July 16, 2017, Eliot, ME-
I had anticipated visiting relatives, outside the immediate family, today. I just was not sure which ones. Last night, I got a message from a long-lost cousin, saying that he couldn’t meet with me this time around, but would I please consider visiting his mother, my paternal aunt, on her birthday.
It’s been 28 years, since I last set foot in the State of Maine. My last visit there didn’t go very smoothly, and I have been embarrassed to return to the last place I stayed. This time, though, I was determined to make it a good day.
I started out at Green Acre Baha’i School, located in Eliot, just over the Piscataqua River from Portsmouth, NH. The property, once owned by a spiritualist, was deeded to the Baha’i Faith by Sarah Farmer, after ‘Abdu’l-Baha visited the property, in 1912, and told Ms. Farmer that he foresaw a great center of learning rising there.
It is, at present, a vibrant place of spiritual education, and Green Acre has forged strong ties with the surrounding communities. I spent about two hours there, before heading up to York. A high point is always visiting the room where ‘Abdu’l-Baha stayed, during his visit.
Here are some scenes of Green Acre:
The first building that greets the visitor is a large classroom center.
The administration building and registrar’s office is located diagonally across the street.
The administrator’s residence is next to the registrar’s office.
Overlooking it all is the majestic Sarah Farmer Inn. Students in the various programs, which are generally a week or two in length, stay in this Victorian establishment.
One may walk down to the banks of the Piscataqua River, across which is Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s only seaport
The Great Lawn offers a sweeping view of the campus.
Back in the Sarah Farmer Inn, I recalled having sat and meditated in the parlour, on a previous visit.
Upstairs, one may pray and meditate in the room where ‘Abdu’l-Baha stayed. After I had done so, with three other people praying in the room, it was most prudent to take this photo, from outside the room itself.
Upon leaving the Sarah Farmer Inn, I was informed that there was a picnic and barbecue outside, which I promptly joined. A pleasant meal of chicken and several vegetarian dishes, and a chance meeting with friends from Arizona made for a fine ending to this short visit.
I had gathered both nutritional and spiritual sustenance, which would carry me safely onward, eventually back to Arizona. This day, however, would bring further joys into view: Stonewall Kitchen, where my aunt works; Old York; York Harbor and the Mason Preserve, and a nice little gathering, in auntie’s honour. Stay tuned.