Category Archives: Coastal Cruising

Seaside Ramble

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. ∼Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is really the third and final part of the New England Nostalgia Tour, which it’s high time I finished, since I still have to tell you about the visit to Chelsea two weeks ago. Sheesh. Better get busy.

By Monday, the 12th (October, of course), everyone had headed back home, and we had done all we could to help Helen–except, of course, vacate the premises, so she could empty the fridge and cabinets and have the water shut off. We had hoped to see our friends at Four Legged Farm, but couldn’t get in touch with them. And worse, online it looks like they may no longer be there. Hope all is well with them.

So Tuesday morning we packed up and headed back to the coast . . .

David at Odiorne Point State Park, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
David at Odiorne Point State Park, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

. . . for a bit of nostalgia further north. That evening we had a stunningly fabulous dinner at the Bridge Street Bistro in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which seemed to promise good things for our little unexpected coastal jaunt. Although we have never lived on the east coast, over the years we did occasionally take our girls to Ogunquit, Maine, to this exact beach, as a matter of fact . . .

Ogunquit, Maine
Ogunquit, Maine

. . . during summer visits to Sunapee, so they could see the majesty of the ocean and dip a toe in the frigid waters of the Atlantic. Who knew the north Atlantic could be this blue?

York, Maine
York, Maine

I thought this kind of color was reserved for the Florida Keys, so super bonus.

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting∼Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nubble Lighthouse
Nubble Lighthouse

We had a glorious couple of days enjoying coastal blues and views, not to mention a bit more New England fall foliage, choosing back roads or in this case, as-close-to-the-water-as-possible roads, and between York and Ogunquit, Maine, we found the Nubble Lighthouse, then stumbled upon a beautiful stone church, St. Peter’s by the Sea Episcopal Church, stopping to enjoy the memorial garden . . . .

Memorial Garden at St. Peter's by the Sea
Memorial Garden at St. Peter’s by the Sea

So lots of rambling, loads of seafood, and even a return to Newburyport . . .

Newburyport, Mass.
Newburyport, Mass.

. . . for lunch on the way to the Boston airport. A wonderful finish for our sixteen days in New England. We enjoyed our time with friends and family, seeing familiar sights and discovering new ones.

I’ll leave you with a few more quotes from old Bostonian, Ralph Waldo Emerson:

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.

Wishing you your best day . . . and then another . . . and another . . . .


New England Nostalgia Tour

There’s a certain nostalgia and romance in a place you left. ∼David Guterson

Ah, home again! Just barely getting caught up after 16 days in New England. On the plus side, there are new adventures to tell you about, but way too much to share in one post, so this is Part One.

We left Colorado on October 1st, with traveling companions Tom and Lexi. The plan was to spend a few days, before heading to Sunapee, cruising up the coast from Boston, visiting various landmarks of their time living in the area.

On the tour, Tom’s seminary (see him waving?) . . . ↓

Gordon ConwellRed Barrel 2. . . and the now defunct Red Barrel, which we had visited on a previous trip. Sad to see it crumbling away into ruin.

Red Barrel 3Red Barrel Bus

Fortunately, since we had already experienced the Red Barrel, we had already planned to lunch at another of Tom and Lexi’s favorites, the still thriving Woodman’s in the Rough . . . ↓Lunch at Woodman's

. . . where a poster offers the excellent lobster-eating advice: “What gets out butter stains? Nothing. Wear a bib.”IMG_8939 (2)

The next day we did a bit more touring, including Rockport and Newburyport, but it was so cool and rainy, we decided to head to Sunapee a day early.

By Saturday evening, we were here . . .Sunapee Sunset

tom in my favorite reading spot, especially when the fire's going!

Here’s Tom trying out my favorite reading spot (especially when the fire’s going).

Of course a main draw of New England in the fall is the glorious foliage . . . Fall Leaves OverheadWe generally plan a longish stay in the fall to help close down the house for the season, but also to be sure we don’t miss the peak colors. This year they didn’t really get going until around the eighth, but then they were spectacular.Fall Foliage 4Sunapee Village

Couldn’t get enough of it. One of my favorite things about walking in the woods in the fall is the way it makes me want to look up . . . Looking Up

Things may be beginning to decay down below, but they’re glorious on high!

 By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet. ∼Thomas Merton

Wishing you minimal disappointment when revisiting old haunts and a wonderful colorful fall! Part Two coming soon . . .

End of the Road

We’ve said goodbye to Key West, former home of Hemingway and his enviable studio . . .

Ernest Hemingway's Studio
Ernest Hemingway’s Studio

. . . where works like For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Green Hills of Africa, and The Snows of Kilimanjaro, among others, were written. The day I visited, there was the loveliest breeze coming through the windows and rustling the palms outside . . .

Hemingway House on Key West
Hemingway House on Key West

Hemingway seems to haunt the place a bit. I can’t even count the number of look-alikes I encountered during our sojourn. Here’s one conveniently posed by the sign, in case you didn’t catch the resemblance.

Hemingway Look-Alike
Hemingway Look-Alike
Louie's Backyard and the Dog Beach
Louie’s Backyard and the Dog Beach

Goodbye also to Louie’s Backyard, an excellent restaurant next to the dog beach. Our favorite is the small plates restaurant upstairs, where the Prosecco is cold, the chef is world class and where we twice lucked into a balcony table with a view of the sea looking like this. →

And no more Mallory Square Sunset Celebrations where the performers hope for tips, the artisans hope for sales . . .

Mallory Square Artist
Mallory Square Artist

. . . the sunset sailors fill their sails . . .Sunset Sails. . . and the vacationers fill their drinks . . .

Mallory Square Coconut Drink at Sunset
Mallory Square coconut drink while waiting for sunset

But aside from these usual tourist events, I don’t know where else we’ll see things like this . . .

Fort Zachary Taylor Civil War Battle Reinactment
Fort Zachary Taylor — Preparing for a Civil War Battle Reinactment

. . . or this . . .

Iguanas in the Cemetery
Iguanas in the Cemetery
End of Route 1
David at the end of Route 1

But all that is now in the past. We made it to the end of Route 1, and since Key West was meant to be the end of our original year of adventure, leaving Key West really is the beginning of the road home.

We will actually be in Florida for two more weeks, which we realize is a very good thing, since FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, this winter has been UNBELIEVABLE. Bon courage! It seriously does have to give way to spring eventually.

So you’d think it would be no big deal, but there is an odd feeling of something ending. At the same time, though, some new things are beginning and other good things will be resuming, so in this season of change, we remain grateful for the opportunities we’ve had and the friends we’ve made both in France and here in the states.

We love you all. Thanks for sharing our journey with us. We’re not done yet!

Life is not so much about beginnings and endings as it is about going on and on and on. It is about muddling through the middle. ∼Anna Quindlen

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. ∼John Steinbeck

Happy trails!

Uniquely Key West

First, I know many of you are still suffering from this seemingly endless winter, so here’s a gift of warmth and color to help you cope. If you’re really desperate, remember you can click on any shot to enlarge it and really soak it in. Enjoy . . .

Hope you feel a little better and warmer after a little color therapy! Now that you’re fortified . . . .

I can’t leave Key West without mentioning the notorious weirdness. Before we even left Colorado, we were told by a few people that Key West was too “weird” and we wouldn’t like it. But, well, weirdly, we’ve enjoyed it. Now we’re down to less than a week left here before heading north to St. Petersburg (still Florida), so I thought I’d better share a few of the unique things we’ve seen here.

The naysayers weren’t exactly wrong. People do seem to delight in being a little different.

Standard Duval Street style sight
Standard type of Duval Street sight

And some of the transportation is unusually artsy . . .Fish Fund Truck

And there’s actually a rooftop bar that is “Clothing Optional” – we’ve skipped that, so no photos!

There are t-shirts here that say, “Key West: Where the weird go pro.” That seems to be true.

Spiderman on Duval Street
Spiderman on Duval Street
Juggler at Nightly Sunset Celebration,  Malory Square
Juggler at Nightly Sunset Celebration, Malory Square

Some who are only posing in odd attire have a sign asking for a tip if you take a picture. Didn’t cross the street to see if Spiderman had a sign, but he did not appear to be playing.

This top-hatted juggler is at least trying to entertain for his tips. He involves volunteers and has a relatively engaging spiel that draws a crowd every night.

Southernmost PointActually, though, unusually-dressed people can be found anywhere from time to time, so there are probably only a few things completely unique to Key West, like the fact of its being the southernmost point in the continental USA. There are non-stop lines of people wanting their pictures taken next to this. →

Side note: The other evening at Malory Square, a young Asian woman came up to us and said, “Excuse me? Is that Cuba?” pointing to the little island 500 yards across the water. I think her English was good enough to understand us when we explained that Cuba is close, but not THAT close. You can’t actually see it from Key West. It’s also not north of here. In case your geography’s a little rusty, Cuba is 90 miles south of the Southernmost Point marker, not to mention the fact that it’s slightly larger than 27-acre Sunset Key you can see from Malory Square.

Some unique and interesting things here don’t even qualify as weird at all. Key West is the place to find much of the treasure recovered from the 1622 wreck of the Spanish ship Atocha by Mel Fisher and his crew, as well as other shipwreck treasure.

So it’s not all weird, and even some of the weird is fun.

We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutually satisfying weirdness–and call it love–true love. ∼Robert Fulghum (probably not Dr. Seuss, as some say)Frost QuoteWishing you the very best wherever your road takes you!


Butterfly Blues and Seeing Red

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s very colorful here. About a week ago, I decided to check out the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, which is lovely and tropical (and very popular). Of course my favorite butterflies were an iridescent blue–you know how much I like blue!–but they were so fast, they proved nearly impossible to photograph. Here’s probably my best shot .  ↓

Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

Not amazing, I know. I actually even started to get irritated, both with the butterflies and with the people in the way of my shots, before realizing how ridiculous that was. By deciding I absolutely had to have a perfect photo of this one kind of butterfly, I was completely missing the whole experience. And seriously? Angry with butterflies?

Besides there was plenty of orange to be seen . . . Koi at Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

Flamingo at Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

And if that wasn’t enough nature, I knew I could easily find a pelican posing at the harbor.  ↓Pelican Posing

And how about a bit of fun red:

Key West Cruising
Key West Cruising

We, along with Tom and Lexi, met this guy one night at a local restaurant and he promised us a ride if we’d flag him down, but he already had a passenger, so maybe another time. Anyway, super friendly guy.

Seeing his bright red car directly after my unsuccessful blue butterfly photo shoot made me smile and think of the expression “seeing red.” How quickly I can get annoyed when things don’t go exactly the way I want. But of course I’m not the only one. The other day we were headed home from one of our walks when we saw a woman in a car completely lose her cool, honking and yelling at the car in front of her to get out of the way. A woman on a bike then yelled at her to take it easy, so she yelled back and flipped her off. Yikes. Another day in paradise.

Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret. ∼Ambrose Bierce

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. ∼Mark Twain

And I couldn’t resist this one:

Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things. ∼George Carlin

Of course I know there are serious things in this world that absolutely deserve an angry response and serious action, but if we tend to get caught up in the small irritations, how do we have time to deal with the important issues? So to soothe the savage beast in all of us, here’s a bit more blue and orange, with just a hint of red. Maybe it can remind us to try to keep the unrighteous anger in check!

Sunset from Sunset Pier
Sunset from Sunset Pier

Wishing you peace!



Bahia Honda Blues

Saturday we went on a quest for great water photos, so headed east to Bahia Honda State Park, pronounced, according to a local guidebook, “Buy a Honda” . . . no offense intended to any of you Honda owners with this post’s title.

Today has been rainy and windy (and I’ll bet it’s worse where you are–sorry!) so it seems the perfect day to share photos of the long-promised, soul-soothing, stunningly-spectacular blues to be seen down here in the Keys.

Here’s a preview . . .

Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park

Unfortunately the blues also came into play in the Got-the-Blues kind of way, because we  had driven all the way home in bumper to bumper traffic, and I had loaded the photos onto my computer, before I realized I had spots on my lens. Gha-a-a-a-a-a! As a result, some of my shots are not great. Some required strategic cropping. Some would benefit from skills and/or software I do not possess. Of course, NOW my lens is sparkling clean, but Bahia Honda is an hour’s tedious drive from here.

So . . . how can I re-frame my thinking about this one? Um . . . it is true that I’m very glad I do at least know how to crop photos now, therefore sparing you the worst of it, so there’s one positive. I can also focus on the fabulous water and not on the slightly spotty sky, so there’s two. I can also be grateful I was able to go in the first place, especially on a cool, breezy day that kept the crowds away, so that’s three AND four. Finally, we have to drive right by this park on our way out of here on March 6th, so maybe I’ll get a second chance at frame-worthy photos. Okay. I’m better now.

So back to the beautiful kind of blues . . . enjoy!

Bahia Honda State Park Beach
Beach at Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park

The water surrounding Key West is rarely (maybe never) quite this fabulous, so this was absolutely worth the drive (even in a Honda).

And now a quote or two about my other favorite blues . . .

Every bad situation is a blues song waiting to happen. ∼Amy Winehouse

I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues. ∼Duke Ellington

Colorful Key West

After an excellent couple of weeks, Tom and Lexi have left us, but we have another month here in Key West, before beginning our slow journey back to Colorado. Definitely loving the warmth and the color. From flowers . . .Florida Bougainvillea

Hibiscus PeachBaby Bananas. . . to the roosters that roam freely everywhere . . .Key West Rooster. . . to the changing colors of the sea and sky . . .

Sea, Sky and Seagull. . . to decorations on houses . . . Colorful Gecko. . . to clothing at the neighborhood laundromat . . .Tie-Dye Laundry Guy. . .  to the stunning sunsets for which Key West is famous . . .

Sunset from White Street Pier -- Free

Sunset from Sunset Pier -- a couple of drinks to justify taking the table

Key West Sunset 2. . . everything is very colorful here and I love it. LOVE it. (Okay maybe not exactly LOVING the tie-dye pants, but still.)

It makes me wonder if one of the reasons I’m not a big fan of winter is that I miss color as much as I miss light and warmth (and my comfy flip-flops, let’s be honest). If that’s true, WOOHOO, because I can fix that. I’m thinking big green salads dotted with orange bell peppers, blue china bowls heaped with shiny fresh lemons, bright red sweaters and flowers in vases . . . . Okay I’m starting to hear Julie Andrews singing in the background: ” . . . these are few of my favorite things . . . . ” so I’ll stop now!

All colors are the friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposites. ∼Marc Chagall

The uglier, older, meaner, iller, poorer I get, the more I wish to take my revenge by doing brilliant color, well arranged, resplendent. ∼Vincent van Gogh

One can speak poetry just by arranging colors well, just as one can say comforting things in music. ∼Vincent van Gogh

Here’s wishing you color and light and warmth during this final stretch of winter!