Victorians in New Jersey

The town of Cape May is located at the very southern tip of the Jersey shore.

Cape May is at the southern tip of New Jersey.

It is quaint and quiet.

Hotel prices change with the seasons.

Many of the houses there including inns and B and Bs are classic Victorian structures.

Old houses in my neighborhood are brightly painted.

I live in a historic district in Maryland where many of the homes date from the 1880s and were built in the classic style.  One of the most distinctive qualities is the colorful painted finishes.

The beach is fine white sand.

Charlie and I enjoyed driving along Beach Avenue.  We parked and got out at the beach.  We took a short stroll on a very windy day.

Corner of Beach Ave and Brooklyn Ave in Cape May, New Jersey

After visiting Cape May we plan to come back for a longer stay.

Do you have a favorite vacation spot?


Charlie and I have traveled about 3 hours from home to Wildwood, New Jersey.

Topping at the ice cream bar.

We’re staying at a hotel on the boardwalk a couple of blocks from the Convention Center where Charlie will be playing for a variety of events.  The first party was an ice cream social.

The beach from our 7th floor multiple-room suite.

In the meantime I am fulfilling #24 of my 101 tasks in 1001 days: Go to the beach for a long weekend.

Can’t wait to show Charlie the “painted ladies” in Cape May.

This afternoon and tomorrow all day we’ll be free to explore so we’re also planning to visit Cape May just 5 minutes down the road.

We saw lots of classic cars on our trip to Cuba in 2018.

Tomorrow is the Spring Boardwalk  Classic Car Show.  It should be fun.

What are you doing for Mother’s Day?

May Day! May Day!

The title sounds like a call for help because I’ve packed the month of May with enough tasks to fill a year.  Thankfully my team — Charlie and Sug — plus my son and his wife are committed to a long, desperate summer’s worth of to-do lists.  The fun will start in May.

More or less in order of what’s about to happen we’ll be doing the following:


Party on Saturday:  The Dedication of the Chapel at the Glade.

We’re hoping for good weather for our chapel dedication.

The program is set, the menu is set, the guest list is set — time for the party.


We will need the guest room — my son’s old bedroom — for weekly visits from him due to his work schedule.  He plans to stay overnight once a week instead of driving back and forth to the Eastern shore of Maryland, 2.5 hours away.

We’ll be welcoming overnight guests very soon.

There are a few more items in the back room that need to be distributed or done away with.  We’re planning to finish up the guest room (#9 on the 101 in 1001).


Charlie and I will be spending long weekend at beach (#24 on the 101 in 1001).  Charlie has to play the piano for some meetings but I am just going along for the ride.

We’ll be staying near Cape May, New Jersey.

We’ll be staying on the Boardwalk in Wildwood, New Jersey, but plan to do a little touring on this long weekend.


Mother’s Day — I’m declaring this as my personal free day.

Mother’s Day would be a good time to invigorate the mantel.

I only plan to do stuff I enjoy.  I’m hoping to also have something special and delicious to eat.


I have spoken with our contractor who is getting ready to add a new surface and railing to our bedroom deck (#73 on the 101 in 1001).

Hoping to finally make some progress on the master deck.

We haven’t used the deck for a couple of years except for building projects due to the lack of railing.


Although Charlie and I are not planning to move to this property we’re going to purchase, we’ll be working on it almost every weekend until it is liveable.

Planning to make some improvements to this 1930s Cape Cod-style cottage including a new roof.

Our son and his wife are excited to live in a rural area that’s only 3 miles from the Nanticoke River.   They will do a little farming and .  .  . who knows what else.  Oystering and crabbing come to mind.


It’s time to have Dash’s rabies innoculation updated.

Dash is a very good dog except when he’s not.

Last year he could only get a year-long shot.  This year he can have a 3-year shot.  We generally get the shot at the county dog shelter.


We’ll be attending a baptism for an adult friend.

We are so delighted to be asked to be present at this important event.


By the time Memorial Day rolls around I think I’ll need a break although I’m guessing we will have some fun at the new property.

Charlie helped fold the American flag at Fort McHenry.

We are so glad to be able to celebrate a patriotic holiday in one of the original states — Maryland.  Sometimes I can’t believe how beautiful it is here, especially in spring.


Finally I need to finish my first reading of The Screwtape Letters so I’ll be ready for our book club in June and July.  We have a good group of committed readers to study this satire about the devil.

The Screwtape Letters’ study is coming in June.

That sounds like a crazy full month of must-dos to me.

What do you like to put on the grill on Memorial Day?

International Driving Permit

As I was researching driving a car from Italy to Serbia I was reminded it would be a good idea to get an International Driving Permit which is required in some of the countries we’ll be visiting.

My local AAA is about 4 miles from my office.

It’s easy to get and inexpensive and therefore worth the effort to get one just to have peace of mind in case we’re stopped by the police for a traffic violation.

The AAA agent was very efficient and knowledgeable about travel issues and the license.

I visited the AAA website where I filled out the on-line application.

I was told to help myself to coffee, tea, or hot chocolate while I was waiting for the short verification process.

Then I took my driver’s license, the application, 2 passport photos, and $20 plus tax to my local AAA office where the agent verified my information.

International Driving Permit issued by AAA

My permit was issued immediately and is good for a year from the start date which I chose as September 1st.  Actually I am hoping to be the navigator on our trip to Europe so Charlie and Sug are getting IDPs too.

Does $20 seem like reasonable insurance for a document that may never be needed?

I was neither payed nor perked to give the above information.

Lots Going On

Actually we have too much happening.

Online applications with no chance to print the final information is not ideal.

1.   We opened a new electric account in our son’s name and the power company left his last name off.  I don’t know how they’ll check his credit with no last name. I also don’t know if they’ve turned the power on or not which was supposed to happen today.

Charlie’s passport is misplaced.

2.   Charlie can’t find his passport.

What to do with an old trailer.

3.  My son is trying to figure out how to get rid of an old mobile home.  Any suggestions?

International driving permits are good for one year.

4.  We need to get International Driving Permits from AAA before our fall trip.

The house will definitely need a new roof.

5.  Friday we’ll meet a plumber and an inspector at a property we want to purchase.  I don’t look forward to the bad news.

What’s up with you?

My Aching Feet

Last September Charlie and I were in London and Bath in the UK for almost 2 weeks.

The killer shoes I took to Great Britain.

During that time we did a lot of walking.  I took 3 pairs of shoes but my right foot, especially one toe, was so damaged that it still hurts on a daily basis no matter what shoes I wear.

The 4th toe has been hurting for over 6 months.

I went to a podiatrist for x-rays and consultation which did not help.  Charlie’s hand specialist also took a look (at my foot) but could make no suggestion.

I like these shoes because they are slip-ons.

Since we’re heading back to Europe again this fall I decided I’d better do some research on the best walking shoes that are not too clunky looking.

The ribbon detailing disguises that fact that I have very large feet.

I finally decided to give Skechers a try.

These lacy denim-colored shoes are very comfortable.

I bought 2 pairs and will wear them around for the next couple of months to determine which pair to take with me.

What is your go-to travel shoe?

Repost: The Mystery of the Hinges of Notre Dame

I was horrified to learn of the recent fire in Notre Dame Cathedral.

Service at Notre Dame Cathedral honoring the Crown of Thorns.

In 2011 Charlie and I visited Paris and the Cathedral for the monthly Veneration of the Crown of Thorns which was rescued by a brave priest during the fire.

Notre Dame Cathedral viewed from the left bank.

In honor of the people of Paris I am reposting below my article on the hinges of the doors of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.


The Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris has many unique and exquisite attributes.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Even before entering the great stone edifice the doors grab attention.  Not the doors so much as the hinges.

The large wooden doors of Notre Dame swing on fabulous hinges.

They are made from wrought iron by Biscornette who was a very mysterious worker. Legend has it no one ever saw him constructing the hinges. Reports went round that he had sold his soul to the devil to get him to help. The design is supposed to represent the Earthly Paradise.

Beautiful arabesque branches are the hinges of Notre Dame

An iron master named Gaegart broke off fragments of the iron to try and figure out how Notre Dame’s hinges were created. Some experts think that they are cast, and then treated with a file; others say they must have been created solely by casting, with no soldering. In any case, the secret will never be divulged, it died with Biscornette.

Do you have a secret method for doing something?

Navigating Our Way to the Cherry Blossoms

Yesterday we visited the Japanese cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. Due to heavy traffic and minimal parking we decided to take the DC subway, also called Metrorail or simply the Metro.

The Green Line goes directly to L’Enfant Plaza with no train change.

The logistics of it were not for the faint of heart but lots of people did the same thing so it’s not impossible. Hardier folks might have opted to see more sites but we were focused on the cherry blossoms.

The Metro trains are fairly new as subways go.

We drove to the Greenbelt Metro Station so we could take the Green Line into DC.  (Alternatively we could have chosen to board at Silver Spring (Red Line) but would have had to make a transfer en route.)

Our first stop after riding the subway was the Starbucks in the L’Enfant Plaza station — 2 espresso macchiatos.

The nearest station to the Tidal Basin is “Smithsonian” but we opted for “L’Enfant Plaza,” again so we would not need to change trains.

South on D Street SW, then a left at 12th SW. The building on the corner — American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The walk to the Tidal Basin from L’Enfant Plaza was easy with the use of my iPhone map app.

The Washington Monument can be seen between the two buildings.

I knew we should keep the Washington Monument in our right hand to be heading in the direction of the cherry blossoms.

The cherry blossoms are across the street.

The actual walking was not difficult until we neared the Tidal Basin where one of the thruways was closed off and so we, like others before us who had worn a path, cut across some median triangles.

The Jefferson Memorial is across the tidal basin and can be reached by walking on the path near the water.

We leisurely toured the Tidal Basin and the Jefferson Memorial. The trip from the Beltsville Metro Station and back again took 3.5 hours (train ride one way was approximately 35 minutes).

Once back to our car in the parking lot of the Metro Station we needed a credit card to get out.  I didn’t leave fast enough so the gate closed in front of me.  When I rang the bell for the attendant he opened the gate again.

The Tampico: 1 chicken taco, and 2 tostadas — one cheese and the other guacamole.

As a special treat on the way home we stopped at Tippy’s for a taco and tostada snack called “Tampico”.

Is there someplace close to where you live that you’ve always meant to visit but have not yet done so?

Cherry Blossoms

Today Charlie and I went to Washington, DC, to see the cherry blossoms.

The Jefferson Memorial is across the tidal basin and can be reached by walking on the path near the water.

The peak bloom was 2 days ago but there were still plenty of blossoms.

The day was cool and windy.

We walked there from the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station which was a little over a mile away from the Tidal Basin where the Japanese cherry trees are planted in abundance.

The pink-tinged area is cherry blossoms.

From the tidal basin we could see the Washington Monument on the National Mall.

Jefferson Memorial

We walked around the tidal basin toward the Jefferson Memorial which was very well populated.

One of the panels inside the Jefferson Memorial.

The words on the walls inside the monument are inspirational.

A path winds all around the tidal basin.

We strolled and photoed and enjoyed a very beautiful day.

What’s next for you to cross off your bucket list?

SmarTrip Card

Later this month or early in April Charlie and I are planning a day trip to Washington DC.

Peak bloom for the cherry blossoms in DC this year is April 3.

We’ll need to take the DC Metro to our destination near the Tidal Basin.

We’ve ridden Le Metro is Paris.

We became regulars on The Underground while in London.

Since we don’t generally use public transportation in the US I wanted to make sure we had metro/bus cards which would allow us to travel from a suburban parking lot to our destination downtown.

The SmarTrip Card is good for subway and bus travel in the Washington metropolitan area.

Happily I found my SmarTrip card which works on both systems.  Then I found out I could use a Senior SmarTrip card which saves about 50% on fares. I bought it at the Commuter Store at Takoma Langley Transit Center
7900 New Hampshire Ave, Hyattsville, MD 20783 (Weekdays 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

Every rider needs his/her own card to ride the DC Metro.

While anyone can use a blue SmarTrip card, the senior card is person specific so I’m the sole user.  Now we both have a card to use public transportation in both Washington and Baltimore.

Have you ever been to Washington DC?  What memorable thing did you see?