Thursday, June 9, 2016

FROM SOUTH TO NORTH, ISLANDS TO MOUNTAINS

Brookgreen Gardens
Upon leaving Charleston, we stopped in Murrell's Inlet, just south of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. While there we visited  Brookgreen Gardens. Once one of the largest rice plantations in the country, it is now a magnificent wildlife preserve and sculpture garden. Read more about our time there and the blog it inspired on my website

Per and Saskia's wedding ceremony
The trip north from South Carolina was uneventful; a mix of hot, cold and rainy weather. On May 1, we flew from Newark, New Jersey to the Turks and Caicos where I had the pleasure of officiating at the wedding of my godson Per and his beautiful bride Saskia. It was a fun filled celebration and a wonderful chance to be with dear friends. 

The Hall of Springs Saratoga



Former Bathhouse Saratoga State Park
Returning to Newark after a couple of weeks, we drove north to Saratoga, New York, a beautiful town. The State Park there houses the former bathhouses that once drew the rich and famous to Saratoga for the mineral baths. Now Saratoga is more famous for the racing season that takes place the end of July to early September. 

Saratoga is a short distance from Lake George where I used to live - many years ago. Fortunately, I have friendships that have endured throughout those years so it was a great pleasure to see those friends again. 
Mirror Lake 
Mirror Lake in heart of Adriondack Mountains

The six million acre Adirondack Park begins just below Lake George. Our next stop, Lake Placid, is right in the heart of it. Within the Park are 3,000 lakes and ponds, and 30,000 miles of lakes and rivers. 44 of the mountains are over 4,000' in elevation. 

The town of Lake Placid is actually situated on Mirror Lake, a pristine lake we enjoyed walking around. We had a great view from our hotel which was located right on Main Street. On Saturday, June 11, we will take the ferry across Lake Champlain into Vermont.
Nighttime view from our balcony
Daytime view from our balcony













Sunday, March 13, 2016

SOUTHEAST WINTER


Huge Kapok tree on the Waterway path

Flagler Home and Museum
Palm Beach from the bridge
View of PB across Intracoastal Waterway

Worth Ave., Palm Beach
Where have such diverse characters as Rod Stewart, Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump, the Kennedys, Michael Jackson, E.F. Hutton and Howard Stern made their home at one time or another? Palm Beach, Florida, one of the most exclusive addresses in the world. 
Scott, Anne and Ron


With Saskia and Per

Having decided to spend this winter in the southeast, we rented an apartment in Boca Raton for a month and one in West Palm Beach for a month and a half. The latter was only a block from the Intracoastal Waterway and the bridge to  Palm Beach. At one time, the servants were sent off island to live in West Palm. Now it is a thriving city with museums, convention center, performing arts center, shops and movies. We could walk to all of it from our place but our favorite walk was along the Palm Beach path that runs beside the Waterway. There you find the oldest home on the island and the Flagler estate, home of the man who started it all. He made Florida  accessible by building the Florida East Coast Railway. Aside from countless Florida landmarks, Flagler built the renowned Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach. We could also walk right across the island to the beach or enjoy a leisurely stroll along Worth Ave., shopping mecca for the rich and famous.
With George and Jeannette
Classic Charleston

Rainbow Row, Charleston


The best part of this trip was seeing friends who  live in Florida part or full time or those who came to see us. Kevin visited from California for a few days and our Chicago friends Anne and Scott came to celebrate Ron's birthday. On our way up the Florida coast, we spent a few days with Julia and Frank, friends from Colorado who recently bought a second home in Florida. While in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, my godson Per and his finance Saskia came from New York for a brief visit. 

Upon leaving Florida, we stopped in Beaufort, South Carolina for a few days. The second oldest city in the state after Charleston, it is known for its beautiful setting on the water and antebellum architecture. We were there the day beloved resident and author Pat Conway (Prince of Tides and The Great Santini) died. 

Then it was on to Mount Pleasant, the popular suburb of Charleston. While there our friends Jeannette and George arranged lunch and a walking tour of Charleston. Though we have been here a number of times, we saw and learned much more about the history of this beautiful city. It is the oldest city in the state and was once the 5th largest city in North America. Almost 40% of the 400,000 Africans who were sold in America landed at nearby Sullivan's Island. From the walkway along the harbor, you can see Fort Sumter where the first shots of the civil were fired.  



On Sunday, Jeannette prepared a gourmet brunch for us at their beautiful home on the tidal waters north of Charleston.

I'm afraid I have been neglecting this blog as my other one (www.gerioneill.com) takes up so much time. I will try to do better in the future as w
e gradually work our way north along the Atlantic Coast.





Friday, October 23, 2015

Making our way south


The route we took back to Florida led  through Indiana where we made two stops. The most memorable one was French Lick. Funny name but beautiful place. It was originally a French trading post next to a salt lick. Hence French Lick. It is the home of two beautiful, historic hotels, The French Lick Resorts. I especially loved the rocking chairs that lined the wide porches. Basketball fans may recognize the name as the home of Larry Bird. 

Continuing south, we stopped     in Danville and Bowling Green, Kentucky. Danville is a small town with a lot to boast about. The National Trust for Historic Preservation awarded it the Great Main Street Award. Money Magazine ranked it 4th best place to retire in 2011. And two Vice-Presidential debates were held there.  

Not far from Danville is the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, the largest restored Shaker Village in the Country. Immaculate buildings are sprawled over 3,000 beautiful acres. 

Another charming town we stopped in on our way south was Florence, Alabama. It is the home of the University of Northern Alabama. In the center of the beautiful campus is a huge enclosure for 2 lions, the school mascots.



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Not far from Florence is Tuscumbia, the birthplace of Helen Keller 1880-1968. She was stricken with a disease as an infant that left her blind and deaf. Right outside the house is the well where her teacher Annie Sullivan broke through and Helen suddenly understood that Annie was writing the word 'water' in her hand. The story is depicted in the famous movie The Miracle Worker. Helen Keller went on to graduate from Radcliffe College becoming the first blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.


Then it was on to Birmingham and finally Mobile, Alabama where we visited with my brother and his family. Cousins from New York came down making it a little family reunion. Mobile is actually the birthplace of the Carnival and Mardi Gras. The Carnival Museum houses many of the parade floats and magnificent robes the King and Queen wear. 

Now we will be heading back into Florida. 










 


 























 





Thursday, September 10, 2015

WISCONSIN PART 2


John and Donna took us out on their pontoon boat
Our lodging in Sister Bay
During the second part of our summer in Wisconsin we visited Appleton, Green Bay, Manitowoc, Door County and Milwaukee. While in Appleton and Milwaukee, we were able to reconnect with Wisconsin friends we met on a cruise last year. We spent a lovely afternoon on their pontoon boat. 

While in Manitowoc, we visited the West of the Lake Gardens, 6 acres of beautiful grounds, trees and flowers bordering Lake Michigan. 
West of Lake Gardens
Lighthouse in Peninsula State Park Door County
Interior of the log cabin

Our cottage Baileys Harbor

With Anne & Scott Baileys Harbor cottage

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Ron, Anne & Scott Door County
With Caroline, Nick & Clare



Milwaukee River Walk


Our transportation around Washington Island

Original log cabinWashington Island





DoorCounty is part of a long peninsula reaching into Lake Michigan. It is covered with farms and dotted with cute, little towns. We spent a week in Sister Bay and a month in Baileys Harbor. While in Sister Bay, we drove to the end of the peninsula and took the ferry over to Washington Island, a remote, sparsely populated area. There was only one person in the 2015 graduating class! We wandered through some of the barns and buildings that have been preserved from earlier centuries. 

While in Baileys Harbor, our good friends Anne and Scott came up from Chicago to spend a few days with us. We enjoyed showing them the charming towns Door County is famous for. Between our stays in Door County and Milwaukee, we dipped back down into Illinois for 5 days to attend the wedding of Anne and Scott's daughter Megan. It was a beautiful affair and we were so happy to be part of it.

Our cottage in Baileys Harbor was adorable. The view from the bedroom window was like looking into an enchanted forest.


View from bedroom


We also got to see our niece Caroline while in Door County. Her husband Nick is from Sturgeon Bay and they came up for a weekend so it was wonderful to have lunch with them one day. 

Our final stop in Wisconsin was Milwaukee. It's a very nice city right on Lake Michigan. There are lovely parks and long walking paths along the water. It is also fun to walk through the restored historical Ward 3 and along the Riverwalk through the heart of the city.