Scrimshaw – A Fascinating Seafaring Art

Bluegreen Resorts’ two comfortable vacation properties in Dennis Port, Massachusetts, are conveniently located close to all the sea, sand, and history that the area can offer. For those who want to explore the area’s past, a good place to start is the Cape Cod Maritime Museum.

In addition to its detailed exhibits on the history of the boatbuilder’s craft, the Cape Cod Maritime Museum maintains the area’s largest collection of scrimshaw, a fascinating folk art from the days of the great American whaling ships. The museum’s collection of scrimshaw, a gift from Ms. Maloura North, is housed in an elegant teakwood cabinet toward the front of the building.

The term “scrimshaw” refers to often-elaborate and fantastical carvings in ivory or bone (the 19th-century crews of whaling ships used whales’ teeth, walrus tusks, or bone) fashioned by seamen who used their imaginations as a way to pass the time at sea. Some carvers used exotic woods and other materials. However, not everyone who practiced the art of scrimshaw was a whaling-man. Some land-lubbing coastal residents also tried their hands at it. The craft reached its zenith during the first half of the 19th century, the era of America’s great whaling and sea-trading days.

After carving their designs with jackknives and sail needles, the artisans highlighted their intricate lines and swirls with lampblack and other darkening substances. A scrimshaw artist might depict any of a number of motifs in his work: ships, frigates, sea battles, whaling expeditions, Masonic and heraldic emblems, images of lost loves, and more. Scrimshaw objects could take useful forms, such as napkin rings, pastry-cutters, pie-crimpers, hole-boring bodkins, and knitting needles.

While scrimshaw became famous through much public attention paid to the work of Anglo-American sailors, the native peoples of Siberia and Alaska have also practiced the intricate and fascinating art.

Cape Cod Maritime Museum Preserves a Seagoing Heritage

When you spend your Bluegreen Resorts vacation at The Breakers or The Soundings Seaside Resort on Nantucket Sound in Dennis Port, Massachusetts, you will be able to enjoy day trips to a variety of charming destinations, including Scargo Tower, the Pairpoint glassworks factory, art galleries, antique shops, and miles of rugged shoreline. The history-rich Massachusetts coast also offers plenty of museums to delight the entire family.

The Cape Cod Maritime Museum is your passport to the classic era of sailing ships for which Massachusetts is famous. Located in the town of Hyannis, the museum is open from mid-March through mid-December and offers a low adult admission price—children 8 and under get in free.

A short drive from your comfortable Bluegreen accommodations in Dennis Port, the museum contains a large collection of scrimshaw, the intricate ivory or whalebone carvings often made by whalers to pass the lonely hours at sea. It also features an interactive exhibit detailing the history of boatbuilding on Cape Cod. At the museum’s Cook Boat Shop, visitors can learn about historical and contemporary methods for constructing and restoring ocean-going vessels.

The museum also maintains, as an addend to its boat shop, a preservation shed where boatbuilding and restoring activities take place. Children can climb up to board the museum’s 28-foot-long boat constructed especially for them. In addition, visitors of all ages can relax with a picnic in the museum’s nearby waterfront park.

Perhaps most exciting of all for those who love the sea, the museum offers tours on its own replica of a late-19th century catboat. From May through September, you can charter your own daylight sail for groups of up to six people. Romantic evening sails are also available. Scheduled sails for the public last about one-and-a-half hours at midday.

Preservation Hall – An Iconic Stop for Any Music Lover

New Orleans offers you so many choices for entertainment, culture, shopping, fine dining, and just exploring that you may want to extend your stay in order to experience it all. Luckily, when you stay at Bluegreen Resorts’ Bluegreen Club La Pension, just on the edge of the French Quarter, you’ll find all of these exciting activities, and more, practically at your doorstep.

Located at 726 St. Peter Street in the Quarter, Preservation Hall is a world-renowned cultural treasure and a must-see for any visitor to New Orleans. A legend since its founding in 1961, Preservation Hall serves as an intimate setting to enjoy New Orleans jazz 350 nights of the year. Inside, a cadre of more than 100 locally based musicians delivers the rich, vibrant, soulful sounds of traditional acoustic jazz to delighted residents and tourists alike. Preservation Hall also has a touring band and runs a nonprofit organization to showcase this cornerstone of American heritage.

Preservation Hall got its start at a small art gallery in the 1950s. The proprietor loved jazz, but found that rock and roll and other newer forms were displacing live jazz music in New Orleans. To hear more of his favorite music, he invited local legends, such as Punch Miller, the Humphrey Brothers, and Sweet Emma Barrett, to rehearse in his gallery. A few years later, vacationing couple Allan and Sandra Jaffe loved the gallery concerts so much that they settled in New Orleans and took over the operation on St. Peter Street. Preservation Hall was born.

Recent jam sessions at Preservation Hall have included contemporary stars such as Jimmie Vaughan, Cassandra Wilson, Jimmy Buffett, and Angélique Kidjo. Other events have celebrated the legacy of jazz revival great George Lewis and the heritage of gospel music.

Be prepared for long lines at this iconic venue. Just remember that the music is the reason you’re there. The interior of Preservation Hall, with its largely standing-room-only accommodations, won’t win any awards for décor. However, the music will transport you to a world of usually loud, and always captivating, pure New Orleans jazz rhythms.

The Hermann-Grima House Reflects New Orleans’ Elegant Past

Visit New Orleans in the company of Bluegreen Resorts and stay at the newly renovated Bluegreen Club La Pension, your gateway to the historic beauty of the French Quarter and beyond. The eclectically reimagined resort will be your comfortable base from which to explore all the delights of the Crescent City.

New Orleans offers a wide range of walking tours and historic places to explore, including beautifully maintained private homes, where you can catch a glimpse of the elegance of bygone eras. The Hermann-Grima House, built in 1831, is among the glories of the city, with its meticulously preserved Federal-style architecture and design. You can tour the house, situated at 820 St. Louis Street, just off Bourbon Street, five days a week.

Samuel Hermann was a Jewish cotton merchant who lived in New Orleans during the city’s Golden Age of wealth and opulence in the first half of the 19th century. New Orleans at that time drew many prosperous and ambitious new residents, eager to enjoy the city’s sophistication and lavish lifestyle. Although the Hermanns rose to a high position during this era, the family’s fortunes eventually fell, and they lost the house due to bankruptcy.

In the mid-1840s, Judge Felix Grima bought the property and made a home for himself, his wife, and their nine children. The house stayed in the Grima family until well into the 20th century. During the 1920s, a women’s exchange group used the residence as a boarding house, operating a tea shop and a used clothing store on the premises. The group opened the house to the public in the early 1970s, after making sure it received the kind of restoration that would reflect its original beauty. Today, the Hermann-Grima House possesses the French Quarter’s sole remaining functional 1830s-era outdoor kitchen and horse stables.

Visitors to the Hermann-Grima House can especially appreciate the contributions made to its construction by free African-Americans and slaves of the pre-Civil War era; without their labor and knowledge of skilled building trades, the house would not exist in the elegant and opulent form we see today.

The Hermann-Grima House is open for tours every day of the week except Wednesdays and Sundays. Group tours are available, sometimes with special themes, such as those showcasing 19th-century New Orleans cooking traditions, holidays, and mourning customs. Visitors may book online reservations at the Hermann-Grima/Gallier Historic Houses website, www.hgghh.org.

Bluegreen Resorts’ Family-Friendly Vacations Are Sure to Please

When you’re planning a vacation for the whole family, you pay special attention to locations that provide plenty of fun, affordable activities and experiences that everyone can enjoy together. Bluegreen Resorts offers comfortable resort accommodations at attractive price points all around the United States, and these include some of the most family-friendly communities you could hope to visit.

Nestled in the Ozark Mountains, Branson, Missouri, is home to the wildly popular Silver Dollar City amusement park, which was built on the site of Marvel Cave, an intriguing natural wonder that’s open for exploration. The town of Branson is proud to bill itself as one of the most family-oriented vacation destinations today, as it offers small-town hospitality and a spirit of warm welcome. It’s also the “Live Music Show Capital of the World,” with numerous popular acts performing at any given time of year. And if that weren’t enough, Bluegreen offers additional resort properties in the nearby towns of Hollister and Ridgedale, which also put you in the heart of beautiful Ozark country.

Orlando, Florida, is also on everyone’s map of the most kid- and family-friendly vacation destinations. Stay with Bluegreen at Orlando’s Sunshine Resort, or at The Fountains, and you’ll be close to the city’s tourist corridor, making it simple to get to the magic of SeaWorld, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Wet ‘n Wild Orlando, and dozens of other venues for non-stop fun.

Orlando may have the market cornered on theme parks, but did you know that Bluegreen Resorts also offers accommodations in the “Waterpark Capital of the World”? Visit Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, and stay at Bluegreen Odyssey Dells, your gateway to a world of wet, splashy fun. The town is home to mammoth waterparks such as Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park, with its thrilling Hades 360 all-wood rollercoaster, and Timber Falls Adventure Park, with the rival Hellcat coaster and the 160-foot-tall Skyscraper tower attraction. If you’re looking for a cozy winter getaway in the area, you may want to opt for a stay at Bluegreen’s Christmas Mountain Village, where you’ll have easy access to skiing, sledding, and other fun cold-weather activities.

You also might want to try Bluegreen’s Hershey, Pennsylvania, property, The Suites at Hershey, which places you right where you need to be for a sweet visit to Hersheypark and Hershey’s Chocolate World.

If your favorite family activities take place outdoors, Bluegreen offers you the vastness of the Wild West and Yellowstone National Park through its property in Big Sky, Montana, while in Peoria, Arizona, you can hike or ride a mule into the glorious Grand Canyon, only a few hours away. For families who love winter sports, skiing and snowboarding opportunities abound near Bluegreen’s properties in Aspen, Colorado; Lincoln, New Hampshire; Boyne Falls, Michigan; Big Bear Lake, California; not to mention Wisconsin Dells, Big Sky, and even Peoria—a simple drive from Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff.