Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday Funnies

Who ya gonna call?
No one, if you were planned on using these phone booths . . .

Worse yet . . . what would Superman do without a door for a fast change?

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

We Saw the Light . . .

And it was the Pemaquid Point Light, a historic lighthouse in Bristol, Lincoln County, Maine, at the tip of the Pemaquid Neck. The lighthouse is featured on the 23rd quarter in the 50 State Quarters Program issued by the U.S. Mint after being voted on by a majority of Maine residents.

A previous post described a few highlights of our weekend Maine adventure. This was another one during that same trip.

Our NJ friends who we visited recently in Maine, have visited the lighthouse many times during previous visits. They drove there and waited while we waited our turn to climb to the top. There was a short wait time as once inside, space is very limited — and tight. Only 4-6 people entered at a time. We shared the climb with a family of four visiting from Genoa, Italy.

Permaquid Point Lighthouse was commissioned in 1827 by President John Quincy Adams and built the same year. Soon afterwards it started to crumble due to poor quality workmanship and mixing salt water in the mortar mix. It was replaced in 1835 and the second building contract specified the use of only fresh water. The lighthouse keeper oversaw construction to ensure this decision was upheld.

The tower is 38 feet high and is ascended by way of a spiral staircase which ends in 5 small (and narrow) steps that lead into the top. 

The lighthouse lens optic is a Fresnal lens (1856) 
that displays a flashing white light every 6 seconds and is  visible 14 nautical miles. It was automated in 1934.

The lighthouse remains an active aid to navigation. It's owned by the U.S. Coast Guard and licensed to the American Lighthouse Foundation. The Friends of Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation, is dedicated to restoring the historic lighthouse.

Exposed bedrock descends from the lighthouse to the ocean creating a unique scenic landscape. This geological formation dates back hundreds of years and has made Permaquid Point one of the most popularly photographed Maine lighthouses.

Images shot straight out of camera (SOOC)

Dramatic effects filter applied in camera
In spite of this craggy environment, there's a widespread variety of colorful flowering plants, such as rose hips and black-eyed susan, in and around the bedrock.

And, if you would you like to vacation at a lighthouse, you can rent the Keepers House is for a weekly stay at a cost of $1,200 for up to 4 people. There’s a queen bed and pull out sofa bed as well as internet access, TV, DVD/VCR, microwave, outdoor furniture, drinkable water, oceanfront. But bring your linens and towels as these are not provided. Rental proceeds are used to fund ongoing lighthouse maintenance and restoration.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Two Islands and Paris in 3 Days

Yes, you read that correct.

Last weekend we did visit two islands and Paris — in a single weekend. We never left New England — and visited ALL these places in one state.

Here's HOW we did it. We went to Westport Island, Birch Island, and Paris in Maine. 

Maybe not quite the exotic destinations you might have expected?
But then these trips did cost less and take less time.

Our travels started with a visit to Westport Island, located about 50 miles northeast of Portland, Maine. It's separated from the mainland by two coastal salt-water rivers (Sheepscot River and Back River) and is connected to the mainland by one bridge, built in 1972. The island has year-round residences, many rental cottages and a single bed & breakfast accommodation, The Squire Tarbox Inn, where we stayed.

Longtime NJ friends, Sara and David have rented a summer vacation cottage on the island for the past 10 years. Since we hadn't seen them in nearly 2 years, we planned our anniversary trip to include a get together. This is a long-standing friendship as Sara and I attended high school some xx years ago.

We had a day full of activities, including a visit to the annual North Noble Fair, Booth Bay Harbor (great ice cream sundaes at the Ice Cream Factory) and we climbed Pemaquid Point Lighthouse (more on this in a future post). We capped the day off with dinner at the inn celebrating: David's birthday, our anniversary, and especially our friendship.

Later, we took time for an after-dinner group selfie thanks to Grenville's long reach.

Next travel stop was Paris, ME to visit friends, Chris and Pam, who also live in Nashua, NH and spend long weekends at the home that Chris grew up in. This house dates to 1789 and is in a scenic historic district, known as Paris Hill. 

After Paris, we went to Norway (the lake that is). Captain Chris provided a boat tour of Norway Lake, which is really Lake Pennesseewassee, can you see why it's been renamed after the town it's nearest ?
Our next destination was Birch Island, which houses a small cabin owned by Chris and Pam. It's very basic with no electricity and only accessible by boat or when the lake freezes over and can be driven on. You read that right. They told us that the lake freezes to 3 feet of solid ice and can support a large pickup truck, needed to get supplies there.

Last weekend was a fun-filled pre-celebration trip to visit friends and tour more of New England. While the destinations were not as far-away as the post title might have implied, did I mention that they cost less, were FUN and, most important, very special.
Today is our 17th wedding anniversary — 08-21-2016

Coincidentally, we share our anniversary date with a couple from England, Kath and Andrew. We met them several years ago when they were visiting the U.S. and only later learned that we were married on the same date just in different years. The card shown above was received from them this week. Happy Anniversary, Kath & Andrew. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Funnies

This scene gives a new twist to the term "copping" a ride.

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Basil Chicken & More

This all-in-one meal includes chicken and a combination of vegetables. The resulting meal wasn't just colorful, but tasted taste delicious too. The recipe came from Fresh, a monthly magazine distributed in Hannaford Supermarket, which is one of 3 major supermarkets in Nashua, NH — 2 more choices than we had living on the VA Eastern Shore. 

This publication contains a number of healthy eating tips and recipes. This was the first recipe I've tried and it won't be the last based on results. The recipe uses fresh ingredients, a big huge plus for us.

Some changes: the recipe serves 4; I halved everything to serve Grenville and myself a single meal. Instead of buying chicken tenders, I used chicken breasts sliced thin and then cut into strips. Adding a little extra fresh basil is a good thing.

Also, I didn't have the Hannaford brand House Dressing called for in the recipe. I checked online for the ingredients and whisked up a modified version. You could probably substitute an Italian dressing.

Basil Chicken with Succotash Salad
Serves 4. Total time 30 minutes.
  • 1/2 C plus 2 TBSP water
  • 8 oz green beans trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 ears fresh corn kernels cut from cob
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 lb chicken tenders, trimmed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 C Taste of Inspirations House dressing or an Italian dressing
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh basil, bit more is OK
  • 3 C fresh baby spinach
  1. Bring 1/2 C water, green beans and cord to a simmer in a large nonstick skillet. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook about 5 minutes until vegetables are tender. Drain and transfer to a large bowl, add bell peppers, toss to combine and set aside.
  2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Wipe skillet dry and heat half of the oil over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook 2-3 minutes each side until golden brown. transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining oil and chicken.
  3. Return remaining two-thirds of chicken to skillet over medium-high heat and add 1/4 C dressing and remaining 2 TBSP water. Cook, stirring often, until mixture reduces and coats chicken, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat, stir in basil and cover to keep warm.
  4. Add baby spinach and remaining 1/4 C of dressing to the vegetable mixture and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and place chicken on top.
Serve and enjoy. Grenville gave this a forks up for another "keeper" meal.

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