A Hunt for the Planets

This adventure happened last fall, but because of some computer glitches, etc., I am not getting it up until now … I hope (unless the computer glitches again).

Last October my friend Cindy and I headed up to Maine to do some in-depth exploring and to speak at a conference. We wanted to head up the East side of the state, but after you get so far, there aren’t many famous landmarks to visit.

But we were determined and wanted some fun on the journey. One of us (I truly can’t remember which one) found this solar system model. The catch was, it was to scale so you had to find the different planets over a distance of forty miles. We did have a map or sort of a map guiding us to the next planet and how far it would be … but some of them weren’t that easy to find … especially when they moved  from the hotel parking lot to the gas station next door. (Don’t remember reading about that in my science books.)

The first one is on displayed at the visitor center in Houlton – which is Pluto, which I know is no longer considered a planet, but so be it.

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The picture isn’t good because this one is behind glass and indoors. But now the fun began

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The evening was beautiful as we headed north and soon came upon Mercury.

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And the earth.DSC_0305

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I think this was our favorite.

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Saturn was also rather impressive.

 

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We knew our last find – the sun would be at the University of Maine, Presque Isle and truly expected to see something magnificent – since this was to scale. We walked around the building a few times, not thinking it would be open on a Sunday night.

But it was open and we walked in – no one was in sight – past classrooms and computers and trophy cases.

Where was this sun that HAD to be massive?

Well – not quite. Actually it was part of the railing – sort of anti-climatic.

But the evening was perfect weather-wise and we agreed we had never been on a planet hunt before.

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The anti-climatic sun.

 

The Glasshouse

One of my favorite places to visit in the Historic Jamestowne part of the settlement is the Glasshouse.

Back in 1607 when Jamestowne was first established, the Glasshouse was one of the first attempts to start an industry in the New World. Everything they needed: fuel, sand, etc. was there in abundance. They just needed people who knew how to actually make the glass.

In 1608 another ship arrived and this one had eight German and Polish craftsman who knew how to make the glass and the Glasshouse was in business. But the Glasshouse was not successful, though it struggled alone for a few years.

Again in 1622, a Glasshouse was established, this time with Italian artisans. But again it failed.

Then in 1948, the furnaces were rediscovered. A new facility was constructed from the excavated ruins. Now, once again, glass is blown in Jamestowne by modern artists who make glass as they did almost 400 years ago.

Watching glassblowing has always, always fascinated me … as it did this time.

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Jamestown Settlement

Jamestown has two separate areas for visitors to enjoy.

One area is where the settlement was actually located with ruins of various buildings in a parklike area.

The second area is a settlement reproduction with replicated buildings, villagers in period customs, authentic activities such as cooking over an open fire, working on a ship and building a canoe … all making the English colony come to life.

If you’re traveling with kids, I definitely recommend the village. You can wander through the buildings, talking to the “village people,” go on the boats and if you’re lucky (like I was), be taught how to make a knot that the sailors used.

The settlement site has a lot of room to run, and is in a beautiful location right on the shore of the James River. Older kids might enjoy the history aspect of it – but I think younger kids would enjoy the village more.

And this is the truth. If I would get these posts up sooner than four months after I’ve been somewhere – I would do a much better job remembering details.

Here are some pictures of the village.

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The church
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One of the houses.
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Looking out at the village.
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The ship.
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Another ship picture
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And another
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Learning to tie a knot which I could do while he was teaching me, but could not replicate it for you now.
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Another part of the village.
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Inside
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Building a canoe – which was interesting to watch.
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Another canoe building pic.

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Shields Tavern

I have been to Williamsburg several times, but have never had the opportunity to eat in one of the taverns/restaurants on Duke of Gloucester Street. This time we decided to do it.

Shields Tavern was opened in 1705 and given the name Marot’s Ordinary. John Marot was the owner. Not only was there a place to eat, but also dry goods and a garden room. Often travelers stopped there to socialize.

Seventeen hundred and five is a long time ago. The building has gone through several renovations, but it is still on the same site and still serving food … an historical aesthetic.

We parked and walked down the street (you can’t drive on it), just as dusk was settling over the town. We were led downstairs to the basement which was lit by candlelight including a lantern at our table. Our server was in custom and very pleasant. I ordered the ale-potted beef (a delicious beef stew) because it sounded very colonial to me.

Expensive, so not a place I would go to every week, but for a once-in-a-lifetime treat, not bad. I mean, I’ve been to Williamsburg at least six times and this was the only time I got to eat on Gloucester Street. Hey! That has a nice ring to it, I could write some poetry.)

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A very old tavern – opened in 1705

 

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View from our table.
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View at our table.
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My ale potted-beef

 

Youghiogheny River

img_0863We stopped to see Ken’s parents and then headed down through West Virginia and Maryland toward Virginia. We stopped at an overlook that gave us a great view of the Youghiogheny River and Reservoir. Unfortunately, the day was cloudy and our view wasn’t as good as it would’ve been on a sunny day (or even a snowy day), but it was still pretty.

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Wondering how to say Youghiogheny? Think Allegheny – that’s a start and then look it up on the Web – that’s what I did.

Later we stopped at another breathtaking overlook.

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Sugar Creek

I was home from Hawaii for three days before Sue and I left for the East Coast a road trip over familiar territory. Our first stop was near Sugar Creek, Ohio. One of the touristy things we saw advertised was a giant cuckoo clock.

Early the next morning we drove through beautiful country looking for the town Sugar Creek and the clock. The day was covered in fog with drizzly rain and few people were walking around the streets … except for a couple who were also waiting for the clock to cuckoo.

The clock was okay. I did live near Frankenmuth for four years and just a few miles away from the Glockenspiel Tower – so, well ….

If you’re somewhere in the area and seeing the world’s largest cuckoo clock is on your bucket list or todo list, then this is what you’re looking for.

Afterwards, we did wander down the street and enjoy pastries from an Amish bakery and had a great conversation with the baker herself.

So a good start, but not overly memorable, start to the day.

 

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Christmas Lights in the Northwoods

So one night while in the Northwoods, we drove to Rondele Ranch (pronounced Rondalay) because we heard they had a Christmas light display. Most of the seasonal event was over (the part with rides and cookies and such). But the lights were still up and the weather was crisp and cool …

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The church – the dark spot in the front kind of baffled me. Why would they leave it dark?
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Lighted balls which looked cool in the snow.
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And reflecting in the water.
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The gazebo.
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Ghost of Christmas past or maybe just Jacob in a blanket.
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The ghost is trapped by his sister.
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Snow, lights, water

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