America’s oldest seaside resort

September 29, 2014 — At the southern most tip of New Jersey sits Cape May, the nation’s oldest seashore resort. The city is designated a national historic landmark due to the number of Victorian houses built there, many of which have turned into bed & breakfast destinations and quaint inns.

While vacationing there last week, I took a walk through the historic district and captured these images.

Congress Hall is a landmark that has provided generations with a seaside escape year after year. The hotel first opened its doors in 1816.

congress hall

congress hall 2

The jewel of all the inns is said to be the “Mainstay”, according to the Washington Post. The structure was built in 1872 and provides “pleasant accomodations” with 12 rooms and suites, three parlors, and rocker filled porches.

mainstay inn

mainstay inn 2

Private homes also populate the historic district.

private home 2

private home 3

private home 4

Vacation photo diary: Day 4

September 26, 2014Wednesday, the last day before the storm moved in.

Sunset Beach in Cape May has more pebbles than sand
Sunset Beach in Cape May, more pebbles than sand
Ready for their close up
Ready for their close up
You never grow tired of sunsets
You never grow tired of sunsets
Or amazing skies
Or amazing skies
Fisherman at sunset
A fisherman at sunset

The big change that comes with autumn 2014

imagesSeptember 22, 2014 – Autumn arrives today, the ideal season that takes us from the September equinox to the December solstice here in the northern hemisphere.

I am a late autumn baby, I adore the season, and I believe it to be the most pleasant of the four. I always thought I was lucky to share my birthday with such delightful autumn holidays as Halloween and Thanksgiving.

This year in particular the start of autumn makes me aware that another birthday is looming. This is a big one, folks. Huge, in fact,  because I turn 55 in early December.

Sure, people consider the new decade birthdays as the biggies. I’ve participated in numerous birthday parties celebrating 30, 40, 50, etc. However, 55 is crucial because whenever I take a survey from December 9, 2014 on, I will no longer check the 45-54 age group. Instead, I’ll have graduated to the 55-64 age group, and will remain there for the next nine years until I reach the final group in the survey world, the 65+ group. Yikes!

It may seem silly and rather vain, but I’ve pondered this event for a few years now, knowing that 55 was coming fast. Once I check the 55-64 box, the person reading the survey could actually think I’m 64, and not the young, vibrant 55 I like to think I am.

Still, If you equate the seasons with stages of life, I’m right smack in the autumn of my days. And like the season, one that is filled with pumpkin lattes, spiced wafers, and perfect weather, that’s gotta be a good thing.

The last rose of summer

_2000045September 19, 2014 — Whenever someone doesn’t look quite right, my mother will say they look like the last rose of summer. It is not quite a compliment since the last rose of summer, the one that hung around through all the heat and humidity, looks withered and parched. On the positive side, however, it shows longevity, strength and determination.

The expression comes from a poem by Irish poet Thomas Moore, who wrote “The Last Rose of Summer” in 1805. It begins, “Tis the last rose of summer, left blooming alone; All her lovely companions are faded and gone…”

This weekend is the last of summer, and the one that begins my anticipated my summer vacation. I’ll be heading to the New Jersey beaches, which often seem lovelier in September when the crowds have gone, and those remaining, those true last roses of summer, try to squeeze every ounce out of the season before autumn sets in.

See you at the beach

September 15, 2014 — For the past 12 years, my family has gathered at a New Jersey beach on a Saturday in September to honor two uncles who have passed. The weather is usually spectacular, but if the rain clouds try to dampen our day as they did on Saturday, we meet anyway because it’s tradition. This year, a four-legged friend joined us, too.


Perhaps the words of my cousin say it best:

“Although your physical presence is out of reach,
that will never stop us from meeting at the beach.
In loving memory of all the lives you’ve touched,
our time moves on and you’re missed so much.
We gather together to enjoy each other,
Mothers, sons, sisters and brothers.
Aunts, uncles, and cousins too,
this day is set to celebrate you.
So let us continue our journey to the beach,
until that day we rest in peace.”

– Tom Wolfinger

The National Day of Encouragement

downloadSeptember 12, 2014 – Do something awesome today. Come on, you can do it!

That is my encouraging message to you in honor of the National Day of Encouragement, an event celebrated each September 12 since 2007.

When I first heard about the National Day of Encouragement, I disregarded it, believing it is another one of those meaningless holidays invented to make every day seem important. Then I realized that every day is important, and in this crazy world, you can never have enough encouragement.

Perhaps Andrew Baker, the organizer of the National Day of Encouragement and executive director of The Encouragement Foundation, says it best.

“The National Day of Encouragement is about inspiring Americans to make deliberate words and acts of encouragement a part of this day first, and then a part of every day of their lives.”

There is not too much information available on the Internet regarding the National Day of Encouragement, or The Encouragement Foundation, but it is an effort that requires little direction. Encourage others by your words and actions, and be positive. It is that simple.

Stumped to find something awesome to do today? Just smile. Nothing encourages people more than a friendly face.

The summer of lunar events

September 10, 2014Supermoon. It’s a new term I learned this summer, and a lunar event that gave me my first success with moon shots.

The summer of 2014 gave us three of these amazing moons, in July, August, and September. They are supermoons because they are bigger, brighter, and closer to the earth than a typical full moon.

The first supermoon occurred on Saturday, July 12. Driving home from my aunt’s birthday party about 8:30 that evening, we witnessed a spectacular moon that was closer than I had ever noticed before. When I got home, I went right to the Internet and discovered that this particular moon was a supermoon.

I regret not pulling over and taking a photo of that first supermoon. However, I was ready for the next two. This shot, taken about 9 p.m. on Sunday, August 10, happened before the moon was too far away.


Monday’s supermoon, on September 8 was shot a little later, about 10 p.m. My close up isn’t as vibrant as the August shot, but the glow around the moon adds a nice touch. Monday’s moon was also 2014’s harvest moon, the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox.


The candid photo

September 8, 2014 — Yesterday I attended the wedding of my good friend’s daughter, an event that provided an opportunity to practice my candid photo skills.

The groom and his best man anxiously wait for the bride


Getting ready for the walk down the aisle
Getting ready for the walk down the aisle
I do!
I do!
Presenting the happy couple
Presenting the happy couple
Happy tears from the sister of the bride
Happy tears from the sister of the bride
Best wishes for the bride in the receiving line
Best wishes for the bride in the receiving line


Congratulations Lauren & Kenny!