Wednesday, May 30, 2018
It had been a rough week and we were both looking forward to a weekend of relaxation, laughter and exploring. The hands on the clock moved all too slowly toward quitting time, as it always does when a great expedition is on the horizon. If you know any weekend warriors, or if you are one yourself, then you are familiar with the overwhelming feeling of anticipation for your next great journey. The minute you return to the comfort of your somewhat neglected home (laundry in the hamper, dust on the shelving, cat hair on the couch, weeds in the garden…) you already have your thoughts in motion, gathering information that will help you in planning your next magnificent odyssey. For this particular adventure it came down to one thing….would the nasty, unpredictable, horrid, wet, dreary, weirdest spring ever in New England weather cooperate with us and give us at least one day of half decent weather for our travels? I mean…come on!!! Don’t take our whining(ok, it's J that needs a box of tissues…M never whines) the wrong way! If you know anything about the two of us from our former blogs or crazy videos, then you will know that even the worst weather can’t stand up to our collective thirst for fun! It’s just that….well, we’ve had enough and just wish for the stubborn sun to shine on us for once!! The fickle weather app on Marcel’s phone gave us conflicting reports on where our best bet would be for traveling and as for my source….well, I feel sorry for poor Alexa. If I asked her one more time to give me the forecast for the East Coast, I thought for sure she would have a complete and total meltdown of epic proportions! As the sun began to rise on our first day of freedom from work, and the rich aroma of Cumberland Farms coffee began to waft through the house, we slowly but surely began to formulate our final plan. It was a grand plan full of “let’s just see where the day takes us” and “whatever we do is fine with me!” No arguing over destinations…just the amazing feeling of knowing that anywhere you are with your best friend is the place to be…the other stuff would just fall into place!
Now....in the past we would have packed our adventuring must haves, double checked all of the things that I most likely forgot and bee-lined our way to Cumbies for yet another cup of joe. Yes, we are hooked!! As a side note, we recently broke up with a certain other coffee chain, and I’m not trying to start any trouble with you loyal D&D er’s but…. How do they get away with charging you at least 5.5 million dollars for a cup of coffee that you may or may not get in the way that you like it? Trust us when we say our wallets and our taste buds are much happier!! Anywayyyy….This ritual would be followed by a speedy, smoke coming from the back tires type exit, you know… Bo and Luke Duke style, and then we would be on our way!! But that was before we found Geocaching…. We have traded in our hasty departures for GPS mapping and taking the route that will give us the most hides (that’s caching lingo) in one day. We knew we were heading to the Worcester Massachusetts vicinity (thank you, Mother Nature) for a plethora of adventurous destinations, but what J&M Exploration would be complete without a little Geocache hunt?? Long story short… our five completely awesome abandoned, spooky, cool and totally amazing destinations turned into time for only one. You might think that this would upset us. How can Geocaching possibly be as fun as climbing into dark, muck and spider infested places? How can you compare searching for, what seems like, hours for a 5x5 lock and lock with toys inside, to listening for ethereal whispers from restless souls in sacred places? The answer lies in the quest for new discoveries! This little hobby called geocaching has swept in and led us to places we may not have otherwise had the pleasure of finding. (As you will read about in blog #2 from this expedition) It is in the desire for discovery that our lives can be filled with wonder and joy….without discovery; we lay dormant like the dew on a snow kissed willow. It is only in the thaw that the willow blossoms, only in the act of discovery can we, as explorers of life can flourish. So it is in that moment when we gaze upon new landscapes that our GPS has guided us to that we can reflect on just how much is out there to explore. Whether it be abandoned ruins filled with history and intrigue or a cascading waterfall under a plush forest canopy…there is not a moment to waste!! Our days on this earth are but a precious moment in an infinite measure of time, and so it is our mission to inspire you through our sometimes kooky and completely unpolished videos on YouTube to get out there and make new discoveries…get a little mud in your hair, endure a bug bite or two, know what it’s like to hike until you can’t feel your feet….and…..for the sake of every discovery that has not been made yet…Do whatever makes you feel alive!!!!
-Jennifer and Marcel
at May 30, 2018
Saturday, May 19, 2018
I will love the light...For it shows me the way!!
You see, Chris is the captain of the most wonderful boat on the east coast, for it is the boat that guides you, depending on the swell and surges of the chilled Atlantic Ocean, onward toward, in our completely unbiased and never strong willed or stubborn opinion, the most beautiful lighthouse in the whole wide universe.
Marcel is a bit of a veteran at visiting this historic and ever beautiful treasure that is nestled so snuggly between Jamestown and Newport Rhode Island. His eyes sparkle when he talks about his prior visits and his excitement for all of the mystery and intrigue the island itself holds. It was through his adoration of this location that I became completely enamored myself and, in turn, experienced that nostalgic feeling of anticipatory elation when we began to plan our own adventures there. If you have read our other blogs, you have a bit of an insiders view on the places that we are drawn to. The magical and completely marvelous thing about Rose Island is that it is an unabridged (no pun intended....see photo...lol) compilation of almost every single thing we love. Okay, so it doesn't have cascading waterfalls, honey seeking black bears, a dilapidated mental hospital, the Liberty Diner and it's famous salad dressing, or the entire Boston Bruins hockey team, including the ever cool, calm and hardly ever angry Bruce Cassidy, but it does have a plethora of our signature must haves for our completely amazing explorations!
Now if you take the time....and we know that you will take the time (nudge, nudge) to watch our YouTube videos at Rose Island, then you will see Marcel (the natural in front of the camera...sigh) and Jennifer (the goofy one who spews out way too much, but not enough to be completely and 100% accurate history) wandering and exploring many of our favorite places around the island. A bit of a disclaimer for our recent visit....Rose Island is not only home to historic remnants of Revolutionary War bastions and hauntingly mysterious bunkers that hold the secrets of the soldiers that lay sickened within it's bomb proof walls. It has much more than the weathered and worn skeleton of a Naval torpedo station and the magnificence of the lighthouse itself with it's narrow stairwells to the lanthorn where you can feast your eyes on a gorgeous sixth order Fresnel lens that still illuminates Narragansett Bay. It even has a Geocache for all of our geofriends!! And here after all of our (ok, my) yapping is your disclaimer.... Rose Island is also a wildlife refuge for many shoreline birds including herons, egrets, sandpipers, seagulls and....Canadian geese...a great gaggle of geese to be exact. If you come for a visit....and we encourage you with every single ounce of adventure in our exploring hearts to make your way out there...please make sure to watch where you walk during the spring and summer seasons. There is no shortage of goose poo and you will find yourself two stepping around the fowl (see what we did there) droppings with a great amount of skill and resolution.
Now we (ok, it's the J of J&M) find ourselves going on and on...and quite honestly, we could go on forever because this is literally one of our favorite places on planet earth , but you came to this site to read a short blog not the War and Peace of adventure novels. Our intent, as always, is to inspire you to get out and enjoy this life! We highly recommend that you see for yourself all of the wonder that Rose Island holds!
You can come for a day, a weekend or even stay as an honorary lighthouse keeper for a week! Make sure you plan your stay in advance because this amazing place fills up speedy quick and for good reason! You will have incredibly romantic views of the sunrise and sunset, soft ocean breezes outside of your window and a peaceful serenity that is hard to come by in this day and age. You could even consider leaving your electronic devices at home and if you visit between the months of September through March, you can explore parts of the island that are off limits during nesting season. As adventurers, this is our favorite time to come. Not only could you possibly have the island to yourself, but you will see all of the abandoned beauty and ghostly structures that adorn the entire island.
Check out this website for a day visit: http://jamestownnewportferry.com/
and this website for overnight accommodations and information on supporting this beloved location of ours:
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and....for the love of lighthouses, secret abandoned places, ghost infested mental hospitals and diners with really awesome food...."Do whatever makes you feel alive!!!"
-Jennifer and Marcel
at May 19, 2018
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Visit our YouTube channel, like, subscribe and comment!! We would love for you to come along with us on our explorations!
at May 15, 2018
Monday, May 14, 2018
My eyes are getting droopy as I write this, yet I am so very excited to share our weekend at Rose Island, which is nestled so beautifully in Newport Harbor in Rhode Island, with you. My pen (aka fingers on the keyboard) will flow freely and you will eventually be able to read all about it, but for now, I must present a shameless, yet totally worth it plug for our YouTube channel. It's true!! You can actually watch us on our adventures and, although we are just getting started and have not yet polished all of our superstar (well, J hasn't...M on the other hand, is a total natural!) in front of the camera qualities, we are, in my humble opinion, pretty fun to watch! Now, a little warning...we are not history experts or production masters. We don't have fancy graphics and background music. We are just two adventurous best friends that love to ham it up in front of the camera and would love nothing more than to take you along for the ride!
So...here goes....shameless plug!! Subscribe to our YouTube channel and subscribe, subscribe, subscribe!! We are looking for feedback and ways that we can bring more adventure to you! We are excited for this new quest and want you to be a part of it!
So like, enjoy and subscribe! Make sure to leave a comment for suggestions, ideas or just to say hello!! Stay tuned for a fully detailed blog on our adventure at Rose Island and as always....
Do whatever makes you feel alive!!!
- Jennifer and Marcel
Sunday, May 6, 2018
Boring? Nope...This is the Hoosac Tunnel's first attempt!
I remember when I saw the episode of Ghost Adventures where Zak, Nick and Aaron made their way to North Adams Massachusetts to investigate the mysterious Houghton Mansion. My eyes were peeled to the screen, as they always were when I watched my favorite paranormal shows. Zak's familiar exuberant excitement for all places presumed to be haunted always drew me in and I would sit wide eyed, just craving a chance to set foot in some ghost infested locale. The episode eventually led the frenzied trio of paranormal investigators directly to the, known to be haunted, Hoosac Tunnel. I leaned in closer to my television inspired by their immediate spiritual connection with the many souls who had so tragically lost their lives within it's damp, dark walls....195 to be exact, with 30 more to perish post construction. It was a cauldron of ghostly activity...or so they would have you believe. I firmly believe that inspiration can come to us in many forms. Perhaps your greatest inspiration was a historical hero, or a valiant character in a book or television show. Perhaps you had a relative that really inspired you to be the person you are today. It may have been a tragedy in your life, or a triumph that lit a fire beneath you. Now, you wouldn't think that a television show about entities that may or may not exist could ignite much worthy inspiration, but for me, the dream of feeling a presence or seeing an apparition commenced. So when the biggest and greatest inspirational figure of my life, (insert a long and lengthy sigh, followed by a dreamy smile and butterfly filled stomach) Marcel, brought me, for the first time to walk amongst the ghosts I so fondly adored, I felt overwhelmed with wonder and amazement. It was a late fall day and, after a brief viewing of the Houghton Mansion and a trip to the cemetery to pay our respects to the Houghton family and their chauffeur, John Witters, we pulled over and created our plan of action. Neither one of us knew where this famed haunted tunnel was, but we sure as hell weren't going home until we found it. Approximating logistically where the tunnel just might be, we parked the car and began our trek past moss covered gravestones, through yet another patch of tick infested woodland, down a steep and boulder layered ravine, across a gentle, yet ice cold brook searching for clues that would lead us there. It seemed like an impossible destination to reach....what were we thinking?? Should we have called Zak, Nick and Aaron before we left to get the DL on where this place actually is?? Just at the fringe of frustration, we began to sense that we were drawing near. We found a large gaping hole lying suspiciously in the ground and, as Marcel has always taught me...when something seems out of place, more often times than not, something awesome is to be found. And with that thought in mind, we came upon a tree lined hill and just upon the crest, we looked down and for the first time, beheld the beauty before us. We had conquered the landscape to reach our goal and it felt as though 225 lost souls were cheering us on, leading us down the embankment to set foot upon the tracks leading into the tunnel. The chill air from within the darkness embraced us as we stood upon the threshold. The industrial smell of left behind diesel, enveloped us as we began to enter into the shadows. Further we went, ever mindful and respectful of the fact that this tunnel is active and that at any moment, vibrations of powerful proportions may arise as freight filled trains traverse the very rails below us several times a day. Archway of brick giving way to carefully laid stone above us captivated our attention. We marveled at its magnificence as we moved forward. Chilled droplets of dew splashing down upon us as we called out to the souls we were seeking....silence interrupted only by the echo of dripping water...no spirits to be found. Truth be told, neither one of us were bothered in the least that we didn't have a gaggle of ghosts swarming around us as we traversed through the blackness. The tunnel beholds great mystery and intrigue, and quite honestly doesn't need the haunted hype to lure us back time and time again. Since that magnificent day, we have returned and each time have been captivated by new discoveries. Remnants of abandoned power stations at the West End leading out to...would you believe, a fast and stress free entrance to the facade that we spent over an hour to find....cascading waterfalls at the East Side leading to the majestic Deerfield River, that, during the summer is a playground for trout fisherman and kayakers alike...the Central Shaft where 13 men died tragically in a fire caused by the uniting of fumes from an old gasometer lamp and sparks within the abyss...our most recent find, the East Tower which was one of many towers used for navigation of the tunnel as it was being constructed....and....the piece de la resistance (in my mind anyway) our discovery of the first attempt at boring through the tunnel, a dark and gloomy piece of Hoosac history that we could not wait to get inside of. The possibility of meeting up with a few snakes, bats (don't tell Marcel, he HATES bats) and spiders loomed before us, but....listen and listen carefully....
DO WHATEVER MAKES YOU FEEL ALIVE!! Get into that cave like opening and enjoy the hell out of it!
If you have had a chance to read any of our previous blogs (and if you haven't...what are you waiting for??) then you know that it is our firm belief that exploring comes in all shapes and sizes. Adventure doesn't judge or have an agenda...it just wants you to find it and with every grand adventure of your life (be it great or small) you are creating the memories that will follow you until the moment you take your last breath. Get out and enjoy this life and when you do, drop us a line and tell us about your adventures and your inspirations. Be sure to follow us on Instagram and check out our ever growing YouTube channel where you can actually watch us exploring at the Hoosac Tunnel and surrounding areas. Thank you, as always, for taking the time out to read our blog. Now, get out there and explore!
-Jennifer and Marcel
at May 06, 2018
Saturday, May 5, 2018
Part of the joy of being explorers is finding new places to travel to, new views to see, new secrets of days gone by to unravel, but there are always favorites that we long to return to. Sometimes our yearning to return is to be within the familiar tattered walls of history. Sometimes it's because our hearts felt happy when we were there. But more often times that not, it's due to my "condition"...you all know someone who has it...here are the symptoms: flighty, often forgetful and easily distracted by sparkly things in the dust and darkness. We often must return to our places of exploration simply because four hours of exploring with someone with "bright shiny object syndrome" turns quickly into eight, which quickly turns into the need to return to, for me...to find more treasures, for Marcel, to seek out and explore the places we may have missed. Nevertheless, it is always exhilarating to return to our favorite places. Within this blog, that I believe all of two people in this world of infinite explorers has read, I have decided to write an occasional thought or two about the places that we often return to. Today's gem...The Hoosac Tunnel in Western Massachusetts.
Now, close your eyes and imagine that you are in back in the early 1800's. There are no major roads, no semi-trucks lurking behind you as you traverse up a steep incline of highway, the familiar sound of jet planes flying over head is replaced by the soft howling of wind, and the sweet song of birds returning from their winter vacations. Traveling from the beautiful east coast, through the mountains to the Midwest and beyond was not as simple as standing in an hour long line waiting for the TSA to uncomfortably pat you down before you could get into an aluminum tube that hurdles you thousands of miles in a few bumpy hours. Travel was time consuming and savvy business owners were using their collective intellect to find a way to get their goods to a wider base of consumers in a shorter amount of time. In the beautiful Berkshires, industry moguls from Boston and surrounding areas were aching to get their goods through the rolling mountains that wandered through western Massachusetts leading up through the graceful and grand Green Mountains of Vermont. And so, the dream of breaking through mountain to lay down flat bottom steel that could carry steam engine locomotives across through the Berkshires was born. Now, me spewing out all of the history of the Hoosac Tunnel is bound to cause some slight snooze factor, as I tend to go on and on, however the brief history is one of importance as it is why this tunnel is so intriguing. Here is a brief rundown..After years of struggle and legislative battles, work on the tunnel finally began. It was to start with boring of the eastern part of the tunnel with a innovative stone cutting machine that was designed to drill through the rough and rugged mountainside. This wonder of modern, for that day and age, technology made it about 12 feet through rock before it faltered and was left abandoned (our kind of place!!). Another site just to the right of the failed site was chosen and a new method was used. It took 25ish years to complete, amassing 17-21 million dollars in cost with 225 souls led to death...not the two year, fairly low cost tunnel that was at first proposed.
Now, all of these factoids are interesting and there are about a trillion things we left out, but we aren't writing this blog to help you get an A in Massachusetts history, we are writing this blog to ignite a fire in you...a desire to get out and explore! So with that being said, we would like to tell you why we return to this "no cell service" part of Massachusetts several times a year...why it's intrigue captivates us and has become a somewhat of a home base for our adventures. See our next blog for more!!
Do Whatever Makes You Feel Alive!! -Jennifer and Marcel