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    Webster,

    Louisiana

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    Webster Parish (French: Paroisse de Webster) is a parish located in the northwestern section of the U.S. state of Louisiana. The seat of the parish is Minden.As of the 2010 census, the Webster Parish population was 41,207. In 2018, the population estimate was 38,798. Public officials who have long sought to increase the industrial potential of the parish, expressed concern over the decline. Jim Bonsall, the president of the Webster Parish Police Jury, the parish governing body, cited the ending of the Haynesville Shale boom as the primary reason for the population losses. The parish has long depended on jobs in the petroleum and natural gas fields.The parish is named for 19th-century American statesman Daniel Webster of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It was created on February 27, 1871 from lands formerly belonging to Bienville, Bossier, and Claiborne parishes. The parish centennial celebration was held in May 1971. Speakers included Police jury president Leland Garland Mims and Judge Enos McClendon of the Louisiana 26th Judicial District Court, who gave a biographical sketch of Daniel Webster. Many officials and parish employees dressed in period costume of the 1870s for the event.Webster Parish is part of the Shreveport-Bossier City, LA Metropolitan Statistical Area. Among the first settlers in Webster Parish was Newett Drew, a native of Virginia, who about 1818 established a grist mill at the former Overton community near Minden. At this time the area was Natchitoches Parish and later Overton became the Parish Seat of Claiborne Parish in 1836 until it moved in 1848. His son, Richard Maxwell Drew was born in Overton and served as a district judge and state representative prior to his death in 1850 at the age of twenty-eight. R. M. Drew's descendants held judicial or legislative positions in Webster Parish as well, Richard Cleveland Drew, Harmon Caldwell Drew, R. Harmon Drew, Sr., and Harmon Drew, Jr.
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    Road Trips

    Fill'er Up, Mate: Australian Road Trips

    What you'll find in this story: Australia travel, Australia culture, Australia attractions, Australia itineraries, Australia lodging, Australian dining Our intrepid reporter takes us into the red centre, down the great ocean road, and to the remote southwest corner. 1. Into the Red Centre If Australia were folded in half like a book, the Stuart Highway would be its spine, forging through emptiness for 2,000 miles. Driving half of it is plenty, so I've flown to the dead center: the desert town of Alice Springs. North of "the Alice" there's barely a stoplight for 1,000 miles--about the distance from Dallas to Chicago--until the asphalt meets Darwin, on the Timor Sea. Like Germany's autobahn, the Stuart has no speed limit; unlike the autobahn, it's virtually barren. Every 45 minutes or so, a roadhouse appears mirage-like on the horizon, offering gas, beer, motel-style lodging, and a little "Where ya from, mate?" Aside from that, the land presents itself the way God made it. Hour by hour, sandy red earth gives way to spindly trees, brown escarpments, termite mounds as tall as kindergartners, and not much else. No cell phone coverage, no radio stations. There's nowhere else on earth to be so isolated while on good roads in your average rental car. A drive on the Stuart Highway evolves slowly, with developments marked by the odometer. Kilometer 36 north of Alice Springs: cross the Tropic of Capricorn. At 54: spot two wedge-tailed eagles feeding on kangaroo roadkill. At 83, 443, 906, and 1,222: nearly hit a kangaroo myself. At 142: tank up beside a "road train," Australia's superlong tractor trailers that pull three or four long trailers. At 202: Ti Tree, "the most central pub in Oz." No one blinks when truckers drain their beers and get right back in their cabs. Periodically, I pull over and cut the engine, just to feel the nothingness. I consider walking deep into the scrub but never make it more than 20 feet without worrying about snakebites--and being picked clean by wedge-tailed eagles. The pleasure of a Stuart drive is partly in stumbling across artifacts from man's attempts to make use of the bush. Beside the gas station in Barrow Creek (kilometer 294), a wooden telegraph repeater station from the early 1870s stands abandoned but perfectly preserved by the dry desert air. There's another in the expanse north of Tennant Creek (541). Barely rusted bits of telegraph wire and antique bottles still litter the grounds of both. The eerie ruins at Gorrie Airfield (1,103) once housed 6,500 personnel in World War II. Today, there are ghostly scraps of gray bitumen leading to an old fighter runway that's over a mile long. The walls inside most of the bush pubs along the highway are stapled over with bras, underwear, foreign currency, and business cards--a few of mine included--left by visitors from around the world. Basic rooms cost about $35; given the volume of cold Victoria Bitter on tap, by bedtime most customers aren't in a state to quibble over thread counts. Just about every pit stop is run by someone who could pass as the main character in a novel. The proprietor of the roadhouse at Wycliffe Well (393) has lined the walls with newspaper reports of local UFO sightings. The owner of the Wauchope Hotel (411) abandoned a 35-year career as a firefighter in Adelaide. The night before I arrive, 40 guys from a remote cattle station drove two hours over a dirt track to have a birthday party there; it lasted until dawn. At the pub inside the Daly Waters Historic Hotel (986), road-trippers gather nightly to be entertained by 14-year-old singer Patrick Webster, who brazenly flirts with waitresses 10 years his senior, and by Frank the Chook Man, who does renditions of folk songs as live chickens roost on his hat. Even the highway's banner sights seem like something a science-fiction writer might have cooked up. The two big ones are the rock that looks like Winston Churchill's head (652) and the Devil's Marbles, huge, rounded boulders jumbled together improbably in the desert (422). The wildlife is similarly otherworldly. Some visitors think, at first, that the stirring in the cabbage tree palms and paperbarks above the turquoise Mataranka Thermal Springs (1,220) comes from a bird of some sort. In fact, it's the squabbling of hundreds of thousands of flying foxes, big as beagles and hanging upside down while flailing their leathery wings. The gassy creatures poop everywhere, but that doesn't stop people from jumping in the water beneath them (750 miles of desert scrub will make anyone desperate for a soak). Around kilometer 1,575, the world comes sufficiently alive enough to drizzle. By the time the Stuart Highway terminates in Darwin (1,646), the humidity edges toward 100 percent, and I'm confronted with Internet cafés, traffic lights, and too many people for my Zenned-out brain to handle. Lodging   Wycliffe Well south of Wauchope, 011-61/8-8964-1966, from $30   Bluestone Motor Inn Paterson St. South, Tennant Creek, 011-61/8-8962-2617, from $75   Wauchope Hotel Wauchope, 011-61/ 8-8964-1963, from $55   Daly Waters Historic Hotel Daly Waters, 011-61/8-8975-9927, from $38   Barrow Creek Hotel Barrow Creek, 011-61/8-8956-9753, from $55 Food   Ti Tree Roadhouse Ti Tree, 011-61/ 8-8956-9741 Attractions   Devil's Marbles north of Wauchope, free   Mataranka Thermal Springs Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort, east of Mataranka, 011-61/8-8975-4544, free 2. Great Ocean Road In the convict days, ships from Europe shortened the five-month journey to Sydney by sailing along Australia's southern coast, threading between Tasmania and the mainland near Melbourne, a perilous route through the rocky Bass Strait. The irony is that many ships went for months without seeing anything but water, only to literally crash into Australia. Just south of Melbourne, where I start my road trip, is enormous Port Philip Bay, which has 161 miles of coastline but a mouth that's only two miles wide. The channel roils with so much tidal water that seamen dubbed it the Rip. The area is notorious enough that when Australia's Prime Minister Harold Holt vanished while taking an ill-advised dip nearby in 1967, the government didn't launch so much as an inquiry. A few years later, the parliament did feel inspired to take action of a different sort a few miles south, at Bell's Beach, designating it a national surfing reserve. From a bluff I watch surfers in wet suits doggedly bob and paddle the same waves that host the annual Rip Curl Pro competition. The Surfworld Australia museum is in the adjoining town of Torquay. In front of the building, teenagers slam the pavement on beat-up skateboards, aware that this is one property they won't be chased off of. Inside, there's a hall of fame, a meticulous history section, and a continuous film festival of classic documentaries. The Great Ocean Road begins in Torquay and swerves along forested cliffs and swirling waters for 200-plus miles. I quickly learn that meals will be nothing fancy; the staple of the road's bakeshops is the meat pie (I like to dip them in tomato sauce like the locals do). Against my better judgment, at the Louttit Bay Bakery I try the Mitey Cheese Scroll, a platter-size swirl of cheese and moist bread that leaves me yearning for greens. My favorite stops for grub are at the pubs, where entire families hang out together. In an Airey's Inlet pub, I order a gin and tonic (it comes premixed in a can) and spot a boy no older than seven. He's perched on a bar stool, eating cheese puffs and chatting with the bartender like one of the gang. Cimarron, a B&B high above the town of Airey's Inlet, was designed and built in 1979 from native eucalyptus wood by Wade Chambers, an American-born professor. Scanning the thousands of books that line the walls, I tell Wade that I could get into the idea of moving, like he did, to this peaceful Aussie Malibu. Wade is an eager talker, and before we know it, it's past midnight. I switch on the TV--you can learn a lot about a place by what's showing late at night--and catch ads for livestock sales and lungworm poison. In the morning, wild parrots and white cockatoos peer into the windows. As I pull out of Cimarron, three bemused kangaroos blink at me before hopping into the trees. Several miles past Apollo Bay, another tiny vacation town, there's an easy-to-miss signpost: mait's rest. A path leads to a rain forest gully, trickling with streams, layered with ferns as big as beach towels, and pierced by shafts of sunlight. Australia is 70 percent arid, and it's shocking to see how much vivid green the other 30 percent of the land is able to muster. After an hour, an elderly couple appears. "Never seen anything like it," the woman says, craning her neck. It's a sight that would be famous elsewhere. Next stop is Otway Fly, one of the world's tallest treetop walkways, which opened in September 2003. Its steel catwalk system is 2,000 feet long, rising as high as 147 feet into a rain forest canopy of beech, blackwood, and ash. Seeing centuries-old forests from above, at bird's-eye level, is surprisingly compelling. Back on the coast, the Twelve Apostles finally come into view, like great sailing ships returning from a voyage. Fat, beige limestone pillars in the slate-blue water, the Apostles are worthy of their postcard fame. Crowds gather for the sidelong photo op from a promontory at Port Campbell National Park. A plump Australian blows cigarette smoke out his nose and says what we're all thinking: "They're so beautiful I could look at them all day." Meanwhile, hornet-like helicopters incessantly chop through the air. They're less annoying the minute I actually get in one. A 10-minute ride costs $58, and seven minutes after laying down my credit card, I'm snapping photos of the rumpled sheet of ocean below. The walking trails at Loch Ard Gorge, a mile or two on, explore the land above sea-worn tunnels, blowholes, and arches that have wrecked many a luckless ship. The gorge is named for its most infamous disaster--the Loch Ard went down in 1878 with 52 out of 54 passengers, even though it came to grief only about 20 feet from land. The air wheezes with sea mist as waves pummel the rocks and splash skyward. You can actually feel the earth tremble when the surges strike land. Lodging   Cimarron 105 Gilbert St., Airey's Inlet, 011-61/3-5289-7044, cimarron.com.au, from $115 Food   Louttit Bay Bakery 46b Mountjoy Parade, Lorne, 011-61/3-5289-1207 Attractions   Surfworld Australia Surf City Plaza, Beach Rd., Torquay, 011-61/3-5261-4606, surfworld.org.au, $5.60   Otway Fly Lavers Hill, 011-61/3-5235-9200, otwayfly.com, $9.30   Port Campbell National Park 011-61/13-1963, parkweb.vic.gov.au, free   PremiAir Port Campbell National Park, 011-61/3-5598-8266, premiairhelicopterservices.com, flights from $58   Great Ocean Road Tourism 011-61/3-5237-6529, greatoceanrd.org.au 3. The remote southwest corner I'm as far away from home as I can get without swimming--on the opposite end of the planet, with New York City somewhere beneath the soles of my feet--yet few places on earth seem more American. Driving south out of Perth, a city of skyscrapers, suburb tracts, car dealerships, and gas station mini-marts, things rhyme far more with Houston or Miami than with the pseudo-British settlements of eastern Australia. After a bland 100 miles or so, just below the town of Bunbury, the southwest tip of Australia juts into the Indian Ocean and the landscape bursts into a thousand shades of green. In the 50-odd miles between the northern and southern capes of the bulge is Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, a coastline of thundering waves, untouched beaches, and death-wish surfers who brave curls with names like the Gallows and the Guillotine. In Yallingup, I check in at Caves House, amid gardens high above the moody sea. It's a creaking manor with a sweeping veranda, antique white-tiled bathrooms, and dark hallways lined with 1930s photographs of the staff dressed for tennis. I'm so enraptured by the time warp that in the morning I can't help gushing to the desk clerk. She nods sadly. "Glad you liked it," she says. "We got the word last week that we're all getting the boot." In a month, Caves House would be handed over to a company for conversion into a luxury resort. I drive to the coast's far southern tip, near Augusta, where the Indian and the Southern Oceans meet and chew furiously at the shoreline. Humpback and southern right whales are known to frolic in the foamy waters beneath the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. When I ask about the seas, the lighthouse's middle-aged, cardigan-wearing ticket attendant mistakes me for a surfer. "Redgate Beach is going off today," she reports. "Be careful. There's a nasty rip." This remote corner of Australia is home to more than 60 wineries, which flourish thanks to sunny summers and surrounding waters that ward off frost and drought. It's called the Margaret River Wine Region, and the town of the same name is a laid-back artists' retreat of coffeehouses and galleries. Encouraged by raves from several people at a coffee shop in town, I lunch at VAT 107, which uses local organic ingredients for dishes like spicy quail, honeycomb ice cream, and grilled marron--a cobalt-blue freshwater crayfish that is native only to southwest Australia and can grow to more than a foot long. I rent a cottage for the night at Burnside Bungalows and Organic Farm. It's run by Jamie and Lara McCall, who fled Perth for the wine country a few years ago with their three young sons. Guests stay in airy, hand-built cottages with kitchens, woodstoves, and views over the paddocks, and they're even welcome to help themselves to food from the harvests--olives, macadamias, avocados, apricots, and mulberries. What really drew me to the region are the ancient, mammoth trees. The pale-bark karri trees are 150 feet tall, as big around as foldout couches. I cruise along on empty roads that undulate over hills, around pastures dotted with contented cows, and into miles of forests that feel as sacred as Gothic cathedrals. Now and then, brief bouts of rain appear, and the clean scent of wet soil pours through the open windows. It's car-commercial good. The forest hides some cozy lumber hamlets--toy-town-like and tinged with the aroma of freshly cut timber, where chimneys smoke and carpenters deal in exotic woods such as jarrah. Many village names use the Aboriginal suffix -up, which means "place of," lending the vicinity an endearing, fairy-tale euphony: Nannup, Manjimup, Balingup. Then there's Pemberton, home of one of the area's most prized attractions: the enormous Gloucester Tree, which for years served as a lookout tower for firefighters. Anyone may climb to its platform, which is 190 feet up, but the means of ascent is a helix of slippery metal pegs spiraling perilously into the branches. As evening sets in, I check into a two-room bungalow at Pump Hill Farm Cottages, stoke its potbellied stove, and uncork a bottle of Margaret River red. Out my back door, in total darkness, a cool rain rustles the leaves. I may be far from where I live, but I'm utterly at home. The chatter of the forest is a little unsettling at first, but by the time the fire dies out, I'm fast asleep. Lodging   Burnside Bungalows 291a Burnside Rd., Margaret River, 011-61/8-9757-2139, burnsidebungalows.com.au, from $125   Pump Hill Farm Pump Hill Rd., Pemberton, 011-61/8-9776-1379, pumphill.com.au, from $82 Food   VAT 107 107 Bussell Hwy., Margaret River, 011-61/8-9758-8877, vat107.com.au, tasting plate for two $22 Attractions   Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park 011-61/8-9752-5555, calm.wa.gov.au, free   Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse Quarry Bay, Augusta, 011-61/8-9757-7411, lighthouse.net.au, tours $6   The Gloucester Tree Burma Rd., Pemberton, 011-61/8-9776-1207, calm.wa.gov.au, $6.70 per car   Pemberton Tourist Centre 011-61/8-9776-1133, pembertontourist.com.au

    Inspiration

    Maine's Mid-Coast

    I've always hated lobster. My memories of childhood vacations in Maine are clouded by recollections of sitting grumpily at the picnic table of lobster shacks, morosely longing for a hamburger. My girlfriend, Frances, was of another mind. She prepared for our drive up Maine's Mid-Coast--from Portland to Penobscot Bay--by trying to work out ways to incorporate lobster into every meal, including breakfast. I was far more eager to revisit the Maine I loved from my past: offshore islands, Victorian fishing villages, the gargantuan L.L. Bean flagship store, and meandering drives along the narrow peninsulas. As for my feelings about lobster, I have to admit I became a begrudging convert: By the end of our trip it was me--claw cracker in one hand, plastic cup of Maine microbrew in the other--eyeing the largest guy in the tank. Day 1: Portland to Westport Island Our first order of business heading north out of Portland on Route 1 was a visit to DeLorme headquarters in Yarmouth. I had borrowed my dad's DeLorme map of the state. He'd highlighted his favorite drives, circled memorable towns, and scrawled notes all over. It was as good a resource as any guidebook, but this was to be my trip, and I wanted my own blank slate. DeLorme's lobby houses the world's largest spinning globe--130 feet around, over 41 feet high. At one-millionth scale, the massive globe has all the world's topographical information, but leaves out political borders. It's Earth as the astronauts see it--all I could think was how huge the Pacific Ocean actually is. We stopped next at the Desert of Maine, a kitschy 40-acre plot of miniature sand dunes. The site formed in the 1880s when over-farming depleted the soil covering a glacial sand deposit. Along with the striking dunes, the Desert of Maine complex has a train to cart you around, plastic camels for photo-ops, and a nature trail through a pine forest that promised remarkable wildlife wonders such as "trees and birds." In Freeport, I got to business trying on travel slacks at L.L. Bean. The town is one of the nation's most popular outlet shopping villages, with more than 150 stores. And it all started in 1917 when avid outdoorsman Leon Leonwood Bean opened his shop, now a 140,000-square-foot flagship. Frances had to drag me out of a dressing room to find lunch. Half a block down Main Street, we grabbed a table on the brick patio of the Lobster Cooker, a homespun version of a fast-food joint. It was my first lobster roll of the trip, and it was better than I remembered them to be. The soft, chewy bun and the mayonnaisey lobster were delicious. Squire Tarbox Inn, a 1763 farmhouse turned B&B, was so secluded that to find it we had to stop twice to consult the map. Owner Roni De Pietro, a retired flight attendant, showed us around the building and up an outdoor staircase to our room. Rough wooden beams lined the ceiling, and there was a lovely view over gardens sloping to a meadow with a pond. After settling in, we returned downstairs to the inn's little living room to snack on goat cheese, crackers, olives, and red wine from the honor bar, where we noted what we drank for our bill. Squire Tarbox is as well known for its meals as its rooms. Roni's Swiss husband, Mario--a veteran of top New York kitchens including The Four Seasons restaurant--prepared a dinner of chicken curry soup, grilled salmon, and potato-crusted haddock with a side of glazed carrots from the inn's organic garden. Back in our room, I left the door open awhile to take in the quiet and the darkness. A fluffy cat sauntered in, hopped up onto the bed's duvet, and settled down with us for the night. Day One Lodging Squire Tarbox Inn1181 Main Rd., Westport Island, 207/882-7693, squiretarboxinn.com, rooms from $99, dinner from $32.50 Food Lobster Cooker39 Main St., Freeport, 207/865-4349, lobster roll $14 Attractions DeLorme 2 DeLorme Dr., Yarmouth, 207/846-7100 Desert of Maine 95 Desert Rd., Freeport, 207/865-6962, $7.75 Shopping L.L. Bean 95 Main St., Freeport, 800/559-0747 Day 2: Westport Island to Waldoboro To say the town of Bath (pop. 9,266) is in the shipbuilding industry is a bit of an understatement; nearly half of the employees at Bath Iron Works are from the greater Bath area. And during the past 117 years, BIW has built more than 400 big boats, from tugs to missile destroyers. Down the road from BIW, the defunct Percy & Small Shipyard has been turned into the Maine Maritime Museum. I expected it to be dull, but was proven wrong by an intriguing mix of seafaring lore and shipbuilding secrets. An exhibit on lobstermen listed some common superstitions: They will not paint their boats blue, wear black, turn baskets or barrels upside down, or say the word "pig" while on board. Maine's Mid-Coast looks somewhat like a stumpy hand with more than a dozen long, scraggly fingers. The fingers are peninsulas and islands, most of which are connected by bridges. From Bath, we drove down one peninsula and onto Bailey Island, a small fishing village. At the docks, Cook's Lobster House was a near-perfect lobster shack. I had baked lobster stuffed with Ritz crackers. The baking dried out the lobster meat, but copious amounts of melted butter went a long way to making up for it. At Bowdoin College in Brunswick, we visited the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum, a collection of Arctic arcana. (Did you know caribou hair is hollow?) The place was named for two alumni explorers, the more famous of whom--Robert Edwin Peary--became the first man to reach the North Pole, in 1909. We retraced our way south to Georgetown Island with one goal: to take a picture of me next to the sign for Reid State Park. After a lifetime of searching in vain for my name on a miniature license plate, this was something of a victory. The park also won me over with one of Maine's best beaches--a mile and a half of wide sand backed by marshy tide pools and a freshwater pond. Though summer temperatures around here average in the mid-70s, the water in the ocean never rises much past 60 degrees. Only the hardiest swimmers opt for the ocean, and it was too cold for us to contemplate either. In Waldoboro, a neon sign welcomed us to Moody's Diner, a classic joint with two neat rows of white clapboard cabins on a hill behind it. We relaxed for a few moments on our little screened porch before hopping back in the car to backtrack down Rte. 1 for dinner in Damariscotta. The town, which curls around a harbor, has a white church steeple poking above the trees. At King Eider's Pub, we had cold pints of local microbrew Kennebec River Magic Hole IPA, along with fresh, meaty river oysters and a hunter's soup of beef, sausage, potatoes, and veggies in a spicy broth. It warmed us up nicely. Day Two Lodging Moody's MotelRoute 1, Waldoboro, 207/832-5362, $43 Food Cook's Lobster HouseBailey Island, 207/833-2818, lobster $25 King Eider's Pub2 Elm St., Damariscotta, 207/563-6008, half-dozen river oysters $11 Attractions Maine Maritime Museum243 Washington St., Bath, 207/443-1316, $10 Peary-MacMillan Arctic MuseumHubbard Hall, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, 207/725-3416 Reid State Park375 Seguinland Rd., Georgetown, 207/371-2303, $4.50 Day 3: Waldoboro to Vinalhaven We fortified ourselves for the day with eggs, pancakes, and bacon at Moody's Diner before visiting Pemaquid Point. There's a real land's-end feel to the protruding finger of granite, which is eroded in the most gorgeous way. An 1827 lighthouse at the top of the outcropping is the same one pictured on the back of Maine's state quarters. Frances and I whiled away two hours scrambling over the rocks, peering at tiny crabs in tide pools. Just up the road we found a place that beat Cook's Lobster House, at least in terms of atmosphere. Shaw's Fish & Lobster Wharf is a one-room outfit with a sunny deck built out over a cove bobbing with boats. It was quiet accompaniment to yet another delicious lobster. The oddest souvenir shop I've ever seen, the Maine State Prison Showroom near Rockland, is stocked with woodwork made by inmates from the state pen up the road in Warren. Prices are low: oak bookcases for $139, intricate ship models from $55. I'm still kicking myself for not buying a Maine State Prison birdhouse resembling a jail, with little bars on the windows. It was a bit disconcerting, however, to browse a store staffed by convicts (plus a guard). Moving higher up the art scale, we stopped at the Farnsworth Art Museum in downtown Rockland to admire the work of 19th-century American painters, including Thomas Eakins and the Wyeth clan. Andrew Wyeth's father, N.C., started the family's habit of summering in Maine in the 1930s in nearby Port Clyde. After taking our sweet time at the museum, we parked down by the docks and boarded the ferry for the 75-minute ride to Vinalhaven Island. In the center of town, the Tidewater Motel is built right on top of a fast, narrow tidal channel. Our room opened onto a small deck over the water. From the window, we could look at the harbor, flecked with dozens of white boats. Owner Phil Crossman lent us a couple of bikes, and we rode a few miles out of town to Booths Quarry, a popular swimming hole. It was sunny but chilly, and the water felt freezing. Some teenage girls were splashing around, so I tried--unsuccessfully--to convince Frances to jump in with me. What I failed to consider was that these girls had been tempered by Maine winters. The second I hit the water, I catapulted back out of it with a yelp and sprinted back along the surface to shore. Frances found this hilarious. We biked back for dinner at the Harbor Gawker, an unpretentious restaurant looking out on a pond. The crab roll and clam chowder were simple and just right. Day Three Lodging Tidewater MotelVinalhaven, 207/863-4618, tidewatermotel.com, from $72 Food Shaw's Fish & Lobster WharfRoute 32, New Harbor, 207/ 677-2200, lobster $14 Harbor GawkerMain St., Vinalhaven, 207/863-9365, crab roll and clam chowder $10.75 Attractions Pemaquid Point207/563-6246, parking $2 Farnsworth Art Museum16 Museum St., Rockland, 207/596-6457, $9 Shopping Maine State Prison Showroom358 Main St. (Rte. 1), Thomaston, 207/354-9237 Transportation Maine State Ferry ServiceRockland, 207/596-2202, round-trip $12 Day 4: Vinalhaven to Portland In a little shopping center next to the docks, a back deck leads to the Surfside, a restaurant popular with fishermen, who roll in for breakfast as early as 4 a.m. Well after that hour, I wolfed down two eggs with kielbasa, crispy home fries, and thick slices of bread made from cornmeal and molasses, and Frances had blueberry pancakes. All the while, owner Donna Webster and her staff teased the other clients--friends who had come in to discuss The Bold & the Beautiful, and skateboarders declaring the food "wicked good." A ferry to the mainland dropped us back at our car, and we took a quick drive north to Camden. Giant old Victorians line the streets, a little river spills over a waterfall into the harbor, and fun shops fill brick buildings along Chestnut, Main, and Elm Streets. It all felt very Norman Rockwell. Camden was the end of the road for us. But before shooting back down to Portland, we picked up some turkey sandwiches at the Camden Deli for one more activity, a mile-and-a-half climb to the top of Mount Battie, outside of town. Just below the mountaintop, we found a sunny boulder to sit on, and pulled out our picnic. We took turns reading to each other from "Renascence," the 1912 poem that launched the literary career of local high school student Edna St. Vincent Millay. The poem was evidently inspired by this very view of Camden, the perfect Maine town, overlooking the perfect island-dotted harbor. Day Four Food Surfside RestaurantWest Main St., Vinalhaven, 207/863-2767 Camden Deli37 Main St., Camden, 207/236-8343 Attractions Mount BattieCamden Hills State Park, 280 Belfast Rd., Camden, 207/236-3109 Finding Your Way The ideal time for this trip is in high summer, when temperatures reach the mid-70s, and everything's sure to be open. Driving these parts requires a lot of jogging up and down Route 1; the goal isn't to get from Point A to Point B, but to detour into all the inlets. The exits on Interstates 295 and 95 were renumbered in Maine in early 2004, so be sure to use 2005 guidebooks and maps. A few notes: 1) The Squire Tarbox Inn is easy to miss. From Bath on Route 1, Route 144 sneaks up after the Montsweag brook crossing. 2) The ferry to Vinalhaven leaves out of Rockland. 3) The fastest route back to Portland from Camden is inland, via Route 90 to Route 17 to Augusta, then I-95 to I-295 south.

    Inspiration

    San Francisco: Five best values for September

    Shakespeare in the Park Grab a blanket and a picnic and head down to the Presidio for the Annual Free Shakespeare in the Park. This year, director Kenneth Kelleher brings us Two Gentlemen of Verona, with many much-loved actors from past years. Make sure to come early to grab a good spot, since the plays tend to draw big crowds. When? Saturday evenings at 7:30, and Sunday afternoons at 2:30 pm through September. Main Post Parade Ground Lawn (between Graham St & Keyes Ave) SF Fringe theater festival The annual SF Fringe theater festival, known for cutting-edge theater, presents 43 short plays over 12 days by both local and international performers. The festival has been described by SF Weekly as a "theatrical free-for-all." Check out one play, or join the cultish fans trying to cram in a dozen during the 2-week stretch. When? September 8–19. Tickets are $12.99 and under, $10 at the door on a first-come, first-serve basis 30 minutes before the show. Cash only; limit 4 tickets per person. See 5 shows for $40 or 10 shows for $75. Fort Point candlelight tours Tickets to the ever-popular guided nighttime candlelight tours of historic Fort Point—with views of the underside of the Golden Gate Bridge—sell out quickly. September 1st is the first day that you can make a reservation for the tours starting in November, so if you're planning a winter trip, reserve now. When? Saturday evenings, November through February (reservations accepted starting September 1st); 415/556-1693; Fort Point, at the end of Marine Drive on the Presidio of San Francisco. J-Pop, Japantown's pop culture festival Japan is arguable the apex of modern pop-culture, setting trends for everything from anime and horror films to teenage fashion. Lucky for us, the pop culture collective New People World are bringing their Japanese pop culture festival, J-Pop to San Francisco's Japantown this year. The day-long event will be packed with fashion shows, food, films, music, design and art. When? Saturday, September 18 at 11am; Free. Japantown Peace Plaza, at Geary and Webster Streets. SF MOMA's "Now Playing" party SF MOMA invites musicians to turn the museum into a performance space during their "Now Playing" evening parties. This month brings the group MEN, starring JD Samson from Le Tigre. MEN will perform in the atrium alongside an installation by artist Celeste Dupuy. But that's not all: Blue Bottle coffee, along with local chefs and San Francisco's meat-themed magazine, Meatpaper, are teaming up to serve a tasting menu paired with wine and beer at the museum's rooftop sculpture garden. When? Thursday, September 16; Free with museum admission ($6 Thursday evenings after 6 pm). 151 Third Street, 415/ 357-4000.

    Inspiration

    This Weekend: See baseball played the original way

    Curious about how baseball was played in the 1860s? This weekend's World Tournament of Historic Base Ball in Dearborn, Mich., gives you a chance to see what our national pastime was originally like. Set on the grounds of Greenfield Village, an 80-acre historic community established by Henry Ford in 1929, the competition pays homage to the first World's Base Ball Tournament held in 1867 in Detroit, with teams playing by the rules, and with the same equipment and uniforms, as their 19th-century counterparts. The tournament, in its seventh year, will pit 16 vintage ball clubs from Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana—including Greenfield Village's own Nationals and Lah-De-Dahs—against each other in a series of 28 games over two days, starting at 9:30 a.m. on August 8 and culminating in the championship August 9 at 2:30 p.m. The prize for the winning team: $300, same as it was in 1867. And the team with the fewest wins doesn't go home empty-handed. That ball club scores a sack of peanuts. Don't be surprised if you notice a few differences in the game: According to the rules in effect in 1867, pitchers must throw "fairly" (i.e., hittable pitches) underhand, and a foul ball caught after one bounce is still considered an out. The umpire (there's just one!) warns the hitter before he starts calling strikes—foul balls don't count—and, likewise, warns the pitcher before he starts calling balls—but after the warning, only three balls get the batter a base. At the time, gloves were becoming more common, but they were fingerless and made of leather, mainly meant to protect the palm. Players wore them on both hands, making throwing a bit of a challenge, and possibly explaining why games often ended with scores of 61–34 or 41–40. Between games, you can take part in a Massachusetts Rules Game, a pre-Civil War stick-and-ball game; participate in the 1867 Base Ball Skill Test, where you can try your hand at pitching, yes, underhand and see how fast you can run the bases; watch the Players' Skills Competition, to see which team has the most accurate thrower, the fastest runner, and who can throw the ball the farthest; play another version of a stick-and-ball game, cricket; and enjoy a George Gershwin-inspired music and comedy revue. Saturday's events culminate with a 7 p.m. concert by 19th-century brass band the Dodworth Saxhorn Band and a fireworks finale. World Tournament of Historic Base Ball events are free with Greenfield Village admission ($22 for adults, $16 for kids 5–12). The fields have "hillside seating," so bring a blanket to sit in the grass or, if you don't mind carrying them around, lawn chairs. If you can't make it this weekend, the Nationals and Lah-De-Dahs host home games the following two weekends at Greenfield Village. While you're there: Check out the rest of Greenfield Village, which is home to 83 authentic historic structures, many of them moved to the area from their original sites, including Noah Webster's Connecticut home, Thomas Edison's Menlo Park, N.J., laboratory, the Wright Brothers' Dayton, Ohio, bicycle shop and house, the Illinois courthouse where Abraham Lincoln practiced law, and, of course, Henry Ford's birthplace. You can also dine on 1850s fare, take a ride in a Model T or a steam locomotive, and watch artisans pull glass using traditional methods from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Greenfield Village is part of The Henry Ford, an educational and historical complex that also includes the Henry Ford Museum (admission is additional). Hotel and attraction packages are available here.

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    DESTINATION IN Louisiana

    Shreveport

    Shreveport ( SHREEV-port) is a city in the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is the most populous city in the Shreveport–Bossier City metropolitan area, and ranks third in population in Louisiana after Baton Rouge and New Orleans; with the Lafayette consolidated population in 2019, Shreveport ranks fourth in population. The bulk of Shreveport is in Caddo Parish, of which it is the parish seat. Shreveport extends along the west bank of the Red River (most notably at Wright Island, the Charles and Marie Hamel Memorial Park, and Bagley Island) into neighboring Bossier Parish. The population of Shreveport was 199,311 at the 2010 U.S. census. The United States Census Bureau's 2020 census for the city's population decreased to 187,593.Shreveport was founded in 1836 by the Shreve Town Company, a corporation established to develop a town at the juncture of the newly navigable Red River and the Texas Trail, an overland route into the newly independent Republic of Texas. Prior to Texas becoming independent, this trail entered Mexico. The city grew throughout the 20th century and, after the discovery of oil in Louisiana, became a national center for the oil industry. Standard Oil of Louisiana (absorbed by Standard Oil of New Jersey and now part of ExxonMobil) and United Gas Corporation (now part of Pennzoil) were headquartered in the city until the 1960s and 1980s. After the loss of jobs in the oil industry, the close of Shreveport Operations (a General Motors vehicle factory), and other economic problems the city struggled with a declining population, poverty, drugs and violent crime. Since Cedric Glover's tenure as mayor of Shreveport, the city began efforts to revitalize its infrastructure to end its population decline, revive the economy through diversification, and lower crime.Shreveport is the educational, commercial and cultural center of the Ark-La-Tex region, where Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas meet. It is the location of Centenary College of Louisiana, Louisiana State University Shreveport, Louisiana Tech University Shreveport, Southern University at Shreveport, and Louisiana Baptist University. Its neighboring city Bossier City is the location of Bossier Parish Community College. The city forms part of the I-20 Cyber Corridor linking Shreveport and Bossier City, Ruston, Grambling, and Monroe to Dallas and Tyler, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia. Companies with significant operations or headquarters in Shreveport are Amazon, Regions Financial Corporation, JPMorgan Chase, Sam's Town Hotel and Gambling Hall, AT&T Mobility, United Parcel Service, Walmart, Chick-fil-A, Waffle House, SWEPCO, General Electric, UOP LLC, Calumet Specialty Products Partners, and APS Payroll.