Sunday, August 2, 2015

Road Trip - To Milford, Pa and points South

Dave and I spent August 1st on the road. Earlier in the week I scoped out a destination sorts on We generally prefer the road less travelled (and I'm pretty sure we found the ultimate example of that on this trip). We also prefer to find our own way but is a great resource for choosing a direction. I'll spare you further details of the research (this time) and just tell you that I selected Milford, PA as our "aim for" spot.

Milford is in NE PA where route 206 meets route 6. We knew this meant that we travelled through Milford on our Route 6 adventure many moons ago. (Translate neither of us can remember what year it was) This time we'd stop and visit. But first we had to get there.

First stop was at the Bethlehem Diner for breakfast. We enjoy this place and it was perfectly placed on the way - one hour into the trip. From there we took 611 and 206 north toward Milford.

Second stop was
this Delaware River overlook. 

The view here was beautiful on this day
but its name suggests we must visit again in winter

In Milford we headed straight for Grey Towers, once the home of Gifford Pinchot, a two term PA Governor and first chief of the US Forest Service. On this day they were holding their annual Festival of Wood so there were a lot of people there. We toured the mansion and the grounds and watched Aya Blaine of Chainsaw Chix, carve an Eagle out of a block of wood with a chainsaw. Didn't get a photo of the finished product but here is one she did earlier in the day. Her blog has some photos too.

Back in town we stopped at a cafe for a coffee & iced tea break and then began the return trip south. After a stop at Dingmans Falls, we crossed the river on Dingmans Bridge into New Jersey. The bridge is on the site of the former Dingman's Ferry which joined the Old Mine Road in New Jersey to Bethany Pike, which is now Route 739, in Pennsylvania. The bridge is the last privately owned bridge on the Delaware and one of the few left in the US. The bridge history is very interesting, but the bridge itself is just a bridge. It looks like a lot of the others that cross the Upper Delaware River. On the other side we went in search of gas ( always cheaper in NJ and we needed it ) and then in search of Old Mine Road which would take us south through Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

Old Mine Road is the example of the road less traveled that I mentioned above. At least in our time.
This photo makes it look tame but at any other point I likely would have ended up taking a photo of the roof of the car as we hit another hole in the road. There were sections where it was impossible to avoid them.

There also were no signs telling us we were on Old Mine Road. We made our best guess using the landmarks on the map. We did finally see a historical marker on the road which was comforting because turning around was going to be an issue had it been necessary. Here is an excerpt for the NPS commentary on Old Mine Road. Emphasis added by me!

"At Fort Carmer and Van Campen Inn and at Hamilton Ridge Trail near Millbrook, you can still walk on the original unpaved road bed once traipsed by Dutch farmers, by colonial Americans, and by soldiers of the French & India" 

We do not doubt for one minute that this is the original road...or at least what's left of it. According to the historical marker on the road John Adams took this route from Boston to Philadelphia frequently. He and his horse & carriage had a much easier time of it, I'm sure.

We arrived at Van Campden Inn at 5:15. 
Jen, the volunteer guide was just closing up. She had just finished closing all the shutters and was preparing to lock the door. Yet she took us inside and gave us the 15 minute tour of the first floor rooms that we could see through light of the open front door and the flashlight app on my phone. She told us that rumor has it that John Adams stayed here on one of his trips but since they could not find a any supporting evidence they don't make the claim anymore. However, there is ample evidence that Casimir Pulaski stayed here in letters he wrote to George Washington. According to Jen, he hated it because there was no fighting here. Benedict Arnold and John Stark stayed here as well.

Before we left, Jen drew us a map so we would know what to expect as we finished our trip south. She said it was a "thing" around here for the signs to disappear.

Needless to say - although the road did become paved south of Millbrook - there were few signs of modern life along the route. By the time we reached Route 80 at Kittatinny it was after 6 and we were pretty hungry. We popped into Stroudsburg to find dinner. We ended up at Sarah's Corner Cafe a very pleasant diner with good sandwiches and friendly servie. We had stopped at an Irish Pub first but left when they sat us but then ignored us. I remember the name but won't give them an undeserved reference here.

After a pleasant meal we followed Route 191 South to 22 and then the blue route home. On the way we passed Valley View Diner in the middle of a corn field that Dave says we stopped at once before on another road trip. I can't remember that though. I'm getting old. It's a good thing I blog.

For more photos .... click here

-Keep smiling and keep moving

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