July 24, 2017
About two months ago I decided to look in to the New England Accordion Connection & Museum Company and see if it was possible that I might one day visit this place.
I heard several small stories, all amazing. I saw a couple YouTube videos… all amazing. NONE of that prepared me for the day that I would walk through those very special doors.
My birthday would be just around the corner and this was a great added excuse to make this trip happen and I started planning to plan if I could make it happen about two weeks prior to the weekend I wanted to make the trip (July 22nd, 2017).
The first step after doing the online research was to contact the museum owner, Paul, to see if they were available on Saturday, July 22nd in the afternoon, and luckily he said he was. At that point, it was a simple matter of arranging a hotel to stay at over night for the following day’s trip back.
I have something to say. To someone listening, my first conversation with Paul (owner of the museum) may have been nothing special, an exchange of words, but he had this incredible ability to express his passion, enthusiasm, his happiness and excitement.
I was blown away by the fact that here was a man who outwardly expressed a love for the accordion that I only have ever felt inside me but never yet found a way to verbally express. I was now officially super excited to be making this trip happen!
The day before I went, I was experiencing some heavy stomach troubles and almost decided not to go, but I pushed that thought out almost as fast as it came in to my head and on the morning of Saturday the 22nd, I woke very early and the pains seemed to have settled down. My co-pilot for this trip was my mother and we were both eager to have this adventure.
The first hurdle was of course the USA/Canada borders, but that was only a minor annoyance and delayed us 45 minutes waiting in line as the hundreds and hundreds of border crossers slowly inched up. It was right after here that my trip moved from familiar, well known areas to less well known and at about one hour after crossing the border we reached areas where everything was new and unknown to me.
That is where the trip started getting more interesting and helped make the trip just literally fly by. Getting in to the New England area showed me that the houses were just a bit different, but in a truly beautiful way. New Englanders have a wonderful sense of style unique to them.
Six and a half hours later after leaving the driveway of my house, we were pulling up to the driveway of a man that I was quite happy to meet for the first time.
Paul met us outside as we were pulling up, showed me where to park and met us outside on a beautiful day in Canaan, Connecticut. After that came a whirlwind of about 2.5 hours of “incredible”. I saw so much in so little a time that it was almost overwhelming and Paul spun out story after story and fact after fact, a veritable encyclopedia of info.
There was just so much to see, hear and experience, that it was impossible to take in all the beauty that is the NEAM. Every accordion (and I do mean every accordion!), was a beautiful piece of history, every one whispering it’s story to anyone that cared to listen and every one was a diamond… albeit, some were some diamonds in the rough… lol
Some pictures from the first building:
Then he showed us the 2nd building where more modern instruments were on display and in such a small area, some even brand new. Many I knew what they were from books and reading the accordionist forum, and even many in styles that I had never seen in real life.
There were accordions in there that strongly reminded me of my glory days of playing, some that reminded me of days past with “Les Accordeonistes”, and ones that reminded me of my present musical journey. It made me realize that the lowly accordion is truly a passport in to old memories, making new and incredible memories and finally that the accordion is a kind of passport that lets you enter in to other people’s lives to share and give of yourself.
Oh, If anyone is in the market to buy an accordion, Paul sells accordions too and there are prices for all budgets and levels of experience and styles, you really should check him out!
Some pictures from the second building:
Any regrets? Yes, a couple. Not having more time to look a little longer, not having accepted Paul’s generous offer of playing a few different accordions and not having the time to take out my accordion and play a bit, maybe “jam” a little with Paul.
I met the man and his museum, and I went in with the intent of visiting a museum, yet we left with so much more… the result of this adventure was that I visited someplace I had never been to before, seen things I never saw before, but most importantly, I made a new friend, someone that has a passion for something that I share (just that he just took his passion to a whole new level!). We met with a warm handshake and parted with a handshake, a hug and a strong pat on the back. A kinship formed with a kindred soul is worth travelling 6 hours for, but… am I ever going there again? Yes, and soon, I hope!
July 26, 2017
I got a birthday surprise… Paul has chosen me to photograph some of his more special accordions for a coffee table book that he is planning, that means we will be going back in a couple months and have more fun at the museum! Look for a post coming in September 2017 about this event!