Thursday, July 03, 2008


My long awaited trip to New England and the Needlework and the Sea symposium at the Whaling Musuem in New Bedford has come and gone.What a GREAT time we had. I met Carol in Boston - her flight was moved up and mine was moved back so Carol was kind enough to pick up the rental car and acquaint herself with the historic area of Boston. She picked up me right on the curb and whisked me off to the Freedom Trail - Bear in mind that this was the hottest day this area has seen in a long time - Bostonians were sweltering and while we Floridians are accustomed to extreme heat - I am NOT accustomed to tromping around in it! So we only walked around the historic area for a couple of hours - we saw the Old North Church where the famous "one if by land and two if by sea" scene was envisioned and immortalized in books, historical accounts and movies. We saw Paul Revere's house - and guess what - THERE WAS A SAMPLER! It was stitched by Paul's granddaughter - Carol thought for sure she had seen it repro'd by DMC or something jogged in her memory about this sampler. So after the tour - off we stalked in search of the gift shop - hummm - no gift shop - just a little tiny ticket booth - we skirted around the back side of the ticket booth to avoid hundreds of squirming yelling running school children and THERE - taped to the back side of the ticket booth was the chart of Paul Revere's GD's sampler - We tapped on the glass to get the kind young man's attention and asked for two copies - he said $8 each ma'am and I'm sorry but that doesn't include the thread - LOL - (snicker -giggle) we scoffed and scurried off with charts in hand and laughed all the way to the car about paying $8 for a chart! Our next quest in Boston was to find the Old Oyster House - purported to be the oldest restaurant in Boston - we FINALLY found it after walking all around - I was so hot and tired - eating just didn't seem so appealing so I opted for a cup of their famous clam chowder and some fried calamari - thus ensued the "great chowder quest" I became obsessed with clam chowder - I ordered a cup or bowl every single restaurant I went to on the whole trip - Even ordered one final bowl of Rhode Island Red Clam Chowder in the Boston airport on my way home! I'll have to say - I had some awesome clam chowder while in New England!

Boston traffic is world renown - we knew we were leaving at a precarious time - 5:30pm on a Tuesday! EGADS - How hard could it be to find I-93 south - apparently it was pretty hard because we ended up going north and ending up almost in NH - OK - I have to give a real big virtual hug to Carol - she was such a trooper and darted in and out of those angry honking Bostonians like a pro - she picked her way up and down the highway until we managed to get on the road to New Bedford. We ended up getting off the main highway and traveling thru a lot of little scenic new england villages. They are so quaint - I could have lived in any of them.

Finally - the sign for New Bedford - our hotel was actually across the river in Fairhaven. It was almost dark when we arrived but safe and sound and ready for new adventures we trudged up to our room with all luggage.

Wednesday morning - Carol was up early - hummm about 5:30am I think - for some reason the sun comes up earlier there in New England and our room faced east - so by 6 I was also up and at it. This pattern of early rising continued thru our entire trip -most unusual for me! We strolled down to the breakfast bar where we met up with our cohort Patsy - she was also attending the jacket lecture at Plimoth Plantation and she had also done some research into what else we should see while in the Plymouth area. We arrived at Plimoth Plantation about 30 min early so we perused around and watched a film before meeting up with the balance of the symposium participants who were interested in seeing the jacket project. What an undertaking - this is gorgeous - I would encourage everyone to visit the PP website and start monitoring the progress on the jacket. They are having the exhibit in the fall of 2009 - hope I can be there. After seeing 3 awesome samplers in the archives we walked down to the recreation of the original settlement of Plymouth. Here is a super photo that Patsy shot. Oh well - I can't figure out how to get the photo down here .

Next up was Plymouth Hall to visit Mercy Otis Warren's unbelievable game table and Loara Standish sampler. The museum was small but they had a large amount of pilgrim artifacts and it was enjoyable being there. We also happened upon the Sampler - a small needlework shop which was right across the street from Plymouth Hall. Then it was off to try and find a small historic home the Winslow House in Marshfield. We zipped along up country roads and here it was - what a neat house and there was samplers in several rooms - no a/c - probably no heat and here they were still hanging in pretty good condition after about 300 years - amazing! Ok - still in the wrong spot - I am probably not going to post any more photos :(
We tried to get in the Alden House but they were closing up - it is the oldest property in the US still owned by descendants of the original Mayflower settlers. Dinner was with a group of friends at a local seafood favorite spot - it was right on the river and very picturesque. Didn't we do a lot on our first day!
Thursday was Ellen Chester's Ditty box class at the Whaling Museum. We gathered in the breakfast room again and saw lots of friends from near and far. All were cackling excitedly about the upcoming events. We gathered our stitching bags and off we headed for downtown New Bedford. Ellen had prepared a wonderful slide show showing lots of scrimshaw works of art - apparently the NB Whaling Museum has the largest collection of scrimshaw in the world and an expert on the subject on staff - we were to hear his lecture later in the week. The pieces Ellen designed for the ditty box are really neat - we worked in class on the little fish scissor keep and needleminder. It was a most enjoyable day with Ellen and the other attendees. We ended up walking over to a nearby cafe for dinner - another test run of the local chowder for me - it was awesome. We had to attend the opening lecture on Thursday evening and while it ran pretty late we enjoyed being in the lovely auditorium with most all the event participants.
Friday morning lectures were scheduled - one on the lost art of sailmaking. The speaker was quite the expert and while it was interesting for a while - I think I heard more about sailmaking that I needed to know. I waited too long to write this trip journal because all the lectures and lecturers are running together now. After lunch Carol Patsy and I along with about 15 other participants boarded a bus heading for Little Compton Island in Rhode Island. It was a lovely ride thru more scenic little new england villages. The Wilbur House was our destination - built in the late 1600's by a quaker man I believe it was said that he and his wife bore 11 children. The house had been added onto several times but was in original condition for the most part and YEP - they had samplers - loads of them - most done by descendants of the Wilburs and other people in the local area. It was a lovely day and there was a gentle sea breeze - there was a lovely garden and I loved seeing the peonies. We don't have them or Florida or if we do - I am not aware of it. The bus trip back was quiet and uneventful. We had a Portuguese buffet at the museum - I am sad to say it was not memorable. Another lecture by a textile expert from the Peabody-Essex in Salem was after dinner. Another long but exciting day - I don't think I even remember falling into bed.
I must say sleeping thru the night and sleeping like a log on this trip was a real blessing.
Saturday there were more lectures scheduled in the morning - I skipped a couple of them and sat in the courtyard and stitched and chatted with other friends who ducked out of the lectures. I had grown tired of box lunches so after Carol got out of the lecture - we walked to some of the local shops and I found a nice antique carved piece of whale bone - it was probably an awl but it will be a nice accessory for my ditty box and I will probably use it as a laying tool. Carol wanted to walk and look and I wanted to get something for lunch so I hiked back to the cafe in the next block and had another bowl of clam chowder before heading back to the museum for my afternoon class with Kathleen Staples. Kathy reproduced the Lydia Ricketson sampler which is in the collection of the museum. It is lovely but has a lot of filled satin stitch flowers - Kathy was kind enough to draw the basket with flowers and spray of flowers at the top and bottom for us. It was sad news that this will be her last reproduction - I have enjoyed taking many classes with Kathy - she is one of the most knowledgable people I have met in the sampler world. Part of our class included a tour of samplers in the archived collection that did not make it into the exhibit - it was very interesting. After the class we sat in the open air courtyard and just took in the lovely sea air and waited for Patsy to come back from her Duxbury tour. Carol told us of her lovely walk thru the surrounding area and off we went to tour the area by car. Patsy was awesome at getting us around the area. We crossed the river and decided to explore the riverfront in Fairhaven. Lots of gorgeous homes lined the river and what views could be seen. We passed several interesting restaurants near the marina but kept driving - wanting to see all we could of the area before darkness fell. We ended up back at the hotel and decided to make a pit stop and freshen up a bit - we asked the clerk for dinner recommendations and he pointed us to Margaret's which is the quaint little cafe we had seen earlier. Driving up to Margarets we were dismayed at the number of cars and people waiting in line - it was a good sign however that a great meal was in our future. I am always looking for memorable meals - this was one - I started with their version of clam chowder which was decidedly different than anything I had experienced on this trip or any trip for that matter - after seeing my chowder both Pats and Carol ordered a bowl as well. I was dying for meat - after 5 days of seafood - I was dying for meat - I had a great steak and I think both my friends had fish. What an awesome final meal we had in the picturesque little village of Fairhaven. What a beautiful little town - I could live there - of course I would need a translater - they don't speak Southern or understand it either! However the owner I presume was cordial and mentioned that they opened the next morning for breakfast a 7am - Hummm- my mind was already processing how we could work in breakfast at Margarets and still get to Boston on time. Patsy wanted to sleep in so when we got back from dinner we bid farewell to our travel companion extraordinare - our friend and oh what a wonderful time we had with our dear Patsy! Carol and I felt if we got up on time - we could run over to margarets and have a nice breakfast to send us home to Florida. Needless to say it was enjoyable and I got to experience one more new england dish linguiuse or something like that - a portuguese sausage in my omelet oh and norwegian pancakes with lingonberry jam - WOW - I was determined to finish my trip with another food memory!
The weather all week was lovely - seems new england was crying that we were leaving - it started to rain just as we left Margarets and rained on us all the way to Boston - heavy at times but we arrived in plenty of time to turn in the rental car. Carol's flight was hours earlier than mine so it was sad saying good bye to my good friend and travel companion. I headed to the Delta gate area and proceeded to peruse Borders and buy a book I had seen reviewed on the B&N website - Garden Spells - I still have not finished it but it is a fun easy read. I found a quiet place to sit and I started the page for Carol's Ackworth friendship book. I was honored she asked me to do a page for her book and I eagerly started my favorite page while I sat and pondered the past week and tucked away all my memories in that secret place we hold so dear.


Margaret said...

Melody, sounds like you had a wonderful time in NE! I'm so envious! If only DD's prom weekend and DS's rock concert were a different weekend I might have been there too. :( Thanks for the wonderful blog entry -- got to live vicariously for a while.

islander said...

thanks melody for all the details about samplers and food, both passions of mine. can't wait to see that sampler you plan to add to your wip's. what a deal! so funny that he apologized for the cost not including the threads, too.

keep the blogging up! it's sure enjoyable. me, lbk