The Benefit of Carrying Postage Stamps

While we were at the Statue of Liberty we bought some postcards.

We bought a number of the same postcard.

We sprang for the cheapest ones they sell — 35 cents each.

Liberty Island has its own postmark.

I was carrying postcard postage with me which is now 34 cents per card. (At least I thought I was carrying postcard postage — actually I think I put on an “additional ounce” stamp which might explain the delay in delivery.)

The areas bordered with red are in the Liberty Island zip code: 10004.

Anyway when the card was delivered to our house it had been postmarked with the Liberty Island seal and zip code.

I’m glad we took the time to send cards.

Now that’s a souvenir.

In 2003 I received a postcard from the South Pole.

Other places in the world which have very limited postal service (and for which I have postmarked cards) are:

  • Antarctica
  • United Nations (just a building in New York City)
  • Vatican

Have you received a letter from a far off place?

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Visiting Tips for the Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is a National Monument and as such is part of the National Park Service.

The Crown is open to visitors.

The ultimate attraction is visiting the Crown and looking out over New York Harbor.

Crown ticket has the name of the holder on it.

First, each household/credit card is only allowed to purchase no more than 4 tickets every six months.  And tickets are sold out months in advance so if you have a specific time you’d like to visit make reservations early. (We bought ours in the middle of July when the first available date was the end of October.) I suggest that August in the Crown of Liberty might be extremely hot.

The sign pointing to the ticket booth at Liberty State Park in New Jersey.

Driving in from South of the Statue we caught the ferry from Liberty State Park in New Jersey which is much less crowded than catching it from the Battery in New York City. Don’t mix up parking at the Science Center with parking at Liberty Park. It’s NOT the same.

New York City skyline is in clear view.

After parking it’s a good walk to pick up Crown tickets at “will call”.  Each person whose name is on the receipt must be present with a photo ID. Each person will be given a ticket and a wristband which is cut from the wrist at the beginning of the assent into the body of the Statue of Liberty.

Lots of walking on bricks and cobbles.

Another walk down a cobblestone path leads to the first security screening before catching the ferry.  Much like airport security pockets must be emptied, jackets removed, belts removed, and steel-toed boots put through an x-ray scanner. Save time by carrying on your person only your tickets, money, ID, credit card, cell phone/camera.  Purses and backpacks are a real hindrance especially later.

The bow of the ferry heading toward the Statue.

The ferry carries over 500 people but is boarded quickly and often.  First stop is Ellis Island which we did not visit but does come as part of the cost of the ticket which actually pays for the ferry ride as there is no admission cost to Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty.

Entrance to security station o Liberty Island.

Upon arrival at Liberty Island walk toward the American flag then turn right for the entrance to the Statue. There is another security screening here. Same procedure as before. The process is quick.  However all purses, bags, strollers, backpacks, etc. MUST be stashed in a locker. There was a slow line to get to the lockers which are $2 for 2 hours.  We bypassed this holdup because we had no extra baggage.

Spiral staircase

We took an elevator to the to the top of the pedestal (the foot of the statue). From there we walked 162 very tight steps to the crown. On the way up there are small platforms which allow stepping off the stairs momentarily to catch a breath and inspect the inside of the Statue’s structure.  In the Crown area we three (and two Park Rangers) took photos of the scenery and were assisted with photos by the rangers who also answered questions and generally gave us interesting information.

The original torch is displayed inside the pedestal.

Coming down the steps was uneventful but still a walk in a very restricted space.  After that we zoomed through the museum which is in the pedestal and only available to people with pedestal or crown tickets.

This shot would make a good postcard.

We ate at the café and bought a few postcards at the gift shop.  The postcard selection was not very good but we had brought stamps with us and wanted to post them from the island.

A view from the ferry.

Then we boarded the ferry for our return trip to the car. If you have any questions about our trip I’m happy to answer them.

Have you visited any National Monuments recently?

A Three-Hour Tour

No, we did not go out on the S.S. Minnow with the Captain and Gilligan.

The sign pointing to the ticket booth at Liberty State Park in New Jersey.

Three hours is the drive time from The Glade just south of Baltimore, Maryland to Liberty State Park in New Jersey.

A view of Liberty Island from the ferry.

Three months ago I arranged for tickets to the Crown of the Statue of Liberty and yesterday was our assigned time at 12 noon to enter the security screening facility so we could hop on a ferry to Liberty Island.

Looking up into the framework of the torch-bearing arm.

It was a glorious day.

The view of Manhattan from the Crown.

The view from the crown amazing.

How beautiful is Lady Liberty!

An entire day dedicated to liberty and friendship.

Do you have a favorite National Park or Monument?

Trip Planning for 2018

I was looking at my 101  in 1001 list and decided I’d better get busy planning some travel items.

Charlie, Sug, and I are planning a trip to the crown of the Statue of Liberty this October. Tickets must be purchased months in advance.

Basically this year is finished although we do have a couple of day trips planned to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and the Statue of Liberty.

I’d like to get to Cuba before things change too much. (Sug will be heading back to the Dominican Republic later in the year on a mission trip.)

The schedule I’m laying out for Charlie and me in 2018 is:

  • January/February — 5 or 6 days in Cuba
  • July/August — 2 or 3 days on Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay
  • September/October — 10 days in England

I don’t know if I’ll be able to pull off all of the planning for this travel but I’m certainly going to try.

Last year we went to 3 national parks including Grand Canyon.

We haven’t been out of the country since 2011 and I’m feeling more confident about international travel.

My passport was renewed in 2015. I’m ready for a trip.

First item on the agenda: Renew Charlie’s passport.

The photo tool on the State Department website is easy to use but has very specific requirements.

I started by taking his photo which didn’t turn out so we’ll have another session soon which Charlie will hopefully let me share. (I took my own passport photo.)

Where in the world would you like to go?

We Saw the Eclipse

Charlie and I traveled to South Carolina from Maryland to see the Great Solar Eclipse of 2017.

We saw the eclipse in Lexington, South Carolina, marked by the black star.

Our original plan was to head to McClellanville on the coast of South Carolina.  Unfortunately the weather forecast thunder storms for the entire afternoon so we were afraid we’d miss the main event so we headed southwest to Lexington, South Carolina.

We had our choice of seats in Blowfish Stadium.

Specifically we went to Blowfish Stadium on the centerline of totality (1200 yards from the centerline) where the entry was free. They handed us souvenir tickets and free eclipse glasses.

Charlie was prepared with his eclipse glasses.

We were there with like-minded people from all over the world: Canada, Guatemala, England, Australia, etc.

Fortunately the clouds moved out.

We were teased with a little cloud cover but during the totality the sky was clear.

Every image is exciting.

The moon was a black disc and the sun was only corona.

It looked just like this.

It lasted 2 minutes and 36 seconds.  I could have watched longer. We could see stars.

The only light during totality were clouds on the distant horizon.

I was mesmerized by the eclipse. The difference between seeing the eclipse personally and seeing it on video is about like seeing fireworks in person and watching them on TV, nice but not the same.

Eclipse Enterprise

After the eclipse we stopped at Starbucks before starting our return drive to Maryland which ended up taking almost 12 hours.  Happy to be home.

What was your eclipse experience?  Will you try to see the next one in April, 2024?

Quest for the Eclipse of 2017

Charlie and I left church on Sunday morning at 12:30 in the afternoon heading south in hopes of seeing a complete solar eclipse.

We’re trying to see a solar eclipse to mark off on our bucket list.

As we traveled south on Interstate 95 south of Washington DC we hit traffic that was making 20 miles of progress in 50 minutes.  It was slow going such that our 6 hour trip went for over 9 hours.

Charlie orders his coffee at the Starbucks counter; I usually use my mobile order app.

One bright spot was a short stop at Starbucks. I always order an espresso macchiato then add extra cream.

This bed looked so inviting.

We arrived at our lovely AirBnB in Wilmington, North Carolina, after 9 p.m.  Charlie played a couple of songs on the host’s baby grand piano while I headed straight for the bed. I was exhausted.

Can’t wait for breakfast in the morning.

Charlie said good-night to our host and set up our breakfast for 8:30 the next morning, blueberry pancakes.

The route took longer than expected.

Our original destination of McClellanville seems to be under clouds and thunderstorms all day so we’re going to try to head farther west. We’d need a boat to go east.

Newly painted railing and stained stairs courtesy of Sug.

While we were driving I kept getting photos from Sug with improvements she was making while we were away.

Are you planning to watch the Eclipse today?

Seemed Easy Enough

A couple of weeks ago I discovered (after almost everybody else in the United States) that a total solar eclipse was going to cross the continent on August 21, 9 days from now.

We live about an 8-hour drive north of the path of totality of the Solar Eclipse of 2017.

After clearing our calendars and hemming and hawing for awhile we finally decided to try and make it to a region where we could be in the path of totality — a place where day literally turns to night.

The route could easily take longer than expected if others get the same idea we have.

At first I thought we would head to Smoky Mountain National Park but they were selling tickets to the best viewing area which have been sold out for ages. Instead I mapped the 6-and-a-half-hour route and made an AirBnB reservation for the night before within a additional two hour drive to the eclipse area.

Eclipse glasses should cost about $1 each — they’re not fancy.

Next on the to-do list was to get some solar eclipse glasses so we would be able to view the sun as it is covered by the moon.

Children’s solar eclipse glasses.

Unfortunately all local brick-and-mortar stores, Lowes, REI, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, were sold out as were their on-line counterparts.  The only option left to me was to buy children’s models which I ordered from Amazon.

If you miss this one there’ll be another total eclipse in 2024 from Mexico to Maine.

I’m hoping the glasses will arrive in time for our trip.  I’m also going to try to get a pair from our local library which will begin to distribute a limited amount on August 14th.

Are you planning to view the eclipse?