Hitty Amelia Comes to Visit and Brings One of the Afters

Gale Lyons Hitty
By Hitty Flora Sunny State Hittys

The Sunny State Hittys were so excited when Hitty Amelia flew into the Ft Myers airport from Indiana.  She brought along her adopted humans, Mandy, Sam and Robbie, and, she brought a new Hitty sister we were anxious to meet.

You may recall the post, The Afters Meet the Befores, well, one of the new "Afters" came too!  She is Hitty Eve and is a birthday gift for Shirley, my adopted human.

The first day of our vacation, we went to Veterans Park so that Robbie could play in the water.

The next morning, we took a trip to Ft Myers Beach.

Robbie likes to dig

Robbie and Mommie enjoying the water

Here we are at the beach.  Hitty Amelia, Hitty Eve and Hitty Flora.  

 © 2010 Hitty Travel Doll

She Lives! I did it!

In which I carve my very first Hitty doll
by Amanda Leahy, adopted human of Hitty Amelia

Some of our faithful readers may recall an earlier post "The Afters meet the Befores" in which Hitty Amelia mentioned that my husband Sam and I were planning on trying woodcarving as a new hobby.  We purchased a beginner's set of carving knives and a couple of different types of pre-cut Hitty blanks.  We also had an instructional CD from Gale Lyons.

One evening while my toddler son was spending the night with his grandparents and my husband Sam was working 2nd shift, I sat down with my supplies and got started.  After about six hours, I had a very rough Hitty doll carved, VERY sore hands, a few knife wounds, and a floor covered in wood shavings.

Over the next few days, my husband Sam and I worked to get the Hitty finished... final carving and sanding, limbs fitted with pegs, varnishing, painting, etc.  There are a few things about our Hitty #1 that we are not pleased with... she takes a little bit of work to get standing on her own, her hands slightly resemble robot claws, there are parts of her that aren't very symmetrical... etc.  However, we are so pleased with the final results!  I had never even picked up a carving knife or painted anything until last week!  I had so much fun and think our first Hitty turned out really well.

Sam and I decided to give Hitty #1 to my mom, Shirley, for her birthday present.  I love you mama!  Thank you for supporting this new fun hobby!

Below is an album with photos of our progress through this process.  If you want to see bigger pictures, just click on the pictures below! Enjoy!

© 2010 Hitty Travel Doll

Cookies! Yummy!

In which I have a Magic Morning...

by Hitty Amelia, a Hoosier Hitty

This morning my adopted humans were traveling to the town of Bedford, Indiana to visit with relatives. I was excited to go along. Bedford is about 1 hour and 45 minutes south of Indianapolis and is the "Limestone Capitol of the World." Bedford is in Lawrence County, which is the home of several astronauts including Gus Grissom.

Bedford is also the location of the Magic Morning Bakery and the best darn baked goods in Indiana, according to my adopted human Amanda.

The Magic Morning Bakery is located on 16th street (Bedford's main drag) and has been in business since Amanda was a little girl.
I decided to get a cup of coffee... Magic Morning House Blend sounds good!
Amanda's absolute favorite cookies are the MM smiley face cookies... although everything they make here is absolutely fabulous. Amanda and Sam got their wedding cake and wedding cheesecakes from Magic Morning.

Mmmmm! Yummy! I wish you could taste one for yourself! They are wonderful! Do you spot the frowning cookie? With every dozen smiley's you get a frowney face, too! Next time you are in the Bedford area, you simply must stop at this fabulous little bakery. You will not be disappointed!

"Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart." Erma Bombeck

Magic Morning Bakery, 2513 16th Street, Bedford, IN 47421-3501
(812) 279-2715

© 2010 Hitty Travel Doll

In which I participate in a graduation

by Hitty Alice, Adventurer Extraordinaire

As I promised, here are the pictures of the Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center Graduation. Before the ceremony, my adopted human, Emily, let me go up on stage and look around. She showed me the speaker's podium, where she would read a letter to each graduate from his/her parents. She said I couldn't go up with her during the ceremony, because people might spend more time looking at me than the graduates. I was disappointed, but I got to meet so many of her students and friends that I soon forgot my sadness.

Here is the picture that one of her friends took of Emily while she was reading a letter. It was such a neat idea for the school, graduates, and the parents. But, I'm glad the class was only 19 students. Can you imagine a letter to each graduate if there were 300 0f them?

After the ceremony, Emily asked one of her kids if I might try her cap on. It was a little big for my head, but perfect for a carrier. Too bad we had to give it back!

I still have a hard time believing that my first day in Bolivia was so packed with adventure. The days since have been tame by comparison. But I have met many interesting people. And I can't wait for Emily's new camera to get here so you can meet them, too!

© 2010 Hitty Travel Doll

The John Pennekamp State Park

Gale Lyons Hitty
By Hitty Flora Sunny State Hittys
On the Road to Key West

No motor trip to the Florida Keys would be complete without a visit to the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

The first day of our trip, we were told by the staff at the Key Largo welcome center, that the park was almost full.  We decided to stop on the way back home from Key West.

The state park is America's first undersea park.  It is located at Key Largo at the 102.5 mile marker along the Overseas Highway.  The park extends 3 miles into the Atlantic Ocean and is approximately 25 miles in length.  The park was established to protect and preserve the only living coral reef in the continental United States.  It is the third largest barrier reef in the world and a scuba diver's paradise.

The world famous "Christ of the Abyss" statue is easily accessible to both divers and snorkelers.  It was donated by an Italian dive group and placed in the park in 1965.  

We did not do any snorkeling or scuba diving during our visit to the park.  We ate our picnic lunch and visited the beach before we started on our journey home.

That night, as I snuggled beneath the covers with my favorite teddy bear, I was thinking, "There's no place like home and sleeping in your own bed."

© 2010 Hitty Travel Doll

In Which I Arrive in Key West

Gale Lyons Hitty
By Hitty Flora Sunny State Hittys
On the Road to Key West

The streets of Old Town Key West were quiet and the shops were closed as we sat down to a pancake breakfast at Denny's on Duval Street.  A few early-morning walkers passed on the sidewalk outside.  Like me, they were enjoying the beautiful morning.

There is so much to see and do in Key West, that it is hard to know what to do first.  However, I heard David say that we were headed for the beach after breakfast.  Yeah!

One of the beaches at Key West

View from the pier

Statue of Henry "Booty" Singleton Sr. in Singleton Plaza at the Marina in Key West.  Henry Singleton was called the "Shrimp King"  He used to say, "The unusual we did yesterday--the impossible--that will take a little longer."  A friend of ours from church is Booty Singleton's grandson and he took this picture.

Soaking up some sun on the beach

The Southernmost spot in the USA....Key West!

  © 2010 Hitty Travel Doll

Camping at Sugarloaf Key

Gale Lyons Hitty
By Hitty Flora Sunny State Hittys
On the Road to Key West

I must confess....I started this trip with just a teeny bit of trepidation.  This was a direct result of a conversation I overheard between Shirley and her daughter, Amanda (adopted human of Hitty Amelia).

When one listens to conversations that are not intended for one's own ears, well, one might hear something that could give one pause....sigh.

"You are joking!" I heard Amanda say.

"No, we really are,"  Shirley replied.

"You and Dad have never camped out in my lifetime!  I just can't believe it.  Where did you get the tent?" Amanda asked.

Shirley admitted that she could count the number of times she had camped out in her lifetime on one hand.  She went on to explain that she had seen this nice little two-man tent at a thrift shop for $7 and purchased it thinking she would give it to the grandsons.

"Dad wants to enjoy the nature of the Keys...have some solitude.  We wanted to stay on the water at one of the state parks.  After checking online, we discovered that the state parks are booked until Labor Day.  I guess if you want a camping spot at a state park on the Keys, you should book early."

"Where are you going to stay?"  Amanda asked.

"There are several private campgrounds and we may even stay in a motel.  We will find something."  Shirley assured her.  "Don't worry."

As I said, I was beginning to be a little worried myself.  After all, it was a holiday weekend.  Would we have to sleep under the stars on a beach somewhere?

I needn't have worried.  That afternoon, we were setting up our campsite at the KOA Campground on Sugarloaf Key.  After a busy day of traveling, we were ready for some relaxation.

This campground was a busy place!  A live band was playing under a cabana on the beach while campers sunned themselves, played volleyball or participated in casual games of basketball.  We checked out the facilities, the store and the snack bar.

As it got dark, we felt a cool breeze off the water.  Even so, David hung a small, battery operated fan from the ceiling of the tent.  Our day had started at 5:00 a.m. and we were ready to call it a night.  Unfortunately, most of the campers around us weren't.

Even though our inflatable beds were comfortable and it wasn't too hot, it was difficult to fall asleep.  Being made of wood, the smell of burning campfires gave me the willies!

Around midnight, everything was quiet and the campfires in our vicinity had been extinguished.  I fell asleep thinking, "Tomorrow---Key West!"

© 2010 Hitty Travel Doll

Lunch at the No Name Pub

Gale Lyons Hitty
By Hitty Flora Sunny State Hittys
On the Road to Key West

It was getting close to lunch time and we were hungry.  Shirley wanted to stop at a place she had read about called the No Name Pub on Big Pine Key.  We made a couple of wrong turns because the street names on our map didn't match the actual street names and there was no sign at the main road for the restaurant. Thanks to her IPhone, Shirley was able to look up the address online and then plug it into the GPS and we were soon parking the car.

The pub is located about 1/4 mile south of the No Name Bridge and the menu boasts, "A Nice Place, if you can find it."

The No Name Pub has colorful history.  It began as a general store that catered to the travelers who arrived on the ferry.  At one time, it was a bait shop and a brothel.  The first thing you will notice as you walk in the door is the money on the walls and ceilings.  It is estimated to be at least $12,000.

No one really seems to know why it is there.  We heard two different theories.  One is that Molly, a waitress, tacked her tips on the wall and customers began to do the same thing.  Another story says that local fishermen would sign their name to a dollar and tack it on the wall.  That way, if the catch was bad, they would at least have the money for a drink when they returned.

We were seated immediately but within a few minutes, the restaurant was full and new arrivals were told that the wait would be 30 minutes.  Shirley was so glad they had arrived before the crowd.  She says David will not wait 30 minutes at any restaurant!

I really wish I had thought to borrow a dollar bill so that I could have left it on the wall, but at least I had my picture taken before we left.

© Hitty Travel Doll

Feeding The Tarpons along the Overseas Highway

Gale Lyons Hitty
By Hitty Flora Sunny State Hittys
On the Road to Key West

Highway One, or the Overseas Highway is the Road to the Keys.  The first place we stopped was the Visitor Center at Key largo where we took a picture of the Bougainvillea, a native plant of Brazil that grows abundantly in the Florida Keys.

Key Largo made me think of the movie by that name that starred Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.  The story took place during a hurricane.  Coincidentally, the 2010 hurricane season starts today.

Our next stop was Robbie's Marina located in Islamorada, The Village of the Keys.  

This is a popular tourist stop and parking was limited this day, but we found a spot.  After admiring the wares of local artists and crafters in the shaded, outdoor market we paid $2.79 for a bucket of bait fish and joined the group on the pier feeding the Tarpons.

My adopted human, David, learned right away not to hold the fish too close to the water.  He said he thought he was going to lose his thumb!  The Tarpons, leap out of the water to grab the fish right out of your hand.

The Pelicans were hoping to steal some fish from the Tarpons.

This Great White Heron seems to be guarding the sign.

Soon we were back on the road and ready to have lunch ourselves.

© 2010 Hitty Travel Doll