This online document is a means of sharing the adventure of traveling on America's waterways with friends and family. Last Dance is continuing to take her crew to historical, natural, beautiful, and interesting places. Enjoy the ride.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Long Island Sound to Buzzards Bay - Fairhaven Houses

The architecture of churches has often been featured in this blog.  Why is the image of a church placed in a blog about houses, you may ask.  It is not a church.  It once was.  It has been repurposed into a private home.  Many have had dreams of finding an old church and turning it into a home.  Someone accomplished that in Fairhaven.  Good location, too - right across from the library and town hall.

The new purpose of this building is nicely announced on the front of the building where bulletins were once posted.

Fairhaven must have had a large growth period in the late 1700's and early 1800's, as many homes in the old section of town were built during that time.  A variety of architecture is on exhibit.  

The home architecture of Fairhaven is presented below, without comment, to allow the reader to take a bike ride through town and enjoy the scenery.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Long Island Sound to Buzzards Bay - Fairhaven, Massachusetts

The Acushnet River Safe Boating Club served as home for Last Dance for eight days, a much longer time period than planned.  Multiple cold fronts and tropical storm Bill came through the area in one week, keeping the waters off Boston stirred up, unsuitable for passage north to Maine.  Fairhaven is a good place to be stuck and the boat club members were welcoming and helpful.

The view through Last Dance's windows on rainy days was of an active commercial harbor as the scallop boats docked to unload their catch at a seafood distributor.

Needing to partake in the scollopmen's harvest, Elizabeth's Cafe provided the local delicacy served in a variety of creative and delicious recipes.  Multiple visits were required.

Just behind Elizabeth's is Margaret's, a restaurant begun by Elizabeth's sister.  More opportunities to sample the local scallops.

Fairhaven is filled with history, much that can be seen on a bike ride around town.  The Old Stone School was open as a historical site.  School districts were defined by neighborhoods in the 19th century in Massachusetts, so schools were small and served all students of all ages.  The one-room school was the norm.

The docent filling the role of teacher provided a great deal of history, not only of the school but the entire community.  He serves as director of tourism.  His role as the teacher was unlikely since most of the teachers at the time were young women - single women as married women were not allowed to be school teachers.  Often the teacher had just graduated from another district school.

When towns reached a population of 5000, they were required to build a high school.  Fairhaven was fortunate to have a native son who was most generous, Henry Huttleston Rogers.  Rogers engaged a New England architect, Charles Brigham, who designed a modern school with an Elizabethan influence and paid to have it built in 1906.  It still serves the community as the high school today.

Because of Rogers' gifts to the town, Fairhaven has a look of Europe.  Multiple architectural styles were employed in the design of public buildings gifted to the city.  The high school was actually one of the last buildings Henry H. Rogers donated to the community.

Rogers' first gift to Fairhaven was an elementary school, built in 1885.  It is frame construction with a brick veneer.  Five years after it was built, the color of the brick faded.  Rogers had the brick removed and the building rebricked. The Rogers School served as the town's elementary school through 2013.  The town is entertaining proposals for repurposing the school.

Not pleased with the outcome of the elementary school building, Rogers engaged New England architect Charles Brigham to design a library.  A granite structure, with a red slate roof and a large stained glass window, it was designed in the Italian Renaissance style and built in 1893.

The library was dedicated to the memory of his daughter, Millicent, who died at 17.

The second building that Brigham designed for Rogers was the town hall, which Rogers financed as a gift from his wife.  The French Gothic building has oak paneling, solid brass fixtures and leaded and stained glass windows.  It began serving as the town's offices in 1894 and is still used today as the town hall.

Bingham used the English perpendicular Gothic architectural style to design the Unitarian Memorial Church, another public building donated by Henry Huttleston Rogers.  It was built of locally quarried granite and Indiana limestone, crafted by 45 European stone masons and dedicated in 1904.

The ornate entry doors are cast bronze, each weighing 4500 pounds.

Rogers, who was a partner of John D. Rockefeller and Henry Flagler at Standard Oil, also built an Elizabethan style hotel in Fairhaven.  He named it the Tabitha Inn to honor his great-grandmother. When it was built in 1905, it was known as one of the finest hotels outside of Boston.  Today it serves as a Catholic-operated nursing home, Our Lady's Haven.  Rogers left a marvelous legacy in his hometown through beautiful and still-functioning architecture.

Long Island Sound to Buzzard's Bay - Boats

Boats come from the dreams of many people - the designers, builders, and owners.  They range in size from just a few feet to many hundreds of feet long.  Boats serve many purposes and the designs differ to meet different objectives.  One of the interesting aspects of traveling the waterways is the constant parade of a wide variety of boat designs.  The silver boat above was entering Long Island Sound at the same time as Last Dance.  Both boats designed as pleasure craft but, obviously, with different design parameters.

Another silver pleasure craft, this one with an unpainted aluminum superstructure.  Boats perform better, particularly in rough waters, if the majority of the weight is low.  Reducing the weight up high by using light-weight materials helps that design criterion.  Aluminum is rare in a sizable cruising boat.  Leaving the metal bare is a common practice on aluminum work boats, but not on sleek cruisers.

Commercial boats ply the waters of the sounds.   People living on the northern shore in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts have a long, long drive from their area to Long Island, including having to negotiate New York City.  The quicker method is to take a ferry across the sound.  There are a number of cities on the Connecticut shore that have ferry service across Long Island Sound.

In Rhode Island and Massachusetts, fast ferries carry tourists to Block Island, Martha's Vinyard and Nantucket.

Sailing is an important sport in Rhode Island.  The America's Cup was based in Newport, RI, and conducted on Rhode Island Sound from 1870 through 1967, when a challenger from Australia defeated the American boat.  As Last Dance traveled through the sound, three different sail competitions were being conducted within close proximity to each other.

Boats that have an AIS transmitter, broadcast many items of information including their position.  That information can be displayed on a chartplotter.  In this image a gaggle of boats, the sailboats racing, are tightly clustered on the left, zoomed out chart.  The green icons are more than two miles away, the red ones less. On the right side chart, zoomed in closer, the individual boats can be identified.  The triangle with a stick indicates boat position and direction.  The dotted line with an icon of a sinking boat indicates that the boat is on a collision course with Last Dance.  A lot of collisions could occur in the next few minutes.  Fortunately, they are all headed for a turn marker, making a port turn and heading away.  The uppermost boat, Mutiny, has made the turn and is leading the race.

Commercial fishing boats are a common sight.  This green scallop boat was headed on the same course as Last Dance, toward the bay between New Bedford and Fairhaven, Massachusetts.

The harbor located between New Bedford and Fairhaven, Massachusetts, is home to over 100 scallop boats.  They are based there, bring their catch back for distribution, and have necessary maintenance accomplished.  These boats look large on the water, and even larger when out of the water.

How do they get those large boats out of the water and sitting in the boat yard?  A travel lift, much like the one that is used to move Last Dance out of the water - only bigger, much bigger.  This one is rated at 400 metric tons.  That's over 880,000 pounds.  Quite a machine that can move that big and heavy a load.

Scallops are not the only fruit of the sea harvested in this area.  Lobster boats were beginning to place their traps for the season.

Recreational fishing is a big sport in the Sounds.  Boats from small skiffs to large party fishing boats are always seen on the waters.  This boat, an Everglades built in Florida, is powered by three 350 hp outboards.  The fish in the Sounds must be really fast if it takes 1050 horsepower to catch them.

There is a long history of boats in these waters.  New Bedford, MA, has a whaling museum documenting the long history of the whaling industry that was based there.  Just across the harbor, in Fairhaven, the citizens have erected a monument to Joshua Slocum.

Slocum was the first person to sail around the world single handed.  He sailed a 37' oyster sloop that was given to him since it was to derelict to be sold.  He rebuilt the boat and left Fairhaven close to the spot where the monument stands.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Long Island Sound to Buzzards Bay

This body of water has four names, Long Island Sound, Block Island Sound, Rhode Island Sound, and Buzzards Bay, stretching from New York City on the west to Cape Cod on the east.  It is a popular recreational boating and fishing area, still supports commercial fishing, and provides somewhat protected waters for boats traveling east and west.

In New York City, where the East River meets Long Island Sound, the Execution Rocks Light marks one end of this waterbody and warns boat captains of a shoal that extends far offshore of Long Island.

The abandoned lighthouse on Wings Neck still stands, marking the east end of Buzzards Bay.  It currently has the control tower and radar for the Cape Cod Canal.  There is also a stoplight here, controlling traffic on the Canal.   

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New York City

The trip to the Big City was made on a day when the temperature inversion created hazy skies and the temperatures were high.  This image was made the following day, looking west from where the East River meets Long Island Sound.  The haze was actually so dense that the skyline was not discernible. The image had to be cleaned up in post processing to bring out the buildings.

There are so many interesting things in Manhattan.  Choosing a topic for a photo essay to share has many options.  Will limit to two.  First, apartment buildings, the major housing method for most who live in Manhattan.  Two buildings with some interesting architecture, viewed from Central Park creating the greenery in the images that is rare in many areas of the city.

Cars have always been an interest of the Last Dance captain.  New York is not a city for cars.  Parking is ridiculously expensive.  There is limited parking on the streets that many New Yorkers compete for.  But, not without hazards.

People fit cars into spaces much too small.  The space in front of this SUV is no larger than the space behind.  Works for New Yorkers who often Park-by-Feel anyway.  Back up until you hit the car behind; turn the wheels and pull forward until you hit the car in front; repeat 8 or 10 times and you will be out of the space.

This process makes for dings and scratches on the bumpers.  This BMW may be just a visitor since it does not have NY plates.  Many cars have cracked and crushed bumpers.  As one who abhors door dings, having a car here would be torture.

Where ever there is a problem some resourceful people will develop a solution.  The most common is to have a rubber bumper protector.  This device is attached inside the trunk and can be flipped back into the trunk for highway driving.  A big help when driving in the city also.

Why settle for a defensive solution when an offensive one can be developed?  This SUV has an extended metal bar mounted in a trailer hitch receiver.  Park-by-Feel will not be scratching his bumper.  Note how much room the car behind has left him.  Fortunately, the great public transportation system in the city makes it convenient to travel without a car.  But, there are those who enjoy cars just to have the quality machinery.  NYC might not be the place for them.