Sunday, April 7, 2013

Florida and Home in North Carolina

I was recently struck by the stark yet similar beauty between the lake near my mother's house in Palmetto Palms (in Ft. Myers, Florida) and the beauty of the Great Dismal Swamp Canal closer to home here in Virginia. The canal runs between Virginia and North Carolina and was originally dug by slaves under the direction of George Washington.

Pictures from Ft. Myers, Florida:

Residents of Palmetto Palms are proud of their lake

My nieces are looking for alligators and turtles, both of which can sometimes be seen near the bridge

The bridge itself is a pretty walk through the mangroves

The mangroves add beauty to the scene

Mangrove roots provide shelter for wildlife like this little fish

 Pictures from the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia:

My husband, Don Burke, and I celebrate our anniversary with a tandem bike trip along the Great Dismal Swamp Canal

No mangroves, but the trees grow all around the water here

Despite its name, the Great Dismal Swamp harbors wildlife and is beautiful in its own right

Spring Vacation, 2013, Part 3: Sunset Cruise in Florida

Our family went on a sunset/dolphin cruise in Florida. My nieces were excited at the thought of seeing dolphins!

Their mom, my sister, Kate, is enjoying the boat trip as well.

This is a nice close-up of my stepmother, Georgia

Are there any dolphins, yet?

My stepfather, Poppy Bill, is playing around, giving his fierce sea-monster imitation (I think)

My new camera got some great close-ups of this Osprey. Look closely and you can see it fledgling on the left.

Another chance to show off the terrific zoom on my new Nikon camera. Wow! See the baby Osprey on the left.

We didn't see any dolphins, much to the nieces' dismay, but we got a beautiful view of the sunset!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring Vacation, 2013, Part 2: Fun and Games in Florida

Grandie loves board and card games. Here she teaches the grandchildren a game of Dominoes.

Grandie also loves parties. We celebrated my younger brother's 50th birthday.

My brother, Don, is a retired NJ State Trooper. His wife teaches elementary school. We all played shuffleboard.

We played mini-golf at Smugglers' Cove Adventure Park. Part of the adventure is a chance to feed young alligators!

My stepmother, Georgia, enjoys the scenery at the miniature golf course.

Yours Truly is having a wonderful time at the scenic mini-golf park, too

Even the young ones like to play mini-golf! "Restore the (Jersey) Shore" after Hurricane Sandy...

My sister Kate's friend, Charlie, who flew down to visit with us for a couple of days, concentrates on his putt

Yet another scenic view of Smugglers' Cove Adventure Golf

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring Vacation, 2013, Part 1: Easter in Florida

My mom loves her bread machine. This one tasted of orange zest. Yum!

My niece wears a festive hat in celebration of Easter

My other niece, her sister, thinks dying eggs is a cool Easter tradition.

I like dying eggs, too! Mine was the red one.

Grandie supervises the girls.

Our hard-boiled eggs are dyed and drying on a rack. What pretty colors!

My nieces got rabbit-puppets for Easter from their grandfather and his wife.

My niece plays with her rabbit at a restaurant. His name is Brandon.

The girls were afraid the Easter Bunny would have a hard time finding them in Florida, but apparently not!

Grandie and Poppy's house, where much of the fun takes place!