Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Where is the "real" New England? Is it tacky lobster claws jutting from the side of a tourist shop in Bar Harbor Maine? Is it a quiet harbor scene on the Maine coast? Perhaps a river view from a fusion cuisine restaurant located in a converted building in west-central Vermont? Or could it be the former Concord School of Philosophy on the Alcott property in Concord Mass.? It all depends on your inclinations.
I personally enjoyed all of the above, depending on my mindset on a particular day. The tackiness of a street lined with tourist traps can be fun, as long as you know that the gross commercialism will be contained and prevented from spilling over into historical and natural areas of beauty. Admittedly, you can only look at so many items with a lobster motif and then your head starts to spin, but it can be a blast. My question is: What do the people of Asia really think of Americans as they mass produce these trinkets for our consumption?
The coastal harbor towns of New England are some of my favorite places to visit, bringing back memories of my own childhood. Peaceful, quiet, lasting are descriptors that come to mind. Booth Bay Harbor, Camden, Belfast-places where you can watch the tides ebb and flow in harmony with nature.
Former mills and other buildings converted into restaurants, artists' galleries, and living spaces while maintaining the original integrity of the buildings. I'm glad that it's happening rather than a thoughtless trashing of existing structures to make way for chrome, steel, and glass structures that have no soul. I hope the trend continues-it creates a much more interesting environment to explore. The setting for the third photo is Middlebury, Vermont-a town well worth visiting.
Concord, Mass. was the home of Alcott's Concord School of Philosophy. The father of the author of "Little Women" established the school. One of his unusual contributions to the field of education was the concept of "recess". The building remains as a monument to his efforts.
The four photos represent some of the faces of New England, just a few of the countless possibilities. The battlefields of the American Revolution, places of worship, coffee houses, lobster boats, people, cemeteries, factories, natural wildernesses, mansions, narrow and winding streets of Boston present more paths to explore. I look forward to some time in the future when I can spend a month or two in the Fall and gain a more in-depth understanding of the faces of New England.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sometimes the best travel finds are by happenstance. We were traveling through west-central Vermont on our way to Fort Ticondaroga (just over the Vermont/New York border). Struck by a stong need for caffine, we stopped in Brandon. As we searched for a coffee house, we stumbled across colorful dogs and cats that a local artist placed around as sidewalk art. On that day, art won over history. We never did make it to the fort, but did have an excellent time exploring a small Vermont town with a lot of character. This dog, in my mind, took first place. All of the other statues vied for second.