This is the Author Biography from the third printing of my book, October 2002 (updated, expanded, fall 2016).
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Over the last 45 years, Richard Sassaman has traveled widely through the 48 continental United States, visiting each one on at least seven different occasions while passing through more than 70% of the nation’s counties. (In October 2014 he finally made it to Alaska and Hawaii as well — in the same week.)
His articles and photography describing American history and places have appeared in about 75 magazines and newspapers including Air & Space/Smithsonian, American Heritage, American History, The Christian Science Monitor, Country Journal, Historic Traveler, Sports Illustrated, Travel/Holiday, Travel & Leisure, and Yankee.
Sassaman first visited Bar Harbor in 1971, and moved there with his wife Susan in 1986. She designed, and built much of, their house, which all these years later is mostly finished. Their fine son Ezra, a May 2016 graduate of Dickinson College (German major, Phi Beta Kappa, Fulbright scholar), showed up in October 1993.
Since stopping his travels to become a property owner and doting father in Bar Harbor, the author has passed his time in a variety of ways, including guiding historic walking tours around town, guiding bus tours in Acadia National Park, doing wedding photography, writing documentation for computer design software, and even (until he became disenamored, trying to do business with people who have been drinking) a little late-night taxi driving.
Though he doesn’t much like boats, from 2006 through 2012 Sassaman served as primary guide for the Acadia National Park/historic lighthouse boat tour he helped create for the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company, and has worked occasionally as a tour guide/deckhand for his good friend Diver Ed.
In three separate journeys from May through mid-October 2014 he took 8,300+ images as official photographer for the America’s Flag project, which visited all 50 states in 70 days on the road.
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He has been the book reviewer, a political cartoonist, and occasional writer for Maine arts magazines including Egg, Over Easy, Face, and the Bar Harbor Squash. At the end of the 1990s, he edited and designed the newsletters for Imaginary Road Records, Will Ackerman’s label after the guitarist sold Windham Hill.
For three years (1998-2001), until the station was sold to a conglomerate, he was Down East Maine’s favorite (?) talk show host on 107.7, WMDI-FM in Bar Harbor — sort of like the poor man’s Terry Gross, only taller. (Unlike Fresh Air, though, almost no one who appeared on his show was famous — in fact, most had never even been on the radio before.)
It’s funny that he went on the radio to talk, because he owns (approximately) 3,333 record albums, and spent the 1970s as music editor of a weekly paper in Pennsylvania. After years of interviewing many musicians backstage, since the end of the 1990s he has found himself on stage (playing timbales, originally) performing with a series of local bands, starting with The Angelic Slugs. He’s been a part of Pie, Passcatchie, and the drum quartet Sticks, and started the late lamented trio Big Deal and the duo La Mezcla, the latter the house band for an art gallery.
Most commonly these days he performs as a Hancock County member of the Washington County group Les Trois Etoilles, playing drums/percussion/ keyboards/recorder/digital camera/etc.
As a more active, younger man, the author enjoyed camping, backpacking, and playing baseball and/or basketball (not at the same time). Today, left to his own devices, he would prefer to live quietly with his memories. He also spends a lot of time reading, both for work and for relaxation.