A little street photography, beauty, Ocean, Sand Sculptures, sky

20th Annual Hampton Beach Sand Sculpture Competition…a little late this year but it happened!

Good day everyone! I thought I would set the feature image with this to freak you out a little bit but also to give you pause. Isn’t this amazing? This is only a small of this sculpture so wait until you see the whole thing…front and back. This stop for the day ends in Hampton Beach, NH for our almost annual trip to the sand sculpture competition.

While trying to verify the names of each sculptor and where they were from I discovered that this started in 2000 by Gregory Grady, local artist and master sand sculptor…this part I knew…and it all began with one quarter…a New Hampshire quarter to be precise. Mr. Grady, commissioned by the U.S. Mint to create a larger than life replica of the back side of the new state quarter at the Hampton Beach Children’s Festival. The rest is history!

This competition is usually held in June but this year…well, you know…the whole Covid thing it got pushed off. It is the 20th Anniversary of it being in Hampton Beach and for awhile it was questionable but it was decided to hold it and people were awesome about wearing masks and safe social distancing wherever possible. And for the first time…I think ever…they closed down the main drag in town and a lot of the side streets so doing a little street photography was possible too. The street did reopen the Tuesday after Labor Day. I only went to Hampton Beach this one time this year but I think I like having it closed. I wonder if they will do it again?

We started out in North Hampton, NH which very close to the beach…my occasional travel companion, Thelma, was craving some seafood and this location is seasonal and didn’t have the menu to complete that craving…but they have a year round location in Portsmouth that fit the bill so off we went…about 8 miles or so as the crow flies. Oh…this location is The Beach Plum. Very delicious seafood, hamburgers, etc plus all the reviews raved about the ice cream cones/cups they have though we were way too full to discover it for ourselves. We actually threw food away because we knew we would be walking around the boardwalk and the food would go bad in Mondays heat. Nothing fancy…just good food. I thought I took pictures of our combo plates but I guess I was too hungry and just started eating!

Off to Hampton Beach and the sand sculptures we go! Finding parking wasn’t too bad though it was pretty busy there…just not typical Labor Day busy. Walking up the main drag was interesting with street musician in several locations. I was taking a picture of the balloon guy who was happily waving at me and some guy behind me starts calling out “take my picture, take my picture, take my picture”…when I turn around he grabs his woman and keeps telling me, as she keeps trying to walk away. I said I wasn’t going to take her picture unless she agreed and he kept saying “look at her…she is warming up to the idea”, “look at that smile on her face”, “she really wants her picture taken”…and suddenly she relaxed and agreed! I took two pictures of them and asked what I was supposed to do with them…he said “enjoy the great memory of meeting us.” I told her if she wanted to share her e-mail address I would send them to her so she gave it to me. I finally got a chance to send them to her late last night and she answered immediately that they loved them. Aww…happy chance encounter! I won’t share their pictures because I didn’t get permission to post…sorry…they really were a cute couple!

I am going to try to post pictures broken down into groups…walking the main drag/boardwalk, pre/post-sunset sculptures, some in color, some I shot in monochrome, some I changed to black and white so more detail could be seen, sunset sculptures (they did have the area somewhat illuminated), sunset with and without kites, etc. One of the first things we noticed when we were walking up to the main road was that the flag was flying at half-mast in several spots. I didn’t think about it as we were walking around but likely could be out of respect for the 19th anniversary of 9/11?

Before we found a parking spot we saw this really cool old yellow pick-up truck and as we were walking up to the main drag we saw it again so that is where I start with the street photography though I was only able to get it from the back…well, that is where I planned to start but WP had its own idea on where that picture should be placed…but it is there! Note Timi Hendrix (who along with Covid Lee Roth are Battlescar Prophylactica…we never saw Covid Lee Roth perform though I think I saw her along the fence at one point) and @dantedrums…wish I had video of both to share though I looked up both and all I found for Timi Hendrix was a German rapper who didn’t look like the guy on the street in Hampton Beach and a white guy playing drums @dantedrums and the guy on the street here was not white?! There were two other sources of live music…one was up on the balcony…see one of the flag images…and one was not visible to me. Great experience…the dog was a beautiful surprise and the drunk who waltzed by with shoes in hand…just part of the evening! It’s funny when looking at these…I knew the balloon guy knew I was taking his picture because he waved to me. I didn’t realize Timi Hendrix had been peering at me over the top of his glasses! 🙂 And that RV!!! The longest darn RV with an attached camo trailer I ever saw…no idea what that was about!

Pre-sunset sand sculptures…many duplicates because I tried to get them from several angles..they were all very cool though compared to years past, there did not seem to be as many and several appeared to have an unfinished look. I am guessing not all that typically travel for sand sculpting competitions would be willing to travel this year.

This is “Mood Swing” done by Rusty Croft from Carmel, CA. Not my favorite but I thought I had several angles of this. The details with the hands and muscles are amazing!

Then we have “Lady in Repose” done by David Andrews from Wisconsin. The head shot from this one is currently my Facebook cover photo…the face is beautiful and I would love to know who was in his head as he was sculpting this. See the after sunset images for more of this lady!

These amazing pieces of art were done as a group by all participants in the competition and the details on some are amazing! My favorite is the Ogre though the owl, hummingbird, fairy and gnome are pretty cool and detailed also

Next up is the 1st Place WinnerMelineige Beauregard from Montreal, Canada with her piece, “Second Star to the Right and Straight to Morning.” I don’t understand what is supposed to be in what I think is a net but it is an intriguing piece of art. The clouds and stars were missed the first few times I took pictures of it. And…the 3rd or 4th time I saw it I realized there were two people climbing down…upside down! No worries…I have more in the after sunset section. **Update…I just read that this is supposed to be a Peter Pan inspired piece of a man and woman floating above the clouds. Not 100% getting that but okay**

The 2nd Place WinnerAbe Waterman from Prince Edward Island, Canada won with “Yesterdays Serenade

Then there is “Knock Knock” done by Chris Guinto of Florida…an interesting dragon with a wave coming up over him and a sailboat sitting on it. This won the first ever Governor’s Choice Award. Interesting…chosen because the Governor’s son loves dragons…well, that and it is cool.

Next up is the 4th Place winner… “Just Breathe” by Karen Fralich from Toronto.

Winner of the Sculptor’s Choice Award was Greg Grady for his piece, “I Believe“. Greg’s father is the founder/creator of this competition starting in 2000. He has won numerous competitions. Though there is no money connected to winning this award, it is said to be a very prestigious award.

Next is “Squid Pro Quo” by Carl Jara of Ohio. Described as a very tense and timely piece!

And last but not least…”It’s Overwhelming” by Justin Gordon of Massachusetts. In my opinion this is a most amazing piece with such detail that it should have placed…but they are all so wonderful!

At this point I am torn…do I move onto the sculptures after dark and illuminated by the lights or do I change it up with the sunset and then end with the sunset sculptures? I decided to go now with the after sunset sculptures and end with sunset. I am not going to label all the sculptures again…it is a fairly short read so I think you can remember which is which and if not…it is a short scroll back to double check. Well…that and its after midnight and I’ve been doing this for 5–6 hours with a little time out to make dinner…:-)

Sunset…color in the sky, a few kites and a lot of wires! I never realized how many wires criss-cross the streets in Hampton Beach…I guess because I am not usually there at night looking up? Nope…been to concerts at night at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom. Hmm…not sure why I never noticed before but it doesn’t look safe to have that many wires out there.

And this ends a couple of gorgeous hours in Hampton Beach on a beautiful 2020 Labor Day! Well, we still have to drive 75 minutes back to my house and she has another at least 30 minutes from there back to her house…but you get it! 🙂

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See you on the road!— Love you all…thanks for traveling with me!!!

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”
― anaïs nin

beauty, nature photography, Ocean, sky, travel

Let’s attempt to finish the Boothbay Harbor visit and then move south toward home…

Brown’s Wharf Inn & Marina Boothbay Harbor, ME

I think I ended with the Damariscotta River Cruise…after the cruise I went to the Footbridge in town…I didn’t even know Boothbay Harbor had a Footbridge but it is lovely! And watching the young lady do head stands on her paddle board…priceless!  As watching the kids enjoying a jump off the bridge! 

After checking out the Footbridge I headed back to the hotel but before going in I decided to walk over to the closest restaurant, The Whale’s Tale…one of several the hotel had recommended when I checked in. The food was decent, only one other customer when I first got there but service was a tad on the slow side and the waiter had little to no personality. I wasn’t there to become friends with him but I attempted to talk to him a few times in the hour plus I was there but he wasn’t having it. A couple that came in shortly before I left specifically asked for a table that was assigned to him and when he came out they started talking to him about their visit the night before and he barely acknowledged them. I think he needs a new job! It was though a lovely spot for dinner and close to the hotel.

After dinner, I went back to the hotel, killed some time doing a few things and then headed down to the deck to see if there was a view of sunset…I was in sunset heaven! A really long deck, lots of tables, chairs, rockers and the marina with a few super yachts from all over…all right there with the perfect sunset sky…plenty of clouds!

Next up…Sunrise the next morning! It is rare that I am up and in a good spot to catch a sunrise…but I happened to wake up and the curtains were open just enough to see sunrise was starting. I hopped out of bed and grabbed my phone, went out on the balcony and grabbed a couple shots then hopped back into bed. But, I could not stay…I knew there were beautiful things going on out there and I could here the fishing boats getting ready to go out. I threw some clothes on, grabbed the camera and the phone and went back on the deck!

Today’s adventure is Cap’n Fish’s Audubon Puffin Adventure and Scenic Cruise along the Kennebec River. I just checked their website because I couldn’t remember the length of the cruise and it is no longer available since the Puffins have left the northeast and this particular cruise isn’t available…though they have many others. I believe it was 2.5 hours…but maybe 2? I am dividing the pictures into scenic/Eastern Egg Island, lighthouses and birds…oh, and an Ocean Sunfish we came upon…and a few seals. It was a very exciting day!

I remember that one of them is Pemaquid but the names of the other 2 escape me! 😦

Then of course there is the Ocean Sunfish…a cool creature that I had never seen before and the Captain said it was a rare sighting. The species is native to tropical and temperate waters around the world. It resembles a fish head with a tail, and its main body is flattened laterally. It is a heavy, bony fish and the Captain was very careful when circling it so it did not go over it for fear of breaking bones! It swims on its side so you don’t see the dorsal fin when it swims, you see the pectoral fins.

The final and expected yet awesome part of the cruise are the puffins…and other birds. Oh…and the seal! A few eagles seen during the trip are included.

After completing this cruise, I headed back to the hotel and enjoyed a dinner I had bought at the store. Sat on the balcony for a bit and enjoyed the birds and quiet. Heading out tomorrow…going down to York…getting closer to heading home. Two nights in York and though I had three things on my list of things to see I surrendered to the heat and decided to just veg for my time in York. I did visit a few stops though on the way down…

First stop on the way down to York was at Squirrel Point Light and the Phippsburg/Arrowsic area…lovely! Though a lot of the “flowers” are actually weeds, they were pretty to me!

I attempted to find another lighthouse in this area I finally realized that the only access to it was a hike in the woods. Since it was 90 degrees I decided I didn’t need to see it that badly and I had no idea how long that hike would be! Moving on to the next spot…I went to visit the Fort Popham State Historic Site in Phippsburg. Great spot that I had never heard about before and it had a beach right next to it. In fact, when I was driving there there was a report about a white shark spotted in the area and they were warning people about this beach and another in the area…not to stay out of the water but to make sure not to go in further than your knees. I’m sorry…if there is any kind of shark in the area I am staying out of the water!

Anyway, back to the Fort…this is a very cool place. If you like a bit of local history, like to explore or your kids like to explore this is the place to come. And…you can enjoy some scenery and beach at the same time. Not a huge parking area but plenty on the day I was there. It  is a Civil War-era coastal defense fortification at the mouth of the Kennebec River.

What I saw out of the corner of my eye as I was driving down the road leaving the Fort…I had to back up and take a couple pictures…

Time to check into the Best Western York Inn…lovely lobby but the room had a nice view. 🙂

As I mentioned, I stayed in over the next two days just reading, watching shows on my tablet and playing games on my phone…It was a much needed rest from all the weeks activities. Before going home, I had another sail scheduled in Kennebunkport. I had booked this a few years ago with my friend but it was canceled at the last moment due to heavy fog. This time it was a go with a relatively small group of people. Two hours out on the water on a sunny July morning…perfect! This sailboat was the Pineapple Ketch and Captain Jim and his crew, Sky...excellent! We went by the Bush Compound at Walker Point, saw a lighthouse (one I wanted to see but now can’t remember the name!) and the home of many rich, famous people that “summer” in Kennebunk/Kennebunkport. George Bush was there…the Captain said you can tell when he is there because the Texas as well as the Maine Flag is flying…both were. We also spotted one of the lesser known brothers, Marvin, in the marina by the Nonantum Resort. Oh…the Nonantum Resort is where the Pineapple Ketch is moored. It is a beautiful resort…and I did a quick peek at their rates while I was waiting to board the boat…appears to start at about $500 a night and goes up from there…a little rich for my blood!