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Road-trip 2017 Day 10

After a serviceable breakfast at the very retro Courtesy Coffee Shop (Lounge by night) in Blythe, CA, we headed on for a last bit of the wild before finishing up our drive into Los Angeles.  Joshua Tree started its life as a National Monument (proclaimed so by FDR in 1936) and was renamed/redesignated  Joshua Tree National Park in 1994, and protects 792,510 acres of mostly wilderness where the Mojave and Colorado deserts converge.  It proved to be a fine place to stretch our legs a bit.

We started our explorations in the southeastern part of the the park, part of the Colorado Desert, with elevations of less than 3,000 ft above sea level.  From near the Cottonwood Springs Visitors Center, we opted for the Mastodon Peak trail which did not disappoint.  Desert wildflowers and cacti blooms were abundant, although the intense sun of late morning made for some challenging photography. (ID help welcome!)

A few lizards also captured my attention.

 

As we made our way north and west in the park, we passed through what is referred to as a transition zone entered the Mojave Desert with elevations above 3,00 ft.  We stopped along the way for some shorter hikes.  It was at these elevations that we found expanses of the the park’s namesake, the Joshua Trees.  Tough and curious things, they’re not trees at all, rather belong to the yucca or agave family.  They have spiky succulent leaves that are kind of bayonet-shaped and every bit as sharp.

Of course in reading about the Joshua tree, I couldn’t help but stumble over references to the 1982 U2 album of the same name.  This Irish rock band was quite captivated with the deserts of the American southwest and found the landscapes to be quite fitting with the theme/songs of the album.  The cover photo however was not taken in Joshua Tree National Park, rather at another location in the Mojave Desert some 200 miles away.  While the actual tree fell some time ago, there is reportedly a plaque placed for those who go searching.

LS_20170405_171212 road snacks, Mexican-style

We left the park in the late afternoon with a plan to be at Duncan and Daniela’s place in LA for a late dinner.  A search for a milkshake or some such thing took us to a brightly lit place called La Michoacana in Beaumont CA where we picked up a couple of mangonadas, a kind of sweet, spicy, party-colored Mexican fruit drink with tamarind-coated straws.  Not bad really.   In any event, they quenched our thirst and tided us over to LA.

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Road-trip 2017 Day 9

Although much of this road trip is about exploring some new-to-us places, we made an exception passing through Arizona, opting for a repeat visit to an amazing place we’d first experienced almost exactly two decades ago while on a motorcycle trip.

LS_20170404_085337 breakfast at Baja Cafe, Tuscon

breakfast at Baja Cafe, Tuscon

Of course we started with breakfast, braving the traffic of Tucson to check out Baja Cafe. It was definitely worth a bit of a detour.  Portions were so generous we took leftovers home for another meal.  To our credit, we planned better, but they comped us a Snickerdoodle Pancake when they found out it was our first visit.  Every bite was delicious.

Fueled for the day, we headed on to the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum where we spent the better part of the rest of the day.  It was every bit as wonderful as we’d remembered.  It’s hard to think of this place as a museum exactly.  Their website describes it as a “98 acre… fusion experience: zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, natural history museum, and aquarium” which in my opinion is a spot on description.  Some of the creatures were quite captivating.  The big horn sheep  wee one was only a couple of weeks old at our visit.  The otter was also quite entertaining, but challenging to capture in a photo… it never stopped moving!  Of course prairie dogs always make me smile.  By contrast, the mountain lion was very very serious.

Of course there were lizards.

…and an aviary of birds, a couple of which were cooperative with my photographing them.  ID help welcome.

Our timing for this visit was most fortunate as the cacti were blooming riots of color. I’ll not even begin to be able to identify all of them, or even capture photos that do them justice, but it was a delight to spend an afternoon in their midst.

Having soaked up all we could of this place, we found a scenic bypass around the not-so-scenic Phoenix area and headed for the California border.

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Although we love our life aboard our Cheshire, we also love a good road trip now and then.  With our engine issues last fall, our late start on moving south, we’d opted not to get too far flung this year… at least by water.  Instead, at some point during our month + in Vero Beach, we decided we’d take a month long road trip to Los Angeles where Mike’s son and daughter-in-law are living currently. We made arrangements to leave Cheshire in St Augustine, booked a rental car and started researching.

Road-trip 2017 Days 1 – 8

Our first couple of days on the road were mostly making tracks.  We spent a night with my (Lori’s) Mom and sister in Panama City Beach, FL (with a plan for a longer visit on the return leg), then on to a HoJo’s (yes, they still exist) in Lafayette, LA the following night.  Days 3-4 found us in Texas where we found a great little ethnic enclave just outside of Houston where we lunched at Little V Vietnamese in Katy TX.  That afternoon we arrived  in Warda, TX for a stay at the Garrett Ranch and a visit with Mike’s Uncle Bob and his wife Altha.  We enjoyed a couple of days of catching up, touristing about LaGrange (yes, of ZZ Top fame, but we didn’t visit the Chicken Ranch).  We did stop into the Texas Quilt Museum  one day;  the Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry exhibit that we saw was quite beautiful, and much different than the more traditional quilts I’m familiar with from our time in central Ohio and Amish country.  We also took daily spins about the ranch on Bob’s Kubota 4×4 to check on the cattle.  The boys also enjoyed talking about the rolling stock and reminiscing.

 

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Mike getting his groove on with SRV,

From Warda we headed a short distance to Austin.  We’d originally thought we’d spend a bit of time here, but decided instead we wanted to get up into the nearby Texas Hill Country explore a bit.  We did pause in Austin long enough to visit the Bullock Texas State History Museum.  It was a nicely done museum, but a bit overrun with school kids at our visit.  The Stevie Ray Vaughn exhibit was a highlight.  On our way out of town, we checked out a public art spot known as Graffiti Park at Castle Hill aka HOPE Outdoor Gallery, then headed out of town to stage for an early morning start into Hill Country.

 

 

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Lark Sparrow

 

Day 6, we grabbed a quick bite of breakfast and headed out for a morning hike at Balcones Canyonlands NWR.  This refuge exists in part to protect the nesting habitat of a couple of birds, specifically the golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo.  The warbler in particular nests only in Texas.  Alas, I was unsuccessful in spotting either of them, but we did enjoy the hike and saw plenty of another bird I’ve been unsuccessful in identifying.  (ID help welcome.) Wildflowers were also plentiful, but I for some reason was having issues with trying to photograph them.

We were on to Stonewall TX for the afternoon to explore the Lyndon B Johnson National Historic Park.  It was a fascinating walk through history and the life of a man I was previously not terribly familiar with.  No doubt it was in part his humble beginnings in this Hill Country of Texas that shaped the kind of president he would become, at least in terms of his Great Society legislation, although it seems for some these actions were overshadowed by his handling of Vietnam.  We were able to tour the residence, the Texas White House.  No photography was allowed inside, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say it was like stepping back into the mid-60’s.  No gold plated anything here.  LBJ’s indulgence however was to have numerous sets of televisions scattered about this Texas Whitehouse, in groupings of three, one for each of the channels available at the time.

I was also previously unaware that LBJ had been such a friend of the environment… read more about his accomplishments here.  I can’t help but wonder what he would think of our current state of affairs.  I found it interesting in reading the document linked to see that Florida’s Mar-A-Lago had been declared a National Historic Site during LBJ’s tenure. I had to dig a little deeper and found this bit of history.  It turns out Marjorie Merriweather Post (a quite wealthy heiress in her day), upon her death in 1973, turned her outrageously expensive private estate over to the federal government for use as a presidential retreat… except that a few years later they gave it back, having decided that it was too expensive to maintain and provide presidential-grade security for such a place.  Most interesting…

 

The following day was mostly spent on the road, though we did spend the afternoon/evening in Marfa TX to check out some art/sculpture at the Chinati Foundation and later had a most tasty dinner at the Hotel Paisano.

From Marfa, we were positioned for an early visit the following day to Fort Davis National Historic Site, an old frontier military post that protected west Texas and travel along the San Antonio – El Paso Road.  It’s an impressive collection of preserved and restored buildings with some hiking trails in the surrounding hills, another great opportunity to stretch our legs.

It was pretty desolate in terms of wildlife, but I did see a hawk and another small bird I’ve yet to identify, and was most entertained by my first Greater Roadrunner.  Beep Beep…

LS_20170403_130848 Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner, Fort Davis National Historic Site, TX, side view

 

We finished out this day with a drive on into Arizona.  More exploring to come.

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I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve transited the ICW in north central FL.  We’ve made some outside runs off shore along this stretch as well, but often we’ve been inside.  The bridges are familiar to us.  The landmarks are familiar to us.  Occasionally we’ve stopped along the way… Cocoa, New Smyrna Beach, and a couple of stays in the Merritt Island/Canaveral area… but for whatever reason, although we’ve anchored nearby often, we’d never gone ashore at Daytona Beach.  Worse yet, although we’ve seen it numerous times from the water, we’d never managed to stop and visit the lighthouse at Ponce Inlet.  For this trip north, I vowed to remedy this.

We arrived in Daytona mid-day on Sunday, and after getting settled in a new-to-us anchorage, we went ashore on the Daytona Beach side of the river to find a bite to eat and scout the bus stop we’d need for the following day’s adventure to Ponce Inlet.  On  a tip from former cruising friends, we went in search of the Daytona Taproom; we were not disappointed. Great burgers, fries and plenty of local beer options.

After a lunch that was much more substantial than our usual, a long walk was in order.  We opted to make a big loop, over to the beach side, south to Main, then west on Main toward the Halifax River/ICW, and finally north up to where we’d left the dinghy near the Seabreeze twin bridges.  Little did we know that this route would take us through the heart of the tail end of Daytona Bike Week.  Despite our having motorcycled for years, we’d never seen this event in person… wow, just wow.  I couldn’t even begin to try and photograph it for fear of tripping off the curb in the crowds.

The following morning we were back ashore for breakfast before catching our bus.  The mass exodus was underway, with bikes on trailers everywhere and the monumental clean-up effort underway.  We caught our bus and settled in for the 10 mile ride south.

LS_20170320_095310 sunrise over condos, Daytona Beach FL

sunrise over condos, Daytona Beach

From the water, we hadn’t appreciated the size of the park grounds at Ponce Inlet, officially known as the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum.  An impressive stand of live oaks on grounds were home to a number of Red-bellied Woodpeckers.  A couple of them were even cooperative with my efforts to photograph them.  There was also a collection of Cuban Refugee Rafts;  we’d seen such exhibits before, particularly in the Florida Keys, but they always manage to make me catch my breath.

 

Standing at 175 feet, Ponce Inlet Light is said to be the tallest lighthouse in Florida and the second tallest masonry lighthouse in the country. (Cape Hatteras on NC’s Outer Banks takes first prize in this category.)  Like many other lighthouses we have visited, the various keepers’ cottages and auxiliary buildings now serve as museum space.  Ponce also is known for their lens restoration, and in fact have a dedicated building, the Ayers Davies Lens Exhibit Building, which houses an impressive collection of restored Fresnel lenses.

The Lighthouse Friends page for Ponce de Leon Inlet Light provides some interesting history, including a bit about author Stephen Crane’s real life adventure.   He was shipwrecked during a gale off the Florida coast while enroute to Cuba, and tells of this adventure in his short story titled The Open Boat.  Curiously, this light was previously known as Mosquito Light, until it was decided in the mid-1920’s that the name itself was not helping to encourage settlement in the area.  Of course we had to make the climb, all 203 steps, and were rewarded with a nice view of the inlet.

After our climb, we took a stroll out to the water.  I was saddened to find a Cormorant with a fishing hook caught in its bill… an all too common occurrence really.  Birds get hooked and/or entangled either in discarded line and tackle, or often get snagged when they try to steal a fish that’s already been hooked.

We caught our bus back north, found our dinghy and Cheshire right where we’d left them, and deemed Ponce Inlet Light well worth the pause.

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Mike at the bus stop

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We were in St Augustine when we learned that several of our dirt-dwelling friends from Ohio would be visiting the central Florida area this winter.  As we had no other definite plans, we decided a return visit to Vero Beach was in order.  This would be our third visit to Vero, and as it turned out, also our longest.

One weekend we rented a car and headed inland to catch up with some friends Bob & Donna and Dave & Teresa who were camping in Kissimmee State Park.  We enjoyed some hikes, some shared meals, and comparing notes on living in our respective small spaces, their tow-behind campers vs our Cheshire.  32143751324_55a5583d30_o

Meanwhile back in Vero, we were once again successful in clearing out the guest cabin to accommodate overnight guests aboard.  Mark & Pam were in the area for a short stretch.  It seems they always visit when we’re on a mooring ball/away from the dock, so they had the full dinghy back-and-forth experience to boot.  They were the first brave souls, not counting Mike himself, to test out the newly fashioned sling seat that hangs off our transom.  Depending on the time of day, our ginormous solar panels even offer a bit of shade.

We made a drive down to Ft Pierce to check out the Navy SEAL Museum which was well worth the trip.  The boys especially enjoyed the training “playground”.

Interestingly it was on the nearby beaches that those who preceded the SEALs would train for  their assault on the beaches of Normandy and Southern France in Europe and numerous islands throughout the Pacific.  We found it to be a much more peaceful place today; the terns seemed to agree.

Back in Vero Beach, we made a return visit (1st for Mark & Pam) to McKee Botanical Garden.  In addition to the usual plants and sculptures, they had a couple of special exhibitions.  The “Nature Connects: Art with Lego Bricks” exhibit was something we had seen before at a garden in Naples FL a few years back.  It’s almost impossible to appreciate these pieces via photos, but I’ve included a few below anyway.  Patrick Dougherty’s Stickwork was also a familiar sight, as I’d watch him construct a few of these pieces on the grounds at the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus OH a number of years ago.  The link above is to the Garden’s write up on the exhibit, and includes some additional photos and an interesting description of the process.

 

Former cruising friends/currently CLODs (Cruisers Living On Dirt) Stew & Diana drove up from Stuart for a visit one day, and we were pleased to find a few other cruising friends wintering in Vero Beach as well.  The weekly Thursday Happy Hour gathering continues and was good for meeting some new folk.  On a couple of Mondays we joined the group that frequents Mr Manatee’s for $5 Burger night.  Mike bravely tackled the Colossal Woodrow Burger (a double stacked (a full pound)/pork roll/bacon egg/onion rings/mozzarella sticks) challenge,,, eat the whole thing, including the fries, and get a free t-shirt.  One guy in the group does the challenge weekly;  apparently everyone he knows now has a t-shirt.

The remainder of our time was spent revisiting familiar places… the Vero Beach Museum of Art never disappoints.  Larry Kagan’s Object/Shadow exhibit was amazing.  (See Che Guevara image below and check out the link above for more info.)  Deborah Butterfield’s Horses were also breathtaking.  We were frequent visitors to the Saturday Farmers’ Market Oceanside, often walking over early for coffee and a bite of breakfast on the beach before doing our shopping.  We also dug a little deeper and found some new things.  Taking advantage of the free/donation bus service, we found some new hiking spots, a couple of new-to-us restaurants and a fish/seafood market that had just opened at our last visit, now doing quite well (see carry out stone crabs pictured below… quite yummy).  Our stay also overlapped with the Vero Beach Art Club’s Under the Oaks Fine Arts and Crafts show which was nicely done; we were tempted by a couple of pieces, but alas, we have little remaining room for art.  All in all, it was a fine stay.

Vero Beach is definitely one of our favorite stops along Florida’s east coast.  As usual, our month long stay stretched a bit longer… no surprise.  For now though, we’ll head back north.

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Successfully navigating the East River and New York Harbor marked the end of our summer exploring.  From this point, we’re on a mission to make tracks south.  Unfortunately we’re at the mercy of Mother Nature as we’ll run outside/offshore from here to the Portsmouth/Norfolk area, likely in hops as weather permits.  We arrived last Friday, and so far, the weather has been beautiful for some exploring, but not so much for an outside run.  Fortunately there’s quite a bit to explore in this spot.

Shortly after our arrival, we hiked up to Navesink Light, aka the Twin Lights of Highlands, which in its day was a primary aid to navigation for traffic into New York Harbor.  This is an unusual light, a castle-like brownstone structure of two non-identical towers linked by the keepers’ quarters and storage rooms.  In 1841 it became the first light in the United States to use the then revolutionary Fresnel lens; fast forward to the late 1970’s, they tracked down this original lens, currently displayed in the original powerhouse/generator building on grounds.  The recently renovated exhibit space also featured a great exhibit titled “Seeing Stars” that traces the American flag from its inception through the current day.  And of course, we climbed the south tower (the only one open for climbing).  Later in the afternoon, we checked out yet another local craft brewery, Carton Brewing; we got a tour of the facility and a tasting in the 2nd floor tasting room.

The following morning we had breakfast at Zoe’s Vintage Kitchen, and set off on another hike, this time to the Mt Mitchell Scenic Overlook.  Mt Mitchell is a Monmouth County Park, said to have an amazing view of nearby Sandy Hook and the New York City skyline, though it was pretty hot and hazy during our visit, so the view wasn’t quite what it might have been.  What was impressive though was the 9/11 Memorial.  Artist Franco Minervini designed an eagle sculpture, incorporating a piece of beam from one of the fallen towers, that sits atop a stone base carved with the names of the 147 residents of the county who lost their lives that day.  They were setting up for a commemoration event scheduled for the following morning (9/11), but we were two of only a handful of folks present on this day.  I couldn’t help but wonder what the view to NYC might have looked like from this vantage point on that fateful morning 15 years ago.

After a day of rest, we decided to haul the bikes ashore for a long pedal over to Sandy Hook, a barrier peninsula on this bit of the Jersey Shore.  A couple of days prior, we’d discovered a weather-beaten (think Superstorm Sandy) rails-to-trails path, the Henry Hudson Trail, along the water that we deemed “good enough” to pedal.

The trail ended in the Highlands area, but we picked up another on the other side of the bridge to Sandy Hook as we entered what’s known officially as the Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook Proving Ground National Historic Landmark, part of the Gateway National Recreation Area.  Managed by the National Park Service, this recreation area covers more than 26,000 acres of property in New York and New Jersey, including the Sandy Hook area that kept us plenty busy for a day.  The area was whacked pretty hard by Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy in Oct 2012.  The damage, as well as the rebuilding/recovery, was evident all around.  I’ve read that the park was flat out closed for about 6 months after the storm; obviously, the recovery is ongoing.

The old Life Saving Station had served as the Visitors’ Center; post-Sandy, it (the visitors center) moved to the Keepers’ Cottage of the lighthouse.  We had anticipated that the Sandy Hook Light would be closed; according to its website, it was to be undergoing some repairs and restoration.  Lucky for us, the contractors who were scheduled to do the work were not showing up.  The NPS park rangers decided if there wasn’t work going on, they’d reopen tours.  The sign went up as we were approaching the keepers’cottage/visitors’ center.  The Sandy Hook Light is said to be the oldest lighthouse still standing in the United States.  First lit in June 1764, it stood 500 ft from the tip of the spit.  Today is stands more than 1.5 miles from the tip, safe from the erosion that has claimed so many of these old towers.  We tried unsuccessfully to take it our ourselves with cannon fire when the British loyalists had control of this spit during the Revolutionary War. Even Sandy, who wrecked the surrounding area, did only minimal damage.

 

Sandy Hook also has a long military history.  A bit further out the spit, we came upon Fort Hancock, a former US Army fort.  This installation served as part of the harbor’s coastal defense system from 1893 until 1974 when it was decommissioned; many of the buildings and fortifications remain to this day.  It was difficult to tell, particularly in some of the water-facing buildings, how much of the disrepair was compliments of the storm versus the ravages of time, the latter compounded by the park service’s limited budget relative to the number of buildings needing maintained.  Either way, it was an interesting place.

Near the lighthouse complex, we wandered about the  Mortar Battery… creepy place actually.  Pedaling about the grounds we came upon several other batteries.  Lots of history here. Battery Potter sported the country’s first so-called disappearing gun battery in the late 1800’s.  Other batteries followed as the technology changed.  Apparently lots of big guns were required to defend New York Harbor from an attack from sea.

In the late 1950’s as the Cold War came upon us, surface to air missiles arrived on the scene. Now the threat was from the air. Sandy Hook and Fort Hancock became home to NY-56, one of a number of Nike Missile sites that surrounded New York City.  The missile launch area is now used by the park’s maintenance team.  The radar site had gotten quite overgrown but has since been reclaimed.  In the last ten years or so, much effort has been put into reclaiming this history, although they have a long way to go.  (Apparently a herd of Nubian goats has been helpful as well.  More here.)  They do have a couple of missiles on site though, and have replaced some of the radar equipment.  Infrequent tours are available, though our timing wasn’t good enough to catch one this trip.

 

Having gotten our fill of fresh air and history, we pedaled back,  pausing at Moby’s Lobster Deck (which is every bit the tourist trap is sounds to be) for a snack and some local beers to replenish ourselves.  A bit of local “art” and and a nice sunset also were nice additions to our days of exploring.

Other bits worth mentioning… The Hudson Cafe was a fine spot of breakfast and a bit of wifi.  Gaslight satisfied the Captain’s beer & wings craving one night after a movie.  Yes, we saw a movie… in a theatre… the first in we can’t even remember how long.  For the record, “Sully” is well worth a look, and was particularly powerful for us after our recent trip through NYC.

So, Atlantic Highlands … been here (for nearly a week now!), done it all, ready to go.  Now, if Mother Nature would just throw us some weather to work with, we’d be out of here.

 

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aka The Hamptons, or most of the Hamptons anyway.  Forks, counties, towns, villages, hamlets… it’s all very confusing up here.  I like the image though of Long Island as a fish swimming towards the west, with a forked tail.

We decided to tuck into Three Mile Harbor (spacious, no anchoring restrictions and reasonable shore access) to rest, visit with a cruising friend who’s living/working here for the season, and to plan for our next stretch.  As it turns out, this spot kept us busy exploring as well.

One day we ferried the bikes ashore with a plan to pedal out to Cedar Point County Park.  It wasn’t a bad ride… nice scenery, decent roads, not a lot of traffic, but we found ourselves wishing for our old road bikes at one point, or at least something with a few gears.  Nevertheless, we made it.  We pedaled through the park until the road ended, then walked along the beach out to Cedar Point Light.  The first Cedar Point Light built in the 1830’s and the current structure dating from a few decades later were both built on what was then Cedar Island, but the 1938 hurricane apparently rearranged the shoreline and today a narrow spit of sand connects the lighthouse to what was the mainland. A few families enjoyed the beach, but we were alone in our venturing out to the light.

Unlike many of the lighthouses we’ve seen in recent months, the Cedar Point Light is still very much in need of some TLC.  The Cedar Island Restoration Project is apparently well underway, but you wouldn’t know it to look at the structure… except for the big banner hung from one side advertising the project.  A few years ago, the beacon was removed from the top and moved by barge to a boatyard in Sag Harbor where it’s reportedly been restored and will wait for further building restoration to be completed.  I’ve read that a roof replacement is in the works for next year.  The interior was badly burned in a fire in the mid 1970’s.  There’s a lot of work to be done.  Word is it’ll serve as a bed & breakfast when it’s finally complete.  Maybe one day I’ll be able to post “after” photos.

Much of the beach along this spit of land is closed seasonally for nesting birds.  On our walk back, I spent a bit of time taking photos of rocks at the shore line instead of the shorebirds who are fast little buggers.  I did managed a few with the bird in the frame.

As long as we had bikes ashore, we decided to pedal down to LongHouse Reserve.  LongHouse is a 16-acre reserve and sculpture garden, a project of famed textile designer/art collector/author Jack Lenor Larsen. He also built a Japanese-inspired home on the grounds that alas is not open to the public, but sounds like quite a place.  I would have loved a sneak peak.  Larsen is nearly 90 at this point, and still spends a lot of time on the grounds here. He generously  opens the grounds to the public though, for a small fee,  at least for a few hours a day, only a few days a week.  Our timing was fortunate.

The Gateway Bell sets the tone for a peaceful walk through the garden.  Here’s a sampling of what I found most intriguing.

I couldn’t help but notice several pieces that used materials familiar to those of us who live on boats… Sunbrella fabric and stainless steel rigging bits to name a few…

This piece offered some interesting photo ops…

Mike was drawn to the vast array of art upon which one could rest…

 

LS_20160813_184048 dinghy parking, Three Mile Harbor

dinghy parking, Three Mile Harbor

Damarks Deli was today’s food highlight.  We had a bite of breakfast here in the morning, and stopped again to pick up some carry-out things for a light dinner back aboard.  We were lucky to make it back aboard however.  We arrived back at the dinghy dock to find it chained and padlocked, the dinghy equivalent of having one’s tire booted.  Turns out we’d inadvertently tied up to a marina dock instead of the in-retrospect-very-obvious public dinghy dock… not that there are signs or anything.  Thankfully we arrived while there were still marina/boatyard staff around;  $10 later (Mike talked them down from $30), we were free and on our way.  (Photo from a later day, tied to the correct dock, the illegal/$10 dock in the background).

The next day we were up and out early to meet Tina, who we’d first met in the Bahamas a couple of years ago.  She’s now RVing, and is working up here for the summer.  We had a lovely wander through the Elizabeth Morton National Wildlife Refuge (alas, no camera), though it was pretty quiet this morning anyway.  We did see dozens of signs though, not forbidding feeding the birds (they’ve apparently given up on that), but rather discouraging folks from leaving piles of seed behind as it attracts rats.  Even the signs/pictures of rats eating shorebird eggs were ineffective though, as we saw at least one pile of seeds someone had left behind on a railing, though a squirrel was making quick work of it.

Lunch at LTBurger in Sag Harbor was most delicious (Smoke Gouda Waffle Fries, jus sayin’), was followed by stops at a farm market and a grocery.  Bless her heart, a provisioning run was the first thing Tina offered when we arrived… she still gets it.  The following morning she introduced us to the Saturday  Sag Harbor Farmers Market; we could have gotten into some serious food geeking trouble here were we not planning to be out for the day with no access to refrigeration.  As it was, we did some power sampling and held purchases to a breakfast pastry and a bottle of hot sauce.  After a visit to the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum, we said our good-byes.  Mike and I did a bit more exploring around Sag Harbor,  an old whaling village with a number of historic homes.  We also visited an honest-to-goodness 5-&-dime, and a good old fashioned hardware store… gotta love tourist towns that have something besides t-shirt shops.

We’d planned to take the bus back to save Tina yet another drive, particularly on a Saturday and especially since she’s working evenings.   What a bust!  We found a bus system that pales in comparison to the one we experienced on Martha’s Vineyard a few weeks back.  The bus stops aren’t marked, and they run no where close to on schedule.  We managed to catch one from Sag Harbor to East Hampton.  We planned to walk around there a bit,  but found it mostly a place full of high end clothing shops we weren’t remotely interested in.  We did find a place to eat that wasn’t stupid expensive (Rowdy Hall) and had a bite to eat… good food and a few decent beers on tap.  Later, we decided to walk the 3 miles back to Three Mile Harbor. Amazingly, there was a sidewalk the whole way.

A couple of days of rest and hiding out from the heat, and we’re ready to explore some more.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

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