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!

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Sea Turtles

I visited a friend in West Palm Beach, FL, last month, and we went to the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, an animal hospital for injured sea turtles.

The turtles were massive and adorable. Many of them were there because they had gotten tangled in boat equipment or been attacked by sharks. We saw one turtle being moved from the hospital to a tank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a museum section that featured information about the sea turtles. I had no idea that only one out of thousands of sea turtle babies make it to adulthood.

This is a super-cool nonprofit and I’m so glad that I was able to visit it.

 

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. !?!??!

DC in Springtime

I finally made it to DC to see the cherry blossoms in April. I stayed with a friend who had an appointment one morning, so she dropped me off at the Tidal Basin, where I spent almost two hours rambling and enjoying the cherry blossoms. The Jefferson, FDR, and MLK Jr. memorials are along the route, which was a bonus. Here are a few of the many photos I took:

cherry blossomscherry blossomscherry blossoms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later that day, my friend and I visited Anderson House, which was first owned by Larz and Isabel Anderson and is now the home of the Society of Cincinnati. I was excited to visit this house because the Andersons had a summer home in the town where I live. All that remains of their summer home is a carriage house with their car collection and a small exhibit about their backgrounds and travels.

Theirs is a privileged and romantic story. They both had more money than they knew what to do with, and Larz was a diplomat in several countries. They traveled everywhere and bought a new car each year. I learned at the auto museum that Isabel was the first woman in Massachusetts to get a driver’s license. Badass! Larz was a bit of a showman so their homes in DC and Massachusetts were opulent and housed many beautiful works of art. Here are a few photos of their DC home:

Anderson House

The mural depicts their gardens at their Massachusetts home.

 

Anderson HouseAnderson House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve only been to DC a handful of times, and I need to rectify that! There is so much to explore there…

Travel as a Political Act

Rick Steves is my spirit guide when it comes to traveling. He encourages people to travel off the beaten path, mingle with locals, and travel thoughtfully. If you haven’t heard of him, he has his own travel company and guidebook series and also has a PBS TV show and radio show. He is out there, spreading his important message of travel as a political act.

I’m the kind of traveler who rarely takes time to relax when I’m traveling. I love the idea of it, but I always end up hitting as many museums and cultural sites as possible, taking public transportation vs. taxis, and walking around as much as I can. So I can relate to Rick’s travel philosophy.

He sometimes does speaking tours, and my friends are I were lucky enough to attend his talk in Boston this spring. I think the talk was slated to run an hour or an hour and a half, and he spoke for almost three hours! Talk about getting our money’s worth.

He spoke about his travel background and gave tips on traveling in Europe and how to pack for trips. At the end of the talk, he announced how he would be handling the book signing afterward. I was impressed by how innovative it was. Instead of him sitting at a table while a long single-file line grows, he stood in the middle of the venue’s lobby and attendees formed a circle around him. Then he just moved around in a circle, signing as he turned. This method didn’t leave much time for chat, which might disappoint people. But it sure was efficient.

If you ever find yourself planning a trip to Europe, visit the Rick Steves website and/or pick up one of his guidebooks. You’ll thank me for it.

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40 things to do on the birthday list!

BirthdayJune 1st, 2015

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