14
October
2 Comments
Posted in Exploring, People make the place

People make the place

It’s funny how easy it is to go through life just being the star of your own TV show. You focus on family, work, problems, solutions—until that’s all that’s on your screen; it fills your field of vision and you think that’s the whole world. Some people are so engaged with helping others they can avoid this […]

6
October
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Posted in Finding history, The Northeast

Seventh great

In the late 1800s, there were just pockets of interest in preserving historically significant architecture. Widespread preservation movements didn’t gain momentum in the US until the 20th century, but before that there were some who recognized the historical importance of buildings of the earliest settlers and the need to save them before they were torn […]

29
September
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Posted in Along the way, Exploring, The Northeast

Along the way: The Northeast

On the last day of August, we completed 13 weeks of our yearlong adventure. And in Lubec, Maine, we turned the corner to head south along the eastern seaboard. It’s astonishing to me that we’re more than a quarter of the way along already; it feels like we’ve been careening across the northern US, every […]

22
September
1 Comment
Posted in Exploring, Finding history, The Northeast

Mt. Desert Island, rich with irony

In a shop in Bar Harbor, on Mt. Desert Island in Maine, you can buy a postcard with a painting by Frederic Edwin Church. It’s partly thanks to this image that I can’t find a parking spot here. In about 1845,  Church wasn’t yet the household name he was to become; he was an “intern,” newly apprenticed to Thomas […]

17
September
2 Comments
Posted in Exploring, Finding history, The Northeast

The northernmost Civil War skirmish

In the fall of 1864, the South was becoming desperate. The tide of battle was turning against the Confederates: their cities were burning; their armies were running out of food, guns and soldiers; their currency was all but worthless. It was dawning on many that the North, with its industrial might, would prevail. Desperate times call for unusual […]

14
September
Comments Off on ‘Aunt’ Jess Guernsey’s discovery
Posted in Drive-by geology, Exploring, The Northeast

‘Aunt’ Jess Guernsey’s discovery

How can you spend any time in the Flume Gorge at Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire and not feel a sudden interest in geology coming on? When nature presents you with chasms of towering cliffs and plunging water, who can help but be curious about the awesome forces that shaped this landscape? Then you run smack […]

5
September
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Posted in Exploring, Finding history, The Northeast

Small fort, big fights

A few nights ago, reading David Bornstein’s “How to Change the World” (about social entrepreneurs), this line popped out at me, referring to breakthroughs in the last 50 years that have redefined our lives. “The biggest change is simply that people live longer and have far more freedom to think about things other than staying […]

31
August
2 Comments
Posted in Exploring, Oddities

The state we’re in

Having been a west-coaster (that’s ‘west-coaster’, not ‘wet coaster’) all my life, and until recently having roamed the country mostly by dropping into cities to work for a few hours or days, I’ve always had an idle theory (some would say prejudice): that people on the coasts tend to move around more, and people in the […]

Along the way: More Great Lakes, rivers, and islands

  Wow, there are a lot of lakes around here, and therefore rivers feeding them. But to my mind it’s the waterfalls funneling into the Great Lakes that add the charm to these summer wonderlands. We kind of lost count of how many we found while hiking/walking/biking Michigan’s upper peninsula. Continuing our zigzagging northern US summer traverse, […]

Unboxed thinking

Everyone applauds thinking outside the box. I like the chess metaphor too, about thinking a few moves ahead of everyone else; that was Henry Ford. When he showed no interest in farming, his father didn’t force him to help on the family farm, instead giving him the freedom to pursue his interest in machinery. You […]