Posts Tagged fun

Sanibel’s Treasures

Posted in CHARMED JOURNEYS | No Comments »


(The following is an excerpt from a letter I wrote myself last October…so I wouldn’t forget)


Sanibel Island…for years I’d heard about the allure of this gulf coast isle famous for it’s shelling and had been dreaming of finding my way some day. The opportunity arose, quite unexpectedly, just a few days ago. You see in our job, my significant other (my Mr. PIBB-Partner In Beautiful Bliss) and myself are each other’s relief. We are always either together at work or spotting the other’s days off. I can count on one hand the days off we’ve had together in the past few years. So when the schedule came out and we saw that we had two days off together, two voices shouted in unisonROAD TRIP!!! I had just a few hours in the middle of the night to put a plan together and began by searching the web. Working at a posh resort on the east coast of Florida, I knew I didn’t want THAT type of experience. I heard Hemingway whispering in my inner ear…”Vintage Florida awaits…”



I stumbled over the Inns of Sanibel web site and was charmed by the photo gallery of the Seaside Inn. One of four properties that make up the Inns of Sanibel collection. It seemed just the thing, but I wanted to be sure. It was about 3am when I called the reservations number for the hotel and was routed to the night auditor who was on call for all of the properties. His name was Jack and he was wonderful with all of my many questions. Even the ones that weren’t necessarily specific to the hotel. Bless his heart! I hung up the phone with the certainty that this was where I wanted to stay.



 As soon as our shift ended, we rushed home to pack. We didn’t want to waste a moment. 



A few hours later, on the road, I made a phone call to the Inn , to confirm our reservations. I spoke with Jim, who ended up checking us in upon arrival. What a sweetheart! He hooked us up in the ‘Green Room‘ which was personally designed by Kathy Ireland. She did a special room for all of the four sister properties. I was completely charmed by the ‘shabby chic beach’ decor. It was the warmest welcome…a great start to our two day getaway. We found a breakfast basket in the fridge and a more than ample array of kitchen items to go with the mini fridge, microwave, toaster and full size coffee maker. My delighted eyes sparkled as much as the green crystal knobs on all of the furniture when we got our first view of the inner courtyard and beach. We stepped out onto the community balcony and immersed ourselves in the essence of what Florida used to be like before the invasion of glass and brass ‘super resorts’ (No THANKS!)




We had the most blissfully satisfying stay ever and we can’t wait to come back!!!

Seaside Inn  |  541 East Gulf Drive  |  Sanibel Island  |  FL  |  33957  |  Reservations: 239-472-1400  |

Youtube video of The Seaside Inn by a former guest



Down to Earth Pottery

Posted in Flagler Beach Fun Activities and Services | 1 Comment »

A great new place in Flagler Beach for your consideration.



1-Welcome to Down to Earth Pottery


2-The Front Door to Down to Earth Pottery

I’m excited to talk about a new pottery shop in Flagler Beach, Down To Earth Pottery, which has a little bit of the everything you could wish for in a studio. For starters there is a sweetheart of an owner, Heather Wales. She’s following her dream of a little pottery studio by the sea and we are the lucky folks who get to benefit from her vision. I’m looking forward to spending some time there in the very near future.

It’s really easy to find…


3-Down to Earth Pottery 805 N. Ocean Shore Blvd, Flagler Beach, Florida

Head east to Flagler Beach on Rt. 100 (Moody Blvd) take a left when you hit the ocean (A1A-Ocean Shore Blvd) you’ll go north eight blocks. The shop is on the left, ocean on the right. There is an abundance of street side parking.

Wheels, Rollers, Extruder’s…Oh My!!!

Inside you’ll find an intimate little studio chock full of all the things you’ll need to create your own works of whimsy in clay. There are wheels for throwing, a slab roller, a wall mounted extruder, wedging table, work table, an in-house kiln, stacks of clay for sale, glazes to use, and lots of shelves to hold works in various stages of progress.


4-Extruder-Down to Earth Pottery


5-slab roller-Down to Earth Pottery


6-Lots of Pottery wheels-Down to Earth Pottery


7-bisque and glaze ware fresh out of the kiln-Down to Earth Pottery

I’m sure I’ve neglected to mention more than a few things but you get the picture. Speaking of pictures…the view from the window of the studio, looks right at the ocean. If the sounds of the waves, the sparkling glints shimmering off the water, the occasional glimpses of dolphins passing by and the call of seabirds in flight don’t inspire your creative soul…well I just don’t know what would.


8-view of the beach from the front window of Down to Earth Pottery


9-view from the front door of Down to Earth Pottery


10-view from the front door of Down to Earth Pottery

How would you describe yourself?

Never played with clay before? A little rusty on technique? Seasoned clay artist looking for a little social interaction with like-minded individuals? Heather can assist with all, rookie to expert. She has lessons available for all skill levels. Just want to make use of the studio space to do your own thing? The fee for studio time is very reasonable.  Due to space restrictions, Studio time is based on availability, I recommend making a reservation. But don’t let that keep you from getting your creative game on; stop in, buy some clay and take it home to do a little hand building. Glaze, bisque and glaze firings are included with the purchase of your 25lb bag of clay.

If you do pop in, please be aware that Heather teaches a lot of classes. If she does have a class in session when you arrive, please be considerate and keep your interaction to a minimum. I’m sure the students would be very appreciative. I was fortunate enough on this visit to meet and talk to a few of Heather’s students. All three were engaged in different activities. Don was throwing on the wheel, Eugenio was free-hand painting a sea turtle in underglaze on his bisque fired pot and Joy was doing a little creative hand building.

A Little info on the students…

I asked them how they came to discover Down to Earth Pottery and what made them decide to take a class. Don said that his friend Eugenio had told him about after taking his first few classes. Don told me the last time he’d worked with clay was back in 1969 while in high school and felt it would be nice to get back into it. On this particular day he had four new pieces to place on the ‘work in progress’ shelves. I asked Eugenio how he came to select a sea turtle to be the decorative element on his pot. He said he’s always been interested in the sea turtles that populate the area and supports the Flagler Beach Sea Turtle Patrol. He discovered Down to Earth pottery when he saw her sign from A1A as he drove by. An interesting side note is that Eugenio graduated from the University of Maryland aka ‘The Terrapins’. Methinks his affection for this noble sea creature goes way back. Joy was busy working on hand building some jewelry pieces out of clay. She likes to create her art mostly for friends and family. Joy found out about Down to Earth pottery when she spoke with a potter that sells their wares at the Flagler Beach Farmer’s Market, who told her she should come check out Heather’s shop.


11-Student Don throwing on the wheel. Down to Earth pottery.


12-Student Joy creating hand-built jewelry (Eugenio in mirror’s reflection). Down to Earth Pottery.


13-Student Eugenio planning his design before painting it on his pot (Joy Reflected in the mirror). Down to Earth Pottery.

A little bit about Heather-shop owner of Down to Earth Pottery

Heather is originally from New Jersey, where she got her degree in Commercial Art. She spent twenty-five years in the corporate world working as a graphic designer for a printing company in New Jersey. An opportunity arose that brought her to New Mexico to study pottery on an Indian Reservation. Now that’s what I call ‘Immersion Therapy!’ She spent a couple of years there honing her craft. She worked out of a home studio and sold her creations at shows and on Etsy.

Excerpt from Heather’s Etsy bio in her own words… “I have been throwing pottery for 30 years, oh man that long! My college degree is in commercial art which I did corporately for 25 years. I started to throw and handbuild pottery in high school and continued to take classes and get into a studio whenever I could find time and money. In 2006 I took the leap of faith and gave up my 9-5 steady paycheck to pursue the craft I truly loved. I didn’t do it alone by any means! I had plenty of support from my friends and family. I opened Down To Earth Pottery and have been perfecting my style ever since. All my pottery is a unique functional work of art that I hope you will enjoy.”
I asked Heather how she came to choose Flagler Beach for her shop. She said that her parents had moved here about five years ago and during the course of several visits she became a regular visitor to the beach. It was a long held dream to one day open a shop that overlooked the sea. I, for one, am so glad she has brought that dream to fruition! Flagler Beach is lucky to have her!


14-Heather Wales-owner of Down to Earth pottery-unloading the kiln!

I really hope you will get a chance to visit Heather in her studio! If you’d like more information please visit Heather’s web site. Or you can email her.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed!