The Magic Kingdom

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Holly and I have been having a super time on her Ten-Year Old Trip.  And today was the best of all.  We had been looking forward to this day for a long time because we were having breakfast INSIDE Cinderella’s Castle!

We woke up early and took the monorail to the Magic Kingdom – so early that there was no line at all!   We journeyed up Main Street, ascended the stairs, and walked right into the Castle.  Then we were escorted into a receiving line and met Cinderella herself.  Holly and I were both a little star-struck.  Holly even got Cinderella’s autograph.


Then they led us up a winding stone staircase into a beautiful banquet hall with stained glass overlooking the carousel.  Wow.

They took our orders (French toast for Holly, mushroom quiche for Aunt Christy) and then princess after princess stopped by.  Holly got autographs, shared stories, and made a wish by closing her eyes and swirling her magic wand.  They even presented her with a birthday cupcake.  It was a very special morning.

Off To Explore

Then we hit the park and some of the highlights that Aunt Christy remembered from when she was Holly’s age – The Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World, and Pirate’s of the Caribbean.  We walked through all the different lands and took our time shopping.

Then – another highlight – an audience with Anna and Elsa from “Frozen.”  Apparently this is the #1 FastPass reservation at Disney.  Aunt Christy had to log on at midnight exactly 60 days in advance to try to secure it.  And was it worth it!  Holly wanted to get Anna and Elsa’s autographs not just for her, but for her two sisters back at home as well.  The princesses were very understanding and happily gave all autographs and posed for pictures.  (We did feel a little sheepish as others had fancy autograph books – we had paper torn out of Holly’s sketchpad – but I think that made her requests all the more charming.)

By this time it was early afternoon, and we decided to take a break and head back to the hotel.  We spent the afternoon by the pool, which was fabulous.

Dinner With The Beast

After our break, we had new energy and we’re ready for an evening back in the Kingdom.   We had a date with “Beauty & The Beast.”

Our first stop was Belle’s village, where Holly got to act in a show with Belle herself.  Holly played Mrs. Potts – the teapot.


Then, we made our way to the Beast’s castle for dinner.  Holly admitted later that she was a little uneasy as we crossed the moat lined with gargoyles and approached the heavy wooden doors.  We were seated in the ballroom and soon we heard, “Ladies and gentlemen, please stand back as the Beast makes his way to the study.”  And the giant Beast appeared – at that point, Holly told me she almost bolted, but kept up a brave front.


We had a scrumptious dinner, and our waiter even presented Holly with  a birthday card signed by Belle and the Beast – wow!  And for dessert, we had “The Grey Stuff” (it was delicious!).  We also explored the rest of the castle, including the room with the rose from the movie.  (Even Aunt Christy had to admit that room was a little spooky.)

End of a Perfect Day

We had had a wonderful day, but were pretty tired since we’d gotten up so early.  As probably 100,000 people lined Main Street for fireworks, we forced our way upstream and out of the park to our waiting monorail.  We opted for ice-cream in the hotel lounge instead, where we could watch the fireworks from afar without all the crowds.

We ended the evening snug in our bed watching the Disney Channel until 11:00 pm!  (Holly’s bedtime usually is 9, so we felt wild and crazy.)

So – another Ten-Year Old Trip is in the books.  Next up is Ashley, who is currently 6.  She is busy dreaming of her trip someday . . . .




EPCOT – Test Track, Bellydancing & a Purple Parasol

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Holly and I are in Disney World for her Ten-Year Old Trip!  We started our tour at EPCOT. We were very excited.

We boarded the monorail, which arrived right in the middle of our hotel, the Contemporary Resort.

We had a Fast Pass waiting for us at our most anticipated destination – Test Track. This is where you design a prototype car on special screens and then test it out. Holly designed our car – pink with sparkles – and we boarded a sample of our design. It was Holly’s first roller-coaster – and the fastest ride at Disney. She loved it and laughed and screamed (in a good way) the whole way. Aunt Christy liked it, too.

Around the World

After that we were pretty hungry. EPCOT has pavilions for 11 countries, and we set our sights on Mexico. They had a restaurant that was set in a market area, overlooked by a Mayan temple and a volcano. Best of all, they served chips and salsa (and margaritas) – yum.

Properly energized, we set out to explore all the countries. Holly was on a mission to buy souvenirs for the family and wanted to hit every shop on our tour around the world (and there are a lot of them!). In China, she carefully studied her options and decided on a purple parasol for herself – they even wrote her name on it in Chinese. I could tell she felt very sophisticated walking around after that.

We stopped for pastries and tea in France, and I pointed out the sight of my most embarrassing moment growing up. My family and I went to the very fancy French restaurant, which was on the second floor with a big winding staircase. I was about her age and felt very worldly as I was descending the stairs – having dressed up especially for this dinner, where I even tried escargot (and liked it). Truthfully, I felt that I was probably a little more sophisticated than my mom, dad, and little sister so was walking a couple of steps ahead of them when my foot slipped, I fell on my backside, and slid from the very top in a winding arc to the very bottom, where a crowd was waiting in line. I jumped up, exclaiming, “I’m OK, I’m OK” and ran out the door. I can laugh about it now, and Holly thought it was a good story.


After a couple more rides, it was time for our own dinner. We decided on Morocco, which featured bellydancers. Holly even got to join in. She is a ballerina back home (she was just promoted to en pointe), and her dancing experience certainly paid off – she was by far the best bellydancer out there.

We skipped home – the purple parasol still up (even at night). We had to get to bed a little early – we have a date with Cinderella in the morning!



Disney – We Are Ready!

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Editor’s Note: Disney was quite a whirlwind, so Aunt Christy had trouble keeping up with the blog.  So we are catching up – stay tuned for fun!


Holly Cont.jpg

As I said in my last entry, my niece, Holly, and I are heading to Disney for her Ten-Year Old Trip.  (She is technically 11 by now – but we don’t get bogged down by details.)

Each niece is allowed to choose her destination for the Ten-Year Old Trip, out of anywhere in the continental US.  Holly chose Disney.  I have been to Disney dozens of times, since it wasn’t too far from South Carolina.  Plus I just planned a 6-month trip living in Italy.  So I figured this would be a piece of cake.

No.  As soon as I picked up the first guidebook, I realized I was in over my head.  I panicked and decided to seek a professional.  Each year, Conde Nast “Travel” magazine lists consultants who specialize in different areas, including Disney.  A very wise decision.  The ladies at Travel Magic were amazing.  I told them about the Ten-Year Old Trip, and they went to work with suggestions, finding deals that I couldn’t find online, and making dining reservations (which must be done exactly 6 months in advance to the minute).   I highly recommend them and am eternally grateful!

On Our Way

The big day finally came!  It was Holly’s first plane trip, and we were both very excited.  She did great.  About half-way through our first leg, she proclaimed: “I love this!”

We landed in Orlando, and I almost couldn’t get her out of the airport – it had a whole store just for Harry Potter.  (I would soon learn that Holly is an expert shopper.)

Holly Potter

But we eventually made our way out to Ground Tranpsortation and boarded the Disney Magical Express.  We didn’t even have to go to baggage claim – Disney handled that for us.  Awesome.

Holly bus

The Contemporary

Our bus dropped us at the Contemporary Resort and on the way, we caught glimpses of both the EPCOT ball and Cinderella’s Castle.  Our eyes were wide and excited – even for the grown up who has been dozens of times.

Since Disney was delivering our bags to the room, we decided to explore.  We also were a little hungry (since Aunt Christy forgot the snacks at home).  But we rallied and headed to the lounge of the fancy California Grill – on the top floor of the hotel with an excellent view.  Holly thought their kid’s menu was a little gourmet for her taste, so we ordered the cheese plate and a basket of bread.  We were off to a good start.


Hoop Dee Doo

For the evening, we were off to the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue, which is at Fort Wilderness Campground.   Holly and I boarded a boat at the Contemporary for the short hop across the lagoon to Fort Wilderness and had the place to ourselves.  Who said Spring Break would be a bad time for Disney?  (I’m sure will be different when we actually make it to the parks.)

Holly boat.jpg

The Hoop Dee Doo was super fun.  And we had front row seats!  (I guess Conde Nast knows a thing or two about travel specialists!) We feasted on fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and strawberry shortcake while being entertained by a great show full of belly-laughs.  A wonderful start to our adventure.

Tomorrow, we head to EPCOT – where we have a FastPass for Test Track -Holly’s first roller coaster!!  Stay tuned!

Holly Hoop 3.jpg

Swing Through the South

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The Two Fools are back on the road! We’re headed to my hometown of Aiken, South Carolina for a jam-packed couple of weeks of visits with family and friends. Since Frank and I eloped, many of my friends are dying to meet him. From my sorority sisters to the neighbors to the church ladies who helped raise me, my cute Yankee husband is about to get a big dose of Southern Hospitality. Come along with us for the ride!


But First . . .

I have driven home and left Frank back in Annapolis. I have a very important mission carry out before he joins me – a “Ten Year Old Trip!”

I have 3 nieces and told each that when they turn 10, I would take them on a trip – just the two of us. They could choose anywhere in the continental United States. For years, we all anticipate the big Ten Year Old Trip – making hard decisions about where to go. The oldest, Lacey, who is now 13, chose Williamsburg, Virginia (her American Girl doll was from there). So I flew to Granville, Ohio, where they live, and flew back with her to the East Coast. We had a fabulous time at the luxurious Williamsburg Inn, played a very realistic Quest game where we had to gather clues throughout the historic section, and even attended a candle-lit concert at the Governor’s Palace.

Now it is Holly’s turn – and she has chosen Disney World! So we all met at my parent’s house in Aiken and spent the evening laughing and catching up.


After bidding farewell to the family, Holly and I are now at the Columbia, SC airport and are about to board – her first flight!

Stay tuned . . . .


Back to Everyday Life

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After a wonderful two weeks in the BVIs, we were definitely sad to leave.  We especially loved Frenchman’s Cay.  I am posting a picture of Julisa, who worked there – we told her all about the blog, and she promised to read!  : )


We also celebrated our one-year anniversary there, so it will always be a special place.


But Now . . .

Back to everyday life!  We have had numerous requests to continue the blog – and even invitations to events so that we could “cover” them in the blog.  We love it!

So, due to popular demand – and just for our own amusement – we are going to continue the blog even for everyday life, but probably not as often.  Feel free to join in or tune us out.  Even if no one is watching, we are having fun entertaining ourselves.

Our first news in “everyday life” is that I had my 6-month breast cancer scans yesterday and all is well – yay!  I always get a little nervous a couple weeks before and keep re-arranging my schedule in my head just in case they find something and I am back to treatment.  So now we can get back to just fun living.

The Future . . .

We do have some trips planned!  Our next adventure is a tour down South to visit my parents, celebrate Easter in the Blue Ridge Mountains, meet the golfers at Augusta National, and introduce Frank to all the people I grew up with in South Carolina – with the grand finale of the “Puppet Ladies Luncheon.”  You will have to tune in to find out what that is!  Come along with us!

Selfie BVI

A Caribbean Fisherman

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As most of you know, Frank loves to fish. He packed his fold-up fishing pole just in case the opportunity arose, so he was very excited to spy a little dock right near our villa at Frenchman’s Cay. At breakfast, he disappeared for several minutes and just when I began to wonder about him, he returned with a huge smile. I asked where he had been, and he said he had been talking the chef into giving him scraps for bait. (All the kitchen staff were fishmermen, too, so apparently there was some debate on the best type – they settled on raw bacon.) They even offered to cook whatever we caught for dinner.


So – we set up camp under the beach umbrellas by the dock. What a view! There was a reef running right off the dock, so Frank fished, while I read and snorkeled. He was happy as a clam. At one point, two locals came down in snorkel gear and swam out to the waiting dinghy – they were going after lobster and just got an 8-pounder at the end of the point! Wow!


The Great Caribbean Fisherman caught 3 fish – not quite 8-pounders – but he was proud nonetheless and would call up to me so I could capture the moment on film.

In the end, he threw them back and we had grilled mahi-mahi for dinner (caught by the pros).




Frenchmans, BVI

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After our boating adventures, we opted for a few days of pure relaxation. As much as we love sailing, it is nice to end with a hot shower, air-conditioning, and a little pampering. We found the perfect place at Frenchmans on the West End of Tortola.

Frenchmans has 7 villas with full kitchens, lots or privacy, and splendid decks overlooking the water.

There is a main open-air pavilion that houses a fantastic restaurant with fresh fish and a Mediterranean flair (the chef is from Spain).


They are on a little point on the Western end of Tortola (near Soper’s Hole). There is a calm side (Frenchmans Cay), with a dock and snorkeling, and a more rugged side on the Caribbean Sea, with a natural rock-ledged saltwater “pool” and private beach. The beach umbrellas are spaced at just the right spots so you never really see another guest. Sigh.


The place is run by Peter, who is Irish and full of stories. He has been in the BVIs for years and started out as a chef on private yachts (including for kings!).  At one point, he also ran The Last Resort (the little island where we ate in Trellis Bay our last night on the boat). He has seen it all. He hosted a cocktail party our first night, where we met the other guests – amazingly, all of us had a South Carolina connection! Everyone was either coming from or going to a sailboat charter so we had lots of fun comparing notes.


We had fleeting thoughts of maybe exploring this end of the island. But we think there is a very good possibility we may just stay right here. Check back and see!


Bon Voyage to Manutea!

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Tuesday Afternoon:

We have to be off the boat by 11 am tomorrow – at the boat base in Road Town, Tortola. Usually we go back the night before so we can make sure we are there, pack up, and relax. We are supposed to leave the boat as we found it – which means we have to clean out the refrigerator and cabinets and make sure all is tidy.

But – we don’t want our cruise to end so soon!

So we have decided to be bold and spend our last night out and get up super early to return the boat. (We acknowledge that this may be a bad decision.)

So – we are heading to Trellis Bay – approximately 3-4 hours from the base. Stay tuned.

Tuesday Afternoon:

We’ve had a great day at Trellis Bay. We took a mooring and dinghied ashore for lunch at “Da Loose Mongoose” – a VERY laid back spot. And walked around the shops. There is an artist colony at this end of the island, so it was interesting to see the artists at work.

We spent the afternoon packing and cleaning so that we could jump off the boat when we arrived at base. We got the boat all ready to return her ship-shape.


Tuesday Night:

We rewarded ourselves with dinner at a restaurant on an island in the middle of the Bay – The Last Resort – which was full of other dinghies and even had live music (we met the musician earlier in the day because he came around to collect our $30 mooring fee).

Wednesday Morning (EARLY!):

It is 6 am, and we are setting off back to Road Town. We are the only boat on the water – very peaceful watching the sunrise.

But we turn the point and VERY windy with 3-4 foot swells. This may not be a relaxing ride.

Wednesday Mid-Morning:

I looked back and noticed the outboard on the dinghy was lop-sided. I mentioned to Frank, who turned white and said, “Oh no – if we hit a big wave, it will fall in the water.” (This would be very bad because we would have to purchase a new one.)

The waves were pretty bumpy so it wasn’t safe to get into the dinghy, which was darting all around, even when I tried to slow down. So we decided to make a detour to a little uncharted cove with less of a swell. We picked our way in carefully until the water settled a bit. I pulled the dinghy in and held for all I was worth, so Frank could maneuver aboard from a sitting position on the swim platform. He righted the engine and tied it off to secure it. Every now and then, big winds would come up, and Frank and the dinghy would bob all around, while I tried to very slowly circle so we didn’t wash up on the rocks. I was very relieved when Frank was safely back on the big boat. (In all the excitement, Frank also cut his arm so even has battle scars to show for our daring rescue at sea!)

We have no pictures from this part of our journey – for obvious reasons – all hands on deck!

Wednesday – 11 a.m. Sharp

We made it! We navigated our way into the Harbour right by two big cruise ships and to our dock, Frank’s arm bandaged from his heroics (I think the boat base people were impressed with our ingenuity). We finished our packing and jumped off – ready for our next adventure.


This Time Last Year . . . .

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One year ago today – March 3, 2015


We have now been two MARRIED fools in love for one whole year! What a wonderful ride it has been.


We are taking a break from the blog to enjoy the day and will resume with more BVI tomorrow.


The Two Fools




Marina Cay

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We dropped our lines and bid farewell to Leverick Bay. And we SAILED – yay!

On the way up toward Virgin Gorda, the wind was on our nose at 25 knots. That meant we couldn’t really sail, and the seas were very bumpy. I had to make our lunch ahead of time so we could just grab it and not have to spend much time below. So it was a delight that the seas were calmer and we were going downwind this time. We could raise the sails and turn the engine OFF – the best feeling.

We landed at Marina Cay, which is a small island that has a scenic view and a Pusser’s Landing outpost. (There is one in Annapolis, too!) We are on a mooring ball in the middle of the water, so dinghied in to explore.

We hiked to the top (which wasn’t very far but did have a good view).


And then had lunch at Pusser’s overlooking the reef. (They are known for their Painkillers – a delicious rum concoction.)

We spent the rest of the day just hanging out on the boat. For supper, I pretended I was on “Chopped” and rustled up a pasta dish from whatever we had onboard – my ingredients basket included cooked cold penne pasta, salami, garlic, lemon, olive oil, and a brie and herb cheese spread. I combined the brie spread, olive oil, garlic, and lemon and whisked until I had what passed for a creamy pasta sauce. I then tossed with the penne and slivers of salami. It was really good! (Those Blue Apron cooking lessons are paying off!)

Today – we head to Trellis Bay.  Ifyou know the BVIs, you will know that this is basically like sailing to the other side of the marina – but we are just relaxed and on island time now, so no worries, mon.