Well hello there! It’s been a while, right? We got home from vacation a few days ago, but those 20+ hour travel days take a lot of a girl. I’ve been fighting a nasty cold since our last day in Maui, and trying to get caught up on schoolwork. Because… well… museum finances aren’t nearly as interesting as splashing around in the Pacific Ocean and summiting volcanoes. Back to the real world, I suppose. I hope you are well. ♥
It’s nice to be home. The trees welcomed us back in a blaze of fiery glory, and the air is crackling.
Here are a few photos from our trip. We’re already thinking about going back. How could we not?
You can click on the panorama shots to see them full-sized.
Haleakalā crater from 10,000 feet
We stayed at the Grand Wailea resort, which was a totally new experience (for me, anyway), but a fun one. Off season is definitely the time to go if you don’t really like crowds, and don’t mind construction noise and a few minor inconveniences here and there (our resort fee was waived). We’ve already decided that our next trip will be a little more low key, and will involve some beach camping and less expensive hotels. We discovered that there were so many more things we wanted to do; five days just wasn’t enough time to take everything in.
A couple places of note:
Tj and I spent a few days earlier this week camping at Cobscook Bay State Park. On Wednesday we drove over to Quoddy Head in Lubec, the easternmost point in the United States. Teej got some rather lovely panoramic shots, so to gently ease myself back into the blogging waters I thought I would share them with you. You can click the images to see the full sized photograph.
I hope your holiday weekend is a happy and peaceful one, friends. Spend some time in the sunshine before night starts setting in early, especially if you’re here in New England.
Thanks for stopping by. ♥
I thought it might be nice to share a glimpse of my academic and future professional world with you. The museums listed here are some of my favorites, for various reasons. Some of them are obvious choices, but others are small, hidden treasures. Most of them have warranted multiple visits, and are places I know I will continue to return to, year after year.
I plan to keep adding to this list.
I’ll start off with home sweet home, of course!
- The Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor
A Smithsonian affiliate, the Abbe Museum is focused on “inspiring new learning about the Wabanaki Nations.” The downtown Bar Harbor location is bright, open, and beautiful (seriously, it’s a great interior), and the original trailside building at Sieur de Monts Spring is open spring through fall. This Museum has an active relationship with its community, and I like that a lot.
- Portland Museum of Art, Portland
- The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
During my year at MassArt (a stone’s throw away from the MFA), the Museum’s Asian and Islamic art galleries served as a second home. The MFA has expanded quite a bit since my original visits in 2003, and remains one of my favorite art museums.
- The New England Aquarium, Boston
- The Woodman Institute, Dover
I have to mention The Woodman Institute in Dover, New Hampshire, because it’s such an unexpected local gem. The main Museum building is home to both an extensive mineral and taxidermy collection, including what happens to be known as the last eastern cougar ever captured in the state of New Hampshire (circa 1853). There are also a couple great Victorian mourning pieces in the collections at The Hale House. This is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.
- The Fairbanks Museum, Saint Johnsbury
The Fairbanks Museum is special because it occupies a large space in my memories of childhood. The building itself is spectacular, and the collections are typical of the late 19th century. The Fairbanks is (unexpectedly) home to the entire collection of John Hampson’s “Bug Art” mosaics, which I was obsessed with as child. The Museum’s display cases are brimming. Take your time with this one.
- The Shelburne Museum, Shelburne
Shelburne Museum requires a full day, at least. I have been 20 times over the years (probably), and I always discover something new.
The Smithsonian Museums seem like such an obvious choice, but they are really spectacular. The Freer and Sackler galleries house the Smithsonian collection of Asian art, and should be included on any “must visit” list. They stand out among everything we saw on our first visit to the city. On my second (solo) visit to DC in 2013, I visited the National Museum of American History and wept over Julia Childs’ copper pots. I’m a little sensitive. You can read about that trip here.
We visited the National Postal Museum on that first trip to DC in 2012, strictly so I could see Owney, but it ended up being a surprising gem of a site.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments! Do you have a favorite museum? Tell me your recommendations.
On Wednesday we took a drive to Booth Bay Harbor to visit the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens with Tj’s parents. It was a beautiful day, sunny and seventy, with an occasional (much appreciated) coastal breeze. I don’t think we could have asked for a better day. We took a few photos, and I came back with a fairly impressive plant wishlist, and only a very small sunburn.
Some of these shots are Tj’s.
I fell in love with these “Amethyst Mist” Coral Bells.
I recently read a blog post about air travel that included the following great tip:
Get to know your row mates! Strike up a conversation.
And I cried a little. Because my worst nightmare when traveling, whether by bus, plane, or train, is that someone will try to strike up a conversation with me. I will either have to be the weirdo for not participating or I will be forced, out of some backwards sense of what is polite, to suffer through hours of mindless chatter with someone I will never speak to again.
As a result, I have come up with some (slightly tongue-in-cheek) travel tips for those of us who constantly have to be on the defense against the kinds of people who feel the need to talk to us on planes. We shouldn’t have to do any of this, but we live in a world crafted mostly for extroverts and people who are loud (not that these people are inherently bad people, obviously). To fit in without seeming rude, we sometimes have to make some adjustments.
First things first, a tip to the “rest” of you, please do not just assume that the person next to you (a complete stranger) is interested in anything you have to say. Don’t think that they’re being rude for not wanting to have a conversation. That mindset needs to change immediately, because it’s just not fair. For lots of people, travel is simply the act of getting from point A to point B with as little inconvenience and disruption as possible. Travel is stressful for everyone, on some level, whether you realize it or not. Imagine that you are an introvert to the nth degree (whatever), and you’ve just been jostled through airport security, touched by strangers with no awareness of personal space, have had to navigate unfamiliar territory with an arbitrary set of rules, and you’re now having your senses assaulted by the madness that is an airport terminal in the 21st century. You finally board the plane, and you’re huddled against the window, simply trying to recover. The last thing you want is for the stranger next to you to ask you a million questions.
You may be going somewhere amazing, and I don’t want to take that feeling away from you, but the people next to you could simply be commuting to work, or going to a home they don’t want to return to or, you know, traveling to a funeral. They could also be going somewhere amazing, of course, but maybe they don’t want to talk about it. And you need to be okay with that.
Honestly, all it takes is a little body language recognition. It’s not that hard. I feel like the following quote from this article (Why You Shouldn’t Judge Antisocial Backpackers) is apt,
Find your “tribe” and respect the rest.
Take a few extra moments to look for the talkers. You will find them. Kindly ignore the rest of us. ♥
- Understand that you will be pushed out of your comfort zone. It’s unavoidable. Do whatever you need to do to prepare for that. Make yourself as physically comfortable as is appropriate. I go for familiar and comfy loose knits and lots of layers when I travel. Anything you can do to make your travel day easier is going to be a win.
- Opt for a window seat whenever possible. This gives you the option of being able to completely turn your back to everyone else. Body language 101! On the rare occasion that Tj and I travel together and sit in the same row, I usually end up in the middle seat because I’m a small person. This is actually okay, because I can still just burrow into his shoulder. Having a travel partner is great. Call that tip 2 ½.
- Invest in high quality noise cancelling headphones. Ear buds are useless. Giant headphones tell people that you probably can’t hear them, so they shouldn’t bother talking to you.
- If you draw or write, don’t try to do it on a long flight. I unfortunately speak from experience. People will get involved and start asking you questions, even if you do have giant headphones on. I couldn’t begin to tell you why that’s a thing. In the end, it’s not worth it, even if that’s your form of escapism. Instead try a book or a crossword puzzle or a nap.
- Seriously, if it makes even just a little sense, try to sleep. At least close your eyes.
- Wear a hoodie or a large, lightweight knit scarf that you can wrap around your head. A baseball cap also works, but I don’t think as well. Baseball cap/hoodie combo, though, might do okay. I personally prefer the scarf option.
- Don’t let traveling alone prevent you from doing anything you want to do. Tj recently sent me this article (Why You Should Really Start Doing More Things Alone), which I thought was timely. On my trip to Philadelphia last fall, I was really hesitant about venturing out into the city alone, but I’m so glad I did. While you may feel that you need some time to decompress, you’d be surprised that decompression can actually come from drinking a beer and reading a book by yourself at a bar, or wandering around a museum on your own.
- If you’re traveling by train, bus, or public transit, find the other people with headphones on and their noses in books. Sit near them in quiet solidarity. That “tribe” mentality suits us, too.
- Practice your “resting bitch face” in the mirror before you depart. I’m kidding. A little. Maybe. It honestly bothers me that “resting bitch face” is a commonly used term (because it only ever refers to women, and seems to imply that we should always be gracious and smiling and ugh), but looking disinterested and unapproachable helps, so make use of it if you can.
- It’s okay if people decide not to like you based on a single interaction. Because they don’t know you, and they don’t even need to. I have finally accepted that it’s impossible to please everyone, and that not every single human being on the planet is going to like me. I was always very concerned about first impressions, even when I knew that realistically, I would never see that person again. I eventually decided that my mental state is more important to me than some random individual’s opinion about me. You shouldn’t ever feel guilty about (politely) telling someone you’re not interested in talking to them. And, honestly, if someone reacts so negatively, they probably weren’t worth getting to know anyway. Related note, you don’t owe anyone you don’t know an explanation. “I don’t feel like talking” is enough. Your choosing not to talk doesn’t mean you’re not a great person.
I’m definitely not an expert traveler or giver of advice, but I am an expert at avoiding human interaction in my free time.
Travel well, friends. Be you.
Thanks for stopping by. My name is Naomi, and this space is made of girldust. This blog is a picture of my comfortably scattered life on the coast of Maine. I'm trying to be a slightly better version of myself every day. I like old houses, reading, the ocean, ghost stories, and museums. You can learn a little bit more about me here.