Daytona Beach beckons

Daytona Beach Welcome Overhead Sign on A1A

What comes to mind when you hear Daytona Beach?  Is it racing, hotels or condos, or beaches?

Daytona Beach Oceanside Main EntranceIf you are a regular guest at Daytona Beach, Fla. then you probably come for a specific purpose.  I make trips there occasionally and it seems the main reason is the beach.  The beautiful white sandy beach is a natural attraction and you can still drive your vehicle on it – compared to many other beaches in Florida.

Daytona Beach Ocean View from Perry'sDaytona Beach is “one of the few places in the world where a family car can be driven on an ocean beach.” (Wikitravel)

And yes, there is racing too.  I’ll talk about racing in another blog later.

Daytona Beach Ocean Entrance TunnelDid you know?  Daytona was founded in 1870 by Matthias Day, from whom it takes its name. It was incorporated as a city in 1876. The separate towns of Daytona, Daytona Beach and Seabreeze merged to form Daytona Beach in 1926. In the 1920s, the city became known as The World’s Most Famous Beach.  https://wikitravel.org/en/Daytona_Beach

Daytona Beach Lifeguard
Lifeguards are positioned along the beach to reinforce safety.
Daytona Beach Oceanside fishing
Ocean fishing is often noticed along the beach – intermingled with surfers and people enjoying the water, although those fishing attempt to avoid conflict when possible.

 

 

 

 

Daytona Beach Parking Garage Street Art
Street art on parking garages and other buildings adds color and description to the the area.
Daytona Beach A1A Overhead Sign
Overhead safety crosswalks combined with push-button signals at ground-level crosswalks enhance safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.

Breezeway on A1A

The amusement park, shops and restaurants are popular attractions.

Daytona Beach Amusement Park

Daytona Beach Amusement Park Beachside

A1A - Daytona Beach Hog Heaven building
Bar-B-Q is popular in the area and one doesn’t need to go far to visit the Hog Heaven restaurant across the street from the amusement park.

 

 

Daytona Beach Joe's Crab Shack
For those who love seafood there is Joe’s Crab Shack right on the beach with a fantastic view.
Daytona Beach Ice Cream Shop
Everyone has room for ice cream.

There are many vacation club rentals available along with hotels and resorts.  One of the cost-effective resorts is a little farther south in Daytona Beach Shores at Perry’s Resort.  They’ve been there for 75 years and are currently expanding and remodeling while providing excellent rates and service.   https://www.perrysoceanedge.com/

 

 

 

Daytona Beach Perry's Resort Donuts
One of the favorites at Perry’s is complimentary homemade donuts along with other breakfast items.
Daytona Beach Shores view from bridge
View of the south end of Daytona Beach Shores from the Intracoastal Waterway.

Additional information and highlights are located at https://www.daytonabeach.com/.

Live a Victorious Life!

Ron

Remembering the sacrifice

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Taps are played by the Florida National Guard at the National Cemetery in St. Augustine to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. (RonLin Photography)

Throughout the world, and history, there have been those who served honorably for the cause of freedom so our nations may have peace from conflict, enabling them to pursue and enjoy the rights bestowed upon each individual.  Let’s not let go of these sacrifices.

Although each nation does not have a perfect union I am thankful for the rights we hold dear today – and the sacrifice of those who helped make it possible to have a free society, allowing us to dream and follow those dreams freely.

Memorial Day is an annual, formal holiday in the United States to honor military service members who died in the line of duty.  The date changes each year but is held on the last Monday in May.  It was originally called Decoration Day, as the holiday was centered on decorating the graves of those who had fallen in the U.S. Civil War.   http://www.holidayscalendar.com/event/memorial-day/

I want to highlight the U.S. National Cemetery in St. Augustine, Fla. as the 2018 emphasis to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

St. Augustine National Cemetery - VA Admin photo
The U.S. National Cemetery in St. Augustine, Fla. is managed by Veterans Affairs. (VA Photo)    https:/cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/staugustine

St. Augustine National Cemetery traces its history back to a Spanish monastery founded during the 18th century.  Today, the cemetery perhaps is best known as the home of the Dade Pyramids, believed to be the oldest memorial in any national cemetery.  The cemetery also features a unique Spanish Colonial-style superintendent’s lodge designed to complement the historic architecture found throughout St. Augustine.  https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/national_cemeteries/florida/st_augustine_national_cemetery.html

Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, the city of St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited European city in the United States.  According to the National Park Service the land upon which the national cemetery sits was originally part of a Franciscan monastery that operated until the English took possession of Florida in 1763, converting the monastery into the St. Francis Barracks.  The Spanish regained possession of the territory in 1783 and held it until 1821, when Florida became a part of the United States; all the while, the site remained a military installation.

A portion of the yard at the St. Francis Barracks was set aside for use as a post cemetery, with the first burials occurring in 1828.  Most of the early burials in the cemetery were casualties of the Indian Wars, a series of conflicts waged between 1817 and 1858 as the United States forcibly removed Native Americans, notably the Seminole tribes, to lands west of the Mississippi.  Later burials include those of Union soldiers. Although Florida seceded in 1861, Union troops captured St. Augustine in March 1862 when the gunboat Wabash entered the harbor.

In 1881, the post cemetery was elevated in status to a national cemetery, as stated by the National Park Service.  “St. Augustine National Cemetery covers a 1.3-acre rectangular site at the edge of what was once the walled Spanish city.  The northern half of the grounds are enclosed by locally quarried Coquina stone walls, while a wrought-iron fence surrounds the southern half.  Four pedestrian gates, two each along the eastern and western walls, allow access to the cemetery.  Walkways connect each gate to its counterpart along the opposite wall, and a central avenue serves as the physical and symbolic link between the flagpole at the north end of the grounds and the Dade Pyramids at the south end.  Also at the north end of the cemetery is the superintendent’s lodge.  Built in 1938 out of Coquina stone, the lodge is in the Spanish Colonial style, like much of St. Augustine.  The nearby rostrum is also composed of Coquina stone.”

The cemetery is a solemn and appropriate location to recognize those who championed freedom through the ages.  The public gathers annually for the Memorial Day ceremony.

Memorial Day 2009 (62)
Representatives from various veteran and military organizations parade their colors to begin the annual ceremony at the National Cemetery in St. Augustine. (RonLin Photography)
Memorial Day 2009 (67)
World War II veterans who remain continue to show their respect for those who served and died.  (RonLin Photography)
Memorial Day 2009 (60)
Honors are presented to remind those present that we will not forget.  Providing the honors is typically done by the Florida National Guard, Florida Department of Military Affairs, local law enforcement and veteran organizations. (RonLin Photography)
Memorial Day 2009 (54)
We salute those who died serving on behalf of a grateful nation to help secure and maintain the freedoms we hold dear today.  (RonLin Photography)

Let us take time around the world to recognize those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nations, including their families.  Where would we be today had it not been for them.

With Love, Ron

#memorialday2018

St. Augustine National Cemetery is located at 104 Marine St. in St. Augustine, FL.  The cemetery is open for visitation daily from 8:00am to 5:00pm; on Memorial Day the cemetery is open for visitation from 8:00am to 7:00pm.  No cemetery staff is present onsite.  For more information, please contact the cemetery office at 904-766-5222, or see the Department of Veterans Affairs website.  While visiting, please be mindful that our national cemeteries are hallowed ground.  Be respectful to all of our nation’s fallen soldiers and their families.  Additional cemetery policies may be posted on site.

A1A Beach Ride

A1A - Flagler Beach Motel street art 2Traveling Florida’s shoreline, particularly in northeast Florida along the Atlantic Ocean from St. Augustine to Daytona Beach Shores, is a relaxing ride.

A1A signVisit Florida has excellent information on Florida’s scenic highways at https://VisitFlorida.com.  “One of the most historic, relaxing, and beautiful parts of Florida can be found along the A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway on the northeast coast of the Sunshine State. This National Scenic Byway is made up of three individual state scenic highways; Scenic and Historic A1A, A1A River and Sea Trail, and A1A Ocean Shore.”

A1A is a parallel highway to Interstate 95 and U.S. 1, for the most part.  Driving this scenic route is a nice opportunity to take in some of the fresh beach air and also not worry about traffic, of course depending on when you go.  You’ll encounter a significant increase in traffic as you get closer to Daytona Beach as that is a very popular place during major race events and summer beach activities.

A1A near Flagler BeachWhile some ocean views are blocked by sand berms and condominiums there remain excellent views at periodic intervals.

Here are some of the sites along the way.

Flagler Beach 2

Flagler Beach 3

A1A at Flagler Beach
Flagler Beach during a cloudy, rainy day in spring is still a nice place to be without crowds.
A1A beach near Flagler Beach
Easy access from A1A onto the beach.
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Water was a little rougher than normal due to weather.  
A1A at Flagler Beach - hurricane damage behind Funky Pelican
Although the various beaches have recovered from hurricanes in 2017 some of the buildings like this one still have repairs being done from the storm surge that destroyed some of the structures along A1A.
A1A at Flagler Beach - Funky Pelican
Interesting chalk board for guests to write their comments at the Funky Pelican on Flagler Beach at the pier.  funkypelican.com
Flager Beach Pier
Flagler Beach pier was open but not many people used it during the week and during wet, windy weather.  
Flagler Beach Restaurant
There are sufficient restaurants at Flagler Beach but during peak times they become crowded.  
Whaam Burger Street Art at Flagler Beach
How about a delicious burger from the colorful Whaam Burger restaurant?
A1A at Flagler Beach - Finns Restaurant Street Art
Finns Flagler Restaurant is another popular location. 

There are interesting pieces of street art on the restaurant walls along this corridor.  A person sure gets the beach and inviting feeling while traveling through the area.

A1A Street Art near Flagler Beach

A1A street art near Flagler Beach - Finns RestaurantA1A motel streat art south of Flagler BeachA1A Street Art at Flagler Beach businessA1A - Flagler Beach Motel street artA1A at Flagler Beach - Motel Street Art

Once you leave Flagler Beach you will still see a few restaurants but mostly nice, peaceful scenery.  I’ll save a few more photos for another post about the Daytona Beach area.

With Love,

Ron

#floridascenichighways

 

 

 

 

What’s unique about a sunrise?

First, I want to say THANK YOU for being a friend and partner as I finally reached 100 followers. It seems like a long time getting there.  I think to receive friendship one must be a friend and I appreciate each of you around the world. It shows we can be friends no matter where we call home, and even with different views of life.

I have been trying to post a blog for the past few days about some recent short trips but haven’t taken sufficient quiet time to gather my thoughts and photos.

So, I’ll post some sunrise photos in the interim and pose this question. What is unique about each sunrise – or – are they all the same?

How do clouds affect the sunrise and sunset? Have you noticed how the glow casts beautiful colors to clouds that have formed. True light brings beauty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does it matter how high you fly or is the sunrise just a glorious? (Photo: Melissa Sweet)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is the beauty from our own perception? This photo was taken while flying into Atlanta, Georgia. Just imagine the beautiful sunrises and sets we miss daily by not taking the time to absorb them wherever we are. (Photo: Melissa Sweet)
Sunset at Daytona Beach Shores. Compare the difference between the sunrise and the sunset. 

(Unless otherwise noted photos by Ronlin Photography)

Quaint Georgia fish town with history

Coming from a big city I like to take casual drives through rural towns, absorbing some of the local flavor, sights and sounds.

I recently eased thro41127415041_c7194700f1_ough Darien, Georgia (U.S.A) (founded in 1736) while attempting to locate something unique in this less-traveled area.

There is a nugget in every town I travel through and my personal task is to see what it is – in my own view anyway.

IMG_4619My first observation in the Atlantic Ocean coastal town of Darien was the fishing boats lined up in the Altamaha River.  I drove slightly off the main road and noticed a few fishing boats that definitely brought in their share over the years.  Their wear-and-tear was evident, but they continue to provide a living for local fishers.

 

This was an opportunity to drive my Subaru Outback off road – although it was in IMG_4628just a short patch of wet sand.  The synchronized all-wheel-drive provided considerable comfort and piece of mind as we checked out some of the potential candidates for a good story.

We heard one of the men working on the old boat say hello in a friendly, southern tone and we waved back.  Folks here are welcoming and I think enjoy others visiting their little town.  They probably wandered what we were doing though.

39318619240_80b976cb8f_oA storm system had been traveling through southern Georgia and north Florida so the area had been drenched a bit.

I thought there must be a nice restaurant where the locals go and we drove around a few minutes.

IMG_4601What do you know, we found it – Skippers Fish Camp.  It was located off the main highway (U.S. 17, Altamaha Scenic Highway) and nestled on the waterway facing the marshes.

 

Well, naturally we had to try it and were not disappointed.  It caters to locals and regional customers as well.   I really enjoyed it.  IMG_4607The fish was delicious and the green beans were just like I like them.  The atmosphere was clean and inviting, along with the great hospitality.   http://www.skippersfishcamp.com/

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The outside of the restaurant was just as inviting and promotes a nice fish town ambience.IMG_4603IMG_4612IMG_4604

 

 

While leaving the restaurant we noticed an old building with surrounding coquina walls.  Now! We just found something else that was unique, or what I call a “nugget” of interest in my adventures.26485424317_9bf0b85fdf_o

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Tabby walls?  According to https://www.tabbyruins.com/blog/darien-tabby-walls-and-adam-strain-building the tabby walls in Darien are the “remnants of the town’s cotton exchange warehouses and naval stores built in 1815-1830. The Adam-Strain Building, built circa 1813, was a mercantile store and ship IMG_4622chandlery.”

Wikipedia identified tabby as a “type of concrete made by burning oyster shells to create lime, then mixing it with water, sand, ash and broken oyster shells.

 

Tabby was used by early Spanish settlers in present-day North Carolina and Florida, then by English colonists primarily in coastal South Carolina and Georgia.” I wonder who thought of that method first?  I guess through experimentation.

Near the fishing boats is street art reflecting some of the local emphasis as well.

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IMG_4615Darien is listed as the second oldest planned city in Georgia.  According to town documents, it is the place where the term “Golden Isles” was coined and “offers a wealth of attractions that, for many, are being discovered for the first time.”  Darien is described by experts as “one of the most important tidal estuarine environments in the world.”  http://www.cityofdarienga.comIMG_4618

 

 

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Churches and houses have a certain flair that depict the peaceful, historical community.

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As we departed from Darien heading south along the scenic highway, just over the Altamaha River, we then noticed remnants of an old plantation – the Butler Island Plantation.

We didn’t take time to explore this area but I’ll post about plantations in the future.

This plantation is no longer maintained like some of the others.  You’ll notice on the 39612708350_7a02f383b3_ohistorical placard that Fannie Kemble wrote her “Journal of Residence on a Georgia Plantation” at this plantation.  It is believed to have influenced England against the Confederacy.

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There is another thing that seems to surface in all my travels – the influence of so many countries around the world toward American history and culture.  Although some of these influences involved conflict and bad times, they are part of history and make a lasting impact toward the United States of America.  Let’s consider these impacts toward continuing to improve life here and abroad.  We must learn from history and hopefully will not repeat it – and enjoy the small town nuggets along the way.

-Ron-

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Sweet Maple Tooth

30289318165_0dd287b153_oOne of my intriguing visits in the New England, U.S.A. area involved sweets – maple sweets that is.  These are some of the best tasting and healthiest sweets I could find while checking out the various farms throughout Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

30203880841_afbd5ceca5_oOne of my favorite farms is the Ioka Valley Farm at Hancock, Massachusetts, located in the southeast west part of this beautiful New England state.

The farm’s 2018 maple season activities began February 10 and they will be closing their activities by mid-April.  During my previous visit I became interested in how the maple syrup was heated and processed, and certainly had to taste the various maple treats.

30289312865_aa5bf4e30e_oMiss Terri, who is a healthy, vibrant, late-70s young adult was knowledgeable and very enlightening.  She was the perfect ambassador.  She even mentioned how she would ride miles every day on her bicycle and stop along the way to sip her maple drink for added energy.  She reiterated that the maple sugar provides an excellent energy boost that is balanced and doesn’t create a sugar rush that we sometimes experience with other sweets.

Ioka Valley Farm (http://www.iokavalleyfarm.com/) is a diversified family-owned and operated working farm that prides itself in providing “high quality, locally grown products for all ages.”  They provide natural, hormone-free beef and various other products.  One of the specialties I focused on was the maple syrup and candies.  I couldn’t resist!  Although the maple sap gathering is for a short season they sell the products year-round. Thank also don’t want to over-tap the trees.

30203867631_0f67c80c5f_oOne of the sugarmakers provided some insight about the syrup.  Interestingly, the tank receives the sap from the hundreds of trees in the small mountain behind the farm. It flows through the tubes into an initial processing unit and then flows in the heating tank.  I still don’t fully understand the science behind the process but I was intrigued.

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The farm had recently purchased a larger tank to heat and process the sap due to higher demand.  The larger tank provides much more production over the smaller, older one, enabling significantly more syrup to be processed and distributed during the short season.

30203871761_669e3e9a30_oFinal processing into varied products, packaging and shipping is accomplished right in the shop next to the processing equipment.  The small store is connected to the plant as well.

I enjoyed our little visit to the Ioka Valley Farm.  I wish I could have bought a sampling of each product.

maple-leaf
Maple leaf glass jar with quality maple syrup. (Courtesy photo of Oika Valley Farm)

I did not realize the types of syrup neither – like the amber and dark.  I couldn’t decide which one I liked best after sampling them.  I think the amber is the best for me though.  It sure does sweeten the pancakes or waffles.  And, have you tried maple cream on your toast?  Yummy!

 

Deep Mountain Maple informs us that maple syrup color relates to its grade.  If the syrup is dark then it has a stronger flavor.  There are four main grades in Vermont – from light to dark:  Fancy, Grade A Medium Amber, Grade A Dark Amber and Grade B. I tasted the four grades and they are distinguishable, although they are produced by the same process.

According to http://deepmountainmaple.com/maple-facts-and-fictions maple syrup is made by boiling the thin, slightly sweet sap of the sugar maple tree in large, shallow pans over a very hot fire.  It flows like water from the tapped trees.  After the sap is boiled until most of the water has evaporated, the remain product is a concentrated or “reduced” syrup.  “As much as 40-45 gallons of sap are needed to produce one gallon of syrup,” stated the Deep Mountain Maple website.

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Sprague & Son Sugarhouse in Vermont

I’m sure there are similar farms and maple producing plants around-the-world but this was my first experience with visiting one of the farms.  What are your experiences?

 

#maplesweettooth

#makesyrup

#iokavalleyfarm

 

Do YOUR buds indicate spring has arrived?

 

I know we’ve been ready for, and have been commenting on spring being here, right?   Many have noted spring arrived with snow still on the ground.

While traveling through some of southern Georgia, U.S.A. this week, particularly along the scenic highways around Clyattville, we had the feeling that spring is truly here with warmer temperatures, ranging near 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  I think that’s a welcome for those who desire to visit the southeastern U.S.

While observing much of the area’s natural decor has developed leaves and buds, I noticed the pecan trees without their buds. So, what does that signify?

Yes, we may have warmer weather and spring has sprung but maybe there is some cooler weather still on the way.

There is an old saying that winter isn’t over until the pecan trees bud.  I did a little research to found out how true; however, I didn’t locate any specifics.

I did gather information that indicates pecan trees are some of the latest to bud as they must build up “chill units.”

In my simple interpretation, chill units relate to how many cold encounters the tree has. Apparently, each tree variant has different chill units.  Once that tree has a certain number of cold encounters and begins to experience warmer temperatures then the leaves and buds begin to appear.

Pecan trees ready for buds

Wow, that’s pretty cool.  While other trees may have the desire to bloom when spring is nearing or has arrived, regardless if there is cold weather still to come, the pecan tree waits a little longer until it senses the threat of cold weather has passed.

There have been times however when the pecan trees were not as accurate, but it seems they are mostly accurate.

For more information on the pecan tree’s preparation for warm weather check the University of Georgia’s blog page at https://site.extension.uga.edu/pecan/2017/02/warm-winter-and-pecans/.

I believe the trees will be budding soon so go ahead and plan your travels through the southeastern U.S. and not be concerned with “cold” weather.

But what about other locations outside the U.S.A.?  Do you have pecan trees or some other types of trees that signal the end of cold weather?

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Other information about pecans:

History of the Pecan and Georgia Pecans (according to Pearson Farm). https://www.pearsonfarm.com/blog/history-of-the-pecan-and-georgia-pecans/

Pecans, although one of the most recently domesticated major crops has been an important part of southern U.S. diet and culture since before the arrival of European settlers. Fur traders originally brought the pecan to the U.S. Atlantic Coast from Illinois, calling them “Illinois nuts.”  The term pecan was coined by the Algonquin Indians, a North American tribe located in the southwest. It originated from their word “pacane”, which means a nut that needs to be cracked with a stone.

Georgia Pecans – Although pecans are highly favored in Georgia today, Georgia farmers were somewhat hesitant in accepting the benefits of this nut at first. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that several individual Georgia landowners began producing and marketing pecans on a small scale. In Savannah, there was about ninety-seven total acres by 1889.

By the 1950s, Georgia had become the country’s leading producer of pecans and remains the largest pecan-producing state in the nation to date.  Georgia pecan trees are one of the largest fruit-bearing trees with just one acre of pecan trees producing about 1,000 pounds of pecans. Today, more than 500 varieties of pecans exist with over 1,000 cultivars being released over the history of pecan culture.

The United States produces 80% of the world’s pecans (according to Tropical Foods) https://www.tropicalfoods.com/blog/pecan-tree-facts/

It takes 12 years for a pecan tree to mature. When grown in ideal conditions, it can live and stay productive for over 200 years.

Pecan wood is often utilized for the manufacturing of furniture, paneling and flooring.

The city of Albany, Georgia boasts of having more than 600,000 pecan trees, earning it the title of “Pecan Capital of the U.S.”

Pecans are related to walnuts but are much sweeter in flavor. Because of their oily composition though, pecans can become rancid very quickly in warm temperatures and high humidity. Shelled pecans are best kept inside a glass container in the refrigerator to maintain freshness.

The fats found in pecans are classified as monounsaturated and are recommended for the maintenance of a healthy heart. The nuts are also rich in Vitamin E and the mineral zinc. Pecans actually provide nearly 10 percent of the recommended Daily Value for zinc and one ounce of pecans provides 10% of the recommended daily fiber intake.

Pecans are so popular in Texas that the pecan tree was declared its state tree in 1919. Butter pecan, a popular ice cream flavor, is a Texas invention.

Pecan trees usually range in height from 70 to 100 feet, but some trees grow as tall as 150 feet or higher. Native pecan trees – those over 150 years old – have trunks more than three feet in diameter.

Before a shelled pecan is ready to be sold, it must first be cleaned, sized, sterilized, cracked and finally, shelled.

The name “pecan” is a Native American word that was used to describe nuts requiring a stone to crack.

About 78 pecans are used in the average pecan pie.

#endofwinter

#pecantreebuds

#springhassprung