“The swallow has set her six young on the rail, and looks seaward.” James Lee’s Wife (1864, pt 3 st.1), Robert Browning
Before Autumn takes over the North American landscape, a quick look-back at one summertime highlight deserves mention. Ghosts abound in Maine, so if you are interested in observing one go to the Captain Lord Mansion in Kennebunkport, Maine, along the Atlantic sea shelf.
Captain Nathaniel Lord, a shipbuilder, had the home built in 1812, and his family lived there until 1972, when it became a boarding house for elderly women. In 1978, the mansion was remodeled into a Bed and Breakfast Inn, one of many inviting B&Bs in this small town by the sea. The first reported appearances of a lady apparition began after the mansion opened as a B&B. The woman dressed in a nightgown apparently usually spends her time in the Lincoln Bedroom Suite on the second floor. She may be Lord's wife. The Lincoln Bedroom formerly was the Wisteria Room, which means "remembrance of the dead."
In July, I resided for awhile at the slightly older and smaller Captain Jefferds Inn next door to the mansion. The large yellow house next door, its yard full of partiers, intrigued me but I didn't know about the rogue ghost lady habitating with tourists. Capt. Jefferds family, by contrast, didn't leave anyone behind. Breakfasts at Capt. Jefferds though were a feast, attended at one table by disparate individuals collected by fate and sorted by palate. On the first morning, my neighbor at the trough, a well-travelled and tanned man, on vacation with his family from Maryland, wondered how I had managed to visit so many worldly places and inquired if perhaps I worked at "the Agency." My puzzled look went unnoticed and so I had to ask "what agency?"
"The CIA, of course," he answered.
"Oh, no; I never worked for them." He seemed satisfied with my reply.
At Capt. Jefferds you can partake of afternoon tea and lemonade and homemade sweets in the sunroom. The fridge is generously filled with bottled water and soda; a cookie jar features homemade oatmeal/oatmeal cookies. This 1803 year-old inn offered up breakfasts at a mahogany communal table, or more intimate tables for two in the dining room.
Another of well-known fine accommodations/inns in or near Dock Square is the Kennebunkport Inn.
Kennebunkport is one of the wealthiest communities in the state of Maine, but in summer it is a haven for anyone who wants to pretend to be upper class.
Kennebunkport is the summer home of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, father of former U.S. President George W. Bush. First built by Bush's maternal grandfather George Herbert Walker, it has been a family home ever since. The Bush compound is on Walkers Point, called Point Vesuvius prior to the Walker family's acquisition.
Biking around Kennebunkport is essentially the transport of choice for any halfway adventurous visitor, although at times a contest of cars and bikes can lift the blood pressure of participants. Fortunately, courtesy and patience seems sufficient to go around.
Dock Square in the easily negotiated downtown hosts boats and shoppers and gourmet seafood tasters; and meetings of old friends who may find the friendly pubs a place to rendezvous in a politically neutral space. I reconnected with a college classmate and his wife there and discovered we had not aged at all. Nor had our opinions changed much. As in college we could tolerate each other. The occasion was of course smoothed by the relative relaxing touch of old New England ambiance, some good brews (coffee and beer) and stomach candy. The Dock Square Coffee House at 6:00 am should not be missed (but that may mean you will miss your B&B breakfast selection; it's a toss up).
The weather mix along New England's shores so far north (in Maine) is both changeable and tolerable most of the year (even in winter, I hear). Of course, taking a dip in the ocean may be bracing and requires some courage, at least at first. But in summer you will be surrounded with many first-timers from southern climes who at least are willing to stroll in the surf perhaps up to their ankles. I deferred on this my first visit from DC. My new CIA acquaintance and his friends and family chose the whale watch cruise and apparently were rewarded with an exciting first-hand close encounter(s). At least that was his fish story at the next breakfast table.