Sunday, July 17, 2016

Boston Light

A couple months ago I read that Boston Light was going to be open for tours again after being closed for renovations for a couple of years. I immediately bought tickets.

There are a lot of islands, shoals and bars in Boston Harbor and it was treacherous to navigate. There were many shipwrecks in the 17th and 18th centuries. The colonists first built a lighthouse on three-acre Little Brewster Island, which marks the turn into the narrow safe channel to Boston, in 1716 (this is the 300th anniversary). The tower was rebuilt in 1783 and that's the tower that stands today.

There were tons of staff on the island. It is the only light house in the US that still has a paid keeper, and her main job is as tour hostess. There were also several National Park rangers and Coast Guard Auxiliary serving as guides. Several of the oldest artifacts owned by the Coast Guard are in the tiny museum room at the base of the lighthouse.

We had brought a picnic but we were so busy visiting the sites on the tiny island (tide pools, cistern house, bell, boathouse and of course climbing the lighthouse itself) that we never had time to eat! There was a very nice breeze so it was quite comfortable.

The girls were very reluctant to go, of course. And yet they had a wonderful time.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Annie Jr.

This weekend was the Roosevelt school play, in the works since December. Charlotte was a member of the stage crew, and Carol spent many hours the past month or so designing and painting all of the sets.

There were three performances of the play. It was outstanding. And Carol, deservedly, received much praise for her work.

Only one more year at the Roosevelt for us. Then we'll have two middle schoolers for a year!

As usual, click on the photo above to see more.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Long Hill

Back in mid-June of 2013, which would have been a week before I began cancer treatment, we visited Long Hill. It's a Trustees of Reservations property - they manage many of our favorite outdoor places in Massachusetts. Today we were back in that neck of the woods so we returned.

It's a former private estate and has lovely, peaceful gardens. This visit a whole different set of plants were in bloom, especially the Forget-me-nots and the peonies.

I've put it on my calendar to make regular visits through the summer so we can see different blooms each time.

Even our grumpy almost-teenager enjoyed the visit.

If you want to see photos from our previous visit, they are here. It was Father's Day 2013.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Martha's Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard

Remember me? I used to blog here once in a while. Man, It's been a long time! Life has been busy.

My employer is the leading maker of drugs for Multiple Sclerosis, so it's a big sponsor of the Bike MS rides. I'm doing three this year, with the first being the 60-mile "Ride the Vineyard" on Martha's Vineyard yesterday.

We've been living in New England for seven years now but we had never made it to Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket. We were excited for our first visit.

A year ago at the school auction, Carol went with other moms. It was Casino Night. For some reason, as other people left they gave her their remaining chips and she ended up with a large number. She was able to choose any silent auction item she wanted and she chose a two night stay at the Bayside Resort on Cape Cod. We decided to use that stay for this weekend, and Carol and the girls came over to Martha's Vineyard to meet me after my ride and see the island.

Unfortunately I misunderstood the ferry routes and schedules and our hotel was actually 30 miles from the proper ferry landing in Woods Hole. Oh well, Carol was generous enough to get up with me at 5:35 AM and drive me to the 7:00 ferry, then go back and have breakfast with the girls and take a noon ferry.

My ride was great. The first half, "up island" (the western end) was hilly and tiring early in the season, but the second half, though windy, was flat and pleasant. I had a great tour of the island. A highlight was visiting Gay Head. The current incarnation of the lighthouse was built in 1874, quite far back from the bluff. But 140 years of storms have eroded the bluff such that the lighthouse was threatened. They are just completing the project of moving it farther from the bluff. The project happens to be the subject of NOVA this week.

We met up easily after the ride and I changed into normal clothes and we were off to sightsee.

The first order of business was lunch. We went to the Offshore Ale Company in Oak Bluffs, one of the two main tourist towns on the island. It also has the oldest continuously operating carousel in the country (which wasn't open yet - we were visiting well ahead of peak season), and "the campground" - a collection of 300 very cute gingerbread cottages that were the origin of the town.

Then we shopped a little. Carol and the girls all wanted MV sweatshirts. Coincidentally, they all chose purple!

We thought we wanted to rent scooters so I could show them some of the island highlights I had seen on my ride. The guys at the scooter place reminded us that it was kind of chilly out. They offered to rent us a jeep for the rest of the day for a very reasonable rate, and it had a big sunroof flap that would simulate a scooter ride if we wanted. We took it.

I had been reading about the geography of the island and learned that Chappaquiddick is reachable by a 100-yard ride on a 3-car ferry. There is also a conservation property there called "Mytoi" that I had read about years ago but thought I'd never visit. We headed to the ferry!

Finding it was an adventure. The streets in Edgartown are very narrow. The ferry dock is down at the end of one of them.

Mytoi was pretty. It reminded us very much of Kubota Gardens in Seattle.

The parking lot at Mytoi had a map that showed that there were multiple related conservation lands quite nearby. One of them was Cape Poge, a large barrier island that is only navigable by 4WD vehicle over deep sand.

Guess what? We had a Jeep!

We were all over that.

We had a blast navigating the sand up the ocean beach, then slightly more inland, until we reached Cape Pogue Lighthouse - our goal. The girls really enjoyed the ride, especially since it was at 15 mph and they could stand up out of the sunroof the whole way.

Cape Pogue, by the way, is reached via the tiny Dike Bridge, which happens to be the bridge Edward Kennedy's car drove off of in 1969 (although it's not entirely clear he was driving it).

We eventually made our way back to the tiny ferry and back to Oak Bluffs where we found ice cream. Then we headed back to the big ferry and returned to our Cape Cod hotel very late.

Sunday we slept in, then enjoyed the hotel breakfast and a swim in the pool.

As were leaving, we encountered another family from Melrose who noticed a Melrose sticker on our car. They were headed to the Edward Gorey House. That sounded like fun, so we headed there, too!

We ended up taking a charming tour given by his cousin. Then we spent a bunch of money in the gift shop, including a piece of art for our newly finished basement.

One more stop for a late lunch. Carol had a Monte Cristo sandwich that was delicious and we decided we need to make them at home.

Finally we made the two-hour trek back to Melrose. We all enjoyed that weekend very much.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Charlotte Turns Ten

Charlotte Turns Ten

Charlotte's tenth birthday was yesterday. Since it was a holiday, she had the whole day planned out. It was very fun.

A few weeks ago we replaced our decrepit old waffle iron and we've been a waffle craze since. So we started the day with waffles, but this time some of us topped them with chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

Yum!

Mom and Dad did some chores, but then we went to Bonkers, a party/play place nearby. It's in a large former grocery store and has a huge Habitrail-like "maze" with cool slides. Like a McDonald's playland but four or five times as big. Plus it has lots of arcade games, and pizza.

We were there for three hours and the girls had a wonderful time with each other.

Since we spent Thanksgiving at our friends' house, we didn't have leftovers. So Carol cooked our own Thanksgiving dinner on Charlotte's birthday. Then we put candles in the pumpkin pie since it is one of Charlotte's favorite desserts.

We can't believe our little girl is 10 years old!