Friday, July 21, 2017

Wild Horses, Beach, and Glamping Girl's Weekend

Who remembers the episode of the Wonder Years when they take their annual summer fishing trip to the lake? Last weekend my girlfriends and I took a road trip and went glamping. What is glamping you ask? It’s glamorous camping. You can sleep in a real bed, have a/c, indoor plumbing, a fridge and microwave. Yet can still step outside to roast s’mores over the campfire while drinking rose (which we consumed plenty of). We enjoyed gazing at the night’s sky to admire all the stars you can’t see in the city. We fell asleep listening to frogs croaking and woke to the chirping of birds. We got closer to the real outdoors yet had the best of both worlds!

For the last ten years I’ve always wanted to go to Assateague island. Twice I almost went camping but something came up. After this trip, I’m glad I had the more comfortable experience of staying in a cabin. Just 150 miles away is Assateague National Seashore, not far from Ocean City. Your parents probably read the classic children’s book Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry based on the wild horses in Assateague Island.

Assateague Island is a 37-mile long barrier island located on the Maryland -Virginia state line. There are approximately 300 wild horses that live on Assateague. They were brought in by early colonial settlers 400 years ago. Technically they are called ponies as they aren’t tall enough to be classified as a horse. They roam in small herds of 5-10 and eat a very limited and harsh diet of dune grass and drink water from ponds as the sea water is too salty. There are rangers around to keep the horses away from heavily populated areas of the beaches. It’s illegal to feed the horses.

 Assateague consists of both a National Park and a State Park. We visited two beaches on the National Park that did not have life guards, but the facilities included large port a potties, changing stalls and open showers. The National Park charges $20.00 per vehicle per week so keep your receipt.The sand was a pretty light beige color, unlike the red sand beach we went to in Annapolis last year. I collected some pretty white and purple seashells and saw small clams running into their holes in the sand. I saw lots of people surfing in the high tide. Along the drive to the beach we passed people fishing and some oyster farms. The picturesque Assateague Lighthouse is free to visit, but we got a great view of it from our evening cruise.

We stayed in the charming coastal town of Chincoteague which has lots of gift shops, restaurants and tons of hotels. Our drive to Chincoteague was very scenic as we stopped at a winery first then had lunch in the historic small town of Berlin, MD. The movie Runaway Bride starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts was filmed there. The town has art galleries including a glass shop, restaurants, a brewery and an amazing antique store! The drive also passed NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility where you can watch rocket launches from the beach!

The weather was near-perfect while we were there with sunny 90s and the ocean breeze kept most of the mosquitoes away. Although I did get a couple bites at night by the campsite. You know I had to get my mural photo in! lol

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Summer Reading List

I reactivated my Audible account which has made reading books easy this summer as I can "read" as I walk places. But I still read on my kindle in bed and library books at the beach or in airports as I've taken 4 vacations already this summer. Here are some books I've enjoyed and recommend.

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah 2016, 304 pages
This is the most interesting book I've read in a long time! I highly recommend it, its a quick read and you'll learn so much about pre- and post- Apartheid South Africa from the perspective of a bi-racial person with some humor thrown in. Trevor Noah is a comedian and the host of the Daily Show. In the book it talks a lot about languages since he speaks many including English, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Tswana, Tsonga, Afrikaans and some German and Spanish. Check out his stand up specials on netflix or live on tour this year. He's doing 4 shows at the Kennedy Center in Sept.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty 2014, 460 pages
I read her other book The Husband's Secret and really enjoyed that. Then when I heard of the HBO series based on her other book, I thought I'd read the book first. Set in Australia, this book follows the stories of 5 moms whose kids all attend kindergarten together. So as I read the book I kept the characters apart by remembering who played them in the HBO miniseries: Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, and ZoĆ« Kravitz. The book begins alluding to a murder that takes place at the end of the book, but you have to finish the book to find out who! The book has humor, mom rivalry, and vivid characters.

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill 2013, 402 pages
As niece of the Church of Scientology's leader David Miscavige, Jenna was raised in Scientology and shares her experience and perspective of it. The little I know of Scientology came from Leah Remini's book which I really enjoyed, however this books explained what it's like to grow up in the organization and how hard it was.

The Muse by Jessie Burton
2016, 416 pages
I enjoyed her first book The Miniaturist so I was excited to see she wrote her second book. The Muse is set in two time frames that intersect in the end over a mystery painting. One of a Trinidadian woman living in London in 1967 working at an art gallery and one of the daughter of an art dealer living in rural Spain in 1936. The plot twists really surprised me! If you're a historical fiction fan, this book is for you.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena 2016, 308 pages
As an avid Dateline watcher, I love a good mystery. I couldn't put down this fast paced book and finished it in 3 days because I had to know what happened! A couple go to a dinner party next door but left their 6-month baby home alone when the babysitter cancelled. They took the baby monitor with them and checked on the baby every half hour. But when they returned home the baby was gone!

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman,
2012, 337 pages
Originally written in Swedish, this international bestseller is in the top 10 bestsellers list on audible and #41 book on amazon. Ove is the quintessential angry old man next door. An isolated retiree with strict principles and a short fuse, who spends his days enforcing block association rules that only he cares about, and visiting his wife's grave, Ove has given up on life. Enter a boisterous young family next door who accidentally flattens Ove's mailbox while moving in and earning his special brand of ire. Yet from this inauspicious beginning an unlikely friendship forms and we come to understand Ove's past happiness and heartbreaks.

Did you know you if you buy books from the airport you can return them for half of your money back? Details here.

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