Posted by: pennyinparadise | January 22, 2016

Vacation Adventure #4- Big Sur & San Simeon

BIG SUR:  The last leg of our northern California vacation took us down the Pacific Coast Hiway from Pebble Beach to Big Sur.  The area was made famous in movies such as Taylor/Burton’s The Sandpiper.  Home of many famous writers, musicians, poets, dancers and actors like Kim Novak, Nepenthe’s Restaurant overlooks the Pacific in an amazing spot.

We stayed at a little log cabin on the Big Sur River called….wait for it!….RippleWood!  What a hoot.   We toured the Pfeiffer State Park where redwoods loomed and enjoyed exploring the rugged coastline.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

CAMBRIA:  Finally, further south to the charming town of Cambria, just south of San Simeon where Hearst Castle sits high above the Pacific.  On the way, we stopped at the overlook where the huge elephant seals stop for a rest on their annual trek from Mexico to Alaska.   These giant mammals grow up to 3,000 pounds in the males and 1,500 pounds in the females.   The males have big snouts that make a honking sound during their mating process.  They turn over on their backs to absorb the sun’s energy on their lighter bottom side.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We stayed in the charming, historic town of Cambria, just south of the famous Hearst Castle in San Simeon.   Food was outrageous good….we loved it here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

MORRO BAY: Morro Bay is a charming little town south of Cambria which is known for the giant rock that sits just off shore.  After golf we ate at a seaside restaurant and then went to the movie Bridge of Spies at a little 50’s theater that had been totally renovated.   Felt like we were back in the 50’s.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

SAN SIMEON & HEARST CASTLE:  The BEST thing about this part of our vacation was the visit to Hearst Castle at San Simeon.     The story of how William Randolph Hearst built this amazing structure over a period of 28 years (ran out of money several times) made this stop on our vacation Jim’s favorite…what fun.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This vacation was truly a lifetime experience…our first in our 3 year relationship, and it was well worth it.   Next…..Cuba, Colombia and Mexico.

Posted by: pennyinparadise | January 22, 2016

Vacation Adventure #3 – Monterey/Carmel/Pebble Beach

Now for the really good stuff!   Turned out that our little apartment in Carmel was in the middle of Pebble Beach, just off 17 Mile Drive.   Jim played at Poppy Hills and we had dinner at Pebble Beach Lodge.  Our reservation was for dinner on the terrace, but when we got there it seems Tiger Woods was having his Foundation Invitational and they took the best seats!   Photo of Tiger…NO, NO!  Not permitted.  It was fun anyway.

Enjoy these galleries…

MONTEREY/CARMEL:  I lived here for a couple of years in the early 60’s (there’s one photo of me at the time, in the same spot we took photos on this trip…notice any difference?).  We visited the Casa Munras Hotel where I worked as Secretary to the General Manager, and the Monterey Peninsula Vistor’s and Convention Bureau.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The homes in Carmel are so quaint…we spent a whole morning driving through the streets and snapping great architecture.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

PEBBLE BEACH:  We had a great little apartment in Pebble Beach, right off 17 Mile Drive and 3 blocks from Pebble Beach Golf Club.  You can imagine Jim’s delight.  Surrounded by Pebble Beach, Spanish Bay, Poppy Hills, Spyglass and the famous and extremely private Cypress golf courses.  We had dinner at Pebble Beach Lodge one night and caught a glimpse of Tiger Woods, who was holding his Foundation Invitational there.   We had lunch at the amazing Spanish Bay Lodge (which we preferred to the one at Pebble Beach).  It was an amazing part of our trip.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We sadly bid Pebble Beach and the Monterey Peninsula good bye, but excitedly headed south to Big Sur!  See Vacation Adventures #4.

Posted by: pennyinparadise | January 22, 2016

Vacation Adventure #2 – Napa Valley

NAPA VALLEY:  After leaving Marin County, we traveled north to Napa Valley.   This amazing area is full of vineyards and one winery after another.   We stayed in a great resort with delicious food and ponds with swans and mallard ducks.   Every day we ventured forth to visit wineries and the only problem we had was figuring out how to get back to Panama with all the wine we couldn’t resist buying.   Jim had never been to Napa before and we was gobsmacked by the place.  Interesting fact is that, despite the miles and miles of vines, Napa only grows 4% of the total wine output of the state of California.  It’s just the best marketed of all the areas.

Here is our photo gallery…just mouse-over the picture and the slides will progress automatically.   There will be 2 more chapters to our vacation adventures, after this one.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted by: pennyinparadise | January 22, 2016

Vacation Adventure #1 – San Francisco and Marin County

SAN FRANCISCO & SAUSALITO:  After 2 years of total focus on getting our new house completed and furnished and working on Jim’s Panama Red Rum business, we finally found time for a “real” vacation (not just to Florida for family).  We decided to center our vacation around a visit to my cousin Joy’s new grandson, Connor Cassin.  He just turned 1 and he is sooo cute!   They live in San Anselmo (Marin County), California and since I have lived in both San Francisco city and Monterey/Carmel, I wanted Jim to enjoy the beauty and bounty of the Northern California circuit.   There are so many photos that we are dividing this trip into 4 different sections, starting out with Vacation Adventure #1 of San Francisco City and Marin County.  Enjoy! (Photos are organized into GALLERIES which rotate automatically.  Read the captions at the bottom of each photo for descriptives.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We then rented a car and drove over the GGB into Marin County, where we stayed in Sausalito, overlooking the Bay, at the  magnificent Casa Madrona, which has a very interesting history.  We were treated to a Classic Car Show right across the street, where both Jim and I visited cars from our past.   One day we visited the incredible giant redwoods of Muir Woods.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Next we traveled the short distance north to spend the afternoon with my new Grand Nephew, Connor Cassin, who just celebrated his 1st birthday.  His mom Tracy is my cousin Joy’s only child and her husband Mike is a GREAT guy!   They are both nurses in San Francisco, and visiting with them and Mike’s folks was a delight.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

OK…that’s all the photo galleries this post will hold.   Move on to Vacation Adventures #2.

Posted by: pennyinparadise | November 26, 2015

2015 Rolls Along

It’s been a busy year here in Boquete.   The house is complete and now the work is going on in the gardens.   Jim has had stone walls built out front, he has created a tee box to hit golfballs from, I’ve planted rose gardens with 80 rose bushes that give us constant flowers in the house.

Look for Jim way at the bottom of these huge Century plants that are in bloom.

Look for Jim standing way at the bottom of these huge Century plants that are in bloom in our yard.

Roses from my garden

Roses from my garden are always in bloom

Jim sings his now-famous MAGIC MAN at a the 10th anniversary of the Boquete Community Theater.

Jim sings his now-famous MAGIC MAN at a the 10th anniversary of the Boquete Community Players Theater

The celebration included a dinner dance...we look pretty good for 2 old codgers in their 70's! We danced the night away.

The celebration included a dinner dance…we look pretty good for 2 old codgers in their 70’s! We danced the night away.

Jim's granddaughter Lizzy (4th from right) with her dance troupe...she tells me she's going to be Rocket one day...I believe her!

Jim’s granddaughter Lizzy (4th from right) with her dance troupe…she tells me she’s going to be Rockette one day…I believe her!

Even after 10 years, I still love seeing the horses and cows on the roads in town.

Even after 10 years, I still love seeing the horses and cows on the roads in town.

Our Thursday ladies golf group is growing

Our Thursday ladies golf group is growing..that’s me 3rd from the left

Two more different dogs you cannot find. Becky & Tessa are great friends and playing partners.

Two more different dogs you cannot find. Becky & Tessa are great friends and playing partners.

Stay tuned for photos of our fabulous Northern California vacation!

 

 

Posted by: pennyinparadise | April 26, 2015

What Do You Do There?

People back in the US always ask “What do you do there with all your time”.   Well, by reading this blog you know we do so much we are happy when we just have a day with nothing to do!   Here are some bits and pieces….

First of all, Jim is now the man-slave to a little poodle rescue named Tessa.   Unlike Becky (my Boston Terrier) who will tolerate a hug occasionally, but none of that CUDDLE stuff!!!   Tessa is a real cuddle bunny and she now has Jim wrapped around her little paw.

Miss Contessa (Tessa for short) and her slave man

Miss Contessa (Tessa for short) and her slave man

But don’t let her size fool you….she’s half Becky’s weight, but they play together vigorously and she actually pulls Becky across the floor when they play tug-of-war!

Dogs

We have lots of house guests and Jim’s son, Chip just visited us from Destin, Florida…he spent 10 days and will return soon with his wife and 2 girls.   He loved it!

Chip & Jim make room for Becky & Tessa

Chip & Jim make room for Becky & Tessa

Boquete is in the mountains (we live at 4,200 ft above sea level) exactly halfway between the Pacific and the Caribbean.   It’s a beautiful drive over to Bocas del Toro (on the Caribbean), so we recently spent a weekend over there.

Bocas Breeze!

Jimmy enjoys the Bocas Breeze!

Our big charity organization Bid4Boquete holds an annual wine tasting & live auction.

Our big charity organisation Bid4Boquete has a wine tasting and live auction.   I bought us a week in Bonaire and Jim bought us a weekend in Boca Chica!

I bought us a week in Bonaire and Jim bought us a weekend in Boca Chica!

I’ve got some great “girlfriend groups”…we hang out, play Train or Mahjongg….and we love going to this little resort in Las Lajas!

Girls at the beach...playing Train

Girls at the beach…playing Train

Or sometimes we just hang around, eat, drink and kiss famous guys…like The Beatles!

Linda/John, Judy/George, Penny/Paul and Nairn/Ringo

Linda/John, Judy/George, Penny/Paul and Nairn/Ringo

And then, of course, there’s the play Jim just starred in, which I did the marketing for.  (See the separate post about this)  Jim is now on the Board of Directors for the community theatre, and I’ve agreed to help market a new funding program.

Jim at center stage during his performance in Postcards From Paradise!

Jim at center stage during his performance in Postcards From Paradise!

And, of course, every single day…..we sit on our terrace and look out at the sunset….and here’s the view!

If you come visit, this will be the view from your bedroom too!

If you come visit, this will be the view from your bedroom too!

So, don’t worry about us….we’re making good use of our time!

Posted by: pennyinparadise | April 26, 2015

Jim “plays” on Stage

Our wonderful Boquete Community Players Theater is in it’s 10th year, and I attended the very first play back then.   Since Jim has such a great voice and stage presence, I talked him into taking the lead role in a play written by Mickey & Squirt James (a singer/songwriter couple from Nashville who lived here) called Postcards From Paradise.   To ensure the house was packed every night, I agreed to do the marketing for the event.  A few years ago, when I moved back to Boquete from Ecuador, I was the Marketing Director for BCP for 2 years….so I knew the drill.   It was a lot of work for both Jim and me, but it was great fun.   Yesterday was the final performance, and it was a SMASH HIT!!   We walked into a restaurant after the play and Jim got a standing ovation.

I used a “postcard” theme to market the play, creating postcards every week to be sent out to our mailing list…here are a few of them.  The actual postcards are from Jim’s collection of old Cuban cards.

Slide01 Slide02 Slide07 Slide10

My favorite graphic artist, Fran Hogan, created a wonderful image that we used on banners and posters and fliers all over town.     Panama Red Rum was, of course, a sponsor and the bottle was used in the show and script.

PFP-half-page-flyer4WEB

Jim played a Vietnam Vet who had issues with the war and his wife, that were to be dealt with on a vacation in the Caribbean, by a psychologist owner of a small resort.    Lots of funny and talented characters, but Jim was, of course, the star of the show.  His great voice held up under lots of rehearsals and 4 performances, where he sang 10 songs.  He used a Western North Carolina accent, which he knows well having spent lots of time up there.  He was a hoot….he got standing ovations every performance.  He’s now the “star” of Boquete.

Entire Ensemble

Slide2

Posted by: pennyinparadise | April 25, 2015

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun!

It has  been quite some time since I posted to this blog…reason being we’ve been very busy with some big activities….so I’ll try to catch you up.

First of all, my cousin Joy’s daughter Tracy and husband Mike had their first baby in early September….Connor Cassin and he is adorable…donchathink?

Connor Cassin

Connor Cassin

Newborn Connor with Daddy Mike

Newborn Connor with Daddy Mike

Mom Tracy and Connor

Mom Tracy and Connor

Then, my son Paul married his sweet and wonderful love Maria on New Year’s Day.   Jim and I flew up to Orlando for the wedding….Jim gave the bride away because her father was too ill to attend from El Salvador.  Unfortunately, my mom wasn’t well enough to attend either.

The church was beautiful

The church was beautiful

Jim walked her down the aisle...her own father was too ill to attend the wedding

Jim walked her down the aisle

I am so very happy that Paul has found his soulmate...we both have!

I am so very happy that Paul has found his soulmate…we both have!

The wedding party included Maria's daughter, best friend and sister, Paul's childhood friend, a work friend and Maria's son.

The wedding party included Maria’s daughter, best friend and sister, Paul’s childhood friend, a work friend and Maria’s son.

I only wish Paul's dad was still alive to see this beautiful day

I only wish Paul’s dad was still alive to see this beautiful day

The great thing is that these two laugh and laugh all the time...a great way to start a marriage

The great thing is that these two laugh and laugh all the time…a great way to start a marriage

After the wedding we went to a very nice restaurant for the reception dinner

After the wedding we went to a very nice restaurant for the reception dinner

It was a beautiful setting

It was a beautiful setting

Jim and Maria dancing

Jim and Maria dancing

Jim and me cutting a rug

Jim and me cutting a rug

Paul and Maria dancing

Paul and Maria dancing

Their table at the reception

Their table at the reception

I got to dance with my big boy

I got to dance with my big boy

It was a wonderful moment

It was a wonderful moment

I had to say a few words...hope I didn't embarrass him

I had to say a few words…hope I didn’t embarrass him

Then we moved on to the next big project, which was a charity golf tournament Jim and I produced at a beautiful course here in Boquete.   Jim’s rum company was the main sponsor, and we raised over $5,000 for the charity.  It was great fun!

A staff of over 30 volunteers worked hard to staff the tournament

A staff of over 30 volunteers worked hard to staff the tournament..that’s cousin Joy standing in the center

The night before the tournament we had a Checkin Cocktail Party at Mango's Restaurant.

The night before the tournament we had a Checkin Cocktail Party at Mango’s Restaurant.

We had girls selling tickets for Mulligans, Hole In One and Door Prizes

The girls sold tickets for the Hole In One contests and for Mulligans

Players registered and got their starting hole assignments

Players registered and got their starting hole assignments

The big Panama Red bar was serving Panama Red Tea

The big Panama Red bar was serving Panama Red Tea

We had drawings for door prizes

We had drawings for door prizes

We had a nice array of corporate sponsors

We had a nice array of corporate sponsors

Finca Lerida served coffee and cake for players

Finca Lerida served coffee and cake for players the next morning

Last minute announcements were made and then it was off to a shotgun start

Last minute announcements were made and questions answered

The weather was fantastic, and players manned their carts with enthusiasm

The weather was fantastic, and players manned their carts with enthusiasm for the shotgun start

We did foursome photos on one of the holes

We did foursome photos on one of the holes

Volunteers staffed 8 different contest holes

Volunteers staffed 8 different contest holes

My long time friend Wanda flew down from the US to help me out

My long time friend Wanda flew down from the US to help me out

Lucero was the course and the views are breathtaking

Lucero was the course and the views are breathtaking

Jim LOVES playing Lucero

Jim LOVES playing Lucero

After the tournament we had a Burger BBQ lunch for players and staff

After the tournament we had a Burger BBQ lunch for players and staff

Everyone was HUNGRY!

Everyone was HUNGRY!

 

Players waiting for winner announcement

Players waiting for winner announcement

Jim calculated the scores....40 people walked away with awards

Jim calculated the scores….40 people walked away with awards

Crystal Trophies and Panama Red Rum were awarded

Crystal Trophies and Panama Red Rum were awarded

First place winners got Panamonte Reserva Preciosa XXV Rum

First place winners got Panamonte Reserva Preciosa XXV Rum

Trophy

My cousin Joy was in the 3rd place winning foursome

My cousin Joy was in the 3rd place winning foursome

Trophy2

Robyn Cole won the Longest Drive Women

Robyn Cole won the Longest Drive Women

Panama Red Rum was the main sponsor, providing a perpetual trophy for the winners

Panama Red Rum was the main sponsor, providing a perpetual trophy for the winners

And Jim and I gave each other a new golf cart for our Christmas present to each other.  We love it!

Hot golf couple

Another exciting event has to do with travel to/from Boquete (that is, David…our nearest airport).   First news is that COPA is now flying from the US to David, with a connection in Panama City.   This means no more traveling from Tocumen International across the city (at rush hour) to Albrook Domestic Airport and often an overnight stay in the city.  Expensive and time consuming.  Now, you can clear customs/immigration in Tocumen and stay in that airport for a connecting flight to David.   In addition, the new terminal at Tocumen is almost completed…the MOST modern airport in the Western Hemisphere.

The new COPA counter at David Airport

The new COPA counter at David Airport

The new terminal at Tocumen Airport in Panama City is almost completed

The new terminal at Tocumen Airport in Panama City is almost completed

It’s summer here now, which brings the bajareque (mist) to relieve the dry season and bring the rainbows.

It's summer here now, which brings the Bajareque (mist) to relieve the dry season, and bring the rainbows.  This is the back side of our house under one.

This is the back side of our house under a rainbow

Jim’s son, Chip, came for his first visit….we had a ball!   We went to the Wine Tasting & Live Auction to benefit the charity Bid4Boquete.

Wine Tasting3

 

Posted by: pennyinparadise | April 25, 2015

Panama in 5 Minutes

For those of you who haven’t yet visited us in Panama, here’s a less-than-five-minute look at what to expect.

Click Here for:  A Taste Of Panama

Posted by: pennyinparadise | October 18, 2014

Mini Trips

We have finally settled into the house and projects are under control.   We’ve had the chance to go on mini trips around Panama with friends.

First we went with Peter and Pam from Vero Beach, down to El Valle and the Azuero Peninsula.

Fabulous Vanero Beach in the Azuaro Peninsula where our room had a terrace and hammock

Fabulous Vanero Beach in the Azuaro Peninsula where our room had a terrace and hammock

Horseback riding is a beautiful thing on the beach

Horseback riding is a beautiful thing on the beach

In Playita the resort was covered with ceramics made by the owner, who is a winning jockey on the American race circuit

In Playita the resort was covered with ceramics made by the owner, who is a winning jockey on the American race circuit

In El Valle we stayed at Los Mandarinos and had a fabulous meal at Casa de Lourdes

In El Valle we stayed at Los Mandarinos and had a fabulous meal at Casa de Lourdes

Dining poolside with Pam and Peter

Dining poolside with Pam and Peter

Good for those aching bones..hot tub in El Valle

Good for those aching bones..hot tub in El Valle

Rooms at Playita were created from things found on the beach

Then to Seagull Cove Lodge in Boca Chica

Then to Seagull Cove Lodge in Boca Chica

 

Another trip was to nearby Las Lajas Beach with Nairn, Larry, Pascale, Lenny, Judy, Brenda, Lolli, Becky, Abbey, Jim and me.

We're babysitting a Maltese named Lolli for her person, who has gone on vacation to next-door Colombia

We’re babysitting a Maltese named Lolli for her person, who has gone on vacation to next-door Colombia…she loves Jim.   That’s Larry in the foreground.

Toes at the Beach

Toes at the Beach

Pascale popping the cork!!  She is French and made the most delicious Indian feast one night.

Pascale popping the cork!! She is French and made the most delicious Indian feast one night.

Sand dollar collected in just a couple of hours walking the beach

Sand dollar collected in just a couple of hours walking the beach

Beachcombers

The house we rented was big, beautiful and right on the beach….the dogs Lolli, Becky and Abbey had a ball…so did Nairn (foreground with Becky)

Here’s a video clip of what I’m talking about!!  CLICK ON PHOTO BELOW TO START VIDEO

Brenda & Abbey with Becky at their heels!

Brenda & Abbey with Becky at their heels!

But, at the end of the day, snoozin' is the BEST!

But, at the end of the day, snoozin’ is the BEST!

Local festivals are found everywhere

En route, local festivals are found everywhere

Sunsets over the Pacific are mind-blowing....and different every day

Sunsets over the Pacific are mind-blowing….and different every day

But as fun as it is to travel, it’s always good to return to the cool climate of our little mountain village, Boquete.

But it's always good to return to our beautiful little mountain village, Boquete

Boquete from Jaramillo

Back to the mountains and our favorite sport.

And…back to our favorite sport

Our Trivia Team...called Brain Freeze!

And, back to our Trivia Team…called Brain Freeze!

Here are some video clips of what’s in our face EVERY DAY here in the mountains!!  CLICK ON PHOTOS BELOW TO START VIDEOS

Sunset2

Sunset from our living room

From our terrace one morning

From our terrace one morning

Los Molinos...a favourite breakfast place...Becky in the sun.

Los Molinos…a favourite breakfast place…Becky in the sun.

Venao Beach in the Azuaro Peninsula

Venao Beach in the Azuaro Peninsula

Our next trip will be to the US for Christmas with Chip and family (Jim’s son), and New Year’s with my mom and Paul for his and Maria’s big wedding on New Years Day!!   Stay tuned.

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 31 other followers