November 8, 2014

More Minimalist Photographs



In April 2014 I attended a Westmoreland Photography Society (Pennsylvania) meeting. The topic for the night’s photo critique was Minimalist Photography . Wanting to know what photographs to take or cull from my archives I looked up minimalism in photography on the Internet…

The WordPress weekly photo challenge for November 7, 2014, is minimalist photos: An artfully executed minimalist photograph is anything but mundane. It illustrates a moment in time, or an artistic perspective, with simplicity and grace.

I had just completed reviewing some of my 2003 New England photos when I checked out the week’s photo subject. Thus, I decided to use some of them for the minimalist photo challenge.  The scenes are mostly those of The Isles of Shoals: Beauty, Mystery, Intrigue . The isles are a group of islands 8-10 miles off the Maine/New Hampshire shoreline. We took a boat ride to the islands and spent a day there on our 2008 visit to New England.

Some of the photographs were taken on the island, while others were taken from Wallis Sands Beach in Rye, New Hampshire.





October 23, 2014

11 Unique Facts About New England Lighthouses



(Also try the questions at 11 Unique Facts About Lighthouses )

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 Lighthouses in New England…sounds very romantic, although the life of a keeper can be challenging. Recently, the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse in New Castle was named the best lighthouse. I learned it does have one special feature: on Sundays from May to October you can climb the 44 steps to the Watch Room, then a ladder to the Lantern Room. This adventure will certainly be on my non-negotiable list of things to do in New England if we ever travel there again. After all, Portsmouth is where I spent my younger years.

But I digress. Below are 11 questions about New England lighthouses. Have fun!



  1. What was used for the first fog signal, installed at Little Brewsters Island Lighthouse?
  2. What horrifying event occurred at Minots Ledge Lighthouse (near Cohasset, Massachusetts) one of the first screw pile lighthouses?
  3. From what lighthouse do romantics interpret to signal “I love you?”
  4. What was a lighthouse keeper’s annual salary in 1879, which held steady well into the 20th century?
  5. In August 2013 the federal government closed out an auction for Boon Island Light Station, New England’s tallest lighthouse. What was the top bid for this lighthouse built in 1855 on a tiny rocky island six miles off Maine’s coast.
  6. Which New England lighthouse has traveled the furthest?
  7. Which lighthouse boasts an enormous first-order rotating Fresnel lens fitted with a green light?
  8. What happened to the first lighthouse keeper in America, George Worthylake?
  9. Name the most haunted New England lighthouse.
  10. What special item did Nubble Lighthouse keeper Eugene Coleman inherit from the previous keeper?
  11. What four unique facts describe the Boston Harbor Light?

2003 NE 633-V E


What four features describe the Boston Harbor Light?

To learn the answers click on MORE

Beaver Tail Lighthouse taken from the boat

Beaver Tail Lighthouse taken from the boat


October 19, 2014

Angel Rescues Traveler in Massachusetts



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A Night Time Ride to Safety

Along a Circuitous Path as

Angel Rescues Traveler in Massachusetts

(A Devotion)

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 40:23, 41:9    23. But (even after all that) the chief butler gave no thought to Joseph, but forgot (all about) him. 9. Then the chief butler said to Pharoah, I remember my faults today. (AMP)

Luke 17:18   Was there no one found to return and to recognize and give thanks and praise to God except this alien? (Amp)

Related Scripture:   Luke 17:12-19

REFLECTION:  Gratitude. For major events. And most commonly rudely forgotten.

For Joseph, who interpreted the dream for the chief butler and whose request to be recognized to the Pharaoh was “forgotten.” For Jesus, nine healed lepers neglected to thank him.

I, too, can be ungrateful. I don’t express gratitude often enough.

Sometimes, though, verbal thanks seems insufficient.

I traveled to New England by myself in the spring of 1996, and left Brocton, Massachusetts after 7 p. m., unconcerned about finding a hotel. I would be on a main road. No problem. I’d drive towards Merrimack, New Hampshire and stop along the way.

Wrong! I was traveling through a “bedroom community.” No motels!

At 8:45 p. m. I stopped at a drugstore in a strange town not too far from Framingham. “Are there any motels around?” I asked the pharmacist. Neither he nor the customers knew of any.

One customer said she felt bad. She had a spare room, but she also had company. She knew a place in Framingham but the dark night, the late hour and the heavy construction would create travel difficulties, particularly to a stranger. But she knew of a Bed & Breakfast out in the country. She’d call from her car phone.

A room was available! She drew me a land-marked map, then said (more…)

October 4, 2014

View New England By Its Signs



The WordPress photo challenge for October 3, 2014, is signs.

To read the story behind the sign click on the link with the photo.





Photos of Cherished Relics


Pine Grove Cemetery, Hampton, NH c. 1654:

Surfing at Hampton Beach (N. H.) With Hurricane Irene


October 2, 2014

Remembering Ellsworth & Lamoine, Maine



I’ve said this in previous writings: the most common question my husband Monte and I are asked about our autumn trips to New England is: Are you going to leaf peep? Certainly New England puts on a great display of brilliant fall leaves, but I can vouch that the hills of Southwestern Pennsylvania matches their splendor. No, we don’t go to leaf peep. We much prefer ocean viewing.

We were completing our 2013 travel to New England as September rolled over into October. On our return home—driving across New England into New York and south to Pennsylvania—some trees gave us a sneak peak of grandiose leaves, but we were traveling before they peaked. Thus, we enjoyed being inadvertent leaf peepers, viewing what many tourists drive to New England to do: enjoy autumn’s march from summer into winter.


Last year my husband Monte and I were visiting the towns of Ellsworth and Lamoine in Downeast Maine on September 30 and October 1. We stayed several days at SeaCat’s Rest, on the banks of the Jordan River, where our hosts were Bruce Gillett and Kathleen Rybarz and their Maine Coon cat.

131001 IMG_7556EA wall of windows gave us a view of the Jordan River, but wandering to the river’s edge provided great photo opportunities throughout the day and into the evening.

131001 IMG_7519EAs wonderfully calming SeaCat’s Rest was we couldn’t laze around all day.

On Monday, the 30th, we headed to the Ellsworth Public Library, where I had the opportunity to meet with Mark E. Honey. He’s a Maine history buff who has done much writing about Hancock County, which is the setting of my historic romance novel—and some of my ancestors. We’d had occasional contact through the years but had never met. I was amazed at what he had accomplished in spite of the fact that he has a disabling illness chaining him to a wheelchair. We both agreed that Downeast history is fascinating, and that this library has always been helpful and encouraging to those of us interested in researching the area.

Upon our return to SeaCat’s Rest the Jordan River reflected the hues of orange, pink, and gray from a sunset exploding from behind several mountains located on Mt. Desert Island, across the water. Patches of bright blue peeked through the cloud-like sunset. This breathtaking scene is perfect as September rolls into October and my time in Downeast Maine is coming to an end.  130930 IMG_7419 Jordan RiverE

130930 IMG_7422E

On Tuesday we headed to the deeds office at the Hancock County Courthouse. It’s enjoyable to have the freedom to (more…)

September 14, 2014

Love-Apples, Tomato Blight & a Maine Ketchup Recipe





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In most parts of New England, tomatoes were called “love-apples” and were shunned as being poisonous.

Not so in my early 21st century world. Red tomatoes are popular items in Atlanta, Georgia’s farm market. They can be seen in home gardens and farm market booths throughout the New England coast, in Ohio, in New York, and all around our Southwestern Pennsylvania region.

Many of my Southwestern Pennsylvania home gardeners were horrified when, in late July 2009, a late-blight began destroying their tomato plants in Westmoreland County. Brown lesions, caused by a fungus-like pathogen, were appearing on their tomato plants. This late blight can devastate tomato and potato plants. It can rot fruit and kill tomato plants within two weeks.

Farmers and commercial growers who depend on selling tomatoes, a high-value crop, are struggling to fight this blight, which has also been spotted in potato crops.

The  blight has spread to home gardens in Westmoreland, Indiana and Washington counties, but so far it hasn’t been reported in Allegheny or Fayette counties.*

My garden tomato plants began contracting blight in 2009, and did so every year for several years. I stopped planting them. This year is not a loss, since everything I planted fed the deer, because we weren’t home enough to stop this.


However, Maine’s seafaring families didn’t shun love-apples… Sea captains brought tomato seeds from Spain and Cuba, and their wives planted them, and the good cooks in the families experimented with variants of the ubiquitous and somewhat characterless tomato sauce of Spain and Cuba. The ketchups they evolved, in spite of the aversion to tomatoes throughout early America, were considered indispensable with hash, fish cakes, and baked beans in Maine, even in the days of love-apples.

  • Ketchup is an important adjunct to many Maine dishes, particularly in families whose manner of cooking comes down to them from seafaring ancestors. So far as I know, a sweetened ketchup in those families is regarded as an offense against God, and man, against nature and good taste. This antagonism to sweetened ketchup is traceable to the days when dozens of Maine sea captains from every Maine town were constantly sailing to Cuba and the West Indies for cargoes of molasses and rum, and to Spain for salt. Captain Marryat, in Frank Mildmay, describes a shore excursion of ship’s officers in 1807, and complains of the lavish use of tomato sauce on all Spanish dishes. The same thing is true in Spain today, as well as in Italy, where it is customary to serve a bowl of hot tomato sauce with macaroni spaghetti, fettuccini, ravioli, and many other dishes, so that the diner may lubricate his viands to suit himself. Under no circumstances is this tomato sauce sweetened. It is made by adding hot water to a paste obtained by boiling down tomato juice to a concentrate. —The Kenneth Roberts Reader, Introduction by Ben Ames Williams, 1945

…I begged the recipe from my grandmother when I went away from home; and since that day I have made many and many a batch of her ketchup with excellent results. The recipe has never been published, and I put it down here for the benefit of those who aren’t satisfied with the commercial makeshifts


August 16, 2014

Quonset Air Museum in Rhode Island




Blue Angel and Tomcat Navy Planes

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September 7, 2013, was An adventurous day as my husband Monte and I visited the Quonset Air Museum in North Kingston, Rhode Island.

My father, Chief Navy Photographer Robert W. Cornell, was stationed out of Quonset Naval Station in December 1943, when I was born in Providence. In August 1963 I visited up to the gate of the Navy Station while visiting a friend, the late Carol Cargill, who lived nearby in Warwick, Rhode Island.

The museum website states

  • The mission of the Rhode Island Quonset Air Museum (QAM) is to preserve, interpret and present Rhode Island’s aviation history through collections, research, education and exhibits…Founded in 1992 with the assistance of then Governor Bruce Sundlun, the air museum educates the public in the state’s rich aviation legacy and displays collections that document the contributions of Rhode Island to the growth and development of aviation and space exploration…QAM is housed on three acres in an original Naval Air Station Quonset Point (NASQP) hangar built in 1945, as the point building for the Overhaul and Repair (O&R) facility.

The museum has a large and valuable collection of aircraft, aircraft parts and other historical artifacts. The 28 aircraft currently on display or under restoration include civilian, military and prototype aircraft dating from 1944 (Hellcat under restoration) to 1983 (F-14 Tomcat), including the last aircraft to fly from Quonset NAS, a C-1A COD BU#136792, a one-of-a-kind TWIN TAIL Navy transport.

I'm sitting in a model demonstrating what it is like to be in an airplane cockpit

I’m sitting in a model demonstrating what it is like to be in an airplane cockpit

I was surprised to see a Navy Blue Angel, an A-4 Skyhawk, a small and simple tailed delta jet…the concept behind the Douglas A-4 was to keep the design simple and the weight as light as possible. It was the first operational A-4 Squadron was VA-72, stationed at the Naval Air Station Quonset Point. This aircraft is a veteran of the Vietnam conflict having served with U. S. Navy Attack Squadron VA-1645 ‘Ghostriders,” while assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Hancock.

In 1974 the A-4 Skyhawk became part of the Navy flight demonstration aircraft. It was a smaller and lighter aircraft with a tighter turning radius allowing for a more dynamic flight demonstration.

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April 5, 2014

WP Photo Challenge 4/4/2014: Threshhold—New England Bridges





The WordPress Photo Challenge for April 4, 2014, is threshold: a point of entering; that point just before a new beginning capture “threshold.” My first thought was the lions guarding the Rockingham Hotel entrance in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. However, I’ve written two posts about them, which include photographs.:

Lions Still Guard Majestic Buildings

Free Hugs & Gold Lions in Portsmouth, N. H.

My mind next went to bridges, which in fact and metaphorically are thresholds to adventures “on the other side.” Thus, I present some of the New England bridges we crossed while in New England in September, 2013, pictured in the order in which we crossed them.

The Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge

The Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge

The Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge connects mainland North

Kingston to Jamestown (Conanicut Island) in Rhode Island.

The Newport (Pell) Bridge

The Newport (Pell) Bridge

The Newport (Pell) Bridge connects

Jamestown (Conanicut Island)

to Newport (Acquidneck Island) in Rhode Island.

 The Bourne Bridge connects mainland Massachusetts to Cape Cod.

The Bourne Bridge

The Bourne Bridge


December 10, 2013

Revisiting Providence, R. I., 70 Years After My Birth



Hugs for Darlene and Peter, birthed by my mother 10 and 20 years after me. She had a baby every decade: 1943, 1953, and 1963.



St. Joseph Hospital, now closed

St. Joseph Hospital, now closed

It was a cold and snowy December 9th evening in 1943, when a cab stopped in front of the doors of St. Joseph Hospital. The driver helped a woman, perhaps screaming in pain, up the snowy steps. He probably didn’t know that her water had broken in his cab, ruining her fashionable fur coat. Was this the first time he had transported a pregnant woman to the hospital who was so close to giving birth? Did the severe snowstorm delay his getting her to the hospital? According to the woman she was mighty close to delivering her child in the taxi.

In the excitement and urgency of the moment did she even pay the taxi driver?


Hospital entrance

Hospital entrance


It was 1:15 a. m. on December 10th that Dr. Monroe Rosembloom, in the service of the U. S. Naval Air Station, delivered a 6 pound 12 ½ ounce baby girl whose mother named her Carolyn Virginia Cornell.

Her father, Chief Navy Photographer Robert William Cornell, wasn’t present for the birth of his daughter. It is likely he was on duty somewhere with Navy business. IMG_5396

Fast forward to September 7, 2013, when my husband Monte and I traveled up the New England coast during a 32 day trip.

Two of my goals were to see the hospital where I was born and to locate where my first home, 11 Neville Street, was. We visited the Cranston Library for help.

Monte and librarian Lisa Zavodi studied old and recent maps for (more…)

November 17, 2013

Wallis Sands Beach, New Hampshire (Sept. 2013)

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS Movicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hugs for Brenda, Maureen, Foster and the Tirrells


SEPTEMBER 24, 2013 IMG_3246E

September 24, 2013, our last day in New Hampshire, began slowly. We packed up the car, not expecting to return to that particular motel since it was time for us to move up the Maine coast.

At 10:40 a. m. we drove down route 1A to Wallis Sands Beach in Rye, New Hampshire. It was a road familiar to me from the days of my childhood when my grandfather, Albert Briskay, drove my sister and me, or my mother, who caught the bus, took my sister and me, to this small beach in Rye.


When we arrived there was an empty bus in the beach parking lot but only two people sitting at the far end of the beach. IMG_3794E

Determining that the tide was coming in and the sand area would disappear quickly I wrote “Goodby Wallis Sands” in the sand. I neglected to photo it.

Then Monte wandered to the southern breakwater rock wall while I shed my red pants to my bathing suit and took off down the beach.

Although the morning was crisp and  cool the sun poured its energy onto the sand and warmed my uplifted face. I walked the beach’s short length, partly on the damp sand, partly in the water. Half-way across were two smartly crafted sand castles, just above the high-tide water line. They reminded me of the temporary art my older sister and I used to create when we were on the beach over fifty years ago. IMG_3643E

At the far end I captured these birds:

IMG_3254EWandering deep into the water I realized I was overloaded with my towel and a small bag, so I walked to the dry sand to set them down. That’s when I noticed the couple sitting by the cement stairway wall.


The man was using a movie camera, and I realized I was probably a star in (more…)

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