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Showing posts from January, 2013

Wandering Up and Over for a Look at Some Down East Lighthouses

Used in its narrowest sense, the term "Down East" refers to the coast of Maine from Penobscot Bay to the Canadian border, a term that originated from the fact that when ships sailed from Boston to ports in Maine - which were to the east of Boston - the wind was at their backs, so they were sailing downwind and hence were heading 'down east'.  These days folks head Down East from all directions in search of delicious seafood, quaint seaside villages, fantastic views, and, of course, lighthouses which is one of the reasons that I pointed the car north and went Down East this past fall along with my friend Claire who was visiting from England.

Our itinerary gave us two nights in the lovey little town of Lubec, the easternmost town in the contiguous United States, and home to one of the most photographed lighthouses on the East Coast - West Quoddy Head Light.


West Quoddy Head, where the lighthouse is located, overlooks Quoddy Narrows, a strait on Passamaquoddy Bay whic…

Shedding a Little "Light" on the Subject of Lighthouses

Considering that some of the places that I like to wander to best are lighthouses, I thought it might be a good idea to take a few moments to educate and en"lighten" folks a little bit about the most important part of a lighthouse - the light!  Or at least historic Fresnel lights - not so much the more modern light in the picture above!

As I was doing my research on various lighthouses in Maine, it dawned on me that I had pretty much no idea what a "Fourth-order Fresnel lens" was other than it seemed like a lot of lighthouses had them!  I figured if I didn't know what they were, then probably a lot of other people didn't know what they were either so off I went in search of an explanation.  Upon finding it, you could say that "the light dawned" and a big old light bulb lit up over my head as suddenly it made perfect sense.  Allow me to explain ...

Way back around 1818 or so, a French physicist by the name of Augustin-Jean Fresnel (which is actual…

The Omni Mount Washington Resort: Historically Comfortable Elegance in New Hampshire's White Mountains

I remember it very well - the very first time I laid eyes on the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire and told myself that someday I was going to stay there. It was August 20th, 1991 and I was on my honeymoon with my now-ex husband; we had spent the day at the Mount Washington Cog Railway and had decided to return to our Franconia inn via the Kancamagus Highway to take in the scenic views. To get there we had to travel down Route 302 and as I looked to the left I saw it - the grandest of the White Mountain's grand hotels.

Like something out of a fairy tale, the huge white castle-like structure with its bright red roof sat at the base of Mount Washington and spoke of bygone days when families would arrive via train to spend long, leisurely summers enjoying the spectacular beauty of the White Mountain region. It reminded me of one of my favorite romantic movies - "Somewhere In Time" - and one of the scariest - "The Shining" - and I knew that…