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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

Mastery of Munnings: Middleburg, VA Exhibit Print E-mail

America’s Best Racing
The Jockey Club Website
May 2013

The path Sir Alfred Munnings travelled to artistic greatness commenced with a simple carriage ride with his father.  In his memoir the young lad described the thrill:  Munnings1

“I can see the mare’s pricked up ears in front of us, and the short, silky, silver mane in the breeze.  I can hear the hooves on the road, the jingle of the silver-mounted harness and the sound of the wheels as we bowled along.”

The leading light of English sporting art in the 20th century, Munnings captured the sensation of light and bright colors as stunningly as he captured the spirit of horses. Among his stable of discerning patrons were George V and Elizabeth II of England and American royalty Paul Mellon and John Hay Whitney.

In his autobiography, ''An Artist's Life,'' Munnings wrote: “The horse is one of the greater miracles of nature. Although horses have given me much trouble and many sleepless nights, they have been my supporters and friends. They have been my destiny.''  

The Mighty Citation Print E-mail

America’s Best Racing
The Jockey Club Website
May 2013
Sixty-five years ago, Citation unleashed the greatest three-year-old season in the annals of thoroughbred racing. Blessed with genuine speed, staying power and a seemingly endless desire to win, Citation inspired his handler Jimmy Jones to boldly say: "My horse could beat anything with hair on it.”Citation 2

Citation won 19 of 20 races in 1948. He won at every distance, won at ten different tracks, and won in seven different states travelling the countryside in dusty trucks and sweltering rail cars. He won his races by a total of 66 lengths, and swept the Triple Crown races by a total of 17 lengths. The victories in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes were part of his 16-race win streak.

Citation represented the vaunted Calumet Farm and the Jones boys, its private trainers. Natives of Purnell, Missouri, they captured eight Kentucky Derbys, creating a dynasty that has never been matched. Famed trainer Ben Jones, big, beefy and a feared salon brawler, told his son the evening before the 1948 Kentucky Derby: "Jimmy, you can sleep well tonight, and you can take this as gospel: any horse Citation can see, he can catch. And he's got perfect eyesight."

High Rise Print E-mail

The Hunt Magazine
Spring 2013

What could be more magical than a treehouse?

Standing on the edge of a forest of white oak, hickory and birch with builder Dan Wright, my memories come flooding back: childhood pal Jack and I scramble up the ladder and butt the trap door open with our heads, transporting sleeping bags, flashlights and a small arsenal of water balloons.  Treehouses were a treasure trove of adventure.Tree-Spring2

They still are.  The enchanted hideaways of children have been gaining popularity as an “escape pod” for well-heeled baby boomers and their kids.  Nestled in the crook of a hardwood tree, it is a peaceful and contemplative space where the most audible sound is the rustle of leaves through the open door.  

A decade ago Wright left his career as a custom carpenter to pursue treehouse construction full time. He read books, scoured the Internet and attended a conference in Oregon. An agile man with cropped dark hair, Wright got his start installing red cedar siding on a tree-borne structure built at Longwood Gardens in the style of a Norwegian stave church.

“I was helping Jake Jacob from TreeHouse Workshop,” recalls Wright, 34, owner of Tree Top Builders of West Chester.  “It was a very good experience. But, everyone doubted I could make a living at it. So I had to try.”

Festive Ft. Lauderdale Print E-mail

 Long Island Boating World
April 2013

It has its very own version of the pub crawl, fittingly tabbed the “Cruise for Brews.”

With 300 miles of navigable sparkling waterways that snake through the town, Fort Lauderdale is celebrated as the “Venice of America.” The stunning destination has more registered mega yachts (42,000) than any place on earth.  It also boasts more than 100 marinas and boatyards as well as 165 miles of those scenic canals.LIBW April1

On a sundrenched afternoon my pal Jimmy piloted his runabout on a memorable tour gliding past spectacular mansions, showy yachts and ancient mangroves. We ended up at the Fort Lauderdale Yacht Club joining in its celebrated “Happy (Half) Hour” with Rumrunners on the house. Most visitors aren't so fortunate.  Still, you can hop aboard a water taxi where chatty captains point out the nostalgic homes and canal-side estates.

Water taxis and buses are also utilized for everyday errands and commuting. However, the best aspect of boating here is where you can get from here-- north and south along the Intracoastal Waterway. Miami is a 21-mile run, while the Keys are roughly 50 miles away and it’s a 50 mile international hop to Bimini in good weather.

Fort Lauderdale puts up 3,000 hours of sunshine year round. The locals carry a mellow, unhurried vibe. Each morning runners, bikers, and rollerbladers take to an A1A pathway under swaying palm trees and  views of the peaceful, turquoise water.

Port St. Joe: Small Town Gulf Charm Print E-mail

Long Island Boating World   
February 2013

It was the site of the drafting of the first Florida constitution in 1839.  Located on the shores of St. Joseph Bay in the Florida panhandle, St. Joseph’s was the most populated city in the territory of Florida in its heyday. It boasted one of the first newspapers in print in the nation, one of the first operational railroads, and was prized for its deepwater natural port and resort climate.StJoes 1

Several thousand permanent residents enjoyed an affluent lifestyle by early 19th century standards, fueled by a brisk cotton market. Yet, by the time Florida was admitted as the 27th state in 1845 the town had disappeared almost without a trace.

In truth, the village was all but destroyed when a Spanish freighter docking in the town in 1845 brought yellow fever. Within a month seventy percent of the population was dead, plummeting to less than 400, and then the town was pummeled by two subsequent hurricanes.

Today, the charming coastal city of Port St. Joe sits two miles north of the ruins of the lost city. Sitting on the edge of one of Florida’s pristine bays, Port St. Joe is a destination where visitors can explore a rich history that joins with a fragile environment and spectacular scenery to make this one of the most intriguing places in the Sunshine state.  

Shear Delight Print E-mail

The Hunt Magazine    
Winter 2012

It’s the witching hour of dusk and Blackjack has the urge to run. A dozen alpacas fall in line.

They start with a rhythmic trot then break into a sort of canter along the fence line of a former riding ring. Moving smoothly and noiselessly, the long-necked creatures make their way from one field through a chute into another, zip into a barn and race out the back non-stop. Round and round they go for twenty minutes.Alpacas 1

“Once one starts they all follow, they are so herd-oriented,” says Barbara DuVall, who has operated Briar Rose Alpacas since 1999. “That’s why you just can’t raise one alpaca.”   

On a sun-drenched morning a couple of guests are introduced to a cluster of the gentle animals: Fancy Pants, Aurora, Evening Star, Snickerdoodle, Ginger Snaps, Black Pearls and Silvery Moon. Under a spreading elm tree they mill sociably around us-- quizzical, big-eyed creatures with the luxurious fleece, those oh-so-cute faces, the big ears, the comical hairdos, and the improbably long lashes.

New Qualifying System for the Kentucky Derby Print E-mail

PA Equestrian
February 2013
Three-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert isn’t pleased.  On the flipside, trainer Larry Jones-- who has finished runner-up twice in the Derby with Hard Spun and the ill-fated Eight Belles-- likes the forward thinking.

For the first time since 1986 Churchill Downs officials have elected to overhaul the Kentucky Derby by ditching the graded-stakes earnings as the qualification system in favor of a sliding scale of points for the top four finishers.PAE Feb2012 4

"At least somebody is trying to use their head a little bit," Jones observed. "I like it. It definitely is a move forward. I could not understand how horses who made their earnings early as 2-year-olds going six furlongs, why they should be considered Derby horses."

Officially branded as the “Road to the Kentucky Derby,” the new point system will feature 36 stakes races overall and include 17 marquee events for three-year old thoroughbreds that comprise a compact 10-week run up to the first Saturday in May. Now known as the "Kentucky Derby Championship Series," the change will be in effect for the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4.

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