Monday, October 20, 2008


A&S milked the goats, fed the chickens, and made espresso. And then we took a pleasant fall walk around the property and into town, which made for a perfect start to a day that would eventually include several donuts, lots more coffee, a fast drive to Providence, a faster train to Boston, and a long flight to Seattle.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


The weather was nice enough, and my knee limber enough, so I stuck snacks and a water bottle and some extra clothes in my pack and headed down Crawford Path toward Lake of the Clouds. I didn't have time to go quite that far, so I swung east over towards Tuckerman's Ravine. I contemplated going to the headwall and peering down, but decided against it and headed back up to the top of the mountain. The long lines of cairns seem like overkill in this kind of weather, but I remember coming up Tuckerman's one late spring during college to find heavy cold fog and having to cautiously creep from one cairn to another all the way to the summit (or the Lake of the Clouds hut - I don't remember).

Mount Washington

Okay, so I spent my childhood thumbing my nose at folks who had taken on Mount Washington by car. But the weather was perfect and my time limited, and my little Hertz Blue Cobalt was ready to go, so I spent the $20, stuck the self-guided tour CD in the player, and headed up. Good decision - and not as commercial as I had expected. Above timberline (about 4000'), the alpine terrain could almost be mistaken for the Beartooth Highway or Trail Ridge Road. The cog railway is still running, belching smoke and tourists at the top.

Mount Washington is the highest peak in the northeast, and third in the Appalachians only to Mount Mitchell (NC) and Clingman's Dome (TN). It was in the mid 20's with a gentle breeze (at least for this place).

New Hampshire

I left Brunswick Sunday morning and drove north through Auburn, Oxford Plains, and Bethel, before hitting the Dunkin Donuts in Gorham, NH. The White Mountains were spectacular, though the leaves were just a little past prime, and I managed to visit Mt. Washington and North Conway (I had time for Friendly's Ice Cream, but not Eastern Mountain Sports). Then it was the Kancamagus Highway and I-93 south to Manchester and then over to Hancock.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I spent barely over 40 hours in Maine, but still managed to revisit plenty of old memories, eat lobster twice, and enjoy perfect fall weather. I think it's been six years since I was last here.

The pictures include the Old Orchard Pier - closed for the season. The Five Island Lobster Pound in Georgetown, where they were selling lobster for $4/critter as a benefit for lobstermen hurting from low prices, thus the long line out the door. The Celotex Plant on the Androscoggin in Lisbon Falls - it used to be U.S. Gypsum, where I worked many long graveyard shifts in 1978. Popham. And Mt. Abrams - where I broke my arm my freshman? year of high school (maybe '73?).


The Cribstone Bridge still connects Orr's and Bailey Island, although they're building a temporary span parallel to it so they can do repairs. Cook's has barely changed in the almost 50 years since I was first taught to eat lobster here. Cole slaw, steamers, and of course, a lobster (and a beer, something I didn't get as a kid). J and I used to skip stones and clamber on the rocks while we waited for the adults to finish. Or maybe the adults had sent us out to wait at the car when we got too loud or annoying.


The local paper says the town is looking to offload Hawthorne and Longfellow elementary schools - and to tear down the old high school next spring. Laverdiere's is long gone and Pizza Hut is now a check-cashing place. But some things don't change: the Bowdoin ice rink, Frosty's Donuts, and the houses up on Federal Street. Maine Street looked much the same, if you ignore the details. The base is closing and the implications aren't clear. Ground was just broken for the new train station.

Federal Street

The old house looked great. I wandered down through the back lot to the Bowdoin Pines and over to the tracks. Maybe the only thing missing from the fall scene was leaves raked to the street so we could ride our bikes through the piles.


A perfect fall day on campus - college kids throwing frisbees on the quad and a bunch of visitors - although most are at the homecoming game at Whittier Field. I was never a student here, except for that evening FORTRAN class I took sometime in high school, but I sure went to lots of hockey games when Bowdoin was cleaning up in Division 2 in the mid-1970s.

Reid State Park

I'm staying in a motel out on Pleasant street. After coffee, a cinammon roll, and a stroll down at the river, I headed for Popham and then to Reid State Park. I spent the middle part of the day back in Brunswick before going back down to the shore for dinner.

For someone who's vocation is all about shorelines, I guess it's appropriate to note that Reid was sort of my first beach. We grilled burgers and marshmallows. I was never any good at the cold water on the surf side, but we often explored the sand bars and tombolos out to the rocks on the east side.

Androscoggin River

After early morning coffee at the Little Dog, I went down to the river and walked across the bridge. It's just not the same without the smell and the thick brown foam. Later in the day, I checked out the swinging bridge which has been nicely fixed up. I climbed down the bank on the Topsham side and put my hand in the water. I grew up in this town, yet this was the first time I had ever touched the river downstream of New Hampshire. In school, the only attention we paid to the river was making jokes about how dirty it was.