Accidental Wandering in Amesbury

I live in Upstate New York but I’m in love with New England: Amesbury, Massachusetts especially. I learned of its existence through a friend. I come from a rather small town in New York. There’s one streetlight and the “downtown” consists of the school and a tiny shopping plaza whose main businesses are a CVS, Subway, grocery store and dollar store. Businesses don’t stay in business where I come from so I fell in love with Amesbury’s beautiful, historic downtown during my very first visit.

Seeing Amesbury’s downtown with so many shops in business is a lovely thing! I can feel the residents’ pride in their community and their dedication to helping it thrive. I’ve shopped in a couple of the stores and purchased items for my daughters because even though I’m not a resident, I feel a great desire to help support the area in any way I can.

Whenever I visit Amesbury, the people there are so exceptionally nice to me I’m taken by surprise. There isn’t that level of friendliness where I’m from and most people don’t even seem to know I exist. In Amesbury, people say hi to me, give me directions when I’m looking lost and encourage me to put my artwork up even though I’m not from the town.

Yesterday evening after I was all settled and unpacked in the hotel in Seabrook, NH, I was trying to think of what I could do. It was cloudy out but still relatively warm and not raining so I decided to head into Amesbury and visit Lake Gardner beach. I wanted to see what the colors were like there and they didn’t disappoint!

The beautiful color on Lake Gardner in Amesbury, Massachusetts

The beautiful color on Lake Gardner in Amesbury, Massachusetts

The park was set to close 20 minutes after I arrived so after a bit of wandering around at Lake Gardner I drove into town and parked in the lot by Crave. It was just starting to get darker and walking around downtown with all the street lamps on was truly magical. I walked around by Powwow River Falls and tried to take pictures of things most people might not. I look at the world in my own unique way and I try to capture beauty that others overlook. I don’t know that I succeed but at least I try.

powwow falls

Looking down Powwow River Falls in Amesbury

ducks on waterfall

Mallard ducks hanging out on the falls

street lamp tree

Amesbury street lamp glowing among fall foliage

Eventually I wandered by Jon P. Mooers Artist Gallery and Studio on Main Street. I went inside during my June visit so I was just peaking in the windows at the displays. A woman walked out, greeted me pleasantly and suggested I go in because there were many lovely paintings inside. I couldn’t turn down such a suggestion so in I went. I’d only made it a few steps inside when Jon Mooers welcomed me and invited me to come into the back of the gallery because there was food and wine. I looked toward the back, saw a gathering of people, and thought that perhaps they were there to support the gallery. Unable to resist my curiosity and being rather hungry once I smelled food, I walked back. I saw Ed Justen from Workspace 36 once I got back there so it seemed safe to stay.

Inside the gallery

Inside the gallery

The lovely wine selection.

The lovely wine selection.

Plenty of appetizers!

Plenty of appetizers!

Jon Mooers serving chowder.

Jon Mooers serving chowder.

First two chowder selections

First two chowder selections

The 3rd chowder selection

The 3rd chowder selection

Jon was giving a speech about supporting local artwork instead of buying mass produced stuff from Wal-Mart and I found it quite interesting and on point. I don’t buy artwork, I paint it myself and my walls are overflowing with my creations. I truly understand the merit in buying local artwork and supporting local artists. There are tons of beautiful paintings in the gallery and I’m not sure my talent is anywhere near that level. If you live in Amesbury or are just passing through, I highly recommend you visit Jon’s gallery and take home one of the amazing creations hanging on the walls!

Once Jon was done speaking a well-dressed man in a suit started talking and I realized it was the current mayor of Amesbury, Mayor Thatcher Kezer. That’s when I realized that oops, I’d just inadvertently crashed a little pep rally for the current mayor. Rather than make a hasty exit, I remained where I was and listened to what Mayor Kezer had to say about Amesbury and the continuing efforts to revitalize downtown. I thought he made some very good points. I don’t involve myself with politics much but the fact that he was holding his rally at Jon’s gallery obviously showed his support of and belief in local businesses.

Once the speeches were finished, I chatted with Ed Justen a bit and then sampled the food and wine. There were three chowders to sample and I liked he one made by Jon Mooers the best. It had the best flavor and not too much spice. I’m not a food critic or taster; I just know what I like. There were many good appetizers there and I had one little glass of cold, sweet white wine, which is pretty much my favorite drink. I thought it was a shame that there weren’t more people there because it was a great spread and an awesome location for a gathering.

I didn’t get a chance to meet the Mayor (that probably would’ve been a bit awkward since I’m not a resident) but I did meet his wife and she was very friendly. She seemed a bit surprised when I told her I was from Upstate NY but I’m somewhat used to that reaction by now. That look of “You’re from NY? Why do you like Amesbury so much?” It’s a very understandable response. Perhaps my blog posts help explain my love for the area a bit.

As I left the gallery, Jon Mooers came out to thank me for coming and introduced himself. I gave him my first name and where I was from and he too seemed surprised. We chatted for a little bit and he told me about painting the mural across the street to cover up an ugly wall left exposed once an old wooden building was torn down. I complimented his work and we chatted a bit more before he had to go back inside and be a good host. Once outside I saw the sign I totally missed when I walked up. Apparently I’m good at seeing cosmic signs but not seeing tangible signs in big bold print…

I totally missed this sign outside the gallery. Oops!

I totally missed this sign outside the gallery. Oops!

I may not be from New England (yet) but I know what a good thing Amesbury has going and little old me will continue to do what I can to help out my favorite town.

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Positive Omens and Praying Mantises

I’ve been busy getting ready for my New England trip the past two days. Yesterday I did a majority of my packing which was a good thing because last night I received several direct assignments that needed to be completed before I leave. I finished them all today in time to take Jazzmin on a short walk. It was supposed to be mostly sunny all day but that didn’t quite happen. Instead it was mostly cloudy with peaks of sun every couple of hours. Regardless, Jazz and I were happy to get out in the warm fall weather.

On almost all of my walks recently I kept seeing praying mantises that I was too late to save. I kept hoping really hard that I’d find a live one in the road that I could actually help across. They’re beautiful predators but they don’t move especially fast so they don’t stand a chance against cars. I imagine they’re drawn into the road by the crickets and grasshoppers I see jumping across and they don’t realize the danger they’re putting themselves in.

Today just as I turned onto a nearby road I saw something bright green toward the shoulder. I moved quickly toward it and was very pleased to find that it was a living, unharmed praying mantis. He wasn’t moving at all as I crouched down and extended my hand toward him. As soon as I did so, he climbed into my palm and held up his front leg as if pointing me in the direction he wanted to go. I was so happy to find a live praying mantis that I quickly carried him across the road as he continue to crawl slowly along my palm and onto my wrist. I set him down gently in the grass of the opposite shoulder and he moved on into the grass, quickly blending in.

I took finally finding a live praying mantis to save as a very positive omen about my upcoming trip! Jazz and I walked a bit further and into a recently mowed field. We walked to the top of the hill and looked out across the landscape as several small white and yellow butterflies fluttered around nearby. The foliage colors were mostly yellow but it was still a lovely sight to enjoy.

My phone camera couldn't capture the butterflies but they're there.

My phone camera couldn’t capture the butterflies but they’re there.

For perhaps the first time since I started driving to New England two years ago this November, I’m actually all prepared and ready to go the night before. Usually I get up extra early the day I leave to take care of last minute details but not this time. I’m going to pack the car tonight because there’s a chance of rain tomorrow morning and I don’t want everything getting wet. Once the girls are both off the school and Jazzmin is at the boarders, I’m New England bound once more and off on more unforgettable adventures!