Saturday, July 4, 2009

New Friends...the Atlantic Ocean...and Maine

2 July 2009 Westfield, MA to Haverhill, MA via New Hampshire 130.2 miles

We met some new friends today…Bruce Marshall and Cookie Smith of Haverhill, MA. Bruce and Cookie are members of the Massachusetts Minutemen Model A Club, and own three A’s: a 1930 slant windshield Cabriolet, a 1930 Coupe, and a 1930 station wagon, which he is in the process of restoring…almost complete. Bruce has been following our blog for a while, and when he realized we were headed their way on the way to Maine, they offered us a place to stay and a shared meal. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

What a wet, dreary day! We left Westfield with a drizzling mist, and it continued to rain or mist almost all day long. I don’t think we had any sunshine at all. We continued north northeast through forested hills, state forests, and small towns…sometimes the town consisted of 2-3 houses grouped together…until we hit the New Hampshire border about 45 miles into the trip. This was not our initial plan to go this far north, but this is the route that Hannah (our GPS) directed us on when we plugged in least use of freeways, and route around big cities. We desperately wanted to see Boston—we were told there is a BIG celebration for the 4th—but we didn’t want to try it in the A with holiday traffic. We will definitely put it on our list of places to come back to…

We stopped along the way periodically to stretch our legs as we traveled through the towns of Jaffery and Peterburough, and finally for lunch in Wilton, NH. We had quite the conversation with people sitting at 3 other tables, and the waitress (who pulled the cook out from the back and told the other patrons about the old car out front)! By the time we left, I think everyone in the restaurant knew about our journey…you know how Dave’s voice carries…

Bruce met us in Milford, NH, and led our mini caravan back to Haverhill, MA, in the Merrimack Valley. We had a great visit with Bruce and Cookie over a wonderful dinner and made plans to head up to Maine tomorrow. After dinner, we took a short ride in the station wagon. This was only the 2nd wagon I've seen...Bruce said they have 9 or 10 in their club.
3 July 2009 Haverhill, MA to Bath, Maine 144 miles

We got an early start today, mostly because we were not sure what the traffic would be like heading up the coast the day before the holiday…we figured early morning was better than late afternoon. Bruce and Cookie joined us for a short two-car tour up to Kittery, Maine, (Cookie’s hometown) since they knew the back roads and the way to some amazing scenic spots along the way.

We crossed the Merrimack River numerous times on our way to the coast, where it dumps into the Atlantic Ocean near Newburyport. We made a left turn…no view of the Atlantic yet…and headed north a bit before we actually got to see the ocean. I felt myself getting a little emotional here, first, because this was my (and Dave’s) first glimpse of the Atlantic—ever!—and second, because we actually made it coast to coast. We traveled along Hwy 1, then turned off onto, I think, 1B, which Bruce told us was the “old” Highway 1, and drove right along the coast, with great views of the ocean, glimpses of some grandiose homes near Rye, NH, and plenty of photo ops. And…something we haven’t seen in the last few days…a few rays of sunshine!

We crossed into Maine at Kittery, across a great NH Memorial Bridge (for WWI soldiers) and traveled through the old waterfront until we got to a good stopping place for both cars. It was here that we said our good-byes to Bruce and Cookie…Thank you for the wonderful hospitality and a great tour today!…and continued on our solo journey north.

A surprise offer…

We had made reservations at Hermit Island Campground, which is just south of Bath, Maine, with the hopes that the weather would clear for the weekend. We were hoping to see my cousin David and his wife Michelle and family who, by the way, live in Bath in a sea captains house built in 1844-- but didn’t want to disrupt their plans for the weekend…it just didn’t make sense to travel all the way to Maine, at not say hi.

David called on Thursday night to offer us an alternative to camping. Michelle’s family owns a cabin that her Great Grandfather built in 1926 on the Maine coast. It sits on five acres, on a penninsula, ocean front, and is very secluded—a dirt road in. Family members decided at the last minute to spend the weekend in Boston, so Michelle cleared it with them and offered us the use of it!

Brightwater is a cabin in an enchanted forest…I’m not sure how else to describe it: Loamy earth along the pathway in, ferns growing on the forest underground, mossy pathways. The pictures can probably show it better than my words.

What a treat…we will use this time to relax and gear up for the journey home. We’re meeting David and daughter Isabelle tomorrow, if the weather is nice enough, to take the boat out to “the best lobster around.” David said it is about an hour boat ride, and then we dock where the lobstermen pull in and their wives have steaming pots ready to cook the fresh caught lobster for you. I can’t wait! Michelle, and 10-week old Rose will go by car and meet us there.

Happy 4th of July!

4 July 2009 Brightwater ---The enchanted cabin on the Maine coast...

We've been sitting on the porch, watching a thunderstorm build and approach from across the bay. The temperature dropped, the wind picked up, and then the rain hit...not a mere sprinkle, but a downpour. It didn't last long...the sky is lighter now, and the rain has moved on...the thunder is rumbling in the east. All is well for now...

We're at our third corner turning point, so we'll begin heading west tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. HENRY:
    We love your 4th of July hat!!
    J & M