Summertime and the living is easy. Especially in Duck, NC, where we will be for the rest of July and most of August. The place is hopping. Vacation season is here and it looks like people are making up for the horrible 2020.
The setting is gorgeous; the weather is terrific and there are plenty of excellent restaurants. But to get in, it’s best tp make a reservation well in advance.
We arrived late Friday afternoon and have already gone to some fine restaurants and to the beach. Here are some sunrise photos, beach photos and night photos, with more to come as the month progresses.
Thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak our travel plans have changed quite a bit. The 2 month trip to Florence and Rome—well that didn’t happen. Three cheers for British Airways and Road Scholar for promptly sending us refunds after Italy shut down the country. The same can not be said for Hotel Adriano in Rome. After initially promising a refund, they tried to back out until we reported them to American Express. After that they saw the light.
On a happier note, we traveled to the outer banks and stayed in Duck, North Carolina for two weeks. What a spectacular place–for instance, see the image below.
The Outer Banks are a series of barrier islands located between the Atlantic Ocean and Currituck Sound. There aren’t any cities on the 100 miles + of the Outer Banks. Instead the islands are mostly populated by small seaside villages and towns. It is a favorite vacation spot, attracting visitors from the Northeast as well as Virginia, Georgia and the Carolinas.
We rented a house for a 2 week stay in Duck, a tony village with plenty of gorgeous beaches, fishing spots and restaurants. That’s right. Restaurants you can actually go to and sit inside and have cocktails and dinner. Or you can get a table outside and relax over food and drinks.
There are other places to go to as wee—for instance Kitty Hawk, where Orville and Wilbur Wright made their first historic flight in their flying machine back in December 1903. And then there is Corolla Park with the architectural masterpiece Whalehead and its Museum.
If you get a chance, visit the Outer Banks and the town of Duck. You’ll be glad you did.
Here are a couple of photos from our trip (below), taken with a Leica Q2 camera. Click on a photo to enlarge it. They can be licensed at Evocative Photos.
We spent a busy weekend in the nation’s capitol. Among other things we saw an absolutely terrific performance of My Fair Lady at the Kennedy Center. Shereen Ahmed, a 26 year old graduate of Townson University was perfectly cast as Eliza Doolittle. She lit up the stage with an astonishingly versatile voice which she combined with first rate acting. The Kennedy Center revival performances of My Fair Lady are the beginning of a national tour. Don’t miss it if it comes to a theatre near you.
We stayed at the Watergate for the weekend which now advertises that you don’t have to break in to enjoy the place. We also got a chance to stop in to see the exhibits on display at the Phillips Collection of Modern art and the National Geographic Museum. The National Geographic had an exhibit featuring Jane Goodall, known for her path breaking field work on chimpanzees in Africa. Both the National Geographic and Phillips Collection Museums are certainly worth a visit when in DC. Finally I should mention a very good French Bistro, the Opaline Bar and Brasserie, where we had dinner. Good food, great atmosphere and a fine Martini can be had there.
We took a short trip down to the Tampa-St.Pete area on the Gulf Coast to celebrate my sister’s wedding. The weather in February was perfect. St. Petersburg is a vibrant town with impressive parks, restaurants and spaces for art.
We stayed at the Don Cesar, a first rate hotel, and met some friends who live nearby for dinner.
We also headed out to visit Fort De Soto Park in Tierra Verde. It’s the largest park within Pinellas County. It is made up of 5 interconnected islands and encompasses 1,136 acres. It has 7 miles of waterfront that includes 3 miles of sandy beaches; there are campsites, a museum, a ferry service, food concessions, birdwatching, swimming, nature trails—you name it. And if you don’t have a car, you can just Uber over and back.
One of the very nice things about living in Virginia is the abundance of historical sights. For instance, the Smithsonian is 15 miles away in DC; there is the Manassas National Battlefield Park, and the Mount Vernon Ladies Association maintains Washington’s farm and mansion and runs a first rate museum and film center.
We recently paid a visit to Washington’s mansion and the grounds in Mount Vernon. The tour begins with an excellent short film that focuses on Washington’s leadership in the Revolutionary War. The grounds are beautiful and the story is inspiring. It is hard—impossible actually—not to reflect on the courage and leadership of Washington compared to the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. That alone makes the trip worthwhile, even though there is so much more.
Perhaps the difference between Washington and the current crop is best summed byWashington when he said “I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.” Something to think about.
Well, here we are in Key West, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, also known as the Conch Republic. It is quite a scene. In some respects, it bears a faint resemblance to Nashville’s honky-tonk scene. There are lots of bars and restaurants with working musicians playing guitars looking for a break. Like Jimmy Buffet. But Key West is far more upscale.
Located in the Straits of Florida, Key West (Cayo Hueso in Spanish) is an island city at the Southernmost point of the North American Continent. It is closer to Cuba than it is to Miami. He island is very small—only 1 mile long and 4 miles wide. If you walk the length of Duval Street (the main street) you will have walked from the Gulf of Mexico at one end to the Florida Straits and the Atlantic Ocean on the other.
The permanent population is about 25,000, and tourism is a very big deal here. And the tourists arrive by plane, auto, ferry and cruise ship. In the first three months of 2018 alone, cruise ships brought about 275,000 tourists to the island and airplanes brought about 120,000.
Key West is (or was) home to quite a few notables, including Earnest Hemmingway, John Dos Passos, Tennessee Williams, John Dewey, Winslow Homer and Calvin Klein to name a few.
Anyway, Key West is a more than a bit bohemian with an independent streak and a live-and-let live attitude that is kind of refreshing. More than refreshing, actually. There may be a lesson here.
Here (below) are some photos taken during our too short stay.
We are back from a short visit to the Finger Lakes region of New York State. The region is gorgeous, especially as the leaves begin to turn as fall arrives. Small towns dot the landscape, and except for the larger cities like Ithaca, home of Cornell, it is mostly rural territory. And it has those scenic lakes, particularly Lake Seneca and Lake Cayuga. Seneca is the largest and deepest of the Finger Lakes measured by area; it extends to a depth of 618 feet at its deepest point. Cayuga is the longest lake at 38 miles, but it is not as deep as Seneca. Cayuga’s maximum depth is 435 feet.
In addition to the beautiful scenery, the area has lots of vineyards, so of course we went wine tasting. And we had some very nice Cabs and Chards.
The Finger Lakes region is home to the Women’s Rights Movement, and it has a number of museums celebrating that fact. Like all political movements, in the fervor of the moment the participants tend to get carried away. The early suffragettes claimed that by allowing women to vote the nation would rid itself of corruption. Moreover, they insisted that women would never support legislation in favor of women only. Well, we know how that worked out. (See below).
All in all the Finger Lakes region is well worth a visit. But unless you are a professor at Cornell or a wine producer, there doesn’t seem to be all that much opportunity here.
Anyway, some photos of our travels below. Please click on the photos below to see large, high resolution versions.
It’s tough to beat the natural beauty of New England. We recently took a trip up to Saratoga Springs to visit the track, then on to The Clark museum in Williamstown, and then onto Lenox Massachusetts where we were able to see Yo Yo Ma play with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood. And we got to see a boat go through lock #4 in New York State.
A beautiful summer morning—just right for a photo walk with Michael and Beverly Miller in Asbury Park. We started at Convention Hall early when we had the pale morning light, and wandered around taking photos as the sky brightened and the beach and boardwalk began to fill up.