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The Mystique of Martin Guitars

KSC 7

Kennedy Space Center Delivers an Epic Journey


About Terry Conway

 For the past fifteen years I’ve been a contributing writer to a variety of national & regional magazines, daily newspapers 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've also contributed 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 ESPN.com, America's Best Racing, the Paulick Report and Thoroughbred Racing Commentary. I am a regular contributor to the following top-flight travel websites: JustLuxe, JustSayGo, Gallaghers Travels and SeeTheSouth, as well as the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association website.

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

Easy-Going Anna Maria Island Print E-mail

Florida Today

January 15, 2017

Longboat Key, the glitzy island just south, grabs all the buzz. That sits fine with Anna Maria Island residents who are more than content to hang out on the seven mile stretch of powdery white sand or kayak alongside a pod of bottle nosed dolphins in the Gulf's teal-colored waters.Anna 1

Tucked on a slim barrier island 40 miles from Tampa, Anna Maria Island is dominated by palm trees and low slung Crayola-colored beach cottages. The ladle shaped island is actually three small communities-- Anna Maria to the north, Holmes Beach in the middle and Bradenton Beach to the south. It feels like the type of beach town that you visited when you were a kid. No fast food joints or buildings higher than three stories. There are scores of renovated old-timey motels, one grocery store, and no cinema. So go catch a gorgeous sunset.

Legend has it that a Spanish explorer discovered and named the place Ana Maria Cay in honor of the Virgin Mary and her mother Anne. The island’s first homesteader, George Emerson Bean, purchased a tract of land on the north end of the island in 1893. Two decades later Charles Roser-- the man who invented the legendary Fig Newton-- sank his million-dollar windfall into developing the town. Home sites were hacked out of a jungle. Built in 1912, Roser's original clapboard home still stands next to the Siam Garden Resort.

 
The Christians: Hell to Pay Print E-mail

 

WFIT (NPR Radio, Melbourne, Fla)

March 21, 2017

Inspiration for an actor travels down many avenues.Chris 2

Take Vanessa Kai. A number of years ago she joined a few friends from the Discovery Channel who were filming a segment for "After Dark in New York City." Their mission: bungee jumping 16 stories at 3:00 in the morning off the Manhattan Bridge that crosses the East River. It's illegal, but also an adrenaline seeker's dream.

Kai walked to the bridge's edge, said an expletive. Then jumped. Scanning the twinkling Manhattan skyline, it was a five-second freefall, tied only by her ankles, flying through the darkness toward the river. Once the chord was stretched to its limit she rocketed back skyward toward the bridge. Kai bounced up and down on the elastic cord until the energy of the fall was exhausted and then a "yank 'em up" rope was tossed down. She attached it around her waist and was hoisted back to the bridge by the other jumpers.

"I took a break from acting and found I had fallen into an uninspiring routine,” Kai recalled from her hotel in Vero Beach. “I wanted to create lifelong, lasting memories. When the moment came, I remember looking down and all I saw was a sea of blackness. And I asked myself, ‘Am I really going to do this?’ You know what, pride is a powerful thing. I needed to let go. It was an experience that nurtures you as a human and as an artist. I think it’s important to keep your spirit alive.

 
Timeless South Pacific Lights Up Surfside Print E-mail

 

WFIT (NPR Radio, Melbourne, Fla)

March 6, 2017

Who doesn't love the catchy tunes of this blockbuster musical that debuted nearly seven decades ago?SP 1

Cocoa Beach's Surfside Playhouse brings to life one of the most celebrated American musicals in their current production of South Pacific where the sky is a bright canary yellow, the water an idyllic clear blue and love can happen at first glance. It's a sweeping romance with a storyline that tells the story of two couples whose love is tested by the dangers of war and prejudices of their times.

It's adapted from the 19 interconnected stories that James Michener wove into his Pulitzer Prize-winning Tales of the South Pacific, which in turn inspired Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, South Pacific. It is set on a Pacific island paradise during World War II in 1944.

Hammerstein’s script remains remarkable for its simultaneous simplicity and subtlety. Under the stellar direction of Bryan Bergeron, the Surfside production hits all of the themes, its plot and music addressing two parallel love stories and universal issues like racial prejudice, sexism, war, fear, and uncertainty.

 
Shooting for the Moon, $20 Million Prize Print E-mail

by Terry Conway 

Melbourne Beachsider

February 16, 2017

Call it the "Great Moon Rush." The race is on to launch the first privately funded lander to the moon by the end of the year. That's the deadline for an international contest where the winner takes home the Google Lunar XPRIZE's $20 million grand prize.Moon 1

The competition requires the winning team's spacecraft to land on the moon and maneuver (hop) at least 500 meters to another landing site, and beam high-definition video, photos and data back to Earth. It marks a return to the moon for the first time in 40 years.

For the space startup Moon Express, based in Cape Canaveral, it's full speed ahead. Their lunar lander is the MX-1E. The size of the fictional robot character R2-D2, the spacecraft is designed to ride to a high Earth orbit on the top of a commercial rocket where it'll fire its engines and head to the moon.

However, Moon Express will not utilize the Cape Canaveral complex as a launch site. They've found a better deal. It plans to launch the MX-1E on an Electron rocket from U.S.-New Zealand company Rocket Labs. The vehicle is scheduled to make the first of three test launches from a pad in Auckland, New Zealand in March. Four other space teams have their launch contracts in place to compete for the Google Lunar XPRIZE as well.

In an historic ruling Moon Express became the first private company to win U.S. government approval to fly a commercial deep space mission. Moon Express submitted an application to launch missions beyond the Earth orbit to the U. S. Federal Aviation Administration that took months to work its way through a number of other government organizations.

 
Mame Wows Riverside Audience Print E-mail

 

WFIT (NPR Radio, Melbourne, Fla)

March 1, 2017

Director James Brennan told Michele Ragusa she was born to play the role of Mame Dennis. She thinks he just might be right.Mame 1

"I just love her zest for life. I'm all about that myself, enjoying life to the fullest, having a good time and making everyone around me have one as well," says a vivacious Ragusa in a telephone interview from Plainfield, New Jersey home.

After starring as Dolly Gallagher Levi in Hello Dolly! last season, Ragusa returns to Vero's Riverside Theatre in the lead role of the classic Jerry Herman musical Mame, which runs from March 7 through 26.

Ragusa nails the free-spirited 1920s New Yorker, taking to the role with gusto. With a mighty voice and a brash sensibility, Ragusa superbly conveys Mame's ravenous optimism in such numbers as "Open a New Window" and "We Need a Little Christmas."

Directed and choreographed by Brennan, the company will be headed by Ragusa whose extensive Broadway credits include Young Frankenstein, Urinetown, A Class Act, Ragtime and Cyrano.

 
Port D'Hiver, a Beachside B&B Treasure Print E-mail

 Melbourne Beachsider

March 2, 2017

Linda Rydson's roots run deep. Her great-grandfather built a home in Melbourne in 1906. Growing up near Baltimore, her family visited the place several times a year.Port 1

"We would often spend the day at Ocean Park Beach," recalled Rydson, a resident of Melbourne Beach for 30 years. "I knew that historic house on the bend and was always intrigued by it."

Back in May 2003, a realtor friend alerted Linda and her husband Mike that the legendary "Pinky Brown House" was going on the market. They met with owners George and Cheryl Schmidt and fell in love with the original sand chimney, fireplace, French doors, longleaf pine floors, exposed beams, and a courtyard that features a coquina fountain, all paying homage to the beach town's eclectic history.

The couple purchased the home that would become the luxury B&B Port d'Hiver for $550,000. It offers a dazzling view of the Atlantic, but came with strangely tilted hardwood floors.

"The floors were uneven, one side of the home raised about four inches above the other," recalled Mike Rydson, a former mechanical engineer at Harris Corporation. "Linda thought it was sort of quaint, but I thought if people have two glasses of wine they would tip right over."

 
Spotting the Rarest Whale on Earth Print E-mail

 Long Island Boating World

February 2017

Thar she blows!6 RightWhale_FFWCC

Each year from December through March a remarkable event takes place. North Atlantic right whales migrate to the warm, calm coastal waters of the southeast Atlantic coast to give birth and nurse their calves. Then in the spring they head back north to feeding grounds in the Bay of Fundy between Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

Some come within a couple hundred yards of the beach. Mothers can be seen schooling newborn calves, while juvenile whales frolic nearby. One of the most endangered marine mammals in the world, North Atlantic right whales reach lengths of up to 55 feet and can weigh from 40 to 70 tons. Mostly black with whitish patches on the head and belly, they have a graceful and deeply notched "fluke," or tail. Two blowholes on the top of its head give a distinctive V-shape to a right whale's spout.

In the early 1900s whalers, ironically, tagged them the "right whale" to kill. Residing in shallow coastal waters the whales stayed close to land and swam slowly. Easy to harpoon, they tended conveniently to float after they died, thanks high levels of blubber, which whalers turned into valuable oil. Even more valuable was the baleen from its upper jaw. A tough yet flexible material in long strips that was finely fringed, it was coveted for everything from buggy whips ( "I'm going to whale on you") to corset stays and umbrella ribs.

 
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