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It’s Love Bug Season! May 19, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
19 comments

It was the BEST of times ~> tomato picking season!

It was the WORST of times ~> love bug season!

Ugh!

These bugs are nasty.

And sticky.

And plentiful.

And corrosive.

Wash them off in double quick time or they will strip your paint job.

At least we didn’t make the mistake of driving out to Hunsader Farms to pick tomatoes in a convertible!

Aah . . . that’s better!

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An Affordable Mansion in Maine May 9, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Less IS More, Travel & Leisure.
32 comments

If any of you are in the market for an affordable mansion in Maine, check out this beauty:

127 E Main St

It’s on the market for $875,000, which equates to only $85 a square foot for quality construction.  With 12 bedrooms and 13 baths, it’s perfect for a Bed & Breakfast.

Oh, did I mention that it overlooks Penobscot Bay?

And that it features a lookout tower?

For all the details:  127 E. Main St., Searsport, Maine

Aah . . . that’s better!

“It’s Too Loud In Here!” May 5, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Travel & Leisure.
32 comments

Have you ever been in a restaurant, hoping to converse with your table companions, but found yourself unable to do so without SCREAMING TO BE HEARD?!!!  Because it is . . . SO LOUD IN THE RESTAURANT?!!!

Well, now there’s an app for that . . . or there will be one soon.

Meet the man declaring war on restaurant noise.


Aah . . . that’s better!

Burning Man @ The Smithsonian May 3, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Travel & Leisure.
19 comments

Some of this exhibit is amazing . . .

Aah . . . that’s better!

NEST Education Center March 5, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
23 comments

Robinson Preserve is expanding . . .

Two weeks ago, we had a chance to enjoy a sneak peak of its new NEST (Nature, Exploration, Science, Technology) Education Center . . .

NEST is an elevated treehouse with a rooftop cupola . . .

Complete with slide (for emergency egress) . . .

And rope ladder (for ingress and egress) . . .

The facility has a wrap around deck . . .

Overlooking the native vegetation . . .

Including this nifty specimen . . .

Even the restrooms have a bird’s eye view of the preserve . . .

The NEST is surrounded by 150 acres of the Robinson Preserve expansion, which, when completed, will include canoe and kayak launches, mangrove islands, a 5k track, a jogging and walking trail, freshwater ponds for a sport fish nursery, restored wetlands and a connection to the existing preserve.

While there, we wandered the new trails . . .

Admired the views . . .

Took in the new bridges which will connect the walking/jogging trail to the bicycle path . . .

In due course, our lengthening shadows told us it was time to leave . . .

Can’t wait to head back . . .

Aah . . . that’s better!

Happy Hour at Level 11 March 1, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Happiness, Travel & Leisure.
24 comments

After visiting Gulfport, we enjoyed Happy Hour in St. Pete Beach at Level 11, a rooftop deck overlooking the Gulf of Mexico . . .

The views were great . . .

The sky was picture perfect . . .

I ordered a 3 Daughters Beach Blonde Ale (brewed in St. Pete!) . . .

We split a “flight” of hummus (lemon, beet, pesto, and lime), served with crackers, pita, and raw veggies for dipping . . .

After polishing off our colorful appetizer, we ordered the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert to end Happy Hour on a sweet note . . .

Back at ground level, we stopped at Bongo Bongo’s Beach Cafe to listen to the guitar player . . .

And end our date on a high note . . .

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Walk Through Gulfport February 27, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Travel & Leisure.
21 comments

On Valentine’s Day, we headed north over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge for Happy Hour at St. Pete Beach . . . taking a quick detour to wander through Gulfport, an artsy community on the inter-coastal waterway.

Parking was a breeze with lots of vacant spots on both sides of the street . . .

As we walked down the main drag, colorful vignettes appeared around every corner . . .

We enjoyed the town’s sense of whimsy, evident everywhere . . .

At the Welcome Center, we spied a festive flamingo decked out with Mardi Gras beads and leather leggings . . .

Across the street, we paused to greet Polly the Parrot . . .

Even a block off the main street, we noticed the heart of the art community in wall murals . . .

Including one perfect for Valentine’s Day . . .

Throughout Gulfport, bars and restaurants offer up outside seating with enticing facades . . .

Encouraging tourists to set a spell and take it all in . . .

Along the waterfront, surfboard benches allow visitors to sit and enjoy the breeze and views of the beach and pier . . .

Bottom line:  Gulfport’s a great place to hang out (as long as you don’t get hung up) . . .

With one last look around, we said our fair wells to Flo and continued on to St. Pete Beach . . .

Aah . . . that’s better!

It’s All Relative . . . February 3, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Less IS More, Travel & Leisure.
26 comments

On our recent road trip across the state to Miami and up the coast on Route A1A, we traveled through congested city streets with bumper to bumper buildings lining both sides of the road.

As we drove north on A1A, we often found ourselves traveling through canyons of skyscrapers peering down on us.

Late Saturday afternoon, we turned toward home on Route 710, driving through mile after mile of sawgrass prairie populated only by cows grazing in the fields.

Not these cows, but ones just like them . . . only slightly less curious about our “cruising tunes.”

Sometime after sunset, as we approached a 4-way intersection, a cautionary sign greeted us:

“Congested Area”

Looking around the intersection for the promised congestion, we noted a single gas station on one of the 4 corners.

And nothing else.

No high-rises.  No bumper to bumper traffic.  No trucks entering or leaving the highway.  No construction.

As we passed through the “congestion” with ease, and without mishap, I burst out laughing.

zebras

Like beauty, congestion is in the eye of the beholder ~> it’s all relative.

Aah . . . that’s better!

An A1 Road Trip . . . Up A1A January 29, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Mindfulness, Travel & Leisure.
34 comments

After craning our necks to see the Art Deco hotels of South Beach and the skyscrapers of Miami Beach, we headed north under Sunny Skies with sunny dispositions.

Memories of cutting school in high school to “cruise the beach” filtered into my thoughts.

We lowered the windows and cranked the tunes as we headed up the coast through storied locales overflowing with moneyed locals.

We drove north from South Beach to Miami Beach to Surfside to Bal Harbour to Sunny Isles to Golden Beach.

In Hallandale Beach, I spotted a decorative mural.

A well-timed stoplight let me get the full picture.

In Hollywood, we parked and headed out to the beach.

Gorgeous, eh?

Satisfied, we put more money in the meter, so that we could check out the 2.2 mile boardwalk.

Watching out for bikes and bikers, we wandered down the smooth surface.

I loved this house located along the boardwalk.

In Dania Beach, we stopped for lunch in a small bayside park.

Populated with more palms than people.

We enjoyed the breeze off the intercoastal.

Though simple, lunch was delicious.  Everything tastes better under sunny skies.

In Fort Lauderdale, we drove through two “tunnels” . . . which doubled as runways for the airport.  Now that’s urban planning!

Skirting the edge of the city, we turned east toward Fort Lauderdale Beach.  Crossing over the intercostal, we could see a number of city-sized cruise ships readying to head out to sea.

Like Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale Beach had a simple uncluttered look to its promenade.

But it did engage in some unique beach marketing.

First, this inviting Adirondack Chair.

And then a sunny snowman wearing sunshades and a Panama Hat on a stand-up paddle board ~ let’s hope he remembered to put on some sunscreen!

Palms shaded the sidewalk.

And the tree-lined streets.

A few miles north, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea got our vote for funnest and funkiest beach town!

What an inviting and colorful place to hang out!

In Pompano Beach, we saw the Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse standing guard over the busy inlet ~ a helpful navigation aid for sailors even on sunny days.

We continued north through Pompano Beach, Hillsboro Beach (which was surprisingly hilly), and Deerfield Beach.  The coastal views continued to be framed by blue skies and palm trees.


In Boca Raton, we stopped at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center and enjoyed a stroll through the hardwood hammock on an elevated boardwalk.

Before leaving, we stopped to admire the turtles in the children’s play area.

We also walked around the Butterfly Garden & Trail to the Chickhee Hut at water’s edge.

And admired its interior architecture.

It was an enjoyable last stop.  In Highland Beach, just south of Delray Beach, we set our sights toward home . . . after a couple of quick pit stops to fuel up ~ both the car and our bellies.

Heading home across the sawgrass prairies, we admired countless cows grazing in the fields until it was too dark to see anything but the night lights.

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

WILSON! January 27, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke, Less IS More, Mindfulness, Travel & Leisure.
21 comments

In Boca Raton, at Red Reef Park . . . I found a coconut!

Holding it up to my ear, I heard Tom Hanks hollering “WILSON!” . . . as his only and constant companion washed out to sea.

Not wanting to grow attached to an inanimate orb, I put the coconut back where I found it for some other Castaway to befriend.

Aah . . . that’s better!