Ginormous Stuff Photo Gallery

We love us some BIG stuff! Check out  what the world has to offer!

Got one you want to share? Leave a comment  or e-mail us at info@gypsynester.com

CLICK TO SEE MORE >>

We love us some BIG stuff! Check out  what the world has to offer!

Got one you want to share? Leave a comment  or e-mail us at info@gypsynester.com

CLICK TO SEE MORE >>

25 in St. Martin

Jet wash on the beach in St. Martin

Sometimes a split personality isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In the case of St. Martin, the schizophrenia can be crazy, but hey, crazy can be good. Sint Maarten/Saint Martin is the smallest island in the world that is governed by dual sovereign states, divided nearly equally… CONTINUE READING >>

Sometimes a split personality isn’’t necessarily a bad thing. In the case of St. Martin, the schizophrenia can be crazy, but hey, crazy can be good.

Sint Maarten/Saint Martin is the smallest island in the world that is governed by dual sovereign states, divided nearly equally between
France and the Netherlands. While certainly Caribbean, the old world character traits have remained uniquely preserved.

The French side is laid back, but intense about fine cuisine while the Dutch side is fun-loving and focused on nightlife.

It’s like a miniature tour of northern Europe. Add the numerous other little islands so close that you can see everyday life on them and it’s an inspiring place for a GyspyNester.

We were literally itching with the exploration bug. But exploring the neighboring isles would have to wait for another time. This visit was a celebration of just 25 hours. One for each year of our marriage.

We checked into our hotel on the Dutch side, a huge complex of high-rise rooms, swimming pools, eateries and a few too many love-handled speedo guys. Not exactly our cup of tea, but very posh and a befitting change of pace for our celebration.

Usually we try to stay a bit lower to the ground. After sundown, we hailed a cab and headed out for Grand Case on the French side—with our taxi driver Matt at the helm.

Matt’ is the man—! A veritable treasure trove of local information. He answered all of our queries with humor and honesty. We found out gas is cheaper on the French side, but is too “light” (low octane) for his taxi.

We were also heartened to learn that we could ship one of our daughters to the French side, doll her up and have her find a nice man. Once they are married, she can hen-peck him until they move themselves and our beautiful grandchildren to Paris and buy a villa with a guest room for us.

Find Matt when you visit, he’s a true artist, a chuckhole dodging Botticelli, a master. He knows stuff.

The border between the two countries of the island is in a fairly remote area—the best way to tell that you’ve crossed over is that the road immediately changes from a typical tropical island pothole laden mess on the Dutch side to icy smooth on the French side. No gates, no guards, no problem.

With our back-roads tour of the island behind us, (Matt knows the short cuts) we arrived at the little French village of Grand Case. A goal of ours is to moor a boat off the shore of this wonderful little area and proceed to gain 20 pounds. There were so many wonderful restaurants packed into the quaint, narrow streets it is a Herculean effort to choose just one. But, alas, we had just the one evening.

We decided on L’Auberge Gourmande, a lovely gem among a glittering tiara of deliciousness. Highlights were a epic scallop swimming in an
asparagus soup, monk fish with wasabi mashed potatoes, and an amazing array of chocolate for dessert—white mousse and hot baked fondant.

If you looked up hot baked fondant in the dictionary, it would read “Molten chocolate cake with orgasmic properties.” Each plate had those wonderful French touches—a flower of caramelized shallots, dots and dashes of sauces and spices, and pools of butter, butter, butter. A bottle of Pinot Gris, “Les Maquisards” Domaines du Château de Riquewihr, created a nice counterpoint to the nose-stinging wasabi.

After coffee Matt was waiting for us, as advertised, and we headed back to the Dutch side to wander the pleasantly garish Maho Bay area of neon, casinos and entertainment galore.

The next morning we took a stroll (note that we didn’t say romantic stroll) along Tortuga Beach, and spent some time dodging aircraft. Tortuga beach is directly under the flight path of landing aircraft.

It’s a constant barrage. The beach is literally the last thing a pilot sees before the beginning of the runway.

Before we are judged too harshly, we are fully aware how cheesy this touristy diversion is but the cheesiness is totally beaten down by the sheer awesomeness of it.

Here’s how it’s done: Lay on the warm, white Caribbean sand, position yourself under a jumbo jet filled with Canadian tourists and get doused with waves whipped up by the jet wash. Try it sometime — then dare to judge us.

Here’s hoping that every one of our anniversaries will include a rush like this. Next year, who knows?

But no doubt we’ll find a way to fill those 26 hours no matter where we are.

David & Veronica,
GypsyNester.com

Under Sea St. Croix

Like an iceberg in the tropics, only the tip of St. Croix is visible above the surface. To truly experience what the island has to offer one must look below the water line.

We returned to the island during the holidays and from previous trips were prepared to be flexible as the Christmas Winds are usually ablowin’. These annual “Jesus Breezes” produce high seas that make the water murky and boat rides stomach churning. Patience will pay. Just wait a day or two, there is there is always perfect water weather within any week’s span.

Buck Island National Park with… CONTINUE READING >>


Hawksbill Turtle under the waters of St. Croix

Like an iceberg in the tropics, only the tip of St. Croix is visible above the surface.

To truly experience what the island has to offer one must look below the water line.

We returned to the island during the holidays and from previous trips were prepared to be flexible as the Christmas Winds are usually ablowin’.

These annual “Jesus Breezes” produce high seas that make the water murky and boat rides stomach churning. Patience will pay. Just wait a day or two, there is always perfect water weather within any week’s span.

Buck Island National Park with its celebrated beach and spectacular snorkeling trail through the beautiful Elk Horn Coral Barrier Reef is no doubt St. Croix‘s most famous underwater attraction.

There are many boats that offer wonderful day trips where even beginners may join rays, barracuda and a school of hundreds of blue tang as they dance in and out of perhaps the Caribbean’s most impressive reef.

On the downside, the trip will be spent with forty other sun burnt, seasick tourists crammed on a sailboat and all elbows and fins in the water. We prefer just our own elbows and fins.
Captain Paul aboard Muzik on Great Salt Bay

Being the type to travel low to the ground, we were elated to find Captain Paul’s Water Drop Tours. Paul specializes in eco-friendly, personalized tours geared towards his client’s interests and abilities aboard the skiff Muzik.

Born and bred on St. Croix, Captain Paul knows his island and its treasures intimately and his little boat can launch on almost any beach making every part of the island accessible.

He’’ll introduce you to fantastic places you’ll never see in the guidebooks and you’ll probably have them all to yourselves. Bliss.

Considering the weather Mother Nature provided for our day, Captain Paul recommended a two hour snorkeling trip around the reef in Great Pond Bay. We were provided with fantastic snorkeling gear–a real treat–not the standard leaky masks and floppity fins usually pawned off on the tourists.

An octopus feasts on a clam St. Croix

In the water Paul has a jeweler’s eye for sea life. He quickly led us to an octopus in his garden munching on a clam dinner.

Veronica, a decent free diver and photographer, found she couldn’’t do both at once.

She was stunned as Captain Paul swam to the bottom without the benefit of fins, grabbed onto a rock to hold himself under and snapped a couple of brilliant pictures of the feasting cephalopod.

We spotted a four foot long hawksbill resting on the sandy bottom all by ourselves–what an eye!

The turtle tolerated our hovering around him for several minutes as we ooohed and ahhhed though our snorkels and then he darted off into the reef.

There are three types of turtles in the waters around St. Croix–the hawksbill is most common–but with a bit of luck the rare green sea turtle and the giant leatherback are sometimes encountered.

In the late spring the St. Croix Environmental Association hosts turtle watches where the endangered leatherbacks can be seen laying their eggs on the beach. A once in a lifetime experience.

St. Croix under water scene

Being a boat person is not necessary to enjoy the depths. Tamarind Reef is the best Cruzan destination for off-the-beach snorkeling that we’ve found. Just rent gear from the little beach shack and wade in.

Easy for the beginner but with plenty of room for the more experienced diver to explore out into the deeper waters.

Floats anchored along the way for resting are a really nice touch, especially on the swim back against the current. Colorful sea fans wave gracefully under the waves, spiny lobsters hide in the holes and overhangs while urchins dot the rocks among the giant brain coral.

Octopi, lobsters, turtles, rays and barracudas aside, the real serenity of island time underwater is dreamily swimming among the little colorful tropical fish. It’s like being on the inside of your dentist’s office aquarium.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

The Black Forest Bear Park, Helen, Georgia

Black Forest Bear Park, Helen Georgia While it was interesting, and likely the only chance we’ll ever get to feed a full grown grizzly, there was an overall pitiful air to the place.

In their defense, the park has rescued orphaned and injured wild… CONTINUE READING >>

Note: We’ve been notified that this “attraction” has closed.
Black Forest Bear Park, Helen Georgia

After forking over five dollars each, we were told about the different types of bears in the “park,” black, Asian, cinnamon and even grizzlies, then were pointed in the direction of some stairs.

At the top there were plates of apples and bread for feeding the bears, one dollar each please. We grabbed one and walked over to look down into the bear enclosures.

This was hardly a park, bunker would be a better term.


lack Forest Bear Park, Helen GeorgiaWhile it was interesting, and likely the only chance we’ll ever get to feed a full grown grizzly, there was an overall pitiful air to the place.

In their defense, the park has rescued orphaned and injured wild bears, and the animals seem well cared for, but seeing these massive creatures confined to concrete cells and reduced to begging tourists for a morsel of food didn’t feel too good.

And it certainly didn’t conjure up any visions of Germany’s famous Schwartzwald.

Black Forest Bear Park, Helen Georgia

Black Forest Bear Park, Helen Georgia

Bear food at lack Forest Bear Park, Helen Georgia

lack Forest Bear Park, Helen Georgia

lack Forest Bear Park, Helen Georgia

lack Forest Bear Park, Helen Georgia

lack Forest Bear Park, Helen Georgia

The Black Forest Bear Park is located in the beautiful and surprisingly Germanic town of Helen, Georgia. For more on Helen: http://www.gypsynester.com/helen.htm

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

YOUR TURN: Would these bears be better off in the wild or in this park with all of their needs met? What do you think?

Sign Language – I Love NY

This sign was found outside a posh shop in Manhattan. Not exactly something you would see in say, Sheboygan.

The best part?… CONTINUE READING >>

Oh my.

This sign was found outside a posh shop in Manhattan. Not exactly something you would see in say, Sheboygan.

The best part? He sat down at his computer, chose a font, laid it out nicely and nestled it into a protective sleeve to save it from the elements.

BRA-VO pissed off New York City bike dude!

More on our New York antics! http://www.gypsynester.com/?tag=new-york

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com