Nubble Light, Maine

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Although I’m the kind of traveler who likes to do my research and pinpoint possible areas of interest, I always like to leave some wiggle room because it’s true that some of the best travel experiences are unplanned. You might pick up a recommendation from a friendly local or accidentally discover on your own something that wasn’t originally part of your agenda.

That’s what happened when I attended a literacy conference last month in Maine. I met a new friend who’d previously lived for some years in New England, and she advised that, on the drive home, we ought to stop in York, a coastal town about 45 miles south of Portland.

There we would find the iconic Nubble Light (officially Cape Neddick Light Station). Don’t miss it, she said. It’s the most photographed lighthouse in the country. Sold.

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As soon as we stepped from the car, we instantly understood its appeal to the estimated half a million visitors per year. How had I never heard of this place before?

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Although the lighthouse and island are inaccessible to the public, Sohier Park directly across from it offers spectacular views of the lighthouse and coast. Unlike so many attractions these days, parking is free, and there are benches and restrooms for public use.

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First opened in 1879 after five years of construction, Nubble became fully automated in 1987. No one lives on the grounds anymore.

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But the Town of York has worked hard to preserve Nubble. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Twice a year, crowds are drawn here for special holiday lighting observances. The first occurs near the end of July for a “Christmas in July” celebration; the second ceremonial lighting takes place on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving and remains lit every night through the New Year.

No matter the time of year, if you happen to be in the area, a stop is highly recommended.

Project 52: Weeks 49-52

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With this final, almost-11th-hour post of 2014, Project 52 comes to a close.  Whew! I made it!

Thanks for viewing/reading, and Happy New Year to you and yours!

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Running Late (the theme of this whole project!) | Week 49: From Paolo Nutini’s “New Shoes” (“And I’m running late, and I don’t need an excuse”). Made with iPhone. Processed with Tilt Shift Gen and Brushstroke apps.
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Rubber Duckie | Week 50: From Jim Henson’s “Rubber Duckie” (“Rubber Duckie, I’m awfully fond of you”) Made with iPhone. Processed with Brushstroke.
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Warm Up With Glühwein | Week 51: From Frank Loesser’s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (“Baby, it’s cold outside”)
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Love | Week 52: From The Troggs’ “Love is All Around” (“I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes; Love is all around me, and so the feeling grows”)

Project 52: Weeks 45-48

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Doing my best to keep up in this time-crunched school year means Project 52 remains on a backburner.  Here are my catchup efforts:

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Every Rose Has Its Thorn |Week 45: From Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” (“Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top”)

As someone who appreciates imperfections, the Week 45 lyrics didn’t speak to me much.

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Brown Leaves | Week 46: From Simon & Garfunkel’s “Hazy Shade of Winter” (“Look around, leaves are brown, and the sky is a hazy shade of winter”)

But Simon & Garfunkel in Week 46?  Yes!

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Made with my iPhone. Week 47: From Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”

Munchkin’s treat-filled Advent calendar inspired her curiosity to the point where her mother had to warn her it would be taken down if she snooped.  It reminded me of one of my first memories.  At age four on my first visit to Germany, I stood in Oma and Opa’s “cold room,” mesmerized by the foil-wrapped Santas that were lined up on a desk at perfect eye level with me. They were meant to be brought back  home to America for all the cousins, and my father warned me not to touch.

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Best Day | Week 48: From Dido’s “Thank You” (“I want to thank you for giving me the best day of my life”)

A flawed but endearing image of my father and the Munchkin riding in the third row of Bubbles the roller coaster at Storybookland, a local kiddie amusement park that has become our Black Friday tradition and one of my favorite days of the year.

 

Project 52, Interrupted

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So sorry, my poor, little blog. I’ve been neglecting you.  Weeks 39-44 have been one big, exhausting blur at work. So, this is my catchup effort in which I had some fun with my new iPhone 6 and took fairly generous liberty with the assigned song lyrics.

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Diner Mugs | Week 39: Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” (originally recorded in 1954 by Kay Ballard)
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I Can Never Fold These Things Properly | Week 40: Snow Patrol’s “If I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world?”
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Laugh Tracks | Week 41: Nirvana’s “Here we are now, entertain us”
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Creative Lightning | Week 42: Taylor Swift’s “I’m lightning on my feet; I never miss a beat”
Sign I Should Have Bought | Week 43: Maroon 5’s “Tap on my window, knock on my door”   (For some reason, I cannot remember how this Maroon 5 song goes, and instead, I  just keep hearing the Three’s Company theme song in my head.  Long live the Regal Beagle!)
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Creepy Clown Mask | Week 44: Michael Jackson’s “It’s close to midnight, something evil’s lurking in the dark”    *This one was made with my Canon.

37/52: Delaware Avenue

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Processed with VSCOcam with a5 presetThis week’s lyrics: “We’re gonna rock down to Electric Avenue”

From Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue”

This is not quite what I had in mind for this week, but I was walloped pretty hard by the first bug of the school year, so…it’s something.

Maybe not quite electric, but I’d say it was a lovely view when we rocked down to Delaware Avenue in Camden for a Riversharks game in support of my former student Danny, who is currently undergoing chemo.

35/52: Sussex Sunflower Maze

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This week’s assigned lyrics: “She blinded with me science.”  (Agricultural science.)

-From Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science”

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The Sussex Sunflower Maze in Augusta, NJ is a place where Mother Nature surely dazzles with her beauty.

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With more than a million sunflowers blooming over 50 acres, it is the largest sunflower maze on the East Coast.W35sunflowers-4-web

The maze opens in August and usually runs through September, its duration weather-dependent. It was pleasantly uncrowded on an early Friday morning, with maybe half a dozen people (all of whom were photographers) roaming its three miles of paths.W35sunflowers-9301web

Liberty Farm, which owns the maze, grows the sunflowers in cooperation with New Jersey Audubon Society’s SAVE (Support Agriculture Viability and the Environment) program.  The program buys the harvested seeds from the farmers and then sells them here in New Jersey for birdseed, thus reducing the state’s reliance on distant farms.

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In addition to a lowered carbon footprint, there are other environmental benefits. New Jersey Audubon Society uses the profits from the birdseed sales to provide grassland habitat for wild nesting birds, allowing threatened species to rebound.

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The sunflowers also attract lots of bees and other pollinators. Their busy buzzing was the only sound that filled my ears. Later, as families began to arrive, the enthusiastic shrieks of children carried over the stalks.W35sunflowers-4-9314webSince the fields are not irrigated, this year’s crop of sunflowers range from 4 to 6  feet in height, a bit on the shorter side because of the season’s dry spells. Still, the view of the landscape is nothing short of magnificent.

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Each year, the maze owners cut a different aerial-view message into the field. The map above shows this year’s message: “Amazing Sussex County.” Ah-mazing.  Get it? Haha

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It’s true, though. The Sussex Sunflower Maze inspires awe and appreciation and  happiness.

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If you visit, don’t forget your sunglasses (like I did). On a sunny day, the light can be pretty…well…blinding.  Here’s me squinting:

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It’s a day trip well worth the drive and admission, which is $10 for adults, $6 for kids (ages 4 to 12), and free for the wee ones under three. Leashed pets are welcome, too.