Sunday, November 21, 2010

St Augustine fun

When we visited Sandra's parents a couple weeks ago, we spent a few days in St. Augustine, Florida. We checked out lots of old buildings. Old of course is a relative term. Sandra's favorite coffee is produced by a company that is older than the USA, for example. Above and below is Flagler College. The building used to be the Ponce de Leon hotel, and is amazing.

Below is the Villa Zoryada. Built in 1883, it is one of the earlier examples of poured concrete construction.
The school house below is thought to be the oldest wooden schoolhouse in the USA. It was built sometime between 1702 (when all the buildings in St Augusting were burned by the British) and 1716 (when it appears on the tax records.)

The the González-Alvarez House, below, is the oldest surviving Spanish Colonial dwelling in Florida. The site has been occupied since the 1600s and the present house dates to the early 1700s. The first floor is from the Spanish period and the second floor is from the English period, a feature shared by a number of old houses we saw.

This house is the setting for a trilogy of historical novels by Eugenia Price, the first of which is titled, "Maria."

Underwater Antenna Field

While we've been enjoying the crisp fall weather up and down the east coast of the USA, Bonaire has been getting lots of rain. Here are a couple photos I received from Joe Barker. Now you can add the TWR antenna field to the list of Bonaire's underwater attractions. :)
The rainy season wasn't that rainy last year and this area stayed pretty dry. It was this we two years ago though.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Enchanted Village of St. Nicholas

One of my fun memories from my childhood is walking the streets of Boston at Christmastime and looking at the animated displays in the department store windows.
Jordan Marsh's 28 displays were created in 1958 and included 250 animated figures. Jordan Marsh closed the display in 1972 and it has been an on again off again holiday event since then.
In 2009, Jordan's Furniture purchased the remaining pieces of the Enchanted Village at an auction, did a thorough restoration and has it open to the public, for free, during the holiday season.
Here are a few glimpses of the scenes from the Enchanted Village. It is well worth a trip if you are in the greater Boston / South Shore area. Expect large crowds as the holidays draw near.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Retirement Community for man and beast

We visited Sandra's parents at the Penny Retirement Community in Florida and discovered Kiki, a retired show dog, enjoying the retired life as well.

Here is a picture of the happy retirees and one wannabe retiree.
I've also got a short video clip of how someone with bad knees exercises her dog.

Big Birds

We've been spending a lot of time in the car lately. We were as far south as Boca Raton, FL, with stops near Jacksonville FL, and Raleigh and Greensboro NC. We're at Richard and Nancy's house in NJ today, and will head north to Massachusetts tomorrow. I rounded up a zillion leaves this morning, just before it started raining in earnest. I'd just gotten inside when I noticed that some visitors were admiring the nice clean front lawn.
They kind of look like what I think wild turkeys might look like, but I'm not sure.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Parrot People

Sam Williamson has been studying the parrots (Lora) of Bonaire for about seven years now. Rowan Martin and Rhian Evans have also been part of the parrot research efforts for quite a few years as well. You can read about their efforts on the Parrot Watch Web site.

I've shared some cycling adventures with both Sam and Rhian over the years, and have come to really like and appreciate them. The sure love those birds. I've seen Sam perk up and spin around in response to a bird call much like I might do here in Boca Raton in response to hearing a Ferrari V-12!

Well Sam and Rowen are Dr. Sam and Dr. Rowen now, whoo whoo, and the gang has just formed a new foundation on Bonaire to continue their work with the endangered Lora parrot. You can read about the new "Echo" foundation in this Bonaire Insider news story.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Family Fotos

Here are some more fun family photos from our time with Sandra's parents, near St. Augustine. Was testing my lens on this cool fuzzy plant. There's some flare, but I still like the picture.
The beach here is very very nice. I'd be out riding those waves... if I didn't have an ear infection, and if I was allowed to get the incision on my leg wet...

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

St Augustine

Sandra and I are spending some time with her parents in Florida. We're hanging out in St. Augustine right now. We'll be giving a TWR presentation on Friday in Penny Farms, and another on Sunday in Boca Raton. Above is the view looking east from the balcony. There is an "endless" white powdery sand beach out there.
Here is the nighttime view from the boardwalk down to the beach. The star patterns are much more similar to Bonaire when seen from Florida, compared to the views up north. This was a 20 second exposure at f4 and ISO 1600.