Saturday, September 17, 2011

More Cape Cod and area-New Bedford and Canal Bike Ride

Our goal when we left in the morning was Newport, R.I. But we got sidetracked along the way and never made it. Instead, we spent the day visiting New Bedford and the surrounding area. It was only by chance we stopped in New Bedford anyway. We headed downtown just to see what the local Elks Lodge was like and noticed a National Park sign.

Once a bank, now this building is the home of the visitor center. New Bedford was considered the whaling capital for many years. There were hundreds of whaling ships who called New Bedford home. And whaling brought industry, such as candle making and oil for lighting from the whale oil and corsets from whale baleen.

An interesting fact: The light emmitted from a candle burning spermaceti oil (from the head of the Sperm Whale), was so pure, it was used to calibrate the Standard International Candle, a unit of light intensity applied when incandescent light bulbs were introduced.
The oldest continuously operated Customs House, since 1836. It was designed by the same man who designed the Washington Monument.

Seaman's Bethel, made famous by Herman Melville, author of 'Moby Dick'.

Originally the pulpit did not look like the prow of a ship, but after the movie 'Moby Dick' came out and the movie had a pulpit like this, the pulpit was rebuilt in the 1960s to look like the movie.

This street, looking down at the harbor in New Bedford, looks much the same as in pictures from almost 200 years ago.

This romanesque looking building, built in 1831, once had people seeing double. It housed two banks, the Merchants Bank for the elite, and the Mechanics Bank for the local shop keepers and tradesman.

I don't think this looks much like the original Mayflower at all.

Captain Robert E. Lee drew up plans for this fort in the 1840s to protect Clark's Point. It replaced an earlier earthworks fort known as Fort Tabor. It continued to have artillery in some form to protect the harbor through WWII.

We stopped at a fish market.

And got to see them processing the catch.

On the other side of the bay was Fort Phoenix. All that is left now is some rock walls. For display they have placed a number of canon. They even have one canon dated in the 1700s which was used in the Revolutionary War.

This hurricane break was built in the 1960s and now New Bedford Harbor has a reputation as a hurricane safe harbor. The break is 9100 feet long, 20 feet above sea level and has two 440-ton gates. It is the largest man made stone structure on the east coast.

This gothic style church is common throughout the New England area.

The railroad bridge across the Cape Cod Canal. There is a 7 mile bike path on both sides of the canal. We had a beautiful bike trip, although the winds came up and we had to bike back against a head wind the entire 7 miles. Tiring......

The canal was built originally in the early 1900s by a private firm across the neck of land which connected Cape Cod to the mainland Massachusetts. It saved ships 62 miles on the rough Atlantic seas on their way to Boston. But the canal was small and the owners charged for its use and it never did go over well. In the 1930s the Corps of Engineers bought the canal, widened it and made it free. It is now part of the Atlantic Coast Seaway.

Suprisingly, Miles Standish, of the original Mayflower and Plymouth Colony, had the idea for a canal back in 1623, but it wasn't until 1909 when the first canal was engineering.

A large tanker of some sort being pulled by a smaller tug. Notice the tanker ship has no engines and must be towed.

Another Herring Run along the canal.

Old and new windmills.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

More Cape Cod and area-Plymouth and Martha's Vineyard

We took the scenic route from Wareham to Plymouth. At one point we arrived at the Manomet Historic District. (funny thing, no one there could tell us why it was a historic district)

It was high on a cliff, overlooking the Atlantic. There were many large beach houses and paths in the cliffs leading down to the shore and boats moored out in the ocean. Not much beach for swimming though.

We thought this was going to be a restaurant and I went in looking for some information about the area. But it was a fish market and no, they had no idea why the area was a historic district. But I did see the largest lobster I've seen so far, 6 lb. Up in Maine most lobsters were 1- 1 1/2 lb, but around here you don't see many less than 2-3 lb.

In Plymouth Max found a statue of his 8th great grandfather.

This is supposed to be the rock the pilgrams stepped onto when they arrived in Plymouth. But they didn't 'discover' this rock until 100 years later. And they say the rock was 3 times as large as it is now. I don't know about you, but I think they are pulling my leg here.

A full size replica of the Mayflower. Can you imagine sailing from England for 3 months with 120 other people on a boat this size? Don't think I care too, thank you.

Considered the first church in Plymouth because in 1620 the settlers gathered here for services. This building is the 5th built on this site, and was completed in 1847.

This church next door, is also considered the Pilgrams Church. It was established in 1801 after the Unitarian conflict with the original church.

Max is now standing beside his 8th great grandfathers grave.

Built in 1754 by Edward Winslow, since 1941 has been the headquarters of the Society for the Descendents of the Mayflower. I told Max he should go sign up.

The Jenny Grist Mill is the oldest continuously operating mill in America, since 1636.

But this is supposed to be the oldest continuously lived in house in America, built in 1640.

And finally on our way home we spotted cranberry bogs. It is harvest time. Some harvesting has already started, but most will start in a few weeks and go through October. Tom V. and Nancy W. got to see a field get flooded and harvested. We had no such luck.

But zooming in with the camera you can actually see the little red cranberries waiting for the harvest.

Another day we headed off to the ferry for Martha's Vineyard. There were a lot of other people who had the same idea as we did. I imagine there were at least 100 bikes on the ferry.

In Edgartown Max found his namesake sailboat.

And we saw this interesting vehicle driving by. Is it a bike or is it a car?

I like this, ice cream and skinny fat sandwiches, and they were all in the same shop.

Another Whaling Church. A United Methodist Church, 1787. They had just had a wedding and the building was not open to the public.

The boat building shop of Manuel Swartz Roberts, 1881-1963. He built catboats, beach boats and fishing boats. It is now an artists gallery.

I never saw 'Jaws', but this is supposed to be the beach where it was filmed.

Maybe Max shouldn't get out there too far or 'Jaws' just might get him.

This kite boarder and sail boarder don't seem to be too concerned about 'Jaws'.

It was a fun day, but we are all tired and ready for the trip home.

Cape Cod and area

We spent over a week in the Cape Cod area, so I will be posting several blogs. Besides being located on the coast, there are wetlands and rivers throughout as well.

This is a Herring Run. The sign says this one has been here since 1638, but I don't think it looked like it did today. Herring spawn in fresh water like salmon, and with all the dams and blockages which man has put in their way, they need help getting back to their birthplace. And best of all, I was parked next to this the entire week. The roar of the rushing waters lured me to sleep every night.

Yes, Nancy has her arm in a sling. On our bike ride on Martha's Vineyard she had a mishap and has a shoulder separation. Her biggest complaint? She can't bike or kayak now for at least 6 weeks.

For all those who know Max and have heard him talk about 'fried bologna and gravy', well, Tom C. fixed Max his favorite meal of fried bologna and gravy. And we found out Max had never actually had fried bologna before too. But now he has and he even like it!

Nobska Lighthouse on Cape Cod. I counted over 21 lighthouses in and around Cape Cod. This one was located near Falmouth.

We stopped in Hyannisport to visit the Kennedy's, b's inut they weren't home. So we had lunch at Spanky's instead.

Built in 1867 by Edward Penniman, who was master of his own whaling ship at age 29. To show off his wealth from the whaling industry he built this mansion, the costliest ever built in Eastham in that time. The gate is whalebones.

This house is now being restored by the National Park Service as one of the most outstanding historic sea captains' homes on Cape Cod.

A monument to the Pilgrims is located in Provincetown. It was very foggy, so the top isn't really visible. The pilgrims did land here, but did not stay. They were run off by the native Americans, so the pilgrims traveled on and instead, landed at Plymouth, across the bay.

We couldn't decide whether these boats were there on purpose or accident. Maybe just waiting for a really high tide.

Max has ties to Governor William Bradford, who came over on the mayflower. He evidently invested well, since he now has restaurants, Inns and other ventures with his name.

Provincetown or P-town, as the locals call it, had some interesting stores and artwork. I felt like I had walked back in time to the pyschedelic 60s.

Out on Cape Cod National Sea Shore we located one of the old emergency life saving stations. They say the shipwrecks off Cape Cod are worse than anywhere else in the world. The people who manned the life saving stations were there to help rescue the seaman or passengers on those ships who went down in the area. It is now a museum, but was closed by the time we got there.