It’s days like these that I wish I was driving up highway 395 in route to Mammoth Lakes, California.
Around the globe, coastlines are dear to many in their most general form, but the Connecticut coastline holds a particular space in what is left of my New England heart. In the off season — and particularly in this when-will-it-come … Continue reading
After months of drowning you in all things-Sri Lanka, here is the very final addition: a rundown of all the Sri Lankan blog posts.
A great deal of the trip was spent in the region of the Cultural Triangle due to the mere scope of such historic significance. But that said, on the cusp of bringing that leg to an end, we made sure to experience the highlands or tea country - a true reprieve from the heat and history of the days past. Regardless of your time in Sri Lanka, this is an area you’ll definitely want to see. From Batik factories and elephant orphanages, to lush tea plantations and Horton Plains National Park, there is a different feel to the cooler, higher destinations of the highlands.
Yala National Park deserves 2 weeks all on its own. It’s the second largest National Park in Sri Lanka and as I mentioned in my post about Sri Lanka’s Wildlife, it’s chock full of everything from Elephants, leopards, monkeys and wild boar to mongoose, snakes, kingfishers, eagles and crocodiles – most of which you can see directly out your villa’s front door at Chaaya Wild Resort. From Yala, we made our way back to Colombo where we stayed at the Cinnamon Grand hotel. And then it hit us – the trip was over.
We covered a lot of ground, met some incredible people, encountered wildlife that we’ve never seen before and experienced this amazing country for all the grandeur and rebuilding its defined by. Soon Sri Lanka will land on everyone’s top 10 lists for must-see destinations. It’s already happening now. But while it’s affordable, raw, and unblemished by a total footprint of the Westernized world, now is the time to see the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.
Shortly after we visited the Hummanaya blowhole, it was on to the Wewurukannala Vihara Temple in Dickwella. I won’t rehash my words on the subject of Budhism, religion or spirituality as I did in a previous post, but I will … Continue reading
Whenever I’m asked where I went to college, I say that I went to Emerson in Boston. It’s true, that’s where I graduated from and spent my last three years of school, but what I usually neglect – only because … Continue reading
My boys at the Green Street Vault have run into some snags in the city of Boston. After months of unprecedented success and inspiration, the city now aims to prevent their progress. Do them a favor and sign the petition to keep them “ON THE STREETS!”
And be sure to check out my photography of the Vault featured on THE BEST OF THE NORTHEAST segment.
With over 4 million visitors each year and a bounty of 747,956 picturesque acres, Yosemite is one of the most visited National Parks in the country. Stories of John Muir sleeping under the stars (great book about him here.) and images of Ken Burns’ “National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” resonate with every visitor – further whetting their desire to step foot on this landscape. The allure of this place is in your face at all times. It reminds you why the National Park System was created in the first place. But for those of us who prefer to beat the crowds and hit the trail, April is a perfect time to visit, especially after a year of such record warmth.
Heading out of Southern Cali, it’s a relatively quick drive at 4:30am on a Monday. Relatively quick meaning about 6 hours. We took the 405 to the 5 to the 99 and finally the 41, which brings you directly into the park. If you don’t have an annual pass, a vehicle entry is $20. We stayed in a wall tent in Curry Village. Some are heated some are not, but most are outfitted with a double bed and 2-3 twin beds. If you’re there to hike, it’s more than you need. Figuring out what hike to embark on is a whole other story.
Before we left, we checked out this great website, Yosemitehikes.com. It lays out Yosemite hiking trails by difficulty, time, distance, scenic value and also shows pictures of each. When we got there, we spoke to the people at the Mountaineering school to get a current perspective and then took our pick. We went with Vernal and Nevada Falls and we’re glad we did. The switchbacks were approachable with views the entire way. The crowds start to dissipate the further you move along. We took a quick breather at the base of Vernal falls before trekking on through the shaded switchback. As you approach the section where you can take either Vernal or Nevada, you’ll have a clear view of each. Vernal is quicker and has a bittersweet decline to the top of the falls. It’s bittersweet, because you’re going back up it on the way out. Nevada is another good mile and a half from that point if you choose to go there. We left around 2pm and got back just before dark. More experienced hikers could probably cut that in half, but when you’re in awe around every corner, you tend to take your time. Here are some images from the trip…
It’s not cheap. But it is worth it. The Ahwahnee Hotel.
It was a period in my life filled with great promise and incredible insight. Rob, Caroline and I were building an eco-retreat in Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica. It was a recipe for something good – something fresh, but it was also a recipe for a break in the partnership due to conflicting schedules, ideas, language barriers and geographic complications. But sometimes, that’s life. Things happen for a reason. This happened for a reason. But our friendships remain and Costa Rica… well Costa Rica is one of those places that never leaves your soul.
While I was there, I saw what it was that Caroline loved so much about this place. She welcomed us into her home as if we were her own children and shared her vision with us. Every morning in Escazu, the dogs would compete with the parrots for decibel rights while the white-faced monkeys eluded our sight as they swung from tree to tree around the finca plantations. The scenic, dirt roads, the dense canopy, even the humid discomfort of the Osa Peninsula and all its mosquito glory, ignited the possibilities within.
Caroline introduced Rob and I to Alvaro Ugalde, the man widely considered the father of Costa Rica’s National Park System. Guided by his soft and thoughtful conversation, we walked with him through a lush preserve and returned to his lab where we saw samples of new flora species otherwise undiscovered to the outside world. I met an inventive genius expat named Michael, whose rail bike idea for an abandoned rail system borders on American ingenuity and the environmentally savvy thinking common to Costa Rica. We drove through the switchbacks of the highlands, briefed Chirripo National Park, stayed in the cloud forest near Arenal, ate at the sodas of San Jose and eventually landed in Bajos del Toro where we trekked our 25 acre plot beautifully sprawled along a natural spring untouched by the oncoming wave of Western development.
I have many memories of this incredible place and I will be back. In the meantime though, I have the images to remind me of my experiences and that will have to suffice. Here are a few of those images from the property in Bajos del Toro and the country that we explored. Enjoy.
And Elsewhere in Costa Rica
We got a taste of it in October. Sammy and I thought our Halloween snowfall was an early sign of what would inevitably come our way week after week. But then November came and so did the unusually temperate weather. December passed and still no signs of winter. January… same deal. And then this past Saturday it finally snowed.
We jumped out of bed, slipped into our winter garb and hopped into Central Park. Sure, it’s not the Wasatch range I once played in or the ancient mountains of Vermont, but like an 19th century Charles Parsons painting or an early photograph, this place came to life with ice skaters, tobogganers and children all taking refuge in the expanse of a buidlingless landscape.
When your access to free space is all but gone, you take pride in what you have left. These kids and their laughter and the snowballs in their hands symbolize the same thing for the avid skier on a monumental pow day. Would these kids rather be in the Rockies? Maybe. But maybe this is their Rockies. They certainly played like it was.
Sledding is the same wind-in-your hair feeling for every generation. It’s that ‘school was called off’ feeling that riles through your system on an early snowy morning. It’s waking up earlier than usual to look out the window and see what you got. It’s something different for everyone, I suppose, but for me it’s enough to stay young again and envision mountains around me or even simpler, the sledding hill in our neighbor’s backyard on Tanglewood Drive in Southington, CT.
I know snow bothers a lot of people. It interrupts their schedules and makes their hair frizzy and tangled. It makes for treacherous roads and damp suit pants, but all of that is irrelevant in my mind. I like to think of the hot coffee I’m going to have when I come in from the cold or the sound of the snow under my boots. I think about walking into that little cafe just to get a break from the chill or watching as the snow falls on whatever it shall. I like what snow makes us do and not what it prevents us from doing. But, like all weather in the Northeast, it’s already gone and the 50-degree weather is back. Winter has yet to make her permanent mark here, but when it comes, it’ll leave the same impression on Sammy and I that it did this past weekend.