Views from Little Switzerland

2014-09, Blue Ridge Parkway 054, Crop

When I was a child, my mother took the family for a drive on the mountain roads near our then home in Asheville, North Carolina. When we passed a ramshackle inn perched on the edge of an escarpment, I instantly fell in love with it.

Alpine Inn, Crop

I’ve always wanted to stay there, but never managed, even though I’ve been in the vicinity hundreds of times. I think the reason was mostly because I didn’t remember the inn’s name, but perhaps also I wanted to wait and savor the moment when I finally visited.

Last week I cruised the length of the 450-mile-long Blue Ridge Parkway, which passes through Little Switzerland. In this age of the internet it was easy to find an image of the inn I remembered and determine its name.

I timed my trip to put me in Little Switzerland at about 4:30 pm, and arrived as planned. Traffic was light on the Parkway (it will be bumper-to-bumper a month from now, when the leaves have changed color), so I expected there to be a room available. I wasn’t disappointed. I got a room– musty-smelling, but clean– for only $60.

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Photos from NJ Botanical Gardens

2014-05-01, NJ Botanical Gardens  013, B&W

Pear Trees in Bloom, New Jersey Botanical Gardens, 5-1-2014

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Back to the Catskills

2014-05-03, Catskills 041

Today we drove past hundreds of abandoned resorts in various states of disrepair.

I’ve left the photos I took in (very) large format. You can examine the image above and some others
in great detail by clicking on them. A new tab will open, so you won’t lose your place here.

This was to be our weekend of leisure: sleeping late, french toast for breakfast, lying in bed watching movies, naps, reading, more of same. So naturally, as soon as Heather awoke this morning, she was after me to pull on my shoes on so we could leave for the Catskills.

A couple of weeks ago we visited Woodstock. We told one another we would be returning one day; we just didn’t realize it would be so soon.

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Trips into New York City

Trips into New York City

From my girlfriend Heather’s house in Rockland County, NY I can travel to Manhattan quickly and easily. Seniors pay half price. I, who Heather has called a hippie with a pension, quality for that rate. For less than ten dollars I can ride either train or a nicely-appointed Greyhound-style bus to, respectively, Penn Station or the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street

I’ve been to the city at least a dozen times in recent years, sometimes alone, sometimes with Heather, and sometimes with my friend Jan Brown. I’ve seen two Broadway shows (revivals of Hair (five stars) and West Side Story (two stars), and two off-Broadway plays (Cole Porter’s Mexican Hayride; four stars) and, today, Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser’s Under My Skin. I’ve spent a day each in four museums (The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, The American Museum of Natural History, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art), hung out at Zucotti Park in the Financial District with the Occupy Wall Street folks, taken a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park under a big warm blanket with Heather, visited the Apple Store and the F.A.O. Scharz toy store on the Upper West Side, viewed an exhibition at The International Center of Photography, heard a presentation at the LGBT Community Center of New York, and attended a reception for authors of the forthcoming book Trans Bodies, Trans Selves. I’ve walked through Harlem, Hell’s Kitchen, Central Park, Greenwich Village, Times Square, the meat packing district, the theater district, and the financial district. I’ve eaten $1.50 slices at hole-in-the-wall pizzarias and fine food at a half-dozen restaurants. I’ve learned a lot about the city and how to get around (often the hard way). It has all been fun.

I suppose I really am a hippie with a pension.

Hair

Hair on Broadway, 2009

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Mission Accomplished!

Mission Accomplished!

In August 2011 a young Irishman named Sean Dillon shipped his 25-year-old 75-lb. Honda C90 Super Cub motorcycle from Dublin to Anchorage, Alaska. His goal: to ride his tiny 90cc bike from the Arctic Circle to the southernmost tip of South America.

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