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Few can resist the charm of the miniature horse

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The Mystique of Martin Guitars

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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

Partners in Crime Print E-mail

December  2013

Desperately waiting for the return of the white-hot PBS British import Downton Abbey? If so, Charles Todd’s historical mysteries could be the perfect tonic. Set in a beautiful and brooding England during or shortly after World War I, the best-selling Ian Rutledge mysteries evoke the aura of that time and place.

Just one thing, half of “Charles Todd” is a she. Todd is the nom de plume of the mother-and-son writing team of Caroline Watjen of Greenville, and Charles Watjen who attended A. I. Du Pont High School and now lives in North Carolina.ChasTodd 1

Their series of crafty whodunits books feature Rutledge who fought in the trenches of France during the Great War. He returns home to pick up the threads of his job at Scotland Yard. His specialty is solving crimes in English villages in a country still coping with the horrors and carnage of war.

Rutledge is one of the lucky survivors, but he is fighting his own battles.  Suffering from shell-shock or what we now know as post-traumatic stress disorder, he feels the guilt of surviving when seemingly better men died. Rutledge carries with him a dark and frightening voice in the back of his mind, that of Hamish MacLeod. The British officer condemned the young Scottish corporal to a firing squad during the 1916 Somme offensive when he refused to lead his men into an inevitable slaughter.

Riding High Print E-mail

The Hunt Magazine
Winter 2013

Writing concisely about Bud Martin? It is no easy proposition.

Martin’s life journey has taken him from occupations as a high school and college theater teacher to investment banker in Manhattan; from a venture capitalist in Philly to launching a side career as a steeplechase jockey at 40, an age when many riders are hanging up their boots.

But in his heart of hearts, the theater has always been Martin’s passion.Martin Hunt3

Sitting in the expansive sunroom of Martin’s splendid farmhouse in West Grove where orchids are in full bloom, sunshine cascades through three walls of palladium windows. In the distance a string of sleek thoroughbreds canter along the emerald landscape then charge up a half-mile hill, their manes blowing in the wind.

Neighbor Louis “Paddy” Neilson has been training thoroughbred racehorses, flat and steeplechase, here for more than four decades. He helped introduce Martin to the rough-and-tumble sport of steeplechase racing in 1992. Galloping three to five miles and leaping over imposing brush and timber fences, Martin was a man sometimes bent but never defeated by broken bones. He rode Neilson’s horses for ten years.

Rhinebeck: Jewel of the Hudson Valley Print E-mail

Delaware County Times
December 2013

In “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” Washington Irving tells the fearsome tale of the gangly, superstitious schoolteacher Ichabod Crane being menaced by a mighty headless horseman on a lonely night ride.RB 1

Readers of Irving’s evocative prose will be pleased to learn that the lush landscape of the Hudson Valley Irving once described still exists. Heading north across the Tappan Zee Bridge (I-287) over the Hudson River, the spectacular views are what Dutch explorers gazed upon almost 400 years ago.

Journeying along the majestic Hudson River is like time traveling through America's history. You follow the trails of Native Americans, adventurers, and George Washington's Continental Army. The U.S. Military Academy at West Point looms on the western banks, while the eastern shore boasts the opulent Vanderbilt Mansion and many of the grandest estates of the Gilded Age.

Flanked by the Catskill Mountains, the valley’s lush landscapes drew artists to its beauty and inspired America’s first great art movement, the Hudson River School of Art, in the early years of the 19th century. Sharp mountain peaks, deep valleys, spreading woodlands and a patchwork of farms divide the artsy and gentrified communities of the Hudson Valley. Just 100 miles north of Manhattan, the region is celebrated for its plentiful mom-and-pop shops, “u-pick” apple, berry and wildflower fields, and organic farm stands.  

Rockport: Easy Living in Coastal Texas Town Print E-mail

Long Island Boating World Magazine
November/December 2013
It strikes you as the Texas version of a New England fishing village smack on the Gulf of Mexico.Rockport 3

Boasting the friendliness of small-town life where cowpokes rub elbows with shrimpers, artists and travelers, Rockport is perched on the north end of the Lagunda Madre peninsula. Here the muddy brown waters of the Gulf of Mexico begin to sparkle clear and green.  A year-round destination for birding enthusiasts and sport fishermen, the area is one of the best places in the world to see the endangered whooping crane, the largest bird in North America.

Thirty minutes northeast of Corpus Christi, Rockport and its neighbor Fulton are part of a string of small fishing communities that dot miles of preserved mid-Texas shoreline known as the Coastal Bend.  Flanked by Aransas and Copano Bays, Rockport is a short boat ride to the Gulf where a variety of options await anglers and walk-in wade-fishers. The area is a prime habitat for redfish, trout, black drum, flounder and sheepshead.

Goose Island has fishing along the St. Charles Bay shoreline, while the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge grass flats are open to wade-fishing when the whoopers aren’t around. Once the cranes have left, anglers are allowed to wade several prime shoreline areas on San Antonio Bay. It’s a good idea to take along a good road map and some old sneakers or wading boots.

Léger: Modern Arts and the Metropolis Print E-mail
November 2013

It was the dawn of a new century. Paris was undergoing a dizzying transformation. Trains puffing white smoke streaked across the French countryside. Automobiles zipped along rutted roads hurrying to the next destination. The dynamic center of arts and culture, Paris was where Fernand Léger and other avant-garde artists experimented in new ways with cinema, ballet, theater, commercial art and mass media.Leger 1

“It was the artist's job to depict this new myriad of sensory impressions,” Léger wrote. “When one crosses a landscape by automobile or express train it becomes fragmented, it loses descriptive value but gains in synthetic value. The view through the door of the railroad car or the automobile windshield, in combination with the speed, has altered the habitual look of things.”

A new multimedia exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, “Léger: Modern Art and the Metropolis” explores Léger’s career, the European avant-garde and their fascination with the relationship between technology and the individual. The show runs through January 5.

Comprising 180 works, many on loan from public and private collections in Europe and the United States, the exhibit includes numerous media: paintings, film, stage design, posters, graphic and advertising design, and architecture by Léger (1881-1955) and his European colleagues who sought to participate in the complexity and excitement of the metropolis.

Strawbridge’s Moonlight Cloud Sizzles in France Print E-mail

PA Equestrian
November 2013

A year ago Moonlight Cloud nearly shocked the racing world. Closing with her patented late rush, the little bay mare came up a head short to the wonder mare Black Caviar in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. It was the closest the Australian champion came to defeat in 25 starts.MC 1

In early October on racing’s grandest stage in France, Moonlight Cloud showcased her dazzling speed to land the Qatar Prix de la Foret at Longchamp Racecourse outside Paris.

Owned and bred by George Strawbridge Jr., a resident of Cochranville, Pa., the 4-5 favorite Moonlight Cloud unleashed an astounding burst of speed swooping from last to first in scintillating style to capture the seven furlong race by three lengths. The British-bred mare won in 1:14.08 for 1,400 meters and took her overall record to 12 wins, including six Group-1 races, and two seconds from 19 career starts. She has career earnings of nearly $2.2 million.

Moonlight Cloud is trained by Frenchman Freddie Head and was ridden by Thierry Jarnet, already the winner of the legendary Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with Treve earlier in the card.

Dog Day Afternoon Print E-mail

The Ticket
Montgomery County Newspapers
November 2013

She once honed her skills on a softball field. Not anymore. Most weekends will find 13 year-old Berkeley Thompson dressed in conservative blazer and skirt, hair pulled back, scooting around a ring with her Viszla, Paisley, at an American Kennel Club conformation show.Ticket 2

Thompson got started as a dog handler four years ago. In the show ring Thompson matches her strides to the trot of her elegant Viszla. She cajoles Paisley with body language and treats, even funny voices.  It’s all aimed at drawing out the dog’s personality, and winning over a sharp-eyed judge in a two-minute showdown.

With Thompson’s win as a junior handler at the Devon Dog Show in Ludwig’s Corner show in October, she qualified for the Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden. Ranked as the number one junior Vizsla handler (2011-‘12), she has won seven other best junior handler titles. A handler of four show dogs, Thompson regularly triumphs over professional handlers.

"Berkeley is very competitive, goal oriented," observed her mother Susan Thompson, who lives in Limerick. “As a total novice she’s taken the dog world by storm. She walks into the ring, puts a smile on her face and win or lose she knows how to compete."

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