Visions of Maine – Part One

A few photographs from a recent trip to one of my favorite states.

Arcadia National Park

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Bar Harbor Reflection

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Bar Harbor

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Bar Harbor Sunset

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Colburn Shoe Store (Oldest Shoe Store in America) – Belfast, Maine 

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Arcadia National Park

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Murder, Mayhem and Christmas

Over the years, I have developed a bit of an addiction to reading holiday themed mysteries around this time of the year.   Murder, mayhem and Christmas make for a good holiday treat. I thought  I would list a few seasonal mystery books I have read over the years that you may enjoy.

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas- Agatha Christie

Technically, I have not read this yet. I bought a copy a couple of days ago and just began it last night. But hey, it’s Dame Agatha, so it can’t be bad.

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 Silent Night – Robert B. Parker

Robert B. Parker was one of my favorite authors. This slender volume was left uncompleted when the author passed away in 2010. The book was completed by his long time editor and friend Helen Brann. Subsequently, we got one last Spenser novel from the master. It’s not Parker at his best, but even middle of the road Parker is better than none at all.

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The Spy Who Came For Christmas – David Morrell

Santa Fe, New Mexico is one of my favorite cities to visit. David Morrell, born in Canada, has lived in Santa Fe for many years. He knows the town and uses it’s famed art strip, Canyon Road, as the setting for this fast paced snowy Christmas Eve thriller.

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Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop – Otto Penzler

For 17 years, Otto Penzler commissioned a Christmas themed short story from one of his favorite mystery writers. The one criteria, besides a Christmas setting, was the story or at least some of it had to take place at Penzler’s famed NYC Mysterious Bookshop.  In 2010, he compiled the stories and published this excellent collection. Among the authors, Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake, S.J.Rozan and Mary Higgins Clark. A must read.

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Wreck the Halls – Sarah Graves

I earlier mentioned New Mexico as one of my favorite places to visit. The great state of Maine is another. Like New Mexico, I have been to Maine a few times. On one of our trips, my wife and I went to Eastport. Maine, the eastern most city in the United States. While walking along the small town’s main street we came across a hardware store. We noticed there was something  odd about its window display.  In one corner, there was a series of paperback books, all by one author…Sarah Graves. Intrigued, we went in and browsed through some of the books and decided to purchase two. The woman behind the counter, then asked us if we would like the books autographed? The author was upstairs, she said pointing to a staircase toward the back of the store. We climbed up and sure enough, there was Sarah Graves sitting at a desk. We talked for a few minutes, and she signed our books. While I never found out, I suspect Ms. Graves owned the hardware store. It would make sense, but then again, like her books, it’s a mystery.

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Shadows of a Maine Christmas  Lea Wait

Like Ms. Graves, Lea Wait is a Maine author, and she captures the state’s atmosphere superbly in her series of cozy mysteries. You genuinely feel like you are in small town Maine. Murder, a bit of violence, and long buried secrets all come to light in this holiday treat.

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A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

Okay, it may be a bit of a stretch to include Dicken’s classic as a mystery, but think about it; the book is filled with suspense, ghosts and a bit of mayhem. I have read A Christmas Carol several times over the years and it’s always a pleasure,

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Flowers From the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden

The Coastal Maine Botanical Garden in Boothbay Harbor, Maine is a must see stop if you are ever in the area. My wife and I   spent four and a half hours there recently and we saw only the tip of the iceberg. There are multiple gardens, waterfalls, walking trails, sculptures and more. The photographs of the flowers below represent just a small portion of what there is to see.

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Chives

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Peony

Lady _CW-0194Lady Slippers

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Calla Lily _CW-0235Calla Lily

Ornamental Onion aka Alliums_CW-0175Ornamental Onion aka Allium

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Russell Red Lupine _CW-0246Russell Red Lupine

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Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

Maine’s Pemaquid Point Lighthouse was commissioned by President John Quincy Adams in 1827 and was built that same year. Construction did not go well due to the use of salt water in the mortar mix. In less than ten years the structure began to fall apart and was replaced by a second Lighthouse in 1835.

The lighthouse was voted by the state’s residents to be featured on the Maine quarter as part of the 50 State Quarters Program issued by the U.S. Mint. The program began in 1999. Maine’s quarter was the 23rd in the series, issued in 2003.

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Humpback Whale Taking the Big Dive

Humpback whales are beautiful, graceful and  majestic mammals ranging 40 to 60 feet in length, weighting as much as 44 tons. We were fortunate to catch a couple of Humpbacks on a recent trip to Boothbay Harbor in Maine.

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The Puffins of Eastern Egg Rock Island

A recent trip to Boothbay Harbor in Maine provided my wife and me with the opportunity for a boat trip to Eastern Egg Rock Island, an Audubon Society run sanctuary for Atlantic Puffins. The day was beautiful, a little cool out in the ocean, but more important was the number of Puffins that made themselves available to us to photograph.  They are uniquely colorful looking creatures, only about ten inches in length.

No one is allowed to land on the island, except for Audubon employees and volunteers, so we had to shoot from the boat. Subsequently, the distance and the rocking of the boat made photographing a bit challenging at times. Still, with a little bit of luck and assistance from the Puffins, we got the shots.

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St. Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery

You don’t have to be Catholic, Lithuanian or particularly religious to enjoy a visit to the magnificent grounds of St. Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery and Guest House. It’s located in Kennebunk, ME on more than 46 acres of land. The beautiful and lush landscape was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, co-designer of New York’s Central Park, The Boston Common and many other urban parks.

What may seem a little strange at first is that the monastery building looks very much like a Tudor style mansion. That’s because it was exactly that years ago. Originally commissioned by William A. Rogers an industrialist from Buffalo, New York who purchased the property in 1900 from the family estate of John Mitchell, a Christian religion professor. Mitchell purchased the land from Lt. General Sir William Pepperrell who took the land from the Indians way back in the late 1600’s.

In 1937, the mansion was sold to Mildred V. and William N. Campbell. Mildred was the daughter of Sanford textile tycoon, Louis B. Goodall. William N. ran the Goodall Mills until 1944. Three years later on September 8th, 1947 William died. That same day, Mildred sold the estate to The Lithuanian Society of Franciscan Fathers of Greene, Maine. The price was a mere $150,000.

Over the years additions were made both inside and outside on the grounds. According to the brochure the Shrine of St. Anthony was added inside the building in 1952. In 1953, the outdoor Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto was constructed. It was designed by Lithuanian Architect Jonas Mulokas, a first prize winner of the American Architect Association.

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In 1959, a second shrine by Mulokos, the impressive Chapel of the Stations of the Cross was built.

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Within the Chapel of the Stations of the Cross are the individual stations. The individual stations  were sculptured by Vytautas Kasuba. Kasuba was awarded the Gold Medal for Art at the 1937 World’s Fair. Some of the stations are shown below.

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Stations of the Cross - St. Anthony Monastery - DSC_0017-Edit-Edit-EditSt. Anthony’s Chapel, inside the monastery (mansion), was finished in 1965-66, a combination of old and new world. The architect was Dr. Alfred Kulpa of Toronto, Canada.

The stained-glass windows, chandeliers, candlesticks and other interior decorations were designed and produced by  Lithuanian born artist Vytautas K. Jonyas. Jonyas is also represented outside on the grounds   with a magnificent sculpture pictured below. It originally was designed and created for the Vatican Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. A sign next to the artwork reads “it depicts the church militant, the church suffering and the church triumphant, that is, the church here on earth, in purgatory and heaven. In 1967, the Franciscan’s in Kennebunk, ME dedicated this historical work of art to the silent church in Lithuania.”

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Strictly for boys of Lithuanian decent, St. Anthony’s High School which closed in 1970, had a student body consisting of Lithuanian boys from all over the country and Canada. They lived at the school as well as studied and performed all other forms of high school activities such as sports. All under the watchful eyes of the Franciscan Fathers.

The Franciscan Guest House I mentioned early on is also on the grounds. While it is a separate entity from the monastery, they both share an awareness or an appreciation for Lithuania. The main building, there are various smaller buildings that also have guest rooms, was originally the boys’ high school. From the outside, it looks like a school. Inside, it has all been reconfigured with individual rooms and baths.

Today, the former high school, now a guest house consisting of 65 rooms is a pleasant place to stay while visiting the Kennebunk/Kennebunkport area of Maine.

Below are a few more photographs.

Lithuanian Shrine8CW-3841Stained-glass window inside the side chapel.

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Saint Francis Fountain

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Out Lady of Fatima

Wadsworth-Longfellow House

Wadsworth-Longfellow House-Portland_IMG_3402-001My  wife and I recently spent a few days in Maine. One of our stops was the Wadsworth-Longfellow House. Located on Congress Street, the home is now operated by the Maine Historical Society. It is one of the oldest standing structures in Maine as well as the childhood home of poet Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow. Continue reading “Wadsworth-Longfellow House”