It was the first September since forever that I was able to get away midweek. Being semi-retired made the decision to travel appealing, yet the restrictions of the pandemic made it challenging. Knowing our state is rich in history with much to explore and discover outdoors and within an hours drive, my daughter and I decided to go for it and stay local as we set off for a little late summer fun and adventure.
We walked a portion of the 2100 acre property on Castle Hill on Crane Estate.The land was transformed from a gentleman’s farm to a European-inspired country estate in 1910. While the main house is closed to the public due to the pandemic, our visit gave us a wonderful glimpse into estate living. We admired the fabulous walled gardens, the variety of statuary, and the Casino complex, not an area for gambling rather, an area intended to entertain its summer guests. This Casino was complete with courtyard, bachelors quarters, and a saltwater pool. We traversed the half-mile grassy Allee that magnificently spans from the family mansion to the Atlantic Ocean. We ended our visit by picnicking on the steps of what was once the reservoir for the property.
We enjoyed a breakfast sandwich on a bench at the beach-side monument memorializing the thousands of fishermen lost at sea. Each of the names were listed under the year that marked their death, with the year 1879 claiming 249 fishermen and 29 vessels. Nearby we browsed the colorful display of plot after plot of dahlias at their prime. The local garden club maintains this exhibit of flowering delight, each one tagged with the variety of the plant as well as the name of a specific donor of that one plant.
We were drawn in to a local brewery with the aroma of lunch smoking near their outdoor patio with views of local fisherman. While devouring my tastiest meal of the trip, a brisket grilled cheese with a local red ale, we caught a glimpse of the film crew of Wicked Tuna hoisting their heavy cameras on their shoulders and shooting scenes of their boat coming in with the catch of the day.
We were surprised to learn so much about granite at a state park dedicated to a historical quarry. Using our iPhone to download a walking tour we discovered the complexities of operating a quarry during the 19th century. I learned that 70% of the granite blocks cut were deemed unusable due to poor breaks so they dumped the remains into a seaside “grout pile” now jutting up high from the ocean below. The hues of granite mined here were gray and orange, both tones falling in and out of favor during the years of the operation. In our area of the state, we had a famous pink variety of granite being mined. As we left the quarry we were more cognizant of the efforts it took to yield enough block for large city buildings. The walls, foundations, and walkways that dot our neighborhoods that we passed by so frequently, took on new meaning with our new found appreciation for this local and seemingly plentiful resource. Now, looking at the stone retaining wall and new patio area in my own yard made me stop and pause.
Our little trip to explore the area of our state so close to home was refreshing and even life giving, despite, and with, the restrictions in place. We were able to visit many new sites, learning little known facts about local history along the way. There was much to discover and enjoy right outside our front door. I don’t think I’ll ever take traveling local for granite, I mean granted, ever again.
It’s Tuesday and once again I am joining the wonderful and welcoming writing community over at Two Writing Teachers, as we capture our little slices of life writings. Won’t you join in?