Thursday, June 13, 2024

Mount Desert Island, Maine

Frenchman's Bay from Bar Harbor


 There is more to see on Mount Desert Island than Acadia National Park. There are several small towns that have their own charm and attractions.

Bar Harbor



The largest town on Mount Desert Island is Bar Harbor. It is the gateway to Acadia and it is mostly a tourist town. In fact, it is the place that cruise ships stop when they visit the area. That being said, there are some excellent restaurants that stay open during the off-season. Vacationland Coffee Roasters was open early, serves a great cup of Java, and has a friendly staff. Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium provides an amazing selection of ice cream flavors, including a lobster ice cream. Lunch Bar Harbor serves great sandwiches and a wonderful clam chowder. 

Northeast Harbor


The village of Northeast Harbor is a small enclave on Mount Desert Island. It is the summer home of members of the Rockefeller family, and many of Philadelphia’s rich and famous. The Salt Market offers great coffee and pastries, and the Milk and Honey Kitchen has an excellent selection of sandwiches for lunch.


Seal Cove Auto Museum

1910 Piece Arrow

On the western side of the island is the Seal Cove Auto Museum. Richard Cushing Paine Jr. was a local doctor, and the son of local business owners. He collected classic cars during his life. In 1963 he created a museum to protect, care for, and grow the collection. Today, the museum houses around 200 cars and other motor vehicles, focusing on the era from 1895-1925, when cars were known for their brass decorations.

1904 Pope Hartford

1910 White

1916 Saxon Model 14

1909 Corbin

1904 Knox

1912 Maxwell Mascotte

Maine Granite Industry Historical Society

This small museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the mining and production of granite in Maine, and on Mount Desert Island in particular. There are two large rooms whose walls filled with historic photos and newspaper articles. Here there are displays of the tools used to quarry granite, to cut it to size and to polish it. There are also samples of stone from the many different quarries on the island. A third room serves as a workshop where demonstrations and classes are held.

Quarry Tool

Carving Guide for the Seal of New York City

Map of Quarries on Mount Desert Island

Finished and Unfinished samples of Granite

Acadia National Park is certainly the main draw on Mount Desert Island, but there is a lot more to do and see once your are there. So come to Maine and enjoy your time there.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Acadia in the Rain

Sand beach


 The national parks of the United States are known for their beauty. One of the parks at the top of that list is Acadia National Park in Maine. It offers the best of Maine’s sea coast, from rocky beaches to the views from mountain tops.

Acadia National Park sits (mostly) on Mount Desert Island, about 35 miles (58 Km) southeast of the city of Bangor. It has an area of over 49,000 acres (77 sq. Mi.). Acadia also has park land on surrounding peninsulas and islands. Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the Atlantic coast of the U.S. is here, along with granite domes, cobble beaches, and glacial lakes. Acadia was the first national park created from land donated by private citizens.

Frenchman's Bay

The main access to Acadia National Park is along the 27 mile long Park Loop Road. The road is fully open from April 15 through December 1, weather permitting. The Loop was completed in 1958, by a design team put together by John D. Rockefeller, who also helped create a series of carriage roads throughout the park. It is a one-way passage for most of its circuit, and passes by the parks main attractions. I had the chance to drive the Park Loop on a rainy day in early May.

Early May can be an unpredictable time to visit Maine’s coast. The weather can be cold and rain storms roll through the area. But this was the day on my schedule to spend in the park, so off I went. I have found that, as long as it is safe, rain is not a reason to avoid visiting a park. In fact, as long as you are prepared for the weather, you can often find sights that are unique. 

Near Seal Bay


I entered the park through the Sieur du Monte Gate, just south of Bar Harbor. My first stop was Sand Beach. This 300 yard long beach stretches between rocky ridges on either side of the short cove that is its home. Getting onto the beach proved a little difficult, as the stairs from the parking lot end in an area that is filled with large stones. But once on the sand, it was worth the effort. The low clouds framed the view out to the Atlantic, while the fog had rolled in over the surrounding land, shrouding the nearby hills. Even though it was raining, the water was calm, so nearby Thunder Hole was quiet.


Next I headed for Jordan Pond. This lake was carved out by glaciers during the last ice age. Jordan Pond sits in a valley between several mountains, ridges and granite domes. It has an area of 187 acres, and a maximum depth of 150 feet. Its water is crystal clear, and there is an easy 3,8 mile hike around it. Once again, the clouds and fog created some beautiful scenes. Jordan Pond is also where you will find one of the two largest park stores, and a cafe that is rumored to serve excellent pop-overs. Unfortunately the cafe was closed when I visited.


My final stop was at the summit of Cadillac Mountain. The trip up to the top of the mountain is not directly on the Park Loop, and during high season (between May 15 and October 31) you have to reserve a ticket to drive up there. Reservations open up 90 days ahead, and sell out quickly, so plan ahead. The summit offers amazing views of Mount Desert Island, Frenchman’s Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. I was able to see some of these during my drive, taking advantage of the several pull-outs to stop and take some photos. But as I neared the top of Mt. Cadillac, the clouds rolled in. However they created their own atmosphere, with eerie scenes of rocks and trees fading into the fog. 

Bar Harbor and Frenchman's Bay


Acadia National Park is beautiful place, and it is worth a visit os several days. There are great hikes, and, as I will discuss in a future post, Mount Desert Island has a lot to do.

Nuts and Bolts

Acadia National Park is open all year, however parts of it are subject to seasonal and weather related closings, so check their web-site when making plans.

The entrance fee for a car is $35 for a 7-day pass. The allows a non-commercial car/van and all of its passengers entrance.

Between June 1 and Oct 31 there are a series of fee-free shuttles busses that serve the park, Bar Harbor and some other surrounding villages. If you enter the park on one of these buses, there is a $20/per person usage fee.

The timed reservation for Mount Cadillac is $6.

All yearly NPS passes are valid at Acadia National Park at all times EXCEPT for the Mt. Cadillac reservation.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Art by Women at New York's MOMA

The Prisoners by Käthe Kollwitz


In New York City, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) is the home for art created from the 1880’s through today. Its permanent collection and the temporary exhibits cover a wide range of genres and styles. Currently, there are three special exhibitions, all featuring female artists. They span over 100 years of art history, yet all offer a view of the world through a woman’s struggles.

Joan Jonas - Good Night Good Morning

Joan Jonas (b. 1936) has been a pioneer of performance and video art for close to sixty years. She originally trained as a sculptor, but living on the lower East Side of New York City brought her into the avant-garde art movement in the 1960’s. Her first foray into performance art was a series of dance exhibitions titled Mirror Pieces. Dancers performed in spaces while holding large mirrors. The mirrors were moved so that they shifted between reflections of the dancers and the audience.

Mirror Pieces by Joan Jonas


Shortly after this, Jonas used several square blocks on Manhattan’s lower West Side as the stage for Delay Delay. Most of the buildings in this area had been torn down, and the dancers moved through the empty lots, banging bricks together and dancing, while the audience sat on the roof of one of the remaining structures to watch. The name came in part from the lag between the audience seeing actions, and hearing the noise created.

Delay Delay by Joan Jonas (Photos by Gianfranco Gorgoni)


By the 1980’s, Jonas had move to installations often including video components. 

Jones Beach Dance by Joan Jonas (photos by Richard Landry)

The Juniper Tree


This exhibition will be on display until July 6, 2024.

Latoya Ruby Frazier - Monuments of Solidarity



Latoya Ruby Frazier (b. 1982) is a contemporary photographer, whose work consists of collections of photographs focused around struggles and lives of working people. She was born in the town of Braddock, PA. Braddock is southeast of Pittsburgh, sitting along the Monongahela River. It is one of many towns in the area that served as home to plants owned by U.S. Steel. By the 1980’s these plants were being closed, with devastating effect on the communities.

U.S. Steel Edgar Thompson Steel Works and Monongahela River


Frazier’s work documents the effects of the de-industrialization of the United States over the past 20 or so years. Her first collection was a series of intimate photographs of her mother and grandmother. 

Momma (Shadow)

Grandma Ruby and Me


She then began to take pictures of the growing movement in Braddock that sprang up when the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center closed the hospital there, stating that it was no longer profitable.

Photos depicting the destruction of UPMC Hospital


Frazier went to Flint Michigan when news of the lead in the water crisis there broke. She spent several years working with local activists and families, capturing how their lives had been changed by this preventable, man-made disaster.

Mr. Smiley Standing with his daughter Shea and his Granddaughter Zion

Moses West with water collected from the air using his condensation machine

Children playing in water Moses West is spraying


The final collection on display at the museum is a collection of photos and interview down at the time of the closing of the Lordstown, OH, General Motors auto plant, where the Chevy Cruze had been produced. In 2017, then-president Trump came to Lordstown and promised that he would personally make sure that the plant would never close. In 2019, it did.

Pamela Brown with her Great Granddaughter

Members of UAW Local 1112 - Lordstown OH


This exhibition will run through Sept. 7, 2024.

Käthe Kollwitz

Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945)  was a German artist who produced work from the 1880’s until her death in 1945. Her work concentrated on the lives of working people, focused through the lens of the lives of women. Her pieces fall mostly in the the genre of expressionism, working to bring forth the emotions of a scene, rather than a realistic portrayal. 


Home Worker, Asleep At The Table

Early in her career she produced several series of drawings taken from historic movements by the poor, against the aristocracy. One was The Weaver’s Revolt. Between 1844 and 1845, cotton weavers in the Silesia area of Prussia were on the verge of starvation. Their pay had been lowered because the merchants could not compete with the modern British industry. The weavers rebelled and stormed the estate of their contractor, who called in the Prussian army. The Army brutally suppressed the rebellion.

March of the Weavers

Storming the Gate - Attack


The second series presented here is The Peasant’s War. In 1524, there was a widespread rebellion by farm workers in several German-speaking areas of Europe. This rebellion was violently put down, resulting in the deaths of between 100,000 and 300,000 peasants.



Kollwitz’s work focused on the lives and role of women in these series and in later pieces. One common theme was mother mourning for children who had died, either from starvation, illness or in war.

Woman with Dead Child

The Carmagnole


Between World War I and World War II, Kollwitz also produced posters for political movements she supported. The most famous of these is probably “Never Again War” made in 1924.

Never Again War

This exhibtion is on until July 6, 2024


And remember a trip to MOMA always offers great things to look at, even when one watches the crowd instead of the art.