Dream City Home

Welcome to day 31 of 31 Days of Heterotopias: Motels and Hotels, a month of posts about how motels, hotels, and inns function as heterotopias and liminal spaces in society.  Each post will look at these ideas from its own vantage point, which may not obviously connect with the others, and which may mention motels and hotels only peripherally or may focus on them without referencing heterotopia or liminality. I won’t attempt to tie the posts together. They are all listed here.

To be an outlaw you must first have a base in law to reject and get out of, I never had such a base. I never had a place I could call home that meant any more than a key to a house, apartment or hotel room. … Am I alien? Alien from what exactly? Perhaps my home is my dream city, more real than my waking life precisely because it has no relation to waking life…  — William S. Burroughs

Dream city as home. This idea works for me. My dreamspace, which feels like a place where I live even more vividly, more sensually, than usual, is often architectural in form and setting, with past houses (which obviously do have a relationship to waking life) — especially this one …

Maine house, Feb. 2001
partial kitchen, Maine house, 1994
Thanksgiving in Maine house, 1995
fireplace and living space, Maine house, 1994
stairs and warming oven, Maine house, 1994
Christmas 1996 (with Cactus) in Maine house

… and apartments, hotels, restaurants, frequently other people’s houses, auditoriums, hospitals, bridges, schools, bathrooms, meeting rooms, buildings and built spaces that I don’t think I have ever been in except in dreams (and there they are typically recurring settings) — all common in my dreams. Of course, dreams have to be set somewhere, like plays, but what interests me is the transformation of knowledge and memory of the building, and the exploration of it in the dream, and how often dreams are set in places I don’t recognise except perhaps from previous dreams. (This dream, e.g., about my dad a year or so after he died, takes place in several buildings I’ve never been in in waking life.)

My “dream city” feels like a multiplicity of places — some real, some not real as far as I know (or at least not remembered by me in real life) — that are significant for various reasons: because of my emotional and aesthetic memories of a real place; because of the feeling evoked by its architecture or layout; because of some association with it through other people’s stories (what my imagination conjures — from novels, from what friends have described, from song lyrics or lines of poetry, from what I’ve heard on the radio — or what my eyes have actually glimpsed, momentarily, in paintings, on TV or in movies, riding past, etc.); or who knows what reason.

Yemassee SC Dec. 2013
Rocky Mount MC Dec. 2013
somewhere in Rhode Island, Feb. 2008
somewhere in Connecticut, Feb. 2008

Why do buildings and other places resonate and spark imagination? Why do they “make us” feel a certain way, evoke moods and sensations (e.g., “haunted houses”)? Is it because they contain us, hold us, bring us together or split us apart, both exclude and include us? Do they somehow form an external correspondence to our interior spaces?


More to Burroughs’ point, my sense of homelessness, placelessness, alienates me from real life sometimes. My family moved often — due to my dad’s corporate life promotions and transfers — so when asked, e.g. as a security question on a financial site, “what is your hometown?,” I have no idea. I have no hometown, and my home is pretty much where I am at the moment, so in one sense I feel “at home” almost anywhere. But coming home after being away feels jarring — home is familiar, a place I know well and am comfortable, but re-entry to normal life after being away feels oppressive, constrictive; I feel restless, like I’ve lost something. I think it’s partly that on the road (hotels, motels, trains), there is much less stuff and therefore less emotional tiredness brought on by the emotional and physical demands of stuff.  But I think it’s more than that, perhaps something to do with the way, as I’ve mentioned previously, that travel disrupts, questions, and subverts conventional thought and behaviour. Coming home, I feel the demands (that word again) reinstated, the sense of what I am expected to be and do limited by the circumference of “home.”


Unlike Burroughs’ experience (“I never had such a base. I never had a place I could call home that meant any more than a key to a house, apartment or hotel room”), I have in my life almost always had a base, a room, apartment, or house to come home to day after day — and yet these places have always felt transitional to me. (I’ve written about this before, 5 years ago, in Oct. 2012). I can’t help but notice that all our lives and all our places are transitional, ephemeral, not made to last. In the short run, someone will dig up my garden or terrace it, a storm or fire may take out trees and destroy homes and towns, objects and materials constantly wear out, living things die (some exceedingly quickly, others at a slower rate) and everyone I know, including me, including friends’ children and their children, including all the animals now alive on earth, will die soon. In the long run, all bodies, all buildings and things, all governments, all human constructions will disappear and wild nature will take over, as it is wont to do now when given half a chance.

seaweed growing on rock, Kennebunk ME, Dec. 2014
fern growing out of rock, brick, in Colonial Park Cemetery, Savannah, GA, Dec. 2015
trees growing out of rock ledge, Northern Rail Trail, NH, April 2015
watermelon plant growing on beach, Jekyll Island, GA, Sept. 2013

And in the longer run, land, sea, and all mortal beings, all species of flora and fauna, will disappear.

Which is why perhaps a heterotopia appeals to me so deeply … the placeless place, neither here nor there: a ship between shores on which an ad hoc society exists only as long as a cruise or passage; a tourist town, which shutters up and closes down after a few months; a public garden, where antiquity meets modernity (and as Louis Marin says, “the unsurpassable contradiction, where art and nature, artifice and truth, imagination and the real, representation and being, mimesis and the origin, play hide-and seek”); a museum (hard on the back and wearying though they are), where the past is reinterpreted by the present (“Foucault’s museum is not a funereal storehouse of objects from different times, but an experience of the gap between things and the conceptual and cultural orders in which they are interpreted”- from Beth Lord); a cemetery, where past and present collide and almost all of us have a relationship with it. A place, in other words, where here-there-everywhere and now-then come together in some ambiguous, disturbing, provocative way. A place that deviates from conventional norms, a constant reminder that ‘normal’ is always and everywhere just a temporary construct. These heterotopic places are where I feel I belong, if one can be said to belong to such a place, because they match my sense of what’s real.

my mom, Evergreen Cemetery, Roanoke, VA, 13 Dec. 2014
Dad’s ashes, scattered in Mt. Rogers National Recreational Area, Virginia, June 2013


We each exist in a place now, places that seem real, solid, geographically tangible. At the same time, or in another time that runs alongside the chronology we obey, we are placeless, standing at a threshold, that liminal space, waiting, one foot here and one foot there, waiting, inhabiting multiple realities, multiple places and times in one moment, in one space. That’s how it feels to me, and I guess it’s why hotels, motels, lodging, and the movement of travelling resonate for me, reminders of the non-linear world beyond and inside and overlapping this other world we are inexplicably placed in. They remind me that we’re here for the moment, we’re in this spot in each moment as we move toward another spot in each moment, places we’ve never been, or have visited in dreams and in memory.

We live out of suitcases, uncertain in the middle of the night how to find the bathroom and the lights; we wake up disoriented, aware of strangers coughing, flushing, moving about next door; we check ourselves in the mirror before opening the door and stepping through.



Thanks for traveling with me on this part of my journey.


Sand Under My Toes

Welcome to day 27 of 31 Days of Heterotopias: Motels and Hotels, a month of posts about how motels, hotels, and inns function as heterotopias and liminal spaces in society.  Each post will look at these ideas from its own vantage point, which may not obviously connect with the others, and which may mention motels and hotels only peripherally or may focus on them without referencing heterotopia or liminality. I won’t attempt to tie the posts together. They’ll all be listed here, as they are posted.

“I used to dream of a week-long beach vacation with white sand under my toes… right now, I’d settle for 48 hours at a Motel 6 with some Lysol and a UV lamp.” — Ingrid Weir

I was lucky enough to spend several days at a motel almost on the beach, with almost white sand  ̶u̶n̶d̶e̶r̶ ̶m̶y̶ ̶t̶o̶e̶s̶  under my shoes.

The Sand Dollar Inn on Pine Point Beach in Scarborough, Maine, is one of those motels with an impermanent and insignificant name, or at least part of the name (sand). Even sand dollars don’t last long on the beach: they’re either washed back to sea, picked up after dying on the beach, or picked up and killed by someone who doesn’t know how to tell a live sand dollar from a dead one. (I tried to explain this once to a woman who was picking up live sand dollar after live sand dollar off a beach; she didn’t give a damn. Yes, I’m bitter.)


Jekyll Island, GA, July 2016


Ocean Beach, San Francisco, Jan. 2004


Anyhoo …. The Sand Dollar Inn is sweet. I mean, look at this kitchenette, with its painted pink cabinet and drawer pulls, two-burner stovetop, King mini-fridge, plastic drying rack, Country Living dishtowel:


It’s a block from the beach, with a porch you can eat on. (Well, on a table on the porch.)

The Sand Dollar is that white roof on the right, just a block from Pine Point beach on this cute path. (June 2017)
porch with table and chairs (June 2013)
Negra Modelo and peanuts on motel porch, 24 June 2013

Pretty comfy inside, too.


And it attracts rainbows (view from parking lot adjoining back porch).



We stayed in mid-June, when it was a little more than $100 per night. A block from the beach!

And the beach is 4 miles long!

Pine Point beach looking toward Old Orchard Beach, stormy evening sky, 23 June 2013
Pine Point beach, late afternoon, 22 June 2013
Old Orchard beach in fog, 18 June 2017
Pine Point Beach, dense fog, 18 June 2017
Pine Point Beach, Aug. 2014
snow on Pine Point Beach, Feb. 2015


You can walk all the way to Old Orchard Beach, which we did.

we had a cocktail and shrimp outside at Myst, with a view of the ferris wheel and carousel, 24 June 2013
The Pier and ocean from Myst, 23 June 2013
the Old Orchard boardwalk, mid-July 2009


If you’re inclined, you can walk on the Eastern Trail, or kayak in the marsh:

Eastern Trail, 23 June 2013
Scarborough Marsh, off Eastern Trail, 23 June 2013
red-winged blackbird, Scarborough Marsh off Eastern Trail, 23 June 2013
phoebes, Scarborough Marsh off Eastern Trail, 23 June 2013
sparrow with caterpillars, Scarborough Marsh off Eastern Trail, 25 June 2013
snowy egret, Scarborough Marsh off Eastern Trail, 25 June 2013


Or just hang out on the beach.

I did manage to air out the toes. 24 June 2013
piping plover, June 2014
many clam shells, March 2016
gull skirmish, July 2009


We used to live 2 blocks from this beach, way back in the winter of 1994. I love a winter beach walk.

This is what it looks like in December on the beach:

my legs and shoes on the beach, 11 Dec. 2015
beach tableau, 11 Dec. 2015
gulls squawking, 9 Dec. 2011
beach and sky, 9 Dec. 2011
The Sand Dollar Inn, boarded up, 9 Dec. 2011

It really is impermanent, ephemeral.


No-Frills Flagship

Welcome to day 23 of 31 Days of Heterotopias: Motels and Hotels, a month of posts about how motels, hotels, and inns function as heterotopias and liminal spaces in society.  Each post will look at these ideas from its own vantage point, which may not obviously connect with the others, and which may mention motels and hotels only peripherally or may focus on them without referencing heterotopia or liminality. I won’t attempt to tie the posts together. They’ll all be listed here, as they are posted.

Another of the stand-bys today, the Flagship Inn in Boothbay, Maine.

It’s a roadside motel, no frills, two stories with outside corridors and stairs from the expansive parking lot. Outdoor ice and vending machines, picnic tables in the grass alongside the parking lot, breakfast included in a separate dining room that used to be a full-service restaurant.  A small pool and hot tub. Men in white T-shirts hunched in plastic white chairs outside their rooms, smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. It’s the kind of place short-haul truckers, motorcycle groups, and utility workers stay. It’s where families who can’t afford a hotel for a family reunion have their reunion, eating potato salad and grilling hot dogs at the picnic tables. It’s where people with multiple dogs can bring them all.

When we (spouse & I) started staying at the Flagship Inn, we had dogs who travelled with us. We had been staying at the charming Lawnmere Inn and cottages, on nearby Southport Island, but then it closed in 2008 (became a private residence) and we cast about for another spot.

Photo of Lawnmere as is was, by someone else (you can see the glassed-in dining room):


Our dog Petunia relaxing in one of the Lawnmere’s chairs, in the late 1990s:


spouse and dog enjoying the lawn and cove view


The Flagship Inn, in Boothbay, is in some ways the antithesis of the Lawnmere: It’s a basic motel, the Lawnmere was an old-fashioned inn and cottages; the Flagship fronts a busy commercial road, the Lawnmere fronted a winding country road and its back view was waterfront, onto a cove; the Flagship could never be called charming or elegant, whereas the Lawnmere could, with a hotel bar and a lovely dining room that served gourmet dinners on white tablecloths overlooking the water.

But the Flagship has merits of its own. It also accepts pets, which mattered to us once. It’s relatively inexpensive, from $100 to $160 depending on when you go and what kind of room you want.  Most important for us is its location: From the motel, we can walk into town — Boothbay Harbor — in 15 minutes, so we don’t have to drive through town and park a car there, saving a lot of frustration in the summer months.  And it sits adjoining one of the many Boothbay Region Land Trust preserves, Penny Lake, which makes it easy to walk the trails there — just by stepping out the door — mornings and evenings. We can also walk next door to the grocery store or across the street to the laundromat (handy when we had dogs with us); and driving to other land trust properties, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Southport, or perhaps the King Eider Pub in Damariscotta for lunch are all made easier by being already on Route 27, while getting to East Boothbay and Ocean Point is easy, too, because the intersection with Route 96 is a block away.


Here’s the exterior:

(photo by someone else, at Trip Advisor)
Flagship Inn, cleaning cart, June 2015
solar panels on the Flagship Inn, May 2014
dog walk area with lupines and maple, June 2015
view of Flagship Inn from Penny Lake Preserve lane, evening, May 2014
there are often warblers in the shrubs near the canal alongside the motel
canal (with bridge) between Flagship Inn and the Carousel Music Theater and Penny Lake Preserve, May 2012 … we saw a muskrat swimming in it once!
having wine with cheese and crackers outside on a picnic table, May 2014
spouse and Gretchen dog sitting outside near canal, May 2012


Interior (We’ve stayed here at least six times but I guess I haven’t taken many photos of the motel):

king bed room, with table, chairs (and plants bought at Coastal Maine Botanical Garden plant sale on the floor), May 2014
Gretchen dog in her spot in a pet-friendly room (no carpet) at the Flagship, May 2012


Penny Lake Preserve

We visited in 2004, 2006, and 2008, at least, but I took or preserved (get it?) few photos then. For one thing, we lived in Bath, only an hour away, from 2002-2009, so we didn’t need a motel when visiting Boothbay and probably only attended the area garden tour then. Upshot is that the photos here are from 2017, 2015, 2014, and 2012. All are in May or June, which is when the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens holds its plant sale.

Entrance and signs:




ash bloom with multiple bees, June 2015
meadow, two trails diverged, June 2015
grassy pathway, June 2015
evening meadow, May 2014
Eastern kingbird, May 2014
clover and hawkweed, June 2015
red clover, June 2015
bench among hawkweed, June 2015
yellow hawkweed, June 2017
hawthorn blooms, June 2015
Yellowrattle (Rhinanthus Minor), June 2017
dandelion, May 2012
cedar waxwing (part of a large flock), May 2012
red Admiral butterfly, June 2015
ChlosyneHarrisii HarrissCheckerspotbutterflyPennyLakePreserveBRLT14June2015
Harris’s checkerspot butterfly (Chlosyne harrisii), June 2015
anotherChlosyneHarrisii HarrissCheckerspotsidePennyLakePreserveBRLT14June2015
another Harris’s checkerspot butterfly (Chlosyne harrisii), June 2015
either silvery or Harris’s checkerspot butterfly, June 2017
meadow path, trees and shrubs, June 2015



trail, May 2012
bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), June 2015
ferns, June 2015
Clintonia flowering, May 2012
green Clintonia berries, June 2015
lady’s slipper (Cypripedium acaule), June 2015
pale pink lady’s slipper, June 2017
starflower (Trientalis borealis) blooming, June 2017
Indian cucumber root (Medeola virginiana), with goldthread (Coptis trifolia), June 2017
yellow trail marker, lichen, June 2017
small chipmunk, June 2017
sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis) flowers, June 2015
woods from the bridge, shaft of sunlight, May 2014
trail with roots, June 2015
sunlight in woods, June 2015



bridge connecting woods over the brook, June 2015
bridge over brook, June 2017
brook, marsh, June 2017
brook, marsh in the morning, May 2012
lily pads, May 2012
blue flag iris, June 2017
green frog in water, June 2017
green frog on log, May 2012
black-crowned night heron hunched above marsh, May 2014
one of many red-winged blackbirds in marsh, May 2014
phoebe with nesting materials, June 2017
phoebe with caterpillar mouthful, June 2015


There are lots of things to do in the Boothbay area. I posted a field trip to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in June 2015 and May 2014, and also in May 2014 field trips to the Porter Preserve, Singing Meadows Preserve, Zak Preserve, and Ocean Point Preserve (I see I have a lot of postings to do from more recent visits). It’s fun to walk in Boothbay Harbor, which has lots of good restaurants. There are lots of hotels, inns, B&Bs, and a few motels in Boothbay Harbor, too, but the Flagship, just a mile outside, has been handy and comfortable for us.


Might be Motel Sixing but it feels like Turks and Caicos

Welcome to day 20 of 31 Days of Heterotopias: Motels and Hotels, a month of posts about how motels, hotels, and inns function as heterotopias and liminal spaces in society.  Each post will look at these ideas from its own vantage point, which may not obviously connect with the others, and which may mention motels and hotels only peripherally or may focus on them without referencing heterotopia or liminality. I won’t attempt to tie the posts together. They’ll all be listed here, as they are posted.

As I mentioned previously, there are six motels/hotels that we (spouse and I) stay at over and over. I’ve posted about The Holiday Inn Express in Savannah, Georgia, and the Middlebury Inn in Vermont. Today I’ll tell you about another of our favourites, the Footbridge Beach Motel in Ogunquit, Maine.

The Footbridge Beach Motel is really just a basic roadside motel, with a pool (which we’ve never used), with wifi (which we require), but what makes it perfect for us is that it’s a 5-10 minute walk to the Footbridge Beach — usually quite uncrowded, even in the middle of summer, and if you drive there in season you pay a $20 parking fee — and a 1.3-mile walk on a sidewalk into the lively tourist town of Ogunquit (about a 25-minute walk for us), which means we can leave the car most of the time at the motel and walk to the beach and town. (There’s also a trolley shuttle to town in July and August.) And there are good places to eat across from and next to the motel.


They also accept pets, which mattered to us when we first started visiting Ogunquit in 2012.


It’s a relaxing spot, both the motel and the beach. Photos below were taken at the end of August 2012, mid-June 2015, and late May-early June 2016.

Property exterior


patio, where you can cook out on one of the grills and/or eat outside (or have a smoke)
pool (2015)

Our room(s)

spouse (and my reflection) in chair outside room 12
We had room 5 this time
king bed, nightstands, fridge and microwave
king bed, table and chairs, dresser with TV, closet (2015)
dog in her bed with toy in mouth (2012) (spouse in foreground on bed)
the dog celebrated her 11th birthday at the Footbridge


The Foot Bridge (across the Ogunquit River to the Atlantic Ocean)

signs here are in English and French — there are lots of visitors from Quebec to Ogunquit
the footbridge (May 2016)
the footbridge (June 2016)
me on the footbridge (Aug 2012)
footbridge railing over the river (June 2015)
American black duck in the river (Aug. 2012)
boat often in the river (May 2016)
rosa rugosa lining bridge path (June 2015)
pathway from bridge to beach (June 2016)

Footbridge Beach

threatening clouds (June 2015)
(Aug 2012)
stormy (Aug 2012)
people on the beach (Aug 2012)
surf, sailboat, long view to Marginal Way in the evening (May 2016)
beach at 8 p.m., Aug. 2012
Plankton very excited to be on the Footbridge Beach! (June 2015)
evening (May 2016)
bird tracks on the river beach (June 2016)
plovers and terns nest here (June 2015)
plover in evening surf (May 2016)
fluffy plover, evening (May 2016)
ruffled plover (June 2016)
two sanderlings (Aug 2012)
misty beach, evening (June 2016)


Ogunquit – Marginal Way: A one-mile walk along the coast from the Sparhawk Motel to Perkins Cove

June 2016


sparrow, June 2016
June 2016


lobster trap with St. George the bulldog on Marginal Way (June 2016)


allium and iris at Sparhawk Motel along Marginal Way, June 2016
ladybug, June 2016
bee in white rosa rugosa, June 2016
crashing waves, June 2016
view to Norseman Motel and Ogunquit Beach from Marginal Way, June 2016


June 2015


Bonaparte’s Gulls on beach, near Marginal Way, June 2015
June 2015
yoga on beach, seen from Marginal Way, June 2015
man fishing in waves, seen from Marginal Way, June 2015
bridge on Marginal Way, Aug. 2012
one of many coves along Marginal Way, Aug. 2012

“I looked along the San Juan Islands and the coast of California, but I couldn’t find the palette of green, granite, and dark blue that you can only find in Maine.” –Parker Stevenson

Aug. 2012



Ogunquit – Restaurants and Cafes: Lots of good ones! We like Back Yard coffee house   for breakfast, and Banditos Mexican Grill, Caffe Prego, and La Orilla tapas for lunch/dinner.

view from Caffe Prego porch (June 2016)
olive mezza at Caffe Prego (June 2016)
Caffe Prego (June 2016)
porch seating at Caffe Prego (Aug. 2012)
view from porch at Caffe Prego (Aug. 2012)
Caffe Prego and alliums (June 2016)
La Orilla tapas restaurant (June 2016)
cheese, bread, chutney – June 2016, I think at La Orilla
lovely grilled shrimp – June 2016, I think at La Orilla
Banditos Mexican — great to sit outside with a Negra Modelo and come chips and guacamole (June 2015)
Banditos Mexican (Aug. 2012)
Banditos, June 2015
Banditos inside, Aug. 2012
fish and shrimp tacos at Banditos Mexican (June 2016)
Made in Ogunquit T-shirt at Banditos Mexican (June 2016)
Back Yard coffee house (June 2015)

And Angelina’s Ristorante: Wine Bar & Tuscan Grille, across from the Footbridge Motel, is nice, too (both photos Aug. 2012):


BeachFire Bar & Grille, right next to the motel:

patio, June 2015
BeachFire fire, June 2016


Beach Plum Farm – community garden on the way from the motel to Ogunquit

8 p.m. June 2016
raised beds, June 2015
lettuces, June 2015
angelica, June 2015
Aug. 2012


Can’t forget the inspirational trash cans around town, of which these are but three:

Perkins Cove (June 2016)
Perkins Cove (June 2016)
Footbridge Beach (June 2016)


*post title lyric from Vacation by Thomas Rhett


Hotels I Haven’t Known

Welcome to day 11 of 31 Days of Heterotopias: Motels and Hotels, a month of posts about how motels, hotels, and inns function as heterotopias and liminal spaces in society.  Each post will look at these ideas from its own vantage point, which may not obviously connect with the others, and which may mention motels and hotels only peripherally or may focus on them without referencing heterotopia or liminality. I won’t attempt to tie the posts together. They’ll all be listed here, as they are posted.

This must be a special class of heterotopia: hotels and motels that one sees, admires, perhaps even tours, but in which one never actually spends a night. I mean, talk about ships that pass, a crossroads of the familiar + unfamiliar, a place that’s also a non-place, a threshold that one walks right up to — but doesn’t cross; or does cross, and then crosses right back.


This is the Hampton Inn & Suites, on Amelia Island (Fernandina), Florida, Dec. 2016. Those sherbet colours!



Here’s the Norseman Inn, on a spit of land at Ogunquit, Maine, June 2015.



I’ve eaten at the Bohemian Inn in Savannah, GA — Christmas breakfast one year, a dinner another year, drinks at Rocks on the River another year — but I’ve never stayed in the hotel. I’d like to but I am in love with the HIX there.

Dec. 2013
morning of 25 Dec. 2010
a blurry, modern elegance on the morning of 25 Dec. 2010


The Westin on Jekyll Island, GA, is new-ish (2014?). It’s always been rather empty when I’ve been there.

Dec. 2015
July 2016
Harry’s Observation Bar, outside, Dec. 2015
inside the almost empty Westin, Dec. 2015


This little Lighthouse Motel right on the beach in Pine Point (Scarborough), Maine was renovated recently and is now the Lighthouse Suites. It looks great. I’d like to stay here sometime.

pre-renovation, Dec. 2011
in the midst of renovation, May 2015
almost renovated, March 2016
post-renovation, June 2017


This is a Westin hotel in Savannah, GA, across the river from downtown Savannah; you can take a commuter ferry that runs every 20 minutes between it and downtown Savannah. I’ve taken the ferry a number of times, just for the fun of it, but never stayed in the hotel; it seems a bit inconvenient unless you’re attending a conference there.

ferries lined up outside Westin hotel across from downtown Savannah, Dec. 2013
pink camellias in front of Westin hotel, Dec. 2016
bee in pink camellias in front of Westin hotel, Dec. 2016
the Juliette Gordon Low ferry on the river, with downtown Savannah and the Georgia Queen boats in the background, Sept. 2008


And finally, the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, an iconic place to stay on Jekyll Island, GA, but though we’ve been visiting the island since the 1990s, we’ve never stayed here. We have had a few Christmas brunches, some other meals, and a tour of the hotel, however. Looks nice!

Christmas Day, 2015
Christmas Day, 2015
Sept. 2013
Christmas Eve 2016
Dec. 2015
the hotel annex, seen from a hotel room, April 2012
courtyard, April 2012
croquet lawn, seen from above, April 2012
pool, and river view, seen from above, April 2012
view of marsh and Sidney Lanier bridge, from a hotel room, April 2012
upstairs corridor, April 2012
dining room entrance, April 2012
bar, April 2012
afternoon tea set up, April 2012
tea room, April 2012
dining room for Christmas brunch, 2015
shrimp and other buffets, Christmas Day brunch, 2016
gravlax and smoked foods, Christmas Day brunch, Dec. 2015


I can’t wait to not stay at some other hotels and motels!


Featured image is Holiday Inn at Jekyll Island, GA.


Impermanent & Insignificant

Welcome to day 10 of 31 Days of Heterotopias: Motels and Hotels, a month of posts about how motels, hotels, and inns function as heterotopias and liminal spaces in society.  Each post will look at these ideas from its own vantage point, which may not obviously connect with the others, and which may mention motels and hotels only peripherally or may focus on them without referencing heterotopia or liminality. I won’t attempt to tie the posts together. They’ll all be listed here, as they are posted.

“Any considered motel nomenclature would begin by marking the impermanence that tends to define these roadside accommodations. There are so many examples to cite of this possible taxonomy that you might lose an entire evening in front of a screen searching words like “rainbow,” “breeze,” “wind,” “wave,” “surf,” “sleep,” and “shore.”

“But what of the preponderance of sand? There’s so much dust caught up in the history of the motel. The chief trait of sand is its very insignificance. Like a one-storey L-shaped structure set against the enormity of the American landscape, it’s not something that tends to occupy one’s attention. It lacks both financial and intrinsic value.

“It bears our footprints as we walk through it before a gentle breeze erases our trace in much the same way that the former presence of a traveller is extinguished by the motel cleaning staff at 11 a.m. following a night’s stay.   …


Homogeneous and basic, but also ubiquitous, the motel will eventually be consumed by itself, as the life of convenience and mobility it promised accelerates like a sand storm to envelope our entire way of life. As it is gradually buried, we’re moving too fast to even notice.” (“On the Preponderance of Sand Name Hotels,” at Motel Register on Tubmlr)


The insignificance of sand is debatable of course. Sand, as beach, seems intrinsically valuable to me (and others: see end of “The World is Running Out of Sand” by David Owen in the 29 May 2017 New Yorker for discussion of sand loss and sand replenishment, relating to Hurricane Sandy), but sand used by the construction industry has historically been of economically low value, e.g., averaging $4.81 per ton in 2000; however, the rise of “frac sand” — sand used in the fracking process: “Oil and gas drillers inject large quantities of hard, round sand into fracked rock formations in order to hold the cracks open, like shoving a foot in the door” — has increased the price of sand. In 2014, it reached between $60-70 per ton; as of this spring it was back to about $40 per ton (per WSJ), ten times its price almost 20 years ago but still so cheap, relatively, that “transporting sand and stone for ordinary construction becomes uneconomical after about sixty miles.”

Still. One could imagine the same being said of each of us not long after our deaths, that we were impermanent and insignificant. Come to think of it, if there is someone to say it it might be said of the human species a few hundred or thousand years from now, that homo sapiens were ubiquitous, impermanent, and in the end, insignificant in the scheme of time. A thought to ponder next time you’re in The Sands, the Sleep Inn, the Autumn Breeze motel, the Summer Breeze motel, or my usual staying-over spot in Rockland, Maine, the Trade Winds Inn.  (I wonder what the wind is worth. To a sailing ship, everything.)


parking lot and rear of inn

they were working on rooms near us last August
entering the room, which was actually a sort of suite, with a sitting area and balcony
bed, bureau, view to sitting area and balcony
view from room to refrigerator, microwave, entrance door
king bed
sofa in sitting area
chairs in sitting area
bathroom (sliver of my arm in mirror)
view from balcony — boats in the bay


We were there for a day or two and then we were gone.


Seaside Inn, Between Earth & Sky

Welcome to day 5 of 31 Days of Heterotopias: Motels and Hotels, a month of posts about how motels, hotels, and inns function as heterotopias and liminal spaces in society.  Each post will look at these ideas from its own vantage point, which may not obviously connect with the others, and which may mention motels and hotels only peripherally or may focus on them without referencing heterotopia or liminality. I won’t attempt to tie the posts together. They’ll all be listed here, as they are posted.



“…vicinity to the sea is desirable, because it is easier to do nothing by the sea than anywhere else”― E.F. Benson, The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson

The Seaside Inn in Kennebunk is “directly on the beach!” and walkable to Kennebunkport’s Dock Square shops and restaurants.

view of Kennebunkport from St. Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery
Country Squire station wagon at Hidden Pond Resort
at the Kennebunkport Brewing Co. store

Not to mention just a few hundred yards from the really interesting St. Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery and Guest House,  with its Lithuanian art, stained glass, and sculpture. (And a red-tailed hawk, the day we were there.) What became the monastery and guest house was built around the turn of the 20th century, with landscaping “arranged by the Frederick Law Olmsted Brothers, designers of New York City’s Central Park and Boston’s Emerald Necklace.”  The Lithuanian Friars of St. Casimir bought it in 1947, when they fled the Soviet invasion of Lithuania; their founder here, Fr. Justinas Vaskys, had left Lithuania at the beginning of the occupation of his homeland in 1940. (More on Lithuania under Soviet control in World War II and after.)


the chapel at St. Anthony’s
juvenile red-tailed hawk in tree at St. Anthony’s
lichen on wall, + river, St. Anthony’s


sheep at Lourdes shrine, St. Anthony’s
nativity scene, St. Anthony’s
stained glass window, St. Anthony’s chapel
stained glass windows, pews, St. Anthony’s chapel
Stations of the Cross, St. Anthony’s
side altarpiece, chapel, St. Anthony’s
frieze detail, St. Anthony’s
Vatican Pavilion detail, St. Anthony’s
dried hydrangea, pachysandra, St. Anthony’s
frozen cove, St. Anthony’s
rhododendron, path, St. Anthony’s
ice split on grasses, St. Anthony’s
ice, rocks, seaweed, St. Anthony’s
grasses in ice, St. Anthony’s

A bit farther, but still within walking distance, is the Mornings in Paris cafe, selling coffee drinks and a wide variety of macarons, napoleons, truffles, and other pastries and sweets.


A favourite home store for more than 20 years, Pallian & Co., is nearby in Wells.


Also in Wells, the wonderful Wells Reserve at Laudholm (or, Laudholm Farm, as I call it), with a short walk to the beach and ocean at Drake’s Island.

path with frost
orange and blue rock, Drake’s Island beach
blue-orange speckled rock, Drake’s Island beach
4 p.m. on the next to last day of the year
boardwalk with maple leaves
Canada geese
clam shell in foam, Drake’s Island beach
brook with leaves under ice

We also walked on the Mousam River Estuary Trail in Kennebunkport (if you haven’t listened to Hugh Laurie singing “Mystery,” please do. It’s the most important thing I can offer in this whole series.)



Seaside was the perfect place to stay in the waning days of December 2014. I can’t say the room was anything special — the most special thing was how well you could hear what was going on in the other rooms nearby (a reminder that the seemingly private space is actually public) —


— the patio outside the door was nice —


the sign on the patio wall

— and the location, across a small yard from the beach, is absolutely splendid.

9 a.m. view of ocean from room
crow in shrubbery between motel and ocean


frost on seaweed


“At the seaside all is narrow horizontals, the world reduced to a few long straight lines pressed between earth and sky.” ― John Banville


During this mid-winter time, the monastery grounds and church, the French bakery, the quiet beach and seaside motel, the cracking ice everywhere all lent a heterotopic feel to the place, a sense of being suspended in time in a timeless frozen landscape, of finding oneself in the alternate winter universe of a summer tourist town. It felt dreamy and slow.  It felt like the place was taking a deep breath, an intermission, waiting patiently for what would be next, as one year ended and the next came into view. It felt like a good place to end and begin again, a place blurring land-sea-sky boundaries.


I wonder if the Lithuanian friars felt that it was a good starting place, when they came here under tragic and difficult circumstances from the Soviet Union rather than, probably, be deported to labour camps during and after the war.




Ovens Mouth East Preserve Walk

The Boothbay Region Land Trust does a great job of acquiring, managing, and communicating information about their many trails in the area.

On Tuesday, 29 May, we walked on trails in the Ovens Mouth East Preserve in Boothbay.  It’s the easier of the two Ovens Mouth trail systems; Ovens Mouth West is said to be ‘difficult,’ and as the day was rainy and the trails muddy, we opted for the less steep and rigorous path. Ours was slippery enough.

What we enjoyed most on this trail was watching the tidal waters swirling around and flowing apace. And we were happy to finish up before the rain started again! (You can see the fog and mist coming in in the later photos.)

Enjoy the slideshow!

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Penny Lake Preserve Walk

(Click photos for larger views)

The Boothbay Region Land Trust does a great job of acquiring, managing, and communicating information about their many trails in the area.

Last week, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we walked on trails in the Penny Lake Preserve, abutting our motel. The waterway starts at the motel, and there are trails that begin just beyond the Carousel Music Theatre building. We saw a muskrat in this little creek. There’s also a beaver lodge here.

creek near motel, PLP, 28 May 2012

I’m standing on a bridge to take the shot above, and the shot below is taken looking the other way off the bridge:

lily pads in flower, PLP, 28 May 2012

Some cardinals seemed to have a nest in the low thicket near the creek, judging by their regular presence there.

The Penny Lake trails offer wonderful and varied walks. There is one very accessible trail through the property, which is partly wooded, partly bog and lake, and partly meadow, as well as several other narrower trails to explore. Below, the central trail is the accessible one, leading to the lake, and the grassy one to the left also goes to the lake, through the meadow and woods.

two paths diverge in a meadow, PLP, 29 May 2012

The bird life is great! We went at the not-auspicious birding hour of about 11 a.m. on Monday and still saw cedar waxwings, phoebes catching bugs, sparrows, a yellow warbler, a hawk, red-wing blackbirds, and others; and we listened to a loud chorus of large green frogs in the lake (more of a pond, really).

Eastern phoebe, PLP, 28 May 2012 Cedar waxwing, PLP, 28 May 2012 frog, PLP, 31 May 2012

On later visits, we enjoyed watching the phoebes, flocks of cedar waxwings, a great blue heron, mallards, and either beaver or muskrat or both swimming in the pond. Both rodents are said to inhabit the preserve’s waterways. There is a beaver lodge near the lake, as well as one in the creek abutting the motel, and we are almost certain we watched a muskrat swimming near the motel — it had a tail and was fairly small. (I didn’t have my camera that evening.) The next evening, we saw what may have been beavers in the marshy area near the lake … we couldn’t see any tail and one of these was a larger animal. (They were too far away to take photos of but we got good looks through the binoculars.)

Great blue heron in flight, PLP, 29 May 2012I startled the great blue heron two nights in a row and couldn’t get a good shot of it.

Some other flora, fauna, and scenery:

hawthorn in bloom, PLP, 28 May 2012
hawthorn in bloom

path with spruces, PLP, 28 May 2012
path with spruces

blue jay, PLP, 28 May 2012
blue jay

wooded path, PLP, 28 May 2012
wooded path

Clintonia flower, PLP, 28 May 2012
Clintonia in flower

Dragonfly against water, PLP, 28 May 2012
dragonfly against water
Wild Sarsparilla, PLP, 28 May 2012
Wild Sarsaparilla
Bunchberry, PLP, 28 May 2012
Two Lady's Slippers, PLP, 28 May 2012
Two Lady’s Slippers
Canada mayflower, PLP, 28 May 2012
Canada mayflower
bridge into woods, PLP, 31 May 2012
Bridge into woods
morning, PLP, 29 May 2012
Marsh/lake in morning
bench in meadow, PLP, 28 May 2012
bench in meadow
Pickerel, PLP, 29 May 2012
Pickerel in lake
Dandelion, PLP, 31 May 2012
Dandelion in meadow

School House Pond Preserve Walk

The Boothbay Region Land Trust does a great job of acquiring, managing, and communicating information about their many trails in the area.

Sunday, we walked the trails of the School House Pond Preserve, at the north end of Barters Island. School House Pond is apparently what the locals called the small cranberry bog that’s in the middle of the trail system.

We walked the white loop, and the yellow loop, and in between we got a little lost on the multi-use trail, part of which is made up of boulders and ledge (easy to walk on, but not easy, I would imagine, to use a wheelchair or stroller on).  We were on the trails for about an hour and a half, again going slowly to take photos.

The focus on this walk was pink Lady’s Slippers. They were everywhere we turned. Lady’s Slippers bloom only from mid- or late-May to early- or mid-June, and these trails hold a bounty of the wild orchids.

Enjoy the slideshow!

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