Free Money!

We started walking a few years ago while we were still living on St. Croix and the last chick was still in the nest.

One time Veronica looked down on the side of the road and, lo and behold, a five was laying there. A few more steps and there was a… CONTINUE READING >>

David Writes

We started walking a few years ago while we were still living on St. Croix and the last chick was still in the nest. A lot of our planning for the post child raising years was done while ambulating along the roads and shores of that beautiful island.

Luckily we lived in an area where we could walk to stores or the post office. I even walked to work. It was good for us and good for our relationship. We also inadvertently stumbled upon something else.

One day while we were walking to the grocery store, Veronica looked down on the side of the road and, lo and behold, a five was laying there. A few more steps and there was a twenty!

Here’s the deal, once you spot money laying around, you automatically look for more. Needless to say, we haven’t been finding twenties, or even fives or ones on the shoulder everyday, but coins are almost always around.

We got in the habit of looking while we walked. Theories developed. Where were the best places to find this lost cash?

— Parking lots. Outside of grocery stores and quick marts are usually good. Change seems to fall out when keys are removed. The parking lot of a bar the morning after a big night is a really happy hunting ground. Crocked customers either don’t notice or don’t care when coins fall from their pockets. While we appreciate their donations, next time call a cab, nimrod.

— The side of the road. Like the $25 Veronica found, it seems that money sometimes accompanies litter out the window of some slob tossing crap out of his car. Thanks, but no thanks, dude. Next time try keeping that Burger King sack inside your ’88 POS where it belongs, OK?

— After the snow melts. Coins have an uncanny ability to disappear through the snow when dropped, so hunting while the ground is covered is futile. However, once the snow melts, viola, several weeks or even months worth of money ready for the gathering. Cold hard cash.

— Look around vending machines, especially under them (that’s right, we have no shame). Repeat after me: “I will never see that person who is laughing at me again AND I just found two quarters.” Checking pride at the door is pretty much a prerequisite when digging nickels out of the gutter.

Since embarking on our empty nest travels around the mainland, we have learned a few more things about scouring the streets for cash.

Tourist areas, amusement parks and the like can be good, but New York City is a terrible place to look. My theory is that any loose funds get scooped up long before some wandering GypsyNester can get their mitts on them.

We haven’t had much luck picking up stray Euros in Europe either.

These days we have taken to riding bicycles more often. Fear not, rogue riches can be spotted while pedaling along too. Yes we will stop, even turn around and go back, for a shiny circle of coinage in the road. Sometimes it’s just a bottle cap but more often Washington, Jefferson, F.D.R. or Honest Abe are looking up at us waiting to be picked up.

The more we looked, the more I got to thinking, how much of this abandoned abundance is out there? Let’s do a little simple math, shall we? I promise this won’t hurt (trust me, if it was some sort of intense algebraic equation, I never would have come up with it).

There are over 300 million people living in the USA right now, if each one of them has dropped at least a dime somewhere then there would be about thirty million dollars laying around. Wait, what? 30 million? Yup.

300,000,000 people x $ .10 = $ 30,000,000

That’s right 30 million dollars! Probably more since a dime each seems pretty conservative to me. Still, eliminating couch cushions and car floors, washing machines and behind the dresser, I’d still confidently go with THIRTY MILLION DOLLARS scattered about the sidewalks, byways and parking lots of America.

That’s a lot of dough. Now if we could figure out how to find it more than 27 cents at a time.

UPDATE: Click here to find out what happened when we found $100 on the side of the road! Our current record!

David, GypsyNester.com

From Sea to Shining Sea on St. Michael’s Way

It’s not every day that we can walk from coast to coast so the prospect was pretty exciting to us. The feat could be accomplished by following St. Michael’s Way traversing England’s South West Peninsula. In addition to allowing us to cover an entire landmass, the trail afforded us the opportunity to… CONTINUE READING  

A big thank you to Country Walkers for providing this adventure, as always, all opinions are our own.

It’s not every day that we can walk from coast to coast. Granted, traversing England’s South West Peninsula isn’t exactly like crossing a continent, but the prospect was pretty exciting to us.

The feat could be accomplished by following St. Michael’s Way from St. Ives to St Michael’s Mount.

In addition to allowing us to cover an entire landmass, the trail afforded us the opportunity to revisit the Camino de Santiago. The Way became a section of the trans-European pilgrimage path because pilgrims coming from Ireland chose to walk across Cornwall rather than brave the treacherous waters that faced them by sailing around Land’s End at the far western end of England.

We set out from Cardis Bay and climbed about a mile to the first landmark along the way, Knill’s Steeple.  This 50ft granite obelisk is a self-styled tribute that John Knill, the eccentric mayor of St Ives, built to himself back in 1782.

His idea was to be buried beneath it, but he messed up the memorial by going off and dying in London, so he is interred there.

Yet this didn’t keep his legacy from living on at the monument, because he left an endowment in his will to fund an odd celebration every five years, which continues to this day.

Every fifth St James Day, on 25th of July, the current mayor of St. Ives, a vicar, two widows in black, a fiddler, and ten young girls dressed in white dance their way up to the shrine, followed by a gala dinner.

We missed the big doings, but the next one is set for 2021. One thing we didn’t miss was the celebratory view of the Cornish coast from the summit of Worvas hill.

We continued upward on our way to the top of Cornwall, Trencrom Hill, the only place in the county where both coasts are visible, the Celtic Sea on our north to the English Channel on the south.

This apex was used as a hillfort in the Iron Age, and it is easy to see why. There is no way any intruders could sneak up.

The hill was also said to home to the giant Trecobben, which explains the preponderance of boulders strewn about the area.

Supposedly, he and his giant pal Cormoran, who resided on St Michael’s Mount, liked to toss huge rocks back and forth to each other in a giant game of catch.

Descending, we dodged rocks until we entered a stretch of farm fields, then made our way along stone fences and hedges before crossing a brook and into some woods.

Breaking out of the thick forest, we came to the town of Ludgvan and its church dedicated to Saint Ludowanus.

Like pilgrims going back to the 15th century, we had been following its tower for the last few miles. There is even an ancient carving above the doorway that may or may not be of an early traveler.

After looking inside and wandering through the graveyard, we stopped in next door at the White Hart Inn. This old roadhouse has hundreds of years of history and bills itself as a classic Cornish pub.

As the only place providing sustenance along the twelve miles we would walk of the Way, we could hardly pass it up. Charmed by the quaint interior, and refreshed by a quick bite and a pint, we’d say it lived up to its billing.

All that lay between us and our destination at that point was the Marazion Marsh, so we waded in.  This nature reserve has one of Cornwall’s largest reed beds and is an important refuge for breeding and migrating birds.

For us it was yet another interesting change of scenery before we reached the shore and came face to face with St Michael’s Mount.

As we walked along the beach in the town of Marazion, the mountain stood as an island about a half a mile offshore, yet we could walk there to finish our journey.

That is because the tides in this area can run as much as twenty feet, and when it is out the mount sits on dry land, easily accessible by a cobblestone foot path.

We had seen it in pictures, but with the sun going down we would have to wait until morning to make the last few hundred yards of our trek.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

See more from our Cornwall walking tour here.

East Coast Vacation Destinations

With the summer travel season upon us, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at some options for a getaway along the eastern seaboard. We also figured we should share an easy way we’ve found to save some dough… CONTINUE READING >> 

With the summer travel season upon us, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at some options for a getaway along the eastern seaboard. We also figured we should share an easy way we’ve found to save some dough when searching for a hotel for the trip.

So let’s pack our bags and get ready for an adventure.

What Better Place to Start Than Washington, DC? 

Finding great hotels in the heart of Washington, D.C., means more time to check out all the monuments, museums, and memorials around the Mall. Even better, no worries about driving or parking gave us more freedom to explore.

We found that a great way to see the best of what Washington has to offer is to rent bikes and ride. Several rental services are available, including one at the newly refurbished Union Station. This impressive train depot was once the largest in the world and is certainly worth a visit.

From the station, extremely bike-friendly paths lead along both sides of the Mall. This made riding from the Capitol Building, past the Washington Monument, all the way to the Lincoln Memorial as easy as 1-2-3. And by the end of the day, we still had plenty of energy for exploring after dark.

Let Freedom Ring in Philadelphia


Veronica shows off the lesser-known uncracked side of the Liberty Bell!

The City of Brotherly Love can undoubtedly lay claim to being the birthplace of our republic. Within a few blocks of the Liberty Bell, we found site after site so steeped in history that it made our heads spin. No wonder Philadelphia was named the first World Heritage City in the U.S.

First and foremost would be Independence Hall, where the Continental Congress met and where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were adopted and approved. Then, only steps away, we found Library Hall, the home of the country’s first lending library, the Library Company of Philadelphia.

Ben Franklin was instrumental in creating that library, so our obvious next stop was Franklin Court, where we visited his print shop, post office, and home. Afterward, we paid our respects to the remarkable inventor and patriot just up the street at the Christ Church Burial Ground.

When supper time rolled around, the City Tavern kept us in the colonial spirit. The classic tavern is where Thomas Jefferson did much of his work while writing the Declaration of Independence. Revolutionary-era recipes are followed to a tee for a true taste of eating like a founding father.

Best of all, there’s no worries about transportation because plenty of great hotels are located right in Philadelphia’s Historic District, making for an easy walk to all the attractions.

Fun in the Sun in Ocean City


Image via Flickr by SPakhrin

It might just be our patriotic duty to go to the beach, and there might not be a better place for that than Ocean City, Maryland. All we have to do is choose a beachfront hotel in Ocean City and settle in for a good old-fashioned seaside vacation.

The focus is more on fun than on America’s foundation, but there is history here, too. The classic boardwalk dates back well over 100 years and is consistently named as one of the best in the country.

Perhaps the most famous attraction in Ocean City, Trimper’s Rides has also been entertaining visitors since the early 1900s, and the amusement park features one of the oldest operating carousels in the world.

For those seeking a bit more excitement, Jolly Roger has two theme parks in Ocean City that feature the more gut-wrenching … um, shall we say thrilling rides, but are best known for their giant Ferris wheels that provide great views of the entire beach and boardwalk.

Choices like these cause us to think a reversal of Horace Greeley’s famous phrase is in order. We would advise everyone to “Go East, Young Man” this summer.

We are happy to feature this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.

Come With Us to Cornwall

Join us LIVE all week on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Thanks to the folks at Country Walkers, we are on our way to England for a self-guided tour of the rugged seaside landscapes of Cornwall.

CONTINUE READING >> 

Join us LIVE all week on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Thanks to the folks at Country Walkers, we are on our way to England for a self-guided walking tour of the rugged seaside landscapes of Cornwall.

Fear not, self-guided doesn’t mean that we will be left to fend for ourselves.  Every aspect of the trip has been carefully planned and detailed maps with route notes ensure that we’ll always find our way.

While we are following these comprehensive itineraries, seamless luggage transfers will whisk our bags from hotel to hotel. Even many of the meals are included, making it so easy to Explore the World One Step at a Time®.

By being able to go on our own we can set our perfect pace, hiking harder when we feel rough and ready, or lingering longer when the spirit moves us.

We will be hiking along England’s longest marked walking route, the famous South West Coast Path.

At over six hundred miles, we can’t possibly cover it all, (OK, it might be possible but we’d rather not commit an entire year to the trek) so our week-long adventure will focus on a portion in Cornwall.

This Cornish quest begins in the fishing port of Padstow, where we expect to work up an appetite for its some of famous, fresh seafood.

Next, we will explore the beaches of St. Ives, where unexpected palm trees give the beach a Mediterranean feel.

We finish our excursion at St. Michael’s Mount near Penzance. Pirates or not, we will be checking out the 12th-century monastery and castle that rises out of the sea just off the coast. Our timing has to be good, because it is only accessible by a narrow cobblestone path that rises above water at low tide.

Beginning June 5th, and throughout the journey, we will be keeping everyone abreast of our discoveries and antics on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, so be sure to check in often.

Then, after we return we will be posting in depth stories detailing every step along the way.

So come with us as we discover the invigorating and intriguing pleasures of Cornwall while exploring it the most intimate way possible, on foot.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

Join us LIVE all week on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Read all about the Country Walkers Cornwall tour here.

Orlando All Grown Up

We’ve got nothing against theme parks. In fact, we happily took our kids to Orlando for an exhilarating visit to Disney World and Epcot years ago and had a fantastic family vacation, but our memories are mostly of tiny hands excitedly pulling us from one wild ride to the next.

Now that they are all grown up and on their own, we have the opportunity to explore the city at a more relaxing pace and see the more adult side of …

CONTINUE READING >> 

We’ve got nothing against theme parks. In fact, we happily took our kids to Orlando for an exhilarating visit to Disney World and Epcot years ago and had a fantastic family vacation, but our memories are mostly of tiny hands excitedly pulling us from one wild ride to the next.

Now that they are all grown up and on their own, we have the opportunity to explore the city at a more relaxing pace and see the more adult side of things. So, as Petula Clark sang long ago, downtown is the place to be.


Image via Flickr by WalterPro

A great place to start is the Church Street Station in the center of town. This former South Florida Railroad terminal, circa 1889, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and now serves as home to SunRail commuter trains and a hub for dining and nightlife.

Instead of corndogs and cotton candy we can indulge in Orlando’s thriving foodie scene. Within a few blocks of the old depot there is a collection of culinary choices ranging from home-style to health conscious, and everything in between. It is possible to take an epicurean journey of gourmet burgers or steaks from America, to sushi in Japan, tapas from Spain, or Spätzle, Schnitzel, and Bratwurst for a German flavor.


Image via Flickr by mattkaiser77

After dinner, dozens of nightclubs await within an easy walk. Or it is just a few steps over to The Amway Center where the NBA Orlando Magic work their wizardry on the hardwood during the basketball season, and concerts and shows are featured year ‘round.

Perhaps our favorite discovery was just how bike friendly the city is. There are hundreds of miles of bicycle lanes and pathways throughout the urban area. Even in the heart of the city, two wheeled transportation is a good option.

For us, the rail trails that incorporate old railroad right of ways are ideal and there are several to choose from around town. These are always fairly level and make for a relaxing day of cycling.

Winding its way past six lakes, the Orlando Urban Trail links downtown with the Mead Botanical Gardens in Winter Park. Named for the renowned horticulturist Theodore L. Mead, for seventy five years the gardens have been a great place to stop and smell the flowers or spot butterflies.

At Highland Lake the Cady Way Trail splits off and heads east to Lake Druid Park. The park is home to Orlando’s first mountain bike park, but as much as we love our mountain bikes the motocross style dirt track and jumps are a bit more of a challenge than we like to tackle.

From there the trail follows the abandoned roadbed of the defunct East Florida & Atlantic Railroad north for several miles, with a shopping stop at the Fashion Square Mall on its way up to Baldwin Park.

A few miles northwest of downtown the West Orange Trail passes a number of historic homes and introduced us to Lake Apopka. These wetlands have had more species of birds spotted than anywhere else in Florida. Over three hundred and sixty so far… and still counting.

After biking our brains out, a trip back to the center of the city to replenish our energy was certainly in order. Over a meal we recount our memories of Orlando both old and new, and compare the enjoyment of our adult adventure with the fun the kids had way back when and found it hard to say which was better.

Maybe we’ll be back with our grandkids for some more research.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

We are happy to feature this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.