My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Vacation: Brunswick & Sullivan

Vacation Day #3...

After a night spent in a travel-induced coma, we spent the morning exploring a bit of Brunswick before striking out for points north.

Following a small, lackluster breakfast at the Parkview Café - an all-veg café at the Parkview Hospital which sounded so promising but fell far short of our expectations for veganness, tastiness and healthiness - we went for a morning stroll through a lovely neighborhood along a brook near the hospital. This one-acre lot didn't have a house on it, but they've certainly done some lovely landscaping... and it's for sale! I think it just cries out for a little English cob cottage, don't you? :-)

I'm enchanted by gates. And ivy. And little woodland glades.
So it goes without saying I adored this neighborhood oasis!

The morning was beautiful, the neighborhood very peaceful.
No sound of traffic, voices, barking dogs, or lawn equipment...
just lots and lots of pretty birdsong!

From that peaceful community we went to this one: the historic Pine Grove Cemetery. In addition to gates, ivy and woodland glades, I also love cemeteries - especially the old ones - and have since I was little. There was one grave here in particular that we wanted to visit, but when I saw this old tombstone enveloped so picturesquely in ivy, I was compelled to photograph it...

This was the grave site we'd come here to see...

Burial plot of Joshua & Fanny Chamberlain
(Fanny's stone is merely inscribed with the enigmatic
"Unveiled" above the date of her death)

If you're from Maine, a Civil War buff (or, like us, fans of Ken Burns' Civil War series), or a Bowdoin College student or alum, you undoubtedly know all about Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. He's famous in the Civil War for his calm command at Little Round Top in the battle of Gettysburg, where his "unlikely textbook maneuver" (to quote the Ken Burns series) helped save not only Little Round Top but probably Gettysburg, which probably was key to the Union winning the Civil War. It also provided the ever-droll BW with the phrase "unlikely textbook maneuver" to describe some of my klutzier feats of gracelessness. ;-)

Wounded several times during the war, Chamberlain received his most severe wound at Petersburg, VA when he was shot through the pelvis, damaging his hip, several arteries and bladder. His death a near-certainty, his obituary was printed and released. He did die of his injuries... but not for another 50 years, and he suffered through several surgeries and constant pain during the rest of his long life.

That probably would have given most of us an excuse to lay around moping, sleeping and drinking whisky for the rest of our days, but JLC went on to do the following (and then some) with his remaining half-century...

He became fluent in nine languages besides English, served as Bowdoin College's president and taught every subject in their curriculum except science and math, was elected Governor of Maine for four terms, was a founding member of the Maine Institution for the Blind (now The Iris Network), helped establish the University of Maine, and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions at Gettysburg.

He has a humble headstone for all that, befitting the modest man he's said to have been...

Now from the serious and dignified monument to the whimsical and quirky! Who wouldn't love a free-spirited sculpture like this to commemorate their own dance of life?

A joyful-looking sculpture on a family plot marker

From Brunswick we drove on to Bangor, stopping just long enough to eat a light lunch (my photo of our yummy dolmas, raw kale salads and chickpea spinach soup really isn't post-worthy) and gather a few more provisions at the Natural Living Center before making tracks to Sullivan. There's not much to Sullivan, but we wanted to explore that area before checking into our Bar Harbor motel.

We stopped to get a better look at a little Sullivan farm that was for sale, and when I walked over to their fence for an even closer view I was greeted by these two sweet little cows who came at a trot across their pasture to say howdy!

The sweetie on the right greeted me by licking my hand.
And told me she was glad I was in Maine by licking my hand.
And thanked me for stopping by to visit by licking my hand.
And expressed joy at my willingness to have my hand licked
by licking my hand! :-)
(Pity she was enjoying a nano-second pause between licks
just as BW snapped this photo!)

After saying farewell to my new best bovine buddies and wiping off the cow spit, we'd driven just a bit further when I saw these two sweet birdhouses in someone's side yard and made BW hit the brakes and back up so I could get out and photograph them. Aren't they cute? (I'm a little hurt that no birds came flying out of them to lick my hand, but I guess not all the locals can be that friendly)... ;-)

I like the barn best, preferring rural life to urban high rises.

Coming up next: Bar Harbor and then Acadia National Park (a very photo-op rich environment, so those two places alone may take up a few posts!)


  1. It must be good luck to have your hands licked by lovely cows! I love their little hornettes.

    I wonder how much rent those birds pay for those luxury accommodations? I imagine it's a few berries and a blade of grass a least.

    That little Brunswick neighborhood does look wonderful. And thanks for the little lesson on Joshua Chamberlain. I had never heard of him before (shame on me...I must have been day-dreaming in history class), but he sounds like an extraordinary individual.

  2. I can't believe those cows came running up to you like that *and* licked your hand! I've stopped by quite a few farms in our area and although the cows are always curious, they keep a respectful distance from me. Lucky you!

    Lovely photos, as always. I'm really enjoying your vacation posts so far!

  3. We are watching Ken Burns' Civil War series now! Of course, being a good Mainer, I already knew about Joshua Chamberlain. Can't wait to see your other photos! I wish I'd been licked by a cow...

  4. Great pics..of Maine, Denver, AND the wildflowers. Looking forward to more ;-). Oh yeah..nice pics of you guys, too ;-)~

  5. Rose ~ "Little hornettes" - lol! If it's good luck to have your hands kissed by a cow, then I should start buying lottery tickets! :-)

    I imagine the rent for those luxury accommodations would be at least that much, and might even include a few sunflower seeds!

    I went to high school in Maine, and I don't recall ever hearing of Joshua till I watched Burns' Civil War series! (I learned a LOT of stuff from it I never learned in school). He was extraordinary indeed, and lived an extraordinary life to match.

    Molly ~ The cows out here keep their distance as well (can't blame them!), so I was surprised too at what friendly, affectionate little extroverts these two were! I'm hopeful it's because they're someone's companions (and not someone's commodity).

    I'm glad you're enjoying our vacation photos! Wish I could get them posted faster, but it's time-consuming and I have to juggle a lot of other stuff. But it's a lot of fun and I'd devote most of every day to it if I could! :-)

    Mary ~ What a coinkydink that you are watching "The Civil War" now! We have the series on VHS and DVD, and watch at least some of it every year. Isn't it excellent? You are a good Mainer! I don't know why JLC didn't play a starring role in my Maine education, but then I never took American history at Kennebunk HS.

    I highly recommend being licked by a cow if you ever get an opportunity. Their tongues feel like coarse sandpaper... it's like getting an exfoliation treatment. Spas charge a lot of $ for those, cows just happily give them away! :-)

    I think my vacation photos get even more fun from here on, but I also think I may do a non-vacation post next. Other topics I want to blog about are getting backlogged (plus I need to buy a little time while I work on the next Maine posts!) :-) Glad you've enjoyed them so far, and appreciate your stopping by!

    Spud ~ Thank you! I'm glad you liked 'em! More will be forthcoming, I promise! :-)

  6. Beautiful photos! I wanted to thank you for your supportive words over on my blog, I really appreciate the encouragement.

  7. Oh Tex...
    God I luv ya. I hear your voice in every sentence you write.
    I think if/when you re-locate back to Maine you should buy that little sweet 1 acre plot in Brunswick...even tho' the breakfast cafe was a disappointment. You must have a photographic memory with all your "unlikley textbook maneuver" recollections. Egads...poetry, flower genus names, complete history of Chamberlain, etc, etc. Thank you for enjoying my company. I have no unlikely textbook maneuvers-just a few basic quirks. But what I was starting to say was I'm SURE you and BW went to the Joshua Chamberlain Museum in Brunswick, and if not shame, shame. But the reason you should move back to Maine is you would be an ideal individual (and BW too) to work there and spout all the relevant details. You'll remember all the details about the home too....I know you. I read a lot about JLC and have visited Gettysburg-twice-and have watched the film and read the book....and still I don't have the flair for details you included. must be themselves, for everyone else is already taken. :)
    Love the picture of you and Bessie and Bossie. Auntie Laloo was getting her due!! Tula is a fan of the over-lick as well. Glad you might find it appealing.
    Love the pics your getting with your new camera. Did you let BW take any vacation shots at all?

  8. Gilding Lilies - You're most welcome, thanks for popping in!

    Sue - Your comment just made my day! (And of course I luv ya too!) :-)

    That 1-acre parcel is very tempting! But with the exception of that one neighborhood, we weren't nearly as smitten with Brunswick as we were with the Pen Bay area and their smaller villages. If only we could transport that one acre lot there! (Probably be easier just to find a lot that already is there, imitate the landscaping and install a gate, huh. LOL)

    You're so funny, thanking me for enjoying your company. Yeah, it's a lot of work to do that. ;-)~ And I hate to disappoint you, but I really, honestly don't have the kind of memory you give me credit for! Like most people, I suppose, if something really makes an impression, I'll remember it well and seemingly forever. If I take notes or photos, I'll more likely remember it well. But my mind is more like a storm grate than a steel trap - it lets through more than it captures. If you don't believe me, just ask BW, who daily hears me say, "Where are my keys?" and "Have you seen my glasses?" LOL

    And at the risk of disappointing you even more, I fear I must confess we did not, in fact, visit the JLC Museum! *Hangs head in shame* I wanted to, and even printed out their address & hours and brought it along, but BW wasn't as interested and we just didn't have enough time to do it justice. But we'll be back again someday, and you've inspired me to make a visit there a priority next time. I'm really sorry we missed it! (I do have JLC's autobiography as well as Soul of the Lion but it's been ages since I read them - need to do that again!)

    Funny you can imagine me (us) working there and giving tours, because since the first time I remember taking a tour of somewhere historic (in Jamestown, VA as a 3rd grader) I thought it would be a really fun thing to do - and I still think that! I'd love a job like that! BW would be good at it too, he's a great story-teller.

    I've visited a lot of Civil War battlefields, but not Gettysburg (unless it was as a really little kid and it's slipped through my storm-drain brain!) :-) I imagine it's quite a place and am glad you had opportunities to visit it, especially given your love of history!

    The cows were great fun, I could have spent all morning visiting with them and getting my exfoliation spa manicure. :-) I will welcome Tula's kisses someday too, and look forward to meeting her and seeing you again!

    I'm so pleased with the new camera and SO glad we got it before our trip! I definitely did most of the picture-taking, but BW did get to take a few - the ones with me in them are all his, silly! :-) (He also took a few from one of the sailboats with our old camera, but he was more interested in sailing than in photographing!)

    Thanks so much for your sweet and fun comment, Sue! I'm glad you're enjoying the vacation posts so far! xoxoxo

  9. Loved this blog too! Lots of fun stuff I hadn't heard about yet (except for the bovine buddies). Too bad about the hospital cafe but for me food and hospital = bad so I can't say I was totally shocked. I spent a week in the hospital when I was 12 and almost starved to death. Of course that was the hospital food and not the hospital cafe food. Well, good for you for giving it a shot! And I'm glad the grounds made the trip worthwhile. I loved the ivy on the arch very much.

    My favorite photo was of the two birdhouses. But, I favored the high rise - that's why it's important to have variety in your backyard birdhouse offerings!

    I enjoyed the link to JLC and read through most of it. Very amazing man. Was confused by his grave. Fanny's gravestone is next to another stone but then the stone you photographed with Joshua's name on it does not appear to be near Fanny's. Hmm?

    Thank you so much for your hard work on your vacation blogs. I'm loving them!!!!

  10. Jo - Well, after reading the article about it and their web site, I was expecting a much more varied, healthy and interesting breakfast at the café than overcooked oatmeal mush, fried potato chunks and some sad-ass melon chunks! More than half the fare was egg and cheese-intensive and much of it was fried. But I know what you mean about hospital food - it's right down there with airline food (if such a thing even exists anymore - we didn't get fed a single meal on our flights!) When I was in the hospital for a few days 12 years ago, I asked for vegetarian food and got beef broth and Jell-O. For breakfast! Argh. If my supervisor hadn't brought me homemade vegetable soup and bread for dinner the night after my surgery, I'd have been starving too!

    I'm glad you share my love for the ivy arch and the birdhouse photo! I laughed at your "it's important to have variety in your birdhouse offerings!" :-)

    I'm also glad you took the time to read about Joshua Chamberlain - he really was quite something! We were confused by the graves too, but I can clear up some of your confusion. The large monument next to Fanny's is also Joshua's... it just bears his name and the years of his birth and death. We think the photo I posted that has all the info on it about him is his actual grave marker, but aren't sure. She predeceased him, so it's baffling why they're not buried side by side - but equally baffling why they'd put all his info on a small marker in the ground if that's not his actual headstone, and leave his headstone nearly blank! So I dunno. But I'm most mystified by the word "Unveiled" on her tombstone. My theory is that it had something to do with the fact her eyesight was impaired - maybe she saw everything as if through a veil, and at death her sight was unveiled? That's the best I can come up with! :-)

    I'm so happy that you're enjoying the vacation posts so much! I'm enjoying working on them, but it's responses like that that make it really fun for me! :-)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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