Jamaica

March 2016

What could be better than a fun girlfriend getaway to a tropical paradise?  Why, adding golf to the mix of course!

My three Pennsylvania friends were more than happy to escape the snow, ice and cold of the Northeast and head to warm, sun-drenched Montego Bay, Jamaica.  The treat for me was the rare chance to spend quality time with three fun women I haven’t seen in a very long time.

 

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Shelby, Bonnie, Diane and Amy

Diane, Shelby, Bonnie and I spent four fun-filled days together, playing two rounds of golf at Cinnamon Hill and one at White Witch.   We weren’t sure the caddies really helped our games, but we were sure they had side bets on us each day.  Each of us reveled in each others “shots of the day” and we weren’t too shy about celebrating them!  There was an abundance of laughter throughout our rounds, shaking off bad shots in a hurry and delighting in each other’s company and comraderie.

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Signature Hole Par 3 on White Witch Golf Course

I’d been to Rose Hall, Montego Bay, about six years ago with twenty women from Lancaster Country Club on our annual Women’s Winter Getaway. I had a lot of notable memories from that trip and the friendships that were forged over golf, poolside chats, and late night drinks. Since my golf game has improved since then, I was also eager to take on the White Witch course one more time. I recalled that it was incredibly beautiful with many elevation changes.  It didn’t disappoint!  Shelby and I had our best rounds of the week on that course.

One of the most pleasurable parts of a girls golf trip is the leisurely poolside lunches sipping frosty cocktails, reliving the golf round (possibly embellishing it), soaking up the sun, the breeze and friendship.

Afternoons were spent relaxing on lounge chairs facing the ocean, solving the world’s problems and sharing stories of family and our fantastic grandchildren.

One night was utter chaos when a spontaneous thunderstorm forced the outdoor Jamaican fiesta indoors.  Who knew that Chex Mix and cocktails would have to hold us over for hours while we waited for dry seats and dinner?  As often happens, the best times often come from interrupted plans.  We made some new friends at the bar that evening!

Each evening as we made our way back to our rooms, Diane and I would pass the energetic Jamaican entertainers and it was like a siren call to me!  I can’t resist a dance floor and rocking tropical music.  Most of the time my dance partners were small children whose parents were too shy to join them — hey, someone has to be in the initiator…or is it instigator?  Those talented Jamaican women dancers taught me a few new moves.  I’ve got to remember that dancing like that is one of the most fun forms of exercise on the planet!

The days flew by much too fast but the memories of our good times and friendship will last forever.

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White Witch Clubhouse, Rose Hall, Jamaica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magical Maui

January 2016 – Wailea, Maui

My friend, Diane was visiting me in not-so-sunny Florida in late January.  We’d hoped her escape from snowy Pennsylvania would be a lot balmier and involve more rounds of golf but Mother Nature had other plans.  Daydreaming of sun-drenched days, we donned our rain gear and headed to Winter Park for some shopping.

Diane was busy trying on some fun clothes when my phone rang.  I knew that ring tone by heart — it was my daughter.  Imagine my surprise when she asked me if I’d like to go to Maui.  “Of course I would,” I replied immediately.  She laughed and said you better pack quick — because we are leaving in 2 days!

It just so happened that Diane was flying out of Orlando two days later – just a few hours before my Maui flight was scheduled to depart, so the timing was perfect!   We shared some good laughs about the benefits of enthusiastically saying “YES” when opportunity calls.

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Lucky me!  In two days, after two flights, I would be transported from a damp, dreary January on the East Coast to a warm tropical paradise in Maui.  Best of all, my sweet 4 month old granddaughter would be there too.

My daughter, Brelana and her husband, Ted picked me up at the airport and I exchanged  my luggage for cuddly baby Charlotte.  It was late and both Charlotte and I were ready for a sound night of sleep.  It was much too dark for me to appreciate the view that was awaiting me at sunrise.

 

Nestled in a snowy white bed of soft sheets and fluffy pillows, I was awakened by a new dawn rising over the ocean in Maui.  The waves were crashing on the beach, chattering birds welcomed a new day, and the rich aroma of fresh brewed Kona coffee drifted into my room.  If this was a dream, please don’t wake me!

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Don’t you just love that brief moment of confusion when you wake up and you are not sure where you are?    Don’t you love it even more when you realize you are somewhere amazing?

Any time I can be near an ocean is a slice of heaven.  Sharing that with my family and a granddaughter is icing on the cake.

Early morning walks on the beach, splashing in the pool with Charlotte, chatting with other vacationers, and exploring the island together makes for some priceless moments.

Always up for a new challenge, I agreed to try stand up paddle board after some playful cajoling from Brelana.  I was laughing to myself as I thought, here’s Ted, a professional football player, teaching his 64 year old mother-in-law how to do stand up paddle board.  Trust me, I was anything but graceful in my first few attempt and fell off multiple times.

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A few more tips from Ted plus a healthy dose of determination and I finally got it!    What a thrilling experience to be out on that board alone, soaking in the sights of Lanai on the horizon along with other paddle boarders and sailboats.  The highlight for me was watching mother whales and their babies skimming the ocean’s surface.  It was so peaceful to be floating along, unobtrusively watching their interactions with each other.

When I turned the board around to head back to shore, what I saw took my breath away! Rising before was the stunning vista of lush green mountains, bright colorful flowers, puffy white clouds mingled with deep dark rain-laden ones and a rich blue sky.

Stand up paddle board is now added to my growing list of activities I love!  For a brief moment I even thought about giving up golf for paddle board.

 

It was such a treat to watch baby Charlotte being introduced to the ocean, to sand and new tiny friends.    She also enjoyed the pool and especially the big water fountain in the center.

 

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Charlotte was a big fan of my room overlooking the ocean with the rhythmic sounds of waves crashing on the beach lulling her to sleep.  Her parents thought I was making a sacrifice while they went to dinner.  Little did they know, I was basking in the joy of watching my granddaughter peacefully sleeping — one of life’s treasures.

 

Exploring the island was a big highlight —  breakfast at a popular local spot by the ocean, Ho’okipa Beach to watch the board and wind surfers, then onto the Lavender farm and the Surfing Goat Dairy.  We enjoyed sampling the fresh goat cheeses while the newborn billy goats frolicked nearby.   One little guy stole Brelana’s heart — he was still wet from birth and working on stabilizing his wobbly legs.

We shared a few dinners together at MonkeyPod – a fun restaurant featuring delectable fresh catches. Makes my mouth water just to recall the fantastic fresh fish and savory sides we devoured. Did I mention that I had my first mai tai there? Trust me, it wasn’t my last:)

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It’s always a special treat for me to play golf with my son-in-law and we enjoyed another fun round at the Wailea Blue Golf Course.  Anyone who knows me, is well aware that I am passionate about golf.  Just say the word, I will be out of my bathing suit and into golf attire in less than 5 minutes!  Any time you can enjoy a round of golf while gazing at an ocean, is an especially incredible experience.  Ted and I saw beautiful cardinals, lots of flora, some crazy squirrels and we both had some birdies on that scorecard!

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