Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Archive for October, 2014

West Point’s Historic Cemetery — where Our Parents Rest

posted: October 20th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Certainly one of the most significant stops Janie and I made during our three-week trip to the East Coast was the one we made this past Friday. Both Janie’s parents and my parents are buried at West Point, and we wanted to pay our respects. As well, we included in our walking tour an inspection of some of the graveyard’s old monuments for they preserve so much of our nation’s history.

We wanted to see where Janie lived between 1959 and 1961 when her father served as an Academy doctor and where I lived when my father served between 1946 and 1949 as a tact officer. My dad was also graduated from the Academy.



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View of West Point from Stoney Lonesome Mountain

 

The graveyard overlooks the Hudson River and first served as a burial ground for soldiers from the Revolutionary War. Officially designated as the West Point cemetery in 1817, it has provided a beautiful resting ground for military men and women — some distinguished, some not so distinguished. Names include figures such as George Custer (not distinguished), General Norman Schwarzkopf, General Winfield Scott, General William Westmoreland, and Master Sergeant “Marty” Maher. Maher was portrayed as a central character in the film “The Long Gray Line,” and appropriately so, for he was the academy’s swimming coach and was considered in the movie as a voice of reason. He taught military dependents how to swim and in 1948 taught me how to do the breast stroke.


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Janie places flowers on parent’s grave; marker for my parents (Mom 1914 t0 1999); site of famous author and, not so incidentally, her historic home is now a museum about West Point.

 

The cemetery includes Medal of Honor winners, and a few men and women whose history complemented West Point history, such as Anna B. Warner, who wrote the children’s song, “Jesus Loves Me.” She became a well-known novelist of the times, but germane is the fact that her former family home is now a museum located on Academy grounds.

The Academy, of course, is not for everyone, and seven years ago I posted a blog about the Military Academy and tried to explain its suitability. Five Gildarts (three generations) attended West Point and it was just assumed I would try and enroll.


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First Medal of Honor given during Civil War; side panel of Custer Obelisk who was reinterred after his Little Bighorn debacle; grave stone of William Westmoreland.

 

I posted images of the Custer obelisk and of the football which serves as the headstone for the famous coach Earl Blake. In short, our visit brought back many memories and we were lucky to have had an absolutely gorgeous day to visit our parents’ graves and refresh our memories of some of our nation’s history.


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THIS TIME THREE YEARS AGO:

Dramatizing Desert Heat With Photographs


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | 3 Comments »

Sandy Hook National Seashore Preserves My Wife’s Old Home

posted: October 15th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Here in Great Meadows, New Jersey, where we are visiting family, we are not far from a relatively new national park which combines natural history with military history.   Sandy Hook National Historic Park includes old Fort Hancock, which in turn preserves a row of homes that served as the quarters for army officers.

Between 1958 and 1959, Janie’s dad was a military doctor who served at the old post and lived there with his family, which means Janie lived in a house that is now part of the history of Sandy Hook National Seashore.


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Janie standing in front of her old home

 

We toured the old fort and national seashore with Janie’s son and his family and, of course, our explorations brought back many memories. Janie remembers driving the old peninsula flanked by a bay on one side and by the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Today, the park is also renowned for its beauty, which includes several sweeping vistas of the New York skyline. As part of the skyline view one can see the new Freedom Tower, which has replaced the two Twin Towers. (You can see it if you click the image and look closely.)

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L to R:  Nike Missiles located but a short walk from Janie’s old home at Fort Hancock. Parade grounds formed her backyard.  Fort Hancock Lighthouse, nation’s oldest.  Seashore is a biker’s mecca. 

 

From the park’s broad sandy seashore, which one encounters after driving or biking through the park entrance, the park road soon progresses on to old Fort Hancock and, of course, we had to stop by Janie’s old home and hike the parade grounds which formed part of her back yard. (Two of the images show the officer’s row of homes and her’s was number 13.)

From the porch on her old home, she could see Raritan Bay, but when she ventured from her home she knew that a short walk would take her to several Nike Missiles, used to protect New York City. A short walk in another direction offered her the opportunity to examine old bunkers used to house canons. And in yet another direction a short hike would place her at the base of a light house, said to be the nation’s oldest.


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Jane Gildart back dropped by New York skyline and the new Freedom Tower -- as seen from Sandy Hook National Seashore..

 

The day could not have been more beautiful providing the deep blue skies which backdrop several of the images I’ve included here.


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THIS TIME THREE YEARS AGO:

Cow “Girl” Poetry

 

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Celebrating the Macabre

posted: October 11th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: I doubt if there’s any place in North America that celebrates Halloween with more showiness then do the six states that embrace the region defined as New England.  To carry this thought one step further it might be argued that Sturbridge, Massachusetts, leads the pack with several of its very flamboyant displays.  Here, then, are several images from this relatively small town along with my thoughts on each of the four photographs.


Sturbridge-32

celebrating the macabre

 

Historically, Halloween began about the mid-1700s and was considered to be a time when witches communicated with the dead through various forms of divination. In commemoration of this day, which now has a great celebratory component, each fall the town’s “Public House” offers prizes to the creation that symbolizes the best (more or less) of the occult.

One of my images then shows entries on the lawn of the Sturbridge “Public House.” Another shows daughter Karen and Mother Janie absolutely mortified by their proximity to the evil appearing pumpkin that sports tentacles, while yet another offers an assortment of a strange being crowned in one case by a skull graced with tendrils of green.


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L to R: Mother and daughter caught expressing their feeling of absolute terror; figures communing with other spirits on lawn of Public House; skull adorned with tendrils of green engulfed by other strange spirits — all part of the celebratory nature of Halloween in New England, in this case Sturbridge, Massachusetts.


Finally, another image shows the caricature of a man creating a pumpkin watched over by several evil-appearing black ravens.  That’s my favorite.

But you may also want to see how other parts of the country celebrate the macabre, and if so then CLICK — and that will take you on a graveyard walk that we enjoyed several years ago in Nova Scotia.  It was incredible!

THIS TIME ABOUT EIGHT YEARS AGO:

Grand Pre, Nova Scotia


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy





Read Comments | Post a Comment »