Monthly Archives: June 2015

Boston

Wednesday morning, June 10, I had breakfast with my brother Jesse and his fiance Rachel in Dover, NH. Then I headed out to Boston to see my long-time friend from High School, Colin. Unlike Ronnie and Elysia, I’ve seen Colin recently. He got married this past spring! To his beautiful and wonderful nice wife Kathy. I went to their apartment and caught up with Colin.

We decided to go to see Mad Max: Fury Road as I hadn’t seen it yet and Colin was down to catch it a second time. And it was great! Honestly, I was pretty hesitant about it because I was mistaken and thought that it was a remake of Mad Max from 1979. My first realization that it was different was from the name Fury Road. Then I was suggested to go see it by my friend Zach, and I trust him about movies. Then when I mentioned it to Colin and I saw his face light up, I knew it was a must-see. And it was great! I won’t try to give it a review but it is definitely worth checking out.

After we were done with the movie we headed back to Colin’s apartment and met up with Kathy. It was wonderful catching up with her! She is such a nice person and I love seeing her. I’m so happy for them both that they found wonderful people to share their lives with.

After a bit, Colin and I headed to Harvard Square to meet our friend and my neighbor growing up Davis. Davis is one of my oldest friends and we lived in the same neighborhood when we were little. The three of us walked for a bit and then headed went to dinner at Charlie’s Kitchen. It was pretty good and we had a good time catching up. On the way out Davis insisted that we stop in a photo booth. Good idea Davis!

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Colin and I wandered back to Colin’s and peaced out for the night. The next morning I woke up early with Colin and wished him goodbye while he got ready for work. Thank you so much Colin and Kathy, I had a great time seeing you both and getting to sleep in a bit in the morning. I hope to catch up with you both again soon and I wish you a great life.

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Dover

I spent 2 nights and 1 morning in Dover with my brother Jesse and his fiancé Rachel. Jesse and Rachel work as landscape designers by day and do some pretty amazing work in the Portsmouth, Dover greater area. Jesse also works as a Chef but it turned out that the two nights I was going to be there, he didn’t have to work. I arrived on Monday evening on June 8th after leaving from northern NH and stopping in Portland, Maine for a few hours. Jesse and I hung out for a bit at his place until Rachel got home and we caught up for a bit. Then Jesse and I walked downtown for some dinner.

I like Dover. The downtown has a nice feel to it with a bunch of restaurants and bars and consignment shops, etc. It is an old mill town outside of Portsmouth, NH and there is a river running through the downtown with old mill buildings. One of the buildings has a pedestrian bridge outside so you can see the falls and a museum inside it.

We had wings and drinks and then walked around Dover for a little while on the way back to his place. When we got back we hanged for a bit and Jesse warned me that he had planned a “day in the life of Jesse” for me the following day, so I got to crashing.

And he delivered. On Tuesday we started with some bagel sandwiches and iced coffee from one of Jesse’s favorite local spots, and then we went off to a landscape supply store for some stone fill. We loaded his Ford Ranger and were off. He described the house as a sort of collection of all types of plants and garden paths, with beehives on the property and a manmade pond, and a dock onto the water and deck outback. It was everything he described and it was beautiful. It seemed like an ongoing and organically evolving collection of things that the owners enjoyed that all fit together nicely with a keen sense of design.
We added the stones to help build up the walkway to a garden path that Jesse designed and built. We used shovels and rakes to spread the new stones around and blend them in with the existing walkway and driveway. After some instruction from Jesse, I think I did OK but it was important that I stepped back and let him really run the show. I was impressed with his ability to imagine how it would look when we were finished and then actually work to make it happen. It was rewarding and fun and interesting all at the same time.

From there we were off to a different landscaping supply store and picked up some sand. We drove to a house in Portsmouth that was one of the oldest homes in the town, with a big old tree that I should have taken a photo of. We worked to rebuild a brick path that ran from the driveway around the back of the house to the rear entrance, and was falling apart. The woman who lived there needed a smoother and more level surface so she could navigate it more safely.

We picked up all the brick that needed to be replaced and tossed out the old and broken ones. We then dumped and spread sand in the areas that we uncovered in order to provide a base for the bricks. There was a pile pf bricks on the property already, so we grabbed from there to replace the broken ones and allow us to build the path even wider around the corner behind the house. After positioning the new bricks, we would hammer them with a soft mallet to seat them in the sand. After we got the bricks placed in the path, we dumped more sand on top of all the bricks and then used a broom to sweep it into all the cracks. This filled the area in between the bricks providing a more secure hold and a smoother surface.
When completed, we headed into downtown Portsmouth and I got a bit of a walking tour. I had been to Portsmouth before but never wandered down to the waterfront. Jesse grew up in the Portsmouth area with his Mom, and as he showed me some places he frequented as a kid and talked about his time growing up there we did some good bonding. I really enjoyed Prescott Park near the water and we just chilled and I laid in the grass looking at the clouds for a bit while we waited for Rachel to join us. When she made it, it was starting to look like rain was coming so we walked in the opposite direction and crossed a bridge onto Peirce Island. Here we met one of the chillest dogs I’ve ever met. She was just wandering around and bringing sticks to strangers to play fetch with. Rachel found the owner who said she grew up going to the island and basically thought she lived there.

It did rain over Portsmouth and when it seemed to be about done, we crossed back into downtown. We wandered a bit and then looked for a place to get dinner on the waterfront. There is a cool spot called The Decks that is basically a collection of restaurants and other businesses that are connected like row houses and share a large deck that overlooks the Piscataqua River. Jesse and I were craving nachos and we found a great place called Pocos Bow Street Cantina. We ended up ordering veggie nachos and adding chicken, because the veggie nachos had artichokes, spinach, corn and black beans and that sounded delicious. It was.

The next morning we got up, I got ready to leave town, and we went to breakfast. We went to a nice diner on the main drag and then wandered down to the mill building to check out the scene. Then we snapped some photos! And I headed out of Dover on my way to Boston.

Thank you so much for having me, Jesse and Rachel. I had a really great time and I want to come back to hang soon. I’m impressed with how hard both of you work and I had a great time helping out, even just for a few hours.

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Maine to NH

Monday, June 8th, I headed out of northern New Hampshire east to northern Maine and Acadia National Park for some hiking and camping for 1 night. The next day I planned to drive from Acadia to Dover, NH to visit my brother and his fiance. However, when I left it was raining. And it kept raining. And the forecast was for rain in Acadia the whole time I would be there. And the radar showed rain.

So I called an audible and turned south to Portland Maine rather than Acadia Park. My intent was to hang out in Portland for a few hours, call my brother in Dover and let him know I’d be coming early, and then make my way to Dover. And that’s what happened.

I ended up grabbing some pizza at Otto’s pizza for lunch, and then grabbed some coffee and doughnuts at The Holy Donut. I chilled for a couple hours and then headed out. On my way out I stopped at Back Cove to snap a photo or two at the Atlantic Ocean, counting it as my trip to the Ocean in Maine.

DSC01200 DSC01213I made it to Dover, NH no problem after that. And I didn’t even get rained on.

 

Table Rock

On Sunday, June 7, I woke up in Dolly Copp campground to a beautiful morning. After breakfast and coffee I cleaned up camp and hit the road, this time back north.

I was headed to visit a friend from High School, Elysia, and her boyfriend. She is in a little town in New Hampshire about an hour north of Mt. Washington. We hadn’t seen each other for 9 years since high school, and when I arrived it was a welcome reunion. We chatted for a bit and shared stories of the past 9 years. Elysia suggested that we go to do a local hike in Dixville Notch, NH that she loves called Table Rock and so we were off.

The three of us piled in a car, grabbed some sandwiches for lunch at the top, and headed out. It was a short drive and then a relatively steep hike but much shorter than Imp Face I had done the day before. We were chatting the whole hike so I didn’t take out the camera until the top, but it was a pretty rewarding climb.

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First you arrive at a little “overlook” where you can see the formation called Table Rock. From here it was a slight hike back down and to the left from this vantage point, then a climb up onto the rock.

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Once you climbed up the top, you can see the drops off both side.

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This climb is right next to a place called The Balsams Resort. It looks like an old castle to me. It’s closed currently and I gather it’s a big deal in the area as it employed a large number of people in the town.

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After lunch we made the hike back down and drove a very short distance to a pull-off just below Table Rock. From here we got a good vantage point of where we had just been.

DSC01163 DSC01166Aaron and E 2015-06-07After such a rewarding hike we went back to their place and hung out. Kyle cooked an amazing dinner and Elysia taught me some beginners drums. We listened to some Piebald and kept catching up. All in all, a great visit.

In the morning I had a long drive ahead of me, so I woke up with Elysia when she needed to go to work. She brought me to a stellar breakfast spot called Mostly Muffins and I gave her a ride to work. Then I headed out to continue my journey as she headed in to work for the day.

I had a really great time hanging out with both of you, Elysia and Kyle. You put me right at home and showed me a great time and I would love to come visit again as soon as I can.  Stay in touch, stay classy.

 

Mount Washington

Note: to see the full gallery of photos from this trip, see this post.

On Friday June 5, after my visit with Ronnie and Amanda there was still some good daylight. And from the looks of it on the ground, the fog had pretty much cleared all the way at the tops of the presidential mountains, including Mount Washington. So I headed back to the Auto Road entrance and went inside to ask about taking a ride up.

The minimum load is 2 people for one of the “stages” to take a run up the mountain, so I waited for the next group to join. I sat outside and warmed in the sun, while getting a few shots from the base lodge.

DSC00848After about 20 minutes I was able to join in a group that filled one of the vans with me in the front. So we were off! The ride is about a half hour up the road with a few stops along the way. The driver did a good job with the guided tour. I was definitely interested in what he had to say, which mainly consisted of history of how the mountain formed and descriptions of what we were seeing and why. It is pretty interesting how there are different climate zones along the mountain, with the top being sub-arctic climate. In the half hour we drove about 8 miles and up 4,618 ft. As the driver spoke, I snapped a few shots.

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If you look real close in the about shot, you can see the rocky outcrop of Imp Face on the left side of the shot. I was there in the morning and it was too foggy to see anything. It would have been a great view at this point in the day.

DSC00863 DSC00906DSC00917 DSC00930 DSC00939When we made it to the top, we had an hour to walk around and check things out before we went back down. Part of that included walking the final 15 feet up to the actual summit of the mountain, marked with a path and a sign. One of the neat things at the top is that there are no trees anywhere because they can’t grow up that high. So in order to mark the hiking trails, rather than marking trees like they do lower on the path, there are piles of rock called cairns. I also found the buildings fascinating especially with the measurement equipment and the radio communications equipment.

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In this last shot, you can see both the base of the auto road where we left from, and Imp Face if you look hard enough.

Then after the hour at the top, we went back down. It was about the same time down and the driver talked about some more stuff, but really I was interested in the road itself.

DSC01128We made it! I went back to Dolly Copp to get ready for bed.

You can find the rest of the photos here.