Dwight Peck's personal website

Summer 2007 -- Late September in the USA

Boston, USA, in the October heat wave, and the Maine coast, always cool

Seeking out nearby islands and beaches for the hint of a cool breeze

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

Descending swiftly upon Kristin's house in Brookline, Mass., late September -- Kristin was meant to come to Europe now, but with the airfares Boston-to-Geneva more than double the Geneva-to-Boston loop, I'd better pick up the slack in the American economy and go to Boston instead.

But it's another heat wave in Boston, so actually we'll go to Maine.

Specifically, the Brooklin Inn in . . . Brooklin, Maine, halfway up the coast. Just near the coast-line and islands, but not quite on Mount Desert Island itsownself. The best we could do on the Web at the last minute, and a lovely place, but still an hour's drive each way for the best hiking.

The Brooklin Inn -- it can be recommended. The proprietor, Chip, is friendly and helpful, the service is good, there's a very good restaurant just slightly above my pay grade, and there's a decent "Irish pub" in the basement. (Unimaginative taste in flags, though.)

The restaurant, with a nautical theme, perhaps obligatory in these parts. The Inn is not within sight of the sea, but it's not far off.

Kristin at breakfast (blueberry pancakes), planning the day's hike.

First hike: The Isle au Haut, Acadia National Park -- the walk out to Deep Cove.

Another hike: Cadillac Mountain, on Mount Desert Island, with a cooling breeze.

The "Irish Pub" at Brooklin Inn, "Irish" by virtue of a rough rural painting on the wall, and Old Smuttynose on tap.

An excellent post-hiking pizza evening in the Irish Pub, charmed by Judith the barkeep, a peace activist who hangs out with Cindy Sheehan and Anne Wright

Another hike: Back to Mount Desert Island, along the coast and up over Gorham Mountain.

The Brooklin Inn sports two flags out front: 1) OPEN, and 2) the hegemonic national flag. It's probably the "Open" flag that brings in the business, since the hegemonic flag doesn't really stand out here -- they're on every light pole.

Flags on every light-pole. Lest someone start whispering about the amplitude and plenitude of our patriotism. "Old Glory" it's called. Imagine!

Five days in Maine, and now we're back to Kristin's in Brookline.

Downtown Boston, from the Long Wharf. We've got to get out of this heat.

Quincy Market, near the Long Wharf. We're booked on the Harbor Island Express and have got only five minutes before sailing to find a generous sandwich for our day's hike, so we're scuttling heedlessly through the traffic.

And we're peering all about for fast sandwich emporia.

Now, with Quincy sandwiches in hand, we're dashing back to the pier.

And whoooff! just in time. We're on our way out to the Boston Harbor Islands, short hikes and a good look back at the thriving metropolis.

Crane Beach, anything to get out of the hot city for another day.

Shopping for dinner on the road back into Boston. This is not a normal shop, it's a "club" -- you need to be a member, with a membership card, and now I am, after some discussion about whether a Swiss driver's license was sufficient identification, and a generous down-payment.

The Warehouse Economy. "Keep that merchandise moving!"
("Priced as marked"? What is the alternative? "Priced not as marked"?)
(The chicken seems to be in the Patisserie section.)

A discerning shopper can see nuances here that may be lost on the rest of us. Keep the merchandise moving! In the end, we bought "spare ribs", which turned out to be all bones.

(The essential American motto of "Keep the merchandise moving" reminds me of the harrowing Robert Penn Warren poem "Keep the Morphine Moving, Cap", from Penological Study. I heard him read that, long ago, to a small group. (But then he got drunk, mumbled too much, and had to be led off the stage.))

Still another hot day in Boston, so we're out walking about downtown Marblehead up the coast a ways.

Marblehead has got some interesting 17th century buildings and more rich people's boats than you can count enviously in a quarter of an hour, and a good ham-and-cheese sandwich though they forgot the cheese part of it.

Apparently the great claim here is that it was schooners out of Marblehead that, on 5 September 1775, were the first American ships to engage in naval battle with an enemy. (It's been pretty much non-stop since then, since, not by coincidence, so many coastal congressional districts have got shipyards in them.)

In fact, the famous USS Constitution (known as "Old Ironsides") ducked in here in 1814 under heavy pursuit by three of our British lapdog's frigates.

Another day, we're out in Framingham on the way to Paul's for dinner. This is the Danforth Museum of Art -- we can't really go in to look around, as it's out of our budget range for the time we've got to spend here, but it's worth noting that the artwork facing us across the lobby is a portrait of Kristin's daughter Emily, painted by Janet Bartlett Goodman on individual tiles with an "encaustic" method.

We're at Paul and Ana's for a Sunday afternoon indoor barbecue (the barbecuing machine is outdoors on the deck), with Ana in full cry.

A formal commemorative portrait, but one of us can't keep his eyes off the Red Sox game even for a moment. From left: Mike, a Bill Richardson campaign advisor, and Leena; Sir Charles and Jodi; Kristin.

Paul and Ana in another fit of genial hospitality

No pretense anymore -- the Red Sox are winning

Paul, Charles, Dwight - the Nth in a series of portraits over the years.

And back to Brookline, before flying out again. Kristin's tidying the place up.

The security personnel at Boston's Logan airport were a bunch of thoroughly vile and authoritarian overweight uniformed Bushistas, I loathe them all, but the Swiss Airlines guy was cheerful and got me a bulkhead seat so that I was still able to walk when the airplane landed in Zürich exactly one New York Times, one Harper's magazine (with Naomi Klein in it), and half a Norman Finkelstein's Beyond Chutzpah later.

And my new cheap MP3 player -- what a great invention for long airplane trips!

Visit to North America, autumn 2007

"Everything's changed since 9/11!"

Emily, by Janet Bartlett Goodman

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 19 October 2007, revised 16 October 2012.


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