Old Bethpage Village Restoration: A gem in our own backyard…

Red Barn, Conklin House

I recently went to Old Bethpage Village Restoration with my good friend John Barclay and several other photographers who were taking an HDR workshop with him. My previous visit to OBVR was in July, 2009 when there was a Civil War Re-enactment held on the grounds.

Company E - 14th Brooklyn Regiment


My neighbor Robin is a re-enactor and was there that day dressed as Mary Todd Lincoln.

Robin is Mary Todd Lincoln

On this visit with John and his workshop group, I was totally blown away with the wonderful images that were available for us to shoot. Here, visitors can step back in time and experience life in a recreated mid-19th-century American village. The 209-acre village includes an assortment of homes, farms and businesses.

Reflection of Kerby House

OBVR never existed as an actual village. It represents a typical rural Long Island farm village of the mid-19th century — one whose roots can actually be found in the earlier Dutch and English settlement of Long Island. The only building originally on the site of Old Bethpage Village Restoration is the Powell House, a mid-18th-century farmhouse.

Interior of Powell Farmhouse

Still life - Interior of Powell Farmhouse

The Manetto Hill Methodist Church from nearby Plainview was the first building moved to the site.

Manetto Hill Methodist Church

A nearby one room schoolhouse the District No. 6 Manhasset School  was moved to OBVR.


Layton’s General Store sells candy and has on display many objects that people would have needed if they lived in the village.

Layton's General Store

The staff members of the restoration, dressed in period costumes, recount the history of each building and describe the enterprise that originally took place in the building.

Docent Kevin at OBVR

The Williams House, restored to 1860, was once home to a certain Henry Williams, farmer and carpenter, and stood in New Hyde Park. A seamstress named Esther once lived there as well.

Williams House, c. 1860

Williams House, c. 1860

The Dress, The Williams House,

At the Lewis Ritch Hat Shoppe there are several different types of hats on display.

Hats in Hat Shoppe

Hats in Hat Shoppe 2

Old Bethpage Village Restoration is a great place to visit and a wonderful place to shoot.

Last visit to Jerusalem…

Because of our sins we were exiled from our country and banished from our land. We cannot go up as pilgrims to worship Thee, to perform our duties in Thy chosen house, the great and Holy Temple which was called by Thy name, on account of the hand that was let loose on Thy sanctuary. May it be Thy will, Lord our God and God of our fathers, merciful King, in Thy abundant love again to have mercy on us and on Thy sanctuary; rebuild it speedily and magnify its glory. (The Jewish Prayer Book)

We visited Jerusalem for the last time at the end of our stay in Israel. This visit was even more special as Eileen was able to leave prayer notes in the cracks of the Western Wall written by the students in her grandkids classes.

During this visit we were also able to go into the Temple Mount, which, while under Israeli supervision, is closed most of the day for non-muslims.

I think what I personally like best about Jerusalem, and most particularly in the old city, is that so many very different cultures live and work together here. Here is a last look for this year at three of the ‘quarters’ in the Old City and the people who spend their time there.

The People of Jerusalem…

What can you say? These images tell it all.

Rabbi with his 50D

Muslims-The Temple Mount…

To the right of the Western Wall a well-guarded pathway leads to the Temple Mount, one of the most historic and religious  sites in the world. In the Islamic world, this is the Haram es Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary, and one of its crowning architectural achievements. Tourists could only visit the Temple Mount/Haram es Sharif from Sunday to Thursday from 7:30 to 11am and from 1:30 to 2:30pm. Non-muslim visitors are not allowed to enter the mosques or the Muslim museum.

A short history of the Temple Mount…

After David conquered Jerusalem (about 3,000 years ago), he purchased the flat rock at the top of Moriah.  The Temple Mount you see here in our photos is an artificially created, flat, stone-paved platform built by Herod to accommodate vast numbers of pilgrims in ancient times. Herod’s temple complex was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70. All structures on the Temple Mount today, including the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque, are Islamic holy places and religious institutions built after the Muslim conquest of A.D. 638.

Al Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest place of prayer in the world for Muslims after Mecca and Medina, is the first large edifice we saw when we entered the Temple Mount. It is among the oldest mosques in existence and also among the most beautiful — a vast broad basilica originally nine naves wide (it was rebuilt somewhat smaller after the Crusades). It was in front of the graceful porticos of the Al Aqsa that King Abdullah I of Jordan was assassinated in 1951, by gunmen who felt he was attempting to create a basis for eventual peace in the area. He died here in the presence of his then 15-year-old grandson, the late King Hussein of Jordan. At this time the mosque remains closed to visitors.


The Dome of the Rock…

The exterior walls of the dazzling Dome of the Rock are covered with a facade of Persian blue tiles, originally installed by the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in the mid-16th century. In 1994, under the auspices of Jordan’s king Hussein, the great dome was completely reconstructed and regilded with 80 kilograms (176 lb.) of 24-karat gold. The Dome of the Rock is reached by climbing the broad ceremonial stairs that lead to a decorative archway and a raised center portion of the Temple Mount complex. The Dome of the Rock’s interior is every bit as lavish and intricate as the outside. Plush carpets line the floor, and stained-glass windows line the upper ceiling. Again, visitors must remove their shoes and leave them, along with their cameras and bags, on shelves before entering the shrine.

Jews-The Jewish Quarter & The Western Wall…

The Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel is located in the at the foot of the western side of theTemple Mount. It is the remains of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple’s courtyard, and is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism outside of the Temple Mount itself. Just over half the wall, including its 17 courses located below street level, dates from the end of the Second Temple period, having been constructed around 19 BC by Herod the Great. The remaining layers were added from the 7th century onwards. The Western Wall refers not only to the exposed section facing a large plaza in the Jewish Quarter, but also to the sections concealed behind structures running along the whole length of the Temple Mount.

It has been a site for Jewish prayer and pilgrimage for centuries, and since we were there on a day when the Torah is read we were able to see many bar/bat mitzvahs being held.

Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall

Women observing a Bar Mitzvah from womans section

Christians-The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, known as the Church of the Resurrection  to Eastern Orthodox Christians, is a church in the Old City of Jerusalem that is the holiest Christian site in the world. It stands on a site that is believed to encompass both Golgotha, or Calvary, where Jesus was crucified, and the tomb (sepulchre) where he was buried. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre has been an important pilgrimage destination since the 4th century.

Thank you…

This is our last blog from Israel. I had a wonderful time photographing the sites of this small wonderful country. I look back to our return next December when we will also have the honor of attending and sharing in the bat-mitzvah’s of Eileen’s granddaughters Idan and Noam.

We also want to thank all of you who have read and followed our journey and for your kind and supportive words.

Next Year in Jerusalem! – !לשנה הבאה בירושלים

A Short Story About a Hat…

The Hat

There once was a hat. It was a woolen bunny hat with earflaps and a large pompom on the top of it. The Hat was a world traveler because it belonged to a photographer named John Barclay.

John Barclay and The Hat

John really loved The Hat and took it with him wherever he went. He took it on his workshop in the Palouse.

The Hat in the Palouse...where's John

Rumor has it that John was not very careful about watching his hat, and one day The Hat disappeared from the SUV belonging to Dan Sniffen. We heard that this might have happened in Oregon.

The Hat was not seen for a while until one day it appeared in the Gay Pride Parade in Seattle, Washington.

The Hat marches in the Gay Pride Parade

Of course, since The Hat was already in Seattle, it decided to pay a visit to the Experience Music Project, a building designed by Frank Ghery who was a favorite of John Barclay. We guess The Hat accompanied Barclay when he shot the Ghery buildings in LA and Boston so he felt comfortable there.

The Hat resting on top of a portion of the Experience Music Project building

Since The Hat was in Washington, and didn’t know if it would ever return, it decided to do some sightseeing. The Hat went to Mt. Rainier and it was so cold it could have come in handy for someone there.

The Hat even went hiking looking for warerfalls.

The Hat at a waterfall

By now, The Hat was getting hungry so it decided to go to Vancouver, Canada to see if there was something to eat. The Hat took the ferry to get there…

The Hat on the ferry to Vancouver, Canada

…and lo and behold it found it’s favorite food…donuts.

Tim Horton's a favorite of The Hat

By this time The Hat was getting lonely. It missed human contact. Luckily for him kind strangers were able to take care of him…

A kind stranger rescued the hat from falling off of the Ghery Building


A kind stranger saved The Hat from being blown overboard on the Vancouver ferry

Nobody knows where The Hat is today. Rumor has it that it was in New England or it may possibly still be in Washington. Hopefully one day the hat will come home to his dopey photographer friend, John Barclay.

On the Road Again to the Dead Sea: Qumran, an Oasis and more…

Jordan and the Dead Sea

As we left the Palestine Postash Company and continued south toward Ein Bokek our first stop was…

The Qumran Caves…

The Qumran Caves are a group of caves found around the archaeological site of Qumran (see below). It is in a number of these caves that the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were found. The spectacular limestone cliffs seen above Qumran contain numerous caves that have been used for thousands of years.

One of 11 caves found containing the Dead Sea Scrolls

In late 1946 or  early 1947 a Bedouin boy of the Ta’amireh tribe, found a cave after searching for a lost goat. He had stumbled onto the first cave containing scrolls from two thousand years ago. More Ta’amireh tribesmen visited the cave and scrolls were taken back to their encampment. They were eventually shown to the Monastery of Saint Mark in April 1947 and the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls was made known. The location of the cave was not revealed for another 18 months so that further exploration could be continued.

Cave 4Q discovered in 1952

According to religious scholars, “The Dead Sea Scrolls enhance our knowledge of both Judaism and Christianity. The scrolls represent a non-rabbinic form of Judaism and provide a wealth of comparative material for New Testament scholars, including many important parallels to the Jesus movement. They show Christianity to be rooted in Judaism and have been called the evolutionary link between the two.”


Qumran is an archaeological site in the West Bank. It is located a mile inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea. The settlement was constructed around 134-104 BC or somewhat later, and was occupied most of the time until it was destroyed by the Romans in 68 AD or shortly after. It is best known as the settlement nearest to the caves in which the Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden.

Qumran 1

A mikvah...

The Einot Tzukim Nature Reserve was the next stop as we headed south on Highway 90.

The Einot Tzukim Nature Reserve

The reserve is the lowest nature reserve (Oasis) in the world. It contains pools with constantly flowing water are full of minerals believed to have wonderful therapeutic properties. We were able to only stop for a few minutes and Eileen grabbed this image.

After spending some time at the Oasis we continued our trip on  Highway 90. A few miles down the road we decided to take a gravel/dirt road heading into the desert to see what we could find.

The Judean  Desert…

As we headed west into the Metzoke Dragot, a series of cliffs overlooking the Dead Sea we came upon a herd of Nubian Ibex. These goat like animals live wildly in the desert and feed off the limited vegetation and water in the area. The goats are brown and the males have large horns. Eileen captured one in the image below.

Nubian Ibex in the Judean Desert

We continued further into the desert and came across another set of caves that we could actually explore. They turned out to be rather small and from what we could observe, were a place for people to come and light a campfire and have a brew or two.

Cave in the Judean Desert

The Judean Desert is quite spectacular. Not a sandy desert that I thought it would be (like the Sahara). More rocks, caves, cliffs etc. I walked around a bit looking for the shot that best would show off it’s beauty.

Ellery looking for a shot of the desert

From the vantage point on the road above this is what I saw:

The Judean Desert

We finally made it to our destination Ein Bokek.

Ein Bokek…

Ein Bokek is a tourist area on the Dead Sea. It has about 12 hotels and other ‘therapeutic’ clinics where people from all over the world go for the water’s healing qualities.


Ein Bokek

At the time of year that we were there, the hotels were not all that crowded and the sea itself lacked bathers…

Empty beach on the Dead Sea (Ein Bokek)

but the air was warm enough for some beautiful floral displays on the streets of Ein Bokek.

We headed over to a nearby salt trail but of course Eileen got lost. But then again who could blame her (this time)?


The salt flat, well that’s what I call it anyways, goes about a half-mile into the Dead Sea.

It is easily accessible by foot even though the sign says otherwise.

Another sign...another challenge.

The salt washes up to the walking path and forms large deposits.

I Love salt on my food.

The trip to the Dead Sea and it’s surrounding environs was amazing…

and we enjoyed everything we did there.

e&E having a great time along the shore of the Dead Sea.