Answering the Call of Florida

It’s been over a year since I left my home of 30 years, San Francisco, and I have yet to put down any permanent roots. Officially, home is in Tennessee, but I’ve been spending lots of time in New England, took a summer road trip out to Utah for a few weeks, and have found myself repeatedly drawn to Florida. I’ve always been drawn to the ocean, and the easy access to beautiful swimming beaches, warm waters, and soft sand has made Florida a serious contender for a place I think I’d like to live.

Sunrise at Ormond-by-the-Sea
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I Still Have Faith in ABBA!

ABBA is: Bjorn, Agnetha, Anni-Frid (Frida) and Benny

Because I turned 18 years old in 1976, my musical tastes have always been firmly grounded in music of the late 1970s. For the majority of my adult life, as I described in a previous post, Fleetwood Mac was by far my favorite band, but two other groups also come to mind when reflecting upon my musical preferences: Blondie and ABBA.

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A Golden State of Mind: Chapter 4 – The San Francisco Years

This is the final chapter of my story about my “relationship” with California. It’s been several months since I posted Chapter 3 and I procrastinated in finishing it because it’s not the most uplifting part of the story and I have a hunch that things I say will put some people off. But today is the one year anniversary of my departure from California and this seemed like the right time to finish the tale and close the book.

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Hurricane Matt: The Unusual Storm That Ate Its Way Across Florida

When I’d cover the topic of hurricanes in the course on Natural Disasters that I taught for many years at my former university, I’d sometimes joke that these storms seemed to have an uncanny knack, an amazing ability to aim for highly vulnerable mobile home parks. Well, not unlike a Category 5 hurricane, I recently cut a swath across Florida’s midsection from the Gulf to the Atlantic, and while mobile home parks remained safe and untouched, every highly rated restaurant on tripadvisor.com was directly in my path. Hurricane Matt, the first unofficial storm of the 2021 Hurricane Season, left his mark on the Sunshine State. Let’s retrace the path of this culinary storm.

Hurricane Matt brewing in the Gulf?
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A Month of “Panhandling”: An Idyllic Stay in Pensacola Beach, Florida

It was about 6PM when I arrived at my AirBnB rental in Pensacola Beach, located at the far western end of the Florida Panhandle. It was raining as I dragged my luggage up three flights of stairs on an outside stairwell. Only later did I discover that there was an elevator in the building! A cold wind bore down upon me, nearly ripping the glass storm door from its hinges as I fought to type in the key code to get into my apartment. It was 44 degrees and the weather report was calling for lows in the mid-20s that night. This was not exactly the way I’d envisioned my winter getaway to sunny Florida to begin.

A spectacular sunset on Pensacola Beach
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Navigating the COVID Minefield: A Five Month Long Journey

If you’re like me, the LAST thing you probably want to read about at this point is anything related to COVID. And yet, we also all know that it is an unavoidable topic of conversation, whether we like it or not. Rest assured that this will ultimately be a travel blog, but I really can’t tell the tale without bringing up the pandemic.

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The Best Pancakes in the USA: Updated Fall 2020

Pancakes. Hotcakes. Griddle Cakes. Flapjacks.

No matter what they’re called, they happen to be one of my favorite ways to start the morning, and when I travel around the country I make it a point to seek out the very best local places to find these breakfast staples. I personally don’t like a lot of extra stuff on or in my pancakes:  whipped cream, chocolate chips, strawberry sauce, ice cream, hot fudge – in my opinion they are just ways to mask a boring pancake. A really top-notch pancake should be able to stand on its own, maybe with some simple blueberries in the batter, and always with a little help from butter and real maple syrup.

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To find the best pancakes in the country, read on!