After a recent trip to Cape May, NJ, I noticed that many of my favorite photos centered on this walkway from a Sunset Beach cottage to the Delaware Bay. Thinking back, I realized how I have always been drawn to photos of pathways.
Perhaps, the times I enjoy them the most are when I am examining my own life’s pathway. Following a new road can be exciting, scary, and wonderful. The uncertainty of it all can be very enticing. The opportunities it brings can be challenging and stressful. Nevertheless, there is one magnificent guarantee – it will bring change…change which is the driving force of life that frees us from stagnation and allows us to grow.
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.
Catholic Church, Cape May Point
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.
View from Cottage
Swans on Lily Lake
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.
At Cape May Point
At Cape May Point
Cape May Point
At Cape May Point
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.
Willow Creek Winery
At 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.
410 Bank Street
So how about you? Do you have any fun summer plans?
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.
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.
Virginia Beach, VA
Next morning, this was the view of the sunrise from my hotel window. The weather turned rainy and cooler after this.
Sunrise on Virginia Beach
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.
Ponies on Chincoteague Island.
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.”
Recently I spent a week in Cape May Point, New Jersey hoping to find the magic that I wrote about last year in Magical Moments. Although this trip with my daughter was just as fun and relaxing, I still hadn’t experienced that deep sense of inner peace and connection with “all there is” that I had found there previously…until the night before we left.
I love when the sun or moon sparkles on the water. It speaks to the innermost part of me in ways I can’t describe. Frolicking dolphins are a sure sign that there’s magic in the air. This is when it began for me, about an hour before sunset on Sunset Beach.
I looked at the water through the lens of my camera and the magic began (at least for me).
It’s exciting to catch a wave crashing on the shore.
Just before I left I had to capture this from the parking lot.
I hope you enjoyed sharing my special memories of Sunset Beach! Have you been to a beach lately? Any special moments you’d like to share?
I recently spent some time in Florida and want to share some of my beach photos with you. To me, there is nothing more relaxing than watching the waves come into shore and feeling the breeze blow through my hair.
Broward County, FL
Broward County. FL
Nothing frames a beach scene better than palm trees…
Punta Gorda, FL
Punta Gorda, FL
A beach is where serenity seems obtainable…
Causeway Beach, Sanibel, Island, FL
Causeway Beach, Sanibel Island, FL
The sound of the waves crashing upon the shore is the best kind of therapy…
Isola Bella in Lake Maggiore, Italy Copyright Shirley Sorbello 2006
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.
View from Isola Bella Copyright Shirley Sorbello 2007
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?
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.
Edge of town
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!
Street in Sonogno
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.
Cottage in Sonogno
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.
This is an article I had written a while back. This intriguing island is unknown to a lot of people who visit Italy. I urge you to seek it out if you are planning a trip there. I have been there on two of my three trips to Italy. In fact, the whole Lake Maggiore region is beautiful and worthy of a visit.
Approching Isola Bella
Millions of visitors fly into Italy every year to experience the art, history, culture and beauty of this fascinating country. Those who are fortunate, as my daughter Sherri and I were in July of 2006, stumble across the charming island of Isola Bella. The island seemed surreal with its white peacocks, gigantic unicorn statue, seventeenth-century palace and all those breathtaking views of Lake Maggiore.
White Peacocks on Isola Bella
Isola Bella, which means “beautiful island,” is one of three islands sitting in magnificent Lake Maggiore, Italy’s second largest lake. It is located near Stresa in northern Italy. This island displays a unique blending of man’s artistic design with the beauty of God’s creations.
A short boat trip from our hotel in Baveno brought us to this peaceful setting. Here we discovered an ornate Baroque palace with formal terraced gardens built in the seventeenth century by Count Carlo Borromeo in honor of his wife Isabella. The structure is surrounded by flamboyant gardens dotted with fountains, statues and abundant plant life ranging from lemons to hydrangeas.
In the Garden
Much of the garden is constructed in the form of a pyramid of ten terraces which descend gradually down to the lake, like layers of a gigantic cake. White peacocks strutted through the lush vegetation and manicured lawns. The culmination of these stylishly overstated gardens was the gigantic statue of a unicorn, the symbol of the Borromeo family, proudly sitting on top of the so-called garden amphitheatre.
The grandiose Borromeo Palace is another site which boasts of Napoleon’s visits. Inside, we discovered many treasures, including Murano glass chandeliers, rich tapestries, antique furniture and musical instruments. There were also famous paintings and sculptures by Tuscan and Neapolitan artists. We even passed by a small marionette theatre.
It was easy to feel like we were drowning in wealth as we walked through room after room in awe of such historic and artistic splendor. Especially unique were the six grottoes decorated with light and dark stones. This unique aquatic-themed, almost subterranean, series of rooms was said to be designed for cooler summertime living.
The most unforgettable experience for me was the way my eyes were so frequently, almost magnetically, drawn to the palace’s open windows by the rippled blue expanse of Lake Maggiore nestled so snugly against the majestic Alpine mountains. I couldn’t help but wonder how it would feel to live in this regal setting, waking up each morning to these magnificent views. Today’s Borromeo family knows the answer, as they periodically vacation on the upper floors. I only know that for me, personally, looking out from those palace windows was a spiritually renewing experience. It filled me with a deep sense of inner peace and joy.
Lake Maggiore from the Palace
Isola Bella must be seen to be believed. It is real, yet certainly provides solid food for the imagination. With such diversity to its charms, each visitor’s experience here must be uniquely their own. To me, it will always be truly a “Fantasy Island.”