by land and by sea

9.25.21 ~ By Land & By Sea Antique Vehicle Show at Mystic Seaport
1930 Ford Model A Pickup Truck

Watch our village come alive as pre 1932 cars, trucks and motorcycles go about the typical activities of a busy waterfront village. Many of these vehicles are more than 100 years old! The advent of motor vehicles greatly improved the movement of goods from coastal areas to inland communities.
~ Mystic Seaport Museum

1931 Ford Model A Side Window Town Sedan

The weather was perfect for our visit to this car show! Rick, the owner of this Model A, was very quick to point out that the seats were made of mohair as he invited me to sit in his car. This is the first time I can remember being in one of these old cars. Most of them have signs saying “do not touch.”

mohair seats
new experience for yours truly
Rick explained that car trunks used to be actual trunks
and this flying quail hood ornament was a symbol for fast starting
Rick and his Model A

Tim noticed the bright sunlight and water reflections on the stern of this ship as we walked by.

Charles W. Morgan

And then I spotted a beautiful blue car. We were admiring it and next thing I knew the owner and his son were helping me into the rumble seat!

1931 Ford Model A Roadster

Ted and I quickly became friends. (My father’s name was Ted, too, and it turns out, this Ted was born in 1931, the same year as my mother was.) He’s 90 years old and I enjoyed listening to him tell me about his late wife, his sons, and his family history. But most of all, about how much he loved this car. He said he and this car were the same age but that the car was in much better shape. Although he admits to having a few replacement parts himself. 😉

He saw it at an auction and decided he could bid up to $5,000 for it. He was outbid and left the auction, very disappointed. But a while later one of his sons came up to him with the keys and told him he now owned it! Without telling his father, the son had joined in the bidding and got it for $7,500. He used his money to make up the difference. What a gift!

Ted grew up on a farm, just like my father did. I loved hearing the stories about the chores he had to do, and how when he was 10 years old all his older brothers left home to serve in World War II. His father took a job and suddenly Ted had much more responsibility helping his mother on the farm.

Then he showed me some pictures of the car when he first bought it. It was in very rough shape and was a different color. I asked him why he painted it blue. He smiled and said because blue is his favorite color. Me, too, I let him know. What a labor of love restoring this car was!

Reluctantly we left my newfound friend and headed over to see how the Viking ship, Draken Harald Hårfagre, was coming along on the seaport’s shiplift, there for routine maintenance, including painting and oiling the hull.

Draken Harald Hårfagre

I climbed the stairs up to a viewing platform for a closer look. Tim found a bench to rest. We were doing a lot of walking in the sun.

Tim was impressed with this car, lingering long enough for a picture.

1931 Cadillac 355A Sport Phaeton
This looked like fun, though we never did figure out where the ride started…
1919 Harley Davidson Model JS, motorcycle with sidecar

For the most part we felt relatively safe from covid-19 being outside. We wore our masks into the seaport welcome center to get through admissions. We didn’t go to any of the indoor exhibits. We are waiting impatiently for our third doses of vaccine so we can visit our grandchildren and feel safe. It’s frustrating because even though I got the Pfizer vaccine I won’t be 65 for another four months. And Tim got the Moderna vaccine so even though he’s old enough his booster isn’t yet available. Sigh… But at least it’s autumn and we can spend much more time outdoors while we wait.

22 thoughts on “by land and by sea”

  1. Looks like a fun day! Enjoyed the pictures, a bit different than your birds and bees. 🙂 I’m waiting for the Moderna too. I have an appt. for Oct 20th. Hope you get to see the grandkids soon.

    1. I’m not a car person but was tagging along with Tim. 🙂 I wasn’t expecting much and was very pleasantly surprised to wind up having so much fun. Is Oct. 20 when they expect the Moderna booster to be approved? I just found out I might qualify for my Pfizer now due to hypertension.

    1. It was great, Jeff! I have never enjoyed car shows before but Rick’s and Ted’s enthusiasm was contagious. 🙂

  2. Oh, that blue car is awesome! Not sure I’d feel comfortable riding in a rumble seat … especially during inclement weather, but sitting in one would be a rare experience. I haven’t personally heard of anyone getting that third shot yet here.

    1. It was a rare experience but I’m glad we didn’t take the car out for an actual ride. Tim’s brother and sister-in-law got their Pfizer booster shots on Friday — that was quick! We went to get our flu shots yesterday and they were also doing Pfizer boosters at CVS.

    1. It’s nice when a couple can have a great time doing something together in spite of different interests. Ted would have talked to you for hours and his stories are so captivating. I was transported to another time and place….

  3. It is cool that the owners were on hand to answer questions. Ted sounds wonderful at 9 decades young. 🙂
    I wondered about the lack of masks, but outside is better than in, I reckon!
    I haven’t been to Mystic Seaport in over 20 years… always a big hit with our boys.

    1. Yes, after we moved on I realized my mistake and started scolding myself for not putting my mask on when I climbed into the rumble seat. There it was, attached to my arm the whole time. Even though we were outside that was a little too close for comfort. Keeping my fingers crossed! I’d love to take my grandchildren to Mystic Seaport but somehow we always wind up at the Aquarium. 😉

  4. What a great day – and the sun and blue skies added to the mood. Our CA friend organizes a car show every year at our town there in the SF Bay, but those old cars are smaller race cars, 50 years or younger, and some of them go for over a million dollars. That’s crazy, to me. I LOVE Ted’s story of how he acquired his car, and how you befriended each other. WONDERFUL.

    1. The weather was so perfect, it couldn’t have been better in any way. A million dollars for a car?!? Sounds crazy to me, too. But, I think everyone has something they splurge on. I know someone who can’t understand why I waste so much money on books. (Sometimes I wonder, too.) I hope Ted has written his memories down for his progeny. It’s amazing the things that he’s experienced in 90 years of living. And I loved how his sons faded into the background so he could enjoy my undivided attention.

    1. Thank you, Donna! Apparently flying quail hood ornaments are very rare and they doubled as radiator caps. No wonder Rick made a point out of showing it to me. 🙂

  5. Oh Barbara, this looked like such a fun day for you and Tim and I like that you got all the hands-on experiences. I remember this event was mentioned in both your comments and the weather cooperated for you as well. What a great story with Ted, from the chats with him, the car tour and how he came to get the car – a truly heartwarming story! I’d have hated to leave, but you did and even got more great pictures – the whole event and place is a perfect venue.

    1. It was such a fun day, Linda, way more fun than I had anticipated! My parents were always members of Mystic Seaport and they used to take our children there on their grandparents membership. I’d love to do the same for my grandchildren but they live so far away I doubt we’d use it much. I do intend to take them when they come up for Christmas vacation, though. I love living history museums. It’s been too long since I’ve been to Old Sturbridge Village or Plimoth Patuxet…

      1. It looked like a wonderful time Barbara and such a picturesque setting. Yes, that is unfortunate with your grandchildren living out of state. You really looked like you were enjoying the hands-on experience. I found the owners of those old cars to be chatty and more than willing to share tidbits about their vintage cars, like they were proud Papas. My house is furnished in Early American and I can remember getting some knickknacks and a few other items that were ordered from the Yankee Sturbridge Shop over the years. Mystic Seaport sounds like our Greenfield Village, a/k/a “The Henry Ford” where I gave you the link for the Old Car Festival. They have festive events through the year, like special Halloween walks through the Village with pumpkins glowing along the way and horse-drawn sleigh rides at the holidays. There are perks like these if you are a member.

        1. Actually, it was your post about the Old Car Festival that inspired me to pay more attention to this car show, and to listen carefully to the owners’ stories. I even had a sticky notepad and pencil to write down some of the facts so I would record them as accurately as you did. 🙂 (Details tend to go in one ear and out the other with me…) We’ve enjoyed our membership at Mystic Seaport and even renewed it when they were closed at the beginning of the pandemic, to support them. Love the holiday events, like the old-fashioned Independence Day parade. It would be nice to take advantage of the reciprocal privileges at the other living history museums close enough for a day trip.

          1. I’m glad my post inspired you Barbara because as I read your post I thought to myself “well Barbara, like me, was lucky enough to have a one-on-one with the owners.” I’m not a car person either to be honest, but it made for a fun post as did yours. Greenfield Village has these period events, like the muster and muzzle-loading event and one in particular, they have the Detroit Symphony Orchestra playing tunes and when they get to the 1812 Overture, they shoot off the cannons and fireworks. I can hear it from my house nine miles away. Some day. It is starting to rumble loudly and torrential rain … I caught up on five days of Reader – whew!

          2. Wow! Having the Detroit Symphony Orchestra play the 1812 Overture with the cannons and fireworks must be amazing! Mystic Seaport’s musical claim to fame is the Sea Music Festival, one of the oldest and largest ones in the US. But it’s much quieter! A perfect setting to listen to sea shanties live.

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