Travel Writing

[Leaving LA and Santa Monica]

Our time in California is coming to an end. We’ve been on the road for nearly two weeks, nearing the completion of a trip we felt compelled to take. We’re missing home a bit, even our cat, Lucy. Odd how our heartstrings pull at us.

This journey has been centered on Mark. Emotions Mary and I have been contending with in losing our only son don’t seem close to dissipating. Love doesn’t disappear just because someone we loved dies. Tears continue streaming, while the holes in both of our hearts remain (and will live there forever).

Time spent in Santa Monica and Los Angeles was beautiful. Seeing Gabi again was one of the highlights of our time in this magnificent state. When political types slag California either through ignorance or ideology, they know not what they are talking about. It’s hard to put into words what we’ve seen and experienced during this briefest of stays in a place that could just as easily be its own county if it wasn’t one of America’s most important states.

Checking out of our cottage near the beach, we began trekking up the Pacific Coast Highway last Monday. We stopped and watched an amazing group of surfers spend their morning catching and riding waves at Malibu Lagoon State Beach (also known as Surfrider Beach). Our morning in Malibu was close to perfect.

A surfer catching a wave in Malibu.

Continue reading

On Assignment

Looking for a story.

Looking for a story.

May was when the wheels seemed to come off the freelance bus. I lost a lucrative monthly client, and it caused a crisis of confidence of sorts. I’m sure there was more going on than losing a big chunk of ka-chingle. Who knows?

Six months later, I’m back on the horse. You can see I’ve been busy, with my byline showing up in a variety of places. The clip file has had some nice additions, including my piece on John Gould in the November issue of Down East Magazine.

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned as a citizen of freelance nation, it’s that when the roller coaster seems at the apogee of its ascent, don’t get too excited. It’s going to come rushing roaring down the incline to the bottom, sooner than you think. Continue reading

Lobster Rolling 2014 (Fishermen’s Net)

A damn fine midday meal at Fishermen's Net.

A damn fine midday meal at Fishermen’s Net.

It was a good day for the JBE, so he decided to celebrate with a lobster roll. Tried to get my partner in crime to join me, but Miss Mary had other fish to fry.

I’m rolling with lobster rolls again, or as I like to say, “it’s lobster roll season” and I’m out and about sampling Maine’s finest.

I actually broke that line out about lobster roll season on some tourists visiting Portland and they seemed to like it.

We all know this is subjective and there’s no end to opinions about who has the best. If you need a primer on what I use in scoring my visits, check out this post about our last lobster roll ) excursion to Becky’s Diner. That one also involved some locally-brewed beer. Continue reading

Crashing the Party

My sister is a writer and a blogger. If you haven’t checked out Julie-Ann’s site, I highly recommend that you do so. She brings the goods, which translates into fresh content on a regular basis.

One of the features that she’s developed over the time she’s been blogging is a series of posts she calls, “Lady Alone Traveler.” These are some of my favorite posts that she’s been laying down over the past two years. Continue reading

Yellow submarines, Moxie, and Lobster Rolls

Saturday I headed down the coast. My traveling companion and better half, Miss Mary, was prepping for her third Tri for a Cure on Sunday. I was on my own.

I enjoy driving down coastal U.S. Route 1 towards places like Thomaston, Rockland, and even Camden, my final destination. Given that it was mid-July, and tourist season, I thought the traffic would be heavier than it was. I wasn’t complaining. Continue reading

Over There

There is this phenomenon where we believe or conjure up a place where the grass is greener. That greener, more amenable place is always “over there,” or somewhere other than here.

I don’t know for sure, but I think this behavioral trait may have something to do with the American tradition of vacationing, especially now with the ease of travel, particularly air-based travel. Jet-setting across the globe has become the norm for most Americans, at least those with even a modicum of disposable income. Continue reading

Cracker Barrel Is Actually Quite Hokey (in my opinion)

Hokey, Cracker Barrel-style.

Hokey, Cracker Barrel-style.

When I saw the following tweet yesterday afternoon in my Twitter feed from The Atlantic about Cracker Barrel, I was incredulous;

The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic). ” Why Cracker Barrel Isn’t as Hokey as You Think.” 2 March 2013, 4:30 p.m. Tweet.

My first thought was that things have gotten so bad for long-form narrative journalism that The Atlantic had decided to try to siphon off readers from The Onion. Then I clicked on the article link and realized that the writer, Emily Chertoff, was serious as a heart attack about extolling the virtues of Cracker Barrel, or as I now call it (based on my own experience that I’ll detail below), “a Crack in my Ass.” Continue reading