When I retired the first of this month my wife and I embarked on a road trip.  We left with a vague sense of where we wanted to go but everything else was open ended. No real itinerary. No reservations. We planned to be gone about three weeks unless we got tired of driving or decided we had enough “quality time” together.

4600 miles and three weeks later we are still friends, still in love, and glad to be back home.

We like to travel but previous trips have been planned in great detail. We wanted this to be a different experience. If we came across something we wanted to see or do, we would do it. When we got hungry we would eat and when we got tired we would stop. We decided to stay off main highways and freeways as much as possible.

The absence of a real destination or schedule to keep allowed us to relax and enjoy the journey. Driving state and county roads on three-fourths of the trip contributed immeasurably to our pleasure. The slower pace that carried us through breathtaking scenery and beautiful small towns was refreshing.

The back roads of Lancaster County Pennsylvania carried us past many large well kept farms that looked like patch work quilts. An unplanned stop at one of the many fresh produce stands that dotting the roadside provided one of the memorable moments as we enjoyed a fresh blackberry pie “baked by the lady across the road.”

The owner of the Old Red Inn and Cottages in North Conway, NH suggested that we should not miss Diana’s Baths along Lucy Brook which is fed from Big Attitash Mountain. So we made the fairly easy 6/10th of a mile hike along a relatively flat, wide gravel path. Many adults and children were enjoying the tranquility of nature, and exploring the many rocks, ledges, cascading falls and pools at the bottom of the falls.

We visited Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Cape Cod accessible only by boat and air. This provided a wonderful serendipity as we stumbled onto the historic Methodist Campground. The first campmeeting in what became known as Wesleyan Grove was held in 1835 and this year it celebrates its 178th year. The Tabernacle was built in 1879 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

By the mid-1850s, the meetings were drawing congregations of thousands and the dwellings had evolved from communal tents to wooden cottages. At one time there were as many as 500 cottages arranged in concentric circles around the Tabernacle. There are currently more than 300 cottages all decorated with gingerbread detailing, an architectural style now known as Carpenter’s Gothic. Each house is unique and all are painted in bright colors giving the cottages a quaint, almost storybook look. My wife said it was “campmeeting meets candy land.” 

As we drove across Vermont we saw a sign for Perrenial Pleasures Nursery and Tea Room. A detour took us to the tiny town of East Hardwick in rural Caledonia County. The nursery and tea room were closed that day but the owner allowed us to roam around the many acres of flowers in her garden/nursery. It was a fabulous and unexpected treat.

There is much more that I could share of the enjoyable experiences of our trip. More than sharing our adventure with you, I want to encourage you to enjoy your journey. God has created a beautiful world and we often miss it because we are focused on the destination rather than enjoying the journey.

Jamie Jenkins