Thursday, June 16, 2005

Watering the Grass

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First things first. When your going to pick up a friend you have never met, and your running a little late.... even the most casualy observer knows that you need to water the grass first.

Margie is an online friend in my quit smoking support group. I have been a member for three and a half years. Margie is approaching her six month quit. We became friends, as sometimes happens in groups like this. You really never know whom you will get to know and whom you will just sort of, be acquainted. Margie and I hit it off pretty good and when I read she travels to Providence on business occasionally, I challenged her to call me. I promised to meet her with my wife along as a comforter. Margie called and here is our story.


Sue and I drove through the horrendous Providence traffic to West Warwick, R.I. Within a minute or two of taking exit 8 as directed, I shocked Sue by stopping and asking for directions. Found our way and met Margy in the lobby precisely as we agreed at 5:09.

We spent 10 seconds or so getting acquainted, piled into the car and began the commute back to New Bedford. I told the passangers to chat among themselves while I concentrated on bobbing and weaving through the R.I. traffic. There was never a moment of being uncomfortable. We all got along like family from the get go. Especially wifey, who tied the whole meeting together. (Like the rug in the big Lebowski).

One of my photos is the Providence skyline from the East Bay Bike Path. This time we looked at the East Bay Path from the skyline.
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The traffic noticeably thinned as we entered Massachusetts. Our next sight was the city of Fall River and the turn of the century, vast, stone and brick textile mills. Fall River has miles of coastling and not one foot of beach. Manufacturing grabbed all the prime land. Every body of water was abutted by a factory that in their heyday, dumped whatever waste was created, into the water. Consequently, dozens of otherwise buitifull ponds had little or no life.

We continued our drive through the undeveloped landscape whose location signs made one think they were in Great Britain. Somerset, Swansea, Rehobeth, Dartmouth, New Bedford etc. I guess thats why we call it "New England".

Our first stop was the Whaling District that has been restored to its original glory. Gazing up and down the streets, one sees the same things now as they did in 1800. Except for transportation modes. Horse and buggy have been replaced by combustion engines.
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Johnnycake Hill-New Bedford Whaling National Park

We crossed the major road via a raised walkway to the working waterfront. As far as the eye could see in both directions, (even from our elevated postions), was the fishing fleet, docked three deep in some places. Crossing back into the downtown area we came across historic office and retail buildings that are being converted into high end condos. Unfortunately we just too late and the office was closed and the tours had ended for the day. Fortunately, the owners saw us looking and opened the place for a private tour of the buitifully restored buildings.
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Margie checking out the new condo.
(Note the archetecture and the 1930 era clock in the background)

They took us next door where during renovation they uncovered glass/ceramic tiled walls. Eccletic art deco originally build and designed in 1908.

From there we traveled my waterfront bike route, down the west side of the penninsula to Fort Rodman, a WWII army training then R&R base. In the back of the fort, on the tip of the penninsula, we visited Ft Tabor. Built in 1863 to defend the city in the event the Southern insurgents made their way north.
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Marge and Sue peeking into the fort

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This is what they saw

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Marge and John in front of Fort Taber
Returning via the east side of the penninsula, we past some factories, one of which is the original Berkshire Hathaway. In the early part of the 20 century this one cotton mill employed as many as 10,000 laborers working three shifts, six days a week. Check them out on the stock exchange. My family sold our shares in the 60's for under $30 each. Those same stocks sell in excess of $90,000. Each. (bastard)

Which brings us to the highlight. Margarets Restaurant. Crabcakes that were exceptionally good. Yesterdays catch of scallops, fresh tuna and Quesadias. We accentuated the flavors with a very cold Chardonay from the vinyards of Chile.

After dinner we strolled out to the center of the harbor on the hurricane barrier. Too bad nightfall had arrived because from there in all directions is some great picture opportunities.
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This was taken June 1st from the spot we were standing.
A scallop trawler is leaving for a two week trip, probably to Georges Bank off the Canadian coast.
With the price of scallops now, the crew will clear around $20,000 per man.
(Not bad for 16 days work)
Back to my home to meet the dogs and have a cup of coffee for the drive and some PIMS. The evening was a six hour adventure with good food, good sights, and good friends.
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bye bye now

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