6. Before and After Gettysburg

Leaving Tamworth around one, we arrived in Durham, NH by early afternoon, a pleasant 88-mile drive, to stay with Susan Geib and her husband Rand. Susan edited the book that we boasted about in Tamworth, J. S. White Our First Architect. Susan was working towards a Ph.D. in American Studies at Boston University where I was teaching scenic design and I am so happy we stayed in touch … Susan’s contribution to the book is unmeasurable.

The next day, #17 of my trip, Susan showed me the African Burying Ground site in Portsmouth and a pleasant walk along the waterfront. That evening, Susan and Rand took me to Newmarket for dinner at the Stone Church and Music Club, where they introduced themselves to my singer/songwriter nephew Robert when he was in town, but a city meeting was underway and we retreated down the long staircase to Main Street and ate at the Oak House, their backup choice. I wanted to get an early start in the morning so we said our goodbyes before retiring — it was wonderful catching up with Susan especially getting to know Rand.

Our early start paid off reaching North Adams, MA by lunchtime when I enjoyed my leftover Yaki Sobo Noodle Salad from the Oak House in GO SARA, in the MASS MoCA parking lot. I’ve wanted to see this place for so long. And now, this repurposed factory, has James Terrill, Laurie Anderson, and other blue-chip surprises…!

Three hours seemed like all day, besides it was time to go — I didn’t want to pull up to Sarah and Michael’s new/old house in Lebanon Springs too late. The timing was good, cocktail time in New England, I brought out my bottle of Chocorua from Tamworth.

Michael gave me a tour of their 19th-century home located just over the border from the Berkshires. He has a professional woodshop — Michael got me a job designing the sets for a touring presentation, “Voyage to the Moon,” by the Boston Opera. He went on to work at the Met while I stayed teaching until they wouldn’t give me tenure. Boston is where I met Sarah as well — in my Scenic Design Class in the BU Theater Department, “School of Theater” today, but the rest is history.

Day #19, travel day to Gettysburg which meant time for a fantastic breakfast together and learning more about their B&B business. It’s a special place.

Header Image: A photograph montage of the Soldiers National Monument and the historic image of the Gettysburg Address from the Library of Congress.
Above: North face of the Soldiers National Monument which stands as a national monument to sorrow. Marble statues around the base of the monument represent History, War, Peace and Plenty. The figure of the Genius of Liberty tops the monument, holding a sword in one hand and the wreath of peace in the other and representing the constant struggle for freedom.

South face of the Soldiers National Monument, the plaques at sidewalk level cite this spot as the location of the Gettyburg Address by Lincoln on November 19, 1863.

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Leaving Gettysburg early afternoon, we headed south to Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive but got distracted by the sign to Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park and stopped. The park uses shuttle buses to take visitors six miles down into the town but once there discovered that I could have driven GO SARA into the historic town … would have made a nice picture.

We reached the park and Skyline Drive around 5p after losing the route through Front Royal, the park’s northern entry, that required Google’s help. As advertised, it is a beautiful drive on a well-maintained winding road, uphill through thick forests that suddenly open on spectacular views. But as we drove, the wind got stronger, the clouds thicker, so around 7p we stopped at the Skyland Resort and was surprised to find a room at an affordable rate. Turned out to be a magical evening — cutting slices of salami and cheese with sips of our Chocorua while sitting on the deck, watching the storm from our front-row seat of the distant horizon. Thoughts turned to home … and a happy decision was made to turn right at the end of the Skyline Drive and head west.

warner blake image
Stopped in Waynesbourgh, VA to do the laundry before heading west on I64.

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Last stop: Rolla, Missouri to Home