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SpaceX's Starman headed to the Asteroid Belt

About Terry Conway

For the past fifteen years I’ve been a contributing writer to a variety of national & regional magazines, prominent daily news-papers and websites. I have written about an array of topics such as arts & culture, chefs, food & drink, business entrepreneurs, travel, history, thoroughbred racing, and the animal and natural world.

 I'm currently a regular arts & culture contributor to WFIT's website (the NPR radio station in Melbourne.), Vero Beach Magazine and Florida Today newspaper on a number of topics. Over recent years my work has been published regularly in Blood-Horse, Long Island Boating World and The Hunt and PA Equestrian magazines.

I am a regular contributor to the websites and JustLuxe is an online magazine featuring the best of luxury lifestyle and travel, while SeeTheSouth features truly unique southern destinations. My travel articles also regularly appear in Florida Today, Long Island Boating world and the Delaware County Times, a major daily newspaper just outside Philly.

I've also contributed a variety of articles to the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, the Delaware County Times, and the Montgomery County Newspapers. I have been an Arts & Culture correspondent for Newsworks, the website for WHYY-TV (PBS in Philadelphia). I have been a correspondent to, America's Best Racing, the Paulick Report and Thoroughbred Racing Commentary.

After spending the past two decades in Wilmington, Delaware, my wife Jane, our Toller retriever Smarty and I have moved to Melbourne Beach, Fla. Located on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River, Melbourne Beach sits on the southern end of Florida's "Space Coast." The famed coastal highway A1A runs directly along the Atlantic. Melbourne Beach (pop. 3,000) offers unspoiled beaches with sparkling blue-green waters and thousands of beautiful seabirds and long-legged shorebirds.MB 04

Head north 35 miles on A1A and you arrive at Cape Canaveral, for decades our nation's gateway to exploring and understanding our universe. Today, Cape Canaveral is a hub for many of the most exciting new private space projects such as SpaceX, the rocket and spacecraft company founded by Elon Musk (manufacturer of Tesla vehicles). Upwards of 30 launches are planned in 2017.

Back down to earth traveling on two-lane A1A south from Melbourne Beach's compact business area brings you to a series of secluded and undeveloped natural beaches. Bonsteel Park's two-acre beach provides an excellent vantage point to catch glimpses of passing dolphins, while the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge is recognized as the most important nesting area for loggerhead turtles in the western hemisphere. It's also home to the gigantic leatherback turtles.

MB 02Nearby is Sebastian Inlet State Park which connects the Indian River Lagoon with the Atlantic Ocean. Its jetty break is recognized as one of the surf world's high-performance hot spots. Three generations of world-class surfers have surfed here, including 11-time world champion Kelly Slater. The 600-acre park is also celebrated for world-class fishing, and plenty of seabirds and wildlife.

Through my writing over the past decade I have traveled to spectacular destinations such as Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev. and Sun Valley, Idaho; Cody, Wyoming/Yellowstone Park; Saratoga Springs, the Adirondacks, Saratoga Springs and Rhinebeck, New York; Port Clyde and Monheghan Island, Maine; Avalon and Stone Harbor, New Jersey; Middleburg, Charlottesville and Richmond, Virginia.

Other travel adventures have included Tampa and St. Petersburg, Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key, Florida; and St. Simons and Jekyll Island, Georgia. My travel articles thoughtfully explore the history of the region along with museums, music and the arts, chefs and restaurateurs, wineries and craft breweries, outdoor and sporting adventures as well as profiling intriguing personalities of those regions.

In addition to my writing career I owned a marketing company where I represented a diversified list of clients in the areas of publicity, marketing and business development-- such as the famed Baldwin's Book Barn, Thoroughbred Charities of America and the Kahunaville restaurant chain. In another life I was the founder, publisher and editor of Life Sports Magazine.

Along with Jane and Smarty I look forward to writing about new adventures in Melbourne Beach, the "Space Coast" and other Florida destinations. That's Smarty below with his pals Willie and Nelson.

Smarty XmasCard

Giovanni's World Print E-mail

The Hunt
Spring 2015

Like his wines, Giovanni Bonmartini-Fini boasts a rich history.BF Gio 01

Directly descended from Italian royalty, Giovanni spends much of his time guiding the family winery that lies at the foot of the majestic Dolomite mountains of northern Italy. Perfect rows of vines scallop the surrounding hillsides where Barone Fini grapes are grown in as natural a manner as possible in the Trentino-Alto Adige region that shoulders up against Austria.

Cultivating vineyards has been a family business since 1497 when the two noble Venetian families of Bonmartini and Fini united in marriage. Reports say they made wine for the famed Medici family.

Want more? The family history is haunted by the ghastly killing of Count Francesco Bonmartini of Bologna, a wealthy and titled landowner in 1902. The scandal was the talk of Europe and America for three years. It centered around the role played by Bonmartini's widow, Linda, known as "The Enchantress."  The story was turned into a political thriller in the memorable 1974 film La Grand Bourgeoise, starring Catherine Deneuve as the murderess wife Linda Murri. Linda is Giovanni's great-granny.

Magic Mann Print E-mail

The Hunt Magazine
Summer 2015

A few years ago MacGregor Mann headed out on a global culinary walkabout.Junto 2

Mann applied for and was accepted as a station chef at Michelin-starred Noma in Copenhagen. Named the best restaurant in the world by Restaurant Magazine in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, it afforded Mann the opportunity to learn from Chef Rene Redzepi. He augments his pantry by foraging in the wild Demark coastlands, forests and fields where Noma's chefs uncover rich, unexpected flavors.  Diners book several months in advance, and can pay nearly $1,000 a couple for a wine pairing and tasting menu that includes dishes like fried reindeer moss, radishes served in soil, and live ants with yoghurt. Mann  likened his 2012 experience to a “PhD-worthy” sabbatical.

Returning to the states, Mann drove cross country and settled in Idaho, where he  took over as Executive Chef at Henry’s Fork Lodge, a premier fly-fishing destination. Located on a high bluff overlooking  Henry’s Fork River, the venue offers some of the finest accommodations and dining experiences along with the most diverse fishing programs in the entire Yellowstone Park region. To feed the anglers' appetites, typical favorites include bacon-wrapped trout, New York strip steaks seared directly on the coals, creamy butter beans, and  Dutch-oven cornbread dotted with fig jam.

Mann's talent and pedigree  were honed at Amada, part of  the esteemed Jose Garces group of restaurants. At the award-winning tapas bar in Philadelphia, Mann rose through the ranks of Amada (known nationally in creative Latin cuisine) to become chef de cuisine. He was even featured on Iron Chef America, cooking alongside Iron Chef Garces.

Horace Pippin: An American Original Print E-mail

August 2015

Once obscured by a unruly bush, visitors had to hold back the branches to see the gravestone. Today, at the Chestnut Grove Annex Cemetery on the edge of West Chester, a simple stone marker proudly proclaims: "HORACE PIPPIN  1888-1946   PFC CO. K-369TH INF.  WORLD WAR."Pippin 01

Pippin was also one of the leading figures of 20th-century art, known for his insightful, expressive and bold paintings. A self-taught artist, his engaging compositions depict a range of subject material--from intimate family moments and floral still lifes to powerful scenes of his service in World War I to American history as it related to African Americans. He wasn't discovered until he was nearly 50 years old.

A tall, quiet man, Pippin once famously said: “Pictures just come to my mind. I think my pictures out with my brain and then I tell my heart to go ahead.”

The Brandywine River Museum of Art has assembled the first major exhibition of the artist’s works in this country in more than two decades, "Horace Pippin: The Way I see It."  The landmark exhibition features 65  works from museums across the country and distinguished private collections. It's on display through July 19.

Upstart a Prime Derby Contender for Violette Print E-mail

PA Equestrian
May 2015                                                                                                                   

When you've just won a $400,000 Derby prep race and you're headed to the winner's circle, it's never good to see a flashing inquiry sign. Trainer Rick Violette, Jr. was getting ready to celebrate after watching his talented three-old Upstart roll to a 2 3/4 length victory in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 21.PAE 0415 Upstart

After a lengthy review, the 4-5 favorite Upstart was disqualified and placed second behind the stakes debuting Todd Pletcher trainee Itsaknockout. Violette and Upstart's owner Ralph Evans quickly departed the winner’s circle.

"Bad call," said a clearly upset Violette after the race. "They (stewards) have to understand that when the horse gets hit behind the girth (by a tiring and drifting-out Frosted), the only place the horse can go is to the right. It's disappointing. The horse ran great, we just don't get credit for it."

With Jose Ortiz in the irons, the New York-bred Upstart closed steadily in the 1 1/16-mile Derby prep to take control from 7-2 second choice Frosted in the final sixteenth. But Upstart bore out under steady left-handed urging from Ortiz against Starlight Racing's Itsaknockout in the deep stretch. Upstart raced wide throughout and the Trakus measurement system showed that he covered 20 feet more than Itsaknockout and 54 feet more than third place finisher Framment.

The Brandywine: An Intimate Portrait Print E-mail

Book Review
May 2015

Power once meant falling water.  In our new country in the late 18th century, nowhere in the fledgling American colonies was there more water power-- and, at just the right locations-- than on the Brandywine River.Bdywine 3

The water-powered mills on the swiftly falling Brandywine River made the lower stretches of the waterway the most important milling center in the country. More than 100 mills dotted the river's banks, producing flour, cloth and paper. And it was on those banks that a French émigré named Eleuthére Irenée duPont de Nemours established black powder mills at what is today Hagley Museum which gave rise to the DuPont Company chemical empire of today.

In W. Barksdale Maynard's fascinating new book: "Brandywine: An Intimate Portrait," the acclaimed writer crafts a sweeping narrative which brings to life the legendary men and women who shaped the Brandywine's history and industry, and its arts and culture. It stretches from the time of the Lenape Indians and  original European settlement to the "titanic" Battle of the Brandywine-- the largest land battle of the Revolutionary War-- to the establishment of First State National Monument on its banks in 2013.

A major theme that runs through the book is that the region has often hosted competing interests. The du Ponts, who arrived on the Brandywine in 1802, "present the whole Brandywine paradox in microcosm," Maynard writes. "The family has been at the cutting edge of modernization and high technology, yet arch-traditionalists in their attitude toward cultural heritage and the landscape."

Laminitis treatment advances from an unlikely source-- Zippy the Zebra Print E-mail

Thoroughbred Racing Commentary
April 2015

It was the site of the largest military engagement during the Revolutionary War. Today, the lands remain much as they were back then-- rolling open fields, ancient forests, and historic farmhouses with contented horses grazing in lush pastures.zippy1

So it's a bit jarring to spot a zebra-- half the size of a full-sized thoroughbred-- poking his striped head over a fence at Skirmish Hill Farm. Zippy arrived as a foal at Roberta (Bobbi) Odell's Chester County, Pennsylvania property in the fall of 1996. At first his strange scent and his zig-zaggy stripes startled the horses on the farm. Over time they learned to coexist, mostly by ignoring each other.

Recognized as the farm mascot and something of a local celebrity, Zippy developed an abscess of his hoof that made it impossible for him to bear weight on his right hind leg.  The farm manager alerted  the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center in Kennett Square. Zippy was referred for lameness by the facility's field service and transported to New Bolton, one of the most sophisticated large animal and equine hospitals in the world.

When Zippy was diagnosed with laminitis, a disease that causes the hard outer part of the hoof to separate from its core, medical treatments were administered but the infection had severely compromised the hoof and it separated from the bone.  After a series of radiographs, the abscess was drained. A poultice was applied and more medications administered. Then Dr. Dean Richardson, chief of large animal surgery, head farrier Patrick Reilly, and Dr. Kim Olsen, an anesthesiologist, met to determine the correct protocol that would eventually enable Zippy to grow an entirely new hoof. It was a long and winding seven month journey that unfolded last year.

A Voyage to Wyeth's Magical Islands Print E-mail


January 2015

Jamie Wyeth's first major retrospective is on exhibit at Brandywine River Museum of Art through April 5. Displayed in three galleries, it is the most comprehensive survey of Wyeth’s art ever to be assembled. The traveling show presents a full range of Wyeth work, consisting of  111 paintings, works on paper, illustrations, and mixed media assemblages-- collages of three-dimensional items. JWyeth 2

The works depict the landscapes of the Brandywine Valley and coastal Maine, family members, fellow artists and friends such as arts impresario Lincoln Kirstein, pop artist Andy Warhol and superstar dancer Rudolf Nureyev. And there are, of course, many, many paintings of animals and birds. These works provide an in-depth examination of the artist's stylistic evolution and showcase the diversity of an artistic career now in its sixth decade. Wyeth divides his time between homes and studios near Chadds Ford and those on Maine's Monhegan and Southern Islands. Last summer I traveled to the north country to capture the sights and feel of these magical islands.

We're queued up on the docks of the charming village of Port Clyde ready to climb aboard a 65-foot vessel, the Elizabeth Ann.  With the passengers, mail and freight loaded, we steamed out of the harbor past Marshall Point lighthouse and a series of pine and spruce-clad islands before reaching the open sea to ply our way toward Monhegan Island.

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