On the Road with Rockers
Another jaunt to NYC. This time it was to meet up with Veronica Chambers ‘87 and her husband Jason at the Mermaid Oyster Bar in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.
We talked about world travel and about the Rock’s new Provost Peter Laipson. Veronica and Jason were outstanding company. Hours passed in a flash. And we enjoyed some amazing food. If you do the raw shellfish thing, I dare you to find a better spot: presentation, preparation, service and ambiance were all top-notch. Catch of the day oysters, salmon ceviche, and the martinis were special highlights.

Another jaunt to NYC. This time it was to meet up with Veronica Chambers ‘87 and her husband Jason at the Mermaid Oyster Bar in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.

We talked about world travel and about the Rock’s new Provost Peter Laipson. Veronica and Jason were outstanding company. Hours passed in a flash. And we enjoyed some amazing food. If you do the raw shellfish thing, I dare you to find a better spot: presentation, preparation, service and ambiance were all top-notch. Catch of the day oysters, salmon ceviche, and the martinis were special highlights.

I was back in NYC last night for a Simon’s Rock salon featuring our new Provost Peter Laipson at the Cosmopolitan Club on East 66th Street.
Before the event I met up with Mark Leiter ‘81 at the nearby Bar Siene. It was a beautiful and quiet happy hour setting for cocktails; I would characterize it as what The Campbell Apartment must have been like before everyone knew about it. Mark and I chatted about how Simon’s Rock can do better in showing off and drawing together its alumni that have chosen business and entrepreneurial fields.
There were so many alumni at the salon - about 50 in all - that I can’t name them all here. Valerie Ferrier ‘94, Jeff Resnick ‘80, Nicole Tennermann ‘05, Peter Tiso ‘02 and Meriweather Clark-Connors ‘76 were just a few of the MANY Rockers that I enjoyed passing the time with. Thanks to everyone who came out.
Past salons have featured a bit about what the featured faculty member is studying or working on with students. So in addition to a “state of the college” discussion, we also tried to share a bit about Peter’s study of bachelors in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It turned out not to fit quite right in the moment, so future salons featuring Peter will be exclusively a discussion about where Simon’s Rock has been and where it is going. If there is a salon in your area please come join us, meet Peter, and be prepared to talk about what you love about Simon’s Rock, and what you wish might be different. Boston, Western Mass and DC are scheduled for this fall, and there will likely be salons in the Bay Area and Los Angeles in the winter.

I was back in NYC last night for a Simon’s Rock salon featuring our new Provost Peter Laipson at the Cosmopolitan Club on East 66th Street.

Before the event I met up with Mark Leiter ‘81 at the nearby Bar Siene. It was a beautiful and quiet happy hour setting for cocktails; I would characterize it as what The Campbell Apartment must have been like before everyone knew about it. Mark and I chatted about how Simon’s Rock can do better in showing off and drawing together its alumni that have chosen business and entrepreneurial fields.

There were so many alumni at the salon - about 50 in all - that I can’t name them all here. Valerie Ferrier ‘94, Jeff Resnick ‘80, Nicole Tennermann ‘05, Peter Tiso ‘02 and Meriweather Clark-Connors ‘76 were just a few of the MANY Rockers that I enjoyed passing the time with. Thanks to everyone who came out.

Past salons have featured a bit about what the featured faculty member is studying or working on with students. So in addition to a “state of the college” discussion, we also tried to share a bit about Peter’s study of bachelors in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It turned out not to fit quite right in the moment, so future salons featuring Peter will be exclusively a discussion about where Simon’s Rock has been and where it is going. If there is a salon in your area please come join us, meet Peter, and be prepared to talk about what you love about Simon’s Rock, and what you wish might be different. Boston, Western Mass and DC are scheduled for this fall, and there will likely be salons in the Bay Area and Los Angeles in the winter.

What a way to end the week! The picture above is blurry because Burlington is that much fun.
Tonight I was joined by nine Rockers at the Blue Cat Cafe and Wine Bar in a little alley near the crossing of St. Paul and Main.
Andrea Grayson ‘80, Evan Ross ‘00, Eva Sollberger ‘89, Luc Reid ‘85, Kim Mercer ‘88, Corin Hirsch ‘87, Gretchen (Fry) Stokes ‘88, Laura Selkirk ‘98 and Aaron Hurwitz ‘99 all came by.
We talked about speculative fiction, career services at the Rock, flood recovery, mercurial professors, partisan politics in higher ed and whether or not those in attendance would send their own children to Simon’s Rock. Some are already planning to attend reunion next May.
The Blue Cat was good to us. I kept going with Hendrick’s gin martinis again tonight and enjoyed the cheese and fruit plate as an accompaniment.
After a three-hour happy hour, I was fortunate to be invited by Evan and his partner Carissa for a post-happy hour dinner at the Burlington Brewery, right across the street from the Blue Cat. I was hungry, and the home-style hearty fare and pints didn’t disappoint. The veggie lasagna filled me up well. We wound up discussing whether humans have ever changed, fundamentally, and what religion and gods are for.
After dinner, I wandered around Burlington until I found my way into the lovely Church & Main Restaurant for a nightcap. I chatted with two other guys at the bar who were regulars… I got the impression one was a bank executive; the other was a Senegalese man who has been living in New England for decades.
All three of us started talking with the barkeep, Alex, who poured me a great port. It turns out she is a Simon’s Rock alum, too! I felt like Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris… in a Simon’s Rock kind of way.
Look for Alex’s community art installation on the Burlington pedestrian mall this winter. She runs a great bar too. Check it out and tip well.

What a way to end the week! The picture above is blurry because Burlington is that much fun.

Tonight I was joined by nine Rockers at the Blue Cat Cafe and Wine Bar in a little alley near the crossing of St. Paul and Main.

Andrea Grayson ‘80, Evan Ross ‘00, Eva Sollberger ‘89, Luc Reid ‘85, Kim Mercer ‘88, Corin Hirsch ‘87, Gretchen (Fry) Stokes ‘88, Laura Selkirk ‘98 and Aaron Hurwitz ‘99 all came by.

We talked about speculative fiction, career services at the Rock, flood recovery, mercurial professors, partisan politics in higher ed and whether or not those in attendance would send their own children to Simon’s Rock. Some are already planning to attend reunion next May.

The Blue Cat was good to us. I kept going with Hendrick’s gin martinis again tonight and enjoyed the cheese and fruit plate as an accompaniment.

After a three-hour happy hour, I was fortunate to be invited by Evan and his partner Carissa for a post-happy hour dinner at the Burlington Brewery, right across the street from the Blue Cat. I was hungry, and the home-style hearty fare and pints didn’t disappoint. The veggie lasagna filled me up well. We wound up discussing whether humans have ever changed, fundamentally, and what religion and gods are for.

After dinner, I wandered around Burlington until I found my way into the lovely Church & Main Restaurant for a nightcap. I chatted with two other guys at the bar who were regulars… I got the impression one was a bank executive; the other was a Senegalese man who has been living in New England for decades.

All three of us started talking with the barkeep, Alex, who poured me a great port. It turns out she is a Simon’s Rock alum, too! I felt like Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris… in a Simon’s Rock kind of way.

Look for Alex’s community art installation on the Burlington pedestrian mall this winter. She runs a great bar too. Check it out and tip well.

Back in New Hampshire tonight!
At the suggestion of alumnus Steven Kimball ‘80, we met up at Firefly American Bistro and Bar in Manchester (aka ManchVegas). Over the course of the evening, it became clear that olives stuffed with chevre are the thing in the Queen City these days. They were at the bottom of my Hendrick’s gin martini at Firefly, and the same held true at another restaurant later that evening.
Steve and I were joined by Steve Smith ‘70 and Ellen Westbrook ‘68. Our conversation touched on Betty Hall, Bernie Rodgers, and how unique and effective a Simon’s Rock education is. We also discussed the increased number of students who are using study away and study abroad programs and who are doing their BA at Simon’s Rock.
And we talked about the high sticker price of Simon’s Rock, enrollment, the aggressive discount rate of the College, its endowment, and pillars of what its next comprehensive campaign could be.
It turned out that Steve and Ellen, who were introduced for the first time, were able to make a professional connection as well! I love it when these events have a dynamic impact. That’s the point.
I had the crab cakes. They were tasty and a nice early-evening appetizer. My post-gathering bite at the nearby Hanover Street Chophouse did not live up to its billing, but the service, drinks and the room were all lovely.

Back in New Hampshire tonight!

At the suggestion of alumnus Steven Kimball ‘80, we met up at Firefly American Bistro and Bar in Manchester (aka ManchVegas). Over the course of the evening, it became clear that olives stuffed with chevre are the thing in the Queen City these days. They were at the bottom of my Hendrick’s gin martini at Firefly, and the same held true at another restaurant later that evening.

Steve and I were joined by Steve Smith ‘70 and Ellen Westbrook ‘68. Our conversation touched on Betty Hall, Bernie Rodgers, and how unique and effective a Simon’s Rock education is. We also discussed the increased number of students who are using study away and study abroad programs and who are doing their BA at Simon’s Rock.

And we talked about the high sticker price of Simon’s Rock, enrollment, the aggressive discount rate of the College, its endowment, and pillars of what its next comprehensive campaign could be.

It turned out that Steve and Ellen, who were introduced for the first time, were able to make a professional connection as well! I love it when these events have a dynamic impact. That’s the point.

I had the crab cakes. They were tasty and a nice early-evening appetizer. My post-gathering bite at the nearby Hanover Street Chophouse did not live up to its billing, but the service, drinks and the room were all lovely.

Where are the photos of alumni?

Honestly, I’ve been getting so wrapped up in conversations this week that I don’t remember to take photos of the alumni who I’ve been meeting up with until everyone has departed.

When I run into you, please help me remember to get a great photo for this travel log!

Lynda Clancy ‘77 and I met for lunch today. This gave me the excuse I was looking for to drive down the coast from Bangor on my way to Portland. Route 1 is so much more interesting than I-95.
Lynda is editor of the Camden Herald, a Village Soup newspaper. She suggested a great spot for lunch: The Camden Deli. I had an iced coffee and a cup of seafood chowder. Because what else would you have on the Maine coast?
We sat on a deck overlooking the harbor and talked about how alumni giving to Simon’s Rock is on an upswing, what kind of programming and non-programming would work well at reunion, and the upcoming salon events around the country with the new Provost Peter Laipson. We also discussed how to hone student recruiting efforts in Maine in particular, and across the nation in general. It was great to hear Linda tell me about how Simon’s Rock has meant even more to her as years have passed.
It was the definition of a power lunch! And it’s exactly why I want to do more travel by car: to meet alums wherever they happen to be… even if it’s off the beaten path.

Lynda Clancy ‘77 and I met for lunch today. This gave me the excuse I was looking for to drive down the coast from Bangor on my way to Portland. Route 1 is so much more interesting than I-95.

Lynda is editor of the Camden Herald, a Village Soup newspaper. She suggested a great spot for lunch: The Camden Deli. I had an iced coffee and a cup of seafood chowder. Because what else would you have on the Maine coast?

We sat on a deck overlooking the harbor and talked about how alumni giving to Simon’s Rock is on an upswing, what kind of programming and non-programming would work well at reunion, and the upcoming salon events around the country with the new Provost Peter Laipson. We also discussed how to hone student recruiting efforts in Maine in particular, and across the nation in general. It was great to hear Linda tell me about how Simon’s Rock has meant even more to her as years have passed.

It was the definition of a power lunch! And it’s exactly why I want to do more travel by car: to meet alums wherever they happen to be… even if it’s off the beaten path.

I met up with Aurelia Scott ‘73, Annie Finch ‘73 and Kate Higgins Gonzalez ‘68 in Portland, Maine at Five Fifty-Five.
Aurelia and Annie are writers (and very accomplished ones at that), and Kate is a translator. So we talked about the uncannily long time it takes to prepare a good book proposal, and travel around Central America. Regarding Simon’s Rock, all agreed that the small classes made a huge difference in helping students identify their talents and interests and then use them with confidence to blaze their own trail. We discussed how this abides at Simon’s Rock today, and how 50% of students who come to Simon’s Rock now earn their BA at Simon’s Rock (thanks in large part to enhanced study away and study abroad programs).
Five Fifty-Five was a nice place to sit and chat quietly in favorably low lighting. The bar-keeps made me a nice Hendrick’s gin martini, even though they weren’t the sharpest conversationalists. And I had oysters for the first time in my life: some from the Maine coast, and some from Nova Scotia. Both were great.

I met up with Aurelia Scott ‘73, Annie Finch ‘73 and Kate Higgins Gonzalez ‘68 in Portland, Maine at Five Fifty-Five.

Aurelia and Annie are writers (and very accomplished ones at that), and Kate is a translator. So we talked about the uncannily long time it takes to prepare a good book proposal, and travel around Central America. Regarding Simon’s Rock, all agreed that the small classes made a huge difference in helping students identify their talents and interests and then use them with confidence to blaze their own trail. We discussed how this abides at Simon’s Rock today, and how 50% of students who come to Simon’s Rock now earn their BA at Simon’s Rock (thanks in large part to enhanced study away and study abroad programs).

Five Fifty-Five was a nice place to sit and chat quietly in favorably low lighting. The bar-keeps made me a nice Hendrick’s gin martini, even though they weren’t the sharpest conversationalists. And I had oysters for the first time in my life: some from the Maine coast, and some from Nova Scotia. Both were great.

Today I paid my first visit to Bangor, Maine. It seems that I would have been there before, growing up so close to Maine. But not so.
For a small city of 35,000 people, there’s more of an urban feeling to Bangor than I had expected. I was told that the neighboring city is home to another 25,000 or so and that Bangor is the hub for both municipalities, which is part of the reason for its more urbanized feel. Also, I was told Bangor is about as populous now as it was in the late 1890s, which says a lot about the major role it played as a lumber industry capital for decades.
I met Packy Harrison ‘02, Scott Blake ‘88 and his wife Liz Rettenmaier at Bangor’s Nocturnem Draft Haus, which prides itself on craft beers. I had the Spaten Oktoberfest and then tried the Viking Blod Danish Mead.
We talked theater, film, finance, environmental policy and how-I-got-to-Bangor stories. We discussed how relationships with professors at Simon’s Rock, and friendships forged at the Rock, abide for years in a remarkable way. And we parsed the importance of broadening the base of alumni who are actively engaged with Simon’s Rock: to deepen and expand tangible social and professional networking opportunities, to bolster student recruitment and to enhance fundraising efforts.
Later, over an extraordinary dinner at the sophisticated but unpretentious Fiddlehead restaurant, Scott and Liz spoke with me about the history of the Alumni Leadership Council, a group of alumni who, to this day, are an important corps of volunteers helping keep alumni, students and the college connected in dynamic ways.
It was a delightfully edifying evening.

Today I paid my first visit to Bangor, Maine. It seems that I would have been there before, growing up so close to Maine. But not so.

For a small city of 35,000 people, there’s more of an urban feeling to Bangor than I had expected. I was told that the neighboring city is home to another 25,000 or so and that Bangor is the hub for both municipalities, which is part of the reason for its more urbanized feel. Also, I was told Bangor is about as populous now as it was in the late 1890s, which says a lot about the major role it played as a lumber industry capital for decades.

I met Packy Harrison ‘02, Scott Blake ‘88 and his wife Liz Rettenmaier at Bangor’s Nocturnem Draft Haus, which prides itself on craft beers. I had the Spaten Oktoberfest and then tried the Viking Blod Danish Mead.

We talked theater, film, finance, environmental policy and how-I-got-to-Bangor stories. We discussed how relationships with professors at Simon’s Rock, and friendships forged at the Rock, abide for years in a remarkable way. And we parsed the importance of broadening the base of alumni who are actively engaged with Simon’s Rock: to deepen and expand tangible social and professional networking opportunities, to bolster student recruitment and to enhance fundraising efforts.

Later, over an extraordinary dinner at the sophisticated but unpretentious Fiddlehead restaurant, Scott and Liz spoke with me about the history of the Alumni Leadership Council, a group of alumni who, to this day, are an important corps of volunteers helping keep alumni, students and the college connected in dynamic ways.

It was a delightfully edifying evening.

I was in Portsmouth, New Hampshire today on a truly gorgeous day. It was great to be back in the Granite State, where I grew up.
I arrived early, so I got an iced coffee from the always reliable Breaking New Grounds and enjoyed it on a bench at the corner of Market, Islington, Pleasant and Daniel… where the charmingly bumpy brick streets and walks converge.
Then I met Dan Metivier ‘89 at Portsmouth Brewery. We talked about everything he’s been up to since graduating from the Rock, and a new, positive energy that he’s noticed in the alumni community over the last couple years. I had the house Octoberfest and the mussels in blond ale with roma tomatoes, garlic, oregano and butter. Two thumbs up.
Dan and I then adjourned to Coat of Arms, around the corner, for a proper Brit Pub meal. We were joined by Mary, an opera singer who also happens to be Dan’s smart, charming and lovely fiance. While we were there, a student from the phonathon called to ask Dan for an Annual Fund gift! Though we missed the call, it was an amusing convergence. Good times.

I was in Portsmouth, New Hampshire today on a truly gorgeous day. It was great to be back in the Granite State, where I grew up.

I arrived early, so I got an iced coffee from the always reliable Breaking New Grounds and enjoyed it on a bench at the corner of Market, Islington, Pleasant and Daniel… where the charmingly bumpy brick streets and walks converge.

Then I met Dan Metivier ‘89 at Portsmouth Brewery. We talked about everything he’s been up to since graduating from the Rock, and a new, positive energy that he’s noticed in the alumni community over the last couple years. I had the house Octoberfest and the mussels in blond ale with roma tomatoes, garlic, oregano and butter. Two thumbs up.

Dan and I then adjourned to Coat of Arms, around the corner, for a proper Brit Pub meal. We were joined by Mary, an opera singer who also happens to be Dan’s smart, charming and lovely fiance. While we were there, a student from the phonathon called to ask Dan for an Annual Fund gift! Though we missed the call, it was an amusing convergence. Good times.

Though the Investiture of new provost Peter Laipson happened on campus, it felt like being on the road as there was a good number of alumni in attendance. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day.

In the course of the ceremony and its reception, I ran into Keith ‘80 and Penny ‘81 Brierley-Bowers, Christopher ‘86 and Cordelia ‘86 Derhammer-Hill, Jochai Ben-Avie ‘06, Zachary Julius ‘85, Sarah Williams ‘78, Meriweather Clark-Connors ‘76, Charlie Derr ‘82 and Jenny Browdy de Hernandez ‘78. It was great for me to meet Sarah for the first time, and to see all these other folks again.

Video clips from the ceremony will be posted soon. When they’re up, I’ll link to them from here.

I’m looking forward to FIVE alumni happy hours next week in Northern New England.