South Carolina in the Off Season

While many people love to visit South Carolina beaches in the summer, fall and winter are incredibly beautiful times to escape to the coast. Blessed with beach weather well into autumn, even January and February can be quite comfortable for outside activities.

Looking for a break from the seemingly never-ending snow in the Mid-Atlantic last winter, a February trek to the beach was thankfully uneventful weather-wise. The smell of the salt air upon arrival, almost forcing deep breathing and relaxation, was a welcome respite from the smell of snow.

Even though swimming was not in the cards on this visit, it was pleasant sitting on the beach, watching the waves. The customary cache of seashells on the sand from the receding tide, and the seagulls squawking further acknowledged the coastal locale.

The pace of the town slows in the winter months, but with the exception of typical tourist pursuits – think Jet Skis and pirate voyages – not too many enterprises close altogether. The fishermen still come in to the inlet with their fresh catch. Shops, movie theaters, and arcades remain open at the Market Commons on the old Air Force base. And a Surfside icon and must-visit establishment, Painter’s Ice Cream, is open most days, with much shorter lines.

Located close enough to Myrtle Beach to access all of the big shopping and entertainment options, but removed enough to be quiet and less expensive, Surfside Beach proved a revitalizing break from a relentless, snowy winter.

Categories: seaside | Leave a comment

Tall Ship Invasion

Sometimes referred to as a second war of independence, the War of 1812 was a two and a half year conflict between the United States and Great Britain. Key victories in the Mid-Atlantic region prevented the British from taking Baltimore, after gaining control of an abandoned Washington, D.C.

Commemorating this victory, tall ships sailed into Solomons Island for celebrations and battle reenactments. Four ships took part in this celebration in Calvert County; the Pride of Baltimore, the Kalmar Nyckel, the Sultana, and the Dove.

Pride Bow

Pride Bow

Kalmar Nyckel

Kalmar Nyckel from deck of Pride of Baltimore

Categories: around the countryside | Leave a comment

Visiting St. Michaels (wishing for warm weather)

Bucolic and quiet, St. Michaels is a beautiful waterfront destination, especially on sunny spring and summer days. Located in Talbot County, Maryland, this town was named for the Episcopal Parish located there in the 1600’s.

Initially a trading post for tobacco farmers and trappers, and a shipbuilding town, many of the homes date to the seventeen and eighteen hundreds. Incorporated in 1804, St. Michaels is laid out around a central square.

Home to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, the town boasts a beautiful screw-pile lighthouse: the Hooper Strait Lighthouse (though this is not the lighthouse’s original home). This particular type of lighthouse was easy, inexpensive, and quick to construct. The screw-piles were used to form the foundation for the lighthouse in soft or sandy river or sea bottoms.

Restaurants, shops, and sailboats are just a few of the things to enjoy in St. Michaels. Visit the St. Michaels website for a calendar of events, and all the information you need for planning a trip to this beautiful spot on the Chesapeake.

St. Michaels, MD

St. Michaels, MD

Categories: around the countryside, seaside | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Chesapeake & Delaware Canal

Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Bridge

Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Bridge

Click on this image of the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Bridge to view the Thinglink rich media image, with additional information and links embedded in the image.

Rich Media Image

Categories: around the countryside | Leave a comment

New York City Christmas Decorations

The unveiling of New York City department stores’ holiday-decorated windows and the wintry blast of cold air welcome the holiday season.


Categories: around the countryside | Leave a comment

The Beauty of the Water

Categories: around the countryside | Leave a comment

USS North Carolina


This behemoth reposing at the edge of the water is equal measures magnificent and intimidating. Retired to Wilmington, North Carolina in 1961, this impressive vessel was the most highly decorated American battleship in WWII.

Commissioned in New York City on April 9, 1941, the USS North Carolina was involved in every major naval offensive in the Pacific Theater during WWII. At nearly 729 feet long, it took 2,339 sailors to comprise a full wartime complement of the North Carolina.

Her top speed was 28 knots, and she was propelled by four electric steam turbines and eight boilers. Sporting a more streamlined silhouette than her battleship predecessors, the USS North Carolina was constructed using a new (welded construction) technique to reduce weight.

Decommissioned in 1947, and removed from the Naval Vessel Register in 1960, the ship was purchased for $330,000, money raised by North Carolina students’ Save Our Ship (SOS) campaign.

Touring this imposing ship, it is unsettling to imagine the crew’s life; spending long stretches of time trekking through the narrow corridors, windowless quarters, and stifling (and probably hot) depths of this huge ship. The close proximity of column after column of suspended metal beds certainly gives one pause.

If nothing else, this museum serves to remind us of the sacrifices members of our armed forces make every day to protect our lives and our country.

Categories: around the countryside | Leave a comment

Sachs Covered Bridge

Situated down a narrow country road, this beautiful covered bridge spans the waters of the Marsh Creek in Gettysburg. Sachs Covered Bridge was originally built before the Civil War in 1854, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. A flash flood in 1996 significantly damaged the bridge and washed it from one of its abutments. Now closed to vehicular traffic, this 100-foot bridge is one of less than 900 covered bridges (of more than 10,000) left in the United States.

Used by troops during the Civil War, there are rumors of ghosts haunting the bridge.

Sachs Covered Bridge

Categories: around the countryside | Leave a comment

Chesapeake City

Chesapeake City is a jewel along the Chesapeake waterway. Enveloped by the graceful curve of the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Bridge, this town has charm and beauty in spades. 


The little shops along the main streets of the town tempt visitors and shoppers with an assortment of wares including antiques, candles, artwork, and jewelry.  

Multiple lodging options and restaurants, not to mention the marina, make this historic locale a weekend destination option.  

Dug by hand, the 14-mile canal opened in 1829, and is a distance-saving route for ocean-going vessels. Named in 1839, Chesapeake City was a key commercial city along the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. 

Categories: around the countryside | Leave a comment

The Great Frederick Fair

September means cooler temperatures and the approach of autumn, but it also means time for the Great Frederick Fair. A multitude of food vendors, lots of carnival rides, and assorted livestock shows make this event one of the outstanding affairs of September.

A ride out Route 70, or around 270 will get you to the Frederick Fairgrounds. The Eventplex complex on Patrick Street provides an exceptional venue for the fair. (Think permanent restrooms!)

No matter what kind of lunch or dinner fare you’re craving, you will find it here. The sign on one food vendor’s trailer for Crabby Patties invites fair-goers to try the crab cakes. But pizza, sausage, pit beef, cinnamon rolls, and fresh-made ice cream are also on the menu, along with an almost infinite number of other options.

Ticket choices for the rides range from single tickets, sheets of tickets, and special promotions on certain days. When the sun goes down, the multi-colored lights on the wide variety of rides call to fair-goers.

ferris wheel Great Frederick Fair

A multitude of baby animals will delight fair-goers; piglets, calves, and ducklings are among recently birthed offspring at the fair. Visitors can follow new arrivals in the birthing center at the fair. Sheared sheep in colorful jackets talk as visitors walk through the barns; roosters crow, cows moo, and goats bah at guests.

The fair boasts an app, available in the App Store and the Google Play Store, to help visitors navigate the event. Users can follow the Twitter conversation by searching #2013gff or following @GrFrederickFair.

And the website url for the Great Frederick Fair website is

The fair runs through September 21, 2013.

Categories: around the countryside | Leave a comment

Love New York

The city has many personalities, but the beauty and magnificence of the buildings in Manhattan take my breath away every time. An enduring symbol of New York, the Empire State Building reaches for the clouds.

Empire State Building


Categories: around the countryside | Tags: , | Leave a comment

One of the best things about summer . . .

One of the many fireman’s carnivals that characterize summer time in Carroll County, the Hampstead Carnival is one of the last of the season. The slight chill in the air after the sun sets, further announces summer’s pending conclusion, and autumn’s imminent arrival.


Hampstead Carnival 2013Hampstead Carnival 2013Hampstead Carnival 2013

Categories: around the countryside | Leave a comment

The Bridge to …

bridgeSummertime almost demands that one go down the ocean. This bridge, the sunny day, the fluffy white clouds, all suggest a trip to the beach.


Categories: seaside | Leave a comment




Categories: around the countryside | Leave a comment

Keeping Cool

A rhinoceros uses the mud to stay cool in the summer heat.


Categories: around the countryside | Leave a comment


Hippos enjoy the sunny weather and the cool water.

sunbathing hippos

Categories: around the countryside | Leave a comment

sunset over the marshSunset over the South Carolina marsh.

Categories: seaside | Leave a comment

Boston Harbor

Boston Harbor

Categories: around the countryside | Leave a comment

6 Chairs

5 chairsThis row of colorful chairs seems to beg for occupants. Maybe as the sun sets, and the work day ends someone will occupy these seats.


Categories: seaside | Leave a comment



How the story line might go –

… The lights came on nearly every night.  Sometimes passersby claimed they heard music playing inside.  Local teenagers would go out of their way to keep from walking past the old building at night.

The old movie house had been empty for years.  Every now and then a new “For Sale” sign would go up, but inevitably it would be removed when no buyer surfaced for the monolith. …

Categories: short | Tags: | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at