7/19/12 Hello from Portland, Maine. Yes, today it is cooler here – in the high 70’s, with that prediction until next Monday too. And, as planned, the very day we got here, we went right down to the fish store on the waterfront and bought 4 lobsters. It was too humid to boil or steam them in our RV, so we went on the internet and got some advice on how to grill them. Elaine watched the video on it and then killed them, and I grilled them and they were delicious.
Yesterday we exercised, walked the Maine Mall, then had an oil change for the RV. Herb & Anke Staffenski, Boomer friends who parked near us in Quartzsite last January, arrived at about 3PM and then we had delightful Happy Hour with them,
and Anke fixed us a delicious dinner.
They have a new little doggie now, named Tessie, so we all went out for a walk after dinner. Today they left, but we will be seeing them again Monday, when we all get together again at Paul & Judy Johnson’s in Monmouth.
The last time we posted, we were with George and Diana Ruelens in Harrisburg, PA. It was a great visit in which we did lots of visiting and shopping and no sightseeing, other than walking around the local riverfront park for exercise. As usual, we had some delicious and healthful meals with them too.
George graciously pumped out our tanks, helped us fill with water, and fixed the burned out ends on our electrical cords. They have been Boomer friends of ours for years and we were delighted that they contacted us (after reading on our blog that we were in the East) and invited us to visit.
Then we drove north again, heading for Larry & Joyce Space’s cabin on Lake Hortonia, Vermont. We have been friends with Larry & Joyce for a long time as well, and spent many months in 2004 traveling down to the Panama Canal with them (and several other rigs). But we had never seen their cabin/home even though it has been in Larry’s family since 1926.
When we first arrived, their daughter, Tanya, and her son Zach (4), and daughter, Willow (6), were there, so we got this great picture of them all:
And we had a couple of nice meals outside at the picnic table:
Their cabin is right on the lake, so we had to park our rig down the road in a field next to an abandoned dance hall. It was good exercise to walk down to their place. Larry has spent a lot of time rebuilding the inside, adding a large living room and some bedrooms where the old porch used to be, raising the whole cabin 3 feet, etc. and he has done a beautiful job. Here is a picture of Elaine in the living room:
The day we arrived and the next day were very hot. Luckily their lot is fairly heavily wooded and is cool and shady. We spent some time in our bathing suits down by the water, and Elaine went into the water
where lots of little fish started nibbling on her legs! Later, Joyce took us for a ride around the lake in their small aluminum boat. Here is a picture of their cabin from the water:
There are cabins, and even large homes, built all around the lake, and on some of the small islands in the lake, there are also some cabins:
Larry & Joyce were in the Peace Corps in Ghana in the 1960’s and previously they had made a nut stew for us, which we really liked. So Elaine asked them to fix it again. All of us drove over to Brandon, the nearest larger town, to shop for the ingredients. On the way, we stopped at one of the covered bridges in the area:
It is quite a scenic town with lots of history, and now with art galleries, antique and ice cream shops, wine tasting places, etc. There were a lot of faceboard type things all over town with chicken themes, so Joyce was a good sport and put her face in the holes and we took pictures:
Down the block was a typical-looking New England church:
The oldest building in town probably is the Brandon Inn from 1786. It has been in continuous use since then!
The inside has been renovated but still maintains the same theme as when it was built:
One of the well-known local artists is Warren Kimble, so we visited his studio/shop and he was in there working. This work of his is in the front:
He was very personable and had an extended conversation with Larry & Joyce, who know him. His works go for $12K and up!!! Other interesting artistic works were scattered all over town:
There is a local winery outside of town in a fairly remote location, so they had a tasting room in town. Here we are enjoying some of the tastes:
We bought a couple of nice whites. Then we took this picture of Larry and Joyce by the waterfall, which is on the river running right through the town.
Just next to this spot was this building, showing some of the damage from the huge deluge of water which went through this town when Hurricane Irene zipped through this area last year.
As we drove through Vermont on our way to New Hampshire, anytime we were near a river, we saw many buildings that were severely damaged from that event. Somehow we never think of hurricane damage this far north!
Once we got back to the cabin, we had a very nice nut stew dinner in Larry & Joyce’s dining area:
You can see how light and airy the new addition Larry added to the cabin, where the old porch used to be. The nut stew dinner was delicious, unusual, and we recommend that you ask Larry and Joyce to fix it for you if you are camping together with them. They are wonderful hosts. Here is a picture of the 4 of us, which Tanya took before she left:
The day we left their place, we stopped in Woodstock, VT, in the Green Mountains, where there is an unusual National Historic Park called the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Farm. We were totally unaware that by the mid-1840’s, Vermont, and probably most of New England, had been pretty much devastated by too much logging, irresponsible land use, and over grazing by sheep, which was one of the main economic endeavors. George Marsh, whose family built this beautiful home
in the early 1800’s, was one of the first to study and write about land rejuvenation and preservation, and the effects that man’s destructive actions were having on the entire natural world. His work was continued, and his home bought in 1869, by Frederick Billings. He was a Vermont native who had made his fortune in San Francisco, during the Gold Rush, and also later, in the railroads. Billings, MT was named after him. He returned to VT, bought this home and built a farm that would be a model of wise stewardship. He developed one of the first programs for scientific forest management, as well as building the finest dairy herds in the country. After his death, his wife and daughters continued his work. Then, in 1934, his granddaughter, Mary French, married Laurance Rockefeller. The Rockefeller family also had a fierce commitment to conservation, and had created or enhanced over 20 national parks. Together, Mary & Laurance continued to work for conservation under the next 5 presidents, and upon their deaths, the estate was given to the National Park Service. It is an interesting place to visit, because there are miles of hiking trails in the forests around the estate, and the formal gardens are a treat as well. There is a separate farm tour. The excellent movie and exhibits at the National site helped us realize that the beautifully wooded hills and valleys we had been traveling through in the East, and especially in Vermont, would not exist today without people like these, creating new ways of thinking and showing everyone else how to rebuild the forests and use their farms in a new way to conserve the soil and ecosystem.
We then went to the Quechee Gorge, which is a deep river gorge, 163 feet below the bridge, crossing the Ottauquechee River on route 4.
There are hiking trails along the riverbanks which are shaded. There are also several touristic shopping areas nearby. We parked behind the Charlotte Winery, which is a huge lot and probably RVers could stay here if they asked first. We went in to the shop and tasted some of the wines, buying a couple and having a nice chat with the lady who ran the place.
Then we proceeded ¼ mile down the road and stopped at another strip mall place where there was a Cabot Village store. Cabot is a big cheese producer and in this store it was possible to sample quite a few of the products. All were delicious, but we ended up buying a cheddar cheese flavored like buffalo wings – spicy and delicious!
In the same strip mall, was a spirits place where we could sample specialty vodkas, one of which was made using Vermont maple syrup.
It was definitely better than the plain vodka, but still not something for which we would pay $44 per bottle.
After all these adventures, we made it here to the Elks Lodge in Portland, Maine. Parked right next to us is another Boomer couple – Charlie & Gloria Goss. We met them last January in Quartzsite. They have been joining us periodically for Happy Hours,
and exploring various nearby towns on their motorcycle. Tomorrow they might join us for the Yarmouth Clam Festival, and Sunday we all will take the ferry over to Peaks Island in Casco Bay, where we will have a picnic and a hike.
Today Kathe Kirkbride, a friend from our Panama trip in 2004, and her new partner, Deborah, picked us up and we all went out for lunch together in the Two Lights part of Portland. We had lunch at the Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth.
There are picnic tables outside overlooking the area where the ocean surf pounds these rocks.
There was a garden area where they had 2 “rock-ing chairs” (made out of rocks) and here is a picture of Kathe and Deborah sitting in them.
One of the 2 lighthouse in the area is nearby:
There was a small painted lighthouse nearby,
and later, when we were walking around the Old Port area of Portland, there was another one down by the wharves.
There were many touristic shops down there, and also this appropriate mural on one of the buildings:
We had a great time walking all over the old downtown with Kathe and Deborah, and we didn’t even stop to buy any lobster!