Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Quaker Meeting House - Yarmouth, Massachusetts

The Friends Meeting House in Yarmouth, Massachusetts was in use by the local Quaker community for a century from 1809 to 1909, but then awakened from dormancy in 1955 by an active Quaker community.

After World War II, newcomers started to call Cape Cod home, and among these a growing number of worshipers of the Society of Friends, who also joined Quaker communities established in nearby towns of Sandwich and Falmouth.

This Yarmouth Meeting House, which along with an adjoining one-room Quaker schoolhouse are on the National Historic Register, continue to serve the community with “silent” worship services (this meeting house has never in its history had a minister), and First Day School for children and adults.

For more on the history of Quakers on Cape Cod, have a look at this interesting website.

Have a look at this previous post for more on the Quaker Meeting House in North Adams, Massachusetts on the other end of the state.

And so I find well to come
For deeper rest to this still room
For there the habit of the soul
Feels less the outer world's control
The strength of mutual purpose pleads
More earnestly our common needs;
And from the silence multiplied
By these still forms on either side,
The world that time and sense have known
Falls off and leaves us God Alone.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Charles Dickens on a Connecticut River Steamboat

Above we have a shot of the “Becky Thatcher”, a replica “steamboat” on the Connecticut River operated by the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat out of Essex, Connecticut. More on that in a future post. For now, let’s travel by a real 19th century steamboat with Charles Dickens.

The noted English author toured America in 1842. We noted his observations on the Lowell factory system in this previous post about the mill girls of Lowell and Chicopee.

A later stop on that trip brought him to Springfield, Massachusetts where he boarded a steamboat for Hartford. It was February, and the winter had been so mild that year, that the first steamboat trip of the year was scheduled early.

That is not to say the river was completely without ice.

The river was full of floating blocks of ice, which were constantly crunching and cracking under us; and the depth of the water, in the course we took to avoid the larger masses, carried down the middle of the river by the current…The Connecticut River is a fine stream; and the banks in summer-time are, I have no doubt, beautiful; at all events I was told so by a young lady in the cabin.

The cabin, he notes, was very small, and the passengers all stood in the middle of it for fear of tipping the boat over to one side or other.

After two hours and a half of this odd traveling (including a stoppage at a small town, where we were saluted by a gun considerably larger than our own chimney), we reached Hartford.

It rained heavily, but “being well wrapped up, bade defiance to the weather, and enjoyed the journey.”

His party stayed in Hartford four days, and later went to New Haven by railroad.

Mr. Dickens makes no mention of their maneuvering through Windsor Locks, Connecticut, so-called because the canal locks on the river built there in 1829 make navigation accessible.

The reason they took the steamboat, so Dickens was informed, was because though Hartford is only some 25 miles south of Springfield, the roads (in February 1842) were so difficult to travel that the trip would have taken 10 or 12 hours by stage.

And that was in the fast lane on Route 91.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lynde Point Lighthouse - Old Saybrook, Connecticut

Here is the Lynde Point Lighthouse of Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Standing at the mouth of the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound, this sentinel on the Connecticut shore was built in 1838, to replace an earlier wooden tower built in 1803.

The structure is octagonal shaped, and made of brownstone currently painted white. It’s fifth-order Fresnel lens was installed in 1890. Automated in 1978, the light is still under the operation of the Coast Guard, and is not open to the public.

For more on the Lynde Point Lighthouse, have a look at this website, and also this one.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Airport Diner - Manchester, New Hampshire

Here is the Airport Diner, part of the Common Man chain, located next to the Holiday Inn on Brown Avenue in Manchester. The Manchester Airport is down the road, so here explains the airplane theme. Opened in 2005, this retro diner also has a 1950s theme.

Listen to Lesley Gore singing “It’s My Party” on the jukebox, and look up to the many large models of airplanes (including, to my delight and surprise, a replica of the 1930s-era GeeBee “City of Springfield” - more on the story of this plane and the Granville Brothers of Springfield, Mass. another time).

Then look down to your plate of comfort food. Go ahead. Dig in.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Third Blog Anniversary

View from Mt. Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts.

Tomorrow marks the 3rd anniversary of New England Travels. Thank you for the pleasure of your company on the journey.

For at least the near future, this blog will post only once per week on Tuesdays. See you next week.