Since I have been retired for almost two years now, I am finally learning how to slow down and watch behaviors and actions of people in a variety of situations. I enjoy observing all sorts of things.
There is a young man (perhaps 17 years old) who works at a local coffee shop that we have frequented while spending a month on Cape Cod. When I first went in the shop I found that it was his first day on the job (and his first job). He was nervous and hesitant as he took my order. Even though very uncomfortable, he seemed to understand customer service and efficiency. Four weeks later, I went in yesterday and found him equally efficient and friendly, but there was a confidence emerging in him. He seemed to be blossoming into the outstanding employee that is using the potential that I had seen previously. As he gave me my drinks, I thanked him. He thanked me. Then he smiled sincerely and said “You have a wonderful evening, my dear.” He will go far.
Our month on Cape Cod is winding down. As most of you know, Cape Cod is where I grew up and where I run back to whenever I can. We rented a cottage with a patio/deck that overlooks a salt water marsh and Cape Cod Bay. At the canal and on the bay, we have seen some tall ships headed to Boston, barges, huge vehicle carriers, yachts, fishing boats, etc. etc. It has been a fantastic month.
I have neglected this blog for months. Never fear – I am still out here, doing my thing. I have been working on some writing projects lately and sort of lost track of time (quite easy to do, I find).
Since our January trip in the South, we have been bouncing around the Northeast. We spent a few weeks at home taking care of some family issues, had a short visit from our daughter and family, popped in and out of the Pennsylvania cabin a few times (when the weather permitted), and made another visit to Cullen’s house.
We took two touristy trips in the last few months. In early March we spent three days in southern PA. We visited the Gettysburg battleground (again) and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Of course, we have to go back to both… Since it was off-season, the Eisenhower house at Gettysburg was closed for renovations and the trains were not running at the railroad museum. So those trips are still on the “to do” list. We also stopped at the Antique Automobile Club of America in Hershey PA. That was fun!
The other trip we took was totally my hubby’s idea. His romantic side peeks out of its cave occasionally … and I love it. We went to Cape Cod for five days to celebrate our 43rd wedding anniversary. It was wonderful. Excellent food, lots of boats, decent weather. It was great. We will be headed back there in a few weeks and will stay for a month!!!
Be back sooner.
We spent a day at the Edison-Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers. This was where Edison worked on various experiments including trying to create synthetic rubber. His other home/lab was in New Jersey. Those buildings are now in the Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. We went to visit those a number of years ago.
At that point we coordinated with my brother and sister-in-law who spend some time in the Clearwater area every winter. We had a lovely afternoon with them, bird watching, hiking, and walking along Clearwater Beach, which is (I hear) where Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon did some of their beach movies in the 60s.
We had been on the road for roughly three weeks and it was time to think about going home (but it was still very cold at home!). So we drove back to Jekyll Island, GA. I could live there every winter. It is warm (60s – 70s) and peaceful. I found Florida to be too empty in the inland areas, and too crowded near the coast. But Jekyll Island is perfect. Something to keep in mind for the future.
After three more wonderful days we headed home, trying to get through before the next snow storm hit up North.
What a fantastic trip. Now it is time to be home for a bit, regroup and then… well, we haven’t seen the grandchild since Christmas…
The first photo is taken at the Edison-Ford Estate and the second on Clearwater Beach.
I was looking around for things to do on our road trip from Charleston to Florida and wandered onto a site for Jekyll Island, Georgia. It looked interesting so I looked further and found a hotel right on the beach with a room facing the Atlantic Ocean. When we arrived and looked around, it felt like I had gone back to my youth, growing up on the ocean- long walks along the beach, picking up shells and deciding whether they were a perfect specimen… meals served outside on the beach. By this time in our trip, we had been in 70 degree weather since we got to SC (30-40 at home). The Club Café on Jekyll Island was 1 1/2 miles down the beach – an ideal walk. That place had everything one would want at a beach resort. We spent 3 wonderful days there. The only problem was the few hours we were in a tornado warning. The clouds and rain were pretty ominous. The only issue we had though we a disruption in the TV transmission, so we missed a bit of the NFL playoff game.
One place that I always wanted to see was Cape Canaveral/Kennedy Space Center. Heck, I grew up in the age of Sputnik, the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs, raised my children through the Space Shuttle years… We were able to see much NASA memorabilia as well as gain information about the Mars rovers and SLS/Orion Program and its planned launch next year. My absolutely most favorite sight at Kennedy was the exhibit on the space shuttle Atlantis. As you wait to begin the tour, video screens all over the room assault you with the sounds and sights of the years at the beginning of the space era (TV shows, music, news broadcasts). It really took me back to that time in my life. The tour was interesting and informative and then at the end— wow— they opened a huge drape and there it was – Space Shuttle Atlantis. I was within 10 feet of the shuttle. It was the original – used and scarred. It was great.
While we were visiting KSC we stayed on Cocoa Beach on a slip of land (island) on the ocean. Another beautiful expansive beach.
Mid-January. The nasty ice/sleet/snow storm is over. Today the temperature is 38 and all is melting. We should have no problem getting south. Boy, was I wrong. No sooner than crossing the border into PA, the temps dropped to below freezing and the roads were covered in frozen gunk. Of course, being me, I knew that as we went south the roads would certainly improve… and it did… eventually. But suffice it to say that first day was a long, slow, careful drive south.
By the time we reached Virginia, the weather was fine and 50s-60s. Our first major stop was to see relatives in NC and SC, stopping to watch NFL playoff games and to walked along the ocean in Morehead City, NC.
Next stop – Charleston, SC. We spent two very busy days there. The first day, we walked 8 miles through the historic district with all the lovely houses and buildings. We ate lunch in a lovely bistro and recognized a well-known politician sitting near us.
Charleston is a lovely city. I had just finished reading Our Man in Charleston about a British ambassador assigned to Charleston before and during the Civil War. I was able to visualize him on the streets of the city. The trip out to Fort Sumter was wonderful. I have always wanted to see that historic spot… and the boat ride to get there was fun!
The next day we drove across the river to see the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier. I have never been on an aircraft carrier before – so huge. We spent most of the day wandering through hatches and galleys and crew quarters, etc. Mark and I love that stuff.
The first photo above is from the historic district of Charleston and the second is taken from the restaurant on the top of our hotel.
Next stop – Georgia and the beach!
What do you do with yourself when all the signs read “Off Season”? The museums close, the tourist attractions close… but it isn’t my “off season”. I am ready to go! OK, fine, it is winter. I get it. What to do?
I know what I will do… I have a place in my house that is very cluttered. It has a sign on it (virtual) that says For When I Retire. It is a giant bookcase where I have collected books for years, saying to myself, “I’ll read that when I retire.” Ta Da!!!! My favorite place to read is at the cabin in the woods by the fire. I have read many, many books in the last few months, some historical (Philbrick’s Mayflower, In the Heart of the Sea, Sea of Glory, Dower’s Embracing Defeat) to name a few. I have read fiction (Patterson, Berry, Child, Rollins, Clancy/Greaney), and science fiction (Bova, Niven, Asimov)… and so much more…and so much more to read. I am content.
Gearing up for grandbaby’s first Christmas—
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!
I am sitting at a window at the cabin, warming my toes by the fireplace, looking out at the ice as it builds on the trees. My Yankee Candle (Harvest scent) gently gives the cabin air a whiff of fall. We are back at the cabin after another trip. This one was a Road Scholar trip, Glory Days of the Railroad – 5 days in Vermont and New Hampshire. Of course, since we were in the area, we spent a few days with the grandbaby on our way.
This RS trip was not as interesting or robust as some of the past RS trips. It was advertised as “easy-paced” and I think that was part of the problem. Since participants were not expected to walk a great deal, there was also the expectation that people might walk slower. Therefore, the schedule allowed for vast amounts of time to get to activities. It was excellently timed for people with mobility difficulties and I am glad that RS offers these types of trips. In the future, though, we will need to be more conscious of the physical expectations of a trip.
The trip itself had some interesting points. We stayed at the Hotel Coolidge in White River Junction, Vermont, a lovely old hotel with all the lovely quirks of a lovely old hotel.
Some of the sights we visited included:
- walking tours of White River Junction and Bellows Falls (train depots, quaint downtowns)
- ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad
- trip on the Cog Railway to the top of Mt. Washington
- Mt. Washington visit (cold but reasonably clear) – elevation 6300 ft.
- Amtrak ride (I had never been on an Amtrak train… I know…)
- an afternoon at the American Precision Museum
The lectures of note for the week included:
- the development of the railroads in New England and the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire
- railroads and economic development in Vermont
- the Vermont Trilogy – a presentation by a local director, John O’Brien, about a few of his local movies
- Vermont Humor by Dick McCormack. This was possibly the most enjoyable piece of the week.
Below is a pic of the tree that fell during the ice event at the cabin.