A MAIN STREET IN MAINE

Those trying to make the place trendy like to call it SoBe.
Those trying to make the place trendy like to call it SoBe.

South Berwick, just across the Salmon River from us, has a downtown block that retains an iconic appearance. The town is also home to Berwick Academy, a private prep school.

 

The writing on the wall touts Dover, in New Hampshire just to the west.
The writing on the wall touts Dover, in New Hampshire just to the west.

ONE SIGN OF AMERICA’S CHANGING TASTES

Out in the middle of seemingly nowhere in rural Vermont.
Out in the middle of seemingly nowhere in rural Vermont, I thought this was farm equipment.

Yes, you expect a range of ethnic foods in any big city, and many smaller ones, including the place I call home, now feature a range of international dining options. But when you’re driving mile after mile inhabited mostly by cows, you’re surprised to find anywhere to eat, apart from the occasional convenience store gas station. You know, hot dogs accompanied by potato chips and soda.

This, though, was enough to make me swing around for a second look. As it turned out, they weren’t serving breakfast.

But this is what it turned out to be -- a taco stand! My, how America's mainstream tastes have changed!
Yes, this is what it turned out to be — a taco stand! My, how America’s mainstream tastes have changed!

 

ALONG THE SALMON FALLS

A view of Somersworth from the Salmon Falls River.
A view of Somersworth from the Salmon Falls River.

 

A dam atop the Great Falls connects Somersworth, New Hampshire, to Berwick, Maine. Last year's drought exposes both sides of the river.
A dam atop the Great Falls connects Somersworth, New Hampshire, to Berwick, Maine. Last year’s drought exposes both sides of the river.

The Salmon Falls, a river separating a section of Maine and New Hampshire, once powered mills along its way.

My fondness for old mills, by the way, did prompt a novel, Big Inca.

 

Gates for the Great Falls Manufacturing Co. controlled the flow of water to the mills in Somersworth.
Gates for the Great Falls Manufacturing Co. controlled the flow of water to the mills in Somersworth.

 

The mill run itself.
The mill run itself.

 

 

 

GRAY SEAL PARADISE

They seem to enjoy the backstroke. So do I.
They seem to enjoy the backstroke. So do I.

The deck of the Chatham Fish Pier is ideal for viewing gray seals in motion.

The town at the elbow of Cape Cod also includes Monomoy Island, an 8-mile-long sand spit that is home to thousands of the seals, as well as great white sharks feeding on them in recent years.

Seeing four at once is common here. Another had just dived where the gulls now flock.
Seeing four at once is common here. Another had just dived where the gulls now flock.

 

IMMORTALIZED IN STONE

It would be easy to pass by this stonework at the edge of Boston Common. The edge of the State House appears at upper left.
It would be easy to pass by this stonework at the edge of Boston Common. A corner of the State House appears at upper left.

 

The names of American Civil War heroes are engraved here.
The names of American Civil War heroes are engraved here. The other side, at street level, is Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ extraordinary memorial to their courage.

The rear of the stone structure supporting the Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw Memorial and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment is worth a close examination in its own right. Engraved here are the names of the soldiers, most of them from humble beginnings and circumstances, who would otherwise be lost to history if not for their heroic service and sacrifice.

Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.