Monday, April 30, 2012

Lighthouses ... I Love 'Em and I Found 'Em!

It seems to drive the girls crazy but whenever I'm in an area where there might be a lighthouse or two, I've got to go find it! And find some I did last week on our mini-holiday to Cape Cod! 
 Please join me over on the The Distracted Wanderer as I go Wandering By Some of Cape Cod's Historic Lighthouses, Part One.

Oh, and if all of a sudden you're craving potato chips, that's probably because Nauset Light is the official logo of Cape Cod Potato Chips and you may have seen the lighthouse above pictured on its bags in your local grocery store!  Mmmm, salt and vinegar chips ... 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Back to Reality Once Again

As the saying goes, "All good things must come to an end" so here we are, back in Connecticut from our mini-holiday to Cape Cod where I took in some beautiful views, hunted down quite a few lighthouses, enjoyed some tasty seafood, and took a lot more pictures to add to my collection!  Before I get too caught back up in "real life", I thought I'd share a few pictorial moments from the last two days.  Oh, and I am happy to report that even though they didn't get along as well as I might have liked (in other words, no sniping!), the girls restrained from any sort of bloodshed and even civilly talked to each other from time to time.  I keep waiting for that "someday they'll be good friends" thing to happen but to be honest, I'm not holding my breath!  Anyway, pictures ...

This is Highland Lighthouse which also is known as Cape Cod Light on the nautical charts for the region; it's located in North Truro just a bit before Provincetown and the current structure was built in 1857 making it Cape Cod's oldest lighthouse.  I had been wanting to go see it for several years and I finally got the chance - huzzah! 

Speaking of huzzah, I had Amanda snap a picture of me waving at Claire over in England as I had promised her on Facebook that I would. She was supposed to go stand on a high monument somewhere and wave back but I wasn't wearing my glasses so I might not have seen her! 

After walking down to the National Seashore near Provincetown, I asked Jamie to try to replicate my friend Callie's pose from several years ago.  Close but no Callie I'm afraid! 

After walking around Provincetown a bit, the girls and I had lunch at The Lobster Pot on the waterfront.  Amanda decided that she just had  to have some calamari which she declared to be very tasty.  We all ordered some sort of seafood and it was all quite delicious.

On the way back to our hotel in Hyannis, I made a quick stop at Marconi Beach in Wellfleet as it was the beach that I had taken the girls to many, many years ago on their only other trip to the Cape when we went with their two cousins and my sister-in-law.  I had remembered it as being beautiful and I wasn't wrong! 

And the final picture of the day, I took this one as Jamie and I were walking back to the car as I liked the way the sun was glowing off of the not-wooden boardwalk and giving it a different sort of light.

All in all, it was a great trip and as soon as soon as I can get my act together, I'll be sharing some pictures and history of all of the lighthouses that I was fortunate enough to see over on The Distracted Wanderer.  Just give me some time as sadly, it's back to work tomorrow where I'll have to put in some time if I am going to be able to afford some more wanderings in the future! 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Greetings from Cape Cod!

Wonder of wonders we actually managed to leave Norwich on time yesterday and with only one slightly wrong turn in Providence after being cut off by a guy in a pick-up truck who was paying more attention to his cell phone than his merging abilities, we made it out to Cape Cod shortly after 12:00. Before heading out to the mid-Cape and Hyannis where our hotel is, I took a detour down Route 28 South in the direction of Falmouth and a lighthouse that I had been wanting to take a picture of.

Looking very much like your quintessential New England lighthouse, the current Nobska Light has been a beacon to sailors since 1876 when it replaced the original "Nobsque Light", a stone cottage with a light tower on top that had stood in the same place since 1828.

After getting probably more pictures of the lighthouse than I really needed (though really, can there be too many lighthouse pictures? I think not!) we continued our journey to Hyannis passing by the Cape Cod Canal and eventually over the Sagamore Bridge.

The Sagamore Bridge over the Cape Cod Canal

Crossing the Sagamore Bridge

As you can see from the picture that Amanda took from the passenger seat, they were doing some construction on the bridge but traffic wasn't too bad.

Once we got into Hyannis, I spent a little time driving around trying to find the lighthouse that sits at the entrance to Hyannis Harbor but as it's on private property it appeared to be nowhere to be found so instead Amanda shot a picture of several ferries passing each other going in and out of the harbor.

Ferries pass each other in Hyannis Harbor

From there we set the GPS in the direction of our hotel which just happened to be across the street from an IHOP so guess where we went for lunch? Amanda thought the Red Velvet pancakes were so good, she tried to steal Jamie's in addition to having her own!

Amanda reaches for Jamie's Red Velvet pancakes

The Days Inn that we're staying at is nice though certainly no Hawthorne Hotel but a couple things it has going for it is that it's located right next to the Cape Cod Mall and a really nice Barnes & Noble plus it has an indoor pool that the girls took advantage of while I did some picture editing from a lounge chair nearby. As Amanda would probably throw a fit if I posted a picture of her in a swimming pool (whether you can see her or not!), I've purposely blurred this shot a bit. Hopefully that meets with her approval!  Oh, and just as a side note - the girls had a good time and didn't even try to drown each other once!

Relaxing in the hotel pool

Today we're heading out to Provincetown and I've got a list of places to see based partially on the magazine that we picked up in the hotel lobby that Jamie is holding, partially on some research I did prior to us heading out this way, and partially on memories of the one and only time I've been out to the furthest most part of the Cape.

Jamie in our hotel with the Cape Cod guide

Even though it's a bit cloudy out and definitely somewhat breezy, it looks like the overnight rain has stopped so I'm hoping for a good day to do some wandering. I'll let you know how that works out; in the meantime though there's a free breakfast to be had at the hotel before we set out for the day! Mmmmm ... coffee and juice and stuff!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Catching Up ... Again!

Wow, I did it again and missed another whole week in between posts!  Ooops ... I've had good reason, though, as last week I was as busy as that little fella in the picture above as I worked a whole bunch of days in a row to make up for the time that I had taken off to wander around Cape Ann and Concord/Lexington in Massachusetts and tossed in an overtime shift for good measure while I was at it.  I had two day shifts that were bracketed on each end with double shifts so it made for a long work week but it was worth it to have had six days in a row off previous to that in spite of the fact that I hate getting up early!

Saturday found me up early yet again as I had a table at the Canterbury Historical Society's Annual Indoor Tag Sale and yet again it was worth it as I made about $80 selling stuff that I hadn't even looked at in years and totally forgot I had until I dug it out for the sale.  My goal was to a) make back the $10 that I paid for the table and b) not bring back a carload of stuff - goals that were quite nicely accomplished!  Having just one table at a tag sale is so much easier than doing an entire tag sale at one's own home; hopefully I can join in again next year!

Sunday it was back to work followed by grocery shopping on Monday before work (there really WAS nothing to eat in the house this time!) and then another double on Tuesday before my short work week ended and I got to sleep in this morning before finally catching up on a bit of blog reading.  As I was so far behind in that, I used the option to mark everything as read that was over a day old (I don't recall that Google Reader had that option before but it's great!).  I just hope that I didn't miss any major news anywhere - if I did, please let me know!

I was going to spend my next four days off just hanging around the house and catching up on things but then the thought dawned on me last night that perhaps this would be the perfect chance to go spend a few days out on Cape Cod before tourist season begins and I don't want to go anywhere near the place as it's too crowded and the cost of lodging skyrockets. Provincetown is on my list of places that I need to cover for my project with the Hawthorne Hotel plus there are lots of lighthouses out there that I just need to photograph!  The plan is to take the girls along with me and then keep my fingers crossed that they get along for the trip otherwise I may be just leaving them out on the Cape!  I made sure to book a hotel in Hyannis that has an indoor pool, free WiFi, free breakfast, and as a bonus it's within walking distance of the Cape Cod Mall so if that doesn't keep them happy, I don't know what will.

I'm hoping that while Jamie and I attempt to climb the Pilgrim's Monument in Provincetown so that I can get some pictures, that Amanda will look around at some of the many art galleries that are there and get some inspiration for new artwork. I'm not even going to ask her if she wants to do the monument with us as she's got a bit of a fear of heights - something I used to have but have surprisingly gotten over as I've gotten older.  Must be that whole "I need to take pictures!" thing that supersedes that whole "it's too high!" thing! I've only been to P'Town once so I'm looking forward to the trip as well as lunch at The Lobster Pot which I seem to recall as being very, very good!

So, I guess I'll go make a list of places that I want to wander to and then think about tossing some clothes in a suitcase!  Hope your Wednesday and the rest of the week is wonderful!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Weekend in Review - Kinda, Sorta!

Whoa ... I haven't put up a new post over here in ages ... look at all of those cobwebs!  I guess it just goes to show how much more relaxed I am about blogging than I was when I first started and simply HAD to have a new post up everyday.  Of course back then I also used to be part of the Norwich Bulletin blogs but they have long since dumped me in favor of blogs written by their own staff members which never get any comments that I can see.  Oh well ... their loss!

Anyway, if you're wondering what I've been up to that I haven't had any time to do a new blog post in quite some time, it's been basically just a busy week and a half between work, battling a combination cold/allergy/mild flu, editing wedding pictures, and spending the last four days up in the Salem, Massachusetts area working on a project with the Hawthorne Hotel that requires me to go visit historic places and take lots of pictures - oh darn the luck on that last one, huh??

I just got home a couple of hours ago from what was a great weekend that started out with me being invited to attend a Press Preview Event at the Peabody Essex Museum on Thursday evening (you can read about that over at The Distracted Wanderer) before spending most of Friday exploring the Town of Rockport on the tip of Cape Ann and then catching some of Salem's 375th First Muster on Saturday prior to heading down to the Minute Man National Historic Park in Lexington and Concord to join in with hundreds of other people as they celebrated Patriots Day Weekend.  On Sunday I went back out to Rockport to explore Halibut Point State Park which I had missed on Friday and then today I swung back by the Old North Bridge in Concord to get some additional photos at the bridge and State Park Visitors Center before making the drive home in record heat.  Whew!

In between all of that, I was staying at the home of Walter and Juli, friends in Salem who are two of the most gracious folks ever, who provided me with a comfortable room, unlimited internet access, some of the best food that I ever eaten including a German dish made with pinkelwurst which was absolutely delicious, several adult beverages that made the visit even that much more enjoyable, and phenomenal company.  Really now, is it any wonder I love going to the North Shore??

Needless to say, I have lots and lots of pictures to cull through and history to research but I also have to go back to work tomorrow to start making up for the extra time I just took off. Rats! Ah well, all good things must come to an end, right?  In the meantime though, here are some images from this past weekend which was a lot of fun even if I am plum' wore out and am planning on an early bedtime tonight!  Maybe one or two of the pictures below will have you thinking about spending some time in Massachusetts soon yourself!

The bar in the Tavern at the Hawthorne Hotel with its new bar stools that are about as comfortable as you can get - the perfect place to sit and enjoy one of their Cocktails of the Week! 
My "official name tag" from Thursday evening's Press Preview at the PEM.  The young man who handed it to me really made my night when he said that he reads my blog and thinks it's wonderful.  Sweet! 
I took this shot from the windows in the East India Marine Hall at the PEM while waiting for the  press event to start and decided I quite liked the lighting. 
Friday found me in Rockport on a gorgeous day so I just had to snap a few images of Motif #1 like any good tourist would! 
This house in Rockport really caught my eye not just for the color but also for its architectural features,  I'd love to live in one just like it someday! 
Part of the parade heading onto the Common at Salem's 375th First Muster on Saturday morning.
Don't these two bikes look great?!?  Loved 'em! 
Later in the day I was in Lexington where I thought I had stepped onto the set of "The Patriot"! 
I know I'm an American but I have to admit, the British uniforms are so much cooler than the Colonials! 
Back out on Cape Ann I snapped this shot in Gloucester near Wharf #7 and the Gloucester House where I had lunch - fried shrimp to be exact and it was quite good! 
A visitor to Halibut Point State Park apparently decided that the sign didn't apply to him but I guess I can't fault him for wanting to sit and enjoy the gorgeous view of the Atlantic. 
There's just something about a lone seagull circling through the sky.
This is an old granite quarry at Halibut Point State Park and it was quite beautiful and amazing, too. 
Back in Concord on Monday I took a quick shot of the Old North Bridge and  some of its visitors.
This chandelier is inside the National Park Visitors Center at the Old North Bridge.
And finally, just a reminder that even though it was over 95 degrees today, it's still Spring and some of the plants are just starting to bud - honest! 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Yesterday's Distracted Wanderings

A Thread City Crossing Frog in Willimantic

I hopped in the car and took a drive over to the Town of Windham yesterday - home of four giant frogs that sit on spools ...

The bus stop on Main Street in Willimantic

... and stood at the spot where I climbed on a bus to head off to Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base almost 36 years ago ...

The Savings Institute clock on Main Street in Willimantic

... which is on Main Street in Willimantic and just down the road from this very
colorful clock ... 

A Cupcake For Later entrance

... which is across the street from this awesome new cupcakery where I wandered in to meet the owners and bring home some cupcakey goodness.
You can read all about the sweet new business at Wandering Over to Windham In Search of "A Cupcake For Later" on Main Street. 
Good thing they weren't there back in 1976, I might have been late getting on that bus! 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Five on Friday - The Dan Seals Version

Reaching into the past a bit for Travis' Five on Friday  meme this week, I thought I'd feature five songs from a man whose voice I always liked regardless of whether he was singing as the "England Dan" half of the soft rock duo England Dan and John Ford Coley who were around from 1976 to 1980 or as himself when he launched a solo career in country music that netted him eleven Number One singles on the country charts.  Not a bad accomplishment for a guy who always sounded more soft rock than he did country in my own humble opinion!

Sadly, Dan Seals contracted Mantle Cell Lymphoma which is one of the rarest of the non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas and died at the age of 61 following radiation treatments and a stem cell transplant. Though his time here on earth ended much too soon, Dan left behind some great music for people to continue to enjoy and I hope you'll do just that with the five songs below!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

This, That, and The Other Thing

Part of the Colonial Cemetery also known as The Old Burying Ground

I seem to not be doing a very good job of managing my time once again so I've been very discombobulated when it comes to writing posts on a regular basis.  Not that I worry about it very much like I used to back in the "heyday of blogging" when I darn near panicked if I didn't have a new post up every day. As much as I miss the old days of blogging and getting a good number of comments on a post, I sure don't miss that feeling of pressure and am now quite comfortable if I only get a new post up a couple of times a week and if I only get a few comments here and there well, that's okay also as I know that people lead busy lives.

Speaking of busy lives, this upcoming weekend is going to be a very busy one for me. I should probably point out that by "weekend" I mean batch of days off as I don't have normal weekends like other people but I do have regularly scheduled days off.  After tomorrow's 16-hour shift I'm off for four days but Wednesday is going to be busy with a memorial mass for a friend's father followed by a visit with my mom before I come home to a lot of last minute stuff before I drive both girls up to the Boston area on Thursday where they will be going for Anime Boston.  Jamie is going with friends from Franklin, Massachusetts so I'll drop her off first and then continue to take Amanda and a friend or two of hers to Quincy where they will meet up with more friends before heading into Boston on Friday. Truthfully I will be quite glad when this "con" is over as all of the preparations that both girls have been doing have been driving me nuts.  Amanda is going to be selling things in Artist Alley so send good thoughts her way that her drawings and charms and other things are a hit!

Hopefully I'll get some stuff done around the house on Friday as Saturday I'll be heading to a small town north of here to do the photography at the wedding of a co-worker.  My fingers are crossed for good weather as we're hoping to do pictures outside in a park in between the wedding service and the reception.  This is only going to be my second full wedding so I sure hope I do a good job, the thought of messing up someone's pictures on their special day makes me a bit nervous!   Afterward I'm sure I'll come home and try to do some photo-editing before I call it a day and get some sleep before Easter Sunday's 16-hour shift.

After working my way through Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday I've got a couple days to fall back and regroup before I head north on Friday for Salem where I'l l be spending the weekend at a friend's house and doing a lot of running around in the Lexington/Concord area.  Monday is Patriot's Day in Massachusetts when they celebrate the first battle of the American Revolution - which was actually April 19th but you know how the government loves to turn things into three-day weekends! - and they do their celebrations up big.  I'll be visiting Concord and Lexington both to try to get some pictures of the various activities and re-enactments that will be going on.  In between I'm looking forward to visiting with Walt and Juli again as well as meeting up with Rhonda whom I met when we were both judges at the Hawthorne Hotel Halloween Ball as she'll be up from New Jersey that weekend, too.

And in between all that I'm working on a post for The Distracted Wanderer about some of the local history here in Norwich for which I went out and took a lot of pictures last week.  The picture at the top of this post was part of that photo jaunt and is from the Colonial Cemetery and Old Burying Ground.  I shot it really quick as I was walking past to get to a historic home that I wanted to take some photos of but I liked the way it came out so thought I'd share it here. And I'm sure that me posting a picture of an old cemetery comes as no surprise to anyone, right?

So, that's my upcoming schedule - how are things looking in your part of the world?