Days 50, 51 and 52, WLBT

August 6, 7 and 8 — Dover and Portsmouth, NH

by David Runkel

The Tour left Maine for New Hampshire on Day 50 of the WLBT.  Still going, still loving it.  We ventured into the Kennebunkport area briefly, well, not so briefly because traffic was so bad that our windshield tour was so long we could see inside the windows of the elegant beach houses clogging the coastal road. We did not pass by the Bush family place, but many like them, as well as people on the dark grey beach coated with washed up maroon seaweed (I’m sure it was smelly) and few swimmers.

Eventually we reached the Dover home of Marquis and Patty Walsh.  Marquis has the distinction of being an outstanding Peace Corps volunteer in Belize who came for two years and stayed 15. working much of the time for Great Belize Productions and Channel 5, outfits owned by our friends, Stewart and Lita Krohn and John and Tanya Spang. Interestingly, Channel 5 was bought out by a fellow Rotarian friend of the Author’s, Michael Ashcroft. He’s a billionaire baron.  Marquis now works out of the University of New Hampshire in the communications department and is on the board of the Krempels Center, a program providing community and services to people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.   

The Author was on the Krempels Center schedule Wednesday and we started by joining in the community meeting where everyone, some 50 participants and staff members, introduced themselves, birthdays were noted, a joke was told and we learned of the important events that took place Aug. 8, including the invention of the refrigerator as well as the mimeograph.  The young staffer said she had to go to Google to find out what that was.

The Author followed her usual program, reading the Blue Sapphire Scone chapter of the book and then relating our decision to buy an inn and reviewing her writing career.  This was one of the richest and most lively post-reading discussions. Fascinating questions about the writing process, the Author and the WLBT.

Scones and tea were served.

It was one of The Tour’s most interesting readings, and certainly fulfilling in a special way, even if book sales didn’t push Scone by Scone onto the best seller’s list.

The founder of the Center, David Krempels, advises everyone “to be who you are” and not dwell on who you were.  The loving joy we witnessed in a short visit echoed that in the children attending Mr. Roger’s programs in the bio of him “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” which we saw in Bucksport.  Why did we enjoy it so?  And, why is it such a huge hit?  Easy answer, we yearn for a return to a more civil time. 

The Tour has found, in large part, that people we have encountered are engaged in activities promoting their communities, in helping out those in need and doing so in friendly ways.  They are also going about their jobs, their retirement activities, their sporting efforts.   The country is working.  And most find it beneficial to blank out as much as possible actions by others to the contrary.

Our stay in Dover also including a field trip to the UNH’s beautiful campus with its spectacular library reading rooms and the Rachel Carson memorial park, which is actually in Southern Maine.  As befits Miss Carson, the Park Service maintains the land and water in its native conditions. Fallen trees left to decompose, banks slowly sliding into wandering estuaries, mushrooms growing unharvested.  What a peaceful sanctuary, the ocean crashing in the far distance, just beyond the cranes and other birds exploring the marshes.

We passed up going to a museum devoted to cash registers and the roadside store with custom- made weathervanes.  

Day Fifty Two of the Scone by Scone Book Tour
Concord NH Golden Dome

On to Vermont with the hope of finding cooler, less humid air.  We stopped for a

late lunch in Concord, parking across from the gold-domed Capitol and after finding Yelp’s Number One rated restaurant no longer in business, ventured into the Barley House.  The entrance walls are covered with pictures of politicians who have sought the presidency dominated by Teddy Roosevelt and what claims to be his declaration: “The road to the presidency starts at the Barley House.”  

Across the street hundreds of plastic flamingos were hung over an alleyway.  Why in Concord?  Anyone know?

David Krempler:  Founder of Krempler Center