Friday, August 27, 2010

Wyoming, Destination Yellowstone


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SamYNP 001 My journey to Yellowstone National Park somewhat begins in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Instead of a 320 mile 5 hour drive, I opt for an hour and a half fight on Skywest, The Delta Connection.

Along with about 15 other passengers, I patiently wait to board my flight in a standing room only waiting area.



“Now boarding all passengers for Delta Connection Flight 7783”



SamYNP 005 Today my flight is onboard an EMB-120 turboprop airplane which holds about 30 passengers.

This service is only offered seasonally to West Yellowstone Airport.





SamYNP 008 It is not long before I am asleep to the hypnotic sound of the spinning propellers.

This is something I love about these types of airplanes, it brings back memories of the old romance of flying.

I am awaken in flight somewhere over Southern Wyoming with blue skies above, farmlands and wide open spaces below.




CanYNP 005

Soon I capture Grand Teton Mountain Range in the distance which I hope to visit up close in a day or two.


SamYNP 012 Our arrival into West Yellowstone Airport gives nice views of the diverse landscape to be explored.

The airport is only served by Skywest Airlines although it has previously hosted Air Force One and President Obama.





Sam2YNP 003An Economy Car from Avis for $62 per day will give me the “Spirit Of Mobility” while at Yellowstone.

Although rentals are also available from Budget at comparable prices, Avis seems to have a better selection of cars available.




From the airport it is a short drive into town and the West Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. This part of Yellowstone is located in Montana. Established in 1872, Yellowstone is America's and the world's first national park. Although most of the park is in Wyoming it is so huge it also encompasses a part of Idaho and Montana.

The park was formed from historic volcanic eruptions and has more geysers than New Zealand and Iceland. Part of my adventure here is to witness one of the most famous geysers, Old Faithful.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rhode Island, Providence .. And I Said



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Staying at the Hilton Downtown Providence, you may say we have nothing in common but I say “What about breakfast at Caffe Dolce Vita”? With my VIP 20 percent off discount card from the Concierge Manny at the Hilton, I think we can have a great time.

Canon 161 Located at 59 DePasquale Plaza in the Federal Hill area of downtown Providence, Caffe Dolce Vita is just a short 15 minute walk from the Hilton. Like myself most people only think of great culinary experiences during lunch and dinner. Today, I hope I am in for a surprise. After all breakfast is suppose to be the most important meal of the day.


This area of the city is still asleep and the air is fresh as I park just outside DePasquale Plaza. Entering the Plaza, I am greeted by a water fountain and colorful buildings that line both sides of the plaza. I spot Caffe Dolce towards the back along with a hotel and other restaurants that are not yet open for business. I am so early that even the sole waitress is still busy opening the patio umbrellas for the day.


Dan Quayle Previewing the menu, I cannot believe a breakfast here is offered for just $2.99. Eggs, toast and home made potatoes for under $3.00.

For that price I now understand how Dan Quayle could miss spell potatos.






Canon 164

For $6.95 I order up Lemon Poppy Pancake topped with fresh strawberries and powdered sugar. So delicious you hardly need to add syrup. For a few bucks, a side of home fries (potatoes) are a nice compliment.


Canon 165 A friendly waitress, a nice outdoor patio and the peacefulness of the early morning makes this a delightful culinary experience.





Canon 166 I hope you will have breakfast at Caffe Dolce Vita then I am sure we will have something in common.





Friday, August 20, 2010

Massachusetts, A Day On Martha's V


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[000001] Checking in at Cape Air Gate 1A my backpack is weighed.

I am then asked how many dozen Dunkin Donuts I have ate since arriving at PVD.

That’s,TF Green International, to Rhode Islanders proud of their airport.



Weight? 200 plus or minus fifty pounds. Passing the weight test, I am allowed to retrieve my backpack then wait with eight other passengers for our flight to be boarded.


[000004]_1 Once at the airplane a Cessna 402, we are boarded according to our proclaimed weight.

For some reason, I am not the last one to board. Is it because I still have powdered sugar on my lips?




On board we are given a quick safety briefing and before long we are airborne to Martha's Vineyard only a 25 minute flight on Cape Air from Providence (PVD). There is also daily ferry boat service from New Bedford, Rhode Island which takes about 90 minutes to make the crossing.


[000010]_1 Today the weather is beautiful and from about an altitude of 3000 feet we have a nice view of the New England coastline as we cross Rhode Island Sound.

With good visibility it does not seem long before Martha's Vineyard comes into view.



A few bumps on our landing approach then a smooth touchdown welcomes us to the playground of America's “Rich And Famous”. I am joining the likes of JFK, Martha Stewart, The Clintons and even President Obama in spending a summer day at “The Vineyard”.


[000016]_1 Deplaning we are gathered in a group and allowed to take pictures before we are escorted off the ramp.

The ramp exit leads to the airport parking lot and local bus stop or baggage claim area inside the airport building.





[000019]_1 Welcome To Martha’s Vineyard


[000020] It is not a long wait before I board Bus No.6 for Edgartown, the island's first settlement established in 1642.

There is also a Bus No.9 for Oaks Bluff another popular island destination. To both towns the bus fare is a steal for only $1.00. A taxicab will set you back about $25.00 unless it is coming from your campaign vacation fund.



[000023] The ride to Edgartown last about 20 minutes along a green flanked road with a parallel bicycle path.

Our final stop is at the Visitor's Center on Church Street. This is the main bus stop with connections to all other parts of the island.



A line is already formed for passengers traveling to Oaks Bluff. Bus service there is every 15 minutes.


Martha 052 Leaving the bus stop, a right turn on Winter Street and I am at St. Andrew’s Church.






Martha 053

The stained glass windows made by Louis C. Tiffany along with the pulpit, the bow of a dory from the schooner Northern Lights which use to be one of the largest ships in Edgartown harbor, reveals a bit of the town history. St Andrew's was built in 1899.


[000030] A few blocks down quaint streets and I am at the Town Wharf.






Martha 012 The harbor is busy and it seems I picked the right day to visit. The weather and scenery could hardly be any better.

I think others like myself feel the same way as there are smiles and laughter everywhere. The shared excitement of being here is in the air, a good, good vibration.



Across the harbor is the famous Chappaquiddick Island where Mary Jo Kopechne was found dead in a car belonging to Senator Ted Kennedy. The stain of it's past history is long gone as tourist regularly visit the island for it beaches, kayaking, biking and great outdoors.


[000040] Purchasing a ticket to board the On Time ferry for a visit to Chappaquiddick, I am threatened to be charged a higher fare.

Wearing a New York Yankees baseball cap does not go over well in BoSox Nation. A little friendly banter and I am given a smiling Red Sox pardon.




[000036] The ferry ride is less than 3 minutes. If I had my Speedo's I think I could swim the crossing just as fast.








Martha 002

Looking back across the bay I enjoy a view of Edgartown from a small beach near the ferry landing. As boats pass by on a gorgeous warm afternoon it takes a little brain processing to realize that I am not in the tropics but in New England.

Spectacular homes lined the waterfront, some dating back to the 1800's when Edgartown was a major whaling port.


Martha 011 Another On Time ferry ride and I am back in Edgartown. At the Town Wharf I climb a set of stairs for an elevated glimpse of this charming town.





Martha 010 I also get a bird's eye-view of the On Time ferry crossing below me.






Martha 015

Going downstairs, I hear a little girl scream.. “Ooh, daddy, daddy, help, yuck”. She is a part of a group of kids fishing from the wharf who has just caught a baby shark. Could it be a ...?


Martha 013 Of course, her dad comes over to help and she squeamishly tells him.. “I'm not fishing anymore”.

I'm not surprised to see a baby shark caught here because Martha's Vineyard is the home of “Jaws” the ultimate shark movie that even kept some of you (of course, not me) from taking showers in the 1970's.





Martha 014 Mayor Vaughn: And what did you say the name of this shark was?

Hooper: It's a carcaradon carcharias. It's a Great White.

From Steven Spielberg, Jaws (1975)




Martha 016 Opposite the Town Wharf mementos of Edgartown history are on display.







Martha 022

About half a mile away stands the Edgartown lighthouse a replacement of the original (1828) that was severely damaged by a hurricane in 1938. Seasonal tours are available with a $5.00 admission fee.


Martha 018 Feeling a pinch of hunger, I check out two popular harborside restaurants for lunch.

The first, Quarterdeck is quite busy but offers mostly fried food. I pass on that option although I am not opposed to fried food.




Martha 019 I want to see what The Seafood Shanty offers besides a great panoramic view of the harbor.





Martha 020 Without a lobbyist contribution or corporate sponsorship $14.99 for fish and chips is beyond my lunch budget unless it is a special fish. I doubt it.




Querying a local for dining options, I get a recommendation for Espresso Love and set out in search of it. Following Dock Street, I make the turn on Main Street which is lined with shops and restaurants.


Martha 025

Along here bike rentals are available, $25.00 per day or $90.00 per week. A good way to get around. There are numerous bike paths available.


Martha 026 The Cupcake Diet. I don't know where I have heard or seen it but I am sure it exists so I have no hesitation when I begin it at Sweet E’s Cupcakes.

My first session begins with a no calories “Free Frosting” sampling.



I can feel the pounds dropping off before I even take the first bite of my Raspberry Mint Delight.


Martha 028

A light vanilla flavored cupcake, a raspberry mint frosting topped with a fresh raspberry and I am in love with this diet plan.


Martha 029 With many more flavors to chose from including “Smores” for just $3.50, you might also fall in love with “The Cupcake Diet”.





Martha 030 Planted in 1833, The Pagoda Tree from the Orient located just down the street from Sweet E's is the oldest of its kind on the continent.





Martha 031Brought to the Vineyard in the early 1800’s by Captain Thomas Milton it now shades the Harborside Inn.



Martha 032 Attractive and historical homes with waterfront backyards line South Water Street.





One such home is that of Captain Pease believed to be the prototype for Captain Ahab in Moby Dick. It is known that in 1841 Herman Melville the author of Moby Dick sailed on a whale ship under the command of Captain Pease.

I am having a little trouble finding 80 S Water Street as many of the homes here have double numbering. Meeting a local on the street I discover this confusion is due to the Fire Department being confused and requiring the houses to be renumbered. In my discussion, I notice my local information source is wearing a chain with a New York Yankees pendant. I am not alone in BoSox Nation.


Martha 034 Heading in the general direction as I am, my fellow Yankee fan helps me find 80 S Water Street which has a police officer posted across the street from it.

In recent years the home was the residence of Patricia Neal, Oscar Best Actress Winner for the 1963 movie Hud.


Actress Neal passed away on August 8th, 2010 and was buried the day I was visiting Edgartown.


Martha 033 More gorgeous waterfront homes.


Martha 035 Erected in 1828, I next make a brief visit to Federated Church. Federated Church is a traditional New England meetinghouse and still contains a chandelier which originally burned whale oil.





Martha 038 The congregation has since seen the light and converted the chandelier to electricity.

Oil was originally placed in the bottom of the glass vase.

Today, Moby Dick and his friends are happy.


Walking around it seems church steeples can be seen everywhere. One of note is the 92 foot clock tower of The Old Whaling Church. Built in 1843, today it is used as a town meeting place and performing arts center.


Martha 049The bright white of this Methodist church provides a nice contrast against a perfect blue sky although can anyone tell me what time it is. I am hungry.


Martha 047 There are many eateries available in town especially along Main Street. Not looking to break the bank, I stop in at Edgartown Deli on 52 Main Street.

“How you doing”?

“No, how you doing?, You are the one on the working side of the counter”.


This little exchange brings us both smiles as I order the $10 “Special of The Day”. I think it even gets me a few extra ounces of ice tea as my cup is topped off before it is served to me.


Martha 044 For about $12.00, I have two fresh crab cakes with chipotle sauce along with fries and coleslaw.

The crab cakes are moist with a good amount of crab meat, the chipotle sauce adds a nice touch.




Martha 046 By a measure of customers that soon fills the place, I think Edgartown Deli’s other offerings are just as good.

Breakfast is also available, so is a huge selection of sandwiches. Interestingly most beverages must be purchased from an indoor vending machine.



Martha 054 Recharged, with slight detours I find myself back at the Visitors Center.






Martha 040 Classic Automobile








Martha 056 Joining the line I wait with others for Bus No.13 to Oaks Bluff a $2.00 bus fare.

This time of the year the town is congested with traffic and the buses are running a bit behind schedule.

I find a little shade as the sun is beating down on some areas of the line.


The first bus arrives and I am the cut off point for the next bus which we are promised will arrive in 6 minutes. It's hot.

From Edgartown to Oaks Bluff is approximately five miles and the bus goes along State Beach to Ocean Park.


Martha 058 This route provides a few stops for the beach without the hassle of beach parking.

One popular beach area is the bridge where parts of Jaws (1975) was filmed.





Leaving Bus No.13 at Ocean Park, I descend street stairs to the rocky beachfront below.

Martha 065 There is no fear of “The Great White” here as swimmers enjoy the crisp beach water.






Martha 074 With refreshed memories of not taking showers in 1975, I am comfortable just strolling the surf.





Originally a part of Edgartown, Oaks Bluff took on a life of it's own in 1835 as a result of a Methodist week of spiritual rejuvenation. What started with a few pitched tents soon attracted thousands to the area from all over New England.


Martha 079 The original site of a preacher stand remains today at Trinity Park.






Martha 080 The Tabernacle located there is listed in the National Registry Of Historical Places.

Once a real estate sales gimmick, each August on Illumination Night hundreds of Japanese lanterns decorate the Tabernacle.




Martha 081 Trinity Methodist Church built in 1878 is still here and the park is surrounded by quaint colorful houses which reminds me of being in Key West.



Martha 083 Trinity Park Homes








Martha 084 Wesley Hotel from 1879 is also located in Oaks Bluff and has a part of the island history because of a fire there in 1894.

Apparently the owner wanted to build a big and better hotel so he committed arson to get his project started.



Even before there was CSI, Oaks Bluff he got caught and spent three years in prison. Brilliant.


Martha 087 A first for me. A carousel where the horses have real horse hair. I am glad that is the only thing they have that's real because I hate a bucking horse.


Martha 085 Registered as America's Oldest Carousel, the Flying Horses can be a historical treat if you don't mind your world going around and around and around and around.




Various ferry services from the mainland also arrive at Oaks Bluff. There is a nice marina with shops and sea side restaurants.


Martha 076 Good places to relax and enjoy the scenery. Along the beachfront you may also catch a radiant New England sunset.






Martha 089 I am not so fortunate as I must board Bus No.9 for the airport.





Leaving Martha's Vineyard although I did not have a $75,000 a day vacation expense account like Michelle Obama, I did have a rich experience here. The charm of the island has enticed me to come back again to explore and discover more of it's offerings.


Cape 012 I promise myself I will be on Martha's Vineyard again soon and next time for more than a day.