VFYW: OBX Marks The Spot
Getting lost and found on the East Coast for contest #396.
(For the View From Your Window contest, the results below exceed the content limit for Substack’s email service, so to ensure that you see the full results, click the headline above.)
From the winner of last week’s contest:
Could you hear me yelp a moment ago??!! Wow! My husband and I are so excited … especially because this little part of the world is so special and important to us. Thanks for making our night, Chris.
And isn’t it funny that my email 10 years ago was built around a Dish post entitled “The Importance of Biden”! Crazy. Little did we know how important old Joe would become.
I certainly want that wonderful VFYW book. It will sit proudly on our coffee table in perpetuity.
Last week’s mystery of the orange man … is solved by our super-sleuth in Clinton, CT:
Looks like I picked a helluva week to go on vacation and give up sleuthing. I barely had time to take a gander at the View. Though when I did (on Wednesday afternoon), I recognized it immediately as “The Open Space” and the Left Arm of Grand Traverse Bay. Traverse City is literally one of my favorite places on the planet. Having visited TC at least a couple-hundred times, the hotel would have been a five-minute find.
I feel bad now, since I would’ve been able to offer many insights about the town (and probably double the length of your VFYW column). So, in lieu of that, allow me to at least offer to “solve” the mystery of the orange man that our wine geek in San Francisco was curious about. No, not that Orange Man; this orange man:
He is one of roughly 100 such sculptures adorning the rooftops and other locations mostly in and around Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, which John Sauve has installed as his “Man in the City” Project. He explains his motivations:
To activate the skyline, and encourage people to look around. In the process of looking and finding, one re-assesses one’s own position in the world and becomes aware of one’s scale within the very fabric of the city. The ‘Man in the City’ project creates a metaphor for urban life and all the contradictory associations — alienation, ambition, anonymity, and fame.
The first time I ran across “Mephisto,” as the orange man is named, was actually not the man at all, but the space around him. It was installed at Atchison Park, in New Hudson, Michigan, which itself sits atop — draw your own conclusions here — a former landfill site:
So there you have it. Mystery solved.
On to this week’s window, a longtime sleuth in LA writes:
While at first glance it looks like many beaches on America’s northeastern shore, my first thought was “Galveston.” And now, thanks to you, I’ll have Glenn Campbell’s “Galveston” song in my heads for the next week:
Starting on the northeastern shore, a “first-timer” writes: “I going with Ogunquit Beach, Maine.” Another: “I’m seeing the north end of Plum Island, Massachusetts, facing north.” Continuing south, another:
I think we are looking toward Weekapaug on Misquamicut Beach in Westerly, Rhode Island. (Of course it could be any number of beaches on the Atlantic coast, but this is my guess.)
Another conjures up Amity Island, New York:
Okay, fictional location, but correct country, yes? I very much want this week’s window to be close to where Jaws was filmed.
Another ventures south to Jersey:
Looks like Long Beach Island to me. So I’m taking a flyer on the euphoniously named Ship Bottom — photo taken from the Drifting Sands Oceanfront Hotel. Happy Halloween!
Another is on the same page:
I used to go to Long Beach Island (LBI) a lot when I was younger. I returned there briefly this summer to visit the widow of a dear friend and this is what it looks like. I hope I’m correct!
Another sighs, “Finally, an NJ coastline”:
I haven’t been to NJ in so many years, but I recognize the architecture (two floors), no boardwalk, sand dunes, etc. If I were to guess a city, somewhere near Seaside Heights. I was going to complain that NJ hardly ever seems to get a photo, but I’m sure this is it. Or, maybe I’m definitely wrong.
So is the next sleuth, but his entry made my day:
Wow. This is a hard one. It appears we're on a beach. It also feels like America. That narrows it down.
Rule #1 of the VFYW contest: when stumped, look at every minor detail.
That dolphin image might be the town seal of a prominent beach town. Or maybe the lamp post is a clue. What about the quantity and distance between the roof vents? Does some coastal town have a unique building code that will reveal this week’s location?
Maybe it’s the vegetation. The fencing? The power lines in the background? The lone cell tower, perhaps?
I’ve got nothing.
Rule #2: try to get into Chris’s head.
Maybe this is one of those moments where the location was chosen based on current events. Somewhere in Louisiana to celebrate the new Speaker of the House? Nah ... couldn’t be that. First, there doesn’t seem to be any hurricane prevention on any of the houses. Second, that’s not a cause for celebration.
Maybe it’s seasonal. Halloween is this week, so maybe a coastal town that is scary. Salem, MA, perhaps? Apparently, Newport, RI is spooky. That’s a dead end.
Rule #3: get desperate.
What about the railing? Maybe someone etched a clue into the rail. Nope.
This is contest #396. Maybe there is a clue there. Nothing of note happened in the year 396 that would give its name to an American Coastal town. A highway 396 maybe? 3 minus 9 plus 6 equals zero?
Rule #4: know when your obsession with the contest is becoming a little unhealthy and go with a wild guess.
Rule 4 it is, so I’m going with Jersey. Can’t wait to see how the masters crack the case.
Here’s the master-champ, Chini, with a hawk’s-eye view
He adds, “I wanted to give a clue this week, but despite the promising location, my mind just never seemed to take flight ... ”
Down to Delaware:
Bethany or Rehoboth Beach? Brings back nice memories of every summer vacation along the DelMarVa coast coming down from Long Island. Wasn’t as clustered as this photo back then, though. In any event, it sparked some nice images for me, so thanks!
Another sleuth continues our march down the East Coast by stopping in Virginia:
Taking a stab at this contest for the first time! Sandbridge, a neighborhood in Virginia Beach, was one of my mother's favorite places. She greatly enjoyed quiet walks on the beach, and some of her ashes are now scattered there. This place certainly has some of the same vibe as Sandbridge (which is south of the hustle and bustle and T-shirt shops of central Virginia Beach).
I was actually just in Sandbridge for a wedding. An outtake:
Another sleuth settles on South Carolina:
White sand beaches, buildings close to the shore, Easter-egg colored houses, turquoise shutters! Beach and architecture makes me feel like this is on the East Coast, though it could be Oregon. Still, I’m guessing east. Cape May, NJ? Outer Banks, NC? Myrtle Beach, SC?
I’m going with Hilton Head, SC, vacation spot of my childhood, where we grilled bacon-wrapped shrimp on a Hibachi on the beach, rode old bikes with banana seats on the paved trails, and where we fed alligators marshmallows from a bridge over a lagoon while our parents were nowhere nearby. I was five. I still have nightmares about falling in the water. Parenthood has changed a bit in the intervening 50-plus years.
The Yarrow Point sleuth looks for an animal sign:
This feels like the East Coast to me, and there are plenty of beaches that have a very similar look with the grassy areas and deck walkways to the beach. The only clue I felt I discovered: what appears to be a dolphin painted on a hut of sorts. Searching where are dolphin sightings common on the East Coast, both Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head were included. Maybe I can get lucky on this one!
Team Bellevue also followed the dolphin:
Yikes, this looks hard.
Vibe makes us think of Jersey Shore beach homes. Almost certainly USA.
Shadows put the sun behind us, so again assuming USA, we’re looking north with the ocean to our right. East Coast.
No hills or elevation of any kind.
Scant detail to dig into (and a particularly low res/JPEG compressed image). Our best guess at a handhold is the Orca/Dolphin logo on some kind of signboard or hut?
After staring at what we think is a “hut” with the cetacean jumping, we decide it’s not a structure but rather a trash dumpster? We also decide it’s a dolphin, not an orca.
After some flailing around looking for trash companies with dolphin-flavored dumpsters, we decide to maybe look for dolphin-themed hotel/motels on the East Coast. This doesn’t lead us to the answer, directly, but does lead us to the Dolphin Oceanfront Motel:
Wow, similar vibes, but not right.
They eventually got the right hotel. This next sleuth is done with dolphins:
This contest achieved the impossible and made me sick of looking at dolphins. Straight away it looks like the East Coast, but jeepers you’ve got an awful lot of coastline with beach houses on it. I spent way too much time focusing on the logo of a dolphin jumping over a ship steering wheel, thinking this will narrow down the area to start looking at. I never worked out exactly what that was, but the closest match got me to the Nags Head and Kitty Hawk area. That led to way too much time looking for the distinctive combination of coloured buildings we can see and in fact the yellow one was the one that got me there:
Here’s the beginning of Berkeley’s entry — and he names the right state: