Traveling To Boston and the Trident Cafe

Trident Booksellers Cafe

Trident Booksellers Cafe

Getting down to Boston from where we live in midcoast Maine is somewhat of a hassle, especially in winter. The first hour or so, until we get to Portland, is spent on roads that do not get the maintenance of the big  interstates. They don’t get plowed as well and when it’s really cold out the salt doesn’t melt what’s left sooo they can be sneaky dangerous. What looks like black top is actually black ice and that stuff is murder.

Once south of Portland though things get a lot better. Interstate I 95 takes over and the next 2 hours are pretty easy. I like to stop in the middle of the Maine Turnpike to use their familiar facilities and get a hit of Starbucks medium bold plus one of their outstanding oatmeal raisin cranberry cookie. Sarah gets a small mocha with no whipped cream and on we sail with a fine caffeine breeze at our backs.

I used to live and work in Boston when I was younger and Sarah and I have lived there on and off over the years. We had an apartment on Beacon Street here but sold it three years ago. 

Everything you hear about Boston is pretty much true. It is packed with rabid sports fans. Its drivers are terrible (so are its pedestrians). It is loaded with history and brainy college students and, I as an ex-Bostonian am ashamed to say, it could keep its streets and sidewalks a lot cleaner.

All that being so, it has one thing that you probably have never heard of and that’s too bad because it the most terrific local hangout we’ve ever found. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you the one and only Trident Booksellers Cafe. It sits in the last block of upper Newbury Street and has been there for at least a decade. It sells a winning combination of good food, (their corned beef hash is fantastic) good coffee and intelligently curated books and periodicals. 

Our waiter yesterday morning summed up the appeal of the place when he said the liked working there because “It’s a comfortable blend and they’re all young here”.

Our errant elderly presence not withstanding, the place is indeed “all young”. Engaged young, intelligent young, happy young and, speaking for ourselves, well-fed young.

Icicles And John Travolta

Corner Ice

A hundred years ago when I lived in Massachusetts, some winters were so mild that icicles on buildings were a relative rarity. Little dinky ones would form one day and the next it would be in the mid-30s and they would melt away.

When we moved to Maine all that changed and icicles became a dime a dozen. Huge ones, MANY huge ones would hang from the eaves of all the houses and barns and nobody gave them a second thought. This winter in particular has been great for icicles. It has been so damn cold that they just keep growing.

This pretty cluster is hanging from a little coffee shop near Lincolnville Beach. They only serve filtered coffee in there. Each cup is made special. They have a blend called Dark Harbor probably named for the little town that is right offshore from here on the Island of Islesboro. It is terrific. The coffee that is.

The town probably is too. Why else would John Travolta have a summer home there?

Introducing Dennis

IMAGE_B201BE3A-C76B-4FC1-8ABF-36A6F7F95FB3 by John S. Ames
I apologize for posting this cat picture. They are all over the web. I complete realize that most people do not think that photographs of other peoples cats are really uplifting or for that matter even very interesting. 
However, as we start getting to know each other, you should be aware that my wife Sarah and I live with an adopted cat named Dennis. Sarah got him from the local animal shelter 3 years ago tomorrow and surprised me with him. Now, I consider myself a dog person. Never thought much about cats one way or the other. However, I must say our time with this quiet gentle animal has been an awakening. I like him a lot and I guess from time to time you will probably be seeing more of him. For now you should know that this winter has made him a house cat extraordinaire.
He no more wants to go outside than I do.

Beauty

DSC01397.jpg by John S. Ames
Under all the snow and ice that surrounds us. Lies the beauty of a summer rose.

An “Arty” Hearty Breakfast

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Black Beans Onion Egg

With apologies to Jean Arp and Jasper Johns

This Old House

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I drive by this lonely looking place every time I go north up Route 1 towards Belfast. It has been deserted and looking more or this way for as long as I can remember.

Over the years it is slowly falling apart. The siding is getting more and more weathered and one can see veins of rot snaking their way into the wood as if the house has some kind of blood poisoning.

Each winter I expect it to fall down. Maybe this year with the really bad snow falls and ice storms we’ve been having will finally bring it to its knees.

I hope not. The place reminds me of me.

This Country Mouse Is Not Staying Very Long

New York Crowd

Going from my home town of Camden, Maine to New York is easy. Amtrak, Jet Blue, Concord Trailways and Route 95 all provide convenient ways to do it in a day. However, for me, while getting there isn’t much of a problem, once there, the difference between where I just came from and where I now find myself hits pretty hard.

 Simply stated, the thousands upon thousands of anonymous faces jostling for the space to move along sidewalks or walk around in stores makes me quite claustrophobic.

Then there’s the noise, a constant background brain buzz punctuated regularly by the wail of a siren or the blast of a car horn from some pissed-off driver.

 It’s fun to see things in the city. New York has marvelous cultural attractions and world-class shopping. The place is really fun in small doses.

But at the end of the day I want to take a walk along some quiet dirt road through the woods and Central Park just does not really cut it.

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