Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Sunday, December 30, 2018

At the Waterfront, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Adjacent to Plymouth Harbor, on Cole's Hill overlooking the Plymouth Rock Memorial, this larger than life statue of Native American leader Massasoit stands in silhouette.

This view is looking out from beneath the Plymouth Rock Memorial.

At Nelson Beach, the gulls enjoy a group rest in the warm sunshine. Long Beach is in the distance. Personally, I find that "America's Hometown" is always a great place to visit.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

"Divas With a Twist," Spire Center for Performing Arts, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house......

.....many humans were stirring but nary a mouse.

The mic stands were hung with bunting with care, in hopes that the "Divas" would soon be there.

When out of backstage there arose such a clatter, I looked from my seat to see what was the matter.... was the "Divas" arrived at long last, ready to provide the audience with a musical blast.

The children were at home nestled snug in their beds......

.....while their parents were out rockin' with the "Divas" instead!

The five-woman  "Divas With a Twist" are a powerhouse group of rockin' harmonic singers with an obvious love of performing and making music together. Powerful stuff and great stage presence. Together with their five-member back-up band, they brought down the house at Plymouth's Spire Center for Performing Arts with a mixture of holiday tunes and their standard rock repertoire.

The "Divas" are not new to Plymouth. I was fortunate to enjoy them at the Plymouth waterfront free summer concert series by Project Arts (at this link) in 2017 and earlier in 2018 at the Spire (at this link).

The "Divas With a Twist" are a great bunch of musicians and performers and I encourage you to come out and see/hear them when you get a chance.

And I heard them exclaim as they walked off stage right: Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Support the performing arts in our community by coming out to the Spire for a show! You will not be disappointed. The Spire is a volunteer-run non-profit performing arts venue with a year-round events schedule conveniently located right in downtown Plymouth by the Town Hall.

(My apology to the classic poem, "Twas the Night Before Christmas," for taking a few liberties herein).

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Buttermilk Falls State Park, Ithaca, New York, USA

It is fitting that my final post from this trip to Ithaca, New York, is about a waterfall. Ithaca prides itself on waterfalls both in town and nearby. Buttermilk Falls State Park is barely two miles south of downtown Ithaca. Since winter weather has already set in, the main gorge trail is already closed for the season (too slippery with ice). It has been very cold and parts of the falls are already frozen but, much water is still flowing. I would have thought some things are obvious and go without saying but,.............

........this sign really cracked me up. Hearty folk live around here if they need to be told "no swimming" at this time of year! Or maybe, it's for tourists like, being a good law-abiding citizen, I obeyed the sign and did not go in the water - not that I was the least bit tempted anyway.

Goodbye, Ithaca! I've enjoyed your charms once again.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Out and About, Ithaca, New York, USA

This post is a random collection of images I wanted to publish as our trip to Ithaca draws near the end.

If this scene looks rainy or snowy then I have been successful in portraying the one month visit to Ithaca this season. Much gray sky and infrequent sunshine. The kind of weather to stay inside, have a fire in the fireplace, and either create or listen to music.

But with waterfalls within walking distance, of course I still ventured outside daily trying to get in my 10,000 steps (I fell short many times). This is Ithaca Falls.

A random house I happened to pass by but, on reflection, turned around and went back to capture this image of a time gone by.

I think this is a Halloween holdover still in someone's front yard trying to get out.

It is not uncommon to see strongly colored painted exteriors in downtown Ithaca houses. This is one of the milder ones.

This distorted window reflection reminded me of both the paintings, "The Starry Night," and "The Scream."

This well-placed street art brightens up this driveway/alleyway nicely.

I would never have thought to put classical pillars in a living room but, they are a great architectural feature. I hope someday I have a living room with the same!

The master of street art!

I have enjoyed our stay in downtown Ithaca.  Being within walking distance of nearly everything is both a convenience to get out and walk and a good reason to not rely so much on an automobile. And the Downtown, Fall Creek, and Northside neighborhoods are as flat as Florida. When I wanted extreme old man cardio exercise, I simply hiked up the hill to the adjacent Cornell University campus. Now, if they could just do something about the lack of sunshine.........

Monday, December 17, 2018

Cascadilla Falls, Ithaca, New York, USA

Although dressed in the drab and muted colors of the coming winter, it still blows my mind that Cascadilla Falls and Ithaca Falls are both within easy walking distance of the heart of downtown.

There is something peaceful and calming about the sound of a waterfall, especially one so easy to access. (Although the trail through the gorge alongside the waterway is closed for the season).

I'd like to visit and see it under these warmer conditions.

Friday, December 14, 2018

A Touch of Red, Allen Treman State Marine Park, Ithaca, New York, USA

The Allen Treman State Marine Park was black, white, and gray on this wintry day between snow flurries.

At the marina, no boats to be seen. As usual though, a touch of red always catches my eye....., if I had just had a model with a red umbrella strolling along instead of a car........

Thursday, December 13, 2018

A Night On the Town - Hangar Theatre Company, Ithaca, New York, USA

To put me in the seasonal holiday mood, I attended a wonderful production of the Charles Dickens classic, "A Christmas Carol," at Ithaca's Hangar Theatre Company. This timeless story is always a pleasure.

"The Hangar Theatre opened in 1975 in a renovated municipal airport hangar. This unique conversion was made possible by a grant from Nelson Rockefeller and the combined efforts and support of the Ithaca Repertory Theatre, Cornell University, Ithaca College, and the City of Ithaca." (Source: Hangar Theatre Website).

After the run of this holiday classic, the next major theatrical season begins in June 2019 with "Or, What She Will," followed by "Into the Woods," "Kinky Boots," "Little Women," and "Big Play Festival!" Other types of events and performances round out the full year in this all-season venue.

I really liked this 340-seat venue. Seating on three sides of the rotating stage and perfectly inclined audience tiers meant that everyone in every seat had a great sight line to the action.

My only unfulfilled wish from this production is that I didn't get to have the kind of raise-the-roof-thunderous-power-ensemble choral number that I am partial to hearing every time I go to the theatre - even a drama, I don't care - I still want a powerful blast to my senses that sends shivers up my spine, tears well up in my eyes, and I am oh-so-happy to be alive to hear/see/feel the beautiful harmony by great talent. I want that wall of sound from human voices that pushes me back in my seat with its sheer power. But that's my issue not this venue's. 

I am reminded of many of the shows at my home theatre, "Priscilla Beach Theatre," in southeastern Massachusetts. Their production numbers often provide just such a thrill.

Notwithstanding my whining, The Hangar Theatre provided a first class theatre experience in every respect and I look forward to a return visit opportunity in the future.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Ithaca Ice Fest, Ithaca, New York, USA

This evening, the 12th Annual Ithaca Ice Fest began on the Ithaca Commons in downtown. I arrived just as the event was beginning on the first of its three days. Not many folks are here yet, but, a few are already dancing at the "Silent Disco." There is a DJ behind the blue lights and each dancer in front of the stage is wearing earphones with the tunes playing privately - thus, a silent disco.

The ice chairs and holiday tree were popular for the parents to pose the kids.

Yep, the star on top is all ice. It is fortunate that temperatures are well below freezing tonight and forecast to be so for the next two days. That's one less obstacle the artists/sculptors will have to contend with when the carving competition gets underway.

This is the "Ice Bar," which as you have guessed is made up of ice. Beer, wine, and hot chocolate are expected to be popular.

It even has a nice bar curve to it.

As I headed back home, a light snow flurry passed through the area, faintly visible in the light rays from the disco ball. Looks like it's going to be a fun time!

On Day 2, I arrived as the ice sculpting competition was already underway.  Each sculptor is provided an identical block of ice and has exactly 20-minutes to create their piece in this speed competition phase. Judging takes place at the conclusion of each 20-minute session.  Other sessions will be held over the three day event. As you can see, a chain saw is the principal tool for the initial large scale shaping.

The finer details are achieved using various other drilling, grinding, and sanding tools.

20-minutes is not a lot of time for a competitive/creative activity like this.

On the final day, the artists/creators had two blocks of ice and three hours to make some magic.

A handy tool holder.

And magic they did truly make!!

This one seemed to be in a class all by itself!  Imagine for a moment, with nothing but two blocks of ice and a bunch of power and hand tools, creating something like this - extraordinary!

After the Ice Fest ended, the next day, still very cold, these sculptures glistened in the bright of day instead of melting away.

Such beauty and wonder just from frozen water - imagine.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Cornell Chimes, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA

The McGraw Tower stands 173 feet above the Cornell University campus. In its belfry are the 21 bells that comprise the Cornell Chimes. The public is invited to attend the performances/concerts; each generally lasting about fifteen minutes, three times a day. There's a hitch though - you must walk up the 161 stairs to get to the area just below the belfry behind the clockfaces where the Cornell Chimesmasters create the music.

They only unlock and open the stairwell door a few minutes before each concert, so, with still a few minutes to wait around, I went into the adjacent library to catch a glimpse of the Hogwarts-like stacks.

I was not disappointed.

But back to the matter at hand - trudging up about 150 of these, followed by.......

....another dozen or so on this spiral section. Note the inside of one of the clockfaces at lower right.

The chimesmaster begins the concert from this playing stand at clock-face level. The cables attached to each pedal or handle pull the appropriate clapper on one of the 21 bells in the belfry above this level.

To be a chimesmaster requires at least three qualities: ability to read music, balance on one foot, and climb the 161 steps. Seriously. If you have those three attributes, then you must enter into a competition with other candidates hoping to be chosen to become a member of  the group of chimesmasters for the year.

Playing in your stocking feet makes it easier to feel the foot pedals and not have a bulky shoe in the way.

The original set of bells rang out at the University's opening ceremony in October 1868.

The chimesmaster is not only required to balance on one foot but, sometimes, to stretch the full width of the "keyboard" at the same time.

But  fifteen minutes passes quickly.......and the performance ends.

With my ears still faintly ringing, it's back out into the 23 degree F air to walk back down the hill. Was it worth the walk uphill and downhill in the cold and dark?  And the 161 stairs, too? You bet it was! I look forward to doing it again. (Note: I chose to attend the evening session because after 5pm, I can usually find a free and legal place to park on the campus that's not too far from the tower).