Monday, August 20, 2007

Article: Taking the long way

The AmerScot Inn, a B&B where I stayed in Stow, MA

I have a saying most people might not agree with but which suits me fine: if it’s worth going, it’s worth going the long way. Application of this motto provides glimpses into local culture and scenes that are completely missed when traveling direct routes or suffering confinement to major highways. It also makes me late.

This past weekend, I had the chance to put my travel paradigm into action. I found myself staying at a nice little bed and breakfast in the small town of Stow about an hour outside Boston. I travel quite a bit for work but seldom end up someplace that’s not completely urban. Stow is decidedly non-urban.

The AmerScot Inn ( provided a nice jumping-off point for my little adventure. Friday morning I had an excellent breakfast prepared by Doreen Gibson, the innkeeper, and followed by a short meeting with a potential customer. Then my day was free. All I had to do was get from Stow, Massachusetts to Bangor, Maine, a trip that takes about four hours on the major highways.

My natural proclivity in the area of indirection was given a boost when the customer advised me of a beautiful route along the New Hampshire side of the Maine / New Hampshire border. He warned that it was considerably longer. But I had all afternoon! So what if I got there at 6:00 instead of 4:00? Still plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely dinner and a long chat with my nephew in Bangor when I arrived.

Of course there’s no point taking a scenic route unless you stop to admire the scenes. Which I did. There was the adorable little town of Sandwich about half-way up the state. I stopped to look in a local art gallery and found a wonderful watercolor of marine invertebrates that I am going to regret not buying for years.

A little farther on, a sign pointed me to covered bridge #54. I had never seen a covered bridge so naturally I had to go. Number 54 turned out to be the Durgin Bridge, originally constructed in 1844 but apparently the current incarnation dates from 1869. Still, you don’t find bridges like that in Texas.

Near the New Hampshire / Canada / Maine intersect lies the town of Conway. That place must be a major tourist destination because I hit stop-and-go traffic well outside of town. When I parked my car to take a photo of some flowers with tree-covered mountains for a backdrop, a little tourist train put a stop to the go part of stop-and-go as it crossed the road between the tightly packed cars. I eyed the train enviously. If only I had time to ride it. Yet by this time I realized my arrival in Bangor was going to be a little later than six o’clock.

On the Maine side of the border I encountered a giant statue of Paul Bunyan in Rumford. The largest Paul Bunyan statue is actually in Bangor and I’d already seen that but this one nice too. Still no Babe the Blue Ox, which seems like a shame.

I didn’t make it into Bangor until after 10:00 pm, much later than I expected. Still, I saw a lot of things I never would have otherwise. Tired as I was, I did not regret my route. However, if I ever get a chance to do that particular drive again, I think I’ll take two days. And I’ll buy that watercolor in Sandwich.

Photo: Durgin bridge in New Hampshire.

Photo: The town of Conway, NH with traffic and a little tourist train.
Photo: Somewhere in western Maine.
Photo: Giant Paul Bunyan statue in Rumford, ME
Photo: Taken from Cliff Island off the Maine coast near Portland.

1 comment:

namacuix said...

That trip sounds fun and all but wouldn't it have been more fun if a capybara was involved?