Sunday, April 19, 2015


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May as well face it: we’re beach people. And this? Our happy place. Bahia Honda State Park is regularly included in Top Beaches lists for good reason.  20-odd years ago Paul and I visited here twice in two or three years, and I have to say memory did not do it justice.

We already know what we want to do next time, too.

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The tiny key shown above is a brief paddle.  We plan to rent kayaks from the park marina and spend a few hours snorkeling and enjoying the remote beach as well as what must be an incredible view of Bahia Honda.

The day we spent this first trip was focused on low-barrier relaxation.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015


In the heart of downtown Key West, The Earnest Hemingway Home was built in the 1850s to be the grandest home in town by a wealthy man with a large family. Tragically, he lost his family, and the home fell in to disrepair, rumored to be haunted or cursed. Earnest Hemingway and his wife Pauline restored the home to its former grandeur.

For my family, it was really nice to be in lush, tropical gardens once again. The home is located on a full acre, so there is a roominess you rarely feel in a city.

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The kids were fascinated by the six-toed cats. Honestly, they were, oh… nearly identical to ordinary cats, aside from the silly looking feet.

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It was a fun way to spend an couple of hours while wandering downtown Key West. We think we’d like to try one of the trolley tours sometime, too—maybe a haunted one. :)

Sunday, November 02, 2014


Fall has been slow to come this year. We might have our first frost tonight, but a return to mild temperatures is forecast for the week ahead. We used the summery weather to our advantage last weekend when our family made an after-rush-hour dash to the Outer Banks. We checked in very late, and awoke to sunrise over the Atlantic. (One benefit of a really late season trip is sunrise is after 7, ha ha!)

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At this point in time we’re really happy to be cabin campers. For our family’s needs, it really is the best to have plenty of room to sleep with privacy, a kitchen, room to relax… the deluxe cabins are often about the price of a comparable hotel room suite but with more to offer immediately outside the room.

We chose to try out the KOA in Rodanthe because it appeared to have a lot to offer as far as accommodations, fun stuff for the kids, and their own beach access. We’ve done a lot of ‘city beach’ time, and played on natural California beaches, but this was to be our first east coast natural seashore time.

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Cole was up really early Saturday morning, but I was able to buy an extra hour of zzzs by hooking him up with some cartoons—another reason I’m fine with us ‘really not’ camping for now. This deck was a great place at both ends of the day, and we had dinner outside.

Once I’d put enough caffeine into my system, Cole and I explored while everyone else slept a bit longer. He loved the opportunity to get one on one time with me, and so did I.

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The pirate-themed playground is a fun touch. It’s great that it’s not too babyish. Later Cole had no trouble luring Carter out to play—quite often.

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Cole and I also walked to the sound side to check out a little fishing pier.

Shortly after, all the kids were out on the bounce pad and playground.

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After a while it was time to head to the beach, just a couple minutes walk from the cabin.

Paul and Cole were in the water the most this time. The water temp was about 66, not so bad for late October.

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After a few hours on the beach the kids wanted to try out the water slides. It was fun to be able to switch gears so quickly, without hassle.

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…eventually it was time to bathe and get ready for what promised to be a spectacular sunset…
…to be continued…

Monday, October 06, 2014


This past weekend Paul and I went on a retreat to Cherokee Cove, a bit over the Tennessee border past Boone. It was our first trip to the mountains since we’d moved—and ever to that area. Fall is only threatening to arrive at home, so a trip there was like fast-forwarding to “real” autumn. It was in the 30s at night, and sweater weather during the day.

I think I can safely assert it’s best to approach Cherokee Cove by day the first (and maybe ALL) time(s) you go there. We found ourselves terribly lost a couple of times, despite using GPS… and perhaps because of it at least once because “that crazy lady” told us to go up a narrow gravel road that, 1.1 miles from the next turn GPS instructed, was abruptly blocked by a rusty. chained gate sporting a ‘no trespassing’ sign. That 6 point turn was not fun. Anyway, we persisted and eventually found ourselves in our cabin.

It was worth the mishaps, though. Even with often-dreary weather, the surroundings and buildings there are beautiful, peaceful, and inspiring. The food was incredible, too!

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Sunday, September 14, 2014


This summer flew by so quickly, I can hardly believe it. It seemed like a lot of the time we had to hide indoors to avoid the vampire mosquitoes in this area, which was a bummer. But, we fit in a trip to the beach a couple of weekends ago.

We’re still figuring out which beaches our family enjoys the most, so this time we went up closer to Shell Island.

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Cole loved playing in the roughest part of the surf for hours on end. Paul and Bunny are out right at the break, but Cole preferred to stay where the clock-cleaning was full force. He said he was “King of the Sea.” The water was a really nice temperature so I played a lot and didn’t take very many photos. However, here are some I enjoyed.

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Carter is still the boy who wanted to fly on the swings.

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This pretty much sums up vacation naptime to me. I caught the stinker in bed eating his snack, but didn’t say a thing. I mean, why not slip into some crisp white sheets against your fresh sunburn, pop on some SpongeBob and munch on a hot dog?

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Monday, July 14, 2014


For the first time, to celebrate Independence Day this year we went as a family to purchase explosives and then spent the evening trying our best to avoid burning ourselves or anything else. I had thought we’d want to go see a big municipal show our first year where we’d be close to an easy to see fireworks show on the 4th, but the lurid roadside stand won us over. Everyone was *pretty* careful, and we still have all our fingers, toes, eyebrows, etc.

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