A great Day for The Manatees

Beautiful Weather for a Swim with Manatees

Manatee Face

Today’s the day I’ll swim with the Manatees. That is if I can find the tour group.  I’m up before dawn. Pick up time is 7:30 but I’m not sure where. I have an address but no internet. Google maps gave me directions on a map but then told me they couldn’t help any more because my phone was off line. I propped my phone where I could see the map, crossed my fingers and headed out in the dark. Walgreen’s was the only landmark. When after 30 minutes I had not found Walgreen’s I turned around.

Entry at Mainegate Lakeside Resort Ah The Miracle of Technology

As the sunrise turned the sky a gorgeous red my cell phone blinked on and google maps decided to cooperate. I managed to get headed in the right direction before it went off line again. I passed my resort and kept on going. Just as I reached the intersection of RT 192 it popped on again telling me to “take a left”. 2 blocks farther and there was Walgreen’s and my phone started yelling for me to turn right, turn right! Sure enough there was the resort, Maingate Lakeside Resort. My pickup location! It only took me 1 hr and 15 minutes to find it. It was really only 10 minutes from my resort, The Mystic Dunes.  I guess you could say I took the long way around!

My Fellow PassengersOur tour bus

I was the first to arrive but right behind me was a family of 4 from England. We chatted a bit until a big blue bus with Florida Dolphin Tours written on the side pulled up. Our ride was here. We piled in still chatting about England and America and travel in general. We stopped at several more resorts adding passengers until the bus was full, At that point our guide, Madeline, did a head count and handed out our breakfasts. Not bad for fast food. It quickly became clear that Madeline and I were the only American’s. We had the British Invasion on our bus. One fellow quickly advised us he was the exception. He was from Wales!

And along Came Irma

Hurricane Irma takes Aim for FloridaMickey Mouse

As Hurricane Irma heads for Florida even Disney is not immune. The World famous home of Mickey and Minnie is closing for only the 5th time since it opened in 1971. Why am I talking about this? Because it looks like I may be heading for Orlando just as Irma leaves the state.

A Mini Vacation in Jeopardy

About a year ago I had a chance to grab  a quick visit to Orlando. By quick I mean only 4 days. Fly down, spend a couple of days and fly back. The cost, just $150.00 so I jumped at the chance. The only problem was that I had to use the trip before September 30. I usually avoid vacations before October because of my work load but the price was too good to say no. So now I find  myself watching the weather channel nightly and getting updates from my friends in Orlando.

Saturday Morning Update

storm track


According to the weather folks, Irma’s hurricane strength winds are going to begin to reach Orlando tonight. On Sunday Orlando should be in the thick of it but as the pitchmen say-But Wait! There’s More!-. They just announced that Irma’s winds are going to hang around through Monday before the storm moves on out of the area.

So what about the trip?

I continue to monitor conditions. My resort is expected to be open for business on Tuesday. It’s been closed as of yesterday. Disney World is planning to welcome visitors again on Tuesday. Everyone is planning to bounce back quick. One can only hope the optimism is well placed. I guess it will all depend on the planes. If they are flying into Orlando I guess I’ll be going. House sitter/pet sitter is on standby so everything is in place if I get to go. I guess I’ll have a new adventure. I usually run away from disaster zones not toward them. I know my limits. In the meantime, keep your eye to the sky.


Just announced Irma is shifting to the West. Bad for the coast good for Orlando.

Captain John and the Whales

Captain John’s Whale WatchingWhale Tail

Captain John Boats lives in Plymouth, MA and sails the seas of Massachusetts Bay and Stellwagen Banks. Why, Matey? What does the Captain John do on the bay? We be lookin’ for whales. Mostly humpback whales but also finbacks and minkes. So come on board and let me tell you a “tail” of the sea.

Whale Watching in Massachusetts

Summertime on the Massachusetts coast means whales. The evening news happily reports when the first whales of the season begin to arrive along Cape Cod. The first are usually the rare right whales. We watch them from the shore. We recognize them by their distinctive wide V-shaped blow. All the while we watch we also freeze in the early spring blustery cold.

Whale TailWith Warmer Weather come the Tours

As the weather warms the Right whales move out and the Humpbacks, Finbacks and Minkes take their place. I’ve followed the whales for 43 years through good years and bad. South of Boston there are 3 main tour companies, Boston’s New England Aquarium, Captain John Boats in Plymouth and the Dolphin Fleet out of Provincetown. It doesn’t seem to matter which one you take, they all seem to end up at Stellwagen Bank within sight of each other and the Pilgrim Tower in Provincetown.

A Whale of a Trip

Last Saturday I finally had a free afternoon. I usually prefer the morning trip out of Plymouth with Captain John. I seem to have better luck on those tours but this time I couldn’t get away until the 2 pm tour. We no sooner reached the feeding grounds of Stellwagen Banks than 3 humpbacks sounded right next to the boat. They stayed close for 3-4 dives before moving out.  We had several other humpbacks cruise along with the boat and then one tried to ride our bow! It was a very active trip and the passengers were really excited.

Riding a bow wave

Rate the Trip

If this was your first trip it was a definite 10. There were lots of whales and lots of activity. For a more experienced whale watcher it might have been a bit of a let down. There were no flipper slaps, bubble net or surface feeding, or breaches but some lovely flukes…a 5. I am so spoiled!

Gurnet Light

Gurnet Light

So Where’s the Adventure Part?

The Adventure is in the TreesRope bridge

The Heritage Forest Adventures is fun for all ages, or so they tell me. I didn’t get there this trip. My adventure would have been surviving the traffic exodus leaving “The Cape” if I didn’t leave by 3 pm. But I did find someone who has been to the Adventure Park.

What is involved?

4 beautiful acres are filled with aerial trails as well as traditional foot paths. This park is geared to all ages and abilities. Take to the trees to clamor over platforms made of rope, cable and wood configurations. Then clip your harness to the zip line and fly through the forest. Each of the “bridges” presents a different challenge. My friend says it’s great fun but that her arms were sore for days after she went. What a work out!

a barrel bridgeThere are 5 different trails ranging from beginner to advanced, all color coded to make following them easy.

If you’re like me and need to keep your feet on the ground, there are paths and trails. You can get your heart stopping thrills while watching those in the trees.

Why an Adventure Park?

The Heritage Park’s mission is to inspire people to explore, discover and learn together. The adventure park encourages visitors and families to discover the outdoors and  engage in family fun. The trails and challenges encourage our young people to move more, improving their physical skills. 

Open air underfoot

What you need to Know if you go.

You don’t need reservations for the Gardens and Museum grounds but they are recommended for the Adventure Park.

Tickets for The Adventure Park are $45 for Adults (12+), $39 for ages 10-11, $34 for ages 7-9.

Combo tickets that include The Adventure Park and all of Heritage’s other offerings are $55 Adults (12+), $44 ages 10-11, $39 ages 7-9; combination tickets can be purchased at both the Heritage ticket office and at The Adventure Park.

All tickets will also be charged a $1 reservation fee.

Only those climbing need to pay the admission fee.  Those walking the Forest Walk or grounds do not pay admission.

The minimum age to climb is 7 yrs. old and there is no maximum age.  Courses are designed for all ages and abilities!  There is a maximum weight limit and that is 265 lbs.

Heritage Museums and Gardens are located at 67 Grove St, Sandwich, MA 02563

If you go I’d love to hear from you! I want to know what it was like!

Over Hill and Dale the Surprises Keep Coming

Flowering Lilly pads

Another Hill another Garden

As I started up the next hill I looked longingly at the water garden. It is such a beautiful peaceful place. So far it is my favorite garden but there’s so much more to see.

 Hydrangea Shrubs in Bloom

White Hydrangea

It’s summer in New England so hydrangea are in full bloom. They are everywhere. It seems every house has a hydrangea shrub in the yard A single l bloom like a pom pomsomewhere so of course the gardens were full of them. In fact, a whole section is dedicated just to these beautiful flowers. Did you know that the colors are determined by the PH level of the soil? I did not know this. I thought they were all different variations. Amid the profusion of blooms a gentleman sat quietly with paint and easel. What a wonderful sight. I wish now I’d taken his photo but I didn’t want to disturb him at the time.

Up and Down and Around

Leaving the hydrangea behind I headed down hill for a change. There was a bench at the bottom of the hill with a handicap sign. Under that was a placard that explained a tram would come by to pick you up if you wanted a ride. Ok then! Lets take the easy way and ride! It wasn’t long before an electric tram came silently along the path. When I climbed on the young driver played tour guide. He wanted to be sure I got to see everything I wanted. 

Next Stop a Carousel


Brown Carved Carousel HorseAfter a few more turns and another hill we arrived at the end of the road. The tram was turned around and as I departed others loaded on for the return trip. This building housed the Carousel and the American Art Collection. I only had eyes for the Vintage Merry-Go-Round. It’s in gorgeous shape. The Carousel is an original Looff from 1908. It’s history is fascinating but more than I have space for here. You can follow this link to continue reading about this beautiful piece of Art.


 White Carousel horse