Month: September 2012

  • (Back temporarily with a stray thought.  Hope to resume real blogging next week.)

    Well, I don’t know.  But it seems to me that if you don’t want pictures published of yourself topless or bottomless, then don’t go outside topless or bottomless, no matter how private you think the venue is.

  • I am now operating with half an eye.  The eye that was operated on yesterday has 20/150 vision today, and my “good” eye won’t be very good until I get my new glasses lens in two weeks.  The world is all soft and fuzzy but not conducive to doing anything that requires good vision.  I will be back whenever the lights go on in my head again.

  • I had eye surgery on my other eye today (so glad I have just two eyes, but of course very thankful to have the full set of two), and all I want to do is sleep.  Check back tomorrow to see if I’m awake enough to make sense.  (This did make sense, didn’t it?)


    I love lobster, but I won’t order it anywhere but the Coast of Maine.  The longer a lobster is out of the ocean, the less taste it has.  Order it at The Red Lobster?  Not on your life!  “Lobster on the hoof” (while in the shell sitting on your plate) is wonderful, but in the summer the lobster sheds its old shell and grows a new one.  Until it fills out the new shell, there’s a lot of water in the claws.  You pay dearly for a big lobster, crack it open, and water pours out.  Always ask if it’s a hard lobster or a soft one.  If it’s soft, flee.  A lobster roll is a much better buy.  The work has already been done for you.  I had five lobster rolls while in Maine, and one lobster omelet.  You might say I had -

    Jerry is of Dutch descent, and when I saw this boat I couldn’t resist posing him with it.

    It had been many years since I had seen seaweed, what with the Great Lakes not having tides and all, and  I got reacquainted with it on this trip.  It looks – and smells – the same.  An 11-foot tide is a BIG tide, my friends.

    At one restaurant Jerry the Scientist found out his silverware was magnetized. We asked the waitress about it and she said yeah, some of it is.  No one knows why.

    It was a great trip and I was able to revisit places that are dear to my heart.  Some of my happiest memories are of times spent on the island of Vinalhaven with my grandmothers and my only aunt.  They thought I was wonderful, despite all evidence to the contrary, and all children need people like that in their early years.  Never say never, but I don’t expect to ever go back .  It was good to revisit it all and see my dear relatives in my heart and mind.


    It’s hard to think of Canada as a foreign country since Canadians look like us, talk like us and have the same kind of coins, but it does require a passport or enhanced driver’s license to get into it.  I do miss the days when such wasn’t needed to go between the two countries, but we will never see those times again.  We’ve been there many times over the years and have never had a bad experience.  We’ve found the people very friendly and helpful.  It’s a beautiful country and we’ve loved it as our “second country.”

    We drove across Ontario on our way home, stopping for a boat cruise of the Thousand Islands area on the St. Lawrence River, which borders the U.S. and Canada.  We went to a small museum and I saw this ship model, among others.  I do love these big models and wish I had the knowledge and patience to build one.

    This was the boat we took on a 2 1/2 hour cruise.

    This gull was sitting not three feet from me until we got underway.  Obviously he’s used to being around people.  I think gulls are beautiful – too bad they’re such scavengers, but I guess something has to be.

    This is one of the Thousand Islands I would like to have.

    Unfortunately this is the one we could afford.  Maybe.

    In the early ’70s when our boys were growing up we went to the Thousand Islands area and boated around.  We landed on this island, the site of Boldt Castle.  At that time it was an absolute ruin, open to the elements.  It had been vandalized for 70+ years.  It was being built about 1900 by a millionaire for his wife, but when she died during the process, the husband abandoned the project, even though he had already put a lot of money into it.  In 1977 it was bought by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority, and since then millions of dollars have been poured into it to make it the way the millionaire had envisoned.  It’s a fascinating story of love and tragedy, and more details can be found here.

    We were stunned at how magnificent it is, considering its condition when we last saw it.  We didn’t go ashore, although the 5 hour cruise does so.  It requires a passport or enhanced driver’s license for landing.  I would love to see the inside.

    TOMORROW:  Mopping up the trip


    After Bar Harbor we started the long trip home. 

    We think this is Mt. Washington in New Hampshire.  The sun was so bright I couldn’t tell what I was going to get in the picture.  At 6,288 feet, it’s the tallest peak in the northeastern U.S.  The weather is notoriously awful at the top.  It can be a beautiful August day at the bottom and snowing at the top. Winds can top 200 MPH. Perhaps not the best place for a family picnic.

    We came upon the Appalachian Trail and decided to hike it.  What, you say, this picture doesn’t prove we hiked it? How about this one.

    Yes, we have hiked the Appalachian Trail.  Maybe not from Georgia to Maine, but at least a few hundred feet.  What do you expect from four people with a combined age of 310?

    A couple of pictures taken as we made our way across New England:

    TOMORROW:  Adventures in a foreign land

  • Our next stop was Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park.  Sam and I have been there several times, but its beauty never gets old. 

    One of my favorite things to do there is sit on the rocks and watch the ocean.  Dee and Jerry liked it too.  Some people brought chairs, but there’s something about sitting on a rock …

    These guys were rappelling up and down this cliff.  We chose not to join them.  As you can see, the tide was out.  My mother was right:  ”It’s always low tide.”

    I like this shot because of the variety of boats, from a small lobster boat to a cruise ship.

    View from the top of Cadillac Mountain.  It’s about 1,520 feet high and is the highest mountain within 25 miles of a coastline on the east coast.  At some times of the year, this is the spot the sun hits the U.S. first  It was a hazy day, but you can see the town of Bar Harbor and even the sand bar which gave the town its name.


    They don’t call it the rugged rock-bound coast of Maine for nothing.

    Acadia is one of the few national parks on the east coast and so it draws a lot of people.  If you can avoid it, don’t go in the summer.  Parking is limited at the various scenic spots and the crowds are large.  September is an excellent time to go.  The weather is still warm but the crowds have thinned.  It truly is a spectacular place.

  • Our next stop was the island of Vinalhaven, 13 miles off the town of Rockland, Maine.  My parents were from there and it’s where I spent my summers when I was growing up.  I loved it and couldn’t wait to get there every year.  It holds precious memories for me.  Both my grandmothers and my only aunt lived on the island.  It has a permanent population of about 1,200 which swells to probably 3,000 in the summer when the “summer complaints” are there. 

    The harbor.  These are all lobster boats as that’s one of the main occupations on the island.

    This is my grandmother’s house where I lived in the summers.  I was so happy to see it in good shape.  She was a widow of very limited means, but she loved this house and kept it painted and repaired.  I would love to have seen the inside.  Even more, I would love to have gone in and seen her sitting in her rocker beside her big black stove working on her quilting.  I loved the smell of her house.

    I’ll bet you have no idea what this is. It’s called a galamander and it was used in the island’s granite quarries to move large pieces of granite around.  No one knows the origin of the name.  It’s been on the town square ever since I can remember, and I used to climb all over it when I was a kid.  I didn’t climb on it this time, but it brought back a host of memories.

    This how they hauled the granite. The island has several quarries with excellent quality granite.  Lots of buildings in the big eastern cities have Vinalhaven granite in their construction, including the columns at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.  Both my grandfathers worked in the quarries.

    My aunt and uncle willed their house to the town to be used as an assisted living home.  There was no place for island residents to go except the mainland when they needed care.  Now they can stay on the island in their final years.  I won’t put pictures of it here because you have to know the “before” of the place to appreciate the “after,” but I will say the  town did a magnificent job of transforming it into a first-class care facility.  They redid the whole interior and built a wing for residents’ rooms.  Everything was extremely well done.  It meant a lot to me to see it being used in such a worthwhile way.

    We laughed at the support for this building – hunks of granite piled up.  Look at the fourth support from the left.

    This is my grandparents’ headstone.  It’s made of black granite from an island quarry and it’s in excellent condition for being over a hundred years old. My grandfather carved the top part himself. 

    This is near the top.  I have no idea what it stands for.  Does anyone know?  He was a Mason.  Maybe it’s a Masonic thing.

    Here are some views of the island.  I could put a ton of them up but will restrain myself to a few.

    The view from a small mountain.

    A lighthouse facing the mainland. The hills in the background are the Camden Hills.  Those of you who have driven up the coast of Maine have probably gone through the town of Camden.

    A lobsterman on his way back to the harbor.

    I used to swim here. It’s low tide (my mother used to say, “It’s always low tide”).  The tide in this area is 11 feet.  The water was way too cold to stay in long.

    I probably will never see Vinalhaven again, but I’m so glad we went this year.  It has a big place in my heart.  If you’re ever in that area, be sure to take the ferry over to the island (if it’s a good day).  It’s well worth the trip.

  • The first stop on our trip was the Corning Glass Museum in Corning, New York.  Sam and I used to live about two hours south of it and had been there a couple of times, but not for 40 years.  Jerry wanted to see it so we made a side trip.  It was well worth it.

    There are several demonstrations, and if you go there be sure to see them all.  This man is a master glass blower and is making a vase.  At the end, there was a raffle to win a piece made the day before and Jerry won it!  Dee was thrilled.

    I liked this autumn display.

    One of these is the biggest glass pumpkin in the world.  The other one can’t be far behind.

    This is a Tiffany window.  I had Sam stand beside it so you could get an idea of the size.  It’s magnificent!

    The collections of glass cover a large area.  It would take weeks to study them all, so we just walked through.  This is but one case among hundreds.

    The entire collection covers thousands of years of glass making.

    If you’re anywhere near Corning, New York, be sure to visit the museum.  We had a great time.

    After that, we stopped at the big Wentworth-by-the-Sea resort in New Hampshire.  Dee and Jerry had been to a conference there many years ago and wanted to see it again.

    Not a bad place to spend a few days.

    Several millions of dollars worth of boats were in the marina.

    This the one we bought.  silly

    TOMORROW:  On to Maine


    We’re just back from a nine-day trip to the Coast of Maine.  Pictures and stories are coming soon.

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