“In An Old House In Paris…”

I miss reading out loud in a silly voice.

The kids and I would snuggle together in tiny toddler beds after they picked out their book for the night. If I was trying to get them to sleep quicker, I’d skip a few pages and they’d call me out on it because they had their favorites memorized. So back I’d go – to Ferdinand in the bullring, Alexander’s horrible day, or Harold and his purple crayon.

Now I’d have to stay up way too late to tuck them in for the night.

But which was their bestest mostest favorite? I don’t know if I could say for sure but they all loved the series featuring Madeline, the spunky heroine created by Ludwig Bemelmans. My kids were fascinated with the character, perhaps because a building near our home looked like the convent school in Paris where she lived. My kids would shout, “There’s Madeline’s house!” as we drove by each and every time.

Madeline Ludwig Bemelmans Paris Continue reading

Another Roadside Attraction: The Evander Preston Gallery

roadside attraction in florida Evander Preston Gallery

I recently returned from the land down under – Florida – prompting me to revisit one of my favorite roadside attractions, the Evander Preston Gallery. According to a local news report, Mr. Preston is still up to his unusual shenanigans. My original post from 2012 follows:

When my sister first moved to Pass-a-Grille, Florida, she wondered about the identity of the homeless guy riding his bicycle up and down Gulf Way.  One day while speculating out loud, a waitress at The Hurricane finally tipped her off. “Honey.  That’s no vagrant.  That’s Evander.” Florida has a reputation for producing colorful characters; the state has proudly sheltered pirates, housed Ernest Hemingway and his six-toed cats, and nurtured generations of gator wrestlers. I think it’s fair to say that only Florida could produce Evander Preston, a jewelry craftsman, brewer, art collector, and chef who resembles a refugee from the Hell’s Angels. Continue reading

Where Did I Put That Boarding Pass?

This post is intended for my fellow Luddites who print their travel documents. My phone is never fully charged so relying on it for boarding passes, maps, and itineraries is reckless. I am more secure knowing I have a piece of paper in my possession with my name printed alongside a flight or hotel or car reservation.

shutterstock_46054324 Continue reading

First and Final Thoughts on Selfies

A disturbing photo gallery from NorthJersey.com popped up in my news feed this morning. Fifty-five reader-submitted travel selfies from the summer of 2014. Almost all of them are weirdly angled close-ups, a bit fuzzy, and you can kinda see something of interest in the background, like this one submitted by Johanna Abahoonie of Seaside Heights. That’s Juliet’s balcony in Verona, Italy, or so she says.

VeronaI’m asking you to consider something extraordinary. Continue reading

Postcards from the Palate

Some places you remember for the sights. Others, for the people. And then there are those you swear you can still taste. NYC is renowned for the depth and breadth of its cuisine. The term farm-to-table truly comes alive on plates in California where simple, fresh meals can be had everywhere, every day. And then there’s New Orleans, where eating is a cultural obsession and the answer to every problem is, “Have another beignet.” Continue reading