A Travellerspoint blog

Day 48 (10.19.07) - Augusta to Portland, Maine

More family research, then Wadsworth-Longfellow House in Portland, Maine

View (Re) Discovering America on jl98584's travel map.

Miles Driven: 164 (half in circles, although it felt like more)
Weather: Overcast, heavy fog to showers at night, 60 F

Summary: More research into ancestry, then drove to Portland Maine and toured the Wadsworth-Longfellow house.

One advantage of staying at a Wal-mart is it's easy to catch up on shopping! Mom noticed that the store we parked at last night was a 'Superstore', so suggested that they might have a hair salon. Sure enough, she was right. We were getting pretty shaggy since we hadn't gotten a haircut since we left home. I kept thinking it would be fun to try some nice little local shop in one of the small towns we drove through, but never remembered to stop. So that's taken care of now - maybe the next pictures you see of us won't look so ragged?

Then I decided since we were already in a pretty big shopping mall (Augusta is the state capital afterall), I'd try to find some video editing software. So far, the few video's I've uploaded have been pretty poor stuff as I had no way to edit them. I don't take that many video's anyway, but should try at least some minimal editing before forcing them off on an unsuspecting public! After driving around in circles for awhile, we located a Staples and I was able to find the necessary software (so now will have no more excuses...)

Finally we headed back to the Maine State Library to finish up what we started last night. Some of the books we used were so old, we weren't allowed to photocopy them (the light damages the paper). I had tried to take still shots (no flash) of the important pages yesterday, but only about 1/2 were legible. I think I figured out my photography problem, but decided today to just take the laptop in and enter the genealogy stuff directly into the computer. It took me a few tries since I had never used this software before - but once I got going, it was pretty easy.

In case anyone is interested, here are a couple of shots I took from the old books. The two houses were from Isaac Cummings era. He was born about 1601 and immigrated to Salem, MA most likely in 1627. The coat of arms is for the Fairbanks family. Mom's grandmother was Maude Cummings and her great grandmother was Marianne Fairbanks.


IMHO (geek speak for In My Humble Opinion) - While I find this whole genealogy thing kind of fun and it is a little interesting knowing where one comes from (regardless of what that turns up), I do have some mixed feelings. Our ancesters don't make us any better or worse than what we make ourselves, so while this may all be a little interesting, it probably doesn't have much practical value (other than trying to avoid making the same mistakes they may have made - or be inspired by their courage and character?)

In spite of all the time we spent on this in Maine, we still don't have any solid leads on Charles Kingsbury Stinson. We have a couple of additional pieces of information, maybe a clue or two - but nothing solid yet.

One good thing came out of returning to the Library this morning, while I was laboring away at trying to figure out the software, Mom took the time to go through the Maine State Museum where I spent a few minutes in last night. She really was impressed (but she didn't take any pictures)!

After we left Augusta, I tried to subtly suggest we should skip Portland, Maine and just drive south to New Hampshire - unsuccessfully. Mom really did want to see the Wadsworth-Longfellow house in Portland. Actually, I wanted to see it also (but we do need to start heading south again!) We called ahead and found out we just had time to make it, so off we went. It was a fair distance between Augusta and Portland - not for a normal driver, but for me and my RV in a heavy fog/rain, it was too far (maybe it's just because I stayed up too late last night?)

We found the house tucked in between modern, large office buildings and banks in downtown Portland. The last tour of the day was just beginning so I dropped Mom off while I looked for parking. The docent (volunteer guide) was quite an interesting fellow - he took us through the house and told us about some of the rooms and things in them, but mostly he tried to connect us to the poet and writer, Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow and would throw in poems and quotes sometimes without warning. He probably spent as much time reciting (from memory) Longfellow poems as he did explaining the house and it's history!

We were not allowed to take pictures inside the house (so few pictures to upload today - maybe I can stay within my monthly allotment afterall?). I have one picture of the outside, and you can learn more at their web site:



So this is a short day for sightseeing activities. The evening turned out much longer than we expected however - learning a little more about New England winters! In spite of the unseasonably warm fall this year, everything seems to just shut down for the winter around Columbus Day. RV parks are almost all closed, but we'd been out for 4 days without being able to plug in (that I can live with) or dump tanks (could get to be a problem soon).

We had been told about a park folks were pretty sure was still open, so I entered the address in the GPS software and sure enough, about 45 minutes later we drove right to it (only 15 miles from Portland, so I'm not sure why it took us so long). However, it was closed for the winter. Not wanting to make the same mistake again, I fired up the laptop and data card and looked up campgrounds in the Portland, Maine area. After calling most of them, I found the KOA was still open, but only through this weekend. I entered their address in the GPS software, and about 45 minutes later the software voice told us "You have arrived at your destination" - but it was pitch black all around us, no campgrounds, no nothing. So after calling the park again and getting better directions, we arrived there about 30 minutes later, almost back to where the first campground was! In total, it took us 2 hours to go 15 miles!

The campground staff told us most of their visitors come from the Boston area where everybody puts their RV's away for the winter so the pipes don't freeze. The RV parks just can't afford to stay open for the few, brave fool's who travel after early October. Well, we're parked here for tonight and will take care of all our laundry, power, and tank chores before leaving tomorrow. This should get us into pretty good shape for the next three or four days if needed. There are two year-round parks in the Boston area, but until we're out of New England, we're going to have to call ahead a little more often and plan the trip around facilities that are still open once and a while - if we can find any!

Posted by jl98584 19:18 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.