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Nashville, Lynchburg & Chattanooga

Travel 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 BELOW).

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 right.

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

Sam and I 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 port side.  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 stateroom 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 Celebrity Edge

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

In 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

On 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 Casino.

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 OTTAWA & UTICA to view the photos.


2017 Total Eclipse Cruise

August 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 less attractive.

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 special performance. 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 restaurants. 

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! 


2017 Southern Caribbean Cruise

There 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 skilled laborers.

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.

Click HERE to select your "ports of call" photo review. I hope you enjoy the recap on a most enjoyable 2017 vacation cruise!

Henry & "Sam"
 

2016 Transatlantic Cruise to Rome

On 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.

The cruise 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 unparalleled.

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 see.

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.

Other Photo Galleries from Past Travels

We've 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!

Click on the "Gallery Links" below to view a full selection of photos. Each link describes the event portrayed. To return to this page, click on "Back to Home" from the photo index page:

2019 Nashville, Lynchburg & Chattanooga

  2018 Celebrity Edge Cruise

  2017 Ottawa & Utica

  2017 Quebec City AAA/CAA Retiree Reunion

  2017 Total Eclipse Cruise

  2017 Cruise - Antigua, Barbados & St. Lucia

  2017 Cruise - Grenada & Bonaire

  2017 Cruise - Aruba & Our Photo Portraits

  2016 Transatlantic Cruise - Miami & Tenerife

  2016 Transatlantic Cruise - Malaga & Catagena

  2016 Transatlantic Cruise - Montserrat/Barcelona

  2016 Transatlantic Cruise - Nice & Florence

  2016 Transatlantic Cruise - Rome - Day 1

  2016 Transatlantic Cruise - Rome - Days 2 & 3

  Manitou & Pike's Peak Railway - Sept. 2011 

  Rocky Mountain National Park - August 2011 

  St. Andrews, NB and Acadia Photos - June 2011 

  The Best of Henry's Photos 2010 

 The Best of Henry's Scenic Photos 2009

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