For FALL 2010's delicious offerings of books, art, food, film, and unique travel--check out the NEW ISSUE of our online magazine FEAST--you will not go away hungry-- http://www.feastofbooks.com/

Between issues, read our blog posts as we and our special guests share thoughts, ideas, and recommendations about books, art, food, film, and travel. We love to hear from our readers, so please post a comment! Thanks-- Rosemary Carstens, editor

SNAX ONLINE is moving during the first quarter of 2011 -- stay tuned!

Snax Online is undergoing a redesign and will be moving to a new location. Check back from time to time for a link. In its new format, this blog will cover a wider range of topics but also its usual five. In the meantime, keep up with what's happening in the world of books, art, food, film, and travel at http://www.FEASTofBooks.com --

See you in 2011!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Schooner: Boating Dreams on Martha’ s Vineyard

Love boating? Always dreamed of building your own by hand? The careful, skilled craftsmanship required for the task are beautifully documented in this new book from Vineyard Stories : SCHOONER: Building a wooden boat on Martha’s Vineyard written by Tom Dunlop with photographs by Alison Shaw.

Rebecca of Vineyard Haven, a 60-foot wooden schooner designed and built by the Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway was, at the time of her construction, the largest sailing vessel built on the island of Martha’s Vineyard since the election of Abraham Lincoln.

 Ross Gannon, left, and Nat Benjamin, the boat builders

While you might expect a book about building a boat to be a calm, step-by-step story, proceeding logically from drawings to launch, this is no ordinary tale. Drama abounds as Rebecca navigates her way through bankruptcy court, a two-year work stoppage, a change of owners due to a court-ordered auction, and many an other “high sea” on her voyage to completion.

Beyond the telling of the difficulties of taking this schooner from dream to the sea, this is a celebration of the artistry of boat builders Nat Benjamin and Ross Gannon who have thirty years of experience behind them. Theirs is one of the very few full-time boatyards in the United States devoted exclusively to the design, construction, repair, and maintenance of classic, plank-on-frame wooden boats. Nearly every part of Rebecca is built or cast or fashioned by hand.

SCHOONER goes beyond just relating how a dream of a wooden boat came true, it is a love story—about boats’ magical appeal through the ages, men and women’s longing for the sea, and, perhaps most of all, about a deep appreciation of creating things the “slow” way, hands on, in a world gone mad with its desire for instant gratification.

For more on Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway: 


sibylle said...

VEry cool! My carpenter, who's rebuilding my deck, builds boats professionally; so this seems close to home right now!

Laurel Kallenbach said...

Just heard a book review on NPR's Fresh Air of "Searching for Tamsen Donner" by Gabrielle Burton.

Amazon describes the book: Burton was first drawn to the story of Tamsen Donner in the 1970s; she saw in Tamsen an independent spirit—wife, mother, and brave pioneer—with whom she somehow identified.

Her career as a writer kept circling back to the Donner party and its tragic end in the Sierra Nevadas in the winter of 1846–47.

Finally, in the summer of 1996, Burton, her husband, and their five daughters retrace the steps taken by Tamsen, her husband George, and their five daughters from Springfield, Illinois, to California via the Oregon and California Trails. Trying to reconstruct Tamsen’s lost journal (her body was never found), Burton and family follow the trek of the Donner party.

The result is a thoughtful and engaging blend of history and memoir including Burton’s struggle to be both a full-time mother and successful writer.

Here's the part I thought might really hook you, Rosemary: Burton originally wanted to follow the Donner party trek by herself on a motorcycle--but she didn't because she was so petite she couldn't control the machine.