Showing posts with label vacation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vacation. Show all posts

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Beaches

It is July and we are in the height of the summer vacation season. Summer travel on the east coast typically means that folks are heading to the beaches. If you look for information on the “best” beaches in the mid-Atlantic, the lists will vary somewhat. But some of the same beaches pop up on every list.

  • New York – Rockaway Beach, Main Beach, and of course, Coney Island.
  • New Jersey – Cape May, Wildwood Beach, and Stone Harbor
  • Delaware – Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach
  • Maryland – Ocean City, Assateague Island, and Sandy Point
  • Virginia –Chincoteague Island
  • North Carolina –  the many beaches on the Outer Banks


Some of these beaches are quiet settings with the main attraction being the sand and waves while other beaches are more festive experiences complete with boardwalks, carnival rides, and food stands every few steps.

Beaches are wonderful places for family vacations.  Katiecolette, on Squidoo, gives us great suggestions for activities with children while visiting the Outer Banks area. In addition to the Wright Brothers National Memorial, she gives us a list of at least 10 other things to do or see with your children as well as things to bring and places to stay.

LensbyLisa takes us with her and her family to the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey.  I have never had a Polish Water Ice while on a boardwalk, but I want one now.

Last but not at all least, Angelatvs enchants us with the tale of horseshoe crab number 270130.  We learn both of his story and of crab life in general. Thank you Angelatvs for sharing this with us.

If you are looking for a beach vacation, turn your eyes east and see what we have to offer in the mid-Atlantic.

Image Credit: Images are mine ©Dawn Rae – All Rights Reserved 






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Monday, June 30, 2014

Full Circles in a Kayak

It is funny, isn’t it, how things tend to come full circle?  Rather, not quite full circle, but a spiral, gently sloped upwards, returning to almost the same spot but one step better. One step forward in the adventure of living.

I have often thought that the act of living is represented in this spiral. You are either moving forward or backward in this spiral, but you are moving.  There are still the ups and downs, but you are moving. At this point in my life, I am moving up with little bits of synchronicity happening along the way.

I experienced this in full effect yesterday.

I went on my second adventure with my new kayak.  While unloading at the launch area, a wonderfully knowledgeable gentleman gave me some very good tips about paddling and about equipment.  He recommended lessons and recommended that I check out Shank’s Mare, in Pennsylvania, along with a few local places.

“Shank’s Mare” is a phrase I haven’t heard since my childhood, growing up in Northern Indiana – when I had many Amish friends. When asked how they were getting somewhere, they often replied “Shank’s Mare”; which meant they were walking.

Imagine my surprise hearing this Indiana phrase here just a few minutes outside of the city of Baltimore. 

This gentleman was referring to Shank’s Mare Outfitters.  He highly recommended that I check it out.  You can bet that I found it on the internet as soon as I returned home, and will indeed go up there and see what it’s all about.  Turns out that it is a lovely 1890’s era general store turned meeting place for hikers, kayakers, and cross-country skiers.  It is located between York and Lancaster Pennsylvania, in Wrightsville, PA on the banks of the Susquehanna River.

As we stood talking, the gentleman gave me stern information about kayak safety; wear a floatation device, be lit at night, take care with the weather, and so on.  Very similar warnings that I had just read the night before in How to Kill Yourself in a Kayak by magicman007.

Upon our return home, after my hours spent paddling around the back side of Gun Powder falls park – the free section near Hammerman Beach area – a young lady approached us in the parking lot.

Her company is relocating her to the area, and she’s trying to find a suitable apartment near areas suitable for water sports, specifically kayaking. She wanted to know what we thought of this apartment complex and where did we go kayaking? Somewhere close? Yours truly went from someone who often explores the area solo to a personal tour guide to a young lady from Ohio.  I drove her past a few areas, including through the Hammerman Beach area.  Her excitement was palpable and she occasionally clapped her hands quietly, when turning corners and seeing the water views.  She took off her flip-flops and stood in the wet sand while we talked about the area in general.

If she teared up, like this Midwest girl did when deciding to live here, I didn’t see it. I was too much in awe of the coincidence of the Ohio girl driving past the Indiana-turned-mid-Atlantic girl at the exact moment we were unloading the kayak.  And how lucky I was to show one of these mid-Atlantic gems to someone in person.

I hope she enjoys the mid-Atlantic region as much as I do. 







Image Credit: Images are mine ©Dawn Rae – All Rights Reserved (Click on photo for larger view)



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Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Heat Safety

Saturday, June 21, 2014 was the first day of summer here in the U.S. Here in the Baltimore area, we have already had a couple of days of high heat and humidity with the accompanying heat and air quality warnings. This small heat wave has reminded me to be prepared for the summer weather, especially during my outdoor mid-Atlantic adventures. 

Harpers Ferry looking down on the Shenandoah
Approximately two summers ago, I wanted my son to see Harpers Ferry, WV. It was an extremely hot day, perhaps the hottest that year, but we still went.  He had been assigned to this area for a few years and I wanted him to see some of my favorite places before he moved away. 

Harpers Ferry is a historic town tucked in where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers meet.  As we walked from the bottom area, near the train station parking lot, up the steep, old stone stairs, I began to feel weak.  My son and the Mister were still just marching along in their way. It is typical that I bring up the rear but this time was different.  I started to need extra rest breaks.  I started to feel light-headed and woozy.

My son took over.  He kept instructing me on things such as take a sip of water, sit down, take another sip of water, head down, drink more water, and all the while he was dribbling water on my head. At least I think that he was.  Maybe it was the Mister. Or maybe they were telling me to do it.  It’s all a little foggy.

Wow. I felt horrible. I felt cold and hot at the same time, my vision was funny, I felt nauseous, and I felt as though I would faint. At some point I felt hot and did not feel like I was sweating as much.  I was not familiar with these signs. My son was.  Thank goodness. I am familiar with the signs now and I take the heat seriously.

Please learn the signs of heat sickness, it may save your life. The CDC gives us great information about symptoms and treatment. 

With their close attention, time sitting in the shade, water on me and in me, I began to feel better enough to walk back to the bottom. We got into the Jeep and ran the air conditioner.  I quickly felt much improved.

Even if you are experienced with outdoor adventures, are aware of the signs of heat exhaustion, and typically are prepared you can still become overcome by the heat.  Off Grid Survival gives us a clear example of a seasoned hiker who could have had a tragic outcome when hiking on a hot day. Thank goodness he was found and successfully treated. 

I have considering purchasing a hydration pack (basically a water bottle that you carry on your back like a backpack) but I’m pretty fussy about my water tasting like rubber or plastic.  Squidoo writer nextyear reviews a camelbak pack that does not taste rubbery.

Ramkitten teaches us how to hike in the oven-hot heat of the GrandCanyon.  I am fairly certain if I follow her tips for Arizona in the summer, I should be fine in the Mid-Atlantic heat.

Finally, for those of us who take our furry family members with us on the trails or other outdoor activities in the summer heat, Ruthi reminds us how to keep our dogs safe in the summer heat. 


Summer is here.  Let’s be safe and have fun.


Image Credit: Image is mine ©Dawn Rae – All Rights Reserved 





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Monday, June 9, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Region: Choosing an Ideal Place for a Brief Vacation

Snow and snow days were the topic of discussion during the entire mid-Atlantic 2013 - 2014 winter season.  It seemed the students were out of school more than they were in school.  Even though the snow and cold is long gone, it is difficult to stop thinking about the topic of inclement weather and snow days.

Our schools have been left scrambling to make-up all of these educational hours that were lost. Some schools have applied for waivers for make-up days, so that fewer days need to be squeezed into the calendar somewhere. All schools have adjusted their calendars.  The last day of school has been pushed later by several days to a week, or more, in almost all districts.

I am sharing this information because it impacts summer vacation and travel. Both time available and plans that had already been made. It is also heavy on my mind because special education schools that already have an “extended year” program (the equivalent of summer school as a part of the normal curriculum) seem to be taking a really heavy hit.

In other words, because I work in an extended year school setting, I am only having a long weekend as a break for our first summer break. You see, we typically have 7 - 14 days off in June and a slightly longer break in the late summer, before the public school year resumes.  
Overlook at Green Ridge State Forest


Like most humans, because I feel restricted, I suddenly want it all.  I can’t stop thinking about what I could be doing if I had the time.  We have so many highly rated places to see and things to do in this area.  I’ve only scratched the surface of things to see and I want to return to every one of the places I’ve already experienced.

Only one long weekend for break. Oh the decisions I need to make.

I could head to the mountains for a week of primitive camping and hiking at Green Ridge State Forest in western Maryland. A place so beautiful and diverse that I would live there if I could.

I could head to the beach, dig my toes into the warm sand, and hang out with the ponies at Assateague Island.  Of course, this time I would stop and sit a spell at the beautiful visitor center on my way in.

Maybe I will finally book my maiden visit at the Treehouse Camp at Maple Tree Campgound. I rarely want to stay at a campground that isn’t primitive tent camping, but I really want to stay here.

orchids at Longwood Gardens
Or I could finally visit the New River Gorge area in West Virginia via Adventures on the Gorge, which is a high priority place on my bucket list. My son went white water rafting there and had nothing but good things to say. I can't wait to go for myself. I may or may not be brave enough for white water rafting, luckily there are many things to do and see in that area.  

Maybe I’ll wander back up to Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania for a picnic among the flowers and fountains with stop by at Brandywine Museum and to remind myself of the talent of Andrew Wyeth on the way home.

water sports at Hammerman
Fortunately, if all else fails, I will be able to use that long weekend (provided it doesn’t snow – just kidding!) at one of my favorite Baltimore county parks such as Hammerman or Pretty Boy Reservoir.  Maybe I will be able to get my new Kayak into the water. 

You see, I want to do it all. The fewer days I have, the more I want to do.  Whether it is a week long vacation a good distance from home, a staycation near home, or a quick day trip just around the corner, there are so many great places to see in the mid-Atlantic. These are only a few. 



Image Credit: Images are mine ©Dawn Rae – All Rights Reserved (Click on photo for larger view)







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Monday, June 2, 2014

Assateague National Seashore Visitor Center

Last week I wrote a review about the fantastic book I bought at the Assateague National Seashore Visitor Center.  Wild Horse Scientists  by Kay Frydenborg turned out to be a great purchase and I have paged through it several times since I wrote the review.  I also find myself continuing to think about the Visitor Center.

During my travels I have stopped at many visitor centers.  I have grown to think of them as places to quickly pop into, look for helpful pamphlets, ask a quick question if I have one, and skedaddle as soon as I use the restroom.  Over the years, I have begun doing my information gathering on the internet prior to the trip and tend to skip the visitor center altogether.

Following my stop at the Assateague National Seashore -Barrier Islands Visitor Center, I have begun to rethink my blasé attitude about visitors centers.  Some of them have so much more to offer than I thought.

In the United States, summer and summer vacations are upon us. Safe and happy travels to you, one and all. And don't forget to check out the visitor centers. 




Image Credit: Images are mine ©Dawn Rae – All Rights Reserved (Click on photo for larger view)



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