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Dwight Peck

Peck slideshow
How time flies

Dwight Clark Peck, Jr is a quiet, gracefully-aging gentleman who has managed so far to keep more or less out of harm's way.

Mr Peck was an American academic and former athlete who moved to Switzerland in 1977 and, since then, has worked as head librarian and sometimes academic dean of the American College of Switzerland and, for 20 years, as Communications Officer for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. Now retired, he spends his time traveling with Kristin Hagge, mostly in Europe, reading history and Nordic Noir, and hiking in the Jura mountains.

Well, no more, unfortunately. In March 2019, after 42 years in our pricey paradise, we're back in the USA, under semi-duress, in Staunton, Virginia in fact, one of a very few possibilities that looked to be congenial. And, so far, it is.

Anyway, the purpose of this website is still to host photo essays on a number of subjects and places about which Mr Peck has taken suitable photos, chiefly to do with his travels, scenic views of local Swiss towns and sights, and hiking and snowshoeing mostly in the Jura, as well as of family and friends. 

Most Recent Events

dotmulti.gif (1653 bytes)Winter 2023-2024. Back to Italy for a bit, and some genteel fun afterwards, but with another sore loss in the old friends department. In October we paid a two week visit to Castel Gandolfo and its papal palace, with side trips into Rome, Palestrina, and local sites like the Lago di Nemi, followed by a rewarding week in Naples, billeted in the shadow of the Castel dell’Ovo, with a link-up with friends Cathy and Oscar. In late November we were in Alexandria, VA, with daughter Alison, for another visit to the National Gallery of Arts in DC. Over Christmas we motored all the way back to Wisconsin for a special party for and last days with our fine friend Cousin Rob, who very sadly passed away in early January. Alison and Ryan came down to Staunton for some hiking in February, and the rest of the spring passed harmlessly enough.

dotmulti.gif (1653 bytes)Summer 2023. A fine summer not very unlike the others. The annual trek from Virginia to the Wisconsin Northwoods got underway in late May with a brief visit with sister Susan in Ohio, followed by a long hike up the length of Michigan, punctuated by a visit to ‘Little Bavaria’ – Frankenmuth near Saginaw, a small city with an insistent colorful theme of recreating the German culture of its 19th century settlers – and over the Mackinac Bridge to proceed across the Upper Peninsula (UP). There ensued 3½ more or less relaxing months of reading out on the lawn, daily hydrobiking on the lake with Cousin Rob (and pedalboarding with Stephanie), exploring a bit of the Keweenaw Peninsula on Lake Superior, and chasing Melvin and Choupette all about for a overflowing basket of cute cat pix. The rich extended pageant of mostly fine weather, infrequent minor adventures, and a few convivial social events were, however, saddened by news of the passing of our great friends Joe Pirri in Switzerland and Marbeth in California. Finally: back down the Interstates to Virginia to pack up for another sojourn in Italy, to Castel Gandolfo and Naples, in October.

dotmulti.gif (1653 bytes)Winter 2022-2023. The long-postponed return to Italy, and other stuff. Following a 5-day trek back from Wisconsin to home, including dinner in Bombshell Burgers in the Bare Arms Indoor Range & Gun Shop near Huntingdon WV, a rush of routine obligations in Virginia in October, & a 3-day hike back to Chicago to drop off the wonderful cats, we finally got to return to Italy after 3½  years of US covid-evading. Two weeks of nostalgically plodding all round Rome with friends Joe & Teny in November, then another two weeks in Ascoli Piceno & nearby villages on the Adriatic side with Oscar & Cathy, capped by the frescoes of Subiaco & a visit in Fregene -- then airborne back to Chicago & (with cats) to Virginia. Amongst all the routine mini-events round home, we got to visit the National Gallery of Art and the Nat'l Museum of the American Indian with daughter Alison in January, the Natural Bridge near Roanoke, and with daughter Marlowe's entourage from Ottawa, Jefferson's Monticello and the Luray Caverns in April. The icing on the cake: Frankenmuth, MI ('Little Bavaria') on the road back to Wisconsin in late May.

dotmulti.gif (1653 bytes)Summer 2022. Hydrobikes, amusing cats, & some State Parks. The spring months were devoted to the usual succession of forest walks, but in May we played host to Marlowe, Dmitri, & William from Ottawa before setting out for the Wisconsin Northwoods. Along the way, a short pause near Morgantown WV for some hikes in the Coopers Rock State Forest. After a brief stop in Ashland OH with sister Susan, nephew Adrian, & his son Scott, we caught the famous Badger carferry across Lake Michigan & then sped onward to the lake. The sacred daily hydrobiking with Cousin Rob (and often Oscar, too) commenced at once, & the cats resumed their summer mischiefs, followed by our brief explorations of Duluth MN (not bad at all), with a side trip to the Gooseberry Falls State Park. The traditional sojourn at the family’s cottage on Lake Superior was enlivened by a good hike to the Canyon River Falls in the Michigan UP, & once back on the lake we got a welcome visit from Dan & Katie of Maine, our old friends from Switzerland days. Then the long drive home, with an alcohol-free dinner in a gun shop.

More Recent Events, 1995-2023

Special Features

Collections of various kinds of things, in no particular order and of varying degrees of potential interest, placed here from time to time in the public interest

Jura farms in winterFarms of the Jura. A photo series on the communal farms of the Swiss Jura mountains in the dead of winter -- growing like Topsy, some 75 or 80 wintry farms up now, and only one taken down because of a private-property owner's concerns about increased littering on the premises.

Holes of Mind the step! the Jura. The Swiss Jura, in the Mont Tendre region, is made largely of limestone and in many places has washed out in dark holes and chimneys small, medium-sized, and frequently gigantic. There's great sport to be had in seeking them out in the snow, darting up close for a snapshot, and backpedaling frantically, giggling in triumph. The Grand Search for Holes. [gazing in fascination into a hole, photo right]

Snowshoeing in the Jura. Rudimentary lessons on how to go about enjoying this popular winter sport, and also on how not to.

Swiss towns and villages (some of which we've dwelt in). Right here. Supplemented by views of Staunton, Virginia, USA (in which we're dwelling now).

All aboard!Tourist trains of Europe. Spotting the ubiquitous Dotto Trains from Italy, and the more elusive Tschu-Tschu trains from Germany, in the fashionable tourist destinations all over Europe. Clang clang.

Steamships of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman). The fleet of eight "Belle Epoque" lake steamers and assorted other vessels, on Lake Geneva and selected other lakes elsewhere. Climb aboard.

Little bundles of attitudeForest refuges of the Jura. Photos and descriptions of a bunch of little one-room huts stuck out in the forest, good to memorize in case you twist your knee someday out there whilst hiking along dreaming of your future career triumphs and not watching where you're going. Crawl in here.

Index to photo essays on towns, cities, & castles in Italy. Line up here.

Cats with character. Melvin the Doge (b. 10/2016), subsequently joined by Choupette (b. 11/2018), vying playfully for dominance. Here they come!

Some running pix, from back in the day. A few world relay records, half a century ago, and assorted other sporty escapades. Huff puff.

Prepare for the worstCollectibles: Odds and Ends. Photos of various things we thought were pretty funny at the time, like Beheadings, Martyr-Saints, Nursing Madonna, The Twelve Mile StareFunny Baby Jesus, Last Supper Menu, Kristin & the Lions, Penitential Mary Magdalene, and Joachim Beuckelaer. Maybe good for a laugh.

Various travels. Despite exceptionally strong instincts towards gazing for long hours off the balcony at Swiss scenic vistas with a chilled bottle of beer firmly in hand, from time to time Mr Peck has been gratefully dragged away to other venues. Selected travels and visits since about 1980.

Gallery of favorites. Scenic views as the 'Great Point-and-Shoot Spirit' intended them. A collection of some of our favorites in the dimensions that several generations of off-the-shelf cameras have given them to us. Travel pix: No pushing or shoving; and now, the snowshoe edition.

Physiognomy (mainly Herr Peck's). An essay on faces and what they sometimes reveal or don't. (And Kristin's as well.)

Something else

Castle-Come-DownBig story. Castle-Come-Down - faith and doubt in the time of Queen Elizabeth I. Rather a lengthy tale of nasty court politics in England in the 1570s and 1580s and, in France, espionage, murder, and general mayhem in aid of Mary Queen of Scots and/or the Spanish Armada. It's a "true story", too, or meant to be, sort of. Illustrations included in the Web version (not in the 1.7mb PDF). Advance to the index page (no credit cards or adult authentication required).

DerborenceSlightly smaller but still pretty big story. Derborence - a new translation (by Dwight) of Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz's classic tale (1934) of peasant life in the Swiss Alps in the 18th century, when the back half of the Diablerets mountains fell off and buried all of the summer high-mountain livestock grazers -- but, months later, one of them came home! And then went back! The great plan was to illustrate the story with lots of evocative photos of the place today, but for the moment the haunting Ramuzian prose will have to suffice. This is a must read for all sentimental mountaineers, nostalgic peasants, and unashamed poetical spirits who admire family values and ghostlike apparitions. Advance to the Intro page.

ccd-leicesterhead1.jpg (9571 bytes)Quite a few more stories, some perhaps semi-true. Robert Dudley (1532?-1588), Earl of Leicester and Queen Elizabeth's long-time favorite, was the subject of scandal from the very beginnings of the Elizabethan era in England (1558-1603). Study of the black legends surrounding his life, times, and putative crimes provides insights into the political, social, religious, and administrative history of Britain and lots and lots of furtive and ribald fun. Mr Peck spent many pleasant hours pursuing these matters and writing up his results, quite a few years ago, and somewhat later, scanning them and posting them all here. At least all of them that can still be found under piles of NYRBs and behind the sofa cushions. Here is a menu of 16th century diatribes, libels, and screeds, parental guidance encouraged for some of them.

  Q.: Do you know why you're here?
A.: No, I'm afraid not.
Q.: Well, do you have any questions then?
A.: No. Can't really think of any.

Dwight Peck
Last updated, 9 July 2024

The view from home, 2014-February 2019

The view from home, March 2019 -

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