Sunday, October 31, 2010

Autumn's Leaves

John Everett Mallais 1885

Happy Halloween

Be safe wherever you are. I am so glad the church kids did their parties and trunk or treating last last night. May every parent be nearby when little ones go out. I am always so glad when it is over for another year. Loving the Fall, not so much this Holiday. Sorry to be a party pooper.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween: By Julia (Gramma's Literary Society

originally posted on her mom's blog last year

The Halloween Poem

'Little kids looking for ghosts.
Witches flying over posts.
There is a skeleton walking
while other kids are screaming and talking.
There is a jack-o-lantern floating
while detectives are thinking and noting.'

Seriously, how do our children turn out so much more brilliant than we were at their age? She wrote this on her own, this morning, just for fun--not at school or with any prompting. I've never written a spontaneous poem in my life! She is 9." Jen

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Maine=One Gorgeous, Calming Place

When we left on our week long trip to the other five New England States we didn't have a lot of preconceived notions about Maine. About all we knew was that Maine is mostly wilderness area with nearly all of the settlements along the Eastern coast line. We knew there was something going on with mooses, meese, or whatever they are called, we knew the Lobster was king, and there are lots of lighthouses. (OK, I had to look it is moose as in sheep and deer.)
We knew that the Senior George Bushes have a summer home in Kennebunkport, Portland is the largest city, and that if you want the best lobster in the state you should go to Barnacles Billy's in Ogunquit, according to a most reliable source...Lorelei Gilmore. Yes, I know you probably shouldn't rely on a TV series to get your referrals but, have you ever tried planning a trip to six states? You take it where you can get it at a certain point. Lorelei has never let me down, so what the heck!

That coupled with the amazing Visitors' Center that we found in Kittery, just over the border and pictured above, was all we needed. They had pamphlets on everything imaginable to do in Maine.

We took the back roads to Portland and along the way there were so many delightful shops. Jim said, "OK , anyone can "pull the chain on the bus" whenever they see something and would like to stop. Laura and I jumped on that one, much to the chagrin of the boys who HATE shopping. But look at the fun place they could hang out while they waiting the 15 minutes for us.

They kept looking for a Mc Donald's so they could
pull the chain for their favorite treat,
a soft serve ice cream cone.
Finally they found one!

This was the first of the lovely nurseries...
I had to pull the chain for a photo or two.

We absolutely fell in love with Ogunquit
and really enjoyed Perkin's Cove
where we were led by Lorelei
to find Billy's on the harbor there.
They have a spectacular little harbor
indeed, and a lot more!*

I love these boys,
they can always find something to
them interested and occupied.

They had a great time checking
out all the stuff with Grampa.

They loved seeing the draw bridge in action!

Across the harbor and draw bridge you
can see this~Lovely homes.*

The little village of shops in Perkin's Cove

Grampa, Grampa......

There is this legend that Grampa once held, our son, Christopher over the railing of the Golden Gate Bridge by his belt loop when he was a kid. Ross is hanging on for dear life after the way that fabricated story has been embellished over the years! There is a little too much glee on his Grampa's face, don't ya think?

Spencer's bird!

The guys had a great time at the beach on the other side of Perkins Cove which was basically just across the street. The above photo of the seagull was taken by Spencer. Love it, Spence!

Little boys and rocks equate to hours
of endless rock
This is something they do everywhere
they can
find water and rocks. ??

I wonder how much the beaches of New England
will have receded by the time they move on??
I think a good portion of it in RI
is in their rock collection at home.
(Hopefully to be recycled at some point
for the next boys who come along!)

This was one beautiful afternoon
in one amazing place.
The Ocean was so blue!
There was a cliff walk around the cove.

Before we got to Portland for the night,
we wanted to stop
at none other than...Barnacle Billy's!*
As I had mentioned, this is how we found
Perkin's Cove in the first place.


Now back to the Gilmore's.
The above lovely couple is Luke and Lorelei. They were working on falling in love for seven years, surmounting obstacle after obstacle. Just when things were about to look very promising for them...the series ended its run, leaving a billion fans going...what the...? That crazy production company left the whole thing up to our imaginations. Go figure!

Well, I have decided, being an incurable romantic, that they eventually got married and honeymooned along the coast of Maine, stopping at Barnacle Billy's for lobster. After all she was the one recommending it, saying it was the best!

So very picturesque, isn't it?*

So when we get there we discover that on each side of this lovely lawn is a Barnacle Billy's. On the left of the grassy area is a very casual one, to the right is the white table cloth one. Same company, just different venues. So knowing Luke and Lorelei, who spent most of their seven years in Luke's Diner, we are pretty sure they picked the more casual we did too!

This is the patio between the two and
the outside of the fancy one.*

So here is the down home side where we went.

No tablecloth, no plates, no glass....just lobster!

Of course you know I am not nearly as goofy as I sound, but it was fun to think of Luke and Lorelei while we traveled in New England. OK, maybe a little goofier than you thought or just very easily choose! Anyway, the lobster was good but I have to admit I have a hard time getting past that carcass. I tried really hard not to let the phrase, "You are what you eat" pass through my mind.

I found this cute mosaic on flickr that had permission to share it, so I am. I have been waiting for Laura to send me the photos off her camera for this part of the trip but she has been so busy. So the photos with the * have been borrowed temporarily until ours arrive.

The mosaic is so fun and I got a kick out of the last one in the southeast corner...All the wires are above ground in New England due to freezing ground during the winter. They are a bit of an eyesore while trying to get decent photos.

So that is a wrap for this day. Thought I'd never get it done with a power outage today and then connectivity problems. However, when all that was happening I was with Jim at AT&T getting an iPhone. I didn't want to go there but the day of the dinosaur is over. I swore I wouldn't get one but in a moment of weakness, I caved. Honestly, the things we do to stay connected to our family. They cost us a bloomin' fortune, but they are worth it. If they like texting, well then, I'll commit.

So then, tomorrow Portland, Maine in all its splendor. Stay tuned for the most photographed lighthouse in the world. Thanks to all of you for your wonderful responses to the trip posts. I am so glad you are enjoying them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Around Newport Today

Flo's Clam Shack~
Unfortunately closed the day
we planned to eat here.

Newport today is teaming with things to do that hold some interest for just about everyone. Aside from the Newport Mansions and the Cliff Walk there are numerous lovely beaches, cabins on the beach you can rent, streets and streets of great shopping in little shops with all kinds of specialties, amazing restaurants, gourmet ice cream shops, quaint Inns, modern hotels, historic neighborhoods dating back to the 1600s, and seafood everywhere from Flo's Clam Shack to The Barking Crab.

If you miss The Barking Crab here
there is one in Boston too!
Fisherman's Platter~
comes highly recommended
By me!

We ate lunch here one day and had dinner at a great Thai place one evening with Laura and Robert. Every weekend we were here there was at least one cruise ship in the harbor. There is plenty to keep you busy and entertained and even educated. We saw a lot of prestigious universities on this trip and one of our favorites was a little private, Catholic University called Salve Regina.

It is right in downtown Newport and was at one time one of the mansions. It was given to the Catholic church in 1947 by the grandson of one of the builders of the mansion on the cliffs. It is just up Bellevue Ave from The Breakers and really beautiful.

Excellent grades and references, $50.00 application fee, a place to live, money for food and other expenses and about $33,000 per year for tuition may get you in. The students seemed to be loving it. A load off for the parents, no doubt, who are footing the bill.

An occupied little mansion with
real people residing herein.

Shoppe fronts in the Brick Market area

Laura's nickname is Lu Lu so she needed
her picture taken here for sure!

How to make a mom the happiest...
Cuddling up to her Beautiful girl and
lovely flowers in her favorite color.

An exceedingly cute 'work a day' house!
We could live here unless the little
mansion above should become available!

Newport Harbor and Lighthouse

Newport is just a really fun resort town. We enjoyed our time there and Laura and I had fun shopping in a little store called Bedazzled. Aquidneck Island is quite the place to visit. And if you are not a seafood fan, go anyway, there are lot of other choices. If you are a fan, it doesn't get any better than this to quote my husband. It is a little touristy in the Brick Market area but if you actually are a tourist...what's not to love? And if you love photography, New England is pure heaven! (Until you get home and have to sort through 1,000 digital pics!)

Do note: Newport pretty much shuts down after Halloween until spring. The best time to go? Autumn, hands down!

A Simple Woman's Daybook~October 27, 2010

To join in focusing on the simple things and pleasures of your daily life or to read other people's entries, you can click here.

So, For Today...Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Outside my window...It is black, the new moon is over and I have insomnia. It is 1:20 in the morning. So I thought I might as well do some work here as just lie in bed tossing and turning. I don't do this often but it is always when I go to bed a little earlier than usual. I went to bed to read, fell asleep and then woke up when Jim came to bed. I had just enough of a nap to not be sleepy anymore. Arrgh!

I am thinking...about someone that is getting old, needs help and refuses to accept it. Why do people do that? It is a blessing to let someone else serve you. When your pride gets in the way, or your fear you deprive the server of their blessings also. In the case of this person I think it is a big fear of losing independence. That time in life must be very difficult.

I am thankful for...our health and strength and pray we can use it well to serve others.

From the learning room...the more you learn the more you realize how much there is to learn. Never stop learning and changing and growing.

I am reading...The Help still. I read about two sentences and fall asleep. It is not the book, it is me. Horizontal and book = sleepyhead. I should try it right now actually.

I am wondering...why our bed will feel so warm and cozy and heavenly at 6:00 am when I need to get up?

I am hearing...Celine Dion...Have You Ever Been In Love? Ummm...yes!

Today if I could change one thing...the removal of all pesticides and other poisons in our food and our environment.

I am quoting..."An authentic life is made up of recognizing beautiful moments in an imperfect world." Melissa Michaels

I am look for a new stock pot this week as ours is broken and don't faint but I have talked Jim into letting me buy him a new suit. His is hanging on him by a is way past time. Getting him into a store is like pushing a donkey up a mountain. Wish me luck!

I am thinner self...Oh wait...was there ever such a being?

One of my guilty pleasures....spending time with my beloved girlfriends.
The way we laugh and play is so much fun. All of you are a tremendous blessing in my life.

Pet Peeves...
phone trees.

One of my favorite things...a place for everything and everything in its place.

An enjoyable movie I have watched lately...Roan Inish, an Irish Fable.

I am curious we are ever going to come o
ut of this economic disaster in the world?

A few plans for the rest of the week...Visiting Teaching, haircut, skipping Halloween, getting some plans together for the holidays, thinking about having Thanksgiving here if we can think of someone who needs a place to go to dinner, I'll cook. Any takers? I need to get in touch with my friend, Michelle in Canada, keep blogging about New England until I am done. It may be Thanksgiving at the rate I am getting to it. Empty my pots and winterize the yard a little.

Here is a photo and thought I am sharing with you....

Hazie all dressed up as a butterfly for a Halloween party. This photo reminds me of a quote I saw under the picture of a little sleeping angel once. It said, "When you have wings, who needs legs?" The only thing I like about Halloween is the fun the grandies have. And the creativity of their mothers.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Gilded Age In Newport

The Great Hall in the Breakers Mansion.
The Vanderbilt's felt it a suitable place
to greet their guests in their "summer" home.
Phot0 book published by the Newport Mansion Preservation Society of Newport County

Newport, Rhode Island has been a resort destination in our country since the Gilded Age. The Gilded Age was post civil war and ran wild until 1914 approximately.

"The Gilded Age: (1865 to 1914) was a rich and complex period in American culture, which played a critical role in shaping the modern world we live in now. Vast industrial fortunes, monumental architecture, and the emergence of the United States as a world power mark the era.

The term "Gilded Age" was coined by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner in their 1873 book, The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today. The name refers to the process of gilding and is meant to make fun of ostentatious display." We found this quite ironic after visiting Mark Twain's home in Hartford, Connecticut, just a mere 19,000 square feet. Not exactly what I would call a humble home!

"Newport was the summer social capital of the nation during this time. The families who built summer houses in this coastal city were leaders in national life, in great part driving American art, architecture, diplomacy, and business. Newport’s houses reflect the evolution of the country’s architecture and the social story of the people who designed, built, lived in, and maintained these buildings."

The Breakers is considered to be the most impressive of all the mansions on the cliffs. There are 10 mansions that are owned in trust by The Preservation Society of Newport County and are open to be toured by the public. We spent most of one afternoon in The Breakers so to tour all of them would take several days. We felt like seeing one was enough for us to get the idea of what life was like for these wealthy people.

The Breakers was built to replace a home of the Vanderbilt's that burnt down. The original home was much smaller; this one was built in less than two years and completed in 1895. It was built by Richard Morris Hunt, a world renowned architect of the day, patterned after the Renaissance palaces of Turin and Genoa. Hundreds of workers labored on this home and many rooms were completed in Europe and disassembled and then brought to America. It became the fashion of the day to employ Mr. Hunt and give him free reign to build something that would be the most magnificent on the cliffs. It was all about keeping up with the Jones, or in this case the Vanderbilts, who owned more than one mansion here. The Vanderbilt's fortune was made in the railway business on the East Coast back in the day.

They do not allow photography in the mansions so we purchased this booklet and rephotographed their pictures to try and give you an idea of what it was like. We would have preferred taking our own photos but they preferred us buying theirs, are theirs and ours kind of mixed together for this post. You'll be able to tell whose are whose. Theirs do give the advantage of a wide angle lens which is needed in their immense rooms.

The gate to the Breakers...their photo

The same gate...our photo

The largest dining room of all the Newport Mansions.
They said the 40 most wealthy people
of the world at that time dined in this room.

The grounds behind the mansion looking out to the sea.

A vaulted alcove off the Great Hall
frames the carved
fireplace in a
"small" section of the entryway.

The Library

The Music Room

The Morning Room was used for
informal daytime gatherings.

The little girl in the portrait above the bed is
Gertrude Vanderbilt.
Her bedroom was considered
to be very modest and scaled down
from the public places in the house.

The Kitchen. I love the copper!
40 staff members were busy in this part of the house
when company was expected for dinner.

We enjoyed visiting this house/museum of life in those days and it really made you stop and wonder..."What were they thinking?" It was almost unbelievable, even when you saw it with your own two eyes. I would not want to come to this area and not see the mansions, but one was enough. The opulence did not produce any coziness or a warm welcome or any sense of the home belonging to a real family. But as far as impressions go, I am sure they made a big one.

We learned that John and Jacqueline Kennedy dined here in the Great Hall right around the time of their engagement. It was customary to set up tables in the entry when they were having large gatherings. They were actually married in Newport as well.

All along the Cliffs one can walk and gaze at the sea or the mansions.

In the center of the back of the house is an
open air patio on the 2nd floor called a loggia.
It has a painted ceiling mimicking a great
awning and looks out to the sea.
Our photo

In this modern day time period
they even let the riffraff
into the loggia for the price of admission!

It is customary to feel under dressed
and under coiffed on such an occasion!

And to want to reduce the size of your photograph
to the size of a postage stamp, were it in keeping
with the design of the rest of the page.

Tata for now!