Tag Archives: history

2018 – Sightseeing Portland, ME and area

We had a wonderful time sightseeing Portland, Maine and south along the coast. We started by visiting Lenny, a life-sized chocolate Moose at Lenny Libby Chocolatier. There was also a bear and two cubs made of chocolate in the diorama. This candy shop has a wide variety of chocolate, salt water taffy, fudge, ice cream and gift items. Of course I bought some chocolate to take with me. From there we went to the Holy Donut shop for a unique experience. We bought a maple bacon and a potato donut with chocolate icing topped with coconut flakes. A tasty treat!

We then caught the city bus and enjoyed seeing the historic homes and buildings we passed on the way to the wharf. There we caught the Casco Bay Ferry Mail boat and rode along on a three hour mail run to several of the islands in Casco Bay. During the summer there are two of these runs a day and many people buy tickets to ride along. We heard a description of the historic lighthouses and other features along the route. It was interesting to see the crew load and unload the cargo and watch the people meet the boat to pick up their items as they were unloaded. Much more than mail was included in the cargo. For instance there were several mattresses and box springs that were loaded into the back of a pickup on delivery as well as a golf cart. A couple of times the sea fog rolled in adding to the adventure.

We also spent a fun afternoon seeing the beautiful coastline and visiting a few lighthouses just south of Portland, Maine. They are all historic but one that stands out is Portland Head Lighthouse. It’s construction was begun in 1787 at the direction of George Washington. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the parks and beautiful homes in the area.


See individual photos with captions here.

2018 – Sightseeing the Basketball Hall of Fame – Springfield, MA


We had an interesting visit to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. We saw many photos and artifacts starting with the very beginning at the Young Men’s Christian Association where, in 1891 James Naismith invented an indoor game to be played at the YMCA. We followed the evolution of the sport from events like the introduction of the sport to women up through the most current inductees. Along with the many displays are interactive sites where you can check your height and arm span compared to famous athletes or see what one’s vertical jump is. My favorite displays were the early women’s uniforms and the peach baskets.


See individual photos with captions here.

2018 – Sightseeing the Hudson River Valley of New York

This is such a beautiful and interesting area with many things to see with the scenic backdrop of the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River Valley. There are waterfalls, dramatic landscapes, and also many farms and historic homes in the area.

We took a day trip to visit two Historic Homes in the famous Hyde Park area of New York. We started with Springwood, the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, our 32nd President and the only one elected to office four times. We started our tour at the gardens and saw where he and Eleanor are buried. We went in the front door and into the large entryway. I was impressed by the huge grandfather clock and beautiful wooden furniture. FDR was especially fascinated with birds and sailing ships. The entry way had some of the many birds he collected as well as some of the navel paintings that he acquired across the years. We walked down the hallway to the library-living room on a clear glass floor that allowed us to see the ramp used by FDR with his chair on wheels. The room is filled with books, beautiful carpets, and items collected around the world. There were also board games for family and friends. We were unable to see the 2nd floor because the air conditioning was not working and there is no ventilation. We exited through the kitchen area where we were reminded of how much manual labor was need to serve this household. The servants did everything from grinding the coffee beans to washing up after the meals. The nearby stable has the stalls with names of the horses and a display of the various ribbons won by his prize horses across the years.

We also visited the FDR Presidential Museum. The USA was in the Great Depression when he was first elected President. The museum shows some of his childhood but focuses on his election, his work to bring the US through the depression, efforts to improve the lives of the American people, and leadership through World War 2. As you might guess, considerable attention is given to World War 2. There is also information about Eleanor’s work as a reformer and her appointment to the United Nations after FDR’s death.

A short distance from FDR’s house and museum is the Vanderbilt home which was completed in 1899. It is considered a prime example of the “Gilded Age.” We entered through huge doors and stepped into a grand entry hall filled with marble statues and heavy furnishings. Amazing tapestries adorn the hall walls. On one end of the main level is a huge dining room where the family could entertain a large number of guests. On the opposite end of the main floor is a large library and living room. The master bedrooms are on the second floor. The lady of the house had an impressive, French inspired bedroom with an attached setting room where she met with the housekeeper and took care of her letter writing etc. Guest rooms for married couples and single women were on the opposite end of the house and there was a door leading to a servants’ stairs that allowed them access to the rooms.

We had fun visiting the Rosendale, NY Street Festival. Some of the local shops were open and there were vendors of all kinds: commercial, crafts, face painting and henna art along with booths offering a wide variety of food. Of course I had to have a funnel cake! The main feature of the festival is music and there are multiple stages and wide variety music be heard at all times. According to the advertising there are 100 bands performing during the two day festival – truly something for everyone. We really liked the woodwind and horn orchestra we heard immediately on arriving and the smooth jazz group performing as we were leaving. We enjoyed this local event.

See individual photos with captions here.