Marvellous Mystic and Montauk

Our next port of call was Connecticut, where we went to see Mystic Seaport, one of the best museums I have ever been to and definitely well worth a visit. It was here at the seaport that the weather finally broke – rather dramatically. As we began to explore the open-air museum, the heavens opened and it rained – really rained! We are used to rain in Scotland, of course, but this was something else! As we ducked and dived between whaling ship, whaling museum, 19th Century general store and blacksmith’s forge etc. we were absolutely drenched! Still, we had some wonderful conversations with the knowledgeable staff and volunteers, learned a lot and had a great time. Still, we had only seen a fraction of what there was to see there.

We stayed at the lovely, historic Whalers Inn in Mystic and headed out for a drink that evening. As luck would have it, we stumbled into a local bar which had the friendliest clientèle ever! They helped us plan our journey to Montauk, Long Island the following day and we had a great chat. We would have loved to linger longer here. Fortunately though, with the help of the friendly locals, we established that we could spend a little longer in Mystic the following morning and so could return (on the same tickets) to see more of what we had missed at Mystic Seaport.

After seeing more of Mystic Seaport, which again we thoroughly enjoyed, we took the ferry from New London to Orient Point. It was the 11th September and we were moved to see a number of tributes to those lost in the tragedy as we made our way towards Montauk.

Long Island traffic was rather frenetic, but we made it to Montauk in time to take a quick look at the lighthouse on the point and to visit the beach before it got dark.

The day ended with a pleasant surprise as our standard motel room in the Hamptons was upgraded to a suite! That was a pleasant turn of events on what was, sadly, our final day in the States.

Reluctant as we were to end our holiday, we were still glad to be going home to our dog, our chickens, our garden and our lives here. Fingers crossed that we will be able to return again before too long.

Provincetown, Cape Cod

Belatedly, let me relate the next part of our adventure. After leaving Boston we took a quick look at Harvard and some of the University buildings before we headed south, making our way out and around the beckoning finger of Cape Cod.

After the mosquitoes that we had all those problems with earlier in the trip, we guiltily decided that we would not camp but would stay in indoors accommodation for the last few days of our trip. We took a room at the Harbor Hotel in Provincetown.

The hotel/motel was delightfully Mad Men style, familiar from so many movies and television programmes. It had wonderful views over Cape Cod Bay which we enjoyed from the outdoors terrace after taking a look around baking Provincetown.

Provincetown was busy bustling and filled with an interesting mix of tourist tat and interesting galleries. We sat on a bench dedicated to the dogs that came over the Mayflower. It was a really dog-friendly place – shame we could not sneak our dog on the plane!

At the hotel, we met a friendly lady who was visiting with her mum and sisters – she too keeps chickens and we had a chat about our set up here and compared notes.

We felt a little guilty about not camping – even more so as we sat, that evening after dark, around a gas powered outdoors camp fire! Such a non-sustainable and crazy idea and one that seemed to be fitting considering our decision to eschew our usual real camp fire and tent pitch.

Gloucester, Salem and Boston

The following day we moved on again, both of us feeling rather more cheerful though both now pretty itchy too. We did a little of what we had planned to do the day before but which I had felt rather to tired and drained to do. We took a quick look around Gloucester, which we felt was an honest and ‘real’ place and which we both liked. The oldest seaport in America had definitely left us with a good, if fleeting, first impression.

We then made our way to Salem where, since we did not have much time, we decided to visit the Witch House, an interesting museum where the judge of the Salem Witch Trials once lived with his family. I understand that this is the only building in Salem still standing that has a connection to those events and if only for that reason, it was worth a visit. We also saw a number of historic houses in the neighbourhood.

We would have liked to have spent a little more time in Salem but we also wanted to have time to see Boston so we moved on. We checked into the Milton Hotel, in Boston in the mid afternoon and set out right away on foot to see some of what Boston had to offer. We walked across Boston Common and began to follow the red line of bricks that marks the Freedom Trail. We got a good taste of the city before retiring to the hotel for the night.

Finally Going!

We have been living in our new home for almost a year now and are about eleven months into living more sustainably. We’ve made a lot of headway here with the garden and food growing in particular. But we haven’t been away anywhere in ages! I am very excited now because my husband and I are heading off tomorrow morning. We are celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary with a trip across the pond – we’re flying out to New York and then taking a camping trip around New England!

I will try to post a few updates as we take our whistle-stop tour.

Botanic Gardens and Home Growing Update

Yesterday I took the littlest one on a trip to the Botanic Gardens in St. Andrews, our nearest town. It was another delightfully warm and sunny day and we spent several hours there. Everything was lush and blooming.

Blossoms Botanic Gardens 3 Botanic Garden 2

They have gone out of their way there to make it a fun experience for children. We took a path through the gardens called the ‘Gruffalo Trail’ – with models and activities based on the kid’s book.

Gruffalo Trail 2 Gruffalo Trail

Not all the animals were models. We saw this grey squirrel while we were having a picnic.

Grey Squirrel

It was lovely to see all the plants they have growing there, both outside and in the hot-houses.

Greenhouse 1 Cacti

Meanwhile, at home, we too have lots growing – though our operations are not quite on the same scale, of course! Many of my squash, pumpkins and cucumbers have germinated and are sprouting in double quick time. The mixed salad is also now sprouting prolifically in the polytunnel and all the plants in there are growing more quickly since the weather has been so lovely over the last week or so.

Solar Eclipse

Today we were given cause to think far outside our little bubble of existence here as we stood outside in perfect spring weather and watched the solar eclipse.

Telescope all set up.
Telescope all set up.

We had a telescope and also some of the special glasses and since we were lucky to escape the cloud that covered much of the UK, we had a really, really good view. We were even able to see some sun spots through the telescope. Our postman came by and he had a look too – delighted to get a glimpse as he made his rounds.

I saw the partial eclipse back in the ’90s but when we went up to John O’Groats to watch the last eclipse we were unlucky – dense cloud cover obscured everything. So we could not believe how lucky we were with the weather today. What with this being Scotland – nothing was guaranteed!

A comfortable set up to watch the partial eclipse.
A comfortable set up to watch the partial eclipse.

The birds twittered like crazy as the world got darker, then went very quiet and disappeared from the garden feeders when we reached max. occlusion before they re-appeared en mass a minute or two later being very chatty again.

I like to think of all the other people in far flung locations who were all doing the same thing as us.