Winter 2000 Travels
downtown Nantucket is farther away from Cape Cod than Martha's Vineyard- a two hour ferry ride. Friday's wind and rain made for a rough trip. The population grows to 30,000 in the summer, but in the winter Nantucket's 7,000 residents wave to each other from their cars, and enjoy having the island to themselves. Methodist ChurchWe saw some friends on Friday night and Saturday night who have moved to the island. The strict zoning makes the houses mostly gray with white trim, and only the churches tower over them in the view from the harbor.

We had a great show at the Cross Ripp Coffeehouse in the Methodist Church on main street, and enjoyed walking around the downtown at night. The rain and wind kept up all weekend, but we did see the sun for our ride from Hyannis to Boston. Sagamore Bridge

Acoustic Cafe We traveled to Somers CT through East Stafford, Stafford, North Stafford and Stafford Springs... I guess they ran out of town names in North Connecticut... We had a large crowd at our show in Piedmont Hall. Next we drove to Bridgeport and played at the Acoustic Cafe (pictured). Rich, the owner and operator, is very supportive of local and independant music. If you are in the area, check them out (2926 Fairfield Ave, Bridgeport, CT).

Meredith with Butterscotch When we arrived someone asked me outside if it would be appropriate for a snake. I was a bit confused as to what he meant, until he entered the cafe with his pet albino boa constrictor, Butterscotch. He asked if anyone wanted to hold the snake, and then put the 6 foot constrictor on Meredith's shoulders (doesn't she look thrilled?). He tried to put it on my shoulders but I ran and got the camera... We shared the show with a songwriter we met in Ithaca, Cadence Carroll. Cadence sounded excellent, and it was fun to share the stage for several songs. She is teaching a drum class, and she finished off the first set by inviting the whole class onstage for a song - five djembes and drummers on stage! We met some folks from Los Angeles, and some from Rome Italy.

Free will Baptist Church On Sunday, we played an afternoon show at a small church in Chepatchet RI. The leaves are past prime, but the drive on Route 44 was picturesque, again winding through small towns and farms. We had perfect "afternoon show" weather, light precipitation, and a large turnout for the show. They are redoing the church- and after the show they brought out the original plans and discussed some of the work they've done. The church is three rooms, a sanctuary, a meeting room and a kitchen. They just finished putting in a new organ, and were working on other plans as well

We got an email from Hawaii from someone we knew at Cornell, who said he missed the fall in the Northeast and liked the foliage photos, so these pumpkins go out to Sargent de Leon Horton... um know any places we could play out there in, say January? Pumpkins


Blue stained glass window We traveled up to Burlington, VT on Friday. We walked around the town in 70 degree weather- people were out on the Commons enjoying the warm night air. We played at the Burlington Coffeehouse, which occurs in the Rhombus Gallery at 186 College Ave. Jeff, the owner of the performance space, is a dynamo with boundless energy who encourages both local and national musicians as well as poets and artists. Jeff donates his skills as a contractor and his time to further the arts in the Burlington area.

Trees coated with frost Friday night we stayed with a friend in Richmond, just outside of Burlington. He lives in a charming farm house with some interesting details, such as the blue stained glass windows pictured above. The weather had turned drastically cold- around 40 degrees- but hiked to the peak of Camel's Hump. It was a nice hike, but very cold and windy at the top. The trees looked sugar coated with frost.

The round church We passed a "round church" on the way in Vermont. This church is used for concerts and events rather than for regular worship. We traveled to Norwich VT and played more music at a pumpkin carving party to celebrate the season. The party was at another small house that was a "Sears Roebuck" house. These houses were sold in pieces by Sears, and shipped to people - walls, nails and all - who would assemble them. The whole neighborhood turned out for the party, and we enjoyed carving the pumpkins. Back in Boston we went to another pumpkin carving party - the results are pictured below. Happy Halloween!


(Photos by Chris Thompson. Jack O'Lanterns (left to right) by Elizabeth Fealk, Kathleen Morle, Christine Cunningham, Kate Bittinger, Sarah Geddes, Meredith Thompson, Irene and Sarah Goodman, Colleen Manning.) Pumpkins







We played at parents weekend in Princeton, NJ. There wasn't a parking space in the whole town! We played at the Triumph Brewery, and were thrilled to catch up with some friends we have in Princeton. The weather was wonderful, and the day after the show I went to lunch with one of our Princeton friends, who happens to work in the Alchemist and Barrister, a great restaurant in town. As I walked around with our friend, everyone seemed to know him. Princeton seems like a great town, with a good community. I enjoyed seeing the similarity between students and their parents as they walked around campus.

Meredith on flute Chris in front on guitar This weekend we played at the Stone Bone Feather Fest in Amesbury MA. Seventy degree sunny skies brought people out for the event, which featured music, art, poetry and a drum circle - all events by and for people of all ages. The Festival was held in a park which overlooks a beautiful lake. The park has some open space by the lake, and then some wooded trails on the far end. The event was sponsored by Imagine Studios, a gallery, gathering place and performance space in center Amesbury. We played there this summer at the open mic, which was very fun. Imagine studios is definitely worth checking out- a great place to see and participate in the arts.

That night we returned to the Lancaster Coffeehouse. The crowd was a warm as I remembered form last time. We shared the show with Stephanie Corby, who has a lush voice and did a great cover of Neil Young's "Old Man". The show was held in the gathering place-cafeteria for the Seventh Adventist College in Lancaster, MA. It is a beautiful room, with flags of may nations ceiling hanging from the rafters, which are thick arched wood. When the show was over, we walked out into the night, which was warm for late October and marveled at the bright stars in the dark sky.
(Photos by Michael Halle)



bleached corn We traveled to Ithaca through gray skies and by fields of bleached yellow corn and fiery red yellow and orange trees. The misty grayness brightened the colors and each turn was breathtakingly beautiful as we drove through western Connecticut. In Ithaca, we played at the Moosewood Restaurant, famous vegetarian restaurant in Dewitt Mall on Ithaca Commons. We arrived there as a few friends arrived, and we spoke to them over dinner. As always, things at Cornell are changing. Meredith took some courses in the Education Department at Cornell, which is undergoing some major changes. These changes are especially difficult for the grad students, who are working hard on their research and trying to make ends meet, and who now must also deal with the uncertainty of whether their supervisors will be there in a year. foliage Going to Ithaca is always wonderful. We have come to know so many wonderful people there, that shows are a reunion of some of our dearest friends.

The drive to Sidney, NY was gorgeous. It was the peak of the season for foliage, and a spectacular weekend to enjoy the view from the back roads we were driving along. In Sidney, we played at the Ozone Coffeehouse. It is run by a couple who also run a cool store in town which sells incense, world music, and beautiful tapestries, jewelry and clothes. The coffeehouse is a place for young people to go, and seems a very comfortable place for all ages. It was definitely a great addition to the small town, which didn't seem to offer much else for young people to do. (They had some interesting lighting, which shows up in the photo below when our friend Dan Williams didn't use the flash)
Ozone Cfhs We played near Utica the next night, and then at the Towne Crier on Sunday with some other Indiegrrls. These were fun shows as well. The Towne Crier is a great Mexican restaurant and venue in Pawling NY. They had one dessert that looked like a chocolate explosion- yum.



We played a show at the Stone Church ( in Newmarket, NH on Friday September 29 with Kate Redgate and our cousin Ethan Bessey. Kate has a beautiful deep voice and sang some great songs. She told me about living in Colorado, how beautiful it was, but that family brought her back East. Ethan has a new album out, Bullwhips and Handshakes, available at The album is well produced, with some great different textures and soundscapes. Ethan was playing with a band, Dreadnaught, but has decided to return to a solo career, although he did bring up a friend to sing on a few songs, and they sounded great.

The Stone Church is a great place- a bar in an old church on Zion Hill in Newmarket. They have had some incredible bands play there, and they are returning to featuring acoustic music again. Music is in the first floor, and they light candles in red and blue long glass containers. There are stained glass windows with lights behind them onstage, and a huge plywood dinosaur like creature seated at the piano. They host music many nights and they are definitely worth checking out.

We played two other NH shows this weekend, one in Litchfield, NH at the Aaron Cutler Memorial Library Coffeehouse, and one in a cute little town called "Weare" at the town hall. On our way to Weare, we visited friends who have bought a old farm with a view of Mt Manadnock and a valley. The place was beautiful. We went canoeing on the pond near their house, and picked blueberries that grew in the yard. It was wonderful to see our friends again.



We have been exploring Northwest Washington for the last few days. Tuesday we went to the Public market. Flowers lined the roof and neon signs advertized the fish, flowers, photos, produce and crafts in this open air market. A busker sang "Summertime" and "When the Saints come marching in" accompanying himself on a plastic horn and a paper Coca Cola cup. Men in orange waders at the Pike Place fish market tossed fish to each other to the surprise of some passers by. The Market overlooks the bay, where freighters and ferrys traverse the blue waters.

We took a ferry to the Olympic Pensinsula and drove to Ruby Beach. The furious ocean carves "stacks" out of the rock. These stacks are seperate from the cliffs, left behind when the crashing waves cut through softer stone. The beach is lined with tree trunks thrashed bare and weathered white by the fierce ocean. They look like bones washed ashore. The stones are rounded, never sharp. We drove back to Seattle by hills- some green with conifers, some clearcut. The towns are sparse and rugged, dependant on those trees and defensive of any outside opinions. Signs along the roadside promise vigilance and read "Cut 1998, replanted 1998, next harvest 2018".

Today we hiked in a beautiful valley lined with long narrow evergreens up a trail to Snow lake. The lake glimmered blue in the sun before the rain blew in. We hiked down the valley through a switchback trail thatcut through rockslides and descended into green forest. The weather in Seattle eveolves continuously, revealing and covering the mountains throughout the day. The traffic is nearly constant, and building ever present in this growing city.


Last Sunday we released our latest album at Club Passim. We shared the show with the Scharff Brothers. They started out the night with a set accompanied by a new drummer. We played with a bassist, Michael Calienes, who is quite talented and fun to jam with. The audience was so warm and we got two encores.

We played in Worcester at the Java Hut in the Estrogen Fest. The Java Hut has music often and the crowd was appreciative. The festival raised money for SPIN, an organization which helps place stray animals in good homes. The next night we played at the Barn House Concerts in West Orange NJ. The house concert was in a parsonage for a church where many of the residents were artists. The living room had a beautiful classical plaster statue of a man holding a large beam across his back. There was a painting on one of the walls and the gray paint and white trim made the room look like an art museum. Dave Murphy opened the show. He sang songs mostly about heartbreak, which is a fairly potent topic, and he sang with a woman named Abby who is an actress in the City (New York). We played well and enjoyed meeting the people at the concert. The air was crisp and chilly for the first time this fall. We drove back to Hartford in the darkness of September.

We are now in Seattle for our first Northwest tour. We flew in yesterday and got a fabulous view of Mt Rainier and the harbors in Seattle from the plane. The Seattle airport is quite large and I got seperated from Meredith while getting the bags from baggage claim. I waited fro our host to pick us up on the top tier of the airport, listeing to a loudspeaker that shouted at the cars parked on the street."Do not park, active unloading and loading only. You will be towed." But no one was around to hear the message. I watched people get out of cars, exchange hugs and "thanks" and "see you soon"s and part ways. I watched cars drive around and around looking for people they wanted to pick up. Our friend arrived and we drove off to her place. Seattle is a true working port. We saw huge orange steel cranes and candy-colored train freight cars stacked up by the water. There was industry in the valleys and small bungalow homes on the hills. The city is surrounded by mountains: the Cascades, the Olympics, Mt Rainier. Our host pointed them out and they looked like the bottoms of clouds rather than the tops of mountains because they were so tall. Our host lives North of the city in a sweet neighborhood of small houses that are now seeing better days. The grass is burnt from lack of rain but some of the gardens are lush with green. I notice most that the trees are different. I don't recognize them but their shapes are exotic and beautiful.                

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