MV Obsession

…Martha's Vineyard and other obsessions …


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The Grounds For Sculpture…

The Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey

Grounds For Sculpture

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This place is A-MAZ-ING, I’ve never seen anything like it.  GFS is a sculpture park and museum  founded by John Seward Johnson in 1992.  I heard about GFS a few years ago but had no idea how really unique and quieting to the mind and spirit GFS is.

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The sculptures were fantastic …

and thought provoking like the one below… which one is the real one?

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But it was the tableaux, often hidden away in secluded settings that I enjoyed the most..even though in some cases I felt like I was intruding.

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In others it was more like walking through a different century.pizap-com14737206619721

And in others still… mind games of sorts.

‘Forest of The Subconscious’ (I’m pretty sure MY subconscious doesn’t look like that, but who knows.)

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‘Chamber Of Internal Dialogue’

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I really enjoyed my visit to Grounds For Sculpture, I felt very content there, I hope someday to go back and see more of it.  It’s not possible to see it all in one trip,  each winding path, or secluded glade leads you off in another direction.

CLICK HERE FOR ‘GROUNDS FOR SCULPTURE’ WEBSITE


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Remembering Sept 11th…

(Sunday is the 15th anniversary of Sep 11th)

Let us always remember …

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In Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey stands Empty Sky:New Jersey September 11th Memorial  This memorial is dedicated to New Jersey’s 749 innocent loved ones who lost their lives that day at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Shanksville, PA.

From the Empty Sky website:  “Empty Sky” remembers those lost while simply and powerfully connecting New Jersey to Ground Zero. Twin walls transect a gently sloped mound anchored by a granite path that is directed toward Ground Zero. The length of each wall is exactly equal to one side of the former World Trade Center Towers as the height of the wall reflects proportion of the former buildings if they were lying on their side. . The seven hundred and forty nine (749) victims’ names from the State of New Jersey face one another on the interior elevations of the twin brushed stainless steel walls within easy reach. The walls channel visitors to the location in the Manhattan skyline where the former World Trade Center towers once stood.”

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(CLICK HERE to read about The Empty Sky Memorial)

At Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange, New Jersey is the ‘Remembrance and Rebirth’ memorial dedicated to all the victims of 9/11.

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In memory of the 343 New York City Firefighters who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty on September 11, 2001

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In memory of the 23 New York City Police Officers, 37 Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Officers and Emergency Medical Services Personnel who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty on September 11, 2001.

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Added this year, the Search and Rescue Dog Statue honoring the roughly 350 search and rescue dogs that worked tireless hours. CLICK HERE to read about it.

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 On this 15th anniversary of 9/11 let us continue to remember and never forget the events of that day.

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Abandoned Fairy Tales…

Fairy Tale Forest - Oak Ridge, NJ

Fairy Tale Forest – Oak Ridge, NJ

Driving through Oak Ridge, NJ with my daughter Deb we passed Fairy Tale Forest which used to be a thriving, magical and popular family spot.  It was built in 1957 by hand by German immigrant Paul Woehle.  CLICK HERE to read about the park.

The property is now owned by a storage company but as you can see some of the attractions are still in good shape.  It is rumored the park will reopen in 2017 !

A lot of memories are contained within this park, my daughters were there when they were little as were my grandchildren.

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In comparison to the condition and optimistic future of Fairy Tale Forest, The Land of Make Believe has been truly abandoned and left to ghosts of fairy tales.   Take a look.

In the town of Hamburg, New Jersey stands an old mill and a gingerbread castle.

Wheatsworth Mill and Gingerbread Castle.

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The Gingerbread Castle sits silently at the end of this driveway,  surrounded not by a moat but by barbed wire fencing and ‘do not trespass’ signs.

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Come closer and take a look…

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My creation

Once upon a time, back in the late 1920’s, the Gingerbread Castle was the centerpiece of an amusement park built next to the Wheatsworth Mill.  The Gingerbread Castle  was in continuous operation until 1978… it reopened briefly in the ’80’s and then closed for good in 1989.

Fairy tale characters used to abound here… now, sitting alone on his wall only Humpty Dumpty remains.

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The Gingerbread Castle is slowly fading away…

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Sadly eventually only memories will remain.

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There you have the story of two fairy tale themed parks… one with a hopefully happy ending, the other with no happy ending, just the end.

CLICK HERE to read about the Gingerbread Castle and Wheatsworth Mill)


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Little Vineyard Picture Book…

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This teeny Vineyard book is 1 inch square. Untie the ribbon and it opens like an accordion.

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There is a verse on one side…

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“The landscape of Martha’s Vineyard invites us daily to pause, to breathe and give our awareness to the splendor of our surroundings. The soul of the land and the sea speaks in a silent language to our own souls, calling forth a feeling of connectedness and well-being, belonging and responsiveness. We come to our senses and discover ourselves again in the grace, elegance and natural beauty of the island… Even if your visit here is brief , the Vineyard welcomes you home.” -I.G.M.

And pictures on the other.

I’ve added in some of my own that sort of resemble the ones in the book. I didn’t have any pictures of grazing cows so I substituted a goat friend of mine.

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I’m glad I rediscovered this teeny book today. Thank you to the special person who gave it to me.<3


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Chappy 2001…

It’s only been 4 months since we lost Chappy in April 2016 but today, Aug 25 of 2001 is fresh in our memories.

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15 years ago today, Aug 25, 2001, Chappy came home to NJ to live with us.

It was a dark and stormy night… no wait, that’s another story.   It was actually a beautiful sunny, white puffy cloud, mild August day when Deb (his mom), and I traveled to Kittanning, PA to pick him up.   We had been there two weeks prior to look over the litter of new Boykin Spaniel puppies and to sort of reserve the one that would be coming home with us today.    We thought it went well, Deb chose the future Chappy and the breeder put a red mark inside his ear… he has since been referred to by us as… yes, red ear.

In the two week interim preparations were made for Chappy’s arrival… bedding, toys, food & water dishes, toys, crate, pillows, toys… you get the picture.

So off Deb and I went on Friday, Aug 24th to drive the 6 hours to Kittanning, spend the night and then pick red ear, oops, Chappy up in the morning.   Deb had spent the day at work  being anxious to get the day over with and get on the road.  Deb didn’t feel well that night, stress, the long drive, the anxiety of picking up Chappy, it all took a toll.   Soon morning rolled around and after a quick breakfast off to the breeder’s we headed.

The puppies were awake and adorable, they were playing and yipping and being all sorts of cute.

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Except one…. he was off to the side looking all unsure of everything… yes… it was indeed ‘red ear’…. oh dear.

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The breeder told Deb she was not under any obligation to take him as he wasn’t sure this puppy was adoptable at the time.    And that’s when I saw my daughter fall apart.    We thought we had it all worked out and would walk in, pick up the future Chappy and leave, well it wasn’t going to be that easy.

In the meantime other folks were coming in to pick out puppies and to be honest it was quite annoying that they would pick one up… look at it… say yes or no and be off.  How were they doing that… was there some kind of pup-telepathy that we didn’t have ?

As we stood there and mulled over the situation two of the puppies scampered over to us and pretty much wore themselves out vying to be Deb’s choice.

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I knew pretty much right off the bat which one I would choose and I really tried to hide my choice from Deb and let her make her own decision.   She says she could read on my face which one I liked best and I’m sure she could.   She was so distraught that at one point I blurted out that she could bring both of them home !!!

And so the competition continued… Mr Personality vs Mr Adorable.  Mr Personality was sleek and energetic and was quite lovable.  Mr Adorable was fuzzier faced and a little smooshed nosed and also energetic and lovable.

Which one did Deb choose, or rather who chose her.  Why it was Chappy of course, or formerly known as… Mr Adorable.  By the way, he was my choice from the very beginning… just saying.

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Chappy saying good-by to his parents Buddy & Tawny.  He looks a lot like his mom and has her sweet personality.

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With the traumatic morning behind us we headed on our 6 hour trip home.  Chappy slept in Deb’s lap for most of the ride only awakening when big scary trucks rumbled past or when we stopped for food or gas.  We also stopped at McDonald’s where he caused quite a commotion with his cuteness.

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At long last we were home and settling in very nicely with family and toys.

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I love this picture…

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and this one 12 years later in 2013.

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Thank you Chappy for being in our lives, we miss you and love you❤


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Chappaquiddick Lullaby Revisited…

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I think one of the nicest children’s books about MV is “Chappaquiddick Lullaby – a song of Martha’s Vineyard” by Stacy Elizabeth Hall and illustrated by Judith Pfeiffer.

The book also includes a CD by Kate Taylor and Taylor Brown.

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The book is basically about the activities and daydreams that children have during the summer. The illustrations are abundant with Island landmarks and places… you need to read the book several times before you’ve picked out everything included in this rich and lovely book.

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One of the things that drew us to this book is that we had our own Chappaquiddick in the family and when we found out that there was a Chappy song, sung no less by Kate who we, and Chappy, have had the pleasure of meeting… well, we had to have the book.

(P.S… Chappy passed away a few months ago but these precious memories linger on and I’m always happy to share them).

I want to mention Stacy’s first book also…

“The Legend of Katama” is a beautifully told story of Katama, a brave young Wampanoag woman and how she changed her world.

Interestingly this our first dog who was named….. Katama (Katy)… do you see a pattern here:)


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I Won’t Dance…

The Tivoli building… Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard (circa 1920)

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The two story, full block Tivoli Dance Hall stood from 1901 until 1964 where the Oak Bluffs Town Hall is today.  The bottom floor housed shops and an ice cream parlor.  My godmother worked in the ice cream parlor and I always enjoyed visiting her there… one time in particular jumps to mind.

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I was 3 years old and had newly mastered winking and was anxious to put it to use.  Sitting at a table behind my mother and facing me was a sailor.  Being that I was wearing a sailor dress I figured we had something in common and so I began winking at him… it did not take long for my mother to notice.  She turned around and as she did the young sailor headed for our table.  He smiled and said he was alone on the Vineyard for the day and wanted to tell my mother how charming he thought I was (blushing here).  Not only did my mother invite him to join us at the table but she invited him home for dinner (this was mid 1940’s). I was amazed at how powerful this winking thing was.  I don’t think we kept in touch with him but obviously I’ve never forgotten him… I do however keep the winking thing to a minimum.

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The entire second floor of the Tivoli Dance Hall was just that, the dance hall.  It was huge, at least in the eyes of a 4 year old being dragged there against her will for a dance lesson.  I did like all the windows and how far you could see out of them, I liked the clicking sound my shoes made on the floor, I loved the brand new sundress I had on …

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… but, I did NOT like the group dancing part.  I remember reluctantly getting in line with the other victims children, but my feet did not move, they planted themselves firmly in one spot and stayed there.  Everyone danced around me but I did not care to join in, not only didn’t I dance I wouldn’t talk to anyone either.

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My mother was not happy with me… we did not stop for promised ice cream at the Frosty Cottage on Circuit Ave for ice cream and we didn’t come home with a sailor for dinner either.