Mystical Mystic Print E-mail

Mystic 6Long Island Boating World
August 2012

Mystic is a village divided.  That’s thanks to a classic drawbridge. Located at the gateway of downtown Mystic, Conn. the 21-foot long bascule bridge brings its 230 tons and moveable span up every hour. Few drawbridges are as much fun to watch. When the bell rings its staccato clapper, the Mystic Drawbridge  swings into action, similar to a giant cantilever lowering as it lifts the road platform up and away.

Roughly midway between New York City and Boston, the shoreline of southeastern Connecticut is studded with towns that still bear the stamp of their maritime pasts-- a string of inlets and fishing ports such as New London and Stonington. They are the historic heartland of nautical Connecticut. All three towns were major forces in the whaling, sealing, shipping and home to privateers that preyed on British ships in the 1800's.  Together, they formed the economic mainspring of the region.  

The nautical theme carries on today. Mystic Seaport is a 17-acre complex on the banks of the Mystic River that simulates a 19th-century New England coastal village. Some of the structures are authentic; others have been relocated, while still others are reproductions of buildings that were once there or in other coastal towns.

The Tranquil Beauty of Crane Beach Print E-mail

Long Island Boating World
July 2012

The term “majestic” hardly does justice to the landscape at Crane Beach, Mass.  The white sand beaches stretch out for nearly seven miles along both sides of Castle Neck, while the wind-swept dunes roll down to Ipswich Bay. About an hour north of Boston, it’s been dubbed “one of the most beloved and picturesque beaches in all New England.”

In the early 1920s Crane Beach became the grand summer estate owned by Chicago industrialist Richard Telle Crane, Jr. However, the first people who lived on the land now known as The Crane Estate were first inhabited by the Agawam Native American tribe. They chose the hill because it was the highest point in the area, gave good protection and smoke was easily seen from the top by other tribes. In the early 1600s English settlers took full advantage of fresh water, waterpower, excellent fishing, and transportation. CraneBeach1 

Today, Crane Beach is part of the Crane Estate in Ipswich, a gorgeous property owned and protected by The Trustees of Reservations. All told the estate encompasses more than 2,100 acres of beachfront, dunes, maritime forest and planned landscape, managed for both recreation and conservation.  USA Today tabbed Crane Beach as Massachusetts’ “great beach” of 2012.

Oyster Shucking Fest Keeps History Alive Print E-mail

Delaware County Times
October 7, 2012
When the air turns crisp and cool there is no a better spot for oyster lovers than St. Mary’s County.  

Fried, stewed, scalded and "nude", oysters are tinged with the aroma of fresh herbs and roasted garlic.  More than 150,000 oysters (and 70 kegs of beer) are consumed by more than 20,000 folks that turn up October 16-17 to welcome oyster season.StMarys4

St. Mary’s County is largely bordered by water: the Patuxent River to the northeast), the Chesapeake Bay to the east, the Potomac River to the southwest, and the Wicomico River to the west. Celebrating its 44th year, the southern Maryland festival was launched as a fundraiser for the Lexington Park Rotary Club, but it has evolved into an annual tradition that is now home to the U.S. National Oyster Shucking Championship.   The event has become one of the Eastern Seaboard’s leading folk festivals attracting visitors from across the country.

The oyster shucking rivals are battling a stopwatch as they thrash through two dozen oysters. Presentation of the shucked oysters is as important as speed. A panel of judges evaluates the shucked oysters for “restaurant condition” qualities.  Seconds are added to a competitor’s time if the presentation doesn’t shine. After the judging is finished each contestant shares his or her oysters with the spectators in the stands.

The winner earns the right to represent the United States in the International Oyster Shucking Competition held in Galway, Ireland each year.

Avalon: Cooler by a Mile Print E-mail

Long Island Boating World
October 2012

In the mythology of King Arthur Avalon was an island, an earthly paradise in the western seas, where Arthur and other heroes were carried at death. Also known as "The Island of the Blest," Avalon was said to be the abode of Oberon, King of the Fairies, who was endowed with magical powers.

Avalon 10Its namesake is the island jewel of Avalon, N. J. Set between The Wildwoods and Ocean City, Avalon and Stone Harbor share a barrier island that was originally dubbed “Seven Mile Beach.” Traveling south Dune Drive, the main drag, connects Avalon and Stone Harbor.

They say Avalon is “cooler by a mile.” And, it really is. It juts out into the Atlantic Ocean about a mile farther than its neighboring Jersey shore towns. That’s one mile further than any other New Jersey beach town. The Intracoastal Waterway lies to the west and the Atlantic Ocean on the east.  Avalon’s newly protected pristine beaches are habitats for both surfers and terrapin turtles.  You’ll also find the beaches far less crowded.

While boardwalks, amusement parks, and commercial development have overpowered most of the Jersey Shore, Avalon and Stone Harbor have stayed relatively sprawl-free. Seven Mile Beach has preserved a large portion of the natural vegetation-covered dunes that protect its wide beaches. Its dunes are one of the few remaining high dune systems on the East Coast--the highest on the Jersey Shore. It creates the perfect home for plants and small animals indigenous to the area.

Richmond: Rising Star of the New South Print E-mail

Long Island Boating World
September 2012

They ain’t whistling Dixie so much anymore.

Long revered as the heart of the Old Confederacy, Richmond stubbornly has earned its reputation as being mired in the past. No more. Today, it’s a robust destination, one of the cultural pillars of the “New South.”  Century-old tobacco warehouses have been transformed into lofts and art studios and the city’s buttoned-up downtown (it’s the state capital) now has life after dusk. Moving beyond its obsession with the Civil War, Richmond has emerged as a new player on the Southern arts and culinary scene. It’s also attracted its share of Hollywood film crews.Richmond7

Lying on the fall line of the James River in central Virginia, the waterway flows through the heart of downtown. It’s the only urban setting with Class III and IV rapids, rafting trips can range from mild to wild. Float along the river, and keep an eye peeled for native deer, blue herons, ospreys and bald eagles or pack your rod and reel for the best smallmouth bass fishing.

Celebrating its 275th birthday this year, the city has largely preserved its historic neighborhoods, including the architecturally stunning Fan, one of the largest clusters of turn of the 20th century row houses in America. Although Carytown is only one street long, visitors marvel at the variety of funky boutiques and eateries in this nine block district, home to the classic Boyd Theatre that spotlights second run movies. On Saturday nights the $1.99 film is preceded by a rousing sing-along accompanied by its mighty Wurlitzer organ.

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