A Sculptor’s Summer Home

My mom and I met in the Berkshires earlier this summer, so I took the opportunity to visit a place I hadn’t been to before: Chesterwood, the summer home of sculptor Daniel Chester French. French is best known for sculpting Abraham Lincoln for the Lincoln Memorial in DC.

We went during the week, so it was quiet there. The location is stunning; from the terrace of the house, you can see Monument Mountain.

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Only a few rooms of the house are open to the public, so the main attraction is his studio.

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A small museum tells his story, and there are gardens and trails on the property as well. We didn’t have time to explore the grounds, but I’m sure I could have spent at least an hour walking around. All of the staff were delightful, and I look forward to visiting again sometime.

 

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Another Birthday on the Cape

I spent my birthday on Cape Cod for the third year in a row. This year’s locale was Falmouth. We had one beautiful day and one crappy day weather-wise. Allen and I spent the beautiful day exploring the art exhibits and grounds of Highfield Hall and Gardens. I love touring historic homes and grounds, so I was so pleased that the community rallied and raised millions of dollars to keep this estate safe from bulldozers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we walked to a neighborhood beach and sat for a while. I wanted to catch the sunset and a lighthouse at the same time, so we drove along winding roads to Nobska Light. We watched the sunset from a spot across the street from lighthouse that overlooks Vineyard Sound.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It rained on my birthday, so we took the opportunity to visit the Woods Hole Science Aquarium and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. They are small institutions but interesting nonetheless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a lovely Italian dinner and then drove to a nearby beach in hopes of seeing another sunset. All we saw was fog. But fog is pretty in its own way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way out of town, we stopped at Coonamessett Farm because I had read there were farm animals there. Alpacas, sheep, goats, chickens, oh, yes! I also picked some fresh lettuce to take home with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forty-eight hours of a quintessential New England vacation. A happy birthday indeed.

Visiting the Durant-Kenrick House

My boyfriend and I lucked out when touring the Durant-Kenrick House in Newton, MA, the other day. It was a gloomy Sunday afternoon and we had the house to ourselves!

The house had me at its exterior green paint, since green is one of my favorite colors.

Durant-Kenrick House

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a small historic house, but it gives a nice overview of the Durant and Kenrick families. The Durants lived there in the 1700s and the property was a working farm. The Kenricks bought the property in 1790 and established the largest New England nursery in the 1830s. One of the Kenricks was a founding member of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The property was eventually sold off in pieces. Arthur Dewing bought the house from the Durant family in 1923, and his family lived there for 50-odd years. Now the city of Newton owns the property.

It’s a family-friendly place and the grounds are pretty with many large trees and gardens. If you enjoy historic homes, it’s worth a visit. The day we visited, we bought a combo pass, so we will be visiting the Jackson Homestead at some point as well.

A Tour of the USS Albacore

I finally toured the dry-docked submarine in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the USS Albacore. It was a Navy research vessel from 1953 to 1972. After it was decommissioned, it was moved to a facility in Philadelphia but came back to Portsmouth in 1984. It was no small feat for community members to create this museum and bring the Albacore home, so it’s an inspiring story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tour is self-guided, and there are audio descriptions in most areas. Unfortunately I only got a few photos because my phone died in the middle of the tour.

bunks on the USS Albacore

Bunks!

kitchen of USS Albacore

The kitchen staff cooked meals for 50 men in this kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m 5’1″ and I can’t imagine sleeping in those bunks! It was a great tour. All of the research and subsequent improvements to submarines was over my head, but it was still interesting to read about.

There is also a small museum with models and artifacts and a video screening. This is definitely worth a visit whether you are a submarine or Navy fan or not!

2017 Birthday Trip

OK, I’ve finally made it to the last item on my 2017 birthday list: my birthday trip to Sandwich, Massachusetts.

This is the 13th year that I’ve traveled to a new place for my birthday. I decided to go to another town on the Cape (Cape Cod for non-locals), since I’ve lived in Boston for 18 years and can count on one hand how many times I’ve been to the Cape.

Sandwich caught my eye, because it’s the first town on the Cape, and I found an Airbnb that was within walking distance of the town. The trip had a rough start. I took a bus from Boston, which dropped me off at a Park and Ride lot a few miles from Sandwich. I planned to pick up a regional bus from there that would stop in downtown Sandwich. It was raining very hard as I waited in a bus shelter at the Park and Ride lot for an hour until the regional bus arrived.

Well, the regional bus arrived and blew right past me. The next regional bus would be coming by two hours later. In a panic, I tried to find a local taxi service. All I could find were charter airport buses. I was unable to download the Uber app because there is something wrong with my Apple ID. I contacted my Airbnb host to ask if she knew of any taxi services, but she didn’t respond immediately because she was out running errands.

She did respond eventually and offered to pick me up. I was beyond grateful! She was lovely as was her house. It was built in the 1700s, and our room had a secret panel that an owner built in case he had to run from the Tories during the Revolutionary War.

The rain finally stopped, so I was able to walk around downtown and get afternoon tea at a teahouse. The downtown was very small, but I enjoyed walking past a beautiful church that was featured on an Elvis Presley album cover and seeing the Dexter Grist Mill, which was built in 1637.

My partner Allen drove down the next day, so we were able to see some sites that were farther afield from the downtown area. The Heritage Museums and Gardens was fantastic. The rhododendrons in bloom were beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is also an impressive car collection on display as well as a gallery of American art and a working carousel! You could easily spend an entire day there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had an early dinner and then drove to the Sandwich Boardwalk to watch the sunset. The boardwalk is 1,000+ feet long! Part of it does not have a railing, so I started feeling dizzy while walking to the beach at the end of it. But it was totally worth it. The sunset was breathtaking, but isn’t it always?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before we left town the next day, we went to the Sandwich Glass Museum. Sandwich was a major hub of glass production in the 1800s. We were lucky to catch a glassblowing demonstration when we first entered. Then we spent more than an hour learning about the history of glassmaking in Sandwich and seeing hundreds of glass pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plates, glasses, vases, salt cellars, chickens…all different colors and patterns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandwich was well worth a visit and I was glad to spend a birthday there. So now I’m counting down to birthday list #43, which will commence in about 1.5 months. !?!??!

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40 things to do on the birthday list!

BirthdayJune 1st, 2015

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