Saturday, August 23, 2008

Turtles on Vacation

Over many years of being married to a turtle lover – my husband Allen – I’ve learned that there are, strictly speaking, only two types of vacations:

  1. Those undertaken for the express purpose of seeing turtles
  2. Those undertaken for simple rest and relaxation – along with the hope that one will see some turtles along the way.

Last week, we vacationed in Connecticut and Rhode Island – a rest and relaxation vacation. Nevertheless, there were turtle sightings, to wit:

We spied Eastern painted turtles at Mystic Aquarium’s wetlands pond.

At Marble House (below), a Gilded Age mansion in Newport, RI (now a museum), we took a self-guided tour. When we arrived in the kitchen, the narrator on the tape mimicked the sound of chopping off a terrapin head in preparation for cooking. (I guess this was a turtle “sounding” rather than a “sighting.”) Across the room, in a glass-fronted cabinet, was a turtle mold, made of what looked like pewter. Not sure what might have been cooked in the mold. Wasn't allowed to take photos in the house, so no picture of said mold.

And in Connecticut, at a Feast of Green Corn, known as Schemitzun, presented by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, we saw rattles, medicine pouches and dream catchers made by tribal artisans from turtle shells and other materials.

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