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Archive for February, 2013

The quintessential New England town, Woodstock, Vermont, nestled among mountains, rivers and meadows, must surely be one of the most photographed areas anywhere.

Settled in 1761 and named for a town in England, Woodstock grew as its industrial offerings became apparent. The Ottauquechee River ( the name means winding waters ) provided power; it snakes through the region and into the town’s picturesque center.

Walking through the quaint main street, there are shops with everything from handcrafts to toys and books, plus a variety of eating establishments for all ages and preferences. For a luxurious accommodation, the Woodstock Inn cannot be rivaled. It is historic and a graceful establishment in the center of town with the most wonderful old fireplace glowing in its lobby. The place is inviting with its hospitality and Colonial atmosphere.

All within walking distance, the array of interests are also blessed with a picturesque stone bridge, and beneath it, a babbling brook. Along one side of the brook is a bank with picnic benches – it’s a great place for a hot coffee or cider break in the cold, and a sneaky place to enjoy an ice cream cone in the summer. It feels like you’re hiding in that peaceful little spot.

One-hundred and forty miles north of Boston, one-hundred and ninety miles south of Montreal, Woodstock is centrally located in the state, just a few miles from the famed Killington ski area and the world-famous Quechee Gorge.

While Columbus Day Weekend (this year from October 12 to 14 ) is an incredible time in Vermont for wondrous foliage, that is the one time I would advise you to plan ahead if you want to visit Woodstock – the place is literally stuffed with visitors and accommodations are not there without advanced reservations. Autumn is definitely prime time in New England, but Woodstock is serenely beautiful at all times of the year. Christmas there is much like a painting – old-fashioned decorations and spirit dance in the streets. A major point of interest would be the covered bridges easily accessable by walking in town.

Selling my primitive paintings and novels in Quechee, I am there often and find the few more miles to Woodstock well worth the time in going there. I don’t think there’s a prettier route in the world than route 4 from White River Junction, New Hampshire to Rutland. After Rutland, a few miles to the west and you’re in the state of New York. The ride across Vermont takes a couple of hours, depending on how many stops you make. The entire area is a feast for your eyes.

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I so love that phrase, come to the sea with me, that I actually painted a sign with that sentiment and have it hung in my home. What invitation could be more romantic? And since my writing is laden with romance, even though much of what I write embraces the world of suspense ( see, I even use the word embrace when referring to suspense – can’t escape from romance and I don’t want to), I tend to apply romance to everything, especially the sea.
One hour north of Boston, Hampton Beach is endowed with total beauty. New England is fortunate to host the shores – we are almost greedy in what we have here. At Hampston Beach, I was surprised the first time there by it’s great stretch of sand and surf – not all beaches seem so extensive. Having been there recently, and in all seasons it is terrific, I was reminded of what a magnificant place it is. I am a rock collector. No beach goes untouched by me, but I don’t take anything huge – sometimes just a pretty pebble. I have a yard filled with stones and massive rocks, but I keep bringing more home and creating more rock walls strewn with shells among the rocks. It’s a tiny bit weird seeing shells in the woods where I live, but I don’t care – It’s pretty to see the white shapes among the varying colors of rocks.
Getting back to Hampton Beach, if you have not been there, you will love it. It has something for everyone – fireworks on the beach during the summer months on Wednesday evenings, fried dough to fine cuisine, amusements for the kids, great and numerous accommodations, terrific surfing, and best of all, the incredible Atlantic Ocean. There isn’t a grain of sand you won’t love – no one could possibly be bored or in anyway disappointed. Go :>)

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For those of you in New England, I’m sure you’ve tucked yourselves in against the snow storm. Although I’m looking forward to a real winter day or two ( this one so far has been a bit wimpy), I keep hoping that the weathermen are wrong AGAIN and that we aren’t going to lose our power in a full-fledged storm. We’ve prepared. There’s a lean-to we assembled outside where we can place bird seed over the next few days, and our pets are in and safe. Good luck to all of you in the area.

A place not far from where we live on the south shore of Massachusetts is Lakeville. The town is aptly named, there are lakes and ponds dotting the land. One of them is quite large and seems to draw kayak enthusiasts.

Once part of Middlebourough, Lakeville became an independent town in 1853. The population there is about ten thousand, which gives the town the feeling of country, homes have ample yards – it is a place where horses roam in nicely fenced meadows.

Located in southeastern Massachusetts, the town is just twenty miles west of Plymouth, twenty miles north of New Bedford, thirty miles east of Providence, RI, and forty miles south of Boston. Routes 18 and 105 will take you there.

Our journey there, which takes about thirty minutes, is from route 106 in Halifax to 105, through forests and farmland, and in the summer and fall, to farmstands for the best apples and pumpkins. It’s like being in another world on 105 – time seems to stand still, it’s refreshing. At the end of 105 and at the intersection of 18, there is a cafe called Somethin’s Brewin’. The place is charming – it’s built of fieldstone and was once the Lakeville town library. It is now a great p[lace for a sandwich and coffee, and there’s a reading room where visitors may sit with a book from their shelves, and buy it if you like it. The books are generally old and reasonable to purchase – there are also books from local authors available. Between the food, atomosphere and the books, you have it all. They also offer children FREE used books when accompanied by a parent. Kids love it.

If you are into baseball, you might find it interesting to know that Boston’s Ted Williams once ran a baseball camp for youths in Lakeville – the camp is still there.

While my intention is to introduce you to Lakeville, I hope that knowing you’re close to Plymouth, New Bedford and Providence tempts you further. It’s a wonderful area, filled with beauty and history. I tend to favor the north with the mountains and the coast of Maine, but Lakeville is close and makes a great day, or half-day, journey filled with interest. My motto is “Don’t postpone joy” – we’ve been in precarious positions and I know too well that life can be taken suddenly – it’s important to go out and see new things, just as it is important to love home. I think it gives us a new perspective to see something beyond our own walls.

I hope you’ll enjoy Lakeville, and a good cup of tea or coffee at Somethin’s Brewin’.

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