"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

December 30, 2019

Looking Back at 2019

"My best memories are the ones we make together." ―Margaret Atwood

The highlight of January was taking our second trip to Costa Rica to enjoy a little relaxation and adventure. We spent two weeks on the west coast exploring Quepos, Dominical and Uvita.
February and March were slow months...mostly cold and wet, but we enjoyed hanging out with our Texas grands and visiting with friends.
The highlight of our year came in April, when we spent a week in Eleuthera with our whole family. What a wonderful time everyone had.
Here are a few of the family pictures we had taken while we were in Eleuthera.
By the first of May we had The Pearl back in her slip in Ithaca. We spent the month reconnecting with boating friends, playing with our PA grands and adding a new boat to our collection.
Our June was busy with cruising friends, family visits and time with Graham on the boat. It's a great time to be in upstate New York.
In July we took a cruise out of NYC to Bermuda to celebrate our 38th anniversary. We enjoyed Bermuda, but traveling on a large cruise ship isn't our favorite way to vacation.
In August we welcomed a new member to our family...Hattie Elizabeth arrived on August 26...while we waited for her arrival we enjoyed having Graham on the boat, visiting with friends and did a little hiking.
In September we spent lots of time with friends, family and really enjoyed being on the lake.
We also took a road trip in September. Our destination was Nova Scotia, but Hurricane Dorian was heading there too. So we had fun exploring New Brunswick.
October was all about spending time with family in Pennsylvania and Texas...with a few friends in Hilton Head thrown in too.
In November we spent a lot of time in Rockport enjoying the Texas Pearl, wonderful sunsets and the company of our Texas granddaughters.
December was a great month...the weather was wonderful. Lots of sunshine and amazing temperatures. Lots of family time and we made priceless memories with the grands.

December 21, 2019

Merry Christmas

"the best keeps getting better all the time" -Allan Jackson 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the crew of The Pearl...2019 was a wonderful, busy year. We really enjoy the life we have at the moment. This was our third season in Ithaca, New York. We miss cruising, but we really love this part of NY. It gives us a chance to be close to our Pennsylvania family half the year and home in Texas the other six months. In both places we get to enjoy being on the water and the company of our family. 

Highlights of our year...a second trip to Costa Rica, spending a week in Eleuthera with our whole family, entertaining cruising friends in Ithaca, finding new places and wineries around us to explore, a road trip to Nova Scotia...that turned into a wonderful trip to New Brunswick and the arrival of a new granddaughter in PA.

But the true highlight of our year is the time we spend with our family and especially the time we spend playing with our four (now five) wonderful grandchildren. They’re each growing into such special, amazing little people, they bring a lot of joy and love to our life and we feel fortunate for the time we get to spend with them

We wish all our friends and family a very Merry Christmas and a healthy happy New Year. We look forward to more adventures in the coming year.

October 23, 2019

Fall Foliage

"And all at once, summer collapsed into fall..." -Oscar Wilde
The fall colors are taking over in upstate New York and Pennsylvania. It truly is a beautiful time of year. Our trees in Texas change color, but we don't get the colors you find further north. Do you know why? Here is an explanation...Although temperature and rainfall influence the colors, the onset of longer nights is the most important factor in leaf color change. The day light hours in the south stay more consistent so we have less color.
So why do leave change color? Changes in leaves' pigments plants have three primary pigments that are important for the color changes we see during autumn: chlorophyll, carotenoids and anthocyanins.
Chlorophyll, the pigment that gives plants their green color, is necessary for photosynthesizing light and creating sugars that feed the plant. Carotenoids assist in photosynthesis and are responsible for the oranges and yellows color. Anthocyanins, acts as a protective “sunscreen” for leaves; they produce the red colors we see in leaves. Anthocyanins are produced only during the fall when chlorophyll levels start to drop.
During the growing season, chlorophyll takes center stage as it's repeatedly produced and broken down again, making the leaves appear green. As the days become shorter, there is less available sunlight for photosynthesis. This slows chlorophyll production until none remains. The carotenoids and the anthocyanins are then left allowing the leafs to bare their brilliant colors.
Temperature and moisture are the main drivers of the amount and brilliance of the colors. Warm, sunny days with cool (but not freezing) nights allow for lots of sugars to be produced during the day, which are then trapped in the leaves as the cool nights close the leaves’ veins. This extra sugar leads to the production of more anthocyanins, boosting the reds, crimsons and purples in the leaves.
In most parts of the temperate world, 15% of tree species will turn yellow and only 10% will turn red. In certain regions, however, like New England, 30% of the woody species will turn yellow and an incredible 70% will turn red. You’ll find some of the most brilliant color changes in trees such as maple, dogwood, sumac, oak, poplars, birch and elm.

My friend Julia took this picture of the marina right after we left...thanks for the wonderful picture.
These pictures were taken by a local photographer in upstate New York. His name is John Kucko. Just out his Facebook page.
Fall isn't all about the foliage...there are plenty of pumpkins, Indian corn, mums and gords too.

October 3, 2019

Road Trip Lighthouses

“He who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left.” – Chinese proverb

New Brunswick is one of Canada's Maritime provinces, we had hoped to visit the other two, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, on our trip this fall, but circumstances kept us in New Brunswick. The three Maritime provinces are full of lighthouses...almost 300 and most look very similar. We enjoy finding lighthouses on our travels, we seldom go too far out of our way to find them, but we do visit and take pictures when we we find them. This trip we found 18 and I'm sure we would have seen many more if we could have gotten to Nova Scotia. Click the following links to see our lighthouse map and lighthouse photos.

Quaca Head Lighthouse stands on a scenic point with an excellent view of St. Martins' beach and the Fundy Trail coastline. This light was established in 1855 was replaced in 1966 and altered a decade later with a concrete structure. The Quaco Museum has several lighthouse artifacts, including the Fresnel lens from the old structure. 
New Brunswick being a maritime province of Canada, means everything doing with the sea is very important. It seemed like every town we visited had a lighthouse...not a true/active light but a lighthouse just the same. This one in St. Martins was used as the visitors center.   
Cape Enrage Lighthouse is one of the oldest on New Brunswick’s Fundy coastline. The original light was built about 1840 it was replaced with this one in 1870 and is still used as a light station and fog alarm. It offers one of the most spectacular views of the Bay of Fundy from its towering cliffs. 
Dixon Point Front Range Lighthouse & Dixon Point Range Rear Lighthouse were originally built in 1881 and replaced in 1919 with an attractive salt-shaker-style design. The front range is still active. 
Dixon Point Range Rear Lighthouse  
Pointau Jerome Front Lighthouse was established in 1883 and altered in 1987. It is still an active aim to navigation. All three of these lighthouses are located near Bouctouche.  
Richibucto Head Lighthouse was established in 1865 in Richibucto, NB. In the early 1800s, Richibucto was the third largest shipping port in New Brunswick and many shipbuilding sites sprung up along the Richibucto River. Richibucto, a Mi'kmaq word meaning river of fire. 
Pointe Sapin Range Rear Lighthouse was established in 1903 and is located on the Acadian Coastal Drive, 5 miles north of Kouchibouguac National Park of Canada. It's still in operation as an active aid to navigation. 
Ritchie Wharf Lighthouse is located in Ritchie Wharf Park. I'm not sure if it's a real lighthouse or not, it sits on the waterfront that was once a thriving shipbuilding industry.  
The Lighthouse on the Green is a replica built in Fredericton in 1989 for a boat tour business. It now serves as a restaurant and observation deck to enjoy the breathtaking views of the Saint John River.  
Pendlebury or St. Andrews Lighthouse was constructed in 1833, it's the oldest remaining mainland lighthouse in New Brunswick, but not the oldest lighthouse in NB. It was de-commissioned in 1938 and sits in a small pocket park at the end of Patrick Street in St. Andrews.  
The Green’s Point Lighthouse was established in 1879 and altered in 1903. It has museum on site and gives fantastic views of the Letete Passage. 
Deer Island Lighthouse is a modern navigation aid and not considered a lighthouse by many. I couldn't even find a date for when it went into serve. 
Cherry Island Lighthouse was established as a fog bell in 1903, to assist mariners in locating the entrance to the St. Croix River. In 1969, a directional light was placed atop the truncated fog tower, which was later replaced by the current cylindrical tower. 
Head Harbour Lighthouse was built in 1829 as a means of helping ships in the area navigate the famous Bay of Fundy fog, high tides, and the treacherous rocks surrounding Campobello Island. To visit this light house you have to come at low tide, it's only accessible by foot from the mainland. The original octagonal, wooden tower is still in use, and although the light still shines into the bay, it's no longer staffed. 
The Mulholland Point Lighthouse was built in 1885. It's This is the only lighthouse shared by Canada and the United States. The original octagonal, wooden structure is located within Roosevelt Campobello International Park on Campobello Island.
Fort Point Light Station is located in Stockton Springs, Maine and has served as an active aid to navigation since 1835. The present lighthouse was built in 1857 and automated in 1988. 
Lubec Channel Light is a sparkplug lighthouse located in Lubec, Maine, it  was established in 1890. It's one of three surviving sparkplug lights in Maine, and served as an important aid to navigation on the route from the Bay of Fundy to Eastport, Maine and the St. Croix River.  
West Quoddy Head Lighthouse was originally built in 1808, and replaced by the current tower in 1858. The light sits on the easternmost point of land in the contiguous USA. The red and white tower is the only "candy striped" tower in the United States. The light was fully automated in 1988 and is now maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.  

September 30, 2019

Finger Lake Wineries (Part VI)

The Finger Lake region has wine trails, beer trails and cheese trails. All these places do tastings and many offer entertainment on weekends, so it's fun to explore different places. But after spending three seasons in the Finger Lakes we have our favorite wineries we like to visit to enjoy a picnic and a bottle of wine. It's getting hard to find time to check out new places. Here are a few we found this summer.

The Muranda Cheese Company is located in Waterloo, N.Y. They produce the finest cows milk raw and pasteurized cheeses. Their most sought after varieties include British Cheddar, Red Buddy, and Gouda, as well as 10 other varieties not commonly found in the Finger Lakes.

The tasting room is in a barn that was built in 1891. The Murray family used this barn to house animals, farm equipment and hay until its use became obsolete in its old age. It was then refurbished and 2016 reintroduced it to the public in 2017 as, The Dairy at Muranda. It was definitely a fun and tasting place to visit.  
Ravines Wine Cellars is a small, family-owned boutique winery that shows a strong French influence. They offer dry, European-styled Rieslings and other vinifera wines. They were established in 2002  and have been named among the world's top 100 wineries by Wine Spectator magazine four times in the last ten year. It's noted for its Alsatian-style Rieslings, but has also been heralded for their red and sparkling wines. Their tasting room, featuring a timeless barrel decor, in the little hamlet of Keuka Village with breathtaking views of Keuka Lake.
Varick Winery is a large operation that not only sells wines, but all kind of other things like salsas, spreads, fruit butters, preserves, salad dressings, honeys, picked items, BBQ sauces, olive oils and cheeses. It's not the kind of place we usual visit, but we stopped by to check them out during their Cherry Festival. The festival was small and we were not impressed, but it was a beautiful day and we had fun with our friends picking our own cherries.
Friends recommended Shepherdess Cellars, so this weekend we finally had a chance to check them out. They're located about half way up the west side of Cayuga Lake. It was a wonderful fall day...we enjoyed the wine, the view and a picnic lunch. The Cellar was launched in 2014 with the intention of making great wine, representative of the Finger Lakes area. At the moment they don't grow their own grapes, but they buy from local growers who share the passion of producing an exquisite product. We enjoyed there 2016 Chardonnay - Medium bodied and supple. This vintage carries notes of pineapple and Cortland apple. True to the varietal, a perfect pair with poultry and seafood dishes.
We like visiting small wineries...the ones that large buses and limos can't get into. On Saturday I think we found the smallest one on Cayuga Lake. Randolph O’Neill Vineyard is run by the husband and wife team of Angela (née Randolph) and Kelley O’Neill. It grew from their mutual love for great wine. They produce limited quantity wines using estate grown Riesling and Cabernet Franc grapes from a small vineyard a few hundred yards from Cayuga Lake. They don't have a fancy tasting room yet, but the wine was good and it was fun visiting with the owner.
You can read about other wineries we've visited in the Finger Lake area at the following links.