Friday, September 21, 2018

Massachusetts - Day 19 - Saugus and points south

Sippewissett Campground, Falmouth
Wednesday, 19 September 2018

My previous campground issued a plastic card that allowed entry through a gate into the campground, and required a $10 cash deposit for the card.  I forgot to turn the card in yesterday - probably because it was raining so hard I couldn't think of anything else - so couldn't leave until 10:00 this morning when the office opened, so I could get my $10 back.

That meant it was nearly 11:00 by the time I got down to Saugus.  I've been wanting to visit the Saugus Iron Works Historical Site for days but haven't been able to work it into previous itineraries, but I didn't want to leave the northeast part of Mass. without seeing it.

now visitor center, former home of iron works boss

Turns out it was a lot of the same information I'd gotten at that iron works a while back but can't remember where.  I've got to figure out a way to retrieve information from previous posts, I'm sure there's some system people use to do this and, just as I'd expected, places are starting to run together in my memory.  That's why I wanted to do this blog - so I could retrieve that kind of information - now I just need to learn how to do that.

Anyway, there're a couple of things that are different about this iron works from the other one.  One is the age: it operated from 1646 until about 1670, seriously old in this part of the world.  It closed due to financial mismanagement, clearly not a modern invention.  The other is that they've got a sort of monument to a bunch of Scots who came to work there as indentured servants in 1650.  The Scots had been captured by Cromwell at the Battle of Dunbar and sold as indentured servants; nearly 40 of them ended up at the iron works.

These are both photos of the same plaque, one with a flash and the other without.  But both have spots where one is easier to read than the other so I'm putting both of them up in case you've got a larger screen than I do and can read them more easily.

I didn't think the bottom part had enough light so took that separately:

Can't say I've ever seen a historical plaque so full of emotion.

So, on a different note entirely, I saw that Sen. Ted Cruz is now saying that if his Democratic opponent, Beto O'Rourke, is elected that Texans won't be allowed to have barbecue any more.  Because, you see, what Texans barbecue is meat, and Beto will California-ize and tofu-up Texas so Texans won't be allowed to eat meat.  Sure.  Makes sense to me.  (I only hope it was just a campaign trail joke.)

I accidentally ended up on a toll bridge over the Mystic River into Boston and they had no toll booths to allow me to pay cash.  They had signs saying don't worry, we'll bill you using Pay By Plate.  Swell. 

I managed to find a highway route that allowed me to go right through Boston without getting stuck in the Byzantine street system.  And one of the things I saw was a building for the Fortress Storage Co.  I got this photo off the internet.
That really is what it looked like.  Pretty clever, huh?

The entire day I was getting intermittent rain - sometimes nothing, sometimes actual rain, sometimes just drizzle.  Not so good for panoramic views but not too hard for driving in.

I decided to pass up the turnoff for my new campground to go into Falmouth (pronounced FAL(to rhyme with my gal Sal)-muth).  I actually found a legal parking place in town, and I stopped a man to ask about a nearby grocery store.  He was the chatty type - told me I'd like Cape Cod better than any other part of the state, told me he owned an RV for years and missed it, told me his kids used to stay at the campground I'll be in but he thought it was too hilly, and gave me good directions to a market.

I walked the dogs a bit, wondering about how there could be too many hills in the campground when I'd assumed the cape would be fairly flat.  Turns out he was right.

This campground is nothing but hills and trees.  It's a nice setting but difficult for me to get in and out of the campsites.  The first one they assigned me had the water connection too far away for me to use - and since I haven't gotten my water pump fixed yet I have to have the hookup.  So I went straight (up and down hill) back to the office and they gave me another site.

This one is fine except it's situated on a curve, and it has a large wooden patio that takes up almost half the site, so it's extremely difficult for me to get into.  The thought of coming and going every day from this site for the week I've reserved isn't an inviting one so tomorrow I'll see if they've got anything else.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Massachusetts - Day 18

The Pines Camping Area
Tuesday, 18 September 2018

The rain that was forecast did indeed arrive.  In fact, it didn't just rain - it downpoured from 3:30 AM until 12:30 PM, when it finally started to taper off.

The dogs and I were wading through some serious puddling this morning, but after the rain stopped the ground soaked it up pretty quickly.  Not in time to stop massive numbers of mosquitoes from being happy but, hey, so what.

Considering all we were getting was what they called "remnants" of Florence, I can't even imagine what those poor folks in the Carolinas were going through.  I actually like rain, but this started seeming relentless after a while.  Odd, really.

Tomorrow I head down to Cape Cod for a week.

Massachusetts - Day 17 - Lexington & Concord

The Pines Camping Area
Monday, 17 September 2018
today's route
I couldn't start at the real beginning, which was The Old North Church in Boston, where the two lanterns were hung to tell Paul Revere that the British would be moving toward Concord by the water route.  He was heading toward Lexington to alert John Hancock and Samuel Adams, which he did.  A thorough account is found here  For some reason, I hadn't connected that event with the battles of Lexington and Concord so was surprised by the plaques I found in Lexington.

This statue, by Daniel Chester Finch (whose primary claim to serious fame is his statue of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial), is of Col. John Parker who was in charge of the Lexington militia.

Although the British vastly outnumbered the militia, a shot was fired - nobody ever knew who fired it - and the British started firing, killing 8 of the locals.  They continued to march toward Concord but, on their way back later in the day, Col. Parker had his revenge.  He and his men hid on a ridge outside of town and were able to do a serious payback.

The plaque on the left is on the earliest monument raised to the soldiers of the Revolution - dedicated in 1799.  Downright contemporaneous.  It's worth blowing this photo up and reading the inscription.  The monument itself is just an obelisk, which is why I didn't bother to photograph it.

That stone is Col. Parker's "stand your ground" instructions to his men.  As it turns out, a war did begin there.

monument and bridge
The British marched on to Concord without any particular resistance.  It was there, and on the way back, that they ran into trouble.  The plaque on the right does as good a job as any in explaining what happened at the Old North Bridge.  (It's worth reading to the end, by the way - the last sentence tells me it was written about the same time as the inscription on the monument.  What you can't see in my photo is the statue on the other side of the bridge - more on that in a minute.

plaque on the monument
The stone marker for the British soldiers was a surprise to me, and the text was even more of a surprise.  I found some explanation, as well as more information about the scene at the bridge, at this National Park Service website.

On the other side of the bridge is another Daniel Chester French statue, The Minute Man.

I can't get over the level of detail he managed to achieve.  I already knew he was a genius from the Lincoln Memorial, but I see it again here.

The inscription is from the beginning of Emerson's "Concord Hymn."

At the entrance to the site is another Emerson quote.

I hadn't ever heard this one before; it seems to have been written for the specific occasion.

So Concord is just packed with history of all kinds, including the literary kind.

Just yards from the bridge was The Old Manse, home to both Emerson and Hawthorne.

The Old Manse

The Wayside
On my way to the bridge, just before I got into the main part of Concord, I passed The Wayside, with the Orchard House close by.  The Wayside was home to the Bronson Alcott family, and then the Hawthornes.  (These guys all seemed to be buddies.)  The Orchard House was where Louisa wrote Little Women, among other things.

Orchard House

I ended my tour of Concord at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.  I don't know how long it's had that name, but I do know that all the literary luminaries of Concord are buried there.  I couldn't find Hawthorne's grave, though I know it's there, but I found the Alcotts and Thoreau - right, I forgot to mention that Walden Pond is near town.  The Walden Pond.  They really all were buddies.  Must have had some interesting conversations.  Anyway, here are some of the other graves I found.
Thoreau family
Henry David's grave

Alcott family

Louisa's grave

Emerson's grave
Emerson's wife and daughter
Okay, I can't get this stupid programming to make a decent-looking layout and I'm sick of trying.  In fact, it's about as frustrating as the rest of my day was, trying to get back to the campground.  

I took a road that delivered me to I-495, as the map promised, but there was no way at all to get on the northbound side.  I drove around and around trying to find the entrance I was sure I'd missed, and finally got on southbound, figuring I'd get off at the next exit and turn around.  Yeah, except the next exit was MILES down the road.  And then I had to drive a whole lot more miles than I'd expected to get back up to Salisbury.  My only comfort was that it'd've taken me even longer if I'd just gone back the way I came.

By the time I got back to my camping spot, it was way past time for a drink, which I was way past ready for.

Too bad to end the day like that, because it had been almost spiritual in many ways.

Massachusetts - Day 16

The Pines Camping Area
Sunday, 16 September 2018

This was a low-mileage day - main chore to accomplish was laundry, and that turned out to have some problems.

I used the machines here at the campground and found that one of them - the new one, of course - refused to spin the clothes.  At least the water drained out of the tub so they weren't as wet as they could be, but I still had to wring them out before I could put them in the dryer.

And then, because they were so wet, it took 2 dryer rounds to get them dry: the first one (these are 50-minute rounds) resulted in massive steam coming out when I opened the dryer up.  Too much water in the clothes.

Fortunately, the woman in the office was nice about it and gave me enough quarters to pay for another round, but it took a lot more time than I'd planned on.  And effort - not having a mangle, I had to wring those clothes out by hand which I'm not used to, being a soft modern person and not a tough pioneer woman.

I threw the dogs' collars and leashes and towels in with the laundry.  I'd wanted to wash their beds too but instead just put them out on the picnic table to air all day.  And by the way, picnic-ers take note: you don't know what the last people were doing on that table you want to use, so bring something to cover it with.

Weather forecast for tomorrow is beautiful, and for the next day is left-over Florence.  That obviously means tomorrow will be Lexington and Concord, and wait-and-see about the weather to decide the route on Tuesday.

Roscoe - In Memorium

My sweet Roscoe died yesterday.

It was as if his whole body suddenly gave up.  The vet said he had congestive heart failure, which led to his lungs filling up with fluid so much the vet couldn't hear air going through them.  His rear legs were losing their ability to function.  He stopped eating - even treats, though he was still drinking water.  He couldn't use the litter box properly.

He still liked to be patted and purred even in the vet's office.  But he had zero energy and even turning over seemed to wear him out.

Roscoe made me laugh.  He loved toys and would bat them all over the house.  He invented a game where he'd sit next to a wooden armchair and bat a toy under the chair, and then around the legs, and then he'd pounce on it and start all over again.  And he'd mew the whole time.  He'd walk through the house holding a toy in his mouth mewing constantly as he walked.  In fact, I learned that when he'd mew nonstop he'd be playing with a toy.  He'd jump up on a chair or bed with his toy and curl up around it and go to sleep.

Here in the RV he'd sit on the bench seat at the table and bat at the dogs' tails as they wagged back and forth.  He still managed to find places to bat his toys around here, though there were no more chair legs for him to use.

He could also be infuriating because he continued his batting habit with the water dish.  He couldn't take a drink of water without shoving the water dish around on the floor, over and over.  This habit not only sloshed water around but also meant I had to look where I was stepping in case he'd shoved the dish into the middle of the floor, which he sometimes did.  Drove me absolutely crazy.

One of his great advantages in my eyes was that he didn't like to lie on my lap but instead lay right next to me.  That meant I could jump up and down to do things for my mom and me without having to disturb my kitty each time, and he never seemed to mind.  He was very affectionate - always on his own terms, of course, but that was fine with me.

He had a strong sense of dignity and insisted that everyone treat him with respect.  He was perfectly willing to hiss and claw at the dogs if they got too close to him.  Actually, he was perfectly willing to do that to me too if I tried to do things to him he didn't like.  He refused to let me give him medicine orally, for instance, which limited the vet's choices on treatment sometimes.  Fortunately, he was rarely sick.

He was 13.  He seemed so tough I was hoping he'd live for years more.  But he and Jasper had been together for a long time, and Roscoe's behavior changed after Jasper died.  I think being together may have helped mask Roscoe's ill health, but once Jasper was gone Roscoe was on his own.  Maybe he'd drawn a lot of strength from his brother and didn't have enough to fight for very long when he was on his own.

I loved him very much and miss him all the time.

Massachusetts - Day 15 - Cape Ann

The Pines Camping Area
Saturday, 15 September 2018
today's route
My plan for the day was to continue to follow the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway around Cape Ann, hoping for some sea views.  I got them, but I couldn't find any place anywhere to stop and take photos.  I cribbed the photos here from the internet.

I found all the way around the cape that all the little villages run into each other, and most don't have signs saying welcome to ___, so I never was sure just which one I happened to be in.  According to the map, I passed through Anisquam, Lanesville and Pigeon Cove on the way to Rockport, but I couldn't tell the dividing lines.

What I can tell is that coming into one of them there was a highway-type sign that said, "Caution - Beautiful Dreams Ahead."  (Awww.)
Rockport Harbor

This photo of the harbor in Rockport is pretty much what I saw - it's just not my photo.  Lots of boats, and lots of them commercial fishing boats.

Farther along the road, and getting fairly desperate for a place I could stop to walk the dogs, I found an enormous parking area at a place called Good Harbor Beach.  I learned later from the internet (when I was trying to figure out where this was) that parking usually costs $30!! but, lucky for me and the dogs, there was nobody in the booth.  Apparently there's a really nice sandy beach on the other side of the dunes next to the parking lot, but I didn't even try to take the dogs over there.  Figured even if they were allowed (which I couldn't tell), there would be other dogs and I wouldn't be able to hold onto them and there would be a disaster.

Wanting to avoid disaster, I walked them all around the parking lot, which really covered a lot of territory.

That beach is considered part of Gloucester, which seems to be the largest town on the cape.  Gloucester is historically a fishing town and has a moderately famous memorial at the edge of the harbor.  I actually saw this statue but, again, couldn't find anywhere to stop for the photo.

Farther along the road I came to Manchester-by-the-Sea, which seems to be the official name.  It's also known as Manchester, apparently, probably to confuse outlanders like me.  It's pretty though.
The scenic byway continues down south of Salem to Lynn, though I've now driven over most of it, and I have to agree it's pretty scenic.  Unfortunately most of the scenery is the little villages it runs through and not nearly enough of the sea I'd hoped for.  The map shows numerous lighthouses along the way, but I didn't see any of them at all.  Too built up.  Makes me yearn for the Maine coast, though that's much more rocky than sandy.  Massachusetts at least has sand on its beaches.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Massachusetts - Day 14 - Newburyport, Rawley, Ipswich

The Pines Camping Area
Friday, 14 September 2018
today's route
From Salisbury I drove south across the mouth of the Merrimack to Newburyport.  It looks like it still has a strong fishing presence, based on the harbor and surrounding businesses. Driving through Newburyport, I saw an old brownstone building with the legend, "Home for Aged Men."  It reminded me of my mother's godmother, an orphan, who lived her early life in Boston in a "Home for Little Wanderers," and ended her long life in a "Home for Aged Women."  Massachusetts has good safety nets for its citizens, but it isn't very tactful about them.

I drove first out to what they call Plum Island, which looks a lot more like a peninsula to me than an island, but hey, so what.  As I found 2 days ago in Salisbury, the only parking near the beach entries is expensive pay parking, and dogs aren't even allowed on the beach until the 16th (not at all in the summer), so all I was looking for was a view.  Not a chance.  On Google maps, I saw a boat launch at the end of the road, and on the paper map I saw a lighthouse, so I thought that might be a good place to aim for.  If either a boat launch or a lighthouse exists, you could't prove it by me, I'm sorry to say.  All I found were many houses and little area to turn around in.

Driving back to the "mainland" I pulled into an area that had intrigued me on the way out, because I thought I saw a cross flanked by 2 flags.  And that is what I saw.  It's a memorial to a Vietnam veteran, right on the edge of the salt marsh.  And at the parking area was another of the signs that I'd seen explaining the salt marsh.
salt marsh in the fog

sea oats on the edge of the marsh

We stayed for lunch there and I walked the dogs, trying to stay away from the marsh and its wildlife.

We drove from there down the north part of the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway, which runs all the way down to Lynn, south of Salem.  We just drove as far as Ipswich today.

I almost missed the best part of Ipswich following the "coastal byway," but luckily I noticed a small sign telling me to turn off to see the historic houses of Ipswich.  These 2 are essentially twins, though built about 5 years apart.  The one with the flag was built 1668.  Sadly I ran out of memory in my camera so missed taking some that were different, but many were from this same period.  By the time I saw some built in the 1800s, I was ready to dismiss them as being practically modern.  Incredible that they could last this long, though I imagine it took a lot of money and renovation somewhere along the line.  But still.

Ipswich seemed like a nice town except for one thing.  All the houses are built right on the road and there's almost no parking.  It made great sense when many of these were built because transportation was by horse or on foot and the road was plenty wide enough for that kind of traffic.  Not so much nowadays.  I wondered how on earth people could go visit their friends.  Surely they don't all walk everywhere.  Otherwise, nice place.

Coming back into Salisbury, I stopped at an old cemetery I'd seen, and it turned out to be really old.  If you can look closely, you'll see two of these say the person died in 1717-18, one says 1718-19, and one says 1719.  The sign says they started using the burying ground in 1639, and there were a lot of markers I couldn't read so don't doubt it.  I just took miscellaneous photos, though the last one was more interesting than usual.   I'd say the same stonemason carved many of these.