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    "Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful we must carry it with us or we find it not."

    R. W. Emerrson


    Fact or Fiction - We're Moving to The Islands!

    The following submission is either completely fictional or is fact-based. You decide - Please add a comment noting whether you think it is True or False with your own entertaining or supporting commentary. The answer will be revealed in a future comment on this post.

    Sometimes you just can't ignore the signs. It started simply enough last Sunday when a few Facebook pictures motivated a comment from Matt's brother, observing that Sint Marten "would be a hard place to leave". These words would linger in our minds and eventually contribute to a life-altering decision.

    On Monday morning Matt received an email from that included the estimated value for our Colorado home.  We were pleasantly surprised to discover that the hot housing market had reached Golden. That night, while sitting on the dock enjoying drinks, we discussed the flexibility that our home equity might afford us.

    On Tuesday we ran into Pierre, the owner of the pool-house we are renting. We complimented him on his yacht, a real beauty which is 20 years old, but well maintained. He thanked us and casually added that it is for sale because he doesn't use it as often as he used to.

    The picture started coming together.  That night we discussed the possibility of selling our house, buying Pierre's Horizon 57' yacht, and moving aboard for a life of blue water, cool rum, and fresh fish.

    This upcoming Wednesday we return to Colorado for several weeks. We have already contacted our realtor and will sign a power of attorney so the property sale can occur while we are in Europe this autumn. If all goes according to plan, we will celebrate Christmas from the deck of our floating home in the Caribbean, going from island to island and living a life we had never dreamt possible.


    A Vacation From Traveling - Sint Maarten

    Today we are officially halfway through our stay in sunny Sint Maarten, where time passes slowly and the cooling breeze is a constant companion. This morning we reflected upon our Caribbean experience to determine whether we should do something different with our remaining 10 days.

    We are staying in a quaint pool house with all of the amenities of home and a sweeping view of tranquil Oyster Bay. So far we've visited both the Dutch and French areas of the island, kayaked, had beach and pool time, enjoyed sunsets on the dock, prepared nice dinners and ate at great little open-air restaurants.

    We concluded that the slower pace of "island time" has a calming effect, so we won't try to squeeze in a lot of additional activities or trips to other islands. Sint Maarten has provided an ideal location for a welcomed vacation from traveling.


    Bringing Back Cocktail Hour - Dunbar, Scotland

    A few months have past since our last Bring Back Cocktail Hour post. We dined at several great restaurants in Scotland, but wanted to apply Mark and Sue's generously sponsored "Dinner and Drinks for Two" to something special - our celebration meal upon completion of the John Muir Way. And what a hearty and fulfilling celebration it turned out to be!

    With cold coastal winds and a tendency for precipitation, Scottish cuisine is often the stuff that warms and fortifies with large portions and rich sauces. Our entrees, served up at The Rocks restaurant, were no exception.

    - Duck confit tart with red onion marmalade and creme fraiche

    - Rack of lamb with red current jus

    - Osso bucco with chive mashed potatoes

    And to top it off, a bit of the bubbly - No proper celebration would be complete without it!

    With glasses raised, we toasted our accomplishment and extended a satisfied and grateful "Cheers" to Mark and Sue in appreciation of their thoughtfulness.


    The John Muir Way - Prestonpans to Dunbar

    The final two segments of the John Muir Way cover 31 miles with stops in some of the most picturesque towns and villages: Gullane, North Berwick, and East Linton. We counted down the final few miles, crossed a sprawling beach in Belhaven, and strolled contentedly into Dunbar, John Muir's birthplace.

    These final few sections of trail offered broad vistas of fields, beaches, and rocky seaside cliffs. At the coast we were greeted by a variety of bird species searching the surf for mussels, snails and fish. Tuxedoed oystercatchers and well camouflaged curlews plied the sand for treats while cormorants postured with wings outstretched, drying after a deep dive.

    At Dunbar, we enjoyed a celebratory dinner, toured the informative John Muir Birthplace Museum, explored the parks, and strolled a unique red sand beach. On our third and final day in town we ventured out on one final hike, a six mile roundtrip jaunt to the nearby Barns Ness Lighthouse (pictured).

    Our month long stay in Scotland offered surprisingly calm weather, diverse food, beautiful scenery, and some of the friendliest people around. This has truly been a walk to remember.


    The John Muir Way - South Queensferry to Prestonpans

    The seventh and eighth sections of the John Muir Way cover 25 miles which we enjoyed with stops in a diverse selection of Edinburgh's many neighborhoods: Cramond, Murrayfield, Newington, and Joppa. We paused briefly in Prestonpans for energizing food and drink before pushing on to Longniddry where a fantastic little garden cottage awaited our arrival. Having sampled the many castles, palaces, and estate homes that dot the landscape, we redirected our attention to Scotland's extensive natural beauty.

    The hiking path was peppered with abundant acorns, spiky beechnuts, and young green pinecones; its perimeter painted with the most splendid colors of summer. Spectacular yellows, purples, and pinks were on display in the heather, rosebay willow-herb, and foxglove. We discovered thorny bramble bushes rich with ripe raspberries and blackberries and we enjoyed sampling their sweet and refreshing flavors. Nature's diverse buffet of nuts, flowers, and berries attracted a variety of birds, bees, and butterflies with chipper squirrels joining the bountiful feast as well.

    The John Muir Way continues to impress us with its stunning diversity. During this leg of our journey we have literally taken the time to smell the wild roses, and are better off for the effort.

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