Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 Christmas in RI (12/26-28/2015)

Friday, December 25, 2015
Merry Christmas!
We planned on taking two days to drive to Rhode Island, and ended up taking just one.

Saturday, December 26, 2015
Since we had arrived before everyone else who was coming to RI, we had a day to check out a few things in this state where we once used to live.
Interstate I-195 has been re-routed, on what they call the Iway, across a new Providence River "signature" bridge.
Signature Iway bridge (2005-2006)
We had to have one of our favorites, a Wimpy Skippy, for lunch at Caserta's Pizzeria.
Caserta's Pizza "A Wimpy Skippy" - The best    #VisitRhodeIsland:
Wimpy Skippy
Walked downtown to the Providence Place mall and Waterplace Park (1993-1994).
WaterFire grill
WaterFire is a "sculpture" designed by Barnaby Evans, who created a series of fires that appear to float on the Woonasquatucket, Moshassuck, and Providence Rivers. He first built the installation in 1994, and again in 1996. It became an annual seasonal event in 1997.
Reflection on the Woonasquatucket River
We drove through the East Side of Providence to East Providence, and passed our former house in Rumford.
17 Agawam Park Road
Sunday, December 27, 2015
Erich had flown up from DC with Dylan and Pete to visit their mom/"Nanna" in RI. Today they came to have breakfast with us at the Country Kitchen in Seekonk, MA.
Country Kitchen (est,. 1980)
Next they came to our hotel to burn off the breakfast calories swimming in our hotel pool.
Erich, Dylan, and Pete
Dylan, and Pete
Grandpa S reads to Pete and Dylan (photo by Kyle)
We were joined by Kyle and Katrina, and later by Mary Jane/Nanna and had lunch at the 99 Restaurant & Pub, a "kid-friendly" place. The eight of us were in two side-by-side booths where they removed the wooden barrier between the tables to create one space.
After lunch we headed to the Roger Williams Park Zoo in three vehicles! Although it was a gray day, the temperature was between jackets and no jackets.
A tradition when going to the RI zoo is taking a picture with the statue of the dog.
Kent, Kyle, and Erich in 1986;
The Sentinel (1851) by Thomas Frederick Hoppin
The Sentinel was the first large scale bronze casting done in America (previously, everything was cast in England and shipped here), depicting a mastiff named Black Prince. It was donated to the city by the Hoppin family in 1896, and has resided at the zoo ever since. However, its position in the zoo has changed several times. Today it is in front of the old Menagerie (1890), now the gift shop.
Tamiko (KSS)
Black Prince and Pete
Pete and Dylan
 Now there is another photo op animal sculpture.
Dylan and Pete
Pete with the docents poster
Dylan makes it over the crest of the mountain
We finished the extended-family day with a pizza dinner at Mary Jane's house along with Barney/Grumpa, and Ben and his girlfriend.
We so much appreciated the opportunity to share the visit in order to see the grandsons!

Monday, December 28, 2015
Knowing we could make it home in a day, we spent today driving through eastern RI, first to Little Compton and Adamsville.
Rhode Island Red Monument (1925)
by Henry L Norton
The monument commemorates the state bird of Rhode Island, a chicken that was first bred in Adamsville in the 1850s. Captain William Tripp started a series of poultry experiments in 1854 when he purchased a Red Malaysian cock from a sailor in New Bedford, MA. Working with John Macomber of Westport, MA, they added several other breeds to the mix to develop a bird known for high egg yield, but was also delicious to eat. In the 1880s, another neighbor, Isaac Wilbour further improved the breed and came up with the name of Rhode Island Red.
We continued to Bristol, stopping to have another Rhode Island favorite, a Newport Creamery Awful Awful, a relative of the milkshake made from whole milk and ice milk, with flavored syrup. We shared a thick chocolate one, whose name comes from "Awful Big, Awful Good."
We visited Blithewold Mansion, Gardens, and Arboretum.
Cherry blossoms in December!
Today was sunny but the temperatures were closer to freezing.
Although the mansion was closed today, the grounds are open to the public and a donation is requested.
Moon Gate (c. 1896) designed by landscape architect John DeWolf
Snowflakes in The Bosquet/Woodland
Snowflakes made from bamboo
Phyllostachys aureosulcata/Yellow Groove Bamboo
Reconstructed stone bench
Water Garden (KSS)
Garden bench (KSS)
Dominoes and shells (KSS)
Blithewold Mansion (1907) in English Country Manor style;
listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980
We stayed with friends Peter and Beth in Ashland, MA before driving home on 12/29/2015.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Brandywine Falls (12/20/2015)

Sunday, December 20, 2015
Sunny with temperatures above freezing means we can still take a hike!
This time we went to Cuyahoga Valley National Park to the Brandywine Gorge Trail.
This ain't your flat Towpath Trail!
Frozen bits of Brandywine Creek
Gorge icicles
Boardwalk into the gorge
Brandywine Falls overlook
Brandywine Falls cascades over Berea Sandstone
and undercuts the Bedford Shale below it
Kent at 60-foot tall Brandywine Falls 
A remnant of the Village of Brandywine,
the ruins of the Champion Electric Company (1920)
where Willis Hale produced restaurant appliances
Inn at Brandywine Falls,
originally the home (1848) of James Wallace,
whose father, George, built a sawmill at the falls in 1814
Gate to the Inn at Brandywine Falls
Sign with stained glass waterfalls
Panicum virgatum/Switch Grass,
a native prairie grass
"Misty mass of seedheads" of Switch Grass
We drove to the Hines Hill Conference Center, an "architectural" wonder that caught our eye.
The Hines Hill House was built in 1904 by Charles H Jaite of Jaite Packaging, as a summer house. In 1975, Bobby Gioia purchased the property. Since he was a demolition contractor, he was able to take pieces of other buildings, including the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, the Case Western Reserve Infirmary, and the original East Tech High School, and create the "patchwork" we see today.
Pond with stone walls
1800s bank barn
Entrance to Hines Hill Conference Center
Entrance lamp
The Hines Hill House (1904)
Hines Hill property
Hines Hill Conference Center
Stone Cottage at Hines Hill
Stone Cottage cupola with bronze owl
Stone Cottage details
Salvaged baker
Stone reliefs featuring a baker, tailor, and scholar were recovered from the old University School building.
Salvaged tailor
Hines Hill Conference Center
chimney and bell
The impressive stone chimney on the conference center was constructed from a torn-out curb in Cleveland.
Next we drove to the trailhead to hike to Blue Hen Falls.
Blue Hen Falls where Spring Creek drops 15 feet
Partially frozen falls?
It seems the Cuyahoga Valley National Park bought these bridges in bulk
Remember the snowless ski slopes of last week? This week the temperatures dropped enough to allow man-made snow.
Boston Mills Ski Resort