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Archive for the ‘Maine’ Category

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Mount Washington Hotel, site of Bretton Woods Conference

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Optical illusion formed by dam on Ellis River in New Hampshire

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View from 6288′ summit of Mount Washington

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View at base of Mount Washington Auto Road

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Pennesseewassee Lake

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Somewhere along Hunts Corner Road

When the lines down the middle of the road disappear, one begins to wonder about GPS reliability.

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Town Hall at New Gloucester, Maine

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Museum Finds

After the home tours, we visited the Portland Museum of Art. It’s late, so I’ll just post a few photos of works by Maine artists we saw while there, and another from our last Portland area destination, the Portland Head Light on Cape Elizabeth, and update this with more details tomorrow.

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Winslow Homer: The Sharpshooter on Picket Duty

Homer later wrote,”I was not a soldier but a camp follower & artist. I looked through one of their rifle scopes once when they were in a peach orchard in front of Yorktown in 1862…. The above impression struck me as being as near murder as anything I ever could think of in connection with the army & I always had a horror of that branch of the service.”

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N.C. Wyeth: Dark Harbor Fishermen

This painting was so well displayed in a quietly lit room that the silver fish seemed to illuminate the area we were standing. One of those “You had to be there” to fully appreciate the impact, I guess.

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Edward Hopper: Monhegan Houses, Maine

I have to admit that whenever I see or hear the name Edward Hopper, I think of Night Hawks.

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Franklin B. Simmons: Ulysses S. Grant

This work was originally intended to be gift from the state of Maine for the United States Capitol Building. It was thought to be insufficiently heroic and the sculptor agreed to do another piece in its stead. Personally, I think it would have been an appropriate reflection on the burden of war borne by the man leading it.

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Portland Head Light was the first lighthouse authorized by  a U.S. President

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Victoria Mansion

exteriorAlso known as the Morse-Libby House, the Italianate Victoria Mansion is regarded by some as the finest example of pre-Civil War era residential design in America. That is undoubtedly debatable, but few buildings retain so much of the original interior decorations, furnishings, carpets, and fixtures.

Built by a Maine native who made his fortune as a hotelier in New Orleans, the home is full of incredibly lavish interior details that are as overwhelming today as they must have been when it was built. The furnishings and interiors were designed by Gustave Herter , who later became one of the pre-eminent interior designers and cabinet makers of the late 19th century.

The pictures here don’t begin to show how impressive these rooms were in person. Unfortunately, I can find no pictures of what I consider the two most outstanding views, the skylight above the 3-story entry hall, and the 9×9 Turkish smoking room. The smoking room was only recently restored to full splendor. It was amazing. (It didn’t look that bad in the “before” pictures, for that matter!)

This project is run by what seems to be a small organization and it is obvious they have to do some pretty serious prioritizing because of severely limited funds. For example, its more important to keep the rain out of the tower than spend money on replacing missing window-coverings. (Just imagine the windows in the photos below with full treatments.) While such gaudy ornamentation is not a style either of us would like to live with on a daily basis, both of us came away extremely impressed by this house and the group conserving it. The guided tour was pitch-perfect as well.

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We couldn’t resist visiting Lenny, the 1700-pound chocolate moose at Len Libby Candies in Scarborough, Maine. Their chocolates were surprisingly good, as was the ice cream made on premises. The Bangor Taffy (soft caramel rolled in confectioner’s sugar) was another unexpected pleasure. (The mother bear in the picture weighs in at 300 lbs of chocolate, while the two cubs are only 60-70 lbs. each.) It was a fun way to end a day of sightseeing in and around Portland, Maine.

Wadsworth-Longfellow_House_FrontAs the rain fell heavily most of the time we were outside today, only the first and last photos from today are mine. We started out at the Wadsworth-Longfellow House and the Maine Historical Society Museum next-door. One of only 24 known still existant copies of the “Dunlop broadside” of July 4, 1776, the first to detail the Declaration of Independence,  was on view. It was in remarkably good condition, too. The intimate guided tour of Henry WadsworthLongfellow’s childhood home was fun as our particular guide was not afraid to demonstrate a bit of attitude while hitting various points of interest.

Anne Longfellow Pierce, Henry ‘s younger sister, lived in the home for 87 of her 90 years. Much of the furniture inside is original to the home and to the time the poet lived there. Apparently, Anne was not a big believer in change for change’s sake.

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Day 2

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We spent the morning at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, and then headed over to nearby Boothbay Harbor for fresh lobster and a pleasant walk around the waterfront area obviously catering to summer tourists and then a leisurely drive through some residential neighborhoods that definitely weren’t:

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We stopped in the old center of Bath on the picturesque drive back to Freeport. It proved to be another unexpected delight.

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IMG_2234In the evening, we perused the offerings of L.L. Bean. Their home store is bigger than most department stores, and is not confined to one building alone but a half dozen on their own campus. Believe it or not, it is open 24/7!

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