This is a part 2 of my month long rv trip to the North East. Read the first half by clicking here.!
From Old Forge and Saratoga we headed to Arlington, VT arriving at the Camp on the Battenkill. It’s a very large, wooded campground with nice sites, some right on the river.
Arlington is where Norman Rockwell lived for 14 years. I enjoyed reading about his time there on the New England Historical Society Website.
“Rockwell had trouble painting the black eye in Triumph in Defeat, so a newspaper ad ran requesting a child with a black eye. Wire services picked up the story, and Rockwell offered $5 for a ripe one. A prison warden wrote that there’d just been a riot and he had dozens of black eyes and a father joked he’d give all his kids a black eye for $5. A toddler named Tommy Forsberg had acquired a shiner, and his father drove him from Massachusetts to the studio of Norman Rockwell in Vermont.”
Rockwell and his family left Arlington in 1953. His home is now a bed-and-breakfast, The Inn on Covered Bridge Green.
The view from the Inn is this church and covered bridge.
This corner of Vermont in the Green Mountains is called the Shires, I had never heard it called that and it turns out it is a fairly new designation. “A picturesque New England region nestled in the Southwesternmost corner of Vermont, the geographic designation may be Bennington County but in recent years residents and visitors alike have come to affectionately call this area, the Shires of Vermont.”
Arlington is a small town located between Bennington and Manchester Vermont. Manchester has a beautiful downtown with lots of local shops as well as the flagship of Orvis, it is a beautiful building. Orvis also has a fly fishing school there. I loved to watch my dad fly fish, the line whipping back and forth.
Manchester is also the home of Hildene, we were disappointed that it was closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, the days we were there. Hildene is the historic home of Robert Lincoln, only child of President and Mary Todd Lincoln to survive to adulthood. The estate has beautiful gardens, restored 1903 wooden Pullman palace car, goat farm and cheesemaking facility, 12+ miles of walking trails, teaching greenhouse and cross-country skiing in winter. Bummer we didn’t get to see it.
The American Museum of Fly Fishing is in Manchester as well.
The Southern Vermont Arts Center was a real treat. It sits on property that was once owned by Orvis and through some changing of hands, divorces, etc, it ended up being the art center. The grounds are huge with hiking trails and a large sculpture collection. The drive is about a mile long winding through the woods.
Bennington was a disappointment, the best thing we saw there was this old fire station and a craft gallery, but it was not the one we really wanted to see.
I then parted ways with my traveling companions and I drove to Maine. I spent the first couple of nights near Rockland.
In this same harbor are the remains of lime kilns.
During the 19th Century, Rockport was a major supplier of lime to East Coast markets. These kilns converted limestone rock supplied by 15 local quarries into lime used to make mortar & finish plaster. The burned lime was packed into wooden casks and shipped by schooner . In 1843, all 100 lime cargos came from Rockport, Camden, and Thomaston kilns. In 1859, it was a $100,000 industry shipping 156,500 casks. A disastrous fire in 1907 came at a time when cement was beginning to replace lime in building construction. The industry continued for a few more years but never fully recovered.
In Rockland I really enjoyed the Farnsworth, I don’t remember it being that big (but then it’s been 40 years since I’ve been there!), several things caught my eye especially, one being a dress decorated with shells by Brian White. Then just down the street at Dowling Walsh Gallery I saw a show of his being put up. The first piece I saw was an owl in the window then inside his sheep, wow! For some reason I thought they were clay but as I read about his work there is zero clay involved unless it’s something he found and he added to his piece. Most of his sculptures are made of shells.
Of course the Farnsworth has a lot of work by the Wyeths, there are the iconic pieces by Andrew but I also love the equally skilled work by Jamie and his choice of subject matter.
At a stop in Camden I ran across the Riverhouse Foot Bridge. I have a photo of it I took years ago but could not remember which town it was in! Lots of neat shops and some beautiful homes.
I decided to visit Cape Clyde where you catch the boat to Monhegan Island, where Wyeth spent a lot of time painting.
On the way I caught some highly decorated pottery in a studio window out of the corner of my eye. I turned around and unfortunately the studio was closed but as I stared in the window the potter showed up, George Pearlman. We had a long conversation about how his work evolved, he started with underglazes like I use. I ended up buying a piece from him (the one on the left).
On the way back to Rockland I stopped to tour The Langlais Sculpture Preserve celebrating the work of sculptor Bernard Langlais. His work is pretty funky but don’t be fooled, he studied at the Corcoran School of Art, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the Brooklyn Museum School, and received a Fulbright Scholarship to Oslo, Norway. I love his work and here is a map of where you can see his pieces.
I’m excited to have more room and more time to garden in my new home. I haven’t seen many dahlias around New Bern and I was bowled over with those I saw on this trip. Up there you have to dig them up every year, well knowing me that would never happen so am pleased to read that you don’t have to do that in zone 8. My favorites are the informal ones.
I’ve passed by Acadia National Park a number of times but never stopped. I have to say I was a little disappointed with Bar Harbor but the Park is beautiful, to really see it though you need to get out and hike. Since I was by myself I didn’t think that was a particularly good idea so I just drove through the park.
On the way there I happened to pass Bar Harbor Weathervanes, I had been looking for one for my new garage. I enjoyed meeting Bill McElvain the owner. He told me about his dad that started the business and how he has continued with it and his children are continuing the tradition. He told me about the molds they use and how those have evolved through the years. To make a weathervane, Bill first carves the two sides of the design in wood. Then, he creates cast-iron molds for the designs. Finally, the copper is hammered into the mold and the two sides are soldered together. And YES I found one I like. I will have to say I did my part in supporting artists in almost every state we visited!
While I wasn’t thrilled with the town of Bar Harbor I did have a wonderful lobster lunch on the dock, and a FABULOUS campsite at the KOA.
On my way to Southwest Harbor I came across this beautiful Museum and Garden at Somesville.
Rockland, Rockport, Camden, Belfast, all I had heard of or been to before but I have never heard of Castine. It is one of the oldest towns in New England. What a jewel! The entire town is on the National Register. It’s like going into a Norman Rockwell painting.
From there I headed south again, next stop Boothbay Harbor….
…and the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens a highlight of the trip. I loved a lot about the garden, the fact that a lot of it is planted in an informal way, the hiking trails through the woods have benches along the way and if you get tired you can make your way to the main trail and get picked up by a cart. But the best thing was seeing the …Trolls by Thomas Dambo. I had seen some of his trolls once before in Breckenridge, CO so was thrilled to see them again! He is a master of recycling and has created his trolls all over the world. Every one is different and every one has a story to tell. There are several videos on his website talking about his work, he’s very passionate about recycling and has made some incredible pieces.
I visited every gallery in town and in the Gleason Gallery I saw some of George Pearlmans pottery. The gallery director told me I should drive to the Ocean Point Loop, turn right at the only stop light in town and you can’t miss it. There is a small parking lot and parking all along the drive, right on the water, but those are not for rvs.
On my list for next years visit is to find all of the sculptures on the Sculpture Trail. Here are just a couple of those in town.
The long footbridge in the harbor was built in 1901 at a cost of $1,500, and it originally had a hand-operated swing span to allow large vessels to reach the head of the harbor.
A lot of what I’m interested in painting right now is gardens so I took LOTS of photos of with painting potential.
In Portland I stopped to visit folks I used to work for in Aspen, they live in this beautiful home on West Prom.
It was early so missed visiting the Maine Crafts Gallery, but will put it on the list for next time.
Kennebunkport, Ogunquit, Kittery, York were all next. Love them all.
Where I got my wind spinner on my last trip here – Maine Art Hill.
There are a lot of really nice shops in Kennebunkport. Abacus (American Craft Gallery like Carolina Creations), Dannah’s and others.
I HAD to walk the Marginal Way to Perkins Cove, that’s what you do when you come to Ogunquit. The town was so packed with people there was no where to park so I went very early in the morning and found a spot and by the time things started opening up I was gone.
Walking back to my car I saw this rock wall with inspirational stones attached. I will have to say most places I went were good about wearing masks. I did most of my own cooking on this trip but on the few occasions I ate out I tried to eat outside.
I got a major dose of vitamin C on the Maine coast. I have never seen so many rose hips in my life. They were everywhere so I didn’t feel guilty snitching some here and there.
It is a good thing my rv has a pretty short turning radius considering that is is 22 1/2 feet long. I am not adverse to turning around, sometimes more than once within the hour. Spotted this neat looking garden shop near Kennebunk. Snug Harbor Farm, beautiful!
Love driving 6A even though I got caught in what I’m told is the every weekend traffic jam. Finally made it to Brewster to spend the night then spent the next day exploring Chatham, Harwich and other towns along the south coast.
Then the next day got up early to take the ferry to Marthas Vineyard. We spent our first day exploring the Campground Associations Gingerbread Cottages. Last time I was on MV was in 1972!
When I was on MV before I only saw Oak Bluffs, so this time we rented a car and got to see the rest of the island. Beautiful!
Our luck ran out and we caught the tail end of one of this summers many hurricanes and it was supposed to pour all day long.
We toured the island between raindrops.
We drove by the end of the road that goes to the new estate of the Obamas and saw a big black SUV turn down it. We visited several art galleries The Field Gallery, Martha’s Vineyard Glassworks, but my favorite was Cousen Rose Gallery, we went to a great farm shop, The Grey Barn, and a wonderful quirky book store in Edgartown, Portobello Road.
And you never know when you are going to run across a flower pot full of chickens.
Well fortunately it didn’t pour until we got to Chappaquidick. The bad news there is there are 3 roads – 2 dirt and 1 paved. I thought we were going to get washed away so never made it to the infamous bridge, instead turned around at the Japanese Garden which we didn’t get to see either. Oh well next time.
We made it back to the mainland and our campground in time to be treated to dinner at the Lobster Pot by it’s owner. We got to meet some of her kids and I was gifted one of their cookbooks.
Our last day on the Cape we took the bus into Provincetown and did what you do there, shop, go to galleries, people watch. We walked down to the end of Commercial street and got back to where we started, I wanted to go to the other end too where more galleries are, but we were already pooped so caught a pedicab, I’ve never ridden in one before. Price was whatever you wanted to give.
After returning to the campground we went to Wellfleet, a sweet little town just a few miles away.
Then we started home. Our first two nights were spent in Moodus, CT, a place I had never heard of but ended up loving, right on the Connecticut River. Of course we had to take the The Chester – Hadlyme Ferry. It doesn’t matter how short the ride is I can’t pass up the chance to go on a boat ride. It takes just 5 minutes to make the crossing. It began service in 1769, was originally operated by Jonathan Warner who owned the land on both sides of the Connecticut River. Warner’s Ferry, as it was called back then, connected King’s Highway in Fort Hill, Parish of Chester to Norwich Road in Lyme. The Original ferry was pushed across the river using long poles. A steam-powered barge began to serve the ferry crossing in 1879.
From the ferry we saw Gillette Castle built by William Hooker Gillette, noted actor, director, and playwright.
Chester is a sweet little town with some nice shops like Lark. There I found the work of local artist Jill Butler. Her work is delightful, whimsical, and colorful. I bought notecards, a book about Paris, and some placemats by her. Turns out I already owned one of her books Paint Brush in Paris!
Another neat place in the area is East Haddam. A wide spot in the road but neat.
Essex is where the Connecticut River Museum is and the area surrounding it is quintessential New England with white stately houses.
We were a little disappointed in Old Saybrook and Old Lyme but did love the Studio 80 Sculpture Grounds. It is on the grounds of the studio of Gilbert Boro. Here is what he had to say about it “It brings me great joy to watch people of all ages interacting with my sculptures, which is why I created my own four-and-a-half-acre sculpture grounds adjacent to my studio in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Considering the environmental, social, and political disorder all about us, I believe that public art brings some semblance of beauty to all of us who take the time to look. My full-scale outdoor sculptures, as well as other works by contributing artists, can be seen year-round on the grounds. Entry is free and open to the public. ” Since my new house is on a double lot maybe an idea for me (too many ideas, not enough time.)
Other things to see in the area are The Katharine Hepburn Museum and the Florence Griswold Museum. >
Then off to East Stroudsburg, PA, on the way I made a few stops like at Hudson Beach Glass in Beacon, NY, and Peters Valley Craft School . I also stopped in Milford, PA which is across the river from Peters Valley, and visited Grey Towers National Historic Site, which I had never heard of. It was built in 1886 by James Pinchot. He was disturbed by destructive logging practices that were taking place in the country and encouraged his oldest son, Gofford Pinchot to go into a career in forestry. He became had of the Division of Forestry in 1898 and in 1905 was head Chief Forester of the newly created United States Forest Service. He later became Governor of PA in 1922.
Winding our way south I wanted to stop at Chadds Ford at the Brandywine River Museum again but they were flooded by the same storm that flooded the subways in NYC. The artwork was not hurt but the grounds had many feet of water on them.
I’d been to Longwood Gardens (detailed in a previous blogpost), before so did not stop there. But passing through I saw this intriguing yard for Chadds Ford Barn Shoppes where I stopped and took photos of these cool, funky, birdhouses.
The last night we spent at the POND State Park in Delaware worth a return visit!
The highlight of the last leg of the trip was stopping at various Garden Centers and picking up plants for my new garden by the time I got home there wasn’t much floor space left.
It was a great trip!! What’s next? So far next trip is a few days in Charlottesville then to the BVI’s in January. In the meantime I have a LOT of artwork to get done for the Studio Tour, November 6th and I’m the featured artist at Carolina Creations in November.
I got lots of inspiration for it on this trip.