Several years ago we heard some rumours about witchcraft in Carol’s ancestry.   Since her behaviour during our ten years of marriage had already made me a bit suspicious about her background, I began to do some genealogical research.


Yup, she comes from solid witchcraft stock.   Carol is a direct descendant of William Towne and Johanna Blessing who left England in 1635 and settled in Salem, Massachusetts.   They raised a family of eight children and in 1692 three of their daughters were charged as witches in the Salem Witchcraft Trials.  Rebecca (Towne) Nurse, Mary (Towne) Estey and Sarah (Towne) Cloyse were charged and both Rebecca and Mary were convicted and hung.


Last summer we visited Salem and really enjoyed touring the Rebecca Nurse Homestead and many other historical sites.  When we heard that the Towne Family Association were holding their 31st Annual Reunion in Salem we decided we just had to go!


The motorhome is all packed up and we’re ready to roll!


So why don’t you ride along with us?

Thursday August 11, 2011


We got off to a very tense start on this trip.  We picked the RV up from winter storage last week and did a bit of running around making preparations for some minor “fixes” – and what do I discover?  The Air Conditioning is busted!  So into the shop it goes.  I dropped it off Monday morning and warned them, “I have to have it back Wednesday!” 


“No problem,” they replied, “We’ll get at it right away this morning.”  Later that day came the dreaded call, “It needs a new evaporator core; we’ll have to order one.”  It arrived Wednesday afternoon and the mechanic scrambled to finish it that afternoon.  It was done by 5:15 Wednesday - Whew!  Just in time!  Off we went home to pack it up in a hurry.  Carol put the last items in the refrigerator at about 10:15 and we hit the hay to rest up for our first day on the road . . . our first long day on the road in quite some time!  I hope my Poopy-Knee is up to the challenge!


Thursday I woke at 5:30, tossed and turned a bit and then got up and hopped hobbled into the shower.  As soon as I got out Carol lifted her head from the pillow and said, “Is my Timmie’s coffee here yet?”  I drove over to get the coffees and a bite of breakfast while she got ready and loaded the dogs.  We pulled away from home at 6:45 a.m.


It was a terrific driving day!  Clear skies, bright sunshine and not too hot!  We pulled up to US Customs at about 7:15 and a nice young customs officer came aboard the motorhome for an inspection.  He was so taken with Zak and Blue that he never got past where they were seated on the couch.  We could have had the bathroom and the bedroom full of illegal aliens and he would have been none-the-wiser.  After petting the dogs for a few minutes he was on his way and so were we!

This is Blue’s first trip in the RV and he wasn’t too comfortable.  We always put them in a harness and hook it to the seatbelts on the couch.  That way they’re safe and secure.  Zak is a seasoned veteran and he curled right up and went to sleep.  Not so for Blue though . . . he sat up on the couch, shivering, shaking and panting.  Carol went back and sat on the couch with them several times and we made more than our usual number of stops to walk the dogs, hoping it would help Blue adjust!

By 11:30 we pulled into Wal-Mart at Schenectady NY.  I walked the dogs and read my book while Carol picked up some groceries.  Soon we were off again and just a few more miles down the road, still in Schenectady, we pulled into Applebee’s for lunch!  Some of the locals joined us, Linda and Bruce, and we had a wonderful time over lunch, trading Disney stories, skiing stories, cruising stories and any other lies and exaggerations that came to mind.

By 2:00 we were underway again for the short run to our home for the night, Deer Run Campground at Schagticoke NY.  We like to try new campgrounds, always looking for ones we’d like to return to.  We didn’t find one today.  It’s a good park for an overnight stop, but it’s not a “destinaton” we would return to.


Carol took the dogs for a nice long walk while I did the RV hook-ups and then we relaxed for a while.   We didn’t want to leave Blue alone too long on his first day so we loaded the dogs in the car and drove to a nearby grocery store.  Carol picked up a rotisserie chicken and a baguette which we took back to the RV for dinner.


We had a quiet night of TV and hit the sack early.  Tomorrow we’re off to Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts.

Friday August 12, 2011


What a glorious day!  It was cool last night and the campground was quiet as could be.  What a treat to fall asleep with a nice breeze blowing in as we listened to the tree frogs!  Carol complained a bit this morning about Blue jumping on the bed and then back down, then back on the bed, then back down . . . all night.  Fortunately I slept through it all.


This morning we were up at 6:30 and had a relaxing start to the day.  We shared a pot of coffee, I played at the computer and had a bowl of cereal.  Carol took the dogs for a nice long walk and Blue saw his first squirrel.  Our house is in a brand new development so the trees are all newly planted and very small.  The squirrels have not moved back into the area yet.  Blue wasn’t sure what to make of it, but when Zak chased it up a tree Blue seemed to enjoy the show.  Maybe he’ll take up the sport too!


We were all battened down and back on the road by 7:45.  Blue seemed a bit better, he still shivered and shook a little bit but it looked as though someone had turned down his frequency dial.  The shake wasn’t nearly as vigorous.  By the end of the drive he had almost stopped vibrating!


The skies were clear and the traffic, although a bit heavier, moved well.  The scenery was terrific; mountains and trees everywhere.  We were surrounded by the Catskill and Appalachian Mountains and the Hampshire Hills.  Carol yawned several times and complained about not sleeping well . . . something about a snoring husband and a restless dog.  But I didn’t complain, I was in my glory.


I just love driving this big beast!  I feel like the king of the road!  You sit up high, at the same level as the big trucks, and you see things you cannot see from a car.  I really enjoy it!  I have two very important ladies with me.  Sadie, she’s the woman who lives in my GPS and she tells me where to go and always gets us to our destination.  Then there’s Carol; she also tells me where to go, but it seldom has anything to do with our destination.  Aaaahhh!  Life is good!


At about 9:30 we crossed the state line from New York into Massachusetts.  Holy Crap!  What happened to the road?  The New York Thruway (I-90) was bumpy and rough but as soon as we crossed into Massachusetts I-90 (now the Mass Pike) became a goat path.  Ouch!  The long wheelbase of the motorhome magnifies the bumps but . . . Wow!  This is bad!  If you are from Massachusetts I feel sorry for you having to drive on that!  Why does it always seem that toll roads are worse than all the rest?  They have a revenue stream . . . they should be in the best of condition!


We bounced and bucked around so much on the Mass Pike that Carol soon had a headache.  We were sure glad when the ramp to 495 north came into view.  We skirted around the Boston area on I-495 and about 10 miles short of our exit onto SR110 everything came to a halt.  It was creep and crawl that last 10 miles, construction was the culprit . . . and it was Friday afternoon, everyone was heading to the beach!


By 1:30 we were finally at the campground checking in.  Carol took the dogs for a quick walk while I did the RV hook-ups and then we had a sandwich for lunch.  It really felt good to just sit still for a few minutes.  Then we headed back outside and set up the outdoor chairs, table, lights and the little touches that will make our vehicle into our home for the next few days.  Then it was time for a longer walk for the dogs before they both joined Carol and I for a well earned nap.

We were up, showered and heading off in the car by 5:30.  Our destination was Petey’s, a terrific little seafood diner on the beach at Rye, NH.  We discovered it by accident four years ago when we were in the area enjoying the autumn colours.  We’ve been back several times since then.  Carol just loves one of their specialty dishes “The Lazy Man’s Lobster” so off we went, heading north along the beach.  We drove almost the entire coast of New Hampshire (all 13 miles of it) and soaked up the scenery.  There is everything here; Hampton Beach is a typical beachfront resort town with hot dog stands, seafood grills, t-shirt stores, etc.  We passed some magnificent beach homes and quite a few stunning mansions surrounded by manicured grounds on rocky points jutting into the ocean.  Wow, it’s pretty here!


When we pulled into Petey’s at about 6:15 the place was packed.  They said the wait would be about 45 minutes but within 25 minutes we were seated.  We both ordered a cup of clam chowder and I had a broiled shrimp and scallops dish while Carol had her favourite, the Lazy Man’s Lobster.  They take a 1 ½ pound lobster and remove it from the shell for easy eating.  I wanted to take a picture of it but there wasn’t time!  In a flurry it was gone!  Gosh it was good!

We left Petey’s just before 8:00 with plans to visit a nearby mall so Carol could check out the Disney Store but the plans didn’t work out.  There was a beautiful and bright full moon shining out over the ocean and glimmering on the water.  We stopped and Carol took a few pictures of it.  By the time we got back to the campground it was almost 9:00 and too late to make it to the mall in time.  That will have to wait until another time.


We settled in for a quiet night with the dogs.

 Saturday August 13, 2011






We started the day slowly; we will be very busy with reunion activities starting in the afternoon so we thought we’d spend the morning with the dogs.  We were both up early and Carol took them out, later I took them for a walk all around the campground.  We sat outside and relaxed with them and promised Blue that we would not move his house today!

Then at about 8:30 we loaded them both in the car and left to drop into that Disney Store we missed the night before.  It is at Saugus MA, about 30 miles away. 


As we were driving along Carol said, “Oh look, there’s a Christmas Tree Shop.”


“Do you want to stop?” I asked. 


As soon as the words left my mouth I realized what a stupid question it was!  There are two stores Carol can never drive by and the Christmas Tree Shop is second on the list, just below the Disney Store.  So we wheeled in and I waited in the car with the dogs while she shopped.  She emerged all excited!  She was excited with her purchases but even more excited because she found out this is “Tax Free Weekend” in Massachusetts.  Oh boy!  Let’s get shoppin’!!


Away we went again, another few miles to the Disney Store.  Our grandson Sean has quite a collection of die cast toys from the Disney movie Cars and we were on a mission to fill in a few gaps in his collection!  The dogs and I bonded some more in the car.  Success, there were a few there – but the cast member in the store suggested we try K-Mart and Wal-Mart, they carry the Cars too!  Hallelujah – there’s a K-Mart next door.  Another chance for some canine bonding.


By 11:00 we were northbound again on I-95 heading for the campground.  Just one more stop, a shop just a mile from the campground which carries a huge selection of Department 56 collectible pieces.  Carol headed in to browse while the dogs and I found a cool parking spot in the shade.  Soon Carol was waving at me – she needed me in the store.  As it turns out, she only needed my credit card.  A new Department 56 piece, Mickey’s Mouse-Ears Factory, became my birthday gift to her.  It’s really cute and will be added to her Disney Village display at Christmas.


By noon we were home and had a quick sandwich for lunch.  We walked the dogs again and before we knew it the time had come to head south to Salem.  Our first stop was at J.C. Penney in Peabody MA.  I needed to buy a few new shirts.  I don’t think I’m particularly messy or clumsy, but after almost every meal there’s another shirt to throw out!  J.C. Penney always has a wide selection in the “big boy” size I need!


Then we were off to the Hawthorne Hotel in historic downtown Salem where we registered for the reunion.  There was no one in line when we arrived so within minutes we had our nametags and registration package and were on our way to the Library for a presentation on the DNA Project the association is involved in.  I’m the genealogist in the family, Carol is not, so she found the session to be a real yawner but I found it quite interesting.  It helped me to better understand the DNA project I am involved in with my Cruise family.  This was the only reunion event for the day so by 5:30 we were on the road heading back to the campground.  Zak and Blue were happy to see us but they let us know that their dinner was about an hour late.  After feeding and walking them we headed down the road to a local diner for a light dinner then picked up the dogs and went a few hundred yards down the road for an ice cream cone.

Before 9:00 we were settled in for the night.  We have a free morning tomorrow and if the weather is nice we plan to take the dogs to the beach, then Sunday afternoon and all day Monday we have a full schedule of reunion activities before we begin our journey home on Tuesday.

Sunday August 14, 2011


We slept until almost 7:00 a.m.   When Carol took the dogs out it was spitting rain and the showers continued off and on all day.  Dang!  Wet sand and long-haired dogs is a bad combination.


What to do?  Silly question – it’s a tax free weekend . . . let’s shop!  We went to the grocery store just a few miles away and picked up a few items.  While we were there Carol got directions to the nearest Wal-Mart and K-Mart.  So we headed a few miles south to the K-Mart at Newbury MA and then a few miles north to the Wal-Mart at Seabrook NH.  We scored a few new cars for grandson Sean!


Back at the campground we had a sandwich for lunch and then loaded Zak and Blue in the car for a trip to nearby Topsfield MA where Carol’s ancestor Jacob Towne lived in the 1600’s.  Jacob was the brother of those three witches Rebecca, Mary and Sarah.  We visited the The Parson Capen House which was built in 1683.  The house is one of the finest surviving examples of Elizabethan architecture in America. The house is situated on a knoll overlooking the Topsfield Common, originally on a twelve acre lot of land granted by the town fathers to their new preacher Reverend Capen in 1682.  Parson Capen served the Church in Topsfield for 44 years until his death.  The Topsfield Historical Society purchased the house in 1913.  In 1960 the Parson Capen House was designated a National Historic Landmark.

There were supposed to be a number of old Towne Family artefacts which the family had donated to the Capen House Museum on display for reunion attendees.  Unfortunately the volunteer curator thought the reunion was last weekend so there were no artefacts.  Wasn’t she the least bit suspicious last weekend when no one showed up?  But all was not lost, we did get to tour a very interesting old home.


We left Topsfield and took a leisurely drive north on Route 1A along the coast on our way back to the campground.  We retraced our steps through the pretty little tourist town of Newburyport and Carol made a quick visit to a shop she really liked last year.  I was shocked when she came out empty handed.

The Parson Capen House


We spent some time at the campground with the puppies and then showered and changed to head back to the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem for the banquet in the Grand Ballroom.  There were about 200 of us and we almost filled the room.  After dinner we were treated to a presentation by Dr. Nathan Hamilton, associate professor of archaeology at the University of Southern Maine.  He is leading the team which is presently doing research at the Rebecca Nurse Homestead.  They have documented cultural finds spanning 7,000 years there, with textiles and ceramics from prehistory through the 17th and 18th centuries.  It was quite interesting to hear how they were able to date Indian pottery from 5,000 years ago to a village of natives growing corn on the site and then date a clay pipe for smoking tobacco to about 1638, the time when the home was owned by Governor Endicott.  Tomorrow we visit the dig site with Dr. Hamilton.  That should be interesting.


After dinner there were a few group pictures and a draw for a few dozen raffle prizes; then we hopped in the car and scooted back to the dogs.


These people were attending the TFA reunion for the first time


These people are all descended from Jacob Towne


We will be up bright and early tomorrow and heading back to the hotel for an 8:00 breakfast!

Monday August 15, 2011


It was a miserable day!  Wet, wet, wet.  It was raining when the alarm woke us up at 6:15 and it never stopped all day!  We had a great day nonetheless.


We were up and moving quickly.  It was a quick blur; out with the dogs, slam down a couple of cups of coffee and hit the road!  We were on the road within an hour, southbound in the car heading to our 8:00 a.m. breakfast meeting in Salem.  We were unsure what the traffic might do as we got closer to Boston, but there were no problems.  We made it just in time!

After a very good buffet breakfast the Annual General Meeting of the Towne Family Association began.  It was quite interesting for us, as new members, to see the projects the organization has underway and how money is allocated to genealogy projects, DNA projects, etc.  We had planned to get away before 11:00 to return to the RV and let the dogs out but we had trouble tearing ourselves away as they spoke about plans for next year’s reunion.  It will be a week-long affair in and around Greater Yarmouth, Norfolk Shire, England.

We finally got away, rushed back to the camp and gave the dogs a potty break.  After a quick sandwich for the humans we were southbound again, this time heading for the Rebecca Nurse Homestead.  The plan had been for a picnic lunch on the grounds of the homestead but Mother Nature intervened with a couple of inches of rain so the group picnicked in the Grand Ballroom of the Hawthorne Hotel before heading to the homestead.  We met them all there at about 1:30.


In spite of the rain it was a very interesting afternoon!  We spent some time huddled under canopies watching the archaeology students dig and sift, asking them questions as they worked.  Dr. Hamilton was there as well and talked about what they had already done and what is planned for the future.  Some of the recovered relics were on display and more students were there to interpret them and answer questions.

We toured the house, the actual building where Rebecca (Towne) Nurse was arrested in 1692 and charged with witchcraft.  Last year we had the place to ourselves and thoroughly enjoyed our visit, but this time it was much better.  The place as teeming with people in period costume and it really enhanced the experience.

We visited the replica of the original Meeting House (Church) which was built on the homestead property for the 1985 PBS movie Three Sovereigns for Sarah.  The host and interpreter in the Meeting House was a man who has volunteered at the homestead for decades.  He appeared in the PBS movie as the man who piled the rocks on Giles Corey as he was crushed to death following his conviction for witchcraft. 

After the slide show in the Meeting House we made our way back to the car for our drive to Topsfield.  We followed our hosts Arthur and Jean Towne as they led our little two-car parade to the 40 acre property where William Towne and his wife Joanna Blessing settled in 1635. 

The Towne Family Association has recently installed a stone bench in memory of William and Joanna.  Several other family members joined us as we looked out on the small farm where this pioneer couple raised their large family almost four centuries ago!  What a powerful feeling it was!

We were soaked but satisfied by the time we returned to the campground and the dogs at about 4:45.  After we took down our outdoor lights and packed away a few thing to get ready for our departure in the morning we fed the dogs and relaxed a bit.  Soon it was time to head out for dinner at Stripers, a seafood restaurant in nearby Newburyport.  We had a very nice meal there last year and we weren’t disappointed today.  It was great.  By 8:15 we were back with the dogs, listening to the rain on the roof.


Tomorrow we hope to be on the road by 8:00 a.m. and will spend the night near Saratoga Springs NY.

Tuesday August 16, 2011


We got away a few minutes early and started the day under blue skies and in light traffic.  About a half hour after we left the campground we were scooting south on I-495 when I was startled by a red tailed hawk which swooped across in front of the motorhome and almost hit the windshield on the passenger side.  Carol was un-phased by the whole thing . . . her body was in the copilot’s chair but her mind busy somewhere on Facebook!


Traffic slowed as we got further south but soon we left the construction zone and turned west to head away from Boston.  Traffic sped up and we zoomed along on the Mass Pike.  It didn’t seem nearly as bumpy as it had been on our eastbound trip.  We stopped once at a service area and picked up a coffee.  The skies turned grey by mid-morning and we had intermittent showers.  Just before we got to the Massachusetts/New York State Line the windshield wipers went ka-boom!  The left wiper went left and the right wiper went right . . . and they didn’t come back to the middle.  It’s the second time this has happened so I knew exactly what to do!  Luckily we were approaching an exit and I was able to wheel off the turnpike and into a small town.  We pulled in to a small plaza and hauled out the toolbox.  Carol held the hood up while I reattached the wiper linkage to the motor that powers them.  Within 10 minutes we were back on the Mass Pike and at about 11:15 crossed into New York State.


At about 12:15 we were discussing lunch . . . do we pull into a rest area and have a sandwich or do we stop at a restaurant.  In the middle of the discussion a Cracker Barrel sign appeared and our decision was made!  Cracker Barrel it was!

Soon we exited I-90 and headed north on I-87.  We pulled into the KOA Campground at Lake Luzerne, NY at 2:30 and by 3:00 we were all set up and walking the dogs.  They were sure happy to be stopped again!  Blue seems to be adjusting to life on the road, he seemed a lot more comfortable today.

Rain kept us indoors for a while so we had a nap and then took the dogs out for some play time.  They were quite excited to have some open space to run and chase a ball.

We took a drive before dinner and drove past many, many restaurants, all closed!  It’s prime tourist season and we’re in a beautiful and busy resort area in the Adirondacks, why so many closed restaurants?  We finally found one that was open, Ciro’s Italian American Restaurant.  It was great!  By 7:45 we were back at the campground.

Tomorrow we will continue north through Adirondack Park for an hour before turning to head west in the park through Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake and Star Lake as we take the scenic route home!  We will drive at least another three hours in this beautiful park!  If all goes well we should be home by mid-afternoon tomorrow.

Wednesday August 17, 2011


It was a busy morning, we had quick showers then dumped and thoroughly rinsed the RV’s holding tanks, disconnected all the hook-ups and were on the road by 8:15.  Our route took us north on I-87 for about an hour and then we made a left turn and put civilization behind us.  We followed SR73 as it wound through the valleys in Adirondack Park following the Ausable River.  This is an amazingly beautiful part of the park.  The road is narrow and twists, winds, bobs and weaves its way along side the river with vistas of rocks, trees, waterfalls and cascading whitewater at every turn!  I really enjoyed the scenery.  I’m not sure that Carol had time to appreciate the view . . . she was pretty busy clinging to her seat and biting her lower lip!


Soon we approached Lake Placid and turned to follow SR3 heading west.  The road was an iota better, Carol could cling with only one hand now!  At about 10:30 I turned to Carol and asked, “How are the dogs doing?”  I can’t see them from the driver’s seat!  She turned back for a look, smiled and said, “They’re both sound asleep.”  It looks like Blue will adapt to life on the road after all . . . good news!


By 1:00 we were approaching Watertown, NY and we stopped to fill up on the cheap gas.  The $3.89 price compares well to the $5.00 we pay here in Canada.  I put in a whopping $245.00 in gas, our most expensive fill-up ever and we were back on the road.  We had planned to stop at Cracker Barrel since it was chicken pot pie day but we missed the exit so we continued north on I-81.  There was no line at the border and we were virtually waved through.  We pulled up in front of the house at about 2:45 and began to unpack!  Yuck – we sure hate this job!


But all is not lost, in only 16 days we will be loaded up and pulling out again!  Destination – Fort Wilderness!