Posts tagged Lighthouse

Gilbert Stuart Birthplace, Labor Day

The Gilbert Stuart Birthplace & Museum in Saunderstown, RI is a little gem. Stuart was the portrait artist of the Founding Fathers – you’ve probably got his George Washington portrait in your wallet right now.


Stuart was born in this little home in 1755, above the snuff mill, and lived here only until age 6 when the family moved to Newport. His talent was clear in his teens, and he went to Scotland to study, then back to the US, then to England. He was a very popular portrait painter, but always spent more than he earned. He copied his Washington portrait over and over, and sold each for $100 – in 1789 and beyond, but died in debt and was buried in an unmarked’ grave on Boston Common. Stuart painted the first 6 US presidents, and hundreds of others of the era; the paintings hang in the MFA, the Met in NYC, the National Gallery of Art in DC, and London’s National Portrait Gallery.

So the birthplace is more a walk through colonial life than a museum of Stuart’s art.

There’s the gristmill, grinding corn meal:

Here’s a millstone:

IMG_1731They dammed the stream to control the flow through the waterwheel, and build a herring ladder to help the fish get back home.

The snuff mill was in the basement of the family’s red house.


There’s a nice walk around the pond and through the woods to the nearby lake. Plus a couple of old cemeteries. Here’s the millpond:


This was a calling stone in the stream:


Trail and old stone wall:

First cemetery:


There’s also a museum on the grounds, with collection of snuff boxes:


The art gallery on site current has an exhibit of paintings by Edward Mitchell Bannister, a black Canadian American painter of the 1800s. Beautiful work. His “Under the Oaks” won the bronze medal at the the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial, but when he came forward to accept his prize there was outrage – the winner was black.:


Bannister’s wife Christiana worked as a hairdresser and served as president of the Colored Ladies Relief Society which raised funds to care for the Civil War’s 54th Regiment’s widows and orphans:IMG_1755

A 20 minute drive from the Gilbert Stuart site is Narraganset and Point Judith, RI:


Lunch view:IMG_1758IMG_1759IMG_1760IMG_1761IMG_1762IMG_1763IMG_1764

Scuba diver:IMG_1765


Leave a comment »

New Gloucester & 2 Lights State Park, ME 7/29/17

New Gloucester, ME is the site of Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, the last active Shaker community, with 2 elderly Shakers remaining. We visited friends with a summer cottage on the lake, but didn’t actually tour the Village.

Took a short hike into the woods around the lake:

Sabbathday Lake:

Then headed to Bates College in nearby Lewiston for a dance performance, followed by drinks and snacks at restaurant overlooking the Androscoggin River. Nice little riverfront park has a bandstand with this decor:

Next morning, we headed home via Cape Elizabeth to check out Two Lights State Park. The park is named for two nearby lighthouses, which you can’t actually see from the park. But you hike along the rocky Maine coast, and climb down to the crashing waves. There’s a playground:

The park was part of the country’s WWII coastal defense system with bunkers and this cement observation tower:

Trails through woods lead to the rocky headlands overlooking Casco Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

You can climb down the rocks to get pretty close to tidal pools and the waves. Folks do some fishing there too.

There are lots of benches, and picnic tables and grills, tucked into secluded alcoves off the trails. Dinner with a view:

We left the park to drive down Two Lights Road to actually see a lighthouse, and the sandy beach below it:


Leave a comment »

Camp Harbor View on Long Island in Boston Harbor

I got to tour Camp Harbor View (CHV), operated by Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, and funded by the generosity of the Camp Harbor View Foundation.  Located on Long Island in Boston Harbor, CHV serves a total of 900 Boston tweens – ages 11-14 – during two 4-week sessions every summer – for $5.

Camp Harbor View

Camp Harbor View

How did CHV get started?  In 2007, former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Boston businessman Jack Connors, founder of the Boston advertising agency Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopoulos (now just Hill Holliday), brainstormed ways to address the growing youth violence in Boston, especially during the summer. Menino suggested that an organized daily structured program would help. Jack remembered visiting Long Island as a kid. He knew that the site, a former military base now owned by the City of Boston, had sat unused for years. He and Mayor Menino visited the island one day and saw the potential for something great. Camp Harbor View was born. Suffolk Construction built most of the camp facilities in just 109 days. The Camp Harbor View Foundation then formed a partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston to help develop curriculum and operate the camp.

When the ancient and decrepit Long Island Bridge was condemned and torn down in 2015, the challenge of getting over 500 campers/staff plus equipment, supplies, food to the island every day seemed daunting. Enter Bay State Cruise Company’s Provincetown II, which ferries everyone to the island morning and afternoon.

Took the lovely walk to board the ship, and enjoyed sunrise through the decrepit Northern Avenue bridge, passed the Moakley Courthouse:


Adams’ courthouse quote

Institute for Contemporary Art, and marveled at the non-stop construction in an area that used to be nothing but parking lots and Pier 4 (doubleclick any photo for full-size):

School buses from all over the city bring the campers to the dock, and we all ride out through the harbor. The kids get breakfast –  today was french toast sticks, yogurt, pancakes, bagels, and fresh fruit salad – and dinner on the boat, and a hot lunch at camp.

Camp Harbor View’s core values are fun, respect, responsibility, character, courage and community. We saw all of that, and more, including Camp programming:

  1. Leadership Development – this is the staff/Leaders-in-Training wall where they earn puzzle pieces for meeting certain goals:


2. Knowledge Is Power – here’s a hands-on engineering project where kids had to figure out how to use straws, string, tape, and a cup to lift a bunch of stones:


3. Sports and Fitness – so many athletic fields, paddle-boarding, canoeing, sailing, high- and low-ropes courses, bike-riding:

4. The Arts – lots of arts & crafts projects in the pavilion. There’s also a music room, and amphitheater for performances:

5. Aquatics – While the island is surrounded by ocean, the shore is rocky with sharp shells under the water, and you can’t see the bottom. Kids were scared to learn to swim in the ocean, so CHV built a gorgeous pool – and more city kids are enjoying swimming and learning water safety:

In addition to these classic summer camp activities, each camper also experiences a wide variety of activities designed to build confidence, encourage creativity, broaden horizons, and help develop the leadership skills they need during school and life beyond.  CHV also hires about 70 15-year-old former campers as Leaders In Training – they get English and Math classes to reduce summer-learning loss, a stipend, job skills training, college prep, and a terrific sense of accomplishment. Many former campers spend teen years as LiTs and junior staff, and then come back as counselors during college summers.

Tribute to Mayor Menino:

IMG_8297What an impressive place and program. Oh, and the views are pretty sweet!

We climbed up the hill to see Boston Inner Harbor Light, and the ruins of the old fort:

We were ferried back to Boston on a fast motorboat. Shuttle boats make multiple trips a day to transport visitors, entertainment, and get sick kids out of the nurses’ infirmary and to home or other treatment. These decorative flags on the CHV dock actually scare birds away, solving the old bird-droppings problem!

Landed back in the city, and saw this sad little shoe floating by the commercial dock:


Not a bad day “at the office!”

Leave a comment »

Cruise to Boston Light – 6/8/16

Got the chance to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of Boston Light, the National Park Service’s Centennial, the 30th Anniversaries of Cruiseport Boston and Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, and the 20th Anniversary of the creation of the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park, on a cruise aboard the Provincetown II.

It’s amazing how the Boston waterfront has changed in that time. This is the site of the famed Pier 4 restaurant, being turned into condos (of course):


It wasn’t that long ago that the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) was a solitary building in a wasteland of parking lots. Now it’s dwarfed by all the new office and condo towers, restaurants, and even more construction cranes in a neighborhood with a fancy new name – Seaport district!


Here’s Legal Sea Foods’ Quality Control Center. Doubleclick photos for full size:

Castle Island, to which the British regiments evacuated following the Boston Massacre:


Long Island, with Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston‘s Camp Harbor View:

This beacon sits on what’s left of Nix’s Mate island, which was quarried for ships’ ballast during the 1600s. The corpse of executed pirate William Fly was chained and two other pirates buried here in the early 1700s. How’s that for a warning?! At low tide, there’s a little more land to see, but this is high water:

Deer Island’s waste treatment plant:


Approaching George’s Island, home to Fort Warren – fantastic tours:

Happy birthday, Boston Light!

Celebratory cruise photo:

Group photo

RJ portrait

Sights along the return trip to dock, including the other side of George’s Island and Fort Warren:

The Narrows:


More Deer Island – hadn’t noticed the wind turbines before:

Sailing the inner harbor:

Stopped to visit Sam Adams at the Boston Tea Party museum:


and checked out the art installation across the street:


“Oh, yeah, Boston, you’re my home.”




Leave a comment »

New Orleans Walking Tour 5-10-16

Back to New Orleans from Thibodaux, crossed the Mississippi again, checked in to the Hilton Riverfront.

Strolled from the Hilton along the riverwalk towards Jackson Square. First explored the Spanish fountain, a 1976 gift from Spain, with tiles denoting cities in Spain.

Next we saw the Holocaust Memorial, by Israeli artist Yaacov Agam. Nine panels merge into different images as you walk around the sculpture.

Continued enjoying the sights of Woldenberg Park along the river, a gift from philanthropist Malcolm Woldenberg. Enjoyed the sculptures, especially the Monument to Immigrants. The base is carved with the names of various immigrant aid groups of so many nationalities. New Orleans’ history made it a marvelous melting pot of French, Spanish, English, free black, Creole, Italian, Jewish, and so many more cultures. This immigrant statue honors the “courageous men and women who left their homeland seeking freedom, opportunity and a better life in a new land.” But the statue of Old Man River is more amusing than inspiring.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Walked around the French Quarter, getting a feel for the architecture and quirkiness, and caught a glimpse of Louis Armstrong Park. We grabbed lunch on a balcony, over Bourbon St.

Took the Friends of the Cabildo’s guided walking tour – learned so much about the different architectural styles, history, people, and the dreaded 4Fs – Fire, Flood, Fever, and the newcomer – the subterranean Formosa termite (which likely arrived in the wooden crates used to ship equipment back from the Pacific front in WWII).


This mural behind Cafe DuMonde shows the mix of cultures in the city.


Classic street scene – wish the car hadn’t passed just then!


Building on left has a balcony. The one on the right has a balcony above, and a gallery below. A gallery’s supports go all the way down to the sidewalk.


Those arches above the doors allow light into the half-story storage space between the 1st and 2nd floors.


Learned about voodoo as a religious practice, actually closely tied to Catholicism.


Construction technique – wooden framing, with brick and mortar filling in between the beams.


Back alley, separating the main home from the slave/work areas.


That odd sign post is a cell-phone tower – no unsightly towers hovering over the French Quarter.


Famed cornstalk fence – look what you can do with cast iron!

We then toured the 1850 House, part of the Louisiana State Museum collection, in one of the Pontalbo buildings that flank Jackson Square.

Walked over to Lafayette Square to check the lay of the land for the next night’s concert.

Ended the night at Preservation Hall for some great old-time brass (no photos  allowed during show, or the band will walk out).

IMG_7623 IMG_7624





Comments (1) »

Newport, RI – Saturday, 12/26/15

A quick trip to Newport, with its gluten-free gingerbread lighthouse, and a take-a-kiss-perform-a-good-deed chair.

Did an overnight at the America’s Cup Inn on Thames St. Great walk-to-most-everything location, plus buffet breakfast and high tea. Thames St can be noisy, though, as cars rattle over the cobblestones, and patrons hang out by the nearby pubs. If you’re busy enough during the day, you’ll sleep through it at night. I’d stay there again.

The Breakers! The largest and most opulent Gilded Age “cottage” in Newport. Cornelius Vanderbilt II told his architect Richard Morris Hunt to make it fireproof, make it fast,  and make it the best. Unlimited budget – 70 rooms, marble, mosaics, and rare woods from all over the world. The footprint of the house itself is one acre. Every room was decorated for Christmas – making it harder to see all the gold, crystal, platinum, and marble decorations. Stunning.

Back for Tea and strolling around downtown before settling on the Red Parrot for dinner.


Leave a comment »

To Fundy National Park, New Brunswick

Finally beginning to understand what they mean when they say the Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world. We drove from St. John to the Bay of Fundy scenic Parkway, via St. Martins where we found this lovely covered bridge at low tide. The boats are sitting on the sand next to the docks. When we drove back through as the tide was rising, the boats where floating at least 5 feet higher.


low tide




This area had piles of lobster traps and anchors, and a narrow outlet to the Bay. At low tide, it looks like boats are just piled on sand, with no way out of dry-dock, the docks sit high above the boats.

Scenic spots along that Fundy Trail Parkway. Sea caves, carved in the cliffs, visible only at low tide.

A suspension bridge over the Salmon River,

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

and a cable stair/ladder to view Fuller Falls.

Finally, we reach Alma, the tiny town just outside the National Park, at high tide.

view towards dock

view towards dock

view north

view north

Here are those same views at low tide:


view towards dock



view north

Since it was foggy, we decided to sight-see by car instead of hiking. Headed north and around the bay to see the lighthouse at Cape Enrage. Lucked out to get there for the few minutes that they allowed visitors onto the lighthouse – the foghorn is automated, based on fog-sensors, and the blasts at 160 decibels can damage eardrums. Foggy, but no foghorn. They closed it again right after we climbed down.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Finally back to Alma, for dinner and a walk on the bay’s floor. At low tide, you can walk out almost a mile on bay floor before reaching the water. doubleclick any photo to enlarge.


Leave a comment »