Can You Hear Me Now? Good!
We encountered our first spot with horrible cell service. Normally, for a weekend getaway, this would be an amenity not a downside but due to having to work, this bites! This spot was another from the Thousand Trails family. It's in a town called Sturbridge in Massachusetts. A town I've never heard of but its close to so many cool cities. The campground is nestled in the woods not too far from I-84. When we pull in, service drops almost immediately. We're greeted at the gate by one of the employees, she checks us, tell us to drive down to the second stop sign and she'll drive to the site too to show us where it is. We managed to get one of the only pull-thru sites this park has. If you're unfamiliar with this luxury, pull-thru sites are dream compared to having to back a travel trailer into a spot. Backing up is one of the hardest things to do with the trailer. You turn the wheel left, the trailer goes right, you have to be in just the right spot to reach all the hook ups and be out of the road, but backing up is hard! You can't really see behind you. But Hooray! Most campgrounds, they charge a premium for pull-thru sites.
Here, they want to monetize as much as possible so what could easily be a spacious pull-thru site, are two back-in sites. Only the ends are pull-thrus. They have us packed in like sardines. Only the families that have been coming here for probably 20+ years have a full, fenced in yard. These 4 Class A RVs still had to back in but they have this whole quad to themselves.
I think my favorite part about the grounds was what they called their basketball court...on a shuffleboard with a volleyball net fence.
The campground wasn't all bad though. They have a very nice dog park that the boys loved. They made sure we went there everyday.
There is a lake in the middle and you can rent paddle boats or little kayaks or canoes. The office was one of the most elaborate we've seen too. It has a grand room catered to the kids with arcades and pool table, a sitting area with a gorgeous fire place that you could probably rent out for parties. The upstairs was grand room catered towards the adults. The bathrooms, with showers and toilets were also in here, the laundry room and an indoor heated pool! We didn't use the pool but nice to know it's there. They also provided us with free cable. A very nice feature since there is no internet (We are now avid fans of Live PD, great show).
So the campground isn't the best but we're definitely not going to let that stop our fun. Let's go adventure!
We arrived with plenty of time to have a full weekend of fun. Plus we're a bit nerdy and play Pokemon Go and it was Community Day in the game so we had to go out and play. We hear Grizzly Adams is from the area and was buried here so that became our destination. Off to Bay Path Cemetery we go. I can't remember the official times but this cemetery was opened in the late 1700's, 1760's maybe.
John "Grizzly" Adams was alive 1812-1860, related to the other famous Adams' too (President John Adams, Samuel Adams, you know the line). Lived a typical life of a New Englander of the times, went to school, learned how to hunt and trap, married, had children, lost his life savings and went out west for the gold rush. Out in California he became a beast among the beasts. Hunting and trapping the most wild of animals, most notably Grizzly bears. While all the other mountain men stayed clear, he jumped right in. He opened up museums to showcase these animals (One which is now the Fleishacker Zoo in San Francisco) and at the end of his life he teamed up with Barnum in New York which led to the Bronx Zoo being a tribute to him. I knew none of this before seeing his grave. Oh yeah, and that bear on the California flag...was originally a watercolor painting of one of his bears (painted by Charles Nahl in 1858). Charlton, MA didn't have much more to offer in ways of sightseeing but they do have an awesome Town Hall and library and a pretty decent amount of Pokestops (we did have a pretty successful community day).
Our next exploration was to Worcester, MA (pronounced Wiss-ter for those not familiar with the Massachusetts dialect). Before checking out the city itself, we went to Bancroft Tower in Salisbury Park. It was built in 1900 by Steven Salisbury III as a memorial for George Bancroft, a statesmen, politician, historian, was the Secretary of the Navy and founded the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Sadly, at the moment, you can only go inside Sundays in October.
With hungry bellies and art on the brain, we went downtown. We find a schwarma place but they were apparently closed and the owner pointed us in the direction of another one on the other side of town. "Maybe half a mile away" he says. We set off and begin to notice how strange the city is. Its in the middle of its gentrification process. Run down buildings next to the new chic restaurant which is around the corner from the legal, recreational pot shop which has commissioned street are and statues along the way. One of these statues is titled the Burnside State and I just don't understand it. Its description is "boy rides a sea turtle" but you tell me if that's what you see...
That turtle is not having a good time! As for the schwarma, it was all right.
Before leaving Worcester, Ryne found this used entertainment store to find new games to play. All I can say about this place is, WOW! This is every gamer/nerd/geek/comic book fan's dream store! That's Entertainment is massive and has almost everything you'd every want in terms of games, comics, collectibles and more.
It's becoming more and more my favorite thing about traveling but getting to see friends and family and meeting new people along the way. Our spot in Massachusetts (I still need spell check help on that spelling, a jail word as some might call it), is right on the boarder of Connecticut and Rhode Island. There's actually a hike you can take and be in all three states at once (Next time we're in the area, I'll be doing that hike). With a cousin in Connecticut though, we get to catch up over some sushi. It was great to see Caitlin as it has been while.
Being in a bigger town, they had an Anytime Fitness within reasonable distance to actually be on a regular schedule. That was nice. It may be a bias but my home gyms are still the nicest.
As for the work week. Cell reception is still a non-existing thing at our campground which means no internet either. We have to go somewhere else. Day one: Dunkin. Downside, the only customer outlet available is right next to the counter and the employees and other customer are super loud. Next!
Ryne goes to McDonald's I went to Sturbridge Coffee Roasters. Both seem to be functional and will suit our needs. I didn't stay very long at the coffee shop to be on dog duty and met up with Ryne at Mickey D's but recommended we head to the coffee shop the next day because it was awesome. And not McDonald's. We do, its great, quite, comfortable seats but since I left early the day before, I missed the fact that they close at 4pm, whoops. It was a beautiful day so we got to finish up outside. McDonald's it is. It served it's purpose though.
Personally, I'm not a fan of McDonald's and if there are other things to eat, I'm going to go there. I try to avoid it at all costs. I'm glad I did this time because I found the most wonderful place on the way back from the gym. Wild Flour Kolaches. Yelp told me it was a Czech food place so wanting to try something new, I said, "That's where I'm going!" So glad I did! It appears like any other bakery with yummy looking treats in a case, people standing behind the counter and an open doorway to the kitchen. The Stock's were the ones behind the counter.
New Englanders who lived in Texas for 20 years. This is where they discovered kolaches. After they felt the need to head back to Massachusetts, they brought theses kolaches back with them. Yes, its a Czech dough but once the Czech brought them to Texas, Texans had their way with them by adding meat and fruit to the inside. Kind of like the Cantonese Pork Bun but bigger (its from Texas) and a sweeter dough. Wanting to try them all, I settled on 5: Chicken Teriyaki, Chicken Pot Pie, Buffalo Chicken, Strawberries & Cream and Lemon. They are so good, I haven't been able to stop talking about them since. I'm so excited to go to Eastern Texas now (or back to Sturbridge).
But alas, the time always comes to move on. We're on the move back to New York.