A lovely photo from a trip to southern Switzerland and beautiful Lake Maggiore in 2007. It is the second largest lake in Italy and the largest in southern Switzerland. Lake Maggiore and its shoreline are divided between the Italian regions of Piedmont and Lombardy and the Swiss canton of Ticino. The lake travels 41 miles and gets more beautiful with each twist and turn through the mountains. One of my favorite places on earth!
A change in landscape can do wonders for the spirit…especially when you spend a week in Arizona. I’ve lived in New Jersey my whole life. Even though I have traveled extensively in the United States, it had been years since I visited there. I came back from this Thanksgiving week trip, renewed and refreshed after feasting my eyes upon scenes such as the ones below.
I hope you enjoy the mini-vacation here, particularly if you are looking out the window at a snowstorm as I am right now!
Backyard view of Santa Catalina Mountains, afternoon and at sunset
Out and about in Tuscon
In Tohono Chul Park, Tuscon
A day on Mount Lemmon
Fond memories from 2007 of a little town on Lake Maggiore.
Summer would not be complete without my annual trip to Cape May. Actually, I usually travel there the last week of spring to avoid some of the craziness of the crowds that later flock to the Cape May area. My favorite part of Cape May is Cape May Point which is a mile or so outside of the quaint Victorian town. This is the area where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Delaware Bay. It is primarily a residential community with only one store/restaurant, a post office and many churches.
Last week, my daughter and I stayed at a cottage on Lake Lily, a thirteen-acre, fresh water lake with a colorful history. Apparently it was a special watering hole for the Kechemeche Indians. Rumors of British soldiers and Captain Kidd are intertwined in its history. Recent efforts by the Friends of Lake Lily have kept it a peaceful, healthy retreat for both humans and wildlife. I spent many relaxing moments sitting on this bench. I have to say that as much as I love sitting by the ocean, I found it more peaceful here.
Here are some of my photos at the point including the remnants of the S.S. Atlantus, the concrete ship that sunk off the coast in 1926. For some reason, I feel compelled to take one of the wreckage each year even though it doesn’t change very much.
This area has a few excellent wineries which are fun to visit when the weather is not ideal. We spent an hour or so relaxing at nearby Willow Creek Winery.
Recently, I discovered that my great-great grandparents retired to Cape May Point back in the 1870s after a life on the farm in Burlington County. Unfortunately, the 1880 census does not give the street address. One of the fun things we did was to eat in a French New Orleans restaurant at 410 Bank Street in the town of Cape May, a house where their grandson, and my first cousin 2x removed, lived in 1920. Maybe this family connection partially explains why I’m drawn here again and again.
So how about you? Do you have any fun summer plans?
The view of a sunrise from my hotel window in Virginia Beach, VA in November, 2015. So peaceful, isn’t it?
Last week, I was back on the road for a trip to Virginia—one last getaway before winter sets in.
On the way, I stopped in Maryland on a lovely, warm day to visit fellow blogger, Robin, who was kind enough to invite me to her home for lunch. We talked as if we had know each other for years; it’s nice to discover that real friendships can develop over the internet.
My destination was Virginia Beach, VA where I attended a three-day conference, “Life Beyond Death,” at Edgar Casey’s Association for Research and Enlightenment. Two of the psychic speakers, Lisa Williams and John J. Oliver, were especially awesome.
When I arrived at the hotel, this lovely view of a rainbow, or two, welcomed me. I grabbed this photo with my cell phone as I hadn’t brought my camera to the room.
Next morning, this was the view of the sunrise from my hotel window. The weather turned rainy and cooler after this.
The day I left, I stopped by Chincoteague Island, VA to see the wild ponies. None seemed to be on the beach.
Finally, I found some at quite a distance (my camera was zoomed to the max), maybe half a mile away.
At the end of my journey, I stopped by Rehoboth Beach in Delaware on a very blustery day.
I find that it’s always good to get away, but just as nice to return home with an updated perspective on life. I leave you with the words of Lin Yutang ~ “No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.”
My favorite place on earth is the island of Isola Bella in Lake Maggiore, near Stresa, Italy. I wrote about it HERE on this blog a couple of years ago. The gardens are lovely, and the beauty of the mountain views is undeniable.
However, it’s more than beauty that draws me here…it’s the way it makes me feel when I’m there—joyful, loving, peaceful—a place that brings me contentment unlike anywhere else on earth.
What about you? Do you have a place nearby or at a distance that calls to you to visit because it makes you happy and stress-free to be there?
These photos of the Cathedral and Bell Tower of Pisa were taken by my daughter, Sherri, on June 30, 2006. I still remember how uncomfortable the heat and humidity were that day as we walked through the tiny town of Pisa, Italy to get to the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles) where the cathedral and bell tower are located.
And yes, it really does lean, although apparently not as much as it did previously. According to the resources listed below, the tower began to lean during its over two hundred years of construction from 1173 to 1399. Various method of compensation and reinforcement continued over the centuries without much success until the late twentieth century.
When the tower was in danger of collapse in 1990, it was closed to visitors while engineers took on a major straightening project. This was completed in May 2001 after correcting the lean 19 inches (it leans about 13 feet at the top) and more importantly, stopping it from continuing.
Pisa got its name in 600 BC from a Greek word meaning “marshy land.” Apparently this is the reason for the problem with the tower and the fact that other structures in Pisa, including the cathedral, are sinking.
Simplicity can be thought-provoking and uplifting especially if you are in a foreign country. Journey with me as I relive a trip to the small, quaint town of Sonogno in Southern Switzerland.
In 2007, my daughter, Sherri, and I traveled to Ticino, which is the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. Yes, Italian-speaking, and, of course, we did venture into Italy a couple of times. Logical questions for those of you who know of my passion for Italy!
Sonogno lies about twenty-five miles north of Locarno, at the end of the paved road through the Valley Verzasca. Since no outside traffic is allowed into the town, our tour bus dropped us off at the edge of the village along a fertile green pasture. A chorus of cow bells filled the air along with an occasional moo as we walked along. The church and bell tower were nestled by mountains so high that parts of the town were heavily shaded.
Who are the people who live up here? Surprisingly, I found a few interesting facts on Wikipedia.
The number of residents in 2008 was 95, with an equal distribution of males and females; 7 were children. Ninety-five percent of the population are Swiss and the remainder are legal residents from other countries. The village has a dying language which is a mixture of Latin and Celtic although 93% speak Italian. The village population was at its highest in 1850 at 334 after which residents began leaving to seek better job opportunities in more urban areas, including overseas. The highest age bracket is in the 40 to 49 range. Surprisingly, two-thirds of the population have completed the non-mandatory secondary education or advanced or additional higher education. As of 2005, 46 of the residents were employed in some capacity of which 37% were women.
When you visit a place totally unlike anything you have ever seen, it’s almost a rebirth into a new world of sight and feeling. It feels like leaving the present and traveling back a century to a totally unfamiliar place with a few tiny shops, some gray stone cottages, a small hotel and a town oven. A town oven? Yes, used heavily in the middle ages, no doubt. It seems a simple place to live without many of the complexities of modern life. No doubt the rural conditions here create some dilemmas most of us are unaccustomed to. Regardless, there was an unmistakable sense of peace and tranquility in this quaint village…the kind that generates thoughts about what it would be like to live here and what really matters in life.
As I sadly watch the orange and red leaves swirl in the cool October winds, my thoughts return to a warm, sunny week in September…a peaceful time with perfect weather spent in Cape May Point, New Jersey. It was only a few weeks ago, yet it seems a distant memory now that we are well into October.
It is here where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. You could even say that time has slowed or, at the very least, left behind parts of this community with its Victorian homes and cottages from early 1900’s. Of course, modern houses dot the neighborhood here and there, but a strong sense of the past remains as evidenced by the community post office and general store.
Sometimes it’s good to just let yourself “be” as I frequently did in this idyllic community along the Jersey shore. It was easy to feel completely contented rocking on the front porch or staring out at the ocean without a thought of the past or the future. Butterflies dotted the bushes in front of our cottage while an occasional dragonfly darted about. I was part of their world and they were part of mine. Being fully present in those magical moments of oneness felt calming and regenerative to me.
I urge you to make an appointment with yourself to go somewhere peaceful and relaxing for at least a few hours and “just be.” Focus on the present moment. Look, smell, feel, touch, maybe even taste. It doesn’t have to be an exotic location; it can be a quiet retreat in your own home or yard. The result can be as good as any medication, and it will regenerate your body, mind and spirit.
I look forward to sharing more of Cape May Point with you in future posts.