On Golden Pond

Also Known As: Squam Lake located in the Lakes Region of central New Hampshire. Squam Lake was originally called Keeseenunknipee, which meant “the goose lake in the highlands”. In the early 19th century, the lake was given an Abenaki name, Asquam, which means “water”. Finally, in the early 20th century, Asquam was shortened to its present version, Squam.

The 1981 film On Golden Pond was filmed in the town of Center Harbor on Squam Lake. Squam Lake is a nesting site for common loons and is a good place to see them in breeding plumage during the summer months. Bald eagles and great blue herons are also known to nest on the lake.

Me, I come for the loons, and I have yet to be disappointed…

Squam Lake Science Center

Squam Lake Science Center, New Hampshire, is on my must see list, every time I am in New England. It has grown since I started going over 20 years ago. Open meadows, mature forests, and marsh boardwalks connect interactive natural exhibits where native animals reside: black bears, mountain lions, raptors, river otters, bobcats, and more.. This year they even had dinosaurs! Quite the adventure. I had to admit, the dinosaurs made me a little nervous (in a good way).

Flume Gorge

I remember visiting the Flume Gorge when Alissa was young over 20 years ago. We hiked the gorge with my sister Jean and my nephews Michael and John. Along the trail I told stories of fairies and bears. Alissa was quite used to my fantastical stories, her cousins though were not. And I remember Michael specifically was only interested in stories that were real. Here’s some pictures from the summer of 1995.

Back to the Flume: The Flume is a natural gorge extending 800 feet at the base of Mount Liberty. The walls of Conway granite rise to a height of 70 to 90 feet and are 12 to 20 feet apart.  What I love about the flume in the summer is how much cooler it is inside. This was my first fall walk, and the drop in temperature was less dramatic. Below are some pictures from this visit.

Birds of Vermont Museum

I am surprised I never visited the Birds of Vermont Museum in all the years of visiting my sister in New Hampshire and for my winter season of residence in East Burke. The Birds of Vermont Museum is where natural history meets art. It started with a parakeet In 1938, when Bob Spear was 18 years old, a stray parakeet flew into the woodshed on their Colchester, Vermont, farm and became the model for his first wood carving. By 1987, Bob had carved 321 birds. That’s when the official opening was celebrated with champagne. By 2013 the museum had 500 carved birds. Maybe carving birds could be in my future – if I can keep it to small hand tools.

Friday the 13th – Harvest Moon

Not only is it Friday the 13th! – It’s the first night of Septembers Harvest full moon. Join me in my monthly ritual and fill your favorite drinking glass with a beverage of your choice and toast to living the dream, or dreaming the dream. Toast to family, friends, health, and wellness.

A full moon on Friday the 13th is an extremely rare occurrence. The last full moon visible across the U.S. on Friday the 13th was Oct. 13, 2000. The next one isn’t expected to happen again for another 30 years—on Aug. 13, 2049. The moon will also appear about 14% smaller because of its distance from Earth, which led to the September full moon’s additional nickname: “Micro Moon.”

Why does this day have such a supernatural vibe and why is there so much superstition around it? References to Friday the 13th date back to Medieval times but some believe that it was inspired by the Bible. At the Last Supper, Judas, who went onto betray Jesus to the Romans, was the 13th person at the table, potentially inspiring further fears of the number 13. Moving through to the Middle Ages, references to Friday being an unlucky day in general appear as early as the 14th century. The Canterbury Tales writer, George Chaucer wrote: “On a Friday fell all this mischance.”Then there are the Knights Templar. The Catholic military order was arrested on Friday the 13th in October 1307 by order of King Philip IV.

Harvest Moon

Saratoga Spa State Park

The state of New York does it again. Like Niagara Falls State Park, the state restored the Saratoga Springs area from an industrial wasteland back to a more natural state: Saratoga Spa State Park. I enjoyed the day hiking around and visiting 9 0f the 13 springs in the park. I tasted the waters at each of the springs, and they were not my favorite. The water was very salty – all different sorts of salty based on the depths of the springs. I did like the bubbles, and I rinsed my hands and arms in the water and my skin was soft afterwards. I found a few “art in the park” pieces. Tomorrow I am going to indulge myself in a mineral bath and massage at the Roosevelt Baths & Spa.

During the 14th century the Iroquois were initially attracted to the area for its hunting. The high salt content in the waters attracted animals to the site. They guarded the springs with secrecy. It was their belief that the springs had special healing powers and that the spring were a gift from the great spirit. Eventually the Iroquois introduced the early settlers to the springs as a cure for ailments. By the mid 1800s bathing in the mineral waters had become a popular treatment and several bathhouses came into operations. Saratoga had become the seasonal “watering hole” for the rich and famous. By 1880, private industry also discover also discovered a use for the springs. Over 200 mineral water wells were in operation, may used for the extraction of carbon dioxide gas, Inevitably, this process became abused by 1908 and the state of New York stepped in and passed the anti-pumping legislation, followed by the formation of a state reservation to protect the mineral waters.

Lake Ontario

I visited both the North Shore (Turtle Point Provincial Park – ON) and South Shore (Fairhaven Beach State Park, NY) of Lake Ontarion the smallest of the Great Lakes. In the Huron language, the name Ontarí’io means “Lake of Shining Waters”. The last in the Great Lakes chain, Lake Ontario serves as the outlet to the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawrence River. It is the only Great Lake not to border the state of Michigan.

I have spent the last 7 weeks around the Great Lakes. I am going to miss them as I head east to New England and eventually the Atlantic Coast.