Along the East Coast with More Friends Than Fair Weather

I’m not even going to try to candy-coat it… I’m feeling skunked by my autumn in the northeast. I’ve dreamed of seeing this part of the country ablaze with color for many years, and had high hopes of adventuring through several states to witness and capture them at their best. With dreary, rainy weather far outweighing the sunny days, and the unusual lack of vibrance in the trees, I know I can’t even come close to showing anyone the beauty of the northeast. Lesson learned; Nature keeps it’s own calendar. Best not to count on it’s cooperation, and arrive with an open mind rather than one full of expectations.

What the northeast was lacking in color, it made up for with friends… old and new. I’ve shared several times that one of my greatest joys out here is precious time with friends. Some of those friends I knew and sought out to reconnect with along the way, while others were chance encounters with strangers who quickly became friends.

For several months I’ve been communicating with Horace and Sharon, who I met in Jamaica more than twenty years ago (and haven’t seen since), about connecting when I made it through the Boston area. As that time drew near many of the campgrounds in the northeast were shutting down for the season, making it difficult to plan a stopover for few days. Knowing my size limitations, Horace arranged for me to “camp” on the property of their very good friends, Steve and Bobbi, about forty-five minutes north of them in Hampton Falls New Hampshire.

It’s never easy to impose on friends… lock, stock and barrel (not to mention two dogs)… but to drive onto the property of complete strangers can feel like a huge intrusion. What little discomfort I may have felt was put to rest when Horace and Steve greeted me with smiles, escorted me up the long driveway, and got me settled into what would be our “camp site” for the next few days. We could not have asked for a better spot, nor more gracious hosts.

One of our favorite camp spots, in Steve and Bobbi’s front yard!

After exploring the woods around their home with the girls, I went inside and spent time getting to know Steve and Bobbi, and their dog. Oscar, who was obviously quite precious to them, was old and ailing but still getting around slowly and able to eat the home cooked food Bobbi prepared for him. I  enjoyed the way he pushed his head firmly into my hand each time I reached out to pet him.

Sadly, I found out yesterday that Oscar passed away the day before. He was 15 years old and lived a long and happy life, but my heart goes out to Steve and Bobbi for the loss of their beloved little friend.

Steve and Bobbi’s cool little guy. Oscar

Knowing how much I love horses, Horace asked if I’d like to visit his friend Jay’s farm to see and possibly photograph his “Warmbloods”. Of course I jumped at the chance! Jay was there to greet us, and walked with us to the fence where we were immediately greeted by three of the biggest, most beautiful horses I’ve ever seen.

With Jay’s permission I stepped into the pasture to give them each an alfalfa treat I had tucked in my pocket. In no time at all I was surrounded by these tremendous animals. They could not get close enough, which might have been intimidating because of their size and numbers, but I did not feel afraid. I’ve mentioned before that I believe horses can sense our spirits, but the same can be said for theirs, and these three had very gentle spirits.

As it turned out, it was actually difficult to get good images of them because they followed me so closely around the pasture. It was hilarious actually. They were like little puppies wanting all the attention they could get! I chose not to sweat the images too much and enjoyed their presence instead. The encounter was so amazing I could have stayed for hours, making it hard to walk away when it was time to go. Thank you Jay, for sharing the “gentle giants” of True North Farm with me!

Jay Howlett’s True North Farm


The wonderfully handsome Bodacious, Duplicor and Kingston!

Bodacious sitting down on the job 🙂

While I was photographing the horses, Horace grabbed a few fun shots of me with them…

Getting some lovin’ from Bodacious!

My helper! 🙂

Both Bobbi and Sharon are big horse lovers as well. Bobbi’s horse, Sachi, was stabled at a ranch within walking distance of their home, so I got to spend a little time there as well. And Sharon took riding lessons at a ranch a little closer to their home outside of Boston. Horace and I made a challenge of trying to get a great action shot of Sharon and Sugar in a very dark barn, on a really cloudy day. (Kudos to Canon for the quality of the highest ISO setting on the 5D MarkII.)

Sharon perfecting the “sliding stop” on Sugar

Bobbi’s horse, Sachi

Steve, Horace and Sharon

After a few wonderful days with Horace, Sharon, Steve and Bobbi, it was time to continue on my journey. I was already stretching my stay in the northeast out longer than most, and had to consider weather and the fact that most of the campgrounds in this part of the country were closing (if not closed) for the season. Next stop was Cape Cod where fellow photographer and Brooks Grad, Patrick Wiseman, graciously offered me camping space in his driveway.

With the business climate in the world of professional photographing changing at mach speed, Patrick decided to branch out to hotel ownership and, more recently… restauranteur. Needless to say he had a lot on his plate while we were there, so the girls and I had plenty of time to explore the Cape on our own.  We had one glorious day of sunshine and spent it zig-zagging all the way up to the tip of the Cape, stopping where we could to nose around, and hike a ways whenever possible.

As always, I was drawn to the lighthouses. They are always unique and full of history. Details about these lighthouses and more can be found by clicking on the blue links. Chatham Light.

These adorable first mates really wanted to come ashore and play with my “roadies”! 🙂

Brewster’s Windmill

Home of Edward Penniman, well known whaler from the Eastham area.

Edward Penniman House, Eastham

Nauset Light below replaced the Three Sisters of Nauset in 1923. You may recognize it as the lighthouse on Cape Cod Potato Chips!

Nauset Light

Two of the “Three Sisters of Nauset”


The Pilgrim Monument, which stands high on the hill in Provincetown, commemorates the day the Mayflower made landfall in Provincetown Harbor on November 21st, 1620 after 67 days at sea.

Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown

The Highland Lighthouse was a particular favorite, and I barely made it there before sunset.

Highland Lighthouse

The following morning I launched my kayak from a small marina on Prince Cove and spent a few hours “stalking” the local water foul. 🙂

Swan pair in Prince Cove

Common Cormorant

Prince Cove

Great Blue Heron

Osprey on the hunt

The shot below was not a particular favorite but I was amazed to see that this Osprey actually has a fish in EACH talon!

Osprey double dipping

Swan in Prince Cove

The night before leaving Cape Cod I checked out Patrick’s restaurant, Mooncussers Tavern in Harwich Port, and enjoyed some wine and the most delicious Tapas I have ever eaten! I would highly recommend this place (which will also be an Inn soon!) to anyone visiting the Cape!

Sending a very BIG thank you to my special friends, Horace and Sharon, Steve and Bobbi, and Patrick! I can’t begin to tell you how much my time with all of you meant to me. I hope to see you all again soon!!


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6 thoughts on “Along the East Coast with More Friends Than Fair Weather

    • Thanks Michelle. It’s a place I’d love to get back to so I can explore it further. Sorry I missed seeing you while up north. I had to scamper ahead of the weather and journeyed through several states far too quickly. Still hope to catch up in person one day!!

  1. Hi Fran
    I feel like we missed you in NYC bc we weren’t here, you weren’t here or Sandy was here! Anyway hope you got to walk your dogs in Central Park like you had dreamed of doing and hope you swing by our way again.
    Your pics of Cape Cod and environs are wonderful.

    • Thank you Janice. So good to hear from you and know you are well! I did not get into NYC this time around. Too many complications for the short time I had to spend. This journey is not over though, so there’s always next time!!

  2. Fran it was so good to see you again after all these years, funny though it seemed to us like we never even missed a beat and just picked up where we left off in Dec of 1989 didn’t it! Bobbi & Steve enjoyed meeting you as well and commented that you’re one cool lady! We are going to the Equine Affaire this weekend and meeting Jay there too! We will hopefully stop by his place Thanksgiving morning on our way up to Bobbi & Steve’s and we will tell those giant loveable boys in the pasture that you said hi!! Stay safe and stay in touch!!!!

    • I agree Horace, it was an easy friendship to rekindle. So enjoyed seeing you two and meeting Steve and Bobbi. Please give them my best. I don’t think I have their email address, so pass the blog post along as well. Hope to see you again before too long!!

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