Monday, August 23, 2010

Ship Tracking Program to Located Cruise Ships... Feel Free to Use!


Monday, July 5, 2010

Bar Harbor Inn - The Reading Room - A cozy New England village restaurant.


The Reading Room’s name has a distinguished history. In 1874 a social club was organized on Maine’s Mount Desert Island, called the Oasis Club. A few years later it moved into the Mount Desert Reading Room, housed in a new cedar-shingled structured designed by architect William Randolph Emerson. Over the years the center for social activities was visited by the likes of President Taft as well as officers of the U.S. Navy whose ships visited the idyllic shores of Frenchman Bay. But in 1947, after a terrible fire ravaged the island and consumed Bar Harbor’s famous hotels, the area was left without a means to attract visitors. Beginning in 1950, what is now the Bar Harbor Inn began a course of reconstruction. Today the Reading Room Restaurant overlooking one of Maine’s most stunning harbor vistas recreates the cultured elegance of a bygone aristocratic era without being stuffy or formal. On the contrary, the dining room regularly features local pianist John Haskell whose versatile style ranges from big band and show tunes to contemporary pieces that appeal to all ages.

Gazing out of my seaside window, with the evening sky growing ever darker, the dancing harbor lights twinkled and reflected off the glassy dark blue sea below. As gentle waves lapped on the harbor shore, an equally gentle wave of satisfaction gradually crept over me as I rehearsed each of the courses I enjoyed. Yes, this was the perfect end to a great day. I had traipsed through Acadia National Park, viewing breathtaking coastal scenery, enchanted by forests of evergreen and deciduous fall color, and captivated by the romantic carriage roads built for horse-drawn coaches. And now, here, relaxing in the midst of a cozy New England village restaurant, I knew I had just partaken of some of the delights once experienced by members of those famous, aristocratic American dynasties who played and dined here so long ago.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bay Ferries Announces End to Cat Ferry Service


Bay Ferries Limited today announced that it will end its high-speed CAT ferry service between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine.

The change takes effect in the spring of 2010 meaning there will be no ferry service this coming year and the end of the service also means that approximately 120 people will lose full or part-time employment.

The decision will no doubt have a disastrous impact on tourism in the coming season, not only in Yarmouth and southwestern Nova Scotia, but it will reduce the number of travellers entering the province through this gateway.

The news of the ferry service cancellation comes just a couple of weeks after air service offered by Starlink was suspended at the Yarmouth airport so this is the second loss of an important transportation link in a very short time.

Bay Ferries says the financial viability of the service has been impacted by reduced passenger traffic due to a series of factors including new US passport rules, a strong Canadian dollar and the weak economy in key U.S. markets.

Mark MacDonald, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bay Ferries Limited, communicated the news to affected employees at a staff meeting in Yarmouth this morning. Separate meetings were held in Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine.

"This was an extremely difficult decision to make, particularly given there has been some form of ferry service out of Yarmouth since the 1800s," said MacDonald. "Although Bay Ferries recognizes this is a sad day for our workers and the communities we serve in southwestern Nova Scotia and Maine, our company is not in a position to absorb the significant financial loss we would experience in the absence of government support.”

Yarmouth County’s two MLAs will held a press conference at 11 a.m. Friday morning the discuss the situation.

“This is disastrous,” Argyle MLA Chris d’Entremont told The Vanguard Friday morning after placing a call to the newsroom. He said he had heard that Bay Ferries had been in negotiations for six months with the provincial government and that the company was seeking a minimum of $7 million in government assistance to help keep the service operating.

In the past, the provincial government has invested millions of dollars in the service.

“The provincial government said no, they would not be a partner in it this year,” d’Entremont said.

The ferry operated seasonally from late-May to October each year. MacDonald said the company had successfully operated the service for nine years without government support. But the service has not been viable without government support for the past several years.

“First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest thanks and appreciation to our employees for their tireless efforts to provide safe and reliable transportation between Nova Scotia and Maine,” added MacDonald. “I am sorry to be sharing this news just before the Christmas holidays, but I felt it was the right thing to do to communicate promptly with our employees once we had a clear picture of what support was available for 2010."

More than 76,000 people travelled on the high-speed service in 2009, a 10 per cent drop over 2008 figures when 85,000 people used the service. In stronger market conditions in the late 1990s and early 2000s, annual volumes ranged from 100,000-150,000. More than 1.5 million people have travelled with Bay Ferries between Yarmouth and Maine since 1997.

This isn't the first time Yarmouth has been devastated by news that it was losing an important ferry link. In 2005, just a few weeks before the tourism season was set to begin, Scotia Prince Cruises abruptly announced that it was cancelling its 2005 sailing season. It said the decision was based on unacceptable conditions at the City of Portland's International Marine Terminal.

At the time all eyes, and hopes, turned to Bay Ferries to see whether that operator of the Cat could step in and operate a Yarmouth to Portland run, in addition to its Yarmouth to Bar Harbor service.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Explorer of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean, was built in 2000. A large ship, with a gross tonnage of 137,308 and dimensions of 1,020 by 127, she carries 3,224 passengers with a crew of 1,285 and will be in Bar Harbor July 8 and Aug. 5.
This photo shows an earlier visit to Bar Harbor.

122 Visits Scheduled for Bar Harbor in 2008

BAR HARBOR — This summer, 24 cruise ships will visit Bar Harbor a total of 122 times. Most of the ships are frequent visitors to the area, though three will be making their first voyages to the island.
Cruise ships visit Bar Harbor primarily during September and October for fall foliage cruises. Some ships, such as the Maasdam, are frequent visitors to Bar Harbor, starting her visits in May.
The cruise ship industry is a lucrative one for Bar Harbor. Ships come to the area do so in the fall, for the most part, after the summer tourists have left. Passengers and crew visit the local shops, eat in local restaurants and enjoy the ambiance of the area.
Most ships are at anchorage A or B, in the harbor, because they are too large to dock. Passengers are ferried ashore by cruise ship tenders, or by local boats, such as Whale Watching Friendship V, leased by the cruise lines for the occasion.
Sometimes weather conditions cause ships to cancel a scheduled visit, i.e. fog, storms, etc., but for the most part ships manage to keep to their schedule.
Although security does not allow visitors to go aboard, just seeing the ships at anchor and talking to crew and passengers is worth a visit to Bar Harbor when the ships are in port.

The following ships are scheduled to visit Bar Harbor this year:

Maasdam: This is a Holland America ship and is a frequent visitor to Bar Harbor. She is an older ship, built in 1995. Her gross tonnage is 55,441 and her dimensions are 715 by 101. She carries 1,200 passengers and has a crew of 622. Her schedule is as follows: May 11, 23 and 25; June 6, 8, 20 and 22; July 4; Aug. 8, 15, 17, 29 and 31; Sept. 12, 14, 26 and 28; Oct. 10.

Bremen: The former name of this ship was Frontier Spirit. She too is an older ship, built in 1990. She is German, registered in the Bahamas. Her gross tonnage is 6,752 with dimensions of 364 by 56. She carries 164 passengers and has a crew of 94. Her scheduled visit is May 30.
Grandeur of the Seas: Built in 1996 and marketed by Royal Caribbean. She, too, flies the flag of the Bahamas. She has a gross tonnage of 73,817 and her dimensions are 886 by 106. She carries 2,950 passengers and has a crew of 760. Her schedule is June 15; July 13; Aug. 10; Sept. 6 and 21; Oct. 5.

Queen Mary 2: She is a British ship and currently the flagship of Cunard Lines. She is large, with a gross tonnage of 148,528. Her dimensions are 1,132 by 135. She carries 2,620 passengers and has a crew of 1,253. She is too large to go through the Panama Canal. Her scheduled visit is July 5.

Explorer of the Seas: This ship, marketed by Royal Caribbean, was built in the year 2000 and is registered in the Bahamas. She, too, is a large ship, with a gross tonnage of 137,308 and her dimensions are 1,020 by 127. She carries 3,224 passengers with a crew of 1,285 and will be in Bar Harbor July 8 and Aug. 5.

Grand Caribe: This ship is an American, Canadian, Carribean Line ship, classified as a mini cruise ship. She is an American ship. Her gross tonnage is 94, with dimensions of 183 by 42. She carries 96 passengers with a crew of 17. Her schedule is as follows: July 14, 15, 22, 23 and 31; Aug. 1, 8 and 9.

Norwegian Dawn: This ship is a Norwegian Cruise Line ship registered in the Bahamas. Norwegian Cruise Line ships are noted for free-style dining, which means that passengers have open sitting at dinner time. She was built in 2002. Her tonnage is 91,740 with dimensions of 964 by 105. Originally she was ordered as Superstar Scorpio. She has a crew of 1,300. Her Bar Harbor visits include July 17; Sept. 4, 11, 17 and 25.

Caribbean Princess: This is a Princess Line ship registered in Bermuda. She was built in 2004. She, too, is too large to go through the Panama Canal. She has a gross tonnage of 112,894 with dimensions of 935 by 118. She carries 3,592 passengers and has a crew of 1,142. She is on her maiden voyage to Bar Harbor. Her schedule is Aug. 28; Sept. 4, 11 and 17; Oct. 1, 9, 15 and 22.

Norwegian Dream: She is also a Norwegian Cruise Line ship registered in the Bahamas. She was built in 1992. Her gross tonnage is 50,764 and her dimensions are 758 by 94. She carries 1,948 passengers with a crew of 750. Her Bar Harbor visits include Sept. 6, 13, 20 and 27.

Aidaaura: This is an Italian ship, run by Aida Cruises. She was built in 2003. She, too, is on a maiden voyage to Bar Harbor. Her gross tonnage is 42,289 and her dimensions are 634 by 91. She carries 1,266 passengers. Aida cruises is a rapidly expanding Cruise Line with at least nine ships. Visits to Bar Harbor include Sept. 13, 18 and 30; Oct. 8 and 20.

Sea Princess: This ship, built in 1998, is a Princess Cruise Line ship and flies the British flag. Her former name was Adonia. Her gross tonnage is 77,499 with dimensions of 856 by 106. She carries 1,950 passengers and has a crew of 900. She will be in Bar Harbor, Sept. 16 and 30 and Oct. 6.

Eurodam: This is Holland America Lines newest ship. This is her first visit to Bar Harbor. Her maiden voyage was in June of this year. She has a gross tonnage of 86,000 with a length of 935 feet. She carries 2,044 passengers. More than 800 of her cabins are balconized. Her crew numbers 800. Visits to Bar Harbor include Sept. 18, 24 and Oct. 9.

American Star: Built in 2007, she is an American Cruise Line ship. This ship is known as a mini cruise line ship. She has a gross tonnage of 100 with dimensions of 215 by 46. She carries 100 passengers. Her visits to Bar Harbor include June 16 and 17; July 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28; Aug. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 27 and 28; Sept. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29.

American Glory: Built in 2003, this American Cruise Line ship has a tonnage of 100. She carries 49 passengers. Her schedule is as follows: Aug. 6, 7, 25, 26 and 31; Sept. 1, 9, 10, 16 and 17.

Queen Elizabeth 2: A favorite ship. It is her last year of service. She will retire at the end of 2008 and become a convention center in Dubai. Cunard’s oldest ship, she was built in 1969. Her tonnage is 70,327. Her dimensions are 963 by 105. She carries 1,815 passengers. She has visited Bar Harbor many times and will be sorely missed. She has a crew of 921. Her only visit is Sept. 17.

Crystal Symphony: She is operated by Crystal Cruises and is registered in the Bahamas. She was built in 1995 and has a gross tonnage of 50,202. Her dimensions are 771 by 97. She carries 960 passengers and has a crew of 545. Visits to Bar Harbor are scheduled for Sept. 20, Oct. 4, 12 and 26.

Jewel of the Seas: This is a Royal Caribbean ship built in 2004. She is registered in the Bahamas. Her gross tonnage is 90,000 and her dimensions are 961 by 97. She carries 2,100 passengers with a crew of 1,050. Her schedule is as follows: Sept. 22 and 29; Oct. 6, 13, 20 and 25.

Royal Princess: Her former name was R Eight and Minnerva II. She was built in 2001 and is a Princess Line ship registered in the Marshall Islands. Her gross tonnage is 30,277 and her dimensions are 695 by 85. She carries 698 passengers and has a crew of 373. Her two visits to Bar Harbor are scheduled for Sept. 23 and 29.

Constellation: This is a Celebrity Cruise Ship an offshoot of Chandris Shipping. One of her features is a bank of glass elevators that ride up the side of the ship giving one the impression of riding over the sea. She was built in 2002 and is registered in Liberia. Her gross tonnage is 90,280 with dimensions of 954 by 105. She carries 2,038 passengers with a crew of 999. She visits on Oct. 3, 15 and 19.

Saga Ruby: Her former names were Vistajord and Caronia. As the Caronia, she often traveled to Bar Harbor. She is now operated by Saga Cruises of Europe and registered in the Bahamas. Cruise passengers are senior citizens, the ship accepts passengers who are 50 years of age or older. This is a beautiful older ship. She was built in 1973, with a gross tonnage of 29,292 and dimensions of 628 by 82. She carries 677 passengers with a crew of 376. Her only visit is scheduled for Oct. 4.
Norwegian Majesty: This is an older Norwegian Cruise Line ship. Her former name was Royal Majesty. She was built in 1992 but has been “stretched” since then. She has a friendly captain and crew. She is registered in the Bahamas. Her gross tonnage is 40,876 and her dimensions are 680 by 91. She carries 1,462 passengers and has a crew of 660. She will visit in October being in the harbor Oct. 7, 14, 22 and 29.

Artemis: This is a Royal Princess ship registered in Great Britain. Her former name was Royal Princess. She was built in 1984. Her gross tonnage is 44,588 and her dimensions are 738 by 95. She carries 1,200 passengers and has a crew of 520. She is operated by P and O. Oct. 29 will be her only visit to the area.

The last ship visiting Bar Harbor for this year is the Norwegian Majesty on Oct. 29.
As she sails away, Bar Harbor will settle down for the winter. Before that, however, plan to come and visit the ships. It is a thrilling experience.

This is indeed an exciting Cruise Ship schedule!
I will be in Bar Harbor to see all of the ships that visit. I have been welcoming passengers and making friends with cruiser's for years! This year alone, I will be meeting a total of 56 friends as they come to shore in Bar Harbor, it is a yearly ritual for myself and the many friends I have made with the yearly passengers onboard these spendid ships!I will also be meeting new friends that my friends have brought along to meet me! How exciting!
This is not to be missed folks!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Watch this trailer for : "DUMA KEY" !!!! And listen to the audio tape of "DUMA KEY"



Click HERE to view a spectacular movie trailer on Stephen King's new work of art,..




Click HERE to listen to Stephen King's audio book of "DUMA KEY"!!


Enjoy these folks, I did !!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Joe Hill, An interview on Febuary 11th, 2008.


An Interview with Joe Hill -
Febuary 11th, 2008.

J.H. - {"I've been publishing fiction for about ten years, mostly in the small presses. Heart-Shaped Box is my second book – the first, 20th Century Ghosts, was a collection of strange and surreal short stories."}

Joe Hill is one of those rare creatures—a writer who broke through onto the literary scene with short stories and established his career from there. He has since achieved a huge amount of recognition and won various awards for both his longer and shorter works.

Here, he talks a little about his love of comic books and of how he found himself writing short stories.

L.A. - You’re often described as a horror writer, but much of your work is fantasy or mixed genre. How would you classify yourself in terms of genre?

J.H. - When I was a kid I used to read Fangoria Magazine and the thing that used to make me nuts was when I’d read some interview with a director who had just directed Hollywood Meatloaf Massacre IV and he would insist that he didn’t make horror films. I’d be thinking to myself “Jesus, guy, did you actually watch the picture that you directed? Of course it’s a horror film!” I would be very comfortable saying that Heart-Shaped Box is a horror novel and there are stories of horror in 20th Century Ghosts; I love horror fiction. I don’t feel confined to horror fiction, though, and if I’m working on a story that has the right values, hopefully that will find an audience regardless of the specific genre it belongs to. So I don’t know if I think of myself as a horror writer per se, but I have certainly enjoyed writing horror stories from time to time.

L.A. -In another interview you said that your short story “Best New Horror” was written as a defence of surreal dark fantasy. Is that something that is important to you; do you feel that it needs to be defended?

J.H. -I think that in some ways maybe it needs to be defended less now that it did even a few years ago, but yeah, I think that to a certain segment of the book reading audience, horror fiction is third class literature at best; it’s the red light district of the literary world, that doesn’t deserve the same consideration we would give mainstream literature, or even a certain type of highbrow fantasy written by, say, Italo Calvino, but I think there is a long important literary tradition of horror fiction going back to M.R. James and Shirley Jackson, and Dickens wrote ghost stories. So, yeah, I think it’s important to stick up for the genre every once in a while, remind people that the genre can have some literary weight and that horror fiction doesn’t necessarily have to be disposable, that it can engage in the way that other forms of literature do

L.A. -When we talk about “Horror,” the term carries a lot of different connotations for different people. What does it mean to you?

J.H. - I think that all fiction lives or dies based on suspense. If you don’t care about what happens next, there’s no reason to read on, and the defining characteristic of horror fiction is that it takes suspense to its most extreme limit. A piece that pushes the reader’s buttons to the point of thinking “Oh my God, I can barely bear to go on, because this is getting so terrible, and yet I can’t put it down because I want to see how it turns out.” So to an extent, I think that any story that has that suspense and tension has the possibility of becoming a horror story, and any story that doesn’t have that suspense isn’t worth finishing.

L.A. - You made your name and founded your career on short fiction before moving on to longer work. What is it about short stories that excite you?

J.H. -I love short stories. I much prefer short stories to the novel. As a kid, I think the first stories that I really woke up to were comic books. The first stories I really felt passionate about were short stories, not novels; they were the Sherlock Holmes stories. When I was eleven or twelve, they were the stories that set my imagination on fire. Ray Bradbury, too—I really fell into Ray Bradbury stories as a kid.
Part of the reason I wound up writing so many short stories and caring so much about them as a form was because I was really a failed novelist. I had done such a bad job at it. Before "Heart Shaped Box", I wrote four novels that I was never able to sell, including one that I’ve talked about here and there—"The Fear Tree". It was almost a thousand pages long, and I thought it was a really good book. I still think it has some really good qualities, but I couldn’t sell it in America, I couldn’t sell it in Canada, I couldn’t sell it in England. I tried big presses, I tried small presses, but no-one would have it, and it was a real life changing experience to have invested so much time and energy into a piece of work that never found a market, and that was never read by more than about half a dozen people. After that, I thought, I’m never going to put so much of myself into a single work again. I wasn’t willing to spend three years writing something a thousand pages long. I also realised that part of the reason the book failed to sell was that it did have inherent flaws, that it sprawled too much; reeling away from this wreck of a book, I realised, I’ve got to get smaller, and so, I started writing short stories.

There is an illusion—which isn’t true—that in a thirty-page short story you can be perfect, that every sentence can add something to the story and have meaning. It’s not true, you’ll never have a perfect story, but still, it seems possible that at the twenty- or thirty-page level you could have the perfect story, whereas with a novel, you’re bound to take some wrong turns, and there is bound to be some material that works less well than the rest.

L.A. -As someone who has written both shorter and longer works with a great deal of success, would you agree with claims that short fiction writers find it harder to gain recognition in the literary world than novelists?

J.H. -
That’s a tough one to answer. Clearly you can’t survive commercially as a writer on just short stories. That era has been gone for maybe three decades. I doubt if even thirty years ago there was much of a living to be made just off short fiction, but there were writers like Raymond Carver and Tobias Wolf who made a certain number of sales to The New Yorker and other high profile markets, and back then, there was some money in it. I don’t think that that time is still with us, and yet, I think that for a writer, creatively and artistically, you really learn your craft in the crucible of the short story. I don’t know how writers will learn what they have to learn if there are no more markets for short fiction. I think that one thing you see in a lot of writers of my generation is a lack of economy, and a lack of focus. This is the natural result of two things—so many writers are writing fewer short stories because there are fewer places to sell them and therefore there is less motivation to write them, so writers don’t learn how to tell that story in twenty pages, and the other problem is that the word processing technology encourages sprawl. It invites you to write a page when a sentence would do. So my hope is that writers do continue to write short stories, and there continues to be a market for them, because it is an important part of the process.
I do think we see writers like Kelly Link, who begin with short stories and do gain a level of recognition for their craft. So there are still some people who break out with short fiction.

L.A. - “Pop Art,” one of your best known short stories, is to be made into an indie film in the UK. How do you view the prospect of seeing your characters come to life through someone else’s interpretation of your work?

J.H. - It’s being made by a talented young film maker called Amanda Boyle. I read several drafts of the script that she showed me, and I thought they were all good, and I thought the draft that she decided to film was especially strong. It will be interesting to see what she comes up with. I told my version of the story. My version of the story is the version that appears in "20th Century Ghosts", so on one level, whatever Amanda winds up doing is completely divorced from what I did. She has to tell her version of the story. It will be interesting to see how it comes out.

L.A. - During my research, there was mention of a partially completed story called “But Only Darkness Loves Me” which, it says, you collaborated on with your father. Is a collaborative project with a view to publication something you would be interested in working on at some point in the future?

J.H. -
It’s funny, someone mentioned this a few months ago, and I have no memory of this story. All I can think is that it must have been something we worked on when I was a kid. As kids, we would spend time as a family, passing a story around, writing a page each at a time, so that it became this sort of improvisational game where you see what you get in ten pages, and my dad would take a turn, and I would take a turn, and my brother would take a turn, my mum would take a turn, and my sister would take a turn, and two times through and you would have a complete story. We did that a few times, and all I can think is that maybe this “Darkness Loves Me” was one of those stories, in which case I suspect that we all would have messed around with it.
If I was going to collaborate, and I’m not sure that collaboration is definitely a good idea, I’d probably want to collaborate with someone in my family—either my dad, or my mum or my brother. In fact I have actually written two screenplays with my brother, Owen King. It was sort of my former career. I have a secret history of screenwriting. It precedes the publication of "20th Century Ghosts" and "Heart Shaped Box", and was something I did in the late ’90s.

L.A. - Do you find it challenging to move between the different forms of writing?

J.H. -
This is something I learned from Neil Gaiman, who is someone I have read since I was in high school, and someone who has meant a lot to me. I think he defines the best of what is possible for a 21st Century writer, in the sense that he manages to maintain his literary identity across a variety of forms. He writes shorts stories and poetry; he writes novels and comics. He writes screenplays, and it looks like with Beowulf has finally landed his first hit as a screenwriter. He’s the jack of all literary trades. I think that you can see a lot of other writers who have gradually shifted in that direction, who are able to work in a variety of different forms, and that’s something I’ve always aspired to. I’ve always wanted to be able to move across different forms.
One thing I wanted intensely for years, which was sort of my ultimate long-term writing goal, was to write for comics. I think that as a storytelling form, comic books are just about the most exciting form out there. I’m sort of half joking when I say it, but the frustrating thing about movies is that they’re not collaborative, all you do is sit there on your ass and watch them. Books are very collaborative, they invite the reader to do half the work, but the problem with books is, they’re so full of words. What I like about comics is that they invite the reader in to collaborate just like a book, but they move with the acceleration of a film, and that makes them extremely fun to play in. My first professional fiction submission was to Marvel Comics. They turned me down. I was twelve.
I’ve always loved comics, and a lot of my favourite writers have worked in comics. Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, and more recently Brian K Vaughan… there is just this incredibly gifted set of writers who work almost exclusively in comic books. One thing that has been really exciting for me is that over the last couple of years, I have had a chance to scratch that itch and do some work in comics.

L.A. - What advice would you pass on to other writers who are just starting out?

J.H. -
I’ve got to think of something fresh to say to that question. The advice writers tend to give is so routinely the same; they always say “write every day,” so young writers hear that a lot. They may not do it, but they hear it.
I would say this: don’t kid yourself about what you love. That’s the first step to having some success as a writer, and I’m not talking about commercial success; I’m just talking about artistic success. If there’s a certain type of fiction you find yourself reading obsessively, that’s a big hint that it’s an area you could work in. The other thing I would say is develop a circle of three or four readers who will give it to you straight. If they are saying “it was great” every time you give them a story, you’ve got the wrong readers. You don’t want a reader who is going to say “it was great.” You’ve got to step back from your own work, pretend that it’s the work of someone else, and find some readers who will say “I loved the first page, everything after that stunk…” You need people who will give it to you with painful honesty, because that’s the only way you get better.

L.A. - So now Joe, what comes next for you then?

J.M. -
I’ve got a new novel that will hopefully be finished early this year. I have a completed young adult novel, which is also a tale of dark fantasy. In the past I have referred to it as Heart Shaped Box for eleven-year-olds. It’s not, it’s very different, but it has a lot of the same values, just aimed at a much younger audience. The other thing I have going on is I have a comic book coming out called "Locke and Key" which I am doing with IDW, the same publisher who did 30 Days of Night. I think the first issue will be out in February. There are going to be six issues initially, which will tell a story about my main characters, but not the complete story. So we’ll see how that does, and there may be some more Locke and Key stories if people like it.

L.A. - Well, I thank you for your time and I most certainly appreciate your work and friendship, and I look forward to more of your new works!

Stephen King's son Joe Hill presents - "Heart Shaped Box" w/ Signings in Florida and Maine.


"Heart Shaped Box" by Joe Hill.
A compelling and claustrophobic supernatural thriller from a remarkable new author.

'Buy my stepfather's ghost' read the e-mail.
So Jude did.

He bought the dead man's suit, delivered in a heart-shaped box, because he wanted it: because his fans ate up that kind of story.
It was perfect for his collection: the genuine skulls and the bones, the real honest-to-God snuff movie, the occult books and all the rest of the paraphanalia that goes along with his kind of hard/goth rock.

But the rest of his collection doesn't make the house feel cold.

The bones don't make the dogs bark; the movie doesn't make Jude feel as if he's being watched. And none of the artefacts bring a vengeful old ghost with black scribbles over his eyes out of the shadows to chase Jude out of his home, and make him run for his life . . .

Joe Hill is past recipient of the Ray Bradbury Fellowship and the winner of the A.E. Coppard Long Fiction Prize.

His short fiction has appeared in literary, mystery and horror collections and magazines in Britain and America .

MAINE: Joe Hill a/k/a Stephen King's son. - "20Th Century Ghosts"


The Author of "20th Century Ghosts."

- Mr. Joe Hill -

Imogene is young and beautiful.

She kisses like a movie star and knows everything about every film ever made.

She's also dead and waiting in the Rosebud Theater for Alec Sheldon one afternoon in 1945. . . .

Arthur Roth is a lonely kid with big ideas and a gift for attracting abuse. It isn't easy to make friends when you're the only inflatable boy in town. . . .

Francis is unhappy.

Francis was human once, but that was then. Now he's an eight-foot-tall locust and everyone in Calliphora will tremble when they hear him sing. . . .

John Finney is locked in a basement that's stained with the blood of half a dozen other murdered children.

In the cellar with him is an antique telephone, long since disconnected, but which rings at night with calls from the dead. . . . . . . .
Joe Hill is the author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller "Heart-Shaped Box", a two-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award, and a past recipient of the World Fantasy Award.
His stories have appeared in a variety of journals and Year's Best collections.
He calls New England home.

Joe will be Promoting 20th Century Ghosts
Friday, March 14, 2008LEE COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM/Southwest Florida Book Festival2345 Union ST Fort Myers, FL 33901

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Happy Belated New Year 2008 - Welcome "DUMA KEY" by Horror writer ~ Stephen King.


"Happy Be-lated New Year"!!

It's time to get back to work on my blog site!

I am now working on reading and reviewing the newest book by Stephen King,..

Like I said; "Time to get back to work",.....


Stephen King's ~ Duma Key ~ Story set in Florida? Hmmm,..


Attention all S.K. fans!

Mr. Stephen King has really out done himself on this one!
{"This one is a real treasure!"}
"DUMA KEY", a paradise set on an island on the Gulf Coast of Florida!
I can relate to this fictional island in my mind as I hail from the Sunshine State.

This is the novel I anxiously anticipate an adaptation to film and hopefully it will not take as long as the other S.K. "book to film" projects.

Stephen King's latest novel, "DUMA KEY," tells the story of Edgar Freemantle and his recovery from a terrible nightmare-inducing accident that stole his arm and ended his marriage.

Many S.K. fans have already said; "It is as truly scary as anything King has ever written".

In "Duma Key", Edgar Freemantle is one of King's most interesting protagonists starring in what is, again so far, one of his finest mysteries.

For some time now I've been wondering, like many of you I'm sure, what happened to the guy who brought us Misery and The Stand and two of my own favourites, The Long Walk (okay, that's a Bachman) and Hearts in Atlantis.

At least one of the mysteries of Stephen King has been solved,..he can write again after his Accident and it is really hitting home with many of his readers!

I'd say he's finally found the niche it seems he's been so determined to find and occupy in the years since his Accident, that of the writer who can bridge the great divide between genre and literary fiction.

My faith is restored that Mr. King is well on his way back in his craft, and this time he is coming on strong!

In Mr. King's latest work; "DUMA KEY", there is a "life after accident"!

Here is a clip from MSNBC, An interview with "The King of Horror",...

I am a native Floridian, a Florida Keys Islander; and I have been to some of the actual areas that Mr. King has trend.
I can vividly imagine the actual island of "DUMA KEY" even though I know it is absolute fiction.

As far as the horror part, I have yet to really dive into reading
"DUMA KEY" and I plan to write a review on this new book as soon as I have read it,..maybe twice.
Congrats Stephen!
You have really found another way to creep your fans out!
I look forward to future novels!

Note to readers:
Bookmark this blog site for my review on Stephen King's "DUMA KEY"!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

FLORIDA: U.S. Highway 1 - "Key West, Florida to Fort Kent, Maine".


U.S. 1 (also called U.S. Highway 1, and abbreviated U.S. 1) is a United States highway which parallels the east coast of the United States.
It runs 2,390 miles (3,846 km) from Key West, Florida in the south, to Fort Kent, Maine at the Canadian border in the north.

U.S. 1 generally parallels Interstate 95, which is significantly farther inland (west) between Jacksonville, Florida and Petersburg, Virginia. It connects the major cities of the east coast of Florida, including: Miami, Florida; Jacksonville, Florida; Columbia, South Carolina; Raleigh, North Carolina; Richmond, Virginia; Washington, DC; Baltimore,Maryland; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New York, New York; New Haven, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; Boston, Massachusetts, Portland, Maine, and onward north to Fort Kent, Maine.

In Florida, where signs for U.S. Highways formerly had different colors for each highway, the "shield" for U.S. 1 was red.
Florida began using the colored shields in 1956, but during the 1980s the MUTCD was revised to specify only a black and white color scheme for U.S. Highway shields.
As such, Federal funds were no longer available to maintain the colored signs.
On August 27, 1993, the decision was made to no longer produce colored signs.
Since then, the remaining colored signs have gradually been replaced by black-and-white signs; at present, there are a few rare colored ones still in place.

Since I was born and raised in Key West, Florida, I had past this sign along the bay side of the island numerous times and I have always wanted to see the "end of that rainbow" Aka - "Fort Kent, Maine", and in September of 2006, I was finally able to travel to Maine and view the U.S. 1 sign that read; "U.S. 1 - Fort Kent, Maine to Key West, Florida".

I was quite pleased, and I found Fort Kent, Maine to be quite charming!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Maine : First Cruise Ship to arrive in Bar Harbor for 2007.


The vessel 'Maasdam' was the first cruise ship of 2007 to stop and let off passengers in downtown Bar Harbor, prompting many shops and restaurants to open their doors.

More than 90 cruise ships are expected to bring more than 130,000 passengers to Bar Harbor this summer and fall, a small portion of the millions that travel onto MDI and into Acadia National Park every year in highway vehicles.

Most of the cruise ships will visit after Labor Day, however, when schools start up again and the number of tourists who drive onto MDI declines.

Maasdam, which can carry as many as 2,200 passengers and crew members, is expected to visit Bar Harbor 17 times through the end of October.

Memorial Day — long recognized as the unofficial start of Maine’s summer tourist season — still two weeks away, not all seasonal businesses have opened up their doors.
The signs of activity are there, however. Workers have been painting and cleaning business facades, while shop employees and deliverers have been stocking the stores and restaurants in anticipation of opening up.

Year-round residents and return visitors will spot a few new retail businesses in Bar Harbor this year and will recognize one popular spot that is coming back after an absence of a few years.
Miguel’s, a longtime popular local Mexican restaurant, is opening again after going through a recent series of owners and even having its menu and name changed.
Local shop owner Veilleux, said Saturday’s sale was a success and hopes to do it again next year.

The weather, Mother’s Day weekend and the Maasdam’s visit all came together to make Saturday seem like a busy mid-summer day, she said.
"It definitely affected our sales," Veilleux said of the cruise ship’s stop. "It almost felt as if we didn’t have a spring."

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Bar Harbor, Maine: "The Dorr Museum" - Shell shockers


Sitting on a little bench in front of a flat-screen TV at College of the Atlantic’s George B. Dorr Museum, Lynn Havsall, a zoologist and manager at the Bar Harbor museum, watched a video loop of a green sea turtle, camera affixed to its shell, paddling evenly across the ocean floor off the coast of Hawaii.

"I can feel my blood pressure lowering just watching it," said Havsall. "You think of turtles as being very slow, but sea turtles can move incredibly fast. They’re perfect swimmers."

At the Dorr Museum, the humble terrapin is the subject of a kid-centric exhibit called "Turtle Travels," which will run through Sept. 10. The show is on loan from the EcoTarium in Worcester, Mass., and is the first traveling exhibit the museum has hosted.

Havsall and her art professor colleague Dru Colbert were instrumental in bringing the show to COA, and felt it spoke to the school’s mission.

"We liked this exhibit because it deals with environmental issues," said Colbert. "The biggest threats to turtles here in Maine are people building in wetlands."

"It’s also great for kids," said Havsall. "It’s interactive, so kids stay interested, and parents get a closer look at things than they normally would."

"Turtle Travels" explores these issues through a series of hands-on stations, that educate about turtle anatomy and the different habitats that they live in. Several illustrated panels along the wall show the ways that turtles appear in mythology around the world — from the story of the African trickster god Anansi being outsmarted by a turtle, to the Native American myth of the giant turtle on which the Earth rests.
Naturally, one of the most popular stations is the tank of live turtles, on loan from the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor. Swimming around in the U-shaped aquarium is a spotted turtle and a brightly colored painted turtle, both of which are native to Maine.

"The kids really love that one," said Havsall. "You can get underneath it and look up at them and see the bottoms of their shells."

There are seven species of turtle common to Maine: snapping, musk, eastern painted, spotted, Blanding’s, wood and eastern box turtles. Spotted and snapping turtles are easy to find, while Blanding’s and wood turtles have been marked as species of special concern — the wood turtle in particular, thanks to its ornate shell, which makes it a prime target for those looking for a pet. One little-known fact is that several species of sea turtle actually make their way into the Gulf of Maine."In the warmer months, you sometimes get green sea turtles or leatherbacks, though they stay pretty far out," said Havsall.

Both Colbert and Havsall think turtles of all kinds — land and sea, from Maine and from across the world, are an excellent way to explain ecology to kids.

"They are the vehicle through which we explore these issues," said Colbert. "Turtles are so tied to their habitats that when we build in wetlands they show very dramatically the effect it can have on the environment."

The Dorr Museum is open by appointment through mid-June, when it is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday until Labor Day.
For information, call 288-5015 or visit

Bar Harbor, Maine - "Cat’s early-afternoon arrival pleases tourist groups".


Bay Ferries’ decision to have the Cat arrive in the early afternoon in Yarmouth from Portland and Bar Harbor could have a beneficial impact on tourism, says an industry spokesman.

Bay announced several months ago it would change the 2007 sailing schedule for its high-speed ferry between Yarmouth and Maine. Two of the changes, a slightly shorter season and a decision not to increase sailings to Bar Harbor to two a day during a period in summer, were done to ease a tight dry-docking schedule in May and to save money.

"At the start of the season there are a couple of factors in play," Bay president and CEO Mark MacDonald said in an interview. "We always have a timing issue in May because that is when we dry-dock the ship. It is booked for a certain amount of winter work until the second of May and then comes to the shipyard in Halifax and this year we have some fairly major technical work going on. It is routine but still time consuming so it will be in dry dock for two to three weeks."

Bay previously started its Yarmouth season in late May but this year won’t start until June 1. Passenger levels last May were low.

Doug Fawthrop, spokesman for the Destination Southwest Nova Scotia Association, a partnership of tourist groups, said Monday the change in the arrival schedule will be positive, since the Cat will arrive in Yarmouth in the early afternoon instead of the evening.

"I guess we come from a school where anything we can do that is in the best interest of the customer is always the right thing to do and that’s (arrival change) in the best interests of the customer," Mr. Fawthrop said.

He said some accommodations’ operators may have benefited "marginally" from the evening arrivals, but they are only part of the industry.

"Restaurants suffer under those circumstances, gift shops and all other levels and components of the tourism sector ... so the early day will benefit more people. At the end of the day this is about total (spending) and I think this will help that."

Mr. Fawthrop said it is important to note that Bay offers one- and two-night overnight packages from Portland and Bar Harbor. Few people would be inclined to purchase the one-night package if they arrived in the evening and had to be back on the boat early the next morning.

"From Bar Harbor there is also a significant day-trip component so I think it gives Bay Ferries an opportunity to provide more benefit to the Nova Scotia tourism industry."

From June 1 to July 10 and Sept. 3 to Oct. 9, the Cat will leave Bar Harbor four mornings a week, Monday through Thursday, and return three afternoons a week, Monday through Wednesday.

On Thursday afternoons, it will leave Yarmouth and go to Portland. It will operate between Portland and Yarmouth from Friday through Sunday.

From July 11 to Sept. 2, sailings between Portland and Yarmouth will increase by one a day.

The vessel will do the Bar Harbor-Yarmouth run Monday through Wednesday, go to Portland on Wednesday afternoon and operate between Portland and Yarmouth from Thursday to Sunday.

All departures from Yarmouth will be at 4 p.m. and from Maine ports at 8 a.m.

Earth Day - BAR HARBOR, MAINE - "Bar Harbor college goes all out for Earth Day".


Some schools have homecoming weekend; College of the Atlantic has Earth Day.

"Earth Day is the only celebration that COA has really stopped everything to recognize," said Milja Brecher-Demuro, coordinator for the school’s festivities, which were held Saturday, April 21. "Since the beginning of the school, that’s one that we’ve celebrated, for the main reason that it speaks exactly to what COA is about."

Thanks to phenomena such as Al Gore’s documentary, >"An Inconvenient Truth," the environment has been an especially hot topic over the past year. Now more than ever, the issues that COA students study are at the forefront of national consciousness.
"There’s been a lot of questioning about what’s gone wrong. We are looking to celebrate what’s going right, and what’s beautiful about the earth," said Brecher-Demuro. "We’re looking at the forward thinkers, and those who have worked to help us have a smaller footprint on the earth, and to have it last as long as possible."

To that end, the theme for this year was "Home is Where the Earth Is: A Celebration in Renewing Community," and events focused especially on community involvement in making Earth a cleaner, better place to live.
There were several additions to the usual lineup of lectures, workshops, children’s activities and food, including the first "COA-Palooza," featuring an evening of music from COA students and alumni.
Keynote speaker Cathy Johnson, North Woods project director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine and a 1974 COA alumna, gave a talk about the future of Maine’s North Woods. Lectures about environmentally friendly parenting, midwifery, alternative education and socially responsible retirement planning were held as scheduled.
Earth Day this year also functioned as an alumni weekend, with former students from around the country invited to attend. Some of these alumni were part of the photography exhibit at the Ethel H. Blum Gallery, while others were participating in the daylong alumni film festival at McCormick Hall.



Beautiful music is made underwater, pretending to play faux musical instruments. This year's theme is 'Rock Stars.' Participants in the Underwater Music Festival at Looe Key Reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary have fun prancing and pretending to play music during the six-hour subsea radio broadcast.

LOOE KEY, Florida Keys - Rock legends are to celebrate the "key of sea" in Lower Keys waters Saturday, July 14, as divers portraying Sonny and Cher, Elton John, David Crosby and even a mermaid Madonna rock the reef during the 23rd annual Underwater Music Festival.
The scuba-diving superstars are to "perform" beneath the waves during the offbeat underwater event, which draws as many as 600 divers and snorkelers each year to explore the colorful diversity of marine life that characterizes North America's only living coral barrier reef.

The underwater songfest is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Looe Key Reef, an area of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary located approximately six miles south of Big Pine Key. Staged by local radio station WWUS 104.1 FM, it features the station's selections broadcast underwater via Lubell Laboratory speakers suspended beneath boats positioned at the reef.
The playlist typically includes ocean-themed ditties such as the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine, " Jimmy Buffett's "Fins" and even an authentic humpback whale song.
Photos by Bill Keogh/Florida Keys News Bureau.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

FLORIDA: Key Largo - M.M.C. - Update on "Castaway" the Dolphin - "Chat-Line experiment".


KEY LARGO, Fla. – A marine mammal rehabilitation facility opened a dolphin “chat-line” of sorts Saturday, hoping to teach a deaf dolphin's unborn calf to communicate.

Castaway, as the stranded Atlantic bottle nose dolphin has been named, has been recovering at the Marine Mammal Conservancy since Jan. 30Th. 2007. A battery of tests has confirmed she is deaf.

Dolphins need to hear echoes of sounds they produce to find food, socialize and defend themselves against predators.
“We asked ourselves 'How do we get the calf to speak when we have a deaf mother?'” said Robert Lingenfelser, the conservancy's president.

They decided to electronically connect Castaway's habitat with a lagoon at Dolphins Plus, a research and interactive educational facility a few miles down the Keys Overseas Highway. Underwater speakers and microphones were installed at both locations and connected via phone lines.

Castaway should deliver her calf in about a month.

“Even before it is born, we want the calf to have an idea of what normal dolphin vocalization is,” Lingenfelser said.

On the Net:
Marine Mammal Conservancy:

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Monday, March 12, 2007

MAINE VACATION - 2006 - 2007


* "Looking Forward To Returning Back To Maine!!!"

Thursday, March 8, 2007

FLORIDA: KEY WEST - The Southernmost House - Grand Hotel & Museum.


The Southernmost House was built in 1896 for a cost of $250,000 (approximately $6 million today) by Judge J. Vining Harris, who married into the prominent Curry family. In 1939 the Ramos family purchased the property, which had been converted into a Cuban nightclub called Café Cayo Hueso (Bone Island Café), for $49,000. In 1954 it was converted back into a residence and remained so until 1996 when a $3 million restoration began to turn it into a 13-room hotel, with a museum on the first floor.
Today 43 U.S. presidential signatures are on display including William Henry Harrison's, which is a rare piece of historic memorabilia, as is President Johnson's original swearing-in statement.
The Ernest Hemingway room boasts a large collection of written memorabilia including letters to friends, relatives, and professional acquaintances.
Artifacts and treasure salvaged by Whitey Keevan from the shipwreck of a Spanish galleon are also on display and for sale.
Exterior paint colors are authentic, as are elegant crown moldings, ceiling medallions, ornamental woodwork and friezes, which were originally painted white, but have been redone in splashy shades reminiscent of its days as a Cuban nightclub.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

FLORIDA: Key Largo - Jules' Undersea Lodge.


When guests visit Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, Florida, they discover that the name is no marketing gimmick. Just to enter the Lodge, one must actually scuba dive 21 feet beneath the surface of the sea. Jules’ really is underwater. Diving through the tropical mangrove habitat of the Emerald Lagoon and approaching the world’s only underwater hotel is quite an experience. Even from the outside, Jules’ big 42 inch round windows cast a warm invitation to come in and stay a while, relax and get to know the underwater world that so few of us have even visited.

Entering through an opening in the bottom of the habitat, the feeling is much like discovering a secret underwater clubhouse. The cottage sized building isn’t short on creature comforts: hot showers, a well stocked kitchen (complete with refrigerator and microwave), books, music, and video movies. And of course there are cozy beds, where guests snuggle up and watch the fish visit the windows of their favorite underwater “terrarium”. Jules’ Undersea Lodge manages to reach a perfect balance of relaxation and adventure.

Guests sometimes describe their visit to inner space as the most incredible experience of their lives. One couple decided on a career change after visiting Jules’ Undersea Lodge, and they now operate Aquanauts’ Dive Shop. Another couple named their baby after Jules’, when they later discovered their recently conceived child had accompanied them in their wonderful adventure in undersea living.

Although the underwater hotel may sound like the latest tourist fun spot, Jules' Undersea Lodge, actually began its existence as La Chalupa research laboratory, an underwater habitat used to explore the continental shelf off the coast of Puerto Rico. The authenticity of the underwater habitat is what really sets it apart from amusement parks and other similar attractions. The mangrove lagoon in which Jules' is located is a natural nursery area for many reef fish. Tropical angelfish, parrotfish, barracuda, and snappers peek in the windows of the habitat, while anemones, sponges, oysters and feather duster worms seem to cover every inch of this underwater world. Guests of the Lodge explore their marine environment with scuba gear provided by Jules' Undersea Lodge and are given an unlimited supply of tanks. Jules' Undersea Lodge may have a comfortable futuristic decor, but its sense of history is inescapable. It is the first and only underwater hotel, but is also the first underwater research lab to have ever been made accessible to the average person.

“Marine life is actually enhanced by the presence of an underwater structure”, explains Ian Koblick, owner and co-developer of the Lodge. “Jules’ Undersea Lodge serves as an artificial reef, providing shelter and substrate for marine animals. And the flow of air to the Lodge constantly adds oxygen to the entire surrounding body of water, creating a symbiotic relationship between the technology of man and the beauty of nature.”

The entire structure of Jules’ Undersea Lodge is underwater, sitting up on legs approximately five feet off the bottom of the protected lagoon. The Lodge is filled with compressed air, which prevents the water from rising and flooding the rooms. A five by seven foot “moon pool” entrance in the floor of the building makes entering the hotel much like surfacing through a small swimming pool. Divers find themselves in the wet room, the center of three compartments that make up the underwater living quarters. The wet room, as the name implies, is where divers leave their gear, enjoy a quick hot shower and towel-off before entering the rest of the living area. Designed for comfort, the air conditioned living space has two private bed rooms and a common room. The eight by twenty foot common room is a multi-purpose room providing the galley, dining and entertainment areas. Each of the bedrooms and the common room is equipped with telephone, intercom, VCR/DVD and a stereo sound system. But the main focus of attention is the big 42 inch round window that graces each room. “Waking up to view a pair of angelfish looking in your bedroom window is a moment you'll never forget”, states Koblick.

Habitat operations are monitored by the Mission Director from the land-based “Command Center”, located at the edge of the Emerald Lagoon. The control center is connected to Jules’ Undersea Lodge by an umbilical cable which delivers fresh air, water, power, and communications. “The entire facility is monitored 24 hours a day by our staff”, says Koblick, “the Lodge has independent support systems as well as redundant backup systems. We’ve taken every step to ensure a safe yet exciting adventure for our guests”.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

The FLORIDA KEYS: The Seven Mile Bridge.


The Seven Mile Bridge, in the Florida Keys, runs over a channel between the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Strait, connecting Key Vaca (the location of the city of Marathon, Florida) in the Middle Keys to Little Duck Key in the Lower Keys. Among the longest bridges in existence when it was built, it is one of the many bridges on US 1 in the Keys, where the road is called the Overseas Highway.

There are two bridges in this location. The older bridge, originally known as the Pigeon Key-Moser Channel-Pacet Channel Bridge, was constructed from 1909-1912 under the direction of Henry Flagler as part of the Florida East Coast Railway's Key West Extension, also known as the Overseas Railroad.

This bridge was badly damaged by the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, and subsequently refurbished by the United States Federal Government as an automobile highway bridge. It had a swing span that opened to allow passage of boat traffic, near where the bridge crosses Pigeon Key, a small island where a work camp for Flagler's railroad was located. Hurricane Donna in 1960 caused further damage.

The present road bridge was constructed from 1979 to 1982. The vast majority of the original bridge still exists, used as fishing piers and access to Pigeon Key, but the swing span over the Moser Channel of the Intracoastal Waterway has been removed.

The new bridge is a box-girder structure built from precast, prestressed concrete sections, comprising 440 spans. Near the center, the bridge rises in an arc to provide 65-foot-high clearance for boat passage. The remainder of the bridge is considerably closer to the water surface. The new bridge does not cross Pigeon Key.

The total length of the bridge is actually 35,862 ft or 6.79 miles (10.93 km).

The spectacular bridge has attracted many film makers. Its film 'credits' include scenes in True Lies, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Licence to Kill and Up Close & Personal. In True Lies, filmed in the early 1990s, a section of the old bridge is shown being destroyed by missile strikes. The missiles were edited in, and the explosions were done on an 80-foot (24 m) model of the bridge, but filming was done on the actual bridge, and the "destroyed" section is the former swing span, which had been removed upon completion of the new bridge.

Each April the bridge is closed for approximately 2.5 hours on a Saturday and a "fun run" of 1,500 runners is held commemorating the Florida Keys bridge rebuilding project.

MAINE: Fort Knox - Prospect, Maine -"American Forts From Maine to Florida"


Fort Knox is located on the west bank of the Penobscot River in Prospect, Maine, in an area known as the Penobscot Narrows, Fort Knox is one of the best preserved fortifications on the New England seacoast. The Fort has many architectural features present only to itself, as well as a rich history behind it's cannon batteries.
Maine was repeatedly involved in northeast border disputes with British Canada, and the area between Castine and the rich lumber city of Bangor was invaded and occupied by the British during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Despite the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, Fort Knox was established in 1844 to protect the Penobscot River valley against a possible future British naval incursion.

The Fort was engineered by famous West Point graduate Isaac Ingalls Stevens, who superintended fortifications on the New England coast from 1841 until 1849. Named for Major General Henry Knox, America’s first Secretary of War, friend of first president George Washington, and a native of Maine. The Fort garrisoned troops from 1863 to 1866, mostly volunteers who were in training before being sent to their active posts, including members of the celebrated 20th Maine, and again in 1898, but never saw military action.

Explore the Fort and discover this treasure of Maine and United States History. Fort Knox is open May 1 - Nov 1, from 8:30 - sunset. The grounds are open year round for your visiting pleasure.

FLORIDA: Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas - American Forts from Maine to Florida


After the War of 1812, a group of forts from Maine to Texas was envisioned to provide defense for the United States of America from foreign invaders. Fort Jefferson was built to protect the southern coastline of the United States and the lifeline of commerce to and from the Mississippi River. The fort was planned to be the greatest of the group.

Fort Jefferson is a six-sided building constructed of 16 million handmade red bricks. In 1825, a lighthouse was built on Garden Key, one of six islands that make up the Dry Tortugas, to provide warning to sailors about the dangers of reefs and shoals surrounding the Dry Tortugas.

Construction of the fort began in 1846, and in 1847 the islands became a military reservation. In 1850, the officers' quarters were completed and the fort was officially named Fort Jefferson, after our country's third President Thomas Jefferson. The walls reached their final height of 45 feet in 1862.

Construction of the fort dragged on for more than 30 years, and it was never really finished. Construction of the moat was also an engineering challenge and was not completed until 1873. The invention of the rifled cannon during the Civil War rendered the walls of the fort vulnerable to destruction and made the fort itself somewhat obsolete.

During and after the Civil War the fort began to be used as a prison for deserters and other criminals, most notably Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was sentenced to life in prison for his part in President Lincoln's assassination. Dr. Mudd, perhaps unknowingly, repaired the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth - the man who assassinated President Lincoln. In 1874, the army completely abandoned the fort after several hurricanes and a yellow fever epidemic. It wasn't until 1898 that the military returned, in the form of the navy, which used the facilities during the Spanish-American War. The fort was also used from 1888 through 1900 as a quarantine station, and was garrisoned again briefly during World War I.

In 1908 the area was designated as a bird reserve and transferred to the Department of Agriculture. On January 4, 1935, it was designated by President Franklin Roosevelt as Fort Jefferson National Monument, the first marine area to be so promoted. On October 26, 1992, the monument was upgraded to national park status in a bill signed by President George Bush.

"The Yankee Freedom's Fast Cat Ferry is the only way to go,.."

Sure there are other ways to get to Fort Jefferson,..but in my visits to the fort for over 20+ years,..I along with most groups choose to travel the Yankee Freedom.

MAINE: Bar Harbor - Fast CAT Ferries to Nova Scotia


Traveling between Bar Harbor, Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in just under three hours and between Portland, Maine and Yarmouth in 5 ½ hours, The Cat brings a unique travel experience to these two distinctive ports. The famous rockbound coast of Maine and Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, historic Portland and the unique cultural heritage of Nova Scotia are yours to discover on this route.
The Yarmouth to Bar Harbor service was served by the conventional ferry mv BLUENOSE in the summer of 1997. In 1998, Bay acquired "The Cat", a new 91 metre high-speed ferry constructed by Incat of Tasmania. This was North America's first high speed ferry of this type. In 2002 Bay Ferries introduced a new high speed ferry to North America by acquiring a 98 meter Evolution 10B design fast ferry, the largest and most modern vessel ever built by Incat. At a cost of US $50.2 million this new CAT renewed our commitment to stay on the leading edge of technological developments and innovation in marine transportation. The Digby - Saint John service operates 12 months per year while the Yarmouth/Bar Harbor service operates approximately six (6) months per year.

MAINE: Bar Harbor - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK -Warblers and Wildflowers Festival


Year after year, as summer approaches, flocks of small, brightly colored songsters return to Bar Harbor. The warblers have arrived! For some, Mount Desert Island is their summer destination while others pass through to nesting sites still farther north. Mourning Warbler, Blackburnian, Canada and Magnolia Warbler were some of the Parulidae family highlights, while Ruffed Grouse, Pileated Woodpecker and numerous ocean and wetland birds were also among last year's festival total of 100 species.

By the end of May, the sun has warmed the earth and is welcoming the wildflowers of Acadia. Wild Rhodora, Viburnum and forest floor wildflowers abound in the woods and gardens of Mount Desert Island.

Everyone is invite to join the town of Bar Harbor May 24-May 28, 2007 as we celebrate this annual return of song and color during the Sixth Annual Warblers and Wildflowers Festival. Explore Warblers and Wildflowers through numerous events and venues. Early morning birding walks around picturesque Mount Desert Island, Peregrine watches and various boat tours provide endless bird watching and learning possibilities. Guided tours of famous Mount Desert Island gardens, walks through native forests, and various Ranger-led programs in Acadia National Park satisfy garden lovers of all ages. Enjoy warblers and wildflowers through Art with afternoon gallery tours and "meet the artist" demonstrations. Evenings are filled with social events, films and lectures.

Islands have a special magic, and none more so than Bar Harbor, set on Maine's rock-bound coast. From the stonewall-lined and tree-covered road leading you into the village, to the sweeping vistas from atop Cadillac Mountain, there is a special mystique to Bar Harbor. Nestled on the east side of Mount Desert Island, surrounded by Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor has welcomed visitors for over a hundred years.