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Category Archives: USA

After Jose

Fair Harbor road flooded

Even if the hurricanes did not come this year all the way north to affect with high winds the East Coast of the USA the high tides caused by them affected our beaches. Following Jose, Fire Island was temporary covered in water caused by the high tide, the road staying flooded for a while because here water does not have where to escape.

High surfs in Atlantique, Fire Island, NY

The surfs were high and rip currents could pull the swimmers out into the ocean. With all kids in schools the island looked deserted ready to start preparing for the winter.

Saltaire, Fire Island, NY

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Posted by on September 25, 2017 in Blog, USA

 

Bushwick Open Studios 2017

Bushwick Open Studios event, marketed this year as BOS2017, happens once a year sometimes in the summer. This year, for the first time the festival was organized during the exact weekend when it used to happen the once famous Dumbo Art Festival that was shut down two years ago by the organizers after it became way too popular. The graffiti on the buildings of Bushwick are some of the many attraction of the festival that happened for an entire weekend, Friday to Sunday. Beside the artist open studios the streets were alive in performances and trucks filled with all sort of art experiments.

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2017 in Blog, USA

 

Biking by the Delaware Canal

Frenchtown, NJ

The Delaware Canal was built in the middle of the 19th century as a way to move coal from the mines of Pennsylvania to the industrial areas of Philadelphia and around. The canal starts in Easton, PA and goes all the way to Bristol, PA for a total of 60 miles. The canals were built on both sides of the Delaware River and the coal was hauled with mules that were trotting an adjacent road pulling barges on the water. It stopped its operation in 1931.

The covered bridge over the canal in Uhlerstown, NJ

Besides this 60 miles portion, on its Southern side it connects to another canal that goes along the Raritan River in New Jersey ending in the Rutgers University campus in New Bruswick, NJ. Further north of Easton, PA it continues on the Lehigh River valley to Jim Thorpe going all the way to Wiles Barre, PA, the heart of the Pennsylvania coal country. The side roads of all these portions of the canal were converted in a very long and continuous bike trail.

DL canal bike trail

We biked two portions of the canal, biking up one way and returning on the opposite side of the river that has a similar canal with its adjacent bike path. First we biked from Lambertville, NJ to Trenton returning on the opposite side to New Hope, PA.

Biking through sunflower fields…

We loved that route so much that one week after we came again and biked the portion between Lambertville, NJ to Frenchtown, NJ crossing the river through Bull’s island.

..and farms decorated for the season

This year we planned to bike the portion from Frenchtown, NJ all the way to Easton, PA. This part of the trail does not fully continues on both side of the river. A portion that is developed on the New Jersey side in the Delaware Canal State Park is actually ending bringing you onto the roads. So we biked on only one side of the canal round trip on a path that varies in width much more than the previous ones we went on. The path starts as a large packed dirt but on occasion continues only as a sliver of gravel path sometimes narrower than one foot or occasionally on two narrow slivers. Some portions have some mud on top and may not not so good to bike after rain. However it is well maintained and very pleasant to ride through fields full of sunflower, onion or corn, farms decorated with pumpkins for the season or through towns where you can stop for a beer or you can take a break on coffee places right on the bike path.

The Red Barn with a red truck

The route has about 21 miles one way as you leave Frenchtown crossing the Delaware bridge and going under the covered bridge in Uhlerstown and reaches Easton in the Delaware Canal State Park right at the confluence of Delaware and Lehigh rivers overlooking the old and new bridges of the old industrial town of Easton. From the park, the bike trail continues into the D & L bike trail along Lehigh River that goes continuously all the way through Jim Thorpe to White Haven, another 85 miles of continuous trail. We took a well deserved break watching kayaks go by on the Delaware River in Easton and started back for a total of 42 miles being able to return in Frenchtown right before dark.

The confluence of Delaware and Lehigh rivers in Easton, PA

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2017 in Blog, USA

 

Remember

Towers of light, New York

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2017 in Blog, USA

 

Block Island

New Shoreham, Block Island, RI

Many times you travel far away and either miss or just postpone to visit remarkable places that are close to home. This was the case for me with Block Island, one of the closest island off the tip of Long Island that somehow I never had time to hop on. And the island is probably one of the most beautiful and tranquil in the entire area. New Shoreham, its only town, is considered the smallest town in the smallest state, Rhode Island, of the USA. We stopped here for breakfast because we were told that we could not a coffee in any other place on the island.

A farm on the road to the north lighthouse, Block Island

In comparison with the other better known islands off the coast of Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, Block Island is quiet, quaint and full of farms that spread on the entire rest of the island outside the little town. You may see a large field with barn or a house, all surrounded by a fence made of several rows of boulders that delimits the property.

The north lighthouse at the tip of the island, Block Island, RI

The car traffic is almost non existent in the island that make you feel that the roads may be built almost only for bikes. We bike the entire island and not even once we were passed by two cars coming from opposite directions in the same time that would squeeze us to the side of the road.The bike routes are all following the main roads passing nature protected areas that can be visited on long walks meandering through flower fields all the way to the ocean. The island is only 7 miles long by 3 miles wide in its bottom part and biking is the main way of transportation so almost everywhere there are bike racks that sometimes are so full that you have to look for a …bike parking spot.

A nature preserve in Block Island

Returning from the North lighthouse, whose deserted beach is packed only by gulls, you may pass by the new harbor, the place where is the dock for the Montauk, where you can take a break and enjoy a drink at Dead Eye’s Dick terrace by the harbor.

The new harbor of Block Island

The road/bike pass continues to the spectacular tall bluffs where a steep staircase lets you get on the beach for a nice walk where you may encounter whales’ vertebras. (they are huge). Just down the beach is the South East light house.

The southern bluffs and the beach, Block Island

Southeast lighthouse, Block Island, RI

The entire marked route bike trail, that consists actually of the totality of the paved roads of the island, is about 24 miles, way less than we biked the day before but for sure not as easy. The island is not hilly but the route is up and down and at the end of the day you feel exhausted by the effort in spite of biking only half of the Cape Cod Rail Trail.

Spring House Hotel, Block Island, RI

Tired by biking the hilly road coming back into town we stopped at the Spring House Hotel, the oldest hotel in the island that hosted presidents, writers, personalities and a recent wedding of the Kennedys. We took a break and a much desired drink on the grass in front overlooking the ocean, just 5 minutes away from the old New Shoreham harbor where the last ferry would take us to Narraganset, RI.

New Shoreham harbor, Block Island

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2017 in Blog, USA

 

Cape Cod Rail Trail

Cape Cod Rail Trail, MA

In 1840s when the first train ran on the tracks in Cape Cod it was a big deal for the region. Suddenly the time to reach the Cape from Boston would have been cut from 7 hours by boat or two days by stagecoach to a mere 5 hours. The rail reached Hyannis in 1853 and Provincetown 20 years latter. One year later President Grant was among the dignitaries who visited Provincetown by train in an official visit, a sort of inauguration of the rail.

The trail passes bays with private and public beaches…

The rail was about 120 miles long coming from Boston and it remained in operation till 1970. It changed ownership many times and in 1968 while struggling to keep afloat was sold to Penn Central and eventually went bankrupt in 1970 and closed its operations. At that time few people still wanted to travel to the Cape by train, most preferring cars or buses.

…and stops in towns like Orleans where there are art fairs

But the rail history is still alive in its spectacular conversion as a bike track, one of the longest and better maintained tracks I rode on. The Cape Cod Rail Trail is more than 22 miles long and connects Dennis to Wellfleet on a straight and clean paved band that meanders among spectacular locations, private and public beaches, rivers and bays in the quaint landscape of the Cape.

The multiple sclerosis march was a three days 50 miles walk of all people dressed in orange

When we rode it on Saturday the National Multi-Sclerosis Society organized a 50 miles walk during all three days of the weekend for creating awareness and fund raising for research in preventing the disease and people dressed in orange, the color of the organization, were peppering the entire bike trail.

A stop before the end of the trail on a public beach

The trail has another branch splitting from the main and going to Harwich and Chatam that we rode a while ago. We also discovered that they are working on opening up a sector right before Dennis where a pedestrian bridge over the highway is already built and operational.

The French bakery at the end of the road is waiting with a lot of goodies

At the end of the trail I could not wait to join the long line in front of the Wellfleet’s PB French Bakery for a cappuccino and a pain-au-chocolat and a much rewarding juice after a long ride. But in spite of the huge line that snakes out of it even if you come off season, the French Bakery, in typical French tradition, is closed Monday and Tuesdays. And of course the cappuccino break was just a pause because now we had to ride the entire rail trail back to Dennis, for a total of almost 50 miles. A really great ride!

The French Bakery in Wellfleet, Cape Cod, MA

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2017 in Blog, USA

 

Walking into the sunset

Rock Harbor Beach at low tide, Cape Cod, MA

Each and every time I arrive in Cape Cod I have to go at least once to Rock Harbor Beach especially if the sunset is timed with a low tide. You can walk into the sunset towards the far away bay and somehow it looks for people who watch you from the shore that you may walk on water. This time the sun just decided to hide its glowing orange ball behind a heavy cloud but the show it put out was quite different. Because here each sunset is an original nature spectacle in its own way.

Rock Harbor Beach at low tide, Cape Cod, MA

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2017 in Blog, USA