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Off-Season: Discovering America on Winter's Shore

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  77 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
No Longer the Forgotten Season

Just after Labor Day, Ken McAlpine said good-bye to his family and began a drive up the East Coast, from Florida to Maine, on a one-man quest to capture the elusive “forgotten season” of beach towns shuttered until the return of warm weather. Off-Season is a moving portrait that brings to life the magic of the sea and shore in winter, the char
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 22nd 2004 by Broadway Books
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Nov 08, 2013 Vivian rated it it was ok
I love the beach in winter, any beach, anywhere, the cool temperatures have a way of keeping away the tourists, and revealing the stillness, and the bareness, of life close to the water. While Ken McAlpine gives us glimpses of this scene, his stories are more snapshots: of the water, of the sand, of the small towns and decrepit boardwalks he found in his travels. And conversations with people, all kinds of people, some interesting, some not. Maybe I was expecting too much, or maybe Ken McAlpine ...more
Aug 05, 2013 Katherine rated it it was ok
While I think this author has a lovely knack for introspective description, I think this book is trying to do too many things at once. It's one thing to write a book about the solitary nature of travel, and another thing to write another book about how gentrification and industrialization threaten ecosystems (human and natural), and still another to attempt an anthropological review of a highly diverse group of people. To do all three at the same time without a more unifying thesis statement doe ...more
May 08, 2016 Robin rated it it was ok
This book was not what I expected and could and should have been so much more. I give it 2 stars, primarily because he got it right in the Ocracoke chapter, and it did get slightly better in the second half. If I am honest, this was one of the very few books that I have read where I actually felt resentment that the author was able to be published. This is the work turned in by a self obsessed C student. In parts, sentence structure and nonsensical comma usage (and omission) made it painful to w ...more
Mar 28, 2013 Kayla rated it it was amazing
You can tell from Ken McAlipne's work that he loves writing. Ken has a very real and special talent that he's crafted over the years of writing. In Off-Season, Ken travels from Florida to Maine in the dead of winter. Ken wanted to get a feel of the people not the tourist's of the land. I think Ken is the type of person you meet in the street and end up sharing your whole life story without thinking anything of it. Off-Season is a beautiful book that will lift your spirits. I was very touched by ...more
Peggy L
I enjoyed this book, another in "the journalist explores," non-genre, favorites of mine.

This look at out-of-season seashore villages, seaside residents both two legged, winged and finned allows the reader to see the real life of places overrun by tourists in the summer.
It allows the reader to get close to the atitudes of island dwellers, often reserved if not downright reclusive. Because the author brings a bit of that predilection for aloneness with him, many of the residents open up to him an
Jan 02, 2012 Coffeeboss rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel-adventure
Anyone who loves going to the beach in the winter will enjoy this travelogue where the writer goes south to north (Florida to Maine), visiting beach towns that have closed their doors for the season, leaving only the colorful, die-hard locals. Each chapter is a different town, and I found myself wanting to follow McAlpine's journey on a map. He meets an interesting array of locals, some more open to him than others, and learns about the insular history of some of the more isolated places, many o ...more
Dec 25, 2007 Don rated it it was ok
Not one of the better travel books I've read. The concept is a good one: write about East Coast places during the winter. But the people profiled aren't all that revealing, and I never felt that the author provided any real insight into either the people or places he visits. I also thought that his injection of his personal life into the book was totally uninteresting and detracted from the book.
Jul 11, 2008 Kathy rated it really liked it
This was enjoyable! The author traversed the east coast from Florida to Maine visiting beaches and islands to see what they were like in the winter when they were devoid of tourists. It was a chance to meet the local, year-round residents, many of whom were the quirky rugged individualistic characters that you'd imagine would populate small towns & villages :) Aside from the interesting people, he gives local history and nature descriptions with humor and beauty.
Feb 27, 2011 Holly rated it liked it
Pretty good book about a guy who travels from South to North during the winter to visit America's beaches. I must admit, being from the deep south, not thinking about snow covered beaches -even in the winter! You get to meet some pretty interesting characters along the way. Was it my imagination or did the author write less and less the further north he traveled? It seemed to me that the chapters were getting shorter. Not a bad read though sometimes he made a short story long!
Aug 17, 2009 Ellen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Ellen by: Pat Malloy
I have shared this with at least four other people. It's terrific. The writing style is beautiful, lyrical, almost poetic, which is unusual for a nonfiction book. If you have ever traveled the east coast of the US (or even if you haven't), you'll enjoy reading about people who make their life and living there all year-round. He has a new one out, Islands Apart, which I've just begun and am also enjoying.
May 07, 2009 Tamela rated it really liked it
This is right up my blog alley.
I love walking on and reading about the seashore. McAlpine travels from the South to the North meeting interesting people and learning about real places.
"Haints, those devil creatures of voodoo, will not enter a blue opening of a house because blue is the color of heaven. Blue is also the color of water, but that doesn't always make it heaven."
Dec 12, 2008 Eve rated it it was ok
I had such high can a book about traveling through shore towns on the East Coast be bad!? I'm still craving the book I thought this would be. Alas, this author is caught on a different topic and I wasn't impressed with the writing anyway.
Nov 05, 2013 Harry rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
One of my favorite writing. I enjoyed this one. I have always wanted to take the kind of trip taken by the author except in reverse, north to south starting in September. I've had a "longing" for seashores particularly when the tourists are gone.
Dec 03, 2007 Andrew rated it really liked it
cool travelogue about trip a guy takes up the atlantic seacoast during the fall and winter and the people he meets along the way. meanders along from Florida to Maine. Interesting for those who enjoy travel narratives.
Susan Prince
May 29, 2013 Susan Prince rated it liked it
I loved the premise of this book and really wanted to like the book. The places visited were very appealing, but I had a hard time relating to the characters. I had trouble remembering who was who and I seemed to miss the what the lessons each person was imparting.

May 27, 2008 Nikki rated it really liked it
I learned you're not truly a beach lover unless you appreciate it year round...bitter cold, hurricanes and all
Apr 03, 2013 Mike rated it did not like it
Not recommended. Another tale of locals rule, developers suck. I'd rather get that in fictional form from Carl Hiiasen.
Paul Bennett
Jan 19, 2014 Paul Bennett rated it it was amazing
This is anEast coast story for East coast locals. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. all the stories from the South rocked. All the surfing kept me happy too.
Sep 05, 2012 Robert added it
I love travel books. And this one was great. Plus I've been to a few of these places. Also he makes you love the people he meet
Apr 28, 2008 Amy rated it it was ok
Recommended to Amy by: Saw a review in a magazine
Didn't care for this book at all. I've been looking forward to reading this for a couple of years now and was terribly disappointed because it was just boring.
May 18, 2010 Jim rated it liked it
enjoyable and thoughtful travelogue along Atlantic shore in offseason
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Ken McAlpine’s most recent novel, NEXUS, picks up where the page-turning JUNCTURE left off. Cerebral Jaws and riveting thriller, NEXUS unspools in a world rapidly moving beyond anything we know. Our oceans are changing. Very soon survival may be more than just a word on this page.

Ken McAlpine is the author of ten books; fiction, non-fiction and selected essays. Of his novel TOGETHER WE JUMP, USA T
More about Ken McAlpine...

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