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Saturday, February 28, 2009

More Florida Pictures

Today, I will do less talk and provide more photos of our Florida experience for you.
Today was our last day at the beach because tomorrow will be cooler (only in the 60's) and then on Monday we are heading north. We will spend Monday night about an hour north of here (visiting my husband's sister who is down here for a month) and then we will head for true north, traveling back up to Michigan.
We have had a wonderful time on our journey, and I am so glad to share these images with you all:










John's Pass!

When we got to Florida, one of the things we did first was check out the neighborhood and then we went to John's Pass. It is a shopping/tourist area located on one of the causeways and ocean. It is the home of the famous Bubba Gump's restaurant which features seafood and (of course!) shrimp!






It is full of shops and you can catch deep-sea fishing charters there and of course take their famous "pirate cruises". Everything is geared toward the pirate theme. You can get pirate anythings!


But,one of the funniest moments for me and my daughter was during a break we took at one of their little outdoor pubs. It was a warm, sunny wonderful afternoon.
First, I was aiming my camera out at the water to catch shots of their many pelicans (which I LOVE!).


A couple was sitting next to me at a little table. The guy was a HUGE man and had Mardi Gras beads on. He was sitting with a tiny woman (wife?). They asked what kind of camera I had and we chatted about it for a bit. Then she said: "He was going to sing here today, but his throat was too sore!" Evidently he and a saxophone player were going to be the singers outside for the bar. So, I look to my left and there is this guy with a saxophone and a fake set of (blonde!) dreadlocks over his black hair and dressed like a pirate. He has his official eyepatch on......the whole deal.
So, we end our conversation and I head back to my table, where my hubby and daughter are.
They tease me about trying to pick up the Mardi Gras-bead-wearing-sore-throat-guy.
Then, the sax player starts.


He actually sounded pretty good. (Maybe it was the mixed drink I was having out in the sun?). He's playing reggae and oldies, and I am getting into it.
Then, a pelican comes and lands REALLY close. Like right behind the sax player's shoulders while he is singing.
So, I jump up, and standing in a corner pretty far from the singer, I raise my camera to see if I can use my zoom lens to zoom in on the pelican (beyond the singer).
Well, the sax player sees me aiming at his general area, and thinks I am filming him.
He starts smiling, (dare I say flirting?) and nodding his head at me as he is singing.
By then, I had already taken the bird photo and am just cracking up. So then I think, "what the hell!" and I snap two photos of him. Here he is (in all his glory!):



So, I get back to my table and I am giggling, telling my daughter that the guy was winking at me.
And, in deadpan manner, she says: "MOM! How can you TELL he was winking at you? He has an eyepatch on!"
Then, without missing a beat, she says: "You Know....when you are a pirate, every blink is a wink!"
(Because of the eyepatch!!!)
Of course we get a giggle fit like no other.
Since she is good at graphic arts, she says to me: "When I get home, I am going to make something we can use to put on a T-shirt that says: "When you are a pirate, every blink is a wink!" and makes this:





We still get the giggles whenever we see an eyepatch or a pirate.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Florida: At Last!!!!

Here is a map of the final part of our trip down to Florida. Just hit the minus sign a few times to get a smaller map:


View Larger Map

We drove right from Savannah to my daughter's house in Madeira Beach, Florida. We considered going down the east coast to Palm Beach Shores to see my elderly Aunt Elsie, but when we called her, she wasn't feeling well, and we did not want to disturb her by coming to visit and stressing her. We put the quickest route on our TOMTOM GPS, only to be directed into Orlando. BIG MISTAKE! There had been an accident and traffic was backed up for miles. It took us nearly 2 1/2 hours to go through the city and it was almost bumper to bumper. Then, that made us so late that we hit Tampa on their rush hour and it was also bumper to bumper due to some construction on one of the causeways.
Isn't it always the case that when you get close to the end of a trip...it seems like it takes forever to get there?
Anyway, the GPS got us to her front door about an hour before she got home from work. She had left a key for us, so we let ourselves in and awaited anxiously for that BIG HUG from her when she came in the door. (We haven't been together in person for over 7 months!) Sure felt good!!!!
We have been to the beach for two days now because the temperature finally warmed up to 78 to 80 degrees. Madeira Beach has several small little beaches along the coast so it isn't crowded and you can walk for miles down the shore.
For today's post, I am going to put some random Florida pictures for you below. I have some more of John's Pass which I will save for tomorrow's post. I have a lot of photos of the birds down here, because I think the birds are fantastic. Enjoy!~



This little guy waited for the light to change at a busy intersection and then crossed the street! Smart bird!:




One of the many sunsets I was blessed to see:



A few photos of the local flowers I saw along the many walks we have taken through my daughter's neighborhood:




Another cute bird we saw (you know I love the bird photos!):



Waves crashing on the beach:



Madeira Beach on a cooler day. Looks almost empty, doesn't it?





Another beautiful sunset:


Heading across a causeway:


A turkey duck. Don't they look weird???


My next post will be about John's Pass, which is a cute little shopping area on water.
Stay tuned!!!......

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Journey: Day FOUR and a Half!!

We headed southeast from Hillsdale, Virginia to Savannah, Georgia to visit my cousin Sharon, her husband Mel and their granddaughter Amber. Here is a map of our route: (Again, click on the minus sign a few times to shrink the map to get an idea of the drive we took):


View Larger Map

We had a little trouble finding Sharon's house because the GPS didn't have her exact address. Plus, she lives off of Whitfield Ave. and Savannah has both a Whitfield and a Whitefield (with an E) Avenue...just to confuse us northerner's (ha!). Of course,the GPS brought us to the WRONG one. But I got on my cell and Amber directed us by landmarks and we got there after all!

They were such gracious hosts! They took us all over the city on a whirlwind tour (thanks for your patience, driver Amber!!).
I had promised Sharon I would give her "at least a 24 hour notice" before we arrived and told her we would either be getting in on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.
Well, we got a lot of miles under our belt,so we called her about 8 hours before we got there.
She teased me the whole time that she would have arranged more for us if we had "given her 24 hour notice".
Believe me, she couldn't have been more prepared than a Bed and Breakfast owner. They took great care of us. In addition, her friend Glenda even also shuttled us around so that I could get some great photographs and see a lot of the attractions of Savannah. Although we could only stay a day and 1/2, we went everywhere and had a great time.
We ate lunch in a Tea Room downtown. A historic building with stained glass windows and tin ceilings and beautiful wood carved walls. Had the best quiche (EVER!) there.
By the way, if you ever need to know how to flirt with waiters in Savannah: Sharon and Amber have it down to an art form. Everywhere we went,they were greeted with a wink, HUGS and the waiters knew them on a first-name basis. We got excellent service with fine southern hospitality.
Sharon and fam: if you are reading this, again: we thank you so much for allowing us to stay at your darling home and for all that you did for us.

Savannah is a charming city. Full of historic Victorian homes with rod iron, columns, widow's watches, huge verandahs, gorgeous oak trees hanging with spanish moss, cable cars and horses and buggies, flowers everywhere.
Here are some photos of Savannah's charms:

First, here are those beautiful oak trees hanging with spanish moss. I didn't know this, but in Savannah, you are not allowed to cut down an oak tree without special permission. I think that is wonderful. Because as you can see,the streets are lined with these huge overhanging wonders,and it makes the city all the more beautiful.





John the Baptist Cathedral sits downtown in the historic center. It is huge and ornate and so beautiful! Here are some photos of the cathedral, which they let tourists take photos of (when there are no services being held). Wouldn't it be a beautiful church to be married in?:
















Here are some photos of the historic downtown area:














This is a house where an actual murder took place and a book and movie were written about it. John Cougar Mellankamp owns the house now:



Savannah's many trolley cars giving tours:



Beautiful flowers blooming everywhere on the trees in Savannah:



Did you know that the whole city of Savannah is built over burial grounds? They say the city has many hauntings because of this. They give "ghost tours".
We visited their cemetery where many of the Civil War soldiers graves are, and many graves are from the 1790's and early 1800's.
Because some of the gravestones were so old, they have fallen and they couldn't tell where the gravestones were originally placed. Thus, they placed them along the back wall of the cemetery to honor the dead. It was very touching and eerie to go along the wall and read the dead's names and dates of birth and death. Most died very young.:




Although I took many more pictures there, I won't post them all (or it will take too long to load for many of you on your computers).
Suffice it to say that Savannah is one of the most beautiful cities we have seen. Full of history, beautiful architecture, flowers, and southern hospitality.
Thanks again to Sharon, Mel, Amber and Glenda for their time and effort to show us such a good time. Love to you all!
My next posts will be all about Florida..as we drove there next.....Stay tuned!!

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REMINDER: All photographs on this blog are COPYRIGHTED.

REMINDER: All photographs on this blog are COPYRIGHTED.
Please do not copy any of my photographs (or narratives) without my permission! All pictures will be tracked for copyright violations.

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I retired in June 2008 and started my blog in November 2008. I worked at several jobs as a Registered Nurse prior to retirement. I LOVE being retired! Blogging has offered me a whole new venue to start writing again and to share new hobbies such as gardening, birdwatching and sharing my nature photography. If you like my blog, PLEASE click on "follow this blog". Having a lot of followers reading my blog gives me incentive to continue to do photography and to continue to write. I also LOVE comments, so I encourage you to leave me a comment after you read my posts. Thanks everyone, for taking the time to read me!!

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