3 Observations from Mystic Seaport

I thought Mystic Seaport was the town itself. Wrong! It's an entire town within a town, dedicated to all things quaint, historic, and maritime. I didn't take great photos, but I do have some observations:

1. My husband is an old soul.
He shares interests with men who wear sweaters with elbow patches, drink Metamucil, and love to revisit the good old days but stoically glaze over all the worst parts of the war. It's adorable and will make him a good dad to the late elementary age era when science fairs and history projects start (and I may or may not start getting bored).

Direct quote: "While I must applaud the museum's effort to preserve a piece of America's maritime history, I can't help but look at the Charles W. Morgan with a British Naval Captain's eye and notice all its lubbery lines, cluttered deck arrangement, and generally tubby appearance."

And when met with my eye roll: "All my maritime sensibilities come from the British Navy of the Napoleonic era. I've been spoiled by the lean, hungry men o'war of the Master and Commander series"
A painting above a random door at Webb, where my old man of a husband honed his sensibilities
The Charles W. Morgan whaler, in all it's lubbery glory
 2. Tunnel vision doesn't help you fund raise.
This is a good lesson for my professional life. Mystic's one and only misstep was that just about every display and appeal was for their prize possession, the Charles W Morgan, the oldest functioning whaling vessel in the world. It's an awesome boat, don't get me wrong, and seeing it (and hearing about it over and over) made me appreciate New England's salty past and need for whale blubber to light their lives. But nonprofits have a tendency to take their golden star and talk about them on and on and on.

I fundraise. I think about how to get people to care enough about housing that they want to spend time on site and give us money to keep our work going. But there are good, holistic ways to talk about why you deserve someone's time and money, and they ought not be just your star.

They could be talking more about these little beautiful boats

Or this lovely bay view from the docks

Or the ship renovation center, the delicious chowder, youth programs, historically accurate shop for a blacksmith, cooper, apothecary, rope manufacturer, and historically accurate home for a poor family, rich family, and middle class family. Or any number of other programs and sites that make Mystic Seaport pretty awesome but I didn't get great photos of. And I'm sure they do talk about them, just not as much as the whaler.

3. Boats are amazing. The ocean is amazing.

We know more about space than we do about the ocean, which is a SHAME.  Before a century ago, waterways were everything, the ocean an obvious major aspect. Exploration, expansion, supplies, recreation, FOOD. We've explored less than 5% of the ocean and understand relatively very  little about how it impacts our weather systems and what potential there is for the future. Oceans cover 70% of the planet and we've only explored 5% of it?? What a shame.


Three Best Churches in New England

We went to New England! And drove around. A bunch! One of the aspects I was most looking forward to (and least disappointed by... not that I was disappointed by much) was how great the churches are in New England. They just don't make 'em like this much anymore...

My favorites from the trip:

1. Ivy and brick church. On the way from Swanzey, NH to Dover, VT. Might be in the town of Bennington.

Contrary to what I was expecting, there weren't too many stone churches. And even fewer covered in ivy. What is the East Coast if it is not ivy-covered? Aren't these churches supposed to be where Harvard and Yale and all the other ivy-league schools I can't ever remember that qualify as Ivy League got the idea in the first place? Ivy and stone just looks good.

2. St. John's Dune Church. Southampton, Long Island

AKA the giant church right on the beach next to million dollar mansions. And yes, dunes. Porter and I did an actual Slow- Rubberneck- Stop- T-turn- Ogle when we drove past this guy. Such a lovely entrance. And what a striking shade of burnt red. And that giant anchor next to the front gate? Fitting somehow, in its grandeur. Everything about it is stately and beautiful. 

Beyond all the obvious reasons to love everything about this church (is the grass not greener than usual too, or is that a trick of eyes. #nofilter), I thoroughly enjoy the website for St. John's Dune Church- more formally known as St. John's Episcopal Church, because its back yard is sandy dunes, a very soft beach, and the Atlantic Ocean.

See? The backyard and spindly fence on the site's rotating front page (a spindly fence to keep out all those tacky New Money summer New Yorkers, eroding the dunes, the stateliness of the Hamptons, and the purity of the world, all at once for hot summer months on end). 

 Also on rotation, a path to the beach. Methinks there is a parable here. And more seriously cool spindly fences and deep sand, which line the beach and each path to it. Would these be too out of place to have in my west coast, non-beachy front yard some day?

Most importantly, two robed men, one in a dapper winter beanie (An Episcopal beanie, I believe), enjoying what I'm sure is a very meaningful sunrise conversation, in preparation for a sunrise Easter service.
I'm sold. 

3. Little white church with a steeple. Everywhere.

Is this cheating? Yes, maybe. Partially because this photo, I'm realizing now, is quite embarrassing with not only the most charming part of the entire building (the steeple) cute off, but also a telephone pole smack dab in the middle. Alas, it is the only good photo of a little which church we took. We're fired from church spotting.

But they are everywhere and they are adorable, almost every single one.