US East Coast 2014 – Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Gettysburg, Baltimore

This day again involved a lot of driving, unfortunately with a couple of delays due to dense traffic. From Philadelphia I started towards West to Lancaster County, which is the main region for German-based special religious groups like the Amish or Mennonites. Besides seeing a few Amish “live” with their carriages on the road, I visited the “Amish House and Farm” museum and the Hans Herr house.
Next stop was Gettysburg, the place where the heaviest battle in the American Civil War happened. Today it is a National Historic Park, and you can drive along the old battleground on a 25 mile auto tour with stops at the most important spots. I followed the tour that provided views and explanations of the places of battle, with a lot of canons, statues and monuments on the roadside, ending at the solidier’s national cemetery.

In late afternoon, I managed to get to Baltimore catching the last 1.5 hours of sunlight, which was just enough to do a walking tour around the inner harbour and the most interesting spots around downtown to get an impression of this city as well. In the evening I returned the rental car at Baltimore Washington Airport, staying in a nearby airport hotel, and traveling to my last stop on this trip, Washington D.C., by train tomorrow.


US East Coast 2014 – Brandywine Valley, Valley Forge

Today I explored several sights West of Philadelphia. Brandywine Valley provides beautiful landscape, wineries, and historic battlefields of the war of Independence. However, since the suggested winery and battlefield state park were closed, I instead visited the Brandywine River Museum (American Art), and Longwoood Gardens, a large and impressive landscape and botanical garden.

From Brandywine Valley, I turned north to Valley Forge, a National Historic Park about the winter camp of general Washington’s revolution army in 1777/78. I finished the day doing shopping in the nearby “King of Prussia” mall (second largest in the US), and an outlet shopping centre.

US East Coast 2014 – Philadelphia

I dedicated one full day to downtown Philadelphia. I started rather early in the morning to e at the Independence National Historic Park Visitor Centre when it opened. There I got one of the tickets to the firsts tour to the Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the first version of the Constitution were elaborated and announced. The National Historic Park also hosts a couple of other historic buildings and artifacts such as the Congress Hall (which served as congress for a short time when Philadelphia was capital of the US), the Old City Hall and the Liberty Bell Center.

After exploring this historic centre for about two hours, I did a quite extensive walking tour to all the other interesting sights mentioned in my travel guide book, including Society Hill quarter, Waterfront with the Independence Seaport Museum, Old City with Elfreth’s Alley (the oldest street in the US), city centre with Reading Terminal Market and the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ in a historic department store building (today a branch of Macy’s), the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and finally Broad Street, Ritterhouse Square District and dinner in Chinatown.

US East Coast 2014 – From New Haven to Philadelphia

Today I had to spend quite some time driving again to get past New York City (which I did not include in this tour) to Philadelphia. The most interesting places on the way were two universities: Yale in New Haven at the very start of the journey, and Princeton about half way between New York City and Philadelphia. In both locations, I did a walk around the university grounds and visited the university art museums.

Late afternoon I arrived in Philadelphia, where I did a first quick Sightseeing tour already providing a basic impression of the city.

US East Coast 2014 – Newport, Providence, Mystic

Today I spent most of the time in Newport, which provides quite a lot of sights mainly in shape of mansions. I started in the morning by walking the historic centre and then the cliff walk that runs along the Eastern coast line of the city and provides beautiful views on the ocean and on backyards of mansions. On the way back, I walked along Bellevue Avenue, where most of the historic mansions that are open to the public are located. I managed to see four of them from inside, and they were fascinatingly big and pompous as imagined. After the extensive walking, I also drove the “Ten Mail Ocean Drive” providing even more views on the ocean and further mansions on the rest of the area that is better reached by car.

The rest of the day I was only able to do shorter stops: first in Providence mostly for the Rhode Island State Capitol with one of the largest domes in the world. Second in Mystic with the historic seaport theme park (closed already for the day) and the nice town centre with the historic draw bridge. Third in Foxwoods Casino, a huge mall and entertainment centre with multiple casinos, shops, restaurants, shows and cinemas located in a native american reservation.

US East Coast 2014 – Plimoth Plantation, Cape Cod

After two short morning visits in the cities Concord and Manchester (New Hampshire), I continued my journey south of Boston in Plymouth and the Plimoth Plantation. Highlights were of course the replica of the Mayflower and the open-air museum of the first settlement of the “pilgrim fathers”.nued

Next target was Cape Cod, a peninsula shaped like a mirrored
“L” that is a frequent leisure and vacation area as well as number one Cranberry producing region. After a stop at the Heritage Museum and Garden near Sandwich, I followed the route on the peninsula until the end near Provincetown. Driving took much longer than expected, so I had to quit the last third of the tour when it got dark. Besides the usual sightseeing while driving, I stopped at Pilgrims Heights, Provincetown centre, Marconi Beach and Nauset Lighthouse.

US East Coast 2014 – Acadia National Park, White Mountains

Along the northern coast, I made my way from Portland/ME to Acadia National Park following Route/Highway 1. After short stops in Portland for the historic Harbour district and the Eastern Promenade walk, Bath for the Maine Maritime Museum&Shipyard and Fort Knox with the Bridge observatory overlooking Penobscot Bay, I arrived in the national park on Mount Desert Island in the afternoon. This was just the right time to use the remaining daylight to drive the Park Loop Road and up to Cadillac Mountain, stopping for sights and short walks at various interesting spots.

I stayed overnight near the Park, so I could spend some more time on the island in the morning, walking around the main town Bar Habor, viewing Eagle Lake from various spots and driving to Bass Harbor Lighthouse at the very south of the island. After that, I had to take the long journey back towards Boston, using the interiour route on Highway 2 eventually leading to the White Mountains with Mount Washington. It was already afternoon when I got there, and too late for the cog railway climbing Mount Washington. So I had to stick to sightseeing by driving through the mountain area. In the evening, short stops in Weirs Beach at Lake Winnipesaukee and the Canterbury Shaker Village made the ride to my accomodation in Concord (this time the one in New Hampshire) more interesting.