Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween Tricks

Some photo fun for Halloween . . . sorry no treats (we're trying to lose weight).
After the weather events of the past couple of days, these images don't seem that scary.
The skies have cleared, sun is shining, and the winds have died down. We're now awaiting the first winter storm, but hope it takes awhile to arrive. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Just a Bad Memory

That's what can be said about tropical storm Philippe now according to the National Hurricane Center.

We were out-of-state as noted below. Photos in this post were taken a short time ago from our hotel room with limited views as it was pouring rain with gusting winds.

Thanks to everyone for your comments and concerns on yesterday's post about the storm's anticipated effects here in the northeast. So close to Halloween, this was quite a nasty trick on the 5th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.

NH state officials reported that the storm produced one of the worst non-winter power outages statewide.
We left NH on Sunday morning for a pre-planned road trip to Killington, VT. While it rained all day, we arrived at our lodging, before the hardest part of the storm. We're at a ski lodge which has low occupancy during this pre-ski season, but it will be fully booked within a few months (and at much higher rates too).

Ironically, 5 years ago when Sandy hit, we left VA  (where we were living at the time) for a trip to White River Junction also in VT. That trip was a day-long adventure as we were caught up in traffic in NJ which was expecting (and later received) the worst from Sandy

Early this morning, outages across the northeast left 44,000 people without power in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, much better than in New England states.

New England was hard-hit with this nor'easter-type storm. States were pounded with rain and gusting winds of up to 65 mph during the height of the Sunday storm. Widespread power outages were reported in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut,  Rhode Island, and Vermont. Trees and wires were down in several states with some flash flooding. Many school districts cancelled Monday classes.

NH state officials reported that the storm produced one of the worst "non-winter" power outages. The Mount Washington Observatory on the summit of Mount Washington, NH, highest peak in the northeast, reported wind gusts of over 130 mph during the height of the storm on Sunday night.

Safe and dry in our VT accommodation, we're staying indoors until later today when (hopefully) the rain and winds will lessen or stop. The lodge has several wood-burning fireplaces which are lit now. 
There's a small movie "theater" in the lodge, but films are pre-selected. So, last night we watched the 1991 film, The Addams Family, on Netflix. It was an appropriate (and fun) film for a stormy night. The 1988 film, Beetlejuice, is another Halloween favorite, but not available on Netflix, so we'll watch our DVD copy later.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Storm Anniversary

This weekend marks an anniversary. It's not one that sparks happy memories.

It's the worst type of déjà vu on the 5th anniversary of what was dubbed Superstorm Sandy. So many folks living on the East Coast will remember, but would rather forget it, including my brother, his family, friends and many others we know in NJ our home state.

We were living on the VA eastern shore at the time, and remarkably did not have any storm effects. While we may have been out of harm's way for that storm; it's not so this weekend. A major rain and wind storm is expected to strike the northeast and New England, where we're now living. Near hurricane-force wind gusts and heavy rain are expected to batter the Northeast on Sunday

That storm dubbed Tropical Storm Philippe formed near western Cuba a few days ago and was racing up the Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast early today. It's expected to bring torrential rains and strong wind gusts. Estimates are for 1 to 3 inches of rain to fall through Sunday and into Monday morning.

On this anniversary date, we remember when "Superstorm Sandy" made landfall in the U.S. on Oct. 29, 2012 and struck near Atlantic City, NHJ with 80 mph wind gusts.

Hurricane Sandy (as it was also called) had been the most intense storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season and had formed in the Caribbean Sea north of Panama.  As it moved northward, the hurricane lessened into a massive "superstorm." According to meteorologists, what differentiates a hurricane from a superstorm is that a hurricane occurs in warm, tropical conditions, and a superstorm refers to cold, nontropical weather. 

"Superstorm" has no formal definition, but that doesn't matter to those  affected by its devastation. The storm hit the NJ shore very hard and causing widespread damage in places we knew and formerly visited when we lived there.
(Photo credit: Greg Thompson)

Many will remember this image of the JetStar Roller Coaster that topled into the ocean in Seaside Heights, N.J. during Superstorm Sandy.
(Photo credit: Jana Shea)

Streets were flooded, trees and power lines knocked down and the city's famed boardwalk ripped apart. People were stranded in their homes along the Jersey shore, More than 80 homes were destroyed in a fire in Breezy Point, Queens, NY. Subways and roadway tunnels were flooded in NYC.
(Internet source: Breezy Point, Queens, NY)
Remembering this superstorm that struck our home state of NJ and neighboring NY and affected those we know and love and so many others. 

At the same time, we're keeping everyone including ourselves, in our thoughts with the approach of Philippe. We hope all will be safe.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday Funnies

This photo shows that Harley riders never die (or give up riding their bikes).

The first photo shows the original colors, but it also worked well in B&W. 

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Cruising on Lake Winnie

We took a cruise last weekend and sailed onboard the M/V Mount Washington without leaving the state. This post is lengthy as the history of places we've visited is always interesting to me, usually learned after the fact. (It has many photos as I took quite a few way too many images with my cell phone and digital camera. Vintage images are from internet sources.)

This vessel and its predecessor have a storied history all of which I learned afterwards and have included in this post. But, first some information about the cruise including some of the sights long on the trip.

We cruised on Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest lake in the state of New Hampshire. It's located at the foothills of the White Mountains.
It's the third-largest lake in New England after Lake Champlain and Moosehead Lake. 
The Native American name Winnipesaukee (spelled Winnipiseogee earlier) means either "smile of the Great Spirit" or "beautiful water in a high place.
Lake "Winnie" as it's affectionally known has been a popular tourist destination for over 100 years. Back then, vacationers who were seeking relief from the summer heat of Boston and NYC traveled by train to board a ship in Weirs Beach. (We traveled 90 minutes by car from Nashua, NH.)

Lake Winnipesaukee is about 21 miles long and from 1 to 9 miles wide, covering 69 square miles with a maximum depth of 212 feet. 
The driving distance around the lake is 63 miles. It includes about 300 islands, half of which are less than a quarter-acre in size. Some islands have homes on them. 
Mount Washington Cruise Line offers various cruises in-season from May to October. Our Sunday brunch cruise started at Weirs Beach in Meredith, NH with a second stop at Alton Bay and was the final one this year. Total cruise time was 2-1/2 hours. Brunch was served and included breakfast and lunch entrees, desserts and beverages (no photos to make you hungry).
The M/V Mount Washington picks up and drops off passengers at five different ports around the lake. It cruises from its home port of Weirs Beach to Wolfeboro, Alton Bay, Center Harbor and Meredith. Formerly,  a summer attraction, it has a capacity of 1250 and operates seasonally with daytime, evening and special themed cruises. 
Internet source: Postcard image of S.S. Mount Washington

Since 1872, only two Mount Washington vessels have cruised the lake. The first was a 178-feet long wooden side-wheeler, the S.S. Mount Washington, launched in 1872 at Alton Bay, NH. 

It was built by the Boston & Maine RR company to transport travelers and cargo from one side of lake to the other. In the late 1880s, the steamship was one of many operating on the lake. 

The S.S. Mount Washington was the fastest of the major steamers and dominated the lake transportation business, transporting over 60,000 travelers per season. The NH White Mountains was a popular vacation destination. Many people bought property and built summer homes around the lake. Perhaps not as grand as these that we saw on our cruise. These are by no means "summer cottages."

To some people, their home is their castle and here's a perfect example.
As railroad travel declined and auto travel prevailed, the "Old Mount" was sold. It
became  a tourist attraction, stopping at many ports around the lake. The B&M Railroad continued bringing tourists from the Boston area. 
The ship's home port of Weirs Beach had become a resort area with a railroad station, large dance pavilion and grand New Hotel Weirs overlooking Weirs Bay and the mountains. Four trains left Boston's Union Station daily for the Weirs.
The hotel, built in 1880, was known as the best lodgings in the area. It was open from June to September with accommodations for 300. Four trains left Boston's Union Station for the Weirs. A fire destroyed the hotel in November 1924. It was never rebuilt; the site was redeveloped in later years to include an arcade. The train line is operated by the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad, which offers excursion trains along the shore of the lake. 
Fifteen years later in December 1939, a fire in the railroad station spread down the ramp to the dock where the S.S. Mount Washington was winter-berthed. Attempts to free the ship, which was stuck in the mud due to low water levels failed. It was destroyed along with the railroad station and boardwalk.
Because of pre-World War II munitions build up, large quantities of steel were unattainable and a new ship couldn't be built. The Chateaugay, a former steamboat, was  purchased for $20,000. Built in 1888, it was made of iron mined from Mt. Chateaugay in upstate NY. It was the first iron-hulled steamboat on Lake Champlain in Vermont where it served as a passenger excursion boat for 50 years.
In the fall of 1940, the hull was dismantled, cut into 20 pieces and shipped by flatbed railroad car to NH where it was reassembled. Only the hull was used; everything else, including the superstructure and the propulsion system was replaced. 
The new vessel was launched in August 1940 and christened the S.S. Mount Washington II and in the years since has undergone more updates. Twin diesel engines were added in 1946 and in 1982, the ship was cut in half and expanded by 25 feet.
Once again, it was rechristened, this time as the M/V Mount Washington (motor vessel) and today, it's popularly called the "Mount." 

We enjoyed this weekend cruise and are already planning to return for a repeat outing outing next year. 
(All vintage photos of the S.S. Mount Washington, Chateaugay, M/V Mount Washington, Weirs Beach, New Hotel Weirs in this post were taken from internet sources. Most did not have copyright information provided; however, I want to acknowledge that these images are not my own. They were included in this post only to provide historical and pictorial reference. My thanks to all who posted online.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Rainy Morning & Ship Views

This was the morning view from our apt window overlooking the Nashua River and a view towards Main St in downtown Nashua, NH. The rainy weather brought out a group of river ducks (those small specks in the center of the photo).
This is the "up river" view from the same apt window location. The large building on the left side is Cotton Mill, another mill apartment. The building on the right is a commercial business.
Thanks for all your comments on the previous post about our walk in Mine Falls Park. We are so fortunate to have this great natural resource so close by. 

We had a warm and sunny weekend, perfect for a Sunday cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee (NH's largest lake) on board the Mount Washington (a 230-ft motor ship). This image shows some of the scenery and the ship and was taken with the "pano" setting on the iPhone, which I usually forget to use, but it's fun!
While the foliage was less colorful than expected,  it was a wonderful excursion, a first for us and the final one of the season. (Photos and details in a future post.)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Saturday Park Stroll

Fall foliage is not very colorful in many areas around Nashua now, as our temperatures have been more spring-like than autumn. Yesterday, we went walking in Mine Falls Park, which is located very close to our mill apartment, and found some fall foliage. 

But, as you can see from the below image, there's still a lot of green in the park.
Mine Falls Park is a 325-acre park in Nashua, NH. It was purchased in 1969 from the Nashua, NH Foundation with city and federal Land and Water Conservation Fund money. 
The name "Mine Falls" derives from the 1700s, when low quality lead was supposedly mined from an island below the falls. In the early 1800s, the potential of the Nashua River to drive the wheels of industry, mainly textile mills, was recognized. Workers used shovels and mules to dig a 3-mile long canal, which provides a vertical drop of 36 feet at the mills.
The park includes forest, wetlands, and open fields. It's bordered on the north by the Nashua River and on the south by the Millpond and canal system. The park provides  for walking, boating, fishing, cross-country skiing, and biking, with several fields for organized sports, such as soccer, lacrosse and baseball. 
In 1987, the Nashua River Canal and the Nashua Manufacturing Company Historic District (the Millyard) were placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1992, the park trails were designated as part of the New Hampshire Heritage Trail system, which extends 130 miles along the Merrimack River from Massachusetts to Canada.
We are fortunate that this city park is in our "back yard." Our mill apartment building is located within the Millyard mentioned above. In the next couple of weeks, we hope the colors will really be "popping" along the river and I'll be able to share more fall colors. 

As you can see in this image, many trees still have not reached their full fall potential.

Hope you also enjoyed the fall walk. Grenville and I did and did the exercising for you ! 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Funnies

A local show store here caters to feet of ALL sizes . . .
Maybe even BIG Foot's sneaker size ?

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fun at MASS MoCA

Last week's Friday Funnies post featured work from a current exhibit at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA). We visited in August on our anniversary road trip to nearby Williamstown, MA. Finding this museum was an unexpected, and very pleasant surprise, as we hadn't traveled to the Berkshires specifically for this purpose.

We spent several hours exploring the buildings and tried to see as many exhibits as possible.  Shown below are more pieces from artist Lonnie Holley artist, creator of the piece shown in the Friday Funnies. 
To update fellow bloggers who expressed concern over the demise of the instruments in comments, NO musical instruments were trashed for its creation. Holley, an African-American artist, art educator, musician and performance artist, fashions his art from "found" materials, the stuff folks trash. He's often referred to as The Sand Man because his art began after a family tragedy when he made sandstone tombstones for his sister's children killed in a fire. Articles about Holley and his art have appeared in Art in AmericaContemporary Art DailyHuffington Post, and Garden&Gun among others.

Holley's art and that of fellow southern artist and writer Dawn DeDeaux, from New Orleans, LA, were jointly featured in a MassMOCA exhibit. Like Holley, DeDeaux also experienced early tragedy with the death of two siblings. They shared other similarities: DeDeaux worked in the prison system. Holley was incarcerated at the Alabama Industrial School of Negro Children. Both lost artwork: DeDeaux in Hurricane Katrina and later a fire; Holley when his work area was bulldozed. Yet, despite these similarities and geographic proximity, they never met until invited to exhibit at MASS MoCA.

The above two works by DeDeaux were featured in the exhibit. She is regarded as a pioneer in media art. Her work uses two-dimensional imagery and sculptureHer work requires more than just a first look, as apparent in these pieces.

DeDeaux has exhibited in the Whitney Museum of American Art, Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and the Baltimore Museum of Contemporary Art. Like Holley, she has been featured in many publications including The New York TimesKnow Louisiana, and New Orleans Living Magazine

Holley and DeDeaux were not the featured artists when we visited MassMOCA. That distinction went to artist Nick Cave of Chicago. His exhibit, Untilthe museum's costliest and most elaborate one to date, was housed in Building 5, an open, column-free, football field sized space. It's also the museum's largest exhibit space.
Cave's “Kinetic Spinner Forest” lets people follows a path of 12,000 spinners suspended from 1,500 thin cables. Some spinners had tiny motors keeping them in continuous motion. Others bore images of bullets and targets, a very unsettling sight.
“Crystal Cloudscape,” another part of Cave's exhibit, featured an enormous hanging chandelier which at the top contained an assortment of "tchotchkes" that resembled yard sale finds, including 17 black-faced lawn jockeys. Several ladders were provided to allow access to the top. The description said the piece was meant to symbolize racial evil.
Internet image

Cave is a fabric sculptor, dancer and performance artist who is best known for creating "Soundsuits," wearable fabric sculptures described as " bright, whimsical, and other-worldly." Fully concealing the body, they obscure race, gender, and class, allowing viewers to look without bias towards the wearer’s identity. Cave regularly performs in the sculptures either dancing for the camera or in a public space. (None of these pieces were included in the Mass MoCA exhibit.)

MASS MoCA is located in the western Massachusetts town of North Adams, a small town in the Berkshire Mountains. Opened in 1999, it's one of the largest museums in the world with 25 buildings on 16 acres, galleries the size of football fields, and exhibition space that exceeds 250,000 square feet. Its focus is on contemporary visual art and performing arts (as evidenced by the exhibits we saw there). 

In 1985, the former factory complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is the U.S. federal government's official list of sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation. 

The museum is in a former factory building complex that housed two local industries.

Arnold Print Works, a cloth printing firm was one of the world's leading producers of printed textiles operated from 1860-1942. At its 1905 peak, it employed over 3,000 workers. The company closed due to the low prices of cloth produced in the South and abroad as well as economic effects from the Great Depression.

Sprague Electric Company (1942-1985) purchased the site to produce capacitors and in WW II, operated 24 hours, employing a largely female workforce. At its 1960s peak, in a North Adams community of 18,000, Sprague employed 4,137 workers. Its shutdown came in the wake of economic difficulties caused by cheaper Asian-produced electronic components and changes in high-tech electronics.

The shutdown of these once-vital industries seriously impacted the North Adams economy. It has been somewhat, but not completely, revived by the establishment of this world-class museum. Could it be that not everyone knows of its existence?

We certainly didn't know of MASS MoCA before and agreed that it was one of the best art experiences we've experienced. We are planning a return visit and if you've ever in western Massachusetts, look up this museum and allow plenty of time to explore.