The Twelve Mile Circle has a split personality, part travelogue part geo-oddity freak show. I’m in Maine at the moment so I will be focusing on the former. Those of you who enjoy the trivia better than the travel may want to check back in about a week. I’m about to embark on a series of posts focused on southeastern coastal Maine. As is usually the case I will put more emphasis on photos than text, and will elaborate further at some later date on the permanent site.
No, this isn’t Maine. Actually it’s downtown Hartford, Connecticut. We’re on a driving vacation and Hartford was about the halfway point where we stopped overnight. It’s dawn and we’re about to embark on the second leg of our drive up the northeastern corridor of the United States. Venus appears near the top, just right of center, in this image.
The previous evening we met Steve of the Connecticut Museum Quest in person. I’ve noted my interest in Steve’s CTMQ several times on my site, and he has commented many times on various posts here so his name is probably familiar to you if you’ve been reading Twelve Mile Circle for awhile. It’s always fascinating to meet Internet people in person, and our respective families had a nice dinner at a local brewpub (I can’t imagine how we came up with that choice). My kids were on their very rare best behavior so I breathed a sign of relief that Steve didn’t feel compelled to call Child Welfare on me.
Steve also reminded me that we’d driven within a couple miles of the New Jersey highpoint earlier in the day, and that it’s one of those rare highpoints that doesn’t require a climb. I’ve already warned the family that we might, ahem, have to take a slight detour on the way back. We’ll see. Their limit is usually one geo-oddity per trip. I’m not sure they would accept both the Southwick Jog and the New Jersey highpoint so we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
On to Maine we drove, along with everyone else in New England. This leg should take a tad under five hours under optimal circumstances. It took us about seven and a half. The highway around Boston froze into absolute gridlock. The map geek in me started coming out after it took us an hour to move ten miles. I’d rather be moving between points than sitting in place even if that ultimately takes more time. There had to be a better way, and between the GPS, a paper road atlas and some common sense we forged into the rural hinterlands.
We bailed from the highway, cut up into New Hampshire and attacked Maine from the west. Ultimately it was like taking two sides of the triangle rather than the hypotenuse. This seemed totally natural to me but apparently to nobody else. While we had to slow down to 35 mph at every little town we experienced no further traffic for the remainder of our trip and certainly experienced the countryside from a vastly different perspective than the Interstate Highway System.
We arrived at our home for the week and we were invited to take as many blueberries as we liked from the garden in the backyard. Maine is famous for its blueberries and this is the time of the year when they ripen. This was a nice touch.
The Maine Lobster Festival is taking place in nearby Rockland this week, and I was ready for some lobster after that long drive. Lobsters met their fate in industrial-sized steaming vats nearby and went straight into the festival tent for serving. Earlier that day they’d been swimming in the Atlantic Ocean oblivious to their staring role a festival named in their honor. Now that’s what I’d call "fresh to the table."
My younger son had never seen a real lobster before. He thought it was a land animal and he kept warning me that lobsters were trying to run across the road as we drove along. Lobsters only go into the water to be cooked according to the logic of a 3-year-old.
The festival featured the usual carnival foods (if for some odd reason one didn’t want lobster pulled fresh from the sea), in other words, fried everything. Carnies hawked their games of chance and manned the rides of dubious safety. The sun set on Rockland and its lobster festival, as the lights of the carnival rides twinkled along the waterfront. All was well.