Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Plymouth Rock & The Mayflower 2

October 13, 2008

We spent the better part of one day of our East Coast travels visiting the Plymouth area. Driving along the colorful back roads of Massachusetts we arrived in the town center in search of the Mayflower 2. Thanks to my Aunt's Sue's numerous trips here with other out of town visitors, we had an on board tour guide that not only filled us in with the historical sites, but also - best restaurants, favorite shopping sites and photo op's.

Nothing really prepared me for the sight of the Mayflower 2 though. I don't know why, well yes I do, it is because as a child I think you get it into your mind's eye what something is supposed to look like, and it stays that way forever.......but I really thought that the ship that had brought over so many of our early settlers was going to be huge. It is very small....and the thoughts of over 100 people....men, women and children....crossing the ocean, not having any idea where they were headed, or what would await them, was awe inspiring. We wandered around reading all the historical markers, taking photo's from every angle, and at one point I just sat down on a bench facing the ship and tried to take it all in, and imagine what it must have been like, so very many years ago. The most moving tribute to the families on board was found on a massive statue that sits on a high hill overlooking the site where the Plymouth Rock is located. On the statue they list the names of the travelers that passed away that first year in their new land. The poem on the back was especially powerful, and I wish I had taken the time to write every line down.

The day would not have been complete without a trip to the Cranberry Shop, and then lunch at the Lobster Hut where Charmaine and Kathy had their first "Lobster Experience" of the trip. Over the course of the next two weeks there would be many, but nothing compares to the two of them, with Aunt Sue's expert guidance, tearing into their first "Twins" as it is called when you order a double. As for me, the vegetarian in the group, it was coleslaw and corn, but it was good coleslaw!

Tomorrow it is on to Cape Cod and the first of the antique hunts! Till then, Susan

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Keeper of the Bridge

October 22, 2008

Thanks to my daughter Sara's navigational and Internet skills, we set off from her house on Wednesday morning for a tour of the covered bridges of Maine. It was with a heavy heart that we bid goodbye to her, Travis and Cash ~ but Christmas is coming soon, and they will be joining us here in Nevada for the holidays.

With assistance from the GPS that Bob had thoughtfully got for me before the trip, we plugged in the names of the towns that Sara had recommended and started the amazing trip down the back country roads of Maine. Covered bridges are sure to be on most peoples minds when they think of the quintessential New England photo, and we were no exception. All three of us traveling together are avid photographers, granted some better than others, but we all enjoy the experience of the hunt for the perfect photo that will capture that moment in time. Many times it takes me back to a creative writing class that I had at Coral Park High School in Miami. Each week we were assigned an exercise out of "Pictures in Writing" by David Sohn, yes......I still have the book and actually use it occasionally when I hit a block.....but back to the covered bridges.........

We arrived in Andover, site of the "Most Photographed" covered bridge in America, mid-morning and stopped at little country store to find directions. The GPS coordinates only taking us so far. We were told to "head on down the road a piece, about 3 miles or so, you will see it on the right" and off we went. Ten miles later, and a couple of u-turns, and photo stops, we realized we had gone to far. Turned around again, and stopped at a small house that advertised fresh Maine Maple syrup, but no one was home. Next door though, a women came out and gave us some good directions to find the bridge. Back on down the road we went, not really minding the long way as the colors of the trees, and the sites all around us were so amazing, and there was the sign, COVERED BRIDGE, oh! that sign! Seems we must have been looking at one of those beautiful trees when we went by the first, second and third time. Took a right and headed down a short way and there was the bridge. First of three that we would find on this trip. It was magnificent, and one of the few left that you can actually drive over. We drove through and then parked on the other side, a wooded area that was a likely place for summer swimmers and sunbathers as the sandy beach looked inviting even on the coolness of this day. We spent the better part of the next half hour taking photos from every angle, climbing up and looking out the small windows, envisioning what it must have been like for early settlers in the cold cold winters of Maine, crossing to get to the small town many miles down the road for supplies.

We were setting our camera up to do a time-delayed photo so that all of us could be in the shot, something that we actually mastered by the end of the trip, when a car was approaching to cross the bridge. We looked off to the east and a women was approaching on her bike and she put her hand out for the car to stop, the action saying to us with a smile "Wouldn't want to spoil your picture now". Kathy had a few more shots to take, and we noticed that the women was coming back over the bridge, a few pieces of torn cardboard in her hands. We started up a conversation...........

She had lived down the road for 54 years, and twice a day she made the pilgrimage to the bridge to pick up trash and make sure that is was in good order.... "Saved her one time from a fire ya know, the son and me" she tells us of the time that they thankfully were passing over and saw a smoldering timber, caused by juveniles she feels, burning their tires to leave a mark in this place of history. "The last time I cross it, they will be taking me to my grave" she tells us. I think that she is happy with this thought, her and bridge connected in many ways. She is a weathered women, and time has taken its toil as she struggles to climb back on her bike. We head back to the car, and wave as we leave. I don't think these bridges will just be a "Photo op" anymore. The history of each and every one will play out for us now.

Over the course of our travels we find two more bridges. Both spectacular in their own way. The oldest was found after traveling down a rutted dirt road for over 5 miles. It - to us - was the most spectacular and we picnicked on the shoreline of it's shade. Even though, the first bridge, Andover...... will be the one that stays in my memory the longest. The Keeper of The Bridge, the reason.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Marvelous Maine

We have made it up to Sara's, and the days are filled with laughter and joy. We arrived late yesterday after traveling up from Duxbury, Ma. We spent the days previously with my Aunt Sue having a wonderful time visiting Plymouth, Cape Cod and touring around the local area. I find it hard to describe the beauty of the trees on the drive north.......every shade of orange and yellow wrapped up in a big red scarf. Every time I think I have found my "perfect tree", the one that I will keep in my visions memory for weeks to come, we go around another corner and it is surpassed. The rolling hills, the grass so green, and the skies so very blue. It is truly a beautiful time of year to visit this area.

Today was on of those "make a memory" kinda days. Kathy, Charmaine and I spent the better part of the morning wandering around Downtown Brunswick while Sara and Cash were off at a play date with their local Mom's group. The downtown area is filled with quaint little shops of all kinds, cobblestone sidewalks and friendly shopkeepers. When Sara and Cash caught up with us we headed to the farmers market that was going on in the town common and after much contemplation, we decided that the Wild Maine Blueberry pie would be the one that would come home with us for tonight's dinner. The afternoon was spent with a picnic lunch and a short drive to Bailey's Island to see the rocky cliffs that make up the shoreline in this area. It was quite a contrast from the sandy calm waters that we had been walking on in Duxbury.

On the way home we took the back roads and stopped at Sara's favorite apple stand, but instead of picking up a gallon of cider from the roadside building, she grabbed a wagon and the next thing I knew we were walking through the orchards to the back acreage to pick our own apples. I hope that I keep the memory in my mind's eye forever of Cash taking a huge bite out of a sweet juicy Cortland apple fresh from the tree. We wandered through the trees for the better part of the hour picking the perfect apples to fill our bag to take home. Kathy has promised a pie, and we are going to hold her to it.

The dinner table was filled with conversation of our day as we tried to fill Travis in on all that we had seen and done. The blueberry pie is almost gone and the night is quiet. My heart is full......it sure is good to be with the kids.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cranberry Bogs

I have to admit, I didn't really know how cranberries found it from the field into my cupboard. On a beautiful sunny day we set out from my Aunt Sue's house in Duxbury, Ma. to find out. We traveled down the back roads, filled with beautiful trees, dressed in their fall wardrobe, until we found a cranberry bog. This one had already been harvested, but we got out of the car and proceeded to the bogs edge to see what the field looked like. There were still cranberries on the side of the field and we picked some up to take back to the house with us. I decided to venture into the field a little ways to get to a large pile of juicy red berries calling out to me, and found out why bog means "extremely soft soil filled with water!" With wet shoes and socks I climbed back in the car and we headed on down the road.

About a mile or so later we came across this field, in harvest mode. We parked at the end of the field and walked in about a half mile to where the action was. We spent the better part of the hour talking to the workers, and learning all about how they harvest the berries. They were using two different methods, flooding & dry harvest. They use the water method for the berries that will be used in sauces and juice, and the dry method for the fancy things, like chocolate covered cranberries. It was a great learning experience, and one of the highlights of my trip so far. This is the website of the company that we visited if you want to check it out. www.edgewoodbogs.com

Sunday, October 12, 2008

East Coast travels

We arrived in Boston bright and early on an absolutely gorgeous Fall day. Sun shining and cool breeze blowing we picked up the rental car and settled in for the short tunnel ride under the bay that would take us into the city. We had decided to take advantage of the early morning hour, 7am, and the fact that it was Sunday, to visit a few sites and hopefully avoid some crowds before we headed south to my Aunt Sue's home in Duxbury. I am traveling this trip with my very dearest friends Kathy and Charmaine. We have traveled many, many miles together over the last 20 years - and with common interests, love of history, gardening and antiques - it makes for a great trip.

We cruised around the downtown area and the financial district before the waterfront area called to all three of us, so after coffee fortification and a great breakfast at a local corner shop, we set out walking along the waterfront trail that leads towards the The North End. This area of Boston is made up of small blocks, all different shapes, and they don't really seem to connect in any certain pattern. What at first seemed to be a big puzzle though allowed us to saunter around at our own pace until we eventually saw some signs for the Freedom Trail. We followed those signs for the better part of the morning, humbled by the history presented before us. We stood in awe at the architecture that greeted us around every corner, the gardens that were cleverly tucked into tiny side yards, the colors of the trees as they displayed their Fall wardrobe, and the history that oozes out of every cobblestone. One of our most amazing moments was found at Copp's Hill Burial Ground, where Charmaine located one of her ancestors graves.

We ventured over to the Market area before leaving the city, and the empty streets that had greeted us early morning were now a thing of the past as it seemed that half of the cities population was out to enjoy the beautiful weather. We did get a great tour of Faneuil Hall and the Quincy Market before heading out of the city though. We could easily spend weeks here taking in all the sites and sounds of this beautiful historic city, but..........

It is on to Duxbury.....and the beauty of the sea that will greet us. Till then, Susan

(Pictures posted during this trip can be attributed to all three of us, but the best ones.....are Kathy's. )

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Giant Pumpkin

This years Giant Pumpkin arrived last week, huge as any we have had before. Scott Goodpasture, of Pioneer Farms, grows us a beautiful specimen every year on his land down on the river. We wait in anticipation to see what shape we will get and this year is a beauty. Thankfully we had some strong assistance the afternoon he arrived with it, thanks Dan, so we were able to get it off the truck with little trouble. It now graces the front of the store where it will be on display until the week before Halloween. Then it will be off to Michelle's house, where she will work her magic on it to create the largest Jack-O-Lantern in town.

Don't forget to stop by and guess it's weight. We are giving away two gift certificates this year, one for the adults, and one for the 12 and under group, to the person who guesses the closest to its actual weight. Scott even sealed up the envelope so we can't peek! We will be dividing up the seeds come spring, if you would like to try growing your own, just let us know. Happy Fall, Susan

Sing Along..........

Well.......................I wish I was an ......Oscar Meyer.......yeah...I am sure you know the rest of this little tune. We were traveling into Reno the other night for the Silver State Wine Tasting and as we entered downtown we were greeted on the right with this memory of our childhoods. Of course Michelle, Jaime and I had .............to stop and take a picture. Now if I could just get the song out of my head. Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 3, 2008

Red Zinnia, at last

Sometimes - in the back of your mind, lives a thought or dream. It can work its way to the surface many times, over the course of many months, and then for some reason it starts to take flight. Such is the story of Red Zinnia. Over the past few years, as we have expanded the offerings in the gift shop at The Flower Tree www.flowertreenursery.com we have wished for a space that would be separate from the garden center. I envisioned it in an old house, with creaky floors, and lots of light from old windows cleaned to a squeaky shine. When I was visiting Robert's Mom, Sharon, a few years ago she took me to such a shop. It was located on Jekyll Island not far from their home in Brunswick, Ga. It was made up of small rooms, each having their own distinctive feel, but cohesive at the same time. It was filled with lots and lots of books as well as an amazing selection of gifts for the home and I remember making a few purchases to take back to Nevada with me.

Fast forward to 2008 - many, many times I would throw it out to those with me in this little adventure called life, "Wouldn't it be nice to have a little wine shop?" ,"Wouldn't it be nice to own a bookstore", "Wow, don't you think we could have just a little gift shop in town if the right location came up?" Somehow, the right place never came up, until this winter. In walked Peggy Hernandez one late winter day, she was just doing a little shopping, and she asked me if I ever thought of opening another store. Marlea was working with me that day, and I turned around and looked at her with a little inside knowledge smile. "Yes, I have thought of it before, but there never seemed to be the right location in Fallon." She asked me if I would consider coming by and seeing what they were doing down on Taylor Street. She and her husband Steve were putting their heart and soul into opening a new restaurant called The Slanted Porch.

Eight months have now passed. Their restaurant has not only opened, but been a huge success in our town. Over that period of time we have patiently waited while the work was done on a little house behind the restaurant. A little house with creaky floors, and old windows that will soon be squeaky clean. Our store will be called Red Zinnia, and will be filled with books, gifts and wine. We are shooting for a November 8th opening, the week after we open the Holiday Room at The Flower Tree, always a much anticipated day. We aren't making another Flower Tree gift shop. Of that there can be only one.

The Red Zinnia, a dream that has taken flight. See you there soon, Susan.


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