snapshots from maine

We haven’t blogged much this year, but our annual weekend at Ferry Beach near Saco, Maine is a favorite subject for photos and blog posts.

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We went from a super soggy Saturday of rain and fog, to a spectacularly sunny Sunday for walking the beach.

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Here are some favorite shots from our walks around Ferry Beach camp and Camp Ellis.

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There were some fun indoor things to do during the really rainy parts of the weekend, including LHB and friends leading a yoga session and both the girls appearing in the Goodwill Fashion Show portion of the traditional Talent/No Talent Show.

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Namaste. And happy autumn!

– PHB

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midsummer night’s catch-up

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We haven’t made a post in so long, we have contemplated putting the B Bus on hiatus — the blog, that is, not the actual B Bus, which is still rolling on, taking us to camp, to the beach, to softball games and street fairs.  Summer is in full swing. The girls have graduated from 5th grade, said goodbye to our neighborhood elementary school, and embraced the middle school reading list along with their new cell phones.

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While at overnight camp at beautiful Ferry Beach in southern Maine, they made these stunning fairy houses. Perfect for teeny tiny magical woodland beings on a midsummer eve.

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And I’ve been puttering around in the garden a lot. Last summer’s epic road trip was so incredible. But in some ways it’s a relief to be staying close to home this year. I can never truly keep up with the weeds, but at least this year I have a fighting chance.

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We did lose some plants to the bitter winter, but it truly astounds me every single year when we see what has survived to push forth into the sun and heat and steamy green of summer.

– PHB

 

winter coat

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Everyone’s talking about the cold. We’ve had some snow this winter but the weather headline is the freezing temps. After a temporary thaw and some rain, we are headed back into the deep freeze tonight. I took this photo of the creek at Whipple Hill yesterday.

It’s not the super extreme school-canceling Midwestern freeze, but it’s bitter and sharp, especially without pretty blankets of snow. What’s left is actually pretty gray. The girls and I have really noticed how hoary and ancient the B bus is looking, in its winter coat of salty grime.

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Definitely looking less spiffy than on the summer road trip! But the B bus is hardy, as are we.

– PHB

chilly / spooky

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A non-Red Sox post, as we await Game 3 in St. Louis tonight. Last year heading into Halloween was so warm, SUNNY / SPOOKY was our theme. This year we are feeling the bite of the first hard frost, and breaking out the hats and mittens for night hikes at Science Camp (GHB & LHB) and sitting sideline at weekend soccer games (PHB).

And our favorite iconic town center tree is bare, wearing its winter guise already. We documented the change by snapping pics when we could from the windows of the B Bus on our way by every day, starting in late September:

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We’ve got costumes to finish and treats to bake. The girls are rehearsing with their friends for the dance place Nutcracker show, and with the arrival of Halloween week I feel the year ebbing and dimming as we flow steadily towards the bright loud blare of holiday season. Living in New England makes these juxtapositions acute and compelling.

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the Center from under the 1st Parish tree

(our tree seen from underneath, wore more yellow, less orange, last fall)

– PHB

saving the beach one blade of grass at a time

Here at beautiful Ferry Beach with our annual church retreat and we are joining the beach association to plant dune grass.

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GHB and LHB making an excellent team with friend Megan and M’s dad John. This will preserve the dunes for the Maine plovers, and help save the beach from powerful erosion – for all of us!

After breakfast we all just hung out on the beach enjoying the mild weather and hoping for more sunshine to punch through the clouds.

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M’s brother Conard started an epic moated castle while other folks strolled and put up a kite.
Yesterday we had a gorgeous drive up here in the B Bus with Megan, Conard and mom Amy. Even the interstate was lovely because the fall color in NH and Maine is at perfect blaze this weekend. And we arrived in Saco just before dark, in time for spectacular views of the salt marshes along the road to Ferry Beach, glassy and full in the fading light. We didn’t get a pic to share but we took memory photos!

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crabapple afternoon

Unseasonably warm today and we are enjoying the sunshine in the back yard along with our amazement to see how much our crabapple tree has grown. What a glorious stretch of weather we’ve had; it is hard to believe October is here.

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GHB and I also walked around the Center before her hip hop class. We noticed the First Parish tree is among the first to turn. An unusual steeple, but a classic New England scene.

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apples!!!

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posted by GHB

Check out this apple blossom sky!

This is a picture of the sky over the belltower of our church in the center of town two nights ago, which was the night before Johnny Appleseed’s birthday. We were driving in the B Bus on Mass Ave coming home from a dance class and PHB snapped this awesome pic.

Did you know that this is a picture of the sun reflecting off of the ice crystals in the sky making them appear pink? It only happens in the fall because of where the earth is to where the sun is at that time of year. People call this an apple blossom sky.

Today however, as a 5th grader I got a Kindergarten Buddy at my school and we all went apple picking with our K Buddies. Everyone was allowed to take home a small bag of apples and a pumpkin and we all got to see animals and go on a hayride. There was a working tractor parked outside of the bunny hut. There were no keys in it but we could honk the horn and turn on the headlights. All the kindergarteners couldn’t get enough of honking the horn.  It got annoying after a while!

Apples are at their best in the fall and they are delicious! We plan on making apple pie and apple slump.

– GHB

misty morning in maggie valley

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Summer Roadtrip Recap: Maggie Valley, NC

We didn’t end up blogging from the road as much as we thought we might. This was partly because we had to rely on inconsistent wi fi access at various stops along the way, and partly because we typically spent our evenings finding a local eatery, swimming in a hotel pool, and trying to get to sleep early so we could get an early start in the morning!  Days were spent driving (of course!), and cramming in as much scenic wonder, historic sites, and fun pit stops as we could manage. Now that we’re home, we want to recap some of the highlights from our amazing 3,600-mile journey, in both words and images, and not necessarily in chronological order.

Maggie Valley is in the heart of the Smokies about an hour west of Asheville, and close to the Oconaluftee entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It also boasts the added attraction of Tom’s Stand, a magical mountaintop home on Bear Stump Gap where we were fortunate enough to have a beautiful visit with dear friends I hadn’t seen in literally decades.

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The girls were meeting Jane for the first time, and we got to sleep in her incredible art-filled log house, surrounded by flowers, horses, cattle, hummingbirds, friendly Jay Jay the Jack Russell guard dog and — perhaps in the middle of the night — a roving bear or two.

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The road to the house was shrouded in mist when we headed up off the highway in Maggie Valley near the pancake house, past the family’s Cataloochee Ranch. mail.google

The curving dirt road simply disappeared into the clouds in front of our eyes.

The Odyssey doesn’t have 4WD and this driver was modestly freaked out by the fog-shrouded drop-off at the edge of the steep road. So the B Bus had to spend the night at the ranch.  And Jane picked us up in her intrepid Subaru for our overnight in the clouds. When we pulled up at the big hand-hewn log house with its elven guest cottage across the lawn, LHB’s reaction was priceless: “She lives in a fairy house!”

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And so it proved.  The cottage kept appearing and disappearing into and out of the mist like something from Brigadoon.

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In spite of the rain that obscured the views, our visit was a joyful highlight of the trip, an evening of wonderful conversation and catching up with Jane, who was one of Emmy’s dearest friends back in NYC days, and son Ames, last seen by me sometime before either of us learned to read. The girls marveled at Jane’s multi-textured rooms brimming with art, photographs, ceramics, and curious objects. LHB took many photographs, including some of these.

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When we awoke the next morning steady rain had set in, and we still couldn’t see over to the driveway.

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IMG_0626We said goodbye to the hummingbirds and headed down to see the ranch and meet some of the other residents, including cows, horses, turkeys, and the staff and dudes (guests) at the ranch.

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LHB hopped in and out of the car to take these great livestock and landscape photos.

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We left a quahog from the Cape for Jane’s garden pond — a little piece of New England for her beautiful haven in the Smokies.

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It was tempting to stay longer and we could have spent at least a week exploring these beautiful mountains, but we had to pull ourselves away from Cataloochee, bound for Chattanooga!

– PHB

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the caves of kentucky

posted by GHB

This is a photo PHB took of us 250 feet underground in amazing Mammoth Cave. We walked almost two miles underground but there are over 400 miles of this cave!

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I want to write more about Mammoth Caves because it was so cool. Right now we are posting from PHB’s phone while waiting for another cave tour of a different part.