New Year’s Eve in Québec City

by Debby Jagerman-Dungan
( December 15th, 2014 )

Old Quebec at Night in Winter

Do you want to dance, see a show and rock out, and really live it up on New Year’s Eve? How about eat, shop, enjoy a toboggan ride, ice skate, ski, or slide on an inner tube in the snow during the days before or after New Year’s Eve? Maybe you would like to watch some hockey, enjoy the Christmas décor, or twinkling lights, on New Year’s Eve Day. If so, Québec City is the place to be! There are so many activities to do on New Year’s Eve, and the days and weeks before and after, that you would need at least a week, if not more, to do them all. Perhaps visiting Québec City several New Year’s Eves in a row would be enough time to do them all.

Here are just some of the ways Québec City celebrates.

If you want to dance, Grande Allée, a boulevard located just outside Old Québec that is filled with restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs, patio sidewalk eating, hotels, boutiques, and great architecture, has events for five days up to, and including New Year’s Eve. The bars and restaurants heat up their outdoor patios, you can go on a Ferris wheel, and there will be performances of traditional song, dance, acrobats, and fire eaters. On New Year’s Eve itself, the boulevard becomes one big dance floor with DJ’d music. And of course, fireworks go off at the right time.

Rue du Petit Champlain in Winter

If you want to shop, more than 1,000 regional products, food, and handicrafts are presented in the magical and unique festive atmosphere of Marché du Vieux-Port. The “Christmas Market at the Old Port Market” is open all day every day from December 26 to New Year’s Eve Day.

If you want to eat, you can take a guided walking Christmas Food Tour, which visits wineries and restaurants. You will be able to sample “gourmet cheese, chocolate, apple cider, maple tea, regional cuisine, ice wine, pastries, even a special poutine!” Led by a professional tour guide, you will also learn about the history and architecture of Québec City. This delicious tour runs from December 18 to January 5 (except Christmas and New Year’s Day).

If you want to “be delighted by the anecdotes and Christmas décor in Old Québec,” as well as the Christmas Market mentioned above, you can take another tour in which you will “experience Quebec’s Christmas traditions along with an authentic character of the local history in the heart of Old Québec and Petit-Champlain.” On this “Christmas Magic in Old Québec” tour, you will follow a licensed guide dressed in period costume everyday from December 24 to January 2.

Sliding on Terrasse Dufferin at Night

If you want to toboggan, yes I did say toboggan, you can go down a century-old slide at speeds up to about 43 miles per hour at Dufferin Terrace located next to Château Frontenac. Depending on the weather, you can slide from mid-December to mid-March. You can just do the slide, or you can even combine it with a cup of hot chocolate or a bit of traditional maple taffy.

If you want to ice skate outdoors, there are two places to enjoy this, both free of charge. One is at the Plains of Abraham Skating Rink; the other is at place d’Youville. Both have equipment rental available, and at the Plains of Abraham there is also food, refreshments, and a heated skaters’ chalet.

Ice Skating at place dYouville

If you want to enjoy some twinkling lights, as well as marine mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and sea mammals, there is a festival of lights, Festi Lumière, at Aquarium du Québec. With more than 500,000 lights, you can stroll along an outdoor path, enjoying a rainbow of colors animating trees and ice sculptures, and “animal-shaped structures illuminated in a dazzling chromatic display.” There is even an outdoor fireplace with music.

If you want to see a show and rock out, at Le Capitole there is a concert by Dennis DeYoung and the Music of Styx. Le Capitole also has a “Just Dance” show on New Year’s Eve from 6:30pm to 3am, which is a musical review of hits including “music of successful popular artist like Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, Madonna, Bruno Mars, and more,” along with a meal and dancing, too.

If you want to watch hockey, the Ramparts play an afternoon game on the 31st. If you want to ski, Mont Sainte Anne will be open during the day of the 31st.

Skiing on Mont Sainte Anne

If you want to slide on inner tubes and party, Village Vacances Valcartier, a winter playground, is having a New Year’s Eve party. First you can do a variety of snow activities, such as slide on inner tubes, either solo, or with a group. You can also go ice karting, which is like a small-scale auto racetrack on ice, and ice skating. Finally, you can “celebrate New Year’s Eve in a magical, fairy-like atmosphere,” with dancing, food, games, entertainment, and party favors, and the traditional countdown.

Snow Tubing at Village Vacances Valcartier

If you want to really live it up at the most photographed hotel, and possibly the most expensive, Château Frontenac, offers a New Year’s Eve package including a six course dinner, and luxury accommodations. Many other fine hotels and restaurants in Québec City also offer special packages as well.

Choirists Old Quebec

Québec City sure knows how to celebrate New Year’s Eve, and the days and weeks before and after!

Sweet Travels!

A big thank you to Paule Bergeron of Québec City Tourism for providing me with a list of websites. Paule even said to me in her email, “here are a few of the activities going on…” I would say that “few” is an understatement.

All pictures in this blog courtesy of Québec City Tourism. (Note that the street scene is actually Rue du Petit Champlain.)

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Pharology and the Browns Point Lighthouse

by Debby Jagerman-Dungan
( December 9th, 2014 )

It was at the Browns Point Lighthouse that I discovered that I am a pharologist: “One who studies or is interested in lighthouses.”

Browns Point Lighthouse Tacoma WA

This lighthouse was also where I learned that “the first lighthouses were towers, built about 2,000 years ago: the Pharos at Alexandria in Egypt, and the Colossus at Rhodes, an island off Greece.”

Browns Point Lighthouse

The Browns Point Lighthouse, a white concrete art-deco style structure, along with the Keepers’ Cottage, and the location, make Browns Point Lighthouse a great place to visit for a day, or longer. At the entrance to Commencement Bay in Tacoma, Washington, the lighthouse and cottage are situated in a park, with a big grassy area available for picnics, and a sandy area for available for beach combing.

Browns Point Lighthouse Keepers Cottage

Built in 1903, the three-bedroom Keepers’ Cottage is wonderfully furnished with period antiques from the early 1900’s. There is even a cute little sitting area on the second floor. The cottage is available as a vacation rental, with the requirements that you conduct tours for visitors, and do daily, light chores.

Browns Point Lighthouse Sitting Area

Not only is the cottage located in a park, and decorated, there is also a garden with flowers and fruit trees surrounding the house. The first keeper of Browns Point Lighthouse, Oscar Brown, was a gardener, who grew apple, pear, and cherry trees, as well as colorful daffodils, tulips, peonies, and roses. Hollyhocks were blooming during our visit.

Browns Point Lighthouse Window

Browns Point Lighthouse Window

Browns Point Lighthouse Window

In the living room of the cottage is a piano. Oscar Brown was also an accomplished musician who played and taught the piano and the coronet.

Browns Point Lighthouse Piano

In the basement of the cottage, a history museum features a 1900’s kitchen area with a cast iron stove, showing what it would have been like for Annie Brown, Oscar’s wife. (The kitchen in the main part of the cottage is modern.) The history museum also contains an area showing a one room school house, with desks that have holes for quill pens and ink wells, black slate boards, and a flag with only 48 stars. The museum also provides information about Jerry Meeker, a Puyallup Indian, who originally owned the land where the lighthouse was built.

Browns Point Lighthouse Kitchen

Browns Point Lighthouse School

The original lighthouse was a lens lantern on a post built in 1887. This was replaced by a wooden lighthouse in 1903, and then that was replaced in 1933 by the lighthouse seen today. It has been automated since 1963.

Browns Point Lighthouse Commencement Bay

Perhaps someday the pharologist in me will want to rent the Keepers’ Cottage.

Browns Point Lighthouse Washington State

Browns Point Lighthouse Window

Browns Point Lighthouse Window

Sweet Travels!

Here is a link for more of my pharology-related blogs.

Some information obtained for this blog from the “Visitors Guide to Browns Point Lighthouse Park” brochure, and small a booklet for children, “Browns Point Lighthouse & Cottage Visit.”

Lighthouse Friends: Browns Point Lighthouse

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The Two Lighthouses of Whidbey Island

by Debby Jagerman-Dungan
( November 28th, 2014 )

Q: What did the ocean say to the lighthouse?
A: Nothing; it just waved.

Admiralty Head Lighthouse

Q: What kind of house weighs very little?
A: A light house!

Q: What do you call a lighthouse with the lights turned off?
A: A dark house.

Admiralty Head Lighthouse Whidbey Island Washington

Q: What is my new item on my Bucket List?
A: To visit all of the lighthouses in the state of Washington.

Traveling Library Lighthouses

Each time I visit I lighthouse, I learn something new about what life was like for the light keepers and their families. At Admiralty Head Lighthouse, I learned about Traveling Libraries. They are boxes filled with books that were delivered to the light keepers in the mid- to late-1800’s due to the isolated life at many lighthouses around the country. Rotating every few months from lighthouse to lighthouse, the libraries were filled with classics, fiction, and even technical and educational materials so that the light keepers and their families could enjoy a variety reading subjects. At the time, 700 of these Traveling Libraries were in circulation, with dozens of books each. What a great concept!

Admiralty Head Lighthouse Coupeville WA

Located a ferry ride away from Seattle on Whidbey Island, Admiralty Head Lighthouse, in Fort Casey State Park, overlooks Puget Sound, with views of the water and the Olympic Mountains beyond. The original lighthouse was actually called Red Bluff Lighthouse, built of wood, and became operational in 1861. This was replaced in 1903 by the Spanish-style building seen today, made out of brick and stucco, a unique building, rather than made out of concrete. (If I may point out, please note the shadow of the lighthouse tower against the building in the above pictures.)

Admiralty Head Lighthouse Whidbey Island

Admiralty Head Lighthouse Fort Casey State Park

Many lighthouses, like Admiralty Head, are open to the public to go inside, see refurbished rooms of the keeper’s quarters, some decorated as if it were fifty or a hundred or more years ago, climb the tower to see the Fresnel lens, and even shop in a gift store. However, some lighthouses are not open to the public, and can only be viewed from a distance. Such is the Bush Point Lighthouse also on Whidbey Island.

Bush Point Lighthouse Whidbey Island

This lighthouse was originally a private light owned by a local family, the Farmers, who each night would hang a kerosene lamp from wooden gallows. There is a really cool picture of this old lighthouse at this Washington Rural Heritage/South Whidbey Heritage link. I have never seen a “lighthouse” such as this.

Bush Point Lighthouse Whidbey Island Washington

The current Bush Point Lighthouse was built in 1933, where the light sits on top of a 20-foot blue and white pyramidal concrete tower. No keeper’s quarters, no tower to climb, no gift shop. In either case though, I love seeing either kind of lighthouse.

Bush Point Lighthouse

I have a list of lighthouses in Washington State from the website, “Lighthouse Friends,” which shows that there are 27 lighthouses in the state of Washington. With visiting these two lighthouses of Whidbey Island this summer, and one it Tacoma (my next blog), I have now seen or visited 13 of them so far, including the one where we got married. About half way to my Bucket List goal, I have 14 more lighthouses in the state of Washington to go!

Bush Point Lighthouse No Trespassing

Sweet Travels!

Here is a link to all the other blogs I have written on lighthouses, including Burrows Island Lighthouse where I did some volunteer work, New Dungeness where we walked 10 miles round trip on a sand spit to visit, West Point Lighthouse located at one of my favorite places on this planet, several lighthouses in the San Juan Islands, several lighthouses along the Oregon Coast, and Mukilteo Lighthouse where we got married.

Information in this blog about Admiralty Head Lighthouse from:
Lighthouse Friends -Admiralty Head Lighthouse
Washington State University – Admiralty Head Lighthouse

Information in this blog about Bush Point Lighthouse from:
Lighthouse Friends – Bush Point Lighthouse
Northwest Maritime Heritage – Bush Point Lighthouse

Jokes that started blog are from the “Fort Casey State Park’s Keepers Kids Admiralty Head Lighthouse Activity Book.”

Information on Traveling Libraries from a sign on the display of the library in the Admiralty Head Lighthouse.

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