Old and New England with Scotland.The cripples on tour.

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drron

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We were limited really to places close to the Hilton due to mrsdrron's mobility problems.No problem as there are many good choices within 3-4 blocks.On Sunday night it was back to Rue 57.Not the greatest restaurant but reasonable quality and staying in the Hilton Club you get a 10% discount and you earn 3 AA miles for every dollar spent.We decided to have the seafood platter for 2 with 2 sorts of oysters,clams,mussels,shrimp and lobster-
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Normally when we come here we have a Cloudy Bay sav blanc as it is priced at $60-just $10 more than more ordinary labels.But they had run out.So a Napa wine instead.With tip and tax-$150.

Monday night it was down to City Lobster on 49th.Again 10% off + 3 AA miles per dollar but we came for this-
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We shared a bowl of mussels in a lobster broth with garlic,fennel and orange.Really nice.We both had one of those beauties and with a bottle of sav blanc +tax and tip-$210.

Today(Tuesday the conference was just a half day so it was a late lunch at our favourite NYC restaurant-Le Bernadin.3 Michelin stars for years.You do have to like seafood and cooked in classical French style which means at time barely cooked.But then we like sashimi.
So you start with a salmon pate which as usual was very good.For starters mrsdrron had sea scallops with a burnt butter dashi sauce and I had raw pounded tune over foie gras.Both were fantastic and we both thought the best dishes of the day-
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For mains mrsdrron had the barely cooked salmon with fava beans and a chervil sauce.I had striped bass on Bhutanese red rice with green papaya salad with a ginger and red wine sauce.As always all elements combined beautifully-
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The top part of mrsdrron's salmon was truly melt in the mouth.Literally you put it in your mouth,let it sit and 30 seconds later only the bottom cooked fish remained.
Then to desserts mrsdrron had a Buddha's hand gelee with blood orange sorbet,mandarin and meringue.I had dark chocolate parfait with dulce deleche,milk sorbet,honeyed almonds and pistachios.The milk sorbet was divine-
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And finish with some petit fours-
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Once again with a bottle of sav blanc,tax and tip-$250 but sadly no discounts or airline miles.Still worth every cent.We come here every time we come to NYC.We worked out that this trip brings us to 9 months of stays here.
Now Le Bernadin is on 51st but an avenue you may not know exists-
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So tomorrow it is on our way to New England.Really though this is a factory outlet run-Woodbury Common,Manchester,VT which is an upmarket collection of outlets.Merrimack,NH because it is a tax free state.Then on to Kittery MN,Wrentham MA and Clinton Crossing CT before returning to JFK.
 
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amaroo

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Tuning in. Loving the TR.

BTW good rain tonight - the garden will be looking good ;)
 

drron

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So back to the report.First just one more observation on our lunch at Le Bernadin.In the past it was always full of people in business a few you could recognise from their TV appearances.On this occasion at least half the guests were Chinese as I recognised the language they were speaking and as usual they talk loudly.
After brekkie on Wednesday it was across the road to Avis to pick up our chariot.Only 1 group who were going through their booking.They were Colombians who were getting their airline miles credited to Avianca-a little grin passed over my face.No problems getting out of Manhattan.Down to 1st Ave and north to I-87.First stopped at the Palissades mall at Nanuet so mrsdrron could go to Lord and Taylors.Her first real retail therapy in over 3 months.Then direct to Woodbury Common.
Quite frankly this is not the best outlet shopping as there are always crowds and this can make it very slow eg in Polo there were long queues for both men's and women's fitting rooms.Once again a high proportion of people from Chinese tour groups and courtesy is not common with them.Mrsdrron was literally pushed out of the way when she was in front of something 2 women wanted.However it is the outlet now with the highest number of top end outlets and of course close to Manhattan.The funniest time there was again in Polo when 2 young fellows were comparing baseball caps.One found out his was a little too large when the head movement sent it flying.Lunch there was a Philly cheese steak mit mushrooms.Mit is not a typo.If you go to Pats or Genos in South Philly and you just order a cheesesteak you will get a quick mit or not-meaning do you want onions with that.

After the outlets it was a quick look through the Kohls store nearby and then going via the local roads to our accommodation the HGI Fishkill.Had been there before as a diamond and this time as gold still got a larger room on the top floor-just on the noisy side rather than the quiet side.Brekkie and internet are the same as gold.The reason for picking an HGI is for the guest laundry after our weeks travelling.They said on checkin that they had a wine tasting from 5-7 with canapés.However no sign of it at 1800 when we went out for dinner.

Dinner was our old favourite Red Lobster.A bit disappointing this time with the seafood a little over cooked.We shared a bowl of mussels and then mrsdrron had a seafood bake and I the lobster and shrimp bake-
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Service also was not great so the tip was not as suggested on the bill-don't be afraid to lower the tip if there is good reason.Certainly if challenged I would point out the service and the over cooked seafood as the reasons.

Next-off to Vermont via the roads less travelled.
 

Ric

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Great report.
By chance going via Historic Route 7? Beautiful scenery and going through covered bridges!

Love Manchester, Vermont, especially the Orvis store. Beautiful little town.
 

jukebox333

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Interesting timing, drron - I made Philly cheesesteak for myself and son for dinner last night! (added a jalpeno to the cheese for some extra kick, tho). Nice, but the Yanks usually do a damn fine job on thier home turf.

Keep the updates coming!
 

drron

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Only a very short section of Hway 7 this time ric but we have done historic 7 in the past both travelling north then south.It truly is a beautiful area.

SO Thursday and off on the roads less travelled.We have toured New England on several occasions so today's route was planned to use different roads to previous trips.So a short distance up 9N to 55E.Then onto 44N and now really into the countryside of upstate New York.Picturesque countryside and quaint villages,a nice introduction to New England.From there on to 22N and 23E into Massachussets.We deviated onto the back roads outside the town of Sheffield to a little known part of US history.All that remains is this small memorial on the edge of farmlands-
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In 1786,87 many rural folk found themselves basically victimised by the city folk of Boston.One was Daniel Shay.He served in the Continental Army during the War of Independence,was wounded and went home in 1780.He did not receive any of his pay but when he got home found himself in court for unpaid debts and taxes.Things really don't change greatly over time.Two leaders of the rebellion were executed though Daniel escaped to the independent republic of Vermont.It was a few years before it became the 14th state.

From there we headed east until we came to Hway 7.Only a short distance and turned on to 183N.Followed the Housatonic river to Stockbridge.Several small towns with deserted factories and mills-
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And our chariot and I guess the former factory owners houses-
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The reason for the detour though was this-
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Fortunately the rain which had been torrential at times held of when we were here.That night,s news revealed that as well as the heavy rains that there were winds of 60mph at the centre of this system and there was a brief touchdown when one house was destroyed.
The Norman Rockwell Museum was planned in the last years of his life.This was not his property but he knew it well.His last studio was moved here before he died.This museum was built after his death.Lovely grounds-
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This is the original house on the property built by a New York lawyer as the families summer cottage.One of his descendents became an astronaut and was the last to tinker with the Hubble telescope.
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drron

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So some Rockwell art-
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And one some here could relate to-
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There was also an exhibition by an illustrator of children,s books-
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Loved the bears.Basically Rockwell was also an illustrator and certainly didn't call himself an artist.Best known for his covers of the Saturday Evening Post.He would first draw a sketch,then a coloured version and finally made changes he felt necessary.The first pic here is his coloured study,the second the actual cover-
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But basically he had the ability to chronicle everyday scenes of ordinary America-
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drron

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Rockwell working on his only Impressionist painting and demonstrating some of his unusual techniques-
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Some more of his Saturday Evening Post covers-
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That last cover a couple of years later became Rockwell's last cover for the Post-
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Then to his studio-
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drron

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So the last of Rockwell.First his studio-
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And the view from the studio-
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And more of the grounds-
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And last Rockwell,s take on the US bicentennial.
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drron

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After leaving the Rockwell museum it was on to 102E to the town of Lee.Naturally this was because they have a Factory outlet mall.Had another Philly cheesesteak lunch though not as good this time.A couple of purchases later it was off on 20N to 7N.Once again some really picturesque country and lovely villages and towns.Unfortunately the rain had got heavier so only a couple of pics-
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Just before we got to Manchester,VT there was a fierce thunderstorm with really heavy rain.By the time we got to the Equinox resort their golf course was all water hazard.Check in was very good.Friendly agent,great doorman who really helped mrsdrron.Breakfast though was emphasised as a continental so I kept my 500 points.Things though went downhill after that.We had booked a basic room and I knew suite upgrades here are very unlikely.We were put in a top floor room but with absolutely no view.Most rooms had views of the surrounding mountains.So here is the hotel-
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Now the room and our view-
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This is an historic hotel and trades on that.Four Presidents have stayed here but obviously not in room 422.Abe Lincoln was booked in to stay in the summer of 1865,they built a special suite for him but he never got to use it.Now obviously caters for those who don't worry about money.Apart from skiing or golf they offer a spa,falconry,fly fishing schools and shotgun classes.We though were here for the shopping.
More of the Equinox next.
 

drron

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We had planned at having dinner at their steakhouse which gets good reviews however it was booked out.As it was still raining we decided we would have dinner at their pub restaurant.Decided to go with the famous for our wine-
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The bread was well presented with Chilli bread and chilli jam amongst the selection-
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Appetisers were very good.I had the charcuterie plate and mrsdrron the sea scallops.Both were very good-
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However there were obviously service problems with orders being mixed up.really looked like an upmarket Fawlty Towers.Also it was clear many were not enjoying their food.The fellow at the next table had ordered a rack of lamb on spring veggies.He got 3 lamb chops on a very unappealing pile of veggies.When our main courses came we were also left unimpressed.I had ordered a home made pasta with duck ragu,mrsdrron salmon on spring veggies.Here they are-
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My dish was visually unappealing and the taste lived up to the appearance.I have had a similar dish at the Buderim Tavern which is much better than this.Mrsdrron's salmon was overcooked and dry.When the salmon was removed the veggies underneath were revealed as similiarly overcooked.

Back at the room we found one of the hand towels was covered in lipstick.To compound things when I was downloading my photos I knocked my camera and it went to the floor breaking off the dial for changing shooting mode.It could not be moved from 3D shots.This did not seem to be a great problem when we left next morning taking a few shots of the tulips-
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Next-more of Manchester.
 

drron

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After leaving the hotel we went down the road to this place-
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Although Abe never got here his son loved the place.Then again it was some place-
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The grounds are extensive and typical of the countryside-
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After this it was off to Maccas for breakfast and then it was time for shopping.The Manchester outlets are scattered around the village.It has been the final outlets for many top brands though many unfortunately have left.Armani is still there and a large outlet.Mrsdrron picked up a skirt at 90% off and a handbag at just 75% off.
Although some have left on this occasion there was a newcomer-a Marimekko outlet.This is the only one and again mrsdrron had some success.It is certainly a much more pleasant shopping experience here than the zoo that can be Woodbury Commons.

Next-From Manchester,VT to Manchester,NH.
 

drron

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Just a reminder for the shoppers-Vermont has no tax on clothing.
After the shopping we set out on route 11.When we did this about 4 years ago just a little earlier in the year we were hit by a late blizzard so a change of plans were forced on us.Fortunately no repeat.However the low cloud and temperature not making it above 11C in the Vermont mountains it wasn't great for sight seeing.Our plan was to see this place-

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This is on 100N.It is a real menagerie.Also as old as I am.
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Felt I could do with these-
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Plenty of memorabilia-
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Up in the mountains the trees were just in bud,the daffodils were in full bloom and we passed a couple of ski fields.We then headed east on route 103 finally hitting I89S and a quick trip via I93 to Manchester.Once again the more populated river valleys had a lot of old abandoned factories but also some interesting houses-
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Next Manchester,NH.
 

drron

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In Manchester we stayed at the 4 Points Manchester Airport.Except it is not at the airport but does have a shuttle there.So the room-
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Checkin was fine.Unfortunately I picked breakfast instead of the 250 points.An interesting variation where they have a lucky dip wheel where you could win another 250 points but I got the underwhelming local amenity-a pack of popcorn and a large bottle of local springwater.Not in the most salubrious part of town
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After checkin we went to the Mall of New Hampshire and then to the Longhorn Steakhouse for dinner.Mrsdrron had the baby back ribs and asparagus.I had the steak tips with baked baby gold beets and a sweet potato with butter and cinnamon sugar-really good.No photos this time.Then back to the hotel to collapse into bed.

Saturday and we started with the wrst SPG plat breakfast I have seen.Granola in a serving bowl and another of vanilla yoghurt-no serving implements or individual bowls to put them in and no milk of any kind.Soggy muffins and breaf to toast with either peanut butter or strawberry jam or both to put on it.
Then it was off to the Merrimack Premium outlets.Has both a Saks and a Bloomies outlet.At Bloomies I found 100% cashmere jumpers for $27.77 so bought 3.Remember no sales tax in NH.Mrsdrron got a few buys and then we had a hot latte with a dissolved coconut truffle in it.Yummy.

After that it was just a few hundred metres to this place-
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The AnnheuserBusch brewery.The smallest of 12 that they have in the USA.But here they have free tours.Fortunately only 6 of us-3 local premed students and a couple from Boston.With 10 minutes to go before the tour when I arrived and the others arriving just a minute before time I was supplied with tastes of 2 of their exotic "beers".Straw-ber-rita and lime-a-rita.8% alcohol and pleasant but although hops used no beer taste.
So to the tour-
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drron

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And at the end of the tour you are first allowed 2 small samples-I tried the Stella Artois Cidre and the Michelbob Amberhock.Both nice.Then you are allowed 1 large sample.So continuing on with things I have not had before I had a bottle of Bud Light Lime.I even enjoyed that.
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I left early as Mrsdrron had waited in the car.A trainee tour guide took me back to the visitors centre.She was not looking forward to her next tour-a bus of 54 Chinese tourists.I said they would be difficult to control.She said it was worse as they all want their picture taken with the guide and the men would grope her.Not a great job at times.

The Merrimack brewery is also the base for the Eastern herd of Busch Clydesdales.Quite a setup-
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More of Manchester to come.
 
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drron

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After the Brewery we went a little further south to Nashua and visited a Kohls and a Burlington Coat factory.After that,~1600,it was to the Bugaboo Creek steakhouse.Another chain we like.Mrsdrron had a combo of coconut shrimp and steak tips.I had the prime rib.Both were very good.The service was also good so this time a good tip.
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On the way back to the 4 Points stops at a Target and Macys.The heavens opened whilst in Macys but fortunately OK from the time we left there and got inside the 4 Points.Totally exhausted and off to sleep.

Sunday and we decided to forgo our complimentary breakfast and go to Maccas instead.They had a steak and egg mc muffin which wasn't too bad and less than $4.Then of course it was to North Manchester to Walmart and Kohls before heading oif on 101E to the coast.Then a slow few miles up highway 1 to Portsmouth and the Sheraton Portsmouth Harbourside.No real Plat greeting,just given the keys.However the place was a circus being the Memorial day weekend and people everywhere.A very large group of young women were being very loud.Didn't get a room on club floor but did this time get a room with a reasonable view instead of the deserted rail yards full of scrap metal and salt.So our room-
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And first the view from our room and a guide to what you see if given a harbour view room-the photo was taken from the other side of the river.
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Next-lobsters.
 

drron

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After checking in and unpacking it was off to a lobster pound.We liked Weathervane lobster in the rough on Badger Island so went back.Second day of the season.Sit right by the harbour-
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We share a bowl of mussels first-$8 and just over 60 mussels-
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Now the one thing that is different with mrsdrron wearing her moonboot is that most people start up a conversation.Tonight was no exception.We were sitting next to a couple from Manchester,NH and had a nice long chat.This meant there was a rare shot of drron and mrsdrron in the same photo.
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That's us with our 2.5lb lobsters-$36.95 each.Together with a bottle of wine,tax and tip-$135.So our meal-
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Next door was a boatyard with many still wrapped for winter-
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Then I95 on a copy of the Sydney Harbour bridge sans pylons-
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And a street scene in Portsmouth-
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Next-a little drive in Maine.
 

drron

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Not a great sleep on Sunday night but due to other guests running up and down the corridor,slamming doors and jumping in the rooms above until 0200 and then restarting ~ 0500.
Monday morning I went up to the lounge.As expected it was overflowing with people so I got some fruit and scones and took them back to the room.Then it was off to Kittery,Maine.You guessed it .More outlet stores.Now you may wonder why I visit so many shops.Simple.I believe in the words of Queen Latifah in the movie version of Chicago-"If you're good to Momma,Momma's good to you."Works for me anyway.

After that we went for a drive up Highway 1 to Kennebunk and then turned off to Kennebunkport.We hadn;'t been to this part of the Maine coast before.There were crowds and very few parking spots along the beach.It was the second day of the swimming season but with a temperature of 14C and a really cold wind blowing the beach certainly didn't look inviting-
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There were some locals enjoying the water though-
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There were some hardy souls and the lifeguards were on duty-
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drron

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After surveying the beach we drove north along the coast.We came across this place-
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This is the home of 41-George H Bush.It has been owned by the family for over a century.George H was in the area.In fact we found out later that we were no more than a 100 metres from him but several policemen made us turn around-he was watching the Kennebunk Memorial Day parade.So more of the Bush compound-
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Not all places on the coast were huge-
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But many were-
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