Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The BACK IN THE USA - Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania

Thursday Sept 8
We drive down the Bay of Fundy, going thru Calais as our point of entry. US Customs is far more relaxed than our Canadian counterparts were. Here a series of questions suffice and we on our way to Acadia National Park, reputed to be the 10th most visited NP in the states. When we arrive we are told the campground is full (a 2nd one is closed early for the season) and that this is their busiest year on record. Our Golden Age Pass gets us in for free and we drive around the park loop. It is foggy and misty and there are almost no views at all. We head to the Mount Desert Campground in the middle of the island where we find a spot in the woods. It's almost full too but we find a spot. It's 4:30 so I pull out my easel and set up on the camping platform provided for tents. I spend the next hour and a half enjoying myself immensely painting a small 6x8 of the Cape Breton coastline. 

Pink Granite Coastline | Pastel |6x8

We have Butter Chicken with rice and I do my yoga which I now look forward to each evening. 

Friday, Sept 9
We're on our way today to Portsmouth area is New Hampshire where my friend Chris Erickson lives. Chris is a close friend of Suzi Long and I met her at Suzi's at the Mendocino Open Paint Out- MOPO- its first year in 2013.  I use the Wi-Fi at the campground and we start a leisurely 4 hour drive down the coast, stopping for lobster roll and photo ops.
It's lovely to see Chris again and she shows us why she chose Portsmouth and the town of Stratham as her domicile. She has lived in her lovely new home since November. She makes a great suggestion for our Friday night - Taj Majal is playing in the park in Portsmouth! Off we go into the darling town of apx 28,000 and it's great harbor and new bridge where we sit for several hours listening to the blues of Taj Majal! Amazing fortitude of this (I'm guessing) +80 year old blues player! 

Saturday Sept 10
Today is Remembrance Day for me. We are headed to drive by three places I lived during my time in the Boston area. First, we head for Rockport to see the infamous Motif #1 (pronounced 'motive'). This fishing shack on the pier is one of the iconic artist scenes of America. No time for painting today but we do stop for clam chowdah as it is called here and I sample fried clams.

I lived in Massachusetts twice- after college, while flying for Pan Am, I married a Bostonian I'd met at Univ of Colorado, Peter Carleton. We married and lived on Beacon Hill in the heart of Boston. 

I believe this is our old home on Chestnut Street. We lived in the third floor which we accessed by walking thru the oval door on the left to behind the house and up a teeny elevator that was added to the outside of the building.  I moved from Boston to Charlottesville Virginia after splitting from Peter and falling deeply for David Greene, an engineer with Stone & Webster who was transferred to the Charlottesville area while I was on a six week vacation to Nepal and Bali. When I returned, I followed him there. A year later, he was transferred back to Boston where we bought a wonderful old house on a granite rock with a marsh out front in Hingham Mass. I find the home again and, seeing a man out front, head up the driveway. He and his wife and three children have bought the home just a year ago and have beautifully transformed it! They show us the inside and photos of the old house I remember nostalgically. I loved this home but it was also the place where my heart was broken. It is heart warming to see it loved and lived in by a family who will keep it for generations.

When David and I split, I moved just a few miles away to Hull - a peninsula south of Boston where I commuted to work by ferry. The house on Beach Avenue I rented- right on the ocean -  also has many memories attached to it as 4 of us lived there for the winter of '77-'78 when the Blizzard of '78 came thru the home in February, leaving seaweed on the fireplace mantle. Rendered uninhabitable, after evacuating to a friends house for two weeks (huge wine cellar, 7 of us feasting on lobsters washing in with each tide!), I moved out west. 

Memory Lane has exhausted my patient husband and we head for a nearby state park in Hingham that turns out to be a true hidden gem in the middle of the affluent Hingham/Cohasset area. 

Sunday Sept 11
Flags are flying at half mast today in remembrance of 9/11. We head due west in the direction of Niagara Falls which I haven't seen before. It's too far for one day's travel so we head a bit north in upstate New York to the Adirondacks. We're enchanted! It's beautiful country. We find an open campground on Sacandaga Lake and it's early enough for me to paint a quick one. 

Collin directs me to a particularly gorgeous kayak launch, then brings over two glasses of wine just as the sun is setting. 

We return to camp for steak cooked over the fire and baked potatoes. It's chilly and the lake is special. 

Monday Sept 12
Upper New York State is very pretty but the roads are horrible. It is shocking to me that the main travel route to Niagara Falls is one butt wrenching pothole after another. Along the way, I see signs for 'Maple Syrup. No Sun Service'. We stop and it is an Amish farmstead where the men are planing logs and constructing wooden sheds. I snap a surreptitious photo of a small child with her kitty.

We arrive at our campsite just 16 miles from the Falls at around 4:30. Collin makes the brilliant suggestion that we go see the falls at night. The parking gates are open and free and there's not even 20 people on the point! The Canada side is truly impressive with huge high rise hotels. 

The falls are lit up, the mist of the Horseshoe Falls rises high up into the sky!

Tuesday Sept 13
Now heading south thru Buffalo, we stop in Salamanca, NY to visit Collins former brother-in law, Bill Taylor and his wife Jane. It is Election Day and Bill is running for Alderman. A most interesting town, the land on which Salamanca is built is owned by the Seneca Indians and leased to the home owners. A former rail town, the place is dieing a painful death. The old downtown is deserted. A great many of the former residents have left and many old homes have sold to slumlords. Bill tells us drugs are rife. The Seneca who formerly stayed in a separate town, now enriched by their Casino, have moved in. Since they are a sovereign nation, white man's laws do not apply to them. If a cop pulls an Indian over, he has to notify one of the Indian Marshall's who basically don't prosecute or punish or take any action. They do not have to pay property or any kind of taxes, leaving the town in further decline from having no funds to work with or to attract new business. When the current lease on the lands expires in 2070, it is believed the Indians will not renew it as they want to take back the town. We had a lovely visit with Bill and Jane but I can't help but leave slightly depressed at the Catch-22 predicament they are in. Bill grew up here and has dedicated his life and time to the town, having been an Alderman twice previously. His desire to be involved and try to unite the two sides of the town are most admirable. 

We head into the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania just a few miles south for the night.


  1. Great blog, Marti! You had lunch in my sister's restaurant in Rockport--I hope it was good! Safe travels!


  2. Award winning CHOWDS--glad you liked it. I hope you noticed the mural by Jeff Weaver on the wall as you walked into the restaurant!


  3. I am loving your diary of this trip. I haven't been to most of these places and it's nice that you are sharing. Thanks Marti.