Nova Scotia Highlights

The Scallop Boat Fleet in Digby

The Scallop Boat Fleet in Digby

Beddeck on Cape Breton Island

Beddeck on Cape Breton Island

I’m high on Nova Scotia. Really. I recently spent seven days and seven nights in this Maritime province of Canada and I’m busting to tell the whole world about it. Really.

One of a Gazillion Little Boats I Admired in Nova Scotia

One of a Gazillion Little Boats I Admired in Nova Scotia

Ready for the Bay of Fundy Tides:  the Biggest in the World

Ready for the Bay of Fundy Tides: The Biggest in the World

Lunenberg Loveliness

Lunenberg Loveliness

If you follow this blog, you know that I’m a big storyteller. And I can’t wait to share my travels in Nova Scotia with you. For now though, I’ll keep the words to a minimum and let my pictures tell the story. Hopefully they will be enough to entice you to begin pondering a trip to this charming destination. Spring, summer and fall rank as the best times to go although I’d love to see this endearing land beneath a blanket of snow as fierce gale winds blow in from the Atlantic.

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Pirate Republic Brewing Company: A Bastion of Bahamian History

Garrrrrrrrvey the Pirate

Garrrrrrrrvey the Pirate

“Ahoy! Pass me pint a grog, matey.”

“Aye, aye, lemme go fetch it for ya on yer poopdeck.”

“Arrr. Go smartly or you’ll be tossed to sea!”

How’d I do? Were you able to conjure up a few images of snaggletoothed buccaneers, peg-legged tyrants or exotic parrots? How about that grog? Could you taste a frosty drink upon your lips?

You can learn about the rich history of pirates and sip a sweet pint of brew at Pirate Republic Brewing Company, a recently-opened establishment sure to become one of the most interesting places of interest in Nassau, The Bahamas.

Pirate Republic Brewing Company

Pirate Republic Brewing Company in Nassau, The Bahamas

Their Beers

Their Beers

“Nassau was a haven for some of the more notorious pirates that landed in the area in the 1700s,” says Susan Holowesko Larson, CEO of Pirate Republic Brewing, or PRB. “They practically settled here because The Bahamas were very close to the major shipping lanes of the day,” she continues. “Also our topography–comprised of tiny islands and shallow reefs–made it possible to hide ships and escape from authorities.”

Discover this huge part of Bahamian history and hear tall tales of unsavory characters such as Blackbeard and Calico Jack during one of PRB’s mid afternoon tours, conducted almost daily. Within crow’s nest view of the cruise terminal on Woodes Rogers Walk, the visit also showcases the dramatic Pirate Art of Antonius Roberts and a pint of beer from PRB, the first and only craft brewery in The Bahamas.

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Out and About in Paris Showcases the City of Light and More

Happy Bastille Day from Out and About in Paris

Happy Bastille Day from Out and About in Paris

Happy Bastille Day everyone! It’s France’s National Holiday and a good day for us Francophiles to raise our glass to the French and all that we love about France and Paris.

The Tour de France Arriving in the French CApital

The Tour de France Arriving in the French Capital

There are two days–both in July–when you want to be on the Champs-Elysées in Paris:  today, July 14 and the last day of the Tour de France bike race which typically occurs the third Sunday in July. On both these occasions, you can witness magnificent displays of color and might on one of the world’s most beautiful avenues in one of the world’s most magnificent cities. The parade has already passed by today, but mark your calendar for Sunday, July 26 when the Tour zooms into Paree.

Dining in France According to Out and About in Paris

Dining in France According to Out and About in Paris

Ah Paree

Ah Paree

How do you keep up with what’s happening in and around Paris? Where do you find your daily dose of alluring images of this top travel destination? The website/blog Out and About in Paris is your answer to this and beaucoup plus! In addition to reading their blog posts, plug yourself into their social media and you’ll be gloriously showered with all that you know and love about the City of Light. The oh-so dynamic and très internationale Mary Kay Bosshart is the driving force behind all that is Out and About in Paris. Honestly, I don’t know how she keeps up with her reporting and postings but she does with great enthusiasm and panache.

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Another Wonderful Visit to the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks of North Carolina

The Outer Banks of North Carolina

I recently spent a week at the beach with my boyfriend, Steve. We were on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (OBX), one of the most alluring surf side destinations in the world, and a spot he has been frequenting for almost three decades.

So Pretty

So Pretty

Almost There

Almost There

Steve’s an avid beach enthusiast and I love the fact that he can just as easily appreciate lounging in a sun-baked dune as catching a ten-foot wave in the surf. Depending on the season and the weather patterns, you can find big swells in the waters off of Nags Head, Rodanthe, Hatteras, Frisco, and a slew of other OBX surf spots revered by  surfers and beach aficionados from around the world.

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Loving the Beach

Beach Self Portrait AKA Beach Goddess

Beach Self Portrait AKA Beach Goddess

Having just returned from the Outer Banks of North Carolina, my mind and senses remain awash with the transformative powers of the beach.

The Surf

The Surf

Warm sand in my toes, the fun and freedom of walking barefoot, the thunderous sound of the surf, the gentle surging of water as each wave becomes absorbed into the sand, sea foam, myriad shells, sea breeze whipping through my hair, the tingling of my skin as I emerge from a chilly dip in the surf, endless stretches of reflexology, the entertainment provided by scurrying sandpipers, crabs and other birds and creatures new to my world, the searing heat of the sun, the chill of the ocean air, the smell of sunscreen, the taste of salt on my lips after an ocean swim, the vastness of the empty length of sand and water before me, the ever-changing interplay of every shade of blue, beige, red, yellow and green cast from the sea, sand and sky, the busyness of beach activities such as surf fishing, kite boarding, sand castle building, beer drinking or just lolling around reading a book or doing nothing but relaxing, sleeping or soaking up the scene, the infinite array of beach toys, paraphernalia, carts, coolers, chairs, towels and toys that serve as the accessories to a day at the beach, the Crayola-crayon colors of all this cheery garb and the bathing suits folks have donned, the parade of shapes and body types I can’t help checking out, the sky, the cacophony of gulls’ cries mixed with children’s laughter and adults’ friendly salutations, the charms and jumbles of the lucky-to-live-here surf side houses that line the beach, open-air beach showers, the emptiness that becomes my mind within a few minutes of stepping onto such a swath of shoreline, the occasional whiff of salt air, the letting go of the tension I carry within my body–yes, this is some of what I love about the beach.

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Grateful for My Friends in France and Belgium

Laughing with Marie in a Paris Café

Laughing with Marie in a Paris Café

My Petit Dejeuner in that Café

My Petit Dejeuner in that Café

Toasting Life Chez Michèle et Loic

Toasting Life Chez Michèle et Loic

Zee Sunday Brunch Spread

Zee Sunday Brunch Spread

Pain, Vin et Fromage Chez Steph et Véronqiue

Pain, Vin et Fromage Chez Steph et Véronqiue

I’m big at counting my blessings year round. As challenging as life can be, I try as much as possible to pause and feel truly grateful for all that I have in my life.

There’s so much for which to be grateful, especially when it comes to love. There’s nothing like feeling love and appreciation. There’s nothing like feeling valued. There’s nothing like feeling your heart swell with love–day after day after day.

I was blessed with an outpouring of love during my recent trip to Europe when friends in France went out of their way to meet with me for coffee, organize special dinners, include me in on Sunday lunches and chat with me at great length over leisurely breakfasts and afternoon teas. My friends in Antwerp entertained me all weekend long. And throughout every encounter, I felt a connectedness with my European friends that made it feel as though I had just seen them the week before. (It had, in fact, been many years.)

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Highlights from My France Trip 2014

Steve and I Capping Off Our Last Night in France at Julien in Paris

Maribeth and Steve Do France: Capping Off Our Last Night in France at Julien in Paris

Oysters and Vin Blanc at Lake Hossegor:  One of Many Delightful Meals in France

Oysters and Vin Blanc at Lake Hossegor: One of Many Delightful Meals in France

Hossegor Surf at Sunrise

Hossegor Surf at Sunrise

Pâtisserie Française

Pâtisserie du Golfe in Hossegor

Biarritz at Night

Biarritz at Night

Glorious Contrasts:  Steve Headed Out to Surf at the Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz

Glorious Contrasts: Steve Headed Out to Surf at the Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz

Tapas at Bar Jean in Biarritz

Tapas and Wine at Bar Jean in Biarritz

How silly of me to think that I could work in a few blog posts while traveling through France during these past few weeks! Really.

That was my intention but I’m afraid I failed mercifully at the task. Instead, I was busy experiencing life in France rather than taking time to write about it sur place. Sure, I took tons of notes and I will be churning out stories from this trip–both here at my blog and in updates of my guidebooks–in the months to come. (I’m also doing a downloadable guide for A Tour of the Heart:  A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France, so the information will serve there, too.)

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Keurig and Company Kill My Coffee, Tea and Me

Housekeeping Trying to Get My Keurig to Work on a Recent Hotel Stay

Housekeeping Trying to Get My Keurig to Work on a Recent Hotel Stay

I’m practically on the eve of departing for a big trip to France and I’m excited about many things:  the flakey croissants that taste far superior to most sold in the U.S., the fabulous runny unpasteurized cheeses  you can’t find stateside (unless smuggled in), slightly chilled red wines such as a good Fleury, rich French stews such as a daube Provençal or a boeuf aux carottes, a savory couscous, the perfect omelet–well, you get the picture. As much as I love France for its beauty and the French for their joie de vivre, I guess I am most looking forward to their food and drink.

Coffee and tea rank tops on that list, too. I’m more of a tea drinker and the French do tea–in my humble opinion–as well as the English. By mid-morning I love a good coffee, whether it’s a creamy café au lait or an espresso ladened with lots of sugar. Yes, the French do it right at home, in restaurants, cafés and hotels. It has been a while since I was in France but last time I checked, they still hadn’t adapted the American tradition of having a coffee pot in hotel rooms. Mais non, their approach was always far more civilized and if you wanted a coffee or tea–even in small, modest hotels–they’d bring it to you. And it would be delicious, served on a little tray accompanied with cold or hot milk and often un petit pot of hot water.

For breakfast, they always gladly delivered your hot beverages to your room–with or without a basket of pâtisseries, something that is tout à fait normale, or common practice. Having breakfast in bed always has been more the norm in France than not. I’m praying that this tradition has been upheld.

If I enter a hotel room–not to mention more than one or two–and find those stupid personal coffee makers à la Keurig, I think I’ll have a fit. Who ever was so stupid to invent those devices? I had a huge experience with them on a ten-day trip this summer where they were proudly displayed at every coffee station inside and out of the rooms. I can’t tell you the aggravation I had getting them to work properly–they didn’t half the time. And if they worked, often the coffee was cold. I had a few excellent cups of coffee and tea from them but none was worth the aggravation. I even had to call housekeeping a couple of times to help out and they ended up scratching their heads.

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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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