Adventures in the Villa



2017-07-16 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Whale Watching and Rockport, MA

Today was Whale Watching Day!  We carpooled and convoyed to Gloucester and boarded the big ship…

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I takes awhile to board; conversation was lively:

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Our intrepid caravan leader, Cape Cod resident, Trevor Lake:

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Once the boat was underway we could enjoy the sights of the harbor:

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We were headed about 30-40 miles out, about halfway to Provincetown on Cape Cod…

Our first sighting of a whale:

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Due to the natural features of the ocean bottom and other sea life in the area, whales return to about the same areas to feed, providing easy viewing for tourists like us on our boat and all these other boats in the area.

Whales generally travel together is loose associations (not pods – pods are livelong “families” of whales).  They seem to do two things:  surface and spout, and dive. I was hoping to see them jump out of the ocean like in the insurance commercial, but no luck.

The whales were plentiful today, as they surfaced and spouted:

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When they dive, we get to see their great tails; the people who study these whales identify them by the markings on their tails:

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After seeing many, many whales, we headed back to Gloucester; then we headed to Rockport to see this picturesque town and have lunch.  Rockport was crazy busy this afternoon…

Our carpool buddies, Victoria and John:

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The town and harbor of Rockport:

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This church was having a little work done; notice the top of the steeple sitting on the ground:

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We had a delightful lunch of lobster rolls, with a nice white wine from New Zealand.  We headed back to the Villa; we have a meeting tonight to discuss our next two days as we travel to Boston!

PS:  As an update to our visit to Fallingwater on June 22, we saw on the news today that Mill Run, the creek that runs beneath Fallingwater, is at flood stage due to recent rains; the news story featured this photo of the team rescuing a statue that was toppled in the flood:

2017-07-16 Fallingwater Flood Topples Statue

(Sorry for the size… blame the newspaper…)

We had seen the statue, sitting adjacent to the plunge pool:

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Apparently, all is now well…





2017-07-12 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Provincetown

Today is wasn’t raining – yet.  It is a free day, so we can do whatever we want to enjoy Cape Cod. We had seen the normal sights when we were here in 2004 – Martha’s Vineyard, Hyannis, light houses, beaches and sand dunes… We also didn’t want to fight the summertime traffic, so instead, we headed back to Plymouth and caught a fast boat to Provincetown.

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You can see that it is a quick boat ride, about 1 1/2 hours. To drive, in no traffic (and there is ALWAYS traffic…) is 1 1/2 hours. It was an easy call…

The weather in Plymouth was a little foggy, but nothing to obstruct the views.  The little temple on the shore is the “canopy” over Plymouth Rock:

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In the outer harbor are houses and a lighthouse along a tiny sand spit:

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The entrance to Provincetown Harbor:

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Looming over the town is this giant tower:

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It is the Pilgrim Monument:

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The Pilgrim Monument was built between 1907 and 1910 to commemorate the first landing of the Mayflower Pilgrims in Provincetown on November 21, 1620. It was dedicated by President Taft.

Yes! The Pilgrims in the Mayflower landed at Provincetown, not Plymouth! It is where the Mayflower Compact was written and signed.  We’ve been lied to all these years! After they landed at Provincetown, and saw that there was no fresh water, and that the sand was no good for farming, they set out in a small boat to explore Cape Cod Bay.  They found Plymouth, with a natural harbor, fresh water in a flowing creek, and land good for farming, at least once you clear away the rocks. Lots of rocks!

It claims to be the tallest all-granite structure in the United States.  The tower is 252 feet, 7.5 inches (77 meters) tall and rises 350 feet above sea level. So, of course, we had to climb the tower. It was raining at the top:

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Provincetown prospered as a fishing village and as a whaling center.  Whale oil had always been the principal light source in the United States.  Kerosene was cheaper, but it was smelly and smokey.  John D. Rockefeller (see my earlier posts) hired research chemists from Yale to develop a cleaner burning kerosene. They succeeded.  In the late nineteenth century the whaling industry died as kerosene replaced whale oil as a lighting  source. Another New England industry bites the dust, and John D. Rockefeller gets rich.

(As electric lights became available, kerosene became another dead industry.  Luckily, by that time JDR was refining gasoline for the new-fangled automobiles…)

We spent the day wandering the delightfully crowded and narrow streets, peeking into shops, and enjoying the day. We had a late lunch and followed up with an ice cream cone… The boat ride back to Plymouth was uneventful. I may have dosed off a bit. An enjoyable time was had by all…





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