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Immersed in History

I am an expatriate New Englander living in Oklahoma City. One of my greatest passions is sailing, and I was fortunate to have my own boat, and to be a frequent guest helmsman on numerous schooners off the coast.

I was at the helm of the schooner Pisces, headed out the Piscataqua River from Kittery, Maine to the Isles of Shoals, some 12 miles out at sea. This part of the world, particularly the coast and islands, has been frequented by Europeans since before the Plymouth expedition, perhaps before Columbus.

The river is an important deep water port, and has a number of fortifications dating from the Revolutionary and Civil wars, as well as WWI and II. At least one of the lighthouses was commissioned by George Washington and is still in use. As I passed one of the forts, an intense feeling of deja vu passed over me-through me, really. I sailed on, with this beautiful boat in my hands, knowing that this particular scene was probably first experienced almost two hundred years ago and it really hasn't changed much since then.

Don't go to New England without getting out on the ocean. Virtually every major city on the New England coast, from Connecticut and Rhode Island, to Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, hosts a number of ferries and excursion boats, some powered by sail, like the famous Windjammer Fleet in Rockland, Maine.

The summer traffic may get thick, but once you've left the pier, things begin to look a lot more like they did in Colonial times. CAVEAT: Bring a windbreaker, sun screen and a sweater: It is often chilly off the New England coast, which is a nice break from the heat, but that summer sun will toast your skin if you leave it bare and unprotected.




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