Published: August 19th 2012August 19th 2012
A Foggy Day at the Park
My first "look" at the Long Island Sound.
May 9—On my first day in Connecticut I got my first look at Long Island Sound in Sherwood Islands State Park. It turned out to be a very foggy day which made for some interesting photos around the park. There were several juniper trees twisted into odd shapes, no doubt from the wind from the Sound. There was no wind this day, however.
The park is the oldest of Connecticut's state parks. In recent years local citizens added a 9-11 memorial. There is a bench looking out over the Sound and, most days, see the skyline of Manhattan. Before 2001, a visitor could see the Twin Towers. Those in the park on September 11 and for several days afterward could see the smoke where the towers used to be. I sat on the bench, meditated and took pictures of the fog. Naturally I was keenly disappointed at the lack of view, nevertheless, the park itself was beautiful and peaceful.
May 10—I continued to follow the coast line of Connecticut, usually on US 1. My next stop was the Harkness Memorial State Park. This park is also located on the Sound with some great views. Today it was sunny and
Living Memorial of 9/11
On a clear day one can see the skyline of Manhattan and the missing Twin Towers. Unfortunately, this was my view the day I was there!
clear, but the park is too far away from Manhattan to have a skyline view. What is in the park, however, is a beautiful mansion named Elioa, after the island home of the Greek God of Winds. The stone mansion was built in 1906 and has 42 rooms. Unfortunately, it was too early in the season to be open for public visits while I was there, so I didn't get to see the inside. Of course, not much was blooming in the gardens either. Still, it was a beautiful day and I loved walking around the immense grounds and seeing the water.
This park is also dog friendly and the articles about it said many people do bring their dogs to romp on the huge estate ground. I saw an older couple with two gorgeous, blue-eyed malamutes that my niece Danette would have flipped over. I thought of you, Danette, as I snapped some pics and have included one just for you.
May 11—Today I hit one of the places on “My List”. I have long been fascinated by the Mystic River area of Connecticut. I have read so many books (usually romance novels—no--not those
kind!) that were
Block Island Sound
The Sound from Harkness State Park (This time on a sunny day!
set in this area. I like the name, too. It plays with my imagination because I like mystery, mystical things and mystique in general. Luckily, I found a place to park in the town of Mystic and was able to walk downtown in the very narrow, hilly streets.
Mystic lived up to my expectations, in spite of all the construction on the main street. I fell in love with this old seaport/fishing town. With many renovations and new looking buildings, it still manages to retain its old world charm. They still use what I would say is an old-fashioned draw bridge that works on balanced weights. Two, huge, concrete blocks made the weights. The road across the bridge is very narrow, but still had a space for walking. There was a lot of construction there, so I don't know if the road will be widened and the drawbridge eliminated or not. I hope not!! Since I had parked on the other side of the Mystic River from the historic part of town, I walked across the bridge and took some pictures in the view holes cut into the construction fence. Nice thinking from whoever thought to do that. Made
This 42 room mansion belongs to the state of Connecticut now and is part of a state park.
a lovely picture opportunity!
I stopped in the Drawbridge Cafe and Ice Cream shop and had an ice cream cone as I watched the people go by—many on foot and bicycles as well as in cars. The shop had a colorful mural of Mystic on the wall. I continued to explore on the east side of the river, seeing some interesting stores and got to see the drawbridge work.
I left the mystique of Mystic and continued along the coast-line of Mytic county, admiring the beautiful summer homes along the way. In Pawtucket I parked at a marina and walked around the town. There are some huge mansions there with spectacular views of the Sound (now called the Block Island Sound). I do believe there are some people in this world who have money!!! At least their houses indicated they do. I like those in the colonial style of architecture and the Victorian-era houses. They must cost like crazy to maintain, however. I took lots of pictures of these gorgeous places along with a neighborhood Episcopal Church that I liked.
Time tended to fly for me and I knew I had to move on. Tomorrow I need
Harkness Park, CN
I liked this scene of a woman walking her dog on the vast expanse of the grounds of this park
to be in North Scituate for my next NOMADS project. I got back on the main highway again and entered Rhode Island and the coastal city of Westerly, where my Tom-tom GPS got lost. I managed to drive through downtown Westerly at least three time while trying to get on Hwy 1A to get to a lighthouse. When I finally found it, the street was so narrow and there was so much beach traffic it took me awhile to get turned around to get back on the main road. Quite an adventure!
A look at the map of Rhode Island surprised me. Not only is it a small state, it is almost half water made up mostly by Narragansett Bay. There is a lot of shoreline to explore in that state! With my time going, however, I took the freeway on up to East Greenwich. I stopped at a RV store there to see about getting a new roof access ladder. I searched the web and learned about a universal ladder that is supposed to fit any RV. The RV shop owner told me, however, that Coachmen had made their own ladders for their vehicles and that a generic
A Pair of Malamutes
These beautiful dogs were enjoying their outing at Harkness State Park in Connecticut
ladder wouldn't fit my RV. It figures.
May 12-31---I arrived at Camp Aldersgate in North Scituate, RI, just outside of Providence, ready for my next NOMADS project. There were seven of us to work, two couples and three singles. I knew Alan Brown, having worked with him in Florida, but the others were new friends to make.
The camp was rustic, as most camps are. We worked on some cabins which sat in a semi-circle around a small lake. There were geese everywhere, including one family with four little ones. I had fun watching them. Father goose was very protective and really made a lot of noise if anyone got too close. It made for some interesting times when they were walking the same road we used! In addition to the geese, there was a group of five turkeys who made an appearance each morning and evening, usually walking in single file across the grounds.
I had plenty of photo opps with the birds and flowers. I saw my first lady-slipper; a shy wild flower that usually hides in deep woods. There were also some beautiful cultivated flowers in yards just down the road from the camp,
A hole in a construction fence provided this photo in Mystic, CN
including some of the prettiest clematis I have ever seen. The camp had a splendid orange bush that was so bright I named it the burning bush. I have no idea what kind of bush it was. On evening walks I caught the sun setting on the red barns of a farm next door. We drove past that barn whenever we went to town and there was one goat that was almost always in the doorway, so I also captured him with the camera.
The NOMADS job at the camp was to upgrade some of the cabins by putting in bathrooms, including some which were handicapped accessible. This involved a lot of time waiting for the hired plumber to show up and do his work before we could do ours. Then we put in cement for floors, framed walls, lowered ceilings, hung sheet rock, taped, mudded and sanded. I spent the majority of my time putting up tongue-in-groove knotty pine on the walls. I learned how to use a table saw to “rip” boards to the right width and a miter saw to cut them to the correct angles. I also learned to measure and cut holes in the
Wall Mural of Mystic
This mural was painted on the wall of the Drawbridge Ice Cream Shop
boards for the plumbing pipes to fit through. I was proud that I got the holes right the first time! I learned a lot and was tickled. I do like this work!
On weekends we explored the area and there was a lot to choose from. Alan and I went to a farmers market, which turned out to be very small. It didn't take long to go through it, so we decided to sit and watch some youngsters play softball. They looked like they were only five or six and were just learning how to play. It was so entertaining. The adults working with them were super patient. The pitcher kept throwing balls to the batters until they got a “hit”. Sometimes a batter had to be directed which direction to run! What fun everybody had!
On another week-end some of us went to an art and craft fair. I don't think any of us bought anything, but enjoyed the looking. I got a picture of one winsome little girl who looked so cute with her face painted.
One of the big area events during the time we were there was the Water and Fire Show in
Notice the huge concrete blocks used as counter-weights.
Providence. I couldn't tell you the name of the river that flows through downtown, but the town citizens have put floating bonfire containers all along the river. One weekend a month in the summer they have quite a ceremony lighting the fires. People throng the river-walk strolling up and down seeing the bonfires with different backdrops. Some of us of the team got there early and negotiated a price for a gondola ride before the fires were lit. We got to see the downtown area from the water and get a bit of history about it. The gondoliers were all dressed in typical Venetian outfits and gave us Italian names. Our gondolier also sang for us when we requested it—quite a good voice. It turned out he was a local school teacher moonlighting the job, which he, said he really enjoyed. It was quite different from teaching!!
We spent all evening at the Water and Fire Show, enjoying lovely weather and people watching. Some were dressed very formally, while others very casual. The gondolas did a brisk business! All in all, I was impressed with this very unusual event.
In no time at all the project time was
I had the chance to see the drawbridge work while on the other side of the river.
up and it was time to say good-bye to more new friends. We did manage to complete one cabin and get some work done on a second one. The rest will have to be finished by more volunteers. Bootsie--I did notice that Marty took a picture on another cat, thank you very much! Humph!
There are more photos below