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BEST ICE CREAM SHOPS SPECIAL PROMOTION Celebrating Maine’s natural beauty in photos p. 50
COAST INTO SUMMER IN MASSACHUSETTS Three great reasons to put a Bay State visit on your to-do list
pend time in any of Massachusetts’ welcoming coastal communities—78 in all—and it’s easy to see why people love living here. The state’s 1,500-plus miles of coastline offers a wealth of things to see and do, endless scenic beauty, and, of course, some of New England’s best VHDIRRG 7KHUHōV HQRXJK KHUH WR Ɠ OO XS D summer—but if you’re looking to plan one perfect week, here are three ways to make the most of a Massachusetts coastal escape.
Alternatively, head south from Boston to take an unforgettable drive on Cape Cod. While there’s no unattractive way to traverse this famed peninsula, Route 6A is the best bet if you want to stick close to the water. From the Sagamore Bridge, it skims Cape Cod Bay for much of its 62 miles, passing beaches, lighthouses, and historic towns, DQGŋDIWHU D EULHI VWLQW DV 5RXWH ŋHQGV LQ Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod. Among the highlights of this region are Cape Cod National Seashore, offering nearly 44,000 acres of protected coastline to explore, and whale-watching tours to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, one of the world’s top destinations for seeing these gentle giants up close.
a must-see: It’s the oldest continually used and only surviving staffed lighthouse in the country. On the North Shore, Cape Ann hosts no fewer than six lighthouses, including Cape Ann Light Station, whose twin lights are the only active examples of their kind in the nation. Island lovers will want to make time for Gay Head Light, perched atop the extraordinary red clay Aquinnah Cliffs on Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket’s Brant Point Light—at 26 feet tall, it’s the shortest in New England. Finally, for a true bucketlist experience, head to Race Point Light in Provincetown to watch one of the most beautiful sunsets on the East Coast.
SEE: Classic Lighthouses
DO: Coastal Scenic Drives
In terms of bang for the buck, it’s hard to beat the Essex Scenic Coastal Byway, a 90-mile route that hugs the North Shore from Lynn to Salisbury and offers up both famous destinations and hidden gems along the way. Among the 14 coastal communities it links are Gloucester, the QDWLRQōV Ɠ UVW Ɠ VKLQJ SRUW 5RFNSRUW VLWH RI 0RWLI 1R ŏWKH PRVW SDLQWHG Ɠ VK VKDFN LQ WKH ZRUOGŐ DQG 6DOHP KLVWRULF home of the notorious 17th-century witch trials, the House of the Seven Gables, and the world-class Peabody Essex Museum. The drive itself takes \RX SDVW IRUHVW IDUPODQG bPDUVKHV DQG charming coastal towns—and the beach is never far away, from Ipswich’s pristine Crane Beach to the popular playground RI 6DOLVEXU\ %HDFK 6WDWH 5HVHUYDWLRQ
With their power to fascinate history buffs, provide stunning photo ops for shutterbugs, and delight children and families, lighthouses are among the most enduring icons of the Massachusetts coast. And with 47 of these sturdy sentinels dotted across the state, there’s plenty to choose from. Located less than 10 miles from downtown %RVWRQ DQG Ɠ UVW OLW LQ 6, Boston Light is
EAT: Savory Seafood Spots
No trip to Massachusetts would be complete without a visit to one of the region’s most beloved seafood shacks, starting with Woodman’s of Essex, where the fried clam was invented more than a century ago. It sits RQ WKH 1RUWK 6KRUHōV 5RXWH DND ŏWKH Clam Highway,” which also hosts longtime favorites J.T. Farnham’s and Essex Seafood in Essex, and the Clam Box in Ipswich. Picture-perfect water views and top-notch lobster rolls have drawn hungry diners to 7KHb/REVWHU 3RRO LQ 5RFNSRUW VLQFH while Cape Cod’s Chatham Pier Fish Market offers award-winning chowder with the bonus of watching seals frolic in the cove below. But in Massachusetts, a state with the ocean’s bounty right on its doorstep, you’ll discover great seafood no matter where you are. Ask a local—or just follow your nose.
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76 /// Get the Scoop New Englanders love their ice cream. But who makes the best? We gave ourselves the tasty job of finding out. The result: 36 ice cream shops that are worth the drive. 90 /// The Listener
For sound artist Dianne Ballon, Maine’s beauty can be heard as well as seen. By Sara Anne Donnelly
94 /// Scene from Above Vermont photographer Caleb Kenna takes a stunning bird’s-eye view of his home state.
104 /// The Hours of the Moth A common white sheet, and an uncommon lamp, some patience, and then: amazement. By Loree Griffin Burns 106 /// The High-Rise Cliffhanger Could the decades-long saga of Rhode Island’s landmark skyscraper, the Superman Building, finally be coming to an end? By Rachel Slade ON THE COVER
Photo by Michael D. Wilson; styling by Chantal Lambeth, Anchor Artists. Maple-walnut ice cream courtesy of Crescent Ridge Dairy Bar in Sharon, Massachusetts.
Yankee (ISSN 0044-0191). Bimonthly, Vol. 86 No. 4. Publication Office, Dublin, NH 03444-0520. Periodicals postage paid at Dublin, NH, and additional offices. Copyright 2022 by Yankee Publishing Incorporated; all rights reserved. Postmaster: Send address changes to Yankee, P.O. Box 37128, Boone, IA 50037-0128.
C A L EB K EN N A (K AYA K ER); GR E G S C H M I GEL /S TO C K S Y (COV ER P H OTO B AC KGRO U N D)
Aerial photography turns a kayak outing on Vermont’s Lake Hortonia into a work of art. Story, p. 94
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24 /// A Place to Daydream Vermont landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy works to help people make their surroundings sing. By Mel Allen
IN MEMORIAM Remembering Tim Clark, a longtime Yankee colleague who was unlike any other. By Mel Allen
32 /// Open Studio Glassblower Josh Bernbaum pushes the boundaries, heating old ways into new. By Annie Graves If you dream of welcoming guests to your own New England inn, see what awaits in Eaton, New Hampshire. By Joe Bills
FIRST LIGHT Why the famed road race in Falmouth, Massachusetts, might just be the best in America. By Jon Marcus
40 /// A Brunch Bouquet Savory and sweet flavors abound in this feast inspired by an award-winning baker and a food-forward Vermont flower farm. By Jessica Battilana 46 /// In Season How to turn summer’s zucchini bounty into an easy main dish—and dessert, too. By Amy Traverso
UP CLOSE Having helped to win a world war, MIT’s early work on radar still touches our daily lives. By Scott Kirsner
LIFE IN THE KINGDOM On the hunt for new wheels, a father ponders how his son will navigate today’s world. By Ben Hewitt WEEKENDS WITH YANKEE Q&A Catching up with the owners of Syrian pastry specialist Aissa Sweets, featured on our TV show this season. By Amy Traverso
Soak up maritime lore, culinary abundance, and breezy adventures by the sea in Mystic, Connecticut. By Kim Knox Beckius
66 /// The Best 5 For a one-of-a-kind overnight experience, these treehouses awaken a sense of wonder in midair. By Kim Knox Beckius
58 /// Weekend Away
68 /// Leading Lights Travelers of all kinds can discover their own reasons to take a shine to New England’s lighthouses. By William Scheller
FIRST PERSON A scoopful of memories from a small-town ice cream shop. By Annie Graves
A DV ERTISING RESOURCES Things to Do in New England ..................... 65 Best of New England ......... 74 Retirement Living ........... 121 Marketplace .................... 122 NEWENGLAND.COM
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Ice Cream Adventures “I doubt the world holds for anyone a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice cream.” —Heywood Broun, New York newspaper columnist, 1921
same. Soon Time wrote this: “Ben & Jerry’s, in Burlington, Vt., makes the best ice cream in the world.” Often my childhood summer evenings would end with my father driving us through tiny towns as quick to come and pass from view as the gleam of fireflies. While it may have seemed aimless meandering, we always knew where we would eventually stop: Jamison’s Dairy Farm. For all of you who understand the quest for a cone to remember, this issue celebrates 36 of the most beloved ice cream stands and shops in New England [“Get the Scoop,” p. 76]. Many are local secrets, like High Lawn Farm in the Berkshires, where milk from Jersey cows goes into what some say is the richest ice cream on the planet. Others are destinations for foodie pilgrimages, like Arethusa Farm Dairy in the Litchfield Hills, where cows are treated like celebrities. When you go to the places on our list, look around: kindred ice cream adventurers everywhere. And if we missed your own all-time favorite ice creamery, let us know. I bet we can find someone here to check it out.
Mel Allen firstname.lastname@example.org NEWENGLAND.COM
y first clear memory was of waking up at age 4 from a tonsillectomy on a Caribbean island and a nurse bringing me a dish of vanilla ice cream for my raw throat. Yes, it was a “soul-stirring surprise.” I can’t count how many cones and dishes I have enjoyed since that day, but only one or two have remained with me this way. How many other foods carry across continents and generations with the same delightful cry in countless languages: “Let’s go get ice cream!” I think of ice cream adventures that New Englanders have savored through the decades: families who stood in line in the 1920s at the first Howard Johnson’s in Wollaston, Massachusetts, or in the 1930s at the first Friendly’s ice cream shop in Springfield, Massachusetts; the birthday parties in Boston after World War II, when Hoodsie cups emerged from freezers with their tiny wooden spoons. Imagine in 1973 discovering Steve’s Ice Cream in a former laundry in Somerville, just outside Boston—a New York magazine called it one of the eight best in the world. Then in 1978, on a day in early May, customers entered a converted Burlington, Vermont, gas station and tasted the first ice cream flavors created by two young men named Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, and the world of ice cream would never be the
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LE T TERS TO THE EDITOR
MICHAEL D. WILSON
J E S S I C A B AT T I L A N A A food writer and recipe developer, Battilana was back in her home state of Vermont for our food feature on Irasburg’s Ardelia Farm [“A Brunch Bouquet,” p. 40]. Now a resident of Portland, Maine, where she lives with her wife and their sons, Battilana has authored nine cookbooks as well as contributed to the likes of The New York Times, Sunset, and Martha Stewart Living, and her work has twice been included in the Best American Food Writing series. CALEB KENNA Although he has lived in and enjoyed such places as New Mexico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Thailand, and India, this busy freelance photographer says he is continually drawn back to “the small towns, working landscapes, and engaging characters” of his native Vermont. With his photo essay “Scene from Above” [p. 94], Kenna pays unforgettable tribute to the Green Mountain State, where he now lives once more, in Middlebury, with his family. KIM KNOX BECKIUS Having grown up in New York’s Hudson Valley, Beckius says she distinctly remembers her first childhood visit to Mystic, Connecticut [“Weekend Away,” p. 58]. “I love that the attractions that were the main draw then, Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Seaport, are as vibrant and engaging for all ages as ever,” says Beckius, a travel writer of more than 20 years who has contributed to Fodor’s, Frommer’s, and Michelin guidebooks, among many other publications.
Home, Sweet Home Thank you for lots of New England in the May/June Yankee. There was much to linger over, from the backof-the-book “Life in the Kingdom” (where I always start my perusal of the magazine)—reminding me of my high school years, living in a breezy old central Vermont farmhouse on our own dirt road, with woodstoves as our only source of heating and cooking—to Cathie Pelletier’s moving meditation on “The Zen of Fiddleheads,” which brought me viscerally back to Maine, where I’ve had generational connections and homes from southern Eliot to northern T15 R15. I live far from there now, but it was wonderful to visit home. (I definitely do not miss the blackflies, though.) J.D. Aiguier Edmonds, Washington
RACHEL SL ADE “There’s a short circuit in my brain that makes me think inanimate objects have a spirit, especially old buildings like Providence’s forlorn Art Deco skyscraper,” says Slade, who details that iconic building’s troubled history in “The High-Rise Cliffhanger” [p. 106]. “From the moment I saw it, I had to tell its story.” A freelance writer based in Boston, Slade received the Maine Literary Award for her book Into the Raging Sea, about the 2015 sinking of the El Faro. L I Z N E I LY Neily spent a decade on the West Coast attending culinary school and photography school before returning to her home state of Vermont to raise her family and become a triple-threat baker, stylist, and photographer. For this issue, she styled our shoot at Vermont’s Ardelia Farm [“A Brunch Bouquet,” p. 40], of which she says, “If only all assignments took place on a farm with sweet peas, pigs, chickens, dogs that steal the show, and gracious humans.” 10 |
Fair Play Thank you for the great story and follow-up on the Boston Marathon runner Kathrine Switzer [“Conversations,” March/April]. The f lashback the article brought to mind was a conversation I had with our high school’s athletics director in 1975. I was accompanied by one of my teammates on our girls’ basketball team. NEWENGLAND.COM
K I T M C C A N N ( W I L S O N ) ; M O L LY D E C O U D R E A U X ( B AT T I L A N A) ; J O N O L E N D E R ( K E N N A) ; L AR A BECKIUS (KNOX BECKIUS); CR AIG L ACOURT (SL ADE)
Aside from dealing with the inevitable melting, this Maine photographer says the biggest trick to photographing our ice cream package [“Get the Scoop,” p. 76] was “trying to give it personality. It sounds silly, but there’s so much joy associated with ice cream it felt important to make sure that it somehow existed in these images.” In addition to Yankee, Wilson’s clients have included National Geographic Traveler, AAA, and the Maine Office of Tourism.
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Our questions posed to him were “Why can’t we have new uniforms?” (we had been using hand-me-downs from other sports) and “Why are the girls only allowed to use the old (100plus years) gym?” given that the boys’ team used the new gym at the junior high. His response: “It’s too expensive, and besides, NO ONE WILL EVER PAY TO WATCH A GIRLS’ GAME.” (My emphasis.) It was all the sweeter when Title IX passed and, years later, my own daughters competed on sports teams from early on through high school. I was always happy to pay to see their games! The benefits of physical fitness and the lessons learned from team and individual sports are too valuable not to be shared with all. Elise Ramos Bristol, Rhode Island
Paper Chase Jon Marcus hit it out of the park with his outstanding article on local newspapers [“Hard-Pressed,” March / April]. Most of my adult days have begun over a cup of coffee and reading the morning paper. Born in Boston and a resident New Englander half my life, I know a good newspaper when I read it. As I moved around the country, I subscribed to dailies in California, Arizona, Colorado, and now upstate South Carolina. I recently canceled my daily, a property of Gannett, stuffed with USA Today national content and ver y biased, irrelevant news. I regret doing it, but the product has simply become subpar. I encourage those whom Jon mentioned tr ying to resurrect an 12 |
FARM STAND Watermelons smile away In hopes of being bought today … Such charmers, always on the lookout For the chance to join a cookout. —D.A.W. important—and sorely missed—part of our daily/weekly lives. We need you back! Edmund Andersson Taylors, South Carolina As a 37-year veteran of newsrooms, I read with great interest “HardPressed,” about the struggles of newspapers to survive. The story would have never gotten past me, however, because it lacked journalistic fairness. Why no quotes from any big, nasty, blood-thirsty corporations whose goal is supposedly to deprive communities of their newspapers? Why didn’t the writer contact them? By the way, big corporations have always produced lousy newspapers but so have momand-pop outfits. Steve Phenicie Norcross, Georgia
Food Finding Having grown up in a city of European immigrants during the ’60s, I have been missing real deli food since they no longer exist locally. I actually had the chance to choose from three delis back then. I have been studying the Jewish
deli for a lot of years, also reading Save the Deli, and was thrilled to read your article “Long Live the Deli” in the March/April issue. I, too, have been trying to perfect my own corned beef, pastrami, and half sours. One error I would like to point out: Mamaleh’s Delicatessen does indeed have a location in a Boston food hall, but not the one near North Station. It’s in High Street Place, close to South Station, as I found out the hard way: It is a long walk from North Station to South Station! John Syngajewski Everett, Massachusetts
Shared Path After reading the first paragraph of “A Walk in Spring,” Jennifer De Leon’s essay in the March/April issue, I immediately was taken back to my parents’ days, as both of them were raised in Boston. I, too, have very fond memories of spring walks in Boston, Jamaica Plain included. Continuing on to the second paragraph, I was struck by the fact that the author’s mom is probably around my age—and an immigrant from Guatemala. How awesome is this. I am so happy that she was able to come to America, make her way, and have the same memories as me. Marilyn Regolino Naples, Florida We want to hear from you! Write to us at email@example.com. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. NEWENGLAND.COM
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We go driving sometimes in Maine’s western mountains. A simple Sunday drive with lunch in a small town then we're back on the road again. What we are looking for is a pretty lake, a field, a view of mountains. We're looking for color, early summer lupines, early fall yellow, orange, red leaves. We talk, we talk about life, we talk, and then because we know each other so well we can ride a dozen miles and say nothing. It’s in these silent moments that I feel it most strongly, we’re in tourmaline country. Millions of years ago nature set off magical fireworks and sprayed tourmaline all through the ancient rocks up here. Today we find gems on the tops of hills. We find tourmaline and gems on the cliffside of mountains because we can see the rock exposed and we can see the indicator minerals with actual color and gems. It's not because gems form only in high places, it's simply easier to see nature's geology in these high places. It’s all beautiful and mysterious. Here is what I know, we’ve driven 50 miles today in Oxford County. We’ve driven over a treasure trove of gems dozens of times, exquisite crystals, beautiful colors, a king's ransom of the rare and exotic which will likely never be found because of how it is buried. My geology friends concur. It’s there, 2, 10, 20 feet below us and we’ve paved right over and painted a yellow line down the middle. Maine's western mountains are one of the most highly mineralized places in the world. We have in Maine tourmaline some of the prettiest green, pink and blue gems ever found. Next time you’re in Maine, go for a Sunday drive in our Maine’s western mountains. See if you can feel the tourmaline energy in the hills and beneath our roadways.
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ALL ABOUT BLUEBERRIES! Blueberries are not only an iconic New England food, but also an essential ingredient for a perfect summer. In Yankee’s Flavors of New England: Blueberries Webinar, senior food editor Amy Traverso explores the history of blueberries, how to cook with them, and where to travel in New England to enjoy the best of blueberry season. When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 19 | Admission: Free Register: NewEngland.com/FlavorsNewEngland-Blueberries
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| In Memoriam
CO U R T E S Y O F YA N K EE P U B L ISH I N G I N C .
Remembering Tim Clark, a Yankee colleague unlike any other. ne Monday morning this past April, everyone in our Dublin, New Hampshire, office came together in a conference room for what would be one of the most touching occasions I have known in my more than 40 years here. A few days earlier, the community church next door had filled for the memorial to Tim Clark, who had suffered a massive stroke in November and passed away with his family by his side. Tim was 71, and in his life he had touched and entertained countless readers of both Yankee and The Old Farmer’s Almanac, and after many years here he left to become an English teacher at the public high school, where he was a legendary mentor and guiding light to hundreds of young people. As his son Joel said, “No kid was a lost cause to Dad.” What made that Monday gathering special was that Tim’s wife, May, and his three grown children—Liza, Dan, and Joel—came to help dedicate Tim’s former office as the “Tim Clark Conference Room,” with the photo you see here hung on the wall. Tim inhaled history, and he would have enjoyed knowing that generations of employees to come will always see him looking on as they wrestle with whatever the media world may look like then. His children shared memories of feeling that his office was a second home when they came here after school, a playground where words took flight on a page. At times that morning, the room rocked with laughter, and then when tears inevitably came, the shared warmth would have delighted Tim, whose writing could bring laughter, tears, delight, and astonishment— sometimes in one single story. JULY | AUGUST 2022
Tim and I were young together when we came to Yankee in the 1970s under the watch of our editor, Jud Hale. Jud loved story explorers—and no one fit that description more than Tim. Tim revered language, the way words played together in doggerel, the way they could move you, the way they could make you forget current troubles and lose yourself in a story. Tim and I shared a strange common bond. Our mothers wished we worked for a real magazine, the kind they saw on city newsstands—in other words, a magazine that came out of a tall building in New York City, not a low-slung red building standing beside what then was a general store, in a village with not a single stoplight. We had another bond, too: the pride we felt knowing that out of this odd little building came one of the most unique, most loved publications anywhere. And we knew that likely nobody in the magazine world was having as much fun as we were. After Tim passed, the editor of the
local newspaper interviewed me about him. He asked what had been Tim’s most memorable story. That night, I photocopied pages and pages from Yankee’s index and dropped them off at his office. I wanted him to know why his question was impossible to answer. Tim was the most versatile and prolific writer I’ve ever known. It’s fair to say he was the most prolific in Yankee’s history. And as a teacher, Tim left a profound legacy in the form of his students. Lauryn Welch, a young artist who lives in Brooklyn, posted this when she heard about his death: “Tim Clark, you taught me that reading and writing is an art form, not just a source of entertainment. I still write notes in books because of you.” Once, after attending a funeral for a friend and teacher, Tim wrote an essay he called “A Teacher’s Funeral.” He quoted one of the teacher’s former students who said, “If you are struggling and need help, go to your professor and talk to him or her. If you are lucky enough to have a teacher like [this one], you might just get that one tip, that one insight that will make it easier to succeed. You might learn something you will remember for the rest of your life.” Tim ended the essay this way: “When my time comes, I hope somebody will be able to say that about me.” Tim, they did. They did. To read a selection of Tim Clark’s work, go to newengland.com/tim-clark. Beginning Educator, a collection of Tim’s columns about his adventures in teaching, has been published by Bauhan Publishing and the Clark family. It can be ordered at book retailers or via bauhanpublishing.com/shop. | 15
ANNIE GR AVES
Frozen in Time A scoopful of memories from the ice cream shop. I L LUS T R AT I O N BY J U L I E T T E B O R DA
he name came first: Soleil. A word that holds the sun inside and naturally conjures ice cream to cool the summer’s heat. With a dash of France, a nod to that southern light that beckons artists and soaks the countryside in a golden glow. We painted the tiny former office in Provençal yellow, installed a vintage soda fountain counter, and sampled local New Hampshire ice cream until we could sample no more. And finally, in spring of 2000, when all hope was melting, we tasted the intense mouthfeel of Annabelle’s, in Portsmouth. A flavor for every mood. Feeling dark and stormy? Try Triple Chocolate. A little giddy? Raspberry Chocolate Chip. Exploring the full power of your 5-yearold self? Big shout-out for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Monster. Soleil was a hit, with little windows that opened onto an alley, jaunty outdoor tables, and red umbrellas. There were few rules, but they were strictly 16 |
observed. 1. Kids came first. 2. Then dogs. 3. Adults with good behavior were welcome too, and of course they were the only ones with wallets. We ordered mountains of sugar and cake cones, stocked the soda fountain bins with hot fudge and caramel toppings, tracked down malted powder for a friend who craved malteds. “Are your sugar cones kosher?” one mother wanted to know. They were. As were the sprinkles, both chocolate and rainbow, and, of course, the ice cream. On summer days the alley was full of kids and dogs. One little dachshund went berserk anytime she came near Soleil. Dogs learned to drag their people into the alleyway, knowing that a tablespoon of vanilla was guaranteed. Who knows how many of the ensuing cones were unintentional? If you think that it might be fun to open your own ice cream shop one day, I have some advice. There are things no one can tell you
about the early weeks and months to come. The learning curve shoots up like a rocket, but in days, you’ve mastered the basics. The rest is a fly-by-the-seatof-your-pants experience, with laughs tucked in—most often, for me at Soleil, because of the kids. They couldn’t believe they had their own ice cream shop. Or that they could sample f lavors endlessly. Sometimes they even got to step behind the counter and scoop. When they did, they practically burst. If you happen to find three smart young women—say, two Mollys and a Hannah—to work part-time, you may learn that there will be occasional hijinks. On slow days, taste-test challenges, where multiple f lavors are assembled on a spoon, to be blindly identified. Spots of whipped cream found on a wall, after hilarity ensues on a particularly long, rainy day. These are to be expected. And about the mechanics—your arms will ache with a deep and abiding constancy. You may sense the groundswell of burgeoning carpel tunnel. You will learn that some f lavors are easier to scoop than others. Chocolate, it turns out, is like drilling into concrete. Scooping Triple Chocolate should be a Tough Mudder event. On holidays, in the melting heat, with a line out the door and down the alley, and up to your elbows in ice cream, you might even think that you’ll never sample another flavor, but you will be wrong. Because even if you never really cared for ice cream before, you do now. A lot. If you’re lucky enough to run an ice cream shop in a small town, you are a maker of memories. Kids come to the takeout window in their pajamas on soft summer nights. Their eyes grow wide when they taste something good. They are devastated when a cone drops. Resurrected when they receive a new one. Who knows what they’ll remember, but something lodges in the heart. Ice cream will always evoke joyful faces, sticky hands, and grateful parents. And somewhere a little dachshund who dreams of vanilla in a cup. NEWENGLAND.COM
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Shore Winner T Now turning 50, the famed road race in Falmouth, Massachusetts, might just be the best in America. BY JON M ARCUS PHOTOS BY IAN M ACLELL AN
here’s a scientific explanation for the feeling of euphoria that athletes call a “runner’s high”: a rush of endorphins resulting from strenuous exercise. But if a runner’s high could also be triggered by a view, it’s the one at mile 1 of the Falmouth Road Race. There, just ahead, is the landmark Nobska Light at the crest of a hill up which are coursing thousands of runners in fluorescent hues, with sailboats bobbing on Nantucket Sound beyond. The Falmouth Road Race, which celebrates its 50th r unning this NEWENGLAND.COM
With the first mile of the seven-mile Falmouth Road Race under their belt, the first group of elite male runners cruises by the iconic 19th-century Nobska Light in 2021.
summer, is about more than just the scenery, however. What started as a fund-raiser for the girls’ high school track team with fewer than 100 casual participants now attracts nearly 13,000 runners, including the best in the world, in front of raucous spectators who cheer as loudly for the stragglers as for the f leet-footed elites. It’s raised tens of millions of dollars for local charities and scholarships, helping blunt the pain of gridlock it causes for this Massachusetts town. JULY | AUGUST 2022
How this happened is a story of stubborn determination, happy accidents, and the occasional shortcut. Running wasn’t much of a thing when the first Falmouth Road Race happened on August 15, 1973. Only 1,600 people ran the Boston Marathon that year, 12 of them women. But that was starting to change. Tommy Leonard was tending bar at Brothers 4 in Falmouth Heights, where he worked summers, watching on TV as Frank Shorter won the Olympic marathon in 1972 in Munich, the first American to do it in 64 years; Leonard refused to pour a drink that day until Shorter had crossed the finish line. Leonard got an audacious idea. He’d create a race in Falmouth and lure Shorter to come. He teamed up with the high school track coach and the director of the recreation center and their wives, and that August a ragtag group of mostly local runners gathered at the Captain Kidd, a restaurant and bar in Woods Hole. Their destination was the Brothers 4, about seven miles away depending on whose car was being used to measure the distance. Two hundred people filled out the registration forms—printed on the mimeograph machine in the rec center—and paid the $2 fee. Many were friends of Leonard who worked at local bars and restaurants and played in the summer softball league, or scientists in Woods Hole. Nearly three inches of rain fell that day, and fewer than half of those who registered showed up for the start at noon on a Wednesday. “Cats and dogs,” remembers Ron Pokraka, who ran the first and the following 45 Falmouths until his cardiologist advised him to ease up. The winner was a vacationing college student from Michigan who had registered that morning on a whim, crossing the clothesline that served as the finish. Then the party started. Runners danced to a banjo band at Brothers 4 till 1 a.m., drinking Schlitz and eating bologna sandwiches and
clam chowder—the first of many odd post-race foods that would become a tradition. In later years, spectators would watch from roofs with drinks in hand; one bar near the finish would report selling 20,000 bottles of beer on race day. Leonard, who also worked the Eliot Lounge, the Boston bar where the world-class Greater Boston Track Club hung out, had much bigger plans, though. “He kept saying, ‘It’s going to be the greatest race in the world,’” recalls Pokraka. Working his connections, Leonard recruited champion miler and Olympian Marty Liquori to run the next year, when the race moved to the third Sunday in August. This time, the weather was hot and humid, which has since been the case more often than not; as much as they look forward to the view of Nobska Light, runners dread the mile plus along the beach, a little later on the course, with no shade. Even champion marathoner Alberto Salazar was once felled by the heat, dumped into an ice bath, and taken to the hospital. Liquori was beaten by an unknown Bill Rodgers (the marquee on the Brothers 4 famously welcomed “Will Rogers”), who would go on to win the next year’s Boston Marathon. And Leonard leveraged that to f inally lure Frank Shorter in 1975 for a duel with Rodgers. “Nobody knew who I was,” says Rodgers. And Shorter “was the best in the world. We got him running in this new little race because Tommy Leonard wanted him to.” To pull this off, the race sidestepped a U.S. Olympic Committee rule that if it paid Shorter to come, he’d forfeit his amateur status. Leonard arranged for a beer company to pick up the airfare and the owner of the Captain Kidd to pay a “training stipend.” It was all “sort of clandestine, winkwink, behind the scenes,” Shorter says. Shorter versus Rodgers was a huge draw. The media descended and | 19
watched Shorter pull away at the end by 15 seconds. He won the next year too, when the two returned to battle again. Not long afterward, The Complete Book of Running by Vermonter Jim Fixx spent 11 weeks atop the New York Times best-seller list, and everybody started running. The first of a long succession of sponsors signed on: Perrier, which pitched in $5,000. Until then, Leonard had hit up local merchants for a motley assortment of prizes—handbags, a TV, a case of motor oil. Rodgers won a blender when he beat Liquori. Top runners were put up with local families, another tradition that stuck. Then, in 1980, the United States and other countries boycotted the Summer Olympics in Moscow, idling runners from around the world. Many came that year to Falmouth. New Zealander Rod Dixon won, and Norwegian Grete Waitz set a new women’s record. It was this “conf luence of happenstance” that really built the race, says Paul Clerici, who wrote its definitive history. “A true elite athlete thinks, I want to run against the best. Where are they? Falmouth.” 20 |
Soon, 5,000 runners a year were signing up. Joan Benoit Samuelson, then Joan Benoit, won the women’s division while she was still a student at Bowdoin before going on to win the first Olympic women’s marathon (and five more Falmouths). She, like Rodgers and Shorter, still comes back every year. “It’s like a family reunion,” she says. Falmouth was named the best road race in America by Runner’s World. Sports Illustrated called it a summer essential. The prize purse grew to more than $70,000, ensuring entries from the world’s best runners; many of the Olympians who competed last year in Tokyo had run in Falmouth.
Once-a-year competitors still rub shoulders with elites in the start corral and over post-race snacks (now hot dogs and frozen yogurt bars) on the ballfield at the finish. “In no other sport can anyone of any ability just join in,” says Clerici. Then there’s that setting. “You can take a seven-mile road race and the organizational structure and the worldclass runners and drop it into Dubuque, and it could never be Falmouth,” says Bill Higgins, retired sports editor of the Cape Cod Times, who has covered most editions of the race and run several, too. There have been some growing pains. A limit of 12,800 was eventually placed on the number of starters squeezed into tiny Woods Hole; another 6,000 applicants typically lose out in the annual lottery. Leonard died in 2019 at 85; there’s a plaque in his honor at the starting line. But some things stay the same. Water stops are handed down in families. Bands play. An estimated 75,000 spectators line the route, many along that searing stretch of beach, in a joyful seven-mile party. Helicopters hover overhead. “It’s almost surreal,” says Karen Rinaldo, an artist who paints scenes of the race. “It is gridlock, but the town has come to accept it, and embraced it. They realize this is all part of the Falmouth experience.” The spectators come for the elites. But they still stay for the stragglers. “That’s what I love about Falmouth,” Shorter says. “They cheer just as hard for the last person as for the first person.” NEWENGLAND.COM
FALMOUTH ROAD R ACE INC . (ARCHIVAL PHOTO)
LEFT : Hands clasped, three race finishers celebrate crossing the line together on Grand Avenue in Falmouth Heights in 2021. BELOW : Race founder Tommy Leonard (first row, left) with fellow local runners c. 1973.
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Dish Fulfillment Having helped to win a war, MIT’s early work on radar still touches our daily lives.
he Massachusetts Institute of Technology likes to number the buildings on its Cambridge campus, and so this radar dish sits in a first-floor corner of Building 32, a Seuss-like structure designed by famed architect Frank Gehry. But Building 32 replaced an earlier building evocatively named … Building 20.
It’s said that Building 20 was designed in a day and built as fast as possible during the thick of World War II. Because it was made of wood, it was nicknamed the “Plywood Palace.” During the war, scientists from around the country converged on Building 20 and neighboring sites to refine the relatively new technology of radar—the acronym for “radio detection and ranging”—and build systems that could be deployed by Allied forces. They put radar onto planes, making bombing runs more accurate and providing the ability to detect German U-boats from above; developed radar for airfields to make it safer for landings in bad weather; enabled Allied planes to spot other aircraft at long distances and tell whether they were friend or foe; and built ground-based earlywarning systems that could detect German V-1 rockets heading for targets in London. Several histories of World War II and the work done at MIT make the case that while the atomic bomb may have ended the war, radar was the key technology that put the Allies in position to emerge victorious. And it continued to impact American life in the postwar years. MIT’s radar work developed LORAN, a system that combined radar with beacons to help boaters get a more accurate fix on their position. T he r a d a r a nt e n n a shown at left was a fortunate failure: It was not very good at tracking airplanes, but it was great at identifying rain clouds. That discovery led to the widespread use of radar for predicting the weather. Today, it’s a reminder of the past in a building full of researchers focused on what’s next: advances in robotics and artificial intelligence. —Scott Kirsner The radar dish and other ground-floor displays in MIT’s Building 32 are part of the new Innovation Trail of Greater Boston, which highlights nearly two dozen sites of scientific and technological breakthroughs. For more information, go to theinnovationtrail.org.
JASON DORFMAN/MIT CSAIL
nly y m o is awa s.co e r o nds eler t s r o Ou sec ssJew 45 Cro w. w w
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The first time I went to Monhegan Island it was shrouded in fog, within an hour this boat appeared beneath a sun peeking through. It’s one of my favorite photographs. - RHP
A PLACE TO
Landscape designer Julie Moir Messer v y works 24 |
BY MEL ALLEN PHOTOS BY SUSAN TEARE
D AY D R E A M
to help people make their surroundings sing.
JULY | AUGUST 2022
Julie Moir Messervy
W When Julie Moir Messervy, one of America’s most acclaimed landscape designers, gives me directions to the hillside home in southern Vermont she has shared with her husband, Steve Jonas, for almost 20 years, I pay attention. Getting there fits with one of her guiding principles: Make outdoor spaces promise “events”—since apparently the steep dirt road leading to their 206-acre homestead frequently surrenders to summer downpours. “You’ll find men working on it,” her email reads. “Be patient and they will let you by. Go up the hill 2½ miles 26 |
DESIGN HIGHLIGHTS W Toronto Music Garden: In 1999, on the waterfront of this Canadian metropolis, Messervy designed one of the most acclaimed small public parks in the world in collaboration with cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Each section of the threeacre park interprets one of the six movements in Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major. Messervy spent hundreds
of hours with the music, and asked all those who worked on the garden to listen and give impressions. The result is a city space unlike any other. Tenshin-en: Messervy worked with garden master Kinsaku Nakane to create this Japanese garden at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. The contemplative refuge delights visitors with traditional lanterns, a pagoda, and 70 species of plants. Little Falls Park: Nested within Greenville, South Carolina’s landmark Falls Park, a former college arboretum is graced by three acres of walkways, waterfalls, and intricate gardens with raised beds shaped like sunflowers. W Mount Auburn Cemetery: In one of the prettiest spots in this historic cemetery in Cambridge and Watertown, Massachusetts, a large stone amid towering spruces, rhododendrons, andromeda shrubs, and perennials creates a natural landscape distinct from the monuments around it.
PREVIOUS SPREAD : At Messervy’s home, a carefully sculpted and graded descent leads to a tiny, perfect pond that echoes the circle of Adirondack chairs above. THIS PAGE : The expansive back deck overlooks an undulating landscape punctuated with mass plantings.
JULY | AUGUST 2022
until you reach a triangle of weeds. Take the left fork…. It will feel like it takes forever, so call if you feel lost.” I’ve come to see where Messervy incubates her ideas and “events” for city and town parks, college campuses, notable cemeteries, and public gardens, as well as the outdoor spaces of home owners around the world. She has done this work for more than 40 years, written nine books, and given countless lectures and workshops. Thousands of people can appreciate her eye for harmony and beauty when they stroll the famed Toronto Music Garden, or relax in Tenshin-en (Garden of the Heart of Heaven) at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, which she created with her former mentor, Japan’s revered garden master Kinsaku Nakane. She often writes and speaks with the lyricism of a garden mystic: What should your garden look like? I see it as a place distilled from the elements of your imagination, your memories, and your 28 |
“I try to see the land with my mind,” Messervy says, “but also with my heart.” dreams. She talks about her work as “fulf illing longings for space.” She views landscapes through the lens of seven spatial “archetypes”—sea, cave, harbor, island, promontory, mountain, sky—which she believes represent sanctuaries that people long for. Yet she accepts that she must also be useful. She says her editors have implored her to “pull it down to the ground.” “I’m trying to make it more pragmatic and practical in my old age,” she says. Thus her books include Landscaping Ideas That Work, stuffed with 350 ideas to transform a yard from humble to beautiful. And at her nearby Bellows Falls studio, JMMDS,
Sturdy perennials such as purple coneflower and daylilies make for low-maintenance, high-impact landscape features.
a small team of landscape architects and designers created an app that lets people drag hundreds of landscape elements onto a Google map of their land; it has been downloaded some one million times. She is like a magician revealing how to do the tricks. When I arrive at her home (and yes, it did seem like forever), Messervy ushers me to the screened porch that looks out to gardens, an expansive field with grasses and wildflowers that slopes to a distant circular pond and a tiny cabin, and beyond that, a shimmering beaver meadow that shelters many of the terrestrial and aquatic wild creatures that call Vermont home. She loves water, and nearly every day when it warms, she dives off the dock into 18 feet of pond that she shares with newts and turtles and whatever NEWENGLAND.COM
PRE V IOUS PAGE: DESIGN BY JMMDS; PHOTO BY VIRGINIA WEILER (TORONTO MUSIC GARDEN)
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f ish survive marauding mink, and swims the perimeter. When she meets clients, one of the first things she asks is where they daydreamed as a child. That question, she tells me, is inspired by her own childhood and informs much of her work. She grew up one of seven children in the Midwest and Connecticut, needing to find refuges from the “happy chaos.” She found them in apple trees, fields, woods, streams. “I would pluck lilacs and suck the nectar,” she says. She studied at Wellesley and MIT, and traveled to Japan and fell under the spell of its gardens. “I thought, this is the work I want to do,” she says. The sky is blue, and as we walk the land—what she calls her daily 30 |
“stroll”—she points out how the circular pond compelled her to design curves and circles with nearly everything here, so the eye registers a soothing pattern. She says she looks at her land every day as if for the first time. She describes it as seeing the “language of the landscape,” and when she talks about this idea, her hands wave about, as if she is indeed conversing with the meadow. We stop to sit on a natural stone by a white oak tree that she loves. She wants me to understand what is spinning in her head. “I try to see the land with my mind,” she says, “but also with my heart.” That is the mystical gardener speaking. But then she “pulls it down to the ground.” She asks me to
As evening comes on, the same dramatic seating area shown on p. 25 turns cozy with the addition of flames from a warming firepit.
look at the trees near the cabin by the pond and tell her what is missing. It’s the first time she notices that something feels off to her. It needed another tree, she says. “Where would you put it?” she asks. I knew I had a 50-50 chance on this one. “To the left,” I guess. “To the right,” she says. “It’s all about making it sing together. It’s an ensemble.” To learn more about Julie Moir Messervy, and to see her work and that of her studio associates, go to jmmds.com and homeoutside.com. NEWENGLAND.COM
Our new Tasting Room in Derry is now open! DINING TASTINGS + TOURS WEDDINGS, CLASSES + EVENTS MARKET + GIFT SHOP ART GALLERY GOLF + MINI GOLF AMHERST | DERRY | PORTSMOUTH
Fire and Light Glassblower Josh Bernbaum pushes the boundaries, heating old ways into new. BY ANNIE GR AVES PHOTOGR APHS BY LORI PEDRICK
Bernbaum torches the seam of an intricately patterned “cup” that will become part of a larger sculpture. OPPOSITE , FROM LEFT : “Stripping off” excess molten glass; bins of glass cane, ready to be turned into translucent art.
The way up is rugged. Dirt roads fork through the Vermont landscape, fields spreading wide on either side, with a distant, distracting view of Mount Monadnock. But the road ahead is a sea of mud. Two miles of churning dirt, in the far reaches of Brattleboro. Best keep your eyes on it. Here, near the top of a steep hill, in a red saltbox studio, glassblower Josh Bernbaum tends to his fires, furnaces glowing like burning suns, cranked to 2,300°F during a melt cycle. His economy of movement f lows like steady breath into creating art glass that fuses the legacy and skill of Venetian glassblowers with his own imaginings. JULY | AUGUST 2022
“Glass is an unforgiving material that people have worked with for thousands of years,” he says. “So I’m employing a lot of the same tools and techniques as my contemporaries, but also the glass workers that came before me.” His spare efficiency is born from decades of experience: 24 years since graduating from the Massachusetts
College of Art, where he first learned the ways of “cane,” slender rods of colored glass that can be fused and blown to create myriad patterns and effects. It wowed him with its unlimited possibilities. “Even though these are hundreds-of-years-old processes of working with cane techniques, there are so many looks that have yet to be discovered. I’m still finding new things to do with it, still making pieces no one has ever seen before.” In the course of a morning, Bernbaum will line up individual pieces of cane, each as big around as a piece of chalk, and then alternate between heating them in the furnace and compressing them, nudging them | 33
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT :
Vases threaded with colored glass; a bin of scrap glass that was cut away from the final works; an overview of Bernbaum in his Brattleboro studio.
closer with a pair of old files he found at a used tool barn in Maine, squeezing out any gaps, before sliding them back into the oven like a pizza. Back and forth, back and forth. His wife, Marta, a skilled glassworker in her own right, says that this stage is like “sculpting with overgrown chopsticks.” It is the prelude to the drumroll, that moment that the casual observer waits for impatiently. Where breath meets molten material. Where a bub34 |
ble grows at the end of a long blowpipe. Where art begins to emerge. A different, beautiful kind of inflation. An impressive amount of ductwork vents Bernbaum’s furnaces, with almost every inch covered by an equally impressive number of stickers: Eat More Kale, This Car Climbed Mt. Washington, Makers Gonna Make. Two of the furnaces contain crucibles, bowls that hold molten material, one for clear and one for colored glass.
On the other side of the room sit two annealers, boxy devices that gradually bring hot glass to room temperature. Here in the middle, f lanked by ovens and annea lers, Bernbaum shapes, molds, and blows his glass, from delicate goblets, to tall speckled vase forms, to cactuses and botanicals. At the moment, his assistant is blowing into the blowpipe while Bernbaum cradles and shapes the emerging piece with, of all things, newspaper. Twelve NEWENGLAND.COM
sheets of The Boston Globe, trimmed to fit comfortably in his hand, and the smell of burnt paper fills the air as he wets the paper, forms the hot glass. Bits of char fall to the ground, a flutter of ash. “I used to use The New York Times, but they changed the paper,” he says regretfully. “It used to be perfect.” Time is the thing that breaks boulders into tiny grains of sand. But fire, skill, and imagination can re-form silica sand and accompanying elements—like iron, cobalt, copper— into glass, a miracle of solid form that makes light tangible. “It takes a long time to get proficient with this highly unforgiving material,” Bernbaum says. “There’s no way around it. It just takes years and years and lots of practice.” When he’s imagining what he’d like to create, he likes to refer to the title of an art show he was in years ago: “Thinking in Glass.” All these years of tinkering, experimenting, learning the ways of a medium that he characterizes with emotional qualities. “We like to say that glass has a memory, and it remembers everything you do to it,” he explains. “A mistake is hard to overcome without starting over from scratch.” And, more obviously, the material is also fragile. “We’re utilizing the laws of gravity while making blown glass, but we’re also f ighting against it.” Quite simply, “If a piece falls off a rod, it breaks.” That doesn’t really happen much anymore, though. He’s put in the time. Studied the old ways. Been to Japan and Venice, to the island of Murano, and seen what they do, learned from the masters. He’s pushing the boundaries. And when you ask how long it takes him to create, whether a simple drinking glass or a sandblasted bowl, sides peeled away to exposed myriad colors and patterns, he laughs. It takes however many hours, “plus 24 years of trial and error, refining skills, and learning,” he says. “Always learning.” jmbglass.com JULY | AUGUST 2022
Reﬂections of the Past and Sustainability for the Future
Visit our model home on display at 26 West Street, Bolton, Connecticut Mon - Fri 8-4:30 Sat 9-2 Shipped Nationwide
Take it easy. The people who choose to live at Wake Robin are forever looking forward. Whether it’s making new friends in this Life Plan Community, exploring new activities and hobbies, or learning new skills, the good stuff lies in front of you. If that sounds like you, come see for yourself. Wake Robin. It’s where you live.
HOUSE FOR SALE
The Inn at Crystal Lake If you dream of welcoming guests to your own White Mountain retreat, here it is. BY JOE BILLS 36 |
his is probably our most popular space,” Tim Ostendorf tells me as we tour the 10-room inn that he and his partner, Bobby Barker, have operated for more than 20 years. The upstairs corner suite is cozy, but the draw is the view. Perfectly framed in the window is Eaton, New Hampshire’s famous Little White Church, and beyond that you can see the shimmering waters of Crystal Lake. “Folks who are getting married there love this view of the church.” The historic church, now one of the most photographed in New England, was only five years old in 1884, when Nathaniel Palmer built this spacious Greek Revival charmer. Palmer soon started taking in summer travelers, and the place became known, rather predictably, as the Palmer House. Nathaniel died in 1899, but the Palmer family carried the business forward into the 1940s. Along the way, the inn served dual purposes: It housed the town library for a time, and the post office, too. For a period NEWENGLAND.COM
M A G G I E S C A R L E T T/ C O N W AY D A I LY S U N ( I N N ) ; C O U R T E S Y O F T H E I N N AT C R Y S TA L L A K E ( P O S T E R )
Built as a private home in 1884, the Inn at Crystal Lake today is a landmark of hospitality in Eaton, New Hampshire.
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in the 1960s and early 1970s, it operated as a boarding school. In 1986, new owners rechristened it the Inn at Crystal Lake. In the late ’90s, Ostendorf was working for a software company and Barker had a job in housing development. They lived just outside Boston, but they purchased a vacation cottage in Conway, New Hampshire—perfect 38 |
for weekend escapes. On one of those trips, they meandered through the village of Eaton, population 400. Largely unchanged for more than a century, Eaton is a kind of quiet eye at the center of a tourism storm, being just north of the Lakes Region, just south of the White Mountains, and only a stone’s throw from the Maine state line. “There was something so charming in the way Route 153 snaked through the village, around the lake, past the church and the village store, and, of course, the inn,” says Ostendorf. When the couple discovered that the inn was for sale, they decided to buy it, even though neither of them had particularly relevant experience. “I thought we were being crazy and spontaneous,” says Ostendorf, “so I was honestly surprised when so many of our friends responded to the big news with some version of ‘That’s great! You
FROM TOP : The inn’s namesake lake, which sits right in the heart of the town of Eaton; a classic four-poster bed sets the tone in one of the 10 cozy guest rooms.
are finally doing what you’ve always wanted to do!’ I guess I had talked about it more than I realized.” They took ownership of the inn on a Wednesday in July 2001. They had their first guests two days later, and they never looked back. They f irst operated it as a bed-and-breakfast, then opened their in-house restaurant in 2003. In 2005, Ostendorf, a classically trained baritone, launched his series of solo opera dinners. “Those were such fun nights,” Ostendorf recalls. “Crazy, but fun. I’d be welcoming guests, then run into the back, change jackets, and come out to perform. It was insanity, but you do it because you don’t know that you can’t.” NEWENGLAND.COM
C O U R T E S Y O F T H E I N N AT C R Y S TA L L A K E
When their chef left five years ago, Barker took over the kitchen full-time. It wasn’t until the pandemic slowdown that the couple had a moment to appreciate just how tired they were. “Most inn ow ners last only a handful of years,” Ostendorf notes. “We’d been going strong for nearly two decades. That’s pretty good.” During the shutdown, they made major upgrades, including the replacement of all the windows and installation of mini-split air-conditioning units. But when the pandemic was winding down and it was time to ramp back up, they couldn’t find the energy to return to the way things were. And that meant it was time to move on. “Over the years, we imprinted our personalities on this place, and there is still so much untapped potential,” Ostendorf says. “There’s a lot going on in this little corner [of the state], and the inn is right at the heart of it….
“Most inn owners last only a handful of years,” Ostendorf notes. “We’d been going strong for nearly two decades. That’s pretty good.” All the attractions in Conway are only 15 minutes away. There are quality organizations like the Stone Mountain Arts Center, who have been great partners for us. There’s excellent infrastructure for someone to step in and hit the ground running. Or maybe there’s a different vision, and they’d take it somewhere new.” Having fallen in love with the area, Ostendorf and Barker won’t be far
away. They’ve purchased a rural property just down the road in Freedom, New Hampshire. But a funny thing has happened on their way to Freedom. “When we reopened [the inn], we scaled down,” Ostendorf says. “We didn’t open the restaurant, so we’re a B&B again.” The inn was already on the market, but the pared-down operation agreed with them. “In this less ambitious model, we still get the fun of hosting guests, but we also get to go home at night. We can still get out and do things. “So if the right person and the right offer come along, we’ll be excited to sell. But if it takes some time to get there, that might be OK, too.” The Inn at Crystal Lake is being offered for $1.4 million. For information, contact Roger Turgeon at the Virtual Realty Group at 603-717-4851.
Apartment and cottage living at Piper Shores offers residents fully updated and affordable homes, with all the benefits of Maine’s first and only nonprofit lifecare retirement community. Located along the Southern Maine coastline, our active, engaged community combines worry-free independent living with priority access to higher levels of on-site care—all for a predictable monthly fee. Call to schedule a virtual tour today. ASK ABOUT THE MEADOWS OPENING IN 2023!
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JULY | AUGUST 2022
Blackberry-Almond Scones; Summer Vegetable Frittata; Sweet Blueberry-Kale Salad; Lemon-Berry Tart; Overnight Maple-Glazed Cinnamon Rolls.
BOUQUET Savory and sweet ﬂavors abound in this midday feast inspired by an award-winning baker and a food-forward Vermont ﬂower farm. BY JES S ICA BAT T IL A N A Photos by Kristin Teig Styling by Liz Neily & Thomas McCurdy
FROM LEFT :
Thomas McCurdy and Bailey Hale with their dog Chuck in one of the greenhouses at Ardelia Farm; guests load up at a brunch spread prepared by McCurdy, a veteran pastry chef.
he tiny town of Irasburg—named for one of the founders of Vermont, Ira Allen—is tucked into the upper right-hand part of the state, a dozen or so miles from the Canadian border. The drive to Ardelia Farm takes you down a long dirt road; you come over a hill and a red barn silo rises in front of you, a few more miles and the road dips and drops you at the 49-acre farm owned by Thomas McCurdy and Bailey Hale, named for Hale’s grandmother, Ardelia Roggenkamp Moore. Yes, it’s out of the way, but this unlikely spot is home to one of the most in-demand brunch scenes in New England. 42 |
How two men from Philadelphia came to own this 1840s farmhouse in a remote village in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom is a tale of chance and good luck. The couple met online in 2011 (says McCurdy, “Five minutes into our first date we knew this was it”). At the time, McCurdy was a pastry chef for a large restaurant group, and Hale was doing floral design for events while also singing with the Philadelphia Opera. They quickly moved in together, and, when their Philly neighbors complained about their backyard chickens, they knew it was NEWENGLAND.COM
time to go. Together they’d dreamed of starting a farm, so they moved to upstate New York, renting land and starting a modest farming operation. A few years later, convinced they could hack it as farmers, they began looking for affordable land of their own, which brought them to Irasburg. “ We came to see the propert y right after a blizzard,” recalls Hale. The four feet of snow on the ground obscured much of the land, but the couple could see its potential. To make a go of it, the two did what farmers have done forever: They hustled. At JULY | AUGUST 2022
first, Hale grew cutting f lowers that he’d send off to f lorists in New York and Boston. Irasburg’s cool climate means f lowers mature later than those grown in other locations, which worked to Hale’s advantage; long after peonies and sweet peas had come and gone elsewhere, he had ample supply. McCurdy continued his baking career, eventually operating a stand at the Burlington farmers’ market. At the holidays, he sold cookie boxes— baking, packing, and shipping dozens of varieties of cookies to hundreds of recipients. He also answered
a casting call for the Food Network show Chopped Sweets, in which cheftestants are tasked with preparing dishes using only ingredients found in mystery baskets. McCurdy won, and along with bragging rights he was awarded the $10,000 prize. The extra income—and a few years of experience—allowed McCurdy and Hale to reconsider the farm, homing in on what made them the happiest. For McCurdy, that meant ditching the farmers’ market, which was preceded by sleepless nights of baking and a predawn wake-up in order to arrive | 43
LEFT : McCurdy (left) with Ally Dick and Colin Netzley, both of whom work at Ardelia; also on hand to socialize is another of McCurdy and Hale’s dogs, Chauncey. ABOVE : Hale’s green thumb shines in a lush display of potted plants.
in Burlington in time, and ceasing the cookie boxes, which were too timeconsuming to be a moneymaker. For Hale, it meant shifting his business away from delicate, perishable cut f lowers and into seeds—particularly sweet pea seeds. Hale now grows 125 different varieties in greenhouses dotting the property, carefully harvesting seeds at the end of the season and selling them online. He is one of the only domestic farmers to grow sweet pea seed, a niche he carved out for himself. In addition to growing established varieties, he also puts his horticulture degree to good use, developing brand-new varieties of sweet peas by crossing some of his favorites. “Part of being a farmer,” says McCurdy, “is that you have to be adaptable. We’re not afraid to take big risks.” A recent renovation of their farmhouse included the addition of a breezy entertaining porch, where 44 |
McCurdy can host dinner parties and events. And in the “party barn” behind the main house, guests are welcomed to the farm several times each year for “Brunch and Blooms” events. McCurdy prepares a generous brunch spread for visitors—piling cake stands with scones, cinnamon rolls, cakes, cookies, and fresh doughnuts; loading platters with crudites and frittatas, cheesy grits, and bacon. Under arching strands of party lights, Hale lines the walls with buckets of his homegrown f lowers so guests can make bouquets to take home. The events, which always sell out, are the perfect synthesis of their skills and passions. For McCurdy, moving to Vermont and farming has had a huge impact on his cooking. The couple raises chickens, pigs, and, new this year, a few head of beef cattle; all the meat and eggs they consume they raised themselves. He’s happily embraced some
of Vermont’s best-known products, including maple syrup and cheddar cheese. And without the pressure of producing for the farmers’ market, McCurdy has had more time to concentrate on a vegetable garden to rival Hale’s flower beds. They eat and serve fresh vegetables all season long, then McCurdy pickles and preserves the rest to see them through the long Vermont winters, when sweet peas—both the f lowers and edible variety—feel like a distant memory. The following recipes are inspired by McCurdy’s “Brunch and Blooms” events. They run from a savory veggie frittata and a kale salad that makes novel use of in-season blueberries, to a very doable puff pastry tart and deliciously simple blackberry-almond scones. For McCurdy’s recipe for Overnight Maple-Glazed Cinnamon Rolls (shown on p. 40), go to yankeemagazine.com/ardelia-rolls. (Continued on p. 110) NEWENGLAND.COM
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Amy Traverso is Yankee’s senior food editor and cohost of our TV show, Weekends with Yankee (weekendswithyankee.com).
Fresh Zucchini Turning summer’s bounty into an easy main dish—and dessert, too. BY A MY TR AVER SO ST YLED AND PHOTOGR APHED BY
L I Z N E I LY
t’s a well-burnished chestnut: Don’t leave your car doors unlocked in July lest your neighbor fill the back seat with fresh-picked zucchini. These prolific gourds are the overachievers of the summer garden, and countless recipe columns have been devoted to their use in savory tarts, casseroles, tarts, cakes, and soups. My mom makes the zucchini equivalent of tater tots by dipping slices in egg and seasoned bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese, then roasting them until they turn deep brown and crunchy. Perfection. 46 |
But if you’re looking for a main dish to serve with a nice salad on the side, it’s hard to beat stuffed zucchini. Fillings are highly adaptable and not a bit of squash goes to waste. The filling here is classic: a mixture of zucchini, sausage (meat or vegan), onion, garlic, a little lemon, bread crumbs. Oh, and sun-dried tomatoes. After the entire country overdosed on them in the ’80s and ’90s, these “gourmet” pantry staples were banished from respectable society. Now, their exile is over. This is a good thing: They add tang and an umami-like savoriness to all kinds of dishes.
For dessert: a chocolate-zucchini cake slathered with chocolate frosting. You don’t taste the zucchini, just the chocolate, but the zucchini does create a very moist crumb. Some people add chopped walnuts or chocolate chips to their loaves, but I kept it simple here with just a dash of cinnamon. Adapt as you wish. STUFFED ZUCCHINI This recipe is very easy, but don’t skip the first step of salting the zucchini boats and letting them drain while you make the filling. This step keeps the zucchini nice and firm. NEWENGLAND.COM
6 medium zucchini Kosher salt, to taste 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausages (uncooked), removed from their casings 1 small onion, diced ¼ cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (dried or packed in oil) 3 large cloves garlic, minced ½ teaspoon dried basil ½ teaspoon ground black pepper 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs Freshly ground black pepper, to taste ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
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Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and spoon out the f lesh until the walls are about ⅓ inch thick. Roughly chop the f lesh and set aside. Sprinkle the insides with a thin layer of salt, then lay the zucchini upsidedown on paper towels to drain while you prepare the filling. Preheat your oven to 400°. In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up into very small pieces, until the meat begins to brown (if you have trouble chopping the meat in the pan, remove once it has cooked and pulse it three times in a food processor). Add the zucchini f lesh, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft and have lost much of their liquid, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the bread crumbs. Taste the mixture and add additional salt as needed. Wipe the salt from the drained zucchini boats and lay them in a large casserole dish. Spoon in the filling, packing gently. Sprinkle each boat with about a tablespoon of grated Parmesan. Place into the oven and bake until nicely browned on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm. Yields 6 to 8 servings.
CHOCOLATE-ZUCCHINI CAKE If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can simply add 1½ teaspoons of lemon juice to regular milk and let it sit for 10 minutes. FOR THE CAKE
½ cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing pans ½ cup vegetable oil 1¼ cups granulated sugar 2 large eggs, at room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ cup buttermilk 2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring pans ¼ cup cocoa powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon table salt ½ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon cinnamon 2 cups grated zucchini, squeezed to remove excess juice
FOR THE FROSTING
½ cup unsalted butter, softened 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar ¹⁄ 3 cup cocoa powder ½ teaspoon vanilla extract ¹⁄ 8 teaspoon table salt 1–2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Grease two standard loaf pans with butter, then sprinkle with f lour to coat. Shake to remove excess. Preheat your oven to 325° and set a rack to the middle position. In a medium bowl, use a handheld or standing mixer to cream the butter, oil, and sugar together for 1 minute, scraping the bottom with a spatula halfway through. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat for an additional minute, scraping once more. Add the buttermilk and beat until blended.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, then add to the but ter-sugar mi xt ure. Mi x until evenly combined, scraping the bowl as needed. Stir in zucchini until evenly combined. Divide the batter among the loaf pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, and the cakes are beginning to pull away from the sides, 45 to 55 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool. Now, make the frosting: In a medium bowl, use a standing or handheld mixer to beat the butter with the confectioners’ sugar for 1 minute. Add cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt, and beat for another minute or two. Add enough milk or cream to reach your desired consistency, then spread over the tops of the cooled cakes. Yields 2 loaves. NEWENGLAND.COM
Found Where Maps End and Journeys Begin
With long swaths of white sand and picturesque rock coves, the Maine Beaches region gives many visitors their first look at the state’s worldfamous coastline.
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he beauty of Maine sneaks up on you; it finds its way into all your senses. And once you’ve experienced it, you’ll never forget. Along Ogunquit’s Marginal Way, a mile-and-a-half path that rises above the Atlantic, dozens of benches invite strollers to pause and take in the view—waves cascading against the rocks, shimmering tidepools, beach, seals, surfers—all while under the spell of beach roses and salt spray, as seabirds wheel above. There are more than 4,000 islands in Maine, and hundreds of miles of coastline. Two-lane roads curve their way down peninsulas, leading to harbors and trim houses with lobster traps stacked in the yard. The air is sweet and crisp. You feel you have discovered secret places. Inland, thousands of lakes and ponds, many rimmed by mountains, hold fish and the memories of generations of families who swam and paddled as the haunting cry of loons filled the air. Skilled bush pilots carry their passengers over Moosehead Lake’s forests and wild, deep waters; moose can be spotted clambering through woods and streams, a memory of a lifetime. In the northernmost fields of the St. John River Valley, home to farm communities rich in Acadian flavor, summertime vistas of potato blossoms reward those who come to visit these quiet villages. It was E.B. White, the acclaimed author of Charlotte’s Web, who best captured the feeling of coming to Maine. In crossing the bridge into his adopted state, he wrote, “I do have the sensation of having received a gift from a true love.”
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Opposite, top: An expanse of potato blossoms delights the eye in Aroostook County, aka “The Crown of Maine”—a vast region whose natural attractions include the legendary Allagash Wilderness Waterway, a paradise for kayakers and canoeists. Opposite, below: Maine’s rugged coast offers scenic bedrock for Portland Head Light, the state’s oldest lighthouse and an icon of Greater Portland & Casco Bay. Left: Home to New England’s best whitewater rapids, the Kennebec Valley shows its quieter side at the jewel-like Belgrade Lakes, beloved by loons and freshwater ﬁshermen alike. Below: The jagged peaks of Maine’s tallest mountain, Katahdin, perfectly express the wild beauty of the Maine Highlands, a region it shares with the state’s largest lake, Moosehead.
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Opposite: DownEast & Acadia offers a coastal panorama of rocky headlands, forests, mountains, and beaches—more than 49,000 acres of which are forever preserved at Acadia National Park. Above: Looking out to the expanse of Penobscot Bay, Camden Hills State Park provides an ideal vantage point for spying windjammers, the classic schooners that make the MidCoast & Islands region their home. Left: Wild lupines reach for the sky against the backdrop of the Lakes & Mountains region, which lives up to its name with hundreds of glacial lakes and two majestic mountain ranges: Mahoosuc and Bigelow, both part of the one and only Appalachian Trail.
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MYSTIC CONNECTICUT SOAK UP THIS COASTAL VILLAGE’S MARITIME HISTORY, CULINARY ABUNDANCE, AND BREEZY ADVENTURES.
CHERYL ELIZ ABETH MILLE/COURTESY OF MYSTIC AQUARIUM (WHALES)
BY KIM KNOX BECKIUS • PHOTOS BY KRISTIN TEIG
Young Buns Doughnuts; Oyster Club chef Renee Touponce; the Main Street view at Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream; breakfast pastries at Sift Bake Shop; getting up close with Mystic Aquarium’s beluga whales; artisan knot tyer Tulsa Scott on the job at Mystic Knotwork. OPPOSITE , CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT :
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Sailing into the sunset on a cruise aboard the Argia, a replica of a 19th-century schooner.
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Fish and chips at Oyster Club, which marked its 10th anniversary last year as a Mystic seafood staple.
Soon, you’ll be helping the crew hoist sails or simply exhaling, scouting for osprey, and listening to tales of a lighthouse keeper’s singing daughter. The sheltered waters of Fishers Island Sound, which tickle three states’ shorelines, are tinted tangerine-pink, and you’re untethered from obligations and expectations. It’s the ideal mindset for embarking on a weekend in Mystic, Connecticut. With a creative culinar y scene that rivals that of bigger cities, plus renowned experiential attractions and enticing concentrations of artisan and independent shops, this former shipbuilding hub on the Mystic River offers a mighty list of must-dos. Step inside glassblower Jeffrey P’an’s kaleidoscopic gallery, though, and you’re reminded that life, like art, is elevated when the uncharted is allowed to unfold. Let the winds of inspiration guide you, even at enduring headliners like Mystic Aquarium, which turns 50 next year, and Mystic Seaport Museum, which is two years from celebrating its 95th. At the aquarium, check for encounter programs before your photo op with New England’s only exhibited beluga whales, and you may leave with an abstract painting created for you by undulating stingrays—or with a deep desire to protect endangered creatures after listening,
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It’s 50 paces from boutique wine shop Spencer & Lynn to Steamboat Wharf. A literal hop, skip—no jump required— and you’re boarding the two-masted schooner Argia with a bottle of Basque Country txakolina: slightly bubbly, a touch salty, perfect for sunset sipping on the water. “It tapdances on your tongue,” one of the knowledgeable wine sellers noted, and, in the spirit of trust, you abandoned your Chardonnay comfort zone.
EXPLORING MYSTIC, CONNECTICUT EAT & DRINK
V Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream: This cheery spot serves homemade ice cream and nostalgic soda fountain drinks beside its namesake landmark. mysticdrawbridgeice cream.com Nana’s Bakery & Pizza: Don’t be misled by its outof-the-way locale: Nana’s is one of Connecticut’s best new eateries. The madeto-order hot doughnuts are a revelation. nanasct.com Oyster Club: From classics like roasted oysters and fish and chips to linguine with secretrecipe tuna chorizo, every dish (and every cocktail, too) is made with care and creativity at this farm-and-sea-to-table restaurant helmed by chef Renee Touponce. oysterclubct.com Red 36: At this marinaside, indoor/outdoor restaurant with a yacht-life vibe, lobster sneaks its way not only into rolls, grilled cheese, and mac ’n’ cheese, but also Cobb salad and carbonara. red36ct.com
A step back in time: Mystic Seaport Museum’s village was created with authentic 19thcentury shops and businesses from around New England transported to this site.
JULY | AUGUST 2022
The Shipwright’s Daughter: Chef David Standridge left New York City for this “paradise” of fresh fish and farmed products, and he’s weaving uniquely local ingredients into some of Mystic’s most sophisticated dishes. shipwrightsdaughter.com
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Sift Bake Shop: Indulge in sweet and savory treats and Mystic’s best coffee drinks, and return for cocktails and small plates at the bakery’s rooftop bar, Mix. siftbakeshop mystic.com Young Buns Doughnuts: In addition to Sift and Mix, nationally known pastry chef Adam Young’s empire also includes this singularly focused storefront, which sells out of its sweet stock daily. youngbuns doughnuts.com STAY Spicer Mansion: Pampering touches abound at the former summer home of Captain Elihu Spicer, restored to its 1853 grandeur and now an eight-room luxury boutique inn. spicermansion.com
via stethoscope, to a penguin’s heartbeat. Once you’ve explored the seaport’s re-created 19th-century village and landmark vessels like the restored 1841 whaling ship Charles W. Morgan, borrow a free boat and row, sail, or pedal the river that native Pequots named Missi-tuk for its tidal swells. Be especially open-minded at mealtimes. You’ll want to hop into the long a.m. queue for Best Baker in America winner Adam Young’s intricate pastries at Sift. Pop into his Young Buns Doughnuts shop early, too, before the signature vanilla-streusel variety sells out. But also consider a detour to the hidden little waterside Nana’s Bakery & Pizza: At this new venture from beloved Mystic chef and fermentation trailblazer James Wayman, the hot sourdough cinnamon-sugar doughnuts taste like carnival fried dough that’s been granted a heavenly makeover. Wayman has also unintentionally fired a shot in Connecticut’s New Haven– centered pizza wars with his flavorfully chewy 62 |
W The Whaler’s Inn: A hospitable bubble in the midst of energetic downtown, with 45 rooms tucked into five buildings. whalersinnmystic.com
PLAY Argia Mystic Cruises: Set sail on a sunset or daytime voyage, and discover the storied islands and lighthouses just off the coast. Preorder a snack platter and souvenir wine glasses (BYOB) when you book. argiamystic.com Mystic Seaport Museum: See traditional craftspeople at work, planetarium shows, and a maritime stew of exhibits including this summer’s “Story Boats: The Tales They Tell,” featuring small watercraft from this world-class attraction’s
COURTESY OF THE WHALER’S INN (GUEST ROOM)
A peaceful Mystic River scene near Elm Grove Cemetery, first established in 1863; a cook’s delight at Kitch, one of nearly three dozen shops in the open-air shopping center Olde Mistick Village. FROM TOP :
“HYANNIS HARBOR LIGHT”
Also know as “Lewis Bay Lighthouse Forrest Pirovano’s painting “Hyannis Harbor Light” shows a lighthouse that guided ships in the inner harbor In the early 1800’s Hyannis, one of 7 villages in Barnstable on Cape Cod, was a busy fishing and commercial port. By 1840, more than 200 shipmasters called Hyannis and nearby Hyannisport their home. In 1849 Congress authorized the building of a proper lighthouse. This inner harbor lighthouse remained in operation until 1929 when it was decommissioned and sold. Hyannis Harbor Light is now privately owned and visitors are not allowed. However, it is easily seen since the ferry boats, departing and returning from Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard travel right by it. This beautiful limited-edition print of an original oil painting, is individually numbered and signed by the artist.
This exquisite print is bordered by a museum-quality white-on-white double mat, measuring 11x14 inches. Framed in either a black or white 1½-inch-deep wood frame, this limited-edition print measures 12¼x15¼ inches and is priced at only $149. Matted but unframed this print is priced at $109. Prices include shipping and packaging. Forrest Pirovano is a Cape Cod artist whose paintings capture the picturesque landscape and seascapes of the Cape, which have a universal appeal. His paintings often include the many antique wooden sailboats and iconic lighthouses for which Cape Cod is known.
FORREST PIROVANO, artist P.O. Box 1011 • Mashpee, MA 02649 Visit our studio in Mashpee Commons, Cape Cod All major credit cards are welcome. Please send card name, card number, expiration date, code number & billing ZIP code. Checks are also accepted.…Or you can call Forrest at 781-858-3691.…Or you can pay through our website www.forrestcapecodpaintings.com
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sourdough pies topped with local meats, vegetables, and wild-foraged mushrooms. The bells of Union Baptist Church, which looms over downtown Mystic, chime away the hours at an increasingly urgent pace. Check off shopping for nautical rope accents made on-site at Mystic Knotwork, picking out manly gifts at Trove, and downing a waff le cone dripping with Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream’s Seaport Salty Swirl. Maybe squeeze in a visit to Olde Mistick Village, where 30-plus niche retailers are tucked into a colonial New England– themed setting. The ultimate draw of this coastal village, with its landmark bascule (or “seesaw”) drawbridge that impresses engineering geeks (and sometimes frustrates impatient motorists), is transcendent dining. Sit at the bar at the Shipwright’s Daughter and watch chef David Standridge, who earned two Michelin stars back in NYC, direct his kitchen with Spielberg-like attention to quality and artistry. He’s changing the way diners think about seafood and sustainability, inventing sublime recipes for anything and everything Josiah Dodge plucks from local waters with rod and reel—even oddball fish.
Summer’s most coveted tables are high up in the canopied Treehouse at Oyster Club. Course after course, you’ll be not just fed but moved by dishes that conjure the nurturing essence of dynamo chef Renee Touponce’s Puerto Rican and Italian upbringing. Her tuna chorizo, which shows up in house-made pasta dishes, is the delectable result of her passionate commitment to utilize every part of the fish. Just as the night air begins to cool, warm bites of almond brown butter cake will have you questioning whether life has ever tasted this good. A stop at 10th-generation-owned Stone Acres Farm, just outside Mystic in Stonington, will ease the pang of departure. Stroll the grounds and maze-like gardens, then shop the farm stand for the same hand-harvested produce that’s grown for this region’s top chefs, plus local cheeses, mushrooms, breads, and other specialty foods. Making reservations for an upcoming farm dinner is a surefire cure for the “Goodbye, Mystic” blues. Blacksmith Chip Sowalski at Mystic Seaport Museum, whose re-created 19th-century seafaring village showcases heritage trades such as wood carving, smithing, and coopering (barrel making).
extensive collection. mysticseaport.org W Mystic Aquarium: Be awed by the diversity of marine life as you pose for pics with beluga whales, touch sharks and rays, and applaud the antics of sea lions. mysticaquarium.org
SHOP Mystic Knotwork: Watch artisans at work preserving the sailors’ art of tying rope bracelets, pet toys, and home decor pieces. mysticknotwork.com Olde Mistick Village: Snag souvenirs and gifts for every personality at nearly three dozen shops spanning kitchen gear to fantasy wizarding and witchcraft supplies. oldemistickvillage.com Spencer & Lynn Wine & Spirit Merchants: Expert staff will introduce you to a curated selection of organic wines, beers, and spirits made by small producers from near and far. spencerandlynn.com
Studio Jeffrey P’an: Admire contemporary blown glass sculptures and vessels, and observe the artist at work during the cooler-weather months. studiojeffreypan.com Trove: Guys aren’t hard to shop for at this den of luxe casual menswear, grooming potions, books, and dad-joke-inspired gifts. trovemystic.com
COURTESY OF MYSTIC AQUARIUM (PENGUIN)
Stone Acres Farm: For fresh produce, cut flowers, and local specialty foods, visit the farm stand at this Stonington agricultural estate, which has been feeding the community since 1765. stoneacresfarm.com
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THE BEST 5
Treehouse Getaways For a one-of-a-kind overnight, these magical structures awaken a sense of wonder in midair. BY KIM KNOX BECKIUS
t’s the climb, the wideangle view, and the chance to rule over time from your own snug domain that make staying in a treehouse something more than a vacation. Up in the leaves, the cares you left on the ground can’t encroach on the comforting feeling of nestled-in-ness. Your perspective expands to encompass both your inner child’s whims and your grown-up notions of how life should be. That makes these New England treehouse getaways worth every penny. Willow Treehouse at Treehouse Village Inn South Newfane, VT Perhaps you had a treehouse growing up. It didn’t look anything like 66 |
FROM TOP : Moose Meadow Lodge & Treehouse in Waterbury, Vermont; Seguin Tree Dwellings in Georgetown, Maine.
this inn’s two-floor A-frame offering, lofted between a willow and a white pine. Pete Nelson and his team from Animal Planet’s Treehouse Masters built and styled the interior of this stunner in just 18 days for an episode that aired in 2018. Since then, it’s been the scene of elopements, proposals, and playful escapes (no kids allowed). Heat and air conditioning keep the treehouse comfy year-round, but summer’s long, languid days allow for maximum time on the wraparound deck, listening to the waterfall and watching cloud ref lections skim across the pond. Breakfasts (try the fruit-loaded waff le) and rounds of pool in the main inn are included: Expect envious looks from guests who don’t have as cool a nest. treehousevillageinn.com Treehouse Cottage at Winvian Morris, CT A treehouse with turndown service? Only at New England’s ultimate luxe cottage resort, where this two-story hideout—35 feet off the ground—has two gas fireplaces, a bass-pumping sound system, and a jetted tub for two. While it looks like something Dr. Seuss might have sketched, Winvian’s Treehouse is the invention of Vermont architect John Connell, who was tapped along with 14 other pros to design 18 wow-factor cottages (consider Woodlands for a treehouse vibe without the ascent). When sunlight spills in through lookout windows, or your kids’ giddiness prods you awake, hiking, bicycling, swimming, spa treatments, and fine meals await without your ever driving back out through the gate. But if you explore the adjacent 4,000-acre White Memorial Conservation Center on foot or by kayak, you can mingle with fellow branchhome dwellers like herons and beavers. winvian.com/cottages/treehouse NEWENGLAND.COM
TR AVIS BURKE PHOTOGR APHY ( TOP); COURTESY OF SEGUIN TREE DWELLINGS (BOT TOM)
Purposely Lost Springvale, ME There are only a few rules—like take off your shoes—in this land of wee dreamy houses and dark night skies. Canopy Treehouse, Cliff House, and the SkyFrame Treehouse perch up high, while the property’s newest wheelchairaccessible addition is built hobbit-style into domed earth. Each may be less than 400 square feet, but they’re intricately, eco-sensitively designed with kitchens, full baths, and sleeping space for four. And each has its own two and a half woodsy acres and ukulele for you to strum. If you haven’t told the kids or your adventure partner where you’re staying, brace yourself for joyful squeals as you rumble along the dirt entry road lined with oaks and pines. Wander down to your private dock, paddle out onto Littlefield Pond, and appreciate how lucky you are to cut ties with the rat race for a spell. purposelylost.com
Moose Meadow Lodge & Treehouse Waterbury, VT The treehouse that lords over the trout pond looks like a supersized fairy castle, especially when porch lights and 31 windows glow with golden softness. Vermont craftsman Eyrich Stauffer and his Yestermorrow Design/Build School students added this whimsical, private retreat to the 86 acres that surround luxuriously rustic Moose Meadow Lodge back in 2013, and it’s been the most-booked option, May through October, ever since. Have fun discovering (and Instagramming) details, like the sink carved from a rock found on-site. You can pop over to the lodge for breakfast or order “tree service.” Either way, you’ll be hooked on the pancakes crafted by inn co-owner Willie Docto. They’re so beloved by guests, he launched an online store to sell his gluten-free rice
f lour mix as a pandemic passion project. moosemeadowlodge.net/treehouse Seguin Tree Dwellings Georgetown, ME There’s a natural letting-go that occurs on this 21-acre Maine island hilltop. Choose one of three tiny houses in the trees, built with salvaged materials and spruced up in warm, minimalist, Scandinavian style, to begin your reorientation toward what constitutes a truly good life. It’s easy to bid farewell to external pressures and mundane concerns as you gaze through a windowed wall at the winding Black River and conservation lands beyond. Release the need for instant gratification, too, and embrace the ritual of lighting and tending the wood fire that will, over the course of hours, turn your private, Maine-made cedar hot tub into a soothing cocoon with an elevated view. seguinmaine.com
FIRST CHILDREN: CAROLINE AND JOHN JR. IN THE KENNEDY WHITE HOUSE SEE NEW SIDES TO THEIR STORY
A SPECIAL EXHIBITION AT THE JFK PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY & MUSEUM jfklibrary.org /FirstChildren
Leading Lights Travelers of all kinds can discover their own reasons to take a shine to New England’s lighthouses. eorge Bernard Shaw once said, “I can think of no other edifice constructed by man as altruistic as a lighthouse. They were built only to serve.” And in truth these simple structures continue to endure as symbols of security and hope even after retired from use. From the candy cane–striped West Quoddy Head Light in the farthest reaches of Down East Ma ine to New por t, R hode Island ’s trim and tidy Rose Island Light, New England has some 200 historic beacons scattered across its shores. Which ones should be on your bucket list? Read on to find the best lighthouses for every kind of traveler. —William Scheller 68 |
FOR PHOTO BUFFS BASS HARBOR HEAD LIGHT STATION,
Tremont, ME. The only lighthouse standing on Mount Desert Island has lit the way into Blue Hill Bay and Bass Harbor since 1858. Still in service— and located adjacent to its owner and operator, Acadia National Park—the beacon is popular with photographers, especially at sunrise and sunset, because of the wide variety of vantage points afforded by a paved walkway that leads to views of the harbor, the 32-foot tower itself, and a stairway to the seaside revealing the dramatic cliff face on which it stands. nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/bass-harborhead-light-station.htm CAPE NEDDICK LIGHTHOUSE, York, ME. What does Cape Neddick Light have in common with India’s Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China? There are photos of all three aboard Voyager I, to
show possible denizens of other worlds what we build here on Earth. Nicknamed “Nubble Light” after the craggy islet on which it stands, the cast-iron tower has shone its red beacon to mariners entering the mouth of the York River since 1879. There’s no access for visitors, but Sohier Park, on the mainland, offers a fine vantage point for photos and a welcome center with historical displays. nubblelight.org GAY HEAD LIGHTHOUSE, Gay Head (Aquinnah), Martha’s Vineyard, MA. The sole working lighthouse on Martha’s Vineyard stands atop Gay Head cliffs, renowned for the earthen rainbow revealed when the setting sun strikes their multicolored layers of clay. Built of brick in 1855 to replace earlier wooden structures, it was initially equipped with a first-order Fresnel lens, an elaborate series of prisms now on display in an adjacent museum complex. The museum also houses a collection of whaling memorabilia and exhibits chronicling the 2015 relocation of the tower from its precarious position atop those lovely but eroding cliffs. gayheadlight.org MARSHALL POINT LIGHTHOUSE, St. George, ME. Think Marshall Point is a photogenic lighthouse? So did Forrest Gump director Robert Zemeckis, who NEWENGLAND.COM
JEREMY PAW LOWSKI/S TOCK SY
Few places bring out the camera-toting crowds like Cape Neddick Lighthouse, aka Nubble Light, in York, Maine.
had Forrest conclude his cross-country run by sprinting over the wooden footbridge leading from the rocky shore to the tower. Rising at the tip of the St. George peninsula, the 1858 beacon guides fishing boat captains to harbor in the picturesque working village of Port Clyde. A museum in the keeper’s house tells the story of the local fishing and quarrying industries, and of the light and its moment in cinema history. marshallpoint.org PEMAQUID POINT LIGHT, Bristol, ME. The beacon immortalized on the Maine state quarter is a stone pepperbox of a lighthouse, rising from a striated granite bluff that typifies the state’s storied “rockbound coast” and commanding the entrance to Muscongus Bay. Commissioned in 1827, the shoddily built original structure was replaced eight years later by the lighthouse you see standing here today. Pemaquid Point is one of the most photographed of all Maine’s beacons, thanks to the striking rock formations that slope dramatically from the tower to the sea. Alongside, the former keeper’s house now holds a fishermen’s museum. bristolmaine.org
PORTSMOUTH HARBOR LIGHT, New
Castle, NH. Heir to a long tradition of beacons marking the entrance to the mouth of the Piscataqua River, Portsmouth Harbor’s classic white castiron lighthouse—one of New England’s earliest that were built of that economical material—stands on the grounds of historic Fort Constitution. Perched at the narrowest point in the harbor entrance, it affords splendid photogenic views of Maine’s Pepperrell Cove, Whaleback Ledge Light across the river mouth in Kittery, and the open Atlantic beyond. portsmouthharborlighthouse.org SOUTHEAST LIGHT, Block Island, RI. Photographers find it hard to decide which makes the better picture: the dramatic, 200-foot Monhegan Bluffs on which Southeast Light stands, or the handsome red brick Victorian Gothic keeper’s house with its attached octagonal beacon. Remarkably, the 1875 structure—all 2,000 tons of it—was trundled 300 feet from the bluff in 1993, after erosion left it perilously close to the edge. Just down the road from the lighthouse, 141 steps lead down the bluff face to one of Block Island’s loveliest beaches. blockislandinfo.com
FOR HISTORY LOVERS BEAVERTAIL LIGHTHOUSE,
Jamestown, RI. Mariners entering Narragansett Bay have been welcomed by a Conanicut Island beacon since 1749. Today’s square-sided Beavertail tower has stood since 1856, and—except for Boston Light—was the last American lighthouse with a resident keeper, a Coast Guard member who signed off in 1972 when automation took over. The assistant keeper’s house today houses a maritime museum and a handmade collection of models depicting every Rhode Island lighthouse. In good weather, visitors can access the tower catwalk by stairs and ladder. beavertaillight.org BOSTON LIGHT, Boston, MA. North America’s oldest light station is the only one still staffed by a resident keeper, who welcomes visitors taking harbor tours. Established in 1716 to help ships navigate the island-strewn entrance to Boston Harbor, the beacon shining from 1½acre Little Brewster Island is visible 27 miles out to sea. The original tower was destroyed by the British in 1776, rebuilt in 1783, and elevated to its present 89foot height in 1859. Thanks to an act of
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B a r H a r b o r I n n • A t l a n t i c O c e a n s i d e H o t e l • B a r H a r b o r G r a n d H o t e l • A c a d i a I n n • V i l l a g e r M o t e l • B a r H a r b o r M o t e l • Fa m i l y o w n e d & o p e r a t e d .
Congress sponsored by Senator Edward Kennedy, Boston Light will be forever maintained. bostonharborislands.org COLCHESTER REEF LIGHT, Shelburne, VT. Vermont is New England’s only landlocked state—but only in saltwater terms. Lake Champlain’s reefs can be as treacherous as anything along Atlantic shores, and this mansard-roofed lighthouse was built in 1871 as an aid to shipping traffic entering the port of Burlington. Deactivated in 1933, it was moved piece by piece to the Shelburne Museum in 1952 and now features exhibits documenting the lonely lives of its keepers. Fittingly, it stands near the majestic steamer Ticonderoga, which once depended on its welcoming beacon. shelburnemuseum.org HIGHLAND LIGHTHOUSE, Truro, MA. When Henry David Thoreau visited Highland Light’s predecessor in the early 1850s, the tower was located a safe 500 feet back from Truro’s cliffs. By 1996, erosion had claimed all but 100 feet of the clifftop, and the 1857 structure standing here today was moved a safe distance west. Surrounded by Cape Cod National Seashore—and adjacent to a windswept golf course—this oldest and tallest Cape
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beacon invites visitors to climb to the top, and hails mariners with its new LED beacon. highlandlighthouse.org MAINE LIGHTHOUSE MUSEUM, Rockland, ME. Though not a lighthouse itself, this museum is an indispensable stop for beacon-loving history buffs. Located in Maine’s windjammer capital and founded by a Coast Guard officer who had held responsibility for numerous lighthouses, the museum maintains America’s largest trove of lighthouse equipment, Fresnel lenses, lifesaving tools, and foghorns, and features detailed interpretive displays chronicling the stalwart men and women who kept our coastal beacons burning over the centuries. The museum’s Discovery Center houses a rotating collection of materials on loan from the Farnsworth Art Museum, Owls Head Transportation Museum, Penobscot Marine Museum, and others. mainelighthousemuseum.org PORTLAND HEAD LIGHT, Cape Elizabeth, ME. Lit longer than Maine has been a state and never extinguished, the lighthouse standing at the entrance to Casco Bay was authorized by Massachusetts Governor John Hancock in 1790 and completed the following
year. Although one of the last New England lights to be automated, in 1989, its keeper’s quarters remain in use as a maritime museum displaying, among other artifacts, the second-order Fresnel lens that once shone from the tower. portlandheadlight.com STONINGTON HARBOR LIGHT, Stonington, CT. Stubby and rough-hewn, the beacon tower that once faithfully guided ships past Stonington Point hasn’t seen service since 1889; however, for nearly a century it has housed America’s oldest lighthouse museum. The Stonington Historical Society has amassed an impressive collection of artifacts relating to local maritime history, including whaling memorabilia and even a “dud” rocket fired on the town by the British during the war of 1812. Climb the tower’s circular stairs for a three-state view: Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York. stoningtonhistory.org
FOR HIKERS & STROLLERS BLOCK ISLAND NORTH LIGHT,
Block Island, RI. “Old Granitesides,” the fourth lighthouse to warn ships away from the tip of the island mariners called “the
From outdoor excursions to unique festivals, antiquing to historical reenactments, farm-to-table restaurants to craft breweries, Sturbridge offers something for every type of traveler. Start planning your trip today and make it an experience to remember! www.experiencesturbridge.com @SturbridgeMA @ExperienceSturbridge
stumbling block,” is itself a great block of stone, resembling a small-town courthouse sporting a red beacon tower. Abandoned in 1973 after a century’s service, relit in 1989, and adapted as an interpretive center four years later, it marks the start of a ¾-mile beachside trail to Sandy Point and is surrounded by much of the 134-acre Block Island National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge hosts over 70 species of migrating songbirds and the largest gull colony in Rhode Island. blockislandinfo.com LONG POINT LIGHTHOUSE, Provincetown, MA. Of the three lighthouses needed to guide ships around the treacherous shoals of the 3,000-wreck “ocean graveyard” that surrounds the tip of Cape Cod, Long Point is the one for die-hard dune trekkers. Located at the very tip of the finger of sand that curves around the entrance to Provincetown Harbor, it’s accessible either by following a breakwater out to the sands or, if you’re at Herring Cove Beach, by walking the shoreline until … until you run out of shoreline. Either way, to quote Thoreau, you’ll have put all America behind you. lighthousefoundation.org/lighthouses/ long-point-light ROCKLAND HARBOR BREAKWATER LIGHT,
Rockland, ME. When was the last time you walked a mile out to sea? Rockland’s stout brick Breakwater Light, with its attached (unoccupied) keeper’s house, stands that far out from the northeast point of the city’s picturesque harbor. Built to protect the harbor from the open Atlantic, the breakwater was capped with a warning beacon in 1902, to keep the long granite-block structure itself from becoming a hazard. City and sea views from the lighthouse are superb, and you may even see one of Rockport’s famed windjammers gliding into port, or filling its sails for a run Down East. rocklandharborlights.org SANKATY HEAD LIGHT, Nantucket, MA. This classic lighthouse with its distinctive red band has crowned ’Sconset bluff since 1849—but not always in the same place. As erosion claimed more and more of the bluff, the structure was left standing only 68 feet from disaster. Moved in 2007, it’s now a safe 267 feet from the edge. The ’Sconset Trust, keeper (and mover) of the light, also maintains the seven acres of meadow that surround it, along with other ’Sconset properties including the 45-acre heathland of Ruddick Commons. The starring ’Sconset attraction, though, is the two-mile Bluff Walk, which skirts silver-shingled village homes, thickets strewn with wildflowers, and spectacular seascapes. sconsettrust.org 72 |
WEST QUODDY HEAD LIGHTHOUSE,
Lubec, ME. Location, location … and no location in the U.S. lies farther east than West Quoddy Head, whose distinctive, red-striped lighthouse stands against the foggy Bay of Fundy. The beacon is the focal point of Quoddy Head State Park, laced with over six miles of nature trails. Two favorites are the Coastal Trail, where hikers stand high above surging Fundy tides and look across to New Brunswick’s Grand Manan Island, and the short Bog Trail, a raised boardwalk that offers a close-up look at pitcher plants and other unusual bog vegetation. westquoddy.com
CLASSIC NEW ENGLAND SEAFOOD WITH A VIEW
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FOR OVERNIGHT GUESTS Even if you’re not part of the summer cottage community on Bakers Island, four miles out in the Atlantic, you can enjoy a sojourn at the rockbound island’s most historic property. Built in 1820, when Salem was the powerhouse of New England’s maritime trade, Bakers’s 59foot light stands alongside two keeper’s houses, one of which welcomes guests during the summer. Guests have access to 10 of the island’s 55 acres and enjoy swimming, fishing, and rambles along a half mile of trails. There are even two campsites, with raised tent platforms. bakersislandlight.org BORDEN FLATS, Fall River, MA. Built to warn ships off a treacherous reef that lurks where the Taunton River meets Mount Hope Bay, Borden Flats is a brick-and-cast-iron lighthouse built in 1881, automated in 1963, and lovingly restored by private owners. The four handsomely furnished levels of living space feature a full kitchen and, up top, a queen bedroom. Guest “keepers” can arrange for fresh seafood delivery at dockside, when they check in for boat transport to the light. Nearby, Fall River attractions include Battleship Cove, where “Big Mamie”—WWII’s famous USS Massachusetts—is permanently moored. bordenflats.com BAKERS ISLAND LIGHT, Salem, MA.
Online ordering and local delivery available! AT THE HISTORIC CHATHAM FISH PIER 45 Barcliﬀ Avenue Ext. (at Shore Road), Chatham, MA
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BURNT COAT HARBOR LIGHT STATION,
Swan’s Island, ME. Have a week to commit to a lighthouse sojourn? That’s the minimum stay at the keeper’s house adjacent to the stout, square beacon that stands on Swan’s Island’s Hockamock Head, lighting the way to Burnt Coat Harbor. Upstairs at the keeper’s quarters is a cozy little apartment with kitchen and bath, available from June to September. Sea views from the apartment are wonderful—and even more so if you climb to the platform
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Book Direct or Online
321 Main St. • Chester, VT
~ An Historic 1851 B&B with all the modern amenities ~
Guests with electric vehicles may charge them for free at Inn Victoria’s charging station.
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BEST OF NEW ENGLAND
THE HARRASEEKET INN FREEPORT, ME
This family-owned, 94-room luxury inn features two great restaurants, 23 ﬁreplaces, and an indoor heated pool. Select pet-friendly rooms available. Walk to the best shopping on the Maine coast and the Amtrak Downeaster train station. Book direct for complimentary breakfast and afternoon tea. 800-342-6423 HarraseeketInn.com
RHODE ISLAND RED FOOD TOURS PROVIDENCE/NEWPORT, RI
MOUNT WASHINGTON COG RAILWAY MOUNT WASHINGTON, NH
Discover big eats in the smallest state while walking, sipping, and eating your way through historic neighborhoods in Providence and Newport. If you like seeing architectural gems and listening to historic tales, this fun food experience is for you or your private group. April– November.
For more than 150 years, the Mount Washington Cog Railway has been thrilling passengers with its dramatic ascent to the summit of the highest peak in the Northeast. Year-round schedule, tickets, and much more at thecog. com.
BEDFORD VILLAGE INN BEDFORD, NH
Nestled in the beautiful green hills of New England, the Bedford Village Inn & Grand is a four-diamond property that perfectly blends historical character with a luxury boutique ambiance. Its 64 gorgeously designed rooms retain the rustic charm of days gone by, while simultaneously offering everyday modern comfort and amenities. 800-852-1166 BedfordVillageInn.com
GIFTS AT 136 DAMARISCOTTA, ME
Berkshire Theatre Group’s 2022 season features the world premiere of B.R.O.K.E.N code B.I.R.D switching, musicals Once and Songs for a New World, Dracula, and Edward Albee’s Seascape. Celebrating 100 years of theatre in 2028.
The Coast Guard House gives a whole new meaning to waterfront dining. Perched directly over the Atlantic, it offers an unparalleled view with many indoor and outdoor dining options. While the view is spectacular, the food, beverages and service will keep you coming back. Open year-round 7 days a week.
Steps from Bowdoin College in the peaceful shade of the Village Green, OneSixtyFive offers 16 elegant rooms, a pet-friendly cottage, and private events with locally sourced catering. Pub165 and our breakfast dining room are open 7 days a week—public welcome.
Reconnect with past Editors’ Choice Winners here and see for yourself why they received Yankee Magazine’s highest accolade IT
NEW ENGLAND YA
ONESIXTYFIVE, THE INN ON PARK ROW BRUNSWICK, ME
COAST GUARD HOUSE RESTAURANT NARRAGANSETT, RI
BERKSHIRE THEATRE GROUP STOCKBRIDGE, MA
Gifts at 136 offers a large select-ion of ﬁne crafts and art from Maine, including furniture, paintings, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, glassware, lighting, and more. Gifts at 136 has won multiple awards for its well-curated collection of accessible art. Open all year.
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Climb this historic 7.6-mile road to the summit of the Northeast’s highest peak— drive yourself, or take a guided tour. This must-do drive is America’s oldest manmade attraction. During the winter, take a tour on the Mt. Washington SnowCoach.
Rediscover Hampton Beach, rated #1 in United States for water quality. FREE activities: ﬁreworks, concerts, sand competition, country music, children’s activities, talent show, circus show, ﬁre show, yoga on the beach.
MT. WASHINGTON AUTO ROAD GORHAM, NH
Experience the enchanting cottage that inspired Elizabeth Orton Jones’s Little Golden Books version of “Little Red Riding Hood.” Untouched by time, this is a mecca for gardeners, epicureans, and anyone looking for inspiration and relaxation. Have a Pickity day!
HAMPTON BEACH VILLAGE DISTRICT HAMPTON, NH
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PICKITY PLACE MASON, NH
Reconnect with past Editors’ Choice winners and see for yourself why they received Yankee Magazine’s highest accolade.
EE A M AG
AMES FARM INN GILFORD, NH
Enjoy a quarter mile of sandy beach and docks on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. Lakeside cottages, apartments, and rooms available. Great location for ﬁshing, hiking, kayaking, boating, and more. Family owned and operated since 1890.
ATTEAN LAKE LODGE JACKMAN, ME
LOCH LYME LODGE LYME, NH
Attean Lake Lodge is located on “the most beautiful lake in Maine.” This secluded lodge is the perfect place to escape the busy world and unplug. Enjoy kayaking, hiking, or just relaxing on the beach. All meals and activities are included, ensuring a delightful,stressfree vacation! Email: holden@ atteanlakelodge.com
A scenic lakeside family resort on Post Pond, near Dartmouth College, offering one- to three-bedroom B&B or efﬁciency cabins. Easy access to lots of outdoor activities, area attractions, sightseeing and antiquing—or just relax at our sandy beach. Our Lodge Restaurant serves delicious, fresh local fare. Pet-friendly.
CASTLE IN THE CLOUDS MOULTONBOROUGH, NH Experience this stunning historic estate with unmatched views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the surrounding mountains. Tour the 1914 mansion, dine on the lake-view terrace at the Carriage House, explore the estate’s 28 miles of trails and waterfalls, and more.
PLIMOTH PATUXET MUSEUMS PLYMOUTH, MA
A must-see New England destination that tells the story of early Plymouth Colony and its shared history with the Pilgrims and Native people. Visit the 17th-Century English Village, Plimoth Patuxet Homesite, Plimoth Grist Mill, and Mayﬂower II. Celebrating 75 years of living history!
New Englanders love their ice cream. Home to Ben & Jerry’s, birthplace of Howard Johnson’s 28 flavors, our region tends to float to the top of most polls measuring ice cream consumption per capita. So we set out to answer an essential question: Who makes the best ice cream in New England? After looking at “Best Of ” awards, talking to locals, and scouring Instagram, we hit the road to taste and compare, focusing on ice cream made by hand at brick-and-mortar scoop shops. The result is this list of 36 winning ice creameries in all six states. P H O T O B Y M I C H A E L D. W I L S O N | S T Y L I N G B Y C H A N TA L L A M B E T H , A N C H O R A R T I S T S HAND-LET TERING BY MARK CANESO 76 |
C R ES C E N T R I D G E DA I RY BA R
Sharon and Boston, MA The Parrish family is celebrating their 90th year in the dairy business, and visiting their farm’s dairy bar— surrounded by pasture and white picket fences—is like stepping back in time. But it’s not all nostalgia here: There’s a second bar in Boston’s Public Market. Both serve classic ﬂavors (see p. 82) alongside fresh takes like salted caramel chocolate pretzel. crescentridgedairybar.com
GRASSROOTS ICE CREAM
ARET H USA FARM DAIRY
Bantam Lusciously dense. Naturally sweet. That’s how ice cream tastes when it begins with exquisitely bred cows who are pampered like beauty queens. Arethusa’s “ladies” are pastured and sheltered just four miles from this vintage ﬁrehouse turned production facility, where ice cream aﬁcionados happily hop in line for super-generous, high-butterfat scoops of classics like mint chip and rum raisin. arethusafarm.com/bantam
Sourcing its ice cream from a c. 1868 dairy farm that a pair of Manolo Blanik executives revived more than two decades ago, Arethusa Farm Dairy ( LEFT AND BELOW ) is a Litchfield Hills go-to for haute scoops.
Granby The menu is constantly on shuffle at this artisan creamery, which has perfected hundreds of unusual recipes but dishes only 36 at any given moment. Stop in twice on a single summer’s day, and you may ﬁnd that guava is gone, but the goat cheese and blackberry is ripe for scooping, and that honey-butter sunﬂower seed has sprouted in the spot where you’d swear you saw geranium. grassrootsicecream.com T U L M E A D OW FA R M
West Simsbury Every cone you devour and every pint you pack into your cooler to tote home helps sustain this agricultural enterprise that’s been in the Tuller family since 1768. Real fruit purees give farm-made ﬂavors like peach uncommon juiciness; 16
percent butterfat makes every morsel extra creamy. The latest sensation? More than two dozen vegan selections so delectably smooth, even devout ice cream worshippers might be fooled. tulmeadowfarmstore.com U C O N N DA I RY BA R
Storrs Get an ice cream education along with a sweet taste of A+ ﬂavors like Husky Tracks and blueberry cheesecake. Through an observation window, you can see UConn students and Animal Science staff formulating decades-old recipes. Wander up Horsebarn Hill to marvel at the robotic and uniquely humane “voluntary milking system,” which allows the cows that power this hyperlocal creamery to choose when to contribute their next udderful of milk. dining.uconn.edu/uconn-dairy-bar
F ERR IS ACRES CREA MERY
Newtown Three generations of industrious Ferrises keep the creative ﬂavors churning at the farm their family has owned since 1864. The setting is pure country calm—stone walls, red barns, curious cows—but you may feel momentary angst while perusing the extensive menu, which includes dairy-free and no-gluten-added options and 50-plus toppings. Prices are notably reasonable here, so sprinkle it up, and treat your dog to a peanut-buttery pup cup. ferrisacrescreamery.com 78 |
LINDA C AMPOS (ARETHUSA FARM DAIRY); MICHAEL D. WILSON (ANNABELLE’S ICE CRE AM)
AN N ABELLE’S ICE C RE A M
Portsmouth Annabelle’s celebrates its 40th anniversary in July, and it’s not hard to understand the longevity. A super-premium base gives its nearly 40 ﬂavors—from Mint Summer Night’s Dream to Cashew Caramel Cluster to Pumpkin Pie—a silky, rich texture that can make an ice cream snob out of anyone. Its waterfront location, meanwhile, offers the perfect Portsmouth pit stop on a hot summer day. annabellesicecream.com KI MBALL FARM
Jaffrey Founded in 1939 in Massachusetts and still headquartered there, Kimball’s ﬁnds peak-summer expression in its lone New Hampshire outpost, with its small-town vibe, rural setting, and free entertainment in the form of planes coming and going at the next-door Silver Ranch Airpark. And then there’s the decadent homemade ice cream, scooped up in surely-you-jest portions (a “kiddie” cone can feed two). Rediscover ﬂavors you may have forgotten or believed extinct—grape-nut, maple walnut,
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rum raisin—and revel in an oldfashioned family fun night out. kimballfarm.com/location/jaffrey
A lineup of heavy hitters at Annabelle’s Ice Cream, a Seacoast institution for 40 years.
L AG O ’S
and wholesome that it may well be one of the happiest places on earth. There are tree forts, hiking trails, a play area, and farm animals to pet. But the big draw, of course, is the premium ice cream, ﬂavored with homemade fruit purees and pastes, which give ﬂavors like apple pie and ricotta cherry a delicious intensity. Don’t miss the chocolate, either, or the maple cream. icecreamkidbeck.com
Rye Run by the Lago family for four generations, this window-service spot serves up ice cream that has such wonderful body, it’s almost chewy. Owner Steve Grenier (he married in) credits this to the 14 percent butterfat base, combined with the technique of stirring in every ingredient by hand, which removes excess air. With about 50 ﬂavors at any given time, Steve and son Michael revel in ﬂavor invention, as evidenced by Funky Panda (Oreo, toasted coconut, caramel swirl) and Italian Rainbow Cookie, in which the iconic bakery staples are stirred into the base and chunked into the ﬁnal product. To avoid the summer crowds, aim to arrive between 5 and 7 p.m. And be sure to try a frappe. lagosicecream.com SA N CT UA RY DA I RY FA R M ICE CRE A M
Sunapee True to its name, this 10thgeneration family farm near Lake Sunapee is so friendly
WA L P O L E C R EA M ERY
Walpole Local ﬂavors and local milk—not to mention a base mix made from scratch—are the calling cards of this super-premium, all-natural ice cream. Watch the mixtures churn right there at the stand as you contemplate your choice. The real maple walnut is a summertime favorite, but there’s also Fijian ginger, black raspberry, Udder Joy (coconut ice cream with chocolate chunks and crunchy almonds), and seasonal specials like fresh peach in late summer and pumpkin spice in early fall. walpolecreamery.com | 79
CHRISTIN A’S H O M E M A D E ICE CRE A M
Cambridge Twenty years ago, we had a scoop of burnt caramel–prune ice cream at Christina’s that forever changed our idea of what ice cream could be. This legendary Inman Square shop turns out all the other hauntingly marvelous ﬂavors that owner Raymond Ford dreams up, from seasonal Concord grape sorbet, made with locally grown fruit, to always-onthe-menu favorites like Mexican chocolate and cardamom-infused khulﬁ. Stop in next door to explore Christina’s Spice & Specialty Foods, purveyor of both rare and familiar spices, premium teas, and other culinary gems. Instagram FORGE BAKING CO.
Somerville According to Harrison Seiler, 80 |
who makes the ice cream for this bakery/café/scoop shop, the perfect scoop begins with a 16 percent butterfat ice cream base, sourced from a creamery in Maine. The result: an ultracreamy small-batch ice cream with a rich texture and full body. We recommend the malted vanilla and the seasonal fruit ﬂavors, like strawberry and Maine wild blueberry—but the must-try is the coffee ice cream made by steeping ground beans into the base for 24 hours, yielding the ultimate cold brew. forgebakingco.com G RAC I E’ S
Somerville When owner Aaron Cohen opened Gracie’s in 2014, he shocked and delighted Boston’s taste buds with ﬂavors like Salty Whiskey and Movie Snacks (salty
butter ice cream with M&M’s and Junior Mints). “I specialize in blasting cookies and candy into ice cream,” Cohen jokes. Flavors like mocha cardamom and rosemary spicy honey speak to the sophisticates, and the classic chocolate is a must-try. The premium ice cream is perfectly creamy, but Cohen tempers the richness to let the ﬂavors shine through. icecreamgracies.com H ER R EL L’ S
Northampton Steve Herrell opened his ﬁrst shop in Somerville back in 1973, pioneering the Smoosh-In, a then-revolutionary technique of customizing individual orders of ice cream by mashing in toppings. Herrell has retired, and today only one location remains, owned by his ex-wife, Judy. She continues the legacy: Everything
is made in-house, and classics (butter pecan) rub shoulders with new creations (Salt Bae). The sticky, rich hot fudge is not to be missed. herrells.com
LINDA C AMPOS (HIGH L AWN FARM, FORGE BAKING CO.); COURTESY OF SOCO CRE AMERY
H I GH LAWN FARM
Lee On this stunning 1,600-acre property anchored by an iconic clock tower, visitors can dig into rich coffee, ginger, strawberry cheesecake, and lemon meringue pie ice cream made with milk from Jersey cows, which is higher in protein and butterfat. In the creamery shop, you can order scoops at the window and pick up the farm’s milk, butter, and cheese, plus artisan foods from local makers. highlawnfarm.com MAPL E VA LLEY CREA M E RY
Hadley It’s ﬁtting that this farm stand’s scoops are among the creamiest we’ve ever tasted. Owner Bruce Jenks makes his own 16.59 percent butterfat base with cream, no eggs (“If you’re going to represent the cow, you
shouldn’t have chickens in it,” he says). Come for Sunday morning yoga classes and live music on weekends. Tour the farm, then settle in with scoops of sweet cream, Kahlua fudge brownie, and maple bacon. Fruit lovers, do not miss the soft-serve, made with a special blending machine imported from New Zealand. maplevalleycreamery.com SO CO CRE A M E RY
Great Barrington Though SoCo’s standard ﬂavors have made the jump to supermarkets, it’s worth getting in line (and there will be one) at the mother ship, founded in 2004. There’s the classic scoop-shop atmosphere, right down to the black and white ﬂoor tiles and the crazy-colored chalkboard menu; there’s the peoplewatching on bustling Railroad Street; and there’s the chance to explore more-exotic renditions of SoCo’s deeply creamy fare, like lemon poppy and Cookie Monster (chocolate chip dough and cookie bits in sweet cream ice cream
colored blue with butterﬂy pea ﬂower), as well as ﬂavors that showcase local ingredients such as No. Six Depot coffee and Rawson Brook Farm goat cheese. sococreamery.com S U N DA E S C H O O L
Dennis Port and Harwich Port Most Sundae School fans have a multigenerational relationship with this 46-year-old Cape institution. They come for the grape-nut, peach, and coffee Heath; the superlative hot fudge; the Americana decor; and their own memories of post-beach detours for a tall cone. Here, the whipped cream is the real deal, as is the cherry on top. Aside from the addition of some new ﬂavors here and there, the Endres family has mostly stayed the course, and we couldn’t be happier. sundaeschool.com
From Boston to the Berkshires, Massachusetts is blessed with no shortage of prize-winning scoop shops. THIS PAGE , FROM TOP : Raspberry sorbet adds a pop of color to a selection from Great Barrington’s SoCo Creamery; house-made hot fudge and whipped cream top off a sundae at Somerville’s Forge Baking Co. OPPOSITE : Visitors to High Lawn Farm in Lee take their licks outdoors.
TO S C A N I N I ’ S
Cambridge Countless collegians have fueled their studies with Tosci’s since the Central Square shop opened in 1981 (another shop in East Cambridge keeps the tech crowd well fed). Never content to rest on his laurels, owner Gus Rancatore continues to experiment with new ice cream ﬂavors, and the fruits of his creativity, like the B3 (brown butter, brown sugar, and brownies), chocolate pudding (ultra-rich), and Earl Grey are so deeply ﬂavored. Best of all: the micro sundae, which ﬁts all the essentials—ice cream, hot fudge, real whipped cream, a cherry, and nuts—into a Dixie cup, in perfect proportion. tosci.com
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FOR GENERATIONS OF NEW ENGLANDERS, THESE ICE CREAM FLAVORS COME SPRINKLED WITH NOSTALGIA. AP
ORANGE PI NE
Orange-Pineapple: While Trowbridge’s in Florence, Alabama, likely invented this flavor in 1918, orange-pineapple was one of Massachusetts-based Howard Johnson’s original 28 flavors, which may explain why it has long been so beloved here. 82 |
Maple Walnut: Quite possibly the most New England-y flavor of all, this perfect marriage of maple and toasted walnuts set against a creamy backdrop has been a regional favorite since at least the early 1900s.
Peppermint Stick: One of Brigham Ice Cream’s most popular flavors (and another of the original HoJo’s 28), this minty delight with crunchy bits of candy is even better when served with a drizzle of hot fudge.
Grape-Nut: Combine a vanilla base with America’s oldest cereal, and freeze. It’s a New England classic, though it’s said to have been invented in 1919 by one Hannah Young in Nova Scotia. Fun fact: It’s as beloved in Jamaica as it is here.
PHOTO BY MICHAEL D. WIL SON
AS K R C A BL
ST YLING BY C H A N TA L L A M B E T H , ANCHOR ARTISTS
Frozen Pudding: Like a rum raisin gussied up with candied fruit, this Victorian-era flavor may be an acquired taste, but it makes us happy to still see frozen pudding on the occasional menu.
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Black Raspberry: Another of Howard Johnson’s original 28 ice cream flavors, this deeppurple, sweet-tart concoction may have been inspired by the wild blackberries that grow in abundance across New England.
Coffee: Fannie Farmer’s original 1896 cookbook has a recipe for this, and while coffee ice cream may not be unique to New England, no one loves it more than Rhode Island, home of coffee milk, coffee cabinets (milkshakes), and Awful-Awfuls (coffee ice milkshakes).
Special thanks to Crescent Ridge Dairy Bar of Massachusetts for letting us raid their lineup of classic ice creams for the scoops you see in this photo.
ice cream sandwich uses their own chocolate chip cookies. Cookie dough and peanut butter cup are perennial favorites, but we love the coffee Oreo and Indian pudding (made with homemade pudding, naturally). ﬁelderschoiceicecream.com GORGEOUS GELATO
Portland When asked to compare gelato to ice cream, owner Donato Giovine says, “It’s like comparing a Ferrari to a Chevrolet. They both have wheels, but the trip is different.” At their gelateria in Portland’s Old Port, Giovine and his wife, Mariagrazia Zanardi, who moved to Maine from Milan in 2010, serve dense, creamy gelato in a panoply of ﬂavors, including pistachio and tiramisu. (Note: A second location in Boston’s new food hall, High Street Place, just opened this spring.) gorgeousgelato.com MOUNT DESERT ISLAND I C E C R EA M
B R ES C A & THE HONEY BE E
New Gloucester At her ice cream shack on Sabbathday Lake, celebrated Maine chef Krista Kern makes ice cream you’d willingly drive well out of your way to eat. The siren songs of roastedstrawberry ice cream, apricot sorbet, and crème fraîche–lime ice cream with blueberry compote are hard to resist. You can get your scoops in cups, on cones, or, best of all, sandwiched in a freshly baked, sugar-glazed brioche bun, which makes 84 |
the journey all the sweeter. brescaandthehoneybee.com F IE L D E R’S CH O ICE
Auburn, Bangor, Brunswick, Manchester, Old Orchard Beach, and Sabbatus This baseball-themed local chain serves 30-plus ﬂavors of ice cream, gobs of toppings, and softserve and sugar-free options. The Jillson family is so committed to their homemade ethos that the “Closer” sundae is made with their own brownies and fudge, and the “Round Tripper Biscuit”
ABOVE : Indulge your sweet tooth by the sea at Rococo, a Kennebunkport mainstay. OPPOSITE , FROM LEFT : Mixing it up at Maine’s Bresca & the Honey Bee; “Champwich” ice cream sandwiches at Lake Champlain Chocolates in Burlington.
Bar Harbor and Portland Born in the summer vacationer’s paradise of Bar Harbor, MDIIC now has three locations in the Pine Tree State (plus outlets in Japan and Washington, DC) and can claim at least two celebrity fans: Barack and Michelle Obama, who paid a visit to Bar Harbor’s Main Street shop in 2010. Almost everything—from the toffee in the chocolate pretzel toffee to the baked apples in the honey baked apple—is made inhouse. mdiic.com ROCOCO ICE CREAM
Kennebunkport Founded in 2012 by Lauren Guptill, a 10th-generation Mainer, this Kennebunkport mainstay is a favorite of locals and visitors, who clamor for ﬂavors ranging from Maine whoopie pie to guava rose to good old rocky road. Guptill thinks locally by incorporating seasonal ﬂavors from local fruits, but she also
ships pints nationally, including a “Golden Spoon Collective” subscription service, so now everyone can enjoy scoops at home. rococoicecream.com SWEETCREA M DAIRY
M I C H A E L D. W I L S O N ( R O C O C O) ; T R I S TA N SP I N SK I ( B R E S C A & T H E H O N E Y B E E ) ; C O U R T E S Y O F L A K E C H A M P L A I N C H O C O L AT E S
Biddeford After outgrowing its original location, Sweetcream reopened this year in new digs down the block. The address has changed, but not the stellar small-batch ice cream, made by owners Jon Denton (who grew up in Biddeford) and Jacqui DeFranca. We love the inventive (roasted chestnut) but never-gimmicky (Meyer lemon custard) ﬂavors, and Sweetcream’s commitment to sourcing local ingredients, from coffee to fresh fruit, for its ice cream. sweetcreamdairy.com TOOT S
North Yarmouth At the original, seasonal location of Toots, an old railcar has been renovated into an ice cream shop. Order, then take your cone outside, where you can pay a visit to the farm’s many animals, including the goats that supply the milk for the gelato. A second location opened nearby recently, so you now can sample Toots’s ice cream year-round. As for ﬂavors, when in Maine, try the blueberry, the blueberry crisp sundae, and the raspberry gelato. tootsicecream.com
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C A N TE EN C R EEM EE C O.
Waitsﬁeld No summertime visit to the Mad River Valley is complete without a stop at Canteen. The town of Waitsﬁeld may be small, but Canteen’s ambitions are big. An ever-changing menu of creemees (that’s soft-serve, for those who don’t know) is what Canteen is known for, and the crowd favorite is the Bad Larry, a sundae made with maple soft-serve and topped with maple in many forms: crystals, drizzle, cookie, and ﬂoss. canteencreemee.com
Vergennes This “farm to spoon” shop found a new home in Vermont’s smallest city in 2018. All the ingredients for the ice cream base are locally sourced, and most of the addins are homemade. The basil ice cream is an award-winner, and the maple creemees are exceptional. Local toffee and cherries soaked in Vermont whiskey pair up famously in the Old Fashioned, but for a unique experience, dig a spoon into the curried peanut butter ﬂavor of Slumdog Millionaire. luluvt.com
L A KE C H A M P L A I N C H O C O L ATE S
S H Y G U Y G EL ATO
Burlington and Waterbury While unearthing the world’s best fair-trade cocoa for this company’s famed chocolates may have involved a fair amount of globe-trotting, a key ingredient in LCC’s premium ice cream was found just up the road. Using a superlative dairy-fresh base from East Hardwick’s Kingdom Creamery, LCC turns out small batches of crowd-pleasing ﬂavors such as Belgian chocolate, peanut butter chocolate chip, and maple butter pecan. It navigates the nondairy route deftly, too—in fact, the distinctly tropical mango sorbet might just be the scoop that tops ’em all. lakechamplainchocolates.com
Burlington “Shy” isn’t the word that springs to mind when you survey the ever-changing options at this South End shop, whose repertoire is said to encompass 200-plus ﬂavors—and we believe it. These are bold, joyfully creative concoctions that range from “classy” (honey tahini pistachio; dark chocolate with cinnamon and chipotle powder) to “trashy” (banana gelato striped with peanut butter caramel and packed with chocolate-covered Rice Krispies), all while staying true to the signature density and richness of the traditional Italian treat. Stand up, Shy Guy, and take a bow. shyguygelato.com | 85
ice cream sandwiches. Forget your notions of soggy brown rectangles and be delighted by unexpected gourmet cookie pairings, such honey walnut baklava or Thai tea ice cream with toasted coconut cookies. Vegans will delight in the sorbet push-pops, and everyone loves Tricycle’s ice cream tacos. tricycleicecream.com TH E WR I G H T S C O O P / WR I G H T ’ S C R E A M ERY
L I N DA C A M P OS ( T R I C YC L E ); M A R K F L E M I N G (GR AY ’S)
Narragansett and Wakeﬁeld It’s safe to say that summer in the southern part of Little Rhody starts when Brickley’s opens for the season. The family-run shop prides itself on 45-plus ﬂavors, all made fresh in its Narragansett headquarters using a 16 percent butterfat base. Served up in a homemade waffle cone, it’s a worthy indulgence. brickleys.com G R AY ’ S I C E C R E A M
Bristol and Tiverton Seeking a pastoral backdrop? Take a drive to Tiverton Four Corners, where fans line up at the take-out window 365 days a year for scoops of pistachio, ginger, and rum raisin made from old family recipes. One creamy bite, and you’ll understand why Gray’s has won so many regional and
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national awards. Prefer a water view? Gray’s has a summer spot at the Bristol waterfront. graysicecream.com T H E IN SID E SCO O P
North Kingstown The Inside Scoop has 64 rich ﬂavors of homemade ice cream, including vegan options, and is known to experiment (try the organic avocado). But we humbly suggest the peppermint stick, sea salt caramel, and that twist on a New England favorite, coffee Oreo. The no-added-sugar offerings also get high marks. After ordering inside, take your licks outside at a picnic table. theinsidescoopri.com
Dave Cass, left, and Gio Salvador with their Providence ice cream shop’s three-wheeled inspiration. THIS PAGE : Scenes from the Gray’s Ice Cream stand in Tiverton, in the heart of the Rhode Island Farm Coast.
North Smithﬁeld, Warren, and Providence Using a two-day farmstead method to produce its “cowto-cone” ice cream, Wright’s Dairy Farm & Bakery creates a separate base for each ﬂavor (not the typical chocolate or vanilla foundation). That adds up to an intense proﬁle in ﬂavors like apple crisp, brown butter pecan, and carrot cake. You can try the ice cream at the farm’s seasonal locations in North Smithﬁeld and Warren—both dubbed The Wright Scoop and operating out of converted vintage Airstream trailers—or at the new year-round Wright’s Creamery in Providence. Ice cream fans who live nearby can sign up to join the Test Batch Club, an off-season project in which subscribers get to try a pint of something new every week. thewrightscoopri.com
T RICYCL E ICE CR EA M
Providence Launched as a three-wheeled cart, this happy little West End shop makes the most ﬂavorful | 87
MEET THE MOUNT MONADNOCK, A SUNDAE STRICTLY FOR THOSE WHO LOVE GOING OVER THE TOP. The most-climbed peak in North America, New Hampshire’s Mount Monadnock, serves as the inspiration for this mammoth sundae at Ava Marie Handmade Chocolates in the nearby town of Peterborough. Here, with help from creator Ava Marie Mazzone, we embark on a step-by-step ascent from base camp to the summit of this mountainous dessert. avamariechocolates.com
Roaming among the clouds: a milk chocolate moose. The cherry on top is, well, the cherry on top.
Trails of warm syrup melt meandering paths on all sides. Choose two from a lineup that includes hot fudge,caramel, peanut butter, and marshmallow.
The summit disappears in a cloud of whipped cream.
The Mount Monadnock
holds about 35 scoops, with up to five flavors as the recommended combo. Any more than that, and you’ve got a flavor avalanche.
Surrounding and filling in around the edges, candy-coated chocolate rocks provide textural contrast (and something to nibble on).
6/8/22 10:17 AM
PHOTO BY MICHAEL D. WIL SON S T Y L I N G B Y C H A N TA L L A M B E T H , A N C H O R A R T I S T S
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For sound artist Dianne Ballon, Maine’s beauty can be heard as well as seen. BY SARA ANNE DONNELLY | PHOTOS BY GABE BORNSTEIN
Dianne Ballon is frustrated with me. We’re sitting at the corner desk in her Portland living room that functions as her studio, and Ballon, one of Maine’s most accomplished sound artists, is batting away another of my questions about how exactly she would describe the “pure sound” of Maine that she’s chasing. Is it pre-industrial? Pre-humanity? Or can automation enter into it? And if so, what kind? Why is, say, the roar of a speedboat not pure sound, while the automated foghorn at the Portland Head Light, stimulated by radio transmitter as many foghorns now are, why is that still, to her, “pure”? “I feel like you don’t get it,” she says finally. “What is pure sound? It’s hard for me to communicate. It’s like asking what is life, or why did you eat something for breakfast this morning. Listen to my work, that is me explaining it to you. Listen to how beautiful this sounds.” Ballon swivels in her seat and clicks the computer’s mouse until the massive monitor before her begins pulsing through the electric blue zigzags of an audio track. From a pair of small tabletop speakers on either end of the desk comes the haunting ding-ding of a Casco Bay bell buoy, alternating with the gurgle and gulp of a boat’s scuppers. Ballon’s long gray hair sweeps forward to cover her face as she dips her head to listen. She is reverential. From the speakers, the metal clang of the bell buoy combines with the sloshing of the scupper in irregular refrain. Ding-ding, sloosh, ding, sloosh, ding-ding, sloosh-splash. Pure sound, in this case, is a chance melody. The track ends. Ballon lifts her head, her eyes bright with excitement. “Really, the bell buoys is what started it for me—that absolutely gorgeous, uneven ding-ding-ding of the bell buoys, it tugs at my sleeve,” she says, with 90 |
a scratchy voice that is syrupy-slow, like an adagio tune broadcast over one of the vintage radios around the room. “That’s what happens to me with sound. It tugs me to the point where I finally say, ‘I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to open up other folks’ ears to the beauty of this particular sound.’” “Dianne’s work reminds you to stop and listen to the sounds that are all around you, the so-called white noise,” says David Greenham, interim executive director of the state-run Maine Arts Commission, which in 2021 granted Ballon a fellowship to continue her “Sounds of the Maine Coast” series, of which the bell buoy track is an early cut. “She’s looking at the parts while the rest of us are listening to the sum of the parts. She’s focusing on that one instrument in a symphony of sounds.” Elevating sound isn’t always easy in a state known for its looks. Over her 35-plus years as a sound artist, most of it in Portland, Ballon
OPPOSITE : A day in the life of sound artist
Dianne Ballon as she works on her “Sounds of the Maine Coast“ project. Together with Portland-area boater Curt Dugal, she’s on the hunt for recordings of bell buoys and whistle buoys in Casco Bay.
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has been kicked off docks by fishermen, struggled to get her ambient sounds broadcast on National Public Radio, and been plagued everywhere by manmade interruptions like airplanes, grounds crews, cars, and, most of all, man himself. The recording process is solitary and methodical, requiring Ballon to be statue-still so as not to taint the track, and even after scouting a location she might not get pure sound when she’s ready to record, thanks to changes in weather, time of day, or any number of other v a r iable s. “ S ou nd ,” Ba l lon l ikes to say, “is elusive.” Take the Portland Head Light in Cape El iz abet h. It ’s just shy of 8 a.m. one clear morning in May. Ballon sits on a camp stool next to a massive, lozenge-shaped stereo mic covered in gray fur windscreen (“Some people call it a dead cat,” she says). She points the mic at the rhythmic rolling of the tide over a pebble beach about 10 feet below our spot on the gravel trail. A glorious sun hangs low in the sky, lighting a trail of golden ocean from the magenta horizon to us. It’s distractingly beautiful, this view. But Ballon only has eyes for the digital recorder in her lap that tracks time and volume. This is the fourth spot she’s tried in the past 20 minutes, all within a short radius of the lighthouse, and finally, finally, she’s got something special. Then people show up. Cars rumble, doors slam, shoes crunch on gravel. There’s laughter and idle chatter. Ballon sighs and pulls her headphones down. It’s time to head home and see what she got. “These locations are so beautiful and gorgeous, the sound is so pristine, but a lot of people just talk,” she says. “They have conversations not even about where they are. And I’m always like, Wow, you guys should really just be here and listen.” *** Curt Dugal met Dianne Ballon for the first time in the parking lot of the Port Harbor Marine Boat Club in South Portland. It was cold that spring morning, and Ballon struck him as small and slight in her big down parka. Still, she seemed tougher than he’d anticipated. “I’d expected her to look frail, because she’d mentioned her back surgery in her email, and, obviously, rocking on a boat for somebody who’s had back surgery could be an issue,” says Dugal. “But when I saw her, she seemed eager and excited. It was clearly an adventure for her.” Ballon needed someone to take her to record the bell buoys. She’d gotten hooked up with Dugal, an avid recreational boater, through a mutual friend in her curling league. Having a partner in crime, as it were, on the hunt for sound was a new experience for Ballon. She had explained to him via email that he would have to be very, very quiet and that his dog would have to stay home. As they walked to the 25-foot recreational speedboat Dugal had reserved that morning, Ballon said she wanted to record the moments of silence on the water that highlighted the bell buoy sound. “I was saying to myself there’s no way you’re going to get that level of quiet,” recalls Dugal. “You’ve got waves lapping the boat, you’ve got birds, you’ve got the ferry and other boat noise. There’s just too much else going on.” It took Dugal and Ballon just a few minutes to motor to the first bell buoy that morning, a skeletal red marker a few hundred yards from the marina. As the boat and buoy swayed in the morning chop, Ballon carefully edged toward
“These locations are so beautiful and gorgeous, the sound is so pristine, but a lot of people just talk… And I’m always like, Wow, you guys should really just be here and listen.”
the bow. On her head was a bulky pair of headphones, and cords curved around her connecting the dead-cat mic to her headphones and sound monitor. To Dugal, she looked half human, half equipment. She braced herself in the belly of the boat and pointed the mic at the bell buoy, which dinged away obligingly. Dugal killed the engine and tried his best not to move. He worried he’d have to sit still for a while, but Ballon was efficient. After a few minutes she sat back and pulled her headphones off. “I got it,” she said. They went to NEWENGLAND.COM
At sunrise, Cape Elizabeth’s Fort Williams Park is nearly deserted as Ballon aims her mic toward the restless sounds of the sea.
another buoy a bit farther out, and spent about an hour on the water that first day. Ballon and Dugal went out twice again in the following weeks to record bell buoys and whistle buoys in Casco Bay. Along the way, Dugal, who at age 54 had spent most of his life’s free time on the water, began to hear the ocean differently. “There were a few moments where it actually was very quiet and we could hear a couple of bell buoys at the same time,” he says. “It was a little bit like when you go outside of the islands JULY | AUGUST 2022
when it’s just calm out there, it’s just smooth. And you feel fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. I was a little surprised to get that feeling from sound. I was three miles from Portland but I felt alone. It was a unique sense of solitude.” Dugal, Ballon tells me later, “gets it.” This thought dawned on her during one of their trips, as he was motoring her across the water and chatting about the bell buoys and how he’d started slowing down to record them with his iPhone instead of ripping past them like he’d always done. Ballon was perched near the bow with her equipment in her lap, listening to him with the spray of saltwater on her face and her long gray hair loose in the breeze. As the boat grumbled and clipped over the waves, she turned the idea over in her mind. She, Dianne Ballon, had opened a stranger’s ears to sound. The loveliness of it, she says, filled her eyes with silent tears. Want to hear excerpts of Ballon’s recordings? Visit newengland.com/soundsofmaine. And for more information on her work, go to dianneballonsound.com. | 93
SCENE FROM ABOVE Vermont photographer Caleb Kenna takes a stunning bird’s-eye view of his home state.
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n early March, The New York Times published a collection of Caleb Kenna’s aerial photos of his native Vermont. It was the second time in as many years the world-famous newspaper had showcased Kenna’s work, and like the earlier selection, the photos revealed scenes that were both familiar and fresh. Breathtaking, almost painterly, in their abstract representations of everyday landscapes. And just as before, readers gushed over what they saw: “My soul needed that.” “These pictures are poetry.” “Thank you, Caleb, for showing a perspective I never thought to imagine.” The second Times spotlight—and accompanying raves—was another landmark in Kenna’s recent run of high-profile recognition, which continues this August with the publication of his first book, Art from Above: Vermont, from Schiffer Publishing, a collection of 130 color photos he’s taken via drone. “I’ve collected photo books for years,” says Kenna. “I’ve studied them, I love them—so to have one of my own that I can put up on the shelf is pretty awesome.” It’s also a well-deserved reward for a New England photographer who’s been shooting professionally for nearly 30 years. Raised in Brandon, Vermont, Kenna cut his teeth as a photojournalist at newspapers including the Rutland Herald and the Addison Independent before he struck out on his own as a freelancer in 2000. Over the past two decades his work has been featured by The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic publications, and Yankee, among others. Kenna, who lives in Middlebury with his wife and son, has an eye for all the different angles of his home state: gritty scenes from a local railyard, joyous eruptions on a town basketball court, the placid waters of the Champlain Valley. But for someone who has long loved gazing out the windows of airplanes to see the land below, drone photography opened a completely new way for him to present the world around him. “I’ve always loved pictures that make you stop and think, Whoa, what is that? ” says Kenna, who began experimenting with drones in 2017 and became an FAA-certified pilot a year later. “Just to see something anew is really exciting, whether it’s a view on a town or a pattern on a field or a lake—to see how the land is shaped or how we’ve shaped the land is fascinating. Even something like a field of solar panels can be interesting.”
While Kenna balks at being pigeonholed as an aerial photographer (“I still love shooting portraits,” he says), he also understands why that part of his work has resonated with people the most. The very things that make his images appealing—their tranquility, their unexpected beauty—are also what draws him to make them. It’s why, some five years and more than 15,000 images later, Kenna feels like he’s far from done with exploring the format. “I’d love to shoot in other parts of the country, NEWENGLAND.COM
where there’s a completely different color palette,” he says. “I love to be able to just follow what I want to do. To follow my own intuition and make pictures—that means something to me. For them to mean so much to other people is extremely gratifying.” —Ian Aldrich Art from Above: Vermont, with a foreword by Bill McKibben, will be published August 28. To see more of Kenna’s work, go to calebkenna.com. JULY | AUGUST 2022
above: An avid kayaker, Kenna says Blueberry Lake in Warren, Vermont, is one of his favorite spots. “That little island, just about big enough for a campfire, is such a special place to paddle or swim to—or take pictures of.” previous spread: Spring shadows along a road in Shoreham, Vermont. | 97
A dirt road curves through a patchwork of autumn hues in Sudbury, Vermont. Kenna says shooting on an overcast day like this one helps amp up the colors, from the oranges and reds of maples to the verdant evergreens to the ghostly white of trees that have already dropped their leaves. “There’s something about trees that I’m drawn to over and over again, whether it’s fall, summer, winter, spring,” Kenna says. “I just love the shape of them, especially from the top.”
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left: From the air, Kenna is always on the lookout for “interesting” shadows, like the ones cast by skaters on a pop-up rink in Middlebury, Vermont. But other, smaller details, such as the footprints stitched across the snow, “you may not even see until you get home and go through the photos, and realize how cool they are.”
right: School buses in Addison, Vermont. “In his introduction for the book, Bill McKibben references this photo for its sense of humor. I didn’t even really think of it at the time—I was just seeing patterns and three different shapes—and then I went, Wait, there are only two buses here!”
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Permission to shoot at Rock of Ages in Graniteville gave Kenna the chance not only to photograph the world’s largest “deep hole” granite quarry but also to pay tribute to Vermont tradition. “Whether it’s marble or granite or limestone, we have a lot of quarries here, across the state and even around my home in Middlebury. It’s definitely an important part of Vermont’s working landscape. So that was pretty great to be a part of.” 102 |
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the hours of the
A common white sheet, an uncommon lamp, some patience, and then: amazement. By Loree Griffin Burns Photo by Samuel Jaffe/The Caterpillar Lab When was the last time you were astonished by a creature you’ve never seen before? I’m talking unable to speak or even to breathe as something unexpected swoops from the deep dark of your own not-knowing and alights, glowing, on your extended finger. My feeling is that it’s been too long. My feeling is that you may need a mercury vapor lamp. A mercury vapor lamp is a device that pushes electricity through vaporized mercury in order to produce light. In simpler terms: It’s a fancy light bulb. More than how it works, I want to tell you what this fancy light bulb does. A mercury vapor bulb burns hot, for one thing. When placed inside a glass tank, it creates the kind of heat in which snakes and turtles and iguanas can thrive; that’s why you’ll find mercury vapor lamps in your local pet store’s coldblooded animals aisle. Mine cost 40 bucks. Mercury vapor lamps also emit lots of wavelengths of light, many more than the bulbs we usually shine in our bedrooms and hallways and on our front porches. This is important 104 |
because there are, right now, outside the place where you’re reading these words—no matter if it’s a house or an inn or an apartment or a school or a bus or a tree fort—insects who can see these wavelengths of light. Who are, in fact and for reasons that aren’t completely clear even to scientists who study insects, attracted to them. Which means that if you were to purchase a mercury vapor lamp and bring it home and shine it on a white surface—the back of the garage or, if the back of your garage is gray, like mine, a white sheet tacked to the gray garage— well, these insects would come. And of the insects who come, the majority will be moths. A mercury vapor lamp will call to the same small, drab moths you sometimes see around your regular porch light. But also, because of those extra wavelengths of light, it will pull in other species, moths that are bigger, and more brightly colored, and possibly completely unknown to you. These moths are your neighbors. You haven’t seen them before because, well, you haven’t been looking. Plus, NEWENGLAND.COM
unless they’re drawn in by a fancy light bulb, they will mostly stay in the shadows, invisible. But a mercury vapor lamp will call to them. It will call even to moths in shadows that are miles from your light. Such is its power. How do I know all this? Someone who bought a lamp and met the moths told me, just as I’m telling you. And though I could barely believe it to be true, I was curious. I went to the pet store and soon I set up a mercury vapor lamp behind my garage in central Massachusetts, and shone it on a tacked sheet. And when the first few moths showed up—several of the same kind, about an inch and a half long, sporting tented wings checkered with two distinct tones of ivory and each carrying two bright turquoise stripes down the very center of its hairy back—I was surprised. I stayed up half the night to see who else might show up. This is how I met my first rosy maple moth (Dryocampa rubicunda), my first agreeable tiger moth (Spilosoma congrua), my first Virginia creeper sphinx (Darapsa myron). How I met JULY | AUGUST 2022
These moths are your neighbors. You haven’t seen them before because, well, you haven’t been looking.
the remarkable promethea moth (Callosamia promethea), and the wee micromoths that defy all my attempts at identification. Exquisite, each and all. But the moth that changed me, that turned me from a fancy light bulb owner to a bona fide watcher of moths and recruiter of other moth watchers? That was Actias luna, the luna moth. The luna is a giant and a showboat. Including antennae, it can stretch seven inches, stem to stern, and up to four inches port side to starboard. This moth is so big that if one were to get itself trapped behind the white sheet you tacked to the back of the garage, a sheet at which you’d been shining your mercury vapor lamp for hours and to which you’d come, just now, late at night, well, that moth might sound, flapping around behind the sheet as you stood in front of it, transfixed, it might sound like something larger and more leathery. It might make you think of bats. What on God’s green earth? I asked the dog when this happened to me. His eyes were also trained on that place where the sheet rippled from behind, and he was whining. But I was half moth woman by now, to be honest, and I couldn’t rest until I’d seen what was behind that sheet. I approached from the side. I pulled the sheet away from the barn. And I spied behind it two f lying boats, shocking in their ghostly pale greenness, with four staring brown eye spots between them. I saw their girth and speed and—I swear it!— their tails. As I gaped, edge of the sheet in my hand, the two charted a dizzy path straight by my head, synchronized though completely haphazard, and landed in the light on the front side of the sheet. I released the sheet, resting it against the barn again. I stretched the pointer finger of my right hand toward the closest moth, as slowly as I could. It took a year or more for my fingertip to touch the sheet, and another for that fingertip to slide down to the place on the sheet where a sprawling moth foreleg rested. And when I was nearly there, so close I wondered if we’d already touched, the sprawling foreleg moved. It lifted, swooped in from the deep dark of my own not-knowing and then landed, glowing, on the tip of my very own finger. This gift from a pet store, from a fancy light bulb. Nights will never be the same. | 105
Erected in 1928, the 428-foot-high Industrial Trust Building is Rhode Island’s tallest structure and an essential piece of the Providence skyline. Yet this skyscraper, affectionately known as the Superman Building, has stood vacant for most of the past decade.
CLIFFHANGER INSIDE THE DECADES-LONG SAGA OF RHODE ISLAND’S LANDMARK SKYSCRAPER, THE SUPERMAN BUILDING.
BY R AC H E L S L A D E
For romantics like me, time is the architect’s best collaborator. Decay transforms the banal into high art: Wallpaper and paint crackle into baroque curls; plaster softens to dust; f loorboards bend; stone stains; water leeches into crevices and freezes, prying loose bricks and mortar. The illustrious Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier stood in awe of these transformations and chose to collaborate with time. His design for the hot, humid climate of Chandigarh, India, features materials and details that he thought would improve with age. Seventy years later, a deep patina caused by an accretion of moss and mold gives the young concrete city an air of timeless grace, much like that of the buildings of ancient Rome. But there’s not much charm in an abandoned skyscraper. As a testament to human failure on a monumental scale, the empty tower is an object of horror. Its dusty halls and grounded elevators rebuke the captains of industry who once conceived and financed it, the thousands who built it, the millions who walked around and through it every day. The abandoned skyscraper proves that fortunes are fluid and the future is unknowable. In Providence, Rhode Island, there stands a Jazz Age bank tower prominently and flagrantly abandoned in the heart of the city. Officially known as the Industrial Trust Building, it was dubbed the Superman Building for its likeness to the fictional Daily Planet headquarters. Empty since 2013, the 428-foot-tall Art Deco skyscraper has loomed over Providence like a bathtub gin hangover. JULY | AUGUST 2022
I f irst learned about the Superman Building when the National Trust for Historic Preservation put it on its “Most Endangered Historic Places” list in 2019, one of 11 threatened sites named that year, along with Nashville’s Music Row and the National Mall Tidal Basin. In the 33 years that the National Trust has been compiling this annual list, the Industrial Trust Building is the only skyscraper to have earned the dubious distinction. By 2019, the building had sat vacant for six years after Bank of America, its sole tenant, moved out. When I first began researching the Industrial Trust, its future was uncertain and it seemed to have few champions. The first person I reached out to was Gabriel Feld, architecture | 107
But Providence’s fortunes shifted. For much of the 20th century, the city struggled to attract capital. It was underpopulated and mired in crony politics and landed near the bottom of many city rankings. The empty Superman Building prevailed over the city like a broken hero, powerless to rescue itself, much less anyone else. Turns out, however, there are heroes among us, although most of them wouldn’t look so great in Spandex. Thanks to them, the Superman Building will be saved. In April, Governor Dan McKee stepped up to the State House mic to detail one of the most elaborate financing schemes in history— the culmination of a years-long effort—that will finally give Superman a much-needed mission. Before the tower’s fate was secure, I had gone to Providence to meet Rachel Robinson, director of preservation for the Providence Preservation Society, and see how the place was holding up. We were joined by Maia Farish, an ardent champion of downtown Providence who encouraged her late husband, the former president of Roger Williams University, to create a second campus in the heart of the city to strengthen town-gown partnerships within the community. When I exited the train station, I was gobsmacked by the tower’s majesty. Empty or not, it dominates the skyline. In fact, everywhere we walked throughout the city that day, there it was, a specter of Providence’s storied past rendered in stone, implicating all those who try to ignore it as they go about their lives. Unlike many of New York’s Deco towers, this one is highly dimensional, stepping back four times on every side, like a ziggurat. It culminates in a massive neoclassical cupola that houses a giant green lantern, once topped with a 7.5-ton crown of stone eagles; these were unceremoniously hacked off in the 1950s at the bank president’s request. In their
stead now stands a sad, quizzical, and somewhat dirty nub. Even 100 years later, the building harbors secrets. Hidden above the top usable floor, tucked behind a high parapet 400 feet above the ground, crouches what looks like the cabin of an airship. Drone video and photographs reveal that this oddity was built as the bank president’s private speakeasy. The once sumptuous room has decayed beyond recognition, with its peeling leather walls and curling plastic ceiling. Needless to say, one gets a privileged view up there. Robinson, a historian and Tennessee native, had been a vocal Superman Building advocate. She pointed out that the building had survived the Great Depression, urban renewal, the flight of capital, and Providence’s colorful politics (convicted felon Buddy Cianci ruled as mayor for nearly 22 years). Hoping to keep discussion about the building’s fate alive, in 2019 she partnered with Liliane Wong, the head of RISD’s interior architecture program, to explore how the tower could be reconfigured to save this piece of history and revitalize downtown Providence. Wong’s students came up with fantastic visions, including converting it into an elaborate urban farm (very hip!), an indoor amusement park, or a retirement community. At the time, the building’s owner, David Sweetser, was optimistic about adaptive reuse and granted the RISD students a tour. When I appealed to him for access last year, his enthusiasm seemed to have waned. In response to my request, his representative, Bill Fischer, wrote to me, “Unfortunately we are (Continued on p. 116) NEWENGLAND.COM
J A S O N B O U C H A R D - N AW R O C K I ( W I N D O W ) ; P R O V I D E N C E P R E SE R VAT I O N S O C I E T Y ( R O B I N S O N ) ; K E N N E T H G R A N T/ A L A M Y S TO C K P H OTO ( C A R V I N G ) ; M I K E B R A C A ( E L E VATO R )
professor at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and although he has a clear view of the building from his Providence apartment, he admitted he hadn’t given it much thought. Talking over Zoom during pandemic lockdown one gray spring day, he swung his laptop around so that I could see his view and confirm the building in question. Yes, I told him, that’s it, the one with the lantern. Providence’s tallest edifice. To be fair to Feld, it’s not uncommon for us to “unsee” abandoned bu i ld ings, even when they’re right in front of us. There’s no fun in confronting a portent of doom every morning over coffee and a croissant. But my inquiry did prompt Feld to do a little more research. A few days after our conversation, he wrote in an email: “I must confess I hadn’t realized that, built in 1928, our little skyscraper preceded the big New York ones, like the Chrysler Building, by a couple years.” That’s when it hit me: Could the Superman Building be America’s first modern skyscraper? Feld was right: When it was completed, Providence’s tower was heralded as a major triumph, one that preceded its more famous New York cousins: the Empire State (1931), the General Electric Building (1931), Rockefeller Center (1933). The tower was such an important declaration of America’s arrival on the world stage that it would be featured on the cover of Architectural Forum. In October 1928, the month it opened, the editorial board of Providence Magazine wrote, “The completed structure is a striking demonstration of the company’s confidence in the growth and enduring soundness of the City, the State and Country.”
SUDDENLY, DECO WAS ALL THE RAGE. AND PROVIDENCE—NOT CHICAGO, NOT PHILADELPHIA, NOT NEW YORK—WOULD BE THE FIRST CITY TO PERFECTLY EXECUTE THESE UNIQUELY MODERN DESIGN PRINCIPLES.
CLOCKWISE FROM RIGHT :
A carving of the Rhode Island coat of arms near one of the Superman Building’s entrances; inside, original Art Deco details still gleam; looking out through one of the windows in the soaring lobby; Rachel Robinson, director of preservation for the Providence Preservation Society, which has worked on ways to save the landmark for future generations.
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A Brunch Bouquet (Continued from p. 44)
Scones are a regular part of Thomas McCurdy’s repertoire, and he varies the flavor depending on the season, favoring blackberries in summer. Use a gentle hand when mixing and shaping the dough so the scones are tender, not tough. We suggest using fresh, not frozen berries (even if you need to use a different type). Frozen berries release moisture as they thaw, making the scones gummy. 1 2²⁄ 3 ¹⁄ 3 2 ¼ 1 12
cup sliced almonds cups (370 grams) all-purpose flour cup granulated sugar teaspoons baking powder teaspoon baking soda teaspoon kosher salt tablespoons (1½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed 1¹⁄ 3 cups fresh blackberries or other berries Zest of 1 lemon 1 cup buttermilk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Milk or heavy cream, for brushing Coarse sanding sugar or granulated sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 400°. Spread the almonds on a rimmed sheet pan and toast until light golden brown, 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the f lour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter and cut it into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or two butter knives. Gently fold in the almonds, blackberries, and lemon zest, then pour in 110 |
the buttermilk and vanilla and stir with a rubber spatula just until the dough begins to come together. Do not overmix; a bit of loose f lour is just fine at this stage. Transfer the dough to a light ly f loured work surface and gently shape it into a disk approximately 8 inches round and 1½ inches thick. With a bench scraper or knife, cut the disk into 8 even wedges. Place the scones on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Brush the tops with heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake until golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yields 8 scones. SWEET BLUEBERRY-KALE SALAD
Fresh ginger and blueberries are blended with oil and vinegar to make a zingy vinaigrette for this hearty salad. Earthy roasted beets add heft and sweetness, and goat cheese contributes creamy richness. Note: Thomas makes his own candied pecans for this salad. Here’s how: In a small bowl, whisk ¼ cup each of granulated sugar and dark brown sugar with 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, ground ginger, and kosher salt. In a medium bowl, whisk an egg white together with ½ teaspoon water until foamy. Toss 2 cups of pecan halves with the egg. Add the sugar-spice mix and toss together. Bake the pecan halves on a parchmentlined baking sheet at 300° until golden brow n, about 45 minutes, stirring the pecans halfway through to prevent burning. This recipe makes more pecans than you need for the salad, but
any extras are a perfect cocktail-hour snack or ice cream topping. FOR THE DRESSING
¹⁄ 3 cup olive oil ¹⁄ 3 cup fresh blueberries Juice and zest of 1 large lemon 1 tablespoon maple syrup 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger or ½ teaspoon ground ginger 1 pinch kosher salt
FOR THE SALAD
1½ 8 1 4 1
bunches (¾ pound) curly leaf kale ounces cooked or roasted beets cup fresh blueberries ounces chèvre, crumbled cup candied or plain pecans Generous pinch of coarse flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
First, make the dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Then, make the salad: Strip the kale leaves from the stems and roughly chop or tear into bite-size pieces. For tender kale, rub the leaves together between your f ingers, until they start to wilt. Put the kale in a large salad bowl and add the dressing. Toss leaves until well coated, then top with roasted beets, blueberries, chèvre, pecans, and sea salt. Yields 8 servings. SUMMER VEGETABLE FRITTATA
The beauty of a frittata lies in its versatility. McCurdy suggests a favorite high-summer combination of zucchini, tomatoes, and basil, but feel free to take liberties, using different vegetables, cheeses, and herbs depending on what you have on hand. Pull the frittata from the oven when the center is still slightly jiggly, as the eggs will continue to cook from the residual heat of the pan. 10 large eggs ½ cup heavy cream 1 teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 medium red onion, peeled and thinly sliced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced 12 cherry tomatoes, halved 12 basil leaves, finely chopped ½ teaspoon minced fresh thyme
For Now And Ever A Most Unusual Gift of Love
Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Stir in the cheddar and set aside. Heat the oil in a medium cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the sliced onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and zucchini and cook until the zucchini begins to soften, 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the herbs over the cooked vegetables. Pour the egg mixture over, then transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until the eggs are just set and the top of the frittata is light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm, cold, or at room temperature. Yields 6 servings. LEMON-BERRY TART
This tart may look as though it’s made with puff pastry, but it actually uses a “rough puff ” dough, which is much easier to make. While there are several steps to the recipe, none of them are difficult, and learning this technique will allow you to produce all manner of sweet and savory tarts with whatever fruit or vegetables are on hand. Once you get the hang of it, you’ ll have a new skill and a go-to recipe for entertaining. FOR THE LEMON PASTRY CREAM
2 1 2½ ½ ¼
cups whole milk teaspoon vanilla extract tablespoons cornstarch cup granulated sugar teaspoon kosher salt
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THE POEM READS:
“There is no moment of my life when you are not a part of me; you hold my heart; you guard my soul; you guide my dreams so tenderly. And if my will might be done, and all I long for could come true, with perfect joy I would choose to share eternity with you.” Dear Reader, The drawing you see above is called For Now and Ever. It is completely composed of dots of ink. After writing the poem, I worked with a quill pen and placed thousands of these dots, one at a time, to create this gift in honor of the the love of two of my dearest friends. Now, I have decided to offer For Now and Ever to those who have known and value its sentiment as well. Each litho is numbered and signed by hand and precisely captures the detail of the drawing. As an anniversary, wedding, or Valentine’s gift for your husband or wife, or for a special couple within your circle of friends, I believe you will find it most appropriate. Measuring 14” by 16”, it is available either fully-framed in a subtle copper tone with handcut double mats of pewter and rust at $145*, or in the mats alone at $105*. Please add $18.95 for insured shipping. Returns/exchanges within 30 days. My best wishes are with you.
Sextonart Inc. • P.O. Box 581 • Rutherford, CA 94573
(415) 989-1630 All major credit cards are welcomed. Please call between 10 A.M.-5 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, 7 days a week. Checks are also accepted. Please include a phone number. *California residents please include 8.0% tax Please visit our website at
www.robertsexton.com | 111
4 large egg yolks Zest of 2 lemons 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature FOR THE “ROUGH PUFF” PASTRY
1¾ cups (250 grams) bread flour 1 teaspoon kosher salt 17 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed 8–10 tablespoons cold water 1 large egg yolk 1 tablespoon coarse sanding sugar
FOR THE FINISHING TOUCHES
2 cups assorted fresh berries (you can also add sliced peaches or other fruit) 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar 5 basil leaves, very thinly sliced
First, make the lemon pastry cream: Combine all ingredients except the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and has the consistency of pudding, 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through a f ine mesh strainer into a clean bowl, then add the butter and stir until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing onto the top
of the pastry cream, and refrigerate until well chilled. The pastry cream may be made up to five days ahead. T hen, ma ke the pastr y : W hisk together the flour and salt, then cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two butter knives until it is well incorporated and the largest butter chunks are pea-sized. (This step can also be done in a food processor). Gradually drizzle in 8 tablespoons water, stirring just until the mixture forms a cohesive ball of dough, add-
ing the remaining 2 tablespoons water if necessary. Shape the dough into a 6-inch square and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. On a lightly f loured work surface with a lightly f loured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. With a pastry brush, remove any excess flour. Fold the dough into thirds like a letter, with one side folded into the center, then the other side folded on top of that. Roll the rough out again to a 12-by8-inch rectangle and repeat the folding process, then do it once more, for a total of three trifolds. If the dough gets too soft during this process, pop it into the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up. The finished dough should have streaks of butter marbled throughout. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until very cold and firm, at least 1 hour and up to overnight. Preheat the oven to 400°. On a f loured work surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12-by-16-inch rectangle approximately ⅛ inch thick. Transfer to a parchmentlined rimmed baking sheet. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, trim the edges to make them straight, resulting in a rectangle approximately 11 inches by 15 inches. Fold the outer inch of each edge in on itself to form a border, then use the pizza cutter to trim the outer ⅛ inch of each edge to expose the layers of puff pastry. Use a fork to prick holes all over the inside of the tart shell. Place the dough (still on the pan) in the freezer for 10 minutes, or until the dough has become cold and firm. Whisk the egg yolk, then use a pastry brush to brush it onto the edge of the dough, taking care that the egg does not drip down the outer sides of the tart. Sprinkle the edge with sugar. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Remove and immediately use an offset spatula to press down the inside of the crust, which may have puffed up. Let cool. Just before serving, fill the pastry shell with the chilled pastry cream and top with your favorite fresh berries and fruits. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and garnish with a sprinkling of fresh basil. To serve, cut into squares. Yields 6 to 8 servings. NEWENGLAND.COM
(Continued from p. 73) atop the lighthouse. As for getting there? The state ferry service sails from Bass Harbor on the mainland. burntcoatharborlight.com GOOSE ROCKS LIGHT, North Haven, ME. America’s lighthouses were made of wood, brick, stone, and, yes, cast iron. One iron beauty is Goose Rocks Light, a “sparkplug”-styled lighthouse whose beacon still marks the eastern entrance to Penobscot Bay. The only East Coast offshore lighthouse that accommodates overnighters, Goose Rocks is all lighthouse—there’s no surrounding apron of land or a separate keeper’s house. Climb a ladder to sixlevel quarters that feature an antique four-poster bed, a propane fireplace, and a 360-degree canopied catwalk with a grill and outdoor dining table. beaconpreservation.org ISLE AU HAUT, Maine. Pack up your groceries, hop on the mailboat out of Stonington, and experience double isolation: You’re leaving the mainland behind for Isle au Haut, and leaving the island’s village for a stay at a lighthouse keeper’s home. Linked by a wooden walkway with the 1907 light and surrounded by water and woods, the four-bedroom cottage features private and shared-bath accommodations—one room has a wood stove—and a kitchen. Nearby, the Oil House Cottage is private but more primitive, with an outhouse and solar shower. There are bikes for exploring the island, and a 15-foot rowboat guests can use on calm days. keepershouse.com RACE POINT LIGHT, Provincetown, MA. Perched at the knuckles of Cape Cod’s curling fist, Race Point Light’s 1876 45-foot cast-iron tower is flanked by two guest accommodations. The keeper’s house offers rooms by the night, with shared bath and kitchen; the two-bedroom Whistle House rents to groups of up to eight by the week, or for two-night stays. Getting there involves a two-mile trek through the dunes from the nearest road, or arrange a ride with the local chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation, which maintains the properties. You can also obtain a weekly permit for your own four-wheel-drive vehicle. racepointlighthouse.org ROSE ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE, Newport, RI. Looking like a mansard-roofed home that somehow sprouted a beacon tower, Rose Island Lighthouse graces an 18-acre islet at the entrance to Newport Harbor. Built in 1870, it shone for a century until navigation aids mounted on Newport Bridge took JULY | AUGUST 2022
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Georgetown, ME. Seguin Island is a lovely, lonely sentinel at the mouth of the Kennebec River. Its lighthouse— an 1857 successor to the original commissioned by George Washington in 1795—rises higher above sea level than any beacon on the Maine coast, and offers clear-weather views ranging from Mount Washington to Monhegan Island. Venture out on the Seguin Island ferry and put up at the keeper’s house, which features a two-bedroom apartment with a microwave and mini fridge. Campsites are also available; for either accommodation, guests must join Friends of Seguin Island Light Station. seguinisland.org THACHER ISLAND, Rockport, MA. North America’s only working twin light station, established to warn ships away from treacherous reefs off the tip of Cape Ann, the 124-foot towers on Thacher Island were built of Rockport granite in 1861. Their short-lived predecessors were the last lighthouses erected under colonial rule; they were destroyed by Minutemen in 1775 for fear they would aid British invaders. Accommodations here are limited to primitive campsites linked by three miles of trails, although roughing it comes with a bonus: Campers can climb the towers for spectacular views of the Boston skyline and Maine’s mountains. thacherisland.org
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past no fewer than six Gloucester-area lighthouses, from the beacon on stilts that marks the Dog Bar Breakwater to Ten Pound Island Light, which briefly hosted painter Winslow Homer. You’ll also see the Cape Ann Light Station, whose twin lights are the only active examples of their kind in the nation. capeannharbortours.com LIGHTHOUSE WEEKEND TOURS, Isle au Haut, ME. On one special weekend each September, Open Lighthouse Day—actually two days—offers an opportunity to view some of Midcoast Maine’s most scenic beacons via Isle au Haut Boat Services. Saturday cruises out of Stonington Harbor take in Goose Rocks, Brown’s Head, Heron Neck, and Isle au Haut lights, with a stop for photos at Saddleback Ledge. On Sunday, head out of Stonington for a look at the lights crowning Hockamock Head, Great Duck Island, Bass Harbor Head, and Blue Hill Bay. isleauhautferryservice.com MAINE MARITIME MUSEUM CRUISES,
Bath, ME. Maine’s most comprehensive treasure trove of maritime history gets visitors out on the water with an impressive variety of cruising options, including the Lighthouse Lovers’ Cruise, which offers an up-close look at 10 of the Maine coast’s legendary beacons: Doubling Point Light, Kennebec Range Lights, Squirrel Point Light, Perkins Island & Light, Pond Island & Light, Seguin Island & Light, Cuckolds Light, Ram Island Light, Burnt Island Light, and Hendricks Head Light. mainemaritimemuseum.org TEN LIGHTHOUSES TOUR, North Kingstown, RI. Narragansett Bay’s 10 lighthouses—Beavertail, Rose Island, Conanicut, Newport Harbor, Lime Rock, Castle Hill, Whale Rock, Dutch Island, Poplar Point, and Plum Beach—are the focus of Rhode Island Bay Cruises’ 90-minute trip that takes passengers under the Pell and Jamestown-Verrazzano bridges, past Newport’s Gilded Age mansions and historic Fort Adams, and along 60 miles of the bay’s wonderfully scenic coastline. rhodeislandbaycruises.com
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(Continued from p. 108) not providing tours of the Superman Building or updates on the building’s development status at this time. If this dynamic changes I will keep you in mind.” Which is why in May of last year, the best that Robinson, Farish, and I could do was peer through the tower’s dirty glass front doors, cupping our hands to see into the darkness and try to imagine what it would be like to be in there. We knocked until a young security guard cracked open the door enough to send us packing, though he was kind enough to inform us that the building wasn’t haunted. Disappointed, we walked around the Industrial Trust Building, admiring its 16 carved limestone friezes, which chronicle the industrialist’s version of Rhode Island history, from Roger Williams’s landing to various early pursuits—hunting, iron working, and fishing—to industrial innovations, including a steamboat and a locomotive. Through Wong’s students’ photos, drawings, and videos, I could get a sense of the interiors. Free of columns and elevator shafts, the main entrance served as a thoroughfare from Exchange Place and Westminster Street, just as its predecessor, the old Butler Exchange, had done. An enormous banking room still showcases stylized portraits of Rhode Island’s elites, including General Nathanael Greene, Samuel Slater, and Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. I’d once toured another vacant Jazz Age bank tower when I was in architecture school in the ’90s, which helped fill in some of the blanks. Built by the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society in 1932, that tower has been lionized by generations of architects as the first International Style skyscraper built in the United States. When we walked its corridors, the building had sat vacant 116 |
The building’s owner since 2008, David Sweetser of High Rock Development recently inked a deal with the state of Rhode Island to convert the space into residential units.
for seven years, yet it looked like the bankers, lawyers, and secretaries had just left for the day. In offices, crumpled paper still sat in wastebaskets. But the vault in the basement looked like a crime site. Stepping through heavy gates and a foot-thick steel doorway, we saw thousands of safe-deposit doors gaping open, paper and keys everywhere. More than a few people, it seemed, had gone through them, hoping to discover a forgotten five-carat diamond or a wad of bootlegger cash. So how did practical Providence come to host America’s first true Art Deco masterpiece? The building’s story begins shortly after the Civil War, when Samuel P. Colt, a lawyer and the nephew of the gun manufacturer from whom the Colt .45 got its name, took $500,000 of investors’ money to establish a bank in the rapidly growing city. Colt was a New Jersey native who, as an adult, had moved to Bristol, Rhode Island, where his mother’s family, the DeWolfs, had amassed a prodigious fortune in the slave trade (much like the Browns, who gave so much money to the local school that it was renamed in honor of its benefactors). Between 1709 and
1807, nearly 1,000 slave voyages were f inanced or undertaken by Rhode Island’s merchants, resulting in the theft of over 106,000 people from their homelands in Africa. That’s about 60 percent of all the humans brought to America and enslaved. Rhode Island’s slave traders continued to run human smuggling operations, even after the trade was officially outlawed. Following emancipation, that fortune was invested in manufacturing and Providence became a booming industrial and banking hub. The politically and financially connected Colt founded his bank and shortly thereafter was designated the receiver of a bankrupt rubber company. He worked his connections to consolidate his holdings into the United States Rubber Company. When Ford’s Model T rolled off the assembly line starting in 1908, demand for rubber soared, and Colt became very rich indeed. By the time Colt died in 1921, the Industrial Trust Company boasted $150 million in assets, over $2 billion in 2022 dollars. Colt lived a blessed life—he was always at the right place at the right time. During his lifetime, the city of Providence thrived. In 1900, the city’s 175,000 inhabitants, many of them immigrants from Eastern Europe, produced machined parts, jewelry, and textiles in long, low buildings that sprawled out from the city’s center. Freight trains rumbled behind the “Chinese Wall” of old Union Station, belching black coal smoke, feeding raw materials to Providence’s factories, and exporting Providence-made goods across America. Along the river, ships were laden with Rhode Island goods and carried them around the world. Downtown bustled with captains of industry, factory workers, and those who served them: the shopkeepers, dressmakers, bankers, and peddlers. W hen Colt d ied, Prov idence seemed to have everything. Except its own tower. Some 180 miles away, New York City’s preposterously tall buildings NEWENGLAND.COM
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reached for the sky. An insatiable demand for Manhattan real estate drove the building frenzy; company presidents and boards raced to grab a piece of that mythical skyline for themselves. The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company’s 700-foot tower was hailed as the world’s tallest building when it was built in 1909; it was eclipsed just four years later by the Woolworth Building, an elaborately decorated 792-foot tower that cast long shadows over the frenzied city. Following Colt’s death, the board of the Industrial Trust Company galvanized Providence’s upward climb by moving operations from its dowdy downtown headquarters, built in 1894, to a brand-new tower opposite Union Station. That’s where an enormous, elaborately festooned Second Empire pile called the Butler Exchange Building had loomed since 1873, with its mansard roofs and Italianate detailing.
IT’S NOT UNCOMMON FOR US “UNSEE” ABANDONED BUILDINGS, EVEN WHEN THEY’RE RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. In its place would rise a new, modern tower. The bank would occupy the first four f loors and the top three— the highest f loor serving as the bank president’s private office. The rest of the building would be rented out to other businesses. But what would this new tower look like? Design in the Twenties expresses the tension between innovation and nostalgia for the prewar order. The future—with its recorded music, telecommunications, moving pictures (with sound!), and f lying machines—was
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regarded with a mix of wonderment and dread. If 20th-century machines could be used to topple Europe’s 1,000-year-old monarchies in just a few years, what would replace it? Could America’s unique brand of democracy and diplomacy lead to an era of peace and prosperity? And what role would technology play in the postwar, capitalist-driven future? Americans, eager to reassure the world that they were prepared to lead, wrapped themselves in old-world grandeur. Empires built on consumer goods—radiators, cars, dime stores, and tabloids—erected their monuments to industry festooned with ancient motifs, subverting their modern roots, camouf laging their steel frames in gothic arches and tracery or neoclassical colonnades and porticoes. All those newly carved gargoyles, ornate cornices, and baroque spires were designed to signal durability. As late as 1925, when Yale University commissioned the construction of its huge residential quadrangle, the school defaulted to collegiate gothic. In fact, Yale would be one of the last American universities to employ what one contemporary account referred to as “an orgy of meretricious medievalism and stale iconography.” On architects’ drawing boards, an emergent modernism competed with fusty nostalgia. These stylistic tensions would be aired in public when the publisher of the Chicago Tribune launched an international competition for the design of his paper’s new headquarters in 1922. Architects from around the world submitted proposals, some traditional, some fantastically futuristic. First place went to New York architects Raymond Hood and John Mead Howells, who cloaked their tower’s steelframe lattice with flying buttresses and tracery, complete with a compact Notre Dame–like topper. But it was the second-place winner, Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen, who got all the design buzz. Unlike Hood and Howells’s nostalgia-fest, Saarinen’s NEWENGLAND.COM
proposal had a thoroughly modern soul. In design and execution it was an unabashed celebration of verticality and modernity. Lacking the usual medieval or Greek doodads, its only ornamentation was a formalist arcaded base and a muted horizontal rhythm that referenced the structural grid lurking behind the facade. The Saarinen tower soared skyward, getting leaner and meaner as it scraped the clouds. Saarinen’s skyscraper featured several step-backs to follow New York City’s new zoning requirements—laws that would dictate the skyline for the next four decades. But it was its unrelenting columns of identical windows, deep-set between thin pilasters that ran express to the heavens, that firmly asserted its modernity. Saarinen’s most radical move was to top off his masterpiece without a flourish. This was a new kind of tower built for a new kind of American who didn’t need no stinkin’ plumed and ribboned hat to assert his or her dominance on the world stage. In all these ways, Saarinen rendered the American Dream in limestone and steel: That dizzying view from sidewalk to sky, wiped clean of a complex past, heralded a democratic future in which the only thing stopping a guy from scaling the corporate ladder straight to the president’s suite was his own ambition. Raymond Hood himself would employ many of Saarinen’s moves in his design for the American Radiator Building, a spellbinding gothic/modern hybrid completed in 1924. Suddenly, Deco was all the rage. And Providence, Rhode Island— not Chicago, not Philadelphia, not New York—would be the first city to perfectly execute these uniquely modern design principles. The Industrial Trust Bank’s board members, born in the 19th century, must have recognized themselves in modernism’s no-nonsense, Calvinist spirit. It looked as solid and everlasting as the WASP hold on New England itself. While they hired New York JULY | AUGUST 2022
architects Walker & Gillette, known better for their country homes than towers, to design the building, they employed Starrett Brothers to build the thing. The Starretts were America’s modern edifice efficiency experts, and would go on to build the Empire State Building a few years later. A promotional booklet published in advance of construction sold the building with the tagline “With faith in the progress and prosperity of our people.” Threading the needle, the booklet’s writers assured readers that the building’s shocking modernism was deliberate and appropriate: “[The Industrial Trust Building’s] tapering structure assumes the tower-like silhouette of that most recent of architectural creations—American business building. Essentially American, though harking back to the Gothic tradition, the type has come to be known as ‘American Perpendicular.’” Of course, Providence had its share of NIMBYs at the time who railed against the bank ’s proposed height and its “awful Art Deco design.” “The proposal for this so-called Industrial Tower will be a design nightmare,” one curmudgeon wrote in the city’s paper. “Not only will the skyline be scarred by the Art Deco design, but they will be taking every shortcut in materials. They won’t be building with brick or granite, but instead, slabs of limestone will litter the sky…. How can we explain to future generations our misguided decisionmaking?” The author also expressed outrage that the Butler Exchange Building would be torn down to make way for the new tower. As soon as Providence’s skyline was “scarred,” the stock market crashed, triggering the Great Depression. While the city struggled to recover, the Industrial Trust Company continued to thrive, one of the few Rhode Island success stories that lasted into the 21st century. It joined with Fleet Bank in the ’50s, then merged with Bank of America in 2004.
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But the bank no longer felt any allegiance to Providence, and it pulled its operations out of the city in 2013, leaving the massive tower vacant. The Superman Building’s fate was cast in uncertainty; the twists and turns in its story have been breathlessly covered in the local press. Wellesley, Massachusetts, resident David Sweetser of High Rock Development had bought the building in 2008 from Bank of America for $33.2 million. The deal was rumored to be financed by embattled Market Basket CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. High Rock had hoped to convert the office tower to high-end condos with the help of generous tax abatements, much like the successful 2016 reimagining of the Kansas City Power & Light Building. But Sweetser’s dreams were stymied by another would-be profiteer— Curt Schilling. Rhode Island taxpay-
AS MUCH AS THE BUILDING’S ORIGINAL CONSTRUCTION TRUMPETED THE CITY’S TRIUMPH, ITS ABANDONMENT WARNED OF THE CITY’S DEMISE. ers had backed the former pitcher’s video game company, 38 Studios, a few years before. When the venture went bankrupt in 2012, the state was left on the hook for a $75 million loan. By the time Bank of America vacated the historic tower the following year, Rhode Islanders had soured on using tax credits to support private ventures. High Rock scrambled to find financ-
ing wherever it could and eventually sued the bank for $54 million for breach of contract, claiming it had neglected the building during its tenancy. The parties settled for an undisclosed amount in 2017. In the meantime, potential tenants came and went, including Hasbro, Citizens Bank, and PayPal. The longer a building sits empty, however, the grimmer its prospects. A 2014 real estate appraisal determined that the building required millions of dollars of upgrades, and therefore had zero value. Last summer, the state announced a tax sale; Sweetser was $440,000 in arrears. He paid up before the sale was held, but for Superman sympathizers, it looked like another cry for help, and pushed the forlorn building back into local headlines. In hindsight, it’s possible that withholding taxes was a very public negotiating tactic. Eight months later, on April 12, 2022, at 2 p.m., Governor McKee stood in a room with dozens of others to announce that the Industrial Trust Building would be converted into 285 residential units (20 percent of them affordable), and the banking hall would become a place of commerce once again. “As Rhode Island continues to lead the region in our economic recovery, this project will help to maintain that momentum by reinvigorating downtown Providence, creating good-paying construction jobs, increasing our state’s marketrate and affordable housing supply, and generating further opportunities for the residents and businesses of our capital city,” the governor said. “My thanks to everyone involved in the negotiations for coming together to bring the ‘Superman Building’ back to life.” To cover the $220 million price tag, the negotiating team pulled together an elaborate package of federal, state, and city grants, loans, and tax credits that sweetened the develNEWENGLAND.COM
oper’s deal, plus a cut-rate bridge loan from the Rhode Island Foundation. Not everyone was happy. Some critics argued that the project was a waste of taxpayers’ money, but it’s impossible to quantify exactly how much that empty skyscraper has hurt Providence’s prospects. As much as its original construction trumpeted the city’s triumph, its abandonment warned of the city’s demise. When those lights go back on and the limestone gleams once again, Providence may find itself surrounded by many attractive suitors. Oblivious to all the hullabaloo, two stalwart tenants continue to return year after year: A pair of peregrine falcons nestles into the Industrial Trust’s precipitous ledges to breed. The Rhode Island Audubon Society erected a
nesting box just below the building’s lantern a few years ago and set up cameras to live-stream avian activity. Last March, the raptor couple settled down and laid four eggs, which hatched in May. Their brood—all males—grew up with an incomparable view of Providence while their parents fed them regional delicacies (pigeon is a menu staple). Throughout June, they shed their f luffy white down, which blew about the box in small gusts, and then spread over the city. It was glorious to see the young falcons face the wind and try out their magnificent wings, strengthening their flying muscles over a few weeks before taking a leap and soaring free. The annual return of the falcons is a hopeful sign for those of us who pine for threatened old buildings. Wild peregrine falcons were nearly extinct
worldwide until the Peregrine Fund began restoring populations in 1970; this majestic bird of prey, which can reach speeds of up to 242 mph, was removed from the endangered list in 1999. The species’s recovery reminds us that a better, greener, more diverse future is possible. Unlike the falcon population, however, the Superman Building cannot be rebuilt. As they say, we just don’t make ’em like we used to. Architecture is an invaluable historical record rendered in granite and steel. If it had been demolished, a major monument built to honor Rhode Island’s prosperity would go with it into landfill. The Industrial Trust Building needed a superheroic effort to save it. And all Americans—those of us who pay taxes to the U.S. government, anyway— arrived in the nick of time.
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Life in the Kingdom
BEN HEWIT T
A Truck for Rye On the hunt for new wheels, a father ponders how his son will navigate today’s world. ILLUSTR ATION BY
TOM H AUGOM AT
y son Rye needs a new truck. This is because h is old t r uc k met with an untimely end (gravel road, patch of ice, sharp corner, birch tree, you know where this is going), leaving him unscathed but truckless, and while Penny and I are focused primarily on our gratitude for the former, he is eminently more concerned with the latter. This is because he’s 17, an age at which the freedom afforded by an operational vehicle seems a bigger priority than one’s own physical well-being. Plus, there’s the simple fact that his old truck—the one he’d begun saving for at the tender age of 12, the darkgreen F-150 Lariat that was a full five years older than him, and which he’d bought from a man who kept it parked next to his Maserati in a private garage equipped with a commercial lift and enough Snap-on tools to stock the ser126 |
vice department of a decent-size dealership—is virtually unreplaceable. The truck had originally come out of Florida, had less rust than your average twoyear-old Vermont rig, and sported a bed that looked as if maybe the hardest work it’d done was a weekend run to Ikea for a set of matching end tables and perhaps a bean bag. I mean, the thing was immaculate. Until, quite suddenly, it wasn’t. Anyhow. The trouble with all this is that the used-truck market had gone completely rogue in the intervening year and half since Rye picked up that Ford. This we already knew, because like any self-respecting rural American teen, he had not let the fact that he owned a perfectly good truck dissuade him from window-shopping on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. You know, just in case, say, a rust-free ’03 Chevy Duramax with less than 150,000 miles appeared for under $5,000. Was this
unlikely to happen? Indeed, one could hardly overstate just how unlikely. But was it an impossibility? That’s an entirely different question, and one that justified at least an occasional scroll through the options. Sadly, this scrolling revealed a startling truth: Used-truck prices were on a seemingly one-way trip to ridiculous. Trucks that only months before we would have considered hardly worth a second glance were selling for upward of 10 grand. A 2008 Tacoma with 182,000 miles that needed “a little frame work and you’ll have yourself a real nice rig” was going for $9,200. A 2003 Silverado was priced at a piddling $5,600, which seemed reasonable until we saw the odometer: It had 309,000 miles on it, though supposedly it “don’t burn a drop of oil.” Our search began in earnest with a 1993 F-150. It was priced at $1,800, which was perhaps the first red f lag, and while Rye was dubious to the point of dismissive, I insisted that perhaps we’d found a unicorn truck. Or, more accurately, a unicorn seller, who either didn’t comprehend the seismic shift in the market or was simply a generous soul willing to let his beloved truck go for a fraction of what it was actually worth. Besides, he was quick to respond to Rye’s request for photos of the undercarriage, and it looked remarkably free of the typical rot. (Word to the wise: Never, ever drive any significant distance to look at a used vehicle in New England without having seen numerous NEWENGLAND.COM
pictures of the underside.) Even better, the owner had assured me over the phone that it ran great, and since it was a mere 90 minutes away, we decided to roll the dice. Spoiler alert: It did not run great. I mean, it ran, but the quality of that running—which included stalling in the middle of the road during our test drive and restarting with significant reluctance—could generously be described as terrible. There was the stalling, and then there was the fact that the truck barely responded to the most generous servings of fuel, and even then, in a halfhearted, sputtering way that inspired neither confidence nor a discernible increase in speed. A 2004 Toyota Tundra with a rare V6 and even rarer five-speed manual transmission showed up in southern Vermont. It had 200,000 miles, but the frame had been replaced just the year before, so Rye and Penny beelined south with cash in hand, near to certain that we’d found his next rig. We hadn’t, though if the owner had been willing to knock off $500 for the fistsize rust holes Rye found lurking under the bed liner, there’d be a ’04 Tundra in our driveway as I type. Alas, he wasn’t, and Rye followed the second rule of used-truck buying, which is to determine for yourself what you’re willing to pay for a given rig, and never, ever allow yourself to exceed that figure. There were others. We spent countless hours traveling twisting, potholed back roads to crawl under trucks that were either willfully misrepresented or being sold by owners unaware of their myriad deficits. During our drives, we sang along to music and talked, and when we weren’t doing either of these, we listened to news of the war in Ukraine. And as the news conveyed its difficult truth, I couldn’t help wondering whether the things I have to teach my son can possibly equip him to navigate the world as it has become, and to bear the weight of what he is inheriting. I felt, suddenly, as if so much more was needed from me than I’d ever JULY | AUGUST 2022
thought possible, and not only was I unsure of exactly what this was, I didn’t even know where to begin looking. For so long, nearly 21 years now, I’ve assumed that what little I know—how to assess a used truck, or to fell a tree so it lands in just the spot you wanted it (and what to do when it doesn’t), or to ask for a raise, or even simply to look someone in the eye when you shake their hand— would be enough. That my sons would take this knowledge and expand on it and deepen it with their own, and this would be sufficient to see them through, to help them weather the inevitable ups and downs of a good and satisfying life. I had the sudden awareness of how easy I’ve had it, how little has truly been asked of me, and in turn, how little has been asked of my children. I recalled a segment I’d heard on the radio a week or so earlier, about a Ukrainian girl who’d carried her pet rabbit in her arms for 15 hours as her family fled their homeland,
and now the image of that girl and her rabbit arose in my mind, and I tried to imagine that it could have been my son. That it could have been me, leaving behind everything I owned but the clothes on my back. And my rabbit. But the truth is, I couldn’t quite get there, and so after a while I turned my attention back to the music my son had begun playing on the truck stereo, and then he and I started singing along to one of our favorite songs, and then another song came on, and we sang along to that one too. We drove on, and in a short time returned home, up the narrow driveway we know so well, past the row of gnarled apple trees with their overhanging branches, past the old clawfoot tub the cows drink from in summer, then past the cows themselves. We’d failed in our mission to find Rye a new truck. But we’d succeeded in making it safely home, and on this day, that felt like more than enough.
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Weekends with Yankee Q&A
A MY TR AVER SO
you want to navigate a new life, new culture, new language. I had to ask, Who am I going to be in this country? Q. And how did you go from your former career, as the owner of a clothing shop, to opening a bakery?
Meet the resilient New Hampshire couple behind Aissa Sweets, now featured on Weekends with Yankee.
n 2009, Ahmad Aissa was living in Damascus, Syria, when he met Evelyn Bresinger, a Tufts graduate student. After falling in love and ultimately fleeing the Syrian civil war together, they now live in Evelyn’s home state of New Hampshire, where Ahmad runs Aissa Sweets, a bakery whose Syrian pastries are sold across the country. We recently caught up with them to hear more of their unforgettable story. Q. How did you two meet?
EVELYN: Ahmad was friends with my
roommate [in Damascus]. That whole summer, we were just friends. I went back home to finish my degree and came back with the intention of living in Syria permanently. Ahmie and I started dating within a few weeks, and we got engaged in early March 2011.
Q. That’s the same month that the Syrian revolution began. When 128 |
did you know you had to leave?
EVELYN: Things got bad enough by
May that we decided the best thing to do was to get married so we had a chance of leaving together if we needed to. We got all our paperwork for Ahmad’s visa into the embassy in July, and then it immediately closed down for a month. I had a friend who worked there, so as soon as the embassy reopened, we got an interview and they cleared him for a visa almost overnight. But we didn’t tell anyone we were leaving the country. We were worried the authorities would find out and somehow block us, so we just crept out.
Q. Ahmad, what was it like to suddenly find yourself in New Hampshire?
The most wonderful thing was meeting my in-laws. They’re such a beautiful family, so welcoming. But it wasn’t easy, because your mind is still back in Syria and you’re here and
Q. How quickly did it take off?
AHMAD: The largest step forward was
when we added Whole Foods to the list. They gave us eight stores at the beginning and increased a little bit and then they said, “Can you produce enough for the entire region?” EVELYN: We were truly handmade. We were hand-chopping filo dough. Hand-molding the maamoul cookies. We asked all of our friends and family to make thousands of hand-pressed cookies. It was literally 24/7. AHMAD: After we made the first order by hand, we got paid and we bought equipment and we had the ability to mix and process cookies. We started to slowly buy machines. We are still growing, and there is a long way to go. But I love where I am and I love where I’m going. The most important thing is that I am with Evelyn. Leaving everything I had in Syria gave me an ability to be more resilient and cherish what’s really essential. Our visit with Evelyn and Ahmad Aissa is featured on season six of Weekends with Yankee, which debuted this spring on public television stations nationwide. To find out how to watch, go to weekendswithyankee.com. NEWENGLAND.COM
ERICA FOLL ANSBEE/COURTESY OF AISSA SWEETS
Ahmad and Evelyn Aissa
It was pretty ugly news, what was happening in Syria. I wanted to tell people something more beautiful about my country, to give a different perspective of the culture. Baking had been a hobby. I love the desserts in Syrian cuisine. So I wanted to really learn it. I needed to perfect the recipes and think about how we could make this into a business. I started renting space in a shared kitchen in Dover, where I made samples and went around to local specialty stores and groceries.
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