Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father’s Day on the Coast of Maine

Today is one of those days that used to occur about three times a year when we lived in Chicago and, invariably, two of those days we were at work.  It is sunny and about 75F with light winds from the east.  A perfect day to take a drive in the country. We headed south toward Cape Elizabeth and the famous Portland Head Lighthouse.
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I copied this information about the lighthouse from the web:
The city of Portland took its name from the headland where the lighthouse now stands, but Portland Head is now actually within the present boundaries of the town of Cape Elizabeth. Portland, which was known as Falmouth until 1786, was America’s sixth busiest port by the 1790s. There were no lighthouses on the coast of Maine when 74 merchants petitioned the Massachusetts government (Maine was part of Massachusetts at the time) in 1784 for a light at Portland Head, on the northeast coast of Cape Elizabeth, to mark the entrance to Portland Harbor. The deaths of two people in a 1787 shipwreck at Bangs (now Cushing) Island, near Portland Head, led to the appropriation of $750 for a lighthouse, and construction began.
The project was delayed by insufficient funds, and construction didn't progress until 1790 when Congress appropriated an additional $1,500, after the nation's lighthouses had been ceded to the federal government.
The stone lighthouse was built by local masons Jonathan Bryant and John Nichols. The original plan was for a 58-foot tower, but when it was realized that the light would be blocked from the south it was decided to make the tower 72 feet in height instead. Bryant resigned over the change, and Nichols finished the lighthouse in January 1791.
President George Washington approved the appointment of Capt. Joseph Greenleaf, a veteran of the American Revolution, as first keeper. The light went into service on January 10, 1791, with whale oil lamps showing a fixed white light. At first, Greenleaf received no salary as keeper; his payment was the right to fish and farm and to live in the keeper’s house. As early as November 1791, Greenleaf wrote that he couldn’t afford to remain keeper without financial compensation. In a June 1792 letter, he complained of many hardships. During the previous winter, he wrote, the ice on the lantern glass was often so thick that he had to melt it off. In 1793, Greenleaf was granted an annual salary of $160.
(Thank you
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (remember him from high school English) was fond of the lighthouse as you can see in the above photo.

But even with the lighthouse there were still shipwrecks.
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Here is another view of the lighthouse for which it is claimed to be the most photographed lighthouse in the world.

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The famous rock-ribbed coast of Maine.
After our trip to Cape Elizabeth we decided to visit The Lobster Shack, which was highly recommended to us.  We even found a parking place less than a block from the ocean front eatery, but a line out the door of about 50 people made us decide to come back on a week day.
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Were gonna end the day with a visit to a local ice cream emporium for something special.
Stay tuned.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Wild Duck Campground in Scarborough, Maine

We made the last leg of our journey from Florida to Maine yesterday.  We pulled out of Croton Point Park in Westchester County, NY around 7:30 and some six hours and four states later we were in Scarborough, Maine.  We only traveled about 315 miles yet we were in five states:  New York>Connecticut>Massachusetts>New Hampshire>Maine.
Surprisingly the roads were not too crowded for being in the northeast/New England corner of the country.  Below is our new home for the next four months.  In exchange for a free site and electricity, we will be work camping here until October 10.  Each of us will work  four days a week for three or four hours.  Sandy will work in the office and I will help with maintenance.  Then we are off for the same three days.
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Wild Duck Campground is Located in the middle of the Maine Audubon’s Scarborough Marsh.  Wildlife includes waterfowls, egrets, herons, ibises, raptors, muskrat, mink, otter, deer and moose. The marsh is the state's largest salt water marsh and can be explored by foot, kayak or canoe.
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The campground is adults only and, as you might expect very tranquil.  There are only 70 sites which includes an area for tent camping.
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The grounds are immaculate and well tended. And when the wind blows in the tall pines the sound reminds me of ocean waves rolling onto the beach.
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Flowers add color.
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This view of the marsh is what we see out of our front window.
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And because “wild duck” is part of the camp’s name, it is good to see that Mother Nature is seeing that there is a new supply of duck to swim in the pond.
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Stay tuned.