Maine

New England, March 1883


1901_cne_map

Now that I’ve discovered the Pawtuxet Valley Gleaner at the Pawtuxet Valley Historical and Preservation Society, I’ve become a devotee. It all ties in with my love of local history and genealogy. Looking back in time can help us see more clearly, understand our shared past, maybe even foretell the future. So, what was going on around New England on this day in 1883? Have a look:

CONNECTICUT

  • ‘Henry C. Robinson, in a speech at Hartford, said that many of the mill owners of New England were educating their employees in virtue, domestic comfort, intelligence, and all good things; but he also knew of a man who was laying up $72,000 a year while paying little children 15 cents for ten hours’ work.’cartoon-or-sketch-of-mill-woman_0

VERMONT

  • ‘R. Smith, of Essex Junction, has a cow from which, within eight months, has been sold 610 quarts of new milk and 105 pounds of butter, besides supplying a family of three persons.’glass-1587258_960_720

MAINE

  • ‘The hotel to be erected at Mount Kineo is to be able to accommodate 400 guests.’kineo_cdv_1885

NEW HAMPSHIRE

  • ‘It is rumored that a new cotton mill is to be erected at Hooksett, where there is considerable idle water power.’manchester-cotton-mill-manchester-new-hampshire

MASSACHUSETTS

  • ‘A ruralist at a recent Millbury festival ate seventeen plates of ice cream.’vanilla-ice-cream-17809427
  • ‘A young man of 28, said by the Worcester Spy to be Alvin E. Ross of Blackstone, was found dead in bed in a tenement house on Mechanic Street, Worcester. About a week ago, the young man hired the room in company with a woman somewhat older, who paid for the room in advance. The woman disappeared Sunday. Ross had apparently been dead about thirty-six hours.’

RHODE ISLAND

  • ‘Newport has, it is estimated, ninety-five licensed and unlicensed rum shops, and 1,200 male adults who visit them.’
  • rum
  • ‘A three-year-old son of James Brown, of Pawtucket, pushed a sleeve button up his nose. The family was unable to remove it, and a physician was called, who found it necessary to make an opening on the inside of the mouth in order to remove it.’
  • ‘The East Providence probate court on Saturday probated the will of George F. Wilson, despite the opposition of his youngest daughter, Alice, who received in trust $22,000 in Rumford stock, and who claims her father was of unsound mind. An appeal will be made to the supreme court. By his first will, in 1880, he left $500,000 of his $800,000 to Alice, but subsequently quarreled with her because of her relations with a certain person. An unpleasant family skeleton will probably be revealed.’

Oh! The Places I’ve Been – “K” is for KENNEBUNKPORT


Outside of Mainers, few people had ever heard of Kennebunkport, until George Herbert Walker Bush was elected president and all eyes turned to the Bushes’ summer retreat at Walker Point. There it is, way, way behind me. This was as close as I was allowed.

photo by M. Reynolds

photo by M. Reynolds

Maine is one of my favorite getaway places. Easily accessible from anywhere in New England, it offers everything – even a desert! Kennebunkport is one of the wealthiest communities in the state of Maine, so it’s a tourist destination for me, not a retirement option. And if you’ve ever been to Maine in the hot, hot summer, you will know that the ocean water stays pretty cold. The average water temperature in Portland in August is 62 degrees – now that’s refreshing!

Where to eat? My suggestions: The Maine Diner in nearby Wells, Hurricane at Dock Square in K’port.

And how about some lobstah chowdah? Here’s is Hurricane’s recipe – so good it’s criminal!

From the Ocean, White with Foam….to the Mountains


As a child, I couldn’t wait to run into the ocean, and I mean run – full speed ahead, who cares if it’s cold, run and fall right into that salty water. Catch a wave, ride it to shore. My father would join me occasionally, my mother never, my sisters to a point, but I would stay there forever if I could. As a teenager, my enthusiasm had diminished, but not much, although seaweed, especially the red algae that floated in millions of tiny pieces, kept me away, as did the threat of jellyfish in the warmer waters of late August.

The beach has lost some of its allure for me, unfortunately. I attribute it to various causes: now I’m very aware of the fact that the ocean is not all that clean (seriously, how is it that the Department of Environmental Management advises us to not swim at Scarborough one day and then the next day it’s fine?); the beach itself, and the general areas – bathhouses, restrooms, parking lots – are littered with cans, bottles, pizza boxes, dirty diapers; my sister saw a sanitary napkin float by her while she was swimming in the ocean last week; I’m less tolerant of the sun and heat and need to reapply SPF50 constantly for fear of melanoma, while it was a rite of passage to get a blistering sunburn at the start of every summer, soothed by Mom rubbing Noxzema all over my shoulders and back.

But the mountains! Ever since I spent that year in Switzerland (and perhaps before that, with summer vacations to New Hampshire), I’ve been in love with the mountains.  Majestic, towering, some topped with snow year-round. My husband feels the same way, telling me he feels protected when he’s surrounded by mountains. He owes it to his mother, who was born, raised and lived in Salzburg, Austria, until her head was turned by a cocky Army sergeant who convinced her to join him in America. We seem happiest when we’re cradled by the peaks around us.

So next month we’ll head south to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina. While we’re there, we’ll look around to see if this is a place for us to live out the rest of our lives. Who knows? We won’t, not until we see what’s there. And in the meantime, we’ll head up north to walk the beaches in Maine, where the water never warms up!