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Traffic, Lighthouses, A Fort and a Wedding

Driving from Maryland to CT, Finding Lighthouses and a Reunion


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & 2008 Lighthouses and a Wedding in CT & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Friday 1 August 2008

My oldest granddaughter got married the first weekend in August. It was also the occasion for a big family reunion - missing only my DIL and one SIL and two of the grandchildren. Our son drive up from SC with his son and spent the night at our house. His wife had exams and couldn't come.

He picked up his daughter (who had been staying with us), and we gave him one of our E-Zpass responders.

Because of gas prices we felt that it would be too expensive to drive our own cars which both aged diesel Mercedes. So after he left we picked up the car we rented for the weekend. The weekend rental was $19.99/day and the car (a Ford Focus) got 37 mpg. The car had an E-ZPass in it, but we put our own on it instead. After we picked up the car, I went to the State of Maryland website and registered the rental car license for our E-ZPass. I had previously registered my son's SC car. Ironically, our rental car also had a SC license.
Instructions for EZPass

Instructions for EZPass


We went through the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel at 11:05. (According to the Maryland website, our son went through at 9:40, about an hour and forty minutes ahead of us). Our toll was paid automatically for the John F Kennedy Memorial Highway at 11:44

At 11:50, we stopped to eat at one of the Maryland facilities
Lunch stop

Lunch stop


Bob got a sandwich at Burger King and I got a
x100_0892.jpgTuna Nicoise Wheat Baguette and Strawberry Cheese Muffin

Tuna Nicoise Wheat Baguette and Strawberry Cheese Muffin


at Z Market because I didn't want to stand in line at Popeyes. We also went to the bathroom. It didn't take us very long,

x100_0899.jpgDelaware Memorial Bridge

Delaware Memorial Bridge


so by 12:20 we were approaching the Delaware Memorial Bridge. (Our son went across at 10:53, so he's now only an hour and a half ahead because he took longer for lunch I guess.)
Memorial flags 12:39

Memorial flags 12:39


We had traversed Delaware and entered NJ at 12:40
Welcome to NJ 12:42

Welcome to NJ 12:42


and were E-ZPassed to the NJ Turnpike at 12:44. We stopped for gas on the NJ Turnpike about 13.20.
No self service

No self service


Bob was unaware that there is no self service in NJ. We got onto the truck side of the turnpike as we approached NYC. I don't know why we did that.
New Jersey Turnpike 14:14

New Jersey Turnpike 14:14

100_0912.jpgCongestion Ahead sign

Congestion Ahead sign

Our daughter D (the mother of the bride) told us NOT to go across the George Washington Bridge because of traffic - that we should go across the Tappen Zee instead. Both my son and my husband ignored this advice.
Approaching a toll booth

Approaching a toll booth


It is now 2:56 pm (1456) and we can see that we really should not have tried to go through New York City on Friday afternoon. We went through the toll very quickly at 1504 (3: 04 pm) but it didn't help us any because traffic was heavy on both sides.
x100_0921.jpgTraffic on George Washington Bridge and Bridge towers 3:14

Traffic on George Washington Bridge and Bridge towers 3:14


Our son went through the George Washington toll booth at 14:02, so he is now just an hour ahead. (I got the times from the EZPass website)

Going under NYC 3:16

Going under NYC 3:16

We went through the New York State tollway at 15:59 - just before 4 pm. Our son went through at 14:33 (about 2:30 pm), so he's an hour and a half ahead of us again. I don't think he had as much traffic through New York. And he does tend to drive faster than Bob does.

Friday traffic

Friday traffic

Now all we have to do is go up I-95 to East Haven. There was still quite a bit of traffic on I-95 in CT. We were supposed to go to the groom's sister's house for a buffet at 6, but at 6 we were still on the west side of New Haven and had not checked into the motel yet. So I called my daughter and then we went and checked in.
Hotel sign

Hotel sign


My granddaughter made a block reservation for her wedding guests at the Quality Inn because this is the closest place to stay for an event at Anthony's where she was being married. They had a shuttle from the hotel to Anthony's and back so that you could drink at the wedding without driving afterwards. So most of the wedding party stayed here. My son and I both made our reservations on-line.

WARNING: They refused to give us the block reservation rate if we made the reservations on line, even though I called and asked about it. I was sent an email that said I had the AARP rate for Saturday and Sunday, and then they refused to honor that, and they gave me an argument about the block rate for Friday too.

Rooms on the front side of the hotel were quite noisy because I-95 was just on the other side of the pool.
Pool with freeway on the other side

Pool with freeway on the other side


Even if there wasn't a lot of traffic there were still sirens and trucks. Even on the backside of the hotel, there was noise from people coming in from parties and yelling and cavorting around in the parking lots at 4 am - banging on air conditioners etc.

I went to their website beforehand and it said

"Affordable New Haven Lodging. Our accommodations abound with a wealth of creature comforts like cable TV with premium channels, available microwaves and refrigerators and complimentary high-speed Internet access"
4135303-desk_East_Haven.jpgDesk and One of the beds

Desk and One of the beds


So I was encouraged. They DID have the internet access. However the 'available microwaves and refrigerators' were at extra cost. They charged my son $15.00 extra for a rollaway.

It looked like they had a nice pool, but when we could have gone swimming it rained torrents so we didn't get a chance to check it out. There were two restaurants within walking distance - Chili's and Friendlys.

We went to Friendlys for dinner - we could have walked but I did not see where it was, so we drove.

Bob walking over to Friendlys

Bob walking over to Friendlys

Friendlys is a chain which started in New England. I like going there because I like ice cream, but they also have food. Sometimes the service is a little slow at some of their restaurants. But the food is not very expensive. We ate here because it was close to our hotel, but that location is apparently closed now.

Bob had the
Senior tuna roll

Senior tuna roll


.
x100_0935.jpgMy Senior BBQ chicken platter and "Happy Ending"

My Senior BBQ chicken platter and "Happy Ending"


Since mine was a dinner, I got a 'happy ending' which is a small size sundae

On the way back I saw our son's car outside his room but he and his kids and my third daughter E and her daughter had gone to Chili's for dinner instead. This daughter flew from TX to Boston and then drove down. She left her husband and two children at home.

After the groom's family's dinner, the bride's parents were going back to Hartford with the bride and groom. My second daughter B was going to drive down from Boston with her family tomorrow.

Morning 2 August 2008

The next morning we met up with our son and daughter at breakfast.
Breakfast buffet

Breakfast buffet


Their free breakfast was pretty good (no cranberry juice), although there were only about four tables for people to sit and eat.. We went over and talked to the guy who gave out travel literature in the trolley by the entrance ramp. He was hard to get away from.

My son and his kids and the bride's brother were going to sit around the pool. Our daughter E and her kid came with us - we were going to try to see the lighthouse at Lighthouse Point.

First, we got lost because I made a mistake of thinking I had to get on I-95 (I didn't - I just needed to go out the back of the motel) and ended up taking an impromptu tour of New Haven. When we finally got to Lighthouse Park, there was a very long line.
30196664135484-Sign_near_en..East_Haven.jpgPolice car to the right of the toll booth

Police car to the right of the toll booth

Side for boat trailers (and the No Refund sign)

Side for boat trailers (and the No Refund sign)


The closest we got to this park was the entrance as Bob didn't see any reason to pay $10.00 just to take a picture of a lighthouse.

The hurricane of 1938 ripped through the park, destroying many buildings and trees. In 1950 the City made improvements including a new bathhouse, a first aid station and concession stands. A small amusement park was added and the beach was improved. Today, according to what I read on the internet, the park attracts thousands to the public beach to enjoy a picnic on Long Island Sound, fishing from the fishing pier or launching their boats from the public boat ramp. Kids can enjoy the playground and swings. The park is one of the most popular spots for bird watching along the East Coast. Each fall and spring, thousands of birds migrate along Morris Creek. Park rangers provide programs for visitors and various ornithological groups conduct research

We bailed and drove up to Nathan Hale Park. On the way, we saw
Pardee Morris House which was burned in the Revolution

Pardee Morris House which was burned in the Revolution


Fort Nathan Hale sign

Fort Nathan Hale sign


We ended up at the fishing pier,
Fishing pier

Fishing pier


Jet skis

Jet skis


and when we walked out on it, we could see two lighthouses in the distance. One was Southwest Ledge Light, and the other was the New Haven Breakwater Light.

Southwest Ledge Light

The entrance to New Haven Harbor is guarded on the east by a dangerous ledge which is covered by only 7 ½ feet of water at low tide. It wasn't until the early 1870s that construction on the ledge was possible - until then sailors just had to know to give Five Mile Lighthouse a wide berth.

The Lighthouse Friends website describes the lighthouse as "The 45-foot-tall lighthouse is an eight-sided three-story cast-iron structure with a Mansard roof covering the top two stories. Atop the tower is an octagonal lantern room surmounted by an ogee octagonal roof.

Work on the foundation began in 1873 with three thousand tons of rip rap laid around a hole for a cast-iron tube. But before the tube could be inserted, a severe storm hit the ledge throwing the huge stones into the empty hole, and the project was delayed until the next spring.

The lighthouse superstructure was such a design innovation that it was put on display at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia from July 4, 1876 until the close of the exhibition. A keeper lived in the lighthouse (in Philadelphia), tending the beacon each night. An identical structure was sent to Southwest Ledge during the Exposition so that construction would not be delayed. After the Exposition, the display lighthouse was sent to Ship John Shoal in Delaware.
4135526-Southwest_Ledge_Light_East_Haven.jpgSouthwest Ledge Light--Lighthouse Friends photo

Southwest Ledge Light--Lighthouse Friends photo


Southwest Ledge Light was lit for the first time on January 1, 1877. The fourth-order Fresnel could be seen for thirteen miles. On August 20, 1888, a Daboll hot-air fog signal was established at the station, and in 1889, a red sector was added to the light.

The lighthouse was not a good place to live - problems included the nasty water that accumulated in the cistern, the unending dampness, and persistent cockroaches. The small, cramped, uncomfortable quarters eventually lead Assistant Keeper Nils Nilson to go berserk. One night, after a minor disagreement, a deranged Nilson grabbed the fire ax and chased Keeper Jorgen Jonnensen around the tower, before Jonnensen barricaded himself into a storage room, and Nilson rowed off into the night. Jonnensen decided not to report the incident, but convinced his brother-in-law to stay at the station as extra protection. Once again, Nilson lost his cool, and pinned Jonnensen against the wall threatening to cut his throat with a butcher knife. This time, Jonnensen was saved through the intervention of his brother-in-law. Shortly after, in 1908, Nilson went to shore and sadly took his own life.
4135524-Sailboat_with_lighthouse_East_Haven.jpgSailboat and lighthouse

Sailboat and lighthouse


The lives of many stranded souls were saved through the efforts of the keepers stationed at Southwest Ledge. Assistant Keeper Sidney Thompson was credited with saving four people at great personal risk soon after the light was established. Between 1914 and 1924 the keepers were instrumental in saving the lives of at least 20 people.

The light was automated in 1953 and is still active.

Five Mile Point Light

During the Revolutionary War, when Lighthouse Keeper Morris heard the British approaching, he mounted his horse and began shouting out orders to the stones and trees. The British were fooled into thinking there was an American force there and returned to their boats.

When the British did succeed in taking the point, Morris set his dining room table with all the food and luxuries he possessed, and then left the property. The British burned his home and all the buildings on his estate to the ground anyway.
First view

First view


Five Mile Point (named for its distance from downtown New Haven), has marked the entrance to New Haven Harbor since 1805, but sailors had to give the light a berth of at least two miles to avoid a dangerous ledge to its southwest. Mariners also complained that the light was not bright enough, nor tall enough to be seen over a row of trees to the east of the lighthouse. In 1845, a new tower was recommended, and it was suggested that a better placement would be on the Southwest Ledge that gave mariners so much trouble. However, it was not feasible to build on the ledge, so instead, a new tower was built at Five Mile Point for $10,000.
Five Mile Point Light

Five Mile Point Light


Completed in 1847, the new tower, painted white, stands 65 feet tall. The exterior is made of East Haven sandstone, the interior lined with New Haven brick, and the 74 steps leading to the lantern room are carved from solid granite. The new light, at a focal plane of 97 feet above sea, could be seen 10 nautical miles on a clear day, shining from a system of twelve lamps with 21-inch reflectors. The lamp system was upgraded to a fourth-order Fresnel lens in 1855.
4135546-light_and_sailboat_East_Haven.jpgLight and sailboat

Light and sailboat


The War Department took ownership of Five Mile Point in 1896 and leased the property to Albert Widmann. He earned some money by charging visitors to climb the tower. When the lease expired in 1922, the land was transferred to the State of Connecticut and the buildings to the city of New Haven.

The tower was renovated in 1986, complete with a new paint job and years of guano deposits steam cleaned from the staircase.
Beach and water

Beach and water


I took photos from the fishing pier the best I could.
Across the bay

Across the bay


My granddaughter collected shells and stones on the beach, which she doesn't get a chance to do much, living in central TX as she does.
Sign on the pier

Sign on the pier

Tern

Tern


The fisherman told me that there was a fort that we could see around the next corner so we went there.
Rosa Rugosa rose hips

Rosa Rugosa rose hips


Statue Captain Nathan Hale

Statue Captain Nathan Hale

Grand Union Flag (American Revolution) in the Flag Court

Grand Union Flag (American Revolution) in the Flag Court

Civil War drawbridge - built 1865 - reconstructed

Civil War drawbridge - built 1865 - reconstructed

Fort Nathan Hale

Fort Nathan Hale

Egret

Egret


This was a very nice little park.

It was getting quite cloudy, so we went back to the motel and walked over to Chili's for lunch.
4135441-Chips_before_the_meal_East_Haven.jpgChips and Broccoli cheese soup

Chips and Broccoli cheese soup

y100_1039.jpgMilk shake

Milk shake


It POURED rain while we were eating there. From inside the restaurant, we could see water from a puddle on the street outside spray up over the top of the cars going by. We stayed a little past the time that we finished eating,
daughter and granddaughter at lunch

daughter and granddaughter at lunch


and then ran back to the hotel in the remaining sprinkles.
large_y100_1040.jpg
I took a nap, and then showered and got ready to go to the wedding which was at 6 on the beach at Anthony's. They had a shuttle over there, but we also could have driven ourselves.
Grandchildren Getting ready to get on the shuttle bus (from inside)

Grandchildren Getting ready to get on the shuttle bus (from inside)


Our group was not the only one there that night. There was also a retirement party and an anniversary party.

We gathered in the garden before the wedding. My granddaughter wanted her wedding on the beach
Arch on the beach for the wedding

Arch on the beach for the wedding


so the facility supplied flip flops so we could go out on the sand without getting our shoes wet or dirty.
4135619-Married_on_the_beach_East_Haven.jpgBride and Groom getting married on the beach

Bride and Groom getting married on the beach


She also wanted a beach casual ambiance, but her friends insisted that Anthony's was a formal place and they would dress up. So they did. I aimed for a kind of hippy formal. Afterward there were cocktails and hors d'oeuvres in the garden
Garden where we had hors d'oevres - East Haven

Garden where we had hors d'oevres - East Haven


while photos were taken
Oldest daughter's family - August 2008

Oldest daughter's family - August 2008


4137742-Daughter_2s_family_August_2008.jpgDaughter #2's family and Son's family

Daughter #2's family and Son's family

Family at a wedding

Family at a wedding


and then we went inside
Entrance of the grooms parents

Entrance of the grooms parents


for a sit down dinner (They have very good food),
Main course - dinner with orchid

Main course - dinner with orchid

Dessert buffet

Dessert buffet

Wedding Cake

Wedding Cake


4164401-Dancing_East_Haven.jpg.Dancing

Dancing


dancing and the usual festivities that go with a wedding. Everything was very lovely
Anthony;s From the beach

Anthony;s From the beach

Posted by greatgrandmaR 21:22 Archived in USA Tagged traffic wedding park family lighthouse tolls ezpass Comments (0)

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