Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Since I've Been Gone

Since I've been off the blog, we

  • had a multi-day heat wave with temps in the mid 90Fs and heat index well into 100F;
  • had a cold snap with lows right at 60F and highs not getting to 70F;
  • spent a week in NJ--but not on the delightful shore--touring the midlands around Morristown, where Sis had speedskating camp (which she loved--and I think she improved) with not one but two Olympians and a multiple-Olympics national coach!  She made friends with a girl in CA and another in the area and one in NYC.
    What Sis did all week.

    Speedwell--building on left is where telegraph demonstrated

  • toured the area, finding the kinds of things we like to do, including 
    • The "temple"

    • Fosterfields:  a lovely 200+ acre farm started at the turn-of-the-20th-century by Clara Foster, who loved the colonial revival and built a lovely "Temple of Abiding Peace" cabin with an adjoining historically-inspired garden, which they've restored;
    • historic Speedwell, an early 19th-century factory and iron works, where Samuel F.B. Morse introduced the first telegraph;
    • Gorgeous meadows at Duke Farms
    • Duke Farms, the lavish estate of the late Doris Duke (whose father was behind the modern cigarette industry and then went into electric power!), which is now dedicated to environmental and sustainability issues.  I especially liked the remains of the basement of the grand house that was never built and the ruins of a burned barn that then housed a sculpture garden.

    Just one view of one part of one room
    Sculpture garden in barn ruins
    • Northlandz train museum:  this is a wacky tourist trap with the largest model railroad in the world, but the craftsmanship and creativity is amazing--you actually wind around a whole mile looking at the detailed models.  
    • Navesink
    • Navesink Twin Lights--yay, we got to see this very famous light, with its dual towers separated by an stone, armory-type building.  The lights are relatively short but are on a cliff, making it one of the highest lighthouses on the east coast.  Wonderful. 
    • Sandy Hook Light (est. 1764) and Fort Hancock--out on the peninsula that is Gateway National Recreation Area (the other half of which is over by Mama's parents, across the harbor in NY).  The light is from 1764!!!!  And apparently the British held onto it despite an attack by Patriots during the Revolutionary War, the canon marks of which you could apparently see well into the 19th century.  Around the lighthouse is the remainder of a fort that was inhabited by 10,000 soldiers during WWII.  There is a 9-gun battery and also a proving ground for new weapons.  Most of that is in shambles, while some of the buildings have been converted to modern uses for the Coast Guard.  It was a very hazy day, but on a clear one you could have had a great view of the city.
      Sandy Hook light est 1764!!  
    • Putt Putt!  Bud even made this great shot backwards between his legs!
    Malaysian "ice cream"
  • ate out at seafood (soft shell crab sandwich and crab cakes and corn and lobster bisque!), Vietnamese (spring rolls!), Malayasian (stand out food:  kachang "ice cream" with sweet corn, kidney beans, grass jelly, palm hearts, and red rose syrup on crushed ice!), and Korean (bimibop!) restaurants--mmm, mmm, good!
  • spent some down-time in the hotel pools and watching "Ancient Aliens" and the new Clash of the Titans, with me crocheting on my first amigurumi critter (an owl-penguin thing that doesn't have eyes yet)
  • came home exhausted and resumed kung fu, piano, and horses.

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