A New Day

What a difference a day makes…or in this case a night. It was humid and foggy when I went to bed but I woke up to sunshine! A lot of the humidity seemed to have passed, as much as could be expected when one is on  a small island surrounded by  the ocean.

The one remnant of yesterday’s adventures was that my legs are sore and very tired. They ache. I can really tell that I over-did it yesterday. I guess that’s what they mean by being a weekend warrior..but I did it in one day. So the only thing I have on my to do list today is to make it out to the other lighthouse.

The first order of business was to find some place for breakfast. That wasn’t too hard. The Pastry Shoppe had their version of egg mcmuffins as well as cinnamon rolls and Danish and various breads. Juice was Nantucket Nectars by the bottle.

Breakfast over,  I tested my legs by walking up to the porch of the Harborside Motel. Not promising. If they were just sore I figure I could walk it off but my right calf kept cramping. I sat down on the porch and let the morning sun wash over me. There was a breeze off the harbor. I could just spend the day there watching the world go by. It was so nice…and so not me ! No, no matter if my legs hurt or not I need to find some way to get to that 2nd light house.

As I sat there debating my options… bike rental, moped, taxi….the taxi company with the friendly driver  pulled up to the taxi stand. I hobbled over to ask about the “Tour”.

Apparently all of the taxi companies also offer a tour of the Island.  It’s a nice drive, about an hour-long and the driver doubles as a tour guide telling you about the history of the island. It’s $55.00  and the rate is the same for all of the different companies.

The driver I was talking to was named Jim and he said he would stop so I could get pictures too. That decided it. I climbed in and he let his dispatch know he was doing a “tour” and we were off. He had a small photo album of old pictures so I could see what the island used to look like. A familiar refrain seemed to be …Right here was ____________until it burned down . Some of the places that burned down were rebuilt but many were not.

We made it to the Southeast Lighthouse but since I had already told him I’d been there the night before he just drove past. We stopped a little farther down the road where a dirt path took us to the top of the Mohegan Bluffs. There was a stairway down to the bottom.

I’d like to climb down there someday but my tour stop wasn’t long enough for that today.

We passed through a “Hollow” that Jim explained had miles of hiking trails and was all preserved land. No one can ever build on it. We reached another little town where we passed the New Shoreham Police Department. Jim explained that the town was New Shoreham but the island was Block Island. That explained some of the confusion I had when I was looking for accommodations.

Then we reached the North side of the island and the lighthouse came into view.

 Now I could see why the locals said it wasn’t an easy walk. The shoreline was not a sandy beach but covered with rocks and stones. It would be hard walking and very easy to turn an ankle. It ‘s a pretty lighthouse.

 I took my pictures from the parking lot and once I had them we started back toward the ferry terminal.

Hard to believe it was almost lunch time. I felt sure I’d be spending some time roaming   around looking for a place to eat.Even though I’d taken the easy way with the tour, I still had some walking to do if I was going to find  the “Poor People’s Pub” for lunch.

To Walk or to Ride?

I was here! I made it. I trudged on down the dirt driveway for a closer look at the unique Lighthouse. I love that it’s made of brick and not the usual white tower. This lighthouse almost fell into the ocean due to the erosion and crumbling cliffs where it sits.

The bluffs are called Mohegan Bluffs but they were pretty fog shrouded too.

The guide-book says the lighthouse is located an easy 30 minute walk from the ferry terminal. OK I get it. I am out of shape and it took me at least twice that long. But look at what I got to see and enjoy along the way!

Now I have to decide if I’m going to walk back or call a cab. I’m thinking a cab will be quicker but I’m in no rush and it will be all down hill going back.

Maybe I’ll see the Pheasant again and have a 2nd chance at a picture. That decides it. I’m walking back.

Going downhill it did only take about 30 minutes.

I dropped my gear off at Ashley house and went in search of dinner. As I came out of the alley I almost ran into a woman on a horse! It was a beautiful animal but I wasn’t expecting a horse right in town unless there was a parade. Just goes to show how much of a city slicker I’ve become. Of course the camera was in my room.

Right around the corner on Water St (the main street actually) was Mohegan Cafe. As I was looking at the menu posted on the door a young lady waiting by her bicycle commented that she had just eaten there and that it was very good. That’s good enough for me. I’ve had enough walking for one day.

I was given a choice of a booth or a window. I usually like booths best but how could I pass up a window looking out over the ocean?

I allowed myself the brief indulgence of a glass of wine while I looked over the menu. Prices were typical resort prices with most entrees in the $18-$22 range. They had grilled tuna and salmon and even pork chops on the menu. I went with one of the more modest entrees, chicken masala which came in at $16.95, one of the less expensive options.  When it came I was amazed! It was a huge dish. The chicken and mushrooms were served over a large bed of pasta. The masala sauce was quite thick and much milder than I am used to but still not bad. The best part of the meal was the bread. It came out warm with a side of herb & garlic butter that was out of this world!  I skipped the pasta so I could indulge in that bread. Glorious!

I was surprised to see it was only 9:30. I had a full tummy, I’d certainly had my excercise and I was ready for bed. The waitress assured me that the guidebook was wrong. She said the walk to the lighthouse is more than 30 minutes and close to 3 miles. Maybe they were referring to joggers? 🙂

I wrapped up my evening with a shower and left over brownie. I didn’t even bother to check out the TV. I fell alseep while trying to plan my next day.

Checked in and Ready to Explore

Now that I was settled in my lovely room in the Ashley House it was time to explore. I stopped in the Pastry shoppe and bought a decadent chocolate frosted brownie. I sampled it right away but saved half for later. I figured I’d need a treat after I finished my little jaunt.

As I started up the alley I ran into the tour guide again. He was looking for me. He wanted to be sure that I had found Ashley House and gotten checked in OK. I thought that was really nice of him. We chatted for a few minutes and then I headed on my way.

Everyone said it was an easy walk to the south lighthouse so with my camera around my neck, a spare lens in my bag and my tripod slung over my shoulder I set off to find the lighthouse.

I noticed that the street immediately began to go uphill but it was a gentle rise and I was merely meandering. I stopped in the parking lot of the restaurant “Fins” to take a picture of their parking spaces. I loved the idea of a series of fish stencils instead of plain old lines.

I made note of the statue in the little square and as I took my left around the  statue the incline became a bit steeper.

Halfway up the hill I spotted yellow iris’ and interesting lamps so stopped for a photo-op.

More flowers followed.

Then to my surprise I thought I saw a llama! Looking closer I could see there were several llamas and other exotic looking animals. I’d stumbled upon Abrams Animal Farm.

Apparently it’s a little petting zoo and the wool is used for yarns and fabrics.

Not too much further I reached what seemed to be the top of the hill and the road began to wind back down. Ahead of me I could hear the surf even before I saw it. This was one of my favorite spots. I climbed onto the guard rail and sat and watched the waves break on the beach.

 There were loads of flowers and their fragrance filled the afternoon air. It was still misty and overcast. It made me think of a rain forest rather than New England.

I could see that the road was going to start climbing again so I took some pictures and began the next leg of my trek. I thought I must be getting close because there were some bluffs right there.  ( Silly me).

As I trudged on I passed a beautiful church whose manicured grounds led right up to the edge of the bluff. It would be worth going to that church just for the view!

I was beginning to wonder how much farther I had to go because this was not turning into an easy walk…at least not for an overweight, 60 + female with a load of camera equipment.

Duck on fresh water pond with ocean beyond

Just about the time I thought I should  pack it in and go back I saw a sign that pointed on up the road and read simply “Lighthouse”. So just as before I figured I must be close and continued to trudge on upward. Except for that short down hill section where I watched the breakers it had been all up hill!

I was now farther away from the water. There were large homes and fields. Well maintained stone walls separated the fields as I trudged along. As people drove by they all waved like they’d known me forever.

I rounded another corner and there ahead of me in a field on my right was a pheasant! I recognized it from pictures in outdoor magazines but I’d never seen one live and in the wild before. It’s a beautiful bird. I began to hustle on up the hill to try to get close enough for a picture without spooking it. The closer I got the deeper it went into the scrub and brush but it didn’t flush. I stopped and lifted the camera. In that moment I knew I was too out of breath to hold the camera still. The bird was fast disappearing from view. I felt my opportunity slipping away so I took a chance. The shot was pretty bad but it’s a record of the experience so here it is. Proof it was really a pheasant!

After that fiasco I plunked myself down on rock wall to consider my situation..keep going or turn back. It felt like I’d been walking forever and may I remind you it was all uphill. Fog was starting to roll in and I could hear a fog horn in the distance. I decided to keep going just a little longer.

Perseverance pays off! I reached the top of the hill and there it was! The Southeast Lighthouse.

 As I walked down the driveway I was greeted  by a black and white cat that seemed to say  “What took you so long? I’ve been waiting for you”.

Memorial Day Thanks

As we enjoy the wonderful weather and a day off from work to barbecue and party, take a moment to give thanks to those brave men and women whose sacrifices make our life style possible.

Remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. They gave their lives that we might have ours. For them there is no tomorrow, no second chance at life or love, but thanks to them we have our life, our freedom and our chances to live.

Remember those who returned but suffered unspeakable injuries to body, soul or mind. Brave men and women traumatized by their injuries or the injuries to others that they witnessed or perhaps by the actions they had no choice but to take.

But these actions and sacrifices paid for our freedoms. They kept our shores safe. They stood up for our way of life.

As I think about Memorial Day and all that it stands for I am grateful to all who have done their duty to safeguard this great nation and our freedoms but I am sad too. I feel for the families left behind or the soldier who once able-bodied is now missing a limb or worse. My heart aches for those who returned so stressed and traumatized that although their body is sound, their emotions and  feelings are forever scarred. This is the price we pay for our freedom. This is the price our soldiers paid for us.

 On this Memorial Day honor them, thank them and pray for them. Keep safe those who even today are  fighting for freedom in foreign lands. Pray that someday we will gain the wisdom to be able to put down our weapons and live in peace and respect throughout the world.

Always remember…