A Maine (and New Hampshire and Vermont) Adventure

Brandon and I recently took a vacation up to New England to visit friends and family. It had been about two years since I’d last visited, so I was due for an excursion. As for Brandon, he’d never been to this region aside from a quick work trip to Connecticut, he’d never been to this region before, so it was all new to him.

At my aunt’s camp in Windham, Maine. All you need is a golden retriever or a yellow lab and you’ve got a perfect setting for an LL Bean photo shoot.

We divided our time between three states: Maine, where my parents live; New Hampshire, where my sister lives with her family; and Vermont, where I spent two years as a curatorial fellow at Shelburne Museum. We spent a lot of time at the beach, and just outside in general, as the weather was pretty idyllic.

It was a lot of fun being able to take Brandon around and show him places where I used to live and work. He had done the same for me when we visited his friends and family down in Florida a couple of years ago, so I enjoyed returning the favor.

No trip to Maine is complete without lobster, in this instance at my aunt’s house in York.

We also made sure to eat plenty of tasty food. I always look forward to eating fresh lobster when I’m back East, but it was especially fun seeing Brandon try it for the first time. I was also relieved that he enjoyed it. After talking it up for three years, it would have been deflating if he didn’t like it.

In a culture that prides itself on constant busy-ness, going to the beach to explore tide pools, snorkel, throw rocks in the water, or just stare out at the water is an understated protest.

Aside from the fun of being able to revisit old haunts and spend time with family, going on vacation was also a good way to shake up my routine and reexamine my working habits with fresh eyes. I’m a big proponent of getting away from work periodically because I know from previous experience that you’ll likely burn out if you don’t. Going to New England was a good opportunity to take a break from my work, enjoy a change in surroundings and the creativity that goes with it, and reflect on how I can maximize my free time by being more efficient in the future.

From tide pools to barns, exploring New England also brought fresh subjects to my daily abstractions.

This was especially revelatory when I was visiting Vermont. This was where I had learned printmaking, and while I haven’t pulled many impressions since moving to Virginia, revisiting the place where I first tried it out reignited my passion for it.

Iris Trio, 2018. This is one of the last major prints I made, and that was over a year ago. It’s time to start pulling again.

Once we finish moving into our new place later this month (more on that in a future post), I definitely want to invest in a pin press and start making impressions again. After all, my research is only one facet of my life, and going to New England reminded me of the importance of keeping my other interests alive.

This is still one of my favorite places, but I don’t need to live here to have a satisfying life.

Revisiting Vermont also reminded me how far I’ve come. As I mentioned in my old blog, I especially enjoyed living here, which made my initial relocation to Roswell somewhat difficult. While I knew my job in Roswell offered more professional opportunities, there was always a sense of pining for Vermont, if subconsciously. I didn’t regret relocating to New Mexico, but part of me always wondered how things would have turned out if I had managed to stay at Shelburne. During this recent visit, however, I didn’t feel that wistfulness, because I know that my professional, financial, and personal life is all the better for having left. Between being able to pay off my student loans, curating exhibitions such as Magical and Real, exploring the archive that would form that basis of my research here at William and Mary, and meeting Brandon, my life is richer for having left my comfort zone. Sharing my favorite places in Shelburne and Burlington with Brandon was a lot of fun, but I’m definitely glad I went to Roswell.

No trip to New England is complete without a picture with a giant lobster sculpture.

All in all, we both had a great time, and look forward to future adventures here together.

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