Sunday, July 13, 2014

Celebrating My Dad's 100th Birthday in Authentic Cape May

Opposing traffic in the Delaware Bay on a hazy July day
It's hard not to think about him in this house that he modified and added to, and furnished with woodworked objects he made while at sea. The fig tree (it had a rough time this winter) and the magnolia he planted are still thriving outside in the yard, but his vegetable garden is gone. Today would have been my Dad's hundredth birthday, and as he wasn't around to celebrate, I tried to imagine what he might like to do.

Albert Montet, ca. 1966
He liked ships and boats having been a career US Coast Guard guy, so I figured I should spend time on some kind of vessel. I selected the Cape May-Lewes Ferry because he liked that particular fleet of ships. He lived in Cape May before the ferry came in 1964, and enjoyed cruising on it once it started running. It was more like a bus on water then, and I think he'd be amused by the newer, more comfortable ferries that run now.

The ferry waits for me to board. (From the Skywalk)
I brought my camera because Dad liked to shoot photos (SLR) and so do I (DSLR). He'd have liked these Osprey chicks I caught at the Lewes (Delaware) Terminal--he was a nature guy, too.

4 chicks
The dolphins were out today, but not exactly posing for photographs.

Dolphins frolicking near the ferry.
One thing I wasn't able to do is swim in the Cape May Canal. Dad used to love to do this, and I remember going with him and the rest of the family. It used to be a big-deal, right-of-passage to swim across and back, but I never did that. At some point in the 1970s they widened and deepened the canal (built during World War II) and there was no more beach and no more swimming. There's way too much boat traffic anyway.

Canal traffic

It just so happened that Dad's 100th birthday fell on a full moon, and even better, a SUPER moon! The Friends of the Cape May Lighthouse (and I am one) open the lighthouse on summer evening with a full moon so that visitors can climb to the top to take in the moonlit view. I think Dad would have liked this because it's an authentic nautical Cape May thing combined with a natural phenomenon. He would not have liked the crowd, and neither did I except that two-way traffic on those narrow spiral wrought-iron stairs slows traffic down a bit, and it would have been impossible to "run" up and down as I posted (tongue-in-cheek) on Facebook. Anyhoo, without a tripod and with all of the other folks, it was difficult to shoot clever photos. I resorted to some quick iPhone snaps.

7-12-14 Super Moon over the Atlantic Ocean with the CM Lighthouse beam

Cape May Lighthouse
I think Dad would approve of his birthday festivities. In just under eight years, it will be Mom's turn: shopping and ice cream, I think (also in Cape May).

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Fourth of July, North Cape May

I didn't have anyone to bring to my town's Fourth of July festivities, so I brought my camera (and lenses) instead. This was especially fun because this town doesn't just shoot off fireworks, they host a carnival down by the bay. People come from miles around and end up parking in front of my house blocks away for the rides, food trucks, entertainment, and ultimately a half hour of non-stop fireworks. I didn't stay for the pyrotechnics because Gladys the Sheltie is terrified of them: they are loud and close.

After our beachwalk earlier in the day, I spotted this ride and thought it would be fun to shoot it in action:


There were other rides, mostly for the kiddies...

Get your tickets here:

And then see if you can ring this bell by hitting the thing with the giant hammer (I didn't see anyone try last night):

There were a couple of bands playing while we cruised through the food trucks...


As you can see, the late-day light was tricky, so I made up my mind that this batch of photos would be experimental...

Here's that gorgeous Mimosa tree about a block from the bay through my fish-eye lens

And a view of the bay with a black & white filter
And finally, while all this was going on down by the water, and before the fireworks were set off from a barge in the water, neighborhood houses were being judged for a good ol' Fourth of July house decorating contest!

And now this morning, all of the excitement is over, house parties more-or-less cleaned up, the rides packed-up and off to their next gig, and the neighborhood seems to be back to normal. Every house is quiet, and besides the lady hanging beach towels on her clothesline and the man walking his Border Collie, there aren't any people out there. It was a late night!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Quilt Show at Historic Cold Spring Village

I visit Historic Cold Spring Village at least once a year or so, usually for one of their weekly (in the summertime) special events. I blogged about the place back in 2011 right here, but today I'm focusing on the Quilt and Fiber Arts Show. We walked among the authentic Cape May County buildings brought to this location to form this little village and visited various vendors of fabric and fibers along the way. We saved the Country Store and its old-timey and handmade merchandise for last.

The Country Store is housed in the James Hathorn House (c. 1722/1780)
The Ice Cream Parlor was doing a brisk business this day...

The Ice Cream Parlor is located in the Ewing-Douglass House (c. 1850)
...and the Bakery offered some tempting treats.

The Ezra Norton House from Dias Creek (c. 1850) houses the Village Bakery
But we're here for fabrics and fibers, remember? Over at the Spicer-Leaming House (c.1817), a costumed interpreter was showing a visitor how the spinning wheel works. We watched.

Across the road at the Corson-Hand House (c. 1837), experts were demonstrating wool carding, and down around the corner my friends from Jersey Shore Alpacas had a tent set up where they were selling luxurious alpaca yarns and gorgeous soft things made from these fibers. This farm is right around the corner from Cold Spring, and Tish and Jim welcome visitors to their farm to visit the alpacas and browse through their store full of soft alpaca things. (Check the link above first, though.) They even offer workshops!

I like the crocheting and knitting, but quilting is my true medium of expression. The first bunch of quilts on display were hung in the 1894 Welcome Center. Visitors got to vote on their favorites on Saturday, and we got to see the winners in various categories when we were there on Sunday. As a person who has entered quilts in shows, I think they're all winners. It's not easy to put your creation out there for all to see and judge! Here are some samples:

There were quilt supply vendors at the Walter P. Taylor Octagon House (c. 1880 and formerly a chicken coop), and at the Dennisville Inn (c. 1836) where I got some red cotton velveteen for a crazy quilt I plan to tackle soon. I never seem to have enough cash for all the things I would like to buy (four or five hundred would be a good start), but that is just as well since I wouldn't have the time to actually stitch the stuff. Maybe this year I'll finish something and enter it in next year's show...but for now...more inspiration...

There were more quilts displayed by the Gazebo (see them at the top of this post) and that was also the site of the QUILT QUIZZO trivia game. Visitors were formed into groups by organizer Merry May, a respected and accomplished quilter from Tuckahoe, NJ. We answered questions on quilt history, quilting innovations, and famous quilters, for example, and after two rounds our Team C had pulled away from the pack. This was a good thing, as Round Three was all about anagrams, my Achilles Heel and my Waterloo. The scrambled words were names of classic quilt blocks, but it doesn't matter because my brain is missing the anagram figurer-outer synapse. But Oh Happy Day! We won!

Margie and Janet show off their Quilt Quizzo medals of fine gold plastic.