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Where I’ve been (the adventures continue)

Happy post-Fourth of July. I hope you enjoyed what scraps of freedom you have left in these strange and parlous times.

Although I left New England, I had further adventures and observations.


In one day, my companion and I crossed five states. By road.

Which sounds pretty impressive until you realize the states in that part of the world are scaled for Ken and Barbie. Did you know Delaware is 35 miles wide at its widest point (nine at its narrowest) and contains only three counties? I knew the states in the upper corner of the U.S. could be small, but until I crossed them (and crossed them again and again because one keeps turning into another), I could not have pictured.

This is what a real state looks like, people:


On another day, we traversed three mountain ranges.

Impressive! How intrepid! My god, what a legendary trek! We should be in the books with Roald Amundsen, John Muir, or Admiral Byrd.

Um, well, not so much, given that the “mountains” were the Berkshires, Catskills, and Poconos. Mountains? Are you people up there in the corner serious?






But let me not denigrate. SOME things in these parts were as impressive as anything I’ve seen in my life. This, for instance:

Not an art gallery, but a private home I was fortunate enough to be invited into, which contains what may be the world’s largest collection of a certain style of art. You’re looking at a dining room that seats 32 (usually always family members, not VIPs) and only maybe 10% of the overall collection. My companion and I spent most of a day there being treated like royalty by some of the nicest, kindest, most loving, most extraordinary people we’d ever met.

I’ve obscured details to protect privacy. But this was a wow on a scale unprecedented for little peasant me.


Other wows on the trip included lots of art by members of the great Wyeth clan, their extended family members, students, teachers, and far-flung connections.

I spent much time in the kind of places referred to as “leafy suburbs” — the kind that rarely admit We the Peasants unless we’re driving garbage trucks or arriving to put an addition on their homes (but that treated me more than kindly this time around). When I joked to one of my hosts that the only thing missing from their place was a small herd of thoroughbred mares and colts gamboling across the back acreage, they pointed out that the neighbors had those.

Oh, and I enjoyed another lobster roll, even better than the last. I’d have taken another picture, but I was too busy shoving precious lobster and toasted, buttered bun down my gullet. I’m usually a slow and polite eater, but not when it comes to my new favorite treat.

This lobster roll (oddly enough to this non-New Englander) came from some divey little burger stand that looked as if it hadn’t been updated since 1955. I guess that’s a New England thing — serving fancy seafood in the un-fanciest of locations — but it sure surprised me. Between the treat I ordered, a single soft drink, and the clams my companion scarfed down, lunch for two, served in the standard little red-checked paper throwaway baskets and eaten on sticky tables outside, napkins optional, cost $97 — which fortunately I did not have to pay.

Yes, many, many unprecedented experiences for me.


My next blog entry will be something beyond a travelogue. Promise. In the meantime it was nice to get away, see parts of the world I’ve never seen, and remember that the U.S. has a storied past and (in places) a prosperous present, even if it is plunging heedlessly toward a cliff.


  1. Simon Templar
    Simon Templar July 5, 2021 12:14 pm

    “Delaware is 35 miles wide at its widest point (nine at its narrowest) and contains only three counties”

    The people in this small place have done outsized damage to the rest of us for decades in the person of Joe Biden.

  2. Comrade X
    Comrade X July 5, 2021 12:16 pm

    If you are not family then you must be the VIP (and that was intended as a compliment)!

    Lobster; my mate had one to celebrate the 4th last night too, I should have but went the prime rib way as usual, I’m so boring, lobster is so much more exciting.

    It gives me great pleasure of hearing about your wonderful trip!

    What amazes me is how so many people don’t want to recognize or really prepare for the plunge they will be taking soon, it is kinda like if we pretend it isn’t happening it won’t.

  3. Myself
    Myself July 5, 2021 12:26 pm

    If you get to Maine, try a bucket of steamers, with a cold beer

  4. Fred M
    Fred M July 5, 2021 12:46 pm

    Claire it appears that you are having more fun than you have had in years. All the visual stimulation and new foods, and friends. You found a new best food–lobster rolls, but did you know that at one time lobster was not so highly prized? The New Englanders use to catch so many lobsters that the farmers started using them as fertilizer in their fields (an old Indian trick). Now that’s a shame. Years ago, back in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s I worked with one of the Wyeth’s, he was not a painter but a Wyeth nonetheless, and he had nothing but good to say about his family. I like your friend. 😎
    There are mountains in the Northeast, maybe not as high as the Rockies, but they are older and have lost much of their cragginess due to weathering. The Rockies are relatively new and still exhibit angularity in their rock formations and peaks; in time they too will be worn down. If you want to see mountains you should come to Texas. 😎 Only kidding. Our high point couldn’t be more than a few hundred feet, but we start from a higher base. You are on a traveling roll…stay with it and visit all the places you’ve read about but have never been to. Do it now before the door closes.
    God Love you Claire.

  5. Granny
    Granny July 5, 2021 2:59 pm

    How glorious Claire!! I recall my parents’ stories of living in Boston as poor college students. They, and their friends, would boil water in a garbage can (clean of course!) and drop in live lobsters and corn on the cob. Lobster back in the 50’s was probably cheap fare.

  6. Jolly
    Jolly July 6, 2021 6:14 am

    The other weird thing about New England – the number of towns with the same stupid name is ridiculous…Lebanon, Troy, Plymouth, Berlin, Newport, Concord, Springfield, Grafton, Ashland, etc. etc…Oh, and practically all the same names in Ontario…Did you partake of ice cream? That’s another “thing” up here in New England. Get the “baby” size, as all the other sizes start at heavy cruiser and end-up as aircraft carriers…


  7. Toirdhealbheach Beucail
    Toirdhealbheach Beucail July 7, 2021 6:16 am

    Thank you for sharing your travels Claire. It is still good to remember that there are plenty of lovely things to see, even in the midst of all that is going on.

    The relative closeness of the states and their lack of elevation is amusing to me as well.

  8. Just Waiting
    Just Waiting July 7, 2021 9:29 pm

    Now you see why so many want to get out of there. It’s flat.

    Did you make it to the ocean anywhere? Not a single rock or stack anywhere. Houses, then sand, then water. And more water.

  9. larryarnold
    larryarnold July 10, 2021 10:37 am

    Now you see why so many want to get out of there. It’s flat.

    I set a story in the Texas Panhandle one time. Negotiating with the cover artist, I asked for a new 1800s farmhouse (that’s when the story was set), described the characters, and said the background was flat.

    I got back house, couple, and rolling hills.

    Among other details, I told her the background should be flat.

    I got back low hills.

    So I sent her a picture of the Panhandle, like;

    She sent back “God! That’s FLAT.”

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