Friday, November 22, 2019

Road Trip Day 6 - Wild Horses and the Long Journey Home

     The 6th day of my epic road trip was to be mostly the drive home.  It began in the small town of Onley, Virginia on the eastern shore.  I left the motel by 9am with one last great place to visit.  This was Assateague Island National Seashore home to loads of wild ponies.  

     There are signs everywhere warning visitors to stay back 40 feet from the ponies, to not feed them, or even entice them to come closer, you will get fined $100.  I parked at the beach first and took a quick look around there and some of the neighboring campground without seeing anything but seagulls.  So I drove to the park entrance which leads you about 3 1/2 miles south into the belly of the seashore.  There are several little roads leading off the main one along with off-road routes and walking/bike trails.  On my way down this road I happened upon a little brown pony grazing and stopped to get a photo of it.  

     Every so often I'd come upon a car stopped in the middle of the road, knowing they saw something good.  After puttering around for nearly an hour and see 1 horse and a deer I decided to head out.  It was when I was nearly at the exit, past the ranger station, that I saw an even smaller pony grazing.  I stopped to get some photos when it began to whine.  A few seconds later a pair of larger ponies showed up meaning this was the baby.  The threesome were followed by a few more ponies and I sought safety back in my car.  I did manage a great photo of the ponies heading down the road though.

     On my way back north I did have one more thing I wanted to see.  A skeletal lighthouse in Delaware.  Reedy Island Rear Range Light looks just like a lighthouse in Marblehead, Massachusetts except that it sits in a field nearly three miles west of the Delaware River.  Not wanting to tempt fate with No Trespassing signs everywhere I grabbed one photo and left, it was not too far out of my way to get there but still seemed like a little bit of a waste of time.

    After having lunch at Panda Express, one of my favorite places although the closest one to home is about 75 miles, I started the long journey home.  Rather than just put home in the GPS I picked stopping points along the way to make the 600 mile drive seem more manageable.  I stopped at a Wawa gas station to see what it was all about before I got too far north to go to one.  I had made the mistake of not stopping at a Sheetz convenience store and wasn't going to make that mistake twice. 

     Piggybacking on my visit to Panda Express my next stop would be Quizno's in Orange, Connecticut.  I used to frequent the chain when the had a location in Hyannis but that closed years ago and I was never willing to drive 3 hours to the nearest one.  Of course before reaching Quiznos I had to stop at a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike to stretch my legs.  I managed to get a good sunset photo, although not nearly as nice as the one at Bodie Island Light the day before.

     After sunset I had the obligatory getting stuck in New York City traffic, although my Waze app led me around it as best it could.  I ended up going northwest of the city and then coming down south to get to the Quiznos in CT.  That was my final stop, it was another 3 hours home from there to pull into the driveway at 11:30pm.

     All in all I drove 2,100 miles through 11 states, took 1,000 photos, tons of video I need to edit, and saw many Bucket List places.  I might be tired now but am already thinking of where my next road trip adventure might take me.  Thanks for following along.  These posts have been brief but as time goes on there will be much more detailed articles about most of the towns and attractions I saw just in case anyone needs motivation to go and see them for themselves.  

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Road Trip Day 5 - Wright Brothers, Piers, and Lighthouses on the Outer Banks

     This was the best day wall to wall of the entire road trip.  It began just after 6am. I stumbled out of bed and was able to walk only a few yards outside and was right on the beach to watch the sunrise.  I tried to go back to sleep after but didn't succeed, I was already too hyped up from sunrise.  I was up and out to have breakfast early.  Just down the street was a spot called Bob's Grill - Eat and Get the Hell Out, yes that's on their sign outside.  The food was great, the surf motif was great, I was glad I went.  
     One thing about the Outer Banks, at least the more northern part, is that it was way more developed with more people than I thought going in.  I was worried when I was driving there that I'd need to stop off and get any supplies I needed before getting to the Outer Banks and was surprised when I saw so many malls and restaurants, and tons of souvenir shops.  As I had said before I visited a Publix grocery store and now wish we had one on Cape Cod, it's like Market Basket and Whole Foods had a baby.
     Seeing that NC-12, the road which travels down the Cape Hatteras Seashore, was closed for most of the day due to sand and water from the recent storms this meant I had to wait and take my time enjoying the sites on the Outer Banks.  Gee, what a shame.  Right after breakfast I crossed the street to the Wright Brothers Memorial.  At the top of the 100-foot tall Big Kill Devil Hill is a monument to the brothers and their first flight.  I met a man named Steve from Ohio up there and we took photos for each other, nice guy.  There was also a memorial to the moment of the first flight, along with the markers denoting the flight attempt and stats about it located on the field below the hill.

The monument on Big Kill Devil Hill and the marker where the first flight ended.
     After checking out of my hotel I visited a pair of piers.  Kitty Hawk Pier and Avalon Pier, usually one of them gets shown on the Weather Channel when a hurricane is coming.  The waves were still big even a few days since the storms passed through making for some good photo ops.  Avalon Pier was being worked on so I couldn't walk out on it.

     Next was a little side track to Roanoke Island.  It was here that the first attempt at an English colony in America happened in 1587.  The first English child born in America was Virginia Dare born to this group, the highway that runs much of the Outer Banks is named for her, as is Dare County itself.  The colony vanished and it is still one of America's greatest unsolved mysteries.  Archaeologists found and reconstructed an earthen fort but have yet to find the remains of the actual fort where the 115 settlers would have lived.  Every summer they do a play at the outdoor waterfront theater about this colony.

     It was about 1pm by this point and I decided to go over the the entrance to Cape Hatteras National Seashore and check if maybe they had opened the road early.  By luck they had, although with a warning that they were still working on it so beware sand and water.  I knew it was quite a hike from the entrance south to Cape Hatteras Light, but once you're on the road it seems to go on forever.  It is nearly 50 miles on a beach road, with only pockets of civilization, before reaching the lighthouse.  

     I missed the entrance to Bodie Island Light on the way out, that one is only 6 miles or so from the entrance, but that would be to my benefit later.  They weren't kidding about the road conditions either.  Only a few miles out were front-end loaders removing buckets of sand, so the long trip was made longer when I had to slow down or stop.  One fun little side note is the Bonner Bridge which crosses the Oregon Inlet about 10 miles south of the entrance, both times I drove it there was a flock of pelicans hovering just above my car.  I didn't hit any but the bridge at the top was littered with dead pelicans.

     It took about an hour to reach Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  At 210-feet tall I could see it from a mile away.  The black and white candy cane striped structure is one of the most well known lighthouses in the world.  This was the southern most point of my journey.  It was the top site for me on my road trip, I'd wanted to visit it for years and it's matched only by West Quoddy Head Light as my favorite I've seen.  I tried to soak it all in, shoot as many photos and videos as I could but also be in the moment there.  I had one more spot to see before beginning the long trek north, this time I plugged Bodie Island Light into my GPS.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, reaching higher than the sun.
      Bodie Island Light and the amazing sunset I saw there were happy accidents.  Missing it on the way out, then when I got there I had to wait ten minutes at the entrance.  The road out to it is being repaved and there is a truck that basically leads you out one by one to the lighthouse.  It was worth it.  This lighthouse is also black and white striped and also very tall, 156-feet to be exact.  The lighthouse was bathed in an orange glow when I got there so it was easy to get great photos.  The topper was walking on a boardwalk to an elevated pavilion behind the lighthouse.  It's a boardwalk the entire way due to warnings about venomous snakes located in the marsh.  

Sunset at Bodie Island Lighthouse

     The sunset was amazing but once it was done I knew I had to get to driving.  From Cape Hatteras it was just under 14 hours back to Cape Cod.  I figured the more I drove Wednesday night the less I'd have to do Thursday.  Along the way I got to drive through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.  It is 17-miles of bridges and tunnels and also cost $14 in tolls to cross.  By the time I made it across I was ready to stop of the night.  The Eastern Shore of Virginia is more along the lines of what I thought the Outer Banks would be, desolate and sparsely populated.  I managed to find an ok hotel in the town of Onley, not as good as my Outer Banks hotel but whatever.  

     So Thursday begins the long trek home, it is over 9 hours, with a few stops along the way still to see.  When I pull back into my driveway I expect to have put about 2,200 miles on my car.  Nearly 400 were put on it Wednesday but the experiences are worth the highway hypnosis.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Road Trip Day 4 - Jamestown and Finding the Ocean

     Day 4 was filled with driving and seeing only a few places, but those places were worth the drive.  It started with me getting out of Lynchburg early, letting the hotel manager know I was less than impressed with his room and the noisy guests above me.  My original plan was to drive nearly 3 hours east to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, Virginia.  I am big on history so Jamestown has been on my to-do list for a long time.  

     A hiccup came with the fact that NC-12 the road that stretches most of North Carolina's Outer Banks had been closed due to the storm that had passed through over the weekend.  The meant my original plan of sunset there Tuesday night was off since it wouldn't be opened until mid-afternoon Wednesday.  I had wanted to do a sunset shoot of the wild horses on the beach at Assateague State Park in Maryland Wednesday night but couldn't be there and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse at the same time.  The compromise was to drive all the way up to Assateague from Lynchburg Tuesday, nearly 6 hours, get some shots and head down to the Outer Banks for Wednesday.  In all I'd have done about 550 miles and 10 hours of driving.  

     Luckily my route to Assateague took me right past Williamsburg and Jamestown, I thought maybe I could stop off briefly and see those places and still make it to the horses by sunset.  My love of history topped my desire to see the horses and I got lost in time at Jamestown.  It is impossible to rush when seeing the first permanent English settlement in America.  Every plaque had to be read, every piece of a building's foundation had to be photographed, plus there is ongoing archaeological digging happening.  The Jamestown Church is awe-inspiring.  The current one dates from 1906 and stands on top of where the original wooden church was built in 1608.  That was where Pocahontas married John Rolfe in 1614.  

Inside the Jamestown Church
     Colonial Williamsburg is the neighboring town to Jamestown, it's a third of America's Historic Triangle with Yorktown being the other town.  It is a family-friendly, touristy spot compared to Jamestown.  It has shops, restaurants, tours, people playing the roles of Colonial-era citizens, and more.  For those familiar with it, it is along the same lines as Plimoth Plantation but with more food and shopping.  It is definitely worth visiting, and it was pretty busy for a mid-November weekday so I could only image the lines during summer.

A Colonial-era horse and carriage at Williamsburg.

     After visiting those two places I realized there was no chance I'd make it to Assateague before sunset.  I readjusted my plans and decided to go back to the original which was to head to North Carolina's Outer Banks.  Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is a major Bucket List spot and the entirety of the Outer Banks is a place I've wanted to visit for years.  I booked a room in Kill Devil Hills, a beachfront room for cheap which really made my night.  Only when driving down to the hotel did I realize how big the Outer Banks is.  From where I stayed it is well over an hour south to Cape Hatteras still.

     I managed to find a little walking trail in Kitty Hawk that had a neat dock.  Knowing that I still have to wait until Wednesday afternoon to go to Cape Hatteras I decided to save many of the sites on the Outer Banks until morning.  After driving 1,200 miles since Saturday I ironically have no choice but to sit still for a while.  I plan on visiting the Wright Brothers Memorial first.  I kept my trying new places streak going by having dinner at Max's Italian Restaurant and getting supplies from Publix.  They need to build one on Cape Cod.

A secret spot in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
     I did manage to get my shoes soaked at the beach in the town of Duck which was great. Luckily I brought my running shoes in case I'd had the desire to exercise.  Those are now my main shoes with the others drying in my trunk.  All in all it was a much better Day 4 than Day 3, the hotel is great, on the beach, the weather is clearing up and Wednesday should be filled with epic sites to see on the Outer Banks.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Road Trip Day 3 - Civil War Bookends

     Day 3 of my epic road trip peaked in the morning and went downhill slowly thereafter.  I left Hagerstown, MD a little after 9am headed for Harpers Ferry, WV.  This part of the day was great. The sky was overcast and it was only in the low 40's but the little town of Harpers Ferry is full of history.  It was here on October 16-18, 1859 that John Brown attempted but failed to start a slave revolt by overtaking the arsenal at Harpers Ferry. It was considered to be a dress rehearsal for the Civil War.  The town, located where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers meet, is home to less than 300 people year round yet welcomes more than half a million visitors each year.  

John Brown's Fort in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

     The downtown area looks and feels straight out of the 1850's with more historical plaques than you can believe.  The highlights include John Brown's Fort where he holed up during the raid on the arsenal in 1859, the B&O Railroad bridge which goes through a tunnel, and the Maryland Heights trail which is a 6.5 mile round trip hike to the top of a rocky hill that overlooks Harpers Ferry.  If I'd have had more time, and it wasn't cloudy I might have attempted it.

     Next was a stop at another Civil War era town Winchester, Virginia.  It is known for its Old Town area that includes Stonewall Jackson's headquarters that is today a Civil War museum.  The area is also a dining and shopping hub that doesn't allow vehicles, only pedestrian traffic.  It was here that I also stopped for lunch and tried something new for me, Bojangles.  Think similar to KFC, there are more than 750 in the southeast, it was a good stop, although messy to eat in a car.  

Old Town Winchester, Virginia
     From there things went downhill.  The next stop was meant to be the north entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway in Afton, Virginia.  I wanted to drive the scenic route for a little while and get some great photos.  I had an idea that the entrance might be closed due to the time of year, so that was not a total shock.  I went up to the visitors center on a nearby hill, which itself had some amazing views.  The super nice couple that worked inside actually had ties to New England, living at one point in Greenfield, Massachusetts.  They told me there might be an alternative route to get me onto the Blue Ridge Parkway about 17 miles southwest in the small village of Love.  I drove the curvy, climbing route, over 3,000-feet up, only to find that the road was closed still at that point too.  I was pretty disappointed.

     By this time it was 4pm, cloudy, and starting to rain.  I decided to try for my last destination anyway, the Appomattox Court House National Park which was where Lee surrendered to Grant to end the Civil War in 1865.  It was more than an hour south so I was hustling trying to get there with some semblance of light remaining.  The rain came down harder and it looked bleak.  Sunset was at 5:02pm and I arrived there about 5 minutes after.  I raced to at least get a few photos and videos of the McLean House where the actual surrender occurred.  The park closed at 5pm so the rangers were in the midst of shutting it down.  I told them I just wanted a photo and they let me go which was nice of them.  I managed to grab the photos and video I needed and then was on my way.  It was as good as I could have hoped for considering the time and weather.

The McLean House in Appomattox, Virginia
     I ended my 3rd day of my road trip in Lynchburg, Virginia.  It is a pretty nice college town, home to Liberty University.  I continued my streak of trying something new for dinner by going to Firehouse Subs.  There are more than 1,100 locations in the country but none closer than 75 miles of where I live.  That was a good choice.  The hotel, not as much.  They didn't take cash, my AAA discount was not close to what the website had offered, plus the people in the room above me sounded like they were killing each other most of the night.  I got up earlier this morning and am bypassing a shower just so I can get out of here.

     Due to the big storm that passed through the Outer Banks, North Carolina access road is likely closed until tomorrow afternoon.  This means I have to do some clever rerouting to see all I want to see and still make it home late Thursday.  Starting Day 4 heading to historic Jamestown, Virginia!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Road Trip Day 2 - The Office, Chocolate, and Battlefields

     My second day on the road saw me wake up in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  I had a few more sites to see including the 'Welcome to Scranton' sign from The Office located in the Marketplace at Steamtown.  Unfortunately being a Sunday the mall did not open until 11, meaning I had to get a later start than I'd have preferred.  I visited the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour at McDade Park.  The tour wasn't open yet so I walked the grounds for a bit, it is a nice wide open area with underrated views of the Moosic Mountains.  Before visiting the mall I stopped at the Steamtown National Historic Site only a stone's throw from the mall.  It is a railroad museum with many old locomotives outside and actual live trains running as well located at the site of the former Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad .  At the other end of the parking lot is the Electric City Trolley Museum, kind of a cousin to the railroad museum.  

     Technically there is a sky walk to get to the mall but it was locked so I had to drive the few yards to park underneath the mall which is neat.  I was going to take the elevator up but a screaming child changed my mind, high-pitched voices echo quite loudly in a parking garage.  The Marketplace at Steamtown is pretty big but it has a lot of empty storefronts.  It has a Crunch Fitness near the Scranton sign and a few big stores I've never heard of in New England like Boscov's which is a department store.  After getting a photo taken of me at the sign it was time to leave Scranton behind.

     Next up was a visit to the sweetest place on Earth, Hershey, Pennsylvania.  It definitely feels like something created in a dream.  The street lights are topped with Hershey Kisses, the buildings even look like thy're made of chocolate.  The Hershey Park amusement park was pretty busy for mid-November, the screams of people on the rides could be heard even on Chocolate Avenue (their Main Street).  I made sure to pay a visit to the Hershey Story Museum and the store inside because of course I would.  The friendly lady that rang me up wished me a 'sweet day' which was fitting.

     Time began to be an issue as I flew from Hershey to the state capital of Harrisburg.  Luckily I wanted to visit the State Capitol building first and since it was Sunday there was nobody working.  I was able to park and take a walk around the few blocks surrounding the capitol.  I crashed wedding photography on the steps of the capitol, but they were almost done so I just stayed to the side, although they might be in part of a video I shot.  The view from the steps of the Capitol Building gives a great view of State Street out to the Susquehanna River.  I had wished I could have stayed longer but I had one more important site I wanted to visit before it got dark.

The Pennsylvania State Capitol 
     It was about 45 minutes to get from Harrisburg to Gettysburg, specifically the National Military Park Museum which I'd wanted to visit for years.  I love history as you can tell if you've read my blogs before, and the Civil War is fascinating to me.  There are several sites related to the battle located near the museum and you can actually do a driving tour to the sites, or you can walk like I did.  It was a fine walk out to the battlefield and soldier's cemetery.  What I thought were squirrels foraging for food in the brush ended up being close to 10 deer, yes I finally saw live deer in Pennsylvania compared to the 2 dozen or so I'd seen as roadkill.

     The battlefield at Cemetery Ridge is dotted with memorials of the units who lost their lives.  It is considered the most important battle of the Civil War, and the bloodiest with 23,000 Union soldiers, and 28,000 Confederate soldiers (more than 1/3 of Robert E. Lee's army) losing their lives in July 1863.  It was exciting for me to be there but definitely tempered with sadness looking over the rolling fields knowing how many people had died there fighting for what they thought was right.  I visited the Gettysburg National Cemetery a few yards from Cemetery Ridge, it is the final resting place of more than 3,500 Union soldiers, many of whom are known simply as a number on small stones.  It is also on these grounds where Abraham Lincoln gave the legendary Gettysburg Address.

Gettysburg National Cemetery

     After staying on the cemetery grounds well past sunset, trying to get my camera to work right, I had to walk nearly a mile back to the museum parking lot which made me wish I had driven.  Originally I had wanted to drive well into Virginia to find a place to stay for the night, however I really wanted to visit Harpers Ferry, West Virginia so I compromised.  

     I stayed in Hagerstown, Maryland, only about 1/2 hour from Harpers Ferry.  I got to watch a raccoon stealing trash from the hotel dumpster which was fun, but overall it was a relaxing night.  I had dinner at the nearby Hagerstown Family Diner, it was very quiet there on a Sunday evening but the staff was friendly.  The food was great, Country Fried Steak, and I was lucky to get to watch the Patriots playing, of course I had to keep quiet about that since everyone else in there kept talking about how much they hated them.  Sorry they beat your Eagles everyone.  I also stopped into a Weis supermarket which I'd never heard of until tonight. It was good too but I noticed they don't have marshmallow Fluff down here, not that I wanted any, just a curiosity. 

     It was a slightly shorter day, less than 250 miles total but just as many great places to see.  Day 3 starts with Harpers Ferry and we'll go from there!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Road Trip: Day 1 - Into the Wild


     The first day of an epic travel journey began before 9am.
Luckily it was sunny although cold, only got up to about 35 at best during the day.  Although I wanted to stop and shoot photos and see as many sites as possible, I also wanted to get far enough away from home to feel like this was an adventure.  I drove more than 3 hours to the town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts out in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts.   

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At the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge
     I thought it might be a quick stop over to get my feet wet but it ended up being a few hours which is not a bad thing.  I highly recommend the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy.  It is a religious spot, but even if you are not religious it is filled with beautiful photo ops which is what I focused on.  The people who run it are so friendly and make you feel welcomed even if you're not there to attend mass with them.  

     If time allows, and you should make it, take in the Norman Rockwell Museum which showcases his illustrations.  It also is home to his studio and the amazing view of the mountains which lay outside of it for inspiration.  Before leaving I took a walk down the quaint Main Street of Stockbridge.  It has the classic feel of a mountain town and makes you want to stick around a while.

     I continued west into Upstate New York and the town of Hudson, routinely considered one of the best small towns to visit in the United States.  Wanting to stretch my legs after so much driving I took in a pair of parks, Promenade Hill Park and neighboring Henry Hudson Riverfront Park.  It was at the latter that I spotted the Hudson Athens Lighthouse out on the river.  Wanting a closeup photo I ran down the railroad tracks and found the perfect spot.  Luckily the train that was coming passed while I was a safe distance away.

     If beautiful homes are your thing definitely stop at the Olana State Historic Site just west in Greenport, New York.  It was the home of noted landscape painter Frederic Church and holds incredible views of the Catskill Mountains and Hudson River from high up on a hill.  By this time it was unfortunately closing in on sunset just after 4pm.  I decided to drive the back roads rather than the highway in order to find a perfect sunset spot.  

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Sunset on the porch of Olana with the Catskills and Hudson River in the background.
     By sheer dumb luck I saw a sign for Saugerties Lighthouse in the town of the same name.  I hustled down to the Hudson River to get a shot not realizing that it is more than a 1/2 mile walk to get out to it.  It was after sunset now but the colors and solitude at the lighthouse were worth the cold and increasing darkness.  The lighthouse is also a Bed and Breakfast but I had no intention of staying.  I wandered back along the path in the dark and cold, surprisingly when I returned to the parking lot there was another couple just getting ready to trek out to see the lighthouse.  I did not feel as crazy.
     My end for the day was Scranton, PA.  Home of The Office. I have been a huge fan of the show since it originally came out so getting to see some spots mentioned in the show was a no-brainer.  Just an odd side note.  While driving south through New York I saw lots of deer everywhere, running, eating along the side of the road, just like squirrels.  Once I crossed into Pennsylvania I still saw lots of deer, only now they were all roadkill.  

     I got to Scranton after 7pm and after checking into my hotel headed right back out.  I had intentionally not eaten all day so I could have pizza at Alfredo's, the 'good pizza' from The Office for fans of the show.  It was worth it, though I burned my mouth on it.  The place was packed as it was a Saturday night but I sat at the bar and got to people watch, and listen, especially to a pair of ladies sitting next to me that could have been a reality show on its own.

     After Alfredo's I stopped for a beer at Poor Richard's Pub, a frequently mentioned spot on The Office.  It's actually a smaller part of a bowling alley but they definitely embrace their Office connection.  I outed myself as a fan when I bought a souvenir cup which prompted the friendly bartender to bring over their own Dundie award to show me.  That was the perfect cap to a long day, over 400 miles of driving and so many fun places I saw for the first time.
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The Dundie award at Poor Richard's Pub
     Day two starts by finishing off my time in Scranton, and then heading south! Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

In Their Footsteps - Cape Cod History: Sullivan's Donut Shop, Hyannis

The last of the Irish donut makers.

     Sullivan’s was a staple of downtown Hyannis for two decades in the times before Dunkin’ Donuts resided on nearly every street corner on Cape Cod. After successfully running three other doughnut shops in Brockton in the 1950s and ’60s, John “Sully” Sullivan was making doughnuts at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Stoughton, Massachusetts, in 1971, when he was hired by James Despotopulos to work at his Sugar N’ Spice doughnut shop in South Yarmouth. Despotopulos had opened his shop in 1969 after moving to Cape Cod from Stoughton.

     Sully was seen as the unofficial mayor of Brockton, rubbing elbows with the likes of Cesar Romero and his close friend Rocky Marciano. Never the less he moved his wife, Rosemarie, and their five children to the mid-Cape area. There he hoped to settle into a quieter routine, escaping the busier and sometimes dangerous streets of Brockton in the early 1970s.

     Not too long after Sullivan left Sugar N’ Spice, he worked at a Dunkin’ Donuts on the corner of Forest Road and Route 28 in South Yarmouth that still stands as of 2019. Doughnut making was a passion of Sully’s; it also ran in the family. Sullivan’s father, also named John Sullivan, had run a doughnut shop in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, before World War II. It was not long before Sullivan’s Donut Shop lived again, this time on the corner of Bearse’s Way and Route 28 in Hyannis. After purchasing equipment from a closing Jack In the Box fast food restaurant the new shop opened in late 1975 and gained popularity from the get-go.

     These doughnuts were made the old-fashioned way in large vats of oil, with bakers using sticks to flip the sweet lumps of dough and make sure they were properly cooked on each side. These doughnuts were heavier and more filling and satisfying. They came in all sorts of delicious shapes and sizes. There were classic honey-dipped, chocolate frosted and jelly-filled; there were crullers, coffee rolls and doughnut holes. There were also delectable muffins and coffee, of course.

     Though it opened very early for people on their way to work, some could not wait until sunrise for a fresh and hot doughnut. Sully would open his back door before officially opening for the day and sell doughnuts to customers. This practice has been made well-known thanks to Back Door Donuts, located in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard. This is part of the Martha’s Vineyard Gourmet CafĂ© & Bakery, which opened in 2001.
The counter inside Sullivan’s Donut Shop

     However, there was much more than just the run of the mill doughnut shop lying in those four walls. Sullivan’s was a meeting place before there was Starbucks, and it was every bit a family-run business. Sully’s wife, sons and daughters all worked hard to make each and every customer feel welcome. In return, the customers made Sullivan’s a destination. There were also times that the customers were the staff. A handful of regulars knew how to open the shop, and once the doors were unlocked, they would happily help with the setup, pulling down stools and starting the coffee.

     There were several unique touches to Sullivan’s that made it more than just coffee and doughnuts. For starters, there was a piano located in the corner of the shop; no other Cape Cod doughnut shop could lay claim to that. Said piano would be played daily by the house piano player, Barnstable High School English teacher Ed Milk. It was also played by legendary jazz pianist Dave McKenna. Considered to be one of the finest pianists in the world during his career,    McKenna, also a neighbor of Sully’s, would often play music to the delight of customers and to pay for his doughnuts.

     After moving to Cape Cod in 1966, McKenna played many shows at local bars and nightclubs. Sully remarked that he would often go into work at the doughnut shop at 1:00 a.m. This was around the time that most of the local bars would close, and the musicians, including McKenna, who had been playing would come knocking on the door looking for something to eat. Legend has it that McKenna once ate eighteen hot honey-dipped doughnuts in one sitting but stopped there; telling Sully he “didn’t want to seem like a pig.”

     Also unique to Sullivan’s was the meticulous, hand-painted mural of the mid-Cape area on the wall of the shop. It was common for customers to walk over to the mural, coffee or doughnut in hand, and stare in wonder at the painstaking detail put into this piece of art. 

     Sullivan’s popularity stretched beyond the average joes who stopped in before work. Legendary Boston Bruins announcer Fred Cusick enjoyed popping in for a visit when he was around during the 1970s and ’80s.

     Longtime Kennedy chauffeur Tommy Roderick also frequented the donut shop, picking up a box because “Jackie loved blueberry muffins.” So popular was Sullivan’s that Barnstable Police remarked to Sully that if they were ever looking for a suspect in Hyannis they would simply stake out Sullivan’s and neighboring Christy’s, because whomever they were looking for would end up there eventually.

     Sullivan’s thrived into the 1990s, when construction at the plaza where it resided caused the shop to be closed for a while. It had been featured on the corner of the plaza with glass windows facing the traffic; now it had been pushed inside to a smaller location. Unfortunately, business suffered, and Sullivan’s closed early in 1993.

Where Sullivan's Donuts once stood in Hyannis.
     Much of the equipment used to make the doughnuts at Sullivan’s was bought by the Hole In One Donut Shop. This company, run by four sisters, continues to make doughnuts the old-fashioned way to this day, even in a world filled with Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme. They are still going strong as of 2019, with locations in Eastham and Orleans.

     As of this writing, a convenience store sits where Sullivan’s once resided.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Photo Friday: Sunset at Bass Hole

Welcome to Photo Friday!

Today features a colorful sunset at the boardwalk of Bass Hole in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts.

This photo is for sale at Smug Mug here: Cape Cod Sunsets and Sunrises

I also have a Cape Cod Sunsets 2020 Calendar available at Zazzle here: Cape Cod Sunsets 2020

View my previous blog posts: In Their Footsteps: Cape Cod History - Angelo's Supermarket

In Their Footsteps: Cape Cod History - Jane Toppan's Poisoning Murders

Be sure to check out my website: Christopher

My 5th book, Cape Cod Nights, is on sale at and through Arcadia Publishing

Thursday, November 7, 2019

In Their Footsteps: Cape Cod History - Angelo's Supermarket

     Today on Cape Cod when one is in need of groceries there are many options, larger chains like Stop and Shop, Shaw’s, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Market Basket dominate the landscape while smaller local stores like Fancy’s Market, Friends’ Marketplace and Eastham Suprette also see their fair share of customers. In the past there have been other supermarkets that have come and gone like A&P. There is one regional chain that many Cape Codders of a certain age remember fondly and that is Angelo’s. Here is the story of that once major grocery chain.

     The story of Angelo’s Supermarket has its roots in a few well known names, Tedeschi and Daggett. In 1923 Angelo Tedeschi left his job as a finish cobbler in a shoe factory due to a severe bout of pneumonia. Needing to find a way to feed his family Tedeschi started his first business, a makeshift deli in his basement on Belmont Street in Rockland, Massachusetts where he delivered imported Italian meats and cheeses to local customers. Just after World War II in 1946 Angelo opened the first Tedeschi Supermarket on Market Street in Rockland. The chain of stores grew to number six by 1960 thanks to the hard work of Angelo’s sons William, Ralph, Robert, and Dominic. These included locations in Braintree, Brockton, Cohasset, Hanover, Hull, and Plymouth. Angelo and his sons had a simple yet profound strategy when it came to running their successful stores, listening to the customers and giving them what they wanted, rather than trying to force a corporate mandate on them.

     In 1961 the family sold their supermarkets to Stop and Shop who wished to expand their reach to Massachusetts’ South Shore. Ironically the Tedeschi’s sold the stores but kept ownership of the actually buildings, making them Stop & Shop’s landlords with Ralph Tedeschi becoming a vice president of Stop and Shop. Within two years the difference in philosophies was causing a rift. For one the Tedeschi’s liked offering nothing but national brands in their stores while Stop and Shop had a high focus on their own store brand products. The two companies parted ways in 1963 with Stop and Shop getting ownership of the Tedeschi Supermarket name as part of the agreement. The four Tedeschi brothers still wished to work in the grocery business though and thus needed to forge a new path.

One of the original Angelo's (not South Yarmouth)
Photo Courtesy of The Patriot Ledger

     In 1964 the Tedeschi’s bought one of the less successful stores from Stop and Shop in Holbrook, Massachusetts. They renamed it after their father and the first Angelo’s Supermarket was born. Part of the agreement in parting with Stop & Shop was a non-compete, so the Tedeschi’s looked for new horizons in which to open more Angelo’s. They found a perfect home on Cape Cod in South Yarmouth. They began the process of nailing down a location in May 1964. Initially the Tedeschi’s wished to purchase approximately four acres of land abutting the South Yarmouth Elementary School on Route 28 owned by Aletta Root. There was also the option of buying some land on Route 134 in South Dennis. In the end they decided to purchase another long-standing Cape Cod store, Daggett’s Market located on the north-side of Route 28 in South Yarmouth.

     Daggett’s Market had successfully been in business since 1930 on Main Street in Hyannis before moving to South Yarmouth in 1959. The Tedeschi’s officially closed Daggett’s Market on June 7, 1964. It was not the end for Daggett’s though as it took the empty space next door and opened Daggett’s liquor store which still is operating today.
Through tireless work the Tedeschi’s completely stripped Daggett’s Market and had it revamped and replenished with stock in only ten days. Angelo’s Supermarket opened to the public June 17th. The store was jammed with customers immediately with an added incentive of there being ten television sets given away to lucky shoppers. Angelo’s was a huge hit in South Yarmouth but the Tedeschi’s did not stop there.
An ad for Angelo's from the 1960's

     The following summer Angelo’s in South Yarmouth was enlarged while a third market was built on West Main Street in Hyannis at a cost of $400,000 ($3.2 million in 2019). From there it was off to the races for the new supermarket chain. Additional locations sprung up in Falmouth, Dennis Port, Sandwich, Orleans, and Harwich Port on Cape Cod. The Tedeschi’s reach expanded with the acquisition of the Curtis Food Stores chain in August 1972, converting nine supermarkets into the Angelo’s brand while keeping twenty-four convenience stores as-is.

     In March 1979 the Tedeschi’s bought Christy’s Market in Mashpee, it was converted into what would be the 18th Angelo’s Supermarket in Southeastern Massachusetts. By the mid-1980’s Angelo’s was the top grocery chain in Plymouth County and well known throughout Southeastern New England. The original Cape Cod location in South Yarmouth moved next door into a newly built 35,000-square-foot building in June 1984. The Tedeschi’s were riding high when they were made an offer they couldn’t refuse.

     In the fall of 1985 an offer was put in for the Angelo’s franchise by New Jersey-based Supermarkets General which owned the Purity Supreme and Heartland Food Stores chains of grocery stores. The sale was finalized on January 31, 1986 for $27.25 million ($63.8 million in 2019) but despite the ownership change Angelo’s kept its name and identity for the moment.

     Changes began coming though. On August 31, 1986 the Dennis Port Angelo’s was closed. Slowly but surely the Angelo’s name was replaced by Purity at the remaining locations including the first ever Cape Cod store in South Yarmouth. In a fitting piece of irony Purity was acquired by Stop and Shop in 1995.

The former South Yarmouth Angelo's, today an Ocean State Job Lot. 

     The Tedeschi family name lived on through a string of successful convenience stores, including the eventual purchase of competing chains Li’l Peach in 1996 and Store 24 in 2002. The number of stores would total 182 at their peak before 7-Eleven bought the Tedeschi chain in May 2015 with only a few Tedeschi still in operation in 2019.  

Though it has been nearly thirty years since the last Angelo’s Supermarket faded into time those of a certain age on Cape Cod and in Southeastern New England still look back with fond memories.

In Their Footsteps: Cape Cod History - Thomas Ridley & Cape Cod's Loneliest Grave                                   

Cape Cod Sunsets 2020 Calendar available at Zazzle here: Cape Cod Sunsets 2020

Be sure to check out my website: Christopher

My 5th book, Cape Cod Nights, is on sale at and through Arcadia Publishing

Friday, November 1, 2019

Photo Friday: Fall In York, Maine

Welcome to Photo Friday!

Today features a cozy home nestled among the colorful trees in the fall in York, Maine as seen from Mount Agamenticus.

This photo is for sale at Smug Mug here: Fall In New England

I also have a Cape Cod Sunsets 2020 Calendar available at Zazzle here: Cape Cod Sunsets 2020

View my previous blog posts: In Their Footsteps: Cape Cod History - Jane Toppan's Poisoning Murders
                                                In Their Footsteps: Cape Cod History - Thomas Ridley & Cape Cod's Loneliest Grave

Be sure to check out my website: Christopher

My 5th book, Cape Cod Nights, is on sale at and through Arcadia Publishing