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Off-Season: Discovering America on Winter's Shoreby Ken Mcalpine
Synopses & Reviews
No Longer the Forgotten Season
Just after Labor Day, Ken McAlpine said good-bye to his family and began a drive up the East Coast, from Florida to Maine, on a one-man quest to capture the elusive “forgotten season” of beach towns shuttered until the return of warm weather. Off-Season is a moving portrait that brings to life the magic of the sea and shore in winter, the charm of beach towns emptied of summer crowds, and the warmth and eccentricities of year-round coastal residents who revel in small-town spirit.
McAlpine skipped the more popular destinations like Nags Head, Virginia Beach, Cape May, and the Hamptons, opting to visit lesser known locales like Sharpes, Florida; Tangier Island, Virginia; and Montauk, New York. There he found people who celebrated the departure of the tourists with the cautious hope theyd return next summer. He encountered fishermen struggling to make a living, a former playboy lifeguard now ministering to the elderly and ill, a marine policeman both reviled and respected, a lone kayaker paddling away his grief, a couple fighting to save the worlds coral reefs, divers searching for everything from false teeth to dead bodies in dark waters, and deserted snow-covered beaches more beautiful than anyone could describe.
More than a travelogue—and a whole new breed of beach read—Off-Season is a stroll off the beaten path and a look at the people and places in our country that keep the spirit of community alive.
"McAlpine, a freelancer for Sports Illustrated and Outside, decided he needed to 'see the proof that the world still rested on a quiet foundation of hope and community.' But was it possible to find a town in America where people weren't preoccupied with corporate fraud or terrorism? As a lifelong ocean lover, McAlpine's answer came easy. He'd pack up a van and spend the winter driving along the Atlantic Coast, visiting with locals. 'I was interested in people who didn't particularly want to be found' — not hermits, he explained, just people happy enough with their own lives that they didn't need an audience. In this pleasant travelogue, McAlpine tells how he started in Fort Lauderdale and dipped south to Key West, before turning back north for the islands off Georgia and the Carolinas. He continued up the coasts of Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey, stopping on Long Island and Cape Cod, before freezing his way through Maine. Along the way he talked with a variety of working people. By journey's end, McAlpine did find the purity he was craving — only it wasn't from the folks he chatted up or in the slower cadences of off-season village life. Rather, it was when he was surfing the empty, icy waters off Rhode Island, or walking in the snow on a sandy beach, or sitting alone on a boardwalk over a Cape Cod marsh, just studying the gray skies. It was in his time alone with his ocean that McAlpine found his peace. Agent, Susan Bernstein. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
McAlpine traveled the East Coast from Key West, Florida, to Lubek, Maine, during what he calls the "forgotten season"--the period from Labor Day to the first day of spring--in order to discover the places and people that embody the heart and soul of America.
Ken McAlpine traveled the East Coast from Key West, Florida, to Lubek, Maine, during what he calls the "forgotten season," the period from Labor Day to the first day of spring. His journey took him to deserted beaches that invited contemplation and provided solace and to towns where people shared news in the middle of empty streets and lingered over coffee and gossip in home-style restaurants. He encountered fishermen and crabbers struggling to make a living, playboy lifeguards, a couple fighting to save the world's coral reefs, and divers searching for everything from false teeth to dead bodies. "Off-Season will remind readers of the travel writings of Bill Bryson, William Least Heat Moon, and others who have wandered off the beaten path and discovered the places and people that embody the heart and soul of America.
About the Author
KEN McALPINE is an award-winning travel writer whose work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Outside, Readers Digest, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications. He has always lived near the beach, currently making his home in Ventura, California.
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