August 5: Strawbery Banke and LL Bean

Which was an interesting juxtaposition…

Anyway. I started my morning by navigating the c/o/w/p/a/t/h/s/narrow, winding, one-way streets of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, trying to find Strawbery Banke. I did, after less travail than I expected, and actually arrived before they opened (I tend to get up with the sun and go to bed with the sun when I’m camping).

Strawbery Banke is another living history site, but this one’s different. Instead of concentrating on one era the way Williamsburg and Mystic Seaport did, it covers almost all of the almost four hundred years Portsmouth (whose original name was Strawbery Banke) has been a community, concentrating on the old neighborhood of Puddle Dock, on which the modern Strawbery Banke now sits. So, from the mid-1600s to the 1950s.

Each building, from the oldest one, built in the early 1700s, to one that had most recently been remodeled just after WWII, represented a different time period and a different level of wealth and social class. And there were gardens! No one (ahem, Beth!) told me there would be gardens! Everything from a Victorian greenhouse and bedding garden to another adorable Colonial dooryard garden to an herb garden. There were stores and craftspeople, too. I got to try my hand at a loom, which was fun, and wander into a WWII-era grocery store, complete with ration points as well as the price marked on each item.

Victorian bedding garden with a greenhouse in the background.
Victorian bedding garden with a greenhouse in the background.
The parlor of the Victorian house that went with the garden. A future governor of Maine lived here.
The parlor of the Victorian house that went with the garden. A future governor of Maine lived here.
Elderberries. Wine, anyone?
Elderberries. Wine, anyone?
This wallpaper looks like it was inspired by a kaliedoscope.
This wallpaper looks like it was inspired by a kaliedoscope.
I covet this bed. Also, I really want some quilt fabric that looks like that bed curtain fabric (sorry, Loralee [g]).
I covet this bed. Also, I really want some quilt fabric that looks like that bed curtain fabric (sorry, Loralee [g]).
Another gorgeous cottage garden. I want a garden like that so badly...
Another gorgeous cottage garden. I want a garden like that so badly…
Mrs. Shapiro, a Jewish lady from 19190, talking with some visitors.
Mrs. Shapiro, a Jewish lady from 1910, talking with some visitors.
A shipping jar from 1700-1750. The rope netting is to help minimize breakage.
A shipping jar from 1700-1750. The rope netting is to help minimize breakage.
Food for sale in the WWII era grocery store. Note that Campbell's soup hasn't changed a bit, that Aunt Jemima is seriously politically incorrect, and the ration point numbers next to the prices. Also, my mother had some spice containers that could have been about that vintage.
Food for sale in the WWII era grocery store. Note that Campbell’s soup hasn’t changed a bit, that Aunt Jemima is seriously politically incorrect, and the ration point numbers next to the prices. Also, my mother had some spice containers that could have been about that vintage.
The WWII era Victory Garden, complete with chickens in the coop.
The WWII era Victory Garden, complete with chickens in the coop.
One of the houses was set up so that you could see what it looked like before and during restoration, which was quite amazing.
One of the houses was set up so that you could see what it looked like before and during restoration, which was quite amazing.

I spent a good chunk of the day there, and had a wonderful time.

Then I drove on north on I-95, because it was getting late and I wanted to get to my stop for the night – plus I’ve been to this part of Maine before, and I want to spend most of my time that I’ll be on the coast northeast of Acadia since I’ve never been to that part of the state before.

My destination for the night was Freeport, which is basically a factory outlet town surrounding the original LL Bean store. Not that I’m a huge fan of factory outlets, but LL Bean has a free overnight parking area for RVers (which I count as, since I don’t pitch a tent or anything). It was nice and shady and cool(!), and I ended up parked across from someone from the Tri-Cities (southeastern Washington) of all places, which was kind of hilarious.

So that’s where I am tonight. Tomorrow I’m going to Augusta, the state capitol, to visit the Maine State Museum, and then it’s on to Acadia National Park and Down East to Canada (yes, that’s the local turn of phrase, and no, that doesn’t sound right to me, either).

Starting to worry about Canada, for some reason, not sure why. It’s not like I haven’t crossed the border before. But I’ll never have spent that much time there before, either. And Quebec’s got me just a tad freaked out because of the language thing, too. Oh, well. ‘S good for me. Builds character.