Mayflower descendants gather in Balboa Park!

I'm welcomed to Plimoth Plantation West in Balboa Park by two descendants of Mayflower Pilgrims!
I’m welcomed to Plimoth Plantation West in Balboa Park by two descendants of Mayflower Pilgrims!

Yesterday I swung by the International Cottages in Balboa Park to check out an absolutely unique event!

The Mayflower Society’s San Diego Colony had created Plimoth Plantation West, a representation of Pilgrim history and life, focusing on the arrival of the Pilgrims in the New World and their establishment of Plymouth Colony. The colorful event was organized in anticipation of an important day that will arrive in two years: the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower Landing in 1620.

I’m no expert when it comes to the history of the Pilgrims, so I was fascinated by many of the displays.

I learned about the Pilgrims’ various reasons for departing England, their journey across the Atlantic, the signing of the Mayflower Compact, the eventual anchoring off Cape Cod, the extreme hardships and many deaths during that first harsh winter, their friendly and not-so-friendly relations with several Native American tribes who lived in the region . . . even the sorts of games Pilgrim children enjoyed playing.

Many members of the Society of Mayflower Descendants were at the event in period costume, celebrating their ancestors and an important chapter in America’s early history. One gentleman I spoke to had descended directly from William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth Colony!

Here are a few photos of Plimoth Plantation West!

If you are one of the 31 million possible Mayflower descendants worldwide, you can join the General Society of Mayflower Descendants!
If you are one of the 31 million possible Mayflower descendants worldwide, you can join the General Society of Mayflower Descendants!
Someone points to a chart showing the original Mayflower passengers. Less than half survived and made it to the first Thanksgiving in 1621.
Someone points to a chart showing the original Mayflower passengers. Less than half survived and made it to the first Thanksgiving in 1621.
The Mayflower Compact, signed aboard ship, was the first governing document of Plymouth Colony. It specified basic laws and social rules for the new colony.
The Mayflower Compact, signed aboard ship, was the first governing document of Plymouth Colony. It specified basic laws and social rules for the new colony.
This friendly gent was dressed like William Brewster, a respected elder and leader of Plymouth Colony.
This friendly gent was dressed like religious separatist William Brewster, a respected elder and leader of Plymouth Colony.
A timeline of Pilgrim history begins with the formation of the Church of England. Puritans sought to eliminate retained Catholic practices. Separatists created secret congregations.
A timeline of Pilgrim history begins with the formation of the Church of England. Puritans sought to eliminate retained Catholic practices. Separatists created secret congregations.
One gentleman was demonstrating the use of a quill and inkwell. I learned ink was often made from berry juices, and turkey and goose feathers were primarily used for quills.
One gentleman was demonstrating the use of a quill and inkwell. I learned ink was often made from berry juices, and turkey and goose feathers were primarily used for quills.
Educational tools used by the Pilgrims included a Child's Hornbook, a form of children's primer containing the letters of the alphabet.
Educational tools used by the Pilgrims included a Child’s Hornbook, a form of children’s primer containing the letters of the alphabet.
Pilgrim children enjoyed very simple toys and games, and small crudely made dolls.
Pilgrim children enjoyed simple games and toys, like spinning tops, and small crudely made dolls.
The descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims gather for a special event in San Diego's Balboa Park!
The descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims gather for a special event in San Diego’s always lively Balboa Park!

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Photos inside the great cabin of HMS Surprise.

The stern of HMS Surprise, the beautiful ship used in the filming of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, starring Russell Crowe.
The stern of HMS Surprise, the beautiful ship used in the filming of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, starring Russell Crowe.

If you’ve watched the memorable movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, you might recall the fictional British warship HMS Surprise was center stage for most of the film, which was set during the Napoleonic Wars.

The Maritime Museum of San Diego is now home to the working ship that was used in the filming of Master and Commander. Originally built in 1970 as a replica of the HMS Rose, a British 24-gun frigate from 1757, the ship was purchased by 20th Century Fox in 2001 and modified to appear in scenes in the 2003 film. Because of its starring role in Master and Commander, the ship was subsequently re-registered as HMS Surprise.

The critically acclaimed movie, starring Russell Crowe as Captain Jack Aubrey and Paul Bettany as Dr. Stephen Maturin, was based on a series of popular novels written by Patrick O’Brien. Russell Crowe has been lobbying for a sequel for over a decade now. According to what I’ve heard, there’s a possibility the sequel might finally be made.

The museum recently debuted a new exhibit aboard HMS Surprise called Man-of-War, and along with many new signs on the main deck and gun deck, the captain’s great cabin is now open to the public. (You can see other aspects of the new Man-of-War exhibit here. Clicking the link will take you to a past blog post concerning HMS Surprise, where I’ve added updated photographs.)

Several memorable scenes in the movie take place inside the great cabin. Among others, you might recall scenes of officers dining and strategizing as they pursue the French privateer Acheron around Cape Horn to the Galapagos Islands, and of Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin playing the violin and cello.

While I’ve been told much of the filming of Master and Commander was done on movie sets, the great cabin visitors see on the working ship HMS Surprise is much like the one portrayed in the movie.

The great cabin of HMS Surprise is now open to the public. Several displays provide interesting information.
The great cabin of HMS Surprise is now open to the public. Several displays provide interesting information.
Sign reads the Great Cabin in the stern of the Surprise was reserved for the captain's use. Here he slept, held council with his officers, and entertained his invited guests.
Sign reads the Great Cabin in the stern of the Surprise was reserved for the captain’s use. Here he slept, held council with his officers, and entertained his invited guests.
Photo inside the great cabin of HMS Surprise. In real life the space feels cramped and the table is small. The large stern windows are a familiar sight in the movie.
Photo inside the great cabin of HMS Surprise. In real life the space feels cramped and the table is small. The large stern windows are a familiar sight in the movie.
Unlike most of the crew, the captain enjoyed wine and ate in style.
Unlike most of the crew, the captain enjoyed wine and ate in style.
Historically, guns were deployed in the great cabin during battles at sea. To make room, furniture was removed and placed in a longboat which was then towed behind the ship!
Historically, guns were deployed in the great cabin during battles at sea. To make room for the gunners, the furniture was removed and placed in a longboat which was then towed behind the ship!
Another photo inside the great cabin of HMS Surprise.
Another photo inside the great cabin of HMS Surprise.
Photo on wall recalls a scene in Master and Commander. Captain Jack Aubrey shares a toast with ship's doctor and officers.
Photo on wall recalls a scene in Master and Commander. Captain Jack Aubrey shares a toast with ship’s doctor and officers.
A display in the great cabin concerns prize money and medals. After a victorious battle, captains and crews were rewarded by the British government.
A display in the great cabin concerns prize money and medals. After a victorious battle, captains and crews were rewarded by the British government.
Gun on the starboard side of the great cabin, next to a chest and swords hung at the ready in case the ship was boarded by the enemy, or sailors mutiny.
Gun on the starboard side of the great cabin, next to a chest and swords hung at the ready in case the ship was boarded by the enemy, or sailors mutiny.
A violin on a stand. The favorite musical instrument of the fictional Captain Jack Aubrey.
A violin on a stand. The favorite musical instrument of the fictional Captain Jack Aubrey.

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A quick peek inside St. Paul’s Cathedral.

View of St. Paul's Cathedral in Bankers Hill from across Fifth Avenue.
View of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral from across Fifth Avenue.

I swung by St. Paul’s Cathedral in Bankers Hill a couple weekends ago during the San Diego Architectural Foundation 2018 OPEN HOUSE event. A friendly gentleman named Bob who belongs to this Episcopal church showed me the original Great Hall which was completed in 1929, then the impressive interior of the cathedral, or “big house” as he called it, which was finally completed in 1951.

St. Paul’s Cathedral was designed by architect Philip Frohman, who is best remembered as the designer of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. The building contains elements of both Gothic and Romanesque architecture. The original pipes of the historic church organ date from 1887. They were brought by ship around Cape Horn, to serve as the first organ in Old Town San Diego.

The cathedral was visited by Queen Elizabeth II in 1983 during her trip to San Diego aboard Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia. I was told that she spoke to the congregation and enjoyed listening to Evensong.

I gleaned a few odd bits of information during the informal tour and have included them in my photo captions.

Looking north at the impressive cathedral and its stained glass windows from Nutmeg Street.
Looking north at the impressive cathedral and its many stained glass windows from Nutmeg Street.
St. Paul's Cathedral in San Diego was designed by famed architect Philip Frohman.
St. Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego was designed by famed architect Philip Frohman.
Ladies exit through an arcade of elegant columns.
Ladies exit through an arcade of elegant columns.
A gentleman in the church's courtyard greeted visitors for the weekend architectural event.
A gentleman in the church’s courtyard greeted visitors during the weekend architectural event.
Construction of St. Paul's Parish House or Great Hall began in 1928.
Construction of St. Paul’s parish house or Great Hall began in 1928.
The most notable thing I saw in the Great Hall is the incredible original wooden beamed ceiling, which is showing signs of age.
The most notable thing I saw in the Great Hall is the incredible original wooden beamed ceiling, which is showing signs of age.
Turning my camera for another shot of this amazing ceiling.
Turning my camera for another shot of this amazing ceiling.
Sunlight enters through a rose window.
Sunlight enters through a rose window.
A plaque in the courtyard area between the Great Hall and cathedral. This garden commemorates the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh to this church on February 27, 1983.
A plaque in the courtyard area between the Great Hall and cathedral. This garden commemorates the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh to this church on February 27, 1983.
Inside the beautiful cathedral, looking east from the nave toward the chancel and historic pipe organ.
Inside the beautiful cathedral, looking east from the nave toward the chancel and historic Great Organ.
People have quietly entered the sacred place. The gray interior walls allow the stained glass lancet windows, created by Judson Studios in Pasadena, to fill the eyes of worshipers.
People have quietly entered the sacred place. The gray interior walls allow light from the stained glass lancet windows, created by Judson Studios in Pasadena, to fill the eyes of worshipers.
This small Lady Chapel to the east was built in 1975. It is used for weddings and other celebrations. It contains a much smaller organ.
This small Lady Chapel to the east was built in 1975. It’s used for weddings and other celebrations. It contains a smaller organ.
The cathedra, or bishop's throne, off to one side.
The cathedra, or bishop’s seat, off to one side.
More resplendent stained glass, like celestial visions shining through darkness.
More resplendent stained glass, like celestial visions shining through darkness.

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A new deck for the beautiful HMS Surprise!

The main deck of HMS Surprise is being replaced at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
The main deck of HMS Surprise is being replaced at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

The HMS Surprise at the Maritime Museum of San Diego is getting a brand new deck! During my Sunday visit I noticed that replacement of the old deck is well underway!

Volunteers at the museum are applying the same methods and materials that were used so successfully to replace the deck of Star of India. I was told the main deck of HMS Surprise should be finished in about four months, and then the ship’s rigging will undergo an overhaul. Once all of that is complete, this beautiful replica of a 18th century Royal Navy 24-gun frigate should be ready to sail.

It’s hoped all the work will be complete in time for next year’s Festival of Sail!

As you might recall, this amazing ship co-starred with Russell Crowe in the acclaimed movie Master and Commander!

Museum volunteers work aboard HMS Surprise on a pleasant Sunday. Cables from the ship's rigging are readied, as a section of new deck is caulked.
Museum volunteers work aboard HMS Surprise on a pleasant Sunday. Cables from the ship’s rigging are readied, as a section of new deck is caulked.
Elsewhere at the Maritime Museum, a volunteer adds paint to a newly acquired Jacob's ladder for the San Salvador replica Spanish galleon.
Elsewhere at the Maritime Museum, a volunteer adds paint to a newly acquired Jacob’s ladder. It will be used on the San Salvador replica Spanish galleon.
The ship's wheel has been removed and set to one side as the deck of the HMS Surprise is replaced.
The enormous ship’s wheel has been removed and set to one side as the deck of the HMS Surprise is replaced.

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See the history of rum at the Maritime Museum!

Visitors to the Maritime Museum of San Diego view a display concerning the history of rum.
Visitors to the Maritime Museum of San Diego view a display concerning the history of rum.

A cool new exhibit opened this weekend at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Rum: Sailors, Pirates and Prohibition follows the colorful history of rum, from its origin to the present day, with a focus on its surprising history in San Diego.

There are all sorts of interesting artifacts, old photographs and displays, as you can see from the few photos I took this afternoon. Among other things, visitors to the exhibition can learn how rum is made, about the use of rum by sailors, including those of the British Royal Navy, and how rum runners used sea caves in San Diego during Prohibition.

Anyone with a love for history should check it out!

Rum: Sailors, Pirates and Prohibition is a cool new exhibit inside the Steam Ferry Berkeley, at the Maritime Museum of San Diego!
Rum: Sailors, Pirates and Prohibition is a cool new exhibit inside the Steam Ferry Berkeley, at the Maritime Museum of San Diego!
A display in the Gould Eddy Gallery shows some of the coopering tools used in making oak rum barrels.
A display in the Gould Eddy Gallery shows some of the coopering tools used in making oak rum barrels.
Slave collars from the 18th century. Some believe African slaves in the Caribbean discovered the process of distilling the residue of sugar refining--molasses and sugarcane juice--into alcohol.
Slave collars from the 18th century. Some believe African slaves in the Caribbean discovered the process of distilling the residue of sugar refining–molasses and sugarcane juice–into alcohol.
A display features an explanation of grog and rum on British Royal Navy ships. Grog was rum diluted with water to prevent drunkenness. The grog ration was abolished in 1970.
A display features an explanation of grog and rum on British Royal Navy ships. Grog was rum diluted with water to prevent drunkenness. The grog ration was abolished in 1970.
Old photo of the Malahat, the Queen of Rum Row. The five-masted schooner successfully delivered rum and other spirits along the West Coast during Prohibition.
Old photo of the Malahat, the Queen of Rum Row. The five-masted schooner successfully delivered rum and other spirits along the West Coast during Prohibition.
Local sea caves and coves in La Jolla and Sunset Cliffs were used at hideouts for rum runners arriving from Mexico during Prohibition.
Local sea caves and coves in La Jolla and Sunset Cliffs were used at hideouts for rum runners arriving from Mexico during Prohibition.
Photos of the Monte Carlo, San Diego's Prohibition era floating casino. In 1937 it became beached on Coronado during a winter storm. Her wreckage can still be seen underwater at low tide.
Photos of the Monte Carlo, San Diego’s Prohibition era floating casino. In 1937 it became beached on Coronado during a winter storm. Her wreckage can still be seen underwater at low tide.
Photos of Blind Pigs and Speakeasies. A Speakeasy sold alcohol during Prohibition, and provided entertainment. Their drinks were tastier than the poisonous rums and moonshines concocted in bathtubs.
Blind Pigs and Speakeasies. A secretive Speakeasy sold alcohol during Prohibition, plus provided its guests with entertainment. Drinks were tastier than the poisonous rums and moonshines concocted in bathtubs.
A photograph of anti-alcohol activists taken during Prohibition. Lips that touch liquor shall not touch ours!
A photograph of anti-alcohol activists taken during Prohibition. Lips that touch liquor shall not touch ours!
Display celebrates the rise of local San Diego distilleries. Our city is now considered the craft beer capital of the United States.
Display celebrates the rise of local San Diego distilleries. Our dynamic city is now considered the craft beer capital of the United States.

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Royal Marines, an admiral, pirates, dancers!

British Royal Marines pose for my camera on HMS Surprise during the 2017 Festival of Sail in San Diego.
British Royal Marines pose for my camera on HMS Surprise during the 2017 Festival of Sail in San Diego.

Today I magically traveled back in time to the early 1800s!

While visiting two Maritime Museum of San Diego tall ships at the Festival of Sail, I encountered uniformed Royal Marines, sailors in more common clothing (which was typical in the early 19th century), a distinguished British admiral, dangerous pirates, and graceful English dancers–all in period costumes!

Special thanks to the Maritime Museum Dancers, who were so very nice! Come along and let’s travel back two centuries!

An admiral boards HMS Surprise. Many colorful costumes and period attire can be seen every year at the Festival of Sail.
An admiral boards HMS Surprise. Colorful costumes and historical dress can be seen every year at the Festival of Sail.
The three Royal Marines stand at attention on the main deck of HMS Surprise.
The three Royal Marines stand at attention on the main deck of HMS Surprise.
This lady is dressed as a warrant officer's wife. I learned wives of officers often lived aboard British Royal Navy ships in the early 19th century.
This lady is dressed as a warrant officer’s wife. I learned wives of officers often lived aboard British Royal Navy ships in the early 19th century.
These guys are dressed as common sailors aboard the frigate HMS Surprise. Sailors in the Royal Navy, I was told, weren't issued standard uniforms until the 1840s.
These guys are dressed as common sailors aboard the frigate HMS Surprise. Sailors in the Royal Navy, I was told, weren’t issued standard uniforms until the 1840s.
Some pirates pose for a fun photo at the 2017 Festival of Sail.
Some pirates pose for a fun photo at the 2017 Festival of Sail. I’m not sure how authentic these costumes are!
Performers on the Star of India demonstrate dancing that would have been common in 1805, when the Royal Navy beat France and Spain at the Battle of Trafalgar.
Performers on the Star of India demonstrate dancing that would have been common in 1805, when the Royal Navy beat France and Spain at the Battle of Trafalgar.
19th century hats lie at the ready near a CD player!
19th century hats lie at the ready near a CD player!
English country dances are demonstrated with grace and aplomb by the Maritime Museum dancers!
English country dances are demonstrated with grace and aplomb by the Maritime Museum Dancers!
A polite kiss of a lady's hand by an English gentleman.
A polite kiss of a lady’s hand by an English gentleman.
Dignified dancing on the beautiful new main deck of the Star of India.
Dignified dancing on the beautiful, shiny new main deck of the Star of India.
The admiral and three others in a dance typical of the period.
The admiral and three others in a dance typical of the period.
The gentlemen bow.
The gentlemen bow to the ladies.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Photos of Shakespeare’s First Folio exhibit in San Diego.

Visitors in the San Diego Library's art gallery crowd around a First Folio by William Shakespeare. Nearby costumes were used though the years for productions by the Old Globe Theatre.
Visitors in the San Diego Library’s art gallery crowd around a First Folio by William Shakespeare. Nearby costumes were used though the years for productions by the Old Globe Theatre.

Yesterday I enjoyed the blockbuster First Folio exhibit at the San Diego Central Library. One of 233 known existing Shakespeare First Folio’s is on display in the ninth floor art gallery, along with other amazing displays, including costumes, props, photos and artwork used over the years by San Diego’s world famous Old Globe Theatre. I will blog about the Old Globe Theatre part of the exhibit later. Right now I will focus on The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare: the First Folio.

This particular First Folio is on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library. The rare book contains 36 plays by William Shakespeare–almost all of his work. It was published in 1623, seven years after the famous playwright’s death. The First Folio in the library’s gallery lies safely beneath glass and is open to Hamlet and the page that contains the famous line “To be or not to be…”

Visitors are engaged in a variety of ways, and are encouraged to visit an incredible Shakespeare art and book exhibit in the Hervey Family Rare Book Room, just steps from the gallery. In addition, other Shakespeare-related displays can be found throughout the downtown library, as you will see in my photographs. If you have a chance to go, do so soon. The awesome event ends July 7.

First Folio! is on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. I was informed they own about one third of the 233 known existing rare books.
First Folio! is on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. I was informed they own about one third of the 233 known existing rare books.
The San Diego Central Library's gift shop is participating in the big event, of course!
The San Diego Central Library’s gift shop is participating in the big event, of course!
One of several displays found on various floors of the downtown public library. This one pays homage to Big Willy and his wide cultural influence.
One of several displays found on various floors of the downtown public library. This one pays homage to Big Willy and his wide cultural influence.
Library patrons are encouraged to take a pic with The Bard and share their personal Shakespeare story on social media.
Library patrons are encouraged to take a pic with The Bard and share their personal Shakespeare story on social media.
Several displays in the Hervey Family Rare Book Room include Imagining Shakespeare, drawings by the Cal State Long Beach Art Department Faculty.
Several displays in the Hervey Family Rare Book Room include Imagining Shakespeare, drawings by the Cal State Long Beach Art Department Faculty.
Othello and Desdemona, by John Lincoln. Graphite.
Othello and Desdemona, by John Lincoln. Graphite.
Rare book illustrations are included in the fine museum quality exhibit.
Rare book illustrations are included in the fine museum quality exhibit.
Visitors entering and leaving the library's art gallery are asked to share how, or in what ways, Shakespeare is or isn't relevant.
Visitors entering and leaving the library’s art gallery are asked to share how, or in what ways, Shakespeare is or isn’t relevant.
Shakespeare teaches us to look honestly at ourselves and motives.
Shakespeare teaches us to look honestly at ourselves and motives.
Shakespeare is awesome! Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.
Shakespeare is awesome! Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.
He says what's in my heart but that my brain doesn't know how to articulate.
He says what’s in my heart but that my brain doesn’t know how to articulate.
Shakespeare shows us the core of human passion and love is unchanging even as centuries pass by.
Shakespeare shows us the core of human passion and love is unchanging even as centuries pass by.
Our modern language and pop culture landscapes would be barren.
Our modern language and pop culture landscapes would be barren.
On either side of the displayed First Folio are several signs. The first one pictured introduces Shakespeare. His words are your words.
On either side of the displayed First Folio are several signs. The first one pictured introduces Shakespeare. His words are your words. (Click image to enlarge.)
After his death, two of Shakespeare's friends from his acting company put together this history-making book. The First Folio contains 36 of his plays.
After his death, two of Shakespeare’s friends from his acting company put together this history-making book. The First Folio contains 36 of his plays. (Click image to enlarge.)
There are 233 known First Folios of approximately 750 that were originally printed. The Folgers built up a vast collection of Shakespeare art, manuscripts and other books.
There are 233 known First Folios of approximately 750 that were originally printed. The Folgers built up a vast collection of Shakespeare art, manuscripts and other books. (Click image to enlarge.)
Why we turn to Shakespeare. For most people, his appeal has something to do with his brilliant use of language to express subtle, powerful ideas and feelings.
Why we turn to Shakespeare. For most people, his appeal has something to do with his brilliant use of language to express subtle, powerful ideas and feelings. (Click image to enlarge.)
Visitor to art gallery at the downtown San Diego Library looks at a rare Shakespeare First Folio, open to Hamlet. The nearby wall features a mural of 17th century London and the original Globe Theatre.
Visitor to art gallery at the downtown San Diego Library looks at a rare Shakespeare First Folio, open to Hamlet. The nearby wall features a mural of 17th century London and the original Globe Theatre.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

I’m no Shakespeare, but I’ve written some short stories that people seem to enjoy. Many are emotionally powerful. If you’d like to read them, click Short Stories by Richard.