Most small towns have their Christmas celebrations in the weeks leading up to Christmas. With the exceptions of some church services, there is not much going on Christmas week in most small towns. I drove around Rockport on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and found out they were the exception.
I was surprised many businesses and restaurants were closed December 24th as I was traveling in Massachusetts. From locals that sounds typical. For many stores and restaurants in New York December 24th is important and they stay open at least part of the day. I found that some Rockport businesses were open on December 24th.
I also discovered that Santa arrives to visit the townspeople by the tree on Christmas morning. He arrives in vintage Chevy pick-up and passes out bags of fruit and candy to everyone. He even poses for a picture. I was told this is a favorite yearly tradition.
No businesses were open on Christmas as expected, except one, a coffee shop. The owner would not accept payment. Coffee, tea, and a pastry was free that morning while she was open. Many were leaving tips in the jar regardless.
Rockport is a wonderful little coastal town. It has many shops with a vibrant art community. One fishing stage in the harbor is said to be the most painted building in art classes in the United States.
It was fun walking and driving around town looking at holiday wreaths and decorations. Some used local plants or shells.
Many visit Rockport in summer. It is also a nice destination in winter, especially during Christmas.
Did you know there were holiday markets outside Europe? Where can you find holiday markets in New York City? One location is at the southwest corner of Central Park at Columbus Circle.
Monday- Saturday 10-8 Sunday 10-7
More than 100 vendors sell hand crafted items and specialty foods. Some items are environmentally friendly. There is a food court area with vendors and tables to sit at. In other areas vendors sell hot drinks and other food items as well.
If you are interested in buying a unique handmade item, head over to Columbus Circle- 59th Street and Central Park West by December 24th. You may be surprised what catches your eye.
Gargoyles and grotesques of long ago were frequently scary images of monsters and mythical creatures. Today as some places replace ones that are wearing down in the elements, they may put in place ones based on real people or even characters from stories. One such place that is doing that is that National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
I heard they had a Darth Vader grotesque. I asked the guards at the Cathedral where it was located. They answered look on the dark side. They didn’t seem so sure of its exact location themselves. I had to ask someone wandering around. It is high up on the dark side of northwest tower of the cathedral. It is very high up and one would need good binoculars to locate it.
Who can be found on many buildings in England? Whose image adorns the face of some buildings in Germany, France and others places? It is the Green Man.
Did you know it also can be found on buildings in the United States? There are at least three locations where the Green Man can be found in New York City. Below are some grotesque-like images I found on one Manhattan building.
See if you can find any Green Men in your locale. There seem to be more of these around than people know.
It resembles a man, but is surrounded by leaves or other plant life. It may have branches or vines protruding from its mouth or nose. It is seen on different pub signs and as grotesques on buildings or churches. What is it? It is the Green Man.
Although it can be seen in other cultures, the Green Man can be spotted around England. There are at least three Green Man Pubs in London and more are elsewhere. Several colleges at Oxford have the symbol on a door or as a grotesque on the side of a building. Churches and cathedrals in different counties have the Green Man decorating their edifice.
Although the true meaning may be unknown, there are many theories about it. Some see the Green Man as a symbol of rebirth or growth in spring. Others see it as a symbol of man’s reliance on nature. Another theory is it is a reminder that death awaits us all. One Christian interpretation is that the foliage coming from the mouth represents the life giving breath of the Holy Spirit. Other ideas about the meaning exist as well.
Whatever their meaning or purpose, they are interesting to find. Look them up on the web and see where some of them are located. This site lists some locations: click here. If you are planning a trip to one of these areas, stop in and find one.
Is it a lion or a dragon? I think it may be a dragon. I looked online and could not find a similar image.
I took this image several years ago when in the Pusan/Busan area of South Korea at one of its lovely Buddhist temples. It was taken on an old Pentax K-1000 as slide film. I recently scanned this image.
Buddhist temples are known for their artwork. Besides statues of Buddha, the temples are like an art museum on the inside and outside. If in Korea or another Asian country, be sure to stop by one. You won’t regret it.