Sunday, May 31, 2015

Gillette Castle

East Haddam, CT  2015

The American actor William Gillette built this castle high above the Connecticut River in 1914.  He had no heirs so after he died, the state took over the castle and the property making it a state park in 1943.  The castle was recently restored and the park now features a visitors center, a museum as well as some hiking trails and picnic areas.  Over 300,000 visit the castle annually.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Granitic Gneiss

Rocky  Neck State Park, Niantic, CT  2015

This boulder is typical of the geology found at Rocky Neck State Park.  It's granitic gneiss, a metamorphic rock which forms under intense heat and pressure.  Minerals found in this gneiss can include quartz, garnet, tourmaline and biotite.  The gneiss found here is a part of a large formation of rocks known as Potter Hill Granite Gneiss.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Rocky Neck State Park, Niantic, CT  2015

It always amazes me how a small tree like this is able to survive amidst the granite boulders.  There is hardly any soil in which to take root.  It certainly is a hardy little tree. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Ellie Mitchell Pavillion

Rocky Neck State Park, Niantic, CT  2015

I'm sure I've posted some pictures of the this building before.  It was a WPA project built in the 1930's and is the largest WPA project in the state.  It was turned over to the state in 1936 and was listed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1986.  All the stone and granite came from local quarries, and the timbers used in its construction came from each of Connecticut's state forests.  I'm not sure if it gets much use these days though, but it is an impressive structure.  

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Split Rail Fence

Pomfret Center, CT  2015

Adding to the colonial charm of Sharpe Hill Vineyards are these split rail fences.  They are also known as worm fences  or snake fences due the way they meander along.  This type of fencing must have been pretty popular in early New England and Connecticut.  They require a lot of lumber, something that was in plenty abundance in colonial times.  They are also easy to assemble requiring no nails or posts.  Anyone from Connecticut can tell you, that it's next to impossible to dig a post hole  anywhere in this state without hitting a rock.  Believe me, I've tried on a number of occasions.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Mayflower II

Mystic, CT  2015

The Mayflower II had been undergoing some repairs over the winter at Mystic Seaport.  She left this past week, returning to the Plymouth Plantation as a main attraction there.  She'll be back here in Mystic next fall to complete her repairs.  

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sharpe Hill Vineyards

Pomfret Center, CT  2015

The grounds around this vineyard had a distinctive colonial-style feeling to it.  It was almost like stepping back in time.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Paradise Hills Vineyards

Wallingford, CT  2015

When one enters the tasting room here at Paradise Hills Vineyards, you're promptly greeted with and enthusiastic "Welcome to Paradise!"  I never knew......

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Vines and Dandelions

Wallingford, CT  2015

Taken at Gouveia Vineyards, a very nice family owned vineyard with fantastic views of the local country side. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Chamard Vineyards

Clinton, CT  2015

With a free weekend, it was once again time to hit the Connecticut Wine Trail.  Some of the vineyards we visit are really very beautiful places to see, especially  when the vines are green and loaded with grapes.  It's too early in the growing season to seen much on the vines but there are other sites to see at vineyards, like this vintage Dodge pickup truck.  It might be almost as old as I am.  

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Grey Sail Brewing

Westerly, RI  2015

The craft brew industry is booming with new "micro" and "nano" breweries opening up all the time.  This one opened in Westerly, RI three years ago and occupies the former Westerly Macaroni Mfg Co building.  The place was hopping recently when I stopped by to sample their line of ales.  As you can see in the window, everyone was having a good time and one jovial gentleman actually waved to me as I took a series of photos.  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Stone Building

Westerly, RI  2015

I'm not sure what business was once housed in this building.  There were no identifying signs nearby and it looks like it has been unoccupied for quite some time.  It doesn't appear that the property has been totally neglected though.  Don't you like the stone walls? 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Smallpox Cemetery

Preston, CT  2015

While traveling along some backroads in Preston, CT, this sign caught my eye.  It would have been very easy to miss, as it was hidden by some pretty thick brush.  I've seen many small cemetery plots along the roads here, but this is the first one I've seen designated as a "Smallpox" cemetery.  I looked around a little but could find no other evidence for the presence of a cemetery here, but I didn't venture to far into the field, since it was on private property.  I did a little research the site and found that it was a common practice to bury victims of smallpox away from others and that many towns had such "smallpox cemeteries".  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Spring Vines II

Preston, CT   2015

We got an early start this season on our trip along the Connecticut Wine trail.  We never quite finished the trail last summer,  Hopefully this year we'll complete the trail.  This is the Preston Ridge Winery, located in Preston, CT.  They've been producing wines since 2012.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Work at Dawn

Branford, CT  2015

The sun is coming up just about the time I leave for work these mornings.  This makes for some nice light, but really messes with my camera's light meter.  It's tough to expose everything correctly.  I spend most of my working days in the building in the lower picture.  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Seaside Farewell

Allow me some parting shots from the Seaside Sanatorium.  As I stated in a previous post, the governor of the state of Connecticut wants to make this property a new state park.  I'm afraid that might be easier said than done.  I'm sure there many political issues and legal issues that need to be resolved not to mention that the property is located in a very affluent neighborhood within Waterford and I'm sure the local residents will have something to say about having a new state park in their backyard.

Waterford, CT  2015

Hopefully common sense will prevail and this historic property will be preserved for future generations.  Until that happens, the property is not secured and many people stroll the grounds and enjoy the salt air and sunshine, much as the children here did about 80 years ago. I plan to return sometime soon.

Thank you for looking.  I hope you enjoyed these pictures and the little piece of Connecticut state history. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Seaside Sanatorium IV

Waterford, CT  2015

I love the brickwork that went into this building.  Notice the diamond designs in the top photo, a pattern that was repeated on other walls of the building.  Without maintenance, it's surprising how quickly nature will recapture these buildings.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Seaside Sanatorium III

Waterford, CT  2015

I'm not sure what this building is on the grounds of the Seaside Sanatorium.  I think it might be the nurses quarters.  It looks in pretty good shape.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Seaside Sanatorium II

Waterford, CT  2015

One can see what years of neglect can do to a once magnificent building.  The architecture appears playful to me and somewhat whimsical, adding some joy to the lives of the children who were treated here with what was at that time a terrible disease.  The design also incorporated large outdoor balconies, seen here, providing plenty of room for the children to sit and play in the sun, which was then the accepted treatment for tuberculosis.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Seaside Sanatorium

Waterford, CT  2015

This is the building seen from afar in yesterday's blog post.  This building, and the others on this 32-acre parcel of land along the coast line were originally built for the treatment of children with tuberculosis and was the first in the country to do so.  Before the days of antibiotics, it was thought that tuberculosis was best treated with fresh air, and sunshine.  This piece of land afforded both in ample supplies.  The building was designed by the famous architect Cass Gilbert, who also designed the Woolworth Tower in New York as well as the Supreme Court Building.  The facility opened in 1936 and later became a Geriatric center and then a facility for the mentally retarded when drug treatments made such sanatoriums obsolete.  It was closed in 1996 and has been subjected to nature and vandals since then.  Currently there are plans to convert this piece of property into a new state park.  I hope the buildings can be saved.

A View from Harkness State Park

Harkness State Park, Waterford, CT   2015

Harkness State Park offers some spectacular views of Long Island Sound.  This is a view looking west from the park showing the coastline in the towns of Waterford and East Lyme, CT.  I've visited this park a number of times, and I've always wondered what the building was that is shown here, just a little right of center.  It stands out as being very different from the surrounding buildings and has a distinctive spire.  I'm sure long time residents of the area know all about the building and the grounds around it.  I knew from when I first saw this view I needed to get a close up look of this building and after a little research I found out it was readily accessible, so I ventured off to photograph this site, and will feature some up close photos during the next week as well as share the fascinating history of this place. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Harkness Mansion

Harkness State Park, Waterford, CT  2015

I've pictured this mansion in this blog quite some time ago, shortly after I started this blog.  This is a much better photo of the mansion.  I can't believe how bad some of my earlier pictures were.  I guess I must be learning something.  

Friday, May 1, 2015

Tree Line

Harkness State Park, Waterford, CT  2015

I really love the Connecticut State Parks, and I'm fortunate to live close by to a number of them.  On this particular day, I visited Harkness State Park in Waterford, CT.  I've posted photos from this state park before and each time I go, something else catches my eye, like this row of trees.  Spring is just starting around here, and I think the trees will begin to bud this week or next.  I'm not sure what kind of trees these are, but I am sure they'll be much prettier in a couple of weeks.  They look like pretty old trees to me.