What’s brewing on Labor Day? Memories of summer

It’s Labor Day and unearthly quiet here on the Eight Rod Road in Waterville. No school buses roar by to remind me of all the mornings on Bailey Island that I ran out with my kids to flag down the bus  that would take them 15 miles to Topsham to Mt. Ararat High School.

Imagine Miss Emily sitting under this oak tree....

Imagine Miss Emily sitting under this oak tree….

There has only been one small plane overhead so far this morning. The airport is a half-mile down the road from us and although it’s not an international hub (yet), we have a fair share of buzzing air traffic in the summer, especially when the rich kids fly in from New York and environs to attend the various summer camps.

There has not even been a car or hay rake to break the calm. Just the autumn buzz of crickets, a constant companion for the past two weeks, a welcome invisible herd of friends who arrive this time every year.

I had a busy summer, especially August, when my husband’s kids all descended. He also taught a short course in Civil War poetry for Colby’s Alumni College. In order to better understand Emily Dickinson’s poetry of that era, we decided last minute to squeeze in a trip to Amherst, Massachusetts to visit her home.

The Homestead, aka the Emily Dickinson Museum, is worth every bit of that trip. We stayed in Amherst in our first Airbnb lodging. That went so well and was so affordable (cheep cheep), we’re going to go that route instead of hotels in the future.

Emily Dickinson's family home in Amherst

Emily Dickinson’s family home in Amherst

We spent two days in Amherst, enjoying the darling downtown and its eateries, also enjoying some local brews.

On the way back, we decided to go to Louisa May Alcott’s house in Concord, Massachusetts. This is my old stomping grounds, as I grew up in nearby Littleton. The Orchard House is a great experience. The staff really know their Alcott history and afterward, you can enjoy all that Concord has to offer: bookstore, cafes, bakery. Just lovely.

Peering in...standing in the very room where Emily wrote over 1700 poems is an amazing experience

Peering in…standing in the very room where Emily wrote over 1700 poems is an amazing experience

My beer book? Sheesh, I just don’t have a publication date yet, but I’m keeping fingers crossed that it’s out by year’s end. It’s already outdated. I’ll do one last push to update it, though, before it goes to print.

My other writing is getting up some steam, too. I’m working on a book proposal for a cozy mystery (think Agatha Christie) that is set in Ireland. Writers talk about “world-building,” and this project is fun. I went to Howth, Ireland, north of Dublin, in 2008 for a writers’ conference. I got to travel a bit while there, but since I didn’t want to drive on the left side of the road, I took the train. That limits you a bit, but I went to Galway and into Dublin and did a lot of the James Joyce trek through there.

That’s the story from here. We don’t have any plans for today. I’d love to get invited to a barbecue or drive over to the coast for a last of summer lobster. We’ll see what the hubby wants to do when he lazes his way downstairs. Be safe!

Emily Dickinson's family home in Amherst

Emily Dickinson’s family home in Amherst



Kate Cone

About Kate Cone

Kate Cone has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, is a freelance writer and the author of "What's Brewing in New England: A Guide to Brewpubs and Microbreweries," published by Downeast Publications in 1997 and completely updated in 2016. She has been a foodie since age 8, when her dad taught her how to make coffee and an omelet, lifelong skills for happy eating.