Monday, December 20, 2010

Maine Minutiae: A Double New Years Celebration

Two New Years in One
In this post we are going to look past Christmas into the New Year, 2011. We are also looking east as you can look and still be in the United States. We are once again heading out to the easternmost city in the country, Eastport, Maine. As many of you will recall, Eastport is my wife's hometown. We are heading there again this weekend to do the Christmas Thing with Heather's family. It will be nice to see all the in-laws again, but I wish that we could put the trip off for another week. If we head out this week, we will miss the Sardine and Maple Leaf Drop. This is an annual New Years Eve event in Eastport, with several hundred people braving what is certain to be cold and breezy weather. A few hundred folks is quite a crowd because the population of Eastport is only about 1600. the cool thing about this Sardine and Maple Leaf Drop is that the revelers get to celebrate the arrival of the new year twice! The deal is that you can look across the bay from Eastport and see Canada, which (I am just guessing here) can't be much more than a mile away. this is where the Maple Leaf Drop comes in. It's kinda like the ball in Times Square counting down to the New Year. The Maple Leaf Drop happens at midnight Atlantic Time which is 11:00PM Eastern Time. So for an hour, New Brunswick is in the New Year while Eastport is still in the old. At midnight Eastern Time, the Sardine Drop welcomes in the New Year to Maine and the Eastern Time Zone of the USA. This is just an excuse to drink more beer in welcoming in the New Year to both countries. And of course, getting an extra New Year smooch from your better half.

Here's the web site that has all the information you'll need to know if you'd like to spend the New Years Weekend observing and celebrating its arrival in two countries within one hour. It sounds like a hoot and I'd like to be there for the big shindig, but I think I'll be headed to Colorado to see my Mom and my step Dad.

Let me figure this out. If I time it just right I can welcome in the New Year to Canada and the Eastern Time Zone of the USA, catch a plane for Denver in Bangor, celebrate the New Year in the Central Time Zone in mid-flight, then land in Denver,  haul ass to my Mom's house then bring in 2011 in the Mountain Time Zone at one of the casinos down the street from Mom's place. Now that sounds like a plan. Too bad I don't know anyone in the Pacific Time Zone. I could celebrate the arrival of 2011 from East to West across the United States. Oh, well. Maybe next year.  :)

Texas Tidbits: Christmas on the Island!

Galveston as seen from the Gulf of Mexico
I have been lucky enough to have lived all over Texas at one time or another - from Big Spring to Kilgore and from Pampa to Galveston and all points in between. I'd say that that covers a good hunk of the state. Galveston has to be one of my favorite places I've lived, if for no other reason than there's water everywhere. It is an island after all.

The Sinking Sandbar as Galveston is sometimes called is rich in history and tradition. One of the newer traditions is the Moody Gardens Festival of Lights. I lived in Galveston in the mid-80's and this year is the ninth year od the Moody Gardens Festival of Lights, so it's a new thing for me. fills us in, "Festival of Lights is the Gulf Coast’s largest holiday lighting event, receiving more than 85,000 visitors annually. It includes a mile-long trail of more than a million lights and 100 sound-enhanced animated displays sparkling over the beautiful Galveston Bay. Every year, Santa Claus starts the festival magic by parachuting in to Moody Gardens to flip a switch that transforms the 242-acre property into a glistening wonderland."

In addition to the Festival of Lights, which incidently are open daily through New Years Day, there's also the IMAX 3D holiday film, Ridefilm, Discovery Museum, Aquarium Pyramid, Colonel Paddlewheel Boat and outdoor ice skating rink, can be purchased for $5 each when accompanied by a Festival of Lights ticket. If you'd like to get more info, give 'em a holler at 800-582-4673.

I can tell from personal experience that Galveston is a great place to visit for everyone in your family. If you've never been to Galveston, how about taking a look at it before you decide whether you are going or not? The city has many webcams set up so you can get a sneek peek at what the place looks like. Check out the home page for more interesting places to visit while you are on the island. The Bishop's Palace is probably the best-known building in Galveston and is a stunning place to see up close. Click the link and you'll see why.

That's a thumbnail sketch of what's happening at Christmas time in Galveston. If you'll click on the links above, there's a ton of stuff to do that I didn't mention here. In particular, take the time to navigate the site. it's full of great information about the Sinkin' Sandbar.

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All Original Material © Toby Shoemaker