Friday, October 24, 2014

Next stop: Plymouth

The Mayflower

The weather was perfect for touring...and Plymouth was enjoying the leaf-peepers.  After breakfast, the day started with a tour of the Mayflower. What a great little ship, which made an extraordinary sailing, bringing Puritans to North America.

The man sitting with the crossed legs is "Captain Jones."

Navigator's and First Mate's quarters

The tour guides on the ship were terrific!  Some were in period costume, telling their stories as if they had not lived a day past the late 1620's.  I learned from "Captain Jones" that there were many ships called the Mayflower, as it was a popular name in that day.  So you went by the Captain's name; for instance, this would have been Captain Jones' Mayflower.  The ship brought 102 Puritans, several animals (goats, sheep, cows, chickens).  However, because of scurvy, 55 of them died after they got to Plymouth.  It took 9 weeks to make the voyage, but they were actually on the ship for 7 months, living on it, as there was nowhere else to live.  Another interesting fact was that they all had rations of 1 gallon of beer a day--even for children.
Below deck, where 102 Puritans made the journey.  Two ladies on the right told their stories of sailing to America.

All 102 Puritans lived below deck with the animals they were transporting.  Two ladies (tour guides) were acting the parts of those who made the journey, and they said they would never make such a journey again.  It was crowded, and they didn't get much fresh air; they were not allowed to go above deck because they would get in the sailors' way.  Oh yes, and the boat you see below (floating next to the Mayflower) was also taken apart and transported below deck, and then it was reassembled once they got to America and used to explore the coast and rivers. I can't imagine how they got all their supplies, the boat, the animals, and the people all packed in that space.  Must have been disgusting conditions.

This is not a good picture of Plymouth Rock, but I think the first time anyone sees it, they find it surprisingly small.  The engraved date of 1620 is still in good shape; some say that the rock was originally  somewhat bigger and that pieces of it have been chipped away.  Who knows?  It is certainly well guarded in modern years, with this giant portico built around it.

Jenny's Grist Mill is another site in Plymouth.  The water wheel and old grinding wheel are still in operation, and they continue to grind corn there on a regular basis.

Jenny's Grist Mill

Leydon Street became a main street in Plymouth, and this is the street that has been recreated at Plymouth Plantation, a mile or two away.  On Leydon Street is the Sparrow House, many gift shops, restaurants, book stores, etc.  Wish there had been more time to explore.
The Sparrow House
The Sparrow House is the only house still standing in Plymouth which was actually lived in by a Puritan in the 1600's.  It was wonderful to walk through and see how modestly and simply they lived.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

From the Freedom Trail

The Paul Revere statue is quite impressive, as is the steeple of the Old North Church.  The church is quite beautiful, and the enclosed pews are so charming and reminiscent of congregations coming to church on cold mornings, keeping warm with boxes of coals for their feet.
"One if by land; two if by sea..."

Very near the church is a building which houses a printing press and a house of chocolate.  A young man was dressed in period costume, demonstrating how colonists set type and printed one sheet at a time.  He printed a copy of The Declaration of Independence, which tourists could then purchase.

The young lady, also dressed in period costuming, showed onlookers how many ingredients went into making the chocolate of the day.  She gave us a small sample of hot chocolate to taste, and it was very tasty.  It was thought that chocolate had medicinal powers and was often offered to the soldiers.  She also pointed out in a book of famous paintings many which showed ladies with their chocolate pots (like tea pots) and small cups, enjoying hot chocolate in their parlors. 

Boston Harbor is quite beautiful, and a park near the water was a quite green space near busy city streets.

I was intrigued by this statue of Christopher Columbus because it was made out of the same marble as Michelangelo's statue of David.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Other sights in Boston

After taking the bay tour, a short bus tour was included in the ticket.  It was one of those hop on/hop off buses.  The tour guide driving the bus was not good, so hopping off turned out to be a good option. 
USS Constitution - Old Ironsides

Walking The Freedom Trail was better, and it's so well marked.  On top of that, Bostonians are out on the street and happily approach confused-looking tourists to answer questions and offer guidance.  I was so impressed with the friendliness and hospitality of the city's residents.  They truly are "Boston Strong" and want their visitors to have a safe and happy experience in the city.  The welcome mat is out, and it feels so sincere.

I love the old cobblestone street and the old buildings that are still standing from the 1700's. 

One of my favorite spots to visit is Paul Revere's house.  No pictures can be taken inside.  It is so cool to walk through this old house that has been so beautifully restored.  I did not know that they often would use the master bedroom for entertaining.  A nicely decorated/set table and chairs were set up right near the foot of the bed, which was probably one of their largest, more expensive and decorative pieces of furniture; the family would have wanted to show it off.  The families of that day did not waste space.  Also, the ceilings were low to help keep the rooms warmer.

Love the leaded glass windows.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I have fallen for you, New England...

I've made the trip to see the fall leaves in New England...consider it checked off the "To Live It Up" list.  What a fabulous season for visiting the northeast, and the timing was perfect: one full week of moderate temps, blue skies, manageable crowds, and of course - those rich, reddish colors along the roads.  The trip included Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and southern Maine.

The first excursion was to board a boat which toured Boston Harbor.

The tour gave us a wonderful view of Boston's skyline.

Here's Bunker Hill Monument.

And I was intrigued how they designed Bunker Hill Bridge to look similar.
Another view of one of the bridge's towers.  Very cool engineering design!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

More fun with fiber

"Lyle" was on hand at the Fiber Fest to get folks started on crocheting...or just to give her gentle support to those wanting to learn more of the craft.  Rachel is a very skilled knitter (she knit the sweater she's wearing)...but here she's trying out some crocheting skills under Lyle's guidance. 

And Mary was there, too, for those wanting instruction in crocheting.  This little 8 yr. old girl was learning to knit and crochet...and having a ball.

And you can't beat having vendors on the premises!!  LOVED looking at and purchasing some new yarns!  I couldn't resist.  Not many could.  I found some baby alpaca and also a wool/silk blend.  Both are soooo soft.  I think the wool/silk blend is going on the needles next.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fun with fiber

Our fiber arts guild hosted a Fiber Fest on Saturday.  Here's someone you might recognize, giving a demonstration on twining.  Yes, it's Nancy S.  Her project was a popular one, and she had a lot of people show interest and also try their hand at this skill.  Her rugs are exquisite!  They are so well made and tough as nails, too.  She had a rug on hand to show which was 20 years old...and it still looked great. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Why do I wait...

Why do I wait for the last few days of warmth to winterize
The jet ski, the lawnmower, 
The ATV's, the wardrobe.  Especially the wardrobe.

I've nearly waited too long...and now it seems like a rushed job.
In the last hours of summer warmth, the trailer bed got a another
                              coat of  linseed oil,
As did the patio swing.  I hauled in wood. I coiled up hoses.

Oh Summer, do you have to move south so soon?
The recent rains are washing away all your footprints.  
I suppose the Australians are anxiously awaiting your arrival.