Friday, September 18, 2009

Day 74 Hallowell to Rockland, ME

Day 74-75 Hallowell to Rockland to St. George, ME
September 18-19, 2009
55 Miles
3542 total miles

Last day... Woke up to a stellar breakfast hosted by Tom Warner in the B&B. Stellar in every way, as the fruit tray was cuttingly careful cuisine arranged in a six-pointed star (see adjacent picture). Tom left his job with NOAA and the National Hurricane Center in Miami to return to his home state of Maine and has opened the Benjamin Wales B&B in this historic mansion. Reading through a history of the house and its inhabitants over nearly 200 years gives one a sense for the changes in this local economy through the technological changes of the 19th and 20 the centuries. The home was occupied at various stages by merchants and sea captains, ice-cutters and scions of famous Maine families. Among the notables was Algernon Sidney "Sid" Washburn of the famous Livermore, Norlands, Maine clan of Washburns. Sid was one of the successful to stay closer to home as a merchant and financier, founding a local bank. His brothers went on into politics, military and enterprise during the westward expansion of the United States, reading like a "Who's Who" of mid- 19th century statesmanship, with elected members to the US House and Senate, Governor of Maine, Secretaries, ambassadors and founders of companies such as the Soo Railroad and Gold Medal and Pillsbury flour companies. Interesting to spend a night in a place where, if only the walls could talk, the stories they would tell!

Visited Slates bakery for an extra cup of Joe before leaving town on the Kennebec Rail Trail Bike path towards Gardiner. Crossed the great Kennebec River at the Gardiner Bridge and headed on the back road towards Togus, taking the Winthroproad cut-off, which saved me several miles and dropped me onto Route 17 just before Windsor. At that point I rode wide-shouldered Route 17 all the way to Rockland- up and down many hills along the way.

I arrived in Rockland around 4:30, in time to seek out the local synagogue, for tonight is Erev Rosh Hashana, and I wanted to attend services here. It was something of a fluke that my trip ended on this day, auspicious or not, I decided to celebrate the end of my journey and the beginning of the next, whatever it may be. After cleaning up at brother Tom's, I made my way back to Adas Yoshuron Synagogue and was very glad to find it, as the service was truly one of the most moving I have ever attended. Even though I don't know any Hebrew, the prayer book, or Machzor, was a helpful guide to the liturgy and the English translations in it, where available, made the ceremony full of meaning for me. The hauntingly beautiful music, celebrated by the congregation's choir, was wonderfully performed 19th century polyphony and harmony, sung a capella. One of the choir's founding members shared with the congregation the story of how much of this music made it to Rockland via her grandfather and father who were accomplished musicians and cantors practicing these traditions. A program of inclusion is practiced here and all are welcome to attend services. I felt very welcome in this community and would love to visit again some time.

L'Shana tovah everyone!

Tomorrow I spend some time with my parents, friends, and with brother Tom who has a gallery opening at the Carver Hill Gallery tomorrow.

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