The First Big Adventure

On Sept. 14, 1957 my mother, Roberta and one of her best friends, Helen set out on a road trip to the New England States. Mom was 25 years old, Helen a few years younger. Their chariot was a 1950-something Bel Air 2 door, seen below. Helen is pictured standing in front of their cabin at Perkins Motel in Farmington, ME. A quaint motel owned by Lillian and Lew Perkins that sat 600 ft. from the highway.

They left Tidal, PA at 4:10 a.m. as documented by Helen, their first stop, the Corning Plant in Corning, NY.

From there they headed to Watkins Glen Gorge, the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks. The stream descends 400 ft. past 200 ft. cliffs with 19 waterfalls. Mom titled this picture of herself, “Hopeless in Watkins Glen.”

Hopeless in Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen afforded them some beautiful pictures.

They stayed at the Lamp Lighter Motel the first night, just 10 miles from Syracuse, NY. Eating supper on the road.

Supper on the road

The next morning, being Sunday, they attended church at First Presbyterian in Watertown, NY before going to Lake Placid. They visited the House of a 1000 Animals, and then headed to Ausable Chasm, also known as the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks.

House of a 1000 Animals, Lake Placid, NY

From Lake Placid, they took the Port Kent Ferry across Lake Champlain to Burlington, VT. The ferry left at 8:00 p.m. according to Helen’s notes and was an hour long. They arrived at the Cupola Motel, a 150 year old farm house that had been converted into a motel, at 10:00 p.m. They took off the next morning, visiting the State Capital building and Vermont Historical Museum. Although it’s not mentioned in the notes, they stopped at some point in Barre, VT at the Rock of Ages Corporation.

Next stop was Santa’s Village in New Hampshire. They arrived at 4:30 p.m. I still have the souvenir snowman Mom brought back from there, one arm now missing, it sits on my desk as I write.

From Santa’s Village they headed to Perkins Motel in Farmington, ME for the night.

They traveled to Bangor the next morning, eating at Gene’s Restaurant in Skowhegan, ME to gain nourishment for their adventures. Mom made sure to commemorate the moment with a picture. They crossed the Bangor River Bridge in their journey which was worth a mention in Helen’s notes.

They arrived at Portland Head Lighthouse at 2:00 p.m. on the 17th of September, 1957. One of my favorite pictures of Mom was taken there.

I think this may have been their favorite spot, since I found the most pictures of them here.

Their day at the lighthouse ended at Stefs Cabins in Portsmouth, NH where they laid their heads to rest that night.

They left the cabin the next morning, Wednesday the 18th, and had breakfast at the Victory SPA before heading to Peace Air Force Base. At 10:30 they were in Gloucester, MA where they went to the fish docks, passing a Catholic church along the way. They stopped by the Fisherman’s Monument before heading to the Lexington Battlefield. Tired from their morning travels, they ate lunch at a coffee shop before heading to Plymouth rock, and the Indian Monument. They got a motel around 6:00 that night, called home and then ate supper at Audie Grille.

They spent the next day traveling southward, shopping along the way. They stopped at the Chatham Lighthouse before finding a motel and grabbing dinner at Joe’s Place.

Friday they headed to New London to visit the Submarine Base there. They did some shopping in New Haven, visited the Little Red House in Danbury, before heading to their hotel at 4:00 p.m.

Submarine Base New London

The next morning, Saturday, the 21st of September, they ate breakfast at Bolton’s before heading to West Point. Turning the Bel Air towards home, they stopped in Hershey for the night, attending church there the next morning. They visited Mom’s nephew, Jimmy. He joined them as they went to the Hershey Museum, ate at Dutch Diner in Palmyra then explored the Rose Garden. They took Jimmy home and toured his house. Stopped at Bills Place in the Blue Ridge Mountains and arrived home at 11:15 p.m. Sunday night, the 22nd of September.

A courageous trip for two young women to do alone in the late 50’s. One I’m glad they took, one that gives me courage as I head out west with Ron for our next big adventure. May ours be as wonderful as theirs was.

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