‘Augusta’ Category


Gravel Sucking Trucks

I met with Sandi in Providence. She visited all 50 state capitols before she was 25.
Now she’s going for 50 countries before she’s 50!
We celebrated as she returned from the 40th one.

Linda Burton posting from Providence, Rhode Island – Life is full of the unexpected. For instance, I didn’t plan to be working from the edge of the bathtub this Saturday morning. Yet here I sit, laptop on my lap, door closed to the outside world. Now, why is that? Because, just outside my window, just a few feet from my workdesk, is a gravel-sucking truck. And that truck is doing what it was designed to do. It is sucking gravel off the roof of my hotel. The manager explained. “I know it’s noisy, but we have to get the re-roofing done before winter sets in. We have to remove the gravel in order to put down a new layer of tar.” Well, I 26 CAVunderstand that. So I’ll spend the day exploring Providence, no prob. “You’ll be done soon?” was my plaintive question. Ah no, the work continues through next Wednesday. The gravel-sucking truck will be replaced by a tar-spreading truck. Swapping noise for the nose-burning smell of hot tar? I’d rather adjust life plans. Instead of spending another day with my friend Sandi; instead of leisurely wandering Water Place Park in downtown Providence; instead of having Sunday brunch at CAV as planned; I’ll shorten my Providence stay and move 26 water place 4ahead to Hartford. I’ll use today to pack, and I’ll use today to summarize. I have company in this tiny bathroom. Alex and Jack crouched in the tub, watching me. If the sound of gravel rattling through a giant metal tube before crashing into the metal truck bed is deafening to me, I can only imagine how excruiating it must be to the cat’s sensitive ears. Suddenly I realized – 90% of the Journey Across America is done! “So Alex,” I said, slipping into interview mode, “what’s your favorite part of the Journey so far?” » read more


Another Blue Day

28 kenne antiquesLinda Burton posting from Concord, New Hampshire – It was a Thomas Carlyle kind of day. I knew that the moment I saw the sun come up over the Maine woods behind the hotel. So here hath been dawning another blue day. It was crystal clear and the outside air seemed to sparkle; I moved the Scion to the front and began to load up. Carlyle must have seen a similar sunrise when he wrote his poem back in the 1800s. Think! Wilt thou let it slip useless away? That was Carlyle’s admonition and the folks of Maine were paying heed; hundreds of events were scheduled for the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend on this first weekend of autumn. As for me, it was moving day; time to relocate from Augusta, Maine to Concord, New Hampshire, capital city #43. Jack Cat seemed peppy to go, eyes bright and ears alert, but Alex Cat doesn’t read poetry; he chose to disappear under the dark, dusty bed out of my reach, ignoring me as I chanted the poem’s next line. Out 28 brenda and matisseof eternity this new day is born. Into eternity at night, will return. Uninspired, he didn’t budge. I called for front desk help; two 28 color 1strong-armed guys came and lifted the mattress. One cat, caught; goodbye to Brenda, goodbye to Matisse; into the car; we’re off. The ramp for I-95 south was just across the street; my plan was to stop at Portland and Kennebunk for a glimpse of both large and small towns on the famous Maine coast. And then, New Hampshire. The road was smooth, the traffic was moderate, the trees were just beginning to color up, and Thomas Carlyle repeated himself: Here hath been dawning another blue day. Think! Wilt thou let it slip useless away? Not me Thomas. Just watch. » read more


Part Of The Process

23 capitol maineLinda Burton posting from Augusta, Maine – “There’s not much legroom under the desks,” said Dan, pulling out the wastebasket for us to see, “so people tend to set these behind their chairs.” He proceeded to demonstrate how crowded that made the walking space for getting in and out. “Big feet like mine are prone to trip,” he continued, “but little kids can zip through in a flash.” Dan Fournier, our guide in the Maine State House this morning, was explaining the Honorary Page Program, which allows even very young Maine students to spend a day working in the 23 longstafflegislature during session. “Their job is to deliver messages, or documents, to the legislators,” he said. “And they love it. They don’t just observe what happens here, they are part of the process.” Our tour group today included State Representative Thomas Longstaff, one of Maine’s 151 legislators. As we sat in the House Chambers he added his comments, pointing out the colored bands on the desk microphones. “They designate what paper materials we want to receive,” Tom explained. “I have chosen to go paperless, using my laptop for retrieving the documents we need. If a mike has a yellow band, for instance, that 23 house voting boardperson chooses to receive a paper copy of a bill.” I looked around the room, noting yellow bands on mikes. Tom called our attention to the electronic voting board in the corner too; “In addition to the 151 legislator names,” he pointed out, “there are three more names at the bottom that represent the Maliseet, Penobscot, and Passamaquoddy tribes of Maine, and even though they are non-voting members, they have the right to speak, and introduce legislation. They are part of the process.” Our attention switched from the building itself to what happens inside of it; questions began to fly. » read more


Smell The Smoke

21 fire buildingLinda Burton posting from Augusta, Maine – You can read the history books. Or you can smell the campfire smoke. Which is the better way to get a handle on the past? Dick Freeman, Chair of the Fort Western Board of Trustees, happened to be at the Fort today and talked with me after my tour; he believes we need a little of both. I smelled the smoke the minute I entered the Fort Western gate; three people in costume were just starting a fire for the afternoon demonstrations. The wisp of smoke eventually became a steady 21 freeman and fort.2campfire; the warm smoky smell followed me the rest of the afternoon as I walked around the Fort. You know how smoke gets into your clothes; it even followed me back to my hotel. So did the stories, and images, from the Fort; I wondered if that happens with the school children who visit. They offer 17 programs to help students in grades K-12 meet selected Maine social studies standards through a visit to the Fort, or through classroom study of what happened there; they cover civics, government, citizen participation, economics, history, geography, and individual 21 woman in costumeconnections. Marjorie Dearborn, in costume, was my tour guide today. “The building has been restored to the time when it served as a store, and a home for the Howard family,” she explained. We looked at the merchandise on the shelves; the shoes that were made to fit either foot; the ledger that contained an entry for every item sold. In April 1774 someone bought nutmeg, and sugar and salt; in May there was a purchase of chocolate, and women’s shoes; in August it was coffee, and corn; in October Daniel Townsend bought 2 quarts of rum. Back in my room, with the smell of smoke still clinging to my clothes; I began to read the history. » read more


All The Boxes

19 life should be signLinda Burton posting from Augusta, Maine – If I could buy a state, I think I’d pick Maine. Now don’t get me wrong, I love all the states; some of them for their mountains, some for their shorelines, and some because they grow the food that feeds us. Some states are interesting because of their history; some are pleasant because of a great climate. Recreational opportunities, cultural activities, community spirit – all these things factor into how much we appreciate a place. And it seems to me that Maine ticks all the boxes. I’ve spent the afternoon poring over literature about Augusta so I could tell you what makes this capital city special. One thing is Fort Western, the oldest wooden fort in New England; it dates back to 19 capitol augusta1754. I can’t wait to spend an afternoon there. And I look forward to my visit to the Maine State House – the cornerstone was laid in 1829 and the original designer was Charles Bulfinch, one of the most well-known architects of his time. The Blaine House is another beautiful historic building; it is now the Governor’s Mansion but was built as a family home by a ship’s captain in 1833 and donated to the state in 1919; there are gardens to tour as well. The Lithgow Library opened its doors to the community in 1894 and is considered one of the most 19 holocaust museumbeautiful interior spaces in the state. I’m intrigued by the Holocaust and Human Rights Center in Augusta; it’s part of the University of Maine campus. It opened in 2007 and attracts national and international speakers; the University now offers a Minor in Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies – the only program of its kind in the United States. But the most special thing about Augusta is simply that it’s in Maine. » read more


From Mexico To China

17 augusta riverLinda Burton posting from Augusta, Maine –My target today was the easternmost capital city in the United States. I knew my drive would take me through Vermont’s Green Mountains and New Hampshire’s White Mountains before getting to Maine; from the Maine state line, the map showed twisting roads and changing highway numbers. I expected to get confused, but I didn’t expect to wind up in Mexico, or China. I’m studying the map now, trying to follow the route my GPS used to get me 17 st johnsbury 2from Montpelier, Vermont to Augusta, Maine. It put me on US Highway 2 from Montpelier, and that curved me into St Johnsbury, where I disregarded its instructions long enough to drive around the postcard-pretty town; it has an incredible collection of church spires in just a few blocks, all framed by mountains. I stopped at a crosswalk on the St Johnsbury Academy campus while a crossing guard waved through a parade of young people in jackets and ties. It wasn’t far from there to the Connecticut River (Connecticut’s capital city, Hartford, is 200 miles to the south); the river separates Vermont and New Hampshire, flows through the middle of Massachusetts, divides East Hartford and West Hartford, and winds up in Long Island Sound. New Hampshire’s Live Free or Die sign welcomed me; the mountains and valleys seemed to expand. More signs; Franconia 17 franconia nNotch, Pinkham Notch, Mt Washington (New Hampshire’s highest point at 6,288 feet). Signs for cog railways, ski runs, snowmobile routes, moose crossings. I stopped for gas at Gorham. “Where am I?” I asked, studying a Maine map posted on the wall. “You’re still in New Hampshire,” the nice lady replied, “where are you headed?” We looked for Augusta; “Follow the Androscoggin River,” she pointed, “and go to Mexico.” » read more