Minis 03

Few can resist the charm of the miniature horse

Martin 6

The Mystique of Martin Guitars

Starman Carousel

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

The Feather Thief Print E-mail

WFIT (NPR Radio - Melbourne, Fla)

June 18, 2018

Back in the early 20th century a four acre spit of land was a thriving bird rookery in the Indian River Lagoon just below Sebastian. Beautiful herons, egrets, spoonbills and pelicans were so plentiful it was hard to fathom that these birds might soon disappear.Feather 01

Then came the plume hunters. They stalked the local birds for their dramatic colorful plumage coveted by the booming New York City millinery trade that produced fancy hats for the most fashionable ladies of society who were in a frenzy over feathered hats.

After a while Sebastian boat builder Paul Kroegel had seen enough. He developed his own conservation plan by positioning both his small sailboat and his 5'6'' frame between him and the faster boats of the bird hunters. He wore a big hat and carried a double-barreled 10-gauge shotgun to make his point. After President Roosevelt signed an executive order establishing Pelican Island as America's first National Wildlife Refuge, Kroegel was named the first refuge warden and remained in the area protecting the population of birds until his death decades later.

A little more than a century later England had its own astonishing endangered bird tale. Skillfully told by author Kirk Johnson, The Feather Thief (Viking, 248 pages) reads like a classic crime thriller, the story of an unlikely thief and his even more unlikely crime that weaves together a British museum break-in, the development of evolutionary theory, endangered birds, greed and the clandestine underworld of fly-tying masters into a spellbinding tale.

SpaceX Launches Radical Block 5 Print E-mail

Space Waves

May 15, 2018

In 2002 when Elon Musk revealed his idea of making rocket flights comparable to air travel many folks in and outside of the aerospace industry thought he was more than a bit looney.SpaceX Block5

Fast forward. On May 11 SpaceX successfully launched its most modern Falcon 9 rocket delivering the first Bangladeshi telecom satellite into orbit. The first stage booster landed approximately 11 minutes after liftoff on a drone ship floating 340 nautical miles down range of Cape Canaveral in the Atlantic Ocean. It was the 25th successful landing of a booster rocket by the Hawthorne, Calif. company.

The enhanced version of Falcon 9 is called Block 5. Musk sees a host of new milestones for SpaceX, including launching and landing the same rocket twice in 24 hours – as early as next year.

"We expect [Block 5] to be the mainstay of SpaceX business," Musk said in a teleconference with space reporters a day before the launch. “We still need to demonstrate it. It’s not like we’ve done it. But it can be done.”

Mighty Minis Print E-mail

Vero Beach Magazine

May 2018

Famous for beautiful women, IKEA and the Spotify music service, Sweden is reveling in its latest pop culture star. He goes by Vinnie the Dreamer. Standing just 30 inches tall, the handsome chestnut miniature horse with a blonde mane and tail is starring in a wildly popular series of television ads for the ATG Swedish gaming company that returns profits to the equine industry. Young or old, few can resist the charm of the miniature horse.Minis 06

"He's all the rage in Sweden," says Johnny Dent, who bred the 6-year old "mini" at his Dent Family Miniature Horse Ranch in west Vero Beach. "He narrates the TV spots. I'm told he learned to move his lips on cue when the trainer tapped his rear hoof. Some people actually think he can talk like Mister Ed. When they take him to the racetrack each week, he needs a bodyguard. He's a rock star over there."

The pint-size horses tend to be very willing, sociable, and extremely smart with big-size personalities. Not ponies, they have long slim legs in the same proportions as a regular-sized horse – just smaller. Too little to ride, minis work eagerly when hitched to a cart where they can pull four times their own weight.

Miniature horses are bred for superb conformation and outstanding dispositions. The result is a beautifully proportionate tiny equine that is suitable to a variety of uses: as pets, show animals, and a form of therapy for disabled people and even guides for the blind. In the show ring, minis compete in halter and conformation contests and in performance events from obstacle driving and jumping to chuckwagon racing and equine agility trials. Minis can hit speeds of 25 mph, turn on a dime.

The Secret World of Seahorses Print E-mail

 Long Island Boating World Magazine

May 2018

There’s no denying that seahorses are mesmerizing little creatures. They sport a head that resembles that of a horse. Have eyes like a chameleon, a pouch like a kangaroo and a prehensile tail like a monkey. Ready for their most unusual trait? A seahorse is the only the male who gets pregnant and gives birth in the animal kingdom.Sea 01

Unique among fish for having bent necks and long-snouted heads, they mirror horses. They swim vertically, bony plates reinforce their entire body and they have no teeth, a rare feature in fish. Seahorses (genus Hippocampus erectus) move their fins very quickly similar to a hummingbird, but are notorious as one of the slowest swimmers on the planet. On the other hand, they are quite maneuverable and able to move up, down, forward and backward.

Those extraordinary looks and surprising social behavior have earned seahorses a mythic stature along the lines of unicorns. The aquatic creatures have been lionized in popular culture starring in cartoons and Disney movies such as The Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo. However, their universal appeal has worked against them. About 25 million seahorses are plucked from the wild each year for display or medicinal purposes.

Tiny in size and coming in a rainbow of colors, lined seahorses have been consistently listed as one of the most popular exhibit animals in zoos and public aquaria. Members of the pipefish family, seahorses boast specialized structures in their skin cells which allow them to change color to mimic their surroundings. The thumbnail-size pygmy seahorses are masters of camouflage and survive by attaching to vibrant corals where they become nearly invisible to both predators and researchers.

The Wild Spots of Longboat Key Print E-mail

Florida Today

March 13, 2018

A thin sliver of land nestled between the turquoise waters of Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, Longboat Key (LBK) is both simple and opulent offering a scenic and delightful destination. Less than 11 miles in length, it boasts the rare combination of beautiful beaches and a bevy of cultural gems in Sarasota just to the south. One of the more refreshing finds is LBK's natural side.Zota Beach

My wife and I arrived on the barrier island for a holiday stay at the Zota Beach Resort. Uber-modern and sleek, it's surrounded by tropical blooms, lush foliage and swaying palm trees. Great egrets and great blue herons fish at the water's edge, while cormorants, ospreys and pelicans wheel overhead then swoop down into the Gulf in search of a meal.

A five minute drive south brings visitors to Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. From its humble beginnings in a tiny one-room building in 1955, Mote has evolved into a world-class research center that conducts ocean research on six of the world's seven continents.

All the exhibits are beautifully executed to reflect the natural habitat of its inhabitants. First up you see a fresh water stingray, a scary 27-foot Moray Eel, and the black and white striped Convict Fish who spend their adult lives hidden in coral tunnels. Then you enter the area called "Grass Flats, Reef Fish & Jellies," a bonanza of all sorts of beautiful reef dwellers. A favorite are the upside down jellyfish that produce algae with their tentacles.

Derby Field Shaping Up as One of the Best Print E-mail

Florida Today

May 2, 2018

Sports fans know all about the "Curse of the Billy Goat." It was placed on the Chicago Cubs when local tavern owner William "Billy Goat" Sianis cursed the Cubs when he was not allowed to bring his pet goat, Murphy, into Wrigley Field to watch a 1945 World Series game. The curse was finally snapped when the team won the 2016 World Series.Derby18 01

But what about the "Curse of Apollo?" It now stands at 136 years-- the oldest curse in American sports. No unraced 2-year old has gone on to win the Kentucky Derby since Apollo in 1882.

Since 1937, sixty one horses have entered the Derby without a race at two. Their record, a collective "0 for 61." Most recently Bodemeister came the closest to ending the famed Apollo streak in the 2012 Derby. The Bob Baffert trainee tried to wire the field, opening a clear lead at the top of the stretch, only to be worn down by I'll Have Another in the final sixteenth of a mile.

This year a pair of budding superstars, Justify and Magnum Moon, head to Kentucky both undefeated looking to sack the so-called Apollo curse in the 144th renewal of the "Run for the Roses" on May 5.

SpaceX Launches a Planet-Hunting Satellite Print E-mail

Space Waves

April 20, 2018

It is all about TESS.TESS 01

Into an early evening perfect crystal blue sky, a Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral on a planet-hunting mission which is expected to identify thousands of planets in our cosmic backyard.

Departing on April 18, the rocket carried with it the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) that is adding to the bounty provided over the past decade by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.

“The search for worlds beyond our solar system continues today with the launch of our @NASA_TESS spacecraft,” tweeted NASA after the launch.

The spacecraft is expected to peer at hundreds of thousands of bright neighboring stars, seeking planets that might support life. Scientists found the planets discovered by Kepler are too distant and too faint for practical study. But those found by TESS should be close enough for mega telescopes of the future to detect any atmospheric signs of life.

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