Friday, October 26, 2012

American Dreams in Mystic, CT

Last Look at Summer American Dreams

Mystic, Connecticut is a former seaport with hundreds of historic homes built by the whaling captains, carpenters, and sailmakers of the 19th century. Mystic Seaport is a living museum where you can see the old skills of barrel making, blacksmithing, and clock and navigation instrument making.

The town is full of lovely gardens and historic homes, so I've given you a taste below and in my next post.

Here's a wood-hulled catboat. Behind it the masts of a historic whaling three-master.

Among the captain's mansions is this lovely hydrangea garden.

Just one of hundreds of historic homes.

A window box overflowing with summer goodness outside a restaurant in the historic downtown.

A beautiful door in Mystic.

How many families have passed through this door since 1840 (see the plaque on the left?)




Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Sunny American Dream

Sunflowers: A Symbol of the American Dream?

Buttonwood Farm in Griswold, Connecticut specializes in two things--no, three: sunflowers, ice cream, and sunflower ice cream.

This family-run farm holds a sunflower festival every year. People wander through acres of sunflowers and then stand on a long line for ice cream of every flavor and hue, including purple Maine-wild-blueberry ice cream. Some kids had purple lips and purple splotches on their faces and shirts.

Instead of red, white and blue, how about yellow and purple?

The farm plants 14 acres of sunflowers every year. Bunches are on sale for $5. All sunflower proceeds go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The farm has raised more than $500,000 since 2004. Visit next August. Your eyes will be rewarded.

Up close and personal, like the bee in the center.

Picturesque Connecticut farmland.

A new kind of tractor pull.

Connecticut farmhouses in the distance.

For sale, $5 a bunch.  All sunflower proceeds go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation

Friday, October 12, 2012

More American Dreams in Stonington, Connecticut

American Dreams Gone Boom and Bust in Stonington

Stonington has some exquisite homes. It's located on a narrow peninsula, so houses on both sides of the peninsula have waterfront views. Many of the houses could be featured in Homes & Gardens or Architectural Digest. Some people's American Dreams came true in substantial ways.

The chapel of a cemetery on the road to Stonington. This is where all dreams and plans die. Unless we get to work on them in heaven.

A mansion in the borough. Notice the widow's lookout octagonal room at the very top of the house.

Doors of Stonington. Shops where people buy and sell to make their dreams come true.

Monday, October 8, 2012

American Dreams in Stonington, Connecticut

More Scenes of the American Dream at Work in Stonington, CT

This weekend I met a woman who lobsterfished alone for a living in the waters off Stonington for 25 years. I met her in the independent bookstore in nearby Mystic while she was selling the children's book she wrote about her work. 

The people who wrest their living from the sea are strong in heart and body.  Take a look at the boats and equipment they use to provide us with healthy seafood.

A tangle of nets on the fishing dock in Stonington.

Not everything is shiny new.

The stern of a fishingboat. Don't slide off the deck in a storm...

Lobster pots.

These boats go out in late fall, winter, early spring. The skipper on this boat has little protection from the rain and none from the cold.

Another gritty workboat with no protection for the captain or crew.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

American Dream of Returning Home

The American Dream in Stonington, CT

Stonington is near Mystic, CT and is famous for its fishing fleet, often led by Portuguese Americans who've lived in the historic town all their lives. Fishing is a risky way to make a living, as shown in The Perfect Storm. The ships shown in this blog post are blessed once a year by a priest, but it's still risky. The fisherman's American Dream might be not only to make a living, but to return to their families daily.

The American Dream on Workboats

I'll have more workboats, a passion of mine, for you next week.

A lovely boat tied up in Stonington Harbor.

Another view of the same boat.

The ocean can be furious, and the fishermen must work furiously to reap their harvest from the sea.

A block and tackle on the Furious. 

The stanchions and pulleys that bring our fish dinners out of the sea.