Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Last Hurrah of Summer

by Donna MacMeans

By the time you read this, I'll be stretched out on a beach in Key West. The Golden Rooster told me it was the best place to go to celebrate the last days of summer. Actually GR has relatives there. I'm told feral chickens and roosters roam the island and roost in the trees at night. Not sure how that's going to work for a night owl like me. Sounds like we'll be hitting the beach pretty early!

I'm planning on taking a haunted ghost tour that covers the several Victorian houses and historic cemetaries. Several ghosts make their home on Key West. While I've never seen a ghost, I know several people who have. A writer friend I know experienced a ghostly intervention in the hotel at Lora Leigh's reader event. I'm told some people are more
suspectable to such incidents. I wish I was one, but alas, I'm afraid my accountant sensibilities have a way to explain such visions away. Still I plan to do the tour. One never knows when a spector will appear in my Victorian romances.

Of course, the most famous resident of Key West was Ernest Hemingway. We'll visit his house which is now a museum in homage to the great writer.
I understand the house is also home to sixty rather unusual cats. While most cats have five front toes and four back toes, these cats are polydactyl which means they have extra toes on their front or back paws - the famous six toed cats. The maintenance and care of the cats is part of the museum's normal expenses. The cat to the left is named Sophia Loren. Sounds like the unusual cats have it better than the chickens and roosters.

This trip is something of a "spur-of-the-moment" trip. We're heading down to Florida for my niece's wedding, but decided to stay an extra week to explore parts of Florida that we hadn't visited before.

So while I'm not sure I'll have internet access to respond to comments, I have a nice prize to give to those that leave a comment (and I'll try my best to respond).

Tell me if you could have a spur-of-the-moment trip, where would you go? I'm always looking for new places to explore. Have you had any close encounters with ghosts or things that go bump in the night? Do you think I'm crazy for hoping I do? I have a tote bag autographed by some of the authors present at Lora Leigh's reader event - complete with some promo material and a couple of books. It's all yours for the best quick destination or best ghost story.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Is the chook UNCLAIMED?!!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Oh this can't be. I suspect Blogger is playing tricks...

Anyway, Donna ENJOY! Key West is one of my fave vacation spots! Yes, the rooster are rather raucous but they are fun to watch too. So are the people! ;-)

I've been to Hemingway's house a couple of times and the cats are all descendants of his cats, who were the only ones he allowed in his writing studio. They also are all named after movie stars of a certain era... Ava Gardiner, Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift...

Be sure to have a slice of Key Lime Pie at the Blonde Giraffe, it's TO DIE FOR!


Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Aunty Cindy.

Hey Donna,
I've been to Key West twice, but each time was only for a day because it a port of call on the cruise. I didn't get to see Hemingway's house, but I did enjoy a few sloppy joes. Hawaii could be the destination of a spur of the moment trip. We have friends there so we would have a place to stay and someone to chauffeur us around.

Helen said...

Well done AC have fun with him


Have a great time and if meeting a ghost is what you really want I do hope it happens for you I don't think that is something I would like and I have never experienced one either LOL.

As for a quick get away here in Australia a trip to one of the Islands on The Great Barrier Reef would be fantastic I have been there once and stayed on South Mole Island and we had the best time we flew into Hamilton Island then caught a boat over to South Mole did a day trip to another Island for the day and saw heaps of huge sea turtles and went on a glass bottomed boat to sea all the beautiful coral.

Have Fun

Donna MacMeans said...

Morning AC and conratulations! Must say there's lots of rooster paraphenalia in the souvenir shops. Not sure I remember seeing the Blonde Giraffe, but I'll look for it. Today's our last day here. Tomorrow we go to West Palm Beach.

Discovered this was a destination on my husband's bucket list. So we can scratc that one off.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Jane -

I told my husband that if we ever come back, we should catch a boat to the Keys instead of making that long drive from Key to key to key. Did you have a must-see on te island?

My husband had a sloppy joe at Sloppy Joe's - Hemingway's favorite bar. I had the crabcake sandwich instead.

Always good to have friends in Hawaii! If you make that trip, can I slip into your suitcase?

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Helen -

South Mole Island sounds lovely. While Key West is protected by a reef (which also allowed for a thriving business for wreckers - those that saved the people on the boats caught on the reef then claimed the freight as salvage) we decided not to do any snokeling on the reef this trip.

While I didn't see any ghosts on the tour, I would love to see one some time. You wouldn't? Guess my eagerness also precludes the necessary mindset to experience anything. Of course the tour guide did say this hotel is haunted....

Donna MacMeans said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maureen said...

Hi Donna,
I've never been to Key West but I have heard about what a relaxing place it is to visit. I hope you have a great vacation. If I could take a spur of the moment trip I think it would be to Chincoteague Island in Virginia. That is where the wild horses are and it is a beautiful place.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I have never seen a ghost but I have "felt" a few. I can't really say it is an experience I want to repeat..LOL I can watch ghost hunters and get chill bumps and have the tendency to hide my head under covers.

I am not a big traveler but I would love to go to Tennessee and explore some more, I did get to go there for just a tiny visit once and loved it. Went into an underground lake, that was interesting the fish and everything are blind. Not to mention Nashville, country music fan that I am, it is mecca.

Go Aunty Cindy, give that chook some constructive work to do today.

barb said...

Enjoy GR AC

I would love to go to Phillip Island near Melbourne and see the little penquins come from the sea at night... I have seen it on TV

Anna Campbell said...

Cindy, wow, you got the chook! Yay, you!

Donna, sounds like a fascinating place. I loved St Augustine in Florida when I was there which was also full of fascinating history and ghosts and stories about pirates and conquistadors and louche 1920s gamblers. Great stuff!

Where would I go on the spur of the moment? Right now, because I've been away so much, I'd just stay home! It won't last but that's how I feel!

Have a lovely break! Loved the photo of Sophia Loren!

Anna Campbell said...

Barb, I just read a great romance set on Phillip Island - Sarah Mayberry's Hot Island Nights. Highly recommended - although I'm not quite sure how hot Phillip Island gets! It's a long way south and that wind from Antarctica can be savage!

Kim in Hawaii said...

Enjoy Key West!

For a spur of the moment trip,
I would walk over to the AMC Passenger terminal and take the next "space available" flight going West - possibilities include the Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands, Wake Island, or even Yokota, Japan. From Japan I could continue southwesterly to Singpore, New Zealand, or Australia. I'm sure Anna and Christine would welcome me if I showed up on their doorstep!

Susan Sey said...

Good morning, Donna! Hope you're enjoying Key West--I've heard it's lovely!

As for me, an impulsive trip? With or without kids? With kids, I'd fall back on Williamsburg--it's absolutely charming & there's no stress as I've been there before & know the lay of the land.

For just me & my honey, though, I'm going to say Charleston, SC. I've been there only once for a few days but I loved the gracious old mansions & church yards & I'll bet there are some wonderful ghost stories going on there...

barb said...

Hi Anna

will have to look out for that book.... must have taken place in summer LOL....or they had a nice warm house in winter

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Maureen!

There's a place where the wild horses run in Maryland as well - just south of Ocean City. I can't remember the name but Jeanne or Christie will. It's a long sandy Island will little else on it but the horses. Is the Island in Virginia the same? I've been to the Maryland Island. It's strangely beautiful with the dunes, the ocean, and the horses.

While Key West has a laid back atmosphere, it's also a lot noisier, a lot more commercial than I anticipated. It's the off season now. Some places are closed for the summer and won't open till December - still it has the feeling of Bourbon Street in New Orleans...not so much in decadence, but in a bar every couple of feet with live music. I've been in two now with autographed bras hanging from the rafters. Mine will not join them (grin).

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Dianna -

You felt spirits? Well that's a closer encounter than I've had. Although - it was funny - while touring Hemingway's house, I had a feeling Hemingway was watching and laughing at all the people who forked over money to work through his house. Something like a sucker born every minute. When the dh and I were back on the streets - I mentioned my impression and he said he had the same the same I did. Was that truly the ghost of Hemingway?

Beautiful state, Tennessee. I was really looking forward to RWA being held in Nashville last year. I've been there once before back in about 2000, I think. I remember meeting two writers for dinner there. Little did I know then that two of us would be banditas. The only writer? Trish Milburn. Freaky, huh?

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Barb -

I don't know of Phillip Island. Is it cold there? I envision penguins only in icy cold environments. They come out at night? Where are they during the day?

I've seen several roosters and chickens wandering the streets here. They stay on the side streets rather than the main drag - it's quieter there. Lots of rooster paraphenalia in the many,, many, many souvenir stores though. Might keep up something for the GR.

Donna MacMeans said...

Anna -

St. Augustine is the oldest city in Florida. Key West is the second oldest. Lots of Victorian homes built in the 1880s and the typical ghost stories that would go with them. A lot of the fun of the tour was just following the tour guy in a flowing cloak and a deep voice around the city at night. He carried a lantern and a huge walking stick, and wore a top hat. Fun. Having heard many stories from the 1920s - except those of the public squabbles between Hemingway and his second wife (Hemingway had four wives but only apparently found happiness with his last.)

Donna MacMeans said...

Kim - I think any of the banditas would welcome you if you showed up on their doorstep!

Interesting - when one lives in paradise when one would go. Japan would be wonderful. I haven't been there. Haven't been to Australia yet of these days...

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Susan -

Can one have a spur of the moment trip with kids? I seem to recall lots of planning with they are involved. If it's not packing strollers and carriers - it's planning around sports and school. It is easier to be spontaneous when it's just adults.

I've been to Charleston once - with kids (sigh) - but would love to go back. Both to Charleston and Savannah which has the same feel as Charleston. WIlliamsburg has fun ghost stories as well. One of these days I'll have to revisit all these places without worrying about little ones underfoot.

Laney4 said...

West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada -- whether you have kids or not.

I am not a shopper, but if you are, there's hundreds and hundreds of stores there, as it's claim to fame has always been "it's the largest mall in the world".

I personally like the hotel within the mall. We stayed in the cheapest rooms (which were great), but they have themed rooms too!

You can spend all day in the indoor wave pool (and I have). Not only are there lots of water slides too, but I enjoy the tube slides the best (going down the slides with your butt in an inner tube).

Then there's the indoor skating rink where the Edmonton Oilers practise. Talk about going from one extreme to the other!

There's lots more to do, or you can just stay in your hotel room. Your choice.

Rebekah E. said...

If I could just up and go I think I would go to Pennsyvania. I would love to see all of the old civil war forts and sights. I would also like to see amish country.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Donna, I hope you're having a marvelous time in Key West. I want to get there one of these days, preferably not in hurricane season. :)

I love spur-of-the-moment trips but don't usually get to take them. But there's a part of me that longs to just hit the road and see where it takes me. If I could get a small, energy-efficient RV, I think I could become a bit of a nomad.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

That visit to Nashville seems an age ago, doesn't it? I don't think the other lady is writing anymore. I haven't seen her in years.

jo robertson said...

Yay, Donna, congratulations on the getaway. Wish I were there!

Cindy, whooooottt, it's been a while since a Bandita nabbed the chook, hasn't it? Being a night owl pays off sometimes.

I'm not a spur-of-the-moment kind of gal, Donna, too much of the Type A in me, but I've always wanted to be more carefree. I'd love a trip to Ireland. I'm holding out for that, but I think Dr. Big's done with flying (big man, small seats) so I may have to go alone.

Or drag AC with me LOL.

MsHellion said...

Key West would be a wonderful spur-of-the-moment trip. I'd take it!

Scotland would also be great--but a bit tricky since I have no passport so spur-of-the-moment is less likely.

I've also wanted to visit Wyoming, Michigan (they have a Hell there, I think--where it freezes over), and I wouldn't mind exploring more of the Boston area. I'd also like to visit Sleepy Hollow, NY, for obvious reasons, and Salem. And I would love to re-visit Grand Cayman.

I'd also love to see more of Colonial Williamsburg and the other old towns around it. And other "old towns" would be great. Savannah, Charleston, Washington DC/Alexandria.

flchen1 said...

The West Coast is chock full of quick vacation spots--the Monterey Bay area for a quieter spot, or the Northern California coast; San Diego for a sunny, friendly get-away; parts of OR and WA for a cooler but no less beautiful place to go; and of course, San Francisco! Gotta love the food, too! Follow your tummy :)

Congrats on the chook, AC!!

Linda Henderson said...

Well, big trips aren't in my budget but I wouldn't mind a trip to Eureka Springs Arkansas. It's very beautiful there, both my daughters were married there. My youngest was married on the grounds of the Crescent Hotel, it's supposed to be haunted. They didn't see anything, or hear anything while they were staying there, but I think it adds to the mystique of the place.It's a beautiful hotel.

Donna MacMeans said...

Wow Laney4 - That mall sounds fabulous.

Years ago, my mom and I went to the Mall of America in Minneaspolis. That's the one with the amusement park in the middle. We had a great time. I was a little disappointed that many of the of same stores were repeated on the different floors/wings of the mall. Is the Canadian mall like that? Are all the stores unique? Love the idea of a water slide. It's been a while for me for going down one - don't know why though I expect deadline pressures have something to do with it (grin).

Donna MacMeans said...

Rebekah -

Pennsylvania is beautiful - and so much history from one end to the other. Did you know that Ohio has a large Amish population? Some of their towns are just north of me. I love to drive up and see the quilts.

Gettysburg is fascinating and Philadephia has so much to see. Hope you get to do that tour.

Janga said...

If I could take a quick trip right now, I'd head for a cabin in the Great Smokies where I'd spend my time writing, thinking, and just being. The cooler temps would also be grand.

If I wanted ghosts, I'd stay in my own state and just head down to Savannah, Maybe I'd take The Ghosts & Legends of Savannah Walking Tour. I say I don't believe in ghosts, but a trip to Savannah or to Charleston, South Carolina always makes me reconsider.

Donna MacMeans said...

Trish - That's a shame that Jeanne (wasn't that her name) isn't writing anymore...maybe she's just not writing romance and has moved to a different genre. Yes, it seems a long time ago - but wow - isn't it something that we met way back when.

LOL on hurricane season. Our weather here has been perfect thus far. Sunny and hot every day with a pleasant constant breeze. The nights are wonderful for sitting outside for dinner. We didn't get to choose the time to make this visit, but it has worked out well. I wouldn't want to drive that road across all the islands to get here in the rain. The water is just so high and close as it is.

Donna MacMeans said...

Jo -

Ireland - oh I want to go!!! Yes, my dh as well is not fond of the idea of flying across the Atlantic. Big man, small seats, too long a flight. However, I hear there's a group trying to get some folks to cruise to England on the historic Queen Mary II & then fly back. I might have to get my European fix that way.

Donna MacMeans said...

MsHellion - Are you on a mission to visit places named Hell? i've been to Hell on the Grand Cayman Island. That place has lots of volcanic sort of structures that makes the area look like hell. Or is it that just Michigan is hell (Sorry, that's the Ohio State Buckeye in me peeking out. It is football season, after all). There's so much to visit in this country. I've had so much fun with this spur of the moment trip that I think we're going to try to swing more of them. We'll see.

Donna MacMeans said...

Linda -

I've never been to Arkansas. Flew over it a few times and it looks beautiful from the air. Would love to visit it one of these days. A haunted hotel - why is it so many of the hotels are supposively haunted? This one is supposed to be though I haven't heard or seen anything remotely unearthly - and I even read a paranormal last night!

Donna MacMeans said...

Janga - Love the Smokies!!! I think the idea of taking a writing retreat there would be fabulous. have to say that the environment here is not really conducive to writing - too much of a party atmosphere. I'll have my work cut out for me when I get back. However, I do have an idea for a book set in Key West, so the trip has had its writing benefits.

Donna MacMeans said...

Fichen1 - LOL - I think that may be the best advice "follow your tummy". Never be far north of San Francisco but I have family there (and a bandita). One of these days...

Abbie said...

I live in Tennessee, so there's several places I'd like to go for a quick trip. Gatlinburg, of course, for the gorgeous mountains. Chattanooga is another one I love. They've done a major "urban renewal" project, so their downtown is now full of art galleries, cool boutiques and cafes, parks, and little B&B's.
Charleston is one a little farther from home I'd love to visit. I went there earlier this year for a conference, but didn't have time to sight see. I'd love to spend some time on the beach and in the historic district.

Pat Cochran said...

Key West sounds as if it would be
a great place to visit. Orlando is the only place in Florida that I've ever graced with my presence. I was accompanied by 100+ of my best pals in the HS band!

As for ghosts, we have a rather
active subdivision.Over the years,
there have been reports of other-worldly visitations. In fact, we
reportedly were built over an old
burial ground! The visitor in our
home is a more modern(1975)guest,
announcing herself with a cloud
of my sister's favorite fragrance.
We raised her daughter and think
she would drop in to see Shannon.

Pat Cochran

traveler said...

My spur of the moment trip would be Italy. A romantic trip of a lifetime wish for me.

petite said...

Love the warmth and laid back atmosphere of Key West. My spur of the moment trip that I pine for is Banff.

Minna said...

Ive never had any close encounters with ghosts, but it seems that one of my cousins did when he was a kid.

p226 said...

Have you had any close encounters with ghosts or things that go bump in the night? Do you think I'm crazy for hoping I do? I have a tote bag autographed by some of the authors present at Lora Leigh's reader event - complete with some promo material and a couple of books. It's all yours for the best quick destination or best ghost story.

Spur of the moment means short, usually, right? My first inclination is always to head to the desert. But that's not a spur of the moment thing for me. If someone handed me two days off around a weekend, and five grand in cash, and said "you must go on vacation, now," I figure I'd just disappear into the Jefferson National Forest along the West Virginia / Virginia border. It's a little different down there. Old growth trees, open spaces underneath, and very rugged terrain. I'd stock up, and head into the woods, and come back a few days later.

Now, I have two "ghost-ish" stories. One is mine, the other's my dad's. Mine first, because it's trivial. See, I remember riding on my motorcycle down US Route 29 through the Manassas Battlefield. On Halloween. At midnight. And I remember thinking, "if there's such a thing as ghosts, here's where I'll find them." Lots of people lost their lives on that little patch of real-estate. Rode right over Bull Run, too. Didn't see any ghosts though.

Now my dad and aunt on the other hand have seen something weird. There's long been a legend around Maco, North Carolina of the "Maco Light." Story is, a railroadman was killed and decapitated swinging a light trying to signal an engineer. Dad went down there with my aunt to see it. Dad's kind of like me in this respect, in that he's a fairly cynical and skeptical guy. But he said that when the light appeared and started chasing them, my aunt outran him. And she was in high heels. And they were running on railroad ties.

Google tells me the tracks are gone now, and the light has disappeared.

Donna MacMeans said...

Abbie -

I remember going to Gatlingburg as a kid - lots of deep forest shade, sparkling mountain pools, to-die-for scenery, and souvenirs of names burned into cedar and pine. I'd like to go there again in the fall when the leaves turn. Chattanooga sounds nice. Haven't been there.

Yes - that's the trouble with conferences. You don't see much beyond the hotel - unless you play hookie, which I've done on numerous ocassions. Sometimes the city for a writer can be just as inspirational as a workshop.

Donna MacMeans said...

Pat! Sounds like you marched in a parade there. Orlando is a great place to go when you're in high school. You can be a little kid again and no one will think anything of it.

A flower child ghost? Friendly? Did you ever do some research to find out why she was hanging around? I think that's so cool (grin)

Donna MacMeans said...

Travelor -

Not sure a trip to Italy would be a spur of the moment sort of thing. I think that might take some planning, even with a current passport.

There's been so many recent movies set in Italy that make me want to pack up and go. Even The American (which I hated) had gorgeous scenery, Definitely want to go with my camera and my paints.

Anna Campbell said...

Donna, the penguins (they're little and very cute) are out at sea fishing all day and then they come home in the evening to their burrows in the sand. I haven't been to the island to see the penguin parade but it's a longstanding tourist attraction for people who visit Melbourne (PI isn't far from Melbourne).

Donna MacMeans said...

Petite - Excuse my ignorance, but is that in France? Would love to travel there as well. Paris is on our bucket list (sorry VA - We'd visit you first, of course).

It was overcast here this morning. Then - while we were out - it sprinkled. Felt more like we were walking through a cloud than real rain. The cloudburst has passed now. I've heard lots of accents and languages here. Hadnt realized Key West was so international.

Barbara E. said...

I'd love to take a weekend trip to St Augustine, Florida. I live in Orlando, so it's not too far. My son stopped there recently and it sounds really great. Lots of old sites - it's the oldest city in America I'm told, so there's sure to be a ghost or two as well.

Donna MacMeans said...

Minna - What happened to your cousin?

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey P226 -

I hadn't realized the Key West was such a biker town. They are everywhere here - like a giant convention.

Yup - given the timing, I would have thought you would have at least felt the hair rise on the back of your neck. I'm afraid I'm too cynical as well. Ghosts have probably been tapping me on the shoulder all along and I've written it off as the wind.

Funny story about your Mom and Dad. Hey we can really book it in high heels - as long as we're not running on grass. High heels and soft ground don't mix, but railroad ties shouldn't be a problem - especially when being chased by a ghost.

Donna MacMeans said...

Anna - That sounds like something to see. Have to make sure I include Phillips Island on the itinerary for when I visit your side of the world.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Banff is in British Columbia. Haven't been, but I hear it is gorgeous, like so much of BC. ;-)

I'm ready to run off to Ireland ANY TIME. I have my passport and know how to use it! However, I have a feeling we might have to take Joanie along. LOL!

You are right about San Francisco being a perfect spur-of-the-moment get away. Haven't been in The City in a long while... must remedy that! Also, I'm equal distance from Lake Tahoe which is a beautiful quick get-away, esp. this time of year (before the snow). We used to go to Reno a LOT as a quick trip but haven't done that in ages either.

Okay, I gotta get back to the GR. I've got him sorting laundry and it is waaay too quiet in there.


Donna MacMeans said...

Barbara E. - I knew St. Augustine is the oldest city in Florida, but I didn't know it was the oldest in America. Shoot, now I want to go too. Surely, I'll be down this way again. I'll have to work it into the itinerary.

So my question to you is - what are you waiting for? You're so close. You should give yourself a treat and just drive over. For you it's a day trip. Give it to yourself as a gift to you.

Minna said...

My grandmother’s brother used to live nearby and he visited us at least twice a day with his cat -who followed him everywhere- and in order to come here he had to walk past our cousins’ summer cottage. He also hated dogs, for some reason. Eventually he died and his cat had to be put down. Now, some years later my cousins who own the cottage told that their son had this imaginary friend, an old man who hates dogs, who has a cat and who passes the cottage with his cat couple of times a day in order to visit my home. They claimed, they hadn’t told anything to their son about the old man who used to live near by. But I don’t know if the ghost cat was the black one or the grey one (his last cat) which he took after his black cat had died.

catslady said...

We had a lovely one day stay in Savannah on our way down to CoCo Beach. I recommend both. It was labor day and they had such wonderful dancers and singers and musicians etc. all down the boardwalk. And wonderful food, especially if you like anything from the sea. They even had ghostly bus tours so maybe you could find your ghost!!

MsHellion said...

Donna, I've been to Hell on Grand Cayman as well! I even mailed my dad a postcard from there. *LOL* I don't think he was amused. Yes, I think my mission to go to Michigan is pretty much to check off all the locations named Hell, for amusement's sake. I can't think of another reason why I'd WANT to go to Michigan off hand. :)

Sheree said...

Hi! I went to Key West many, many years ago and still remember the polydactyl cats.

My favorite place to visit, aside from Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, is the beaches of West Marin in Northern California (just north of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco). Depending on the time of year, there are whales, porpoises, seals (see my pic), and elephant seals. Plus a slew of birds and such. I even saw a badger once. The only downside of West Marin is that the weather can be iffy, but there's a camera set up out there so that the weather can be checked online prior to heading out.

As for ghost stories, the only ghost I've ever encountered (and only heard, not seen) was the family dog. After he died, he hung around for a couple of days, probably confused, and I heard whining and the clicks of his nails on the hardwood floors. Poor dog.


Laney4 said...

Banff is 70 miles west of Calgary, Alberta's airport. Pretty close to BC, though -- and it is Bee-u-ti-ful in the Alberta Rockies!

You said, "I was a little disappointed that many of the of same stores were repeated on the different floors/wings of the mall. Is the Canadian mall like that? Are all the stores unique?" You know what? I don't have a clue! I haven't walked the entire mall.
In years gone by, they had an underground submarine that moved with us in it, but I understand you can't go in it anymore. We enjoyed their Fantasyland hotel, mini golf, their amusement park, their Segway machines, and several of their restaurants.
Perhaps their web site can answer your questions: If you ever go there, you should check their web site first for coupons! (We always used the 2-for-1 coupons for the wave pools, but they aren't offered from something like June 15-Aug 31 each year. Go figure!)

Donna MacMeans said...

Minna - Wow - that's freaky. He sees the old man but didn't realize the old man had died. Cool!

Donna MacMeans said...

catslady - I really like Savannah. I've only been there once for maybe half a day - and that was in a pouring rain. But I found this little statue of a porcelain corset in one of the shops. This was right after I sold Mrs. Brimley - with the theme of a pink corset. It was meant to be. I would love to go back...even if it was just for another half-day.

Donna MacMeans said...

LOL MsHellion - I shouldn't rag on Michigan. It's a beautiful state. We've vacationed there. Sometimes it's easy to go for the cheap dig.

So are there lots of "hells" on earth? Official hells that is (as opposed to those days when it just feels like we're there)? That's a neat mission,Fran. You'll have to keep us informed of your progress.

elainec said...

Savannah is the place for haunted houses and cemeteries. My husband and I love to go there and walk through the old cemeteries.
Good luck with your quest.

Donna MacMeans said...

Sheree -

The cats are neat. The extra claw looks like a thumb. They sure do treat the cats well there. Loved the cat drinking fountain made from a urinal.

I've driven over the Golden Gate bridge but we didn't spend much time exploring West Marin. Too much in a hurry to get to the wineries (grin). Next time we'll have to take more time,

Interesting about the spirit of the dog. I've noticed noises now that I used to attribute to the dog settling in my office. I still hear the noises and wonder what it is. Perhaps Oreo never really left.

Donna MacMeans said...

Laney4 - Okay - that makes sense. I really would like to explore more of Canada. I've been to Toronto and Quebec a long, long time ago. I'd like to take that train that runs the length of Canada. The mall sounds incredible. One day.....

Donna MacMeans said...

AC - Found the Blond Giraffe and the dh and I made sure to have some key lime pie. Yum! Good thing we're doing a LOT of walking as I'm sure the calories are piling up.

Pat Cochran said...


I wasn't there as a student, but
as one of the chaperons. DD 1&2
were in the symphonic bands that
competed and won Division I tro-

The other-world visitor mentioned
was definitely a friendly! The
visits began after we lost one of
my sisters to a breast cancer in
1975. All visits were preceded by
a cloud of her favorite Nina Ricci
fragrance. We think that she came
by to see how her daughter fared.
We were her guardians and she grew
up as our daughter. Now with a
family of her own, Audry's visits
are few and far between.

Pat Cochran

Pat Cochran said...

Whoops! My note makes it sound
as if Shannon doesn't visit us.
Not so, we see her daily and I
get to spend my days with her
youngest son. Audry is my sister.

Pat C.

Donna MacMeans said...

Pat -

You know - as strange as it is to say - that makes sense. It's comforting, as well, to think that its possible to come back and check up on the ones we love. Interesting about the scent. This may appear in a story.

Oh dear - a band chaperone and in Orlando! Did you get to enjoy any of the sights? I would think you'd have your hands full with a group of teenagers away from home.

Donna MacMeans said...

elainec -

Savannah is such a wonderful city, you're lucky to have such easy access. I have a writer friend who is setting a new mystery series in Savannah - darn it - she's taking on a new pen name for it and I'm having a problem remembering it. Dusty Something. Anyway, watch for it next year. I'll probably have her here as a guest to tell us about it. Savannah is a great town to set a mystery (or a ghost story).

MsHellion said...

I promise I will stop talking about hell after this. But I googled it today--when I should have been doing something work constructive, but whatevah--and there are like four or five "hell" somewheres. But one of them for "Hell for Certain" Kentucky, and I don't think they market for it. Another was Hell, California, but it got a highway pasted over it and doesn't exist now. There is a Hell, Norway, but that's a bit out of my budget.

Sooo...I'm thinking my Hell trips are going to consist of Grand Cayman and Michigan.

I learned that Arizona has 60 places with the name Hell in them, which makes sense because Arizona is so freaking hot. Again, Arizona is not on my "must see state" list--I'd rather see Michigan. At least they have a lake (that's not a lake of fire) and it's one of those lakes with a bunch of ghosts and ghost ships and stuff--lots of history. So I could make my Michigan trip a two-fer.

I also googled to see if there were any towns named Heaven. Couldn't find any. I do think it would be neat to just visit towns that had cool names, just to see what they looked like. I believe there is a place in Missouri called Romance. I wonder if they have an inn or a shop or anything...are the people in Romance more romantic? Or is it an ironic name?

Minna said...

Donna, I don't know if he actually SAW him. I think he would have told about it to his mom or dad if he would have. I think he saw him only the way kid would "see" any imaginary friend. But all the same, it was very weird.

runner10 said...

I would suggest you take a detour to Key West while in Florida. It is a place rich with history.
Thankfully, I don't have any ghost stories.