, iguanas, flamingos and several free flight birds.  When we entered the building, there were glass cases with a variety of smaller butterflies and insects so you can get a up close view while they scurried along.  

Going through the double doors into the tropical jungle brought us to the butterflies and other amazing things.  

We have been in several butterfly habitats and this would range in the mid-size range but being located in Victoria made it very special.

Butchart Gardens started its life as a limestone quarry.  Robert Pim Butchart (1856–1943) began manufacturing Portland cement in 1888 near his birthplace of Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. He and his wife Jennie Butchart (1866–1950) came to the west coast of Canada because of rich limestone deposits necessary for cement production. In 1904, they established their home near his quarry on Tod Inlet at the base of the Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island.  It seems that for a number of years, Butchart had a virtual monopoly on the production of concert at a time when construction was moving quickly – and thus he had a few extra dollars lying around to allow his wife to be creative.

In 1907 Isaburo Kishida, a sixty-five-year-old garden designer from Yokohama, Japan, came to Victoria at the request of his son to build a tea garden for Esquimalt Gorge Park. This garden was wildly popular. Several prominent citizens, Jennie Butchart among them, commissioned Kishida to build Japanese gardens for their estates before Kishida returned to Japan in 1912.  Thus started the transformation of the quarry to a world class park with multiple gardens. 

In 1909, when the limestone quarry was exhausted, Jennie set about turning it into the Sunken Garden, which was completed in 1921. They named their home “Benvenuto” (“welcome” in Italian), and began to receive visitors to their gardens.  In 1926, they replaced their tennis courts with an Italian garden and in 1929 they replaced their kitchen vegetable garden with a large rose garden to the design of Butler Sturtevant of Seattle.

Italian Garden – another photo I didn’t take

Janeen was delighted to find many Tom Carruth cultivated varieties (someone she knows from the Huntington Library in San Mario, CA and who is a world class rose breeder).  In 1939, the Butchart’s gave the Gardens to their grandson Ian Ross (1918–1997) on his 21st birthday. Ross was involved in the operation and promotion of the gardens until his death 58 years later.  Ownership of The Gardens remains within the Butchart family; the owner and managing director since 2001 is the Butcharts’ great-granddaughter Robin-Lee Clarke.

As we walked around, nightfall was complete and the wonderful views we were hoping for were not possible.

The Dragon Fountain

However, there was lots to see and plants flood lit along the way.  

In addition, there was a concert going on so we had a lovely musical soundtrack for most of our journey.  

Pictures I took of the Sunken Garden – note the moon in the middle picture

A quick visit to the huge gift shop and back to our coach we went.

This was the final stop on our Alaska Cruise.  Overall, our ports of call were more interesting than anything on board the ship.  The ship was HUGE with over 4,000 passengers, shops, shows and other entertainment opportunities – none of which we took advantage of during our time at sea.  Yes, we did have a couples massage and Janeen had a spa treatment or two but generally we aren’t big ship fans.  Furthermore, we didn’t see any glacier so I’m not certain there are any left in Alaska!  OK, I know they are but we didn’t get to take the Mendenhall Glacier – which was one of the main reasons for going to Alaska in the first place!  So, another adventure for sure to this part of the world is on the list. Our next adventure is a Fall Color tour in New England later this month. More Blogs to come!

Alaska Adventure – Skagway 

After arriving in the Port of Skagway, we disembarked and climbed aboard a coach for a ride to the train station to take a ride on the White Pass Scenic Railway.

Built in 1898 as a way to expedite travel during the Klondike Gold Rush, the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad is a three-foot-wide narrow-gauge railroad that climbs from sea level to almost 3,000 feet in the first 20 miles. An engineering marvel, it features two tunnels and travels over sky-high trestles and bridges. Considered an impossible feat, the railway was completed in 26 months by blasting through the mountains with 450 tons of explosives. The 110-mile railroad was officially completed when a final golden spike was hammered into place on July 29, 1900, in Carcross, Yukon. The route continued operation until 1982, and in 1988 was partially revived as a heritage railway.  In 1988 it was purchased by Carnival Corporation & plc, the parent company of Princess Cruises, and has been delighting riders ever since!  

It has been fully restored with comfortable passenger coaches featuring large picture windows and are pulled by diesel locomotives. 

As we travelled along, there was narration provided highlighting the scenic views and historical significance of the train.  

While there were beautiful views, the overcast skies kept the sun from shining limiting the grandeur of the vistas we could see.  However, there was beauty all around with waterfalls, mountains and lakes but alas, no roaming herds of animals to see.  

The train starts Skagway and makes its return trip after a stop in Fraser British Columbia.   After having our passports checked, by Canadian officials, we started back to Skagway.  

The train does a loop so we weren’t seeing the same vistas on the return trip.  Naturally, when we reached Skagway, US Customs officials made sure we all had the proper passport to return.

A quick ride in our couch, brought us to Dredge Town where we panned for gold!  Dredge Town is the site of a gold rush era operation that was in operation until the late 1950’s.  

Our guides, dressed in character, showed us how the dredge operated and how individuals panned for gold (and still do) along the stream beds of the region.

Gold Dredge

After being taught by the “crusty old prospector”, we gathered our pan and began to swish and swirl in our own pool of water!  

After doing all the gyrations, we ended up with about 8 or 9 gold flecks in the bottom of the pan.  

After taking our treasure to the assayer, we learned we had $39 worth of gold!  

After learning the value of our treasure, we ventured over to the dining hall for a smoked BBQ lunch including ribs, chicken and various side dishes.   

Our day complete, and $39 richer, we went back to town and rejoined the ship.

Alaska Adventure – Juneau

Alaska Adventure – Juneau

Prior to arriving in Juneau, our ship went up the Endicott Arm towards the Dawes Glacier.  Endicott Arm is a 30-mile fjord that snakes through the Tracy Arm-Fords Wilderness Area. At the head is the majestic Dawes Glacier.  

Motoring along towards the Dawes Glacier

Taking out ship up the fjord was not easy – although the depth along the valley walls is quite steep and thus very deep.  

It was hoped that as we got closer to the Dawes Glacier we would be able to see it – but weather conditions did not work in our favor – while we got about a mile away from the face of the glacier, it was completely hidden behind the low hanging clouds!  

There were various drifting blocks of ice along the way but nothing so big to be a concern.  So, the Captain turned the ship around and headed towards Juneau

Juneau with the mountains as a backdrop.

Juneau is the capital city of the state of Alaska.  Located in the Gastineau Channel and the Alaskan panhandle.  The Greater Juneau Borough municipality is larger by area than both Rhode Island and Delaware.  Downtown Juneau is nestled at the base of Mount Juneau and across the channel from Douglas Island. As of the 2020 census, the City had a population of 32,255, making it the third-most populous city in Alaska after Anchorage and Fairbanks.  Juneau experiences a daily influx of roughly 6,000 people from visiting cruise ships between the months of May and September.

The city is named after a gold prospector from Quebec, Joe Juneau, though the place was once called Rockwelland then Harrisburg (after Juneau’s co-prospector, Richard Harris). Juneau is unique among the 49 U.S. capitals on mainland North America in that there are no roads connecting the city to the rest of the state or North America.

The absence of a road network is due to the extremely rugged terrain surrounding the city. This in turn makes Juneau a de facto island city in terms of transportation, since all goods coming in and out must go by plane or boat, in spite of the city’s location on the Alaskan mainland. Downtown Juneau sits at sea level, with tides averaging 16 feet (5 m), below steep mountains about 3,500 to 4,000 feet (1,100 to 1,200m) high. Atop these mountains is the Juneau Icefield, a large ice mass from which about 30 glaciers flow; two of these, the Mendenhall Glacier and the Lemon Creek Glacier, are visible from the local road system. The Mendenhall glacier has been gradually retreating; its front face is declining in width and height.

We had not signed on for any excursions for our port of call in Juneau – which was very disappointing as we didn’t get to the Mendenhall Glacier (so NO proof there any glaciers in Alaska as far as I’m concerned). Once we escaped the ship, we walked around the city a bit and window shopped.  There are clearly several interesting spots along the way.  Red Dog Saloon has been provided food, drink and entertainment since Juneau’s mining era and continues today serving the hungry locals and tourists. 

 Further along the road we found Tracy’s King Crab Shack serving king crab legs by the ton!  They serve four different kinds of crab – Red, King, Snow and Dungeness along with battered shrimp and a variety of sides.  

We ventured in and I order the ‘small’ order of Red King Crab while Janeen ordered the Crab Bisque.  

We looked at the possibility of taking the Mount Roberts Tram to the top of the mountain but the line seemed to be at least an hour long so we did a pass. 

 Clearly there is a lot to do in Juneau but our visit was a bit disappointing as the two major highlights – Mendenhall Glacier and the Tram up the mountain would have been enjoyable – so another visit to this place needs to be on the agenda.