Category Archives: big bands

A Visit to the Connecticut Shore

In the midst of all that God-awful rain last week, we had a day full of sun and warmth on Tuesday.  So we hopped in our car and headed for the Connecticut shoreline and some of our old haunts!  First, we stopped at Bill’s seafood for our annual (and more often if we can!) fix of lobster rolls!  Mmm, Bill’s has the best, with a handy helping of crisp and hearty french fries and cole slaw with a nice tang. You can see Yang enjoys his repast!

As usual, we sat on the deck, which is next to a river and salt marsh flowing to the sea.  We especially love to do that because you always see loads of seabirds there.  This time, we could espy teenage ospreys in their platform next out in the marsh, while wild cries overhead alerted us to their hunting parents flying overhead.  We couldn’t take pictures because the platform was too far out, but we’d remembered to bring binoculars.  so, we got a good look at the young osprey.

We also had the pleasure of seeing some less fierce feathered critters.  We got a few pictures of some American Black Ducks, as you can see here.







There was also a mamma Mallard with her three babies scooting around.  It was cute to watch her leisurely paddling while her kiddos worked those webbed feet furiously to keep up!  Someone commented that this must be her second clutch, since they were so little so late in the season.


After Bill’s, it was off to Old Lyme to visit Joan Bennett at the Pleasant View Cemetery.  there used to be a riding academy and horse-boarding farm across the street, so I used to think that Joan, who was a rider, would have found that view pleasant, indeed.  Today, the grass wasn’t too bad in the cemetery, and it was filled with butterflies.  I saw a Monarch, the Black Swallow Tail in this picture (thanks to Charmaine Kinton for the i.d.) and a beautiful bright yellow butterfly (no, not a Tiger Swallow Tail).  I know Joan loved yellow and butterflies are symbols of the soul.  Do you think she was  saying “hi” to me?  I also noticed that there was a sign for a house for sale on the street.  should we all chip and buy it so that we visit our friend more easily – and keep the grass trimmed?  I also noticed that Joan had a cousin, Patricia Morrison (not the actress), who died very young.  Does anyone know the story there?

Anyway, we checked ourselves for ticks before we got in the car – we were in Lyme- then went off to Rocky Neck State Park.  This park is a wonderful place to hit the beach or take hikes along trails.  Once more, we saw several nesting platforms for ospreys with young ospreys in them.   There was one that had a nest not as thick as the others, so we thought it was unfinished or abandoned.  We found out later we were wrong. Once again, thank God for binoculars!  We also saw many Cattle Egrets and Great Egrets, as well as a Kildeer!  Yang even managed to get this shot of a Green Heron!  So, in case you’re still wondering, what was the deal with the underdeveloped platform nest?  Well, we were checking it out with the binoculars when a red-tailed hawk came sailing in.  The hawk kept looking at something in the nest that we couldn’t see, but we suspect it was his/her family.  Thanks to the binoculars, we got a great closeup of the bird’s enormous eyes, powerful hooked beak, and beautiful feather patterns.  A formidable creature, indeed!

Finally, we moved on to the beach and then up to the huge, field stone pavilion that had been built in the 1930s as a WPA project.  The building was one of the reasons Yang had wanted to come here.  He’d been reading the draft of my third novel, Always Play the Dark Horse, and its description of the setting whetted his appetite to return to one of our favorite places to go walking.  The pavilion is a long building with beautiful hard wood floors inside.  Couldn’t you just picture a big band playing there, and people dancing on a summer’s eve with a tangy salt breeze cooling off all those hot cats and kittens?  It turns out you can rent it for $3,750 for a gathering of  under 200 people.  A larger number is less expensive.  Any one want to GoFund a swing night there – and I mean swing dancing!

There are also some beautiful views of the ocean from the pavilion.





Then we closed out the day with dinner at The Main Street Grille in Niantic – well, not exactly.  We also went for a 30 minute walk on the boardwalk in town as well.  No wonder I was limping on Wednesday and Thursday.  Nevertheless,  I was recovered enough to jitterbug, cha-cha, rhumba, and fox trot to Dan Gabel and the Abletones at Moseley on the Charles on Friday.  Good bless heating pads and Advil!



Sharon and Yang Swing Out (Dancing, That Is)!


 Two weeks back, Yang and I went to a swing dance that was part of a commemoration of the official end of WWII. To put it in contemporary terms, it was a swell time! They had a WWII-era jeep and vintage cars from the the 1930s and 1940s. There were all kinds of neat memorabilia – and everyone dressed the way I like to, in forties fashions!



Here’s Yang getting ready for a spin in a jeep, a little too well-dressed for a trip to the front, though!



Here I am, getting ready to make a getaway in a Chevy that reminds me of one my Dad had.  This Dance4baby not only had vent windows to keep you cool without messing up your hair, but plenty of room in the front and back seats – and bench seats, too!




The outside dance class – led by a guy in a bright yellow zoot suit.  Dance1Either the camera photographs too slow for those jitter bugs, or, oh no!  It’s a wormhole transporting us from 1940s Eureka into the present!




Indoors was the swing dance, with tunes played by none other than the 21st Century’s gift to swing, Dan Gable and the Abletones Big Band!  Dance7







But first, we had a reading of the final surrender papers – then on to celebrate, shaking our tootsies to a hot jive beat!




Dance11  Look at them swing it on the floor!  More than their feets are a blur!







Dig the sax section swing it!Dance15










Don’t forget the horns!



Yang and Sharon take off to trip the light fantasticDance12









We could also dream and swing to the sweet song stylings of vocalist Elise Roth.




And here we are again because we’re just so cute when we’re dancing!



Then there was the dance contest.  We thought we’d sit that one out.






And my favorite, the WWII officer checking his iPhone. Dance20 Well, it’s not that strange when you consider that Hedy Lamarr was co-creator of the programming that underlies cell phones.

1942 publicity photo for the movie "Tortilla Flat"

Either that, or he managed to come back through the wormhole with some technological gizmos.  Just another day in Eureka.