About 15 miles northeast of Greenville, Maine that has been a bit of an obsession for me for years and despite only being a few hours away (okay 3 hours but still…) I had never gone to visit. It is a bit weird and a bit macabre… in other words right up my alley. You see up here in the North Woods of Maine we have the wreckage of a plane crash. For over 50 years the remains of a B-52CStratofortress have been resting on the side of mountain. Parts have gone missing and parts have been returned but the wreck is mostly still there.The story On January 24, 1963 the United States Air Force was running a training mission. We were in one of the hottest times of the Cold War and the crew was practicing ways to sneak past Soviet defenses.
They took off from Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts in a Boeing B-52C Stratofortress. I don’t have any mechanical knowledge of aircraft (other than what I’ve picked up from watching “Seconds from Disaster” on the National Geographic Channel) but it crashed on Elephant Mountain due to “turbulence-inducted structural failure”. Seven members of the crew died and two crew members survived. One of the survivors had to have his leg amputated due to damage he suffered on landing plus the frostbite he got from having to spend the night out in the Maine woods when it was -30F. The other man did not suffer permanent physical damage and returned to active duty.
It is a little tricky getting to the site but from Greenville you take Lily Bay Rd for about 7 miles then continue onto Prong Pond Rd (We are now travelling on dirt roads so be aware that some of the drive might be a bit rough) From here follow the signs that point you towards the site. The way is a bit twisty and turny but it is well marked (for Maine ~.^). There is a small parking area across from the trail and once you are past the gate you will begin to see parts of the plane almost immediately.
it is called Elephant Mountain but the section you walk to view the plane is really not steep or treacherous. I managed the trek with a bad knee and it wasn’t a problem (the drive gave me more trouble than the walk!). If you are in the area and are interested in history or planes or just like visiting odd spots… This is a great place to visit. You also have the benefit of walking and driving in some of the prettiest areas in New England… oh and watch out for moose ~.^
Okay… This statue… I really don’t know what to say about it other than WTF!? I think I understand what the sculptor was going for… maybe. The female nude was a separate sculpture representing Nirvana and the small naked boy was meant to symbolize the rebirth a France after World War I (when on his own). So we have 2 abstract nudes that the sculptor merged with a historical figure. A historical figure clothed in MANY layers… Seriously all I could think while we looked at this statue was Lincoln should totally be giving the kid his cloak and the lady his jacket. He would have still be fully clothed and his companions wouldn’t be naked. It only seems fair.
It doesn’t help that the woman and child are being held in place at Lincoln’s crotch level. Honestly when I saw the photos on line my first thought was photoshop or creative angles. Nope this is exactly what it looks like.
The American Spirit is located in the courtyard of the Bennington Museum and is worth a visit. I only wish we’d had time to visit the museum proper (it is filled with artwork from Vermont Artist’s and is definitely on my “Reasons to return to Bennington” List (A very long list!). I will also recommend on the is stop to pop over to the George Aiken Wildflower Trail which is right next to the museum and has one of the coolest SummerProject ideas. Every few feet along the trail is a page from a children’s book (MIss Rumphius was the book displayed the day we went). It just seems like a great combination beautiful stories and illustrations along a small trail in the woods. They put up a different book each month!
We have a long day ahead of us. Many places to go and some special people to see. Our first stop is at Mount Auburn Cemetery. The morning was wet and cool but we have wanted to visit this place for quite awhile.
The cemetery truly is beautifully landscaped and there are so many cool stones and statues. Unfortunately our time was limited and we could only hit a few of the sites.
The Mary Baker Eddy Monument is impressive and a stand out for me (I have never felt like arguing with a memorials inscription quite like this).
Another stand out is the Bigelow Chapel:
and across the road facing the chapel is a sphinx.
Unfortunately we had scheduled plans for the rest of the day but I hope we get a chance to spend a full day exploring this awesome cemetery.