We made two passes through Richmond as we criss-crossed Virginia. So while we were there just a couple of days, the sheer number of works clustered in various neighborhoods allowed us to take in an amazing sample of great murals (although we have hardly scratched the surface).
One of the driving forces behind all of the fantastic street art in town is the Richmond Mural Project. The RMP is an annual event which brings internationally recognized artists to Richmond with the goal of having 100 murals created over five years. Richmond is comprised of 11 primary neighborhoods and murals are planned for all of them.
Additionally, the non-profit organization, RVA Street Art Festival, sponsored its fifth three day festival in 2020. The RVA focuses on painting in a different area of the city at each event. The festival provides opportunities for local artists and students to work together to create art and add color to the city. The Festival donates proceeds to local charities including the Richmond Public School system arts program.
Between these two organizations and a number of privately commissioned murals it seems as if around every corner in every neighborhood there is another terrific mural to behold.
Right: Artists: ASVP, New York City and Switzerland
Bottom Left: Artists: INKTEN + CLOGTWO, Singapore
Richmond also has a robust specialty coffee and tea culture, and we are confident that when pandemic conditions improve we will return to Richmond to explore many more of the neighborhoods in search of great street art and cafes.
After departing Fort Wayne we decided to make a couple day stop in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus has three of the things we look for in a city: excellent third wave coffee cafes, a vibrant street art scene and distinctive neighborhoods.
While our stay was brief, we did quite a bit of walking through the various neighborhoods searching for murals. Of course, we fueled up at the coffee cafes that are conviently located in the various villages or districts.
Columbus has taken full advantage of the river waterfront (Scioto River) by creating many public greenspaces providing access to the riverfront for recreation and entertainment.
We will definitely weave Columbus into a future journey to get deeper into the museum and restaurant options (post pandemic) in addition to the coffee, street art and neighborhood history.
We hope you enjoy the selection of street art we have included in this post.
Our current trip got off to a rough start when we found ourselves in southern Pennsylvania with multiple issues with the Beast. The first issue required us to backtrack north to Wilkes-Barre to have repairs performed on the diesel exhaust fluid sensors. We were fortunate that the dealer was able to accomodate us quickly and resolved the issue.
The second issue involved our penthouse roof which malfunctioned leaving the pop top partially and unevenly deployed. Unfortunately this particular issue required us to head approximately 600 miles west to Huntington, Indiana for repairs (Sportsmobile).
The good news, besides having the Beast back in full working order, was that we found ourselves with the opportunity to spend some time in Fort Wayne as we started our journey back towards our original first stop in West Virginia.
Fort Wayne is making a major investment in beautifying the city with street murals by both local and international artists.
While you are in downtown taking in the art scene, please visit the excellent @Fortezzacoffee.
We hope you find these murals as interesting and beautiful as we do:
We departed Gorham, New Hampshire driving due east on Route 2 to Bethel, Maine. https://www.sundayriver.com/ In Bethel we took a break at DiCocoa’s Bakery & Cafe for coffee, tea and delicious baked goods. We highly recommend stopping here when you are in town. http://www.cafedicocoa.com
From Bethel we traveled north on Route 5 where we stopped in Andover for provisions. Andover is a small town in western Maine that dates back to 1788 and its roots as a lumber town go back to those early days. Ethan Allen Furniture operated a sawmill there until 2009.
This region of Maine has seen almost no Covid-19 cases and we did not see a single local resident wearing a face mask. When we entered the local grocery we were advised that “we don’t wear masks here, when it is your time it is your time”. Good luck………
Because of it’s geographic location Andover was chosen as the site of the Andover Earth Station, one of the first satellite earth stations. This antenna installation was utilized to communicate with the Telstar 1 satellite which provided the earliest satellite television and telephone service between Europe and North America. The original antenna was dismantled in the early 1960s. Currently the site is operated by Verizon in support of their satellite communication network. Today, Andover is primarily a destination for hunters and fishing enthusiasts.
After provisioning in Andover we traveled north through South Arm and into the backcountry of the Richardson Public Reserved Land Trust. There are 37 land trust areas in Maine. The land trust areas provide dispersed camping opportunities in addition to a multitude of outdoor recreation activities. https://www.nrcm.org/explore-maine-map/public-reserved-land/
Part of our reason for heading to the Richardson Lakes area was the opportunity to put the Beast into 4wd mode on the many forest and logging roads and trails that run through the reserve. We spent a fun afternoon circling around the perimeter of the 22,000 acre preserve before heading to Worthley Lake to camp.
After our night at Worthley Pond we made the short trip to Hallowell to spend the day poking around in this historic town situated on the Kennebec River. The town was first settled in 1762.
The town has a prosperous history which was driven by the logging, shipbuilding, granite and ice industries that benefited from access to the Atlantic Ocean via the Kennebec River. Ice from Hallowell was taken by sailing ships to Cuba and various Caribbean Islands.
Today the town is a tourist draw with its many restaurants, pubs, shops and art galleries.
As many of you know, we are coffee and tea fans and were very pleased that Hallowell is home to Traverse Coffee Co located right in the heart of town on Water Street. Highly recommended. http://www.traversecoffeeco.com
From Hallowell we made our way to the coast and the lovely town of Boothbay Harbor. The town sits on a peninsula which extends into the Bay of Maine and as such is a popular summer vacation destination and yachting center.
Our friends Dianna and Scott were vacationing in Boothbay Harbor while we were in town and they graciously allowed us to bivouac on their property during our stay.
While in Boothbay Harbor we visited the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. This botanical garden is an absolute gem located on apx. 300 acres. The gardens are thoughtfully designed for touring and there are walking trails that provide access to the Back River which abuts the property. https://www.mainegardens.org/
The gallery below consists of photographs taken by the talented photographer Phoebe and feature her sister Penelope.
In addition to the botanical gardens we spent an afternoon in town at the harbor. Again we were blessed with an excellent coffee cafe in the heart of the shopping and restaurant district along the harbor. Highly recommended. http://www.brisettos.com
Portland was our destination after departing Boothbay Harbor. We had not visited Portland since 2011 so we were excited to get back to the city and see if the food, coffee and art scene is as vibrant as we remembered.
We spent our first afternoon walking around the city mural hunting and quickly found a plethora of fine works both authorized and unauthorized. We have included several works here but would refer you to our earlier post: Street Art From The Road:OTR 5.1 which includes a selection of murals from around Portland.
The third wave coffee scene in Portland has grown since our last visit but we continue to place Tandem Coffee at the top of our list. In addition to the great coffee the Congress Street cafe has an excellent bakery.
We made our first visit to Speckled Ax Coffee. This roaster and cafe operator opened in 2012. The coffee is excellent. Speckled Ax is unique in that they wood roast their coffee – not a common or easy way to roast coffee – but they have certainly mastered the technique.
After taking in a nice sample of the street art and coffee scene we took advantage of the wonderful weather to ride the Casco Bay Ferry across the bay to Peaks Island. The island is about three miles off shore from the Portland waterfront and the ferry ride is just 20 minutes.
Peaks Island is part of the city of Portland but does have its own police station, post office and elementary school. Post elementary students ride the ferry to and from the mainland to attend school.
The full time residents of the island have a long history of trying to secede from the city – most recently in 2011 when the city reevaluated properties on the island and property taxes increased by over 200%. As with previous attempts to secede the Portland City Council Council voted no.
Ah well, a beautiful spot to visit even if you cannot afford to own a house. We took in the island scenery on a rented golf cart and dined on fresh sea food before returning to Portland
Portland happily is as handsome and interesting as we remembered. From Portland we meandered along the coastline and stopped for a hike as we made our way to Portsmouth for our final overnight before returning to Connecticut.
Our final day on the road required a short detour to Dover to check out locally renowned Flight Coffee and fuel up for the final leg to The Fort. A nice cafe for planning your next adventure! https://www.flightcoffeedover.com/
We thoroughly enjoyed our brief swing through Maine as the final segment of our brief return to the road. While all aspects of travel are not back to pre-pandemic conditions we think the country has opened up enough to allow life on the road to be enjoyable and safe. To that end we plan on departing The Fort in October for a fall tour of West Virginia and Virginia.
We could not actually make it back to Connecticut without more coffee and tea so we ventured into The Grid district of Worcester for fika and found several fantastic murals to boot. Life is good.
Our recent trip took us through portions of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. We have included a sample of some of the street art and murals that we found along the way. We appreciate the range of emotions these very different works of art evoke in us. Please let us know what you think.
Stay tuned for another post on OTR 5.1. Of course you can see more of our street art photographs on @streetartfromtheroad.
Be seeing you!
Clam Diggers by Susan Bartlett Rice, Portland, East Bayside, Maine
We accelerated the pace of our return home to the Fort as more towns, counties and states issued tighter restrictions on a daily basis. Ever in need of espresso and tea to sustain the journey we did venture into a number of towns for take out beverages and food. While passing through we usually managed to take a quick tour of the historic or downtown areas before departing for our next fika.
Below are some photos from the final days of OTR 4.0.
Thanks for following.
Be seeing you!
Video Clip, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
C.S.A. cannons on Seminary Ridge, Gettysburg Battlefield