Time Outs

Years ago I traveled with my dear friends Susan and Pam to Europe. Our itinerary included flying to Paris, taking the Chunnel to London and then up to Scotland. As we were visiting three countries, we thought we’d divide and conquer in our research. Paris pour moi, Susan covered London, and Pam willingly took Scotland. Susan and I labored over a variety of travel books and guides to plan our itineraries.

Pam? Well, she simply photocopied pages from Frommer’s with all of the best “Time Outs.” As in, best places to catch a pint, like the Theatre Royal Bar in Edinburgh or the Keys Bar in St. Andrews.

Ever since, I’ve learned that one can plan all you want for a trip, but sometimes the best times come from taking Time Out.

Here are a few of my favorites as we wrapped our travels in Hilton Head and made our way to Amelia Island and Jacksonville.

Taking Time Out with new and old friends

We had such great adventures with our newfound Hilton Head friends, Chuck and Dyan. This fun full-timing duo (as in their motorhome is their home!) introduced us to some great margaritas, a family-owned awesome movie theater, and biking on Coligny Beach with lunch to follow. If they had it their way, we’d buy the lot across from them in the Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort. We were tempted!


Once we shifted to Jax, we got together on several occasions with Toledo area friends Steve and Marcia Boice and Bill and Ann Searles. Sadly I didn’t get any pics of us golfing, lunching or enjoying dinner at Palms Fish Camp, but trust me, time with this fun group was a blessing indeed. After playing Long Pointe on Amelia Island, I was tempted to winter there permanently too.

We were treated to dinner at TPC Sawgrass by our friends Mark Cohen and Janis Saunier. It was a beautiful evening and enjoyed meeting their newest addition, little puppy Pepper. Again, no pictures, just memories in our hearts.

Time Out in nature

There is nothing like the simple sound of paddle hitting water. Since we made the commitment of hauling our kayaks with us, we are determined to use them on as many waterways as possible. One this segment of the trip, we’ve hit Broad Creek and the grasslands around Hilton Head Island, the marshland off the Kayak Amelia Island access point, and the St. John’s River in Jacksonville.

Luna loves roaming the beach off leash, and we took her a number of times in Hilton Head. Bonus is a sunset beach walk.

Time in nature resets my soul.

Time Out with Family

I couldn’t wait to hit Jacksonville and spend time with my brother Jeff, sister-in-law Cindy, niece Corrie, niece Shellie and her husband, Michael, and their adorable four-month old McKenzie Claire.

Our daughter Kyle was even able to drive down from Atlanta to spend a weekend with us.

We all enjoyed snuggles with McKenzie and gang!

We had dinners out, dinners in, played Rummikub, watched the Jags win their Wild Card playoff game, and just enjoyed the many memorable moments together.

One of my favorite activities was to help remove the Christmas wreaths that were placed on the 23,000 graves in the Jacksonville National Cemetery. It was a chilly Saturday morning, but our hearts were warmed as we honored those who served our country.

Time Out hanging out with a favorite author

I’ve been blessed to connect with many great children’s book authors and illustrators through Claire’s Day and the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. New York Times Best-Selling author and poet Kwame Alexander is a giant, both literally and figuratively in the world of children’s literature. We met a number of years ago while I was writing my critically acclaimed biography of Virginia Hamilton. I’ve kept in touch with Kwame, and when I learned he was making an appearance at the Jacksonville Public Library, along with illustrator Dare Coulter, Brad and I signed up.

I always feel inspired by Kwame whenever I hear him present, and if by throwing things out to the universe helps manifest it, it would be a dream to collaborate on a project with him. Meanwhile, as you can see, I’m standing on my tippy toes to try and reach his height.

His newest work, An American Story, shares the story of slavery. It is beautiful, both in text and illustrations. Here’s my niece Corrie, brother Jeff and his wife Cindy reading Kwame’s work together. Luna napped during storytime.

I hope that your days are filled with Time Outs! Cheers!