Pilgrimage

Here is another image from Appledore Island, of the Laighton family cemetery there. Celia Laighton Thaxter was born in Portsmouth, NH in 1835. When she was young, her father became the lighthouse keeper on White Island, one of Appledore’s neighbors to the south. In 1851 she married Levi Thaxter and within a few years her husband and father had become business partners and opened Appledore House, one of New England’s first seaside resorts and a meeting place for literary and artistic luminaries. Celia became well known in her own right and her poems appeared regularly in the Atlantic Monthly. Her beautifully illustrated book, An Island Garden chronicles a year in the life of her island garden, includes illustrations by American impressionist, Childe Hassam, and is, to this day, considered a fine example of horticultural writing.

More than a century later we were Pelicans on Star Island, another of Appledore’s neighbors to the south. She worked the desk while I lead nature tours. We like to tell folks that it was our mutual admiration of Boltenia ovifera, a stalked Tunicate, that brought us together (which is closer to the truth than you might want to believe). We visit the islands infrequently now, but when we do we take time to sit at this place. It is our way of thanking Celia and all of the others who came before us for recognizing the natural beauty of these places and for preserving them for all of us to study, share, admire, and to appreciate.

Shoals9

17 thoughts on “Pilgrimage

    • So very happy you followed up on the mention of the Pelicans. I worked on Star Island for the summers of 1978 and 1980 and Joanna spent most summers of her young adulthood on Appledore Island. A lucky circumstance brought us together (on Star) during that summer of 1980 … it was a summer that changed both of our lives. Once a Pelican, always a Pelican … being one was a wonderful experience. It was the experience of a lifetime for me. I spent two summers on a beautiful island, getting to know a large number of my peers – not one of whom I had known before arriving there. To this day, I tell the fellow who encouraged me to pursue summer work there (one of my high school teachers) that he, among all those who I have known during my lifetime, had the greatest influence on who I am today. Thanks for appreciating this post Jenny. If you’re ever in this part of the world you should take the time to visit the Isles of Shoals and to tour Celia Thaxter’s Garden (on Appledore).

  1. Reassuring to see that certain places from the past remain the same, unchanged. Even better when this lovely place holds such personal meaning to you. Love the light in this image.

  2. How nice that you and Joanna met here and are able to visit on occasion and spend a little time thanking Celia. Mary Beth and I met at a match factory. We don’t go there at all.

    The image has a bit of an HDR feel to it. The lichens (?) on the stones speak of their age.

    • A match factory …. there’s a story there, I’ll bet. You are correct … HDR, to be sure … I feel a bit ‘guilty’ using it but …. what’s a person to do? I’m thinking of sending along an email one of these days, with something of a modest proposal … stay tuned.

      • We were both working there as summer jobs. Well, for Mary Beth it was. I had quit school…don’t ask why..it was just idiotic…and we met. On again off again relationship over many years that never turned serious until one day we met at
        “The Flaming Pit”. Now that is a story. 🙂

          • I should. It was a fortunate circumstance that brought us together that night. The rest, as they say, is history. Without a doubt the luckiest day of my life and it almost didn’t happen. Yeah, I will post the story soon. Thanks for suggesting.

  3. I was going to respond to your first post, but then I caught the title of this one and laughed. My first thought on reading your previous title (“The Childe Within”) was of “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.” There’s no question your pilgrimage was as wondrous as his.

    The story of Celia Thaxter is fascinating, and the photo of the burial grounds beautiful. I’m always touched when I see a small cemetery like this that has been kept clean and free of weeds. There’s beauty in overgrown stones, no doubt, but the signs of human care have their own beauty.

Respond to this post if you'd like.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: