On the Road With Doris & Ez

We're going on a road trip!!!! Could be three weeks could be three years, we'll see. Read below to see where we are now.....

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Massachusetts and Maine Coastlines - August 2007

Our next destination was Salisbury, Massachusetts on the Atlantic coast. Ez and I both read 1776 - the great history of the Revolutionary War by David McCullough – so it’s cool to see some of the places mentioned in the book. Many of these small coastal towns were here long before the Revolution, so while we used to get excited if we saw a pre-1860 home, now we’re seeing buildings from the 1600’s! The historic parts of towns like Gloucester, Newburyport, and Salem look much like they did, with doorsteps that open right out onto the narrow streets.

You may have guessed that I’m a cemetery buff (I love reading the memorials to the long-dead people whose lives were so different from our own), so I found these ancient headstones fascinating. The skulls look pretty morbid, but they were a common element in many of the cemeteries we saw.

We checked out some historic sites - like the fort where 400 brave American patriots overwhelmed the six British soldiers in residence and walked off with all the powder and ammunition. We spent an afternoon walking around old Salem, which has at least 10 tourist sites based on the witch trials of 1692. The “museum” we visited featured illuminated wax museum scenes and narration describing the events – cheesy but interesting.

But the highlight of this part of the country is the seacoast. Every little village looks like a perfect picture postcard with sailboats and fishing vessels bobbing in the bay. There are lots of great shops and lots of opportunities to indulge in our search for the best lobster – from lobster risotto to lobster rolls to fresh, whole lobster served with butter and corn on the cob. Yay!

So we thought Massachusetts was really cool, but we LOVED Maine! It has to be one of our top five fave places on this trip! The coastline is rugged and picturesque, the towns look like movie sets, and the people talk cool. Every day we explored the little roads along Penobscot Bay and oohed and aahed over the scenery. One afternoon we checked out a country fair in the small town of Union. Although we missed out on the free blueberry pie (damn!), we strolled the agricultural tents to see the chickens, sheep and cows and learned all about Moxie, the traditional soda pop of Maine.

Our home base was in Thomaston, Maine. In 1840, three of the seven millionaires in the U. S. lived here – so there are lots of lovely, historic homes. This is Montpelier, home to Revolutionary War hero General Henry Knox. He built this home after he retired from the government and lived here until he died of complications from choking on a chicken bone.

A favorite way to enjoy fresh lobster is to stop at one of the casual restaurants where you BYOB, pick our your lobster, and sit at picnic tables on the deck. So we did that. But one evening we bought three live lobsters from a roadside stand, borrowed a big pot from the RV park and cooked up our own meal on the grill. After an hour on the flame we still hadn’t achieved boiling water, so we borrowed a propane cooker from a neighbor and within a few minutes we were cooking – literally. What a great meal, and one of the highlights of our trip!

Leaving Maine marked a bittersweet moment. While we look forward to what we’ll see in the next couple of months, this marked our turnaround point. From now on, we’re headed back to Phoenix. We’ll miss scenes like this, but there’s still more to come.


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