Oh, the stories I could tell you about this place. I started at Town Hall. Built in 1922 to accomodate the political boss, John Smith, who lived across the street, and didn't want to have to travel too far to work. And look atop the building. That's a Viking ship weathervane, and it's symbolic of the town's long-held belief that Thorvald the Viking played out the Vinland Saga here amongst the Skraelings (Native Americans) on the seven hills that make up the town.
Down Valley Beach Avenue I passed the spot where the Pacific House used to be. George M. Cohan once performed there in front of a crowd that included Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy and her husband Joe. Those echoes are long gone. At the base of the street, off the rocks, a dovekie appeared two years ago, a little seabird that rarely visits these shores.
Around the corner, the St. Mary's Church, now condos, brings back the story of its construction in 1890. Boxer John L. Sullivan offered up $5000 for its foundation in 1885, but the church felt there would be too much blood on the money, as it would be coming from one of his bareknuckles prize fights, and raised funds on its own. Around the corner on Stony Beach Road, a jeep and a tea cup from Paragon Park rides melt into the landscape, as memories of the park itself fade away with age.
At Gun Rock Beach, the candle house is changing color again, being freshly painted. The facade facing the beach looks fantastic; the rest of the house is, let's say, awaiting treatment. This area has been hit hard by so many storms that some of the locals have smartly purchased and installed electric exterior roll-down shutters for seaward-facing windows. The Blizzard of 1978 nearly wiped this place off the map. Two years later, during the Winter Olympics, I remember riding through Gun Rock Avenue with my dad listening to the replay of the USA-Russia game in Lake Placid.
Straits Pond is frozen and covered with snow. Soldiers from Fort Revere used to skate here a hundred years ago. This summer I'll help the Straits Pond Watershed Association launch their floating tree swallow boxes for another big year.
Oh, the stories I could tell you about this place.
Time: 34 minutes.
New species for the year: King eider (lifebird), harlequin duck, red-necked grebe, lesser black-backed gull, black guillemot, snowy owl, short-eared owl, eastern meadowlark (98).
Stranger hellos: None.
Other items from the day: Co-led a three and a half hour bird walk in Plymouth and Duxbury; returned to the ivory gull; went to bed early in anticipation of an early morning.