Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A WALK IN THE PARK..A BELFAST GEM

     Living in Belfast has become quite trendy, at least compared to the old days of shoe factories and poultry plants. Belfast has become known as a cruise ship destination, a boutique town, artsy, ... cultivated. 

     Of course it wasn't always that way, far from it. But one constant that was here through the "bad" times and now during the "enlightened" times, was and is The Belfast City Park. 

     I can say this because I've lived it.  I've been a Belfast resident for 63 of my 67 years. (The "away" years being devoted to earning a degree in Massachusetts.)  So I think I can speak with some authority on the subject.                                  

     Being situated on High St., which is actually old U.S. Rt. 1, (BBP..before the by-pass),  the park was established in 1904 and consists of 17.5 acres of land that gently drops down to the shore of Belfast Bay. The first things that you'll see going thru the wrought iron gates is a memorial dedicated to our veterans and the old baseball field that has seen many a Little League Game.



Along the gravel driveway and dirt paths there are signs describing many of the trees in the arboretum that have been planted by future thinking citizens (both past and present),  including this venerable horse chestnut.




    The tennis courts, swimming pool and playground are not far away and are very actively used.




     To the left is a common ground once home to the Annual Belfast Broiler Festival. Over the years many thousands of festival goers were served up delicious chicken, grilled over tons of charcoal that was enclosed in cinder block pits. A grand time was had by all.


     To the right is a parking lot and horseshoe pit area that was the location of the old park pool. I spent many a summer day swimming and playing in the old pool and lounging on beach towels with my friends on the banked lawns overlooking it and the bay.


     Speaking of which..often times we would search for shade in the pavilion or head down to the shore for a swim.  Many kids would walk the shoreline back to town to their homes on Bayview or Union Streets. Which in those days may not have been an easy task given the slicks of chicken fat that layered the rocks after the tide had dropped. But we took it all in stride...it was just the way it was..


     Coming back up the looped, park road you'll pass the basketball and pickle ball courts as well as some newly installed outdoors fitness benches.  Years ago there was some discussion about paving the road but it never happened as a lot of people were concerned that a paved road would encourage drivers to go too fast. 

 Personally I'm glad the gravel has stayed as a reminder, at least to me, of the slower paced days of my childhood.

So if you're in town attending one of the many festivities that we now celebrate, take a tour of our park. Stretch your legs, stroll in the shade of the old trees on one of the walking paths, sit on a bench, get a bite to eat at the concession stand,  take a walk along the shore.  
Or maybe use one of the charcoal grills and throw on some chicken...

If you do I think you'll agree that Belfast City Park is one of the gems of our little city.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Out And About...

 Waterfront Tenants Harbor
 Boat Ramp .. Looks a little tricky..
 Some vessels in and around the harbor...
 Lobster impoundment...
Atwood's Quarry...

We decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather that we've been having here on the coast of Maine and head down (my apologies to "Downeast" ) the shoreline, ending up in Tenant's Harbor.

Located in St. George , on a peninsula, TH is a small, tucked away harbor that still has a good mix of fishermen intermingled with pleasure boaters.  It's a bit off the Rt. 1 beaten path and therefore still has the old time Maine flavor to it.

The boat ramp looked a little tricky to me so if we were going to do some cruising in that area we would probably opt for launching in Rockland which is just "up" the coast. With it's fjord-like geography that part of the Maine coast would lend itself to lots of exploring and rubber-necking.

There's lots of history to discover in and around TH including taking a peek at Atwood's Quarry and a lobster impoundment nearby.

It's so nice to have such beautiful Maine spots in our backyard..
truly a pleasure..

Sunday, July 10, 2016

CABIN PORN...



Wood stove..single malt..12ga semi..dusting of snow..
It's just about perfect...

Image and title stolen from...
http://dailytimewaster.blogspot.com/

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Sunday, November 8, 2015

And Now..Moving On Without Andre

Coming off the heels of losing Ray last June, this morning is truly a BITTERsweet moment for me..another one of our big yellow boys, Andre, is leaving us.


However in this case he is off to Guiding Eyes For The Blind in Yorktown Heights New York where we hope he will start a new chapter in his life,   We'll know on Tuesday as that's  when he takes his guide dog school entrance exam. Fingers crossed...I guess..


Seeing him go in for training is especially difficult on me, more than the others we've sent off, with the exception of Big Ray.  Andre is such wonderful dog and so closely associated for me with Ray, his absence in our home will be a huge void.  But we of course wish Andre the best, with high hopes that he will become a life changing addition to a blind person's life.


I have no way of knowing if our paths will ever cross again but Andre has certainly left a profound and enduring mark on my life..


Good luck and thank you Andre...


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Island Hopping ....The Last Cruise

It was a flat-arse calm, September morning on Penobscot Bay and we were now not far off Deer Isle.  All the elements were aligned properly, a cloudless sky, an incoming tide and the bay as still as a mill pond. 
We had left Belfast Public Landing, about 40 minutes earlier, not long after sunrise.  Having just cleared the No Wake buoy, located at entrance to the inner harbor, I opened up the throttle leaving The Monument behind us.  Very shortly we were in The Middle Grounds and quickly bearing down on Islesboro's Turtle Head. 
With our four stroke, 50HP Merc doing it's thing and with the water barely showing a ripple , we made good time as we rounded Turtle Head, quickly making our way down the Eastern Gut which separates Islesboro and Cape Rosier.  Soon our primary destination was insight, Barred Island.  Barred is a beautiful double headed island, with each of its heads separated by a gravel bar that becomes exposed on a dropping tide. However our incoming tide had turned about an hour before we arrived and there was still plenty of time before the bar became submerged again.
BarredA 
Coming around the eastern point we approached the bar slowly, cutting the engine to gently drift onto the rounded stones of the shore.  We, of course, have beached many times on an outgoing tide which is fine but it does have an accompanying concern about grounding out.  We came really, really close one time on Sears Island and  were very fortunate that we managed to re-float our boat.  But no such worry this time...no unplanned, extended stay.
BarredB
No boating experience for us is complete without our boat dog and once on shore we kept very close tabs on Andre as the island is sensitive, ecologically speaking.  We made sure that we stayed on the bar rather that exploring the wooded parts of the island, wanting to leave no impact on it's natural setting. Our shore time was very brief and  after a light snack,  not on the urchins,  we boarded and continued on to some of the many other islands in that area.
BarredC
 As it turned out we weren't the only ones on the bay taking advantage of the warm sun and the calm waters...
BarredD
I've always thought the the lobster boats with a mizzen sail (?) on the stern were very cool. They are not a rare sight but are still somewhat unusual.
BarredE
Moving on we came across this very small island that seemed to have all the comforts.  And on a day like this one made island life very appealing.  I'm not sure that I would feel the same way during a northeaster.  But it was lovely nonetheless.

BarredF

What is really nice about a small boat is that it allows you to get up close and personal. With the motor trimmed all the way up a couple of feet of water will do. And will allow you to enjoy the sights and sounds of the nature that surrounds you.
Even though this nest was unoccupied, you can't help but admired the imagination of the builders.
BarredG
Below is just another example of small island life on Penobscot Bay.  Small in size but large in life.....
BarredH

Time for one more stop, this time at Pond Island Preserve with it's fine beach and Deer Isle in the background... This is one we've been to before on numerous occasions and is a favorite of ours, as it is for many other boaters and kayakers.  A great spot to stretch your legs.
BarredI

It's just a short cruise from Pond Island back to Islesboro and as we neared Turtle Head and our final leg returning to Belfast we passed a couple of hikers standing on what I've always thought looks like a ship's prow, the cutting edge of Islesboro.
BarredJ
Closing in on Belfast and with the Northport shoreline looming larger, we converged with The Thunder Bay, "thundering" down the western gut,  heading toward her home port of Rockland. It's not often that the TB gets up our way but it's always great to see her.
BarredK
We made it back to the boat ramp just as the bay started to chop up.  And we'll be sure to return again next summer for more small island hopping.