Travel


Easy Going Pass-a-Grille Print E-mail

Florida Today

January 7, 2018

“See you at Sunset!” It's a frequent greeting in Pass-a-Grille. Folks gather at the Paradise Grille to watch the glowing red-orange sun sink into the Gulf of Mexico horizon. One lucky guest is chosen to ring a ceremonial ship's bell, exactly 15 times. Over the past two decades, seven thousand people from around the world have rung the bell and signed their names and remembrances in the guest books, now on their 20th volume.Pass 6

Call it a perfect snapshot of the sleepy little Keys-type community populated as much by pelicans as people. Occupying the narrow southern tail of St. Pete Beach, Pass-a-Grille is nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and Boca Ciega Bay. The quirky beach town is a mere thirty one blocks long and one block wide.

Each morning wiry kids with spinning rods in their hands line the seawall on the east side of the town. On gusty days its broad sugary white beaches play host to kite boarders. Kayakers and paddle boarders navigate the Gulf waters most afternoons. Loggerhead sea turtles nest here during the summer.

History says Spanish explorer Panfilo de Narvaez landed at Pass-a-Grille in 1528. The town is named for the 18th century "grilleurs" who would stop on the beaches here to smoke their day’s catch in order to preserve it for the trip home. It is mostly a residential community of well-preserved clapboard cottages, cozy inns, and an occasional waterfront mansion. Old Florida palms line the streets, which offer a collection of off-beat shops, art galleries, and waterfront restaurants.

 
Surfing Santas Shred Waves in Cocoa Beach Print E-mail

 

Delaware County Times
December 10, 2017

You never know where a kooky idea will lead.SSantas 01

On Christmas Eve 2009, George Trosset went surfing dressed as Santa out back of his beachside residence in Cocoa Beach, Fla. His son and daughter-in-law dressed up as elves. The local newspaper published a picture on the front page of its Christmas Day edition. When Trossset's buddies spotted the picture, they asked about joining in the holiday spirit. The following year 19 turned up to hit some gnarly waves.

Flash forward to 2016. Surfing Santas is a full-on, mega event. As the sun poked in and out of high clouds on Christmas Eve early morning a steady stream of 772 Saint Nick costumed surfers (topping 648 in 2015) grabbed their surfboards and carved the waves, while an estimated 8,000 spectators poured onto the sand near Coconuts restaurant in Cocoa Beach.

Dressed in themed outfits – Frosty the Snowman, Santa and Mrs. Claus, gingerbread men, reindeer, elves toy soldiers and other holiday characters-- the spring-break type throng stretched out over two city blocks. They stayed for hours entertained on the main stage by the surf-roots band The Aquanauts, Balsa Bill singing Mele Kalikimaka on the ukulele, and the Brevard Hawaiian Dancers.

 
The Middleburg Mystique Print E-mail

 Florida Today

November 19, 2017

Driving along Highway 50 you feel as if you've been transported into the middle of an English countryside where low stone walls gracefully wind through rolling pastures that stretch to the horizon. Hay bales dot the landscape. Welcome to the heart of Virginia’s horse country.MiddleburgHuntReview

Forty miles southwest of our nation's capitol, the tiny community of Middleburg (pop. 750) is set in the lush foothills of the Blue Ridge and Bull Run mountains. In 1750 an enthusiastic 16 year-old named George Washington came to survey the surrounding lands. More than 200 years later Jackie Kennedy galloped on horseback across its lush hills as she rode with the Orange County Hunt.

One of the quaintest destinations on the east coast, its fox hunts, antiques shops, and nearby vineyards are year-round attractions. The Virginia Gold Cup is one of the nation’s most prominent steeplechase races attracting a crowd in excess of 50,000 at the Great Meadow in Plains, Va. the first Saturday in May.

Still, the most festive event is the annual “Christmas in Middleburg,” a three-day yuletide extravaganza beginning December 1. On Saturday the Middleburg Hunt & Hound Review takes to the streets creating the spectacular sight of 150 horses with riders in black leather boots, breeches, and pink and black hunting coats. In keeping with the animal friendliness of the town, the parade includes horses, foxhounds, ponies, llamas, alpacas and a variety of dog breeds, all trotting down Washington Street. Treading on the coattails of the foxhunters, floats, bands, and troops pass by, and the signature antique fire trucks-- and, of course, Santa, who closes the parade riding on an ornate horse-drawn coach.

 
Florida manatees taken off Fed's endangered list, but danger still lurks Print E-mail

 Long Island Boating World Magazine

December 2017

The battle rages on.Manatee 01

Earlier this year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced it downlisted the Florida manatee from “endangered” to “threatened.”

In its review, the feds considered the status of the roly-poly West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) throughout its range, which includes the Florida manatee subspecies, found primarily in the southeastern United States, and the Antillean manatee, found in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Central America, northern South America and the Greater and Lesser Antilles.

Gentle giants sporting whiskery faces, the Florida manatee have large, seal-like bodies that taper down to powerful flat tails. Averaging nine to ten feet in length, the "sea cows" weigh around 1,000 pounds but can grow as large as thirteen feet and weigh 3,000 pounds. They have a pair of agile forelimbs that act like arms or flippers to help them maneuver where they graze slowly on plants in shallow waters along the state’s coast. Slow movers, most of their time is spent eating vegetation (100-150 pounds per day), resting, and traveling.

 
Rhinebeck: A Hudson Valley Gem Print E-mail

 Florida Today

September 3, 2017

Washington Irving wrote the famous short story" The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" almost 200 years ago, telling the fearsome tale of the gangly and superstitious schoolteacher Ichabod Crane being menaced by a mighty headless horseman on a lonely night ride. Ever since, it has captured the imaginations of millions.RB 01

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, sailing ships, and George Washington's Continental Army. The U.S. Military Academy at West Point dominates 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 rolling countryside 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. Just 90 miles north of Manhattan, the region is celebrated for its plentiful mom-and-pop organic farm stands, “u-pick” apple, berry and wildflower fields.

 
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