TGIF: Sea Fest for kids at Jupiter Lighthouse

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse near Palm Beach, Florida.

Nestled high on a peak, Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse stands guard over the Loxahatchee River and Atlantic Ocean. Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse is just a few miles away from Palm Beach, Florida. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places with 120 acres, this lighthouse has much to explore.

View from the lighthouse

The view is well worth climbing Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse.

Jupiter Lighthouse opens it doors to kids and their families tomorrow, February 25 for its annual celebration, Sea Fest. Kids can climb aboard a Pirate Ship and meet a pirate and mermaid. Themed educational events and exciting adventures will thrill the entire family.

For more information, call 561-747-8380 or visit

Turning Despair into Beauty

The painting Girl in the widow by Edward Munch

The Girl by Window by Edward Munch maybe longing for better days.

Artists are known for turning moments of despair into beautiful paintings. Edward Munch according to Rick Steves, painted his most famous paintings when he was suffering from depression. Once his depression ended so did his magnificent paintings.

Vincent van Gogh painted La Berceuse five times.

Vincent van Gogh painted La Berceuse five times.

Vincent van Gogh suffered mental anguish throughout his life. He finally ended his life in suicide. Yet, Van Gogh was a prolific painter. Monet continued to paint wonderful water lilies while losing his eyesight. Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s physical maladies never impeded his art.

The Moulin Rouge by Lautrec.

The Moulin Rouge by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. The cabaret was the source of much of his inspiration and where he found acceptance.

I thought of this paradox while training my grandcan obedience in the midst of disobedience. I also recalled how I turned to painting after the death of my beloved father. I painted a picture of a chair he often sat in when eating dinner at my home.

I painted the painting bonds while grieving the death of my father.

I did the painting, Bonds, while grieving the death of my father.

Dinner times were special for my family. They were sideshows where my mom played the “straight guy” as the pun of my dad’s hilarious jokes.


TGIF: A Perfect Setting for “The Crown”

Queen of peace

“Queen of Peace” the perfect name for a craft at the serene Island of Tory.

Tory Island’s cliffs, mountains and shoreline are like an instant replay of the award-winning drama, The Crown. In the beach episode in Scotland, the Queen Mother escapes to a quiet shoreline to gather her wits. She got some peace of mind and a bargain on a castle. You’ll find bargains and a royal retreat at Tory Island.

Tory Island, Ireland has the distinction of having a resident, King. Besides greeting visitors, I’m not sure what his official duties are. The King of Tory rules over a small and quaint island kingdom. Tory Island has a hostel and hotel, grocery store, some shops and a post office. We spent two enjoyable days on Tory Island during John Eagle’s lighthouse tour.

A sign for the ferry.

A sign for the ferry to Tory Island.

We caught the ferry to Tory Island and checked into the Tory Hotel. The lightkeeper welcomed us. After freshening up, we headed to the Tory Lighthouse. We walked around the lighthouse grounds and posed for group pictures.

Tory island lighthouse.

Tory Island Lighthouse.

Later while the group had dinner, I scouted the nearby sights. I wanted to see and draw a few buildings before sunset. I gave a sketch of a house to one of the locals I met. The people of Tory, like the rest of Ireland, are very friendly.

A sign in Irish dialect.

The past and the present converge at Tory Island.

They are also proud of their Irish heritage and speak an Irish dialect. Tory is home to a colony of prominent artists. The King of Tory is also an artist.

Street sunset

Sunset on the streets of Tory Island.

After sketching, I went with the group on a sunset tour of Tory Island. We saw a spectacular view of the mountains, cliffs and the ocean. It was a wonderful way to close the day.

Sunset view of a cliff.

The sun falls softly on a cliff at Tory Island.

From my hotel room, I had a glimpse of the Tory Lighthouse. Before turning in for the night, I paused for a while and watched the flashing Lighthouse beam against the dark sky.

In the morning, I arose early for a final walk through Tory Island. I was glad I did. I got a close up view of a historic Tower.

Tory Island offers cultural sights and breathtaking views in a peaceful setting. It is ideal for a retreat or a quiet getaway. You’ll get the royal treatment at Tory Island.

TGIF: Wild Memories at Ardglass

A scenic view of Ireland.

A scenic view of Ireland.

A drive along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way is full of  breathtaking mountains and scenic beaches. During the final days of John Eagle’s Lighthouse Tour, we stopped by the delightful town of Ardglass in Northern Ireland.

Ardglass is a pleasant coastal resort town. According to Wikipedia, the Ardglass Golf Club won an award in 2011 as the best links course in Ireland. Our stay at Ardglass was brief but memorable.

Veggie wrap at Doyles.

Veggie wrap at Doyles.

Near the Ardglass shore, we had lunch at Doyles. The menu was quite impressive for such a tiny cafe. I was pleased with my hefty vegetation wrap with a side salad for around 8 pounds. I could see why Doyles was recommended by Trip Advisor. It was neat, clean, very efficient; the service and food were excellent. It wasn’t fancy but perfect for a quick bite on the run.

Ardglass boat dock and lighthouse.

Ardglass boat dock and lighthouse.

I loved the Ardglass Lighthouse as well. Like Doyles, it was down to earth and welcoming.

Ardglass Lighthouse.

Ardglass Lighthouse.

The little red door and steps nearby beaconed me for a closer look.

TGIF: Save big at an iconic location in Ireland

Trinity College

Stay at Ireland’s most prestigious college.

The Trinity College in Dublin offers affordable and modest rooms in a popular location. Shopping, restaurants and bus stops are nearby. Trinity College is home to the Book of Kells the crown jewel of Ireland.

The book of kells

The Book of Kells is a medieval manuscript of the bible.

The campus green space and historic buildings offer a pleasant setting. The single room I stayed in was off the beaten path and quite a distance away from the Accommodations Office. The floor I stayed on had no elevator and was very awkward to find. Thankfully a staff member was close by to assist me with my luggage and finding my room. My single room was sparse but neat and clean with comfortable bedding. There was a little noise in the afternoon in the dorm but it was quiet during the night. The room had wifi but no tv. A shared bathroom and shower were in the hallway. There was a sink in the room for freshing up. It was an ideal overnight stay after a nine day road trip around Ireland.

The Long Room

Visit The Long Room after viewing the Book of Kells.

I enjoyed easy access to the Book of Kells, airport express bus and most of all the affordable price. I love history so the setting was an added plus. The staff is very pleasant, helpful and check in and check out were easy. If you check out early like I did some entry gates will be closed. I followed other people walking and found a gate with access. You may want to check with the Accommodations Office to find out which gates are open for early departure.

Visit for more on my lighthouse trip to Ireland.

TGIF: The land of the free and the home of the brave

Biloxi Lighthouse

The Biloxi Lighthouse is the only US in the middle of a highway.

Lighthouses watch over the shores and ocean of our Nation. They are guardians of hope and allow Mariners the freedom to navigate our waters safely. Working side by side along with the Coast Guard, Light Keepers have served in times of war and peace.

Wace-in plaque

A plaque commemorating the Civil Rights wade-ins at Biloxi Beach.

The Biloxi Lighthouse has withstood time and history. It has seen its share of turmoil. It survived the Civil War, Hurricane Katrina and more than 20 hurricanes. The shores of the lighthouse has been the focal point of social protest.

Confederate flag

A protest held at Biloxi Beach against the removal of the Confederate flag.

From the Civil Rights wade-ins demanding equal access to public beaches and those demonstrating against the removal of the confederate flag in North Carolina, the Biloxi Lighthouse has witnessed it all.

TGIF: Ireland’s Stunning Upside Down Lighthouse

West Rathlin Lighthouse

West Rathlin Lighthouse is built upside down.

The West Lighthouse on Rathlin Island is a marvel of human ingenuity. Unlike most lighthouses, the Keepers had to climb down to the light. The Commissioners of Irish Lights Engineer-in-Chief CW Scott came up with this novel idea. Because the top cliff was often obscured by fog and low clouds, a traditional lighthouse would not do.

Built in 1912 on a somewhat vertical cliff, the project was a huge undertaking. It took almost 4 years to complete. The enormous amount concert used had to be mixed by hand. An inclined railway was built for landing materials.