Seeing Beaufort Newly


As we crossed the Broad River, my shoulders softened and twice, TWICE, I unconsciously exhaled deeply.  This is the effect that Beaufort, SC has on me, and now in the second week of our three week sojourn, I’m more relaxed, happy, and energized than when I arrived.


We first came to Beaufort in 2002 and  felt so drawn to this town that we purchased a small home here in 2004.  Our funky, fun little cottage waited patiently for us to return every few months over the next 11+ years.  When we sold our sweet little “404” we agreed that we could let go of the house but not our friends, the town, and the vibe.

And so we return each year for a few weeks to catch up with friends, discover what’s new, relish whatever has stayed the same, and enjoy moments of Southern charm.


I’ll never tire of the view driving into town on Bay Street.  A further “aaaahhhhh” exhales as the Spanish moss sways and the boats in the marina come into view.  I allow myself at least one day of walking and shopping on Bay Street, although with now renting just 5-minutes from town, it’s a delight to walk to Common Ground for the occasional morning coffee, Old Bull Tavern for an aperitif and small plate, or an afternoon of sitting on a swing, watching dolphins play in the water.

So what has changed and what has stayed the same?  First, some changes:

The Spanish Moss trail is way longer than the last time we rode it, which was actually two years ago.  The trail extends past MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station), past the Rt. 21 Drive -In and onward toward Garden’s Corner.



We HEAR another change. . .”The sound of freedom” overhead from MCAS.  There’s considerably more overhead activity with jets and fighter planes at all times of the day and night.  As I write this the planes are thundering overhead. . . continually.  I can only hope they are not practicing for a parade in Washington.

Of course, there are the downtown shops that have closed or moved, restaurants opened or closed, new roadwork and traffic patterns coming into town, demolition of a few eyesores, and evidence of recent storms that have rendered a few gravel roads on St. Helena impassable.  More notable changes. . .additional kitchen towels in our rental, the water tower repainted, Best Buy deserted, the purple fringe bushes in bloom earlier than I recall, new tables and umbrellas at Common Ground, new coastal colors on Donna  (Telma) and Joe’s house.

And a change we didn’t think about until we arrived at our rental.  We rolled up the rug, moved the furniture, and find ourselves practicing tango nearly daily.  We discovered  a wonderful tango class in Savannah on Sundays, so off we went last week and will go again this week.


What has remained the same since our last visit a year ago?  More on that later. . .




Venezia, the final chapter


So much happens in a 10-day trip that it’s difficult to capture it all in blogs, no matter how complete I try to be.  Sometimes it’s just sheer weariness that gets to me and I need sleep because the next day holds new opportunities for adventure.  So now I’m at home, semi-rested although jet lag has me asleep on the couch at 7 pm and awake at 5 am!  But that helps to keep me remembering that I’ve just been somewhere out of my time zone, another world, a place on the planet foreign yet now familiar.

Wrapping it up now. . .the photos and a few experiences that somehow might have escaped my daily musings.

Venice. . .designer style and oh, what windows!!


The BLING of Carnevale. . .

A second gondola ride, unexpected and unplanned, and what a welcome respite from the Sunday crowds of costumes, masks, and revelry.  Even the canals were crowded (a gondola traffic jam!!), but Roberto and his gondola calmed my soul!


Watch out for those cheese samples so freely given.  Pigeons like them, too!


All colors of the “lollipop sticks” holding up Venice!!


The effects of the water. . .

And the serenity of the water. . .

The unexpected elegance of a morning coffee (The Hotel Flora). . .


And the rejuvenation of an afternoon Spritz. . .(always ask “con prosecco” we were told!)


Ah, Venice. . .you’ve captured my heart.  Don and I always said, “We don’t like places in BOLD FACE PRINT on a map. ” For you, I will make an exception.  The one element missing for me this time was the other piece of my heart, my husband of nearly 48 years, so we will remedy that and next time we will explore the calle, the  the fondamente, and the piazze “insieme”–together!!

Journeying onward. . . .

The Venetian Vixens


I’m back home now, with two more blogs to write to put the final punctuation on this trip.  Blog number one is about my traveling companions, The Venetian Vixens!  We met at my house in August to begin planning the trip, and finished this past Monday, a tired and happy bunch!

Four was a perfect number for us.  We often split up in twos, sometimes Gayle/Sue, Linda/Savannah, or then there was the Gayle/Sue/Linda contingent or the Linda/Sue partnership.  We each maintained our independence–Gayle with a day at home, Savannah off to explore on her own, Linda off to not miss a moment of the Angel Flight.


We began with toasting Linda’s birthday, and our food adventures continued. . .


Gayle and Sue loved to shop for food!



They were especially fond of our “corner store” from which they procured sandwiches, strudel, wine, milk, and anything else that struck their fancy.  And a morning cappuccino (or Coke for Gayle) didn’t seem complete without a little tasty something. . . .


I loved rounding the corner near Frari Church and what to my wondering eyes should appear. . . .


Lots of laughs, lots of girlfriend fun, lots of memories.  It was a great trip with the Venetian Vixens!


Le Maschere


I’m enchanted with Venetian masks.   Before traveling to Venice, I decided I would buy one amazing mask which I would have framed to display in our home on a certain wall.  Wrong. Impossible.  So in chatting with Don during the trip, we decided to dedicate a space in “il mio soggiorno delle donne” (ladies’ lounge) to “una mura delle maschere” (a wall of masks).  Ten masks found their way home with me!


Six different mask makers are represented in this collection, and each one is a hand-crafted masterpiece.

My final evening in Venice I attended a lecture (in English) on masks at Ca’ Macana, the oldest mask-maker in Venice, and maker of the masks for “Eyes Wide Shut.”   I learned the history and origins of why and how Venice became associated with masks, the process of creating the molds, the embellishments, the paints. . .and that’s when I knew that when I return to Venice I will enroll in a class to learn more.

During Carnevale masks show up in the most unexpected places!

fullsizeoutput_3224.jpegPizza Dough Masks!

IMG_3354.JPGCookie Masks!

IMG_5569Mask enjoying an afternoon coffee at Ca’Rezzonico

In the Ca’Macana workshop the white masks awaited their futures:IMG_3597IMG_3598

And in the Ca’Macana shop the finished results:


Due to my current love affair with masks, I must indulge my passion and include photos from other artisan shops!




The strains of “Phantom of the Opera” drift through my mind. . . .

Paper faces on parade . . .
Hide your face,
so the world will
never find you!

Every face a different shade . . .
Look around –
there’s another
mask behind you!








Masks and costumes. . .endless seas of color, plumes, and fancy shoes.  Honestly, it was overload.  Everywhere you looked were more amazing pieces of finery balanced by a few scary monsters.






A girl can get hungry and thirsty after all this costume-watching.  A prosecco and frittelle sets you right!



The Flight of the Angel


The actual official opening of Carnevale occurs with the Il Volo di Angelis , the flight of the Angel, from the top of the bell tower at St. Mark’s down to the Doge and the waiting crowd.  The tradition is ancient and in years past included acrobats, a gondola with riders, and even a horse!

I was up and out early, securing my spot right at the barrier by 8:45 am.  The program actually got under way about 10:15 with a procession of drummers, the Doge with countless beautifully dress courtiers, the 12 Marias who were paraded through the streets yesterday, and an assortment of outrageously dressed characters.




Having received sufficient adulation, the Doge and his court appeared ready to receive the Angel.


To “Ave Maria” the 2018 Angel descended over 3 minutes.  I videotaped the entire flight. . .complete with lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.  This IS the Carnival of Venice!!


She arrived, was greeted by the Doge. .  .and then was handed a can of RED BULL because they sponsor the event.  Something seems. . .not quite. . .right. . .to me!!


Hey, it’s 2018. . .product placement reigns even more supreme than ancient traditions.  It was a monumental moment and one I’ll cherish. . .even with the  Red Bull!

A Dandy Evening


Saturday night and it’s Carnevale so what better time to stroll down to San Marco.  Along the way were these dandy gentlemen. . .


And a few lovely couples. . .


And on to an up close spot at the live band. . .

And a great view of the circus animals and caravans. . .

Crowds were reasonable, no crush, plenty of space to dance, everyone happy and smiling.  Just how I imagined Carnevale should be!