Ah, New England!

Returned one week ago tonight from my second trip to New England in recent years.

A few years back, Larry and I had explored Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire; after he and I split up I chose Maine as the destination for my first post-Larry solo trip, in 2008.

This time, I traveled with my sister Gayle – our first long trip together as adults (an entire week), and Gayle’s first to that part of the world.

We were lucky with everything about this trip: the weather was ideal (it wasn’t cold, like we feared it would be the final week of October); the scenery was glorious (plenty of trees like the one above to gape at); we stayed in interesting, comfortable places; and the restaurant food we chose was excellent to memorable for every meal we ate!

We spent the first half of our week-long trip in coastal Maine, travelling far enough north to drive around Acadia National Park, which certainly lived up to its reputation as a primo beauty spot.

Then we zoomed over into New Hampshire and thence to Vermont, where we woke up one morning to the state’s first snowfall of the year, which of course was thoroughly enchanting for us “southren” tourists!

Each time I’ve ventured into this part of the world, I’ve come away loving it more and more. The fabulosity and sheer numbers of independent bookstores alone would be plenty to recommend it, but of course there’s everything else the region offers as well.

Our two favorite spots were probably Camden, Maine and Dorset, Vermont, although it seems rather arbitrary to narrow things down to two towns when we enjoyed so many of them. It was especially exciting for me to be able to re-visit – and share with Gayle – some of my favorite spots from previous trips, such as  the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, the Athenaeum in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, the furniture-making place in Lincolnville, Maine, and the Stonewall Kitchen headquarters in York, Maine. We also enjoyed (me more than Gayle, I think) staying two nights at the Franciscan Monastery in Kennebunkport, Maine, whose tourist accommodations are unextraordinary, but whose grounds (designed by Olmstead) are spectacular.

No art museums this trip (except for a quick romp around the seaside gardens of the Ogunquit Museum of American Art), but there were plenty of protracted shopping sprees in various country stores! Among other things we UPS-ed home is a set of windchimes found in Wiscasset, Maine.

I certainly hope to make further forays into this charming, historic part  of the country. Next time, though,  I hope to plant myself in one spot and limit the amount of driving. It was fun to see so many interesting and picturesque places in four different states, but lolling around in any one of them would be a lot more restful. The problem will be deciding which Glorious Spot to spend that time in!

More photos posted at my Facebook photos page.

2 thoughts on “Ah, New England!

    • The tree in the photo, by the way, is behind the Sarah Orne Jewett homestead in Berwick, Maine, which a friend of a friend who lives there took us to see (the homestead, not the tree). And I’m reading Cioran because I found his book in one of those wonderful bookstores up there! I’ve never read him before (although I’d seen references to his works over the years), but was intrigued with the title when I espied it in a bookstore in Manchester, VT; and got even more intrigued when scanning a few randomly-chosen paragraphs. The price was amazingly cheep ($4?), so home it came with me – and tonight, in fact, I picked it up to see what I could see. Finished Susan Sontag’s amazing intro, and got partly into the first essay. I like his aphoristic style (translation is by Richard Howard), but, apart from what Sontag describes about him, don’t know anything about the guy. I saw the Derek Jarman film WITTGENSTEIN the other night, and must be in some sort of philosophical mood this week…Let me know if you have any experience with Mr. Cioran yourself – inquiring minds would love to know. (My formal philosophical training at Mercer pretty much stopped at Kierkegaard – we never got to Wittgenstein or even Nietzche, much less any of the other 20th century fellows, so I regard the Cioran-reading as part of my unfinished education.)

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