Thursday, August 28, 2014

Summertime Surfin' in Oahu

Fresh off some cold water wetsuit surfing in New Hampshire I was eager to get back in the waves here in Hawaii. The swell has been consistent every day since I've been back. I've hit up a few different spots and have had some pretty fantastic rides at each.

  I snagged a few photos with a GoPro camera attached to the front of my board. Then Heidi stopped by and grabbed a few more with the big camera. It is amazing to be able to find a great wave out here without a big crowd. That is definitely one of the big perks of living here and being able to explore different breaks. Looks like more swell on the way!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Vermont Summer and Stave Island

The launch for Stave Island
Stave Island Barn
 This August marked the fifth time I visited Heidi and her family up in beautiful Vermont. There are always so many beautiful things to see, tasty foods to eat, and fun times to be had. I will always think of delicious corn on the cob rolled in butter, starting off the day with a hot cup of coffee, and walking the Miller family dog around the pond when I think of Vermont.

 During my summer visits we try and spend a lot of time out at Stave Island. This privately owned island is mostly wooded  wilderness out in the middle of Lake Champlain. It is a great place for colorful sunsets and I always try to circumnavigate the island by stand-up paddleboard. Deedee, Don, and Susie are always incredible hosts. It is pretty impresive to watch them work all day and then whip up a huge meal for a dozen of Heidi's friends. They are quite the team.
Happy baby swingin' with Dad
Noah, Anna, Charlotte, Heidi, Skye, Erin
 Heidi and I kept busy this trip making the drive down to Rye, New Hampshire for some surf with the Summer Sessions crew, eating Dutch pancakes at the Grey Fox Inn in Stowe, and checking out downtown Burlington.
The old mill

Another beautiful Stave sunset

Looking across the Winooski River

Kula, the new addition
  One of the most exciting things this visit was the new puppy, Kula. Heidi did a great job training Kula, a beautiful 5 month old black lab. And as always I did my best to get Kula all riled up and then worn out by the end of the day. I was very impressed with how well Kula did sitting on the stand-up paddleboard. It was fun watching Kula learn about and become a water dog!

Main House under the stars
Light painting the look-out tower
 The weather was hit or miss this visit to Vermont but we did have one very clear night out at Stave Island so I grabbed my camera and snapped a couple of night scenes around the island. These shots of the main house and the look-out tower were photographed with a long, 30 second exposure and a technique called "light painting." During the 30 seconds the shutter was open I ran around shining a flashlight over the front of the house and the look-out tower. Even though the light is only over one section of the building for a short duration it is enough for the camera to pick up the different colors.

  It was great catching up with the Vermont and New Hampshire crews. Heidi has some amazing friends. As always it was a blast spending time with Heidi's grandmother, Deedee. She has so many wonderful stories I feel like she should have her own blog. And I can't thank Don and Susie enough for being such welcoming hosts and making feel like I am part of the family. Hopefully you two can come out to Hawaii so we can return the favor!
Heidi and Kula on the stand-up paddleboard

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Surfing New Hampshire with the Summer Sessions Crew

East coast surf!
Excitedly running to the surf in New Hampshire
  A day after flying from Savannah to Vermont Heidi had planned a quick road trip out to the New Hampshire coast to see some friends and possibly score some surfable waves. We had driven down to the N.H. coast before and scored some pretty big waves as Hurricane Irene blew through so I was looking forward to going back.

  It's always nice to see a big surf scene in other places and all of our friends here in Rye, N.H. are focused around the pulsing New Hampshire surf scene. Ryan and Tyler actually own the coolest surf shop on the strip called Summer Sessions. I am always impressed by how busy the shop is with surf camps, shoppers, phones ringing off the hook, and ladies only surf groups, but this time it was even more impressive. Ryan and Tyler have expanded with a surfing apparel shop in Portsmouth and a Juice Shack up the road. Even more daunting is the fact they currently employ around 50 employees. Pretty incredible considering their childhood heroes included bad boy local surf deviants who would paddle out past the whistling lifeguards back when surfing wasn't allowed between nine and five o'clock.

Walking out to the lineup
Ryan putting on a nose riding demonstration
  I still remembered how cold the water was after Irene (think ice cream headaches with every duck dive), but I was pleasantly surprised with the current temp of the ocean. With a 3mm wetsuit the water was still cool and refreshing but no ice cream headaches. Glassy chest high waves were rolling in at Jenness Beach so Heidi and I wasted no time in hitting the surf. We had a blast and surfed until our feet were too cold to continue. Heidi sat a little further out than me and paddled into the biggest waves of the day. I was pretty impressed. After warming up in the shop Ryan and Tyler talked me into going back out for session number two. We grabbed some logs (longboards) and had another great surf. The waves were smaller already but I was already so stoked to be able to surf at all during this East coast visit.

Summer Sessions Surf Shop

Like a kid in a candy shop
Tyler, Heidi, Ryan, and Me

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Savannah Changes but Stays the Same

After a nine and a half hour direct flight from Honolulu to Washington D.C., and a quick regional flight I found myself back in my hometown of Savannah, Georgia. It is not often that I get a chance to visit so I try to pack in as much southern themed experiences as I can in the time that I am back. This trip was only a week but included catching alligators, sunrise walks on Bluff Drive, a road trip to Atlanta, a late late night Braves game, a photo tour of downtown Savannah, and drinks with the gang.
    Southern food and eateries are always high on my list of experiences when I visit as well. I am pretty sure all but one of my breakfasts included grits and I had some classic Southern breakfast charm at the Waffle House and Cracker Barrel. And since a road trip to Atlanta was in the plans I had to grab a yellow dog and varsity orange at the Varsity. Some things never change...while at the same time new developments, homes, and other buildings catch my eye each time I come back.
  My local Piggly Wiggly supermarket was now a Bi Lo, a Harvest Bread Co. restaurant was celebrating its one year anniversary nearby, and my elementary school had been totally demolished in preparation for a brand new home for the Isle of Hope fiddler crabs, but the biggest change of all was the bright blue house on the block...the Tamarack House! Check out the awesome new blue my mom has transformed the house with. It was pretty cool to see such a change but with the same hundred plus year old oak trees arcing over the roof.
Bluff Dr. Sunrise
Leading to the sunrise

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Historic Downtown Savannah: A Photographic Walk

Forsyth Park Fountain
  I spent the first 18 years of my life growing up in one of the most
beautiful cities in the world, Savannah, Georgia. Although it took me moving away and traveling all over to realize what a gem Savannah truly is. I only had a short time for a quick visit with family and friends, but I managed to squeeze in a morning of playing tourist in Savannah's historic downtown district. These are some of my favorite pictures from that walk.

Lafayette Square and St. John's Cathedral
  I started with a relaxing cup of coffee at the Sentient Bean overlooking Forsyth Park. Afterwards I meandered into Forsyth Park, admiring all of the huge live oak trees covered in Spanish moss. I made sure to stop at the Forsyth Park fountain to take a few pictures. I tried for a while to wait until no people would be in the picture but finally gave up and took photos anyway. I actually like the photos even more with all the people relaxing on the park benches in no apparent hurry.

The Old Cotton Exchange
 Walking up Bull Street took me into the famous squares of downtown Savannah. One of the beautiful aspects of this city is how it was all pre-planned around these squares which serve as little parks, green spaces, and monuments. Old brick houses and historic buildings surround the squares, as do many churches. The view of the twin steeples of St. John's behind an old fountain really sums up this area.

River Street cobblestones
   A little farther and I reached bustling Broughton Street. Savannah College of Art and Design's revamped theaters and new boutique restaurants share an avenue with hole-in-the-wall bars and a wig shop. A few more blocks and the buildings that line the Savannah River come into view.

Riverboat Cruise
   Historically this river was the heart of the city. Ever since James Oglethorpe, ships have been sailing up this river to visit and for commerce. There is still a bustling port filled with huge ships a little farther up the river and if you want to be nostalgic then dinner on a river boat might be the answer. The cobblestone street that lines the river is aptly named Riverstreet, and is the sight of one of the largest St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the nation.

  Luckily today was a bit more low key which made for great photo opportunities. I had to try some salt water taffy from River Street Sweets and was lucky to find shade to stay out of the near hundred degree midday heat.

  The heat didn't seem to bother the horses pulling carriages around. One of the horse carriage tours turned into my favorite scenes of the day. As the carriage pulled up to a red light I noticed a puddle from the recent rain was sending a perfect reflection of the buildings across the street. I snapped a couple of pictures before the light turned green and the carriage tour was off. And with that my time in my wonderful hometown had dwindled down so I was off as well.

To Find Dai Mar's Pictures For Sale of Savannah click here: