Tag: beach

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Perfectly Paradisiacal!

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Scenic St. Thomas views

St. Thomas, an island paradise in the Caribbean, and United States territory, is a playground of crystal clear waters dotted by lush, jade islands, all viewable from an endless supply of scenic mountain overlooks – each one more spectacular than the last! Basque in the beams of sunshine, be refreshed in the surf of the ocean, and inhale the essence of intoxicating Yellow Trumpetbush and Frangipani flowers as you explore the wonders of St. Thomas!

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Magen’s Bay Beach

Magen’s Bay Beach consistently ranks in the world’s top ten for beaches. With spectacular views, sand the consistency of baking powder, water so clear you can see your feet – and so warm it feels like bathwater… lounging out here will leave you feeling super spoiled while the sun soaks you in warmth amidst the sea-salt scented breezes. It’s the perfect place to relax… and escape!

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Charlotte Amalie

The United States purchased St. Thomas from Denmark in 1917 for the unbeatable bargain of $25 million in gold, or, what would be the equivalent of $489 million today. The transaction allowed the island to remain free from adversarial hands and boost Denmark’s coffers during the hefty expenses of World War I fighting. Much of the old Danish colonial architecture remains in the capital of Charlotte Amalie, and is indubitably charming.

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Danish colonial architecture

St. Thomas is a varied landscape of crystal clear waters, island formations big and small, and mountains and hilltops boasting amazing views of the expanse below.  It is truly one of the greatest jewels in the string of islands adorning the Caribbean! If you still have time for shopping in Charlotte Amalie, I highly recommend seeking out the paintings and photography by local artists in the AH Riise outdoor mall. The locals’ sources of inspiration are numerous, and talent enviable! The local art is my favorite souvenir to leave this beautiful place with.

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Cruise ships views

You can view my video tour of St. Thomas here!:

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Winter in Cocoa Beach, Florida!

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The Pier at Cocoa Beach

While many beaches across the United States are closing up shop for the Winter, Florida’s beaches stay open throughout the year – and with temperatures frequently getting up into the high 70’s (Fahrenheit), and higher, even in the peak of winter, they are a joy to visit! So don’t pack away your shorts and swimsuits just yet – instead considering packing your bags for a winter visit to the Florida coast!

The Pier at Cocoa Beach, and neighboring beachfront, is the most popular attraction in Cocoa Beach. Here you will find sunbathers, swimmers, volleyball players, bars, restaurants, retail, and fishing off the Pier. For a nominal fee you can rent fishing time and equipment (including the fishing poles and gear as well as a fish cleaning station!) Fishing season here ends on December 15, but you can get some “winter” fishing in if you arrive before then!

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Cocoa Beach: popular with surfers

Cocoa Beach is notorious for being a draw for surfers. Nearby you can also explore Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center Visitors’ Complex. This area is often referred to as “Florida’s Space Coast” in tourist brochures. Surfers just call it paradise! If you fancy a cruise on one of the major cruise lines, those depart from neighboring Cape Canaveral too.

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Ron Jon Surf Shop: largest surf shop in the world!

The Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach consists of 52,000 square feet spread across multiple buildings. The complex includes a gigantic retail outlet, surf museum, and surf lesson studio! It is the largest surf shop in the world!

Cocoa Beach is a fun place to relax and unwind or test out your surfing skills, whatever the season! Should you be visiting nearby Cape Canaveral, don’t overlook the additional attractions here in Cocoa Beach, well worth the detour!

You may view my full tour here!:

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Princess Cays, Bahamas: a Hedonistic Retreat!

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Private Bungalows at Princess Cays

Princess Cays is irresistible, with a rainbow of boldly colorful bungalows, windswept palm trees, powdery sands, and brilliant aqua waters suitable for scuba or swim. It’s the ultimate hedonistic retreat! Princess Cays in the Bahamas is privately owned by Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruises, and you will find the stop only on these ships’ Caribbean itineraries. The private bungalows available for rent, and housing up to four people, are the perfect retreat from the crowds swarming the buffet and at the other end of the beach around the shops, party vibe, and live music.

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My playful pink paradise

With your bungalow rental, you receive four lounge chairs and a beach umbrella, lots of very satisfying snacks (allowing avoidance of the crowded buffet!) including a bounty of fresh fruit, vegetables and dip, and chips with salsa and guacamole, a cooler of sodas, a shower, and an air conditioned haven from the heat and/or rain. There’s also an electrical outlet for gaming and social media addicts (you know who you are!) Scuba gear and floats are also included if you are so inclined.

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In the shade of the palm trees life is good

Steps away from the beach, life is tough: having to decide whether to lounge around and soak in the sun on your private lounger, partake in the abundance of snacking delights in the cabana, or cool down in the crystal clear, soothing Bahamian waters. After a stroll to get the lay of the land, I did all three… three times!

If you can avoid the crowds in the area of the beach closest to the tender port, Princess Cays provides an extremely peaceful, relaxing experience. My perky pink cabana home for the day, it was paradise. It was an enviable escape, the perfect place for zen-like meditation, tranquility, and contemplation.

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More palm trees than people at this end of the beach

After not nearly enough time, it was time to return to the ship to head towards Freeport, Bahamas, completely relaxed, refreshed, and recharged in this perfectly peaceful place.

Want a tour? You can see it here:

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Next week: Freeport, Bahamas, followed by my trip to Europe with new, upgraded filming equipment in tow! Hope you can come along for the adventure!

Basking in Bermuda Part 2: Hamilton, St. George’s, Pink Sand Beaches, Glass-Bottom Boat

I wasn’t sure the next day in Bermuda, focused on Bermuda’s cities, could top my experiences of the previous day. Yet, in it’s own way, this alternative look at Bermuda was equally enthralling!

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Horseshoe Bay Beach: One of Bermuda’s Famous “Pink Sand” Beaches

The day began with a stop at one of Bermuda’s famous “pink sand” beaches, Horseshoe Bay beach. I was even more struck by how quiet and peaceful the beach was than by the color of the sand, which I would describe as more pink-ish than outright pink. In Bermuda, there are small red organisms that live among the coral. When they pass away they drop to the ocean floor and combine with coral and crushed shell, and when this substance washes up on the beach it gives the sand Bermuda’s signature pink hue. Contrasting with the brilliant aqua ocean, the beach is a magnificent sight, and I would have loved to have spent the day. Especially since this would have been a great change of pace from the crowded beaches back home! But the cities were waiting to be discovered!

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Hamilton

Hamilton, at about the middle of the main island, was founded in 1790. Hamilton is a vibrant pastel-colored cityscape with lively bars, restaurants, shopping, and businesses. Bermuda’s economic hub is highly developed, modern, and exciting! Palm trees dot the bustling harbor front with a backdrop of banks and government buildings. Hamilton means business! I wandered the streets, allowing the city vibe to sink in. Hamilton is easily reached from the port by ferry or van, and is well worth the excursion. It’s a great place to people-watch from an outdoor cafe, see Bermuda’s version of the “skyscraper,” (New Yorkers, please resist the temptation to scoff!) or spend way too much money in the expensive retail outlets! (The Bermuda dollar’s value is maintained at equal to the U.S. dollar, and U.S. dollars are eagerly welcomed in shops and restaurants!)

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Busy Hamilton Intersection

After the brisker pace of Hamilton, I was ready to slow down in the more quaint city of St. George’s. St. George’s was founded in 1612, at the northernmost tip of the main island. Here, historic recreations are played out in front of City Hall by elaborately costumed actors, a jumble of sailboat masts reach for baby-blue skies, and empty, narrow streets wind through charming colonial pastel architecture.

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Road Less Traveled, St’ George’s

While Hamilton plays the boisterous younger sibling, St. George’s plays the more settled down, graceful older one. Strolling among soft breezes, watching sailboats bob in the harbor, getting a glimpse of old-fashioned British phone booths, and being enveloped by a rainbow of pastel on it’s narrow streets, St. George’s is a delightful step back in time.

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Green Phone Booth, St. George’s

From the Royal Naval Dockyard, to Hamilton, to St. George’s, Bermuda’s hubs have their own unique personalities – and I enjoyed getting to know them all. The British may have seen Bermuda as an opportunity to keep an eye on America. But with all of these lovely distractions right here in Bermuda I’m not sure how!

After a few minutes of freshening up, it was time for a night out on the open sea – aboard a glass-bottom boat for a shipwreck tour. I was skeptical – the excursion had some negative reviews, and any tour which includes viewing wildlife – land or sea – can be hit or miss depending on who decides to show up for the party. But it turned out to be an outstanding tour, with very entertaining guides, a visible shipwreck both in, and sticking out of, the ocean, and loads of fish, coral, and other interesting sights below. You can see for yourself on the video below!

I filmed a second video of Bermuda covering the sights mentioned in this blog, which you may view here:

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Spring at the Sand and Sea in Atlantic City, New Jersey!

Atlantic City tourism is usually associated with summertime. But my favorite times to visit are spring and autumn. Ideal temperatures and smaller crowds make a stroll along the historic Boardwalk and views of the miles of public beaches idyllic! Casinos are more eager to please, because there are fewer visitors (specifically on weekdays) and perks are more abundant. And it is easier to find an empty seat on the Boardwalk tram – allowing you to see and do as much as possible – an irresistible prospect!

Caesar’s… a resort fit for an Emperor. Both the public areas and private rooms are dripping with luxury. The main lobby is a spectacular rendition of ancient Rome, down to the depiction of the Augustus of Prima Porta statue. He stands tall next to a fake but convincing palm tree that is home to a family of live birds that, from time to time, will fly along the backdrop of the cloud-painted ceiling, welcoming visitors. Or perch themselves on Augustus’ shoulder, chirping and drawing attention to the great Augustus, poised in contrapposto pose (art history speak for addressing an audience). This lobby is truly breathtaking and easily one of my favorite hotel lobbies I have ever visited. In my room, I enjoyed spectacular views of the beach while I contemplated how I would spend my day in this, one of my all-time favorite cities.

The Quarter at Tropicana’s decor is inspired by Havana, and provides a pleasant and inspiring place to dine in delicious restaurants, explore chic boutique shops, and, if you are so inclined, try your luck at the games. The Quarter is bursting with energy and eye-candy!

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Steel Pier and beach

The Boardwalk trams were back after their winter hiatus, and for $3 ($6 for an all-day pass), you can cover the length of the Boardwalk. I took a ride down to the Steel Pier, enjoying the sites and scents of salt water taffy shops, massage and psychic parlors, arcades, and other bastions of fun along the Boardwalk on the way, many of them just waking up from their winter hibernation. The amusement park at the Steel Pier was not yet open – the one aspect of coming during this season I consider a disappointment. But it’s okay – because I can’t get enough of this place and surely will return in the summer. The Steel Pier is not only fun and exciting, but historic, still standing from the 1890s.

If you haven’t had enough shopping at the Quarter, The Tanger Outlets and the Playground provide additional opportunities for an endulgent shopping binge!  Between the casinos and the shopping, working overtime before your trip to Atlantic City never hurts!

If you have been following my posts and YouTube channel, you may be aware that my husband recently passed away. The most pressing reason of all I wanted to return to Atlantic City at this time was that this was his favorite place to visit. We traveled extensively, and internationally, and whenever a trip was over he would ask, “When are we going to Atlantic City again?” I have so many cherished memories of our time spent together here, and longed to be surrounded by that at this tremendously difficult time. It was a great comfort, and one that I hope, in some way, he was able to share in.

My YouTube video from this trip is posted, which you may view here!:

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I am extremely grateful for your generous donation to help keep the site running! This site and individual posts are not sponsored! A dollar may not be a lot, but every dollar counts!

$1.00