It’s Still Fall

So I’ve finally been able to cull through the photos we took on our October trip to Boston, New York, New England, and Canada.  While these definitely look like Fall, and the calendar says mid-November, it feels anything but autumnal here in Austin.  As I type outside on my deck (with my glass of Folie à Deux), it’s 86 outside – a record – and the air conditioners are going full bore.  Just Wednesday, we set a record low – 32.

It’s pretty outside to be sure – the elm tree’s in full-fall mode; the pyracantha is in all its red-berried glory; and the blue jays are strutting and cawing like there’s no tomorrow – it definitely does not feel one jot as if we’re only a week away from Thanksgiving!  The older I get, the more and more I want to live in a place with all four seasons…

Anyroad, here are some fall photos – and other miscellany – from our trip.  We started out with two days in Boston, one afternoon in New York, and then 12 days from New York to Québec City and back again on the Queen Mary 2.  I’ll write in more detail later about each of the stops and life aboard the ship, but I wanted to get these out and published so that I can at least have a visual of autumnal splendor.

Not exactly Fall-like, but here’s a photo of the ship leaving Brooklyn at 5:00 in the afternoon.  We did a transatlantic crossing on the QM2 in 2010 when we went to Paris and I got heaps of Manhattan skyline photos, but it never ceases to impress.  While I agree with Ayn Rand on almost nothing, I will say that one of man’s great achievements is (good) urban architecture.


Manhattan as seen leaving Brooklyn aboard the Queen Mary 2

And here’s the ship herself on our day in Bar Harbor, Maine.

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Queen Mary 2 anchored in Bar Harbor, Maine October 2013

Boston Common

Boston Common, October 2013

Hingham Tree

Hingham Burying Ground, Hingham, MA October 2013

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Lexington Common, Lexington, MA October 2013

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Revolutionary Battle Site, Concord, MA October 2013

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Revolutionary Battle Site – Concord MA, October 2013

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Revolutionary Battle Site – Concord MA, October 2013

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Revolutionary Battle Site – Concord MA, October 2013

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Acadia National Park, Maine October 2013

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Acadia National Park, Maine October 2013


Acadia National Park, Maine, October 2013

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Acadia National Park, Maine October 2013

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Acadia National Park, Maine October 2013


Acadia National Park, Maine October 2013

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia, Canada October 2013

And here are some non-landscape photos of interest – at least to me:

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Goat Urn, Boston Common October 2013


Newport Mansion Statuary, Newport, RI October 2013


Newport Mansion Statuary, Newport, RI October 2013

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Wild Turkey, Arcadia National Park, Maine October 2013

Grave Matters

As I’ve noted before, I have an affinity for cemeteries and graves, particularly medieval and 17th/18th century burial grounds.  Our recent trip to New England was a gold mine for the latter.  The first one I ran across was the Central Burying Ground on the Boston Common, across the street from our hotel.  Unfortunately it was gated and locked, but it really exhibits what I like about 18th century cemeteries – a randomness…not the uniform rows of later grave yards.  Of course, that same randomness plays havoc with us genealogists, so it’s a trade off.

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Central Burying Ground – Boston Common

The following day, we did a genealogy research trip around the Boston area looking for my Franklin, Smith and Ayers ancestors.  I didn’t find anything new but did happen upon some interesting graves.  The first stop was Hingham, Massachusetts where my 8th great grandmother, Sarah Smith was born in 1646.  I was hoping to find some Smiths there, particularly my 9th great grandparents, John Smith and Sarah Woodward.  No such luck, but the Hingham Cemetery is fantastic, even more so on the crisp fall day we were there.  Here are some examples:


Gravestone in the Hingham, MA Cemetery


Gravestone of Mary Lincoln, Hingham, MA Cemetery

These two stones show outstanding examples of the death’s head motif.  A death’s head, often with wings and/or crossed bones, was a stylized skull – one of the more prominent  gravestone icons to be seen in late 17th, early 18th stones.


Gravestone of Thomas and Sarah Gill, Hingham MA Cemetery

After Hingham, we drove the short distance to Hull.  This was slightly out of order, chronologically.  Sarah Smith married Jonathan Franklin, my 8th great grandfather in Boston about 1686.  They stayed in Boston for a time and then repaired to Haverhill on the New Hampshire border.  Jonathan was killed by Indians in 1693 in Haverhill.  Sarah then married John Fields and with her children, including my 7th great grandfather, David Franklin, moved to Hull where David learned the trade of a seaman.

After Hull, we schlepped up to Haverhill.  I really wanted to find the Pentucket Cemetery, but it was a lost cause, sending the GPS in the rent-a-car into apoplectic fits.  There are alot of Ayer(s) there; my 7th great grandmother, wife of David Franklin, was Elizabeth Ayers.

Anyroad, we were back in Boston three days later as part of our tour on the Queen Mary 2.  That day, we spent some time in Boston’s Granary Burying Grounds.  Several famous folks are buried there; Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin’s parents, etc.  These are some of my favorite examples from there.

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Gravestone of Elizabeth Hurd, Granary Burying Ground, Boston

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Gravestone of Nathan Hurd, Granary Burying Ground, Boston

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Gravestone, Granary Burying Ground, Boston

(The preceding three seem to have ‘death’s head’ down a little too grimly…)

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Gravestone of Hannah Franklin, Granary Burying Ground, Boston

And while probably not true, the local legend is that this is the grave of Mother Goose.

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Gravestone of Mary Goose, Granary Burying Grounds, Boston