Sunday, November 28, 2010

Leg 42, from Polly cove to the old Carl Ames Farm

The characteristics of this northwest facing shore of Polly's Cove are a little different than the opposit east facing shore and, as I proceed farther east, toward Thayer Point, it is markedly so.

This white sand beach was a stunning surprise. How could I have lived here all my life and not known?

It's right in front of a private residence so access is limited but still - it's certainly been here as long as I have. What have I been doing with my life?

Calderwood Neck, all of Vinalhaven for that matter is criss-crossed with old stone walls. Fields needed to be cleared of rocks while animals and pasture land had to be segregated so it made sense to build walls. Now and then though, there were just too many rocks, more than needed to build walls. Here they were just thrown over the edge.

There are more and more interesting rock formation and mineral deposits as I continue east on this shore. A little research leads me to think these white streaks may be deposits of feldspar crystals, a product of volcanic eruptions but I have friends who are geologists and who will correct me if necessary.

This is the area in front of the property formely known as Carl Ame's Farm. When I was very young the Farm was the landing strip for the old Harjula Flying Service. I haven't included a photo of the house, in keeping with my promise to keep such photos out of the blog but the field slopes pretty severely up toward the house and barn. The arriving plane generally approached in that direction, uphill, so the landing was very short. Likewise the take-off, travelling downhill and taking advantage of extra lift, was also shorter than might otherwise be the case. I can remember coming in here on a plane but I'm sure I was very young.
Next walk, leg 43, from Carl Ame's Farm to Eastholm.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Leg 41, from Clam Cove to the head of Polly's Cove, November, 2010

It's hunting season. I must of been uncharacteristically quiet biking to my starting point. As I dismounted a flash of orange in the woods ahead alerted me to a hunter down on one knee taking aim across the cove. In a few minutes he wandered northerly away from me having not fired the shot I'd expected to hear.

I don't know what set of circumstances results in some Vinalhaven shores being so markedly different from others. It's tempting to say, in the case of this east shore of Carver's Cove with it's unobstructed exposure to the northeast that the winds make a difference and they certainly do. On the other hand, wind alone cannot account for the extremes of jagged rock. On the Thorofare, for example the same conditions are found on the north and west shores.

Here, at the head of Polly's Cove, the village of Stonington can be easily seen in the distance. When I was a kid Polly's Cove was a populat place to undertake 'shutting off' for herring. I lived in the Bucket, a legendary homestead down by the old ballground, during the fifties. Alfred Hall lived across the street. He was a very gentle soul, older than my own father. He and his brothers shut off Polly's cove regularly. I think they owned land at the head of the Cove. Now and then my family and his camped there. I remember a tent platform from which we looked straight out to Stonington.

Here, as at the head of every cove on the island, there's a brook and here, after a big rainfall and at the base of a quick change in elevation that comprises most of the Eleanot Campbell Preserve, it was running with great enthusiasm.

Next leg, 42, from Polly's Cove to the Carl Ames Farm.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Leg 40, from Birch Point to Clam Cove.

This is the only of my many walks during which I was accompanied. The Island Institute has asked me to write a circumambulation article for the Island journal (2011) and Peter Ralston tagged along to photograph me in my element, as it were.

Here, looking out toward Stonington and Widow's Island, I built a house for a summer couple I came to know and think a great deal of. Their architect called the house he designed for them a 'clamdigger's shack' but it was a very comfortable and practical one story cape. I was happy with it. Eventually they bought Widow Island and I did some work on the residence out there.

Eventually, too, they gave a big chunk of land to Acadia National Park.

On the highest point sits two of the three original water towers that served the half dozen residences on Calderwood Point back in the early 1900's. I hadn't been on this shore for ten years or so.

Back then I was impressed with the particularly tenacious oaks in residence. They'd selected the singularly most inhospitable spots on an equally unlikely shore to put down roots. I cut a trail for the owner over this land, from one end to the other, by the water towers and through this conclave of Oakes back to Clam Cove. During this walk the Oakes were no less determined but the old guard was clearly in decline.

Unlike nearly all the others, this Oak, with a very comfortable exposure, well protected from the northeast and prevailing winds, had retained all its fall foliage

I have to keep reminding myself to look up, at the treetop environment. Often, its worth it.
Next leg, this weekend perhaps, from Clam Cove back to Polly Cove, then out toward East holm.

Leg 39, from Shipwreck Cove and on to round Calderwood Point.

Calderwood Point is the northernmost of Calderwood Neck's numerous peninsulas. It's nearly an island unto itself but the isthmus that allows it to cling to the rest of the Neck at Clam and Shipwreck Coves is always dry, if just barely. Long ago someone exercised further division and imposed some confusion by naming the Point's westernmost finger Zeke's Point and the northern protrusion Birch Point.
At Zeke's Point I came to that place where Vinalhaven and North Haven, at Iron Point, are in closest proximity.

Here, in Birch Cove, where Zeke's transitions to Calderwood Point, is an unusually designed summer home belonging to folks who've become very good friends. Over the last twenty years or so I've re-built nearly all of it and added a guest house.
The granite piers for the steam boat wharf, built in the late 1800's to accommodate the Governor Bodwell as it made its way back and forth through the Thorofare to and from Boston and Bar Harbor, still stand just offshore from the summer residence that occupies the northern most tip of Birch Point and thus, practically speaking, although Calderwood Neck is actually a seperate island, the northernmost tip of Vinalhaven.

Rounding the point I had my last look at North Haven village and my first of the Eastern Thorofare, its guardian Goose Rock Lighthouse and, in the distance, Stonington. Just behind the lighthous is Stimpson's Island where I and my crew spent nearly two years engaged in rebuilding several residences back in the 70's.

It being connected at low tide, I walked around Birch Island stopping to take in Widow's Island, where I'd doen some work restoring the old residence there years ago. The island had once housed a sanitorium for folks suffering from smallpox.

This vacant spot was the birthplace of my wife Elaine's waterfront studio. We own a tiny sliver of land on the shore of Sand's Cove. When the owner of a sweet little building that had stood on this spot complained of its suffering year after year at the hands of folks who, during the off season, used it a little roughly, he offered it to me if I could move it. I had some friends with a barge mounted crane pluck it off the shore around 1990 and bring it down to Vinalhaven. During the long ride they set up a little bar inside, had a little string quartet playing all the while and rounded Norton's Point into Carver's Harbor on the 4th of July to the tune of 'Ain't Gonna Need This House No Longer' and in a markedly merry frame of mind. The next day they lifted it into position three feet from the edge of our wharf and it remains Elaine's createive workspace and refuge to this day.

Next leg, from this northernmost spot back to Clam Cove.