Nashville, Lynchburg & Chattanooga
is wonderful and this time Sam and I did a fly/drive trip to Nashville,
Lynchburg and Chattanooga, Tennessee in early May, 2019. Our Aunt & Uncle
Cathy and Frank met us in Nashville where we toured the sites for 4 days and
also visited cousins and nephews who live nearby. The weather was great most
of the time and the Country Music of Nashville was everywhere, especially on
famous Broadway Street. Here's a sample of some local strumming and singing
(click on the picture
After Nashville, our
Aunt & Uncle headed north and Sam and I travelled Southeast to Lynchburg.
Henry is a Tennessee Squire and its been on the bucket list to visit the
Jack Daniels Distillery and see my 1 square inch of deeded land! The
distillery tour and tasting was enjoyable as was the visit to the Squire
House where we had reserved parking. While in Lynchburg, we had lunch at the
famous Mary Bobo's where we enjoyed southern cooking and learned the history
of this former Salmon Hotel. In the 1820's the building was raised and built
over to become a boarding house run by Miss Mary until her death in 1983 -
she was just shy of 102! It continues to be operated by decedents today and
is a popular lunch stop.
A ninety minute
drive East on I 24 took us to Chattanooga. The route actually traverses a
small portion of Georgia. This city is rich in scenic mountain views,
historic Civil War Battle Grounds, museums, the Tennessee Valley Railroad
with the Chattanooga Cho Cho and the stunning banks of the Tennessee River.
We enjoyed all the sites including Ruby Falls which is 1120 feet
underground, Rock City and Lovers Leap where 7 States can be seen on on
clear day. We enjoyed a dinner cruise on the Southern Belle and had
fun at the Aquarium and the Chattanooga Zoo.
Here's a panoramic
photo from Lookout Mountain with Lovers Leap and the water falls to the
Our entire trip was
most enjoyable and educational and we would recommend a similar journey if
you are so included. You can view all the photos by clicking on
Nashville, Lynchburg & Chattanooga or from the link further down
on this page. Enjoy!
Celebrity Edge Maiden Voyage
embarked on this December 16 - 23, 2018 sailing to experience the ship in preference
to the ports of call. This was the Eastern Caribbean maiden voyage of the
new Celebrity Edge, a mid-size ship with about 3000 passenger capacity.
Traveling with us was our Aunt & Uncle, Cathy and Frank, and two retired
friends from AAA, Charlie and Sandy.
The Edge has amazing
architecture from bow to stern with several unique features including a
"magic carpet" platform that traverses the outside of the ship on
Depending on which deck it is situated, it serves as a tender platform, a
private dining or reception area, and a general purpose lounge. While at sea,
you have the perspective of sailing next to the Edge with the sea passing
below and to the side of you.
Another unique feature is
the infinite veranda staterooms. The balcony is a closed water proof part of the
with a window that slides down electronically to the height of a typical
railing on a balcony. This essentially increases room size. Each stateroom has a king size bed and the bathroom
and shower area is the largest and best equipped we've experienced. The food
and service on board was also exceptional and the artwork throughout is
unique and engaging.
Because of the
maiden voyage, the President/CEO of Celebrity, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, was aboard until San Juan.
In honor of its maiden voyage, the Edge
received a fireboat salute with water streams and horns wailing as it entered San Juan
Harbor. Special Puerto Rican entertainment was brought onboard before
the Edge departed
San Juan. You can watch an excerpt of the dancing and steel band from this link:
Steel Band aboard
This cruise stopped
in San Juan, Tortola and St. Maarten. Hurricane Maria damage was quite
evident at all three islands with restoration efforts in still in process.
Many buildings still have roof and water damage and some were completely
destroyed. The island
panoramas are still spectacular! Enjoy all my photos by clicking on the
photo of San Juan Harbor below or from the link at the bottom of this page!
Quebec City AAA/CAA Retiree Reunion
late September, Sam and I travelled to Quebec City to attend a reunion of
AAA and CAA retired executives. Twenty-six attended the 4 night 5 day event
which included planned and personal tours of the Old City, Baire-Saint-Paul,
St. Anne de Beaupre Shrine, Montmorency Falls, and the Citadelle, home of
the 22nd Canadian Regiment. Some of the most spectacular vistas of the city
can be seen from here.
The weather was
exceptional but there was no fall foliage. The temperature was in the low
90's almost every day. Click on
QUEBEC CITY to see photos
of one of the most beautiful and clean cities in North America!
Ottawa & Utica, New York
September 25th, 2017, Sam and I travelled from Quebec City to Ottawa via Via
Rail Canada. We departed from the historic Quebec City rail station.
It was a very pleasant 6 hour trip through the country side. This was
our second experience using Canadian rail and we highly recommend it.
Upon arrival in
Ottawa, we visited with our dear friends Michael & Charlyne. We picked
apples which were fresh and crunchy, not like what we get from the markets
in Florida. Then we visited a wonderful topiary commemoration to Canada's
150th anniversary. The plantings and sculptures were spectacular. And, this
exposition was free which is amazing given the continual care required to
keep the plants and shrubs green and alive.
After another day of
touring in Ottawa's beautiful Capital and one of the largest farmers'
markets anywhere, we headed south to New York for our flight home from
Syracuse. Before departing, we toured the Utica Club Brewery and then
had a wonderful farewell dinner with our friends near the Turning Stone
We had hoped to see
some fall foliage during our Quebec and Ottawa trip, but the weather
remained hot and clear in the low 90's until our last day. On the way to NY,
we found one lonely tree on the highway south that Henry affectionately
called "the tree of color". As cars whizzed by, we took some photos of this
one sentry that hopefully will lead the way for other trees to follow in the
weeks to come! Click on
& UTICA to view the photos.
Total Eclipse Cruise
21, 2017 was the day of the Great American Total Eclipse. The first to be
only in the US in 99 years. Totality was visible from Western Oregon
to Southeastern South Carolina. After searching for ground options
into those cities within the 70 mile path of the Luna umbra, we found most
everything booked or exorbitantly expensive. Reports of heavy congestion of
people and traffic and no guarantee of clear weather made the land option
About 3 weeks before
the eclipse we were lucky to find a cancelled cabin on RCL's Oasis of the
Seas which was altering its usual Eastern Caribbean itinerary to view the
eclipse. Bonnie Tyler who sang "Total Eclipse of the Heart" was on board for a
CLICK HERE FOR YOUTUBE VIDEO.
The Oasis is the
second largest cruise ship afloat by only 2 feet at 1186' in length.
Our voyage was at capacity, 6250 passengers and 2500 crew. While Sam and I
prefer the smaller ships, we quickly adapted to the floor plan and numerous
places to "hide away" for the masses of people. The entertainment was by far
the best we have ever seen on a cruise ship with a full performance of
"Cats", an ice skating show on a big skating rink, divers and acrobatics and
much more. We thought the food was better than any of the other
voyages we have been on in both the main dining room and in the specialty
The eclipse viewing
was a little disappointing. Despite the best efforts of the Captain
and RCL's head weatherman for their entire fleet who was on board, we did
not find totally clear skies within the umbra. And as an added bummer,
my trusty Nikon camera died 1 hour before the eclipse so I couldn't take
photos with the special filter I had obtained for the telephoto lens.
Thankfully, we had a wonderful group of folks at our dinner table, one of
whom was an avid photographer with astronomy as his hobby. He was kind
enough to share his photos of the eclipse which are included along with my
other scenic views from our trip.
After the eclipse,
we sailed to St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Nassau. While in St. Maarten,
I bought a new Cannon with multiple lenses. I hope you will
ENJOY THE PHOTOS BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK! The weather on the
islands was clear, hot and humid but enjoyable.
Here's a photo of
Sam and me at Megens Bay overlook in St. Thomas. Enjoy all the photos!
Southern Caribbean Cruise
is nothing like a cruise vacation! Sam and I departed on RCL's Serenade of
the Seas from Fort Lauderdale on March 28th. We traveled to Antigua,
Barbados, St. Lucia, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba. This was a neat
itinerary given two days at sea upon departure, 6 consecutive days of island
visits, and then two more days at sea returning home on April 8th.
For the first time,
we obtained all our shore excursions outside of the cruise line.
Besides being less expansive, all our tours were small except for one in
Aruba. When you are in a small van instead of a big bus, you can stop just
about anytime for photos and we found the 6 to 10 person tour size very
personal and friendly. Even in Aruba with a tour of 27, it was much more
comfortable than the big buses of 45 or more that were going to similar
sights. We will definitely book off ship excursions in the future.
Our favorite islands
were St. Lucia, Granada, and Aruba. The three southern most islands
of Granada, Bonaire and Aruba were desert climates, fairly windy, and hazy due to sand blowing
from the Sahara. The three other more northern islands were lush and
green and the weather
generally clear without haze. Poverty was very evident in many of the
islands we visited. On several islands, unemployment is 40%, tourism
is the primary employment, and a large percentage of the youth and middle
aged populations have moved away for better opportunities. Many
hotels, restaurants, and tour operators are challenged to find enough
This was the first
time in many years that Sam and I traveled without family or friends.
We dined at a table of ten (10) and thoroughly enjoyed all of our table mates.
There are photos of all of us towards the end of the third link below.
I took hundreds of
photos and narrowed them down to 164 of the best ones. In the links
below, each photo tells a little about the area, history, or significance of
what we saw. While we opted to see the most scenic panoramas on each of the
island tours, if you visit any of these islands in the future, snorkeling
and scuba diving is amongst the best anywhere in the Caribbean.
HERE to select
your "ports of call" photo review. I hope you enjoy the recap on a most
enjoyable 2017 vacation cruise!
Henry & "Sam"
Transatlantic Cruise to Rome
April 9, 2016, Henry, Sam, Aunt Cathy & Uncle Frank departed from Miami on
the Celebrity Reflection for a 16 day cruise with port stops in Tenerife,
Malaga, Cartagena, Barcelona, Nice, Florence and Rome. This was truly a trip
of a lifetime that exceeded our expectations. After the cruise, we spent 3
full days touring Rome with a private guide and we experienced vistas and
had priority access to most of the famous sites. While there, we attended
Pope Francis' Wednesday blessing with 100,000 of his closest followers in
St. Peter's Square. Despite the crowds, we got very close to him as you will
see in the photos.
experience was outstanding. We were at sea for 7 days crossing the Atlantic
from Miami to the Canary Islands. We never saw anything during the crossing
- no birds, no other ships, no plane contrails. When you look at a map
of the Atlantic, you don't appreciate the vast size of the ocean until you
cross it. There was plenty to do on board however, and the crossing was
smooth and relaxing and the 7 day flew by. We met some nice people,
the food exceeded our expectations, and the service of the staff was
There were many
"most memorable" parts of the trip including our visit to the monastery in
Montserrat high up in the mountains near Barcelona, seeing Gaudi's La
Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona which is still under construction, and
seeing the Pope close up in St. Peter's Square. At the monastery, where the
La Morenta or "Black Madonna" of the Virgin Mary and child Jesus is on
display, we saw and heard the boy's choir called Escolania. They sing
daily at 1 PM and the tradition of singing dates back to the 13th century.
CLICK HERE or on
the picture below to see a 3 minute video of them singing.
While travelling, I
posted some photos to FaceBook and was surprised at how many people were
following us with "Likes". I also took over 1000 photos with my Nikon
which I've paired down to about 300. If you are interested, you can
access them from the links below. There are captions under each photo that
describe what you are seeing. As you view them, you will notice that
most of time we are wearing jackets. While in Europe, it was chilly
and windy with several days overcast and rainy. The chill and rain did not
dampen the spectacular vistas and antiquities that we were privileged to
While at sea aboard
Celebrity, a kiosk was available to take a photo and send to anyone with an
email address. Here Cathy & Sam were "posing!"
We had a wonderful
adventure and we hope you enjoy all the photos which are sorted by the
various ports of call that we visited. See the list below.
Photo Galleries from Past Travels
been privileged to travel to some neat places in the US and Canada.
Below are some photos from past travels. I'll continue to post so come
back and visit anytime!