Monday, March 4, 2013

Snow and Books, 2

OK, next guidebook. This time it's Backroads of New England by Kim Knox Beckius. (Published by Voyageur Press.) This is less of a traditional guidebook than the previous one. It focuses on scenic drives through all six New England states. I only read the Connecticut section. (So far; I will probably look at the other states' sections the next time I'm preparing to visit one of them.) There are also photographs (by William H. Johnson) that are quite pretty.

Today I Learned: The granite of the Thimble Islands, the granite for which Connecticut was once so renowned, was pink granite. And, bascule (as in the Mystic Bascule Bridge) is French for seesaw. And, a Connecticutian invented the commercial-grade snow gun. The very, um, teutonically named Walt Schoenknecht first made snow for his ski resort here in 1949. (Still Revolutionary!)

Amusements: Seeing Beckius nail Connecticut's entire image problem on the first page: most everyone who comes here does so via nondescript Interstates on their way to somewhere else, therefore they think there's nothing here. Also, the fact that the book's third proposed route begins with descriptions of private, exclusive bits of the state that you can only glimpse from the road.

Listings: Because it's not a standard guidebook, I can't complain about which restaurants and shops are or aren't included. But the five Connecticut drives are good choices: the Litchfield Hills, the Guilford/Madison area, the Connecticut River valley, the Southeastern shoreline, and Route 169 through the Quiet Corner. I would like to have seen more, of course, and more of the quirky over the merely beautiful, but this is a nicely geographically spread out selection.

Quotes: No literary quotes in this book, but one of Beckius's own: "Diamonds are created under great heat and pressure. Squeezed between New York and Massachusetts, Connecticut is a gem whose most brilliant facets are easily overlooked." Damn skippy!

1 comment:

  1. I know Kim through and I now want to read this book.



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