Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Shades Of September

Have you ever looked at a recent photograph of yourself and thought "Wow, time is really piling up"? You don't notice the changes day-to-day, but then a moment arrives when it is the first thing you see. You can't quite put your finger on the details of what is different, but you know it is there.
When I look at these photos of Quiambog Cove, autumn is the first thing I see. There is no fall foliage or long shadows to suggest a later date, but I can see it nonetheless. While it may have been early August with temperatures near 90, the sun was slightly lower, the grass was a different green, and the air didn't smell the same. The landscape wasn't yet dying, but it was no longer growing. 
The past few days have brought cooler temperatures with high winds to Long Island Sound. It has been an early taste of fall without the subtleties in the pictures above. Cold mornings, northeast winds, and a stormfront lingering for 3 days,  all provide a hint of what lay ahead in the coming months.
But summer doesn't end here. Some of my best times afloat have been in the months of September and October. The humidity and fog are often gone, and so are the crowds. Places I avoid in the summer, become accesible again. The fishing is better, and the sailing is too. If given a choice between August and September, I will choose September every time.
Despite all this, there is always a part of me that hates to see August come to an end. Maybe it is some internal clock left over from my days in school. Maybe it is the Halloween items that start appearing in stores, and the advertisements warning me to gear up for winter.
But I really think it has more to do with my outlook than anything else. When September arrives, I appreciate the return of fall for what it is. Nothing more, nothing less. In the days of August however, I always waste too many hours preoccupied with the passing of time. 

Quiambog Cove: Map

Monday, August 23, 2010

Essex Museum Fire

 A fire earlier this month at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex resulted in significant damage to this waterfront landmark. On the evening of August 11, firefighters from three towns responded to the blaze which engulfed all three stories on the east side of the building.
Built in 1878, the building served as a warehouse for the many steamboats travelling the river. Threatened by commerial developement in the 1970's, a nonprofit group organized and created the riverside museum which exists today. Focusing on both the Connecticut River and local maritime history, it is one of the nicer regional museums I have visited.
While the fire caused significant structural damage , the museum's collection of artifacts was saved. They were forced to shut down for a period, but the museum was open to the public once again this past weekend.

Soundbounder: Mary E

Monday, August 2, 2010

Farm River State Park

I am reluctant to call these 62 acres in East Haven a state park. While it is certainly a park owned by the state, this is not another Sherwood Island or Hammonassett . There is no sprawling beach here, or ballfields, concession stands, or pavillions. Instead you will find a marshy piece of land that leads to a small marina and kayak launch.
I entered the park from Mansfield Grove Lane and followed a dirt and gravel road which winds  its way between a large meadow and pond. A few condiminiums overwhelm the horizon at first, but they give way to a more natural landscape as you continue east. In the 1980's, this area was under heavy development pressure as old cabins and cottages were replaced by gated communties and new housing. The state was fortunate to purchase this land when it did.
Upon reaching the marina (operated by Quinnipiac University), I walked south a few hundred feet to a small beach area with some picnic tables nearby. Across the river I could see Kelsey Island, with its pink granite shoreline very much like the Thimble Islands several miles east. Geologically, this is a unique stretch of  Long Island Sound. 

With large tracts of available land nearly nonexistant, and waterfront prices, excessively expensive, Farm River  may be the type of park we see more often in the future. There is not something for everyone here, and that is its best appeal.

CT Coastal Access Guide: Farm River