BERMUDA CRUISE AND MORE

July 19, 2017

 

Greetings everyone. ¬†We returned from our 9-night Bermuda Cruise on Sunday, July 16th. ¬†What a wonderful time we had. ¬†In case you’re wondering who is this “we” I speak of, it’s these two lovely ladies pictured right below for your viewing pleasure.

That’s me on the left, and Joyce on the right. ¬†Being cousins, we’ve known each other since the day I was born – just a little plug to let you know I’m a little younger (sorry Joyce, lol), but not by much. ¬†We even lived in the same town for many years, on perpendicular streets – as did the rest of our huge Italian family.

We’ve been traveling together for a very long time. ¬†In the late 60’s, I believe, we took a road trip from New Jersey to San Diego, CA. ¬†There used to be a company called AAACon, where you could transport other peoples’ cars for them. They didn’t pay us, but nor did we pay them. ¬†For us it meant free transportation to California. ¬†We picked up a brand new Mustang convertible, and were to drop it off in Fort Hood, Texas. ¬†It was only when we arrived in Cherry Hill that we discovered it was a stick shift. ¬†I certainly didn’t know how to drive it, but Joyce told me she had somewhat of an idea how to drive a manual. ¬†We said our goodbyes to the owners of the Mustang, and proceeded down the highway, literally jolting and hopping along, Joyce frantically trying to get out of first gear. ¬†I looked in the rearview and saw the owners running after us. ¬†I told Joyce to step on it, and drive away before they could catch us. ¬† After the drop off in Fort Hood, we picked up the second car in Texarcana, and made it to San Diego. ¬†Suffice it to say there were many laughs and “bumps in the road” – stories for another day. ¬†About 15 years later, we tried to recreate that trip in our own vehicle, making it as far as Albuquerque, New Mexico and the Albuquerque Balloon Festival. ¬†Another wild ride. ¬†So this cruise is the third, and hopefully not the last of our adventures.

We embarked on the Celebrity Summit, an older but lovely ship. ¬†Our departure port was Bayonne, New Jersey. ¬†So very easy folks – no plane to get there. ¬†If anyone dislikes ¬†flying as much as I do, this is the way to go. ¬†Below is a photo of ¬†the Summit –

Our cabin was on the 8th floor, just aft of mid-ship, with a veranda. ¬†Trust me, I’ve been in an inside cabin, and one with an ocean view, but once you’ve had a veranda, it’s the only way to sail.

This is the view from the veranda on “days at sea”, my favorite!

As we pulled out of Bayonne, we had a good look at the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline.

 

First stop was Newport, Rhode Island. ¬†There are a lot of things to do in Newport, but we had to be back on the ship by 2pm. ¬†Not enough time to do much of anything. ¬†But we did take a tender to shore, and walked around town a little bit. ¬†As I’m sure you know, it’s a very nautical town.

 

The second stop was Boston, Massachusetts. ¬†We were able to see a bit of Boston because we didn’t have to be back on the ship until 6pm. ¬†We took a Hop-On – Hop-Off Bus Tour that lasted about 3 hours. ¬†We did get to see quite ¬†a few places, although we did not¬†hop on or off. ¬†At each stop, people were irate because they had been waiting in the hot sun, without benches to sit on, for 45 minutes, ¬†for a bus to come. ¬†After the third group of complainers, we decided it was best to stay on for the entire tour. ¬†We didn’t want to be late getting back to the ship – that would have been a disaster. ¬†The ship will leave without you- unless you purchased the tour through the cruise line – which we had not. ¬†Three highlights for us on the tour ¬†were Fenway Park, ¬†“Swan Lake” and ¬† the entrance to the bar “Cheers” from the TV show.

Fenway Park is located right in downtown Boston. ¬†It looks quite small compared to other venues I’ve seen.

 

 

Boston Common is a 50-acre public park in downtown Boston. ¬†It is sometimes incorrectly referred to as the “Boston Commons”. ¬†it is the oldest city park in the United States, dating from 1684. ¬†The ¬†Swan Boats operate in the same pond in the Public Garden in which they have operated for over 140 years, and are a cultural icon.

 

 

After some people got off the bus to enter Cheers for a drink and pictures, the driver/tour guide told us that the people were going to be very disappointed once they entered. ¬†The TV show only used the outside of the building for the the production. ¬†The inside was a Hollywood set. ¬†Hmmm – perhaps she should have mentioned that before the people got off…

 

 

Two days at sea were next on the itinerary before arriving in Bermuda. ¬†They are my favorite days. ¬†So beautiful and so relaxing. ¬†I managed to finish two excellent books on this cruise, The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty¬†and The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, by Jan-Philipp Sendker. You must read them if you have time, especially the Sendker book.

 

For our first day in Bermuda, we took a ferry to Hamilton, the capital.  We just walked around looking at shops and sights. (Photo of Hamilton from the blog of Slone Raner).

 

Business men wear jackets, ties, Bermuda shorts (of course), knee highs, and dress shoes. ¬†It looks kind of peculiar if you aren’t used to it.

 

I had to have a picture of this mailbox – isn’t it neat?

 

We then hired a taxi to take us on a 2 1/2 hour tour around the island. ¬†It was perfect because it was just the two us, the driver, and air conditioning -yahoo ! ¬†We determined the driver to be about ¬†85 years old, ¬†if he was a day. ¬†He was third generation Bermudian with a Portuguese background. ¬†He drove just slow enough for us to see everything we wanted to see and more. ¬†We even drove by Michael Bloomberg’s house (below), which is powered completely by solar panels.

 

Very cool.

 

We next stopped in St. George, also known as the Town of St. George which is the main town at the eastern end of Bermuda. The town is steeped with history and is a designated UNESCO world heritage site. This is where the founder of Bermuda, Sir George Somers, and his men landed in 1609 after their ship Sea Venture was wrecked on a nearby reef.  Mr. Somers and his men built a replica of the Sea Venture, and named it Deliverance.  That replica still stands today.
 We stopped  for a drink at the White Horse Bar and Restaurant.

 

Then back to the ship.

 

The second day we took a shuttle to ¬†famous Horseshoe Bay ¬†with it’s pink sand each. ¬†It’s a beautiful place with blue, clear water.

 

 

 

On our last day in Bermuda, Joyce went to do a little shopping in King’s Wharf. ¬†I spent most of the day in or near the pool. ¬†I just love it. ¬†Below is a shot of King’s Wharf, where the Summit docked.

 

 

 

Our last day on board was a day at sea.  We both spent the day relaxing and enjoying the ship.  The entertainment on the ship was very good, and sometimes fabulous.  If you have the time, go to YouTube and check out a comedian named Rich Aronovitch.  He had everyone laughing out loud.  Another great show was Lou Gazzara, who was on American Idol, Season 2. He did a rendition of Nessun Dorma that had the entire audience give him a standing ovation.  You can check him out on You Tube as well.

 

When we returned to the cabin on the last night, this was waiting for us on Joyce’s bed

 

 

isn’t he great ???!!!

 

If you’ve never been on a cruise, what are you waiting for? ¬†Great value for the money, comfortable accommodations, excellent food, wonderful service, some fun people to meet, relaxing, and entertaining. ¬†You can do as much or as little as you want. ¬†I just loved it, and I believe Joyce did too. ¬†If you have any questions, ¬†I’d be more than happy to try to help.

Keep posted. ¬†That long awaited¬†Casita trip may finally be happening, and you won’t want to miss it.

 

 

BUDDHA SEES BUDDHA – PART 2

July 4, 2017

I found another quote that illustrates a way in which  we see in people what we are.

The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.”

This quote is attributed to George Bernard Shaw, an Irish playwright, critic and polemicist ( a person who engages in controversial debate).  Mr Shaw had a keen eye indeed.

Such a handsome man…

Another great quote of Mr. Shaw’s is –

We don’t stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing.”

I especially am glad that I found this particular quote because it is an excellent segue to my next topic РCRUISING TO BERMUDA.  This is the actual ship, the Celebrity Summit.

 

That’s right folks, Joyce and I will be leaving on Friday, July 7th for Bermuda ( ( 3 more days). ¬†I must admit it is a rather strange route – Boston -Newport – Bermuda – but it’s ok. ¬†Any time I’¬†m on the sea, I am at peace with the world. We will return on Sunday, July 16th. ¬†I’ll give you the blow-by-blow lowdown of our trip when we get back. ¬†I predict it will be much more than you’d ever want to know…

So I’ll say bye for now, until we return from Bermuda. ¬†But first –

 

 

 

BUDDHA SEES BUDDHA, PIG SEES PIG

June 14, 2017

The following quote is attributed to Anais Nin, a Cuban essayist and memoirist born and raised in France.

“WE DON”T SEE THINGS AS THEY ARE, WE SEE THINGS AS WE ARE.”

This thought brings to mind one of my all time favorite Buddhist parables, which goes something like this:

One day as the Buddha was sitting under a tree, a young, trim soldier walked by, looked at the Buddha, noticed his weight and his fat, and said: ‚ÄúYou look like a pig!‚ÄĚ The Buddha looked up calmly at the soldier and said: ‚ÄúAnd you look like God!‚ÄĚ Taken aback by the comment, the soldier asked the Buddha: ‚ÄúWhy do you say that I look like God?‚ÄĚ The Buddha replied: ‚ÄúWell, we don‚Äôt really see what‚Äôs outside of ourselves, we see what‚Äôs inside of us and project it out. I sit under this tree all day and I think about God, so that when I look out, that‚Äôs what I see. And you, you must be thinking about other things!‚ÄĚ

Thomas Aquinas expressed this in a famous axiom: Whatever is received is received according to the mode of its receiver.

If this is true, and I believe it is, then, as the Buddhist parable suggests, how we see others is telling about what’s going on inside of us. Among other things, it indicates whether we  manage our thoughts from a good and kind place, or from a negative and unkind sensibility.

 

TRAVEL UPDATE

No matter what we plan, LIFE tends to get in the way. ¬†More often than not, this turns out to be a good thing. ¬†The road trip with Tim has been postponed until mid or late July. ¬†The reason? ¬†I’m going on a cruise with my cousin Joyce.

 

Yep – we’re going to Boston, MA, and then Newport, RI, then on to Bermuda for three days. ¬†We are both very excited! ¬† In the 60’s, she and I took a road trip from New Jersey to California. I wasn’t quite 21. ¬†Although that’s a very long time ago, we still have the fondest of memories. ¬†Here we are in 2017, ready to make new memories – I’m certain it will be all that we wish for.

My next post will be about our cruise – stay tuned.

 

SQUEEZE IT ALL IN

May 10, 2017

What a wild, wonderful,  and wacky weekend we had.

Friday the 5th of May (duh) was Cinco de Mayo.

You do know that there is a reason to celebrate Cinco de Mayo other than eating Mexican food and drinking, right?  In 1861 Mexico declared a temporary stop on the repayment of foreign debts, so English, Spanish, and French troops invaded the country. By April 1862 the English and Spanish had withdrawn, but the French remained in an attempt to establish a monarchy, and to restrain U.S. power in in North America. On May 5, 1862, a poorly equipped  army under the command of General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated French troops at the Battle of Puebla.

Although the fighting continued and the French were not driven out for another five years, the victory at Puebla¬†became a symbol of Mexican resistance to foreign domination. The city, which was later renamed Puebla de Zaragoza, still celebrates, but not so much in most of the rest of the country. In the mid-20th-century, the U.S. ¬†celebration of Cinco de Mayo became a way for¬†Mexican immigrants to encourage pride in their ¬†heritage. ¬†For the rest of us, it’s ¬†a bacchanal.

So, we¬†gotta’ celebrate, right? Here in AC, there are lots of venues to choose from. ¬†But we decided on Veracruz a new Mexican restaurant that opened at Harrah’s Casino about two months ago. We chose it because of the enticing advertising. ¬†Not one, but two, Happy Hours – Patron Girls giving away gifts – and Margaritas made from scratch. Feast your eyes on this – maybe one of the most delicious Margaritas I’ve ever had – ever!

And Guacamole with Blue Crab Chunks – can you hear the angels singing ??? ¬†We met lots of fun people, and had a really good time. If you’re in AC- get going. ¬†There were 5 other bars on my list to visit, but after a few drinks at Veracruz, home was the only place that really sounded good.

Saturday was the Kentucky Derby.  But before we settled in to watch the race, we saw the opera, Samson and Delilah, by Camille Saint-Saens, Op. 47,  a grand opera in three acts and four scenes  to a French libretto by Ferdinand Lemaire.

 

Here is one of the actors who played, and of course sang, as Abimelch, satrap of Gaza.   By the way, a satrap  is a local ruler.

By now you should know it wasn’t just an opera in a theater. ¬†Oh no, this opera was held in a beautiful private home in the Venice Park section of Atlantic City.

We were told to bring our own seats, as it was always very crowded.  Guess what?  There were only four of us in the audience, and they performed anyway.  How delightful is that?  They even had champagne and snacks Рall gratis.  And by the way, admission is also free, with a free -will-donation.

If you are interested, they will be performing Otello on Saturday, June 17, and Rigoletto on August 5th.  Both will be held at 8pm, at the Community Presbyterian Church in Brigantine, NJ.

After the opera, we made a beeline for the Hi-Point Pub. ¬†Although many venues were showing the derby, we were cutting it pretty close, and didn’t want to miss anything. ¬†We took a seat at the bar. ¬†The didn’t have the makings for a Mint Julep, so we¬†settled Maker’s Mark on the rocks.

We bet on Patch, a blind- in- one- eye horse, TapwritРbecause Tim heard he was good in the mud, an Fast and Accurate, because I love grey horses.  Look at this horse Рa thing of beauty.

If you watched the race, you know we were big losers. ¬†Always Dreaming was the winner. ¬†Did I mention that we used to own a horse? ¬†Yep, her name was Nightmare. ¬†We kept her in an open lot next to our home when we lived in St. Thomas. ¬†When we moved back to the states, we had to sell her, but it was fun while it lasted. ¬†I think that’s why we try to stay on top of the derby – that and the mint juleps – it’s all about tradition !

Look at this magnificent creature…Always Dreaming.

After the race, we headed home to just sit and relax.  It was a very busy weekend, and we loved every minute of it.

By the way, we’ve started a list of necessities for our next road trip. ¬†I can’t tell you the exact date – but stay tuned for the ride – it won’t be long.

SO MUCH TO DO, SO LITTLE TIME

April 29, 2017

Hi Everyone,

It’s been a while – but we’re back. ¬†It was a blog-worthy day, if you will. ¬†Smithville Village had a New Age Fair and Drum Circle on the Village Greene, sponsored by Herban Legends. ¬†Herban Legend is a “Fair Trade Socially Conscious Boutique carrying hand-made clothing & accessories, jewelry, visual art & metaphysical materials such as singing bowls, sage, incense, etc., as well as unique & unusual gifts, natural organic body care products, teas & sauces. ¬†The Legend also conducts & sponsors workshops in chakra and crystal healing, spiritual cleansing using sage & other wonders from the Earth, Tarot Readings….and much more” ¬† – 205 N Belleview ¬†Ave,¬†Hammonton, NJ 08037. ¬†¬†I thought I’d give them a plug because I enjoyed myself so much, and I plan on visiting the shop – maybe you will too.

A blanket was set up with various drums so people could borrow, in case you didn’t bring or have your own.

 

I don’t have one, but here I am anyway.

It was our first 85 degree,  and higher,  day of the year.  The organizers were good enough to set tents in a circle, with chairs under them for shade.  Great idea!

If you’ve never been in a drum circle, it is way cool. ¬†It reminds me of chanting “OM” in a yoga class. All of the voices seem to turn into one, that vibrate your very inner core – same with the drum circle. Try it – I think you’ll like it!

Along with the drum circle, there were vendors of all sorts – acupuncture, massage, a juice and kombucha bar, a henna booth, essential oils, and lots more.

When we left Smithville Village, we were in the mood for peace and beauty.  We headed over to the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.

We drove the 8-mile Wildlife Self-Guided Tour. ¬†Brochures were available in the newly built Visitor’s Center. ¬†The habitat consists of 47,000 acres, which is actively managed for migratory birds. ¬†But that’s not all. ¬†The Diamondback Terrapin (turtle), ¬†is a species of turtle native to the brackish coastal marshes of New Jersey. ¬†And they are protected here as well.

Spring is certainly¬†¬†time for L’Amour!!!

Mom, dad and babies.

Those little yellow balls to the right are baby chicks.

A lone snowy egret.

Look at this beautiful Red-winged Blackbird.

We’ll probably make this drive a 1,000 times over the course of the year. ¬†It’s only a 5 minute drive from our house, and there are different creatures to see in different seasons. ¬†If you’re headed to the shore, plan a visit here – you won’t be disappointed.

WELCOME TO SOMER’S POINT

Being Saturday night, we decided to kick it up a notch, and head to the Bay Fest in Somer’s Point. ¬†The Bayfest is now the largest, single day festival in South Jersey, with¬† food, crafts, and music, with an emphasis on food!!!

Yikes!!! It is any wonder_________________________________ (you fill in the blank).

We wanted to hear some good music, so we headed to BAIA, a restaurant/bar, with a band on the deck. ¬†We had seen this band before, and we both really love the old-school calypso, soca, ¬†and reggae sounds of ¬†Verdict (verdictisin.com). ¬†If you have the chance to see/hear them – do – you’ll feel like you’re in the islands for sure.

 

Just so you know – Tim has been working on the Casita for days, getting it ready for our upcoming road trip. ¬†It looks great. ¬†Don’t you agree?

Depending on the weather, we should be going on a “shake-down cruise” next weekend. ¬†We’re thinking Cape May, because there is so much there to see and do, and it’s close to home if we need a tune-up of some kind. ¬†There are also many campgrounds in Cape May and surrounding areas.. ¬† If all goes well, the next post should be about our trip to Cape May. ¬†Stay tuned !!!

 

ANOTHER BOAT ???‚õĶÔłŹ‚õĶÔłŹ‚õĶÔłŹMAYBE YES, POSSIBLY NO ūüö§ūüö§ūüö§

March 21, 2017

Hi Everyone, and Happy First Day of Spring.

ūüö§

We attended the Atlantic city Boat Show, which was held¬†March 1-5, 2017 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. ¬†We’re thinking about buying a small boat, given our proximity to water. ¬†In fact, I’ve had an interest in exploring these waterways for many years. ¬†There’s something intriguing to me about traveling on the water through narrow water paths through the marsh.

We have enough space for a small boat in our storage spot, right behind the Casita. ¬†There are many, many small craft marinas around here, and a few launch ramps. ¬†In fact, there’s one about a mile from our house.

It isn’t pretty, but it does the trick. ¬†They even have a parking lot to keep your truck and trailer.¬†And, it is all gratis! ¬†Don’t speak Latin people? – that’s FREE! ¬†Yep, it’s a state park, and we are now residents. ¬† So…

The boat show had lots of boats and accessories. ¬†I thought there would be a few large, and larger motor and sailboats in the bunch – but there weren’t – just motor boats. ¬†Small ones! ¬†Not that we were going to buy a big one, mind you – I guess we’re just used to the Annapolis boat shows which are outdoors and pretty unbelievable to see, where you can climb on and off of some of the most spectacular boats/yachts in the world. ¬†But actually, for us, this was perfect.

The entrance was plain and simple

To the left of the entryway, there was a photo op that Tim just could not resist.

The first thing that met our eyes when we walked into the show was this incredible sand sculpture.

It was done by sand sculptor extraordinaire, John Gowdy.  If you want to know a bit about him or see more of his work, go to       www.jgowdy.com

Some of the boats we looked at  were this style.  Meh!

But this was my very favorite of that lot.

But here’s the thing…do we really need a boat this large? ¬†I mean we want to be able to take out a few people, mostly our three grandsons. ¬†So do we purchase, insure, and store something like this for the less than a handful of times we would actually take guests out? ¬†That remains to be seen. ¬†I was thinking more of something like this –

or even this-

I  really want to explore the waterways in the marshes.  To my eyes, they are quite beautiful.

All along the marshes, there are small restaurants and bars. ¬†You can tie up your boat, and go in for a little refreshment and a bite to eat. ¬†This one is called Mott’s Creek Inn.

Not very fancy, right? ¬†But the drinks are good, and the food is delicious, and there’s often live music. ¬†Plus, it sits just a few feet away from the Redneck Yacht Club.

Right across the street from Mott’s Creek Inn, this sign is posted .

UGH! ¬†You know how I feel about mosquitoes and green heads. ¬†But this year, I am determined to enjoy my summer at the shore, and at times, ¬†on the marshes. ¬†Note: ¬†Someone told me to wipe all exposed areas with Listerine. ¬†You let it dry, and voila – no bugs. ¬†Hmmm. ¬†I’ll try anything! ¬†And if it works, I’ll let y’all know.

Crazy!  I had no idea that this world existed just a few miles from the glitz and glamour of Atlantic City casinos.

This is another restaurant/bar on the banks of the marsh. ¬†It’s called Oyster Creek Inn Restaurant and Boat Bar.

This happens to be an excellent restaurant, with very long lines during the summer.

I’m sure you get the idea! A boat sounds like fantastic fun. ¬†But we have nothing but time to decide. ¬†We plan on hitting the road in our Casita again sometime soon. ¬†Believe it or not, we miss the road. Don’t get me wrong, we love our new home. ¬†But,¬†the road is our siren song. And very, very soon we plan to take another road trip. ¬†In fact, we are currently in the planning stages. ¬†Canada? ¬†Florida? ¬†The States we haven’t been to yet — all are being considered. For those of you who follow along, you know our trip to Mexico came to an abrupt halt; ¬†something to do with a leased vehicle. ¬†We have recently purchased the truck, so Mexico is back in our sights. ¬†I’m thinking for the winter makes the most sense. ¬†How about you?

We hosted a St. Patrick’s Day EVE party. It’s been so long since we’ve entertained in our home, that it took lots of our time to plan, prepare and host. ¬†You all would have been pretty proud of me. ¬†I even made Beer Bread, Irish Soda Bread, Shepherd’s Pie, Guiness Chocolate Cake (below),

 

Bailey’s Irish Cream Cake and Irish Apple Cake with Custard sauce — all from scratch. ¬† Oh wait, let’s not forget Shamrock-shaped pasta (since I’m Italian). ¬†As well as lots of other stuff. ¬†We really enjoyed ourselves, and believe / hope every one else did as well. ¬† On the day of, we went to McGettigan’s Irish Pub for corned beef and cabbage, and music of course, ¬†with friends.

That’s it for now – see you next time, hopefully with plans for the road trip.

 

 

SEA ISLE CITY – ANOTHER “WHO KNEW” PLACE

February, 2017

If you live close by, or are crossing the country and find yourself in New Jersey – you’re in for a treat. ¬†Sea Isle City is a beach town, in Cape May County, New Jersey. ¬†The weekend of February 18th and 19th kicked off the 2017 season, with a Polar Bear Plunge. ¬†The “plungers” were very lucky this year, with temps in the 60s. ¬†Could have been snowing in February! ¬†Everyone looked like¬†they were having great time. ¬†Some more than others.

Afterwards, there was a Post-Plunge Party, with a Costume Contest Awards Ceremony.  Costumes you ask?  Yep Рsome people dressed in costumes to take the plunge. Well Рdressed Рundressed Рplunged Рdressed.  All in good fun.

There was plenty of police presence to “keep the peace”.

I must say that this kind of partying is not really my thing. Huge crowds, many of them tipsy or totaled, as the case may be. ¬†We even saw a guy passed out on someone’s front lawn – not cool at all !!! ¬†But the plunge was something I had never seen, so…

However, the real reason to go to Sea Isle City is the absolutely gorgeous, 1 1/2 mile beach.  Check this out.

It really is a summer playground. ¬†The huge beach caters to all interests. ¬†There are¬†Catamaran and Sailboat Launching Beaches,¬†Kayaking Beaches, ¬†Kiteboarding Beaches,¬†Rafting Beaches,¬†Surf-Fishing Beaches, ¬†Surfing Beaches, and Volleyball Beaches. ¬†I think that’s pretty amazing. ¬†Now, there are general beach rules.

And, there are rules that go with each type of beach, but nothing that would stop you from having a wonderful day.  (Check out the website at the bottom of the page for rules).

Oh, I almost forgot !!!!!!!  Very Important !!!

Most beaches in New Jersey require a beach tag , which you must pay for, to enjoy the beach.  On Wednesdays, beaches here are FREE!!!

EVEN MORE IMPORTANT –¬†Beach wheelchairs are available at no charge from the Sea Isle City Beach Patrol. However you must have a place to store the chair and a way to transport the chair to your location. The chairs are designed to be used in the sand and have large balloon wheels. They can be signed out for up to 5 days. It is best to call the Sea Isle Beach Patrol to make a reservation as there are a limited number of chairs. You will need two forms of ID to sign out a beach wheel chair. Reserved chairs must be picked up by 11:30 AM at Beach Patrol Headquarters on the Promenade at 44th Street. ¬†I think that’s an excellent idea.

Other towns have chairs, but they are not free. ¬†Au contraire, they are quite expensive IMO. ¬†For example, ¬†1 day -$75.00 up to 1 week – $225. ¬†Mobility On Wheels Atlantic City ¬†offers its customers “state of the art Deming Design”¬†beach wheelchair rental.¬†Mobility On Wheels has the largest beach wheelchair rental, with sizes from petite sizes to heavy-duty bariatric wheelchairs, all with reticulating leg platforms. ¬†FYI – I was a rehab nurse for a number of years, so this info is particularly interesting to me.

Aside from the beaches and water activities, there are lots of happenings. Here are a few –

MARCH 2017

St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Celebration

This is a picture of St. Patrick’s Day parade from 2016. ¬†My favorite part is that the mayor is leading the parade – and his name? ¬†Leonard Desiderio.

APRIL 2017

Easter Program

Art & Craft Show

MAY 2017

The Largest Cousins Reunion In America

Memorial Day Ceremony

JUNE 2017

ESA/South Jersey District Surfing Contest

Sea Isle Beer Fest

Full Moon Beach Yoga – ON THE BEACH – 8-9pm

Isn’t this great?

Skimmer Antique Auto Show & Parade

Skimmer Festival: Free Guided Historical Trolley Tours

Sea Isle City Food Truck Invitational

JULY 2017

Concert – Real Diamond (Neil Diamond Tribute)

Independence Day Concert with Ed Vezinho/Jim Ward Big Band

Fireworks

Concert – Coast To Coast (Earth, Wind & Fire Tribute)

Full Moon Beach Yoga – ON THE BEACH

Concert – The Rat Pack Tribute Show (Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin/Sammy Davis Jr. & Marilyn Monroe)

Baby Parade -The Sea Isle City Baby Parade celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 2016. ¬†Check this out. ¬†This is a great idea and picture. They took third place in the “Riding”¬†Division. Looks like an adorable day – full of oohing and aahing.

1-Mile Ocean Swim

Concert – Lights Out (Frankie Valli & Four Seasons Tribute)

Concert – Country Music Live Event (Jess Zimmerman & Audra McLaughlin from “The Voice”)

AUGUST 2017

Concert – The Glimmer Twins (Rolling Stones Tribute)

Full Moon Beach Yoga – ON THE BEACH

PHOTO OPS

There area few photo ops besides the beach – here’s Tim in what used to be a lifeguard boat.

And me takin’ breeze in a gazebo on the boardwalk. ¬†Speaking of boardwalks. ¬†There isn’t actually a boardwalk in Sea Isle City – no boards – no wood. ¬†They have built up the dunes, and created an asphalt walkway on the very top, which is called The Promenade.

CAMPING: ¬†There are no campgrounds in Sea Isle City proper. ¬†The closest are –

Ocean View Resort Campground- 2.67 miles NW
Ocean View, New Jersey   It has 1173 sites.

Echo Farms Campground is also in Ocean View, with 237 sites.

Note: ¬†I haven’t stayed in either, but they both get pretty good reviews. ¬†I’ll give them a try this summer, and give a full report.

If you want more info on Sea Isle City, please go to-

www.visitsicnj.com

 

FIVE FINGER TOURNAMENT ( A MORRA ) IN HAMMONTON

February, 2017

HAMMONTON, New Jersey. ¬†Oh yeah! ¬†After a little research, we decided to take a ride to Hammonton, NJ, a short 30 minute drive. We ran into our next door neighbor as we pulled out of the drive, and chatted for a bit. ¬†We mentioned that we were headed to Hammonton for the day to check it out. ¬†“Why are you gonna’do that? ¬†There’s nothing there – just a small town”. ¬†Now I have to admit that gave us pause – but not enough to stop us from going.

So why Hammonton (H). ¬†Well, as I’ve said before, I’m an Italian – American. ¬†All four of my grandparents are from Italy. ¬†I’ve heard that Hammonton is mainly an Italian town – so of course, I wanted check it out. ¬†With a little research, I found that Hammonton is between 45% and 54% Italian. I read an article about Hammonton, where the author admitted to not having the appropriate pedigree – an Italian last name, and a birth certificate from South Jersey. ¬†She goes on to say that even though she moved there when she was 10 years old, she was still an “iffy” Hammontonian. ¬†It wasn’t always that way. ¬†Hammonton was settled in 1812, and named for John Hammond Coffin – the “d” was lost over time. ¬†John was the son of William Coffin, who owned a lumber mill and glassworks in the town. ¬†He became interested in real estate and realized that “COFFINTOWN” was not very conducive to sales. ¬†So he removed his name, and named the development after his son, JOHN HAMMOND.

Hammonton is within the National Pineland Reserve, and is one of 52 municipalities in New Jersey. ¬†In 2014, creditdonkey.com reported it as the 2nd happiest town in New Jersey. ¬†How they measured that, I don’t have a clue. A few famous people were born in Hammonton – ¬† Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, anthropologist Margaret Mead, and Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo,¬†¬†a member of the American Mafia who eventually became the Boss of the Philadelphia crime family. ¬†Most importantly to me, it is THE BLUEBERRY CAPITAL OF THE WORLD. ¬†Its location¬†in the Pine Barrens is mostly sandy ground, which¬†is ideal¬†for growing blueberries. ¬†As we drove around the area, we¬†saw acres of land with blueberry bushes. ¬†Of course, the berries won’t be ready for picking until summer, but we took a few pics¬†of the rows of empty bushes.

A fact – they use the same kind of hose systems to water the bushes as is used for wine grapes, making it quite labor-intensive. ¬†Agriculture is what brought the Italians to this area 100 years or so ago – farming, garment making and wine producing is what has kept them here. ¬†The best way to learn about Hammonton is through its people. Hammontonians are family-oriented, civic-minded, and dedicated to the place they call home, or so I’ve read.

Every summer in July, there is the¬†Feast of “Our Lady of Carmel”, started on July 1st, 1875. ¬†There is a procession of the statue of Our Lady, ¬†as well as other statues of Catholic dignitaries, carried through the town by parish volunteers.

Many of the hundreds of spectators lining the 3-mile route, hold handfuls of money to pin to the sashes on the saints.  In Belmont Hills, PA, where I spent my childhood, there was a similar procession.  St. George was carried through the streets of the town as all of the children and many adults pinned our dollars to his sash while saying a little prayer.  For us, it was so much fun.

¬†After the procession, there is a carnival for the kids, and lots of drinking and eating. You will find something very interesting going on –¬†Five Finger Tournaments, known in Italy as “A MORRA“. For me, this was way cool to see. I remember my Dad and his brothers and friends playing this game at every family gathering. ¬†Hammonton still has an Italian Fingers Team. It is very loud, and very competitive. ¬†In fact, in some provinces in Italy A Morra has been banned because people have killed each other over it. ¬†Perhaps it has a little something to do with the gambling that goes along with it – ya’ think ???

It’s kind of like hard core “rock, paper, scissors”. ¬†If you want to see the game being played, check this out. ¬†Go o youtube.com. ¬†In the search bar put ¬†“a¬†morra”, and click on the first¬†show.

Along Bellevue Avenue, the main street, there are lots of restaurants and shops. I thought it rather weird that there were at lot of MEXICAN restaurants. I have to confess, we ate in one.  It was the most prominent building on the street, sitting at #101 Bellevue.  Check this out :

EL MARIACHI LOCO
Address: 101 Bellevue Ave

On the side of this building, we saw this sign – of course Tim, the rebel, had to “lean”. ¬†Don’t you just love him ?

This BYOB was pretty authentic. ¬†After eating my “pozole”, and Tim his “Mexican style” tacos, we checked out a few other places.

THE EAGLE THEATER

The following history is from the Eagle Theater website –

“The Eagle Theatre‚Äôs beginnings were humble, with just a simple announcement printed in the local newspaper in June of 1914, stating that ‚ÄúMr. Litke will put up a concrete building on his lot on Vine Street, for his moving picture winter theatre.‚ÄĚ From that, the Eagle Theatre was born.

The Eagle Theatre functioned as a silent movie theatre and playhouse from 1914 until 1944, when it was then sold to the Pentecostal Assembly of God and converted into a church. The church occupied the building for 15 years, then sold it to Harry and Evelyn Hitman in 1959. The Hitman’s used the building for storage until 2006. By that time, the old building was on the verge of being demolition. Tracy Petrongolo, the head of the Hammonton’s arts and cultural committee, researched the building’s history and determined that it was worthy of preservation. What followed was a remarkable example of dedication by a devoted base of volunteers who were intent on seeing the theatre restored.

Since reopening in June of 2009, the Eagle Theatre has quickly grown into an artistic epicenter of the South Jersey region. Located in the heart of the Hammonton Art District, the Eagle Theatre of today features performances of a professional caliber in one of the most intimate and comfortable venues in the area. We look forward to sharing with you our theatre, our town, and the joy of the performing arts”.

 

THE FUNKY COW, at 224 Bellevue Avenue, is a newly opened waffle cafe. ¬†It is charmingly decorated with “cow decor”. ¬†My favorites were the cow-shaped seats outside the cafe, where you can sit and have a taste from their very waffle-icious menu.

 

BAGLIANI’S MARKET, at 417 12th street, is a place we will most definitely return to again and again. ¬†It is a market dedicated to mostly Italian food items. ¬†If you need an Italian deli market, this is worth the trip.

I put this picture in because it was a “wow” item. ¬†Prosciutto for $44.99 a pound. ¬†I’m sure it’s crazy delicious, but…

Check out this deli section.  YUM !!!

Our final stop was the WHITE HORSE WINERY, at 106 Hall Street. which opened less than 1 year ago.

We purchased two tastings.  It was $10 per person, and it included two take-home glasses.  I must say Рall of the wines are quite good.  This is Kearsie, she is co-manager of the tasting department Рand really knows her wines.

 They have a wine club for anyone interested, with lots of perks.  They often have music and fun events.  Check it out at  whitehorsewinery.com

BTW – so cool – their label was created by world-renowned local artist, Jamie Wyeth. According to the website, “Mr. Wyeth has captured the bold, independent spirit of White Horse Winery. We are proud to display this inspiring work of art on each and every bottle of White Horse Winery wine”.

All I can say about Hammonton is, “Who Knew ?” ¬†Halfway between Philadelphia and the shore, it is well worth the visit !!!

I RESOLVE TO MAKE NO RESOLUTIONS

 

January, 2017

Well here we are – 2017. ¬†If you’re reading this post, you are lucky enough to be able to continue on the journey of life. On January 1st, most of us have been conditioned to make resolutions for the next year – things about yourself you would like to improve. ¬† ¬†After saying “Happy New Year”, ¬†the most often asked question is, “Did you make any resolutions”? ¬†My answer is an emphatic, “no”. ¬†Oh sure, ¬†I used to make them – long lists of them. ¬†And then about ¬†January 5th or so, I’d begin to scold myself for a lack of discipline and worse. ¬†It became a negative in my life – just another thing to sabotage my mellow.

Webster says:

res·o·lu·tion

ňĆrez…ôňąloÕěoSH(…ô)n/
noun
1.
a firm decision to do or not to do something.
synonyms: intention, resolve, decision, intent, aim, plan; commitment, pledge, promise

See where it says, “firm decision”? ¬† I’m not really into firm decisions. ¬†So darn rigid! ¬†¬†Almost impossible for a human being like me.

Several years ago, I decided to make goals instead.

goal
…°Ňćl/
noun
1. the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.
synonyms: objective, aim, end, target, design, intention, intent, plan, purpose.

So much better…

The new year brings with it a sense of new a beginning, an opportunity to right any wrongs, perceived or real, and to make some positive changes – ¬†to begin the next part of the journey. ¬†I live my life in gratitude, thanking the powers that be for the life and luck I’ve been given. For my husband – my love, best friend, and partner in crime, our sons and their wives, ¬†the three lights of our lives, our grandsons, and for our families – aunts, uncles, and cousins.

I set ¬†goals that will make my life full. I have found that if I don’t have a list of things to do, or a record of things I’d like to accomplish, I will usually put things off until ma√Īana. ¬†I’ve listed a few things that I think are essential to emotional health and, therefore, physical health.

1. Subscribe To Mindfulness. Try not to think about what you should or should not be doing. ¬†Sometimes when we’re having fun, thoughts tend to creep in like “I should be cleaning the floor, or doing the laundry”. ¬†I say, enjoy what you’re doing at this moment. I promise you, the household chores will wait.

2. ¬†Be Brave When Making Choices. ¬†If you don’t like the situation you’re in, change it. ¬†If you know you can be happier, or want to be a better person – go for it. Go to school, make a move, leave that dead-end job, travel. ¬†Find your bliss.

3. ¬†Be Who You Want To Be. ¬†I believe that we are the sum of all of our past actions – it makes us who we are today. ¬†But if you aren’t satisfied with the current “you”, ¬†turn your life around. ¬† Be who you want to be today. ¬†Live an authentic life. You want to get a tattoo – change your hair color – shave your head – take opera lessons – go ahead. ¬†You won’t be sorry you tried, and it can always go back to the way it was. ¬†No real harm done.

4. If You’re Happy – Go On And Show It.¬†‚Äď Sometimes I think I laugh too loudly – full and hardy. It’s just who I am – demure by no means. ¬†Express your delight. ¬†I promise, it feels so good. ¬† Never be afraid to laugh out loud. Show your joy.

5. Be An Optimist ‚Äď In the end, life is a point of view of your own making. When you’re feeling blue, look at the goodness in yourself and all around you. ¬†You can turn things around – it is within you to do so. ¬†Sure, there are lots of things that can make you sad or angry. ¬†It’s ok to have those emotions for short while – then lose them. ¬†Don’t carry them on your shoulders – they are very heavy. ¬†It can and will get worse if you let it. ¬†Move on! One more thing I can promise you. ¬†Everything turns out the best in the end. ¬†Maybe not today or tomorrow – but it does. ¬†I’ve experienced it firsthand over and over throughout my life. One of my favorite lines is from the movie, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”.¬†‚ÄúIt will be alright in the end and if it is not alright, it is not the end.‚ÄĚ (see note #2 below)

6. ¬†Be Kind – ¬† Every day, in every way. ¬†Don’t get into gossip. ¬†Don’t spread rumours. ¬†Think the best of people, until they prove you wrong. Remember, we all have a bad day, month or year. ¬†Be understanding. Freely give compliments. ¬†Kindness doesn’t cost a penny. ¬†Your smile may be the one thing that changes another person’s day from one of sadness to one of possibility.

 

6. Find The ¬†Adventure, and Beauty ¬†All Around You ‚Äď ¬† ¬†Sometimes you have to look for it. ¬†But when you find it – take advantage of it. ¬†And you don’t necessarily have to travel or vacation to see it. ¬†Look in your own yard, neighborhood,or town. ¬†Trust me – it’s there.

 

7.¬†Delight In Your Own Beauty ‚Äď ¬†Don’t spend endless amounts of time in front of a mirror critiquing yourself (or others). ¬†You have to believe that you‚Äôre a god(ess) in your own way. Think about the wonder of you. Own it. Flaunt it.

 

8.  Keep Moving.

You’ve heard it before. ¬†If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. ¬†Yep – take it from me – It’s true. It doesn’t matter what you choose – walk, exercise, garden, yoga, lift weights, swim. ¬†Anything!!! ¬†Everyone knows that any kind of exercise is good for the body. But exercise is also one of the most effective ways to improve ¬†mental health. ¬†It can relieve stress, depression, and anxiety, improve memory, help you sleep better, and boost your overall mood. And you don‚Äôt have to be a fitness fanatic for the benefits to kick in. ¬†Doing a little something every day can make a difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can use movement as a powerful way to feel better.

I hope that 2017 proves to be your best journey yet !    Go for it.

NOTE:  Thanks to Google Clipart for the wonderful  photos.

NOTE #2: ¬†John Lennon famously said,¬†‚ÄúEverything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.‚ÄĚ ¬†Being a super sleuth, I found that this was based on a quote by a Brazilian writer named Fernando Sabino, who said, ¬†‚ÄúIn the end, everything will be ok. If it‚Äôs not ok, it‚Äôs not yet the end.‚ÄĚ ¬†Anyway, the message is always the same.

 

TRAVEL VS VACATION

 

December, 2016

In my humble opinion (IMHO), the concepts of travel and vacation are different,¬†¬†but both are pretty darn great. ¬† Please don’t take this as an official statement that one is better than the other.

To me a vacation is usually something like ¬†a week long getaway to an all-inclusive resort with an emphasis on relaxation and fun. ¬†It can be skiing, surfing, or just sunning on a beach. ¬†It’s a chance to go somewhere new or familiar,¬†to get away from the day-to-day stresses of life and hard work, ¬†and enjoy some free time. Usually, we ¬†don‚Äôt learn much on vacation – at least that is not our primary concern. ¬†It doesn‚Äôt make us ¬†better people, expand our horizons, or help us develop new ideas. To me, a vacation should be easy. ¬†This doesn‚Äôt mean vacations are in any way a bad thing. ¬†I love vacationing. Cruises and beaches are among my favorite destinations, but I do recognize these activities for what they are. ¬†Basically, if your drink has an umbrella in it, there’s a good chance you are on vacation.

Strictly speaking, travel means moving from one place to another. ¬†Traveling isn’t usually easy, and for most, ¬†it’s not relaxing.

It often involves  discovering cultures, expanding horizons, learning a new language, trying new foods, maybe staying in crappy hostels, backpacking, camping, and/or RVing.

This is a pic of a pretty crowded hostel bedroom.  No privacy here.

¬†Lately for us, it’s RVing. ¬†It can be a challenge. It often involves work. But it’s worth it because it’s the kind of adventure that can leave you with a lasting sense of awe. ¬†Memories for a lifetime. ¬† People travel to experience a different way of living. To try new things and see new sights. ¬† It means meeting other travelers and locals. ¬†It’s drinking and eating in local spots – even dive bars. ¬†It’s walking, biking and taking public transportation. ¬†In a foreign county, it may even mean ¬†learning a few new phrases. ¬†The very personal benefits include the fact that it opens your eyes – ¬†you may even learn who you are.

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It can help you discover new skills, and give you a new perspective.  If you’re going to a new place to discover how they see the world, you can probably safely describe it as travel.

There is a hybrid version Р you can  vacation while you travel. For example, you can go on a two week  trip to anywhere, spend one week going to museums, learning a language, and trying new foods.  During the second week, just swim, snorkel, sun, and relax. In fact, for a really great trip I would definitely recommend taking a vacation from your travel. I know that sounds weird, but if you think about it, it does make sense. While we were traveling on the road for 14 months in our trailer, we planned at least a one day stay in a hotel room each month.

One of the reasons I write this blog is to inspire others to take that leap to travel, or at least that first step.  The following have inspired me.

And of course, my very, very favorite by Mark Twain. ¬†Read this several times – over and over again, until it sinks in. ¬†No matter whether you want to go on a vacation or travel – just do it !!! ¬†You’re never too old to try something new. ¬†In fact, I would argue that it helps keep you young, vibrant, ¬†and interesting. ¬†There are so many excuses for not hitting the road. ¬†But we don’t know what the future will bring – at any age. ¬†So many people we’ve met had this plan and that, wanted to try this, and wanted to try that. Unfortunately, It never happened, and now never will. ¬† ¬†Don’t let the lack of money stand in your way. ¬†There are ways to make money while traveling. ¬†I have one piece of advice, ¬†DO NOT WAIT !!!

This will be my last post for 2016. ¬†I hope you all have enjoyed taking this journey with us thus far. ¬†We have many travel plans for 2017, and much to share. Until then –

For my Christian Friends

For my Jewish Friends

For my African American Friends

For my Muslim Friends

For my Wiccan/Pagan Friends

and for my Buddhist Friends.

and finally, for Everyone

NOTE:  Thank you Google Clip Art for the lovely illustrations.

See you all in January, 2017 !!1