something a little different

On our second day of rain we decided to go off the beaten path and visit a warehouse in the middle of nowhere, the location of The Neutral Zone.

THE NEUTRAL ZONE, located in Kingsland, GA is a Not for Profit facility that houses a 9,600 square foot, full-scale suite of Constitution class starship sets including the bridge, transporter room, engineering, sickbay, and more; connected by a 100 foot-long corridor in the same footprint as Paramount Studios in 1966!
~ The Neutral Zone Website

2.18.24 ~ The Neutral Zone, Kingsland, Georgia

I wouldn’t call Tim a Trekkie but he did enjoy the Star Trek TV series when he was a kid. There were a few Trekkies in our tour group, though, and they were very impressed when we walked into the first set, Engineering. I will let Tim explain these pictures that he took because this is a world I know very little about!

The Engineering Room was faithfully recreated and had the feel of the one from Star Trek, referred to as The Original Series (TOS). Vic Mignogna (who played Captain Kirk on the eleven episodes of Star Trek Continues which these sets were made for) was our tour guide and throughout the tour explained all the tricks of the trade they used to recreate the sets.
By the way, check out the Guest Stars on that series, there are names you may recognize from various TV shows.

Transporter Room

The only controls that work on the Transporter Console are the slides, that one of the other visitors tested as soon as she walked into the room. The six white transporter pads were originally $6,000 studio Fresnel light lenses. Vic was able to make the ones they used out of resin from a mold of a real one.

Remote Bridge

This set was also reconfigured for use as other ships consoles.

Jefferies Tube

The maintenance tubes were called Jeffries Tubes, after Matt Jefferies, who designed the Enterprise for television. His design of the saucer-shaped primary hull, two offset engine nacelles, and a cylindrical secondary hull carried over into the Star Trek series that came after TOS. The opening at the top allowed for the camera to be pointed at the actor and action in the tube.

The Bridge

The chairs on the bridge were cheap white chairs bought locally, three triangle pieces added to the back, and painted light blue. Then black vinyl backs and cushions added to complete the chairs of the future effect. Some of the toggle switches do work to make various lights blink. The Main Viewing Screen is actually a 100″ TV bought recently. The scene of the planet is in motion which adds to the affect.

The Bridge

At the end of the tour (which took almost two hours) we turned a corner and entered The Bridge. It felt like stepping back to my youth and onto the ship itself.

The Bridge
(that’s me in the purple hoodie)

I did not get a decent picture of the curved hallway, sets for Sick Bay, Crews Kirk/Spock/Other crews quarters, or the conference/cafeteria/relaxation room. There were also other smaller sets that could be reconfigured for various scenes. All of which gave the feeling of being there.

While we were on the tour the guide kept asking us trivia questions about the series and if we knew what episodes various props had been used in. Of course I had no idea what they were all talking about most of the time. But when we got to the conference room our guide pointed out that the table had an unusual shape. Could any of us guess what the shape was? Everyone was stumped for a change. Finally Tim offered, “Tennessee?” Nope. Then a clue was offered, it had something to do with the navy. Silence. As soon as he said navy I pictured an aircraft carrier but still nobody said anything. So in my tentative little voice I said “aircraft carrier?” Yes!!! And then I got a kiss from my husband.

a new bridge

7.8.22 ~ Avery Farm Nature Preserve
daisy fleabane (?-it was a very tall plant)

Back in May a group of seven volunteers from the Groton Open Space Association replaced a dilapidated bridge over Haley Brook in this nature preserve. The new bridge is longer, wider and has more secure handrails. So on this pleasant day we decided to use some mosquito repellent and take a rare walk into the summer woods to check out the new bridge.

To compare with an autumn view of the farm relic pictured above, see here: autumn afternoon.

the new bridge
a clump of ferns by the brook
view of Haley Brook from the new bridge
spotted wintergreen flower

I didn’t want to risk contact with poison ivy or ticks so I couldn’t get too close to the spotted wintergreen flowers, but I was very excited to spot them out of the corner of my eye. I’ve only seen these plants before on my winter walks and have never seen the flowers. Tim used his walking stick to hold some of the surrounding vegetation back so I could at least get this blurry picture.

All of us derive security and comfort from the imaginary world of memories and fantasies and plans. We really don’t want to stay with the nakedness of our present experience. It goes against the grain to stay present. These are the times when only gentleness and a sense of humor can give us the strength to settle down.
~ Pema Chödrön
(The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times)


There were lots of damselflies fluttering through the air. One finally landed on a leaf long enough to get some pictures. Unfortunately another leaf was obstructing the view of its body but I was happy to capture some of the detail on her wings. The white dots at the end of each wing identify her as a female.

female ebony jewelwing
aka black-winged damselfly
another mushroom
view of bridge from the other side, coming back
pine cone in tangle of branches and vines
someone planted a little garden in a stump

The bug repellent seems to have worked. I heard one mosquito around my ear but never got bit. Since I discovered a couple of things (wintergreen flowers and black-winged damselflies) I’d never seen before I wonder if it might be worth the trouble to take more summer walks in the woods…

And now the covid positivity rate in Connecticut is about 10%. Heading in the wrong direction…

adding to life

illustration by Virginia Frances Sterrett
illustration by Virginia Frances Sterrett

The Fantastic or Mythical is a Mode available at all ages for some readers; for others, at none. At all ages, if it is well used by the author and meets the right reader, it has the same power: to generalize while remaining concrete, to present in palpable form not concepts or even experiences but whole classes of experience, and to throw off irrelevancies. But at its best it can do more; it can give us experiences we have never had and thus, instead of ‘commenting on life,’ can add to it.
~ C. S. Lewis
(Of Other Worlds: Essays & Stories)