Ben


mid-coast maine 2

“Maine, along with Florida, is the most geographically isolated of the lower forty-eight, which may explain its agelessness. Although only the 11th largest, it feels massive by northeastern standards, and wild beyond this New Englander’s imagination, the wildness compounded by a sense of enormity – and isolation.” p.25, Borderlands USA […]


great meadows

Our borderlands contain many natural ones.  Some are wildlife refuges that soften the borders between man and animal.  I grew up in one, called the Great Meadows in eastern Massachusetts where my grandfather, Dick Borden, a wildlife filmmaker and conservationist, maintained an entire ecosystem of wildlife, including pet otters, geese, […]


oh link! roanoke, va

The mystique of trains plays a large role in borderland culture.  Here, a museum lovingly rose from Roanoke’s former Norfolk & Western passenger terminal, with an amazing photography collection that captures the dying years of America’s last steam railway. O. Winston Link, a commercial photographer from New York, had a […]


true grit floridians 2

Your fearless fellow borderlander returned to Miami just in time to ride out Hurricane Irma.  With 6.5 million under mandatory evacuation, it was safer to stay put than add to the chaos of the roads – where gas shortages were prevalent 4 days prior.  Then, a day or two before […]


water ballerinas 3

From the ever-borderland of Miami Beach, here is some water ballet from the Momentum Dance Company, performed at an Art Deco gem, the National Hotel. ★Happy Independence Day!★ ” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]


the mfa’s new wing

The MFA, Boston’s premier art museum, received a glorious new wing for the Art of the Americas a handful of years ago.  What a borderland pleasure it is!  The old MFA, like much of Boston, was proper and stodgy.  The modern wing, and the newly enclosed courtyard attaching the buildings, […]


border classic: review of alan weisman’s la frontera

La Frontera: The United States Border with Mexico by Alan Weisman My rating: 2 of 5 stars This sprawling journey along the Mexican border is a classic in borderlands literature: it sings the songs of unsung lives while also crossing into identification with our southern neighbors. Identification can help understanding, […]


you do voodoo

Where else but in the borderlands of New Orleans can you visit the spiritual borderland of voodoo? Last year I visited the town’s Voodoo Museum, which boasts that it is “the ORIGINAL and ONLY actual VOODOO MUSEUM in New Orleans, and the World.” Beyond the starkness of the claim, much […]


gulfing

Up from Brownsville, TX, the land border changes to a sea one, arcing across East Texas, through Louisiana all the way to Florida.  The luxury of hugging the Gulf and escaping the interstates is pure road bliss.   [please hover over images for captions]   ” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]


tex-mex border

After Big Bend, Texas plunges south again, transitioning from the desert southwest of Pecos (where law, west of the Pecos, was the Wild West) to the balmy tropical climes of the Rio Grande corridor, with the border towns of Del Rio, Laredo, Hidalgo, and Progreso.  Come see parts of the […]


texas farm road 170

Among the most beautiful, and long, border-hugging roads in the US, Texas Farm Road 170 runs alongside the Rio Grande and, further south, enters Big Bend State Park.  This is my third drive along the enchanting valley, whose desert blooms and emerald rivering startle every time.  Running fifty miles from […]


illuminarts at the pérez, miami, fl 1

One of the most compelling artistic adventures in Miami is IlluminArts, a relatively new Vocal Arts organization founded by (Artistic Director) mezzo-soprano star Amanda Crider, which recently received a coveted Knight Foundation grant.  Their latest endeavor is a performance at Miami’s Pérez Art Museum of a haunting piece, titled “the […]


el malpais nat’l monument, nm

El Malpais: the badlands of central-west New Mexico offer sharp lava rocks covering a 40-mile valley sided by smooth sandstone bluffs, just east of the Continental Divide.  The McCartys Crater poured lava 2,000 to 3,000 years ago, making the valley all but uninhabitable.  Sandwiched between Navajo and Acoma reservations, the badlands […]


northern wilding

Come explore the wilds of our northern border with Canada. Long heralded as the longest peaceful (since 1813 or so) border in the world, it also boasts unimaginable wilderness and a handful of wild, out-of-the-way National Parks.  [please hover over images for captions] Not long ago, dense forest was everywhere. […]


gulf coasting in florida

On a recent roadtrip, I got to take my time along Florida’s Gulf Coast, from Tallahassee south. What a quirky variety the coast boasts, with more old time Florida than the Atlantic corridor. Unfortunately, my mission to see the Mermaid Water Extravaganza at Weeki Wachee was stymied for the second […]


reading in santa monica, ca

Come by for a reading by Ben Batchelder of “Borderlands USA: or, How to Protect the Country by Car” at the delightful coffee shop Primo Passo in Santa Monica, CA. This is the author’s first reading west of the Rockies and he is pleased to return to the borderlands of […]


fish fuel in madison

While surveying the nation’s defenses along the coast, one still needs fuel.  Here I stopped, during a foray in September, in Madison, Conn. at Lenny & Joe’s, a truly fine seafood eatery whose humble roots were a roadside fried clam stand from 1979.  


borderlands in santa fe

The first reading west of the Mississippi was so welcome and overdue, as much of the story takes place out West (north and south). An edited video from the reading: My nephew Christopher is the professional-level videographer.  Thanks to everyone who attended and asked such good questions.  As reward, a […]


coastal maine

Coastal Maine is like no other in the States.  Austere. Cold. Foggy. Mega-tidal.  The water in September is winteresque.  I spent a weekend in Sebasco, south of West Bath, east of Casco Bay, with family, and recalled that Maine in its entirety was one of the greatest discoveries of my […]


santa fe book reading

You are cordially invited to a reading & signing by Ben Batchelder of his recently launched American adventure, Borderlands USA: Or, How to Protect the Country by Car, presented by the op.cit. books and Earthdog Press, in Santa Fe, New Mexico on Friday, July 10th from 6-7pm. Come travel with Ben […]


nyc book event

The book reading in NYC’s Roger Smith Hotel on Sunday, May 17th was quite emotional for me: to see so many old & dear friends, both from while living in the city and from three levels of schooling (only grade school friends were out napping somewhere). Several dear friends from […]


nyc book reading invite

You are cordially invited to a reading & signing by Ben Batchelder of his recently launched American adventure, Borderlands USA: Or, How to Protect the Country by Car, hosted by the Roger Smith Hotel and Earthdog Press. Refreshments will be served in the ground floor Lily’s Room, where a stunning […]


pacific northwest

The Pacific Northwest boasts the most scenic coasts of the States.  US 101, outside of busy California, hugs the coast here, and strings together an endless series of state parks: on a good tourist map their names crowd the entire border line.  Along with the Gulf Coast, this is among […]


rio grande road bliss in texas

The remote border between southwest Texas and Mexico is among my favorites.  It follows the Rio Grande and dips down into Texas’s big bend (following the river), entering several of the least visited parks in the nation: Big Bend Nat’l, and State, Parks. TX Farm Road 170 has to be […]


south of the border with zeno

In the continuing adventures of Zeno, the border patrol dog par excellence, here we are in the massive South of the Border tourist trap just south of the South-North Carolina state line.  Called “America’s favorite highway oasis,” it is referred to by aficionados as Camp Pedro and Pedroland, due to its […]


Outer Banking

Zeno, the fearless border patrol dog, and yours truly recently scanned the East Coast from North Carolina through Georgia, much of it along the long barrier islands of the Outer Banks. I can report back to you, dear reader, that the coast was clear.  [please hover over images for captions] […]


miami beach readings & photo exhibit

The Miami launch of Borderlands USA in October had three separate readings, with an exhibit of photos from the journey plus a “border tasting” of Blenheim Ginger Ale (lots of ginger!) from South Carolina, and took place in the lovely Miami Beach Botanical Garden.  Thanks so much to so many […]


neglected north

See the neglected northern border in its full glory.  Shots supplement those in the Borderlands USA color ebook.  [please hover over images for captions] ” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]


9/11 Memorial

Before Borderlands USA’s launch, it seemed appropriate to visit where my original journey around the country’s borders began, at the World Centers site in lower Manhattan. The site has been transformed, of course, with the new One World Center reaching 1,776 feet into the heavens (now the tallest building in the […]


9/11 Museum

In this post, the tones darken and the faces become drawn as we descend into the memory of the event that not only changed what it means to be American, but immediately defined the struggle of the new century.  [please hover over images for captions] ” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]


book launch reading & photo exhibit

    Come to the book launch, hosted by Earthdog Press, of Borderlands USA, with public readings and a one-night only photo exhibit of images from the journey by author Ben Batchelder. Signed paperback books will be on sale for only $10.   The Botanical Gardens are located at 2000 […]