Tag Archive for: Vacations

Clicking Our Heels – Our Favorite Vacation Spots

Clicking Our Heels – Our Favorite Vacation Spots

It’s that time of year.  We’re all thinking about summer and that, invariably, leads us to considering where we would like to be if we could go to our vacation spot.  As usual, our answers are as varied as we are.

Dru Ann Love – My favorite vacation spot is any place where I am not obligated to do a thing.  I like the idea that I can go to a place and take one of the area’s highlight bus tours where the touristy attractions are pointed out to me while I sit, look and listen.

Bethany Maines – To be perfectly honest, every place I just visited is my favorite spot.  But the anything that has delicious food and cheap lodgings is the best.  M most recent favorite is Iceland.  Their butter is delicious.

Juliana Aragon Fatula – Stonehenge.  When I visited Stonehenge I had a river of electricity/magnetism run through my body and move my head physically toward the ground.  It was freaky/cool.  I wanted to stay all night and stargaze while lying on my back feeling the earth’s pull.  I had a similar experience at Chichen Itza, but it was a power pulling my whole body down to the ground.  I couldn’t climb the pyramid because my balance was wacked out.

Jennae M. Phillippe – The best vacation that I have actually been on:  Maui.  Best that I daydream about: an English cottage with lots of books and unlimited tea near a quaint village.

Linda Rodriguez – My favorite place I’ve ever visited was Oxford, English.  I felt as if I had come home.  I stayed there for two weeks and loved everything about it.  I think I need to write a series of books set in Oxford, so I can visit there for tax-deductible research every year or so.  Until then, there’s always Morse and Lewis on Netflix.

Debra H. Goldstein – Australia. When my daughter was studying abroad, I made a quick trip to visit her.  Between the beaches, lush greenery, rocky areas, I was impressed, but the most fun was seeing the countryside and the famous sites like the Sydney Opera House (we took the backstage tour at four a.m. – the two of us and a journalist from London) through my daughter’s eyes.  As she led me around the country, I realized we had reversed roles – she had become an adult.

Paffi Flood – My favorite vacation spot is Siena, Italy.  The entire city is the color found in the crayon boxes, and near one edge, a black-and-white marble cathedral rises from all the brown, and it’s absolutely stunning.

Sparkle Abbey – We’d have to say Laguna Beach, California.  Not only is it the setting for our mystery series, but I’s also just a great place.  It almost has a European flavor with all the wonderful shops, restaurants and galleries.  And then there’s a beach itself….

Marilyn Meredith – My favorite vacation spot is anywhere on California’s Central Coast.  I once lived close to the beach and I miss it.  Morrow Bay is a place we try to get to once a year.  My Rocky Bluff P.D. series is set in a small beach town, and I like to get energized by visiting similar places.

Kay Kendall – I cannot choose just one favorite vacation spot.  Here is my list.  Small to mid-sized European city in these countries:  the UK, France, Germany, Italy.  Plus these historic larger cities that really grab me:  Prague; Venice; St. Petersburg, Russia.

What I Want to Do Next

What I Want to Do Next by Debra H. Goldstein

For years, I wondered what I would be when I grew up. I
finally answered that question by deciding that Peter Pan had it right – I’m
never going to grow up. Perhaps the body will appear older on the outside (I
haven’t mastered all of Peter’s tricks yet…I’m still working on flying), but
inside, I will always retain the kid in me.

When it came to a career, I also faced uncertainty. At one
point, I thought I would be a doctor, but I don’t enjoy science. Other rejected
ideas included comedian (I’m still a Carol Burnett fan), singer (only singing
four notes on key and those not being in successive order made that one
difficult), and journalist. Instead I opted, at different times, for salesgirl,
teaching assistant, teacher, editorial assistant, lawyer, judge and now writer.

A number of these jobs require discipline and attention to
details. No problem there, but lately, I’ve had an urge to do something
different. I want to take a short term mental vacation. The way I see it, a
fire in the fireplace would be nice, but not mandatory. The same with a fuzzy
soft blanket. Being at the beach would be divine, but again not required. No,
the only thing necessary would be a good light, a comfortable chair, and part
of the stack of books that are piled on my dresser or in the bookcase in my
closet to be read. My TBR pile takes up almost as much space as my clothing. It’s
time to do something about that. So, what I want and will do next is take some
fun time to read for me. Some of the books will be mindless, some more intense,
but none will be required reading for any project, panel, review, or other
task. What fun!

I’ll report back in the near future how my reading week(s)
go, but in the meantime, what is it that you want to do next?

Always Better in the Retelling

By Evelyn David

Every summer, when my boys were little, we’d head to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware,
for a week of sun and fun. Back then, Rehoboth was a little less honky-tonk, a
little more family friendly than neighboring Ocean City, Maryland.
But to get to this little isle of paradise meant traveling down the New Jersey turnpike
(designed by the devil himself when the traffic is heavy) and then take Route
13, which at the time was a two-lane road. In other words, travel on a slow-moving
parking lot with three kids under ten who have been stuck in the car for hours
and it is no one’s finest hour. That particular summer, the final two hours
stretched to four, and when we arrived at our rental, we were underwhelmed to
be sure. We expected Tara; we got slightly
better than a worn-out trailer.

It had three tiny bedrooms, but oddly enough, the living
room, kitchen, master bedroom and bath were on one side of the house with two
small bedrooms on the other. Running down in between was a screened porch. In
answer to why I didn’t know this before plunking down a week’s rental – the
Internet wasn’t what it is today and there were no virtual tours. The backyard,
which I envisioned as a place for outdoor games post-beach, had been planted with
succulents so it was the equivalent of trying to play catch on a field of

The house was hot, humid, and had a strong mildew odor. But
it was two blocks to the beach, so hubby gamely unpacked the car, and we headed
off for all that fun in the sun. The late afternoon sky was a little dark, but
nothing too ominous, but I should have picked up the hint that all was not well
in paradise when the lifeguards blew their whistles and signaled by touching
their calves, that no one was to go further out into the ocean than about two
feet. Still, the two older boys raced into the water and the little guy, then
not quite two, ran to catch up. Hubby sprinted after him just in time to see
him knocked down by a wave breaking on the shore. He scooped him up, carried
him up to our blankets, and the kid promptly threw up all over us.

We headed back to the house. Using the outdoor shower to
remove the ton of sand we had collected in our 15 minutes on the beach,
involved walking over the succulents, to a chorus of screams, and rinsing off
in ice cold water, accompanied by more screams. Dinner was the usual affair of
complaints about the food and I was more than happy when we’d put all three of
the kids to bed. I couldn’t take much more of this fun. And then the skies opened up.

By opened up, I mean the end of the world, apocalypse kind
of storm. Thunder, lightning, hail, driving rain, tornado-like winds – all
traveling down that screened-in porch. Within seconds, all three boys were
flying into our bedroom and hurling themselves into our bed.

So I did what any logical mother would do. I calmly
announced to my husband that I wanted to go home. I’d had it with vacation.

And my husband did what any logical man would do. He
calmly announced that he had just driven seven hours in a car filled with
mini-terrorists, had paid a small fortune for this place in paradise, and there
was no way on earth that he was getting back in the car the next day to repeat
the adventure in reverse.

It was not our finest moment.

So we settled down to sleep, all five of us in the bed.

And the next morning dawned early and bright. Hubby and kids
headed out the door for the fantastic fresh donuts available scarcely a block
away. Later we strolled down to the beach and built sand castles, jumping the
mini-waves at the shore’s edge as the water was still rough. We had a beach
picnic (the crunch in the peanut butter was from sand), flew kites, walked the
boardwalk, played arcade games.

And we built a treasure trove of family memories, including the one
about the indoor hurricane the first night in Rehoboth.

Vacations are rarely hassle-free. I often felt like I was
the social director on a rocky cruise ship trying to make sure we didn’t run
aground. But when I look back on those days of disasters and triumphs, when I
hear my grown kids howl at the recounting of those family vacations, I wouldn’t
trade one second. Well, maybe the vomiting, but that always elicits such laughs
in the retelling, so maybe not even that.

Share your favorite vacation disaster – and memory.

Evelyn David

Brianna Sullivan Mysteries – e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past CemeteriesKindleNookSmashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah KindleNookSmashwords
The Holiday Spirit(s) of LottawatahKindleNookSmashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
A Haunting in Lottawatah – KindleNookSmashwords
Lottawatah Twister – KindleNookSmashwords
Missing in Lottawatah – KindleNookSmashwords
Good Grief in Lottawatah – KindleNookSmashwords
Summer Lightning in Lottawatah – Kindle NookSmashwords

The Ghosts of Lottawatah – trade paperback collection of the Brianna e-books
Book 1 I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries (includes the first four Brianna e-books)
Book 2 – A Haunting in Lottawatah (includes the 5th, 6th, and 7th Brianna e-books)

Sullivan Investigations Mystery
Murder Off the Books KindleNookSmashwordsTrade Paperback
Murder Takes the Cake Kindle – Trade Paperback  (exclusive to Amazon for 90 days)
Riley Come Home (short story)- KindleNookSmashwords
Moonlighting at the Mall (short story) – KindleNookSmashwords

Love Lessons – KindleNookSmashwords

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

by Bethany Maines

Anddddd… we’re back from NYC! After a week long trip to the
Big Apple where we sampled the food, the night life, the culture and of course,
the shopping, I realized that I may possibly be the only vactioner who includes
signs as part of my list of tourist attractions. I’m not talking the big
important monuments, I’m talking about the little tragedies of government
signage or the er… “modifications” that have occurred to everyday signs.
As I back-tracked through the subway to capture this beauty
about the Essex Street subway stop, I received strange looks from locals and my
friends a like. Personally, I think this sign “correction” shows a flare of
genius! The sign artist had to capitalize on the multitude of “wet paint” signs
that were at a previous stop and apply them to the Essex St. sign without
getting caught by the MTA employees and without committing the cardinal New
York sin – getting in the way of people trying to get on the subway.
The Essex St. sign is second only to the series of
masterpieces I captured while on honeymoon in the Virgin Islands. The Dip
Series showed not only a one-time creativity, but the extended oeuvre of the
artist. And while the Dip Series artist might not have been faced the threat of
law enforcement the way the Essex St. artist was, his/her odds of getting run
over were much higher.
A second category of sign that I much appreciate is what I
term “unintentional art.” It’s a category exemplified by this little gem
discovered in Brooklyn. Yes, that’s a New York City Department of Environmental
Protection truck, and yes, it wants “Gasoline Only.”  Because gasoline is what environmental protection is all
about, right?
Then there’s this classic from a previous trip to New York.
Yup, that electrically lit sign is indeed telling you that it’s conserving

So as we march through life looking for the
next “important” thing to look at, I think it’s also imperative to remember the
advice I once got from my mother as I pushed a pull door – “Stop and read the

Whither Thou Goest

I’m married to a Kamikaze Tourist. Let me be very clear. He’s a wonderful man. There is none better. In fact, we just celebrated a milestone anniversary, in honor of which we took a 10-day vacation. But traveling with my husband is exhausting and I always need a vacation from my vacation. How could two such compatible people have such differing views of what constitutes a respite from work?

The man, who while home never misses the opportunity to nap on the weekends, is, when traveling, suddenly transformed into the energizer bunny. There isn’t a ruin, a cathedral, a graveyard, that doesn’t require close inspection. Now I have been known to “brake for garage sales,” but I could pass by a pile of rubble and never even feel bad that I had missed, according to my better half, an enormous event in the earth’s history.

Now that’s not to say that I wasn’t dazzled, overwhelmed, struck silent (quite a trick) by the grandeur of the Grand Canyon. Surely, it deserves inclusion on the Seven Wonders of the World List. But in 100+ degree weather, my husband had us criss-crossing the South Rim at a pace that rivaled a Marine platoon, climbing up 84 narrow steps of a watchtower (and then down again, although I suggested that he leave me at the top and save himself), and virtually hang-gliding off precipices that Evil Knievel would have declared unsafe.

If insanity is repeating the same action and expecting a different result – call me crazier than a loon. I keep traveling with this guy – and then wondering why I come back so tired that hibernation is my only option. There is no lolling by any poolside, holding some fruity alcoholic drink decorated with a tiny paper umbrella. There are places to go and historic markers to read.

On the other hand, my guy is willing to keep a nice balance between the history stuff he wants to see, and the schlock and kitsch that I find interesting. For example, we started the trip in Las Vegas, despite the fact that he has zero interest in gambling. The reason we landed there, literally and figuratively, was because of my fear of flying. Don’t try and figure out why Vegas eliminates that phobia – it doesn’t, but in the context of this vacation, it made sense. Anyway, the point is that I wanted to see the Liberace museum, which according to AAA, is a “gem.” And despite the fact that my man neither liked Liberace, listened to him as a child, nor is that crazy about crystals, feathers, and rhinestones, he’s a good guy and drove me to the strip mall where the museum is housed. It actually was a fascinating historic review of the 1950s, the costumes were indeed way over the top, but best of all, my hubby led the cheers when I won the drawing at the end of the tour. I was presented with a CD of Liberace playing the piano and even better, my very own Liberace bear, complete with mirrored mini-capelet. We spent hours in the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest, examining every rock and trail marker for miles…but we also spent hours at the Farmers and Crafts Market in Las Cruces where I could find a dozen different types of chili peppers, as well as gorgeous silverwork and pottery.

We drove more than 1100 miles in 10 days, making multiple stops in Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. Is it any wonder that I need him to go back to work so that I can get some rest?

Tell me Stiletto Faithful: Are you taking a vacation this year? Stay-cations count too. If so, what are you doing? And is your traveling companion compatible?

Marian, the Northern Half of Evelyn David

Murder Off the Books by Evelyn David
Murder Takes the Cake by Evelyn David
Murder Drops the Ball by Evelyn David — Spring 2011 !!!!

Vacation Anyone?

I Know I Need a Vacation When ….

  1. I have trouble remembering what day of the week it is.
  2. I can’t even tolerate listening to the politicians with whom I agree. (To my Southern ears the phrase “with whom” grates, but I’ll try to dumb down the rest of my list.)
  3. I’m fascinated by reality tv – in particular Ice Road Truckers and Billy the Exterminator. (See that dumbing down thing is easy.)
  4. Book promotion feels like pulling teeth. (Okay it always feels that way to me, but at the moment it feels like having my wisdom teeth removed again – the way it was done 30 years ago – strapped down in the dentist chair with your mouth jacked open with some kind of rubber bracing. Only the dentist and the people in the adjacent buildings could hear the screams.)
  5. I’ll eat my Cheerios dry rather than make a trip to the grocery store.
  6. I resent having to explain “why” more than once. (Yes, I know. That’s just me getting old and cranky – taking a vacation won’t help.)
  7. I’m happy when I get one item on my “to-do” list done each day. Today I changed my central air conditioning filter. I had to use a flashlight to illuminate the operation since replacing the light bulb in the hallway would have just been too much effort. Maybe tomorrow.
  8. The highlight of the week is putting all my extra red pepper flake packets from Pizza Hut deliveries into a Tupperware container instead of stuffing them in a kitchen drawer to wander and breed with the Parmesan cheese and soy sauce packets.
  9. I seriously consider stocking up on disposable plates and cups so I never have to wash dishes again. (Along with this thought was a fleeting urge to toss all the dirty dishes in the trash and start over with new stuff. Lack of money and the fear my mother would find out held me back.)
  10. Even the Gulf Coast beaches with the floating tar balls and oily birds look like good places to park a lounge chair.

On a Serious Note: I’ve been to the Gulf Coast several times – New Orleans, Gulf Port, Biloxi, Ship Island, etc. It hurts to think about the damage the oil is causing to the environment and to the people who are losing a way of life. I hope the leaking oil well is plugged soon and we – the nation – find a way to prevent any similar environmental disasters in the future. I know we need the oil – but we have to protect our oceans and marshes too.

aka The Southern Half of Evelyn David