Week in Review – From the Blogosphere #1

The world wide web has become a virtual hotbed of fantastic travel writing.  And with so much great writing available almost daily, we thought it a good idea to start a new feature.  We’ll try and grab a few snippits of some of our favorites from the week that was and feature them here.  While not totally comprehensive, it shall serve as a brief compilation of our favorite blogs from this past week.

We follow several bloggers who write about their travels and experiences throughout the Caribbean.  Highlights, lowlights, travel recommendations, and a few Dos and Don’ts.  Perhaps you’ll pick up on a few of our favorites and join us as we learn more about the world beyond our shores.  Here are a few highlights from the week that was!

Our friend Ryan at the Caribbean Escape Blog started us off with this little musical interlude.  Island Style By John Cruz with Jack Johnson & Jackson Browne!

Island Style By John Cruz ,Jack Johnson, & Jackson Browne

Wendy over at Irie Time posted a great photo essay featuring her favorite Beach Bars.
Enjoy our Favorite Beach Bars!

My Irie Time!

Patrick Bennett from Uncommon Caribbean wrote a great post about the August Monday celebration in Anguilla.  Makes us ready to pack our bags!

August Monday On Anguilla from Uncommon Caribbean

Many of us will remember the nerves and excitement of our first flight as a moment frozen in time.  Elizabeth Seward details her memories and tells us How Travel Helped Her Grow.

And this beautiful pictorial just in from Jules on the Water featuring the Colors of St. Martin.

Jules on the Water

Live the Life,

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Fletcher Morton -A Pirate Looks At… 10!

Some time ago my son introduced me to a talented young musician he thought I should give a listen to.  Now it’s a fact that he and I don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to our musical tastes, so I proceeded with a little trepidation.  But on this one, he was dead on!

I don’t profess to be a musical expert by any stretch of the imagination, but as a misplaced Beach Bum, I have come to love the sounds of today’s Trop Rockers, and really just about anything with an island vibe.  So when he told me the musician was a 10-year old kid, who played Jimmy Buffet favorites, I thought it was at least worth a listen.  And boy was I glad I did.

The video he forwarded was a short clip of young Fletcher Morton kicking back and playing

Fletcher Morton

a little Jimmy Buffett with a group of musicians in a local guitar shop.  Fletcher is in many ways a typical young boy, but with an atypical talent.  Small in stature, but big in style, this young musician really enjoys playing music, and it shows in each line he sings.

Recently we had the opportunity to see Fletcher play at the Rum Barrel in Key West.  A good sized crowd had gathered for the nightly entertainment, not knowing the special guest musician for the night.  Fletcher wowed the crowd, and as you’ll see, really enjoyed himself in the process.  We had the opportunity to interview Fletcher, and to get his thoughts about music, flying, and life in general.  Here is what he shared with us:

IAT.   When did you first become interested in music? 
FM.  I have always loved music, but I first became interested in playing guitar when I was 7 years old.

IAT.  Do you come from a musical family?
FM.  My mom plays the mandolin, my dad plays brass instruments, and both of my uncles play guitar.

IAT.  Who are some of your favorite artists?
FM.  The Beatles, The Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley, B.B. King, Bruce Hornsby, The Allman Brothers, Styx , Bing Crosby, Carlos Santana, Pink Floyd, and Eric Clapton.

IAT.  Tell me a little about your musical training, do you take lessons? 
FM.  I have taken lessons from our friends David Keith and Jim Liberato, and I jam with them whenever I get the chance.

IAT.  Is that a six-string Martin that we see you playing?  Tell us about your first guitar. 
FM.  Yes it is.  A Little Martin LX1E. My very generous Grandpa bought it for me for Christmas a couple years ago. My mom and dad bought me my first guitar which was a six string acoustic made by First Act.

IAT.  What type of music is on your iPod?  Who are your favorites?
FM.  I like classic rock, blues, & tropical rock.  My favorites are Carlos Santana, Jimmy Buffett, Pink Floyd, and B.B. King.

IAT.  What other hobbies or interests do you have outside of music?
FM.  I like flying airplanes, acting and dancing.

IAT.  How does Fletcher Morton like to spend his weekends? 
FM.  I like to spend my weekends playing with my friends, playing with my dog, Sam, going to the beach, taking flight lessons, going to playgrounds and spending time with my mom and dad.

Fletcher playing at The Rum Barrel in Key West

IAT.  Tell us about playing at The Rum Barrel during MOTM.  Did you enjoy that evening?
FM.  It was great! I loved listening to all the other musicians and making the audience happy with my performance.  It was great meeting ya’ll in Key West (too).

IAT.  Do you ever get the chance to play with other musicians?  What other artist would you like to play with? 
FM.  I once had an opening gig for Scott Kirby and played his song ‘It’s All About The Girl’.  I’d like to play with The Eagles and Jimmy Buffett some day.

IAT. Have you ever tried to write your own music?
FM.  I have written my own original song called ‘I Like Earth The Way It Is’.  It’s about a space alien from Venus who comes to Earth to explore our planet.

IAT. I know you have several years to plan, but what would you like to do in the future? 
FM.  I want to be a pilot, an actor and dancer, and a rock star.

IAT. How can people find out where you’re playing? 
FM.  My parents post my gigs on my FaceBook page at FletcherMorton

Listen and enjoy as this short video clip we shot of 10-year old Fletcher as he sings and plays Jimmy Buffet’s “A Pirate Looks at 40″.

Currently Fletcher is taking flying lessons and would some day like to obtain his own Pilot’s License.   He’s sounding more and more like Jimmy every day!  Good Luck Fletcher, we hope to hear more about you in the years to come.

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Four Days With the Parrot… (Heads)

Sometimes travel discoveries can be like gifts of the coming holiday season, unexpected.  Shake a box, tear a ribbon, shed some discounted paper, and voila, lookey what I found!  A recent experience provided just such a welcome surprise to this road-weary soul.

This past summer we were contacted and invited to participate as a vendor in the Mini Mart at the 20th Annual Meeting of the Minds, Parrotheads in Paradise convention in Key West, Florida. The title alone had me seeking the refuge of a nearby hammock!  We thought “that seems like a great opportunity, and surely a fun week on the island”.  But what followed turned out to be so much more than we’d anticipated.

Fins to the Left

We found ourselves pulling into Key West at the conclusion of a 13-day, and 4-island tour around the northern Caribbean.  We were physically exhausted and hoping we could do this show while sleeping on our feet.  This was our first exposure to KW and the Parrothead Convention, so we really didn’t know what to expect.  Well, we’ve shed that paper and bow, popped the lid, and now we’re ready to Show and Tell the contents of that bountiful box!

First and Foremost, Parrotheads are a Hoot!  These people

Another Happy Parrothead

love to have a good time!  Immediately upon arrival we discovered the crowd of faithful, adorned in some of the most colorful, tropical costumes and apparel that one could imagine.  Surely these were thrift store refugees, no one would actually pay good money for this stuff… right?  I suspect that most possess a more subdued wardrobe during their normal nine-to-five existence. Here however, they were decked out like a 64-count Crayola box.  While many appeared to be at or nearing their golden years, it was clear was they were not yet ready to retire from life.

The Parrotheads, as a group, are frequently engaged in many worthy philanthropic causes. And it’s commendable, that even this week centers around their charitable interests.  But make no mistake, Parrotheads Love Music!  This week also centered around some of the best Trop Rock music assembled.  You can stop in at almost any resort, bar, or restaurant, at any time day or night, and you are sure to find some really great live music.  We met some great young artists, more about that in a future post, but almost from the time we arrived the rumors began to fly.  By the second day the crowd was in a “fins” feeding frenzy, when the biggest name in the Parrothead vocabulary, Jimmy Buffett, made a surprise appearance and performed a free concert at the Street Fair.  They really should widen Duval Street!

Jimmy Buffett at Duval Street Festival

We also discovered quite simply that, Parrotheads are Awesome People!  Everywhere we turned people were one sunburned grin from ear to ear.  This has to be one of the friendliest groups of people we had ever encountered.  One of the highlights of the week for us was the many new friends we made along the way. We had the good fortune of being situated adjacent to the Living Like A Pirate booth. Captain Dave and Cris were the consummate helpers for this newbie vendor, and provided a lot of laughs along the way. We also had the good fortune of meeting Tiki Doug, and the gang from Life’s A Beach.

Our final discovery was that Parrotheads Have Great Taste!  The host hotel for the week of activities was the Casa Marina Resort and it could not have been better prepared and presented.

by Casa Marina Resort

Situated on a beautiful stretch of soft white sand, the resort features two spectacular pools, and stunning grounds that served well as the backdrop for the nearly non-stop concerts on the beach.  The staff was accommodating to a fault, and I’m not really sure how they did it, but even the weather was perfect the entire week.  What a great facility, for such a great event.

Unexpectedly, this box was packed full of goodies that we hadn’t anticipated.  And if that’s any indication of what the future holds, we can hardly wait to see what’s in our stockings!

Live the Life,

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