My son, a naval officer, recently got assigned to a school in Groton, CT, and I’m planning on visiting soon. I have been to New England many times over the years, and am looking forward to what may very well be my last visit.
I have made a point to make a pilgrimage to Walden Pond on each of my visits, but I have decided to forego that this time. There is a saturation point with visitations. I am, however, planning on visiting Salem for the fourth time, where I’ll be staying at the Hawthorne Hotel. Nathaniel Hawthorne was an inspiration to me when I was a young writer, providing the impetus for my first trip to Salem, to see the House of Seven Gables. On that visit I had an idea for a short story about a real witch amidst all the tourist trappings and witch wannabes. The story has evolved in my head over time, but I’m now ready to start laying it out.
The focal point of my trip is The Homestead, Emily Dickinson’s home in Amherst. Since before last March’s A Gathering of Poets I have been studying, and appreciating, Dickinson. I built an Amazon Alexa Skill to read her work and emulate Emily’s personality. It’s a start, and I have a ways to go to realize my vision, meaning I will continue to work on Dickinson into the foreseeable future. I want to see where she lived.
The time she lived is also important, which is why I’m resuming my Civil War studies, and will include stops in Appomattox and Gettysburg. I’ve been to both, and always felt another trip to Gettysburg was needed. I have another story about ghosts in Gettysburg, which, of all the Civil War battlefields I have visited, I found most moving.
I’m thinking of revisiting Monticello while in the area of Appomattox. I would also like to hit Saratoga while I’m in upstate New York as well, but there probably won’t be time, even though I read a book on the battle a few months back in anticipation of the trip. I would have liked to visit Emerson’s house as well, and Herman Melville’s Arrowhead, but it looks like both will be closed.
Oh, well. I’ve been to Emerson’s on a couple of previous occasions, and have picture in my mind. Arrowhead is too far inland for my great white whale.