Archive for the ‘Hobbies and Crafts’ Category

A Year’s Output of Our Planet’s Chromium MInes Visible Here: Motorcycle Mania 2011

August 12, 2011


Thousands of motorcycles with their drivers and passengers. plus thousands more spectators filled the entirety of Main Street and some of the surrounding streets with a sea of chromium and brilliant paint. This was Motorcycle Mania 2011, an annual event in Middletown, Connecticut for the past several years. Follow are a sampling of photos from the event.

I don’t know what motorcycle they rode in on but I am pleased they agreed to be photographed (obligatory eye candy)!

Note: Click on any photo to enlarge

There were a great variety of machines on display including Harleys of every description, Honda comfort bikes, Spyder trikes, and conventional  trikes; also spotted was a single Ducati and a Victory. There were quite a few female drivers but always solo and of course the usual pairing of guy driving and gal holding on in back.

No motorcycle rally would be complete without a cast of colorful characters and this event was no exception:

Bikes and more bikes:

The End (time to partay!):

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Birds in the Winter

January 19, 2011

Unlike veteran field birder and blogger Brownstone Birder I don’t feel comfortable with field I.D. of many smaller birds. However, this year’s harsh Winter season has provided many occasions to view birds at close range at my feeders. I have managed to photograph birds that I have seldom, or perhaps never, seen in field and wood. Attached herein are several photographs of birds seen through my back window here in Middletown. (Note: a loss of image clarity is the inevitable result of shooting through window panes; oh, and please correct me if I have misidentified any bird) (All photos: click to enlarge)

Red Bellied Woodpecker

Carolina Wren

Song Sparrow

Mourning Dove

White-Breasted Nuthatch

Amatos Toy and Hobby – 70 Years in Middletown: A Look at a Man’s Hobbies and Some History of Railroading in CT

August 1, 2010

The photos in this post were made July 25, 2010 in Middletown CT at Amatos Toy and Hobby store on Main Street. (click to enlarge any photo) The event is described in an article in The Middletown Press:

“MIDDLETOWN — More than 150 members of the National Lionel Operating Train Society attended a private showing of a 3,000-square-foot train exhibit at the 70th Anniversary celebration of Amato’s Toy and Hobby Store Wednesday evening.

The train exhibit includes seven operating model train layouts and local railroad memorabilia along with the never-before displayed, extensive pre-war Lionel train collection of Amato’s owner and founder, Vincent Amato.

“The visual of what everyone has put together is really neat,” said Diane Amato, Vincent’s daughter and coordinator of the event. “When you see this room, you will be amazed….”
www.middletownpress.com/articles/2010/07/14/business/doc4…

Amatos Toy and Hobby is located at 395 Main Street; Middletown CT 06457

In addition to the wonderful layouts of operating model trains of various gauges there were showcases of Mr. Amato’s collections of trains and other toys. Also, much memorabilia and information about early railroading in Middletown. So, I have included some historical photos and information later in this post.

Vincent Amato, Prop. and Train Collector Extraordinaire

O'Rourke's Diner - Main Street, Middletown

One of the seven model train layouts

Model Train Layout with Winter Motif


Mr. Amato's Personal Collection of Lionel Standard Gauge Trains

Shipyard Scene in Miniature

A few words and photographs about early railroading in Middletown and central Connecticut: From the late 19th century and well into the 20th Middletown was a busy railroad center with several North/South and East/West lines passing through the city. In 1888, for example, 29 passenger trains passed through here on a daily basis. Even though all passenger service was discontinued by the middle of the 20th century there is still active freight service in the city. The most interesting reminder of the glory days of railroading in Connecticut Valley is the iron swing bridge connecting Middletown with Porland. This bridge was constructed in 1884 to carry the so called “White Train” of the New York and Boston Airline RR across the Connecticut River, and thence through the rolling hills of eastern Connecticut to Massachusetts and on to Boston. (see photo below)

The White Train commenced operations in 1891. Popularly known as the Ghost Train. It was made up of gleaming white coaches trimmed with gold. The parlor cars’ interiors were finished in mahogany and furnished with velvet rugs, silk curtains and upholstered plush chairs. The train’s schedule was so well advertised that people came from miles around to wait at stations or crossing to see it go by. The fast express was replaced in 1895 by the Air Line Limited.(see 2nd photo below) The Airline Railroad fell into decline because of the need for heavier equipment and longer trains which could not navigate the steep grades and numerous curves. Although the name Airline Route gives one the impression of a straight and level roadbed, this was not the case here.

Airline Railroad Swing Bridge Connecticut River-Middletown to Portland

The White Train or Ghost Train

Four of the early Middletown Train Stations (none remain)

Railroad Man and His Dog - Middletown Depot