Cloudless blue skies greeted us on awakening, with a cautionary gale warning – the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona. It seemed a bit blowy looking out of the window, but nothing untoward.
As our next destination was only about 50 miles away, we had some time to investigate a bit more of Portland before we headed west.
I mentioned in yesterday’s post that we’d seen the house owned by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on our walking tour (but you knew that, of course, as you’ve been paying attention) 🙄.
Intensive research (OK, Google) indicated that access to the house itself was by ticket only and a) it was too early b) it was exorbitant. However, the garden is open to all, and is free, and the house was a 10-minute walk away.
Walked back a slightly different way to the hotel and took in this statue:
We collected our luggage and the car, then set off to Fort Williams Park, which we’d visited on the bus two days ago, to view the scenery in far better weather conditions and hopeful of seeing some wind-assisted wild waves battering against the rocks.
The park was absolutely rammed. We knew it was popular, but all of America seemed to be there. Cars pouring in constantly and no parking anywhere. We gave up and drove to North Conway.
Although short, it was a pleasant drive for the most part along tree-lined roads, some of which showed signs of the fall colours. Apparently this is late this year as September has been warmer than usual, so our chances of seeing this phenomenon at its peak are not great, sadly.
We knew that we were entering the Appalachian mountains, so we had visions of North Conway being a little village tucked away in the countryside. The reality is different. It’s a small town, spread very long along a main road, full of motels, burger joints, pizzerias – all rather garish.
The most extraordinary thing was the amount of traffic again. Cars pouring in non-stop from both ends – it is a very popular weekend destination. We don’t really know why yet – it’s probably better known for skiing in winter.
After some huge queues, we thankfully turned into Hampton Inn and Suites and went to check in.
They couldn’t find our reservation. This is the third time it’s happened. After a lot of twittering between two girls on the front desk to no effect, we were told that a room had been reserved for us as an insurance against the loss of the reservation, but they were going to attempt to find the original reservation, so could we go and have a coffee while they sorted this out?
Cue yet another acerbic message to Trailfinders. There is still an outstanding issue with settling the bill at the Portland hotel. 🤬
Fortunately, the reservation was found, and we checked into a rather dowdy brown room. Big enough, but the air-conditioning did not work and it was grubby in places. Not impressed. However, it had a guest laundry, so guess what we did? These things are important, you know…
As is our wont, we visited the local tourist office to try to find out what to do around here. Or tried to. It was closed. On a Saturday afternoon. Go figure.
After yet more Googling, we drove to a local viewing point – Cathedral Ledge – through truly horrible traffic. At least we had a positive outcome here.
I’d managed to book a restaurant which purported to offer something else apart from burgers and pizzas, so we checked its whereabouts.
Nice view from its car park:
I’d also managed to book a scenic railway journey for tomorrow.
We later visited the previously booked restaurant – the Wild Rose at Stonehouse Manor – and it turned out to be excellent.
Back to the hotel, and complained about the non-working aircon. Why are we paying this money for such poor facilities? Two girls came up to try to reset it – no joy, and all they could come up with was a fan and a promise that Maintenance would look at it tomorrow. Some hope on current form. However, we are only here for two nights….
A scenic railway trip tomorrow to look forward to, and maybe some nice drives/walks. Let’s see, shall we?