Back in June 2009 I reviewed Gary D. Schmidt's prize-winning Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy. I would have missed this beautifully written novel if it weren' t for the review I read by Kathy on BermudaOnion's Weblog. This photo-ladden post assumes you are familiar with the novel or have read either my review or Kathy's.
Before I read Lizzie Bright I had never heard of Malaga Island. I had, however, heard of Phippsburg, Maine, where the story takes place. In fact, I had been there several times. This past summer, Mr. BFR and I revisited Phippsburg and tracked down both Malaga Island and the church at which Turner Buckminster's father was minister.
To get in the mood for our Phippsburg adventure, we listened to the audiobook on the drive up from Pennsylvania. It was Mr. BFR's first time reading about Lizzie and Turner, and he loved the book. I was just as engrossed the second time through as I had been the first.
On our second day in Maine we drove over to Phippsburg. The first thing we looked for was Malaga Island. This was no easy job because much of the land on the coast across from the island is privately owned. We persevered and, after running into a few dead-end roads, finally found a spot where we could get photos from the mainland. From the left, you'll see the southern end of the island, the middle of the island, and the north end (click to enlarge).
Although the island is open to visitors, there is no access, except via boat. Unfortunately, the day we were there was quite windy, and neither Mr. BFR nor I was up for a cold and difficult trip in a rowboat or canoe. The good news is that we just so happened to be parked next to a small cafe. We went inside to warm up and eat some fabulous lobster rolls. Our table was next to a window overlooking the island.
Once fortified, we were ready to see if we could find the Phippsburg Congregational Church. The church, it turns out, is on the other side of the peninsula. So we set off to explore. Although we could have asked directions or looked up an address in a phone book, we opted to drive down many a small unmarked road, stopping to take pictures, until we finally found the church. (One of the joys of not having GPS.)
It was pretty clear after we discovered the church that Schmidt had combined a number of locations in and around Phippsburg when he created the town for his novel. We didn't find Mrs. Cobb's house but we did note this tree in the churchyard. The second sign gave us a little thrill.
I'll leave you with a shot of the graveyard fence and the seaside just across the street from the church.
We had a great day in Phippsburg and hope to return on a warmer, calmer day so we can row across the channel and hike around Malaga Island itself.
Thanks again to Kathy for introducing me to such a wonderful novel. Mr. BFR and I had a great time imagining Turner and Lizzie running down the beaches and enjoying the same sights we did.
Have you ever taken a literary-inspired adventure?