Fall in Provincetown (Part I)

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Paul and I had the month of October off (between sits), so we decided to spend more time in P-town before heading south.  We found a perfect little apartment across from Carpe Diem on Johnson Street and rented it without thinking twice. 

My October Office

I loved this spot because to me, it felt like I had stepped back into the land of Anne of Green Gables, but with the Atlantic down the stairs and to the left.  Not to mention Commercial Street.  Thank you, David, for a wonderful month in your home sweet home! 

One thing Paul and I both wanted to do was spend more time exploring the Cape Cod National Seashore.  I fell in love with the Seashore while reading Joan Anderson’s books, and then the book Master of the Sweet Trade by Elizabeth Moisan, after meeting her at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod

The Cape Cod National Seashore was established as a National Park almost fifty years ago.  It is the most pristine stretch of shoreline either of us have ever seen.

"A man can stand here and put all of America behind him." Henry David Thoreau

Cape Cod National Seashore

There are eighteen remaining dune shacks along the Cape Cod National Seashore.  It is a bit of a hike to get to them.  I suggest you leave your shoes at the beginning of the trail (which is all sand) and bring plenty of drinking water.  There is a vehicle tour available if you prefer, but to be fair to all of your senses I say hike it.

Province Lands Dune Shacks

The dune shacks started out as homes for rescuers employed by the U.S. Life-saving Service in the 19th century.  If you are fortunate enough to spend some time here (temporary tenants are chosen by lottery), you will be joining the likes of Eugene O’Neil, Jack Kerouac, e.e. cummings, Norman Mailer and Jackson Pollack. 

Afternoon on the Dunes

Wild Cranberry Bog, Cape Cod National Seashore

Of course, I would love to spend more time here.  There is a bit of controversy surrounding the shacks and their (in my opinion) rightful owners…thankfully they are on the National Register of Historic Places.  If I understand this correctly, this means they cannot be bulldozed.  Dear Powers That Be, please don’t bulldoze any more shacks.  And please don’t take this magical place away from those who have owned and loved these shacks for decades, if not generations.  Thanks. 

Sophie B Hawkins at the Post Office Cafe & Cabaret

Meanwhile, back on Commercial Street…would you believe I had the luck to be in P-town during Women’s Week?  No, I am not a lesbian, but nobody seemed to mind.  There were tons of events going on. 

It was such a pleasure to see Sophie B. Hawkins live.  After the show, I was lucky enough to chat with her a bit, buy a CD, and take pics of others with her.  Yes, I wish I had asked Paul to take a pic of me with her…don’t normally care about that kind of thing but I do LOVE her and now wish I had a pic!

Bold Strokes Authors

Every day during Women’s Week, there were readings and Q&A sessions at Vixen Night Club, followed by book signings at Now Voyager Bookstore and Gallery.  What a great group of women authors!  I purchased a couple of books and look forward to reading them now that we have settled in for the winter here on Signal Mountain (TN).  Thank you, Bold Strokes for putting on this great event!  

Well.  Here I am, once more realizing that I am going on and on.  Apparently one isn’t to go on and on here in Blogsville…something about the waning attention span of the average reader.  That’s fine, because it is just about dinnertime. 

Thank you for hanging out with me….I blog for comments, so feel free to leave one.  As an added bonus, each comment you leave between now and December 1, 2010 enters you into my latest prize drawing : )

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Road Trip 2010 – Wilmington, NC

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All I really cared about with regards to North Carolina was finally getting to see the Outer Banks for ourselves and maybe hitting Asheville, of which we have heard so much about.   Somehow our plans changed and Wilmington took the place of Asheville on our itinerary. 
 

CW Worth House

I wasn’t too disappointed, knowing we will get to Asheville at some point in the next several months (we are heading south for our next sit come November).  And when we drove up to the CW Worth House , Asheville was all but forgotten.  This Victorian beauty was built in 1893 and has been impeccably preserved, inside and out.  It is the longest operating B&B in Wilmington.  I highly recommend you stay here if you get the opportunity.

Boardwalk along the Cape Fear River

And walking distance from the Worth House is downtown Wilmington, along with its fantastic boardwalk full of restaurants and shops and college students and dogs out for their evening walks. 

Romantic dinner at The Pilot House

Food tastes better when riverfronts, boardwalks, candles and sunsets are involved.  I think so, anyway.  We enjoyed every minute at The Pilot House.  And, although I don’t consider myself a city girl, I do love being able to wander around town and back to our digs on foot.  

Mind you, there are things you don’t notice so much at night.  Things like spiders. 

Big Garden Spider. Very Big.

I know there are some of you who don’t like spiders and would rather I hadn’t posted this pic.  However, they are everywhere in Wilmington and therefore worthy of mention.  According to a gardener we happened to meet on the way to the B&B, this spider is not poisonous to humans.  Excellent news.  It is also known as a Writing Spider, owing to the webs it weaves.  Interesting, I know! Right.  Time to move on.

Downtown Wilmington, NC

August in the South is hot.  I am guessing this is why you don’t see many pedestrians in this photo.  There are some funky little shops and bars.  This is my favorite Wilmington storefront…

Hardwire Tattoo

No, I don’t have any tattoos.  Do you?  Tell us about it via the comment link, won’t you?  And while we are on favorites, this is my favorite building in Wilmington:

St. James Parrish

And I don’t go to church.  I just think this is a magnificent piece of architecture.   Especially against summer blue.  If you enjoy architecture, I am sure you will appreciate Wilmington. 

Brick & Iron

To keep the “favorites” theme going,  guess what one of my favorite southern dishes happens to be? 

Fried Green Tomatoes at Circa 1922

Circa 1922 is in the heart of downtown Wilmington and has heavenly tapas.  Our meal was, however, briefly interrupted by a patron who fell off her bar stool.  Oopsy.  It helps to drink water (instead of booze) if one is dehydrated on a 100+ degree day, methinks.  Anyway, my Circa 1922 refreshment of choice?  Pear Cider.  So refreshing.

The Battleship North Carolina

We didn’t tour the Battleship North Carolina, nor did we see the Wilmington coastline.  Alas, we had to keep movin’.  A fun aspect of cross-country road trips is figuring out what parts of the country you want to see more of; spend more time in.  I’ve fallen for North Carolina.  Couldn’t you see me sitting here with a pint of lemonade and my lappy, writing the next Great American Novel?  Sigh.

Front Porch of the Worth House

Road Trip 2010 – Roanoke Island, NC

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Settling in at The Roanoke (Manteo, North Carolina)

Paul and I have wanted to explore North Carolina (especially the Outer Banks) for years; how wondrous to finally be here.  

Manteo boasts no “box stores” and no hard liquor.  At first, I was a bit disappointed when I could not order my signature Bloody Mary at Poor Richard’s, but the deli sandwich made up for it.  Didn’t miss those golden arches, that’s for certain.  

We sat next to a park ranger named Tim at the bar, and thanks to him we ended up spending the next morning at Bodie Island Light Station #380.  

John Gaskill signs my book in exchange for a hug : )

Tim had told us about John Gaskill and we were both eager to meet him and pick up a copy of his book, John Gaskill Remembers.  Mr. Gaskill is the son of the last lighthouse keeper on Bodie Island and can be found signing books and answering questions at Bodie Island Visitor Center, which is located in the home he grew up in.  This man is fascinating as well as delightful.  Hard to believe he is ninety-four!  Can’t wait to dig in to his book.  

Mr. Gaskill with his "most favorite boss ever", Jami Lanier, USNPS

Tim told us all about John Gaskill, but didn’t mention that he himself would be leading a guided tour that day as well.  He had recently transferred to Cape Hatteras, so I was pretty impressed at how much Tim knew about the local flora, fauna, etc. etc.  Tim, thank you so much – you are great at what you do!  

On a Marsh Discovery Walk with Ranger Tim Cassidy

My dinky camera does not do the marsh justice (camera is on the Christmas List : ) I tried to get a decent shot of the blue crabs skittering sideways through the water but no such luck.  Believe me when I say this place is beautiful.   

Cape Hatteras Heron

Bodie Island Lighthouse is in the process of being preserved; if you love lighthouses, you will want to see what this one looks like normally, and find out more about it here.   

Preserving Bodie Island Light Station

We met a volunteer couple (Latta and Janice Johnson) while on our marsh walk who just happen to be from Chattanooga, Tennessee.  This is so exciting to me, why?  Because as of November, we will be on a six month sit just outside of Chattanooga!  We are hoping to catch a fall cruise on their river boat, The Southern Belle before it docks for the winter.   

Meanwhile, back in the town of Manteo…did I show you the view from our digs at The Roanoke?  This is basically what you see from the porch…  

Lighthouse at Shallowbag Bay

And a bit further down the boardwalk and you find yourself across from this beauty…  

The Elizabeth II at dusk

Local Authors featured at Manteo Booksellers

As per usual, we found ourselves a great indie bookstore, Manteo Booksellers.  I came across a Leonard Cohen book I’d never seen before, Beautiful Losers written in 1966.  Mr. Cohen, I love your songwriting, your songs, and the artists you collaborate with. I have for decades now.  But what is up with this book? Yikes…Right. My point is that this particular bookseller certainly knew his/her stuff – a truly unique selection.   

Baskets for sale outside a Manteo shop

It is hard to get a feel for a place when you are spending only a night or two.  I did feel very at peace here and would recommend it more as a romantic spot for couples (or a calming place to find oneself, or an educational spot for those who cherish marine life) than a place you would go to party.   For that, you might go to, say, Okracoke.  Which just happens to be our next stop.

Favorite Quotes

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Life on the Bay

I mentioned in a recent blog post on Martha’s Vineyard that Laura and I had a lovely time in Craftworks, a shop featuring American artisans.  I could have spent hours going through hundreds of quotes typed onto handmade paper. 

In the end, I chose a few different quote cards to tack to my bulletin board or use as bookmarks.  These were my four favorites:

There is more to life than increasing its speed. Gandhi

From this hour on I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines.  Walt Whitman

Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.  Edwin Teale

Ordinary riches can be stolen.  Real riches cannot.  In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.  Oscar Wilde

Do you have a favorite quote or two that you would like to share?  Or, an affirmation, maybe?  If so, just click on the comment link at the bottom of this post and type away.  Thanks!

Valynne’s Perfect Cambridge Day

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I decided this morning to be a bit decadent.  My budget for this sit is $20 a day and my typical day is closer to $10 as I eat at home most of the time and walk or take the bus everywhere.  Today was the exception.  I was going to blow a few bucks and spend my time however I wanted.  Fun!   

At 7am, I let Cosmo out and got back into bed.  I fed her a bit later….then got back in bed.  Paul never does this.  Once he is up, he makes the bed and doesn’t think about it until a good sixteen hours later.  If I get back into bed I feel a bit guilty around him.  But Paul isn’t here (tee hee).  Decadent.    

Around 11am, Kevin joined Cosmo and I for a walk around Fresh Pond Reservoir (2.5 miles).  It is lots of fun knocking around ideas and sharing stories with other caretakers. Kevin and Alicia live a couple of miles away from here and introduced us to this sit.  Their website is www.KevinandAliciaShea.com.     

After dropping Cosmo off at home post-park, I walked to Formaggio Kitchen and browsed their chocolate and bakery sections (yum), then sat down with a Bundaberg (ginger beer) and  waited for the bus.  Fifteen minutes later and I was wandering Harvard Square.  Again. It’s gonna be a hard habit to break.   

Crema Cafe has been calling my name, so I got me a latte and a coconut macaroon (it’s been years) and sat down at the balcony to write a few postcards until an outside seat became available.     

Latte & Coconut Macaroon at Crema Cafe

A few minutes later I had relocated and was enjoying a healthy dose of sunshine with an older gentleman that lived across the square.  He sat at this spot almost every day and I could understand why.  It was perfect for people watching. 

Men walked by with flowers from the shop next door (I love watching men walking by with flowers) and I admired more than one Red Sox hat.  College girls sat in groups of three, giggling away and reminding me of my little Sister Em, who will be a Freshman at Cal Poly next year.   

Crema Cafe asks that you limit your stay to an hour and it was time I moved on.   Next stop, Harvard COOP.  I was wandering the third floor for the first time when I came across this sign: 

Tuesday May 11th at 7pm Discussion/Signing with William Morgan

His latest book, The Typewriter Is Holy, claims on its front cover to be The Complete, Uncensored History of the Beat Generation.  Are you kidding me?    

View from my seat at the COOP Cafe

For this event, I would have to plan accordingly.  A couple more stops and I’d be walking back home to hang out with Cosmo a bit before catching another 72 Bus.  My first night out in Cambridge.  Party animal that I am.   

Leavitt & Peirce is mainly a tobacco shop.  It also sells chess sets, violet flavoured chewing gum, playing cards, and mustache wax.  Say what you will, I love the smell of tobacco.  Real tobacco.  The kind you find in tobacco pipes, the kind rolled into quality cigars.  I like this place.  

View from the Chess Balcony at Leavitt & Peirce

And I’m not just saying that because I scored me a wooden Ashton cigar box (Made by Hand in the Dominican Republic) for $1.  That was just a bonus.  I do love wooden boxes.  And this one is perfect for my vintage button collection.  Now all I need are some vintage buttons.   

What a great way to repurpose!

As I was walking across campus (after being denied entry to Harvard Library), I overheard a tour leader asking a small crowd of would-be students whether they thought the Science Center looked like a Polaroid Land Camera.   As they all looked up at it, the leader asked if any of them even knew what a Polaroid looked like.  Just then, it hit me.  Holy Crap, I’m thirty-seven.  For real.  

Harvard Science Center

I took the long way home.  Typically, I walk down Brattle Street or take a bus down Huron Ave.  Today, I walked through North Cambridge.  If you asked me to retrace my steps I doubt I’d be able to.  Glad I went this way, though.  Not all of Cambridge looks like Harvard Square, you know.   

Mike hurt his hand (this was his Barber Shop)

This route was roughly twice as long, but I had a great time along the way.  Back at the homestead and time to break it gently to Cosmo that I would be going back out.  I explained to her that I have this thing for Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burrows, Ferlinghetti… And that Ginsberg’s archivist and biographer of twenty years was only a ten minute bus ride away.  Whatever, Lady.

Name of Band TBA

I’m jogwalking to the COOP when this band stops me in my tracks. Cocaine’s … Gonna Kill My Honey Dead.  Wow.  They’re good.  But I cannot be late.  I throw a buck in the guitar case and up the stairs of the COOP I go, promising myself I will catch them before the end of the week.

Complimentary Starbucks coffee and real cream with Sugar in the Raw?  Nice.  And I’ve scored myself a decent seat.  Bill Morgan gets up to talk and I’m surprised.  He looks more like a librarian than a Herbert Huncke.  Oh. He is a librarian.  And did I mention he spent twenty years as Allen Ginsberg’s archivist and biographer, editing an essay here and there while he was at it?  How did he get that gig?!?  It’s a cool story.  Half an hour later I am convinced The Typewriter Is Holy will be a cool story as well.  So I buy it, and have him sign it when almost everyone has dispersed. 

Waiting to get my book signed. Facing the camera is photographer Elsa Dorfman!

I’d like to write more about the “Beats” and am pretty sure I can tie it in with Caretaking Couple.   What do you think?  In the meantime, I can’t wait to dive into this book, being the Dharma Bum that I am…   http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/65501.

OK.  Now. To find a bus home.  I have taken a bus to the Square, but never from it.  I’ve gotta go underground for that.  But first, what’s going on in front of Cardullo’s?  It’s a small crowd, watching the Red Sox on TV.  

Red Sox vs. Blue Jays

The deli is closed at Cardullo’s and the cashier recommends a burrito from Boloco.  I walk there and back and find a seat, thinking I would watch an inning or two.  Next to me is Bob (who recently retired after forty years with the Cambridge PD), Steve, and Jerome. 

A photographer starts taking pics as I shove the burrito in my mouth.  Come to find out he is with NPR.  Ha.  Is this to be my fifteen minutes of fame?  I love it.  Check their website for sexy pics of me slouching over said burrito. 

By the time the Red Sox were leading 6-1, Cardullo’s was closing up shop.  I thanked Bob for my Cambridge Police Department Junior Officer badge sticker and found the 72 bus.
Something else happened today (with regards to Mountain Girl Organics) but I don’t want to jinx it.  Seriously, what an all-around amazing day.   Cosmo didn’t look too convinced at first but she has since come around (convincing by means of doggie treats – I’m not above it).   
 
What does a perfect day consist of in your world?  Have you had one lately?  I’m hoping you have.  If not, what would it consist of?  Just curious, is all… 

Breakfast With the Authors

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What a great morning.  My new friend Joyce and I met in S. Yarmouth at the Cape Cod Cultural Center for this mornings “Breakfast With the Authors” event, presented by the Cape Cod Writers’ Center (brilliant idea, Joyce).  She commented on my blog a while back, won a prize,  and come to find out we have much in common and are practically neighbors – fun! 

Today’s event featured three authors who were there to discuss their most recent books.  Three different writers with three very different books – yet I enjoyed each talk immensely and can’t wait to find out more about them.  Which book to start with,  is the question…

 Elizabeth Moisan wrote this historical fiction based on the lives of the pirate Sam Bellamy and his witchy woman, Mariah.  The story takes place out on the Atlantic as well as on the Cape.  Ms. Moisan focused her talk mainly on the book and on pirates in general.  Did you know that pirates did not coin the term “Arrgghh”?  Me neither!  And isn’t it interesting the way pirates throughout history have been glamorized? I mean, they are criminals, after all.  Is it strange that I was completely fascinated by the fact that she handed me an antique-like map (that she created herself) of Cape Cod along with a copy of her book?  I love it and am sticking it on my bulletin board.  Find out more about Elizabeth Moisan at www.quillsandbrushes.com.

Up next: Gordon Mathieson.  To be honest, I was thinking I would listen to what this man had to say with the intention of reporting back to Paul as biological weaponry isn’t really my thing. However after hearing him speak I realize there is much more to the story than that.  Still, I am going to start with another book of his, The Hyannis House.  What can I say, I am a bit of a chicken.  Anyway, this man is very interesting – he shared a lot about himself and how he came to be a writer and I have a strong sense that I wasn’t the only one in the crowd that drew inspiration.  Find out more about Gordon Mathieson at www.GordonMathieson.com.

Speaking of strong senses, Bethanne Elion has had out-of-body experiences since she was three.  What captivated me was her telling of the years of suffering she experienced while trying to stifle her psychic abilities.  How many of us have done this to ourselves; regardless of the ability we possess?  I shudder to think.  Like most, I love a good success story.  I love that she is now honoring her third eye and helping animals and people in the process.  Oh, and after perusing her blog, I discovered that she loves essential oils and has a background in skin care…cool!  Find out more about Bethanne Elion at www.bethanneelion.com

Happy weekend, everyone.  And happy reading!

In Honor of Poetry Month

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Spring

“LEISURE”

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

By Wm. Henry Davies

* This is one of Paul’s favorite poems…would you like to share one of yours?  If so, please leave it in the comments section.  Thank you for sharing with us.

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