Franconia Notch State Park


 

The mountains of Franconia Notch show off their granite slabs to visitors below and to climbers of its mountains.

They turn red at sunlight.

You can see them from the interstate, pull off and visit them from along a bike trail, swim in a lake below them, ski them in winter, hike them or rock climb them regardless, Franconia Notch State Park has something for many different tastes. Of course, most famously, people often view Franconia notch from above on the Appalachian Trail from Mount LaFayette.

As we were trying to speed run New Hampshire, we focused on two short hikes: The Basin and Artist’s Bluff. I will post them later. For now though, enjoy these images taken on and near the park’s bike trail which we used as a route to travel through some of park.

They aren’t representative. Much of the bike trail is wooded rather than wide open and it’s never far from the interstate. Still it’s a way to avoid interstate traffic and parking issues to get out and enjoy the park, walking to all of its trails.

Plus, it had one or two fresh raspberries still left which were certainly delicious.

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Stinson Lake, New Hampshire


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White birch trees, like palm trees in a beach scene, frame and accent its blue water and distant green tree-covered mountains which surround it. Sailboats, speed boats, skiers kayaks and ducks go by but the clear water still feels relaxing. It’s what Yvonne calls “the temperature you like your beer” but if you swim for long enough if feels fine and its perfect after a hot hike at any of the nearby trails.

Stinson Lake looks and feels good and relaxing whether on a cloudy day, by evening light, underneath the thousands of visible stars from the dock or on a sunny day from the water watching dragonflies and damselflies flying above its surface.

What it lacks is public access. Private rentals and vacation homes crowd its surface. But at least I’m lucky my family owns one of them soon to be able to rent. And I’m happy to return year after year.

Times Square, New York City


Times Square is a place I’d never visited until this most recent trip to New York City.

Of course I’d seen it on TV and in pictures, many, many times, but actually being there amid the sensory overload of bright billboards is different.

In some ways, it’s like nothing at home. Packed with people at every hour of Saturday night and full of distinct buskers and performers, almost like a free version of Disney World. Indeed two of them dressed up like Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Although admittedly there was also a Donald Trump costume guy too and the aforementioned bikini gymnast, both of which Disney World would probably not have.

The New York Times and ABC News buildings, are giants compared to any of our newspaper or TV station buildings in Tennessee.

Also, to the best of my knowledge, no one sells Kit Kat bars the size of cafeteria trays — still labeled “Snack Size’ — like they do at Hershey’s Chocolate World. And our benches are, as a rule, not set into weird wrecked-ship-like sculptures.

It’s side streets have theaters showing the most high-profile plays and some of its billboards advertise other theater productions, including Spongebob Squarepants, which is almost unheard of in Knoxville. Theater productions high-profile enough to have billboard ads that is, not Spongebob Squarepants.

And yet at the same time, if you’re a Tennesseean who wants to really feel like you’re in another world, Times Square is probably the wrong place. The famous New Year’s Day ball drops on top of a building with a Walgreens on the bottom floor for instance. Similarly other stores here like Forever 21 and the Disney Store exist in Knoxville’s West Town Mall.

Although, running around the Disney Store, a bit of an expansion from the Tennessee version, with two other 30-somethings who were making stuffed animals dance to The Lion King music was actually a highlight of the trip.

At times I wondered if I had wandered into just a version of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge that didn’t close at night and where Spongebob had replaced the Bible as the main source of theater inspiration, if not also possibly religion as well. The area has both a Ripley’s Believe it or Not like Gatlinburg, and a wax museum, which would not have been out of place there.

At any rate enjoy this photo gallery of Times Square as it is in July 2018.

Disco singers
Disco singers stayin’ alive at Times Square