Cape May Winery

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We visited Cape May, New Jersey over the first weekend of October to attend my high school reunion. It was a busy weekend full of visiting both friends and family and as always trying to do a bit of touristy wandering as well.

Though we didn’t make it there this particular weekend, one of our favorite things to do when in the area is to visit the Cape May Winery on Town Bank Road, maybe a half mile west of Seashore Road. It is a beautiful establishment built around a very professional operation that also happens to create some really high quality, delicious wines! It is owned and operated by Toby Craig and his family, who also run Lucky Bones and The Washington Inn, which are two of Cape May’s most popular and successful restaurants. A fine gourmet shop on the Washington Street Mall – “Love The Cook,” is also a Craig family establishment and is a great place to “shop” into whilst strolling the mall.     (Full disclosure that the Craig family and my own family have been friends for years but I wouldn’t rave about their work if they weren’t really good at what they do!) read more

The Best Travel Beach Umbrella

This is a fantastic thing but it seems like I’ve been lugging this portable travel umbrella around from beach to beach for years! Oh wait – that’s because I have!

And I’m glad to by the way because this is quite frankly one of the key travel items that makes it possible for Mrs. Working Stiff to spend time on sunny isles and enjoy those beautiful beaches!umbrella2

The Portabrella Portable Travel Beach Umbrella is one of numerous products offered by the Portabrella Company.   We have had a few different models since discovering it some 6-7 years ago.  The one shown in these 3 pictures is several years old and has flown with us to the Virgin Islands and several Bahama islands, earning it’s keep in all cases. Sometimes when I travel I use a large duffel bag and this fits inside easily. We’ve also found that it fits neatly inside our large roller bag diagonally. Packed up in the included travel bag, it is about 24” long and weighs about 6 lbs. read more

Secure Your Stuff!

This short article is a double shameless plug for 2 related items that we have used on several trips and have found to be well made and very useful. They are both security items that can help prevent your stuff from being stolen if you are on a beach vacation or just if in a hotel for the night. They are both made by a company called Pacsafe.

Pacsafe – Travelsafe

Pacsafe1Sometimes rental houses and hotels come with a substantial safe and sometimes not. If you are lacking a safe, the Travelsafe can really come in handy. There are a few sizes available and I believe we have the smaller size. It is a tough bag made of some fancy nylon and reinforced with steel mesh. You can get a sense of the size from the 1st photo (though I don’t know why you would lock up a magazine in a safe!) read more

The Stoogeum

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Over the years I have several times heard the legend of a great shrine to The Three Stooges somewhere out in the Philadelphia suburbs. More recently a friend who had read more about it fleshed out the story for me and I learned that it was actually in the historic town of Ambler, not far from the home of The Working Stiff.

I went there yesterday, finding it really just about 10 minutes from my house, and wow – what a first class establishment it is! (Note that they don’t allow any photography inside but I’ll link to their website so you can learn more.) read more

Blue Lizard

Another shameless plug for a travel accessory that we have really used on numerous trips and has proven itself to be worthy of our high esteem.

Mrs. Working Stiff is of Irish descent and has a very fair complexion that she goes to great lengths to protect from potential sun damage. She is always researching the latest technologies to help her enjoy being outside in tropical climes (or Pennsylvania and the Jersey shore in the summer for that matter!) Through her I have learned over the years about special clothing with SPF protection, and a laundry additive that adds some level of SPF protection to otherwise ordinary clothing. I have learned about such things as rash guards and have learned that some beach umbrellas offer SPF protection and some don’t. (I just thought a beach umbrella gave you some shade.) read more

Cool Off Man!

This is a shameless plug, but only because we really use these things and they are fantastic! These Cool Off Towelettes are available in various quantities.  If you buy them in bulk the price really goes down.

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They are a small towelette in a little foil packet, not unlike the ones the BBQ joint gives you with your rack of ribs, except cooler. They are infused with a combination of witch hazel, aloe vera, alcohol, and numerous other ingredients that cause an immediate cooling effect on your skin when you wipe it on. When you are all hot and sweaty after a few hours on the beach, or just from strolling around or doing whatever on a hot day, tear one of these open and wipe it around the back of your neck, behind the ears, crook of your arm, behind the knees – wherever you like. The sensation is similar to wiping down with a cool towel and stays with you for 10 or 20 minutes. It won’t change the weather but it can really help you transition from the beach to the restaurant, or a hot walk in the sun to a cooler ride home in the car. We don’t travel anywhere in hot weather without a few of these handy. read more

New York City River Cruise

We had a great long weekend in The Big Apple this past April.  There is just nothing like the energy of a big city and we just love to be in New York when we can.  This time, we did a wonderful touristy thing – a lower Manhattan “Architecture Cruise.”  We boarded our boat at Chelsea Piers and it took us south from there down the Hudson and past Liberty Island (with pause for photographs of Lady Liberty of course.)  Passing Governor’s and Ellis Islands, we rounded the southern end of Manhattan near The Battery and then North up the East River as far as passing under the Williamsburg Bridge.  The theme of the tour was that it was hosted and narrated by a charming and very knowledgeable architect who told us all about the history of many buildings along the way, not only right on the water but in view within the city as well.    It was fascinating to see the city from the water, which is not something I had ever seen before.  (A very young Working Stiff probably took the Staten Island ferry long ago but we can’t be sure at this point.)  It is fair to add that the fact that the small refurbished motor yacht on which we rode was serving wine by the glass was an important and welcome part of the overall experience!  It was particularly nice to see the new look of the World Trade Center area up close and we took many pictures of the awesome Freedom Tower.  Fortunately no planes did emergency landings on the Hudson while we were there! read more

St. John Villa Rental

St. John, US Virgin Islands –  so much to say about that place and I will have numerous posts on the topic!  I have had the privilege to vacation there about 10 times as of this writing.  In general we have rented villas from an island realtor who has been super helpful and just great to work with.  I have noted over the years that many people just don’t realize that renting a villa is an option in many places but it can be a great way to go.  Essentially, you have a house for the duration of your stay, and that house may have a pool, or a hot tub, (sometimes both,) cable TV, gourmet kitchen, multiple bathrooms – all the comforts of home and probably more!   There are plenty of villa rental firms that also offer maid service, chef or catering service, spa sessions, and other high end amenities.  (The Working Stiff and his wife do not generally travel like that!)  With a villa rental you can save vacation money by preparing some of your own meals to whatever extent you like.  With a full kitchen for example you can make your own toast and coffee in the morning and then pack up the jeep and head to one of the spectacular beaches.  On St. John, where the houses are largely up in the hills (not convenient to town,) we have found over the years that we eat most breakfasts at the house, most lunches out somewhere after the beach, and then  dinner is either in town or on the grill back at the house. read more