Travel Theme: Entertainment

This week at Where’s My Backpack?, Ailsa asks, ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? Indeed I am. Here’s how.

Here’s a man doing a little violin busking on the Metro in Rome. Transportation AND a show? It’s a bargain!

He was good, too.

He was good, too.

For those of you who think I might have a mild obsession with New York Rangers hockey…you’d be right. Here’s a shot from a game George and I went to last year. Slide across the ice, Henrik! Slide! #LetsGoRangers

Fun fact: I bleed Rangers blue.

Fun fact: I bleed Rangers blue.

The things some of us do in the name of fun. Here’s roller coaster poised to take the plunge at Knoebel’s Amusement Park (sorry…Amusement Resort) in central PA.

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Mommy…MommyMommyMommyMommyMommy…MOTHER F*

Full disclosure: Once the lines die down, I will totally be one of the freaks on this ride. But, I am not a standing-in-line-type person. Moving on.

Tjörnin Lake is a prominent feature in downtown Reykjavik. Located right behind their City Hall, Tjörnin is surrounded by park benches and lots of picnicky-looking places for summer fun (I would imagine). In the winter, when it’s frozen over, residents take advantage of Tjörnin’s frozen surface for some cold-weather entertainment.

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Just another day on the lake in Reykjavik.

And finally.

If and when you go to Myrtle Beach, the Hollywood Wax Museum is a great way to entertain yourself and spend a day, particularly if you go in the winter and it’s unseasonably cold. But I dare you to get a picture as deranged as George’s photobomb of the Donny & Marie figures.

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I got your wholesome image riiiiiight heeeere.

I hope you had a fun time checking out the photo challenges! Thanks for stopping by.

Imma leave you with an opening segment from The Donny & Marie Show. Check out their inexplicable space palm tree bibs. 

Mmm hmmm. Saucy.

Sunrise, Myrtle Beach South Carolina, Feb. 21, 2015

It was another successful trip to Myrtle Beach, another successful visit to see the family that moved down there. George and I had a great time, went and saw some very cool…and kitschy…stuff (blogs on things we did while visiting, coming up), and spent the old QT with the fam. Double-QT, as both my brother and G’s niece live down there, and both sides of the family get along. It was all one grand time. Awesome. 

And, as I am busy trying to rebuild my photo portfolio since losing my external hard drive (yes, people, I’m on the cloud now–unlimited photo storage for Amazon Prime members! Hooray!), it meant I had to get up early and head to the beach for a second Myrtle Beach sunrise photo shoot. There are worse things to have to do with one’s time.

It was kind of a cloudy morning, but I caught all the sun almost anyone could see, that morning. By 10:30 it had completely clouded over and was gray and drizzly all the rest of the day. Here’s to the benefits of early rising! All photos were taken alongside the pier at Surfside Beach.

At Surfside Pier.

At Surfside Pier.

I’m including more photos than I normally would, and don’t have a ton of narrative.

No sun yet.

No sun yet.

Because mostly, the pictures speak for themselves.

I love when the birds show up.

I love when the birds show up.

Speaking of birds…

This guy's going about on very important gull business.

This guy’s going about on very important gull business.

I almost started to think, maybe this was as good as it was going to get, with the weather looking sketchy.

Clouds were moving in.

Clouds were moving in. At least the birds were having fun.

 Then I started to see the sun peek out a little.

Hey.

Hey.

And a little more.

Well all right all right.

Well all right all right.

And then…holy pockets!

We got us a sunrise!

We got us a sunrise!

This clear patch of sky is the definition of “window of opportunity”.

This always gives me a sense of peace.

This always gives me a sense of peace.

And the low clouds helped keep the light golden.

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Funny how clouds can be a good thing.

I had to check out how things looked under the pier.

Mid-pier.

Mid-pier.

And from the other side.

Here's looking out your side entrance.

Here’s looking out your side pilings. Baby.

For a moment things lightened up and started to look suspiciously like a Monet painting.

But there's a lot going on in that sky.

But there’s a lot going on in that sky.

And then? Le BOOM! Back to gold.

I love the fiery pinks in the clouds.

I love the fiery pinks in the clouds.

Though the sun was getting ready to disappear for the rest of the day…

Not long after this, it was all gray and cloudy.

Not long after this, it was all gray and cloudy.

…it sure put on one hell of a show for me when it showed its glorious face.

This photo right here? Is why I get up early.

This photo right here? Is why I get up early.

I hope you enjoyed the sunrise! I know I did.

 

Travel Theme: Horizons

This week at Where’s My Backpack?, Ailsa asks us to look to the horizon for her travel theme. So, OK. Off into the distance!

George and I recently went to visit his daughter in Baltimore. The first night we were there we went out, you know. Dinner, cocktails, that sort of thing. The next day we walked around the city and then went to a baseball game, which was great fun but made for a long day. That night, we decided the right thing to do was have pizza and wine on the rooftop deck, and admire the skyline as the sun set. Here is Baltimore’s iconic Domino Sugars sign, seen over the rooftops of Locust Point.

Ahh, beautiful Domino Sugar sign...

Ahh, beautiful Domino Sugar sign. Even from the back you’re sassy.

This picture was taken closer to home for me. It was so close, in fact, I was home. We had some fantastic fog roll in from Buffalo Creek (Crick, if you’re local) one night, and this was how my back yard looked. I love that you have no idea where the tree line ends and the sky begins. Oh yeah. There’s a whole line of trees in that fog.

There's a crick and some trees back there. I swear.

There’s a crick and some trees back there. I swear.

This past December, we were in Myrtle Beach for our niece’s college graduation. When we were on our way out to dinner, a crazy-strong storm blew in–we were completely waterlogged crossing the street from the parking lot to the restaurant’s lobby–and we were a little early for the dinner rush, so I could run around the restaurant at will. The restaurant was right on the beach, and I ran around from room to room (big restaurant) looking out all the windows at the soaked world outside. This is what I got.

That is some angry ocean.

That sure is some angry ocean.

Sometimes…oh, this kills me…sometimes, cliches and stereotypes have some basis in fact. And New Jersey’s snark-riddled reputation as a land of refineries and factories and traffic…well, there’s this section along the Turnpike that George and I joke about, that we know we’re home when we see it. (Jersey peeps,’fess up, you do it too.) But. Sigh.

Cars and smokestacks, far as the eye can see.

Cars and smokestacks, far as the eye can see.

However! New Jersey also gives it up for moments like these.

Sunset, Normandy Beach, NJ.

Yes.

Yes.

What’s on your horizon?

Travel Theme: Winter

This week at Where’s My Backpack?, Ailsa’s travel theme is the seasonally appropriate “winter”.  Cool.  Pun intended.  It’s my favorite season.  Actually, they all are except for summer, of which regular readers have come to realize I am no fan.  Mostly, and especially this week, winter (for me) is nearly synonymous with Christmas, so there’s a reasonable amount of Christmas in this mix.  It’s not always about ladies in red velvety dresses with crisp white fur trim…

…except when it is.  I was recently visiting family in Myrtle Beach, who thought it would be great to go see the Carolina Opry‘s Christmas Spectacular, matinee, for my birthday (which just passed, two days after I totaled my car).  I might have been the youngest person there.  It was a delicious cheesefest.  I knew we were in for a real treat when, not ten minutes into it, Rita Gumm–the First Lady of the Carolina Opry–glided onto the stage, in a horse-drawn sleigh.

BEHOLD! Rita Gumm, the First Lady of the Carolina Opry!

BEHOLD! Winter in South Carolina.

That is some dress, my friends, red and vibrant as a Carolina sunset.  It was a Christmas miracle.

Winter for me means decorations and sparkly things, and the decorations can be elegant and beautiful or whimsical and sweet.  I love this penguin.  It was given to me by a friend and former co-worker who I adore, and we all know penguins = snow and ice and snow and ice = winter.

Yay, decorations and sparkly things to brighten up dreary winter nights!

Yay, decorations and sparkly things to brighten up dreary winter nights!

While driving down to South Carolina, we stopped in a grim little restaurant with uninspired food and faded, 1930s-era cabbage rose wallpaper in the main dining room.  I’d say what restaurant it was but I’m hoping to extort them for hush money (*cough cough* Shamrock).  Anyway.  So the food was uninteresting (I think I’m still getting over my sodium headache) and bizarrely expensive, and left me feeling as though I’d been tricked somehow.  But you know?  The surroundings, at the foot of the Catoctin Mountain Ridge?  When they were heavy with fresh snow?  Were fantastic.

Out back behind The Restaurant That Shall Remain Nameless (Shamrock).

Out back behind The Restaurant That Shall Remain Nameless (Shamrock).

Closer to home, my little ‘burg has an annual tree lighting and high-school-chorus-singing ceremony, that takes place in the town square with the frilly street lamps and the absolutely frigging enormous tree that has to be strung with fancy lights thanks to the use of a cherry picker.  Or maybe the town keeps a de-toothed bumble in the maintenance shed.  Off camera there’s a gazebo.  It’s insanely picturesque, and I live here.

Did I mention the art deco movie theater and the overall cool architecture?

Did I mention the art deco movie theater and the overall cool architecture?

And finally…

No winter in recent memory has been complete without a trip to see my former Russian professor.  She lives just outside of Boston and YES, I go north in the winter.  Judge me for it, I don’t care.  It’s the most snug and welcoming house in the world, filled with great conversation and lovely people and delicious food.  While we were there this past February it snowed big fat flakes, giving me an eye-feast from Elena’s cheerful kitchen window.

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This is one of my favorite places no matter what season, but for me? It’s extra-special in the winter.

This is a relationship in which I consider myself incredibly lucky.

Have fun checking out the rest of the participants at Ailsa’s place this week!

Travel Theme: Still

Ailsa’s travel theme this week at Where’s My Backpack? is: still.  Still what?  Still nothing, just still.  Har har.  I make funnies.

Sorry, this is what happens when blogging while sleep deprived.  Anyway.  On to the theme!

This was taken at Keuka Lake during a day of rain and fog.  The rain stopped but the fog remained, and the lake was completely silent.  Even the birds were kind of hiding out.

Nothing to do but sit back and enjoy a glass of local wine.  :)

Nothing to do on a day like this but sit back and enjoy a glass of local wine. 🙂

While in South Carolina to visit family, we went to lunch at Caledonia, a golfing-and-fishing club.  I neither golf nor fish, but I do like to eat lunch.  Calendonia has that Southern tradition “thing” by the heaping bucketsful, and everyone there is charming and nice.  But I had no idea there were still places that garnished a grilled cheese sandwich with olives speared on the ends of toothpicks.

Oh for a gentler time, when olives on toothpicks were the height of sophistication.

Oh for a gentler time, when olives on toothpicks were the height of sophistication.

At home, this squirrel sat very still on the steps of the post office and let me take his picture.  I think he wanted a moment in the spotlight.

The squirrel is ready for his closeup, Mr. DeMille.

The squirrel is ready for his closeup, Mr. DeMille.

Ahh, Boston.  Beloved Boston, and the beautiful Public Garden therein.  For some reason (which to this day has never been adequately justified to me), Boston has no shortage of human statue street performers.  I.  Don’t.  Get.  It.  But I always see at least one, standing around somewhere.  Like in the middle of the Public Garden.

But seriously. Why?

But seriously. Why?

And speaking of gardens, we go back to South Carolina.  Near Myrtle Beach there’s a gorgeous formal garden facility called Brookgreen Gardens.  At this time of year they do their Nights of a Thousand Candles exhibit, and the gardens are strung from end to end in glittering lights and floating candles and lanterns and luminaria.  It was amaaaaaaaaaaaazing.  And despite the riot of lights and the crowds, there were parts of it that were incredibly serene.

Put this on your must-see list.

Put this on your must-see list.

So there you have it.  Hope you enjoyed the pics.  Go check out the rest of the still-blogs at Ailsa’s place!

Travel Theme: Brown

Oh, brown.  You are much maligned.  You are the color of chocolate, coffee and good earth and yet?  Brown = meh.  And I get it; you don’t have as much zazz as, say, fuchsia, or orange, and looking across a field of brown doesn’t tickle the imagination like looking out onto the sparkling blue vastness of the ocean.  But brown, take heart.  I don’t know how to quit you.  Neither, apparently, does Ailsa, as “Brown” is her travel theme this week over at Where’s My Backpack?

Getting started.

Occasionally I drive around where I live, because it’s pretty, and look for things to photograph.  There’s a row of wooden stalls in serious disrepair next to a now-defunct business; I think it was a garden supply store and the stalls held different flavors of mulch, but that’s not terribly relevant, except that decaying infrastructure has an inherent photogenic appeal.  Plus, the woods are creeping in on it and I love it when nature wins again.  Check it out.

I can't quite say it's urban decay because we're so not urban, but nevertheless...always interesting. Lewisburg PA, April 2013

I can’t quite say it’s urban decay because we’re so not urban, but nevertheless…always interesting. Lewisburg PA, April 2013

I took this during some sunrise photo fun in Myrtle Beach; I love the brown of the wooden boardwalk and the golden tan of the sand.  Plus, I always thought the boardwalk looked like some kind of massive sci-fi bug-creature lumbering (no pun intended, but I’ll take it) back to the waters from whence it came.  Because that’s how things work in my brain.

Under the boardwalk.  Surfside Pier, Myrtle Beach

RAWR I’m a scary monster.  Under the boardwalk. Surfside Pier, Myrtle Beach, June 2013

This is a photo of the aptly-named Cascade River, in Lutsen, MN.  Why is the water so brown, you ask?  Because it’s busily engaging in the process of erosion and is packing a TON of silt.  It’s all good.

There it is, cascading.

There it is, cascading.

Meet Guinness.  Guinness is an exceedingly beautiful guitar owned by folk singer Ellis Paul (who I’ve written about here, here, and…).  This past June, Ellis played a kid’s show at the James V. Brown Library in Williamsport, PA, and I was fortunate enough to be part of the setup team (thanks, Shawn and Robin!).  As I was hauling chairs and such I couldn’t help but notice the guitar (’cause it’s priddy) and HOLY POCKETS!  Look at the inlay on the neck.

That is one mighty fine lookin' guitar.

That is one mighty fine lookin’ guitar.

And finally.

Every summer here in the ‘burg we get to enjoy Rural Heritage Days (see: we are so not urban), a several-days-long event that celebrates all things rural and heritage-y.  I learned how to twist rope, how to make lead shot, and, in this photo, I got a demonstration on blacksmithing, from some kid who probably got his first hammer and anvil in the cradle.  I love the combo of old and new–the safety goggles, the old-school leather apron–and the proud father (or maybe grandfather, who knows?) watching on just behind the boy.

You go, kid! Make that nail.

You go, kid! Make that nail.

So there’s my “brown” theme for the week.  Have fun looking at the rest of the other participants!  (Or play along yourself. 🙂 )  I’ll leave you with a video of Ellis Paul playing the lovely Guinness.  Enjoy.

 

Myrtle Beach, June 28th, 6:08AM

We just got back from a vacation in Myrtle Beach; my brother and sister-in-law moved down there and I am always–always!–a fan of visiting family, particularly if they’re in new/fun/interesting places.

D) All of the above.

I’ll be discussing more of what we did in later posts, but as is my penchant, George and I (and my brother, who really didn’t have to get up with us, but he’s a trooper) went to the beach for a sunrise photo shoot.  Bear in mind that sunrise on the beach was 6:08AM.  And it’s like a fifteen minute drive from their house to the actual beach-beach.  Yeah, we were up at 4:30.  That doesn’t happen much, if indeed ever at all.  But you know…you’ve got to go where the photo ops are, they don’t come to you (unless, maybe, you’re Annie Leibovitz, but I digress).

So we went to Surfside Pier, a fishing pier that was built in 1953 and rebuilt three times since then.  I wanted something that would add an extra bit of visual interest, since relying on waves and sun can be suspect, especially if you’re looking at the weather reports and they’re telling you it’s going to be cloudy.  Sure, I could have looked at the forecast and not gone, but I was awake at 4:30 in the morning.  There’s no going back from that.

And so, with no further ado…here is Myrtle Beach, 28 June 2013, somewhere between 5:30 and 6:30 in the morning.

Alongside the pier, insanely early in the morning.

Alongside the pier, insanely early in the morning.

George and my brother, and acres of empty beach.

George and my brother, and acres of empty beach.

The moon was still far from setting.

The moon was still far from setting.

Across the tidal beach.

Across the tidal beach.

One of the maintenance vehicles left its mark.

One of the maintenance vehicles left its mark.

I know it's not a boardwalk. I still want to sing...that song.

I know it’s not a boardwalk. I still want to sing…that song.

Now we're starting to get some color.

Now we’re starting to get some color.

The first other people we saw on the beach.

The first other people we saw on the beach.

Seriously. I. Frigging. LOVE. This picture.

Seriously. I. Frigging. LOVE. This picture.

Thankfully, Mr. Metal Detector Guy showed up.

Thankfully, Mr. Metal Detector Guy showed up.

The tide can do funky things to the sand.

The tide can do funky things to the sand.

Good morning.

Good morning.

Hats off to the lone fisherman.

Hats off to the lone fisherman.

From under the pier.

From under the pier.

The pull was such that I lost my flipflop twice under this thing. Retrieved it both times. Score!

The pull was such that I lost my flipflop twice under this thing. Retrieved it both times. Score!

The cover refused to break, but it was still pretty.

The cover refused to break, but it was still pretty.

And the sea is liquid gold.

And the sea is liquid gold.

From behind the dunes at the edge of the beach.

From behind the dunes at the edge of the beach.

This makes me want to run back down to the sand.

This makes me want to run back down to the sand.

Groovy? Funky? Crappy? Hotel, right on the beach.

Groovy? Funky? Crappy? Hotel, right on the beach.

With lots of places for creepsters to hang out. I can only hope The Warriors came here for refuge.

With lots of places for creepsters to hang out. I can only hope The Warriors came here for refuge.

And finally, one of my favorite things about Surfside Beach…

Who wants to be a member of the elite Sunbathing Patrol?

Who wants to be a member of the elite Sunbathing Patrol?

That’s it for now!  I hope you think they’re as worth the 4:30 alarm as I do.  Thanks for dropping by.

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