People + trains + planes = maximum fun

16 December, 2018    People + trains + planes = maximum fun

Jose, Jackie, me, Evelyn – Copper Canyon restaurant, Atlantic Highlands, NJ, Friday, 14 December, 2018


That’s Evelyn’s longtime friend Jose on the left, then her sister Jackie, then me, then Evelyn Friday evening at dinner. We all wish you could have joined us! But it would have been a squeeze – the restaurant was not sprawling. “Cozy” is a much more appealing adjective on a cold December evening, and that’s what it was. We were having dinner at the Copper Canyon Atlantic Highlands, the restaurant inside the Blue Bay Inn.

These stones were holding open the pages of the guest book at the Blue Bay Inn:

Caption unnecessary – just read the words:


The next morning was cold and damp and gray but no rain, so we went out walking on the piers. We looked at buffleheads (seriously!) and seagulls and dogs and water and boats and people and shattered clam shells the gulls drop. We took a break mid-pier for a selfie:

Evie’s warm heart takes away the chill



We also celebrated over the course of our wonderful weekend with several other friends and family members. I wish I’d photographed them all! Besides Ev’s sister Jackie and their friend Jose and me we visited Evelyn’s Mom (also Evelyn!), who graciously hosted us all in her home. The same home where Evelyn was born and raised! Evelyn took this picture in their backyard Tuesday morning:

Evelyn’s Mom’s backyard – #noplacelikeit



We met Evelyn’s friends Lynn and Ben Saturday for  a snack at a place called The Flaky Tart (hard to beat that name), also in Atlantic Highlands. I don’t recall what this was called, only that I thought “OMG” when I looked at it, and the entire time I ate it. Sadly, I was unable or unwilling to restrain my voracious appetite and it didn’t last long. See how awesome it looks? It tasted like 1,000x better. It was worth the trip by itself:

From the Flaky Tart. I have no idea what it’s called. Make up your own name. It is beyond compare.










I left a picture out! This was inside The Flaky Tart:

Wise words inside The Flaky Tart:

Evelyn’s  friend Ben makes handcrafted soap, body butter, and lip balm. Everything is created with his family in mind so only the purest ingredients are used. It all smells fresh and amazing and is a joy to use! This is a picture of his white tea and ginger soap (Ev’s favorite) from his web site. Look on his web site to see this and more at Tropical Bath and Body:

Ev’s friend Ben’s Tropical Bath and Body white tea and ginger soap


There were (of course) trains involved too. I snapped this picture as I crossed the tracks at Amtrak Staples Mill station around 8:00 Friday morning:

Ready to leave Richmond early Friday morning.


And it practically seems like another lifetime on another planet, but I took this picture before I went flying Tuesday morning:

Tuesday morning before engine start. Planes fly better in cold air – not even kidding


We’d planned a lot of landings – we had nine airports on our flight plan. But some small airports hadn’t cleared their runways after the big snow. We’d come over the airport at around 3,000 feet and see a long unbroken white stripe – an unplowed runway – and shrug and fly to the next airport. Where generally we’d see a long unbroken black stripe – a plowed runway – and we’d land. I immediately thought “black runways matter.” Because that’s the only kind we could land on!

Here’s a picture flying over Buggs Island Lake:

Flying over Buggs Island Lake


Chase City Municipal Airport had a black runway (thank goodness) so we landed and I went in to get a stamp. There was no one at the airport – I don’t know who plowed it – but I went in and got my passport stamped. The stamp is always inside. After I stamped my passport I turned around to go back to the plane. I took this picture before I made a second set of footprints heading back out to the plane:

Path to the plane


Flying is phenomenal every single time I do it, and so is riding Amtrak. But spending a wintry weekend with Evelyn and her sister Jackie and her mother Evelyn and their friends Fred, Jose, Larry, Lynn, Ben was indescribable – “all true living is face to face.” Thank you Evelyn! And everybody else! I hope to see you again soon!

Much love,



About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Fun, ice, People, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!), Trains and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to People + trains + planes = maximum fun

  1. Jean Yerian says:

    A perfect post! I’m recovering from heart surgery at St. Mary’s, so feeling the joys you so wonderfully convey is nothing short of magic. The mid-pier selfie with Evie could be inserted in the dictionary beside the word “joy”!

    • Thank you Jean! I hope you’re home from St. Mary’s as I write this response the following week (on Monday, 12/24/2018, Christmas Eve). The EXPERIENCE of the mid-pier selfie with Evie was “joy” – I’m glad it came through in the picture! If that particular picture was “worth a thousand words,” it could have just been joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy ad infinitum. Thank you again!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s