DiscussãoAll Things New England

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Fev 26, 2008, 9:57 am

All things Massachusetts here:

Editado: Fev 27, 2008, 4:47 pm

I've been posting all over the other topics. My folks have lived in Massachusetts since 1960 with a bit of Vermont break:
Mattapoisett (on Buzzards Bay) 1960-64
Chestnut Hill (Newton side) 1964-66
Brookline (two locations) 1966-1991
Wilmington, Vt 1991-2004
Stow, MA 2004-

One sister lives in Concord, the other lives in Harvard, MA. Most of my stepfather's family lives on the northshore (Salem, N. Reading, Danvers, Haverhill, etc) or adjoining areas of New Hampshire.

Only one reasonably close relative on my mother's side still lives in New England (small family) - Cambridge, MA, plus an in-law on Cape Cod (Yarmouth).

Editado: Fev 29, 2008, 2:53 am

My first post to Talk in LibaryThing was when I joined the Western Massachusetts History group. I began watching Users from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as soon as I saw it. In this group there are suddenly more messages than in the two combined Massachusetts groups.

I spent my first 17 years in Springfield then went away to college in upstate New York. After that I went far away. I read about the civilization of the Northeast in The Nine Nations of North America and agreed with it. I have been to some beautiful places, but whenever I went back to the Pioneer Valley I was struck by the beauty of the rolling hills and the forests.

I declare my self a displaced Yankee. I have made a new home elsewhere. Occasional injustices here remind me of occasional injustices back there. There is political corruption in every municipality. Uptightness strengthens West to East, and I don't think I could live with the high drama of the East coast anymore.

I subscribe to Yankee magazine. I have gathered books about my homeland, some already entered in LibraryThing tagged massachusetts and yankee, with some buried in other tags. Transcendentalism is a New England phenomenon, and it is half of my philosophy of living.

My ancestral roots are not deep in the Northeast, but when nationality came up in childish discussions, I claimed I was American, and all I knew was my neighborhood and what I learned in school. My maternal grandparents were from England of ostensible Scottish heritage; my mother was born in Worcestor. My paternal great-grandfather was from Germany; my father was born in Buffalo, New York. I could never get a straight answer about my paternal grandmother's ancestry. Lack of ancestral depth and antipathy to the Mayflower settlers notwithstanding, I am interested in the historical and even prehistorical depth of the Northeast, including the non-white builders of our nation -- boo to Daniel Webster, hurray for Frederick Douglass. Northeast native Americans were not a part of living history in my childhood, but we heard briefly of King Philip's War.


Fev 29, 2008, 4:51 pm

I liked The Nine Nations of North America also. I sometimes want to make a 10th nation ought of Appalachia. When I lived in Indianapolis, I did feel that the Foundry, Granary, and South came together in Indy, and that Joel Garreau was right on.

Sometimes, I've thought that Western Mass. would be a good place to retire to as I have relatives farther east in Mass. and my wife has relatives in the Utica-Rome area. Long Island is too expensive a place to retire in.

Fev 29, 2008, 5:07 pm

The Northhampton area and up in the Berkshires seem to be cool places. One has to go a long way to a port or to an airport from there. I would guess that train service would be spotty, probably even in Springfield. If the Navy had plunked me down there on my last tour, I might have stayed there and now be retired there.


Editado: Mar 1, 2008, 12:37 am

Northampton isn't hugely far from the Hartford-(Springfield) Airport, Bradley field; but the Berkshires aren't close to any major airport.

Amtrak runs one trip in each direction from Pittsfield & Springfield to Boston or Albany, NY. Springfield has six trains a day to Hartford, New Haven & New York; also one train a day up through Vermont to Montreal,

Peter Pan Bus Lines runs fairly frequent service from Northampton & Springfield to Boston, and has a reasonably good reputation. (Hourly?)

Mar 1, 2008, 1:27 am

It always seemed that one needed a friend or a rental car to get to Bradley.

When I was fourteen and when I was close to twenty I took the train from Springfield to New York City. The first time we hit a truck and were about eight hours late. The second time we were just a couple of hours late but for no good reason. I once caught a ride with a friend of a friend from Ithaca into the city and then caught a train to Springfield; I was amazed that it worked. This was before Amtrak.

I kinda deserved it, but I wasn't always up to asking my parents to pay for an airline (Mohawk Airways or Airlines) ticket from Ithaca to Springfield, so I would take the Greyhound bus. I hated it and don't think in terms of long distance bus rides anymore (urban commuting by bus is perfectly okay for me, however).

I think from May to October, the answer is a motorcycle. An old manual spark advance Indian Chief would be most appropriate. But it won't take you very far easily.

I have wondered how, like, Arlo Guthrie gets to the entertainment world from Great Barrington. I wonder if he catches flights from Albany.


Mar 1, 2008, 8:31 am

I have lived in Lenox, Lee and Pittsfield but I doubt I would consider The Berkshires for retirement, on the other hand, the Northampton area is a possibility.

Mar 5, 2008, 10:52 pm

I grew up in Amesbury. I swear it is one of the best places to live. 95 and 495 meet there. It is right on the border of NH, and a hop, skip and a jump away from Vermont or Maine. Plus the train to Boston finally runs all the way up there. OH, and it's only about 10 minutes from the ocean.

I miss the public library. That was one of my favorite places to be. I could get lost in the stacks for hours.

Unfortunately, I live in Texas now. I love it here, too. But I miss the ocean, and hills, and fall! (Texas only has 3 seasons: summer, winter, and "can't make up it's mind") The library here is rather small, though they redeem themselves with how able and willing they are whenever I have an ILL (interlibrary loan for those that don't know.)

I also miss the Boston Museum of Science. I swear, that is one of the greatest places on earth!

Mar 6, 2008, 8:09 am

megkrahl - one of my friends used to live in Amesbury before she got married. I agree a very beautiful town.

also my sister moved from RI to New Mexico...she is like you and misses the ocean and fall. Where she is she has two seasons. Hot and not hot. When she and her husband come to visit they always try to come in the fall.

Mar 6, 2008, 8:31 am

I lived in the SF Bay area for a year and was hugely disappointed in December when the leaves on the trees just turned brown and dropped without fanfare. That year, because of a bad drought, they had two seasons - green and brown (although I suspect that is their normal seasons).

Mar 6, 2008, 10:02 pm

Really? Where in Amesbury? It always amazes me when I run across someone with a connection just because it happens so rarely.

Mar 7, 2008, 10:39 am

I believe that she lived on Brown street. I remember it being near the exit from 95 and there was a friendly's nearby as well.

Mar 7, 2008, 10:32 pm

Yup, I know where that is. I lived closer to downtown on Powow St. Forever misspelled by everyone as Powwow St.

Maio 6, 2008, 9:15 pm

I met some Aussie LTers in Plymouth yesterday and I wanted to pass on that Plimouth plantation is delightful 1. without kids in tow or towing me, and 2. with people from 'away' :-) It's been about 12 or 13 years since I had been although much the same, there are some subtle differences. It has balanced the program even more to include Native American life preceeding the arrival of the Mayflower and they now include a good 14 minute movie as an introduction. I don't remember the fires going in the lodges of the Indian village the last time I was there.

Jul 24, 2008, 7:51 am

My daughter and I went out to Fruitlands in Harvard (the town, not the university) last week to see the Joe Wheelwright Tree Sculptures.

It was a hot humid day so we didn't take the trail to see all of them, but we saw perhaps 2/3rds of them. Some are 24 ft. high! If you haven't been to Fruitlands, it is a couple exits west of Rt. 495 off Rt. 2. They have a 'tea room' restaurant which this time of year is under a tent; fabulous food (a lunch will cost you around $15). Besides the Fruitlands farmhouse, there is the Harvard Shaker 'office', a Native American building, and a gallery sporting a lovely collection of art from the Hudson River school of painting.

The sculptures will be there for two years.

Jul 25, 2008, 4:36 pm

One of my sisters has worked with the Shaker exhibit on and off at Fruitlands. She lives in Harvard. She has worked with some of the manuscripts Shaker women wrote of live (diaries etc) from the 19th century, even having a "reading group" at some point.

Ago 27, 2008, 2:36 am

How interesting, Bob. One has to wonder what their diaries contain.

Ago 29, 2008, 11:17 am

Well, some of the diaries are long and span decades. I know that Roben and her husband David did some analysis of consumption (tuberculosis) by tracking Shaker records and these diaries.

Out 9, 2008, 1:14 pm

Here's some pictures taken in Concord yesterday. Forgot to take a picture of Hawthorne's grave and taking a picture of his wife's (his grave marker is a small stone marked "Hawthorne"). The Wayside was home to Hawthorne, the Alcotts and the woman who wrote The Five Little Peppers. The Orchard House was the Alcotts most permanent home, where Louisa wrote Little Women.

Out 9, 2008, 4:55 pm

Nice pictures.
My other sister lives in Concord.

Ago 30, 2009, 8:18 pm

I noticed on the front page of All Things New England there is a photograph of Edith Wharton's Berkshire home. How many other author's home in New England can a literature tourist visit. I live in Danvers, MA so I have been able to visit "The House of the Seven Gables" (Nathaniel Hawthorne), Louisa May Alcott's and Edith Wharton's but missed the home where Herman Melville lived at one time. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thank you,

Ago 30, 2009, 8:41 pm

I havenʻt been in Amesbury since early childhood. We did play them in football in h.s. in the 40s.

My mother believed that Amesbury was a mostly French-speaking town, similar to the larger city of Nashua NH farther north. (Probably an exaggeration, even for that time,)

My first name comes from the scholar Roland Woodwell, whose address was Whittier Hill, Amesbury. He was a scholar of poet James Greenleaf Whittier who lived in the part of
Haverhill MA that became Amesbury.

Ago 31, 2009, 7:41 am


Have you been to Fruitlands, where the Alcotts headed a utopian community for nine months? There's the farmhouse where they lived, several other small museums, and a decent restaurant.

Ago 31, 2009, 7:42 am

Whoops, I see Fruitlands has previously been mentioned in this thread, about a year ago.

Set 3, 2009, 10:20 pm

>22 Gingersnap000:

Sarah Orne Jewett, South Berwick, Maine (not that far from you really. Take Rte 236 North after you go over the bridge between Maine and NH and after some miles you get to South Berwick)

Hartford, CT area:
Harriet Beecher Stowe (also has a house in Maine, I believe)
Mark Twain.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in Cambridge, MA but his childhood home is in Portland, Maine.

Hawthorne wrote about the House of the Seven Gables but he didn't live there. When you saw the Alcott house, did you see the Hawthorne house next door? He also wrote during some summer in what is called the Little Red Schoolhouse on the backside of the Tanglewood property in Lenox, MA. It's a private residence, not open to the public but good to know, especially if you are going back out that way to see Arrowhead, Melville's house.

Set 6, 2009, 8:43 pm

The Stowe house and the Twain house are next door to each other so it would not be a problem to do both in one day-trip. It's about a two hour drive from Danvers.

Fev 1, 2011, 2:35 pm

Despite the dormancy of this thread I thought it might be the best place to come to to ask my question.

My niece wants to win Best of the Valley honors again for her frame shop from The Valley Advocate. I want to vote for her, but they demand a minimum of ten votes. I wondered whether anybody from the Pioneer Valley area could tell me who my other nine votes should go to? Does Friendly's ice cream still exist? Is it still the best ice cream?



Fev 1, 2011, 7:33 pm

The Montague Bookmill is worth a vote for best used bookstore.
Herrell's Ice Cream in Northampton.
Small Beer Press and Interlink Publishing are both out of Northampton.

Fev 1, 2011, 11:09 pm

Thank you. That's four out of ten.


Fev 3, 2011, 7:38 am

If Turners Falls is located in the Valley, I recall that the 2nd Street Baking Company was caught up in the Cook's Source kerfuffle (they were an advertiser in "Cook's Source", which plagiarized material off the internet, and so had their phones jammed with calls from net vigilantes) and might benefit from some appreciation. Their foods are reportedly good.

Fev 3, 2011, 2:09 pm

The Montague Bookmill is worth a vote for best used bookstore.
Herrell's Ice Cream in Northampton.

definitely! love the bookmill. and herrells :)

Fev 3, 2011, 2:17 pm

Hungry Ghost Bread is great for a bakery! Give them a vote too if you can :)

Editado: Fev 3, 2011, 4:33 pm

There's one vote in each category listed:

There must be a book store if there's a framing shop, so The Montague Bookmill is in. There's gotta be a restaurant or ice cream so Herrell's Ice Cream is in. If bakeries are separate I'll put in Hungry Ghost Bread, because I don't know where Turners Falls is. Small Beer Press and Interlink Publishing sound like publishers, so if that's one of the categories I'll put one in. With the frame shop that's five; I need five more.

There are so many categories that it would be a fool's errand to try to sample them here. If anybody is sufficiently interested this is the ballot. It doesn't take you straight to the ballot, but you could sign in with a lie, and it doesn't commit you to anything.