On my drive from the Portland area to central New Hampshire I looked for signs of fall in the scenery, and I did see hints of color, especially along the Maine coast. A little color in the trees here and there, enough to make my heart go pitter-pat. I haven’t been here for fall in a lot of years, and after I wished for, but couldn’t manage, a fall adventure last year, it’s a must for this year. So my attention has officially turned from lighthouses to fall. I really want to see a full-blown fall display before I head back to Florida. To that end I went looking for more beginnings of fall yesterday, but with limited results. Mother Nature has her own agenda and she will perform when she is ready. And I have to remember that not every fall is as spectacular as other’s you’ve seen. But my fingers are crossed for this year, and then I’ll be ready to go home.
Wait, I haven’t seen a moose, I need to see one. Well, yes I did see one, but it was at the Kittery Trading Post…
Honestly? I didn’t expect to like Portsmouth, NH quite as much as I did. I entered from Kittery, ME, and as soon as I crossed the Memorial Bridge I saw brick sidewalks and a small parking lot from which to enjoy the harbor. So of course I stopped for pictures. And while it seemed at first to be more of a working harbor than something meant photo ops for people like me, there was more than one vantage point and I thought the views were lovely.
I had yet to find the Portsmouth Harbor Light however, and as I drove into New Castle to see it I was awed by the New England charm of the town. The narrow streets along the water, lined with clapboard houses sitting close to the road, and painted in soft, pretty colors. The access to the lighthouse was closed, and I knew that, but I thought I’d find another vantage point to see it, and I did. And, of course, yet another lighthouse, Whaleback, off in the distance eough to make me struggle for a picture. On such a lovely day it was frustrating to find that I had to turn the picture of that one into a black and white image, but it pretty much was black and white already.
I googled the significance of the locks on this chain link fence at the Portsmouth harbor and got an unexpected answer. It’s been deemed the Portsmouth Love Wall, and it’s in Prescott Park. I missed the initials written on the locks, initials of lovers who place the locks on the wall and then they may choose to throw the keys into the water. Or they may place a lock on the wall to represent a lost loved one. I see that this is a world wide trend, possibly beginning in Paris. I wish I believed that placing a lock on the wall would keep a loved one with you, it would be nice. And it just so happens that I have a padlock in the camper, just in case…
I went to Scarborough Marsh a day ahead of the sunset canoe trip, both to see if there was space for me to sign up, and to decide if I really wanted to go. I had a little experience in a kayak, and absolutely no experience in a canoe. My hiker/backpacker friend says kayaks are ‘tippy’, but sitting up high as you do in a canoe feels a lot ‘tippier’ to me. I enjoyed watching the woman in the feature photo as she blew up her inflatable kayak and proceeded to head out on the Dunstan River. It’s great she says, and weighs in at 40 pounds. She also said that her husband hates it, which is why she was paddling by herself. You see how high the river was that morning? Well, by Friday night it was low tide and our group of inexperienced canoeists were bumping into each other and getting stuck in the mud. But no tipping! And no alligators. Oops, I just thought of a reason to not get an inflatable kayak.
Knowing this was an official Audubon facility had me expecting some big, fancy building, so this little place was a surprise. But I quickly learned that these people were very professional and experienced, and with a lot of information on how essential the marsh is to the ecology of the area. Maybe I’ll go back and rent a kayak. They said if I put in there they’ll know to look for me if I fail to come back. That seems to me to be a plus. Taking pictures from the canoe was almost impossible, I thought any move on my part would tip us over. But I did manage to get a couple that morning, and also on the trip… with the iPhone of course. I wasn’t about to risk the ‘real’ camera. I posted one picture on Facebook already, so if you’ve seen it I apologize.Did you notice that the seagull is bringing home the bacon, er, crab?
What a novelty it was to be chauffeur driven to THE sight to see if you see nothing else in Portland. Great company, nice lunch, and now I’ve seen it, and taken pictures too! The Portland Head Light. And more! What a nice day, even if the sky was darkening as the day progressed. Thank you Joan and Jude!
The Portland Head Light was so impressive that I began taking pictures from the parking lot!
Also guarding the harbor we have the Portland Breakwater Light, affectionately called Bug Light. Bug light is segmented, which means that if you are in the correct shipping channel you will see a white light, but if you are seeing a red light then you are in danger of going aground.
And we also have Bug Light’s twin sister, the Spring Point Ledge Light…
And off in the distance in these shots you see Ram’s Head Ledge Light. You may also have noticed why I love the 18 to 400mm lens. Both of these shots were taken with that lens, hand held. And with an extra challenge because I figured out later on that I had the lens stabilization turned off. I was stuggling, now I know why. Duh.
Portland. I’ll be back…
Oh, did I forget bugs? There is an exquisite Children’s garden too!
I walked down to the river at Shore Hills a couple of times, looking for the sunset and found it.
And now I’m at Wild Duck campgrounds, which is only a mile from the Scarborough Marsh Audubon site. Which may explain this as the scenery I found as I explored the park.There are quite a few egrets out there in the marsh, but even my biggest lens wouldn’t have caught them. Not well enough anyhow. This one, however, was in the little pond just inside the entrance, and I took a million pictures of him as he hunted. Take my word for it, he has a little flat fish in his mouth, it just doesn’t show against that background.
And red dragonflies are a different variety to me. I should look them up. I should do a lot of things.
Last night I dutifully locked the car, using the key fob from inside the camper. This morning I realized that I had left the front car windows open. Almost as soon as I got here I was surprised to hear the sound that the acorns make as they drop on the roof of the camper. They sound like they will leave dents in the roof of the car parked beside me. But when I got into the car just now to close it up I was surprised to find an acorn in the red baseball cap that was laying on the console. How the heck did that happen???
Yes, campers are a fun group. While I always thought I’d love to do this I never really had an inkling of what the reality of it would be. I love it. It suits me. And I could so very easily have talked myself out of doing it at all. I’m so glad I didn’t…
Ships and ship building dominate the history of Bath, ME. Over 200 ship builders once made their living here. During WW2 over 16,000 workers produced 80 ships for the Navy, roughly turning out one every 2 weeks. Bath Iron Works has three Navy ships currently being outfitted, and contracts for 11 more, so this tradition continues. The years of ship building along the Kennebec River, along with the related industries, resulted in the river being essentially dead. No fish and no birds. The captain of our tour boat was a font of information, and he seemed most proud to say that the river has recovered and the fish and birds are back.
This wasn’t the tour I had hoped to take when I drove to the Maine Maritime Museum. I hoped to take a lighthouse cruise, but the only lighthouse on this cruise was the little one here. Little because a lighthouse along a river only needs to be seen for 3 miles. But in foggy weather ships couldn’t see the lights and still ran aground, so they built a bell tower as an added safety factor. The lighthouse keeper was required to trudge through the woods every four hours in bad weather to wind up the bell.
This proved to be quite an interesting tour and talk, and even though it wasn’t the tour I had hoped for I was happy to have had the experience. I was a Navy wife in the summer of ’71 when I lived here while my husband’s ship was readied for it’s trip to it’s eventual port in San Diego. For a short while the plan was for the ship to cruise south around South America, stopping at all the famous (infamous) ports along the way, but clearer heads eventually prevailed and that plan was nixed, and his ship went through the Panama Canal instead. That must have been an experience in itself, though not the one whomever made the first plan probably had in mind.This represents the Wyoming, which was built in Bath. It’s true to the size except for the masts. They were an additional 70 feet high, but the FAA wouldn’t let them build those to scale.
The other two Navy ships being built are very different from this one. This is a Zumwalt class ship, built to be stealth. On radar this ship appears to be a 40 foot fishing boat.This little ship is the Mary E. She was built in Bath in 1906 and was in service carrying many different cargos over the years. She was eventually sunk, but was brought back to Bath and restored to her original and now carries passengers instead.
In the feature photo you see the size of the dry dock itself. It was built in China and had a long journey to Bath since it was too big to go through the Panama Canal. This isn’t a town that grew up to serve the tourist trade, and it shows. But it’s worth a trip to see.