Last of the Mohicans

Rumford Falls and the Power PlantFrom Millinockett we drove back west.We actually started driving north though as we wanted to take a scenic route along East Branch of Penobscott River. Unfortunately, all we saw was roadside trees and a single glimpse of the river. It was so boring that we chose to take the Interstate south through Maine to Bangor, where we turned west on U.S. Route 2 (U. S. Highway 2). This road went through a very pretty countryside and small towns with charming names like Skowhegan and Rumford. The area is dominated by the paper industry and in Rumford, where we made our only longer stop to look at the local  waterfall, there were indeed several paper mills. Rumford Falls is in fact the highest waterfall east of Niagara, and at the fall is an electric power plant. While we were in Rumford, it started raining and it  continued for the rest of the day.

From Rumford we continued west into New Hampshire, where we made one stop to photograph a mountain or two. We continued on the rain-soaked road and after about 40 miles in New Hampshire, we arrived in Vermont. Here we continued to the state capital, Montpelier, which is interesting because it has only approx. 8,000 inhabitants, and thereby is the smallest capital of any U.S. state. Outside the town we found a hotel, where we stayed overnight, and did some laundry.

The next day we drove north on Interstate 89 to Vermont's largest city, Burlington. It has 38,000 inhabitants and is the smallest town, that is the largest city in any state. From Burlington we took U.S. Highway 7 south. It was actually the whole purpose of driving to Burlington in the first place. This road was named Vermont's "Best of the Road" and it was also a really scenic route. On the entire first part of the journey we had great views of Lake Champlain, which separates the states Vermont and New York. Near the town of Rutland, we stopped to get some lunch and then we continued onto U.S. 4, which for a very short distance between Rutland and the border of New York is a motorway. The road goes through the Vermont part of the Adirondack Mountains, which has its largest portion lying in New York.

At the New York State border the freeway stopped and Route 4 continued as an ordinary small road through the New York landscape. We continued southwest along U.S. 4 for a few miles to the town of Fort Ann in the south of the Adirondack Mountains. Here we changed to New York Route 149 toward the city Lake George. On a part of this stretch you pass through the southern Adirondack State Park. This is the largest state park in America. The park, with its 9,400 square miles is larger than the entire state of Vermont, or as large as Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Glacier and Great Smoky Mountains national parks combined. We only oassed through the southernmost part of the park and found ourselves inside the parkj for ledss than 30 minutes.

The goal of our trip was Lake George, which is both the name of a town and a lake. The lake is located in the southeastern part of the park and the town is a popular tourist town with hotels, motels, restaurants, campgrounds, etc.. It is typically a place where New Yorkers go and spend their holidays. On the lake you find paddle steamers, yachts with and without sails, water skiers and there is a lot of hanggliders drawn by speedboats and more.

Inside Fort William Henry in Lake George, New YorkThat was not why we visited the town though, but because it was home to Fort William Henry. Even if only a copy of the original fort exists today. Fort William Henry was built in 1755 by the British as defense against the French during the French and Indian War. Already in 1757 the fort was conquered by the French, who after conquering destroyed the fort. In 1953 the area was excavated, and  the present copy of the fort was erected.

Why now visit a copy of a long defunct fort? Well, because part of the novel "Last of the Mohicans" by J. F. Cooper, one of my childhood's most intriguing stories, takes place here. The the novel is actually very ahistorical but that doesn't make it less exciting. Among other things, Cooper called one of the main characters Uncas (the second last of the Mohicans), but the real Uncas was not a Mohicans, but a Mohegan, a totally different tribe that lived in Connecticut, not New York. And the real Uncas lived approx. 100 years before the French and Indian War. But I loved the novel anyhow.

For a "modest" amount of dollars we bought tickets and then we walked around and looked at the reconstruction, where you can also meet soldiers in British uniforms from the 1700s etc.

The most interesting thing was actually a pit, where they had found the remains of soldiers who had been killed during a massacre, where British prisoners were killed by hurons after the French had conquered the fort. Outside the reconstruction is a small cemetery where the six found bodies are buried. Here is a stone with the interesting inscription John Doe, Unknown, 1736 til the 1756. It's pretty impressive to know tyhe year of birth for an unknown :-)

We hade lunch at a restaurant with a nice terrace with beautiful lake views and a marmot who enjoyed himself on the slope beside it. Then we left my childhood memories and drove south to Newburgh, where we would stay overnight. It was actually the 4th of July, but since we were tired after a long day, we had dinner at a TGI Friday - and then went back to the hotel to relax.

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