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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Working Waterfront Festival in New Bedford







Today was a perfect New England fall day--too nice to spend it all catching up on chores indoors. Lucky for us it was the day of the New Bedford Working Waterfront Festival, so that's where we spent the rest of the afternoon. It's held on the same wharves used by the whaling ships in the mid- to late 1800s.

Did you know that whaling was once the fifth largest industry in the nation and that half of all the whaling in the world was from New Bedford's customs district? The city's whaling agents were among the richest people in the USA, and new Bedford was one of the richest cities. The discovery of petroleum changed all that.

New Bedford had been a center of many manufacturing jobs, few of which are left. It was great to see how strong the fishing industry continues to be. Several boats were open for touring and the tug even took folks out for a ride. A captain aboard the spiffy Alaska scallop boat showed a film of their operations onboard as we sat in the galley. They supply scallops all over America, including the Kentucky Derby.

There was live music, including, sea shanty songs by the Johnson girls, scallop shucking contests, arts and crafts for sale, whaleboat rides, a tugboat muster, and a whole lot more, including some of the freshest seafood treats you could hope to taste for sale under a big tent. Admission is free!

This continues tomorrow, September 27. If you are reading this in time and live in the area, don't miss it! Read more about it here: Working Waterfront Festival

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Alabama


Just home from a writer's conference in Alabama--an immersion in Civil War and Civil Rights in Montgomery, and a strange encounter at the U. S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.

Growing up as we did in the midst of the turmoil,tragedies, and achievements of the 60s,walking in the footsteps of Martin Luther King, Jr. and in the cockpit of APOLLO astronauts was quite a thrill.

During a meeting on the Star Wars exhibit that will be at the U. S. Space and Rocket Center June 25 through Sepember 6, 2010, who should walk into the boardroom of the Space and Rocket Center but a couple of Stormtroopers and Darth Vader himself. (Not sure who the woman in the blue suit is. Anyone know?) Aside from the heavy breathing, Darth was a charming lunch date.