New England Vacation
I’ll be going to New England on Labor Day weekend for the second year. I’ve always loved New England since I was eight years old, having never been there until I was into my thirties. My best friend from childhood grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Florida just for one year when I was in third grade. Her father, a Harvard graduate, left behind a book “Mysteries & Adventures Along The Atlantic Coast” By Edward Rowe Snow that would capture my dream of forever experiencing every nook and cranny I could possibly explore in New England. I began reading every book I could find on marine biology and mysterious happenings on the Northern Atlantic Ocean.
That summer would be the last innocent childhood I can wrap my memory around as the perfect life I had been leading as a child in the 60’s. The beginning of the school year busing in Florida started and our neighborhood was hit hard. Most of my neighborhood friends were put into the elite private schools. I would hear their private van service pick them up every morning as I would stand in a church parking lot waiting for the city school bus to whisk me away to the worst section of the city as I had over heard my mom say over the phone angrily to any one who would answer her phone calls. The neighborhood the bus drove through was a culture shock. Once I was inside the school I think I was as scared as the other kids were. We may have heard what all of our parents had been saying about each other. But I saw we all had the same curiosity and nervous side way glances and after a brief week or two we were all just kids doing what kids do. I remember one difference we realized about each other was our hair – it was very different. My new friend tried to braid my long blond hair like hers and it just wouldn’t work. Our classroom was an experience I’ll never forget.
I have mixed feelings about busing in the 60’s and 70’s. I lost a lot of friendships in my neighborhood. I have no idea if it accomplished what it attended to do. I hit a very bad depression that year I’m sure not as a result to the school displacement. I was on medication for an ulcer, my father was drinking, brother started smoking pot, sister started being reclusive and my mother buried herself in school and teaching related activities. My sanctuary was my dream of going to New England as I would begin a strategy of earning money any way possible at the age of nine.
New England 2009
Last year Lisa and I went to Block Island first. Apparently I am a tad bit freaked out driving a Vespa scooter. I would do quite well if there were no cars on the road – I really believe this! So I was the passenger. I loved the beach at the tip of the island. The rocks had so many colors that I had to take some back with us, which added more weight to our transportation. I love rocks but I don’t think Lisa is that into rocks, especially when I’m taller than she is and adding rocks to our backpack, plus me behind her traveling down a small road with cars present, isn’t her idea of “fun”. She’s a trooper though. Block Island is 9.734 sq. miles with 28% set aside for conservation and the rest for the rich, although last year there seemed to be a lot of the “rich” selling off their summer homes. I feel for them, truly. I guess the Hampton house’s survived another year! The Bed and Breakfast establishment we stayed in was cool. In the room there was a crystal decanter of brandy with glasses for a nightcap. Lisa declined to share in my “new” nightcap tradition. We had already had a few drinks, but I had to take my medication for the night and this was a beverage of high standards! And it is so very wrong to take my nightly handful of sedatives, antipsychotics and antidepressants with liquor! It is as prescribed! I just have to stray from the norm while on vacation! Before I could even ask, Lisa said “No” I could not fill my water bottle for tomorrow with this lovely offering of spirits. I know – someone has to be my moral compass from time to time.
It’s easier to paste this information than to describe it.
“Monhegan is a small, rocky Island ten miles from the nearest mainland and scarcely a square mile in area. It is accessible only by boat and there are no cars or paved roads on the Island. Since long before the explorer John Smith visited it in 1614, it was known to Native Americans as a prime fishing area, and today its economy is still ruled by those who make their living from the sea, fishing and lobstering. The year-round population has seldom exceeded 65 in recent times. “
We took a ferry to Monhegan Island which dropped us off on a wooden landing. There were no Bell Hops to gather our luggage. I looked at Lisa and asked where our hotel was. She nodded to this cute 3 story large establishment directly up the gravel road from where we were dropped off from the ferry. I asked if we really had to bring our luggage all the way up to the Hotel, emphasizing “UP” and she gave me the same “look” my daughter gives me at times! I couldn’t believe they have the same “look”! Both Lisa and my daughter have been single for a while and probably don’t care about their luggage and further more, don’t care about the condition of the little wheels beneath the luggage. I think about these things. I’m the one at the airport who never has to put my luggage up on the baggage x-ray thing or overhead because there is always a male who is always there before I even try to do it. I do try, but it just doesn’t get high enough. So now Lisa is waiting for me to come to the conclusion that my luggage has to get from point A to point B and I will have to decide when this will happen. And…Lobstermen do not give a rat’s ass about the wheels on MY luggage!!! As elderly, spry men and women pass us, I have made a decision – I will somehow get my luggage up the mountain, O.K., hill and be done with it. It truly is a distance and you can Google it! However the worst is yet to come and I know Lisa knew it!
The cute 3 story hotel? Our room is on the 3rd floor!!!! I ask where the elevator is. Elevator?? Of course there is no elevator! Bell Hop? I’m looking around because we are spending a small fortune and sharing a bathroom…Lisa chimes in, I’ll carry your bag up. Shit! So I lug the bag and smile while I mutter every cuss word I can think of ignoring all of the old people who have already made the heroic climb up these stairs. I still cannot believe there is no elevator!
The first thing we did on the island was to hike through the forest where there are fairy houses the size of tiny doll houses placed amongst the forest floor. Lord knows why they are there, but you are not to touch or add to the houses. I’m actually going to make two fairy houses before I come up this year. One will be Christmas themed, all decked out and another one will be painted in paint that glows in the dark. It will be freaky! Fairy houses are a very sensitive subject on the island, so I’ll have to be careful when I place my special houses so that no one will smash them. This happens, especially if they are made of sea shells. They don’t believe that the ocean should be brought into the forest. I will respect their sensitivities. Lisa and my daughter will have to look the other way – they are so by-the-book at times!
The ocean views are spectacular on Monhegan Island! If it’s not raining, we will spend half the day sitting on the cliffs just taking in the scenery and the crashing waves. I can never get enough of the ocean. I’ve lived in the desert, south central, USA and in the south-east and nothing compares to the northeast like Maine. I’ve been told the sunsets are absolutely fabulous. I unfortunately drank three small glasses of wine while waiting for this experience and have no unearthly idea how I ended up three flights of stairs into our room all by myself – and safely I might add! But I will certainly experience the sunset this year. Lisa and my daughter will cut me off after my first glass. Amazing how eating such little food can create such a memory loss. I believe we’ll be there September 4th if it does not rain. I’ll be leaving here August 31 which is another story for later.