Happy Halloween!

  We celebrated Halloween last night at the home of our friends Lois and Gerry and it was all "treats." And though you can’t tell it from my photos there was a very lively full house!

Halloween at Lois and Gerry’s

  Lois and Gerry are masters at creating a holiday party atmosphere.  They threw a wonderful nautically themed party for Randal and me back in 2006 when we headed off to China.  Their Christmas parties are a wonderland of decorations.  But Halloween might be when they go all out turning their huge farmhouse in Boones Mill into a scary delight.  The hors d’euvre table featured such temptations as a human brain, eyeballs, severed fingers and toadstools. Cocktail shrimp, hard cooked eggs, hotdog pieces and mushrooms, arranged, coated, decorated, and stuffed to play their rolls as Halloween fare; all edible and all wonderful.  I however saved my calories for the ribs Gerry had cooked up for dinner.  My camera and I must have fallen under some kind of Gerry and Lois spell because after a few initial photos I started eating and chatting and chatting and eating and chatting which is exactly what they mean for you to do. Every now and then I’d take a few photos and then fall under that eating and chatting spell again. 

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The “front parlor” with its coffin and mourners….and the dining room with another dearly departed being embalmed. 


Family Zombie photos!

These photos changed from charming to creepy as you walked by. 

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Spider Woman! 

   The carapace (I had to look that up!) was cute but kept getting in the way as Lois raced madly around making sure everyone was eating and chatting!  So after a bit she ditched the bottom half for pants but kept the extra arms to help out.


Chef Gerry!

There were biscuits, salad, baked beans, fried potatoes, and tons of ribs. 

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Food and Drink

That empty tray was just the first tray of ribs!  I had ribs for starters, main course and dessert.  I can take a pass on filet mignon, but I just love ribs!  And because it was a Halloween party for adults we had booze rather than Kool Aid!


Lois arranging the desserts….and this was as close as I could get to take a photo.

Pumpkin everything and cupcakes.  If I had cut into the line, even just to take a photo, I would have joined the embalmed guy.

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Brokeback something?  A cowboy and a “horny” scarecrow.  Randal and “good” witch Bobbie.


There were tables of people everywhere eating and chatting…all under the spell cast by Lois and Gerry.

We renewed old acquaintances, made new friends and had a thoroughly wonderful time.

Final trip email

  I’ve mixed feelings about this final trip email.  Relief that I’ve finally caught up; sadness that the trip is really over.  I get to relive everything writing about it and reading the comments folks send in as comments.  When we left Roanoke, it seemed as if the trip would last forever; and then all too soon, it was over.  And even though we have Skype and email and cell phones, there’s nothing that compares with actually being with people.  I want to live "down the street" from everyone, not half way across the country or half way around the world. I especially hate to be so far away that no one can call me and say, "I need you to do this for me."  Being away if someone might need me to be there is the hardest part of being so far away.   But, somewhat selfishly, I also miss our life in Cyprus with its smaller pace of life, amazingly beautiful desert scenery, ancient ruins and simple healthy food.  (Not that we haven’t eaten wonderful food here and I have a few additional pounds around my middle to prove it!) 

  We’ll be here in Roanoke about 3 more weeks.  It will take us that long to pack up books, boat supplies, and the odds and ends.  Luckily we each get to bring back a 50 pound suitcase and a carry on.  But I don’t want to think about that now so I’m not Scarlett. 


Lake Sharbot Hike and visit to Westport, Canada

  The weather cooperated so one day we went “off island” to hike one of the trails overlooking Lake Sharbot.  We were a bit late for peak leaf color, but it was a lovely day.


For women who had biked the world and trekked the Himalayas, this was just a walk in the park. 


Lovely scenery



The trail was easy, well marked and we had a really nice time.

After our hike we ate at one of the restaurants in town because Randal wanted to take Charmaine and Linda out for lunch and give them a break from cooking for us.  And it’s always fun to eat in local restaurants.

Then it was off on a drive to Westport to visit an art gallery Linda and Charmaine wanted to see and to find yet one more used book store which Randal and I always like to do.   Westport, a stop along the Rideau Canal is a lovely small town that really appears to cater to tourists.  There were shops selling high end clothes, decorative items for your home, items representative of a visit to Canada, but alas,  no used book store. 

“The Rideau Canal is one of 36 natural and cultural sites included on the World Heritage List. Those of us who live, work or play in the Westport and Rideau Lakes area know how unique the waterway is. Over 200 kilometers of lakes and rivers joined by manmade canals and locks make their way through a diverse Canadian terrain and unveils an authentic holiday get-away destination. The canal is North America’s oldest continuously operating waterway and was built between 1826 and 1832.”



Rideau Canal


Westport is a “tourist town” but also a real community. 

I liked the contrast of the white steeple against the sky and the last of the colored leaves.


This photo doesn’t capture the intense red of the red leaves against the red brick.

Remember Lily Tomlin’s character Edith Ann?


My college roommate Eileen, who after a long career with the Federal Government, retired and went to law school and now practices law in Virginia.  I need you to know that before I tell you that in college she used to entertain both of us with her perfect “Edith Ann” imitations.   As soon as I saw this huge oversized Adirondack chair, I knew what we had to do.  


Randal, Charmaine and Linda eye the huge Adirondak chair, but probably not for the same reasons I did.  Even though Randal knows Eileen, he’s never seen her Edith Ann imitation.

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It wasn’t easy but Randal climbed up the front of the chair.  How to feel like a little kid again!


I used my Outward Bound problem solving skills, walked around and climbed in from the much lower side. 


Virginia Ham, Chef Charmaine, games and guitars

  The Canadian adventure continues with this email. (Warning, food photos!  Don’t read if hungry!!)

Charmaine and Linda are world travelers. To bring them something unique we had to think “close to home.”  We brought wine from Chateau Morrisette, a winery down the road in Floyd just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 171.5.  There are other nearby wineries, but Randal really likes their Sweet Mountain Laurel which really goes well with salty Virginia ham.  I forget what the other bottle was, but both certainly got finished off.  I know I filled my glass a few times.  We also brought peanuts from Emporia, Virginia, home of the annual Peanut Tour bicycle ride that we’ve done too many times to remember.  The ham was a spur of the moment decision and we bought it on our way into Chincoteague, our last stop before we crossed the border into Maryland. (Virginia ham bought in Maryland wouldn’t have been the same.)  We just hoped the ham would make it across the border into Canada!  It did; no problem probably because it was cured or whatever it was that made it not need refrigeration.  I don’t have a really good sense of “cured ham” as ham was definitely something else my mother didn’t make.  Actually probably no one’s mother made it since we were Jewish and so were most of the families in the neighborhood.

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The ham was cured with salt so overnight soaking was necessary and then rinsing before it could be cooked.  Randal rinsed and Charmaine did the cooking.  Here Charmaine is testing the temperature of the cooked ham to check if it was done.  It actually took less time than we had calculated.

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Getting the ham out of the pot and finally onto a cutting board.  You can see the soap resting and setting up on the counter in front of the ham so it was a really busy morning with both soap and ham projects going on.


Ready for dinner that evening.


A huge bowl of salad, scalloped potatoes and rolls made for a wonderful dinner…And there was ham for lunch the next day, and, and, and then we received this email from Charmaine after our visit.

“I made split pea soup with the ham hock (bone) yesterday; it is fantastic!

Up here, we call it "French Canadian Pea Soup" – I am not sure why.” 

Bet it was really good too!  Everything Charmaine made was really good and I insisted on getting Linda’s recipe for the salad dressing. 

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Charmaine had made a spicy tomato soup for a lunch one day.  Salmon was dinner our last night.


Potatoes, salmon, garlic green beans and also a huge bowl of cauliflower with Hollandaise sauce.  It tasted as good as it looked on the beautiful platter.

I must say here that our friends Har and Julia each also made salmon while we visited and it was wonderful, and wonderfully different, each place we went.  Truly, we had great food everywhere and I still say that the best food you get is served at the home of friends!


After dinner games.  Charmaine and Randal were the winning partners.  Every night we played different games and Randal kept winning until the very last game which I had no clue how to play but won, I think!

Our last afternoon Randal and Linda got out their guitars and both played and sang.  I worked on arranging and resizing photos to use for our emails and Charmaine relaxed and read.  It was a perfect afternoon with Virginia peanuts and wine for snacks!

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Lots of smiling in these photos!


Charmaine relaxes from her cooking with a book.  The painting is by Linda.

Lovely and comfortable as it was, we didn’t just stay in the house the whole time.  We went off for walks, lunch in Lake Sharbot and a drive to the nearby town of Westport all the time keeping an eye on the weather because of its impact on the dinghy ride back to the island.

The next, and sadly final email from Canada, (and our “road trip north,”) will be “off island” adventures.

Linda and Randal make soap

  One Charlotte Island project was soap making.  These photos tell that story.



Linda and Randal make soap:  photos by Charmaine and me.

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Setting up the equipment and starting the project which involved lye and heat….


Measuring and heating and adding: coconut oil. Olive oil, vegetable shortening, aloe vera, lanolin, lavender oil, and very carefully, lye. 

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Double double toil and trouble add some coloring and watch it bubble!  Actually it didn’t bubble; it just changed color!

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Charmaine’s photo of me taking photos as Randal and Linda pour the “soap” into a container to harden.

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Cutting up the block of soap and adding some natural decorations 


We have a bar in our shower and it feels wonderful and makes the whole bathroom smell like lavender.  Both Linda’s mother and Randal’s mom had made soap, so soap making was a childhood memory.  My mother grew up in New York City and I don’t recall her ever mentioning her mother making soap and I know for sure we never saw my mom making soap.  My mother lived at home and worked in business until her marriage so really didn’t even know how to cook food, never mind cook up a batch of soap.  But she did learn to cook and I wish I’d paid more attention. I do most of the daily cooking, but Randal is the real “chef” and only soap maker in our family. 

And speaking of food, the next email is about the “Virginia Ham” project.

Charmaine, Linda, Charlotte Island – Lake Sharbot, Ontario Canada

I spent about 2 hours last night writing the first version of this email and lost it all in one wrong key stroke!  This is version 2, less spontaneous but certainly more thought out!


ps  Linda and Charmaine:  If I get my facts confused let me know.  It won’t be the first (or last) time I’ve had to write corrections.

Charmaine and Linda Charlotte Island, Lake Sharbot, Ontario

In the year 2000 a group of 250 people including Randal, Linda and Charmaine took part in Odyssey 2000, a year long bicycle ride around the world. Friendships were made. So after leaving Boston, Randal and I drove up to Lake Sharbot, Ontario, Canada to visit Linda and Charmaine.  In March 2012, Linda and Charmaine are planning to join us in Cyprus.  Randal and I will rent a car and show them sites we want to share and then we’ll go on to explore all of Cyprus, North and South.  In late April the four of us will make the 2 day passage from Cyprus to Israel.  Linda and Charmaine are real adventures.  In 2009 they joined a fund raising trek to the Himalayas organized by Save the Children Canada and pharmacists across Canada of which Linda is a member.  Charmaine is a physician.  Here is the article about Linda and Charmaine that was featured in the Frontenac News in 2009.


It was an all day, mostly rainy drive from Boston to Watertown, NY where we stopped for the night.  The next day we rose early and drove to the Canadian border.


Approaching the border.

Most government facilities around the world prohibit one from taking photos.  I have no idea what the rules were here at the border, but I’ve trained myself not to take photos and go asking for trouble.  My mother would always say, “If you have to ask, the answer is No.”  Pretty sure the answer would be NO, I didn’t ask.

Crossing the border into Canada took about 5 minutes at most.  There were no lines that Saturday morning and the border guard asked just the few basic questions.  We had less than the allowable amount of alcohol, no tobacco or firearms.  He asked to see our passports but then still asked our nationality.  He asked our professions and I think I saw him smile at the word librarian.  (For all that we hear Google is taking over the information industry and librarians will become obsolete, we have had several positive comments when Randal wears my “Librarians are Novel Lovers” t-shirt.)  I think we mentioned the ham, apple and Virginia peanuts but they were no problem.  Then we were waved through and on our way.

When we finally arrived late morning at the shore of Lake Sharbot, there were Charmaine and Linda to meet us with hugs and smiles.  We packed up what we needed from the car and loaded books, computer, camera, art supplies, 3 days worth of clothes, toiletries, vitamins, (VA wine, peanuts, ham) and soap making supplies.  Yes, soap making supplies!  Randal had made soap years ago before we’d gone cruising and thought it would be a fun “island project.”  It was going to be a very full 3 days!


Randal  Ru  Linda  Charmaine  (photo by Charmaine)

At home on Charlotte Island


I love their house!  It’s just the right size with floor to ceiling windows that make you think you’re inside and outside at the same time!  And lots of comfortable chairs!


Space for tents for the summer crowd on the platform at the lower left of the photo.

Charmaine and Linda bought the “cottage” as these lake homes are called and renovated it to meet their needs and “green” philosophy.

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Front yard and out building and one of the pieces of art displayed around the island.

The Guest House

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The front porch and the guest room with a Linda-built Murphy bed that folds back into the wall.

You can see the big house just across the way where there is a lovely shower with a window/wall,  a heated floor when you step out from the shower, a bathroom with a self-composting toilet and everything a house has that isn’t located on a 1 ¼ acre  island in a lake.  We “no way” were roughing it!


View from the guest outhouse

At the end of the guest room porch is the outhouse with another self-composting toilet.  You don’t need reading material because the view is so interesting. One morning I watched some loons diving for food as they swam by my view.

Sunset colors!

Watching the sunset, the trees light up with Fall colors, and the day turn to night.

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Lake Sharbot is about. 120 km west of Ottawa

More Canada stories and photos in the next several emails….I took lots of photos!

Martha, Jessica, Boston

Randal is still working on "work stuff" and I’m working on catching up with these emails.  We did take time off today to walk the Roanoke River Greenway detouring downtown for lunch. (You knew food was involved, of course.)  I’m going to save all of the Roanoke photos for the end so when we travel around the world we can more easily show folks about "home."

This email takes us to our next to last stop, Chestnut Hill (Boston,) Massachusetts to visit Martha and Jessica.


Martha and Jessica in Chestnut Hill, MA October 2011


Randal made himself right at home with the computer, his relaxing outfit and his Glenfiddich.

A collage of Martha and Jessica



Self-photo with Martha!

Martha and I worked together at the Roanoke County Public Library from 1979 to about 1990?  She was “The” Children’s Librarian.   Then Martha moved to Boston to take more classes in writing and studying children’s literature. In 2003 Jessica became part of Martha’s family.

Wednesday Art Group

Martha and her “art” group which have been going on for many years.  I’ve been lucky enough to join them for their Wednesday morning meetings during our visits north.  There’s always first a wonderful breakfast and then they discuss the past week’s art project.


Marion, Martha, and Kitty                                              Marion and Kitty


Marion and Kitty contemplate this week’s project.

A picture had been cut into several pieces: each woman had taken some of the pieces to recreate and then at the meeting the new version was put together to see if it fit and it did!

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Another recreated picture and my “still life” with camera…..


A short walk from Martha’s and Jessica’s house is the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, 1.56 miles in circumference.


Canada Geese that were born in Boston and never leave.

“Q. Why don’t the Canada geese migrate anymore?

A. Canada geese that nest in Massachusetts are descendants of geese once kept in captivity to be used as live decoys. These birds were released when the use of live decoys was outlawed in 1935. Having been bred in captivity for several generations, these birds never developed a migration tradition which passed down from generation to generation in wild birds. Hence, those geese never learned to migrate, nor did their young. There were only a few geese originally and caused few problems but as the population expanded, doubling every few years, by the 1970s people began complaining about nuisance geese. So it’s not that they don’t migrate anymore, they never did, but with over 30,000 geese in the state now, people are certainly more aware of them. More Canada goose information.”

I thought the Canada Geese were quite appealing especially since they don’t chase you like the wild turkeys that roamed Boston for a while were likely to do.  (Madly flashing my bandana made them run away, the turkeys, not the geese which pretty much ignored everyone.)  Apparently the geese are a pretty big issue in Boston.

Here are more Q and A from the Massachusetts Wildlife Department……


Q. Why are we not allowed to hunt Canada geese during the late season in the Cape Cod and Buzzards Bay parts of the coast waterfowl zone? There are plenty of geese.

A. The late Canada goose season did not exist until 1988. Prior to that, the only goose hunting was during the regular waterfowl season which ended January 20 most years. The late season was an extra season designed to harvest resident Canada geese, which had increased to the point of becoming nuisances, after wild geese had migrated through the state. However, we have discovered that many migrant geese that used to winter as far south as North Carolina no longer go that far.

One study found that over 70% of migrant geese from Maritime Canada now winter on Long Island, NY and along the southern New England coast line. Neck collar observations indicated that over 40% of the Canada geese now wintering along Massachusetts’ southern coast are migrant geese, twice as many as allowed for a late resident goose season. You are seeing more Canada geese because more migrant birds are wintering in the southern Coastal waterfowl hunting zone.

Canada Geese Questions

Q. I have a problem with Canada geese. I don’t want them hurt, but will you come move them someplace else?

A. NO. In the late 1960s and early 1970s we did have a program to move nuisance geese, but we simply ran out of places to put them and now there are so many Canada geese in the Atlantic Flyway, nobody else wants them, either. Further, geese fly and most geese will return from great distances back to where they were captured. Fencing is the most effective way to keep geese out of an area in most cases. Please see our Canada goose information.

Q. What can I do to get rid of Canada geese?

A. No special permit is required to harass Canada geese by chasing them, making loud noises, or using scare crow type devices. However, you may not harm the birds. Often you can fence the birds away from your area. You can also develop natural barriers such as dense hedges, or remove what ever is attracting the geese in the first place. You may wish to replace areas of lawn with wood chips or low vegetation like creeping Mrytle or pachysandra which geese do not eat. See the Living with Canada geese link.

You can apply to MassWildlife to addle eggs, which prevents hatching and renesting. See Egg Addling Information on our website.

Swan Questions

Q. I am seeing more and more swans in Massachusetts. Where did these beautiful birds come from?

A. The swans you are seeing are mute swans, and like English sparrows and starlings, they are not native to North America, but an introduced species. Originally brought in from Europe and Asia as ornamental waterfowl to grace the ponds of Long Island estates, some escaped to the wild where they became established, spread up and down the coast and are now moving inland. Highly aggressive and territorial, there is evidence that they are displacing native waterfowl and can be destructive to some aquatic habitats, destroying more vegetation than they actually eat.

Unlike native waterfowl, mute swans were not federally protected until Dec. 2001 when a court ruled that mute swans must be granted federal protection under the same Migratory Bird Treaty that protects native swans, the tundra swan, and the trumpeter swan much to the consternation of people who view the mute swan as a destructive interloper.

Feeding Waterfowl

Q. Why is it okay to feed birds in my back yard, but I’m told not to feed waterfowl?

A. Actually, it is MassWildlife’s policy not to feed any wildlife, but there are no state laws prohibiting feeding. Unlike the birds in your backyard that come to your feeder, eat, and leave, most waterfowl tend to hang around the sites where they are fed. Often, these sites are in municipal areas that are not suitable for most of the other requirements of waterfowl. Artificial feeding can disrupt the normal activities of waterfowl, concentrate the ducks and geese into larger flocks that may increase the chances of disease outbreaks, and not meet their nutritional requirements, particularly in late winter as the breeding season approaches.

Q. The town owns some property by a pond where people like to feed ducks and geese that is getting terribly dirty with droppings and feathers. The town would like to try signage discouraging feeding. Do you have any signs?

A. We don’t have signs, but can suggest some "friendly" text which has been used successfully in some locations: "Keep Wild Things Wild! Please don’t feed the ducks and geese. This can cause the birds to lose their natural fear of people and impact their ability to survive on their own."

Ducks in the Yard

Q. There’s a duck nesting next to my swimming pool. What should I do?

A. Legally, you cannot destroy or move a bird’s nest or eggs. However, neither should you do anything to make the site more attractive to the duck, like feeding it. Many of these nests will never hatch for any of a number of reasons, but if yours does, you will want to herd the duck and brood away from your pool. Ducklings that fall into the pool will likely be unable to get back out. Since a hen is likely to return in future years, you should try to discourage the duck when it first shows up by harassing it, for which no permit is required.

Well, the Canada Geese didn’t bother us and we had a lovely walk that made Randal smile!


Food, of course!  But only one photo because we ate everything else up too fast!  Martha made a wonderful vegetarian soup of potatoes, garbanzo beans, artichokes and spices and herbs and I had several bowls.  She also made some tilapia with some of the long striped squash from my still life photo.  The night Jessica had late, afterschool soccer practice we ate Village Fare pizza, the pepperoni half for Jessica and Randal and the Super Veggie half for Martha and me.  Teeny tiny Jessica packed away the most, but then she had just been running around soccer practice for an hour.  And one night we ate at Legal Seafood.  I had bluefish with a lovely mustard sauce, garlic spinach cooked to perfection and onion strings which are perfect with mustard blue fish.  We washed it all down with a bottle of Pinot Grigo.  We being Martha, Martha’s friend (and so our friend too,) Gerard, Randal and moi.  Jessica will have to wait 10 years before she can lift a glass in public.


It was really good and we followed it up with more chocolate cake and some pear crisp that was shared.  Jessica had some ice cream that she ate all by herself!

The Boston Museum of Science was having an exhibit about Pompeii so we went off to see it.  We drove Gertrude (our GPS) crazy trying to get there, but between Martha’s local knowledge, Randal’s sense of direction and me keeping quiet, we got there.  Randal had actually visited Pompeii on his “around the world” bicycle trip so this exhibit, while great for the hundreds of school kids who were there, probably didn’t teach Randal anything he didn’t already know.  I actually enjoyed watching the kids.  We have rarely interacted with teenagers since we left China, most cruisers being retired folks like us.  There are a families who cruise and “home school” their kids and I imagine those kids are getting an amazing education.  I hope one day someone studies these “sea schooled” kids to see how they compare to land educated kids.



A body cast from Pompeii and a scene depicting the events.

http://www.mos.org/exhibits_shows/current_exhibits&d=4837 is a link to Museum information.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNeJ-57_vd4&feature=related is a World Book YouTube video explaining what actually killed the people of Pompeii.


The boys seemed to gravitate to the volcano project and the girls to creating images with the mosaic tiles.


More fascinating “flush options.”   This one was in the Ladies at the Boston Museum of Science.  Very efficient, sort of like our boat.

Other activities…

Martha also took us to several wonderful used book stores and I kept adding to my pile, Randal not so much.  You would think he was the one with the Kindle.

That ends our trip too short visit to Boston.  Next we drove even further north to Charlotte Island on Lake Sharbot in Ontario to visit Charmaine and Linda, women who, like Randal, took part in the “around the world bike trip.”

New England Lobster Dinner at Eileen’s

  This email is the tale of the lobster dinner which included lobster tails!  (And claws and all the rest of the lobster.)  Randal and I look forward not only to the lobster dinner, but to our annual visit with friends.  Getting to eat with your fingers and make a huge mess just adds to the fun.

New England Lobster Dinner at Eileen’s…..

I grew up eating steamed clams, halibut and on special occasions, lobster.  Randal grew up eating fried chicken, sausage biscuits, and tons of butter in everything.  His mom was a great cook.  My mom became a good cook and made the best lentil soup and pot roasts.  (We also ate chicken feet and cow tongue, but that’s another story.)  In the past several years during our trips up north, Randal learned to love lobster.  He especially loves it when it’s cooked by friends.  This year was a double treat because Carol cooked lobster in New Jersey and sisters Elaine, Jean and Pam cooked lobster for us in Dartmouth.  Har and I checked ahead and ordered the 8 lobsters to be picked up the morning of our dinner.  We also stopped at a small open air market to buy corn which in New England is traditionally served with lobster.  


Not wanting to chance making friends with the lobsters we just let the “fish guy” select them for us.  This huge old fellow was hopefully going off to be someone’s pet or possibly lobster salad. 

clip_image003  And this year we were finally allowed to be the one to “buy the lobsters,” and at $5.99 per pound it really is quite reasonable.  The guys at the fish store were all really very nice.

The lobsters spent the day snoozing in Har’s refrigerator while Har and I toured down town New Bedford.  Then it was time to take the lobster, corn and some Chateau Morrisette Virginia wine and head over to Eileen’s house.  Eileen is the sister of Jean who is married to Bruce who grew up on Plymouth Street. 

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Kitchen scenes and a pot of steaming mussels.

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Eileen and the steaming Lobster Pot………………..Steamed mussels, fragrent broth and bread to mop it up!


Randal, lobster and a self portrait done by Eileen’s daughter. 


Pam had made a wonderful salad and the bowl was very lovely too.


Sisters….Pam dishes out lobsters first to Eileen and then to Jean.


Har and Pam                                                                 A Jean and Eileen super dessert.                       

We’d gotten 8 lobsters in case Bruce and Bill (Eileen’s husband) made it home in time from the New England Patriot’s game…but they didn’t. (Pats did win!)  Har’s husband Dick took a pass on the lobsters but came later for the conversation.

We ate mussels with bread to soak up the broth, corn, potatoes and lobster washed down with lots of wine and we still all had room for dessert!  What fun!


The End!

Next email takes us to Chestnut Hill, MA (Boston) to visit Martha and daughter Jess.

Har, Dick, Janet, Andy, Horseneck Beach and the Bayside Restaurant and Randal

  Today it was oil change day for the car.  Randal didn’t change the oil, but he did replace the windshield wipers which is a good thing because they were really squeaky unless it was pouring.  And though Randal could tune it out; it drove me crazy.  Luckily it only rained the last few days of our trip.  The "trip laundry" is half done so tonight we’re having dinner and laundry at my sister’s house.  This morning as I was sorting through the books we’d bought during our road trip, and looking at the dinghy gas tank, etc, I mentioned to Randal that our one big suitcase wasn’t going to do the job of getting us back to the boat.  We always seem to be one suitcase short either coming or going.  On the motorbike two small panniers and a back box are enough, but then we don’t go along collecting books and boat parts.  But I really do want to read the books I bought and most probably wouldn’t be available on Kindle or electronic books from the library.  I’ll include the list in a separate email. This email takes us back to Dartmouth, New Bedford and Westport.   But as you can see from the subject line, this email isn’t so much about the place but about the people we went to see.  You’ll meet Eileen, Jean, and Pam in the next email about our lobster dinner.

New Bedford/Dartmouth/Westport. 

  A quick recap.  My family lived in New Bedford at 177 Plymouth Street from the time I was born until my parents retired to Florida in the 70s. Our friend Har’s family moved to the intersection of Plymouth and Burns. Bruce grew up across the street.   We all met before kindergarten.  Neighborhood kids played together, walked en masse to the library and performed home made plays in our basements.    It was a great neighborhood for growing up.  We had the huge Buttonwood Park one street over with its woods, zoo, ice skating pond, tennis courts and green spaces.  We could walk to elementary school, junior high and high school and the local library.   As a matter of fact, we lived so close that school buses weren’t an option; we lived too close to qualify for buses.  We had the local Acushnet Beach when we were small and Horseneck Beach when we could drive ourselves there.  We even had Lincoln Park, a giant amusement park with a scary roller coaster and Ferris wheel.  I rode both of those rides exactly once fearing death.  My father won a life size stuffed collie from one of the toss games. Under protest I grew up, went off to UMass in Amherst and never went back other than to visit my parents until they too moved away. Today Buttonwood Park has expanded but Lincoln Park has been long closed down. The old Plymouth Street neighborhood looks mostly the same, but we’ve all moved as well as all of our siblings.  My sister and I moved to Roanoke, VA at different times for different reasons.  Har and Bruce moved to Dartmouth, just down the road from New Bedford.   In 1990 I turned 40 and so did Har.  When Har’s husband asked what she wanted for her 40th birthday present she said “Ru!”  So Dick called me and we arranged it and though snow storms everywhere made it almost impossible, I arrived in time for Har’s 40th December 23rd  birthday and we’ve visited almost every year since. (Har married Dick from around the corner.  Bruce married Jean from Dartmouth and Eileen and Pam are her sisters.  Eileen married Bill who went to school with my sister Harriet.  During our visit we stayed in Janet’s and Andy’s loft apartment. Janet and Andy are friends of Har’s.)  Our family of friends has grown just as it did on Cape Cod with Julia and Kathy.  Visiting and spending time is the original Facebook!  We’ve seen most of the historic sites, museums, etc…now we make the trip “up north” just to see friends. 
Har after her swim at Anthony Beach
It was late afternoon, the water was cold and I took a pass.  But the next day I did swim at Horseneck Beach. 

While Har swam, Randal read.
I’d noticed a copy of Mary Lovell’s biography of Beryl Markham Straight On Till Morning in a used book shop on Hilton Head.  (Should have waited to Hyannis where it was $10 cheaper!)  One of Randal’s all time favorite books is Markham’s own book West With the Night.  Once Randal starts reading a book he loves, there’s no getting him to put it down for anything. 

The Beach Plum is just a short walk across the driveway from Har’s and the first stop of our walk around the neighborhood.  Padanaram Harbor is just across the road and after the “strenuous walk” across the street Har and Randal posed in these Adirondack chairs. 

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Apponagansett Bay
Har and Eileen share a small sailboat that is kept moored in the bay.  They pulled it out early this year to avoid possible damage from Irene. 

The Padanaram Bridge links North and South Dartmouth and crosses over Apponagansett Bay. These cars and fire truck are waiting for the bridge to close after one of its scheduled openings. We’ve had to deal with bridges on our travels but never had to wait for one to open.  Leaving the boatyard in Biajiao we had to lower our mast (a real breath holder) to get under the bridge just down river from the yard.  Since then we’ve fit under every bridge along the way.  In Kuching we would have preferred anchoring along the river in town but couldn’t get under the bridge and that bridge didn’t open.  It’s a bit scary going under and looking up as the mast fits through.  It looks like it won’t but Randal has checked ahead so knows that it will.

If you’re a boat, here’s what you have to know……
Opening Schedule
From May through October, the bridge opening schedule is as follows:
6AM – 8 AM : On the hour and half-hour
8 AM – 8 PM : On the hour
8 PM – 9 PM : On the hour and half-hour
Requesting Openings
To request a bridge opening, hail the bridge tender on VHF Channel 13.
You can also request an opening by calling (508) 910-7107.
If you have no communication equipment at your disposal, you should approach the bridge a few minutes prior to a scheduled opening and sound 3 Short Blasts with your horn in the vicinity of the bridge.

Randal and Har are discussing educational philosophy; Har teaches Kindergarten. Randal is telling her about the Khan Academy website where you can learn about a great many things but Art doesn’t seem to be listed….yet. www.khanacademy.org

 clip_image001[19]This is Janet’s favorite tree so I’ve included it as a “hello” to Janet and Andy whose loft we lived in during our visit.

Dick and Randal relaxing at Horseneck Beach. 

Randal is shading himself while he continues to read the Beryl Markham biography.  At some point I put down my camera and Har and I went swimming! Har stayed in longer.   Last year Har and I came and wore wool sweaters and hats and had the place pretty much to ourselves.  This year we had to hunt for a parking space.  It was a few weeks earlier this year, but still what a difference. 
Horseneck is a great beach!
“Spread across nearly 600 acres of barrier beach and salt marsh, Horseneck Beach is one of the most popular facilities in the Massachusetts State Forests and Parks system. Located at the western end of Buzzards Bay, the sandy, southwest-facing, 2-mile long beach is breezy all year round, providing excellent wind surfing and a dependable respite from sweltering inland temperatures every summer. The combination of ocean beach and estuary habitat makes Horseneck one of the premier birding locations in New England. Behind the dunes near Gooseberry Neck (a rocky headland at the eastern end of the Reservation), is a 100-site campground.” http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/southeast/hbch.htm

Har, Janet and Andy

  Sadly for us we met Janet and Andy on our last morning in Dartmouth.  They had actually both been away when we arrived but Har had the key to the loft and got us settled in.  We did get to spend a quick bit of time at their kitchen table having tea, cookies, fruit and conversation before Randal and I had to leave.  We’d told our friend Martha to expect us in Boston by early afternoon.  Janet, though enjoying her retirement years, is a LIBRARIAN, educator and activist through and through. (Andy is no slouch either and makes the most beautiful furniture in his retirement years.)  We spent most of our tea time trading book titles around the table so I had to really learn about Janet online.  Here is a bit about her. (You can read the whole article following the link.)

  “Janet Freedman served as Dean of Library Services and Professor of Education at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She chaired the Department of Education, directed the Women’s Studies Program and co-directed the university’s Center for Jewish Culture.
   Janet initiated and participated in many projects to advance the role of libraries as vehicles for social engagement and change, and to create services for women on campus and in the community. She sought to apply a feminist model of leadership to her work as a Dean and faculty member at UMass Dartmouth, promoting a respectful, diverse campus community, advocating for the personal and professional growth of staff and encouraging the active participation of students in shaping their own learning.
Representative Publications”
Freedman, Janet. “Always a Librarian,” in The Changing Culture of Libraries, edited by Renee Feinberg, 94-102. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Press, 2001.

Around New Bedford..
Har and I went downtown to the New Bedford Art Museum which had not existed when I was growing up.  I probably wouldn’t have been interested at that time though I took art as a high school elective.  So maybe I would have been?  Har’s favorite piece is this “found furniture” piece made by Adrian Johnson from a car seat and an old refrigerator.  http://www.newbedfordguide.com/fridgecouch/2011/03/29

Refrigerator couch at the art museum, costumed ladies outside the Visitor Center, cobblestone streets (maybe ballast from ships like in Savannah?) and a “harpoon” fence outside of the Whaling Museum.

Time for Food…..  www.thebaysiderestaurant.com
“More than your typical clam shack.”  I loved that line from an Urbanspoon review of The Bayside on Horseneck Road not far from the beach.  We went for dinner on a Saturday night and the place was packed.  Guess folks were breaking their Yom Kippur fasts.  The review raved about the eggplant string fries and they were great!  So was my fried calamari.  Har had the crab (or fish) cakes with beans and corn bread. I can’t remember what Randal ate, unusual for me but I was just too focused on my own food.  It was all wonderful.  Incredibly full from the fries, calamari and giant bowl of salad I did manage to put down my fork to take a photo of the chocolate cake

Over the top good, but Randal just can’t pass up dessert.  It put a smile on Har’s face too as we all shared.


The other best part beside the food is that it’s a really informal place where folks bike to on the weekends. Though there were empty tables when we left about 9pm, we had gotten just about the last table inside when we arrived.  We passed The Bayside on our way to the beach the next day and the lot was as packed as the night before.  I was quite jealous of the folks who had biked there.    www.thebaysiderestaurant.com

Outdoor seating at and the view across the road. 

Next email will be our “Lobstah Dinnah.”

Fairhaven and New Bedford Harbor

  Our chores still include another load of laundry and getting the oil changed in the Buick.  It actually did quite well during the entire trip and didn’t guzzle too much gasoline.  Gas prices in Roanoke are cheaper than anywhere!  We spent a great deal of time listening to Public Radio and I miss it now so will have to find a radio for our room.  One can learn a great deal listening to NPR or CNPR (Canadian National Public Radio.)  I thought they should have called it Canadian Public Radio so the initials would be CPR and would make for a great fund raising theme.  Or it would have confused everyone? 

  This email is about our annual visit to Fairhaven on our way to Dartmouth for our annual visit and traditional lobster dinner.  I should say "New England" lobster dinner since this year we added Point Pleasant Beach, NJ as a lobster dinner destination. 


Fairhaven and New Bedford Harbor

I grew up in New Bedford just across the Acushnet River from Fairhaven.  Maybe I was there twice during the first 50 years of my life.  Since then Randal and I seem to go every year as we travel between our friends in Dartmouth and our friends on Cape Cod during our annual “up north” road trips.  I’m not sure how we stumbled across the intersection of the Pumpernickel Restaurant and the Phoenix “stuff” shop, but like lemmings we return every year.  Sometimes we find “can’t live without” stuff at the Phoenix but this year we just toured around, though they did have a neat bag with the Red Sox logo; but it was just too small so I took a pass.  Next we made our usual stop at the West Marine on Pope’s Island just between Fairhaven and New Bedford where we bought a new fuel tank for the dinghy and a new, larger, not stinky canvas bag. (Our old one had seen way better days.)   Our final stop before heading on to Har’s and Dick’s place was the New Bedford Harbor to visit our friend in the Visitor Center whom we’d met several trips ago.  Alas, some things change and he wasn’t there.  But we were able to leave the Turkish souvenir we’d brought on the porch of his home before we left town.  (We’d missed him there too!)


Phoenix with Pumpernickel across the street and the blue library sign pointing down the street to the Millicent Library.  We used to scout out all of the libraries to use their Internet terminals.  Now we have our ACER travel computer, but still visit libraries for the wifi connection and just because it’s fun. 

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Lunch at the Pumpernickel where my veggie omelet would have fed a family.   The woman in black and the red and black checked floor reminds me of an Edward Hopper painting.

After our huge lunch we needed to walk for a bit.  We’ve done longer tours in past years including searching for and finally finding the small monument to Joshua Slocum, the first man to do a solo navigation around the world.  He built his sloop in Fairhaven. When we were little, my sister and I took riding lessons at a stable on Slocum Rd. in Dartmouth but I don’t have any idea if it was named for Joshua Slocum.


Lots of red bricks and stone used in these lovely old buildings: at least old by American standards of old.

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The Millicent Library with a sailing ship mosaic at the entrance.

New Bedford harbor filled with fishing boats.


I think the dome of the Whaling Museum is visible through the ship rigging on the right side of the photo.

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New Bedford fishing industry


A painting of the Butler Flats Lighthouse located at the mouth of the Acushnet River.

   “Its days as a whaling center were long past, but New Bedford was still an important port in the late 1800s. It was the third largest manufacturing city in Massachusetts, and about 500,000 tons of shipping entered the port in 1890 alone. Butler Flats Light, built in 1898 for $34,000, replaced the old Clark’s Point Light, which had been active since 1804. The appropriation for the lighthouse at Butler Flats was secured largely through the efforts of Congressman Sturtevant Randall.

   Butler Flats Light was designed by F. Hopkinson Smith, also an artist and writer. Smith’s place in lighthouse history is secure largely due to his planning of Race Rock Light in Fisher’s Island Sound. Smith also built the foundation of the Statue of Liberty. ……….In September 1997 inmates from the Bristol County House of Correction went to work at Butler Flats Light. The inmates rewired the electrical system and did work on the tower’s walls, ceilings, floors and stairway.”


  Family folk lore, if I remember correctly, is that my father and his friends used to swim from shore to the lighthouse.


The SAULNIER BIKE TRAIL walking/biking path along Rodney French Boulevard and Clark’s Cove.  We’d walked toward Fort Tabor but this view is looking back towards New Bedford.  http://www.forttaber.org/history.shtml

Then it was off to visit our friends Harriet and Dick.  We’d all grown up in the same neighborhood so have known each other for close to 60 years!  But that’s the story for the next email.

Provincetown, MA

  We arrived home in Roanoke late afternoon and I’m still sorting through the debris from our trip.  What had seemed like a logical packing plan eventually deteriorated into a daily hunt for clean underwear, vitamin pills, and breakfast supplies.  We had taken loads of cold weather clothes so I had to borrow a bathing suit from our friend Har for my swim at Horseneck Beach.  The down jackets and wool sweaters were never needed.  It was blustery and chilly on Lake Sharbot, Ontario but not colder than our day trip in Tibet to see Mt. Everest.  And everyone had heat, hot water and lots of blankets when the weather changed from Boston to points north. 

  I hope to get caught up with our trip in the next week or so.  I took loads of photos so that takes some sorting through  but it’s fun to make the trip a second time as I do it.  We loved seeing the friends we could and sorry we missed the friends we couldn’t visit; but there is always next year. 

Provincetown, MA

Images and Street Scenes

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Scrimshaw and Lobster Pots…but we had our lobster with friends so didn’t need to eat one here.


Psychedelic and Cape Cod Traditional

The Provincetown Public Library

While Randal sat using his computer in the Marc Jacobs (that Marc Jacobs!) Reading room, I took myself on a self-guided tour of the newly renovated library.  The following is from the Library’s website.

     “The Provincetown Public Library is located in the building that was once the Center Methodist Episcopal Church. This structure, like many in Provincetown, has had a long and varied history of use. When it was built in 1860 as the Center Methodist Episcopal Church it was reputed to be the largest church of Methodist denomination anywhere in the United States. It cost $22,000 to complete and could seat 900 people in the 128 pews.

     The original steeple, weakened during the Portland Gale, was 162 feet tall and contained a huge bronze bell cast by George Holbrook in Medway, Massachusetts. The present spire rises 100 feet from the ground. Looking from the end of MacMillan Wharf towards town, the building is one of the most prominent on the skyline.

     In 1958 the Methodist congregation sold this building at 356 Commercial Street to Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., son of the founder of the Chrysler Corporation, for conversion to an art museum. Walter Chrysler ran the Chrysler Art Museum with limited success until 1970. Discouraged when the Town of Provincetown would not help him find parking for visitors to the museum, Chrysler packed up his collection and moved to Virginia where he opened a modern facility still operating today.

     For a number of years the building stood abandoned until, in 1974 two local men, Jules Brenner and Frederic Jungmann, bought the building from Chrysler for $90,000 with the idea of starting a “Center for the Arts.” Unfortunately the idea was a cultural success but a financial failure, and the building was bought back by the bank after only one year of operation.

     Through the efforts of the Provincetown Historical Association and the Historic District Study Committee, the building was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. It received certification in October 1975. Subsequently in 1976, at a special town meeting, a group of citizens secured a vote to acquire the building for $135,000 and turn it into a local historical museum. The Provincetown Heritage Museum officially opened to the public on July 4, 1976. A dedicated group of volunteers set up exhibits on various aspects of the town’s heritage. It was at this time that the half scale model of the schooner Rose Dorothea was built and installed in the building. The Heritage Museum operated on a seasonal basis with a minimal staff and a dedicated group of volunteers through the summer of 2000.

      Through the years the number of people visiting the Heritage Museum had gradually begun to decline. At the same time use of Provincetown’s public library, located in a small building on the corner of Freeman and Commercial Street, was steadily growing. A new library building was needed to accommodate this increased use. After much study and discussion with citizens of the town, the Trustees of the Library concluded that the building housing the Heritage Museum at 356 Commercial Street could be successfully renovated and transformed into a new library for the Town.”    http://www.provincetown-ma.gov/index.aspx?nid=687


The “Self-Guided Tour” brochure that is kept at the circulation desk.

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Actual library today….                      Homage to Heritage Museum and Chaim Gross by Mary Spencer Nay

“Mary Spencer Nay, 80, Painter and Professor

Mary Spencer Nay, a painter and retired art professor, died on Saturday at her home in Provincetown, Mass. She was 80.

The cause was gastrointestinal illness, said her daughter Malu Nay Block of Provincetown.

Ms. Nay was born in Crestwood, Ky., and graduated from the University of Louisville with a master’s degree. She began teaching art at the university in 1942 and was a professor of art education when she retired in 1979.

She settled in Provincetown, where she had spent summers since 1937. She was active in the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, the Heritage Museum, the Historical Association and the Visual Artists Cooperative.

Her paintings, mainly abstractions inspired by Provincetown and her travels in Mexico, hang in numerous museums and private collections. The J. B. Speed Art Museum in Louisville presented a retrospective of her work in 1976.”  http://www.nytimes.com/1993/05/26/obituaries/mary-spencer-nay-80-painter-and-professor.html


I’m off on a tangent again.  I took the photo of the Nay painting but thought nothing about it until now as I’m writing this blog mail.  I like the painting so looked for information about Mary Spencer Nay.  But the title of the painting intrigued me too so I looked up Chaim Gross and found that the Smithsonian has a sculpture by Gross. 

“The subjects of Chaim Gross’s sculptures and graphic works were predominantly women and circus performers. For almost seventy years, the variety of movements and poses and the sense of balance displayed by these subjects provided Gross with an endless source of ideas for his art.”



Main staircase at the front door and the Marc Jacobs Reading Room

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Rose Dorothea

A half-scale replica of the Rose Dorothea takes center stage in the middle of the children’s room.  The Lipton Cup was sponsored by the founder of Lipton Tea, (one of the few teas I actually don’t like.) There is a link from the website below if you want to see what the Lipton Cup looks like.  My photos didn’t really capture it.

“It is 66 ½ ft. in length with a beam of 12 ½ ft.  The mainmast is 48 ft high.  The sails were hand-sewn by Ernest W. Smith of New Bedford, one of the few men left who could create authentic sails for a Grand Banks Schooner.”


“During Boston’s Old Home Week Celebration in August 1907, a cup was offered by Sir Thomas Lipton for a fishermen’s Race in Massachusetts Bay. This race of 42 miles was one of the best ever sailed by fishermen in these waters. Sir Thomas Lipton, the great Irish sports enthusiast, and designer Tom McManus promoted the Fishermen’s Race, and Sir Thomas promised McManus the most expensive and best trophy England could make.

The Lipton Cup is a silver gilt and enamel trophy and, true to his word, was the largest cup ever minted by Sir Thomas Lipton. The "Rose Dorothea" swept to victory in the Fishermen’s Race on August 1, 1907 and brought the Lipton Cup back to Provincetown with great fanfare, a broom symbolically tied to her mast to indicate a "clean sweep." No other race was ever sailed to place this cup in contention.” http://www.ptownlib.com/schoonerandliptoncup.htm

Now more photos of Provincetown……

Provincetown was home to Pilgrims and play-writes, gays, straights, and people in-between.  That’s what makes it so fun. 

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                                                                                          Tim’s Used Books in Provincetown…


The Marc Jacobs shop that paid for the Marc Jacobs Reading Room….

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Architecture that says New England to me.

The National Seashore is also found in Provincetown thanks to President Kennedy who in 1961 signed the legislation creating the Cape Cod National Seashore.

"A man may stand there and put all America behind him." Henry David Thoreau

http://ptownchamber.com/   for more info.