Boston, MA: History in the Making

We have really been looking forward to our trek down the East Coast. There is so much to be seen and so much history to learn! You can just FEEL the “oldness” of everything :)

We arrived on Thursday night and headed over to Rebecca and Peter’s house in Beverly…just north of Boston. They brought us to a great little Thai place just a few minutes from their house and I was able to get my fix of green curry with tofu. Oh the joy! After that, we headed back to their house and had pumpkin pie on their deck.

The next morning, we met at their house before heading to the train station. We were about to take our very FIRST train ride into the city! We were giddy with excitement. I’m sure the locals got a kick out of me taking photos of the train schedule, the tracks…you know :) It’s pretty hard to hide the fact that we’re “not from ’round here”.

Here are a few highlights from our Boston visit:

The Traffic: Oh my. Yes, everything said about Boston drivers is true. They are beyond crazy. People constantly cut you off, fail to use signals, speed like maniacs…it was an experience.

The Train: With all of the insane drivers, it was so GREAT that we didn’t have to drive into the city. That was a really new concept to us…and it’s just so fun and convenient.

The Old North Church: It was so cool to stand in the exact spot where Theodore Roosevelt stood…and to see the pulpit where John Wesley preached God-inspired sermons.

The Cemeteries: They are so fascinating. Many of my direct ancestors are buried at The Granary Burial Ground right in Boston. We tried really hard to find the headstone of one particular woman, Mary Chilton, who came across on the Mayflower. We couldn’t find it. Did you know that nearly every woman of that time was named Mary? Or so it seemed!

Boston Common: There was a great playground here…the kids had a lot of run getting out of their carriers and running around

Public Garden: The “Make Way for Ducklings” statues were a hit with the girls. We also enjoyed the swans, the pond, the bridge…it was very peaceful.

Beacon Hill: The shops are so cute and the old brownstones are gorgeous. I’m sure they cost more money that I will see in a lifetime! :)

Harvard: Founded in 1636. Now that’s old. There was an archeology class digging up the yard looking for artifacts while we were there. Students and faculty bustled about. People biking. People walking. People conversing. People studying. I felt smarter as soon as I walked in the gate.

Harvard Square: This area has tons of shopping, coffee shops, tea shops, students, tourists…it was really busy! Bella had a great time chasing the pigeons and hugging Catherine.

We met another friend, Kit, in Harvard Square. She is an engineer and she works and lives right there. She took us all out for Vietnamese food…yum! She knitted Bella an adorable scarf made of bamboo!

It was a quick one-day visit, but we saw A LOT of sites. Rebecca used to be a tour guide, so she knew TONS about the city and how to get around. Peter was a wealth of knowledge as well. It was a huge blessing to have them along.

We were glad to have a crash course in train-riding before we tackled NYC the next day. Weeeeee!

Photo album here.

Quick Little Update

Our visit to NYC was more than wonderful! The people, the sounds, the sights. So great. I just wanted to assure you that I will be posting blogs about Boston, NYC, and beyond as soon as possible…I’m currently working on a slew of photos from those trips, and need a bit of time to process it all. I’ll be posting details about the next couple of stops this week on the “route” page. Stay tuned!

Lisbon, ME: Anathea & Timmy

Our last stop in Maine was in Lisbon, to see a wonderful friend…Anathea. I met Anathea on MySpace, and then again on Flickr. She is a beautiful, free spirit and it was so lovely to spend time with her and her family. Anathea and her husband Timmy just bought a gorgeous acreage and the property is stunning with it’s trees, open fields, a river, an old “dance hall”…and more! They have big plans to refurbish the older buildings and I can’t wait to see it finished! The air was so crisp at night…and the stars were sooo bright. We were even able to enjoy a sunny 80 degree day…and ran around in sandals again!

They have two girls…Maya and Molly Sky. Maya and Bella immediately became the best of friends and were inseparable the rest of our visit. They literally played without interruption ALL day. I tried to keep track of the number of “costume changes” they went through…but there were just too many! They watched movies, ate together, played house, played dolls, rode bikes, ran and ran and ran, and just thoroughly enjoyed each others presence. They were such cute little kindred spirits…we had a great time watching them interact and talk with each other. Little Molly Sky wanted in on the action, but the older girls weren’t too keen on that. :) She is so completely adorable and independent. I loved watching her toddle around.

Anathea is a self-proclaimed “feeder”. She loves being in the kitchen…making people happy with her delicious meals! All of our meals were amazing…but my personal favorite was the stuffed squash with balsamic cranberry glaze. Oh my goodness. We also had many tea parties and the coffee pot was always full :)

It was a delight to watch Timmy and Anathea interact with and nurture their children. From Timmy taking walks with Maya…to Anathea having a tickle fest with Molly Sky, it’s clear that they are in LOVE with their kids. Anathea’s mother, “Granny LaVerne” also lives with them and she adds a fun dynamic to the family.

One of the highlights was walking down by their river and seeing all of the vibrant fall colors reflecting in the water. We continued on through the forest…seeing the evidence of busy beavers. We actually chased one of them down the banks…hoping to catch a photo, but he was too fast. He slapped his tail in the water with a SMACK…and he was gone.

It’s always hard to say goodbye after we’ve had such a great time, but this one was especially hard because Bella and Maya were just so wrapped up in their time together. As they hugged each other in the driveway, we heard them saying “I am going to miss you soooooo much”. It was like each was leaving their other half. So bittersweet.

We pulled down the driveway, waving as we went…and headed toward Boston.

Photo album here.

Augusta, ME: Matt and Heather

We stayed overnight in Augusta in the WalMart parking lot…on our way to Lisbon. A few hours after we arrived, we received an email from Heather, a blog reader, saying that they had been in the same parking lot and saw our RV! But they didn’t stop because it was almost 10pm and they didn’t want to bother us. WHAT?! That’s craziness. So I sent her a quick email saying how silly that was :) and that we should try to meet up. So the next morning, Matt and Heather came back and we spent an hour or so at Panera with us, talking over coffee. We were actually supposed to stop and see them on our way up to Northern Maine, but it didn’t work out, so this was a lovely, unexpected surprise to have another chance!

Heather is an accountant and Matt is a carpenter…they are high school sweethearts. No kids yet. They used to live in Boston, but decided to get out of the “rat race” and come home to their roots. They gave us some good tips about visiting Boston…and we showed them our grease :) ha.

For the record…if ANYONE reading this blog ever sees us parked in a parking lot and does not come and knock loudly on our door, you will be in big trouble!! This is the 2nd or 3rd time it’s happened…so stop it already! We’re not scary. We’re really nice people…so c’mon over to our house!

Photo credit: Bella Grace, professional camera phone photographer

Machias, ME: The Harvey Family

Jess and I “met” online about a year ago and have kept in touch through my other blog, and through Flickr. She was one of the first people to email when we announced our plan to hit the road and was so helpful in our journey to Maine…so it was so great to meet in person and spend a few days with her and her family. Until a few weeks ago, they lived in Bucksport, ME, but recently moved to Machias, ME to help plant a church there (Calvary Chapel).

We arrived and got the RV parked…which was no easy task being that they live at the bottom of a dead end hill with a sharp turn into their driveway….but it worked! We got settled in and then enjoyed a delicious squash/apple soup with hearty muffins before heading off to Bible study with them. There was worship (wonderful acoustic stuff with the pastor drummin’ on the djembe) and awesome teaching from the Bible. We were really blessed…I’m so glad that we were able to make it for that.

The next day it rained ALL DAY. We started the morning with some delicious pancakes…and I made some “house chai” of Rockford Coffee fame (a Bozeman specialty). We decided just to take it easy, make tea continuously all day, and chat. It was a great time. Khali and Max are homeschooled, so they got to have fun with us too. Bella was totally in love with Khali and Max did really well putting up with a cute 3-year-old that followed him everywhere. For supper, we ordered pizza from a local place, and it was yummmmy! That evening, we worked on dreading Jess’s hair. It was a 4-5 hour affair and we sure had fun :) It looks great and I can’t wait to see her hair “transform” into dreads.

Before we left, we took a tour around their property and also down to the “Bad Little Falls”. I LOVE the sound of rushing water…and seeing more Maine color was just a bonus!

Thanks to Jess, Dane, Khali, and Max for a wonderful time in Machias!

Photo album here.

Belfast, Maine: Adventures on the Coast

After leaving Thorndike, we headed up the coast and stopped in a cute little town called Belfast. We walked around downtown, bought groceries at the coop, and Bella rode her bike in the skate park. When we were at the coop, Matt saw a couple getting into a really great looking older Land Cruiser. He’s a Land Cruiser junkie…so he had to go talk to them. It turned out to be a diesel…AND they are in the process of switching to veggie oil! They came over to the RV and we showed them our system and had fun chatting. Bella loved their dog…in fact, she loved it so much she gave it a big hug…while it was pooping. Then she stepped in it. :) Adventures abound. After that, we were off to Machias!

Photo album here.

Thorndike, ME: Emily and Christian

We have come to the conclusion that Maine has the absolute bumpiest roads of everything we’ve been on so far. Wow. They can really throw an RV around! After a winding and bumpy, but beautiful drive to Thorndike, we arrived at the home of Emilee and Christian and their daughter, Josephine. Emilee and I first became friends on MySpace and later started corresponding on Flickr. When we decided to go up through Maine, I knew I wanted to go meet her and her cute little family! It was so surreal to meet her in person after seeing her photos for so long!

They have a charming home on a piece of land surrounded my trees. They initially bought the A-frame that was there and then built the “cabin” structure about 2 years ago with the help of Emilee’s dad. Her dad is a talented blacksmith and carpenter…so she has amazing fixtures, furniture, and more…all made of cast iron. It’s so cozy and inviting…her style is eclectic and warm. It made me want to have a “real” house again! Emilee LOVES plants and her home is a beautiful jungle of green. Christian has a beautiful saltwater aquarium and we had so much fun watching the fish…especially the little “feather duster” wormy things on the bottom of the tank that would shrink back into their shells when you tapped on the glass and then slowly peek out again after that. So fun!

We had a great time talking, playing music, laughing with Josephine, going on walks, seeing pigs, gazing at the fall colors, talking about dreadlocks (Emilee and I started them at the same time), and eating pizza and pancakes. Bella was enamored with Josephine and pretended to be her big sister. She was a great helper :) We really enjoyed their company and hope to go back again someday!

Photo album here.

Portland, ME: A History Lesson

The next day we took in some of the sights in Portland. Our first stop was the Portland Head Light…it was a gorgeous sunny day, and this popular tourist attraction was bustling. I absolutely adore seeing history “up close”. It’s so powerful to stand in the very same place that the lighthouse keepers stood over 200 years ago! It was finished in 1791. I loved reading everything about the lighthouse and also the adjacent (former) military base, Ft. Williams. I was especially interested in seeing the list of “keepers”…and what years they worked there. It was so interesting to see how many years each one worked there…and how some were even passed on from fathers to sons. They had such dedication and passion for their job. Wow. If you’re interested in history, there is an interesting write up with lots of stories about the Head Light here. Bella had fun running in the huge expanse of green grass overlooking the lighthouse. There were tons of people up there flying kites and enjoying the day. This is just the beginning of the history we will see along the East Coast…we are so excited to learn more about our country in Boston, D.C., Philly…so much knowledge to be had!

After the lighthouse, we headed downtown to the “Old Port”. There were lots of really cute shops and fun places to walk. We had lunch at O’Naturals…a natural “fast” food restaurant. It was SO delicious. There are only 4 locations right now…but I hope they do well because the food was fantastic. They are focused on providing natural and organic meals…with many vegan/vegetarian options. The location in Portland is in an old bank and they have a toy room in the vault…and it’s just all very charming.

We enjoyed our lovely day in Portland…and decided to head north to Freeport. Freeport is a mecca of consumerism. Every shopping outlet you could ever want is there. We stopped there because Matt’s parents had found an old LL Bean gift certificate and gave it to us to use. The store actually honored it even though it was 13 years old! Now that’s customer service :) LL Bean is based out of Freeport, so they had a huge facility. We had fun looking around, and checked out the town a little bit…but all the frenzied shoppers around there were stressing us out. We went to the local thrift store there and found Bella some LL Bean footy pajamas for $2.00. Weeeee!

After all that, it was time to move on to a more peaceful setting…a little town called Thorndike, Maine.

Photo album here.

Kennebunkport Beach, Maine

We made it! We made it! To the ocean, that is :) I have only seen the ocean once in my life, for a brief moment. Matt has seen it, but not since he was much younger, and it’s Bella’s very first time. We drove from Brattleboro and made it to Kennebunkport Beach just at sunset. We could have stopped at any of the beaches on the way to Portland, but we liked saying “Kennebunkport”. It has a nice sound to it…all of the cities in the Northeast have the greatest names!

We pulled into town, followed the GPS…and watched excitedly as this big blue mass came closer and closer on the screen. As we turned the corner to the beach, we saw the huge expanse of water open up before us. We were so excited. We parked the RV and got out. Bella ran directly to the playground, barely noticing anything else…and I grabbed my camera and ran for the water. I just barely got the photos snapped before it was too dark. We played in the sand and watched other people walking and playing in the water. It was REALLY cold that night…we were frozen by the time we were done. When it was too dark to see much of anything…we walked back to the camper and made supper in our “beach house”…and then headed north to Portland for the night.

The most wonderful thing was the SOUND of the waves as they crashed on the shore. It’s such a consistent, calming sound. We can’t wait to see more of it…such a treat!

Photo album here.

Tour Route Updated

We have been working on updating our route for the East coast…I have posted the most current route here…with dates through December 14. This isn’t set in stone, but we will try very hard to stick to it. We are looking for colleges along the way to host the tour…if you have contacts at a college/university in your area, please let us know!

A big thanks to all of you who are out there getting the word out about Live Lightly…we appreciate it!

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