Category Archives: New York

Upcoming Adventures: Food, Family, Fun, and More!

Β© Copyright 2011 | | CLICK any photo for a larger view

Good grief, have I got a ridiculous amount of adventures lined up in the next several months! Suddenly, we’re going from zero to 60 in a matter of seconds. I’m still not quite sure how this happened, but my dance card filled up rapidly and I’m looking for places to insert a breath or two πŸ˜‰

2010 Food and Wine Festival themingEPCOT International Food and Wine Festival at Walt Disney World | Yes, it’s that time of year again – Chez Bro and da fambly will be rocking Disney World starting next week. I’m going for just three nights, but that should be long enough to sample all the new goodies that will be offered this year. I hear there’s a Hawaii booth offering a really good mai tai… also looking forward to visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the wake of the announcement that there will be a new “land” developed there that’s based on the film AVATAR. This land will be focused on “living in harmony” with the environment. I hear there will be an “AVATAR 2” in 2014, and I’m wondering if they will be coordinating the opening of the new section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom with the opening of the film… that would be pretty exciting πŸ™‚

Arriving at CityWalk - Universal ResortUniversal Orlando Resort and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter | These days, I do not plan an expedition to Orlando without including a visit to Universal Orlando Resort in my plans. I am smitten with The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter. While I don’t think there’s anything really new there to see or do, it’s kind of cool to wander through Universal Studios circa Halloween time – they do the place up nicely, so I’m looking forward to dropping by and taking it all in. One thing that won’t be available there YET is the new book Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey – guess I’ll have to pre-order from Amazon like the rest of the world!

IMG_2067-Naples-Florida-zoo-western-cougar-tongueFlorida Panther Festival | At first I thought, “oh dear, I’m going to miss it πŸ™ ” because it’s on a Saturday and as I will explain below, my Saturdays are all booked up through early November. Then I realized I could do one of the field trips that wasn’t on the same day as the festival, and I felt a bit better as soon as I signed up. So I’ll get to hike a bit through Corkscrew Swamp, something I’ve yet to do but it’s “on the list”. Eager not only to learn about and experience the swamp, but also to observe a naturalist in action, taking people on an adventure. I think I finally know what I want to be when I grow up… πŸ˜‰ DISCLAIMER: That is not a panther. I do not have a photo of a panther. However, I had a picture of a western cougar, and since they are the same species (but two different sub-species, separated by the Gulf of Mexico), and also since he is so cute with his tongue sticking out at me like that, I decided what the heck – western cougar it is LOL.

One down, two to go - the certificate I earned in June!Florida Master Naturalist – Freshwater Wetlands Module | Having completed the Coastal Systems module several months ago, and having had a total blast doing it – it’s like day camp for adults πŸ˜‰ – I am eager to begin the Freshwater Systems Module, immediately upon my return from Orlando. Every Saturday through the beginning of November, I’ll have lecture in the morning and then field trips in the afternoons. One of the field trips will happen in a place that is very familiar to me – the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve, right here in Fort Myers. The rest of the field trips are in places up in Charlotte County, to places where I’ve never been before. Oh, yes! New adventures! And I get to learn how to kayak! Doesn’t this just keep getting better and better? πŸ™‚


Mote Marine mobile aquariumMote Marine Aquarium, Sarasota | Ever since I saw the “Mote Mobile” at the Mango Festival this past July, I’ve wanted to visit Mote Aquarium, which is about an hour north of Fort Myers, in Sarasota. It’s attached to a Marine Laboratory which was founded in 1955. As if the excitement of a new adventure isn’t enough, I have a Groupon for admission AND they’re opening a new exhibit in November called “Penguin Island”. Since I’m all booked up through the beginning of November, and since the Groupon expires 11/22, guess what I’ll be doing sometime in between? Yep, I’m Sarasota-bound πŸ™‚


It's Grinchmas! At Seuss LandingHoliday Meet in Orlando | This is becoming a habit – some friends from Ohio typically come to Orlando circa the first week of December each year, and I’ve met them there several times now. We are usually good for dinner somewhere special and an adult beverage crawl around the World Showcase in EPCOT. Of course, I’ll visit not only Walt Disney World but Universal Orlando as well. The SeussLand deco is beyond ridiculous; every possible square inch is covered in tinsel and lights in celebration of “Grinchmas”. I was thinking that this year, I might expand my “in search of Christmas” resort hop; I’ve pretty well covered the Port Orleans resorts, the Boardwalk, and Downtown Disney. It’s time to expand my repertoire! So if you have a favorite resort that you’d like me to visit for the Christmas decor, please leave a comment below and I will try to include it in my itinerary. Thanks!

122720103047Christmas In New York | One of the great ironies of my life is that I’ve yet to spend Christmas Day in my own home. I moved away from New York in 2006 and have been going “home” to Long Island for Christmas every year since then. I basically pull a plug-in two foot tree out of a box to enjoy for a few days before jetting off to points north, LL Bean flannel-lined jeans and waterproof Uggs in tow. I’m-a-skeered – last year, there was a blizzard while I was there! Well, I guess it wouldn’t make very much sense to have Uggs and not get to wear them in the snow. Plus, I bought a round-trip ticket, so I’ll be back in Florida eventually πŸ˜‰ It’s good for me to go north in the snow; it makes me grateful that I’m not stuck with it and that I get to come back here to warm, sunny Florida.

Well, that’s the adventure report for the rest of the year. If I add something, I’ll be sure to let you know – but I’m pretty much certain that’s all the adventure I can stand! Stay tuned, ’cause mobile blogging from Orlando starts SOON!

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On Sanibel we go shelling. BUT –

– on Long Island’s north shore, we go rocking πŸ™‚

I wanted some stones I could stack on my desk in a Zen-like manner, so I went to Sunken Meadow State Park and found all these candidates.

There were also some slipper shells, jingle shells, muscles, oysters, an inhabited moon snail that might have been dead but I gave it a second chance, and a couple of very stinky, bug-infested channel whelks. I didn’t collect any of them. I was there for stones πŸ™‚

Harry Potter: The Exhibition at Discovery Times Square

Β© Copyright 2011 | | CLICK any photo for a larger view

Harry Potter: The Exhibition at Discovery Times SquareOn Saturday August 13th, my nieces and I embarked upon a journey to New York City to see Harry Potter: The Exhibition. The exhibit was very good, and doubly so because of the great discount we got by purchasing our tickets in combination with our Long Island Railroad fares. We were not allowed to take pictures, so I have nothing from which to refresh the memory, and very little to show you besides a few exterior photos I mobile blogged yesterday, which you can find here.

In the beginning, we were admonished that we MUST turn off and put away all cameras, video cameras and cell phones. Then we were ushered into a room where we found Sorting Hat resting upon a stool. A few volunteers were sorted. Volunteers were given the opportunity to state a preference and the Sorting Hat was held over their heads. The Sorting Hat’s voice was then heard, describing the volunteer’s characteristics. The Sorting Hat always put the volunteer in the house of their choice. Surprisingly, not everyone said Gryffindor; we had one of those, but also a Slytherin and a Ravenclaw. Therefore, we got to hear a variety of prognostications from the Sorting Hat, instead of having to listen to him wax poetic over Gryffindor ad nauseum.

After the sorting we were whisked off to another chamber where we were treated to a 5 minute or so video montage from the whole series of films. I admit that I have not bought any of the DVDs (waiting for the inevitable super dooper deluxe box set), so it was actually a treat to see footage from all the way back to the first film.

There were collections of things from the movie sets on display, many with accompanying video to remind you which film and in which scene these things were seen. The collections tended to revolve around a character; for instance, we see Ron Weasley’s trunk and his bed from Gryffindor Tower at Hogwarts and there’s a video that shows scenes with Ron in them starting when he was teeny tiny, with all the props you’re looking at in the background.

Further along in the exhibit, guests get to pull mandrakes out of the ground and hear them squeal; actually, they were squealing incessantly the whole time we were in the exhibit, and they sound EXACTLY like the ones at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the Universal Orlando Resorts Islands of Adventure theme park.

We also got the opportunity to sit in Hagrid’s huge chair inside his hut and we practiced throwing the quaffle through the goal hoops too.

It was fun to see the sizes of the actors clothing change over the years. For instance, Harry was apparently TINY as a first year in the first film, because his school uniform was really small. And judging from her muggle attire from the more recent films, it’s obvious that Emma Watson is still TINY as an adult. The largest set of Gryffindor robes by far belonged to Matthew Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom but the biggest costume overall was Robbie Coltrane’s Hagrid outfit. I can’t believe how big it is!

After the tour, of course you’re dumped out into a gift shop. If you thought souvenirs in Orlando were expensive, hold on to your hats. Robes in Orlando were running around $100. However, you pay DOUBLE that at the exhibit, and I am relatively certain that they are the same robes – no French seams or golden threads or anything like that. I do not know why there is such a completely insane 100% markup on the already-pricey robes. There doesn’t seem to be a good reason for it. Maybe it’s just that you’re standing in Times Square. T-shirts were average ($28-ish and up) as were house-colored ties ($35). Jewelry was for sale – for instance, the time turner and Mr. Lovegood’s pendant in the shape of the Deathly Hallows symbol – but it was all way over-priced for non-precious materials. My nieces contented themselves with a few rubber bracelets and post cards.

I would not pay to see it again, but I’m glad I paid a discounted price to see it once.

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On my way – Harry Potter in NYC

I’ve traveled to New York to visit with family. Today, a handful of nieces and I are taking the Long Island Rail Road into Manhattan, where we will walk up to Times Square and visit the Harry Potter Exhibition. The exhibition is moving on come September, so I am glad to have this opportunity!

Jersey Girl

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*

I can’t believe I lived in New York most of my life and didn’t know this!


Two Ladies in the Harbor, September 2006



“Sha la la la la la la la….” yep, apparently she’s a Jersey Girl!”


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Happy Holidays From New York

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
Happy Holidays from New York (a Ruby Tuesday post)

I need to pack – headed to NY for Christmas tomorrow. Y’all be good and have a great holiday! Scroll down to see if I’m mobile blogging at all.

Tink *~*~*


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Harbes Family Farm’s Maize Maze

Β© Copyright 2008 WalkGood

Harbes Family Farm’s Maize Maze

(a Blogless Thursday post)
Featuring guest blogger WalkGood, so Tink~*~* can be blogless today.

Here on the Loverly Isle of Long, we still have quite a few farms and wide open spaces. But you must travel “out East”, and a good place is Jamesport on the North Fork, home to working farms and vineyards.

My family took a Saturday trip to Harbes Family Farm, for their corn maze and pumpkin picking.

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First order of business was chowing down on some of the sweetest corn around. Fifteen minutes to roasted perfection.

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Then off to seek our fortune in pursuit of GOLD in the Wild West Corn Maze.

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There are two giant corn mazes on 8 acres of real live corn fields. You get a treasure map that doesn’t really look like the maze at all. More of a souvenir. The first maze is pretty simple, which leads you to the more complex maze. In there you must find some “equipment” so you can navigate the lost mines and claim your gold.

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The Maze Marshall gets you started with basic instructions. You also get a flag to wave if you get lost. Other Marshalls up in towers will help you along the way.

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Yes, it is as high as an elephants eye. That’s why you carry a long pole flag in case you need help.

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The other Marshall will help you, but he teases you a bit and busts your chops. You must yell out Yeeeeeee Haaaaaaaaawwww! quite often to get his attention. Mostly it’s just for his own amusement.

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Along the way you will find some large paintings. A few of them have a cut out to insert your face from behind for picture taking of your traveling party.

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At the end of the first maze you are congratulated. Not sure if this is an attempt at Roy Rogers, John Wayne or maybe Grandpa Harbes?

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Well now we are off to the bigger complex maze, in pursuit of the tools needed for mining some gold. A minor miner, map in hand, leads the search.

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When you find one of the four items, you ring an iron triangle in celebration. Could also be bragging rights to the other searchers who are going in circles.

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Then to prove you found the items you take a pencil rubbing onto your map from each item.

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After you have found the shovel, lantern, pick axe and dynamite (and taken their picture rubbings) you must find the entrance to the long-lost Great Mine, Dusty’s Goldmine.

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Then the Sheriff will award you with a gold piece.

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Next our ultimate quarry….. PUMPKINS!

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Not sure if these are willow trees, but the corn maze map calls this Blue Willow Pond.

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What trip to a farm in Autumn is complete without an authentic hayride.

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It really helps to have one of these to lug your pickings around.

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Thanks for following along!

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Walk Good

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Pretty night

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The view fom our table

Nice views of the river at the Old Dock Inn
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The Old Dock Inn

Good French onion soup here
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Sea lion

His name is Java
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Harbor seals

Some of these are rescued harbor seals
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Riverhead, Long Island

I hear they have otters…..
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More crabbage

Recent storms must have tossed these poor, unfortunate souls up onto the beach. There has also been a recent spate of red tide; yes, red tide happens outside of Southwest Florida!
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Beach treasures

There were lots of crab shells on the beach, and cool pebbles and sticks and stuff.
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We’ve reached the.beach

Not a swimming beach, but a good walking beach at low tide in a peaceful setting.
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Signage: Nature

Signs along the way remind us when we have reached the point where the land on the side of the road is owned by the county, but it is still someone's home
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Long Island foliage

In the summertime, Long Island turns into a lush, humid jungle. Both sides of the road to the beach were clogged with vegetation. I don't know what sort of tree this is; from far away, it tricks you into believing it is a mimosa, but then you get closer and you see that it's not. Anyone know what tree this is?
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A walk to the beach

I arrived on Long Island on Wednesday night. I'm currently at the home of Bro No. 2, father of Niece No. 5, who is 3.5 years old.

They live about a quarter of a mile down the road fom the Great South Bay. Yesterday, we decided to take a walk down there. On the way, we passed this cool little veggie garden, contained to prevent deer fom making away with the spoils of summer.
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Wordless, Sunday July 6th 2008

Colors of Long Island
Sky Out The Window I
photo taken October 27th, 2004
Long Island, New York

I was trawling through my photo archive, looking for a bunch of stuff I had scanned a few years back, and I came across a series of photos that I took in October 2004, while I was still living on Long Island.  This one, above, was serendipitiy.  I was working at my desk in the Suite @ Chez Bro, and I looked up and saw this scene out the window.  Wow!  So I grabbed the camera and flung open the window to get this shot.  I love the colors!

It’s all relative

Up on Long Island, when you walk outside into crisp, cold winter air and smell wood smoke, it’s a comforting smell. It means someone has a wood-burning fireplace and there’s a nice, cozy, warm fire blazing in their hearth. It’s a smell I associate with winter time and comfort.

Down here in southwest Florida, when you walk outside into crisp, chilly winter air and smell wood smoke, it’s either a wildfire or a controlled burn. At first, I get the cozy-comfort feeling, and then I remember where I am and start to worry.

I came in and turned on the news and found out that it’s a controlled burn. Whew.