Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bermuda: a small big place

It is only about a two hour flight from Raleigh, North Carolina to the beautiful small island of Bermuda. It is the most populous remaining British overseas territory and is only about 640 miles west of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and 840 miles south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

As we were circling preparing for our landing we could view the beautiful full emerald water that surrounds this gorgeous small island.

At a convention I had attended, I met a representative of Willowbank, which had been started by C. T. Studd as a rest and relaxation center for returning missionaries, who invited me to visit there.

Since one cannot rent cars on this island, I had made previous arrangement for someone from the resort to pick us up. After loading our luggage in the back of his small car, we headed across the small island to the other end where Willowbank is located. There are many famous and notable resorts on this island, but I was amazed at how beautiful the private beaches were around Willowbank.

We checked in and were escorted to a beautiful cabin that overlooked the ocean. We entered the cabin and noticed how nice was the accommodations.

We took time to read the guidebook that was lying on the bed then dressed to become more casual so we could walk the grounds. Since I knew they had private beaches where one could snorkel, I brought my flippers and goggles and was looking toward the place I could come back to.

There was a wide variety of things that a person can do at this resort, with tennis courts all round but the water seemed more inviting. On the way back I met a gentleman who had his flippers in his hand, and after a short conversation I learned that he was a Presbyterian minister from Pennsylvania. I asked if he would not mind if I joined him shortly.

In a few moments I was dressed and headed to the pier where he was waiting for me where the water was extremely clear and the fish abounded. It is hard to describe how beautiful they are in their own habitat. The minister and I became well acquainted and made an appointment to go snorkeling each day.

Since this is a religious resort, prayers were said before each meal, and a period of devotion was led by some famous minister from the states each morning. Our speaker was the pastor of a Baptist church in Atlanta, Georgia. He was very good and I enjoyed his depth of the scripture.

This is one of the most relaxing vacations that we had spent in quite some time and especially in an atmosphere more conducive to our liking.

There are lots of things to see on the island and we could catch a bus in front of the resort at most any time and for one price you could go from one end of the island to the other which was very convenient for us.

Since Hamilton is the capital, it offers a great shopping selection when it comes to clothing and accessories from Great Britain and Ireland such as English woolens, Harris Tweed jackets, and Irish linen. There are also boutiques that specialize in shoes, belts, scarves and handbags at prices less than in their country of origin and there’s no sales tax. In one of the most famous of the stores, my wife bought a beautiful blue pleated wool skirt which she still has to this day.

On the opposite end from where we stayed was the town of St. George, Bermuda's first capital settled in 1612 and is the oldest continuously inhabited English town in the Americas. It was the most interesting place to visit. We spent an entire day in this little village and would like to have spent more. But the day was ending, and we had to get our ride back.

Near our resort is the shortest bridge in the world. It is only a few inches wide but enough for the mast of a boat to go through before it then closes.

The desk clerk of the resort introduced us to her American husband who worked for a large accounting firm and was a CPA. We learned that he was speaking at their church that Sunday morning and went to church with them. He preached in Bermuda shorts, high socks, suit coat and tie but was very well dressed. In fact, only his knees shown. Afterwards, we had lunch together and I gleaned much of the culture of the island. By the way, I was the only one in the entire church not dressed accordingly.

Bermuda is the oldest and most populous remaining British overseas territory, settled by England a century before the Acts of Union created the Kingdom of Great Britain. Bermuda has a very affluent economy, with finance as its largest sector followed by tourism, giving it the world's highest GDP per capita.

After the American Revolution, the Royal Navy began improving their harbors and built the large dockyard on Ireland Island, in the west of the chain, as its principal naval base guarding the western Atlantic Ocean shipping lanes. During the American War of 1812, the British attacks on Washington, D.C. and the Chesapeake, that would result in the writing of The Star-Spangled Banner, were planned and launched from Bermuda, the Royal Navy's 'North American Station'.

In 1816, James Arnold, the son of famed U.S. traitor Benedict Arnold, fortified Bermuda's Royal Naval Dockyard against possible U.S. attacks. Today, the "Maritime Museum" occupies the Keep of the Royal Naval Dockyard, including the Commissioner's House, and exhibits artifacts of the base's military history.

This was only a short piece from our resort at we took a bus and viewed the Museum located in one of the large building at the dockyard. I admit it was very interesting, but my wife was more interested in going to Hamilton. So we took a boat from the dockyard passing by some extremely beautiful homes until we came to the dock in front of the main stores in Hamilton.

Another piece of history I should include is, as a result of Bermuda's proximity to the southeastern U.S. coast, it was regularly used by Confederate States blockade runners during the American Civil War to evade Union naval vessels and bring desperately needed war goods to the South from England. The old Globe Hotel in St George's, which was a center of intrigue for Confederate agents, is preserved as a museum open to the public and I enjoyed it greatly.

In the courtyard in the center of St. George still stands a stock to lock up offenders. Just for the fun of it I let my wife take my picture of me in it but made sure it did not get locked.

Bermuda is a fun place to go, Willowbank a good resort, but have plenty of room on your credit card because it is one of the most expenses places I have toured.

In journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;” --2 Corinthians 11:26

Dr. Alton Loveless is the former CEO/President of Randall House Publications, Nashville, Tn.; He is a freelance writer and has written for assorted publications printed both nationally and internationally

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mt. Baker is a Delight

For ten days, we had traveled in the provinces of Alberta, and British Columbia, and now would take a ferry over to Victoria on Vancouver Island, where we stayed at the famous Empress Hotel. It was here I had my first high tea because my wife thought it would be a history-in-the- making as she smiled.
While we were on this beautiful island we had a chance to visit the new Buschart Gardens which are world-famous. Even though gardens are not my cup-of-tea, I thoroughly enjoyed totally the beautiful flowers and fauna throughout the grounds.
After two days, we took a Ferry with one stop at the San Juan Islands, before we landed in Bellingham, Washington. Bellingham is the southern port of the Alaska Ferry, which departs and arrives from the Bellingham Cruise Terminal in Fairhaven.
On the shores of Bellingham Bay with Mount Baker as its majestic backdrop, which we saw for miles before arriving in Bellingham, which is the last major city before the Washington coastline meets the Canadian border. The City of Bellingham, which serves as the county seat of Whatcom County, is at the center of a uniquely picturesque area offering a rich variety of recreational, cultural, educational and economic activities. One of America’s Scenic Gems.
If you can take a drive from Bellingham to the majestic peak of Mt. Baker on State Route 542 you should, because it offers a step back in time. It’s an unpretentious route, winding through farmlands, rolling wooded hills, and small communities.
As the two-lane road climbs, the scenery grows in splendor and the air is crisper. The final 24 miles of the route are designated a U.S. National Forest National Scenic Byway, from the quaint village of Glacier to Artist Point at an elevation of 5,140 feet.
As you approach the end of the road, it’s like the best was saved for last. After driving the final miles in hair-pin curves, the stunning views of the North Cascades unfold in snow peaked glory. And then, your breath is taken away. You see Mt. Shuksan reflected in Mirror Lake, probably the most photographed mountain scene in the Western hemisphere.
Bellingham, Washington is about 90 miles north of Seattle, 21 miles south of the Canadian border and about 52 miles south of Vancouver, B.C. The City encompasses about 28 square miles, with north Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands to the west and snow-capped Mount Baker and the North Cascade Mountains to the east.
Bellingham’s active waterfront hosts a range of marine activities, with significant change on the horizon as area community leaders and residents consider options for development.
Afterwards, we boarded the bus in Bellingham and made our way back to Seattle where we would catch a flight back to Columbus Ohio where we had lived for nearly 20 years.
While we have done three Alaskan cruises, this was the first time that we have started at Seattle for a bus tour, which took us across Washington State where we stopped first at the beautiful city of Leavenworth, a Swiss village with many beautiful German and Swiss restaurants plus many souvenir shops from those European countries.
Our next stop was in Spokane, Washington after a couple hundred miles through grain fields as far as you could see before arriving for the night. The next day stayed at Kallipolis, Montana from where we took a trip over the Road-to-the-Sun passing over the Continental divide. This was a trip I would like to take again because it is beauty and multitude of wildlife making its way by Jackson glacier before to departing the Park. That night we stayed at the famous Many Glacier Lodge where beauty abounded. The next day we started north into Canada where we visited Banff Springs and Jasper national Parks, before returning back to Vancouver where we took the ferry across to Vancouver Island.
I sincerely enjoyed this part of the United States and Canada and believe it is some of the most beautiful areas of North America
“The range of the mountains is his pasture, and he searches after every green thing.”-- Job 39:8

From my weekly column in the Farmington Press.
Dr. Alton Loveless is the former CEO/President of Randall House Publications, Nashville, Tn.; He is a freelance writer and has written for assorted publications printed both nationally and internationally. To see photos and read other stories click on

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mountain Home Folk Festival

Arkansas folk festival, Mountain home

My wife and I were staying in the famous Fairfield Bay Resort on the beautiful Greer’s Ferry Lake near Heber Springs, Arkansas.

While we lived there, many of my friends that lived in the area came to visit us. Are we met them or not our dinner. Many of them I had not seen for many years and it was an enjoyable thing to be able to reacquaint ourselves with them.

Actually, we had reserved a week at this resort during a time when there was not a lot of activity going on in the region. We did learn that there had been a folk festival the week before in Mountain View, Arkansas.

Therefore we decided that since the next day with free we would take the mountain curvy road, up through the little town of Shirley on our way to a well known resort and vacation area.

The town is located deep in the Ozarks surrounded by mountains and rivers offering boundless outdoor activities including Blanchard Springs Caverns and world class fly fishing. We had an opportunity to explore the Ozark experience at the Ozark Folk Center and browsed through our local shops filled with one of a kind crafts and unique gifts.

Even though the festival had end the week before, the banners and many of the street markers were still up. We found a place to park near the courthouse and started walking down the street visiting many of the stores and crafts shops.

The Stone County Courthouse is in the heart of a lively shopping district, home to a variety of craft, gift, and antique shops. Nearby is the Old Mill, built in 1914 and restored in 1983, which once supplied residents with fresh cornmeal and flour and still has much of its original equipment. Several restaurants and snack bars are around the square for us to take a break to enjoy home-style treats.

It did not take either one of us long until we had become of hungry and tired, so we spotted a corner drug store with a sandwich café therein. However this was not a normal day, or drug store, the callers. We saw in the soda fountain was at least 60 years old, and they still made milk shakes and sodas like was done years ago when I was a boy.

With our sandwich, we decided to add a soda shake, which was a real treat. Just like when we were children.

As we walked back to our car to leave, and were leaving from the town, and noticed that there were a number of men with playing at a little corner park, where we stopped temporarily and watched and listened to them play.

Mountain View is a place where you can experience scenic natural beauty, exciting outdoor adventure and explore the unique Ozark culture.

Since it was about two hours to sun down, we decided we needed to leave because of the treacherous narrow road that we would be traveling to get back to Fairfield Bay. We arrived safely, but I began to look at some of the history of the city that we had been to and found it a fascinating study.

While we did not get to be in the middle of a Folk Festival, I did learn that each year hundreds of folk musicians and thousands of folk music fans arrive at Mountain View Arkansas for the annual Folk Festival to celebrate and enjoy old time country and blue grass music. The streets are lined with arts & craft booths, food wagons, and very few parking places. Everywhere one looks you find small groups of musicians gathered together making music.

While crafts shows are a tradition in Mountain View, artisans from all organizations such as the Mountain View Art Guild, Ozark Folk Fiber Guild, and Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour will provide a variety of unique handmade items. This is one of Arkansas' longest-running festivals.

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.”-- Isaiah 12:2

Taken from my weekly column.

Dr. Alton Loveless is the former CEO/President of Randall House Publications, Nashville, Tn.; He is a freelance writer and has written for assorted publications printed both nationally and internationally. To see photos and read other stories click on

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bar Harbour a favorite place

Arcadia national Park, Maine

We had spent a number of days in Nova Scotia and had seen so many beautiful things, including much of the Arcadian past, with their colorful villages and towering churches.

Just south of Yarmouth is Argyle Township Courthouse in Tusket, the oldest courthouse in Canada, while to the north, tiny villages are overshadowed by lofty churches, such as St. Mary’s Church, the largest wooden church in North America.

Having about three hours in this area we were able to visit many of the old historical houses and the fishing villages the line to the Southwestern part of Nova Scotia. This was a very unique area to visit, and even took the time to stop in a neighborhood to have an extremely satisfying seafood meal.

Soon we were leaving Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on a large ferry that not only carrier passengers but cars, large trucks, and ever buses. The ferry would port in the Bar Harbor area Maine in a number of hours. The views from the ocean of the mountains of Acadia National Park were striking.

After departing the ferry we headed to The First National Park East of the Mississippi River. Acadia National Park has a rich human history that includes Native Americans, European settlers, artists, conservationists, and more. Each group has made its mark on what is today Acadia National Park. Explore this section to discover the people and stories of Acadia.

People have been drawn to the rugged coast of Maine throughout history. Awed by its beauty and diversity, early 20th-century visionaries donated the land that became Acadia National Park. The park is home to many plants and animals, and the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast. Today visitors come to Acadia to hike granite peaks, bike historic carriage roads, or relax and enjoy the scenery.

Acadia National Park, Maine, is a favorite vacation destination for good reason. The views are spectacular. The landscape is pristine. And, the wildlife is plentiful and protected. As a result, Acadia National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the United States.

Bar Harbor, Maine, a small coastal resort town on Mount Desert Island, has a symbiotic relationship with Acadia National Park. Bar Harbor, with its shops, restaurants, hotels, cottages, bed and breakfasts, inns, galleries, vacation rentals and more, has a special ambiance blended with Down east character. Bar Harbor, Maine and Acadia National Park is often the starting and ending point of an unforgettable Maine vacation. After spending much of the day we left the park and headed to our hardware. Were we were able to visit many of the galleries and shops.

Nestled nearby Bar Harbor are the traditional villages of Hulls Cove, Salisbury Cove, and Town Hill are all part of the municipality of Bar Harbor, as is a large portion of Acadia National Park. The National Park and Bar Harbor are often spoken and thought of as being the same thing.

Bar Harbor, Maine, often the center for visitors of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park, has many hotels, inns, shops, taverns and restaurants. Bar Harbor is also home to College of the Atlantic. You will notice it on the ocean side of Route 3 as you enter the town. Jackson Lab, the world's largest mammalian genetic research facility, is here as well. For those who are not familiar with its name, the Jackson Lab is at the forefront of the genetics revolution that is transforming contemporary medicine. Wild Gardens of Acadia features over 200 species of plants, trees and shrubs indigenous to the island. Abbe Museum, also at Sieur de Monts Spring in Acadia National Park, has a year-round location in downtown Bar Harbor. The focus of both museums is on the Native American culture and its history in Maine.

Directly north of the town pier is Bar Island. This island is accessible by foot at low tide and provides a spectacular view of the town of Bar Harbor with the mountains behind it. See this Bar Harbor fireworks picture. There are more at this page.

Several cruise ships such as the majestic Queen Mary visit this Maine harbor town providing their passengers with one of the most unique visual experiences available on the east coast of North America. For people wanting water related recreation, there is whale watching, kayaking, tours of the islands, and a ferry cruise aboard The Cat to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, returning round-trip to Bar Harbor, Maine.

“And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, said the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 3:12

From my weekly article in the Farmington Press,

Dr. Alton Loveless is the former CEO/President of Randall House Publications, Nashville, Tn., He is a freelance and has written for assorted publications printed both nationally and internationally.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Amsterdam a beautiful city.

Amsterdam in the Netherlands

I remember well my first time to fly into the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, which is the Netherlands' main international airport, located 20 minutes southwest of Amsterdam, in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer. This was in the mid-70s when I was part of a tour group headed to Israel and the Holyland.

Since this was a spring trip we were able to visit to the Dutch countryside to see the tulip fields in bloom. Touring Keukenhof Gardens, the worlds' largest tulip gardens, was a wonderful shore excursion, but we were amazed at the amazing cultivated gardens throughout the country. We also saw tulip fields in Noord Holland, Zuid Holland, and Friesland. In addition, there were some beautiful tulip fields next to Keukenhof Gardens, near the large windmills.

I could not image the colorful display of tulips and other springtime bulbs in bloom at the magnificent Keukenhof Gardens! The unforgettable seasonal display is created by more than seven million tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, spring bulbs and gorgeous trees. Keukenhof is one of Holland's top attractions and our hassle-free tour is the easiest way to get to these out-of-the-way gardens since we were limited on time between flights.

Amsterdam is the capital and largest city of the Netherlands, located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country. The city is the sixth-largest metropolitan area in Europe, with a population of around 6.7 million.

Its name is derived from Amstellerdam, indicative of the city's origin: a dam in the river Amstel. Settled as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age, a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading center for finance and diamonds. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded, and many new neighborhoods and suburbs were formed.

Many large Dutch institutions have their headquarters there, and 7 of the world's top 500 companies, including Philips and ING, are based in the city. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange, the oldest stock exchange in the world is located in the city center. Amsterdam's main attractions, including its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, Anne Frank House, its red-light district, and its many cannabis coffee shops draw more than 3.66 million international visitors annually.

The Hague is the third largest city in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam, is located in the west of the country, in the province of South Holland, of which it is also the provincial capital.

The Hague is the seat of government, but not the capital of the Netherlands, a role set aside by the Dutch constitution for Amsterdam.

The Hague is the home of the States-General of the Netherlands. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands lives and works in The Hague. All foreign embassies and government ministries are located in the city, as well as the Hoge Raad der Nederlanden (Supreme Court), the Raad van State (Council of State) and many lobbying organisations.

The Hague is also the de facto judicial capital of the United Nations, being the location of its primary judicial institutions.

Amsterdam is a unique place to visit and I have visited a number times since my first time, and each time I enjoy all the things that I do see.

“The rich man's wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty. “--Proverbs 10:15

From my weekly column in the Farmington Press and other allied publications. Dr. Alton Loveless is the former CEO/President of Randall House Publications, Nashville, Tn.; He is a freelance writer and has written for assorted publications printed both nationally and internationally. To see photos and read other stories click on