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Over The Gorge We Go September 3, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Mindfulness, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
18 comments

Are you a sleepwalker?

This is NOT the Airbnb for you.

Do you like to cook on vacation . . . bringing bags and bags of groceries with you?

Ditto.

Afraid of heights?

Do NOT, under any circumstance, rent this place for your next weekend get-away.

On the other hand, this place is PERFECT for those who are physically fit, in good health, and light packers.

Light as in backpacks NOT steamer trunks.

Some experience with flying, base jumping, and skydiving would be helpful.

Ready?

Over the Gorge we go . . .

This Kentucky Airbnb, a one-bedroom, one-bath property suspended high above the Red River Gorge, is an acrophobe’s nightmare.

Reaching your rental requires climbing suspended stairs hundreds of steps long, with more climbing to retire for the evening

Personally, I’d love to spend the night . . . as long as I’ve got a sherpa to schlep my gear!

If you click on any of the links, you be able to see more amazing, cringe-worthy photos.

Aah . . . a September to Remember!

A Day At The Beach August 15, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Nature, People, Travel & Leisure.
23 comments

The beaches of Anna Maria Island have been popular for over a century.

Each weekend, throngs of tourists crowd the beaches looking for sun, fun, sand, surf, seashells . . . and cocktails.

While fashions have changed over the years, growing skimpier and skimpier, the scenery remains much the same.

Are you, perchance, in the mood for a bit of time travel?

Want to enjoy a brief blast from the past?

Complete with lots of black and white photos to peruse?

If so, here’s a recent article from the Bradenton Herald with archival photos taken on our beaches  100+ years ago . . . when sleeping and camping on the beach were still allowed, and clothing was NOT optional:

Anna Maria Island in the 1900’s and Roaring Twenties

And now, back to the present . . .


Aah . . . that’s beachy!

The Funky Pelican in Flagler Beach March 29, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Home & Garden, Travel & Leisure.
29 comments

We stopped for an early dinner at the Funky Pelican in Flagler Beach.

We enjoyed the view from our table despite the persistent rainfall.

After eating, we admired the pier from another vantage point.

Listening to the roar of the surf is . . .

Just BEACHY!

We drove home through Ocala National Forest and made a quick pit-stop at Barberville’s Yard Art Emporium.

 

The Yard Art Emporium had a bit of everything you might need in the way of Yard Art.

From Big Boy to Big Roosters.

From Alien visitors to stunning statuary.

Including a Friendly Frog!

And just a few short hours and many miles later . . .

Aah . . . HOME at last!

The Casements & Mala Compra March 27, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Life Balance, People, Travel & Leisure.
18 comments

After a delicious breakfast at the hotel, we drove up A1A from Port Orange to Ormond Beach.

In Ormond, we toured The Casements ~ John D. Rockefeller’s winter home in Ormond Beach.

The Casements, named for the large hand-cut casement windows that adorn the mansion, has been beautifully restored to function as the Cultural Center for the City of Ormond Beach, Florida. Set on the shore of the Halifax River, and just two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean, the late John D. Rockefeller’s winter home is known as “The Jewel of Ormond Beach.” The Casements has been officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated as a Florida Heritage Site.

Our tour guide informed us that John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in America and the world’s first billionaire, told his doctor that he wanted to live to be 100.

His doctor recommended that he winter in Florida or Egypt.

Following his doctor’s advice, Rockefeller wintered in Florida and made it to age 97, playing golf every day well into his 90’s!

Mr. Rockefeller and his Butler

Located on the eastern bank of the Halifax River, John D. Rockefeller purchased [The Casements] in 1918 and lived in the house during the winters until his death in 1937 at the age of ninety-seven. While a resident of Ormond Beach, “Neighbor John,” as he preferred to be called, enjoyed taking part in community activities: playing golf, participating in the sing-along at the Ormond Hotel each Sunday, and entertaining friends such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone.

After the tour, we continued north on A1A, stopping to have a picnic (in the car) while overlooking the Atlantic Ocean amid drizzling rain and fog.

Quite atmospheric, no?

After lunch, we checked out the ruins of the Mala Compra Plantation.

In the early 19th century, the plantation was home to Joseph Hernandez, who served as everything from a brigadier general in the U.S. Army to a committee member who helped select Tallahassee as the state capital. The site is part of Bing’s Landing, an eight-acre county park that also includes a boat launch, fishing pier, and picnic and playground facilities.

Flagler County pursued archaeological grants to study the physical evidence of Hernandez’ plantation, and then more grants to create a permanent display at the site.

“Normally when archaeologists dig, they take the artifacts and then cover the site back up,” says Sisco Deen, the archive curator for the Flagler County Historical Society. “With this one, we got the artifacts, but they left the dig.”

Today, visitors can walk on an elevated boardwalk around the perimeter of the plantation remains and read interpretive displays that explain the site’s historical and cultural value.

The archeological site is protected with a roof overhead to preserve the site including the old coquina well.

Located on the Halifax, Mala Compra (which translates to “Bad Bargain”) has excellent views.

And some crazy vines!

Just made for swinging!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Down The Hatch March 25, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure.
18 comments

After our climb, we had dinner on the shores of the Halifax River at Down the Hatch, an iconic seafood restaurant in Ponce Inlet that has been on my radar for years . . .

The name got my attention right away.

We arrived in time for Happy Hour with 2-for-1 domestic drafts and yummy corn fritters!

While we waited for dinner and enjoyed our drinks, we soaked up the view from our table as the sun set.

The waitresses were friendly and attentive.

The only downside?  The menu was a bit heavy on the fried  for us . . . which worked to the advantage of a friendly dog, Tucker, located at the next table.

Tucker gleefully scarfed down proffered fried clams from my basket, while counting his canine blessings.  When we left, we gave a doggy bag to Tucker with the remainder of my meal.

Before leaving, we snapped one last photo op before calling it a night.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse March 23, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Life Balance, Travel & Leisure.
16 comments

Mid-afternoon, we checked into our sparkling clean room in Port Orange.

After admiring the love birds, we headed across the Halifax River to climb the tallest lighthouse in Florida.

Step back in time and climb 175 feet of fun in the Florida sun at the Ponce Inlet Light Station and Museum! Constructed in 1887, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse has guided mariners along the Florida coast for more than 130 years. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1998, this world-famous lighthouse museum is conveniently located ten miles south of Daytona on the World’s Most Famous Beach and offers a treasure trove of experiences for young and old alike. Not to be missed, a visit to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is guaranteed to take your Florida vacation to new heights of adventure!

The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is tall . . . with a lot of steps.  In fact, if you want to be exact, the lighthouse boasts 213 steps from the ground level to the viewing platform.

Like the Energizer Bunny, they keep going and going and going.

But we made it!

After a challenging climb, we stepped outside to enjoy the view from the top.

 

Can you imagine climbing that sucker every day to tend the lens?  Yowsa!

A lighthouse keeper needed good knees, good hips, a good eye and plenty of stamina!

On the steep circular descent, my knees felt a bit rubbery!  But we made it back to terra firma without mishap ~ no slips, trips, or falls!

Aah . . . that’s better!

You can take a VIRTUAL TOUR of the museum grounds without climbing 213 steps:

Click on the on-screen arrows to navigate your way around the light station’s historic keeper dwellings as well as our many modern museum exhibits. And if you see our lighthouse keeper, just click on him to hear what he has to say.

The Port of Mount Dora March 21, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Life Balance, Travel & Leisure.
20 comments

The first stop on our recent road trip?  The quaint lakeside town of Mount Dora, located just northeast of Orlando and all things Disney.

Founded in 1880, Mount Dora is known for its small-town southern charm. It has many antique shops in the downtown area. The downtown area overlooks Lake Dora.

The town’s name was officially changed to Mount Dora to reflect the fact that the settlement rests upon a plateau 184 feet above sea level – an unusual feature in Florida.

Since it was past time for a repast, we picnicked on the shores of Lake Dora with the port’s lighthouse standing guard in the distance.

After lunch, we strolled around town to see the sights and see what all the crowing is about.

Ranked as Florida’s #1 small town to retire to by USA Today, Mount Dora is a popular place to live. Due to its central location, retirees from Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando and other areas throughout Florida and the U.S. come to Mount Dora for its great attractions and relaxed atmosphere.

After a stop at Allyson A’s Bake Shop for dessert (mmm . . . good cookies!), we returned to Lake Dora to check out the lighthouse, one of three freshwater lighthouses in Florida..

Next time, we are going to enjoy a picnic on this picnic table sized chair!

Aah . . . Mount Dora!

We Took A Trip March 20, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Mindfulness, Travel & Leisure.
23 comments

Most of the time, I’m happy to be HERE at home.

Whatever wanderlust I experienced as a youth has fled the scene, departed the premises, vacated my psyche.

But, even homebodies like us enjoy the occasional quick trip as a pleasant interlude to our daily routines.

So we took a short (two day) road trip to the East Coast of Florida.

Although our original plans included driving as far north as St. Augustine, we never made it due to heavy rain, threatened tornados, and our incredibly flexible itinerary.

No matter:

“A good traveler has no set plans and is not intent on arriving.” ~ Lao Tzu

We’ll see St. Augustine some other time.

Aah . . . that’s better!

When was your last road trip? Have you traveled much since Covid arrived on the scene?  Do you prefer loose itineraries or plans that are “set in stone”?

 

And Now For Something Really Scary October 31, 2021

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Joke, Travel & Leisure.
16 comments

In honor of the hallowed holiday of Halloween and All Hallow’s Eve, please enjoy some scary and spine-tingling sights encountered on our recent Tallahassee trip.

First up, imagine Ron Weasley meeting this Beastie in the Forbidden Forest ~ he’d be as petrified as he would be on encountering a dementor.

Like this one.

Here’s an eye-opener from our morning stroll at Goodwood Museum and Gardens ~> what’s left of the Greenhouse after howling hurricane force winds stripped it bare back in 1985.

You would think they’d have managed to tidy up after 36 years.  Just saying.

But the scariest sight by far?  Scarier than ghosts and ghouls and goblins . . . and things that go bump in the night?

A truly frightening sight?

Three determined Girl Scouts selling Girl Scout cookies who refused to accept “NO” at face value.

Have a Spook-tacular Halloween!

Mission San Luis October 29, 2021

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Humor, People, Travel & Leisure.
16 comments

On our last morning in the Panhandle, we visited Mission San Luis, a recreated 17th century Mission and Appalachee Village, which over 1500 souls called “home” in the late 1600’s.  The Spaniards burned it down in 1704 to prevent it from being captured by the British.

The Council House (used by the Appalachee for gatherings and meetings) provided insight into its interior construction since it’s being re-thatched.

Although the building appears circular, it has 80 sides, which creates the illusion of a rounded facade.

The supporting posts are straight and true and L-O-N-G!  They go UP and UP and UP.

Inside the Council House are benches for reclining dignitaries.

Appalachee Indians spent most of the day outside, using their homes for sleeping and storage.  This is the footprint of an Appalachee abode which would have been thatched.

Unlike the Appalachee, most of the Spaniards preferred indoor cooking.

And indoor dining.  (Of course, this was pre-pandemic.)

The Friary also boasted a home office.

Here’s a glimpse of the spartan sleeping arrangements in one of the Spanish homes.  Notice the low tech, wall mounted air conditioning unit . . . perfect for hot summer nights.

When folks got ill, they relied on Medicinal Herbs to revive themselves.  We learned that Rosemary relieves headaches AND enhances memory and concentration ~ a handy herb indeed for seniors in need of all the help they can get!

This shot reveals the interior of the wall allowing visitors to see the construction methods used 300+ years ago.

Also in the Mission is a Blacksmith’s Shop, a Church (which rivaled the Church in St. Augustine), the rest of the Friary, a Fort (complete with ramparts and palisade), and a perfect-for-us picnic area.

Aah . . . that’s better!