White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Skate or Die, Cape Cod Canal, Bourne, Massachusetts, USA

Over the course of my life I've skated on metal wheels (remember those metal wheeled things that clamped onto regular shoes with a special skate key?), plastic wheels, figure skates, and hockey skates - but I've never felt compelled to spray paint the sentiment of this graffiti writer........I guess I missed something in the experience. What possesses some lowlife to deface property like this? I just don't understand.  Maybe I'm just getting old and crotchety.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

It Is Quiet Now, Washington Depot, Connecticut, USA


There's something special about the morning light - it evokes  memories of days gone by - dreams that were - dreams that could have been - and hopes that are alive today. But now the morning light is swallowed by the barn - dark as pitch through the open split door. It's a barn built by the hands of a man to shelter his wife's horse. After decades of life, it is quiet now.

There is no more nickering or snorting or stamping or clomping. It is quiet now.

The freshly trimmed lawn leads down to and merges with the former pasture. Many of the fence rails have been removed - an enclosure is no longer necessary.  It is quiet now.

The fence posts that for decades felt the muzzle of a horse who wanted a scratch, now stand weathered and waiting to find some purpose once again. The simple posts that somehow held back a thousand pound horse as he stood looking toward the house where his favorite human was inside.  It is quiet now.

The barn that once held hay and halters, now holds bikes and sunbeams and the memories of a steaming horse on a cold winter morning waiting to be fed.  It is quiet now. 

And in the silence, ever so faintly, the soft whisper of the memory of what was - the sound of hooves echo in the dust. It is quiet now.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Some Manomet Beaches, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

The Manomet area is one of many along the Southeast Massachusetts coastline that has beautiful beaches. Much/most of this coastline, however, is private property and the beach access points are not open to the public. While it's generally true that, by law, most of the beach in Massachusetts below the mean high tide line is public (more on this point later) - some areas are not public and are likely to remain in private ownership forever into the future.  In any case, the areas shown in this blog post are located in private and residential neighborhoods. One must live and own here and/or be a member of a beach association that owns/controls access to a particular beach area in order to use the beach.

Near as I have been able to determine, back in 1641-47, the colonial powers in Massachusetts passed laws to encourage coastal development.  These laws generally entitled beachfront landowners to own the property to the mean low tide line rather than the mean high tide line. This effectively blocked public passage along privately owned beaches (with some specific exceptions). Today, 370+ years later, many beaches are a confused patchwork of private and public land between high and low tide lines (the intertidal "wet sand" areas). In some places, the landowners post signs and stand guard and chase and/or yell at folks who try to walk through.  In other places, the landowners welcome the public walking through. It is, in a nutshell, a confusing mess. Emotions run hot on both sides of the issue. If someone yells at you to "get off my beach," they might just have every legal right to do so.  Of course, they might be wrong also - it's very confusing to me. I tread lightly and carefully.

Some beaches are accessible by private staircases that sometimes are severely damaged during winter storms. These staircases are built and maintained by private funds - and it is not cheap to have a staircase.

Sometimes access is by way of a steep ramp - again, not cheap to build or maintain.

Sometimes there is a secret path known only to and used exclusively by locals.......

........that opens up almost down at sea level except for maybe a short scramble on the rocks.




And sometimes it's best to just sit on the bluff and stare out to sea - from your own private bench on your own private lot. 

Private beaches get a lot of folks agitated but, maintaining and accessing beaches is costly.  It's expensive to build and maintain staircases, erosion of the bluffs often requires earth-moving equipment to perform repairs, big granite blocks are used to prevent erosion and stabilize soil and they are heavy and expensive to move into place. There are no parking areas available for non-residents, there is no provision for trash collection nor are there any restroom facilities. 

The public-private beach debate will go on - to me it is not as simple a prospect as some would believe. It's a nice idea that the beaches are a national resource open to everyone but it's truly more complicated than that.

Disclaimer:  I am neither an attorney nor a beach expert.  I am just a regular citizen trying to figure out the rules of the game and where I can go and where I can't. If I want to avoid the aggravation, I can simply go to a Town, City, State, or National Park beach and pay the daily fee.  Like the saying goes, "there is no free lunch......."


Monday, August 26, 2013

Tubbs Meadow, Pembroke, Massachusetts, USA

Tubbs Meadow is an area of public conservation land in the southeastern Massachusetts town of Pembroke. The land was formerly a series of cranberry bogs.

I visited recently on a perfect summer day with a group from Plymouth Digital Photographers Club who were intent on photographing dragonflies. 

With all the rain we've had this summer, the former bogs are still quite full of water.

There are also pleasant paths to wander around.

And a few stands of pine on the edge of the property.

And frogs and lily pads.


And of course,  there were lots of dragonflies.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Try God, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

A novel approach to religion. I know that some religious faiths are facing challenges these days but, I didn't realize that a billboard alongside a highway was part of the solution.................on the other hand, it's probably more thought-provoking than another Dunkin' Donuts or McDonald's advertisement. (This one was seen south of Boston on the Southeast Expressway heading north towards the city).

Thursday, August 22, 2013

White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

White Horse Beach on a warm summer day - it's early on a weekday at low tide and obviously not crowded. Water temp is about 70 - about as warm as it ever gets here.

These clouds in late afternoon helped me create a moody black and white rendition.

Harleys are popular sights in the summertime along this part of Massachusetts coastline - nice place for a cruise and then maybe a stop at Geller's for some ice cream on the way out of town.

This is the definition of serendipity. I was walking along the road and just happened to have my camera in hand when suddenly this vintage Mercedes turned onto the road and headed towards me.  I had about 5 seconds.  It is sometimes better to be lucky than good.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Neighborhood Park, White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

It isn't often that a new park just appears in an established community.  But such is the case this time. On the land of the former Catholic Church and parking lot along White Horse Beach Road, the anonymous new property owner(s) have created a beautiful park.

The following images are all panoramas - click on each to view in full width.





Here's what it looked like on May 7 of this year.

Near as I can tell, the benefactor(s) seems to be keeping a very low profile or perhaps just wants anonymity. Perhaps the best tribute to such kindness and goodwill is for all of us to help keep the park neat, clean, and beautiful for everyone to enjoy fully.  Compared to the broad expanse of mostly asphalt that once covered this lot, today's result is quite a transformation.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Vegan Burger, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Here's another post in my occasional series about, "what do vegans eat?"  Personally, I've always enjoyed a good burger - comes in its own edible wrapper, is both hot and cold, sweet and savory, salty and spicy, crunchy and yielding, goes well with french fries, and is a perfect vehicle for ketchup. And being a vegan does not mean I don't get to eat burgers. They are just not made with animal parts.

For this particular meal, instead of the traditional sandwich-style, I prepared it open on a bed of lettuce, a mild tomato pico de gallo, farm fresh uncooked sweet corn, pine nuts, diced avocado, slivered almonds, and the star of the show, a vegan burger patty. Sometimes, I'll put warm marinara sauce on top - or just plain old sweet tomato ketchup - or an oil and vinegar salad dressing - or I'll put in on a bun - or I'll cut it all up and wrap it in a tortilla, actually multiple tortillas -  it's the taste that matters - I choose the delivery system.

Here's my favorite. First, let me say that I am not in any way associated with this company other than I just like the product and am using it to tell this story. There are other vegetarian/vegan burgers on the market. (And if I wasn't a lazy cook, I could make them from scratch also).


It is made with good stuff - no dead animals or animal parts.


And here's the numbers for you number counters. We buy these at Trader Joe's but I expect other markets carry them. Enjoy - when I eat the plants of the earth and not the flesh of sentient animals, it makes me feel good - mentally and physically, spiritually and ethically.

I have other posts about vegan food if you'd like to see/read more. Just type "vegan" into the search box in the upper-right margin and it will take you there - or click on this link: http://joesretirementblog.blogspot.com/search/label/Vegan%20Food


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Simes House, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

This lovingly rebuilt and restored 1923 REO Speedwagon helps set the mood by posing outside the Simes House in "downtown" Manomet. I had the opportunity to recently attend a fundraiser for the Simes Foundation hosted by Plymouth Digital Photographers Club. The photographers got some great images and Simes got hundreds in donations - a win for everyone.

".......the wheels on the bus go round and round...." - and this was the first motorized school bus in Wayland, Massachusetts back in the day. And in the "Learn-Something-New-Everyday" category, I always thought that REO Speedwagon was only the name of a rock band from my youth.

I just love the way the carpenter rounded this corner of decking boards on the front porch.  I don't see craftsmanship like this very often in today's hurry-up world.

The interior rehab is expected to begin this fall.


The restoration of the Simes House, which began in August 2012, is moving ever closer to completion. The Simes House was built in about 1863 and was in need of tender loving care and repair and restoration. The Simes House Foundation was created to restore and maintain the Simes House and Manomet Commons as self-sustaining historical landmarks in the Village of Manomet. For the public benefit, the Foundation will enhance cultural focus and identity, provide education and encourage community service.

If you have too much time and/or money on your hands, please consider a contribution to the Foundation.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Priscilla Beach Theatre, Priscilla Beach, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

The two tents standing just off Rocky Hill Road in Priscilla Beach are a beacon for the performing art that is created here this summer. (The original barn theater stands in the background awaiting restoration). 

For the last few years, Priscilla Beach Theatre (PBT) has only offered shows by child actors/actresses as part of their summer season of workshops and performances.  This summer, they added an adult performance of "Godspell," and what a pleasure it was.  I'm certainly not a qualified theater critic but, I know what I like.

I like to feel and hear the power of voices in unison raised in song, I like being outdoors under a tent on a perfect summer day in New England, I like sitting in a small intimate setting watching regular people perform for the sheer love of the craft of acting.  These are regular folk, maybe or maybe not destined for Broadway but whose love of song and word and movement and sharing drives them to perform.  They are not spoiled stars with fancy dressing rooms and entourages but rather regular people who love to perform and entertain.  I'm glad the world has people like that.

This performance was quite a step up from the children's show. An official Broadway "Playbill" was printed outlining the background and experiences of the performers and producers. "Godspell" has been performed countless times around the world since its premiere in the early 1970's.

There was a small live orchestra for accompaniment (bass player and horn player were out of this photo view to the left), there were professional small wireless headset microphones for each performer, and a sound and light person supporting the show. 



The stage and actors were reach-out-and-touch close, drawing the audience into the performance.

Does she enjoy singing or what?

There is something magical about being outside on a summer day listening to performing artists.  Humans have done this for thousands of years and it's quite wonderful that PBT (now in its 77th year) still finds the will and support to continue to put on these shows - year after year.  All  the work and prep and practice - and it doesn't appear to be just for the money - the tickets were of modest cost and maybe didn't even cover expenses.

Kudos to all the performers, then and now, the support crews, and the creative forces for their hard work over the years.  But especially now, kudos to Sandy and Bob Malone, the new owners of the theater, who have rescued it from decline and are keeping this dream alive. As a young teen in the mid-1970's Bob was one of those child actors - and now almost 40 years later, he and Sandy are the benefactors and saviors. What goes around comes around.

Read more about Priscilla Beach Theatre at this link.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Summer in New England, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

This setting just screams classic New England to me - a rocky promontory, weathered gray cedar shingles, and a sapphire blue ocean.  It's near Manomet Point at White Horse Beach.

Dad and daughter return home after an afternoon together at the beach.  So who invented the handle anyway?  Did he/she get a patent? Is the handle as important an invention as the wheel?  The lever? The printing press? The computer? Indoor plumbing?  Never mind........

The normally pasty white skin of New England Caucasians by this point in August finally has taken on the hint of warm bronze sun tones - just in time to start covering up again for the cooling season ahead.

The dinner plate hibiscus makes its final appearance for the season.

You may think that these Brown-eyed Susans are just plain old flowers - you would be wrong....

They are entirely something else:  they hide the little flower people. Some may look and think that this is just a droopy flower past its prime but I say NO, it is instead for those who can see, the little people of the flowers revealing themselves to serious seekers. 


Right now this is a sand fence, it helps stabilize the plant growth on the dunes - soon enough it will serve its other purpose - as a snow fence to keep drifts off the road.