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Where to Buy Mystic Seafarer's Trail

Mystic Seafarer's Trail is available in the following Connecticut and Rhode Island shops and: Online as e-book or paperback: ( Amazon ...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gloria the arthritic goose on the Mystic Seafarer's Trail

Gloris the Goose is located on the Mystic Seafarer's Trail!
Gloria and his companion (yes, Gloria is a male--see story below for details) have just left for "goose camp" this winter. Gloria, who has been reigning for years over the Olde Mistick Village duck pond, has been moved to the Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary in Connecicut to help him survive another winter. According to Kimberly Link, president of the sanctuary, "Gloria and Lulu are tucked in safely for the winter. They are sitting in their little hay houses with a heated water bucket nearby and food bowls filled to the brim!"

Dan, manager of the Gray Goose Cookery (despite the name, the store does not cook geese), has been keeping an eye on Gloria and believes this temporory move will give the old goose a fighting chance.

I first learned about Gloria's amazing survival story when I searched for contenders for the 8th Wonder of Mystic. The following is an excerpt from my new book, Mystic Seafarer's Trail:

And what about Gloria, the regal, yet cranky, arthritic goose who had been reigning for more than 20 years over the Olde Mistick Village duck pond? I had discovered this “wonder” goose while interviewing the office manager of Olde Mistick Village.

I figured if the public only knew about Gloria, they would demand the creation of a state-of-the-art exhibit for this feisty goose and highlight me, of course, as
the writer who discovered her.

Gloria first came to Olde Mistick Village in the mid-1980s when her owner could no longer care for her. Knowing the Village maintained duck ponds for their shoppers to enjoy, her owner thought Gloria could live out her life among the ducks who were permanent residents there. A goose in captivity can live up to 40 years.

Christine Robertson, Office Manager of Olde Mistick Village, said that in early 2010, “an employee of The Gray Goose Cookery told us that Gloria was ailing. She looked a little sluggish to them. She wasn’t her normal, feisty self.”
Although unheard of in areas where geese are considered pests, Robertson called on a vet in hopes of making Gloria better. She said, “These birds are part of our family, and Gloria is the reigning bird. We call her Queen Gloria because she is very bossy and hisses when displeased—but she is protective of her subjects—especially the swan we once had named Gracie. They were good friends.
If a duck or person got too close to the swan, Gloria would warn them off with a hiss.”

The vet, who didn’t know for sure if Gloria was a female, discovered that she had an infection. So every day, the maintenance man in charge of feeding the birds caught Gloria and held her close to his chest so Robertson could give her an injection. Robertson said, “She started feeling better after the first day, so catching her for the rest of the treatment was almost impossible!” Gloria recovered completely, and despite her arthritis and a slight limp, was still reigning as queen in the main duck pond.

The following winter, while shopping at The Gray Goose Cookery in Olde Mistick Village with my husband, Jim, and our daughter Jackie, I saw a photo of Gloria on a sign beside the cash register. The sign said she had gotten sick again, and this time, the management of the Village was reaching out to the public for donations toward her vet bill.

Gloria’s problem? Deciding to take her to a veterinarian who specializes in birds to address her gimpy leg and arthritis, Christine Robertson was in for a big surprise. Gloria was a male—and a very lonely one at that.

The vet thought the key to Gloria’s happiness (his name will not be changed) was not only a special diet to help his arthritis, but a female goose—Lulu. “It’s become a great love affair,” Robertson declared enthusiastically. Then, catching herself, she admitted, “Well, I guess that’s an overstatement. He’s too old to…you know…do what it takes to become a father, but they are learning to tolerate each other!”

Spring is a particularly busy time at the Village because of mating season. Ducks fly in to raise their ducklings, then fly off again. Many, however, live at the Village year-round. Robertson said, “Why would they want to leave? They have everything they need here.” The ducks are fed five 50-pound bags of duck food per week by the maintenance crew.

What happens if age eventually gets the better of Gloria? Robertson said, “We have a duck pond near the maintenance barn that we call the ‘Geriatric Ward.’ That is where we retire all the birds that are too old or feeble to defend themselves from an aggressive duck.” (A plaque memorializing Gloria’s swan friend, Gracie, was placed there.)

Bailey and I thought we should pay a visit to Gloria and Lulu and decide for ourselves if a love affair was blossoming between the two...

To learn more about Gloria's love life and the love life of other famous adventurers along the Mystic Seafarer's Trail such as Amelia Earhart, look for the Mystic Seafarer's Trail at your local library, in Mystic area shops, or learn more about the book by clicking on the book's "LOOK INSIDE" feature on Amazon.
To learn more about author Lisa Saunders and all her books, visit: www.authorlisasaunders.com


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bailey Rests After Walking Mystic Seafarer's Trail

Bailey keeps me company along the Mystic Seafarer's Trail and rests when I return home to write about it! He's pictured here in my office with a framed newspaper clipping of explorer Richard E. Byrd who came to Stonington to study the papers of Captain Palmer before his historic flight over the South Pole.

Humorous insider's guide to historic Mystic, Connecticut, includes little-known details of Amelia Earhart’s wedding day in Noank.

Chapter One

Wanted: Epic Adventure

Moments after I stepped out of my new home with my hound for our first stroll through the historic seacoast village of Mystic, Connecticut, a woman pulled over in her van and yelled, "Excuse me."

Assuming she was a tourist wanting directions to Mystic Pizza or some other attraction, I wasn't prepared for what she really wanted to know.

"Do you realize the back of your skirt is tucked into your underwear?"

What a debut in my new hometown—I don’t think this is what National Geographic meant when they named Mystic one of the top 100 adventure towns in the United States.

Once recovered from my wardrobe “malfunction,” I continued toward downtown Mystic with Bailey, a beagle/basset hound mix, to embark on a new life—to shake off my old, sedentary landlubbing ways.

No longer did I want to be known as the lady who always talks about losing weight but never does it. No longer would I sit around daydreaming about becoming thin and famous so I could hire someone else to clean my house. I had a real shot at it now that I lived in a place where I couldn’t help but fall into a swash-buckling adventure—the kind that might inspire me to write a bestseller.

Straddling both sides of the Mystic River in the towns of Groton and Stonington, the village of Mystic takes its name from an Indian word, “river running to the sea.” With its scenic views of tall ships, islands, lighthouses, and secluded coves, it has attracted such legendary honeymooners as Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. It is a place where those who cross the oceans gather to swap stories and repair their boats. It is where famous explorers are born, visit, or come to live.

To launch my career as an adventuress, I decided to walk Bailey to the haunts and homes of such celebrated adventurers as Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic; Dr. Robert Ballard, the discoverer of Titanic’s watery grave; Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, the first aviator to fly over the South Pole; and Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer, who accidentally discovered Antarctica.

Now was the time for me to join their ranks, to start living life on the edge. Maybe I could become thin and famous like Amelia Earhart. Like her, I am fairly tall, my middle initial is M, I have a gap between my two front teeth, and until I looked it up, I couldn’t spell medieval either (more on that and her wedding day later). Unlike Amelia, I wasn’t skinny, but that was about to change. I would stop lying around reading about adventurers and do what it took to become one.

My husband, Jim, and I were transferred to Mystic by his company, which meant I had to quit my job as a writer for a college and search for a new one in a community that revolves around life at sea—not easy for a confirmed desk sitter like me. Finding the area already teeming with underemployed writers and publicists, I was grateful when my former employer hired me back as a consulting writer. Although freelancing allowed me to work from home in my pajamas, it offered no retirement benefits—hence the need to become famous. Being famous not only helps pay the bills, but it gives you an edge when trying to accomplish other goals.

Now was the time for me to follow in the path of prominent authors such as Herman Melville who went to sea on a whaler (a ship designed to catch whales and process their oil) when he couldn't find a job. Although he deserted and had to live among cannibals for a time, he found the inspiration to write his first novel. Further sea adventures, which included mutiny and learning about a whale that rammed and sank the Essex, led to the creation of his magnum opus: Moby Dick. I, myself, could barely get through this “Great American Novel,” but somebody must like it. And now that I lived within walking distance of the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaleship in the world, I felt that was a sign. Perhaps I could enlist as a deck swabber for some epic voyage on it. The house we purchased came with a brass, whale-shaped door knocker. That had to be a sign.

If following in the footsteps of a whaling writer didn’t work, there was always the chance I could get famous by finding a dead body—just like Bailey and our older daughter had. Although it didn’t make her into an international celebrity, I use it as a party stopper whenever I want to be the center of attention. Of course, I should really find my own body, preferably of a well-known person. Celebrities are always coming to Mystic to film movies or vacation.

Since I couldn’t count on finding a dead body, famous or otherwise, I decided to start small. First, I planned to compile “The 7 Wonders of Mystic”—something quick I could shout to the tourists who rolled down their car windows asking what they should see (besides my underwear).

National Geographic’s website suggests that Mystic adventurers bike what it calls the 25-mile Vineyard Loop that includes “some hairy climbs that stops at two of the best wineries.” Hairy climbs? I hoped to get thin, but did I have to go uphill to do it? I thought not.

Instead, I would conquer a trail of my own design—one that would avoid hills where possible—and call it the “Mystic Seafarer’s Trail.” It would include “The 7 Wonders” (once I figured out what they were) plus the spots where legendary adventurers lived, worked or got married in Mystic and nearby Stonington and Noank. It would include not only the haunts and homes of those adventurers already mentioned, but also of those you may have never heard of—such as Kate the acupuncturist who gave birth on a schooner and rowed to shore to weigh her baby on a lobster scale.

With so many potential wonders to consider and adventures to try, I had a lot of ground—and water—to cover. So, every afternoon, I checked my skirt and off Bailey and I went to follow a scent of our own.

More about Mystic Seafarer's Trail:
While searching for the Seven Wonders of Mystic with her beagle/basset hound, author Lisa Saunders uncovers the secrets behind the Titanic's shoes, Captain Sisson's hunt for gold, and Amelia Earhart's Noank wedding. But will she ever find an adventure of her own--one that will make her thin and famous? Enough to afford a housekeeper? When walking the Mystic Seafarer's Trail (which Lisa designed for those who don't like to go uphill), she meets a blind sailor who invites her on a long, winter voyage. Can this plump writer defy squalls, scurvy, and her fear of scraping barnacles to survive this epic journey?

More chapters of the Mystic Seafarer's Trail (available as softcover or e-book) are available for previewing by clicking on "LOOK INSIDE" on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Mystic-Seafarers-Trail-Titanics-Earharts/dp/1480085847/ref=la_B001K7Z5AC_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355776710&sr=1-1

It is also available in Mystic book shops and as part of gift baskets through A Taste of New England.

Amelia Earhart married along Mystic Seafarer's Trail

When I discovered that Amelia Earhart married George Putnam in Noank in February of 1931, I couldn't wait to learn more--such as why she was such a reluctant bride and how, in the days before global warning made headlines, could she have gotten married outside as portrayed in the 2009 Amelia movie starring Hilary Swank?

Excerpt from my new book, Mystic Seafarer's Trail:
Learning I was including Amelia Earhart's wedding in a book about the area, Mary Anderson, Curator of the Noank Historical Society, said, “You tell everybody that the wedding scene portrayed in the movie [Amelia] is inaccurate. My husband’s grandfather, the Groton probate judge, performed the ceremony, and my father-in-law, Robert Anderson, a young Noank lawyer at the time, attended as a witness. Before and after the ceremony, Amelia spoke to him about a new kind of aircraft she was promoting. When the judge congratulated her after the ceremony, calling her Mrs. Putnam, she replied, ‘Please sir, I prefer Miss Earhart.’”

Amelia Earhart met George Putnam, an arctic explorer, publicist and heir to the GP Putnam publishing company, in 1928 while employed as a social worker in Boston. Putnam had become famous as the publisher of Charles Lindbergh’s book about his solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927. Now George Putnam was helping sponsors look for a woman to become the first woman to fly the Atlantic in the trimotor Fokker, Friendship, previously owned by pioneering aviator and polar explorer, Richard E. Byrd. Amelia was interviewed by the flight sponsors in New York City at the offices of G.P. Putnam’s Sons Publishing Company. Upon concluding the interview in George Putnam’s office, George accompanied Amelia to the train station. Shortly after returning to Boston, she received the offer to make the historic flight.

Putnam, who was reportedly smitten by Amelia, brought Earhart to Noank to visit with his mother, Frances Putnam, and on November 8, 1930, he convinced Amelia to visit Groton Town Hall to apply for a marriage license.

Wanting to follow Amelia’s trail, I visited Groton Town Hall to see if I could learn anything from looking at the license. Just before I entered the building, a friendly, owner-less golden retriever greeted me. Calling the phone number etched in his tag, I assured the owner I would hold onto him until she could drive over to collect him.

As I sat on a bench with the dog at the entrance of the 1908 brick building, I pondered what Earhart was thinking before she stepped through that doorway more than 80 years earlier. My first trip to Groton Town Hall occurred two years ago when we first moved to Mystic. It wasn’t for any life-altering reason—I was just required by law to register my hound Bailey for a Connecticut dog license.

Amelia, on the other hand, was apparently extremely apprehensive when she entered Groton Town Hall. She wasn’t sold on the idea of marriage in general (her parents had divorced six years earlier in 1924) and had rejected other marriage proposals, including Sam Chapman’s, whose proposal included the insistence that his wife not work outside the home.

Once freed from my dog sitting responsibilities, I visited the Registrar of Vital Statistics office, the same office where I applied for Bailey’s dog license.

When I told the clerk I was looking for Earhart’s marriage license and gave her the
wedding date, she found it immediately. “We’ve had many requests for that,” she

To learn more about Amelia Earhart, the fib I discovered on her marriage license, and certain events leading up to and following her wedding in Noank, see my book, Mystic Seafarer's Trail, available online and in area shops.

More About Mystic Seafarer's Trail:
While searching for the Seven Wonders of Mystic with her beagle/basset hound, author Lisa Saunders uncovers the secrets behind the Titanic's shoes, Captain Sisson's hunt for gold, and Amelia Earhart's Noank wedding. But will she ever find an adventure of her own--one that will make her thin and famous? Enough to afford a housekeeper? When walking the Mystic Seafarer's Trail (which Lisa designed for those who don't like to go uphill), she meets a blind sailor who invites her on a long, winter voyage. Can this plump writer defy squalls, scurvy, and her fear of scraping barnacles to survive this epic journey?

Mystic Seafarer's Trail, can be previewed by clicking on the "LOOK INSIDE" feature on Amazon. It is also available in area shops that include, A Taste of New England, Bank Square Books, Franklin's General Store, Carson's Variety Store, and Monte Cristo Bookshop (a new shop in New London).

Friday, November 30, 2012

Copies of Mystic Seafarer's Trail now available in Mystic area

Hit the Mystic Seafarer's Trail!

The Mystic Seafarer's Trail is available on Amazon as an e-book or softcover (click on "LOOK INSIDE" to read first view chapters) and at these Mystic area shops:

Office of The Schooner Argia, Argia Mystic Cruises: 15 Holmes Street, Mystic, 860-536-0416

Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT, (860) 536-3795

Franklin's General Store, Olde Mistick Village, CT, (860) 536-1038

Cottrell Brewing Co., Pawcatuck, CT, (860) 599–8213

Noank Market, Noank, CT, (860) 536 6355, manager@noankmarket.com

Mystic Cycle Centre, Mystic, CT, (Rob), (860) 572-7433

Marine Consignment Mystic, 15 Holmes Street, Mystic, CT, (860) 245-0588

Carson's Variety Store (restaurant), Noank, CT, (860) 536-0059

A Taste of New England, Can be ordered online and/or included in gift basket of New England items.

Monte Cristo Bookshop (a new shop in New London, CT)

Saturday, November 17, 2012