Life has been so busy that I haven't even had time to blog about our 24-hour getaway in early August! This was a most refreshing time. We felt as if we had been gone for a week.
It was a relatively short distance from our home to the motel we had chosen. One great feature of this motel is its individual cabins with their own screened porches.
The greatest thing, for us, was that the river runs right behind the motel. There are chairs and picnic tables along the riverbank, making for a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the babble of the river. After settling in at the motel, we spent some time down by the river, just letting this peaceful spot relax us.
Later that afternoon, we took a drive in the country to find the place we planned to eat breakfast the next day -- Polly's Pancake Parlor. We wanted to locate the place and also get an idea of how long it would take to get there from the motel.
While we were out, we also visited Sugar Hill Sampler -- a fascinating place that is part museum and part shop. The shop is in an old barn and is beautifully landscaped with brilliant flowers.
One fun feature of this place is a "tasting table" where one can sample different goodies that are offered for sale. We particularly enjoyed some refreshing citrus-spice iced tea. I wouldn't have thought this tea would be that great iced (it's like Friendship Tea) but it was absolutely delicious! We purchased some Rocky Road fudge to take back to the motel with us.
We had brought along a picnic supper, and decided to eat at one of the picnic tables at the Flume visitor center. We wanted to stop there anyway and get some info about the recreational path that winds through Franconia Notch. I had read that this wide, paved path was for both walking and bicycling and we were anxious to walk part or all of it; but we just didn't know where it started from. (As it turns out, the path starts right there at the Flume visitor center. The info we got was not particularly helpful. The young lady advised us that this recreational path was "really for bicycles only" and that walkers were really a hazard to the cyclists. This turned out to be false information. She did give us an idea for another walking trail in a different area, which we went and tried after supper.)
After supper and a walk, we went back to the motel and enjoyed what remained of the daylight down by the river and/or on our little screened porch. Then we watched a Red Sox game on TV before retiring.
Morning found us up early and headed off to Polly's Pancake Parlor. We wanted to get there by seven, since that's when they open, so as to avoid the crowds and having to wait for a table. It was a cool morning, almost fall-like, in the mountains. We actually wore fleece jackets as we headed out. Polly's is a lovely rustic place with a gorgeous mountain view, surrounded by bright flowers.
Walking into the dining room is a visual treat. At each place are beautiful wooden plates painted with bright, beautiful maple leaves. (They replace these with real plates when they bring your food.) You can also see, in this photo, the red maple leaf placemats beneath each plate, and the tray of maple products to accompany your pancakes or waffles.
The pancakes were just wonderful. We each chose Polly's Sampler Combo, which gave us 6 pancakes (3-inch ones), sausage, bacon or ham, and coffee. The pancake sampler means we could choose two pancakes each of any three styles -- we could choose 3 batters (from a selection of five) and 3 add-ins (from a selection of four, plus pecans which was a special of the day).
We each chose plain blueberry, whole wheat pecan, and cornmeal coconut. That last combination sounds odd, but it is absolutely delicious. They all were.
What a wonderful breakfast! We felt perfectly satisfied but not overstuffed at all. We knew, though, that we could wait awhile for lunch. And we did.
Back at the motel, we spent time down by the river with our Bibles and prayer notebooks and some of the free coffee available at the office.
After a refreshing quiet time, we packed up and checked out of the motel, then drove north to the trailhead for Artist Bluff.
This trail was quite a bit different than we expected it to be, and the turn for the bluff was not well marked at all, but we finally did get there. The view of Echo Lake is particularly nice.
After returning to our car, we drove to Echo Lake State Park, where we ate lunch at a picnic table on the lake shore.
This state park also rents boats, so we watched people boating as we ate our lunch.
After lunch, we took our belongings back to the car and went for a nice long walk on the recreational path. The photo below shows one of the tunnels where the path goes under the highway.
Contrary to what we had been told, this path is clearly for anyone, walker or biker. More people were walking than biking. We did see quite a few people -- mostly children -- on bikes, but there were walkers of all ages, including parents pushing babies in strollers and people walking their dogs. It's a lovely path and we truly enjoyed our walk before heading back home to our busy lives.
What a refreshing getaway this was! We are ready for another one, any time.