12 Sep 2013 @ 1:49 PM 

I’ve been visiting my daughter in the ‘Port City’ of New Hampshire these last days of Summer. She has returned after living away from the seacoast for a couple of decades and is catching up on the history and culture of this vibrant city on the Piscataqua River.The river was named by the Abenaki tribe with their word for rapid waters. They weren’t kidding. The tidal currents are very powerful in from the Atlantic and the Gulf of Maine. The tide actually rises over 9 feet at  Portsmouth  and into  Great Bay, where there is a confluence of five river systems; the fresh water meeting the salt.

P9070472

A gundalow is a flat-bottomed  barge- type of cargo vessel constructed and operated in and around this estuary, and was designed to carry  timber and wares to settlers making their homes in this colony. With a draft of just 15 inches, it could be operated in shallow water and in close to shore. The Great Bay is rimmed with salt marsh and mud flats. Wares were loaded high onto the flat decks since there was no cargo hold. The forward mast was about 20 feet tall, and the long tapering spar, which bore the triangular ‘lateen’ sail, was lashed to the mast so it could be lowered to the perpendicular for passage under the river bridges, then raised again into the wind.
The non-profit  Gundalow Company  has re-created a gundalow, the “Piscataqua”, and conducts sailing tours for 4 miles up-river to the mouth and the Gulf of Maine.  Andrea has been volunteering as a deck hand.  As the boat moves away from the dock and into the river’s current, the volunteers encourage the passengers to help pull the ropes raising the sail on the spar.P9070476 P9070481P9070477 Moving past the historic Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, there are views of lighthouses and defensive emplacements along the shores.  The pleasant crew is very helpful in making it an enjoyable voyage back in time.  Coming-about and beginning the return journey, one can feel the relentless power of the surging waters.  A volunteer recounts the impossible attempts of those who tried a swimming escape from the shore-side prison still seen at Kittery, Maine.P9070504
Should you be lucky enough to find yourself in Portsmouth, whether climbing aboard the nuclear submarine “Albacore”,  sipping espresso at a sidewalk table in Market Square,  visiting Strawberry Banke , the nearby John Paul Jones house  or strolling the gardens at Prescott Park,  plan to spend a few leisurely hours on the brine with the knowledgeable crew of the “Piscataqua”.  The whole family will have a nautical blast!P9070474

Posted By: Bob
Last Edit: 19 Sep 2013 @ 08:03 AM

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 28 May 2013 @ 2:25 PM 

         YOU HAVEN’T MISSED ANYTHING…I’VE BEEN PREOCCUPIED WITH OTHER STUFF 

Lincoln NH

Took a road trip from central Florida last October for final observations on my wrist alterations.

First, as readers of this blog might remember, I had a wrist-replacement procedure at NE Baptist Hospital in Boston. Unfortunately it didn’t work out very well, and several months later I had to have all that hardware removed and a temporary fix put in place. Then I returned after the second surgery healed for the final, and originally unwanted, solution…I had my hand/wrist/arm locus permanently fused. The Carpal bones were joined and two Stanley Pins were inserted at my knuckle area, and extended through the Ulna to about mid-arm. I cannot bend my wrist to wave ‘goodbye’ anymore, so don’t leave.  But I can still rotate my wrist to open new doors!

All this has affected the gestures I’ve used in executing my paintings; my right hand has been dominant,  but I am adapting.  Most of my work has been on more detailed scenics;  landscapes and seascapes from my travels in the various RVs in decades past.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I have now sold my Class C Dodge motorhome, and shifted to a smaller shuttle-bus vehicle.  The plan is to utilize this vehicle in moving to show locations, and to do more in-studio painting.  I can take advantage of a more permanent set-up of easels and an array of works-in-progress….I like to work on many things at the same time.  RV living with a rear studio set-up  has always had a drawback (pun intended) ; working ‘on the road’ was the main reason I’ve worked in acrylics on hardboard. Space and drying time have been paramount. Screen Shot 2012-08-15 at 2.37.39 PM

Although I still employ that media and base for my paintings, I can go to larger pieces and broader brushwork as a way of living with the new physical restrictions.

I am currently finishing up all the east coast paintings that have required final strokes. Then I will shift into a spate of Florida subject matter…..something completely different!Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 3.04.58 PM

 

 29 Sep 2011 @ 3:25 PM 

Many years ago I worked with a gentleman who was a beekeeper, doing all sorts of interesting things, when not converting buses to motorhomes. We often made van runs from near Boston, Massachusetts, to Amherst, New Hampshire. We roved through the discarded metals and fabrications that had been abandoned in a scrap yard there.

On the way, we always pulled in to the seafood purveyor at Dover Point, just over the bridge (the old one,then) from Newington going west, and from Pease Airport in Portsmouth.

At about this time, my daughter went to work there, while attending the University of New Hampshire in Durham. She was a terrific waitress, and you were lucky if your table was at her station. The name of this place is NEWICK’S. Try to find fresher fare from the briny deep….I dare you. My favorite is, and was the Fisherman’s Platter (called a COMBO, with several offerings). In a huge barn-of-a place, the restaurant sports checkered vinyl tablecloths. There is real silverware, but the glasses and cups are of plastic and paper. There is a kind of outdoor picnic atmosphere….the huge windows around the entire seating area give proof to that openness. The shore…in this case, the shore of the Piscataqua River, leading to the Great Bay, and to Portsmouth harbor is just outside these windows. The catch comes ashore at the dock within view. Fried whole clams, haddock, scallops, onion rings, smelts, on a bed of french fries. Take your pick. Lightly breaded, and deep-fried to a honey-colored perfection (Jack, you can send my check to the address in your file).

Jack Newick is the proprietor still. The customers vary from tourists from all over, bankers, tradesmen, fishermen, students and foodlovers who know no bounds. On a recent trip from Concord to Portsmouth with my daughter  to a “Fishtival” at Prescott Park, near Strawberry Banke,  Andrea and I had appetizers there, but couldn’t drive past Newick’s without satisfying our palates, while watching the hunting skills of a blue heron out on the rocks.

Try it…you’ll find your way back, too.

 30 May 2011 @ 8:57 AM 

Whenever I visit a WALMART SUPERCENTER, which is a frequent experience for all RVers, I carry my refillable drinking water jugs in to the Culligan or Glacier water machine, to fill them from the water source with filtered, reverse-osmosis-treated, and delicious H2O. The cost per gallon is usually about 27 cents (by comparison,the Walmart drinking water is at least 78 cents in a throw-away jug!).

NO MORE!!! Walmart, in its constant profit-driven impetus, has removed those consumer-friendly machines in favor of their own supply of 5 gallon pre-filled jugs, showcased in huge racks that take up more floor space than the water machines, and which disallow the green-minded of us, a convenient system of providing the drinking water we can store effectively.

Is it about floor space in their newly-designed stores? Is it about aesthetics in removing those dispensers? Is it that re-fillers bring in their own recycled bottles and jugs?    Is it about a pure profit motive?

I vote for the latter!  The machines are installed, inspected and serviced by the manufacturer/suppliers. That the machines are not emblazoned with the WALMART logo may be a source of irritation to the world’s largest retailer.

They should be ashamed at this grab of one of the most important green-related activities that we RVers, and home owners could exercise. I won’t be surprised that their response will be mute.


Posted By: Bob
Last Edit: 31 May 2011 @ 08:50 AM

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 27 Aug 2010 @ 9:34 PM 

Some of the most interesting things for RV’ers to experience on the road are the many events held all around the country dealing with American history.

I have toured many battle sites for instance; from the Boston Tea Party and Bunker Hill in Charlestown, to Lexington and Concord. Places that help us remember the price of freedom, like Fort McHenry and Fort Sumter, or the many battlefields of the Civil War. Places of infamy such as Andersonville, and sites dipicting the Trail of Tears, when the Cherokee Nation was forced into the West. Little Big Horn.  We celebrate great victories in Yorktown and Washington’s raid across the Delaware.There are docked naval vessels of all conflicts,  from the Constitution (Old Ironsides) to the Nautilus atomic submarine.

All across the United States, whether your family were Confederate sympathizers or Yankee die-hards, there is a panoply of history in myriad locations, in every state;  places and things that interest most of us.

Old west mines and ghost towns like Virginia City, Nevada, Deadwood, South Dakota and Langtry,Texas where Judge Roy Bean dispensed the law west of the Pecos River. Wherever you travel there is something to remind you of the way things were, and often how far we have (or have not) progressed.

Museums abound in all parts of our nation that memorialize the progress of our industries, our arts and all aspects of our culture. The struggle for equanimity, for civil rights….you name it. Every sojourn in your RV can find you in a place of rich enlightenment for the whole family. The privilege of being able to bring your kids to the actual places is something we, with recreational vehicles don’t think of as a luxury…but it IS truly  that!

This week found me in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, where their second annual Living History Event took place on Saturday and Sunday. At four distinct sites around this town, which dates back to 1735 and is located north of Manchester and west of the capitol city of Concord, volunteers and townspeople remembered the 14th president Franklin Pierce, who was born here. There was a French and Indian war re-enactment and encampment true to the ways and customs of that time. A mounted cavalry performed a Civil War drill. The old center of Hillsboro (as it is often now known, thanks to the U.S.Postal Service) boasts an old schoolhouse, historic architecture, an old cemetery, and a work shop operated by a second- generation pewterer of great skill. His facility is like stepping back to another time in many ways, as well.  Downtown, in the section once known as Hillsboro Bridge (There were mills along the Contoocook River), stands an old firehouse which has been converted to a Heritage Museum, with artifacts from the town’s colorful history, including theater screens from the old movie house. Incidently, this town was also the birthplace of B.F. Keith, who built theaters across the country, and with his partner E.F.Albee, presented the country’s first moving pictures at their Bijou Theater in Boston. They went on to become the fathers of vaudeville, which captivated the American audience for fifty years (and until Ed Sullivan).  They took over the Orpheum  chain of ornate theaters and vaudeville circuit, and later, with Radio Pictures, became RKO (Radio/Keith/Orpheum). For many, Hillsborough is most famous for it’s stone arch bridges. Both single and double arches! There are six in all,  along Beard Brook and the Contoocook River (one is submerged, but still intact),all built originally without mortar.

Lots of activities for young and old marked this wonderful two days in just another New England town (but……NOT just any other….for so many) !

A Living History Event

Posted By: Bob
Last Edit: 29 Aug 2010 @ 03:19 PM

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