Monday, December 31, 2018

A Birthday/Christmas Shopping Expedition!

It isn’t just the fact that my better half has a birthday in December…it’s more to the fact that her ‘birthday’ celebration begins in mid-November and stretches on to the third of January!  Consequently, shopping and meals out come to a crescendo during this period.  Only a little of it relates to Christmas either…

So Laurie had been wanting to visit a decor, craft/antique/gift, food, bath and body and clothing destination in Chattanooga and I had to ensure that this birthday wish came true!

This is the front of Vinterest South near downtown Chattanooga.  It’s the second store created by a couple with extensive retail experience.  She was a regional manager for a big box retailer and he owned a restaurant and bar and also was a sales and territorial manager.  One plus, he has some serious carpentry skills…as is readily visible with the store’s display structures.

Vinterest South (as well as Vinterest North I’m sure) has a large selection of antiques, vintage and vintage inspired items, furniture, home décor items, Do-it-Yourself products and a plethora of pottery, lotions, soaps, as well as locally crafted food and snacks.

Here we have Laurie and Sherry just beginning their exploration of Vinterest South.  FYI…I’d already finished my walk through, noting booths where I knew there was ‘purchasing risks’!  So I sort of moved around with the ladies, finding a place to sit and contemplate life whenever I could.

From my photos you can get an idea of the wide variety of items offered at Vinterest South.  However, I realized that I didn’t take a photo of “Vinterest and Co.”, a clothing and gift store-within-a-store.  It was located at one end of the building and it carries 5 lines of goods that are found exclusively inside Vinterest stores.  Of special interest for many shoppers would be the Doggie Boutique.

Vinterest South is located at 2121 Chestnut Street in Chattanooga.  Phone: 423-498-4825.  The original Vinterest Store has 100 booths.  It’s located just a little north of Chattanooga at 2105 Northpoint Road in Hixson Tennessee.  It’s worthy of note that Vinterest has been voted Chattanooga’s People’s Choice as the area’s best antique store for 4 years in a row!

For more information about Vinterest South, just go to Facebook at  Vinterest has a website as well at

We exited Vinterest with a number of purchases…no surprise there!  However, insightful person that I am, I decided in advance that a mere 60 booths wouldn’t complete Laurie and Sherry’s shopping desires and I was sure that they would feel unfulfilled.  So I did a little research, looking for a second shopping option.

When I told them that I’d discovered another Holiday shopping venue, they were very happy that their shopping experience was going to be extended!

But first, I’d planned lunch at one of our favorite fried chicken joints!  This is Champy's World Famous Fried Chicken at 526 East Martin Luther King Boulevard in Chattanooga.  Doesn’t that chicken look great?  It was!!  Phone: 423-752-9198.  Website: (Photos are from a previous visit)

My second shopping ‘find’ for Laurie’s shopping pleasure was located at the Chattanooga Convention Center.  It was the Chattanooga Holiday Market!

The Holiday Market featured over 200 booths with local food vendors, artists and crafters.  It was open each Saturday and Sunday in December through December 18, offering just about anything shoppers might need…or at least think that they need for the holidays.

As you might imagine, I’m not really into shopping… At the convention center Holiday Market I was ‘saved’ from total boredom by this choral group from Chattanooga’s Center for Creative Arts, a fine arts magnet school for students in grades 6 – 12 from all over Hamilton County Tennessee.  This school has a 100% graduation rate and it ranked #7 in the US News and World Report listing of the Best High Schools in Tennessee.

Best of all…these kids could sing…and even better, most of the songs were upbeat!  They even sang the currently “controversial” tune Baby its Cold Outside, and they did a fine job of it too!

You can check out the Center for Creative Arts website at 

If you actually visited every booth, it would take 2 days to peruse all the vendor’s offerings!  It just went on and on... There was pottery, custom pieces of art in various forms, handcrafted jewelry, local foods, bath and body products, locally designed apparel, wood furniture, plants, and much, much more.

I had to take a photo of the quilting booth in the last photo above.  Laurie invested in a larger purchase here and I wanted ‘to thank’ the lady.

No surprise to anyone who knows me…this bakery products vendor was the only place where I made a purchase!  It was all about the bread and cookies.  The ginger cookies were killer good!

Here are a couple of the purchases that Laurie made.  The candle was a winner because of the Scottish Thistle design.  I’ve been told that the quilt/blanket creation is warm and cozy…but I haven’t been permitted to use it yet.  Laurie has received several compliments on it already.

There is no doubt that Laurie and Sherry viewed this shopping adventure as a win!  Both ladies took home a number of goodies and I earned some much needed ‘points’ with my better half.  Sherry’s spouse Mike was also happy…he didn’t have to go on this adventure!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by to see what we’ve been up to!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, December 28, 2018

On to Belfast Maine – Time for a Light Lunch

After exploring the Penobscot Maritime Museum in Searsport, we took a quick look around town before heading back south along the coast in the direction of our hotel in Rockland…

Another peaceful harbor full of pleasure craft… With an estimated population of a little over 2,600, given all of these boats in the harbor, it’s safe to say that Searsport is a popular tourist destination.  This sheltered harbor provides a safe anchorage that measures about 2 miles by 3 miles with a depth of about 40 feet at low tide.

Historically, the size and safety provided by the harbor was critical to the town’s success.  In the 1800s, this port had 17 shipyards which built 200 plus ships.  The town also supplied fully 10% of all US merchant marine deep water captains!

As this long range photo shows, Searsport is still a significant deep-water port.  Irving Oil has a terminal here that is frequented by 3 identical ships, Nor’ Easter, New England and Great Eastern.  This is Maine’s second largest deep water port.  In addition to Irving Oil, Sprague operates a 614 foot long pier and it also maintains an 850 foot pier plus there is an 800 foot long railway pier.  

I’m not sure where this photo was taken… It could have been at Searsport but it may well have been along Belfast’s harborwalk.  Loved the feeling the photo conveyed.

FYI...Try pronouncing this name!  Belfast Maine is built on the Passagassawakeaq River estuary on Belfast Bay.

As we drove through the town of Belfast, we spotted the Front Street Pub and Harborwalk Restaurant, and it grabbed our attention as well as our appetites.  The building just looks like “New England Coast”… Note the outside deck, a popular spot but I like to stay out of the sun unless I’m wearing a hat and I’ve slathered up with sun tan lotion.

Inside the décor is wood, a scattering of old signs, (I especially like the old Coke/Grocery sign), miscellaneous north woods items and relatively low ceilings. 

The Front Street Pub is open year around.  It looks like the bar may be one of the social centers of Belfast during the winter months.  Note the pool table and various games in the adjoining room.  In the second photo, I’m not sure that the locals liked me taking photos of them… Two of them are giving me ‘the look’!  I also noted a collection of police uniform patches in the center of this photo at the corner of the bar.

Laurie had a ‘Lone Pine’ beer and I had one called ‘Stone Crab’. ($5.50 each) We both enjoyed our selection.  Lone Pine is a Portland Maine based brewery.  You can check out their offerings at  Stone Crab is an American IPA beer that is brewed by the Belfast Bay Brewing Company.  For more information about this brewery, go to  

For our light lunch, we chose two appetizers.  The first was the Smoked Salmon Platter. ($13.99) It featured “Ducktrap” cold smoked salmon, house made dill cream cheese, capers, red onions, tomatoes and a baguette.  It was a very satisfying platter of goodness! 

To learn about Ducktrap Salmon, go to  You can buy this excellent product on-line…but in our case, it can also be purchased at Fresh Market in Farragut.  St. Louis relatives…you can buy it at Dierberg’s.

OK… This was an item that neither Laurie nor yours truly had ever seen on a menu.  I have a vague memory of my mother mentioning it as a food item.  We ordered a basket of Fried Fiddleheads. ($7.99) No, this isn’t some form of seafood…  Fiddleheads or fiddlehead greens are the furled fronds of a young fern that are harvested for use as a vegetable.  They were Yummy!

These fern fronds resemble the scroll on the end of a violin…hence their name “fiddleheads”.  FYI, fiddleheads have an antioxidant action, they are a source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and they are high in iron and fiber.  Beware though… Certain varieties have been shown to be carcinogenic. 
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Penobscot Marine Museum – Searsport Maine

We took our time driving north along the Maine coast, stopping to take photos, shop a little, etc.  It’s only a little over 33 miles from Rockland, where we were staying, and our objective for the day in Searsport…

This is the Visitor’s Center, admissions desk and museum store at the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport.  The museum was established way back in 1936 by descendants of former sea captains, with the objective of celebrating, preserving and promoting the area’s maritime heritage.  This multi-faceted museum covers a total of 3.1 acres.

Of the 13 buildings comprising the Museum, a total of 8 structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The brick building in the photo is a former Congregational Vestry that dates back to 1841.   

The Greek revival style First Congregational Church was built in 1834.  Although it is contained within the boundaries of the Penobscot Marine Museum, it isn’t owned by it.  It is still an active congregation.  As it turned out, we were fortunate to arrive close to the time that a guide was scheduled to give a tour of this magnificent building.

This is a view toward the altar and the church’s impressive organ.  Although it isn’t readily visible in this photo, the oak church pews are bowed/curved…much like a boat’s hull.  Due to repairs and refurbishment necessitated by water damage, the old pews were removed ca. 1902 and the new ones were bent in a steam box, the same way ship’s timbers were fashioned in some older shipyards.

The organ was installed in 1905, replacing an earlier one.  It was built by the E.W. Lane Organ Company in Massachusetts.  It has 1,116 pipes!

The stained glass windows pictured above are representative of the spectacular windows installed here that were completed by a man named George Spence from Boston.  They too were installed in 1902 and had all been recently cleaned and restored at the time of our visit.

This is the Captain Jeremiah Merithew House.   FYI, Captain Merithew was not captain of a boat per se, but rather the owner of a ship building company.  The house was situated so he could oversee the operation as well as observe the bank that he also owned.  The exhibits in this house are quite amazing and varied.  There are marine related paintings, scrimshaw, ship models, porcelain from the Far East, furniture, photographs and much more.  

Laurie and I really enjoyed and marveled at a 1929 film of a ship called “The Peking” sailing around Cape Horn.  It was narrated by a seaman (later Captain) who had made the trip.  “The Peking” is still afloat and undergoing restoration in Germany.  She was launched in 1911 and she made 34 voyages around Cape Horn carrying nitrate and wheat.  For more information on this ship, you can go to

We love antiques from China, Japan and Korea.  This intricate chest guarded by oversized Foo Dogs certainly caught our attention.

Actually, Chinese guardian lions are miscalled “Foo or Fu Dogs” in the West 

This walrus tusk is one of the largest and most intricate pieces of scrimshaw artistry that we’ve ever seen.  The collection of scrimshaw at the museum is quite extensive.

I took a large number of photos of ship paintings while touring the museum…mainly because I love classic old ship paintings!  This painting is entitled “Wharves at Castine” and it was painted ca. 1900 by George Savary Wasson.

This painting is entitled “Ship Hibernia in Storm”.  It was painted by an unknown artist ca. 1835.  The ship was built in New York in 1830.

This painting by Thomas Butterworth Sr. was completed in 1815.  It’s titled “HMS Shannon captures USS Chesapeake – June 1, 1813”.  FYI, in this battle, as he was dying, US Captain James Lawrence, coined the phrase “Don’t give up the ship”.

FYI…feeling generous?  I’d love to have any painting done by any of the 3 generations of Butterworths…Thomas Sr., Thomas Jr. or James E.  Thanks in advance!

In addition to many, many paintings, there were a wide variety of intricate ship models.  This is the “B. Ayman”, a full-rigged ship built in Searsport in 1840.  This model was completed by Capt. Phineas B. Blanchard. (1879 – 1962)

This strange looking ship is the schooner “Thomas W. Lawson”.  This steel hull ship was the only schooner with 7 masts ever built.  The model was built by Eugene F. Porter.  The actual ship was 385 feet long and each of her masts were 193 feet high.  She was built in 1902 and sank in a storm near England in 1907.

This is another example of the variety on display at the Penobscot Marine Museum.  From left to right, we have the following uniforms: Bavarian soldier’s tunic; US Army tunic from the “All American” 82nd Division, and; a US Navy tunic.

Photos were plentiful throughout the museum.  I loved this old photo of downtown Searsport.  Too bad I didn’t think to take a current one to compare… I did locate a current copyrighted photo on the Internet that shows that the two buildings at the far right of this old photo are still standing.  

From the time of Searsport’s founding until the present day, the town has been home to more than 500 master mariners.  I took a photo of one segment of a display that includes photos of 293 of these Captains.  Those with a black star by their photo went to sea and didn’t return. 

This is the Nickels-Colcord-Duncan House.  It was built ca. 1845 and it now houses the museum’s administrative offices.

The Stephen Phillips Memorial Library is a research library that houses the museum’s photographic collection.  One of the archivists showed us some of the old negatives that they have in the collection and he gave us some information on a few of the photos on the walls. 

This unusual old ambrotype photo is labeled “Chinese Steward with Captain C.F. Carver”.  Captain Carver mastered ships to the Far East from 1870 until 1901.  Just who this person was is a matter of conjecture.

This attention getting device is referred to as a “Tramp Chair”.  It was created by a deputy sheriff from Oakland Maine who built several of them in 1896.  He thought that they could be the answer to the “hobo nuisance” that existed at that time.  He wanted the state to support their use but his suggestion was rejected.  They became sideshow attractions at fairs…

This is Peapod: the Savage Education Center.  It’s located in the Josiah Dutch House, which was built ca. 1848.  This former home of a shipbuilder now serves as a place for hands-on activities and learning for children.

This is an interior photo of the Education Center.  Kids can be a ship’s captain, a shopkeeper, dress up in clothing from the 1800's, play with ship models, tie knots, use their imagination, etc.

This is the Nickels-Colcord-Duncan Boat Barn.  It was built ca. 1845.  Its home for many of the traditional boats of Maine that were built in the late 1800's and early 1900's. 

I’m not even sure which buildings these photos were taken in… However, they  do give viewers a glimpse of the extensive variety and scope of the artifacts and photographs on display at the Penobscot Marine Museum!  

This is a lobster trap.  Without this equipment, Laurie wouldn’t be able to find her favorite food on a menu. 

While there are several types of lobster traps, most of the newer traps in New England consist of a plastic-coated frame.  A piece of bait is placed inside the trap and the traps are dropped onto the sea floor.  A long rope attached to the trap reaches up to the surface to a marker buoy that is imprinted with the trap’s owner’s lobster fishing license number.

This may look like a canoe but it really is a canvas covered “peapod”, a traditional Maine boat.  This one was built in 1982…and it’s stretched canvas over a frame.  The original “peapods” made with wood, weighed 300 lbs.  “Peapods” were developed by Native Americans before the arrival of Europeans.  They were for use on salt water and are perhaps best described as a canoe adapted for rough water with a heavy carrying capacity.

This old boat is called a “Yawl Boat”.  This one is from the coastal schooner “Lillian”.  Both this boat and the “Lillian” were built in 1876.  The yawl boat (motorized) was suspended from the stern of the schooner and her job was to help maneuver the larger vessel to and from the dock. 

This rough looking boat was made from hackmatack knees and pine planking with oak rails.  It is a ‘smelt scow’ that was built in 1934 and which was used until the mid-1950's for commercial smelt fishing on the Penobscot River.  This scow is 30 feet 10 inches long.  It was originally propelled with a sculling oar at the rear although in later years an outboard motor was used.

Note: I learned something new… The tamarack tree is a bog tree, fast-growing with shallow roots.  Their ‘hackmatack’ roots are prized because of their strength and durability to create braces in building of wooden ships.  The roots are also decay resistant…a big win on ships.

We didn’t know what this was either… It’s a herring scaler.  Herring were pumped in water into this cage which spun rapidly.  The metal mesh striped off the scales which fell through the mesh with the fish going into the ship’s hold. 
This device wasn’t just a convenience for cleaning the fish.  Herring scales are a valuable commodity in making cosmetics.  The scales were processed, becoming ‘pearl essence’.  Fish scales are still used in various products in this day and age.

The proceeding 3 photos show the front of the Fowler-True-Ross House, the master bedroom and the parlor.  This Sea Captain’s home was built ca. 1815.  It’s completely furnished to include Chinese and Japanese export porcelain, paintings, textiles as well as period furniture.

I know that this has been a long blog post.  Still, I only utilized a fraction of the photos we took at the museum.  I didn’t show the tools used by loggers, farmers, housewives, ice harvesters, ship builders and mariners.  I left out ship figureheads and dioramas.  The ship models, paintings and small craft that I featured were a tiny fraction of those on display. 

The Penobscot Marine Museum is a big, well organized museum.  It is a very interesting place and we highly recommend it to others.  The museum is located at 2 Church Street in Searsport Maine.  Phone: 207-548-0334.  Website:  It is closed for the season and will reopen on Memorial Day weekend in 2019.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit…and for persisting until the end!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave