400 Slices
Medium 9780892727605

The Ogre and I

Down East Books ePub

Elaine Ford

I

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Medium 9780892725564

Route 16 Southbridge–Sturbridge Loop

Gibson, John Down East Books ePub

16

This leisurely backroads exploration of Massachusetts’s south-central border country visits an antiques center, loops around several lakes, doubles back on itself, and concludes at the site of famous Old Sturbridge Village. Along the way, the drive heads right through beautiful Brimfield State Forest, crosses a major deadwater, and touches a number of places ideal for camping and recreational activities. If a healthy mix of rural back roads and attractive woodlands suits you, and you have a penchant for things antique, travel these roads.

Begin in the south central city of Southbridge at the junction of MA 169 and MA 131 on the east side of town. Go west, crossing the downtown area on 131, and watch for South Street on the left by Notre Dame Church a half mile from your starting point. Turn left on South Street at a fork. South Street passes through a residential area and is soon out in more rural terrain, rolling by a widened, pondlike section of the Quinebaug River to the right. Beyond Breakneck Road, South Street shortly becomes Mashapaug Road at 2.7 miles and pulls west through more wooded country. Drive through several rock cuts and gain altitude, some views to the north opening up shortly At 3.6 miles you cross a dead-water, and the road winds south in mixed-growth forest, soon coming to a T at Interstate 84 and MA 15. Go left on MA 15 and under 1-84 and head south for several miles as quiet, untrafficked MA 15 parallels busy 1-84 and then joins it briefly at 7.7 miles. The country around MA 15 is densely wooded and undeveloped, with occasional views to low hills off to the left. The combined MA 15 and 1-84 cross a few hundred yards into Tolland County, Connecticut, where you leave 1-84 on the right at Exit 74 in Mashapaug. Follow the exit road west a stone’s throw to unmarked Mashapaug Road and then go left and northwest toward Holland and Brimfield.

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Medium 9780892729746

What’s a Staycation?

Dena Riegel Down East Books ePub
Medium 9780892728060

Do you know the names of these dangerous rocks?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

It all began with a licentious affair between a king and his lover, a married woman. At least that’s the apocryphal explanation for the name of this pair of rocky ledges off Maine’s midcoast. Apparently they were named after some similarly intimate rocks in the Thames, which were given to a man whose wife King John had gotten to know (rather too well). Very naughty stuff. In Maine this siren and her mate have been angry lovers since boats starting plying the waters around them, lashing out at many vessels and sinking their share. They mark the entrance to a busy fishing harbor, and until the late nineteenth century, all that warned mariners away from their dissolute and deathly grasp was a simple tripod beacon placed atop them. In 1892, a stone fog signal was built here, but the shipwrecks continued to claim boats and lives. So a light tower was built in 1907, one of the last lighthouses to go up on the coast of Maine. With a normal tide, the sea claims all but fifteen feet of rock here, and when it storms, there’s little to protect the light from taking a fearsome thrashing. In January of 1933, the lightkeeper’s home was flooded, and the assistant keeper was reimbursed by the Department of Commerce for the loss of his radio and Hawaiian guitar. Close to fifty years later the keeper’s house was totally destroyed. Not even the guitars made it that time. The octagonal tower was automated in 1975, and made its way on to the National Register of Historic Places in December 2002. Today, you can read a memoir by the former keeper, buy a not very sexy ceramic replica of the light for $95 (www.collectiblesrome.com), and get a boat ride out to see these adulterous rocks from a number of local cruising companies. Turn to page 101 to see where they’re located.

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Medium 9780892725854

West Quoddy Head Light

Caldwell, Bill Down East Books ePub

West Quoddy Head Light, despite its name, is built on the easternmost tip of the United States. The water border with Canada runs through the middle of Quoddy Narrows, which the light overlooks. Across the Narrows lies the island of Campobello, most recently made famous because President Franklin D. Roosevelt summered there in the Eleanor Roosevelt family cottage. It was here he first showed signs of the polio that was to cripple but not handicap him. There is a state park now on West Quoddy Head, where Arctic tundra grows, set off by several species of arctic wildflowers and plants. The views from these cliffs are spectacular, including the panorama of Grand Manan, the huge Canadian island to the south.

The light is one of the six oldest lights in Maine, an indication of the heavy shipping traffic into Passamaquoddy Bay two hundred years ago. This was the earliest light built in far Down East Maine. It was first lit in 1808, nine years before Petit Manan and fourteen years before Libby Island Light. The station was built first by order of President Thomas Jefferson, and rebuilt fifty years later, in 1858, under President James Buchanan. The first keeper here, appointed by Jefferson, was Thomas Dexter.

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