My name is Charlotte, and I’m a Program Planner here at The Cambridge Center. One of the programs I oversee is our Organization of Older Students group. For those of you who don’t know, our Organization of Older Students group meets on Thursday afternoons for lectures on a wide variety of topics. There’s no charge for attending the lectures, and the older students are an inspiring group of lifelong learners. They’re all very engaged and engaging, and the discussions after the lectures are always high-spirited and full of varied perspectives.
The program ends each spring with a field trip to a cultural center somewhere in New England. Last Thursday, we went to The New Bedford Whaling Museum and Westport Rivers Vineyard and Winery. My fellow programmer Paula and CCAE wine instructor Eden joined about 30 older students and me for this scenic seaside expedition.
The New Bedford Whaling Museum is the largest museum in America devoted to the history of the American whaling industry, which flourished in New Bedford from the late eighteenth century to the early twentieth. It is a beautiful museum, with, not surprisingly, an elegant old-fashioned nautical look to it. There are handsome paintings of battleships on wind-swept seas, ornate pieces of china, “sailor’s valentines” consisting of pink seashells arranged in heart shapes, and romantic faded old maps of the New England coast. The museum also has the world’s largest ship model, “The Lagoda,” built in 1916. We climbed aboard it to get a feel of what life on such a ship might have been like.
Westport Rivers Vineyard and Winery is a family owned vineyard and winery producing estate grown wines from New England ‘s largest vineyard. During the bus ride to the winery, Eden told us a little about what to pay attention to during a wine tasting, as well as the weather and growing conditions needed to produce good wine. (Cool climates help to create the delicious sparkling, white and rosé wines that Westport Rivers specializes in.) The vineyard is gorgeous, and so luscious that one wonders how it ever sprouted out of the hardened New England landscape; one of the older students whispered to me that she intended to sit on the patio overlooking the vineyard and pretend she was in Tuscany for the afternoon. After the wine tasting, we had a hard time tearing people away from such a beautiful setting to get back on the bus to go back to Cambridge. Just look at the picture, and you’ll know why.