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I took a bite of The Big Apple, and it was surprisingly sweet…

    Everybody’s got their place…the place that you’ve always wanted to go, and the place that despite people’s praises you’ve never cared about seeing. I am from the south. I love the pace of life here, and the simple courtesies associated. I love the outdoors, and getting back to the simpler things. For me vacation means white sand, blue water, and a few cold beers. You can imagine my dismay when I first heard that were we spending our Christmas vacation in New York City. 


    Everybody has heard that “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover”…blah, blah.  Maybe you can’t, but I can and did for many years.  My work has taken me around New York a few times, but I have never cared to go into the city.  Now I know where your mind is wandering, “this fella here is just some bumpkin, ain’t never seen nothin'”…Let me assure you, I have been around and have seen plenty.   Like I said, I enjoy keeping my life simple.  I have a beautiful wife, a lazy dog, and a little boat to sneak off on now and again.  Give me a pair of jeans and some broken in boat shoes and I will change my shirt based on the occasion.  You can have the hustle and bustle, bright lights, over population, and pop culture.  I am fully aware of the significance that New York City has in society and commerce. I get the jist of it, which had always seemed like enough for me.


    Having said all that, I was completely wrong about New York City in every sense.  Sure, all of the things that I mentioned that kept me away were there, but they just bring balance to a city that is rich with history and culture.  So…I have to join the masses and say that if you haven’t been to New York City, you should go.  Over the next few blog entries we’re going to hit the high points of the trip.  What we did, where we ate, things worth doing, and things to avoid.  So, hang tight…



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Football Season Ending or Just Heating Up?

    We’re on the road right now heading back from the Charlotte, NC where our NFL fav Carolina Panthers just put the whammy on Brett Favre and the Vikings.  All of the men in the family decided it was high time that we took in a game together, so away we went.  Travel in an out of Bank of America Stadium is relatively easy with plenty of available parking to be had.  After a short walk you are in the thick of a rockin’ tailgate party complete with punt, pass, and kick contest. Feel free to step right up and be embarrassed…

    Inside the stadium is very clean and easy to navigate.  Find your seat and let the energy of the crowd take over, it’s time for some Panthers football!  Every game, win or lose, is a blast, but let a big name team (coughVikingscough) roll into town and get dominated…that stadium crowd feeds the players with their energy!


Like what you hear?


    This kind of experience happens every week around the country.  Primetime running backs and franchise QB’s light up the scoreboards and the eyes of fans every game. You don’t need to be at the stadium to feel and see it, but it is a different experience.  One I would recommend you take in at least once… 


    The Shady Umbrella is always happy to help you find transportation and lodging near your favorite team,  We can even steer you in the right direction to find the perfect seats for your game.

So, Are you ready for some football?



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A Charming Holiday Getaway

Beginning November 28th,  Jekyll Island, Georgia, turns into Holiday Island.  It is decorated with festive lights, and has events for the whole family. A wonderful place to stay on the island is the historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel.  It offers a relaxed, charming, and historic feel.  Travel and Leisure rates the hotel in the top 500 best resorts in the world.  It is my number one pick for a great holiday getaway!  



The resort was established in 1888, and was known as one of the most exclusive clubs in the world.  Well known members of the club included: J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, Joseph Pulitzer and William K. Vanderbuilt  to name a few.  The resort was also the location of the  first transcontinental phone call placed by AT&T president Theodore Vail in 1915. Today, The Club is open to travelers from around the world while still offering the amenities and scenery that made it so sought after.  



My husband and I traveled to Jekyll Island along with some wonderful friends during the Christmas season in 2007. We had an amazing time. During our stay on the island we took a horse drawn carriage tour through the historic section, and learned fascinating tid bits about the area.  We experienced relaxing couples massages in our rooms, then took a leisurely bike ride along the beach. The Jekyll Island museum offers a detailed history of the club and it’s founding members.  We took a try at croquet on the lawn which proved to be challenging. We also enjoyed several of the dining options the island had to offer.  Some of our favorites included brunch with Santa around The Courtyard at Crane, and dinner in the Grand Dining RoomSea Jay’s is a local place that offers a beautiful water front view, great seafood, and live music. Jekyll Island is a must  for this Holiday season if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of today’s commercialized Christmas, and want to take a glimpse back in time while relaxing with those you love.




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