Tag Archive: vacation

A Day at the Beach

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Toes on Folly Beach

It’s been years since we just hung out on a beach. We were definitely going to make it a part of this trip. Laura grew up just a couple of blocks from the Pacific Ocean, so any time that we get within range of an ocean, she has to see it.

After leaving our Governor’s School friends on Saturday, we decided to head north on Highway 17 toward those islands. We crossed the Cooper River Bridge, then headed over to Sullivan’s Island. Traffic was horrendous. Apparently it had been a popular day at the beach on Sullivan’s, because all public access spots were taken, even this late in the afternoon. Routes off the island were backed up for miles.

We continued on to the Isle of Palms and found it just as crowded. I was amazed at how much the little town had had grown. The last time I stayed on the island was about 25 years ago. The beach village was much more substantial than I remembered. Traffic off the island on the new causeway was almost, but not quite as bad as traffic off of Sullivan’s Island. We just patiently waited and eventually got off the island.

The lesson learned was that we had to get out to the beach early. So, Sunday morning we packed up early and headed toward Folly Beach. We found a spot and set up shop. It had been a long time since I had played in waves, and I made the most of it. I even brought out my GoPro camera to catch a few shots.

Folly Beach
Folly Beach Surf
Folly Beach Waves

I found it was hard to body surf and try to hold a camera. Fortunately I was able to hang onto it. I also had my little waterproof Fuji, and took a couple of photos with it.

Folly Beach Pier
Jogging Lifeguards at Folly Beach

By lunchtime we were lobsters. It had been a great day on the beach, but we had enough. We did a quick lunch, then headed back to the hotel for a quick shower and change. The rest of the afternoon we headed out to the ACE Basin, but didn’t see much wildlife. Our dinner was on Edisto Island, finishing up the day close to the ocean.

Washington Wrap-Up

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Mt. Ranier

We’re back home, after an arduous trek across the country. Our flight across country was uneventful – that is, until we got to Atlanta. Our plane apparently had finicky landing gear, which is something you DON’T want to mess around with. We finally got home at 1:00 am, and I had to get up at 5:30 to be back at work. So much for vacation.

The last several days in Washington were spent pretty much around the island, without the long treks we had done earlier in the trip. Thursday was down time. We stayed around the house, did laundry, and managed several other chores. That evening we took Laura’s mom out for dinner.

Friday Laura and I headed over to the Anacortes Arts Festival. We figured that since we had started the trip with an arts festival we should end with one. The festival was huge, covering several blocks of the town. It was also quite crowded, even though it should have been a work day. The quality of the art offerings was impressive, as well as expensive. We only bought one small print to take home with us. There were also musicians playing on several stages. Our favorite was the Incan pan pipe players. (more…)

Lighthouse Score Sheet

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Early Sunday morning we missed breakfast at the inn, but our host had set aside coffee and scones to go for us. We loaded up the rental and made the trek from Belfast through August and Lewiston to Portland. Rental returned, flights boarded, we made the trek home without incident and found both cats and the house in fine shape.

One of our goals had been to visit and photograph as many lighthouses as we could. While we couldn’t possibly get around to all of them, I think we put a pretty good dent in it. All told, we saw thirteen lighthouses. I was wondering if we shouldn’t run out and find another one for superstition’s sake, but I think we’ll just leave it at that. Here’s the list in order that we saw them…

Day 1

Fort Point


Dice (Dyce) Head


Deer Island Throughfare


Pumpkin Island


Day 2

Rockland Breakwater


Day 3

Bass Harbor


Day 4

Pemaquid Point


Ram Island


Burnt Island


Day 5

Marshall Point


Owls Head


Day 6

Winter Harbor


Prospect Harbor


I had really hoped to get back down to the Portland Head Lighthouse. I was disappointed that my only shot of it was in the rain. However, with the weather as bad as it has been this past week, I don’t think it would have mattered.

One weird little epilogue remains to close out the trip.  As I was going back through our photographs I wondered aloud to Laura as to how many of them were purportedly haunted.  I remember several Ghost Hunters episodes set in lighthouses, and there is a general air of loneliness and spookiness about them in general.  Her response caught me off-guard:  “Do your research, then I’ll tell you what I saw.”  What??

So, I did a quick Google search using the phrase “Maine haunted lighthouses.”  The most prominent hits told of a haunting at Owl’s Head Lighthouse.  I relayed this to Laura and she said that while at Owl’s Head, she had caught a figure moving out of the corner of her eye.  What she saw roughly fit the description of the supposed ghost, but it wasn’t there when she glanced back.  When I zeroed in on Owl’s Head with my research, that really shook her.  Spooky coincidence or real ghost?  Who knows?  It does add a nice little open-ended coda to our tales of travels in Maine, though.

Acadia in the Fog

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Otter Point

Wednesday, June 24

The weather continued to be rotten. It was alternately cloudy, foggy, or rainy and sometimes all three. We were really glad to have our new rain gear from L. L. Bean. It had been a worthwhile stop.

The breakfasts continue to be fantastic at the inn. This morning was another three-course meal, culminating in a wonderful fritatta.

Despite the foul weather, we decided to head up to Acadia National Park. We figured that mid-week would be less crowded than the weekend, so now was the time.

We headed north out of Belfast on US 1, retracing the route we had take Monday. Once again, I had to resist the urge to stop and photograph every one of the Victorian mansions we passed. Of particular interest to me was the traditional Maine farm house. This usually consisted of a small wood frame cottage, usually with Victorian Gothic trim, and a huge cedar-sided barn that would be attached to the house via a passageway. I guess the farmers wanted a way to get to their barns without having to trudge through winter weather. In many of these the barn had now been converted to living space or garages, so the actual square footage of the house had been greatly increased.

US 1 from Bucksport to Ellsworth was fairly non-descript. Ellsworth itself was a quaint town, with a lovely riverfront area. However, the town was much larger than others we had encountered. The town was somewhat extended even further, by virtue of it being near a National Park. The route from Ellsworth to Bar Harbor was lined with motels and the types of distractions that come with such parks – campgrounds, miniature golf places, etc., etc. (more…)

Belfast Photo Walk

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Belfast, Maine

Wednesday, June 24

This morning I got up very early to do a photo walk around the little town of Belfast. It was still misty outside, but that seems to be typical for this area. I figured I could still get some good shots of the historic buildings and waterfront area. I had a general goal, but wasn’t sure if i would have the time or energy to get to everything.

My first stop was the village green. This large open area has great views of the entire Belfast Bay. There are a few walking paths and benches, and looks like a great place to just hang out and watch ships pass.

From the green I walked on down to the waterfront. It’s typical of most of the small Maine waterfront towns. There are a fair number of recreational boats, but many more lobster boats. Lobster floats can be seen throughout the bay. I had wondered aloud to Laura, “At what point do lobster floats cease to be scenic?” There were also a couple of restaurants and pubs along the waterfront that we may have to explore further.

Morning Ships
BoardedColorful Oil Co (more…)

The Rain in Maine Falls Plainly on the Insane

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Pumpkin Island Lighthouse

Having gorged ourselves on a gourmet breakfast, we packed up cameras and maps and set off in search of coastline and lighthouses. There was just one small hitch – the wind was howling and it was dumping rain. We may have lost our minds to be going out in weather like this, but hanging around the B&B surrounded by creepy Gothic decor would have been just as bad.

We started our trek with a turn through the town of Belfast. We had only explored on foot last night. It looks as if there is lots to see and do, including a footbridge across the Penobscot, and a higher walkway along the US 1 bridge. We may have to spend more time exploring this area.

The rain kept kept a steady pace as we headed north on US 1 through Searsport. I wanted to stop and photograph all the interesting old farm houses and churches. If we had done that we would have never made it out of town. There’s just much more interesting architecture here. (more…)

More on the Jeweled Turret

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Jeweled Turret Inn

I had briefly described the Jeweled Turret Inn yesterday. We had a bit more time to poke around this morning, and to sample their fantastic breakfast.

The house was built in 1898 by James S. Harriman.  The current owners purchased the house in 1986 and restored it, opening it as a B&B.  The inn consists of seven guest rooms – each named for a semi-precious stone and each with its own unique characteristics.

The place is packed to the hilt with Victorian antiques.  There are several common sitting rooms, and each has period furniture and articles.  These are not necessarily the most comfortable, but they look unique.  Laura has declared that while she likes Victorian architecture, she’s not so keen on that style of decor.  But, it’s still interesting for a week or so.

Bottles in Window

This morning we started with breakfast at 8:30.  This turned out to be a three-course meal of epic proportions.  The first course was coffee with blueberry scones.  That alone would have sufficed, but it was then followed with large fruit cups covered with a honey glaze.  The main course was an herb fritatta, cooked in a star-shaped pan.  We wouldn’t need to eat again for quite awhile.

Herb Frittata for Breakfast

In addition to being a fantastic cook, our host, Cathy Heffentrager, has been very helpful, suggesting places for us to visit today, as well as spots for dinner. I had browsed through a photo album showing Cathy and her husband restoring the inn, so they have invested quite a bit of time and money into this place. That shows.

Right now we seem to be the only ones here, but I think that will change mid-week. So far we’ve been busy enough so that we haven’t missed either television or air-conditioning.

From Greenville to Belfast

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Penobscot Bay at Belfast

Even if today hadn’t been the summer solstice, it was still going to be a long one. We got up, packed our last-minute gear, said goodbye to the cats, heat, and humidity of Greenville, and headed for the cooler climes of Belfast, Maine.

The first leg of our flight was from Greenville to Philadelphia, and apart from being a bit bumpy, was uneventful and relatively quick. The second leg was a bit more exciting. While landing, our flight attendant stated that this was the third time she had landed with one blown out tire, and the smoothness of the landing (or lack thereof) reflected that.

Then there was the matter of our luggage. TSA had apparently seen fit to disassemble my brand-new tripod, which was in my checked baggage, but hadn’t bother to put it back together. For awhile I was worried that they had broken it. Eventually, though, we made it to Portland, got our rental car, and headed up the coast of Maine.

The weather was much cooler, and rainy. Since conditions weren’t great for coastal sightseeing, we decided to drop by Freeport and the home of L. L. Bean. The place was a zoo, with people from all over dropping to pay homage to the quintessential purveyors of monogrammed yuppiedom. We were not immune. We purchased two very nice windbreaker/rain slickers, and I got a great straw hat. We were now set for Maine weather.

L. L. Bean interiorL. L. Bean in Freeport (more…)

Island Time

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Sunrise Sailing

Things are more relaxed. Nothing is rushed. Everyone has a good time and things get done when they get done. That’s Island Time.

Even so, I was up at the crack of dawn, literally. Even on Island Time some habits are hard to break. However, I did have a purpose. I wanted to try some time-lapse videography with my little Nikon S50. The only problem was that I didn’t have a good tripod with me. My solution was to drag the floor lamp out onto the balcony and strap my little mini-pod to it with a Velcro strap. It looked weird… (more…)

Bahamas – Day 3

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Bahamas Sunrise

As previously noted, most of the day was spent watching inauguration festivities. However, we did get out an do other things.

I woke up early to watch the sunrise. As I was standing out on the balcony with my camera I looked out over the other balconies to see others out with their cameras. The sun was really putting on a show.

We wandered over to the marketplace for breakfast, hoping to find something less expensive than the resort offerings. We found a place advertising a breakfast special and decided to give it a try.

Breakfast was OK, but we were seated near a large group – again. This time it was Americans acting very boorish. I’ve never been on a cruise. However my thought at the time was that if cruises were full of idiots like this, I’m not so sure I want to go on one.

The odd thing about the day was that I started out disappointed. I was hoped to go on a kayak tour, but there wasn’t space. Turns out that was for the best. First, I would have missed all of the inauguration, but also it was very overcast and cool. The wind would have made paddling difficult, at best.

The weather even prevented us from just enjoying the pool. When we did make it out to that area we sat huddled under towels as blankets. A few minutes of that combined with the constant drone of Caribbean music coming from the swim-up bar was a bit more than I could stand.

I decided to take my camera and explore a bit, since I hadn’t really looked around since our arrival. I found that our hotel is actually on a peninsula with limited access to anywhere other than the resort and the market. Oh well.

Port Lucaya LighthousePort LucayaPort Lucaya Straw Market

For dinner we decided to try a place in the market I had spotted during my wanderings. Agave Grill features Latin fusion cuisine, and it was one of the best meals we’ve had on the trip. We started with mojitos and sat back to watch the chef prepare our meal on a big-screen TV with a camera over the stove. Pretty cool.

Agave Grill

Laura ordered a chicken burrito, which she declared delicious. Mine was a mango and lime glazed chicken breast on a bed of black beans and rice with fried plantains. I’m going to be afraid to step on the scale when we get back home.

Dinner at Agave Grill

The evening was still fairly early, so we popped into one of the bars on the resort for a nightcap. Two other couples were there and American Idol (which I’ve never watched before this evening) was on the TV. We had a couple of drinks, laughed at the idiots on the TV, and enjoyed talking to the other patrons and the bartender. It was a very nice end to what had been a fantastic day.

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