Floridays

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So I am back in St. Augustine for Thanksgiving for some Floridays. The weather has been perfect and I am getting to re-experience my old home and the site for the make believe setting in my book, Latchawatchee, Florida! Latch is alot different than St. Augustine. For one, there’s no bad energy in St. Augustine and it’s alot older than Latch. If you’ve never been to St. Augustine, you truly must go and I think you will really enjoy my book, The Opaque Stones also—read it while you’re thereTravel to the oldest city in America sometime and experience the history for yourself, don’t take my word for it. It’s as rich if not richer than New Orleans and as amazing as San Francisco. I even traveled down St George street to get a new Panama hat. Everything is just dripping in history and aura, it’s like a spiritual place. They’ve even got a Fountain of Youth if you want to live forever. Anyway, check out my latest book, How To Live also, plus I got a Youtube channel with some St. Augustine videos there promoting the book. For more Floridays articles, click on the Florida tags or see related articles below. Thanks!

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Me with my new Panama hat on St. Augustine Beach.

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BUFFETT LIVING

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I first really heard of Jimmy Buffett when I was living in Fairhope, Alabama because although he is originally from Mississippi, he grew up in the Mobile area. His sister owns a restaurant Lulu’s in Gulf Shores near the Flora-Bama. You might read Buffett’s biography A Pirate Looks At 50 for a journey through the islands and Southeast Florida and the South. I went to Key West recently and loved it and lived in St. Augustine, Florida in 2005. There’s a bunch of Buffett b-sides which no one really knows about that work the best for me. It’s songs like Anytime, Anywhere and Back to the Island and Creola that work better than Grapefruit Juicy Fruit or Margarittaville, but anyway, I am not the most loyal Buffett fan, but I like his works and he has traveled the world widely and is clearly one of the best sources for where to fish and visit in the Caribbean and Florida. He lives in Palm Beach, Montauk and St. Barts. Three places I really like. Although my book is primarily set in a make believe modern day St. Augustine, California and Palm Beach, St. Barts is in my book towards the end. You’ll enjoy it, check it out!

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THINGS TO DO IN MARIN COUNTY

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I used to go up to San Francisco about once a week for awhile from the Monterey Pennisula and I always found going north of the bridge to Marin County to be absolutely amazing. Not to mention the drive in. There are alot of things to do in Marin County. My first stop was usually at Guaymas in Tiburon. Sitting right on the water, Guaymas has some of the best authentic Mexican fair you can ask for. I ordered the ceviche every time I went. They serve it in an ice cream sundae glass that’s literally overflowing with fish. Next, I would go to a quaint cool bookstore in Sausalito. This little water village has the coolest houseboats imaginable. San Francisco native Jerry Garcia even lived there. Next I would cruise over to downtown Mill Valley. It’s like a mountain retreat nestled in a thick forest of beautiful trees. Stop there at Mill Valley coffee for a double espresso. Hey, pick up some groceries at Whole Foods. Think about Sweetwater Music Hall at night to jam out with the latest bands also. San Anselmo is another place I would go and it’s a great place to just cruise around with your jeep top down or your convertible in full swing. After that, go to Muir Woods, and see these just stunning Redwood trees that you can’t even come close to wrapping your arms around. It’s absolutely amazing.

For more articles like things to do in Marin County, see related articles below.

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NAUTICAL MYSTERY RELEASED ON KINDLE

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Hello all, the kindle version of The Opaque Stones was finally released, and you can buy it for a whopping measly $2.99! That’s an unbelievable price for my book. Get in on all the action with all the characters and start your treasure hunt today. I just got in a box of books wholesale and will be going around to various bookstores and book fairs around the country promoting it. I hope to have good traction on kindle, it’s a wonderful media that’s helped us access books for cheaper than ever before. Plus, you can travel with it without all the clunk of carrying books around—although, there’s nothing like a real book too. Get the book, write a review, we’ll star you back metaphorically speaking. Hey, buy the paperback too, they’ve reduced the price to around $14.

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A DAY ON 30A

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I have been going to 30A since I was a kid, so if you want to know the best way to spend a day on 30A, take it from me.

So I went to the 30-A area in Florida to hang out, and had an awesome time! Beach shells, swimming in the ocean, grubbing at Modica Market, walking through the lovely Seaside sand swept streets at night, cozying through the small little nook walks here and there—the green spaces, the food, the white sand beach, the people, nothing beats Seaside, except Watercolor right next door! I really like all these communities along the Gulf Coast down the highway 30-A from Grayton Beach to Alys Beach to Rosemary! They all have their unique appeal, cool shops, and great food! Just south of Destin, Florida, Seaside was born in 1980 and features a sprawling array of cottages built close together in a new urbanist community based on small towns of the South.

Sitting out on the beach in my blue chair with my umbrella, watching the waves roll in while reading a nice book was how I spent my late mornings and early afternoons. I also spent a lot of time in Seaside’s swimming pool, which came equipped with its on towels and lounge chairs to lay out on. Another thing I did was cruised on foot everywhere. Be sure to stop at Sun Dog Books and Record store. It’s like awesome reading for me there, plus off the wall LPs upstairs. Get a coffee across the way at Amavida and browse the grove marketplace (an open-air market!). That’s right, I said it, an open-air market! There’s a pizza joint there also that hit home runs on my appetite, but nothing really appealed to me more than sitting in an Adirondack chair right next to the beach, listening to singer songwriters being pumped through the stereo system, and drinking a cold beverage. It was like that for me right out in front of the Shrimp Shack (that’s where my beer came from). Up and down 30-A, the Shrimp Shack is my pick for the freshest, quickest seafood to eat. Nothing beats their marinated crab claws I tell you. They also serve Dreaming Tree wine and have a whole cooler full of beers and beverages alike—anything to cool you down when you’ve been in the hot Florida sun. The atmosphere is unbeatable with screen doors and sand coming up to the back door entrance. You feel like you’re in paradise—some kind of Jimmy Buffett song I guess. A cool breezeway for eating at picnic style two-seaters is a great place to take it away on the food or out back at the big gazebo overlooking the Gulf. Just take it away there and trust me, it’s the place to be. Another place to check out is Bud N’ Alley’s in the grove. More of a sit down place, they offer anything you could want seafood-wise, plus they have a killer bar upstairs that overlooks the Gulf. It’s a great place to catch a game—we saw the World Cup there! For fancy dining, don’t forget Thirty A up the road. Named after the legendary drive and area, it has simply the best high dining fare you could ask for. I had the scallops and loved it.

Back at Seaside, check out the Airstream trailer line-up anytime you’re hungry or parched. Go to Raw n’ Juicy for a fresh green juice after body surfing in the Gulf or to Frost Bites for ice cream! At night, the green space offers outdoor movies sometimes, and there is also an awesome theater. Also, nothing beats just walking around gazing up at the stars. While we were there, two rainbows lit up the sun baked sky! It’s that kind of place. Magical things happen there all around you. Check Seaside out, it’s worth the trip. Rent a house or a condo or stay at Watercolor Inn! Thank me later.

For more articles like a day on 30A, see related articles below.

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CAFE CARLYLE – STEVE TYRELL

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Next time you’re in the Big Apple, you might remember the Café Carlyle at the Carlyle Hotel on 35 East 75th Street as an intimate place to see a few wonderful musicians. I first went to the hotel Café to see Bobby Short there when I was little, and I remember how amazed I was at the size of the room. I wish seeing every musician was like this. He was singing right next to our table! While we ate and had drinks! What a wonderful room it is also. Upon a recent visit, the piano and drums literally floated in the audience. Elegant paintings by Marcel Vertes hung on the wall, with plush seating beneath them. In the back, a full bar nestled in a corner. The meal was a four-course encore and we had martinis also. We went around Christmas time and saw Steve Tyler. He’s that guy from the Father of the Bride soundtrack who sings Give Me The Simple Life, but he’s also one of the best standard singers since Sinatra in my opinion. He belted out Sinatra and Burt Bacharach songs, while we snapped pictures and recordings. He was dressed in a suit with a black tie. Although he seemed a little hot, the room felt nice and cozy to me. Highlights included This Guy’s In Love With You, The Way You Look Tonight and Bewitched, Bothered and Bedazzled. Towards the end, he did a Santa comes to town song. The set was solid and long. The price was cheap, considering. I think you can go and not eat and just have drinks, if you want to save money. Either way, go there and see him or Woody Allen’s band, they play there also. It’s literally unbelievable and unforgettable how close you are too the musicians and how intimate it is as they tell stories and rap with the audience, you feel like they’re in your living room! Steve even told a story about him and Bill Clinton when the former president showed up. Like Bill, he’s also got a Southern accent and a swagger about life that adds to the humor to the event. Check him out here!

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NEW ENGLAND SEAFOOD MEMORIES

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One of the coolest places for fresh seafood that I have been to other than Seattle’s Pike Fish Market and neighboring seafood restaurants are the restaurants / seafood markets in Westport, Connecticut. Nothing beats the fresh raw oysters, clams, salmon, tuna, haddock, halibut, and many other delicacies you will find right on the water there on The Long Island Sound. I grew up going to boarding school in Kent, CT and loved it, so Connecticut has always been close to my heart. Just 47 miles northeast of New York City and home to artists and writers alike, Westport’s oceanic ties conjures up images of old craggly men sitting on flipped over wooden boxes that were once full of crabs, chatting about the tides and their last time at sea. Last time I was in Westport, Connecticut, I went to eat at Splash. A serious place for clamshells and oysters on the half, Splash is a hip restaurant that sits right across from the water and contains its own seafood market upfront. I also managed to pick up some stellar quality milk and cheese at the market across the street. We dined on Little Neck clams and Blue Point oysters, and they were briny sweet oysters from around the way that knocked my socks off. I wondered if Paul Newman himself, a lifetime resident, had eaten there once. The atmosphere was outstanding also with a spacious, intimate and interior decorated space that had a New York feeling in a small town setting. Check it out sometime if you’re around the way. Other names we ran across for seafood were The Whelk, The Mansion Clam House and Westfair Fish and Chips!

There is something about New England seafood that distills memories that never go away. I can literally taste meals I had at Shelly’s in New York. That gorgeous space filled with Peter Max paintings created memories for me that are just like yesterday—even though they have since closed or moved, and gone away. I will always return to New York for the seafood. We ate at Nobu there and had one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Even though it was high and outrageous, it was also unforgettable. Let’s not forget, Maine lobster and clam chowder houses. All the way up the coast there I’ve had simply the best small town seafood hut stuff you could desire. Keep New England seafood alive! Also, speaking of Connecticut we had some of the best dairy I’ve ever had—grassfed cows and raw artesian sheep cheeses—at a dairy in East Lyme’s, Connecticut. Check it out sometime! It’s always cool to do the homestead thing on a brisk drive through the country side. Pike Fish Market has that too if your on the other side.

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MY BASEBALL CARD COLLECTION

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I just recently got into baseball cards for fun. Hey, it’s America’s oldest pastime. I grew up doing it. What a champ I was selling cards at the Flea Market once with a case my granddad made for me. It was like a dream opening one of those wax packs and pulling a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card. It was like a million dollars for one of those in my mind, but not really. I hung out at the Dugout in Jackson, Mississippi hoping to swing for the fences with my favorite stars, and nothing beat 1986 Topps, 87’ Fleer, 89’ Upper Deck or Bowman. I had a few oldies to from Christmas—gifts from my parents. How about that Willie Mays “catch card”—that worked for me to put a smile on my face. My dad should’ve bought his cards by the boxes and stored them in the attic by the way. It’s like a Ty Cobb card he threw away once that I didn’t know about. Wow! They literally used cards in bicycle spokes. Anyway, today everything is graded in these neat little cases—no bent corners. But I went onto Ebay anyway to cruise around and picked up some of my old favorites graded (cheap) and some weren’t (just to keep costs down). I got a Big Frank Thomas Stadium Club Rookie. I think the words rookie weren’t on it, but I went for some of those too! I even swiped a couple of Canseco rookies, which aren’t worth much anymore due to his book and all, but who even cares about it. It’s like my players, you know. The Bay Bash Brothers or something. That was me and ESPN circa 89’, hitting homers in the living room over the big painting with a badmitton racket and a badmitton ball. It was like grand slams after school instead of homework. I even got to see the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s play in their home stadiums on a trip out west. What’s better is that I just picked up a Will Clark 87’ Fleer rookie, and gave it to a friend for a wedding present I think, what are friends for, except cards, you know. Here’s to your rated rookies, Topps wax boxes and loads of commons to sort through, and not all that expensive, going for the best card thing—although that’s cool to—but keep it local and awesome by liking all the players like when we were younger. Frank Thomas Leaf cards worked for me once, why not now? I showcase all my cards on these little things I got from Michael’s, plus I even snagged a Rated Rookie Canseco poster. It’s hitting homers on my mind. How about yours?

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Things To Do On The Monterey Peninsula

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If you’re starting out your day in the ole fisherman’s wharf town, be sure to begin by seeing the otters playing on the beach. Nothing beats touching down in Monterey’s swift cool oceanic air full of life from the sea. The beach where the otters play is also very close to Pacific Grove, America’s Last Hometown, and the ocean drive from Monterey to Pacific Grove on into Pebble Beach is just outstanding. If you’re a biker, check out the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail. This is biker’s heaven! Take a drive afterwards and be sure to stop at Lover’s Point Park and Beach in Pacific Grove on your way. Although, it’s probably discouraged, there you can feed these little squirrels that are so brave they will climb up your leg. Imagine that! Afterwards, do the Pacific Coast drive all the way along 17 Mile Drive through Pebble Beach. See the Ghost Tree on your way, and make another stop to view the sea lions and more otters at a lookout. Stop at the The Pebble Beach Lodge in Pebble Beach and see the greens, then swing by their market to pick up some awesome cheese, olives and maybe some wine for later. Get something for the road and pull off into one of the many inlets and have a small picnic. Pretend you’re in Europe. By the time you get to Carmel-by-the-Sea, it is time to shop. Go for it on this awesome coastal resort town. Home to celebrities and international tycoons alike, they have every shop you could want. Buy some old photographs at an art walk place, get a coffee and maybe eat lunch there, or you could drive inland to Carmel Valley to eat lunch at Earthbound Farms—a truly phenomenal sun splashed place to get a soup and a salad and pick up some fresh produce. After eating, head back to Carmel Beach for a little while. More craggly rocks and cool winds sweeping off the brisk ocean meet you there. You’ll see the surfers and young people hanging out and people throwing Frisbee for their dog on this dog-friendly beach. Hopefully, you’ll have a sunny day, but if not, pretend you’re in England, it feels like that sometimes.

After you’re finished, be sure to do the Carmel drive along the ocean and view the dramatic little seven dwarf homes there, one after the other, built very close to each other. Once you’ve driven past the ocean and start heading inland, stop and tour the Carmel Mission. You’ll also pass by Clint Eastwood’s Mission where his restaurant and hotel lie (a great place to eat if you’re sticking it out in Carmel for dinner or staying there). You could return to Moneterey by way of Route 1. Back in old town, spend the afternoon at the Aquarium, it’s legendary. Maybe check out The Fisherman’s Wharf area—plus, Monterey’s Cannery Row is famous. Around the old area, there is a stellar video tour of Monterey’s History in a building that I really liked. For dinner, I personally like the Monterey Fish House, which is a little drive North, but hey, you get to see more of the town that way—the Chart House sits right on the water in the Fisherman’s Wharf area if you decide to stay downtown, I’ve eaten there to and liked it. Later on, spend the evening around a fire pit at your hotel because it gets cold at night or go to see your favorite act at the Monterey Theater downtown. Schedule accordingly—I saw Brian Regan there and loved it! You could also go back to the Carmel Highlands Hyatt Hotel (by the way, an unbelievable place to stay if you can afford it), and take in the dramatic views out the huge windows, while having a glass of wine and listening to the house musician. Note: Keep an eye out for the Concurs d’ Elegance, the antique classic car show at the Pebble Beach lodge. Jay Leno is always there with some of his cars, I think. Have fun and good luck on one of the most beautiful stretches of coast on earth in my opinion. Don’t forget, you’re right next to Big Sur and you’ve just got to see that also. See my article U.S. Coastal Drives.

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