Monday, August 31, 2009

Splashtown Funtown USA

After lunch at Old Orchard Beach we headed to Saco to visit Splashtown Funtown USA. It's a water park inside of an amusement park. We did both, but I was too busy going down water slides in Splashtown with Katie to get my camera out. But I did take it out when we rode the other rides in Funtown.

Tomorrow we'll go on more rides!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Old Orchard Beach

I bet you didn't know that I had a Pizza Place!

I didn't either! We were headed just south of Portland to spend a fun day with family and stopped for lunch at Old Orchard Beach.

There was a fun boardwalk with all kinds of rides, and a nice beach to soak up the sun or play in the ocean.

But all we did was eat lunch here. We were headed to another fun place! More on that tomorrow!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fun and Games

CJ and Katie had a great time playing Badminton with their cousins! We did have a day or two where we stayed at the house to relax, although relaxing really meant chasing the kids outside to play!

Friday, August 28, 2009


After exploring the lighthouses we headed to the marina to find some lunch. I was able to wander around a bit and found all kinds of interesting things to take pictures of.

Portland is a very pretty little town. I would love to go back and explore more! Katie wants to move there. I don't think I can handle the winters though!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fort Preble

Henry A.S. Dearborn built this second-system fortification as an "embargo fort" in 1808 and named it in honor of Commodore Edward Preble. It was built to enforce the unpopular trade embargo that President Thomas Jefferson enacted against Great Britain by preventing Maine merchants from trading with the English.

In October of 1808, Dearborn ordered a company of soldiers to occupy the fort and instructed them to do whatever was necessary to enforce the Embargo Act against embargo-breaking ships. The embargo was finally lifted in March of 1809.

In addition, various units manned Fort Preble during the War of 1812. Among them were elements of the Regiment of Light Artillery, the 21st, 33rd, and 34th Regiments of Infantry, as well as U.S. Volunteers — and in times of crisis local militia. When Winfield Scott and other American soldiers returned from British imprisonment in Quebec, they were landed at Fort Preble. Many of them were emaciated and ill, and some died at this post's hospital.

The fort saw action during the Civil War, when Confederate Army raiders entered Portland Harbor on June 26, 1863, aboard a captured ship named Archer. The Confederates captured the ship Caleb Cushing the next day, and attempted an escape. Calm seas forced them to set the ship on fire, and they were captured by Union forces. Twenty-three Confederate prisoners were captured and taken to the fort.

The fort remained manned through the Civil War, World War I and World War II. It was decommissioned in 1950. Spring Point Ledge Light was built near the site in 1897.

Wish I could take credit for this photo, but I just couldn't jump that high. This photo was borrowed from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Spring Point Ledge Light

Spring Point Ledge Light is a lighthouse adjacent to Bug Light, and marks a dangerous obstruction on the west side of the main shipping channel into Portland Harbor.

The lighthouse was constructed in 1897 by the government after seven steamship companies stated that many of their vessels ran aground on Spring Point Ledge. Congress initially allocated $20,000 to its construction, although the total cost of the tower ended up being $45,000 due to problems with storms and poor quality cement.
The lighthouse featured a fog horn that sounded every 12 seconds, and a lantern fitted with a fifth order Fresnel lens first lit by Keeper William A. Lane on May 24, 1897.

Improvements were made to the lighthouse throughout the 20th century. It was electrified in 1934, and in 1951, a 900-foot breakwater made from 50,000 tons of granite was constructed in order to connect the lighthouse to the mainland.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bug Light

The Portland Breakwater Light (also called Bug Light) is a small lighthouse in South Portland. The lighthouse's flashing red beacon helped guide ships from Casco Bay through the entrance to Portland harbor.
The lighthouse was first built in 1855, as a wooden structure, but the breakwater was extended and a new lighthouse was constructed at the end of it. The new lighthouse was made of curved cast-iron plates whose seams are disguised by six decorative Corinthian columns.

Wooden sheds and a six-room house for the lighthouse-keeper were added incrementally as needed. In 1934 Spring Point Ledge Light was erected and the houses around Bug Light were demolished and the lighthouse keeper tended to both lighthouses. The lighthouse was abandoned in 1943 as the breakwater entering the harbor receded.

Today this light is currently active. It was fully restored in 1989 and was reactivated in 2002. And it is a really cool place to explore!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Girls Rule!!

The sign says so!!

Aunt Jenny really enjoyed having a girl around as she has two boys. And both of them are teenagers.
So she and Katie decided to have a sleep over.

Out came the costumes!

They went into a back room, got Katie all dressed up, then put on a fashion show.

Katie had a blast!! I think having Aunt Jenny to play with was Katie's favorite part of the whole trip! Thanks Aunt Jenny!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


To the beat of the drums! Aunt Jenny is a drummer and played a few tunes for us. Not the rock band kind of drums, but the African kind. Her favorite kind of drum is called a djembe, and she takes lessons in Portland. She is really good too!

Katie helped with the beat on a tambourine,

then switched to dancing with the beat!

Here is a quick video of some djambe drummers. Makes me want to get up and dance too!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bye-bye Boston!

Just a few parting shots as we head back to Portland. I really enjoyed walking the freedom trail, and I think the kids did too. Maybe they even learned something about the history of our country.

Katie was all smiles as we headed back to the train station.

While waiting for the train to pull into the station, one of the kids happened to look up. This sign was posted on the ceiling, with really no way to get up there anyway.

Do the people of Boston try to walk on ceilings often? I didn't see anyone up there...

All aboard!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bunker Hill Monument

On the morning of June 17, 1775, New England provincials, subjects of the king, stood up to the mighty British army for the first time in battle. They repulsed two assults before retreating during a third attack.It all started twelve years prior, when new taxes on sugar and other goods had been emposed on the colonists to help pay for the British government's huge debt from the French and Indian War. The Patriots felt that "taxation without representation is tyranny" and staged protests, leading up to the Boston Tea Party where over 342 chests of tea were dumped into Boston Harbor on December 16, 1773. All that tea would cost more than $1 million in today's currency. The British government passed a series of punitive measures and sent soldiers and sailors to Boston to enforce a blockade of the harbor. Martial law was established and British general Thomas Gage replaced the civilian governor. The colonists retaliated by creating a parallel government, the Provincial Congress. Militia groups, called minutemen, began training in case British troops asserted their authority. Lexington, Concord and Arlington were where the first clashes between the minutemen and British troops occured.

Following these skirmishes, the rebel Committee of Safety asked the men of Massachusetts to raise an army. In a few short weeks, men from all over New England arrived to lay siege to Boston. Before long, some ten to fifteen thousand colonists had surrounded Boston, and General Gage found his army encircled.

More troops were sent from England and the British generals decided to seize the hills of Charlestown and Dorchester Neck to regain control of Boston. The colonists discovered the British plan and, led by Col. William Prescott, built a fort on Breed's Hill after passing over Bunker Hill. The next morning, the British army was surprised to find a fort had been built overnight! In the afternoon of June 17, the King's army landed on the shores of Charlestown, setting the town on fire. Told by General Prescott to "don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes", the inexperienced militia men held off the British. The first two attacks on the hill were disastrous for the British army. However, the colonists had exhausted their ammunition and the British army was able to scale the fort and push the colonists off the hill.

Although the British army had won the battle, the colonists realized that they had fought one of the finest armies in the world and had turned them back twice. Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John, "The day, perhaps the decisive day has come, on which the fate of America depends." The American Revolution had begun.

The Bunker Hill Monument was built to commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill, although is not on Bunker Hill but instead on Breed's Hill where most of the fighting in the misnamed Battle of Bunker Hill actually took place. The 221 foot (67 m) granite obelisk was erected between 1827 and 1843 of with granite from Quincy, Massachusetts, conveyed to the site via the Granite Railway, built specially for that purpose, followed by a trip by barge.

There are 294 steps to the top, and we felt each one of them for several days!

Well, I hope you enjoyed our little trip to Boston and learned some American history along the way! OK, I admit, it really is much more interesting now than when I had to memorize all those dates, and even better when you can walk around the battle field. I promise there won't be any quizzes!