Augusta, Maine: Population = 18,291, elevation = 351 feet, average January low temp = 11.1, Average July high temp = 80, average sunny days = 182, annual snowfall = 78.3”, annual rainfall = 41.2”, air quality index = 94.4, water quality index = 79, comfort index = 53
When we are planning our travels, Marylu and I like to keep our daily drives no more than 4 hours long. We each drive two one hours shifts, with stops for lunch and potty breaks. If our next destination is too far away, we may stay in a hotel for a day or two. Boston is too far from Winter Harbor for a one day trip, so we thought we would visit another state capitol, Augusta, Maine. Not much happening on a Sunday night, so we sought out a nice pub for dinner.
On Monday we headed downtown to check out the capitol. This is another city infested with roundabouts but at least the traffic is light. As state capitol buildings go, this pretty modest. There are the two chambers, the flags, the portraits, some nice marble work, and a rotunda. Unfortunately, there is construction underway so the dome is dark.
Our scan of TripAdvisors “Things To Do” keeps pointing us to Hallowell. Hallowell is now a suburb of Augusta, although back in 1797, Augusta split off from Hallowell. Today it is a riverside collection of touristy shops, restaurants, antique dealers, and pubs. They also have a wonderful riverside park with a long row of adirondack chairs where you can relax and watch the river flow by.
Concord, New Hampshire: Population = 42,981, elevation = 346 feet, average January low temp = 10.4, Average July high temp = 82, average sunny days = 197, annual snowfall = 63.7”, annual rainfall = 37.2”, air quality index = 72.9, water quality index = 61, comfort index = 55
Our AirBnB in Boston is delayed a day so we get to see another state capitol, Concord, New Hampshire. Augusta was modest; Concord is just drab. Again, flags, portraits, nice marble. For some reason though, there is no rotunda in the building. Every other capitol we have been to has the round central room, usually with an elaborate marble inlaid floor, and a view of the dome towering overhead. Concord has only ceiling in the middle of the building. At least the outside of the dome is gold. It is currently being re-covered with gold leaf, by hand, bit by bit.
We did find a beautiful rotunda just across the street. The New Hampshire Historical Society is in a classic building that features a carved marble rotunda with arches of inlaid granite of different colors. And way up there is a fine dome, capping off the building with some nice color and ironwork. Inside the museum is not real exciting. Lots of portraits of old politicians and military guys. A few odds and ends of historical stuff.
After the museum, it is about Beer O’ Clock, so we locate a nice nearby pub with a good selection of local and national brews. Our bartender tells us about the area and recommends we go have a look at the Nature Preserve on the Merrimack River, just outside town. It is a nice stroll through an odd forest. As a surprise bonus we get to see two rowing teams practicing in their coxed eights. I know, fun name, huh?
The drive to Boston is a short one, but this AirBnB only allows checkin after 4:00. With a little time to kill, we decide to make a pilgrimage to one of my favorite breweries, Sam Adams. On the map, it looks like the brewery is in a nice green space, maybe a park. Actually, it is tightly surrounded by homes and businesses. The streets are narrow and there is no place to park. After a bit of neighborhood prowling, we finally find an open spot and hike back to the brewery. The tour is short and informative. The tasting involves comparing three different brews and we can have as much as we can drink. Great beer and brewery!
Next up: Boston