Monday, March 10, 2014

Southwest Florida Revisited

semi-deserted island beach

conch shell wall made by the Calusa, Florida's First People

delicious crab cakes

a pair of dolphin off of Marco Island
Marco Island  Wednesday farmers' market

sunset on Marco island

docks on Goodland island

pelican off of Caxambas Park

view through the canopy at the edge of the Everglades

It has been a while, hasn't it? My excuse is that I totally immersed myself in travels and that I only returned home last Friday.  Revisiting SW Florida was the right travel choice for me to have made, and I already have a firm commitment to return there next year. With all of the places I want to revisit or explore for the first time, I really had to reflect before making a final decision.  After all, in 2014 I made five mini trips (less than two weeks each) and enjoyed them all. Why commit to almost two full months in one place?

Those of you who have read this blog before know that I have certain travel preferences. I prefer to spend a longer time in a place and get to know it, not say "If it's Tuesday, this must be....". A large body of nearby water is another key element for me.  A third factor is the degree to which you can walk, bike, or use public transportation to explore the place.  Another is the presence of  cafes or taverns where you can spent unrushed time soaking in the local atmosphere without being gouged by the prices.  A final factor is access to both the history and the natural beauty of a place.

I really lucked out when I ended up staying for a month in the Old Marco part of Marco Island, Florida (away from the high rise condos on the other part of the island).  This part of the island met all of my criteria and I will return there next year.  The photos in this blog post are representative of my month's stay, I'll make more specific posts for different aspects of the visit as time goes on and I am more able to organized my photos and thoughts (will refer to the journal that I kept).   At this point I'll just say that I found an unhurried place of natural beauty with many friendly, laid-back people...both visitors and long-term residents.  I also found what  will also be an excellent long-term base to further explore other parts of SW Florida and the Keys.

To those of you who follow this blog regualrly, thank you for your patience.  I'm glad that you took time to revist the Tavern and will return later. To all who read this, may your own travels be interesting and enjoyable. Please feel free to stop by again.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Travel Choices To Be Made

It's January. Winter is far from over and today has a wind chill of -47F.  While I love parts of Wisconsin's winter, I am eagerly looking forward to returning to the land of the palm trees at least for a while. Travel means movement, think about that for a moment. I hate being confined and housebound. Extreme weather does that to us. I don't like being confined to my house due to dangerous coldness any more than I'd like to have the same due to extreme heat.  Not being able to comfortably wander about, camera in hand, is not my cup of tea.

Until recent extreme coldness I've enjoyed winter scenes like the one directly above. After a few days in a row of subzero winds,  I'm looking forward to a break from it in the land of the palm trees, if only for a few weeks. Variety is an essential part of travel for me.  Different scenes, aspects of nature, foods, and cultures add spice to life. While the transition from Wisconsin to Florida isn't as dramatic as from France to China, for example, it's significant enough to make the visit interesting.  Just a couple of more weeks to show a bit of patience befor hitting the road. I feel very fortunate that I have to option of doing so.

In the next few weeks there will be more travel photos and commentaries. In the meantime, feel free to check out my Flickr link on the right hand side of this page.

Until the next time, may your travels be interesting and enjoyable.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Waiting In Wisconsin's Winter

It's been a while since I've posted-a lot longer than it has been in the past.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  First of all, I've been homebound (in a non travel mode, not confined within my home). That means I've been able to enjoy my local area and family  & friends who live nearby.  Lately I've taken advantage of Wisconsin's winter and snowshoed a lot. I've also joined a new photography group and have great hopes for it.  The second reason for not posting as regularly as before is a reason I've discussed before-lack of reader feedback.  It takes effort to maintain a blog, choose photos, and write. I really enjoy sharing both my thoughts and photos, but it's not very rewarding of there is no reader feed back. To be honest, I'm at the point where I don't give a damn about the numbers my visitor counter reads. More important to me is a comment about what I've written or the photos that I've chosen to post.  That said, I've found that Flickr is a better venue for my photos in terms of receiving regular feedback. My Flickr page is: if you're interested in my daily postings.

I'm not giving up with this blog.  In another month I'll be spending February in Marco Island, Florida and exploring the surrounding areas.  There will be photos and commentaries for my six weeks of travel.  Until then, I'll be hanging around Sheboygan Wisconsin USA enjoying nature and planning my Florida trip.   The above photos are ones I took while snowshoeing today after a series of snow storms.

Those of you who are reading this and have followed this blog for a while, thank you for your patience.  There is more yet to come. In the meantime, may your travels be interesting and enjoyable.

Best wishes for you in the coming new year.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Maine Muses

Recently I revisited the town where I grew up (Augusta, Maine).  The main reason for traveling there wasn't nostalgia, but rather a chance to spend time with my 89 year old dad and help him move into an assisted living apartment complex.  The visit was good, I'm really happy that he's in an appropriate living situation and that he enjoys where he is.  Being a long-distance family member (1,500 miles away) isn't always the easiest, even for someone who loves to travel.

The river shot is one taken in Augusta while walking along the railway trail that parallels the Kenebec River.  Much has changed...the passenger trains that used to run from Boston to Augusta no longer do. The tidal river that used to reek of pollution from the paper mill runs pure and has Atlantic salmon. And I have a long white beard and walked side by side with Lori, my wife of 40 years.  Who would have known?  Certainly not the young man who left to move to Madison, Wisconsin in 1972 and rarely looked back.

The second shot, the one I call "Moon Over Maine", was taken as I was standing in the parking lot of a restaurant/hotel after seeing my dad off for the evening.  He actually wanted to try something new and go to a Mexican restaurant.  The restaurant had been there for a couple decades, but he'd never gotten around to going there. As he doesn't like spicy food and doesn't eat rice, he ended up having a Gringo Burger and a Bud Lite.  The thing is, in spite of not being adventuresome with his taste buds, at 89 he tried a new setting and we all had a fantastic time.

All this goes to show that in spite of constantly seeking whatever is beyond your present horizon, you can go home again (at least for a visit).  It was a good trip, especially as it was combined with a faamily visit in Philadelphia. Photos of Philly were posted earlier.

Thank you for visiting.  Please feel free to stop by again sometime.  If you want to catch up on just my photos before my next blog post, you can always visit my Flickr page by following this link:

Until the next time, may your travels be interesting and enjoyable.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Dona Nobis Pacem/Give Us Peace

Dona Nobis Pacem

Dona Nobis Pacem/Give Us  Peace
Today, on November 4, I’m taking a detour from my usual blogging to Blog for Peace. Those of you reading this on my photography blogs might react with a, “He promised that he wouldn’t get political in his blog posts on this site”. If you read just a little further, you’ll discover that I have kept my promise.
“Peace”, in my mind, is not and should not be a political word. Peace is a time when people are not in conflict with one another, and treat each other as they’d like to be treated- with respect, dignity, and understanding. True peace does not concern itself with ideology, religion, gender, social class, nation of origin, sexual orientation, or any other way that is commonly used to divide people into “us” and “them” categories. Peace is how you and I relate to each other on a one-to-one basis. I understand that these words are extremely idealistic. I also understand that here are circumstances when peace can only be attained or held onto through non-peaceful struggle. Still, as I travel in my own country and in other parts of the world, it is clear to me that we have more similarities than differences. As individuals, we all have a strong desire for peace for ourselves and those we care about. It is imperative for our own survival that, to the greatest degree possible, we “give peace a chance”. There is no substitute for peace.
Would you like to be part of this peace initiative next year? If so, follow this link:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Philadelphia Revisited: Another Fine Five Days

It's a dangerous choice to revisit a place that you've had an exceptional time in. After all, travel memories are to be treasured. As you look at photos taken during past trips you may long to go back, but you hesitate because changes may have occurred. If that happens, your dreams seem to have turned to ashes.

We went back to Philly mainly because our younger daughter has settled there for the present. Last time we were struck by the walkable streets of central city, the quirkiness of its art presence, and its diversity of foods. When we returned, we were not disappointed-the Philly of of memories is alive and thriving! Old favorite places were revisited and new places (to us) were explored.  At times we were guided by our daughter who has really gotten to know the city, and at others we struck off on our own. Even the one day where we were faced with constant winds and rain was a day of diverse wonders.  Obviously I'm taken by the city and am not ashamed to admit it. Besides its historical significance in American history, it's the closest American city I've found that resembles the ambiance of a European city. Awesome!

I hope that you've enjoyed my attempt to give you a flavor of Philly and will stop by the Tavern again sometime.  Until then, may your travels be interesting and enjoyable.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Willy Street Fair 2013 (Mad Times in Madison, Wisconsin)

In some ways Madison's Williamson Street is Wisconsin's answer to San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district of the 1960's.  It has been an area of political activism, alternative life styes , and social diversity.  I lived there in the 1970's and revisit it whenever possible, because the spirit of Willy Street is still alive and well.

 Last weekend was the the annual Willy Street Fair. The weather was perfect, the crowds were mellow, and a good time was had by all.  The images in this post are a sampler of the sights of the festivities.  Add diverse foods, live music, local vendors, anti-war protesters, and organizations like "The Union of Those Who Wear Beards" and you get a sense of the mix.  We wandered around savoring it all for at least four hours and enjoyed every minute of it. Contrary to Tom Wolfe's message, you CAN go home again (and thoroughly enjoy it).

I hope that you enjoyed your visit to the Tavern and will stop by again sometime.  In the meantime, may your travels be interesting and enjoyable.