Ancestor Tour of England

I joined 29 of my cousins, all Stukely Westcott descendants, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of his marriage to Juliana Marchant (my 8th Great Grandparents) on October 5th, 1619, in the beautiful 14th century St John The Baptist church in Yeovil, UK . Our trip made the Yeovil Papers

While there we also visited St. Mary’s of Battersea where Benedict Arnold, (my 3rd Cousin 6 x removed) was buried with his wife and daughter. Benedict Arnold’s life may have ended badly but was once a patriotic war hero valued by George Washington and admired by his men.

We visited Plymouth, one of Englands original trading posts, it was the point that the Mayflower set sail on its famous voyage (including William Bradshaw the father of my 2nd great uncle). It is also where Sir Frances Drake set sail from; Juliana Marchant is the granddaughter of Captain John Marchant (my 10th great grandfather) who sailed with Drake against the Spanish Armada. I found a sign on a building pointing to another potential cousin.

From there we moved on to Exeter Cathedral, founded in 1050 by Edward the Confessor (who went on to found Westminster Abbey, London) where John de Wescote (my 20th Great Grandfather) was Canon Residentiary from 1216-1272.

Afterwards we visited the city of Bath to view the ancient thermal baths, and have afternoon tea at the Pump Room. (I can imagine Jane Austin roaming these streets and visiting the Pump Room as well.

We motored through the rolling hills of Cotswolds, bubbling brooks and quaint villages before continuing on to Stratford-Upon-Avon to visit Anne Hathaway’s cottage.

On our way back to London we stopped at Oxford for a short tour of England’s first University City. It was quite fascinating to learn about the life of the students and the 36 colleges there.

Some of the other things I was excited to see was Stonehenge and the Rosetta Stone, Big Bend, the Eye, London Bridge, the Tower of London, some of the Queen’s horsemen, and other cool exhibits at the British Museum.

All in all a very enjoyable and educational jam packed bustling trip. We covered a lot of miles, and saw the beautiful English countryside.

I am very excited to be back on the Road in Bob heading south for the winter at a much slower pace.

From Sea to Shining Sea

America truly is beautiful. I have completed my trek across the north half of North America.

Oh, beautiful for spacious skies

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain!

And crown thy good with brotherhood

And all creatures great and small

From sea to shining sea.

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