Thursday, October 23, 2008

FDR, Seneca Wine Trail and a Glimpse of Rivendell

Before I left the Poughkeepsie area of New York I took my godmother's advice and stopped at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt library. This is the first Presidential library and the only one to be used by a President during his terms in office.

You drive into a great big estate and make your first stop in the new visitor's center. Above the service desk is a large sign which shows you the different tours and prices, as well as the times at which tours take place. I found this somewhat confusing. I had about an hour before I had to head to my shoot so I chose the general fee which allowed you to walk the grounds and enter some of the buildings. The gift store was one of few that made me want to purchase things. But I thought, I could always look online at a time when I had the dough to by something.

Making my way at back, I found the separate library building. Passing the statue of FDR's head I entered the door, showed my ticket and took a long look at the President's desk. On it was an organized clutter of the things he had on his desk at one time or another. Toys, office items, many things which had a specific story and some which were mysteries.

In another room you can see his study. I has a great big painting of his mother, book shelves, furniture from the 1700's, a replica (bummer) of the Washington desk he used and one of his actual wheelchairs. He did not tend to use those available at the time. Instead, he had an actual chair converted and made sure it had a swiveling ashtray.

Downstairs you find his Phaeton. FDR used to drive people around his estate and in order to do so, a mechanic converted the pedal controls to hand controls.

Back upstairs there are many display cases housing many different aspects of both Eleanor's and Franklin's lives. You can see his leg braces, with a note of specific adjustment instructions that he sent to his doctor. There is a family history, with portraits of different predecessors, locks of his old boyhood golden hair, his children's books and a separate case with doggie things. These belonged to his dog Falla. He was quite close to this black Scottie and it accompanied him on many Presidential trips. He can see three of his collars, dishes and a little 'foot.'

One of my favorite displays was the room devoted to Eleanor Roosevelt. The most beautiful woman in American History! Well, that might be an exaggeration, but few individuals move me as much as this woman. FDR was quite fortunate to have married her. She was the one with the worldly experience and compassionate awareness that helped to influence many of FDR's decisions. She was a character of incredible learning, restless drive and boundless compassion for other people.

During her marriage she did so much for the President, including coping with his wandering ways. During WWII, while many in our nation protested the use of black pilots, she championed the cause by actually going up in a plane with one of these Tuskegee Airmen! (Important note: so effective were these P-51 "Red Tailed Devils" that they never lost a single bomber they escorted! We had the only red tail P-51, which the Woodbury father crashed and died in the same year his son died when he crashed his F-18 in Iraq. Pardon that tangental...)

When FDR died, Eleanor discovered that he had died while with his mistress. It was then she also discovered he had many secret meetings with this woman and his accomplice was their own daughter. That woman's poor tortured heart!

Well, Eleanor had close companions herself and some of these relationships were with woman. What kind of relationships these were is open to speculation, but it also shows the degree of identification she had with the human struggle. African Americans, the handicap, homosexuals, the poor and the oppressed, all had this woman as a supreme advocate.

Finally, Eleanor single-handedly championed the cause of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This lone woman, in a sea of male world leaders, was the loudest and most outspoken leader. Even with the resistance of countries like the Soviet Union she was successful in ratifying the document. Her legacy is one which we still have fallen short of. But where is greater beacon of hope than in this woman's story!

They had a great deal on the industrial recovery act. The NIRA (from which our family got the name for our cafe/bar on 7th Street), helped jump us out of the depression. We may yet see a similar rallying cry in our current history coming from the next Presidency.

Their tombs are simple and their rose gardens were still in bloom. You can see the great view they had of the valley behind their mansion. There are statues of FDR and his friend Winston, who used to like to showcase his 'jumpsuits' to the U.S. press when he visited the estate.

There is much to see and I thank my godmother for telling me about it. It deserves much more time. And when you cross that Roosevelt bridge over the Hudson, the grand view of the valley hits you with such beautiful awe - the changing colors of leaves and the massive river, once the home of the only President to serve 4 terms in office!

Zooming up to the Finger Lakes region of New York brings you past vineyard after vineyard after vineyard. This region is perfect for the growing of the Reisling grapes and this white wine abounds.

This lakes are called "Fingers" based on the Native American creation story of the creator's hand making the long indentations. Lake Seneca is over 600 feet deep!!!

The lakes sit down in a gigantic depression. Up on either side of the lake are the vineyards, resorts and rental properties. I was shooting and staying at one of the most popular. A place that was made from a previously existing Franciscan monestery. Upon the grounds were Roman and Greek statues such as the Venus de Milo and a rear garden of gelded bushes encircling bocce ball and croquet lawns. By the pool stood large concrete urns atop pillars and the whole property looked down upon the lake.

The owners were owners of a furniture company. You cannot by a piece of this furniture for less thatn $1,000.

The room in which I was staying was furnished with this Mission Oak style. I was lucky enough to be staying in the loft. This room had a kitchen and a big living room. You took two steps up to get into the separate bed chamber and there was another stairway to the open loft. These were the tope center windows of the building.

There were many pictures of the owner with famous celebrities such as the Clintons, Wynton Marsalis, Bill Cosby and many other politicians, conductors and world celebrities. The owner was so pleasant and kind, it only helped to add the my enjoyment of the experience. I just wish I had more time there, to read a book up in the loft, consume the complimentary wine and peak out the windows, down to the garden below.

But shooting calls and I was set up for a meeting at two different wineries. This first was the most popular on the stretch and I got a quick tour of the grape vines and watched as they pressed grapes. I grabbed a bite to eat, looked down at Seneca and drove to the next brewery.

The second, while not as large, was much more friendly and informative. (When I asked the tasting room manager for a abbreviated version of the wine making process, he just looked at me with disdain and said that it was barely possible to do that on an actual tour! Thanks buddy. I'll be sure to give you a much smaller plug.) Well, at this second winery I was brought out to this fellows garden. Some of it was just for fun and ambiance. You could tell he really loved his little garden! The moonflowers which bloom at night and fill the air with fragrance! The Hyacinth pods -great big purple things which climb a structure like 'Jack and the Beanstalk!' He also had a educational example of rows of the different varieties of grapes they grew at the vineyard.

He brought me over to the fermentation tanks, great shiny things, each with a chrome-like dimpled band around them. These help to regulate the temperature and affect the fermentation process. Inside he brought me to the winery masters, at work beginning the fermentation process by hosing water on the outside of the tanks. I saw the crates of purplish foamy fermentation and filmed it while he gave me an overview.

I wish we had a full crew - videographer, talent and director. With one person all you can do is man that camera and do your best to capture video of the scene, the guide, his narration and provide feeding questions throughout the shoot. You could not have asked for a better tour, however! Friendly, action-filled, informative, well-lit and with a smooth flow.

That night I had a dinner reservations awaiting me. A harp was playing and couples were lovey-dovey and soft-spoken in the candle light. The room was converted from the chapel. I looked at the single menu and began to be overcome with fright. It was $60 a person! This way exceeded my limit. So, I was polite and ordered from the four-course menu. But with each course I choked down, my nerves made me unsettled. I knew it wouldn't be a huge deal, but still, $70 with tip at least! Who can afford this, especially in today's economy! Is this right?! Well, the liberal tendencies in me started thinking about what could be done with that money. Started thinking of the contradiction of a place once filled with Franciscans, that order who believed in living a life of poverty above all other things!

As I listened to the pluck of the harp strings and ate with the mechanical and purposeful etiquette called for by the setting, I was eventually approached by the waitress who said I was all set. The meal was compliments of the house.

I retired to my chambers. The place was beautiful. I have to say it has been my favorite yet. It was simple, beautiful and unique. I felt respected by the spirits of the place and gave them back a mutual respect tenfold. Such a room must have been the quarters of the Monsignor, or whichever head body presided there.

As I laid in bed, I left a little tiffany lamp on. It illuminated a picture labled 'Firenze' and beheld a Medieval bearded monk, at study with his head resting on his fist and gazing out at me as I slept.

I shot to yet another historic building built in the 1830's. It was a long shoot, but my room was a gigantic four post bed, draped in flowing fabric. The view was fabulous, though the weather had kicked up a nasty blowing rain and temperatures that chilled you to the bone.

I arose around four for a long drive to Oswego on Lake Ontario. It was dark, the wind and rain wipped at the car and I wondered when the heck the sun was going to rise! This was simple fishing-lodge-like property with taxidermied bears, deer and fish. It was right near 3 nuclear power plants that evidentaly go into outage frequently. The reason is that the don't seem to be able to keep people in the area due to the excessively high property tax.

After that shoot I sped back down to Canandaigua (rounding out 2,000 miles driven for this trip) in time for my next shoot only to discover they decided that they didn't want to shoot since they weren't ready. This was quite rude and there would be no guarantee that we'd be back this way any time soon. But, it gave me more time to get to the next place. This next place was in Ithaca and had actually offered to put me up for an additional night. So, I checked into another nice, but contemporary resort.

Beforehand I was able to visit Rivendell (Lord of the Rings Reference). There were a series of short steps from the parking lot that looked down and across a great chasm. On the far side was a thin band of waterfall, that fell hundreds of feet from the equal height below to the rocks below. The scene was speckled with the oranges of turning trees, the flutter of passing birds and falling leaves. You could see the final days of the elven kingdom full of beauty and a graceful sorrow like you'd see at passing of a dear friend, who's time had come. I'd never seen a falls like that.

Ithaca is a college town. With historical houses and tall scenic structures built right into the hills surrounding the lake. The downtown is a bustling center of hip college students with the 2008 fashion-styles of boot cut jeans and sneakers, scarves, off-center visored stocking caps, moppy hair, hoodies and untucked dress shirts.

I was yearning for Asian food and found perfection. It was a Korean restaurant with chopsticks already sitting on the table a wonderful menu of enticing concoctions and Asian cliental. I ordered something new to me, it's name escapes me, but it was stir-fried beef and onions in a red houses sauce. I ordered some miniature shrimp dumplings and within five minutes of placing my order, the sizzling metal plate came out, with an army of little cups of pickled onions, sautead tofu, cabbage and other such curious delicacies. Spectacularly yummy! Flavorful and spicey and it led my nose to run but I did not find the need to retreat to my water.

Within a a span of twenty minutes I had ordered and consumed the most satisfying meal in weeks and weeks. I did not feel bloated and regretful but instead was at the height of satisfaction. Leave it to such a place where you can order a complexity of tastes, be served quickly, eat with a zest and frivolity with such flavors, with the aid of chopsticks enhances, and feel like you've never been more satisfied in your life!

The following day with shoot finished, Treman Park and the surrounding falls were paid a visit and the Paleontological Museum was too.

As far as meals that are memorable, it's often the smaller, less-advertised joints that really impress. Like the duck hash at the Tree House in Kennebunkport, the salmon chowder at the Rowan Tree in York Harbor or the feast at the Asian Cuisine in Ithaca. Small espresso-serving cafes, are nice places to catch something a little more healthy and it's easy to find the best place in town by having it 'greet' you. It stands out, believe me!

There has been a lot of beauty on this trip from the heights of Arcadia in Bar Harbor, to the changing leaves alon the Kanc highway in New Hampshire, routes through Connecticut and the Hudson Valley of New York. The waterfalls in the Finger Lake region are breathtaking, one after the other. All in all, autumn is a perfect time to head out in this direction. While you risk being hit with the fast-advancing winter, the reward is in the views of surroundings you will find nowhere else.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Catching a Case of Kankamagus, Salem Gloomies & Finding Home

The town of York, Maine had colonial history, a yummy cafe and a great ocean view. What more could you ask for? The cemetery was located at the site of a large massacre by the Abenaki Indians in 1691. The tombstones dated back to the early 1700's.

It was then to Chocorua, New Hampshire. The drive was into the forests to a bed and breakfast along a bend in the river along the Chocorua River. After a stay and shoot of the charming place it was off, northwards to Lincoln. I wanted to see the Kancamagus Highway, supposed to be on of the most scenic drives in America. I'm glad my aunt told me of it, otherwise I might have missed it. It dropped down along a rushing river and looked up at steep cliffs and mountainous hills.

Lake Chocourua was silent and reflected the mountaintop of its namesake. An old splintered tree stood in the foreground and a lone kayaker paddled in the remote distance. It was very much worth the drive!

The last morning in Maine began with a shoot that brought me out onto the the wave-slammed rocks of the Marginal Way. The morning had brought in some wind and sporadic rain, creating a scene I had hoped to see whilst in this northern coastal state.

I was out on a branch of sharp rock, some ten to twenty feet above the water and the rolling waves came slamming into the base, shooting spray up and over. The noise was fantastic and all I really wanted to do was stand out on the edge and let the white waters crash around me. Alas, work to do. I shot video of it but only had my phone to snap a quick pic.

I departed the gray of Ogunquit, an up-scale tourist area, just south of Kennebunkport. It was time to head to Boston, pick up my cousin, a fellow video-hound at WGBH and then, Salem.

The underground tunneling maze of Boston was a new experience for me. I had my GPS but found that it got scrambled beneath the concrete caves. With the traffic and the quickly oncoming exits I found myself having to take a second pass to get it right.

From WGBH we went in the direction of Salem. Since there was only time enough to shoot one location I thought it appropriate to shoot Salem at its busiest time of year. I may have some childhood memories of witch-related images in my head, but can't recall any specifics.

We parked the car and then poked around.

Salem is the place that was hit with witch hysteria in the early 1690's. There happened to be politics brewing between the farming and merchant class. Soon, the Revered Parris had taken sides. When accusations of witchcraft arose, trials began, resulting in the arrest and deaths of dozens, some by hanging, pressing and exposure to the elements while in jail. As fingers started pointing a little too close to those in power, the hunt came to an end. To this day researchers speculate about why the accusers did what they did. Was it moldy bread that created hallucinations or mass hysteria that drove people to believe they saw people flying and afflicting them at night? Regardless, it was one of the grossest episodes of persecution in history.

But scary skeletons and Wiccan gatherings are so much cooler than that! And where else can you wear black every day of the week and be fashionable?! You will have to pardon the sarcasm, but we felt a very nasty vibe in that town. I should begin by saying that we met some really cool and friendly people in that town on the way out! But many of our first interactions involved people being openly rude beyond the norm.

They've really capitalized on the whole 'spooky witch' thing. Many of those of the Wiccan persuasion consider this Mecca and Halloween celebrations and ghost tours are very popular.

We visited the cemetery, grabbed some food (sweet potato fries) and did shots all throughout the town. As we head out of town a hustler for a freak show saw our camera and just had to do a plug. We were more than happy to get him in the lense. He hammered a nail into his nasal cavity and my cuz pulled it out. Good stuff!

After dropping off my cousin I head out of town. Both in and out I had passed by the illuminated Fenway, where the playoffs were taking place. In addition to the tunnel I became proficient driving in Boston rush-hour. Weaving the full-size Grand Marquis in the herring bone flow of traffic felt good. Waiting through a series of red to green sequences of stoplights didn't feel so great. But one way or another, I would see Cape Cod that evening.

One thing I learned, and learned it the hard way, was how quickly the tolls sucked through available cash. I hit a toll with no cash in hand. (I had always wondered what would happen in that type of situation.) Well, the woman in the toll both gave me an envelope to fill out and in the rush I inquired to how one goes about getting an EZ pass. She procedes to tell me that you get it online and they mail it out to you and you put it on your windshield. "You have one right there!" What I didn't realize is that my rental car came equipped with the EZ Pass. You simply pull the slide towards you. This way you can ease through the toll lane and when you see a green light, continue on. I was amazed that there was no honking behind me, no angry toll worker. Sometimes you learn things the hard way. But at least now I know!

I was in Cape Cod for only an evening and the beginning of a morning. The weather was warm and moist with a breeze coming over Hyannis harbor. My lodging and appointment was right across from the docks, so the feel of the Cape was in a stone's throw.

I wanted to make Callicoon, New York following my shoot. It would be nice to explore the Cape but the five and a half hour drive would be over more quickly if I head out ASAP. Besides, the Cape needs some quality time. I was fortunate enough to spend time out there when I was little and grew up with many echoes of the region.

Callicoon is on the border of Pennsylvania and is known to sit in the 'Bocce Belt.' The place I shot seemed to accentuate that. In fact the decore did not sit so well with the manager I was working with but the Italian-American's seemed to love it!

Next, it was time to hit my birthplace. As the next day's shoot was in the vicinity, I drove to the Hudson Valley, where West Point sits along the Hudson.

I tried to enter the gate but was turned away without an appointment. I know we were able to enter when I was little, but September 11 must have changed things. I could have called ahead and schmoozed my way in like usual with the camera, but not this time. Instead, I head down to my first neighborhood, Highland Falls.

Of all the beautiful fall foliage I have seen, the Hudson Valley seemed the most beautiful. I liken the autumn drive to cruising through a bowl of Fruity Pebbles (but you may need to kick out out of few of the purple ones.) It has seemed too consistent to be real at times. It's easy to be impressed with a few clumps of nice colors mixed in with the drab. But through Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and now New York, I have seen the fall colors at their peak of perfection.

In the Hudson Valley the mountains are almost completely covered with trees and instead of rolling, gradual rises like in the Poconos, there are sharply rising domes and series upon series of valleys and peaks. At times the rock is so shear that it exposes a gray cliff that cuts clean from the trees. The Hudson river runs through all of this.

You can look down upon West Point from the heights above. It makes you think about how important the river was in making inroads into this place and how much sense it made to build a fort here. During the American Revolution the British realized if they could take the Hudson they would have severed the head of the Revolution (New England) from the remaining colonies and the war would be over. Well, we kept Fort West Point but just barely. Washington gave command of the fort into the hands of his most trusted fellow General, Benedict Arnold. But by then Arnold had been so slighted by our government and had married a British sympathizer. Arnold let the for go to ruin and was about to hand it over to the British when his planned was discovered, just in time!

It is a sad chapter and Arnold would have likely been one of our greatest heroes had history not had taken such a different course. But the fort stayed in our hands and later became the United States Military Academy.

When Vietnam came about it just so happened my dad got stationed there. Then, I was born there. The first hands on my head were those of a Major. The ghosts of General Washington, Lee and Arnold whispered in my ear, "Remember Us!" To be near a great river and a river valley would be sated only in places such as this or the Mississippi river valley! ;)

The downtown stretch of Highland Falls has quite a few businesses across from the great big West Point Museum. Inside the museum there was wings that focused on West Point History, American Wars and the like. I had lunch in the Park restaurant. It was a popular, cozy and down-to-earth local place with a huge menu and these cool moon-shaped leather booths.

Across from me was a young female cadet and her mother. A few things really struck me, one being that old historic gray cadet uniform. Another was that it was a female. It's amazing how the male only tradition has changed within my lifetime. And finally, was how young these cadets appear. I mean, yeah, they are just out of high school. But for some reason, the fact that they are military cadets puts it into a different perspective. Then again, I am getting old. In fact, I am ten years older than my folks were when they were out here! Now if that doesn't make one feel aged!

Finally, the task of finding my first home! Through piecing together my folk's good memory and some exploring of my own I found it. They were the buildings that originally housed J.P. Morgan's horses and carriages. Ours was the carriage house. It composed of a front room with a bay window, a bedroom and a small hallway where I slept. Of course, I have no memory of any of this, but it was something pretty see. It had become run-down since my folks lived there and there was a couple that was arguing about their food stamps and stuff as they entered their apartment. But I did meet an overly friendly fellow that confirmed the location and the history and volunteered a view of his place.

There was a creek that ran beneath a bridge and over the bedrock, dropping down to the Hudson. I walked down and videoed it, spending time to listen to the sounds of the place. You could hear the trains that ran along the Hudson and the rushing of the steady stream. At the end of the road you could see the great big Hudson and the tree-topped mountains all around.

I'm sorry that I didn't have time to stop in the parts of New Hampshire where my Great Grandfather immigrated to when a teenager, but that will come another day.

Tomorrow is another shoot and then another long drive to the Finger Lakes region. But one more day closer to being back in my own home near my own river valley!

Monday, October 13, 2008

All Sail Set!

An individual somewhat cringed when he heard I was headed to Old Orchard. In his opinion, it was an obnoxious place. He thought it a place like St. Pete's Beach or Fort Meyers. Need a shirt was a nice slogan?

Having visited the place I'd have to agree somewhat. I mean, it's Maine, so it has a beauty to it, no matter the level of touristy trappings. I did feel as though I was back in Florida. There was a great, long sandy beach and the motel that I stayed at didn't have much resemblance to the stylish or historic resorts that populate much of the coast. Down near the pier is a collection of beach stands and a junior version of Coney Island, that was shut down for the season.

I caught lunch at Jimmy the Greeks. My interest in the place was obvious, but as I approached the entrance some bikers cat-called at a woman's keister. Yep, I knew what kind of place this was. They might deserve some slack, being that it was near Octoberfest, but it does seem like more than one Italian and Greek joint appeals to the biker crowd. Inside, ouzo and Greek salad was about the extent of their Greek offerings. So, I had both. There's something I find yummy in that strong anise (black licorice) flavor of ouzo. And if you ever burp it up, the anise flavor is so strong that it hides any disagreeable flavor!

I shot over to the Nubble lighthouse, one of the most popular on the coast of Maine. It sat on the top of an island that was separated slightly from the shore by a channel. The sun was warm and people were enjoying the day. There was a wedding party doing their shoots, kids crawling in the rock crevices and plenty of couples sharing the moment. One had even set up their folding chairs on the rocks and were reading the paper. Most stayed in the parking lot area and gazed across, so there remained places where you could walk and enjoy some alone time.

After some more shooting, I head back for a lazy run on the Atlantic sand beach. A little Vangelis provided a perfect musical score. The moon was rising as the waves came in. I ran to catch the last rays of the setting sun.

The next day it was down to York Harbor, an inviting village of pristine colonial resorts. The inn I shot was a collection of centuries-old houses, a basement tavern designed with magnificent woodwork. You immediately felt as though you were below deck of a ship. Across the way was a park that overlooked the beaches and arching bay below. Kayakers and fishing boats set out to the waters beyond. The sun was bright and the warmth made everything alive.
I got the experience of a New England traffic jam. The two-lane route was backed up
the direction that I was going - Kennebunkport. So, instead of the projected 25 minutes, it took an hour.

Upon pulling into Kennebunkport, you immediately get the idea that this is a huge tourist attraction. I had heard beforehand that this was quite the upscale destination. It centers around a harbor area. You drive over a bridge and cross the Kennebunk river which connects to the ocean. As you look out towards the ocean side, there are fishing, recreational and tour boats anchored in the harbor. The tidal flow moves in every six hours and causes the harbor to rise and fall about 10 feet.

The downtown is packed full of shops. If you are a shopper of nick-nacks, art and clothing on the pricier end of things, you'd like this place. There are quite a few restaurants, most offering seafood specialties. But you can find some less expensive food in little shacks and some have daily specials that offer things such as pizza for around $10. There is also at least two little cafes offering coffee, muffins and the like.

I was shooting a spectrum of lodgings and took time in-between to explore. Initially, I dismissed the place as a rich-person haven. And, while it is, I was able to find some cool offering after some more poking around.

For my only day without a property shoot this trip I chose to find an activity that would highlight one of the best excursions you could find here - sailing upon a schooner!

Prior to setting sail, I focused on what I thought the most striking characteristic of Kennebunkport, the colonial houses. Since they were mostly built in the time before and after the American Revolution, they were of Georgian and Federalist design. Three to four-story houses, with shuttered windows, hipped roofs, and prominent brick chimneys. It could not be a better day, sunny and with leaves at their peak! As I overheard one gentleman exclaim, "September and October. This is why we live in New England!"

Down at the docks I boarded the schooner Eleanor, based off a 1935 design. With both aft motor and bow thrusters we spun around and motored out of the bay. We passed the Bush's large, three-engined sport boat and killed the engine once out of the river. With one captain and one crew the four sails were raised and we caught the wind. The Eleanor cut through the smooth sea. The wind was perfect. I shimmied about the deck, getting shots from the bow and beneath the masts. Other ships were out sailing in the late afternoon sun. This would be the final sail of the Eleanor for the season and I counted myself lucky to be on board.

When we returned, I said my goodbyes and head to end the day with another iconic Maine event - the eating of lobster. Having studied the paper placemat instructions that adorn many Maine tables, I felt I was prepared to dive in. I cracked the 'crusher' and 'pincer' claws and pulled out the meat. I ripped off the tail from the body, pulled off the end of the tail and pushed out that meat. Sucking the juices from the little legs I saved the 'best' for last. Opening the body exposed what some consider to be the 'delicacy' of the lobster, the tomalley. I first questioned the big blob of green cottage cheese and then slurped some of it up. Delicacy? Hmm. I think I enjoyed the meat the best. But does an amateur know?

After shoots the following day I took a short drive down the coast to view Walker's Point, where George H.W. Bush has his summer home. It is a pretty place, built in the early 1900's by the Walker family. Bush spent many summers here and several world leaders have visited. There is a pull-off which gives you a good view. You can see the flag pole flying the American and Texan flag and another I could not recognize. I admired the building, location and the little spinning windmill. It felt somewhat solemn and I imagined that no Bush residence has been a happy one as of late. I wished them the best and continued back into town for some scallops. Scallops are pronounced with an 'awl' instead of 'Al.' Scawllops. Scaaawlops.

Finally, there is a Franciscan monestery on the other side of Kennebunkport which called for a visit. Though closed I knelt below the illuminated Virgin Mary and said a few prayers. On the altar was an assorted of all kinds of offerings from guitar pics to gemstones. I had nothing to offer but instead traced some latin and Sindarin on the altar. Before the monastery stood St. Anthony and the customary baby Jesus in his arms. Saying a final goodnight to my patron saint I head back to get some sleep.

Tomorrow is Kennebunkport, York Harbor and Chocorua, New Hampshire. A busy day but its wonderful to be moving on again!

And oh, catch this, I was able to watch both the Minnesota Senatorial debate and the Wild beat the Bruins in the same evening. All the way out here in Kennebunkport!