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.  

Exploring the North Country of the Empire State Print E-mail

Delaware County Times
September 8, 2013

Adirondack chairs at the Harren Brook Inn stare across majestic Saratoga Lake, the namesake of the mountain range that rises on the horizon.NorthCountry 1

Anglers flock here each summer in pursuit of large and small mouth bass, northern pike and walleye.  But the season's end ushers in another tradition in these parts: leaf peeping. Dotted by lakes, ponds and streams the Adirondack forests are home to towering ash, birch, red maple, oak, spruce and aspen, the last to turn colors.

The quandary: where to begin touring the vast stretches of the Empire State's North Country?  

We chose the Lakes to Locks Passage (it stretches over 200 miles) in upstate New York, where we followed the waterway that the super-powers of the 18th century -- France and Great Britain -- sought to control for the empire of North America.

Breakfast Club: Rise and Shine Cuisine Print E-mail

The Hunt Magazine Website
June 2013

My wife’s family is from Savannah.  This invariably elicits a stream of oohs and aahs for the town’s 22 lush town squares. Stunning wrought iron and antebellum homes.  Savannah also boasts plenty of innovative dining spots.BC Hunt1

But 18 miles over the marshes from town, you’ll find quirky Tybee Island. On the tiny island (three miles long, one mile across) flip-flops are standard fashion at weddings and Sunday mass. Meeting times are problematic. At the Beach Bum Parade, held each spring, islanders take up arms – wielding water hoses, super-soakers and even pressure washers -- soaking anyone who dares to stroll down Butler Avenue, the main drag. The event is billed as the world's biggest water fight.

The town is well-stocked with colorful characters. Attorney Frank “Sonny” Seiler defended Jim Williams, a wealthy Savannah antiques dealer charged with the murder of a young hustler. The ten-year epic drama played out in John Berendt’s bestselling book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” Still, Sonny is best known as the caretaker of the University of Georgia’s wrinkly, pure white bulldog mascot, Uga, now numbering VII. Back in the day, Sonny was a Tybee lifeguard.

Jodee Sadowsky is another. He is the proprietor of the Breakfast Club, a morning restaurant jewel.  A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Sadowsky gave up a prime spot as head chef at a “foodie” restaurant in Phoenix to return to Tybee three decades ago to help his mother Helen when her arthritis kicked into overdrive.

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.  

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