Summer Swimming Spot

Covered Bridge in Waterville, VT.

Welcome to the dog days of summer, as they say. Or at least another heat wave. How do you combat the heat? Everyone has a favorite place in the summer, and probably a favorite place to swim. Where is yours? Do you prefer the ocean, a lake, a river or would you rather be in chlorinated waters?

I’ve discussed my love of the ocean at length, but I’ll admit that I’m partial to it because of my childhood connections. Though I can imagine why people might prefer other spots.  A clear, cool flowing river and a swimming spot beneath a covered bridge seems like a perfect summer afternoon, too. Or sailing on a lake and enjoying calm waters – how peaceful the vistas must be. And of course, the fun filled childhood days of backyard pools and playing games like Marco Polo or practicing the perfect dive, racing back and forth from end to end of a pool, sitting on the deck with popsicle in hand – sounds like a good day, too.

The Atlantic Ocean from Robert Moses State Park, NY.

Why do I ask your favorite swimming spot? The places in our lives that serve as the setting for our memories and our foundations, are perhaps not all of historic significance, but important nonetheless because that is where our memories live. So while you might think of a lake as a place to swim and I might think of the ocean, if we share our memories and our stories, we can collectively appreciate them, learn about each other and perhaps find more places to love.

A Favorite Bridge

What is the first type of bridge that comes to mind when you hear the word “bridge”? Do you think of picturesque covered bridges dotting rural roads? Or perhaps a suspension bridge like the Golden Gate Bridge or the Brooklyn Bridge? Or maybe that metal truss bridge is your favorite. A concrete arch? A railroad bridge? A new bridge like the Lake Champlain Bridge (a modified network tied arch)?

Long before I thought about bridges the way I do now, and long before I knew about historic preservation, I had a favorite bridge. The Great South Bay Bridges carry the Robert Moses Causeway over the Great South Bay, which separate Captree and Jones Beach Island (both are parts of Long Island, NY). When we saw this bridge, it meant we were getting close to Grandma’s house and soon we’d be driving on Ocean Parkway, which was always one of my favorites roads.

Sister Bridges of the Great South Bay

The Great South Bay Bridge is a cantilevered steel through truss. The two-lane bridge was constructed in 1951, and its three-lane sister bridge was constructed in 1968 in order to handle additional traffic. At that time both bridges began carrying one way traffic. The western original bridge carries the southbound traffic and the newer, eastern bridge carries northbound traffic.


I remember these bridges undergoing rehabilitation when I was growing up. On our trips to Grandma’s house we’d watch the progress; during construction the bridges carried both directions of traffic since the decks were being replaced, one bridge at a time.

Robert Moses Causeway – Great South Bay Bridge southbound

I still love these bridges, as a driver or passenger or pontist (bridge enthusiast). They are a landmark to me, a nostalgic trigger and a beautiful part of the Long Island landscape. Now that I work with bridges and appreciate truss bridges, I have a new level of love for the Great South Bay Bridges.

What about you? What is your favorite bridge? And why?

Spotted Roadside: Water Tower


Somewhere in Virginia (I wasn’t navigating!)

 One thing that I associate with my travels in the midwest and my days living in North Carolina are gigantic water towers, like the one in the picture above. Often times, towns each have their own water towers, which are adorned with the town name or something to that effect. When I moved to Vermont, I noticed a lack of water towers (though there is one on the University of Vermont campus, which is the only one that immediately comes to mind. Anyone else?). So whenever I’m on the road in other parts of the country, it’s a familiar landscape feature – a good landmark for distance and geographic location. Do you like water towers?