Helen-Chantal Pike

American Studies
ďThe new edition contains rare photographs and an insightful foreword by the authorís daughter.Ē
-Dr. Barbara Tomlinson, Princeton, N.J.
This is basic history, geography, psychology, economics, and folklore all rolled into one top-quality volume.
-The New York Times
ďa Jerseyana journalistĒ
-The New York Times
"The collapse of American towns and cities is now so complete that our collective memory of why they existed and how they came to be is nearly lost. Helen-Chantal Pike's history of Asbury Park is a worthy, lively, and well-researched effort to correct this cultural amnesia."
- James Howard Kunstler, author of "Geography of Nowhere".
"Although its rock-and-roll legacy is well known around the world, other music forms - gospel and blues, jazz and even classical - have an Asbury Park address that contribute to the American music treasury." - Bob Santelli, author of Greetings from E Street: The Story of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Local History
Four volumes of illustrated history about New Jersey's North Shore communities.
Tracks the evolution of leading industries across a 300-year span.
Historical Fiction
"In the swish of a flapper dress, the smell of the potato mash or the shape of looks-just-like-it liquor bottle, the period details are superb."
- Pamela Waterman, Mesa, AZ

Sightings & Signings

See details on the page marked The BO.ND Experience.

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Pike Log now appearing at PikeCountry

A Posthumous Profile

July 2, 2013

Tags: Robert E. Pike, Harley Pike, Upper Waterford, Vermont, Boston & Maine Railroad

Harley Ellsworth Pike, circa 1920: logger, farmer, fireman, teamster and surrogate father.
By Robert E. Pike
Vermont's Northland Journal
July 2013

It was bittersweet to find this unpublished profile of my great uncle, the man Dad generously credited with stepping in to raise him when Dad's own father, and Uncle Harl's widowed brother, left his three children to be raised by the family on the old Pike homestead in Upper Waterford.

I had only known my great uncle as an ancient man with legs bowed at the knees from arthritis, from the epitaph Dad had carved into his tombstone in Glenwood Cemetery in Littleton, NH, from the stories of the Herbert kids who had the advantage of an extra grandpa as their next-door-neighbor, and as the man to whom Spiked Boots: Sketches of the North Country is dedicated.

When Vermont's Northland Journal put out a call for farm stories, I took Dad's 7,000 words and pared them down:

Just as the Boston & Maine Railroad was about to promote Harley Pike to engineer and give him his own engine (the dream of every fireman), he was called back home to the family farm in Waterford. His old parents told their only unmarried son that if (more…)

I am Thoreau (and so can you!)

March 19, 2013

Tags: Marion Winik, Asbury Park's Glory Days, Sy Safransky, Boston, The Sun, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Writer, The Notches, Upper Connecticut River Valley

Trading Places: tall trees for concrete canyons
Two years. Two months. Two days.

I might not make.

Thatís the record Thoreau set with his little experiment of living by himself in a cabin by the pond outside of Concord, Massachusetts. A little more than 780 days. Me, Iím 420 days living in rural America, and Iím not sure Iím (more…)

Can Fleece Make You Go Rogue?

February 6, 2013

Tags: Ice Hotel, Jukkasjarvi, Thorne River, Upper Connecticut River Valley, VPR, "Eye on the Sky", U.S. Weekly Heating Oil and Propane Prices, The Country Store, L.L. Bean

Wrapped and warm.
The Scandinavian survival guide laughed when he saw me decked out in clothing mail-ordered from a so-called Arctic outfitter. Then he led me to a corner of the rustic lodge and rolled back a barn door. (more…)

Expats Unite!

January 6, 2013

Tags: Lindsay Cobb, The Vulture, Eleanor Leger, Eden Ice, Princeton, Beth Kanell, Montclair, Kingdom Books, Kate Kelly, Fair Haven, Ranney School, Steve and Elaine Dolch Pacholek, Bergen County, Asbury Park, Bruce Springsteen, Dalton, NH, St. Johnsbury, Village Book Store & Cafe, Littleton, NH, Eatontown, Bellows Falls

My longest-running friend from high school and fellow Vermonter: Lindsay Cobb.
Like a first high school crush, some of us never get over the stories of Ernest Hemingway and his Parisian-based copains. While neither Vermont nor New Hampshire have cosmopolitan cities to rival Paris, they do have expatriates, none more obvious to me than the one-time New Jersey residents who voluntarily left home for the romance of (more…)

I've Been Poached, and I Like It!

December 3, 2012

Tags: Gail Kimball, Tim O'Shea, Rabbit Hill Inn, WREN, LaBelle Winery, Le Rendez Vous Bakery, Upper Waterford, Monroe, NH, Moonstruck, Asbury Park

Itís been a long time since Iíve been wooed.

Though, to be honest, the ever-present beckoning of chocolate anything can make my glands go Pavlov in a nanosecond. On a magazine assignment Saturday I drove north more than 60 miles in lightly falling snow. The itineraryís bonus was the (more…)

Just Ask Shorty

November 26, 2012

Tags: Grinner, Roaring Bert, Lil Bit, Butch, LG, Lallapalooza, Tom Swift, P.G. Wodehouse, Three Stooges, Canaan Historical Society

Old Cuss and Lil Cuss circa 1959.
It was late August by the time my Vermont plates arrived, three months after I moved across the river and only eight months since I came here from the Jersey Shore. My aging SUV was undergoing its final inspection. Looking her over was mechanic Frank Bullock, a man who has lived in Waterford his (more…)

How to Survive Spider Poop, and Other North Woods Tips

July 28, 2012

Tags: Sharon Payeur, Ron Beecher, Gail Herbert Kimball, Beth Kanell, Christo, Tim O'Shea, Ellen Greaves, Jane Allard Wright, Roberta Gillott, diatomaceous earth, Mr. Clean, fly tape, shims, cats, Lake Memphremagog, Merry Maids, Upper Connecticut River Valley

Tall dog or bear cub: What do you think?
If you, like me, never heard of fly tape, don't feel bad. Means you live in a well-sealed suburban-looking home with a concrete cellar floor, factory-direct vinyl windows with fitted screens, and floors at 90 degrees to their walls.

Good for you!

When I moved from the Jersey Shore suburbs to 50 miles south of the Canadian (more…)

Aren't We All Unfinished?

June 12, 2012

Tags: Bernard Lyle Kobel, Ludwig Moorehead, Lynn Franklin, Asbury Park, Jersey Shore, White Mountain Museum of Forest History, Northeastern Vermont Development Association, New York Times, Maine Sunday Telegram, Littleton Courier, Monmouth College

We compartmentalize our lives to organize the chaos: Is that good? How you apply the pronoun is a step to figuring out your own M.O.

Interested in the discoveries captured in this photo? Follow the Pike Log to the end for the extended caption. Thanks!
Youíve probably read at least one story about somebody who turned 50 and decided to change her or his lifeís trajectory: lose weight, get a divorce (or married), change jobs (or where you live), take up sky-diving (or sing in a rock-and-roll band). For me it stacked up like this: one third of (more…)

I See the (New) Starting Line

April 30, 2012

Tags: Upper Waterford, Trout Brook, New Hampshire, Asbury Park, Casino, Palace Amusements

From a squiggly black line on an 1875 map to the real deal: Instead of prettily meandering through a colonial village on its way to 15 Mile Falls, Trout Brook now empties into the river much higher up the hill thanks to the dam built in 1954. Behind me New Hampshire's Presidential Range defines the skyline.
It was so early that March morning fog sat on Moore Lake like a giant cotton puff, hiding not only the snow-capped Presidentials but also the ice blue of the dammed up Connecticut. Unlike the '90s when it took equipment to break into Asbury Park's Casino Arena and Palace Amusements to find forgotten stories, here all I had to do was waited patiently. This ritual, my life-long ritual, (more…)

Put a Pin in It

April 4, 2012

Tags: Tall Trees Tough Men, Robert E. Pike, Boxcar & Caboose, St. Johnsbury, Waterford, Spiked Boots, logging

Author Bob Pike in his study where he wrote
Tall Trees, Tough Men more than 45 years ago.
When I moved to the Upper Connecticut River Valley for a new adventure, I hadn't done the math. Nor had I found the W.W. Norton letter about the official release date of Tall Trees, Tough Men - my dad's book whose research and writing occupied a goodly portion of my childhood. (more…)