In this Book

Hidden in Plain Sight
summary
In the course of the mundane routines of life, we encounter a variety of landscapes and objects, either ignoring them or looking without interest at what appears to be just a tree, stone, anonymous building, or dirt road. But the "deep traveler," according to Hartford Courant essayist David K. Leff, doesn't make this mistake. Instead, the commonplace elements become the most important. By learning to see the magic in the mundane, we not only enrich daily life with a sense of place, we are more likely to protect and make those places better. Over his many years working at the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and writing about the state's landscape, Leff gained unparalleled intimacy while traveling its byways and back roads. In Hidden in Plain Sight, Leff's essays and photographs take us on a point-by-point journey, revealing the rich stories behind many of Connecticut's overlooked landmarks, from the Merritt Parkway and Cornwall's Cathedral Pines to roadside rock art and centuries-old milestones.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. C-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Frontispiece
  2. pp. i-viii
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. Prologue to Deep Travel: The Merritt Parkway
  2. pp. 1-6
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  1. Along the Roadside
  2. pp. 7-8
  1. Counting Miles in Four Centuries: Old Milestones
  2. pp. 9-13
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  1. What’s in a Name?: Reading Street Signs
  2. pp. 14-18
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  1. Seeing through Time: Roadcuts
  2. pp. 19-23
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  1. Painted Ledges: Roadside Rock Art
  2. pp. 24-28
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  1. Last Picture Shows: Drive-In Theaters
  2. pp. 29-33
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  1. A Cool Drink of Water: Roadside Springs
  2. pp. 34-38
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  1. A Great Good Place: Diners
  2. pp. 39-42
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  1. Places We Build
  2. pp. 43-44
  1. A Most Enduring Harvest: Quarries
  2. pp. 45-49
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  1. The People’s Castles: Stone Lookouts
  2. pp. 50-54
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  1. King of Homes: Yankee Castles
  2. pp. 55-59
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  1. A Thousand Uses: Quonset Huts
  2. pp. 60-64
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  1. The Shape of Futures Past: Octagon Houses
  2. pp. 65-69
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  1. Practical, Adaptable, and Disappearing: Barns
  2. pp. 70-75
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  1. The Spirit of Community: Camp Meetings
  2. pp. 76-80
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  1. Exploring Gasoline Alley: Racetracks
  2. pp. 81-86
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  1. Seeing Green: Trees, Culture, and Agriculture
  2. pp. 87-88
  1. A Place for Common Ground: Town Greens
  2. pp. 89-93
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  1. Heart of Nowhere: Connecticut’s Most Remote Place
  2. pp. 94-98
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  1. The Measure of a State: Connecticut’s Highest Point(s)
  2. pp. 99-103
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  1. Big Trees: Old-Growth Forests
  2. pp. 104-109
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  1. A Sacred Grove: Hope for the Chestnut Forest
  2. pp. 110-114
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  1. The Perfect Street Tree: A Few Good Elms
  2. pp. 115-119
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  1. Inventing New England Autumn: Leaf Peeping
  2. pp. 120-124
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  1. A Most Useful Tree: Season of the Witch Hazel
  2. pp. 125-129
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  1. Tasting the Landscape: Cider Mills
  2. pp. 130-133
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  1. A Community Harvest: Agricultural Fairs
  2. pp. 134-138
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  1. Ghost Towns and Graveyards
  2. pp. 139-140
  1. Forgotten but Not Gone: Ghost Towns
  2. pp. 141-145
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  1. Ghost Streets and Routes Less Taken: Abandoned Roads
  2. pp. 146-150
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  1. Beneath the Lakes: Lost Worlds
  2. pp. 151-155
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  1. Watery Ghosts of Manufacturing: Mill Ponds
  2. pp. 156-160
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  1. Steeped in Mystery: Gungywamp
  2. pp. 161-165
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  1. Space-Age Ghosts: Nike Missile Sites
  2. pp. 166-170
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  1. Perpetual Care Isn’t Forever: Neglected Graveyards
  2. pp. 171-176
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  1. Haunting Stones of Metal: Zinc Grave Markers
  2. pp. 177-181
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  1. Trash Talk: Landfills and Landscape
  2. pp. 182-186
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  1. Through Artists’ Eyes
  2. pp. 187-188
  1. Reinventing the Colonial Landscape: Wallace Nutting
  2. pp. 189-193
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  1. A Fresh Way of Looking: The Hudson River School
  2. pp. 194-197
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  1. In a State of Plein Air: Artists Outdoors
  2. pp. 198-202
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  1. Where the Landscape Is Art: Weir Farm
  2. pp. 203-207
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  1. Poetic Space: James Merrill’s Apartment
  2. pp. 208-212
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  1. Landscape and the Written Word: Nature Writers
  2. pp. 213-218
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  1. Buy the Book: Used Bookstores
  2. pp. 219-224
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  1. Epilogue to Further Discovery: The New England Trail
  2. pp. 225-230
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  1. Just the Right Place: An Explorer’s Guide
  2. pp. 231-246
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  1. Connecticut’s Hidden Places: Map Key
  2. pp. 247-249
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  1. Further Reading, About the Author
  2. pp. 250-251
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