Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Weekend in New Hampshire (and Maine)

This past weekend, my wife went out to Minneapolis to visit a family friend and attend a convention of like-minded bloggers. I would have loved to have gone with her, but in spite of my best efforts, it just didn't work out. So while she was in the midwest having fun, I decided that rather than be miserable and lonely at home, I could be miserable and lonely* somewhere more interesting and potentially distracting in a good way. So I chose to spend those days by myself in the Dover, NH area.
I stayed in Portsmouth, but I made trips to some of our our old haunts, favorite areas on the seacoast as well as Dover itself and the neighboring town of Durham. It was interesting to walk around Dover and see what has changed -- not much, I think. The ice cream parlor that we used to enjoy going to is no longer there, replaced by a nifty little cafe where I ate two of my lunches that weekend, and they were both excellent. I walked over to the good ol' Dover Public Library, which we used quite a bit when we lived there…


… and when I went inside to poke around, I was happy to see that they still had the "magazine swap" shelf that I so enjoyed back in the early 1980's -- it was a great way to recycle your old magazines. (Although i think it may have been called a magazine EXCHANGE back then… but I could be confusing it with a similar thing at the Sharon, CT library some time later.)


Looking around the library, I found Jeannine's latest book, "Borrowed Names", shelved in the poetry for young adults section. That's it, fourth from the left.


Here's a shot of the cover of "Borrowed Names".



(By the way -- and I say this in a completely unbiased way -- it's a great book. Check it out!)


Continuing my stroll around Dover, I took one street that led to this view…



… a bit of interesting scenery I don't recall from our days in Dover. Maybe we never walked up that street.

After a couple of hours of reminiscing, I drove out to Ogunquit, ME, where I walked on part of the fabled "Marginal Way", and I was reminded of why I prefer the coast of Maine to the coast of Cape Cod (well, to be fair, the parts of the coast of Cape Cod that I saw a couple of weeks ago)...



... great rocks! You can't really see it in the photo below, but the stiff breeze was blowing spray off the white-capped waves -- very dramatic!



I did sit down and do a little sketching of some of the rocks, but it was pretty cold and breezy, so I only did one drawing. I have to spend more time up there in the warm parts of the year, I think.

The next day I decided to take a drive up to one of our favorite beaches, Long Sands in York… so named because it's, well, a long, sandy beach. I remembered that the last time we walked on it,  the sand was not very squishy underfoot, but firm… and I started thinking that MAYBE it would be firm enough to support me and my bicycle. So I parked near one end of the beach, carried my bike down the steps to the sand, and started riding. And it was GREAT! I think -- no, I KNOW -- that this was the most fun I had all weekend. I spent probably an hour riding up and down the beach, dodging seagulls and sandpipers, going in and out of the surf, and watching my shadow, cast by the setting sun.



It was almost too picturesque, and shortly made even MORE so by the rising of the moon just off Nubble Point near the lighthouse. I took a few photos of this scene using the zoom lens on my camera (which is why the moon looks so huge, I think), and put them together into this little panorama.



On my last day of this impromptu vacation, I headed up a little further into Maine, to drop in unannounced on Steve Lavigne and his family. I think I surprised the heck out of him, but we had a nice visit. Then I decided to drive back to Dover one last time, because i had a mission there.

You see, on my way up on Friday, I had stopped at a general store called Calef's just outside Dover, and picked up a few postcards which I intended to mail to Jeannine. One of them featured a cool aerial photo of Dover, and I was hoping to see if our old house was, by some chance, included in the image. So I was studying it, and for some reason, I just couldn't figure out exactly from which direction the photo was taken… which was a little odd, because I am pretty familiar with the layout of downtown Dover. So I once again walked around the streets of Dover, trying to pick out significant landmarks and compare them to the tiny images in the postcard, attempting to get my bearings.



And after about ten minutes of this, it hit me -- the photo was REVERSED! I found it kind of surprising that just reversing the image would throw me off so much, but it did. (When I got home, I scanned the postcard, flipped in in Photoshop, and instantly everything fell into place and made sense.) Sadly, our old neighborhood was just out of shot in the postcard's aerial image.



On the drive back home, I decided to take a spin through nearby Durham, NH, and had to stop to take a photo of this fabulous tree, which just at the moment I was driving by happened to be lit up perfectly by the sun. It was simply blazing. -- PL



(*Full disclosure: I was not actually miserable. -- PL)

9 comments:

Drew said...

Wow those are some amazing pictures, thank you for sharing them with us! When I was in Daytona Beach last year I saw people riding bicycles and driving on the sand, I had never been anywhere with sand that packed, and I wished at the time I had my bicycle to try it out. After reading your blog today its making want to give it a shot that much more.

CCB said...

Peter, I've been here at the Dover Public Library for 35 years and I remember when you used to come in all the time! I was reference at the time, but am now the Director! Please stop by and say hello if you're in the area anytime in the future!

Cathy Beaudoin

Catherine said...

I saw your blog, thanks to Google Alerts. Please let me know if you can help me protect the Marginal Way with a small donation. I will send you a "Virtual Deed" to your favorite spot!
Yours truly, Catherine Palmer, Development Director, Marginal Way Preservation Fund, 207.604.4884, CpalmerMarginalWay@gmail.com

Miserable Dreamer said...

Thanks for this entry - I previously mentioned my trip up to Maine that's coming up in a couple weeks, and someone suggested that I check out Dover, NH. Definitely going to take a little side trip. I hope the colors are still nice in a week or two...!

MachiasBanshee said...

Great pictures of Dover. You lucked out, a lot of the foliage has been blown around by this week's wind and rainstorms.

Calef's is Awesome. (I live about two minutes from there) Hopefully you got some of Joel's famous 'snappy cheese'. That place is always packed this time of year...

~Amy

PL said...

"MachiasBanshee said...
Great pictures of Dover. You lucked out, a lot of the foliage has been blown around by this week's wind and rainstorms.

Calef's is Awesome. (I live about two minutes from there) Hopefully you got some of Joel's famous 'snappy cheese'. That place is always packed this time of year...

~Amy"

Amy, you're lucky to live that close to Calef's -- it is a cool place. I tend to like those general stores that look like they have slowly grown over the years, adding on new nooks and crannies in which all kinds of interesting things can be stuffed, waiting to be discovered by the patient and curious browser.

I didn't have any of the cheese, but I did buy a little bag of what I think were locally (or at least regionally) produced potato chips, and a tall bottle of green soda. The cheese does sound good! -- PL

PL said...

"CCB said...
Peter, I've been here at the Dover Public Library for 35 years and I remember when you used to come in all the time! I was reference at the time, but am now the Director! Please stop by and say hello if you're in the area anytime in the future!

Cathy Beaudoin"

Cathy, thanks for the invitation. I will be sure to do so next time! -- PL

usagiguy said...

Great photos. We have varied scenery here in Southern California, but would be hard pressed to come up with sights as beautiful and dramatic as what you saw.

I especially like that last photo of the lit up tree. We have what we call "liquid amber" tree that have beautiful fall foliage, but everything else either stays green or turns brown in the winter.

Stan

PL said...

"usagiguy said...
Great photos. We have varied scenery here in Southern California, but would be hard pressed to come up with sights as beautiful and dramatic as what you saw.

I especially like that last photo of the lit up tree. We have what we call "liquid amber" tree that have beautiful fall foliage, but everything else either stays green or turns brown in the winter.

Stan"

Thanks, Stan! So often, I will be driving in the fall and see some spectacular glowing tree, and rarely do I stop to get the shot, but this was one of those times when I just HAD to -- it was that eye-catching. -- PL