Best Time at the Beach: Fall

If you miss salt sticking to your skin as you inhale the sea-laden air or the crunch of Fischer’s sweet caramel popcorn or the rhythm of the reggae beat, you’re in luck.

Fall, or the beginning of the off-season, is the best time to travel to your favorite summer beach resorts. Visitors can still sunbathe, swim, shop, fish, crab, boat, play tennis and golf, visit museums, take classes, and enjoy the nightlife.

 Beach Net is an excellent resource for year-round information for the Maryland/Delaware Eastern Shore. It includes an event calendar to help maximize your stay.

In addition to an abundance of activities, the following lists the reasons that autumn, especially September and October, is the best time to visit the beach.

September and October Temperate Weather 

  • Clear skies and mild temperatures are the best beach weather ingredients.
  • The ocean has warmed over the hot summer months, and the temperature is easier on your body.
Uncrowded East Coast Resort Town

Crowds are limited during the off-season in this Delaware beach resort.

Reduced Crowds Means Less Stress

  • You arrive at your destination quicker with less traffic.
  • Bike riding is less dangerous.
  •  Restaurant hostesses can seat you quickly.
  • Parking at retail stores is easy and there are fewer, or no, lines inside.
  • Golf tee times and tennis court reservations are usually available.
  • Beaches are less crowded, and sometimes no one is in sight.

Relaxed Rules

  • Surf fishing, paddleboarding, kayaking, and surfboarding are allowed during the day.
  • Dogs are permitted on the beach during certain dates, depending on the town.
A man walks his dog on the beach in Delaware.

Dogs are allowed on most beaches during the off-season.

Best Time for Heavy Blue Crabs

Fall is the best time to enjoy heavy steamed blue crabs. I recommend  Captain Mac’s Fish House & Seafood Market, The Crab Bag, and Fenwick Crab House, in that order.

Packages and Deals

  • Restaurants run specials and advertise happy hour prices to draw customers.
  • Hotels offer vacation packages, and condominium and beach-house-rental costs drop.
  • Shoppers can stock up at “end of season” sales.

In my opinion, the best time to stick your feet in the ocean and squeeze the sand between your toes is now.

 

 

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Cow Wreck Beach Bar & Grill, Anegada, British Virgin Islands

The famous Cow Wreck Beach Bar is on Anegada, British Virgin Islands

Ships full of cow bones wrecked, bones and skulls washed ashore on Anegada, British Virgin Islands hence Cow Wreck Beach. The Cow Killer rum drink is one of their specialties.

Hawaii

Oahu, Hawaii Bus Tour — A Humorous Experience

When I was in my 30’s, I won a company sales contest. The grand prize was a trip to England or Hawaii. I chose Hawaii.

As part of my prize, my company planned guided tours on Oahu, Hawaii. I felt obligated to attend the first tour, and I disliked it and it became my first and last bus tour.

Following are some reasons why this tour influenced me to never take a bus tour again:

1. I had nothing in common with my bus mates who left the bus to take pictures of pineapples in fields and then took close-up photos of them. I wondered if they took pictures of pineapples in grocery stores.

2. My tour mates reinforced that I had nothing in common with them when they stepped off the bus again to photograph field and close-up pictures of sugarcane. At this point, I wanted to return to my hotel because I thought that I was in hell.

3. The bus driver repeated incessantly that there were no snakes on the Island. He said it so many times that I started to suspect that there were some. In addition, I had a nightmare about snakes and the bus driver.

4. I was stuck on the bus all day when I wanted to lie on the beach, enjoy a casual lunch, and read my book.

5. Everyone on the bus carried bags and cameras and resembled Terry and Tommy tourist. I hoped no one recognized me with this motley group — even though I probably fit in more than I will admit.

6. I didn’t like to get shuttled to a tourist-trap restaurant where the bus driver seemed chummy with the owner. The food was terrible and I couldn’t get a cold beer to escape my misery.

7. Everyone on the bus was old — like I am now. But even though I am old, I still won’t get trapped on a bus.

8. I prefer to eat with the locals and determine when my tour begins and ends.

This bus tour affected me for life and left me with humorous memories. However, no matter how old I am, you won’t catch me lined up to board a bus with old people like me, unless I am forced.

One Coastal Fenwick Island — Best Deal in Town

The best kept secret in Fenwick Island, Del. is One Coastal Delicatessen at 101-6 Coastal Highway. It is located just north of the Maryland/Delaware line –next to Ruddo’s Golf. The restaurant is convenient from Ocean City, Md., Route 54 and Bethany Beach, Del.

It is a little difficult to find, but once you try their food and check their prices, you will return, just like the locals.

My husband and I visit One Coastal often, because the food is fresh and homemade, prepared to order and reasonably priced. You can dine in, carry out or just stop in for a drink at the bar. One Coastal is family owned by Bernadette and her son Randy. Their goal is  great food and service.

Last night we enjoyed the seared ahi tuna and edamame, as we sipped our drinks and waited for our carry out order. We ordered one of my favorite sandwiches the Coastal Club which has turkey, avocado, bacon, lettuce and tomato with Dijon-mustard mayonnaise. We also ordered Italian sandwiches served on homemade rolls filled with Italian meats and cheeses.

Some other meals that we love are their meaty lasagna and their seafood specials like ahi tuna with wasabi mayonnaise. Other daily specials include Asiago shrimp wrapped in bacon with rice pilaf, tuna steak with vegetables and rice, kielbasa with sauerkraut, and brisket.

One Coastal serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and has something for everyone.

When you visit the Maryland/Delaware Eastern Shore, stop in One Coastal for  great food and the best deal in town.

https://dorothyadele.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/one-coastal-delicatessen-fenwick-island-de-great-food/

Comcast’s Corporate-Customer-Service-Phone Number

My Comcast experience this week had been so frustrating that I called the corporate office to get service.  You can find the Comcast corporate phone number at the end of my post. Following is a list of some of  our  phone calls to Comcast customer service:

1.   At the beginning of the week, Sunday or Monday, we called 1-800 COMCAST, and we asked for an appointment by Friday — we had been without service for a few days. The Comcast representative told us that they couldn’t schedule an appointment until Monday a week. I did not plan to be home the following Monday, and we thought that was too long to wait.

2.   On the next call, a representative told us and that we would have to pay for the service call and we would receive a rebate. We didn’t understand why we would have to pay for a service call if the issue was with Comcast.

3.   On the next call, we spoke to a representative who put my husband on hold for 10 minutes twice, while she supposedly spoke to a supervisor. She set up an appointment for Thursday and offered my husband a $30 rebate and free channels for a year. She told him that someone would call my cell phone within 30 minutes to confirm the appointment. No one called.

4.   My husband called Comcast again about Thursday’s appointment. We learned that the appointment was scheduled for Friday and it was not to fix our service but to switch our phone to Comcast. We felt that we had been misled.

5.   My husband asked to speak to a supervisor and waited 22 minutes to speak to Christopher. Christopher said that he would try to set up an appointment, and we would hear from Comcast. No one called.

6.   I spoke to a representative Wednesday who set up an appointment for Friday from 1 – 3 p.m. I asked him if the appointment was confirmed, he said yes.

7.  I called Comcast the next day to check my confirmed appointment, the recording said that my appointment was scheduled for Monday.

8.   I called the corporate office and spoke to a representative who filed a report and informed me that someone from the regional office would contact me shortly.  I waited a few hours, and I never heard from the regional office.

9.  I called the corporate office again. The corporate representative gave me the name and phone number of the regional customer service representative who had our case. She said that the representative from the regional office had sent my husband an email instead of contacting me.

10.  . I called the regional representative who was handling my case twice, and I did not receive a return call. I called the corporate office again, and they kept me on the line for about 10 minutes while they contacted him.

11.   He finally called me and said that he had sent an email to my husband — to an address that never existed.

12.  I asked him to please send Comcast service technicians to my home today, Thursday, I was out of patience.

13.   Technicians arrived within 10 minutes and spent a few hours and resolved the Comcast issue.

If you can’t get service using 1-800- COMCAST, try the corporate number 215-286-1700.

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Rincon, Puerto Rico

Most Frightening Trip Ever — Hatillo, Puerto Rico

The most frightening trip I have ever experienced was driving through Hatillo, Puerto Rico on December 28, 2008.

Our family flew to San Juan and rented an SUV  for the 2  1/2 hour drive to Rincon. The trip took us 4  1/2 hours, and one of those hours was the most frightening in my life.

We began our trip cruising west along the north shore, as we caught glimpses of the lapis Atlantic Ocean through the windows of our green Ford Explorer, our excitement increased.

When we approached the seaside town Hatillo, we hit traffic congestion and a confusion of color, and cacophony pierced our eyes and ears. Sirens screamed, horns blared, and men garbed in garish, fluorescent clothing and bizarre, grotesque masks guzzled liquor and beer while riding in the back of colorfully painted trucks and parade floats.

As we entered Hatillo we were in gridlock and the town was bedlam, with groups of men staggering in the streets swilling alcohol. We closed our windows, locked our doors, and peered at the insanity. Unfortunately, we became their target.

We feared for our safety

Men swarmed our SUV, shook it, and shot it with Silly String. I hoped that they wouldn’t overturn it. Metal boomed, as they pounded their fists on the hood, roof and windows, and I wondered if the glass would shatter. Police, who were outnumbered probably 100 to 1, ignored the pandemonium, and we knew if the crowd became violent, we were in trouble. I was mostly worried about the children in the back seat, who ranged from 9 to 15 years old.

Our jeep creeped at about 2 mph for about an hour, and we cringed and gaped as some of the men became falling-down drunk.

Eventually, we spotted a cross street about four blocks ahead. Without coaxing, my husband drove over the curb, and on the sidewalk, and we passed the gridlocked cars. When we turned on the open street and accelerated, we high-fived and laughed from relief.

Mascaras de Hatillo or Hatillo Mask Festival

We learned that the locals were celebrating the Hatillo Mask Festival or Mascaras de Hatillo. It appeared to me, that for some, it was an excuse to get drunk and terrorize anyone caught in the gridlock, though the festival is legitimate.

Mascaras de Hatillo, Puerto Rico

Mascaras de Hatillo, Puerto Rico (Photo credit: enlacepr) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

It commemorates when King Herod ordered soldiers to kill little children after Jesus was born to prevent Jesus from becoming king. The gaudily clad men represented these soldiers.

I suspect if we visited the lovely seaside town Hatillo on another day, we would have found it charming not alarming. Not happening…

Jet Blue Gives Away A Free Roundtrip Flight

Employees at the Jet Blue ticket counter handed passengers purple and green Mardi Gras beads upon check in. Of course we selected purple! Purple iced donuts and coffee were available at the gate. It was a great start.

The vice president of operations for Jet Blue, his wife and 6 1/2-year-old son were on our flight to New Orleans. The vice president said that in the beginning of the season, he told his son that if the Baltimore Ravens made it to the Super Bowl he would take him. He thanked the passengers for flying Jet Blue and said that he wanted to give away a free-round-trip ticket.

He asked the passengers to search their bags and pockets for the oldest penny they had. A passenger with a 1946 penny won the tickets. He took a picture of the passengers on the flight cheering. It has been quite an experience already.

Go Ravens!!!

Super Bowl XLVII, The Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Bound

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Excitement fills the BWI Airport terminal as exuberant-purple-and-black-clad-Balltimore-Ravens’ fans head to New Orleans for the Super Bowl. There is a lot to be excited about. The Baltimore Ravens, who are usually the underdogs and hated by many, are playing in the Super Bowl for the first time in 12 years. Ha, ha take that you naysayers! Also, two brothers, John Harbaugh coach of the Baltimore Ravens and Jim Harbaugh coach of the San Francisco 49ers will match wits in a “once in a lifetime game” for the Super Bowl trophy. To add to this excitement, Ray Lewis the Ravens’ middle linebacker who sources say is one of the greatest middle linebackers of all time will play his last game. What a great way to go out!

The Seven Nation Army chant reverberates through my head as we hurry through the terminal. Ohhhhh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, we have to board our flight!

American Express Platinum Travel Services

I booked airline tickets today through American Express Platinum Travel Services. I used some of our accumulated American Express points to buy our tickets.  The American Express associate confirmed that  she would book our flights and assured me that I would receive a confirmation email within five minutes.  I never saw an email.  After following up, I learned that our reservation was never made. The irony is that the associate made other changes to our reservation, but did not ticket the flights.

With a follow-up phone call, another agent ticketed our flights and we were fortunate that there were no changes to the reservation.

In the past,  American Express has  provided excellent service making  travel arrangements for us  including airline, dining and theatre reservations.   I suspect  that today’s incident is unique.

Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay

Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort — Luxury and Comfort

We recently attended a party on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and spent the night in Cambridge, Maryland at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort Marina and Spa.

Upscale amenities, attractive-curb appeal and excellent service and hospitality classify it as a luxury hotel with a four diamond rating by the AAA .

When we entered the hotel, the receptionist welcomed us with a glass of cranberry juice and champagne. (This is one of my favorite holiday drinks– sometimes called a poinsettia.) She was personable, knowledgeable and efficient as she answered our questions and directed us to our room.

After checking in, we sipped a drink in Michener’s Library (named after James Michener who wrote Chesapeake). Two stone fireplaces flank the spacious lounge giving it a warm, cozy feeling. Large windows offer a spectacular view of the Choptank River.

Our spacious king room included a desk, and the bathroom was large enough to accommodate a table. We could step out on our tiny balcony (if it was warmer), instead we viewed the Choptank River through the sliding-glass doors from our room (see photo).

Luxury sheets concealed a pillow-topped mattress on the king bed. A white down comforter dressed the bed. The bed was comfortable and we slept well.

In the morning, we enjoyed breakfast in our room. I had an egg-white-vegetable omelet filled with shiitake mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes and cheddar cheese. (I switched from mozzarella to cheddar.) My meal was delicious, healthy and filling.

Unfortunately, we only stayed at the Hyatt for about 15 hours, because we had another commitment. However, I plan to return for a longer visit.

I would consider the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay for a meeting, reception or wedding because it offers good service and a great venue.

Safeway in Towson, MD — Not Enough Scheduled Staff

I visited Safeway in Towson at noon today. It is convenient, but I hesitate before shopping in this store, because they don’t seem to schedule enough employees.

One lady sliced meat and cheese behind the deli counter that extended around the corner into the prepared food area.

Safeway in Towson Deli

Safeway in Towson Deli

The deli lady was the high point of my visit because she was efficient and pleasant. As she waited on the customer in front of me, I thought that if someone wanted to place a prepared food order (from the other end of the deli), the customer would have to find an employee to wait on them. I wonder how much business Safeway has lost because their counters are not always staffed.

At the checkout, there was one large-order register, a few self-service and two express lanes open.

No Service at Deli and Hot Food Counter

No Service at Deli and Hot Food Counter

A line formed in the large-order lane and a customer asked a customer service employee if it was possible to open another large-order register. The employee immediately opened a new register, but why didn’t he think of that in the first place?

I don’t understand why Safeway in Towson lacks scheduled employees. When I shop at other Safeway locations or competitive stores, I don’t have this problem. Why is this store different?

What is your experience with grocery store customer service?