"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

July 31, 2019

July 30- 31 Intercourse, PA (Amish Country)

“Remember that happiness is a way of travel – not a destination.” —Roy M. Goodman

We've been in New York for three months, so we decided it was time to fly home and visit family and friends. This year we decided to fly out of Baltimore...I know, it's a long way from Ithaca, but there were a few good reasons for using this airport. First we wanted to visit Kyle and his family before we left...Baltimore is as easy to get to as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or Newark for a direct flight on Southwest (we had free flights). Another reason for flying out of Baltimore...we aren't fond of flying out of Rochester or Syracuse...been there done that. Neither have direct flights into Austin on any airline. We've spent days waiting on connecting flights from those airports. 

We had a great time in Texas. We visited with lots of family and friends and even had a chance to take Texas Pearl out. Great sunsets are a given in Texas.
The added bonus for flying out of Baltimore...it gave us a chance to visit the Amish country around Lancaster, PA on the way home to New York. We spent two nights in Intercourse, PA. What a name for an Amish community. The countryside is beautiful in this part of Pennsylvania. 
The Amish working in their fields
The Village of Intercourse, Pennsylvania is considered to be the heart of the Amish Country in Lancaster County. It offers a glimpse into the traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch with its cultural experiences, shops, homemade goods and family-friendly events. So just where is Intercourse, PA? It’s located in eastern Lancaster County, just 10 miles east of downtown Lancaster and 50 miles west of Philadelphia. One of the biggest attractions of Intercourse is the Amish people themselves. Another big draw...a lot of nice little shops.
The friendly town of Intercourse, tucked into the Amish countryside was historically known as a destination where locals, Amish farmers and craftsmen conducted business and socialized. Founded in 1754, the town was originally named after an old tavern, the Cross Keys and didn't become known as Intercourse until 1814. Much speculation went into the origin of the town's name, but none of the claims have been validated. It's possible the town was named after an old race track on Old Philadelphia Pike called Entercourse, which later evolved into Intercourse. Another theory pertains to the term "intercourse" which in those days was commonly used to describe fellowship, social interaction and support - the same values the town still holds today.

We took a buggy ride...we enjoyed visiting with our driver, John, and found out a little more about the area.
Dinner at the Revere Tavern was so good the first night...we went back the following evening. The historic tavern was built in 1740. I had the mushroom ravioli both nights, Stan had rainbow trout the first night and salmon the next night.
A few sights from the back roads near Intercourse.
We enjoyed sitting on the porch of our Inn watching the traffic go by in the evening.

July 17, 2019

July 13 - Last Day at Sea

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.” —E. E. Cummings

Our last day at sea was beautiful...calm seas, blue skies and the temperature in the mid 70s. We couldn't have asked for anything better. A perfect day for sitting on the deck relaxing.

We really enjoyed Bermuda and some things about the cruise itself was very nice, especially the food. We also enjoyed being waited on and having our room perfect every time we returned to it. Lots of time to relax and eat, but all in all it's not our way to travel. We like being more active, spending more time becoming part of the town or country we're visiting. Having time to truly get to know the area and talking to the local people. We like getting away from the crowds when we're on vacation, exploring the out of the way places and eating at small local restaurants. On a cruise you take the crowd with you...people are everywhere. 

The cruise was the best choice this summer for us to visit Bermuda. We love traveling on The Pearl and we could take our boat to Bermuda, but neither of us are a fan of spending 72 hours (or more) in the North Atlantic to get there. Maybe next time we'll fly over and rent a house, but we'd definitely miss the wonderful food! 
Some of the art around the ship.
Our favorite bar was the Martini Bar...the bartenders were entertaining and the drinks were VERY good.
This man made fresh omelets for me every morning. I could have anything I wanted in it. Nice way to start the day.
A few of the appetizers we had this week - chilled shrimp Louis, double baked blue cheese soufflé, roasted red beets, scallop Rockefeller, New England clam chowder, Tai beef spring roll, kale salad and caprese. 
Dinners - rigatoni boscaiola, seared salmon, herb crusted haddock, seared branzino (sea bass) and lobster. 
Desserts - dark chocolate cake, anniversary cake, strawberry soufflé and chocolate cherry trifle.
One last look at the beautiful Bermuda beaches...hopefully we'll return to Bermuda one day and spend more time on the beaches.

July 13, 2019

July 12 - Day Six: Royal Naval Dockyard

"If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it." —Jonathan Winters
We're docked at King's Wharf. It's one of two large docks at the Royal Naval Dockyard where cruise ships bring ashore 1000s of people each week. It's a beautiful area surrounded by turquoise water, beautiful yachts and historic buildings.

The Royal Naval Dockyard was built in 1809 as a fortress against American revolutionaries, uppity Bonapartists and sundry privateers. It's located on the barbed hook at the western end of the island. It was the principal base of the Royal Navy in the Western Atlantic between American independence and the Cold War. During the First and Second World Wars, it was a bustling, vibrant port with floating docks where ships were repaired for combat deployment. Now it serves as the island's playground, a complex of museums, restaurants, galleries and pubs.

King's Wharf and Heritage Wharf at the Royal Naval Dockyard 
Royal Naval Dockyard
Celebrity Summit docked at King's Wharf in Bermuda 
Map of the Royal Naval Dockyard
The Dockyard
The Bermuda Craft Market is located at the old cooperage building in the dockyard. It's a large collection of locally made arts and crafts booths. The building where the craft market is located, used to be a warehouse and a barrel making workshop. 
During the 19th century the Royal Naval Dockyard served the British navy ships. Hundreds of workers worked at the cooperage during those days making barrels which were loaded into the ships filled with provisions. You can still find the old handmade barrels in the market that have been preserved to showcase early practices. 

Casemates Barracks was built between 1839 and 1843 by British convicts. It served as a barrack for Marine Infantry who defended the dockyard area against possible enemy invasion. The roof of the building was made of bricks and concrete so it could withstand enemy bombings and cannon shots. It is 8-foot thick. The walls are also several feet thick and made of hard limestone rocks. In 1951 when the British navy left the island, the Casemates became the main prison for Bermuda.
Bermuda Clocktower Mall is also located at the Royal Naval Dockyard. The two towers on the building are 100-foot high, one having a clock that shows the real time and the other with a clock that shows the time of the high tide. The Clocktower building was built in 1850s with 3-foot thick walls, it was used as a warehouse for the British Navy. Today it's a major shopping mall near the cruise dock. 
A short video of the Dockyard

July 11 - Day Five: Exploring in Bermuda (Part II)

“You go to heaven if you want to, I’d rather stay right here in Bermuda” —Mark Twain 

Here's the second part of our day of exploring Bermuda. We enjoyed our scooter ride up to St. George, there was a lot less traffic on the south road once we got away from the south shore beaches. St. George is where Bermuda began. The town was named after the legendary dragon slayer and patron saint of England and was Bermuda’s capital for more than 200 years. Town of St. George contains the highest proportion of historic buildings in the entire Island, and has been designated a Historic Protected Area to preserve its unique architecture.

St. George Town Hall
The town of St. George 
The view of St. George from Bob Burns Memorial Park. The harbor is beautiful.
The St. George Somers Statue in Bob Burns Park
St. Peter's Their Majesties Chapel 
Gates Fort sits on the edge of Town Cut a channel that was created for ships to enter the St. George Harbor. It was built around 1612 to stop any suspect or enemy boats from entering the harbor.
Town Cut...it was beautiful, so clear and so blue.
Alexandra's Battery Park. The fortification was built in the 1860s (this is were the second glass beach is)
Fort St. Catherine - The original fort in was built around 1614, but it was renovated at least five times, and work continued until late in the 19th century. Today this stone built fort houses a museum.
On our way back to the ship we stopped at a place called Blue Hole located in Bermuda's Walsingham Nature Reserve. Throughout the park, a network of underground tunnels connects the pools and caves with a steady supply of water. There's also a network of walking trails that lead to stunning natural attractions, including the Blue Hole and Causeway Cave, a deep-water grotto fed by the tides of Castle Harbour. The area is known locally as Tom Moore's Jungle, and we truly felt like we were in a jungle paradise...we just didn't have enough time to truly enjoy the park as much as we would have liked. It's the perfect place for an off-the-beaten-path day of hiking, swimming, snorkeling and rock climbing.
This is a cave you can swim in...it's just off the path leading to Blue Hole.
We actually got to see most of the island...taking almost all of the major roads in Bermuda. Leaving Blue Hole we took the north road back to Hamilton going by the Bermuda Aquarium and Flatts Village. It's a beautiful area of the island. We definitely liked the east end of the island better and we were so glad we had the scooter for the freedom it gave us to explore. 

This is the Flatts Inlet. It leads into the Harrington Sound inland sea area which is full of caves, grottos and subterranean passages. Mark Twain lived his last few days in Flatts Village in 1910. The village is all about the beautiful pastel colored houses, picturesque fishing areas, palm trees, great landscapes and nice eateries. Can you see that tide running in?
A map of the eastern part of the island.
A map of St. George