Today we took a day trip with my mother to Maine, mainly to see the house of author Sarah Orne Jewett, who was the subject of my mother’s masters thesis.
Jewett had an odd fascination with her initials; she would carve them on random items, including the window pane of her room, which you can see in the photograph. Jewett’s house is interesting as a representative of Georgian architecture, especially its colorful wallpaper and the hand-carved wood of its central, slightly sagging, staircase. Inside, overlooking downtown South Berwick, we were told plausibly that not much of the view had changed in the last 150 years.
Nearby is the Nubble Lighthouse. Although termed a “savage rock” by one mariner in 1602, it took almost three hundred years (and at least one local wreck) before the United States constructed a lighthouse on Nubble Island, literally a stone’s throw from the mainland. Though only slightly removed in space, the picturesque lighthouse seems to be in a different age from the masses of people teeming along the opposing shoreline or sipping lemonade and grilling among the hundreds of RVs lined up just down the road. It fascinates me how something built as a matter of life and death is now one of the most popular postcard images. (Turning the profound into the mundane is common in New England: the Revolutionary Battle Road is now a bike trail; “Patriot” is as likely to be the name of a dry cleaners as anything else).