Monday, June 27, 2016

WALK IN THE DUNES: Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware

Henlopen State Park, Delaware, view from Herring Point
On a recent trip to visit relatives in Delaware, we did an excursion to Henlopen State Park to view the ocean and beach and take a walk along one of the many trails. Cape Henlopen is a short distance from the historic town of Lewes, and on our way to the park we did a short driving tour of the town.
We started our visit to the park at the Herring Point overlook with its spectacular view. It was a holiday weekend and the beach was filled with people as far as the eye could see–picnicking, surf fishing, flying kites, playing at the water’s edge. Behind us were the remains of a World War II bunker and an observation tower. As well as having a military history,the Delaware coast is also along an important bird migration route, and as we stood at the observation point, we watched ospreys and other birds soar overhead. In the distance, the ferry headed for Cape May in New Jersey.
From the time of the American Revolution, Cape Henlopen in Delaware has been an important strategic location along the Atlantic coast. Poised at the entrance to Delaware Bay and across from Cape May in southern New Jersey, it is at the entrance to an important shipping channel going up the Delaware River to Philadelphia and beyond. Today, Cape Henlopen is a Delaware State Park.
After enjoying the view, we set out on  the bike path/walking trail, which, after a short while, became a board walk with dunes on one side and forest on the other.
The trail eventually leads to Gordon’s Pond but we only went as far as the viewpoint (and bench) overlooking the vast salt marsh, a beautiful sea of green grasses.
It was warm for late May, but the sea breeze made the air comfortable. It was a lovely day with flowers blooming and birds singing. On the way back to our car, we spotted a pair of warblers in a tree along the path.
Although I have driven through northern Delaware near the city of Wilmington in the past, this was my first chance to spend any time there. Delaware is a state with a long history--I’d forgotten that it was the first colony to become a state in the United States–and places like Lewes and Cape Henlopen are well worth further exploring. I will have to go back.

Monday, June 20, 2016

INSIDE OUT: Art Masterpieces On Exhibit in Philadelphia Neighborhoods

Mont Sante-Victoire, 1902-04 by Paul Cezanne at the Philly Tour Hub
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is sharing its art in a program called Inside/Out. This summer and fall (see schedule below), sixty high-quality replicas of Museum masterpieces have found their way into communities around the region. Each participating neighborhood features about ten artworks within a short distance of each other.
I was in Philadelphia recently and decided it would be fun to take a tour of one of these art installations. The closest was in Old City, Philadelphia, not far from many of the city’s famous historic sites such as the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Christ Church and Betsy Ross’s house. So, I downloaded a map of the locations and set out on my walk. The fascinating thing about exhibiting art in this way is how putting a painting in the real world instead of hanging it on a museum wall changes how it is viewed–it becomes one more part of the landscape. Art objects were clearly chosen to have some connection to the location in which they are displayed. Here are some of the fifteen pieces of art that I saw that are featured in the Old City group.
Interior of Sant Bavo, Haarlem, 1631 by Pieter Jansz. Saenredam at Market and N. 2nd (Christ Church behind)
Disks of Newton, 1912 by Frantisek Kupka at the Chemical Heritage Foundation
Carnival Evening 1886 by Henri Rousseau at the Arden Theater Company
Portrait of Mademoiselle Legrand, 1875 by Auguste Renoir at the Hamilton Family Arts Center
Bowl, 1969 by Rudolf Staffel at Cut It Out Hair Salon
Sugar Cane, 1931 by Diego Rivera in OCD lot
Inside Out will be presented in two cycles.
April 15–July 15, 2016

(To see what artwork is featured in each community, go to the Inside Out website and download the maps. You can also find links to more information about many of the art pieces. And you can download an app for your phone to use as you tour.)

    Coatesville, Chester County, PA   Download map >>
    Doylestown, Bucks County, PA   Download map >>
    Lansdowne, Delaware County, PA   Download map >>
    Narberth, Montgomery County, PA   Download map >>
    Old City, Philadelphia* (on view through July 28)   Download map >>
    Tacony, Philadelphia   Download map >>

August 1–November 1, 2016

    Brewerytown, Philadelphia
    Bristol, Bucks County, PA
    Conshohocken, Montgomery County, PA
    Jenkintown, Montgomery County,PA
    Phoenixville, Chester County, PA
    Upper Darby, Delaware County, PA

Monday, June 13, 2016


Zebras and Wildebeests in Tanzania
My friend and fellow children's book writer Ann Whitford Paul recently went with her husband Ron on a trip to Africa, where they did some amazing wildlife viewing in Uganda and Tanzania. Her pictures bring back memories of my own trip to those countries in 1971. Although much has changed since then, the wonder of seeing animals at home in their natural habitat is still the same. Here is a photo tour of some of the highlights of Ann and Ron's trip.

After our gorilla trek in Uganda it was time to go to Tanzania for a more leisurely safari sitting in a jeep and taking in the great migration.  Nothing prepares you for the sight of one and a half million wildebeests and zebras as far as you can see.
Wildebeests are the ugly ducklings of the African plain, but how I loved zebras, especially Mom nursing her young one.

Other highlights in Tanzania included these vultures fighting over a place at the carrion table—Noisy!  Aggressive!  Hungry!
This lion could have used a fly swatter. 

Couldn’t believe this family photo wasn’t posed.  Maybe lions send holiday cards too.  This mother and four cubs need their aunt to help with the child care and protect from predators.

Cheetahs sometimes hunt in pairs (usually brothers) and then take turns—one eats while the other watches out for danger (usually in the form of a hyena.)  When they’re all done, they lick each other clean.  No need for napkins!

This ostrich looks much more majestic in the wild than any I’ve ever seen in a zoo.    
In fact all wild animals are sleeker, more alert and healthier than you can imagine.  Probably because the weak and infirm eventually become meal for their predators.  I believe in zoos and their work breeding endangered species and bringing a distant part of the word to us.  That said, I much prefer seeing creatures in their natural habitat and hope these pictures might inspire readers to put Africa on their bucket list.  It will be a never-forgotten trip.  And lucky for us, we have a granddaughter to call us back to this amazing continent.

You can read about Ann's trip to Uganda in her posts on 5/30/16 and 6/6/16.
You can find out more about Ann Whitford Paul and her books at .