Saturday, August 3, 2013

Bahia Honda State Park, Bahia Honda Key, Florida. July/25/2013

Hey all,

Hope all is well & good.  Last week I had the wonderful opportunity of visiting Bahia Honda State Park for a second time.  It was so breathtaking and beautiful that I decided to bring my "good" camera to share pictures with y'all here.  Bahia Honda is located at MM37, which is about 40 minutes north of where Garrett and I live.  It's a pleasant drive up Highway 1 over bridges and through the mangroves.  I was lucky enough to score a United States Veterans Card from our good friend here named Timothy who's served in the Navy and is a Veteran of the Korean War, which waived the entrance fee to the park from 4$ to free!  Garrett describes Tim as "quite the character!"  Tim is one of the security guards for the community in which we live.  He patrols in his golf cart and secretly leaves the local "Conch Color" newspaper on our front porch.  Tim looks out for us, he's a really nice man.

Upon entering the park you are lead down a road and can choose to go right, to the "old bridge", snack shack, and bay side beach, or left to camping and Sandspur beach.
The old bridge was a Rail Bridge that connected Bahia Honda Key to Spanish Harbor Key.  It was built in 1912 by Henry Flagler and was wiped out by the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935.  What is left of the bridge can be accessed by pedestrians at the park and gives a great vantage point for pictures as you'll see in the ones below.  Pathways in the park are very well maintained, the park is very safe, and the volunteers, park rangers, and employees are all a joy to speak with and are very willing to be of any assistance.  If you're walking the park you could follow the beach or ride your bike, there is a paved road that measures 3.5 miles and leads you to sandspur beach camping if you follow it north.  I surveyed all of the "good" spots to camp on...from what I gathered, the best sites that I saw were #'s 53, 54, 59, 61, 68, & 72.  I noted that #'s 53 & 68 were somewhat shady and that can be important when tenting in the HOT summer heat down here.  Number 54 was a great spot because it was ON the beach, and #72 was a beach spot as well but was also a BIG spot, which is nice to have if you're camping with a full crew. The shady sites were covered by beautiful trees and nestled off of the road just a bit.  I would imagine it could get quite buggy at night there as the Mosquitoes and Biting Midge's a.k.a. No-see-um's have become quite the pest down here lately...Garrett and I have found that any body spray that has Vanilla as the main scent works really well to repel them & isn't as harmful as a commercial bug spray....just a heads up !! Lavender, citronella, & lemongrass are also great natural repellants.
So, anyway...check out the photo's & enjoy.   Come down and visit us! Much love.  xoxox Be good to one another.  <3
 Pelicans are used to visitors at the park, & can be seen dive bombing the water for a fish right next to a snorkeler giving them quite the fright. ;) They look prehistoric to me...
View from a trail in the park by the butterfly garden.
An Osprey Sits atop the tallest branch in search of his next meal.  A sight to see in person, they're spectacular.
 A view East to the ocean on the old Henry Flagler Rail Bridge.
 Another view from the Flagler Rail Bridge ---this is the "bay side" beach.
 These guys are not hard to find.  Indigenous to the Keys, they're everywhere, and can be found during the day catching the rays to raise their body temperatures for the evening slumber.
A Pelican enjoying his rock for the hour that I was enjoying my spot on the beach.  We had a nice time.
 Not a great picture of Sandspur Beach, but it'll do.  Here is a nice long beach about a mile long if I had to guess --- you can walk along the ocean or snorkel.  There are public wash houses here with showers if you need.  It's incredibly relaxing.
Beautiful butterflies flutter by you making your visit that much more enchanting.
Pathway to a beach by the old Rail Bridge. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

We're living in the Delta! April 2nd 2013

We arrived in the Mississippi Delta on the night of March 2nd--I think.  It's hard to keep track of days when you're traveling...and not keeping track of days.   It was a nice night, coming from North Carolina, with a stop in Alabama to visit Garrett's friends Jeff and Emily Lyons.  Jeff was so very entertaining, and gracious enough to take us for a ride in his 4 passenger beach craft airplane.  Wild ride.  He shared with us a stall, touch and go landing, "oh, sh*t" landing, missed approach, he let ME fly!, let me fly with my eyes closed... etc etc.  You bet Garrett and I slept well that night, we did, and in a hotel room filled with Garrett's tools.  The Intimidator (truck) has no cab to lock the tools in at night.  Luckily, my man is chivalrous enough to unload the truck himself and load up our room while I assist(watch) by saying, "to the right, honey....ohh you're close to the door jam here...careful!"  He's a doll.  I love the faces of the hotel attendants while we stroll by with a wood-shop in tote.  My favorite is when he rolls the enormous table saw in.  Haha!

I headed back home for George's benefit on the 20th of March.  Eli Manning was on my flight home.  He, his wife, little girl and their dog.  To be on the same plane as someone so talented was very special.  I have seen him play, I wouldn't call myself an avid football fan, but I've seen him enough to know how talented he is.  There's an aura about a person with such a skill, (reminds me of my G) Eli is very sweet and kind.  I could tell by the way he was with is baby girl that she loves him dearly and that he's a great father to her.  When I arrived in New York, I knew it would be a difficult week, props to my mom who handles it all with grace.  When I left this January, George was supposedly healthy...he had a "cold" and was recovering from it.  We were made aware in February, that this cold that had interrupted his ability to use is voice wasn't a cold at all but rather, stage 4 Endocrine based Carcinoma.  He's been hospitalized since.  This is where the benefit comes in and part of the reason for my visit-- It was truly amazing and beautiful to see all of the people who so Love George to come together to support him in his bump in the road with cancer.  It was my honor to spend time with all who attended. I could physically feel the love of his friends in the room on that day.  It was very moving.  Just thinking about it now makes me tear up, tears of happiness, people looking out for people.  We're all in this together, his friends proved it to us on that day.  The hospital staff ask if George is a politician because he receives just as many visitors as one.  His "brothers" in Corrections take care of him very well and make him feel so loved--it's such a blessing to know he's being visited and cared for the way he is.  There are a few men in particular who are helping my mom so much.  Without them, she'd not be as composed as she is.  I am thankful to them for Georges sake...she has to be strong for George, and they're truly so special.

Back to the Delta--We're staying here at the Hollywood Plantation.  This is Eustace Winn's labor of love.  He is a descendant of the Burrus's.  What he's done here, the hours he's put into the land and structures is truly incredible. The first day we arrived I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and quiet.  I stayed planted on the lawn giving and receiving lots of love from one of Eustace's many dogs, Flash, a springer spaniel, and soaking up the sun and the good vibes on the grass.  The first few sunsets we witnessed here took my breath away.  To see the skyline for miles on the horizon while the sun sets beyond it is breath taking-I almost couldn't believe what I was seeing. Mississippi is great for sunsets.  Eustace's property has a total of 6 standing structures on it.  The big house a.k.a. The Baby Doll House or Burrus House which is pictured in the website, a magnificent detached kitchen for the main house, 2 shot gun shacks, a cabin (which is the reason for our stay, G and Eustace are restoring it), and Eustace's house.  We're staying in what Eustace calls "The Love Shack," it has a bedroom, bathroom, large living room with big comfy mossyoak camouflage couches, a big flat screen TV with DirectTV, and a table for dining.  It still feels a bit strange to be in a "shack" with running water and direct tv, but I'm not complaining!

Last night we ate at Doe's Eat Place.  Owned by our friend Matthew Burdine's fathers best friend, it's the best steak house around.  Known statewide, really! It's great!  We were celebrating Eustace's Birthday, a bit early, it's on friday, but were lucky enough to be dining in the same room as Morgan Freeman.  Morgan grew up in Clarksdale, MS, and frequents Doe's while in the Delta.  I'm telling you, its THE BEST.  I think I'm still full.  So, Morgan was a doll.  He made a point to chat for a bit, he introduced himself (as if it were needed) and shook each of our hands all while keeping constant eye contact.  He was very entertaining too, asking me "What are you doing hanging around with this group guys!?" and then winking.  You know when you speak with someone and they're so friendly and act like they've got nowhere to be but sharing time with you? That's the feeling we got from Morgan.

Garrett has worked so hard today, he was up at's 6pm now and he's still going strong.  I've never seen a man work harder, or faster than him.  He wastes no time, if he needs a tool that is 50 yards away, he will run to get to it to get back to his project.   Eustace is a great help to G, I am blown away by his willingness to help in any way he possibly can and take on tasks he's learned just a minute before without hesitation.  I hope one day people will look back on this land and FEEL the love, blood, sweat and tears infused within the walls of the structures and on the land.  It's beautiful, and "it will amaze you."  I enjoy knowing that Garrett loves his job, he enjoys what he's doing on a daily basis.  I love to see Garrett at work, he's the most talented craftsmen, and I'm not biased because I'm his girl... ;)  well, maybe a little.

I'm just starting this blog now, but I hope to add detailed days to it, so you may get a better idea of what these words truly mean.  I'm sorry I've jumped around so much, and if it's hard to follow...i'm not the most talented writer, not talented at all in fact. but...hang in there, my posts may get better with more experience.  Be good to eachother.

 This is a picture of our dear, dear, friend Matthew Burdine.  He's a truly beautiful person.   He played a wonderful tune on his guitar as we watched the sunset and this picture is from the magic of our first night in the Delta.
A picture of the first sunset I'd ever witnessed in the Delta, one of many to come.  The colors were inspiring, and the land is just overwhelmingly rich with history and story.