Our Top Seven Biking trails – 2nd Anniversary

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Continuing with our 2nd anniversary celebration posts, this time we share our top seven biking experiences during the period March 1, 2013 to Feb. 28, 2014.  Steve is always happy when he can unload our bikes so we can actually ride them, rather than just haul them around the country.  Our qualifications for these rides is the most points for: (1) the trail was nice to ride and well-maintained, and (2) the experience during the ride was memorable.  The list below continues the tradition I started with last year’s top seven.

1. Jekyll Island Bike Path – Golden Isles, Georgia – 20 miles of  diverse  scenery, from biking on the beach with panoramic ocean views, traversing lush maritime forest, and cruising through the moss-draped live oak trees of the historic district.  The best!

Click related post here.

2. Block Island – Rhode Island – There is plenty to see while experiencing Block Island, and biking it is the best way to do it.  Our 20-mile ride meandered over rolling hills, a beach bluff, and a wildlife refuge – all while offering sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean.  Then we stopped for a look at the lighthouse before returning to town to check out the old and new harbors so we could select a wonderful restaurant for lunch.  We took a ferry ride to get to the island and rode on the roads, sharing with automobile traffic and many other bike enthusiasts.

Click related post here.

Block Island, RI

Block Island National Wildlife Refuge

Block Island National Wildlife Refuge

3. Shark Valley – Everglades National Park, Florida – This is a 15-mile scenic loop in the Everglades where a multitude of alligators and birds will wow you!

Click related post here.

Shark Valley, Everglades

Shark Valley bike path – gators ahead!

4. Niagara River Trail – Niagara, New York – (12 miles).  Niagara (American, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe) Falls are your reward at the end of this journey – it really doesn’t get any better.  The secret to this ride is to start early and avoid the crowds that flock to the falls every day.  Our ride began at La Salle Waterfront Park in Niagara, then we headed past Goat Island until we reach the stunning falls.

Click related post here.

Niagara River Trail, Niagara Falls

Horsehoe Waterfalls, Niagara, Niagara River Trail

5. Western Maryland Trail – Hancock, Maryland – We clocked 20.13 miles on this ride, and fortunately we chose the western route which was more wooded and shaded.  This was one of our favorite quiet and serene rides.

Click related post here.

C&O Canal

C&O Canal Towpath

Western Maryland Rail Trail

Western Maryland Rail Trail – gorgeous!

6. PEI National Park – Prince Edward Island, Canada – 12 miles of breathtaking landscape along PEI’s north shore, and the striking red sandstone cliffs of Cavendish made this ride one of my favorites.  On this route we enjoyed a Red Fox walking along the path, a resting Bald Eagle and the cool breeze that made the ride very pleasant.  I love PEI!

Click related post here.

Bald Eagle, PEI

Can you spot the Bald Eagle?

Red Cliff Sandstone, PEI

7. Withlacoochee State Trail – Inverness, Florida – On the very last day of our date range (2/28/14), we biked 16 miles RT on this 46-mile rail-to-trail path.  What we liked on this relaxing tree-covered ride were the various shaded rest areas and a stop for fresh-squeezed orange juice at Ferris Groves – yum!

How about you?  Do you have a biking trail to share with us and our friends?

Next up:  Continuing on our celebration week – our favorite beaches.

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Our Top Ten Favorite Hikes – 2nd Anniversary

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Stone Mountain Trail

We have crossed another milestone.  Two years ago today, on March 1, 2012, we embarked on our new lifestyle of living on the road.  One of our many goals was to continue to exercise and be active.  Building on what I began last year, and to commemorate our 2nd year of full timing, I have compiled our new set of favorite hike/walk trails.  This top ten list covers the trails we explored between March 1, 2013 and Feb 28, 2014.  It does not include the dozens of beach walks we took while on the east coast.  Although we love long walks on the beach, they tend to be fairly similar and we decided not to try to rate them.

Our criteria has remained the same, and that is: (1) the trail had an awesome reward at the end (2) the trail was well-maintained and (3) the experience along the way was memorable.  These trails were fairly short, and some even overlapped each other – unlike the ones we blazed out West.

Below are our top ten favorite hiking/walking experiences.  Clicking on the name of the trail will take you to a website that describes it further.  The “Click related post here” link will take you to our posting that included the hike/walk.

1. Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail – Acadia National Park, Maine

Click related post here.

Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail

Going down Cadillac Mountain

2. Buck Hollow Trail – Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Click related post here.

3. Combined Trails at Schoodic Peninsula – Acadia National Park, Maine

(Anvil Trail, Adler Trail, East Trail and  Schoodic Mountain Summit)

Click related post here.

 

4. Sleeping Beauty Trail – Lake George, New York

Click related post here.

Sleeping beauty trail, Lake George

Sleeping Beauty summit

At the Sleeping Beauty summit – what can we say?

5. Overlapping Trails at Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia

(Allegheny Trail, Yellow Birch Trail, Elakala Trail, Red Spruce Trail, Balanced Rock Trail and Lindy Point Overlook)

Click related post here.

6. Overlapping Trails at Stone Mountain Park – Atlanta, Georgia

( Walk-Up Trail with connections to Cherokee Trail, Nature Garden Trail and  Songbird Habitat Trail)

Click related post here.

7. Overlapping trails of Cavendish Duneland Trail and Homestead Trail – PEI National Park, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Click related post here.

Cavendish Duneland Trail

Cavendish Duneland Trail

Homestead Trail PEI

Homestead Trail

8. Niagara Gorge Trail – Niagara, New York

Click related post here.

Whirlpool Bridges, Niagara

Upper Great Gorge Hike

Great Gorge Scenic Overlook Hike

Great Gorge Scenic Overlook Hike

9. Black Ridge/Rock Castle Gorge Trail – Blue Ridge Mountains, VA

Click related post here.

10. Lake Monroe Conservation Area – Osteen, Florida

Click related post here.

Lake Monroe Conservation Area

How about you?  Do you have a favorite hiking trail to share with us and our friends who might be there one day?

Next up:  Our Top Seven Favorite Bike Rides – 2nd Anniversary Post

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Island Girls meet on Prince Edward Island – fun, fun, fun!

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Great Heron

Prince Edward Island was such a fitting place for the “island girls” to meet.  But before I reveal who they are, allow me to first share more sights and scenes around PEI.  Being a small island, its waters are teeming with all things seafood – including lobsters, mussels, oysters, quahogs and bar clams, among others.  We can proudly boast that we have dined on the freshest and best PEI mussels in existence.  Steve got adventurous and ordered two new shellfish in his food vocabulary, Quahogs and Bar Clams.  That was a great decision – yum!

Our new friend Brenda tipped us off about French River, which was just a few miles from our campground.  It is one of PEI’s most famously picturesque fishing villages, and what a view it is!

French River

My panoramic shot cannot capture it’s unique features, the contrasting yet complimentary combination of water view and farmland in ONE  single vista.

French River

And so here is my attempt to take section shots.  They were taken on a perfectly clear day from left to right on the pano shot. Just imagine yourself sitting on top of a hill overlooking this vista. Simply beautiful.

wpid15864-2013-08-20-PEICN-1110119.jpg

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French River

French River

We spent a while here just admiring gorgeous views we haven’t seen anywhere else!

Now, back to the “island girls” meeting.  When I learned that Island Girl was in the Canadian Maritimes the same time we were, my desire to meet a fellow blogger kicked in.  We had been following each other, and a rendezvous was in order at the right place on the island.  As you know, I hail from one of the thousands of islands in the Philippines – Cebu – while Brenda is from another beautiful island – Puerto Rico.  They appropriately named their coach Island Girl!  So, we had our own little summit on PEI.  Brenda, Hector and the very sweet 4-legged doggie Angel were perfect hosts at their campground right on the sea.

Island Girl

What a view they had – I’m almost standing in the water to get this shot!

Hector who comes from Cuba showed us his shucking skills, offering the “boutique” oysters from the area – Malpeques and Raspberry points.  Both are delicious!  We shared travel ideas and tips, and enjoyed each other’s company so much that we forgot about the time.

Check them out, as they have covered a lot of ground while here in the Maritimes.  Not to mention, Hector’s photography is outstanding!

Island Girl

Brenda and Mona Liza at the official Island Girls site!

Also, they happened to be at an awesome spot for a gorgeous sunset.

New Annan, Sunset

Sunset at New Annan

 

Next up:  Betsy goes to the hospital – Halifax, NS

 

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Blazing some trails on Prince Edward Island

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Prince Edward Island National Park

Prince Edward Island (PEI) isn’t just all pastoral landscapes and gleaming harbors.  The island is also famous for being the home of Anne of Green Gables, and I vaguely remember the tv series from decades ago.  However, since I wasn’t a fan we skipped a trip to the Green Gables National Historic Site.  Fortunately, our base camp at Cavendish was only five minutes away from PEI National Park.  As always, we did what we do whenever we get a chance – hike and bike.

On our first full day we hiked one of the trails which took us through several micro-environments.

Duneland at PEI

Starting off toward the dunes along beautiful Cavendish Beach.

Cavendish Beach

He made it!  I’m down on the beach already.

After a while the trail took us out into a wetlands area.

Cavendish Beach

Homestead Trail

The clouds seemed to mimic the outline of the trees.

Falcon

A good looking Merlin checked us out from above.

We finally ended up at a red beach where I touched the warm waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Next we headed back inland and followed the Homestead Trail.  This one passed through lush forests and rolling farmland along the beautiful shores of New London Bay.

The sun was already high over our heads so there were no shady spots to rest on this section, but at every turn we were faced with meadows of pretty colorful wildflowers.

Homestead Trail

Not a bad way to spend a Tuesday afternoon!

Homestead Trail, PEI

Is he lost?  Does he care?

A hint that summer is almost over.

On another day we took our bikes and followed the coastline of PEI fronting the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The soil on PEI is a deep red, so the dramatic rocks and cliffs around the coast reflect this, while the sand on the beaches is white.  It makes for a stunning coastline.

PEI Coastline

Sandstone

There were many areas of reddish sandstone like this one.

PEI Coastal Trail

Why is this woman so happy? Could it be the wildflowers, the birds, the beach? Maybe all of the above?

PEI Coastline

Steve spotted something way out at the end of the rocks – is that a bird ?

Bald Eagle

After getting closer – yup, it’s a Bald Eagle!

Several foxes strutted along the road causing a traffic jam.

Red Fox

Red fox trotting along the road.

Red Foxes

These foxes look like they’re kissing

The day finally ended with another gorgeous sunset over the island.

Red Sand  Beach

Red sand beach glowed at dusk

PEI Sunset

Gulf of St. Lawrence glowed orange in the sunset.

Next up:  Island girls meet up at PEI

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Captivating Prince Edward Island

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PEI

As Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island (aka PEI) captivated us with its rolling fields of picture perfect farms surrounded by cobalt blue waters, wildflowers, sandstone cliffs, lobster supper restaurants and more.

Prince Edward Island

Map of PEI

To get there we left the province of New Brunswick and crossed the eight-mile long Confederation Bridge that connects the island to the Canadian mainland.  This is a toll bridge that charges motorists only upon leaving the island – thankfully.  More on that later.

Confederation Bridge

Eight mile long Confederation Bridge.

Some of the interesting sights along the way:

Prince Edward Island

Colorful PEI welcome.

PEI Welcome Sign

So happy to be on the island!

We followed the central Coastal Drive to our next destination – Marco Polo Land RV Park – which is several miles from Charlottetown, the capital of PEI.

Road Signs, PEI

The road signs here are very colorful.

The three major industries of fishing, farming and tourism dominate life on the island.  All were very evident as we cruised along the highways, which are mostly in very bad condition.  But the scenery made up for the potholes!  PEI is known for high-quality potatoes and we had some of the the best potato chips we’ve every eaten.

Prince Edward Island

Bad roads overshadowed by beautiful rolling hills

Prince Edward Island

Farming implements

Prince Edward Island

Farms as far as the eye can see.

Dusk at Gulf of Lawrence

Bales glowed at dusk.

Fishing Farms and Villages

North Rustico

Sunset at North Rustico fishing village.

A Lobster supper is not to be missed if you are a seafood lover.  Otherwise, stay away from the all-you-can-eat sweet and fresh PEI steamed mussels by the bucket, seafood chowder, salads, dessert and bread – all included with your main entree.  You have to bring your appetite when eating at one of these places!

Houses and buildings are as colorful as the island itself…

…and the people are vibrant as well!

At the campground we had a good vantage point for a nice moonrise.

PEI

Moonrise over wildflowers and wheat fields

PEI Moonrise

Moonrise over Marco Polo Land

PEI is a photographer’s dream – wherever you turn there’s a good shot to be had, for the island is truly photogenic and we enjoyed it here for several days.  We would likely look for another campground, though.  Marco Polo Land was just too huge (over 500 sites!) and noisy for us – see Steve’s review here if interested.

Next up:  Hitting trails on PEI!

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