Books I've read

Sandra's book montage

The Catcher in the Rye
The Great Gatsby
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Romeo and Juliet
Lord of the Flies
Little Women
A Tale of Two Cities
Memoirs of a Geisha
The Lovely Bones
The Secret Life of Bees
Under the Tuscan Sun
The Da Vinci Code
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
The Hobbit
The Golden Compass
Pride and Prejudice
The Time Traveler's Wife
Jane Eyre
The Notebook

Sandra's favorite books »

Friday, 1 July 2011

From New England to an old one

So, final episode and then it's back to books and whatever else ...

Final full day in America I went for the lazy option - an excursion.  I had done New England Sea Coast before, about 5 years ago, but wanted to go back because not only do you travel along some beautiful coast but you spend time in Kennebunkport, Maine where they have the most beautiful craft shops. 

It was lovely to just be able to get on a coach and let someone else figure out the logistics although you do have to listen to the coach-driver and whatever he (and it generally is a he) wants to talk about.  Never mind, the first part of this journey isn't that interesting you're just on the interstate but once we got to New Hampshire we turned onto the backroads and passed the sea marshes of Seabrook.  Apparently in colonial times the farmers used to let their cows graze on hay from the salt marshes and they loved it.  Ready salted beef presumably?

We stopped at a place called Hampton Beach(NH).  It's very commercialised, apparently a big hit with teenagers and not really to my taste but they do have a decent beach and we were only there for about 20 minutes so no point really complaining:

Not quite as sunny as Bay-watch!  Re-pairing the life-guard towers.

They bring this sand to Hampton Beach and then comb it every night to keep in good condition.  (Because it's worth it!)

The journey into Maine was lovely, really beautiful houses on either side of the road and an interesting, rocky coast to look at.  Our next stop was the Nubble lighthouse at Sohier Park where (hurrah) the sun came out:

This is a summer home just across the cove.  I hope they use it for more than a couple of weeks per year!

Then it was on to Kennebunkport which is a lovely and dangerous mix of restaurants, inns, nice houses and shops.  If you think you have heard of the town but don't spend your time reading guidebooks about Maine it's very possible.  George Bush Snr. has his summer place here, out at Walker's Point.  By the way in quizzes about birth-places about American presidents don't forget that both he and his son were born in New England.  I had a fabulous lobster roll at a restaurant called Alison's in Dock Square which is the centre point of the town (which is really a village), then walked around and took some pictures and finally did some shopping for a lovely glass mushroom (yes, really) and some beautiful pottery.  Just to give you an idea about Kennebunkport:

For my last night treat I went to Legal Seafoods whose motto is 'If it isn't fresh, it isn't legal'.  A bowl of lobster bisque (I know, lobster twice in one day but I don't think I ever have it in England) which was smaller and not quite so nice as from The Chart House but never mind and then a dish described something like double coated shrimp so I gave it a go.  It was basically huge prawns covered in crab-meat and breadcrumbs - it was delicious but a meal on it's own. A good way to end a lovely day!

Final day and back to the Kennedys (and please, if you're watching the series on the BBC know there is more to them than sex and pills).  I went to see JFK's birthplace, another first for me.  I had changed my itinerary round because of the weather and, cleverly, not brought the opening hours with me so I started to have a bad feeling on the T.  Finding the house was relatively easy but my feeling had been correct - it was only open Wednesday to Sunday and today was Tuesday.  Ah well, luckily there was a leaflet on the porch with a walking tour of Kennedy Brookline to follow - so I did.  Brookline was pretty nice so this was no hardship:

JFK's birthplace.

The second Brookline house the Kennedys lived in.  Robert Kennedy was born here.

The church JFK attended as a little boy.

So that was it for my holiday really.  The taxi back to the airport took about 30 minutes and it was pretty easy to get through security.  The BA first class lounge was very nice, although Henry Winkler (aka The Fonz) did take me for a BA employee as I was getting a drink from behind the bar.  But he was really nice about it.  The flight was fine, only about 5 and a half  hours.  We took off at 7.15 p.m. Boston time so I couldn't really sleep. I watched The End of The Voyage of The Dawntreader and then Indiana Jones and the Chrystal Skull (what a load of rubbish that was) because I just couldn't sleep.  Do you know they cook your breakfast to your order - I had real scrambled eggs, on a plane!  
Then we landed and all that luxury came to an end.  Still, it was a great holiday.  Can I really do without for at least 3 years, we'll see!
Thanks for staying with me - entries should get a lot shorter now.
I took the New England Seacoast tour with Grayline.  I have taken a number of their excursions over the years and they have generally been very good.  They pick you up and drop you off at the hotel and there is plenty of time to  look around.  It would be pretty easy to get to these places with a car but I think hard if you are using public transport - maybe another time I'll work it out.

Legal Seafoods have a number of locations across Boston and Cambridge.  I like the Prudential Center branch better than the Copley Place branch if you are in that area. 

To get to the JFK National Historic Site take the green line to Coolidge Corner or Brookline.  It's only about 10 minutes from the centre of Boston and one of the above ground parts of the T.  There were some coffee shops and an ice cream shop on the way if you need a break. 

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