Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New England

With Mother Amelia
Home of Louisa May Alcott

Some Big Pumpkins

Fall Colours in Acadia National Park

Izzie as a Pumpkin Dog

Decorated Pumpkins in Damascotta
Lake Champlain
The weather has not been entirely kind although hopefully it is improving now.
After two days of rain in New York, I travelled by train along the Hudson River to Albany in beautiful sunshine and, as related in my last message, spent the afternoon walking around that city with my blogging friend Fran.

Sadly the rain returned the next day as I travelled by the Adirondack train further upstate and the journey along shores of Lakes George and Champlain were not as pretty as they could have been.  I was glad however to see Fall (Autumn) colours appearing.
We arrived at Port Kent, across the lake from my destination Burlington, 30 minutes late and in pouring rain. Five people had to run dragging bags about 100 metres down the road to the wharf and as it is a car ferry we were downstairs with only small port holes for the hour trip across the lake. By the time I reached my accommodation I was soaked. It rained most of the following day as well so, after spending an hour or two in a marine museum, I retreated to my room for the afternoon. However it fined in the evening and I discovered the main street is very lively with jazz groups and outdoor dining. Burlington is a university town like Dunedin.

Fortunately Saturday was fine if cold and I spent the morning walking along the lake shore looking at the tree colours.  I had planned a whole day of this but had to be satisfied with a shortened walk of about 5 miles return and then took a cruise on the Lake in the afternoon.
On Sunday I boarded the train, the Vermonter, and spent most of the sunny day travelling down through the states of Vermont and New Hampshire into Massachusetts and finally New Haven in Connecticut. The colours seen in the higher parts were not so evident down near the coast. ,
After a night in New Haven, the rain returned although only light drizzle for the first 2 days, and I travelled to Boston for 3 nights.

The first full day I went up to Concord and visited the home of Louisa May Alcott (Little Women) which was very interesting as well as spending time in the town museum with its history of the Revolution plus stories of Louisa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry David Thoreau.  I saw some of the other authors’ homes from the outside as well as the many other pretty homes and churches in the town. Finally I visited the cemetery and the authors’ graves.  I had visited the main Revolution sites on my trip back in 1980 so concentrated on the authors this time. 

As I wrote, there was just some light drizzle this day but the following day it poured down and  so I visited the Mapparium, a three-story tall glass globe of stained glass in the Mary Baker Eddy Library then the Museum of Fine Arts with its exhibitions of Greek, Roman sculpture plus European art through the ages and finally a room of historical musical instruments. The impressive Boston Library followed and an exhibition of travel posters of the 20’s and 30’s with some of Australia and New Zealand. Fortunately Boston has some large enclosed shopping centres plus the metro system which allowed me to move around without getting too wet.

On two evenings I went to dinner with friends I had met at the dinner in New York and on the last night we had dinner after attending a talk in the Boston Library by the author Michael Cunningham (‘The Hours’ and ‘A Home at the End of the World’)

It began to fine up on Thursday as I again travelled by train north to Portland where I was met by my blogging friend, Amelia (My Mother is a Father), who kindly offered to accommodate and show me around the state of Maine. The top Photo shows us on her balcony.

I did not realise it would involve so much driving on her part as along with her little dog, Izzie, we went an hour’s drive north of Portland to the little waterfront town of Damariscotta.
Amelia drove me around the waterfront of Portland and we visited the lovely cathedral of St Luke.  Damariscotta was in the midst of its Pumpkin festival and the main street was lined with giant pumpkins being decorated by various artists.

However first we drove a long way north to the Acadia National Park which is 160 miles north of Portland.  Besides more colourful trees I saw a lot of beautiful coastline, bays and rivers, big bridges and quaint light houses.  On Saturday afternoon we watched the town’s Pumpkin procession with some very noisy fire engines which Izzie did not like at all and in the evening we attended a concert of Ragtime music performed in the classical tradition. It was excellent.

Sunday after attending Eucharist at Amelia’s local Episcopal church we watched the Pumpkin Boat Race in which people competed in hollowed out pumpkins first with paddles and later with outboards. After lunch, yes I had pumpkin soup,  with some friends, Amelia drove me back to Portland. Heavy traffic meant I caught the 3pm train to Boston with just 3 minutes to spare and spent my final night in New England before catching an early morning flight to Halifax, Nova Scotia.


June Butler said...

Brian, I'm so sorry about all the rain, but it seems you had a lovely time anyway. I read Fran's account of your meeting.

We visited Concord and the places you mention there.

Your visit with Amelia and Izzie sounds wonderful. Izzie is adorable in her Halloween costume.

Fran said...

I am so behind in keeping up- I went off to LA for 5 days and have been so catching up on all manner of things since.

So glad that you and Mother Amelia had a great journey. You have traveled by train to places that I had no idea you could take trains to. I am embarrassed to admit this!