Finally in the middle of the summer we are heading to Smith Island, the last inhabited offshore island on the Maryland side of the Chesapeake. None of us has ever been there before.
Sug, Charlie and I going in part to attend a Methodist “camp meeting” that has been held on the island for the past 132 years.
I have rented a house found on AirBnB which will provide us with bicycles and a canoe and a perch to view beautiful sunsets over the Chesapeake Bay. There are few cars on the island which must be accessed by boat alone.
We’re excited to celebrate the Year of the Island by traveling in state, in hemisphere, and across the pond.
I have been putting off and putting off committing to accommodations in London.
I wasn’t sure whether Sug would meet us over there or not so I was researching both small and large apartments at the same time. Impossible.
Sug has decided, instead, to go on a mission to Central America so I limited my search to accommodations for two, Charlie and Jo.
I searched two different websites: AirBnB and VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) and finally settled for an AirBnB one bedroom flat in Chelsea, an area of London north of the river and west of London city center.
Because we’re staying for 7 days in the same place we are getting a 10% discount. (While we were visiting Paris we moved once across the city on a Sunday which was a hassle.)
One important feature is proximity to the London Underground, especially the Piccadilly Line (dark blue line on the map) which goes directly to Heathrow Airport.
I’m excited to now have all our accommodations pinned down so I can begin to plan the sights and attractions.
We’re finally looking at consistently warm weather this week. Charlie has been re-configuring and planting his garden. He enjoys working outside in our yard which is totally beautiful at this time of year.
Charlie is planning to finish the grading and seeding of the front yard and the area between the house and his vegetable garden
This is heavy, gruesome job is on-going for Charlie but ultimately he is a careful worker.
I’m still focusing on making housing arrangements in London.
We have the added excitement that Sug might join us while we’re there.
We’re planning to meet friends at a favorite restaurant.
And we’re taking little Dash out for our coffee excursions.
We have tickets to see a practice flight of the Navy’s Blue Angels.
We’re planning to visit Stonehenge while we’re in England later this year. The price for entry into Stonehenge is £17.50 ($24.50) per person. The price of the ticket during the public hours from 9:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. does not allow one to actually walk among the stones.
I applied to English Heritage to allow us to come in the early morning before the public opening to allow us to get an up close-and-personal look at the stones.
We were contacted by email that our application had been conditionally accepted if we made payment by phone within 7 days. I called immediately.
Rebecca told me in a lovely British accent that their computers were down and could I call the next day.
I called the next day bright and early our time — afternoon their time. I gave all my information and paid £77 for the two of us to spend one hour in the stone circle up close and personal. We must arrive 15 minutes before our scheduled entry at 6:45 a.m. We might be sharing the circle with up to 30 people. Our entry also gets us into the gift shop, museum, and perimeter of the stones but not until the actual opening at 9:30 a.m.
A month ago I purchased 2 tickets to London for this fall. I’ve been trying to set up a schedule so I will know where to book accommodations.
I’ve changed the plans around a number of times to try and organize an itinerary that keeps us in town for about 7 of our 10 days there. That is our usual modus operandi on a 10-day trip abroad.
I decided to take the trip out-of-town at the beginning of the trip so we could benefit from a weekly rental in London which usually comes with a discount over the daily rate.
I tried to make the plans by just making notes on a list of the days but that wasn’t working because it was too complicated. At first I thought we might purchase a “London Pass” for each of us but decided that it would not be cost effective in the long run and might restrict our spontaneity.
Instead I have a very large whiteboard calendar on the dining room table. I have made cards for any and all sights we’d like see. I have markered-in the details that are etched in stone and move the cards around until a reasonable plan emerges.
We’re planning to head west to Bath straight from Heathrow Airport upon our arrival. The next day we wanted to see Stonehenge but I found out that the price of the ticket during the public hours from 9:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. does not allow one to actually walk among the stones.
I have applied to English Heritage to allow us to come in the early morning before the public opening to allow us to get an up close-and-personal look at the stones — to even touch them. That would change our plans for the second day because the only availability is on Day 3 of our trip.
Now I am in waiting mode until we find out the verdict.
Is there one thing in the world you’d like to see?
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.
The online questionnaire took about 10 minutes which included a $100 online fee for a 5-year card. I was accepted on a conditional basis until an in-person interview at our local airport.
The Customs official who interviewed me about a week later also took my fingerprints on a digital fingerprint machine. I had to present my passport. At that time I was told my application had passed and I would be receiving my card in the mail in 5-7 days which is what happened.
The Global Entry card includes TSA Pre-check. I’m eager to use my new re-entry to the US document on our next international trip. Charlie also needs to apply.
I asked what advice she might have about a trip to the UK. Her response above was right in line with our habits. We love staying at B and Bs.
She also told us of some favorite excursions in London. If I can find these accommodations and they are available I feel I have a solid referral. This is a second recommendation for visiting the Prime Meridian.