(C)  2002-2014 J. Watson       All rights reserved  
Travel Letters
RV Travel notes from
the traveling gran'ma and gran'pa

Vol 21  No 1                                                                                                                                                                     Late June/July, 2011
From the North Carolina coastline we went inland to the mountains
of western Virginia.  Then through small New England villages on
the way to the red sandy beaches of Prince Edward Island.  Scenic
and easy going, all the way.  PEI welcomed us with clear blue skies
and comfortable weather.    
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After passing the Canadian customs we drove a few
miles to
St. Andrews by the Sea to have a campsite
with a waterfront view of the Fundy tides (average
14' here) and to be within walking distance of the
village.  Much of the village's growth in the early
days was attributed to the likes of our ancestors
who fled the newly established United States.  Here
Dear Gals, (our daughters)…   Your guys …
Our grandchildren…     and sisters

CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI           June 24, 2011  

Finally we're in PEI.  

We had a marvelous spring -- the azaleas
were magnificent.  We especially enjoyed a
UNC-Wilmington program for seniors.
(Seniors have advantages -- no exams or
grades.)  Programs cover a wide range of
subjects selected by the students who
conduct the sessions.  Many participants were
educators or in other professions so the
programs are well presented and stimulating.  

As you can see we're on the road again.  We
left North Carolina twelve days ago and have
seen a bit of countryside since then.  First we
headed from home to western Virginia -- bet
you never heard of Fries, VA (pronounced

We discovered Fries in '09 and were intrigued,
so much so that we put it on the top of our
list of places to revisit.  This small village is
tucked in the foothills south of Roanoke and
is situated along a pretty river.  That's how
the town started.  Mr. Fries, a textile
manufacturer, was looking for a plant site
around 1900 and when he saw the river he
looked beyond the beauty -- he saw it as a
power source for his plant.  He built a dam,
plant and a town surrounding it for his
employees.  He built not only houses but a
theater, schools, store, library and other
amenities to help him retain his people.  
That's the way it was for the best part of a
century -- then in the late 1980s the plant
closed.  The dam remains.  The plant is no
more.  The high school closed and many left
for jobs elsewhere.

Now this small village features a river trail and
counts on local musical events to attract
tourists.  We walked several miles on the trail
which is on the roadbed of the former
railroad.  Some homes are now B&Bs.  Others
are occupied by retirees who sought an
affordable community.

One ambitious project is the campground
where we stayed.  Tom and Delieta Guy
started with a forest.  He carved it out to
capitalize on a small stream and created an
attractive and well rated campground.  Neither
of them had any camping or RV experience --
just good common sense (which is in short
supply).  When I say carved out, I mean the
trees were removed, the ground contoured to
provide level sites, the stream cleared of
exotics, the utilities placed, etc.  It was  hard
backbreaking work.  When we first met Tom
in '09 he was wielding a pick to create a new
campsite -- that is backbreaking!  We'll return.
New River trail borders the river - the dam that powered the mill can be seen in the distance.  The mill site has been cleared.
Hugh McRea Park is a blast of color in early April when the azaleas bloom
The company town had neat small homes for the mill workers.
Fries New River Trail campground has been made by the labor of Tom Guy
The dam can be seen in the distance from the New River trail
Main Street is lined with the original homes
A brook is the core of the Fries New River Trail Campground.  
Campsites line the brook.
Brides want their photos taken at Hugh McRea Park in Wilmington, NC
We have reservations for a campsite at Panmure
Island Provincial Park for June 30th so our plan was
to get to PEI in time to revisit some of our favorite
spots on the island before settling in.  With that in
mind we left Fries and headed north with only minor
stops to just take a break from driving.  We've
tapered down a bit and a long day driving is 300
miles, though we generally stay below that.

One stop was just north of Kent, CT, where you
gals may recall we sometimes went to Kent Falls
State Park.  The falls were at their prime with the
spring run-off.  Families were enjoying Sunday
picnics, wading in the pool at the foot of the falls,
playing catch, or in groups enjoying the day.  

Further north we stayed in Pittsfield, MA.  I always
enjoy the picturesque Lake Pontoosuc, which is
alongside Route 7.  After winding through the
college town of Williamstown, MA we veered east
into rural Vermont with even a stop at the
Country Store
.  Then to Maine and Canada.

This route is not for speed, but it has classic beauty
-- of the New England style -- small villages appear
much as they were in the early 1900s.  There are
small farms, an occasional covered bridge or village
green and scenic overlooks to get a good view of
the nearby hills and rivers.
Kent Falls State Park attracts families, especially in the warm months
A sunny Sunday afternoon brings families to Kent Falls State Park
Lake Pontosuck borders Route 7 in Pittsfield, MA
When I was a Fuller Brush man I often swam in Lake Pontoosuc after work  
Commercial fishing boats as well as tour boats are at the dock
they're called Patriots; we call them Tories.  There
are placards on a number of buildings referring to
the original inhabitants and the fact that they
obtained their property as a grant from the crown.  
Much of the central portion of the village has these
older homes.  Now  the village caters to the tourist
trade with B&Bs, restaurants, boat tours, etc.
St. Andrews viewed from the town dock
The colonial courthouse in St. Andrews
Old homes line the street in St Andrews by the sea
                            July 4, 2011

July fourth doesn't mean anything up north of
the border -- just another day.  But on July
Canada Day, they go all out to celebrate
the founding of the Canadian confederation --
that all came about as an outgrowth of
meetings in Charlottetown, PEI, back in 1867.  

We crossed the bridge to the island on June
23rd.  The first change we noticed after our
three year absence was a favorite RV park
across the river from Charlottetown was closed .  
Gone now will be our short stays there to
Old Home Week.  But, there is a RV
park a bit out of town that may suffice.

Two days ago the royal couple arrived at
Ottawa to celebrate Canada Day.  This
morning they landed at PEI -- big doings
going on.  In Charlottetown stores display T
shirts with "I love William & Kate" -- seems
out of place as we're accustomed to
William &
but that goes back to the 1600s.  You
may have seen more of their travels than we,
as we've not bothered with TV since arriving.

A local paper featured the thrill that a 10 year
old girl had as she shyly presented Kate with
The wind farm at North Point, PEI
a bouquet.  She was interviewed by national TV --
better publicity than local politicos.  

After a week of touring the western end of the island
we arrived at Panmure last Thursday
.  At North
Cape we noticed the expansion of the windmill
farm.  The island is scenic -- small fishing
villages and potato farms along the way.  We
have our favorite site on the edge of St.
Mary's Bay and plan to stay for several weeks.
We immediately felt right at home: water birds
look for dinner in the shallow offshore flats,
the light of the lighthouse flashes every four
seconds and the wild flowers are at their
prime -- roses, lupines, daisies...  
Basin Head is in the distance - an active hangout for the young crowd on sunny days
Lupines line the roadside -- potato fields and then the basin.  We gathered buckets of
soft shell clams in the basin when we camped at the nearby campground in the '70s
                                                 July 8, 2011

Yesterday was another grand day -- blue sky with a
scattering of white clouds.  Just our kind of day to do
a bit of touring.  We headed towards East Point thru
Souri, which you gals may remember.  The area
hasn't changed much since our family camping days.
The fish plant has moved and is much larger.  And,
of course businesses come and go so Souri is no
exception.  We always enjoy the fishing ports.  It was
late in the day -- not a person in sight as we walked
along the piers -- but always picturesque.  
North Lake, PEI
North Lake, PEI
Naufrage Harbour, PEI
Naufrage Harbour
North Lake
North Lake
We don't have to move to have a
great view.  Here at Panmure we
enjoy one of the best PEI views
from our motorhome.  

Morning after morning the mussels
are harvested just off shore from
our campsite.  This is a year round
operation -- can't imagine what it is
like to work out in the cold and
heavy winter winds and hauling in
mussels.  The floats that hold the
socks in which the mussels grow
can be seen in a line ahead of the

So have a great summer, y'all
Gran'ma 'n Gran'pa
Our view from a site at Panmure Island Provincial Park