On Impulse

It wasn’t an impulse buy..you know those things that you pick up in the store that aren’t on your shopping list. They seem to be a good idea at the moment but then you get home and have  ‘buyer’s remorse”? No, it was nothing like that.

Rather it was a change of plans on impulse. It was a beautiful day, so nice it was hard to believe it was the middle of November. I was planning to take a drive to Newport, RI for the day to see what sights and scenes I could find for this space but when I saw how nice it was I got the urge to take a drive up to Maine. It’s a bit farther than Newport but still well within the “day trip” category.

I headed out a little after 10 am and gambled that the expressway through Boston would have cleared out by that time. Luckily I was right and I sailed though the former Big Dig with no hesitation!  

I had selected York, Maine as my destination, home of Nubble Light. It’s said that Nubble Light is one of the most often photographed light houses on the east coast but I just remember the area from my scuba diving days as being extremely pretty.

I pulled off the Highway into York shortly after noon. It had taken me a little more than 2 hours. As I drove through Boston it got really cloudy but here in Maine the sky was clear and a brilliant blue. So far I had remembered my way pretty well considering it’s been over 30 years since I’ve been here but now as I came off the highway my memory seemed to dissolve.

I had printed out directions before I left the house so after a quick check I found myself meandering from one small road to another. I passed alot of fields and some farm houses and then as I came around a corner I saw the sky stretch out before me. That’s when you know that even though you can’t see the ocean yet, it’s really just ahead. Sure enough, down into a little dip and then up to a stop sign and there was the Atlantic!

The beach stretched out before me and off in the distance was the light house gleaming a bright white in the mid day sun.

 I pointed the car along the beach road in the direction of the lighthouse. It looked like everything was closed up tight for the winter.

I found the turn off to Nubble Light. At the end was a fairly large parking area with the metered viewers. There is no access to the lighthouse itself. That sits on an island that is reached by a little cable car. The public is not welcome on the island. Trust me, you don’t need to be on the island to appreciate this quaint little lighthouse.

The parking lot was a busy place with visitors taking pictures with everything but the kitchen sink. It was easy to see how it got it’s reputation as the most photographed light. I decided to wait for sunset so headed back along the beach to see if I could find anyplace for lunch.

I was about to try to retace my steps to the main highway when I spotted a little restaurant that seemed to have a lot of cars in it’s lot. Not surprising being the only open place on the beach.

The Lobster Cove Restaurant looked small inside until I realized there was an upstairs too. The waitress told me to seat myself so of course I grabbed a tabe by the window so I could watch the ocean over my lunch of scallops and coleslaw…very excellent! The people that were coming in were from all over. I overheard one group telling the waitress they drove up from New Jersey, another couple was speaking french…probably Candians, bienvenue.

Lunch complete I drove back to Sohier Park. That’s the name of the park next to the lighthouse. As I mentioned the light house is on an Island. I think it’s called Cape Neddick. The whole area is lovely. There’s a huge building, probably an Inn sitting on another rocky point near the light house so I amused myself trying to cature the waves crashing on the rocks while I waited for the sun to go down.

The lighthouse is situated so that you are looking east. That put the setting sun behind me. I was hoping some clouds would roll in so that I might get some reflected sunset behind the light house but that was not to be today. I had to settle for a series of pictures of the changing light.

 In between I got some sunset shots by turning around and shooting to the west.

Finally as the last of the light was fading I turned my car toward home.

 The drive back was not as easy as the drive up. A Patriots Football game at the stadium in Foxboro, a Bruins Hockey game at the Garden in Boston and the early Thanksgiving Travelers clogged all of the road ways in and around Boston. My trip home was over 4 hours compared to the two it took me to get to Maine but it was definietly worth it.

‘Tis the Season

Well I guess if you can’t beat ’em you join ’em. Thanksgiving is getting closer but still hasn’t arrived yet the carols are winging their way over the airwaves, tree lightnings are taking place nightly, Holiday Parades are stopping traffic and one city is even celebrating the honor of having the first “Mall Santa.”

I guess unless I want to earn the reputation of being  Scrooge or the Grinch or just a run of the mill curmudgeon I’d best stop my Bah Humbugging and get with the program. I don’t want the song title to change from Grandma got Run Over by a Reindeer to Dusty got Run over by a Reindeer because I couldn’t get in the spirit of the Holiday Season before Thanksgiving.

As I was mulling this decision over I heard on the news that Jordan’s Furniture of Avon, MA (Home of MOM, the Motion Odyssey Movie) had once again set up their Enchanted Village display.  This is unique because it is an animated display of antique figures.

Originally commissioned by the Jordan Marsh Company in 1958 the display was a cornerstone of the holidays in  the downtown crossing section of Boston right up until 1972 when Jordan Marsh closed the display.

From 1972 until 1990 the display was conspicuously absent but finally after 18 years, the figures were resurrected and the Enchanted Village was once again a part of the Boston Holiday Scene.

But a blissful happy ending was not to be. In 1998 Macy’s purchased Jordan Marsh and the display was sold to the City of Boston for use on City Hall Plaza but due to lack of funding the display was moved to the Hynes Convention Center. By 2006 the city had stopped displaying the Village altogether. It would appear that like so many small villages the Enchanted Village would be doomed to obscurity. In 2009 the Village was put on the auction block. The end was surely in sight!

But like the very best Christmas story or Fairy Tale a savior came riding to the rescue in the person of Elliot Tatelman of Jordan’s Furniture.

 The Mantra of all the Jordan’s Furniture stores has always been to provide the customer with entertainment while making shopping in their stores fun.

The remainder of the Enchanted Village could not have found a better home. The 59 surviving mechanical figures have been lovingly restored and are displayed right in the store in Avon each year during the holidays. They even went so far as to install snow machines so that artificial snow drifts down as you stroll through the little Village.

Photographers greet you as you enter and at a 2nd station within the village so that you have the opportunity to purchase a memento of your visit. Traditional recipe Blueberry muffins are available for purchase near the entrance and exit of the display.

The Enchanted Village is free. Yes that’s right FREE! But if you have a little extra to spend you can take in a laser show or an abbreviated 3D experience on  MOM featuring the Polar Express. Not a bad way to spend a morning or afternoon to get into the spirit of the holidays.

Ho Ho Ho!!!

Short Sabbatical

Editor in Chief

Aroundustyroads.com is going on a short break. Dusty needs some time to develop new material. We don’t want to bore anyone with reruns and repeats. It’s ok to share a popular  post over again occasionally but we don’t want to depend on that to meet our posting quota.

Speaking of posting schedules, I think Dusty is re-thinking that and will probably make some changes in 2012. I’m sure she will explain her reasons at that time. At this point I’m not sure how much time she is taking although I know she will have some posts during the holidays. A lot will depend on time, how much time does she have to get to places and how much time does she have to prepare the post.

So we hope you’ll miss us but I promise we’ll be back in a very short time with all new  places and experiences to share. 🙂

Makapu’u Point


With no place that we had to be, we relaxed a bit and slept in a little. ..Right… we were up at 8am! While we discussed what to do for the day, I suggested we go to Makapu’u Point Lighthouse. I had seen a Samantha Brown show on the Travel Channel where she said it was just a short, 5 minute hike from the road to fabulous ocean views. Sandy also likes lighthouses so it sounded like a nice way to start the day. I had also looked it up online and the articles there described it as a “moderate” hike.

We didn’t have any problem finding the turnoff and there was a large paved parking lot. The trail was also paved but closed to automobiles. We had hiking boots and some water but not a big supply. I was wearing a baseball cap but Sandy didn’t have a hat at all and no sunscreen. Now I want to go on record right here and now by saying that if your guide books say “bring water , a hat, good walking shoes and sunscreen“, follow their suggestions!

The trail immediately begins to climb so even though it’s paved, it quickly becomes a great aerobic workout. Of course even in 2007 both of us were on the wrong side of 50. In any case we really felt old when younger people began jogging by, one was even pushing a baby stroller and here we were sweating and huffing and puffing. When we met some of the runners returning before we made it to the top it became laughable!. They were very encouraging though and told us it would all be worth it.

PS. To Samantha Brown…it’s not 5 minutes, but more like an hour! The trail continued upward and then around a bend so we couldn’t see how much further we needed to go until we actually turned that corner. That might have been a good thing or we may have bailed out!

Once around the corner we started to get the breeze from the trade winds. There was also a spot to stop and rest, sitting on the stone wall. The views here were wonderful and there was the lighthouse. It’s a really cute lighthouse, all white with a red roof. It made a terrific picture with the deep blue of the ocean behind it. The area of the ocean we were looking over is part of the whale sanctuary. The whales arrive in November and stay until spring having their calves in the safety of these warm waters. Since we were there in October they hadn’t arrived yet but it was easy to imagine sitting there and watching the whales blow and breach.

After sitting for a bit we felt like we’d recovered and we could see the end of the trail and the lookout platforms. So with a deep breath we started the last bit of our climb and we made it!

As we explored the lookouts and platforms we found a marker that referred to a plane crash in World War II. On Easter Sunday – four months after Pearl Harbor-2 planes on routine patrol lost there way “in rain, clouds, and darkness”. One crashed here at Makapu’u Point the other at the Pali Lookout where we had visited earlier in the week. I searched the internet but did not find much information about these planes but I have placed a link at the bottom of this post in case anyone would like more information.

We took a lot of pictures because the views were everything we’d been promised. The small Island we could see from the lookout platform is called Rabbit Island. We could also see Sea Life Park which was our next stop for the afternoon. The views were certainly worth the climb.

Having thoroughly explored the top and having run out of water quite awhile ago, we wrapped up our visit and headed back down to the car. The journey down was much easier than the one going up!

In subsequent research I learned that the trail is 2.5 miles and 1 ½ – 2 hours for the round trip. The elevation is 600 ft. We certainly got our exercise that morning!