A Journey for Miss Ruby, Chapter Seven: A Connecticut Kind of Summer


Everything about Ruby’s journey had been delightful! Yet, she couldn’t think of a better reason to travel than to visit family. Even though she was “born” in Connecticut, she was now a “West Coast” girl. How fortunate she was to have an “East Coast” clan to welcome her back! Ruby thought that Oregon City where she lives was incorporated a long time ago, in 1844 (as the first incorporated town west of the Rocky Mountains), but the town where she was staying, Colchester Connecticut, received its charter in 1698–almost 150 years before Oregon City. My, that is old!


This house has been sold since this photo, and is no longer a shop. Miss Jennie wishes she was the buyer!

Of course many of the houses and buildings in Connecticut are older than in Oregon, too. Ruby liked looking at all of these old buildings.


A historic Colchester house, facing the town green.


This interesting Victorian is near the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam.

August 2014 18 Airline Trail bigger stone wall 5 conjunction

Connecticut is also noted for its beautiful stone fences; even like this one that is unused and hidden away now along Judd Creek.


After shopping for awhile, Ruby stopped for a rest on this stone wall in Old Mystic Village.

Shopping is always interesting in Connecticut. Everyone likes stopping at Nature’s Art along the way to Old Mystic Village.


Ruby was quite taken with this large malachite stone. She found that it soothed her spirit.


“This room with dinosaur skeletons is a little bit scary–it gives me the shivers. But I still like the fish.”


“What do you mean, we already have Citrine at home? I want to put THESE in my suitcase!”


Harry’s Place doesn’t look quite like this any more, but it’s still THE place to hang out on summer evenings in Colchester! (Photo by Dave Stewart)


Burgers, chili dogs, and onion rings were the favorites with all of these Stewart girls. (Photo by Dave Stewart)


And of course ice cream for the whole family is the perfect ending for a summer evening. Coneheads had Miss Jennie’s favorite–espresso bean! (Photo by Dave Stewart)

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Ruby liked dressing up in her white summer dress for church in Manchester.

Even this delightful journey eventually came to an end. The dolls in her bedroom were beginning to miss Ruby most dreadfully. When she came home, she petted the housecats, then she sat on the little Windsor chair next to Little Davie. Now all the bedroom dolls could sit or stand for days and days listening to Ruby share story after story about her journey to the East Coast.

THE END . . . is just another beginning!

Red dress girl with flag circa 1850s

East or West, Home is Best




A Journey for Miss Ruby, Chapter Six: Special Joys


After so many fun days in Maine, Ruby was glad to be back at her home-away-from-home in Connecticut. Miss Jennie was getting ready for her all-day antiquing trip to Brimfield Massachusetts, but Ruby wanted to stay home for that one.


Uncle David likes to shop for wooden boxes and burlap bags at antique fairs. (Photo by Dave Stewart)


Miss Jennie found a few interesting things at Brimfield including a wee Steiff bear, a rag doll, and some girls’ and ladies’ small clothes. She liked this sewing machine, but it was too big to fit in her suitcase to take home.

After Ruby was all rested up, she couldn’t wait to go to Special Joys Doll & Toy Shop! She had heard so much about it, and knew that it was a favorite with her cousins, the antique Izannah Walker dolls. She put on her best red dress, her silk stockings, her red leather shoes, and her sunbonnet. She was ready to go!


Miss Joy shows Miss Jennie an auction report about a rare Izannah Walker doll which sold for more than the usual amount of many, many dollars.

Inside the shop, Joy Kelleher met them, and they made introductions. Ruby felt warm in her heart when Miss Jennie introduced her to Miss Joy, and Joy took a special interest in her. Joy had met Paula Walton, Ruby’s birth/artist mother who also lives in Connecticut. Joy said that Ruby was one of the best Paula Walton Izannah dolls she had seen. My, was Ruby proud! She stayed with Miss Joy and got to know her better while Miss Jennie explored the shop and all of the special dolls who lived there.


Miss Jennie especially liked these early 19th century dolls in Miss Joy’s personal collection, including the papier mache Lydia hairstyle on the left.


Many of the dolls had amazing old, old dresses, including the brown and blue cotton dress on this large early 19th c. Voit Pauline type doll with teeth!


Can you tell that Miss Jennie is especially fond of the early papier maches?


Of course, she likes china dolls so much, too. Especially when they are wearing old appropriate cotton dresses and have kitties who sit next to them!

Miss Joy seemed as delighted to have them there in her shop as they were to be there! She especially enjoyed getting to “play dolls” with someone who knew about and appreciated the older dolls the way Miss Jennie did.


The wax-over-papier mache doll in the blue dress blinked at Ruby when Miss Joy pulled on a lever that opens and closes her eyes.


Now, which one of these early 19th c. papier maches with Apollo knot hairstyles will come home with us. Both so lovely . . . Of course Miss Jennie chose the one with the old cotton print dress! (And also a wooden body Lydia china!–but that is a different story.)

Ruby was basking in the attention given her by Miss Joy. Joy said in the kindest way that Ruby was a country girl, and that she would be better served with dark stockings rather than her fancy silk lace ones. Joy didn’t find black or brown or red striped socks that would fit her, but she did find blue stockings for Ruby.


Miss Joy gets to know Ruby better.


Ruby admires her new blue stockings.

“Now you are a bluestocking!” Miss Jennie told her. “What is a bluestocking?” asked Ruby. “She is an educated, literary, and intellectual woman who preferes to wear worsted blue stockings rather than the more formal black ones.  There were even Blue Stocking Societies in the 18th and 19th centuries.” “Oh. I think that means that I’m smart, like you!” Miss Jennie blushed politely.

Miss Jennie found so many things to take home to the dolls in the bedroom, and dolls were chosen to come home with them. After the purchases were made, it was time to leave. They were so glad to have finally visited Miss Joy and her astonishingly charming shop. Everyone hoped that they would be able to come back again during another visit to Connecticut.

Now that all of the special planned events were over, they could enjoy the company of family who they came to visit, and have fun being in Connecticut!

To be continued . . .

Paris CDV girl flounced dress large doll

Girls like large papier mache dolls when they are new, as well as when they are old.


A Journey for Miss Ruby, Chapter Five: Lobsters and Moccasins


What do you mean. I can’t take my whole chocolate lobster catch home with me?

When Ruby woke up Friday morning, the sky was grey and the hotel parking lot was wet. They visited Max, the omelet chef, in the dining room again; then they were travelling in the Salsa Red Pearl van north from Portland just a little way to Freeport Maine, home of L.L. Bean.

L.L. Bean was like a shopping center all on its own with five different stores. It has been in Freeport for over a hundred years! They went in the door of the Hunting and Fishing store first where they saw racks stacked high with canoes, and racks and racks of rifles standing in rows on the floor. Then they looked at taxidermy animals under an open staircase. The animals were so still in their make-believe forest. Ruby thought that they should get their taxi and go back to the real forest.


“Look, she’s dressed like me! Can I go to that beach?”

Next they went into a corridor with lots and lots of pictures of L.L. Bean catalog covers through the years. Ruby found the ones she liked best–the ones without guns.

At the other end of the corridor was the clothing store. Miss Jennie tried on pants, shirts, and pajamas. Ruby became very bored. There were no clothes her size, not even dungarees. They looked at the gigantic L.L. Bean boot outside the Clothing Store entrance. It was so big that Ruby didn’t want to have her picture taken there.

When they were finally outside again, there was an ice cream shop, but they didn’t go there. Instead, they went across the way to the L.L. Bean Home Store. “Oh, no!” thought Ruby, “I’m going to be bored for longer!”  But just inside the door, she found something fun–toy log cabins, just her size.


“Looky, looky, a whole log cabin village!”

Then there were more things that caught her attention!


“I could take a bath in the bowl with the pretty blue fishes, but I would be afraid in this one with the lobster claws.”


“I didn’t know they would have boots my size!”


“What do you mean I have to choose just one pair?”


“All right, I choose the moccasins. They are sooo soft inside!”

After the L.L. Bean stores, there were more fun shops to explore. Ruby didn’t have to wait too much more for the big people to look at clothing. They went into a fabulous art store called Abacus, where they found sea shell art, recycled broken glass made into pottery dishes, and tiny cars and trucks made out of tin cans.


“I think I could drive this one!”

They did finally go in an ice cream store, and Ruby especially liked the chocolate lobsters (with soft claws) and chocolate blueberries at Len Libby Chocolate Store.

Ruby thought of Little Davie in her room at home in Oregon City, and about how much he liked his toys. She brought home a little tin can car for him.


“Thank you, Ruby! I’m glad you’re home.”

Touring and shopping in Maine for four days had been the best of times! It would soon be time to return to Uncle David and Aunt Lynn’s home in Connecticut. And there was a very SPECIAL shop that Ruby was looking forward to visiting there, where she would feel right at home.

To be continued . . .

Five vintage girls shopping

Girls having fun



A Journey for Miss Ruby, Chapter Four: Tall Ships on Casco Bay


Miss Ruby on board The Wendameen, July 5, 2018

After a busy morning seeing all the lighthouses, Ruby and her family rushed back to the hotel just in time to catch the shuttle bus to downtown Portland. The bus was definitely the way to get there because there would be nowhere to park the Salsa Red Pearl van. The bus driver was from Boston Massachusettes and now lives in Portland Maine. Miss Jennie told him the story about the coin flip to name the new (in 1845) Oregon town Boston or Portland. Then he said, “That is a fabulous story! I’m going to tell it to my friends!”


“What do you mean I have to share!”

Once they were in Portland, there was plenty of time to have lunch at Flatbread Company, right beside the dock where the big ferry boats chugged in and out of the bay. The oven fired pizza was delicious, but Ruby liked her bottle of Maine Root Blueberry soda best of all.


One of the ferry boats on Casco Bay


Then they went out to the dock where the schooners were moored to get their boarding passes. Ruby was so excited about going on the ship, she could hardly be still in line. “I thought a schooner was a wagon that took people on the Oregon Trail to Oregon and California,” she said. Miss Jennie told her that she was right; Prairie Schooners did roll across the prairies on the Oregon Trail. Those wagons were smaller than the great Conestoga wagons, and with their white canvas covers or bonnets, they looked, from a distance, like smaller tall masted schooner ships, sailing across a sea of grasses.


Timberwind (1931) in Casco Bay as seen from Wendameen, July 5, 2018

The Portland Schooner Company sails three tall masted schooners for two hour tours and charter trips. Ruby and her family would sail on Wendameen, the oldest of the three ships. “Goody, goody, I like old things,” said Ruby. Wendameen is a two-masted schooner, built in 1912 by the noted naval architect John G. Alden, and is 67 feet in length. She is the 21st recreational schooner built by Alden, and is one of the oldest to have survived. She sailed on the Great Lakes for 20 years, then languished on land until 1985 when she was fully restored and began her life of “windjamming” cruises in Maine. Wendameen was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.


Wendameen (Stock Photo)


Miss Ruby at the helm of Wendameen

When Ruby leaped on board Wendameen from the dock, she went right to the helm. “Can I steer?” Then the captain came aboard and said to her, “What kind of voodoo is this?” Ruby just looked at him with big eyes and said, “No voodoo, sir. I’m just Miss Jennie’s travel companion.” That seemed to satisfy the captain, and he paid her no more mind on the cruise.

They followed Bagheera as Wendameen’s motor pushed them away from the dock. Then they were in the bay and the sails were unfurled by the two-woman crew. What a lovely evening to be out on the water on a tall masted ship!


Portland skyline from Wendameen on Casco Bay


Miss Jennie especially loved being on this historic tall ship, and sailing! (Photo by Dave Stewart)

There were lots of things to see out on the bay. There was a Civil War fort named “Fort Gorges” that is on an island, and they could see the other two schooners, Timberwind and Bagheera, sailing around the bay. Ruby looked and looked at the varnished wood, tall masts, sails, and rigging, on the ship she was on. She was amazed at how the crew members climbed right onto the mast to adjust the sail! “I want to do that!” she said. “Can I have a schooner for my birthday?”


Octagonal shaped Fort Gorges, finished in 1864. No troops were ever stationed there because it was obsolete before it was completed, being replaced by iron clad ships and long-range guns.


Bagheera (1924), as seen from Wendameen


Spring Point Ledge Light as seen from Wendameen


The captain and one of two crew members aboard Wendameen, July 5, 2018 (Photo by Dave Stewart)


Mast and rigging, Wendameen

Ruby was sad as the sun sank lower and Wendameen followed Bagheera back toward the dock. She thought she could sail aboard a tall ship for days and days. This had certainly been an experience that she would remember for all of her life.


When Ruby was home again, she took out her copy of Avi’s The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, which is a Newbery Honor high adventure story about a tall masted ship and a 19th century girl who sailed on her. This helped keep Ruby’s sailing adventure alive for her.

This beautiful Thursday evening had been the perfect time for Ruby’s sailing adventure. Now it was time for dinner (grilled scallops! Yum!) and another cozy night at the hotel. The morning would bring rain–the perfect day for shopping!

To be continued . . .

Nautical girl antique print

So much to sea!


A Journey for Miss Ruby, Chapter Three: Four Lovely Lighthouses


Miss Ruby at Portland Headlight Lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth, Maine on July 5th, 2018

The hotel room had a soft bed with lots of pillows for resting on. Everyone woke up in time to have a delicious and nourishing breakfast, including custom-made omelets made by Max, the professional omelet chef. Most of Ruby’s family appreciated coffee to start the morning, but Ruby declined.


Ruby liked the stack of soft pillows, too.

This would be a full day of touring, including visiting three lighthouses in Portland, and a schooner cruise! The first thing that Ruby noticed along the seacoast was the wild beach roses. Unlike the cultivated roses in Portland Oregon, the petals of these roses grew in a single layer around the flower. They were bright and beautiful with the sun on them.


Beach roses at Portland Lighthouse

A little way down the path, though, the roses were all but forgotten as the most iconic lighthouse in the world came into view!


Such a clear, sunny, day, the sailboats don’t need the light right now.

Portland Head Light was first lit on January 10, 1791. It is taller now than it was then, and no longer burns whale oil as did the original 16 lamps in its tower. Ruby had to look up and up and up to see the top.

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Miss Jennie enjoyed walking all around the lighthouse park just as much as Ruby did.


Miss Jennie at Portland Headlight, July 5, 2018

After looking at seaglass earrings and a whale shaped mirror in the gift shop, it was just a short drive to the next lighthouse, the Springlight.


Spring Point Ledge Light in South Portland Maine, constructed in 1897


This is what the breakwater looks like with the gaps between the stones. (Photo by Dave Stewart)

Spring Point Ledge Light in South Portland Maine, constructed in 1897, is listed on the national register of historic places. It is called a sparkplug lighthouse because it’s structure rests on a concrete or metal caisson. People can walk out to it on the breakwater made up of very large stones with big gaps between them. Ruby decided to just look from the shore.


Portland Breakwater Lighthouse with Corinthian columns

The third lighthouse that Ruby visited that morning was the Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, which is also called The Buglight. Built in 1875 of curved cast iron plates, it is decorated with six Corinthian columns. Its design was inspired by the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, Greece.

Ruby was quiet and thoughtful in the van after visiting these lighthouses and learning about their history. Before leaving Maine on saturday, she visited one more lighthouse with Miss Jennie.


The Cape Neddick Light or the “Nubble” at York, Maine

Driving south to return to Connecticut was more summertime splendor as they meandered past Old Orchard Beach and Wells Beach. The sun was beginning its late descent in the summer sky as they pulled into the lot at Cape Neddick. They felt fortunate to find a parking spot. The nearby ice cream shop was just as popular as the lighthouse on this day! Cape Neddick Light, also known as the “Nubble,” was built in 1879 at York, Maine, and is still in use today. It is on an island which can be reached by boat or by cable car.


Miss Ruby’s artwork of “Portland Headlight” by Kris Kristiansen

Lighthouses, as Ruby learned, have a very important purpose to protect ships by warning them to stay far enough away from the coastline, which can be dangerous for them. She would have much to contemplate and share with the other dolls when she returned home. Yet the adventures of this vacation Thursday were just beginning, for Ruby had booked passage on The Wendameen, a 1912 schooner with tall masts and sails!

To be continued . . .

Blake Henry Lighthouse Keeper nantucket museum

Blake Henry, Lighthouse Keeper. Nantucket Museum

A Journey for Miss Ruby, Chapter Two: Independence Day at Ogunquit, Maine



Miss Ruby at Perkins Cove, Maine

At the airport, Ruby was excited to see the jet planes from the big airport windows. She watched as the plane she would board was fueled with a long hose and had luggage loaded. Once on the plane, she asked for a window seat so that she could see all that was happening.


During the hours of the flight, Ruby asked Miss Jennie about where they were going and what they would do there. She thought it was rather funny that they were leaving Portland Oregon on the West Coast, then would be at Portland Maine on the East Coast. Miss Jennie told her a story about the founding of Portland Oregon, which was named in 1845: One man (Asa Lovejoy) who founded this new town was from Boston Massachusetts, and the other founder (Francis Pettygrove) was from Portland Maine. Each man wanted to name the new town after his home town. They flipped a coin to decide, and “Portland” was the winning name. So, Portland Oregon is named after Portland Maine.


Perkins Cove looking out to sea

The plane landed in Connecticut late at night, and Ruby was glad to find a bed ready for her at Uncle David and Aunt Lynn’s house. When she woke up the next morning, it was Independence Day! That day they drove in the Salsa Red Pearl van to Ogunquit Maine and Perkins Cove. The cove was beautiful with many pristine boats, and a drawbridge to let the boats in and out of the bay.


The open drawbridge at Perkins cove with sun setting behind it (Photo by Dave Stewart)


Miss Ruby on The Marginal Way, Perkins Cove

After looking in some of the shops at seashell art, mugs with lobsters and mermaids on them, and sweatshirts in pretty colors that were way too big for Ruby, they walked on The Marginal Way along the Atlantic Ocean. Ruby took a rest to contemplate the beautiful landscape around her while she waited for twilight. Then, the fireworks took Ruby’s breath away!

Fireworks as seen from The Marginal Way

Fireworks from The Marginal Way, Ogunquit, Maine (borrowed image)

When all was quiet again and all the people walked back along The Marginal Way to their cars, Ruby and her family left, too. They drove to Portland, Maine where they had a very late dinner, and had a snuggly bed waiting for them in a hotel there. It had been a most satisfying day. Time for a good sleep in preparation for more fun on the morrow.

. . . To be continued

Pictorial Map Perkins Cove