Category Archives: Beach Bytes

Little bits about beach destinations



Ademola Olugebefola (USVI) - The Mighty Atlantic
Ademola Olugebefola (USVI) The Mighty Atlantic

We are delighted to announce this important cultural event presented by our colleagues in one of the best island destinations.

The 3rd Edition of Caribbean Fine Art (CaFA) Fair Barbados will be March 13-17 at the exciting new venue in the heart of historic Bridgetown, Barbados – the Spirit Bond Building. CaFA Fair opens on Wednesday, March 13, 6-9 pm with a Gala Reception featuring a live musical performance, presentation of the Caribbean Luminary of the Arts Award, and a preview of over 35 exhibitors of paintings, sculpture, photography, drawings, original limited edition prints and new media exploring the cultural traditions of the Caribbean.

A special feature of CaFA Fair Barbados 2013 will be performances and film screenings scheduled for each day of the event. Trinidadian Shelley Worrell of CaribBEING will present screenings by filmmakers from Guadeloupe, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago, while Barbadian performer NaLa will entertain with his unique brand of humor.

We are pleased to welcome celebrated US artist and cultural entrepreneur Danny Simmons; former Sothebys executive and principal of New York’s AK Art, Amy Kisch; and world renowned artist and lecturer Dr. Ademola Olugebefola, USVI, as presenters at the Caribbean Art Symposium, scheduled for Saturday, March 16, 2013.

Daniel Lind Ramos (Puerto Rico) - ADORACIONDaniel Lind Ramos (Puerto Rico)
New works by Puerto Rico’s Diogenes Ballester and USVI’s Ademola Olugebefola, will headline the selection of artworks by over 35 artists representing 13 Caribbean nations. 2 participating artists, Jamal Ince, Barbados, and Jamaica’s Ava Tomlinson were recently selected to showcase their paintings at Art Africa Miami 2012, which was a part of the Art Basel Miami week, December 2012. Internationally recognized contemporary artists such as Ras Ishi Butcher, Carlton Murrell, and Ras Akyem I Ramsay, Barbados; David Wilson, Dominica; Carl E. Hazlewood and Philip Moore, Guyana; Patricia Brintle, Haiti; Abishag Voundi, Martinique; Daniel Lind-Ramos, Puerto Rico; Marcel Pinas, Suriname; David Boothman, Trinidad & Tobago; will be represented at CaFA Fair Barbados. Emerging artists Nicolle Blackwood, Jamaica; Minerva Diaz, Puerto Rico; and many others from the English-speaking, Hispanic and Francophone Caribbean will also be on exhibit.

Carl Hazlewood (Guyana) - White Angel RisingCarl Hazlewood (Guyana) – White Angel Rising
Event partners include Barbados Tourism Authority; Barbados National Cultural Foundation; BMW; CaribBEING; Intimate Hotels of Barbados; Laparkan Shipping; Latin American Art; Lush Life Resort; Naniki Restaurant; and Virgin Atlantic Airways.

Ras Akyem I Ramsay (Barbados) - Blakk BirdRas Akyem I Ramsay (Barbados) – Blakk Bird
Diaspora-Now was formed in 1986. Our primary mission is to increase awareness and appreciation of Caribbean culture through the distribution of information and presenting works of art. For updates please visit event website or call 646-267-8831. Abishag Voundi (Martinique)
Abishag Voundi (Martinique)

Sex and Sponges in Beautiful Barbados

Barbados officially celebrates its high season for visitors beginning in mid-December when North Americans and British are particularly eager to avoid their cold winter. For history and details about this fabulous destination we recommend the Barbados Travel Companion app available from iTunes. It was authored by experienced travel guide writer and journalist Harry S. Pariser and published by Sutro Media which boasts more than 300 mobile apps covering the world’s best destinations. We didn’t go to Barbados for sex or sponges, but after getting the complete scoop from Harry, it might be time to plan another trip. Here’s a little preview of the app content.

The good news for Barbados lovers is that all year is a near-perfect season, and spring or summer rates for lodging or travel packages can be quite enticing.

This is a beautiful friendly Caribbean island which welcomes guests all year. The interesting people are its foremost asset. With golfing, diving, surfing, any water sport, plus swimming with the turtles among the coral, there’s never a shortage of activity. Check current event schedules to plan for something special. The gorgeous beach itself, with an occasional break for a rum punch or several, delivers a pretty good vacation, and the beach locales range from busy resort areas to secluded spots for napping under swaying palms.

Summer in Barbados features the Crop Over Festival which is a five-week event. Its origin is more than 200 years old when the sugar cane crop harvest was finished and called for a celebration. Albeit not still based on the harvest schedule, the festival includes dancing, parades, competitions and of course the fabulous food, arts and crafts which are popular year-round. Thousands of visitors are attracted during this season, and all for good cause.

Duty free shopping is available in Bridgetown, the capital city, in department stores and jewelry shops plus small malls outside the city, but my favorite shopping is among the craft vendors in Pelican Village or along the street in many areas. Tropical batiks, straw hats or local art and pottery are frequently the same products in various locations, but I find the browsing and light bartering to be part of the fun. Vendors are not allowed on the beach, and hawking is not common.

Touring the rum distillery or studying the island’s architecture, rich history and culture also provide myriad choices for daily excursions beyond the beach.

Good food is not a secret here. Spices combine Caribbean influence with occasional Asian or French and create many special dishes including fresh local vegetables such as sweet potatoes. A flying fish sandwich was the first meal I chose in Barbados, and it’s often one of my favorite entrées. It’s local and plentiful due to its actual appearance of flying out of the water (toward the anglers we believe) while it’s supposedly trying to escape larger fish. Other fish is fresh as well as shrimp, lobster, and much more. Pickled sea cat, a relish made from octopus, adds a nice touch to fish and other selections.

Let’s talk about pudding and souse another day! Do you know what they are? Have you sampled them in Barbados, or maybe elsewhere? We heard it was good at Lemon Arbour in St. John.

Let me know what you think about finding the fine food, great beaches and dazzling upcoming events. Sex, sponges, octopus and rum are deserving of further review as well.

Dominican Republic Travel for Cheap

We love the Caribbean any time of year, and we have enjoyed some good trips via Cheap Caribbean. You can go as cheap or as upscale as you want. Pay attention to the stars to be sure you know whether you’re getting a resort with some class or no class whatsoever if you’re looking for super cheap.

Want to go right now? Cheap Caribbean is celebrating its 11th anniversary with the current deal to Puerto Playa at the Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort and Spa at an unbeatable $11 per person per night (no airfare included) during September and October. Book it now to get this deal. It’s only a bit more later in the year, and packages are available too.

While we don’t choose all-inclusive resorts, it’s something to consider at this price. We do choose packages, and one of the best things we do like is the ground transportation which might be an add-on but so worth it. I don’t know about you, but arriving in a different country and renting a car to drive to a totally new spot is intimidation I don’t need 🙂 It’s just nice to be met by a local driver who also knows when we are returning to the airport.

If you have a favorite Caribbean resort to mention in our Beach Bytes category, please send us your comments here. We could even publish your pic too!

Turtle Watch

We’re waiting for new turtles in our neighborhood. Here’s the nest.

Sea turtles have been swimming in our oceans for more than a hundred million years, according to scientists. However, the coastal development, fisheries, pollution and climate change have all contributed to making their lives difficult. The Green, Leatherback, Loggerhead and Kemp’s Ridley species all swim in the Atlantic Ocean, and all are endangered. Female turtles return to the beach where they were born to dig a nest and lay their eggs in the sand. As many as 100 to 120 eggs are laid in a nest, and the fragile eggs are too often found by predators. The help of humans for protection is important for as much as 80 days until they hatch and the tiny hatchings crawl to their forever home in the ocean.

Watch us all watching for our hatchlings to arrive. Well, we’re all watching for something anyway! Where are you?

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Salute from the Shore

“Salute from the Shore” is a great celebration along the whole coast of South Carolina. It’s set for 1 p.m., Monday, July 4 on all South Carolina beaches.

“Salute from the Shore” is an opportunity to salute our armed forces and their families while celebrating Independence Day on South Carolina’s beaches. This second annual patriotic event hopes to have one million beachgoers saluting our Armed Forces as part of an effort to produce a video tribute to our Armed Forces everywhere.

The salute begins at the North Carolina line at 1 p.m., Monday, July 4, and will cover the whole coast in just 20 minutes. Participate by waving flags or creating a display big enough to see from the air as four F-16 fighter jets, flown by members of the 77th Fighter Squadron from Shaw Air Force Base, fly over the entire coastline of South Carolina.

Browsing the Caribbean

Not a postcard collection. Just a look at the morning sun from our warm balcony in Freeport or the view of the resort entrance.

Would you prefer this upscale resort in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico?

Or would you rather enjoy this lifestyle resort in the Dominican Republic with wait service directly at your sunbed?

What’s cheap about the Caribbean? Nothing really, except for packages which are frequently offered by the company Cheap Caribbean. We do not work for them, but we have traveled on their packages a couple of times and can report huge savings plus quality. One of my favorite items in their package offers is the ground transportation. Have you ever arrived in a new destination without a plan for getting to your hotel? If that’s a country where you don’t even speak the language or know which side of the road to drive on, then what? In addition to delivering the quality which is purchased, ranging from really cheap to top quality, Cheap Caribbean provides an airport pick up who knows your name.

If you’re a beach bum of any sort, winter is such a nice time to think about warm vacation sites, and I love browsing the Caribbean. Bring me a water view, a book, a sun bed and a cool drink now. When do you want to go?

Finding Forgotten Florida

If you’re cold, it’s time to be thinking about Florida. Old Florida is a strip of Gulf coast which has not been glamorized, so the real feel of old beach towns can still be savored. Longboat Key and the neighboring strip of Florida’s Gulf coast do not deserve to be forgotten, but that’s a recognized label. Somewhat of a secret, yet visitors do find this slice of sunshine and keep it alive. Siesta Key, Anna Maria and Bradenton are small neighboring towns, and all are near enough to Sarasota to be accessible by air and an easy drive.

Beautiful quiet beach and equally beautiful food are among my top criteria for loving a beach vacation, and this forgotten coast does not disappoint! Sunsets, bird watching, easy of access and relaxation define the beaches. Low key is the true key to enjoying this destination,  with Boomers and retiree Snowbirds frequenting it for their escape from cold climates.

Seafood is always my dining choice during a beach vacation, and the variety of fresh offers in a dozen or two little eateries is exactly what I crave. In Longboat, the Lazy Lobster is possibly every visitor’s favorite. Another one of these is in Sarasota. A lobster lover will not be able to bypass the lobster mac and cheese, although it’s not local lobster if anyone really cares, and the fish specials are equally creative and delicious. It’s always busy and the energy of friendly folks having fun contributes to the atmosphere which sets the tone for a nice evening. It’s tucked into a little shopping center across the street from the beach, but I prefer fine food to a view anyway.

Beachhouse on the south end of Anna Maria Island is a good choice for the view, the sunset and a big platter, possibly fried, and the crowd here is always lively. Same owners and good food at Mar Vista Dockside on Longboat Key.

Happy hour couldn’t  be happier than at Bridge Tender Inn in Bradenton Beach. It looks like it might be a dive, but the food and drinks are good and the live music a nice treat.

Sunday brunch or dinner is enjoyable at Harry’s, although it’s just a tiny bit pretentious. The restaurant is white tablecloth; the deli is convenient for take-out; the store offers everything else. The hours may vary during the summer slow season.

Sandpiper Inn is one of the small lodging choices on Longboat Key, and after the warm welcome by friendly innkeepers the fabulous beach is its best selling point. It’s quaint and updated from an old motel, with lovely gardens and convenient location. Units are clean and spacious with well-supplied kitchenette if you want to stay in.

The Longboat Key Club is a popular choice for a larger resort-type lodging, although it’s somewhat expensive. None of the lodging here is as new or as upscale as the prices and the (sometimes) elite clientele would suggest. Sand Cay is a nice choice for condo rental, although it also seems somewhat pricey.

Golfing, fishing, more water sports or lazing on the beach with a book are among the top activities here. Eclectic shops, art galleries and local events also are enjoyable. If you want ritzy, glitzy action, just stay in a big city. This is the place to really get away from traffic and craziness.

Let the Happy Hour begin now 🙂DSC_0072

Here’s a quick look at a few perfect spots on our great trip:







Beachy Art


Meet Amy Queen. Here she is at work.

Her beach scenes are almost as soothing as a visit to one of our favorite beaches. Her portraits also can be commissioned in oils. Amy lives in North Carolina and also exhibits in the Myrtle Beach area. Let us know if you would like to meet her or see her work. We are very excited to represent this talented artist.

Hunting Island Nature Center

Pelicans Over Hunting Island

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