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Amy and Jesse got married!

 

Lucky Number 7!

 

Each year I like to post a photo from our wedding that not many have seen before. Over the last few weeks Jesse has been very helpful to me. I like how his caring nature shines through in this picture. It’s one of the reasons why I picked him. :)

We want this year to be our lucky number 7!!!

Walking up the steps to the Antrim.

Walking up the steps to the Antrim after our wedding ceremony

 

6th Anniversary

 

I like to pull out our wedding photos on every anniversary and relive our day. Even though I’ve looked at the photos often, I notice something new every time. Here’s a nice shot of us inside the mansion at Antrim. It looks like I wanted a break from smiling, but I like how Jesse is looking at me.

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We will celebrate tonight with dinner at Gadsby’s Tavern in Old Town Alexandria.

 

Halloween Miniature Golf

 

I wanted to play a game of miniature golf at least once this year but did not get to do it until tonight, the night before most of the golf courses in this area close for the season.

Jesse and I had a great time! He got two holes and one and beat me by two strokes!

hgolf

I love to play miniature golf in the fall! It is so pretty with the colorful leaves on the trees, the leaves on the course and the Halloween decorations everywhere.

ghost

The course had special Halloween golf balls for us to use. Jesse choose a white ball with a black outline of a mummy on it. This was my ball. I did not set up this shot. When I hit the ball it landed on this leaf. So perfect!

pumpkin

 

August in Virginia Beach

 

I’ve been blogging a lot about the beauty of the Caribbean Ocean, but the Atlantic Ocean can be beautiful and relaxing too.

I was lucky to get to travel to Virginia Beach, VA for 2 days in August. Here is a view of North Beach. It’s a little quieter there because of the lack of a boardwalk.

Beach

 

Sint Maarten/Saint Martin

 

Continuing with the cruise pics… Today’s blog is about Sint Maarten/Saint Martin.

I have been fascinated by how this small island (about 36 square miles) shares the same name but is divided by two nations – France and the Netherlands.

Our ship docked in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten (Dutch side). We took a water taxi to the downtown. We were not impressed by the beach we had access to on this bay in the Caribbean. The strand on the right contained a lot of beach restaurants (including a Hard Rock Cafe) and stores that sold expensive watches and jewelry.

Pburg

We opted for a private taxi ride of the island. The airport is beyond that green mound.

ap

I thought this church was pretty.

church

Our driver was very nice. He is a tennis coach and has coached one of St. Maarten’s top tennis players. He has met and played with the tennis legend Ivan Llendl (Ivan married a woman from St. Maarten so he is on the island frequently). His story about being blown away when hitting balls with Ivan made us all laugh.

He stopped for a bit at Orient Beach on the French side of the island, which is a clothing optional beach. Right behind this beautiful view were nude people on lounge chairs.

orient

Our driver took us on a loop around the island and back to the cruise ship where we took a bus to Orient Beach, this time so we could have several hours to lounge on the beach. Our chairs were in the front row on the sand.

mtn

Orient Beach is on the Atlantic Ocean and the water there was also pretty, clear, and warm. We had soooo much fun swimming in the water that day.

chairs orient2

I tried to take as many pictures as I could on the way back, through the glass bus windows. You might not be able to read this sign, but it said Heaven’s Touch International Ministries. I think that’s a clever name.

heaven

We saw some cute houses.

yhouse

But we also saw a lot of this.

truck

This was a really cute bakery that we saw in Marigot, the capital city of the French side. We didn’t stop at any bakeries but wish we had because some of the other cruise passengers said the bakeries there have delicious food.

bakery

 

 

St. Thomas and St. John

 

Last week I posted about our cruise earlier this year. I decided that since we took so many pictures of such gorgeous scenery we should share them with our readers. This post will focus on St. Thomas and St. John.

When we woke up on Feb. 10, this is the view we saw from the balcony of our cabin – the port at Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.

CA

After disembarking the ship, we took a small boat to St. John where we saw pure paradise! This is a view of Cinnamon Bay.

CinBay6

We toured the ruins of the Annaberg Sugar Plantation. Like most of St. John, this land is part of the U.S. National Park Service.

Sugar

This is a view of the water, looking from the Annaberg Sugar Plantation:

View

Trunk Bay has the clearest ocean water I’ve ever seen!

Clear

Thicket

We saw this wild chicken walking near the beach on our way out of Trunk Bay.

chicken

We were sad to leave the island that day. Here is a view of St. Thomas as we sailed off to our next destination.

leaving

 

 

Tennis and Yoga

 

The U.S. Open is in full swing this week. This time of year always reminds me of how often I am NOT playing tennis. I rarely play because I don’t know anyone who plays. I am also not that good of a player so I do not feel comfortable finding a partner on one of the online tennis sites that matches you with a partner in your area, and potentially playing with someone who has a higher skill level than I.

There is a court near our house that has a cement wall on one side where you can hit balls against it and practice your forehand and backhand. I tried it on Labor Day. I was alone at the wall for about 15 minutes and then a guy came and shared the space with me. I admired his great control of the ball and told him so. He said you can have better control if you move closer to the wall and hit so I tried that. He then told me I should practice only my forehand for a little while, and then only my backhand for a while. I did that for a few minutes while he watched. He then pointed out that I was using the wrong grip, and tried to correct me. This then led to him giving me tips on maneuvering my body to get in better position to hit on certain sides.

The man, Adam, is a former tennis coach, which I had suspected. He was extremely friendly and helpful, and he practically gave me a free lesson! The whole experience reminded me of how much joy I get from chasing the ball and trying to hit it. I will definitely be returning to that wall to practice.

Later in the day I attended an outdoor yoga session next to the Potomac River at Jones Point Park in Alexandria, VA. The class was held in the grass next to the Jones Point Lighthouse. This was our view.

river

I loved every bit of being outside in the warm air, so close to nature. At one point we were lying on our stomachs, resting and silent, when a flock of ducks flew near us and over the water, quacking. The session ended a few minutes before the sun set – perfect timing! I felt so relaxed afterward (even more relaxed than I have felt after attending an indoor nighttime yoga class), and I slept very well that night.

 

Great Falls

 

Vert

Did you know that something this awe-inspiring existed in the Washington, D.C. area? OK, maybe you already knew and I was just the latecomer to the party. 😉

I had always wanted to visit Great Falls Park when I moved to Virginia, but it took 3 years until I finally visited. I have been there a few times since and each time I notice something new.

On Sunday we went back to the Maryland side of Great Falls, where you can take a tour on a boat on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. We were too late that day to take a boat tour, but we walked a bit on the trail next to the water.

Couple

I think this scene was my favorite.

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Here’s a view of it from a different angle.

Bridge

 

This picture was taken a little farther downstream where you can start hiking on the Billy Goat Trail. I got pretty close to the edge of a cliff to take this shot. Those are kayakers entering the water from the Virginia side of the Potomac River.

Kayakers

It was a hot day but I feel like being around the cool water helped us forget about the heat.

 

 

February Caribbean Cruise

 

We were extremely lucky to be able to take a Caribbean cruise in February. Neither Jesse nor I had been on a cruise. Our ship was a grand and had at least 3 pools, a library, a small basketball court, countless bars and many beautiful works of art by famous artists hanging on the walls. We were treated to delicious meals each day on the ship, live jazz music almost every night, and 7 days of warm sunshine! It was amazing to be able to lounge outside, poolside, in February.

Our first stop was Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. We arrived to the port late in the day so we did not get a full day in the port, which was disappointing. We also didn’t get to see many interesting sites, but we did do some shopping.

The second stop was our favorite. We docked at Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas, but booked an excursion through the cruise line to St. John. I have never been so afraid on a boat in my life! After an extremely choppy 40-minute ride, we arrived in Cruz Bay, St. John. We hopped on a tour bus that took us on a guided tour of 1 side of the island. We drove up a hill, stopped, and took this picture, looking down on Cruz Bay.

Sjohn

We got farther up the hill, stopped, and snapped this view of Trunk Bay. It looks like a post card, doesn’t it?

Trunk

We made stops at the ruins of a sugar plantation and Cinnamon Bay where we saw bay leaves growing in the thicket next to the bay. Here is Jesse on Cinnamon Bay.

CinBay

Our final stop on St. John was Trunk Bay, where we spent a few hours on the beach. We got to lay under that mango tree on the soft, white sand.

mango

It was pure paradise, and the most beautiful place I have seen in my life! The water was so clear that we could see our feet as well as the tiny fish that swam around us.

Clearwater

Our final island visit was to St. Maarten, where we docked on the Dutch side of the tiny country. We took a tour around the island by taxi and saw many iguanas in trees along the way.

Iguana

Our afternoon was spent on the clothing-optional beach of Orient Beach on the French side of St. Martin. Here is a picture of Orient Beach which is on the Atlantic Ocean. The water is very clear, but not as clear as it is in St. John.

SMBeach

The water was very warm and the waves mild. We had the most fun ever swimming in an ocean that day! I don’t think we laughed and smiled so much in years! We had some periods of rest on the beach where we sipped rum punch on our lounge chairs that were situated in front of the water.

Rum

 

We had 2 full days at sea on our return trip. During that time we spent the afternoons sunbathing on our balcony. It was great to have our own private space to enjoy the sun since the pools on the ship got crowded midday. We also enjoyed watching the sunsets from our balcony. It is a trip we will cherish in our memories forever!

Sunset

 

Fifth Wedding Anniversary!

 

It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years! We were so lucky to have a beautiful day.

Anniversary