Sunday, June 20, 2010

Florida, New Hampshire, and Maine

We spent 4 days in Clearwater Beach, Florida the first week of June. It’s on a barrier island facing out toward the Gulf of Mexico, west of Tampa. One of the things I like best about traveling is the differences in plants and animals. This is the patio outside our rental condo. Note the tiny gecko. They came out of hiding every evening.

The small pool is next to the patio, looking back toward the mainland. Every morning there was a different bird standing in the shallow water at the edge, getting a drink. Here are a laughing gull and a blue heron, who were not actually there at the same time.

Friends took us out to lunch at Tarpon Springs, the natural sponge capital of the world. The sponges are harvested by divers. Most of the divers and their families came from Greece originally. This means the small town of Tarpon Springs is full of wonderful restaurants. I bought these sponges while the others were finishing up their lunch.

Here's an old post card of the Tarpon Springs sponge exchange, dated 1940.

This is a Concord Coach, a deluxe type of carriage designed and made in Concord, New Hampshire, and used throughout the world. The lettering at the top says New London and Potter Place. This one currently resides at the New London Historical Society, but I drew it as if it were outdoors making the journey between New London and Potter Place, the end of the rail line. It carried residents, tourists, and students. I like how the iron rods are all bent on the roof....the result of lots of heavy trunks. Also, look how tiny the steps are to get into the coach, and the last one was was a huge heave up into the inside. Picture that with layers of petticoats and hoop skirts.

And a photo of the Concord Coach stopping in Elkins, a part of our town of New London. I believe this store was located at the end of the lake near the dam. The suspension system of the coach involved leather straps, rather than metal springs. So it rocked rather than bounced. Mark Twain called the Concord Coach a ‘cradle on wheels.’

Potter Place Railroad Station in the town of Andover, five miles from New London. In the 1800s, you could get this far by train from Boston in four hours. On the upper right of the drawing, I made an enlargement of the wooden roof trim. As I was observing it closely, I realized it was meant to look like ivy, not icicles. An aha moment.

Potter Place is the name of the large estate of Richard Potter (1783-1835). He was born in Boston and lived in Portsmouth and nearby Hopkinton. Educated in Europe, he returned to become America’s first magician, hypnotist, and traveling showman. And he garnered a good deal of wealth with his stage shows. There are several accounts of his life online, and his illusions are still remembered and described. I have never seen the word ventriloquist on a gravestone before! It and that of his wife Sally are directly behind the no longer used station.

This is an inlet on the Kennebunk River in Kennebunkport, Maine, at low tide. I like the faded colors, and the jumble of roof angles, wooden piles, and deck railings. Most of these old fishing related buildings are now restaurants and shops.

Here is my close up drawing of a sea captain’s house from the early 1800s in Kennebunkport, Maine. The door is framed by elegant curved glass panels. Next to the windows are black shutters. The house is wood frame with painted grey wooden clapboards. A home like this would be made of stone in many parts of the world. In New England, wood was plentiful. We are lucky they survive.

These flowers are in my kitchen on the counter. Behind them is a a very small watermelon. I added wildflowers to the vase after a walk. The vase is really a drinking glass with an image of Venice on it.