Summer Reads 2018

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 0 No tags Permalink

summer reads 2018

Dear friends, it is already past Memorial Day, and therefore time for Summer Reads 2018. I’ve been quite busy sewing and crocheting in the evenings, so I haven’t been reading much lately. I have a slightly smaller list this year as a result. I am starting with the Megan Miranda book, The Perfect Stranger.

The Perfect Stranger: A Novel by Megan Miranda

The Memory Painter: A Novel of Love and Reincarnation by Gwendolyn Womack 

Slade House: A Novel by David Mitchell 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Between Them: Remembering My Parents by Richard Ford 

The Ninth Hour: A Novel by Alice McDermott

Warlight: A novel by Michael Ondaatje

What are you reading this summer?

Like reading? Check out previous summer reads:

Bahamas Princess Resort and Casino

Friday, March 9, 2018 1 No tags Permalink

Note: this post is a compilation of previous posts on the Bahamas Princess Resort and Casino. 2018 Update Below.

Bahama Princess

The Bahamas Princess Tower
Freeport, Bahamas

Photo by B.J. (Chris) Lothian
Ernie’s Studio & Camera Center, Ltd., Freeport, Grand Bahama, W.I.

So, here’s the backstory on this one. Mom and Dad went to the Bahama Princess (and stayed in the Country Club) when my sister and I were quite young (pre-1980?). Years later, they took us there on vacation (we stayed at the Tower). The Bahamas Princess Resort and Casino was a phenomenal place, sitting on 1,000 acres with pools and a casino. It was right next to the International Bazaar.

The Princess resort was built sometime in the 1970s and was a pretty big deal. Sometime after our visit in the early 90s, the Princess Towers became Bahamia Royal Oasis Resort, owned by Driftwood Properties (it seems the country club became the Sunspree Holiday Inn around that same time). As late as the year 2000, the Resorts at Bahamia was still in business. But things changed, and several tropical storms/hurricanes hit the Bahamas. The business closed down.

In 2007, the Royal Oasis Resort was purchased by Harcourt Development Group for $33 million. They had plans to transform the site into the Crowne Plaza Golf Resort and Casino at the Royal Oasis. Then the financial meltdown of 2008 happened. The Crowne didn’t open.

Closed and abandoned for so many years,  on September 23, 2010 a fire broke out at the Towers on the 7th floor:

I sent an email to Harcourt Development Group, inquiring as to the status of this lovely resort, but didn’t get a response.

I dug up some family photos from maybe 1991, for your viewing pleasure. I skipped the one where I was having my hair beaded and braided.

Casino view:

bahama princess casino

Princess Tower:

bahama princess tower

View from our room in the Princess Tower:

bahama princess tower view

The International Bazaar:

internationalbazaar

This article in the Freeport News (autumn 2013) discusses the International Bazaar, which is currently up for sale. The location has 85 retail stalls.

As of November 2013, Harcourt Developments was still listing the Royal Oasis like it’s a fully functioning, open business. I again emailed them to see if they can provide an update on the development, and again I did not hear back.

Looking around in January 2014, I found another link for the Royal Oasis Resort Hotel, Casino and Convention Center, this one from AECOM Capital. From their website:

The Royal Oasis is a well-established resort hotel located about 10 minutes from the airport, adjacent to the International Bazaar. While not located on the beach, the hotel complex is renowned for the tropical settings of its pool areas, which offer respite for guests after nights in the casino or out on Grand Bahama Island.

AECOM provided masterplanning and full design services for the existing 300,000 square foot, 400-room hotel, as well as for the 45,000 square foot casino and 55,000 square foot convention facility. In addition, a new 350,000 square foot hotel tower was added that includes 250 rooms as well as a new lobby, spa and fitness center. New residential 1, 2, and 3 bedroom 650 timeshare units were also part of the project scope.

I contacted both the company and one of the principal architects and once again haven’t heard anything at all. The Freeport News notes in this article that the International Bazaar is still for sale.

2018 Update

Apparently The Freeport News likes to steal photos. This article about the West Sunrise Highway reopening uses my photo above, the view from our room in the Princess Tower and they credit themselves with the image. You can see they cropped the photo, but my watermark still partially shows on the top of the ‘b’ on catobear.com. I have the original print, which was scanned in.

Here’s their website:

Here’s my original scanned photo with watermark:

I appreciate the reporting on the Bahama Princess, but I’d like to be credited for my own photos in other articles, and linked back to my website.

Anyhow, on to the update article, which I have linked and included the text as sometimes things disappear on the internet.

This article (link here, text below in case the link eventually fails, by Denise Maycock, Tribune Freeport Report, dmaycock@tribunemedia.net) tells a more recent update of the Bahama Princess after another hurricane and a more uncertain fate:

WHILE the island of Grand Bahama is now in restoration mode post Hurricane Matthew, the old Royal Oasis resort property and the International Bazaar in Freeport have fallen into further disrepair.

The main entrance dual thoroughfare is littered with debris, and some of the tall Royal Palms and decorative lamp posts lining the entry-way were blown down in the storm.“

It is an eyesore within an eyesore, if that’s possible. This area was once the gem of Freeport and it is sad to see it in such poor state,” said one Freeport resident.

The 500-room tower resort, and the 900-room country club and timeshare, was the island’s premier anchor resort property for many years. The casino was the main attraction and visitors flew in from the US to gamble and enjoy Freeport’s nightlife, while staying at the hotel.

Guests would shop at the nearby International Bazaar which housed souvenir shops, retail stores, restaurants and bars.

In 2000, the Princess Resort properties were sold to Driftwood, which changed the hotel’s name to Royal Oasis Resort and Crowne Plaza. The developers closed off West Sunrise Highway, a major road artery that passed through the property.

The Bazaar thrived off the resort, which had high occupancies and employed about 1,500 persons. Hundreds of Bahamians were also employed in the various shops there.

In August 2004, Hurricane Frances struck and the resort was severely damaged. The developers closed the property, leaving thousands of workers jobless. Businesses at the Bazaar were also affected and many merchants were forced to close or relocate to the Port Lucaya Marketplace.

The only remaining merchants are the Asian restaurants and a few straw vendors.

Harcourt Development later purchased the Royal Oasis resort property, but was unable to redevelop and open the hotel and casino property due to lack of sufficient funding. The hotel and Bazaar deteriorated after years of neglect.

When The Tribune visited the property recently, it looked like a jungle of dried up trees and overgrown vegetation and there appears to be no urgency to clean up and remove debris.

Meanwhile in Port Lucaya, restoration work has commenced at the Marketplace and stores are expected to open when power is restored there.

Royal Oasis was bought by Harcourt Development Group in 2007.

If you like international hotels, you might like these:

Hotel Ponce Intercontinental

Bluebeards Castle

La Concha Puerto Rico

Vintage Sewing Needle Books

Monday, March 5, 2018 0 No tags Permalink

It’s time for another L&FO. Today we have two vintage sewing needle books. The Springfield Leader and Press newspaper for December 27, 1959 ran a full page ad for Evans Cut-Rite. In it, there was a book of 70 Gold-Eye needles with threader, normally 10 cents, on sale for 7 cents. Other hot sale items were Cannon hand towels, normally 39 cents each, on sale 3 for 88 cents, 24 tablets of Coricidin cold medicine for 69 cents, and a pair of plastic lamp shades on sale for $1.27. Although it doesn’t have an image, these things seem to be similar in the number of needles, putting this rocket Gold-Eye brand of a similar age:

vintage sewing needle book

vintage sewing needle book

The price of these sewing needle books varied around the country. In the March 18, 1964 Green Bay Press-Gazette, there is this book of 100 with a value of 15 cents, while in Santa Fe a similar book was 20 cents in July 1963.

vintage sewing needle book

This Atomic Gold-Eye book is a later date, with more needles than the Rocket and a much higher cost. The basic image hasn’t changed much, swapping out the couple riding on a needle compared a rocket ship.

vintage sewing needle book

vintage sewing needle book

The cool thing about collecting these is that I can actually use the needles. The books are more convenient than those little disc holders with the channels. I’ve been doing more sewing these days, recently finishing up a Decades of Style Three’s a Charm jacket and currently working on a McCall’s 7313 (C) dress.

If you’re interested in collecting some vintage sewing needle books, there are a ton of them on ebay. I found the Atomic one in a local antique shop. You should be able to get one in good shape with all of the needles for $3 – $8 each. I recently read an article suggesting millennials will still be interested in antiques, but will likely gravitate to items that still have purpose. They may be less likely to collect vases and china, and more likely to collect items they can use in daily life. I’m all for seeing a return to sewing instead of the continued purchase of $15 dresses made in a sweatshop and sold on Amazon.

Parker Super 21

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 0 No tags Permalink

In the second installment of the January Lost & Found Object, we have a Parker Super 21 pen to go along with our Parker Super Quink permanent red ink. Richard’s Pens does a good job of breaking down the changes in the Parker Super 21 through the years of production, 1948 – 1965. Mine is the latest version, which would put it on the market roughly at the same time as the Parker Super Quink special giveaway bottle as highlighted in the previous post.

Parker Super 21

It is a nice navy blue pen with a brushed silver cap and the arrow clip. The cap isn’t threaded but stays on quite nicely.

Parker Super 21

At the base of the cap is etched PARKER 21 PARKER and MADE IN THE USA with the Parker logo just above it.

Parker Super 21

As you can see, the fountain pen nib is hooded.

Parker Super 21

I like my fountain pens with a bit of flex generally, but I honestly love how smoothly this one writes. It is delightful! The ink just flows beautifully, it doesn’t leak and get all over my hands, it’s easy to fill with its squeeze sack. These pens can be found pretty easily on ebay, including some that are vintage but never used. It is a great pen, and well worth your time if you happen to come across one. You will wind up paying more than the original $5 though. Here’s the pen in action:

Whispering Pines Accomac Virginia

Monday, January 29, 2018 0 No tags Permalink

Vintage Postcard – Whispering Pines Accomac Virginia

Whispering Pines Accomac Virginia

Published by Edwards Camera Center, Onancock, Va.
Silvercraft – Made by The Dexter Press, Pearl River, N.Y.

This lovely vintage card was mailed with a green one-cent George Washington stamp from Tasley Virginia on June 27, 1947. It was mailed to Mr. Ernest Graves, RFD #2, Amherst Mass. It reads:

Dear “Dad”
Have had a grand trip so far – and we are both feeling good in spite of the 400 miles we traveled. This is a nice place and cottage with all conveniences. We could have made it in one day but didn’t want to rush.
Love Freddie and Elizabeth

Whispering Pines Accomac Virginia

Whispering Pines Motel-Hotel
Perfectly appointed Motel or Hotel accommodations. AIR-CONDITIONING – Television – A Spacious Dining Room and Soda Fountain.
WHISPERING PINES
Ocean Hiway – U.S. #13
Accomac, Virginia
Phone: 707 – SUnset 7-1300

Hannau Color Productions, 475 5th Avenue, N.Y.
Color Masters INC
K 36858

This Koppel card features the AAA logo and was mailed with a purple four-cent Lincoln stamp from Accomac  September 11, 1964 to Mrs. R.M. Milligan, 312 W Britannia St, Tarenton, Mass. It reads:

Fri Night
Accomac, VA.
Good trip so far –
Traffic average
Over 500 miles today
Will write Sun or Mon.
Love Roy

Roy is Roy M Milligan, writing to his wife, Naomi B Milligan. The home at the address on Britannia Street still stands, according to Google Street View:

I didn’t find any details on the Ernest Graves, Freddie or Elizabeth, and not very much at all on the Milligans. I was especially interested in Whispering Pines Accomac Virginia after reading American Fire by Monica Hesse.

It was a really interesting book, and made me want to look more into the area. If you’re looking for a fast read, you might want to check it out. Anyhow, the Whispering Pines was something in its day. Advertised in newspapers like the Wilmington Delaware Morning News (12/11/1947):
Whispering Pines Accomac Virginia

Or the same paper on December 9, 1954:

Whispering Pines Accomac Virginia

Or later, in the Salisbury Maryland Daily Times (10/29/1995):

Whispering Pines Accomac Virginia

This website has motel construction as 1932 by Charles F. Russell, and held and run by the family until it was sold in 1972 (Charles passed in 1963). It was sold at auction in 2012 for $28,000.

Parker Super Quink

Wednesday, January 3, 2018 0 No tags Permalink

LandF

This is part of a new 2018 series, Lost and Found Objects. Each month, a new object will be researched and presented. The L&FO for January is this bottle of Parker Super Quink ink, and this is the first of the blog posts about it.

Parker Super Quink

In 1888, George Safford Parker established the Parker Pen Company in Janesville, Wisconsin*. His company created a number of different fountain pens through the years, including the Duofold in 1921 and the famed ’51’ in 1941.**

IMG_5396

To go along with the pens, in 1931 Parker introduced Quink, a quick drying ink that used isopropyl alcohol as a solvent. Later additions included Double Quink, Superchrome and Super Quink.***

IMG_5397

According to various websites and patents, the different versions of the ink were all meant to prevent the need for blotters. But some of the different formulations caused the old hard-rubber pens to deteriorate.

IMG_5398

I obtained this old bottle of Super Quink through ebay. The box was in great shape, and there was a small quantity of the original red ink that is still usable in the bottle.

IMG_5399

I’ve had some difficulty nailing down the different timelines from the various iterations of the Parker inks. The box is absolutely mid-century. But then I started to go through old newspapers and found this ad from the September 1, 1959 Chicago Tribune:

In fact, the ad and offer was run in papers all across the country in autumn 1959, presumably in time for back-to-school. The Parker Super “21” was a slightly scaled down version of the Parker 51, at a lower price. And if you look at the ad, you’ll see the diamond box and bottle of the Parker Super Quink ink, giving our vintage bottle a time frame.

IMG_5400

Next up, we’ll cover the Parker Super 21, show off the vintage ink, and demonstrate some modern-day Parker Quink.

IMG_5401

* Parker Pen company history, www.parkerpen.com
** www.fountainpen.it
*** Wikipedia

Stand Up Paddleboarding 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017 0 No tags Permalink

stand up paddleboarding 2017

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I stand up paddleboard. This is the second summer I’ve been doing it. You can read the details on the adventure starting up last year here. So far this year I’ve been out 22 times (last year’s total was 47 times, July 22 – November 7). Mostly I’ve been hitting Goguac, but I’ve also been out on Waubascon and Graham Lake. The photo above was taken by Patrick Gault.  He was shooting photos of the Veterans’ Administration field trip. I was able to track him down through my friend Kat and he sent me a couple photos. While it didn’t really help me figure out what is wrong with my stroke, it did help me realize I should not wear those terrible, terrible board shorts in public. Ever. And maybe I could stand to slap on some lipstick or something before I go out.

New this year is an on-board computer with GPS. It’s a Velocitek Makai and it’s super easy to use. It should be more accurate than using Google Earth, and it tracks average and maximum speeds.

Last year I was starting up for the first time, and every day was an increase in ability. After being off for the winter, getting back this year has been more of a challenge. It’s also been fairly windy at the start of the season. Hopefully August will be a bit more chill.

 

 

Summer Reads 2017 Update #3

Monday, July 31, 2017 0 No tags Permalink

summer reads 2017

 

Can you believe it’s already August? Holy cats, the summer has gone by so fast. Time for the Summer Reads 2017 Update #3.

perfectlittleworld

I read Kevin Wilson’s Perfect Little World, and it was good. Interesting story line. Well written. Something to think about. Everything turned out ok in the end and was wrapped up nicely. I would recommend it. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll send it to you.

parisbookshop

As soon as I had finished Nina George’s Little French Bistro, I put her Little Paris Bookshop in my cart. It’s just as good. I read it with one hand on my phone, as I wanted to see photos of the places in the book. It’s a lovely book, and set me in a perfect summer mood. It was delightful, and well worth reading. George puts her own recommendations of books in the back of this one. I picked up two. One is nearly unreadable from a story line, I think. The other is a nice story, but is so poorly edited it’s bothersome. Quotation marks the wrong way, wrong punctuation.

This is week 10 out of 14. I should finish up The Enchanted April this week, and then will start When Breath Becomes Air. Again, I can’t believe how quickly the summer has gone.

Summer Reads 2017:

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel by George Saunders
Added:
The Book of Summer: A Novel by Michelle Gable

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim

Like reading? Check out previous summer reads:

Summer Reads 2017 Update #2

Monday, July 10, 2017 0 No tags Permalink

summer reads 2017

We are already into week seven of our summer reads, and so it is time for the Summer Reads 2017 Update #2. I’ve been on a bit of a reading streak, and have not only added some books to the list but read a ton in the meanwhile.

Since our last update (click here), I’ve finished Trials of the Earth, The Gustav Sonata, The Wonder, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, The Book of Summer, and The Little French Bistro. That’s seven books in six weeks. Not bad.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry 
This book was at least interesting. Quite interesting. It’s told from the vantage point of a young girl, and is full of fairy tales. That being said, I can’t think of anyone I’d specifically recommend it to and I wouldn’t put it on a list of books I couldn’t put down. Most of the time I was just waiting to get through it. If you want it, let me know and I will send it to you (paperback version).

Trials of the Earth
This book was excellent. Very interesting. I’m very glad I’m not a pioneer woman. Highly recommend the book if you are looking for an interesting memoir or something of a historical nature. It’s more real and grittier than Little House on the Prairie, but then again it’s written for adults. I really liked it and I think you would too if you enjoy memoirs. Again, I’m super glad I was not born a pioneer woman. I keep mentally going back to this book. Great read.

The Gustav Sonata
Ok, this book was  interesting, too. It’s a historical novel of sorts, taking place immediately after WWII. The characters were good. The story was good. I can’t really think of anyone who would love it, but if you have wanted to read it let me know and I will send it to you.

The Book of Summer: A Novel
Honestly, after the first four books I read, I needed a bit of a break in the form of some lighter reading. My criteria for light reading is a beachy cover, a story that takes place on the coast, and nothing too serious. This book fit the description perfectly. When it was done, I found myself researching the homes that are falling into the Atlantic in Nantucket. If you are in need of a light read, let me know and it’s yours.

The Little French Bistro: A Novel
I loved this book. It was another one I selected for a light read, and it was delightful. I loved everything about it, and took photos of some of the passages so I can go back and re-read them when I need some inspiration. I loved this book so much I purchased another one of her books to read later this summer.

summer reads 2017 update #2

The Wonder
After two light reads as palate cleansers, I went back to the regular reading list with Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder. It takes place in Ireland, seven years past the Great Famine. It is a fascinating read, a really interesting story line. I couldn’t put it down and read through it very quickly. Now that it’s done, I keep mentally returning to it.

summer reads 2017 update #2

What’s next? Perfect Little World, by Kevin Wilson. What are you reading this summer?

Summer Reads 2017:

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel by George Saunders
Added:
The Book of Summer: A Novel by Michelle Gable

Like reading? Check out previous summer reads:

Southwind Motel Ocala

Monday, June 26, 2017 0 No tags Permalink

Vintage Postcard – Southwind Motel – Ocala, Florida

Southwind Motel Ocala

SOUTHWIND MOTEL
Located on U.S. 27 – 441 – 301
Two miles south of Ocala, Florida 32670
18 Units, 200 feet off the highway. Outdoor living – Pool – Play and Recreation area. Pets welcome. 2401 South Dixie Highway. Phone 622-6461. Under management of Esther and T.O.Eaton.
ATA    CTC

New Color Card Technique, R.A. Lasater, Apopka, Fla.
73301

This lovely vintage card has the Diner’s Club logo and another logo that looks like a shield with a Greek in it. I can’t make out the writing. No idea what the ATA or CTC means, either. This card is unused.

There are older cards from the Southwind available online, listing eight units under the ownership of Creston & Orpha Six. This is the second card I have of the Southwind; a slightly older version with the older phone exchange can be seen here. The older card also boasts two more rooms.

I love this place and though I can’t seem to find it, I hope it is still standing today.

Like Ocala? Check these out:

Twin Palms Court

Golden Spur

Star Motel