Check me out on TravelPulse.com

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Gotta blow my own horn here, so to speak, with the news that TravelPulse.com has published one of my blog posts and I am in contract with them to write further content. Most will be based in Orlando but I’ll be writing about Asheville this summer, also. First post is about the rise of the craft beer industry in Orlando…research was great fun!

It’s a major step for me as I’ve been slooooowly working towards this kind of validation as a writer, focusing on travel, and it feels good to be validated. Thanks to Kim Warrner for informing me about the Orlando Sentinel‘s blog platform,  hypeorlando.com, right after we moved back to Orlando. Writing for them has been a wonderful exercise in discipline and the support really helps, as sitting at a computer, hoping to get noticed, can be very isolating. Just when you feel like giving it all up, someone in the hypeorlando group will pat you on the back, come up with a few words of encouragement and spur you on.

Geez, this is sounding like an acceptance speech for an Academy Award! Actually, it kind of felt that way when I saw my name under the TravelPulse banner yesterday. More to come…

When Plan A fails…make sure you have Plan B, C and D available

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So the deal wasn’t done and the papers weren’t signed, lucky for us we had an honest inspector who immediately saw structural issues and did not continue the process. Inspections are pricey in the mountains and he saved us quite a few bucks by not going any further. He said a structural engineer needed to see the damage and go from there. It was enough for us to cancel the contract and move on. Very disappointing, especially since the owner is a structural engineer and should have disclosed the problems on the contract.

We’ve learned not to become emotionally attached to anything we attempt to purchase so we weren’t envisioning family holidays on the deck quite yet. There were others on our short list and some more popped up on the MLS, so we kept shopping. Our criteria and must-have list was short – 3,000 feet in elevation, a view, high ceilings (we want to feel like we’re in a mountain house, not sitting in a subdivision somewhere with low ceilings), and a location that doesn’t need a 4-wheel drive vehicle.

Elevation is a must as our main reason for purchasing a summer home is to get out of the heat and humidity of Orlando. Our research has shown that 3,000 feet pretty much insures not having to turn on the a/c all summer. A panoramic mountain view is fleeting. The house that failed inspection had a killer view off the deck but that deck might be sliding off the mountain in the future. Another house had a great view but was too small and, inside, felt like we were anywhere but in the mountains. Another one had a death-defying drive-way and a larger car would have to back out of it without being able to turn around.

In the end we’re losing the view with the chosen abode, but it’s just a short walk away, along with the Appalachian Trail, and the size and location make up for it. Check out my hypeorlando.com blog at Forever Young but Growing Old for details on our last visit. Hopefully, we’ll close in early December and have more to report with pictures. But those photos might include snow!

 

 

 

Tijuana Flats…not just good food but good people

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Recently I was invited to a blogger event at the Tijuana Flats on East Colonial, in Orlando. These events are one of the many perks of writing a blog, especially with hypeorlando (the Orlando Sentinel blog platform). We get to taste-test new menu items and get an insider view of house local restaurants operate.

I’m including a link to my recent Tijuana Flats blog post with hypeorlando…”Tijuana Flats, superb Tex Mex and giving back to the community

It’s heartening to know that local businesses play such a big part in helping our community by giving back in ways we might be aware of. And the sangria is awesome!

hypeorlando has launched!

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There’s a new blog community in town called hypeorlando – a product of the Orlando Sentinel – and my blog Forever Young but Growing Old is included. This is an exciting opportunity to expand into other areas and reach more people with my musings…hope that’s a good thing. Hypeorlando is loaded with talented bloggers covering a ton of topics. If mine doesn’t float your boat, I’m sure you’ll find one that does.

Hippies to Boomers will continue, without change, as I chronicle our travel adventures and the hypeorlando blog will not only delve into travel, but include an added Lifestyles element. My first entry, “Everything old is new again,” is live on the website. Hope you enjoy it.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from O-town

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After a multi-year hiatus, the Orlando Sentinel has decided to publish a My Word column at last…here’s the link “Orlando indeed incomparable to others”.

Here’s the unedited version…

Beth Kassab’s column about the best “other” downtown reinforced my feeling that Orlando is THE best downtown around. Having just returned, after a seven year “retirement” in New Smyrna Beach, I am so happy to be back that I sometimes have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.

Now, don’t get me wrong, New Smyrna Beach is a wonderful retreat and our go-to choice for a beach vacation, however, living there full time was just not as fulfilling as we envisioned. Many would comment on their wish to live in paradise year round but they might think twice for what they wish.

A typical trip to the grocery store in a beach community, depending on the season, might mean dodging shopping carts among aging snow birds or standing in line with beachgoers who forgot to cover up overexposed body parts. (I know it’s the beach but, please, folks, wait till you hit the waves before showing off your new bikini!)

On the other hand, our visits to the downtown grocer, located under a high rise apartment building, have been much more pleasant since we are usually the oldest shoppers in sight. We find ourselves surrounded by, what used to be called, yuppies of every type. The dress code is office casual or, sometimes, it is apparent they are picking up dinner after a visit to the gym. In the case of the latter we have seen many a finely sculpted bottom. As you can imagine, my husband now accompanies me on every trip. “Where shopping is a pleasure,” has a new meaning.

Replacing the beach with the various lakes available downtown for daily walks has been a delight. Shade is a valuable asset which cannot be found along the shore, and there are just so many shells one can collect on the beach. The addition of sculptures around Lake Eola is a testament to the city’s nickname, The City Beautiful, and adds to the sense of metropolitan culture which we have missed.

It was tough leaving our neighbors and friends but know they are only an hour’s drive away. Our small town experience was a lesson which made us realize we were not ready to leave the city. We’ll save those “other” downtowns for day trips. Meanwhile, we will relish being a part of Orlando’s cultural growth and retire in style.