Sunset Tour at Tybee Island Lighthouse on May 12

Tybee Island Lighthouse.

Tybee Island Lighthouse has a keepers house, dwellings and museum.

Visit Georgia’s oldest and tallest lighthouse at Tybee Island. Located near Savannah, Tybee Island is a barrier island with wide, sandy beaches complete with a 19th century landmark.

Experience a spectacular sunset and climb to the top of the Tybee Island Lighthouse. Pay $25 for a 90 minute tour. Make reservations by calling 912-786-5801. Spaces are limited.

https://www.tybeelighthouse.org

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Reenactors Highlight Florida Heritage Day at Ponce de Leon Lighthouse

Ponce de Leon Lighthouse

A scenic view from Ponce de Leon Lighthouse.

See Florida’s colorful history come to life on March 25. Witness inspiring reenactors at Ponce de Leon Lighthouse. Enjoy family activities. Delve into exciting historical exhibits.

Ponce de Leon lighthouse, Orlando, Daytona Beach, Disney World, Universal Studios

Lighthouse lens on display.

Walk through a dazzling display of lighthouse lens. Climb Florida’s tallest lighthouse for a breathtaking view of Ponce Inlet.

Florida's tallest lighthouse.

Florida’s tallest lighthouse.

Activities are free with lighthouse admission. For more information, visit http://ponceinlet.org/

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TGIF: Party at the 76th Anniversary of Bike Week

 

A view of new Smyrna Beach

A view of New Smyrna Beach in Volusia County, Florida.

The world’s largest biker party kicks off in Daytona, today through March 19. With so many bikers converging in one place there’s bound to be lots of outrageous fun.

Warm weather and a coastal setting offer the perfect setting. A Daytona tradition since January 24, 1937, the 76th Anniversary is jammed pack with lots to enjoy.

The 10 day festival in Volusia County hosts bike races and hundreds of events for motorcycle enthusiasts.

Florida's tallest lighthouse.

Florida’s tallest lighthouse.

Florida’s tallest lighthouse gets in the act too! Explore the grounds of Ponce de Leon inlet lighthouse and learn the colorful history of Bike Week.

For more information visit, http://www.ponceinlet.org and http://www.officialbikeweek.com

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TGIF: Birthday Celebration at Big Diamond

Hillsboro lighthouse

Hillsboro Lighthouse Inlet at Pompano Beach.

Enjoy a night of revelry under a full moon and a day of festivities at the Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse or Big Diamond, March 10-12.

The birthday celebration kicks off March 10 at 5:30 pm with a Full Moon Gala. A spectacular night awaits with a cocktail hour with appetizers, four course meal, live music, dancing, silent auction and private lighthouse tours. A Black and white theme attire sets the tone for a regal affair. The cost for this fund raiser is $110 per person with RSVP required. This is just the beginning of a weekend of fun.

View from the lighthouse

A view from Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse.

Blow out the birthday candles with Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society, March 11-12. Experience live music, art vendors, cottage tours, lens room and lighthouse tours, silent auction, and more. Grab a slice of birthday cake to celebrate Big Diamond’s 110th Birthday. Visit Groupon to save on up to 40% off the lighthouse tour.

Boat ride

Enjoy a scenic boat ride to Big Diamond.

All monies help preserve Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse. For 110 years, the lighthouse has faithfully guarded the Hillsboro River Inlet. The historic Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse was built and commissioned in 1907. Big Diamond is unique. With of beam of 28 nautical miles, it is has the strongest light beam of all US lighthouses. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978.

Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse is located in Pompano Beach near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For more information, visit http://www.hillsborolighthouse.org.

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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.

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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.

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http://www.johneaglephoto.com

http://www.irishlights.ie

2016: A Tale of European Cities

Monument to King Alfonso XII.

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom; it was the age of foolishness….it was the season of light; it was the season of darkness…”

I thought about this Charles Dickens quote from the “Tale of Two Cities” when reflecting on my accomplishments and disappointments in 2016. I started the year complaining on the road with fans from the Orange Bowl. I checked everything but the traffic when planning my road trip. Thanks to that mishap I now look at the traffic on Florida 511 and Florida events when traveling.

A view of Madrid.

A beautiful view of Madrid at Parque de la Montana.

The following month I traveled to London and Madrid. In Madrid, I was spellbound at the monuments at Parque del Retiro. I saw “Guernica” by Picasso at the Museo Reina Sofia. I visited The Museo Nacional del Prado home to paintings by European Masters like Durer, El Greco, Velazquez, Rembrandt, Rubens, etc. My favorite painting were “Las Meninas” by Diego Velazquez and “Adam and Eve” by Albretch Durer.

Museo Nacional del Prado.

Museo Nacional del Prado.

After Madrid I flew to London. In London, we stayed a block away from Buckingham Palace at the Nadler Hotel. We watched the changing of the guards several times.

Changing of the Guards

The gallantry of the Changing of the Guards.

We walked to West Minister and saw the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and worshipped at West Minister Abbey.

Big Ben at London.

Big Ben with a view of the London Eye.

The next day we rode the Tube to Trinity Buoy Wharf where I sketched a lightship and a lighthouse. Somewhere along the way, I went to the Tate Museum and saw the paintings JMW Turner bequeath to the people of London.

Self portrait of Turner.

Self portrait of JMW Turner.

My daughter wanted to stroll down her childhood memory lane so we visited the London Bridge. She was disappointed but satisfied that she had actually seen it.

London Brige

A view of London Bridge.

We ended our stay with a look at the Tower Bridge and The Tower Castle.

The Tower Bridge of London.

The Tower Bridge of London.

A few days after I returned from Europe, I had a kidney stone. The only relief was that I didn’t get sick while traveling overseas. That would have been a bigger pain than the kidney stone.

Sunset at Blackhead Lighthouse.

Sunset at Blackhead Lighthouse, Northern Ireland.

After the kidney stone, I felt a sense of urgency and decided to book a lighthouse trip to Ireland instead of waiting next year. During the summer, I visited The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland where I stayed at Blackhead Lighthouse. I had an oceanfront room with a fireplace for two nights. That alone was worth the cost of the trip. We saw over 24 lighthouses in the course of 8 days. It was an amazing trip.

As I look at my disappointments in 2016, I realize that I wouldn’t have accomplished much without them. I actually better prepare for my trips, drink more water, take advantage of more opportunities and have gratitude for the little things in my life. Without the darkness, we can not relish the light.

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