Month: August 2016

Meanwhile, Back at the Ballpark

With travel and vacation, it has been a month since I was at Nationals Park for a baseball game.  Last night I made it back and realized how much I’d missed. When I left, the Nationals were pulling away to about an 8-game lead in the division over the Marlins and Mets.  Last evening, the Nats went into the opener of a series against the Colorado Rockies leading the Marlins by 8 games and the Mets by 10.  Even though they didn’t play outstanding ball in August, they played well enough to keep the margin in the division race. But when we left in early August, Anthony Rendon was just showing signs of coming out of a year-long slump and Bryce was still scuffling, with no real sign of playing like BRYCE!  And there was this youngster – Trea Turner – who was not playing everyday, but who was taking advantage of what playing time he got to make an impact. Well, four weeks is a long time to take your eye off the game, …

Adventures in Moving

My father, after helping with at least the fifth move of one of his children to some new town and new apartment through the wonders of U-Haul, declared that he had “enjoyed his last Adventure in Moving.” U-Haul no longer uses that phrase for their tagline, but after driving two full days from Tennessee to Washington with a van of family furniture, I am channeling my dad.  No more adventures in moving for me! Andrew and I flew to Nashville on Monday, where my sister Debbie met us at the airport and deposited us at the U-Haul office to pick up our van.  Then my niece’s husband Jason and their daughter Kate joined us to help load the van.  They were a godsend (not to mention Andrew’s many contributions over the three days), and we quickly had all the pieces of my dad’s home that were moving to Maryland strapped in and ready to go. We already have a family bedroom suite from the Bearden side of our family (my grandmother’s family), but after my …

Pilgrim’s Inn: Our Home Away from Home

You can tell a great deal about a lodging establishment by the quality of their Q-tips.  More on why that matters in a moment I started this post as a love letter to the Pilgrim’s Inn in Deer Isle, Maine, then I switched to describe it as a fan letter.  Either works. In busy years (and 2016 has qualified), I spend close to 3 months out of each year in someplace other than home.  It comes with the job. That experience was helpful as Candice and I looked for a place to stay in Maine for the last quarter of my sabbatical. While at the American Academy in Rome over six weeks in March and April, Candice and I had a wonderful studio apartment in a historic building where we got accustomed to being in one room together for long stretches of time.  We found that the studio apartment layout – with areas to sit and work, a table to gather around for conversation, and with windows to throw open and take in the fresh …

Dawdling

E.B. White once wrote, “The curse of flight is speed.  Or, rather, the curse of flight is that no opportunity exists for dawdling.” I’ve been reading White as we’ve dawdled the past few days near his long-time Brooklin home in Maine, our feet very much on the ground (and water).  The first dictionary definition of dawdle is “to waste time,” but then options such as “moving slowly and idly” are put forth, as is “languid” and “saunter.”  I prefer the latter choices, as we’ve been dawdling, but definitely not wasting time. Monday we sat outside the Pilgrim’s Inn, at water’s edge, and read for a couple of hours in the morning, enjoying a picture perfect Maine summer day.  Then we sauntered (if you can do so by car) over for a late lunch at the Brooklin Inn.  Our friends Tim Boggs and James Schwartz had invited us to their area home for an afternoon sail and dinner. As we were walking out of the Inn, James and Tim drove by, stopped, and encouraged us to …

Observations from the Road (Or “The Deer Isle’s Locally Sourced Food and Music” Edition)

During our first week on Deer Isle in Maine, we have jumped enthusiastically into the local food and music scene.  Sometimes the outing was planned.  At other times the opportunities were serendipitous.  But isn’t that how we are to live? This is one long “Observations from the road…” post, which could be titled “My, Maine has so much to offer in locally sourced food and music.” Our first two encounters with food and live music were unplanned yet set the stage for our visit.  Upon our arrival at Pilgrim’s Inn last Sunday evening, we saw someone carrying a guitar into his cabin.  After meeting Richard Perlmutter and his wife Judy the next day and determining that he did – in fact – have a guitar with him, we agreed to meet up after dinner on Monday for an impromptu jam session. Serendipitously, we found that the Whale’s Rib Tavern was open for dinner at the Inn on Monday (we had mistakenly thought it was closed both Sunday and Monday evenings), so we quickly booked a …

Acadia

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016, Candice and I spent last Thursday at Acadia National Park in Maine – with thousands of our newest friends – to enjoy this magnificent landscape (and the first national park east of the Mississippi River). On a beautiful summer day, the park was brimming with people taking every form of transportation imaginable to access a part of Mt. Desert Island.  We enjoyed the loop ride, and stopped along the way to see treats such as the magnificent views at Thunder Hole.  It was fun to see young couple skipping from rock to rock while grandparents pulled out their lawn chairs and sat in the shade just to watch the endlessly fascinating waves break against the shore. After a lunch in Seal Harbor, we headed up to Cadillac Mountain in the center of the park. Cadillac Mountain, at 1,530 feet (466 meters), is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard and the first place to view sunrise in the United States from October …

Open Your Eyes and See What You Can See With Them…

Now I understand. For the past two years – and especially since my time last March and April at the American Academy in Rome – friends have enthused over Anthony Doerr‘s writing.  My only experience was through his short memoir Four Seasons in Rome, which while an interesting read struck me as something he did because he had journals from his time at AAR and decided to make something of them. Not a terrible thing to do, but also not up to the level of the reviews of Doerr’s work I was hearing from friends. Then over the first two weeks of August, I read All the Light We Cannot See.  I’ll repeat myself.  Now I understand. What a lovely, rich, engrossing, and uplifting book.  First of all, Doerr is a poet with words, but he has a scientist’s mind. This is as finely crafted a story as I’ve ever read, with the shifts in time and character all put together in an amazing sequence that pulls the reader forward with anticipation.  I can easily …

And When From Death I’m Free, I’ll Sing On…

A dear friend from our days in Staunton passed away yesterday.  Ted Jordan was much too young and vibrant, but an accident claimed his life and devastated both family and friends. A scholar, gifted writer, carpenter and general contractor, Ted would do anything for anyone.  The 17 trips he took to Honduras to build schools and churches are but one example of the person he was. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Dana and his boys – Ben, Grayson, and Tim – and their families. I was fortunate to see and talk with Ted for a good while when I was in the Shenandoah Valley last month for the Red Wing Roots Music Festival.  He was at the festival with his granddaughter, Violet and his son, Ben.  I told Candice that evening that it was such a treat to see how much joy Ted’s family brought him at this new stage in life. There was a time where Ted and I played music together at least once a week for a decade …

New Collection of Essays Looks to Preservation’s Future

(In a recent post on the National Trust’s Preservation Forum blog, I highlighted the recent publication of 50 essays with ideas for the next 50 years of preservation.  I’ve excerpted portions of that post for More to Come….  You can read the entire post here.  Full disclosure:  I was one of the contributors.) The 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)—the cornerstone of preservation practice in the United States—has spurred conferences, articles, and celebrations throughout 2016. One of the most lasting and influential looks to the future to emerge from this year could well be a new work from the University of Massachusetts Press, Bending the Future: 50 Ideas for the Next 50 Years of Historic Preservation in the United States. Edited by Max Page and Marla R. Miller, professors at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Bending the Future features visions of the next five decades from some of the nation’s leading preservation professionals, historians, scholars, activists, and journalists. The editors invited “provocations,” and they certainly received a few. But what is almost universal …

Guns, Wedding Gowns, Cold Beer

While driving through Central Maine to reach our destination on the coast, we passed a convenience store on a small rural road that had a sign which read: Guns Wedding Gowns Cold Beer We were laughing too hard to stop and take a picture, so you’ll have to trust me on this one.  Depending on the willingness of both sides to get married, these three things comprise almost all the essential ingredients needed for a (shotgun) wedding.  Add a Justice of the Peace (or these days, in internet-approved minister) and you’re all set. Seriously, we’ve had a wonderful introduction to Maine.  On Saturday we stayed at a B&B in Littleton, Massachusetts, to split the drive in two (the Lyttleton Inn), and in the small world department it turns out that the innkeeper is the aunt of a former colleague at the National Trust.  We savored the delicious breakfast and interesting conversation with Mary (the innkeeper) before hitting the road north. The second day’s drive was uneventful (just what you want) and we reached our destination …