Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Mountain Weekend   Leave a comment

Looking for a low-key way to get away for a weekend, Leah and I set off for the Blue Ridge mountains. After stopping to pick some apples along the way, we arrived at a quaint farm house that was lovingly converted to a guest house by the grandson of the original builder and occupant. The property was lovely, from the moment we were greeted by free-roaming chickens to the sunset fire pit sessions. We made it in to Asheville for some delicious tacos, and visited quite a few overlooks and short hiking spots along the Blue Ridge parkway.

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Posted 9 Oct 2022 by John McManigle in Travel

Bahamas Adventure   Leave a comment

Our Cape Cod honeymoon, while absolutely lovely, left Leah yearning for a tropical beach. And as a pilot, I’ve always dreamed of flying to the Bahamas. At the end of fellowship, we decided to bring these ideas to fruition and make our escapade to the islands.

We flew via Jekyll Island and Fort Lauderdale to Great Exuma, where we enjoyed the quiet beach life, did some paddle boarding, and swam with sea turtles. We took a boat tour to see the famous swimming pigs and hopped a water taxi to Stocking Island to hang out at the Chat ‘n’ Chill watering hole.

After a few days in the Exumas, we flew up to Nassau, and checked in to the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar. There, we enjoyed the resort life, and I took a quick scuba diving trip. We made an “island hop” flight out to north Eleuthera Island, where we explored the town and took a ferry to the pink sand beaches of Harbour Island.

Finally, with our tropical beach needs sated and storms threatening to move in, we flew back to the States. We stopped for fuel in Fort Lauderdale and then parked with my brother in Charleston for a few days to wait out the weather before flying back home to Raleigh-Durham.


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Posted 23 Jun 2021 by John McManigle in Adventure, Flying, Travel

Charleston Thanksgiving 2020   Leave a comment

My brother recently moved to Charleston, and we took that as an excuse to visit for Thanksgiving. We stayed in a traditional Charleston style house and along with a lot of good food, we took a walk around the Charles Towne Landing historic site.

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Posted 28 Nov 2020 by John McManigle in Flying, Travel

Wedding and Cape Cod Honeymoon   1 comment

While 2020 was a dark year for the world, with the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging public life, it was also a bright one for my family. My sister forewent her planned Saturday wedding to be married with immediate family on the prior Tuesday, just before lock-downs took effect. My brother delayed his large celebration and was married in the shadow of the Duke Chapel over the summer. Leah and I, with a little more advance warning and already wanting a small outdoor ceremony, were married in August on the lawn at the Umstead hotel. It was a beautiful ceremony and celebratory evening, with our immediate families cheering us on.

For a subdued, socially distanced honeymoon, we flew up to Cape Cod (flying through New York City along the way) and stayed at a lovely house on the water. For a delightful week, we wandered the beaches (and saw some seals!), cycled the traditional bicycle built for two, and ate more than our share of lobster-based meals. After our respite from the “real world,” we flew back home, with a quick beach stop in Martha’s Vineyard.


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Posted 7 Sep 2020 by John McManigle in Flying, Notes, Travel

London and Budapest   Leave a comment

Leah finished her Master’s in Reproductive and Sexual Health Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and it was time to head to London for her graduation! We decided to make a trip of it, and stop by Budapest on our way to London.

Budapest has a long and storied history, with periods under Roman, Tatar, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian rule before being occupied by Germany and then the Soviet Union in World War II. The history lends Budapest a resilient spirit and broad culture. During our visit, we were able to see a wide variety of the sites. Sunday, we saw the Dohány Street Synagogue and St. Stephen’s Basilica before taking a cruise along the Danube River and ending the evening at one of the ruin bars, watering holes that sprung up in derelict buildings and evolved into bohemian landmarks.

Monday, we visited Buda Castle, the historical seat of the Hungarian Kings. From there, we explored the Hospital in the Rock, a sprawling hospital complex built into cave systems under the castle. The hospital was built just before World War II, and was most notably used in the siege of Budapest at the end of the war. It was subsequently developed as a nuclear and chemical warfare bunker before being decommissioned in the 1980s and converted into a museum in the 2000s. We ended the day with a visit to the Szechenyi baths, the largest medicinal bath in Europe built on a thermal artesian well. Tuesday, we saw the Great Market Hall and spent some time in the Rudas Baths, thermal baths built under the Ottoman Empire. Wednesday, checked out of our room and climbed up Gellért Hill to the Liberty Statue, which celebrates the liberation of the city from Nazi occupation, before heading off to London.

The London activities started with Leah’s long-awaited graduation ceremony on Thursday. For the rest of the week, I got to meet the friends she worked so hard with during her master’s. Friday, we saw Waitress, one of Leah’s favorite musicals, made extra special by Sarah Bareilles’s reprisal of the lead role. Saturday, we saw a matinée showing of Dear Evan Hansen before going for a dinner cruise on the Thames. Over our lovely meal floating through the middle of London’s beautiful river skyline, I proposed to Leah, and she enthusiastically accepted! Sunday, we flew back home, graduated and engaged.

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Posted 23 Feb 2020 by John McManigle in Adventure, Travel

Iceland and England 2019   Leave a comment

This May, I was lucky enough to get one more trip across the Pond to visit with Leah and celebrate her birthday. We spent a few days driving across Iceland, where we did some whale and puffin watching, hiked and did a bit of ice climbing on the Sólheimajökull glacier, visited the Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, wondered at the ice “diamonds” in the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, and stopped for a dip in the Blue Lagoon. Then we flew back to England, where I spent a couple of days in London meeting Leah’s classmates and friends, and a couple of days in Oxford, where I taught her to punt and introduced her to the joys of Summer Eights!

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Posted 2 Jun 2019 by John McManigle in Adventure, Travel

Greece Adventure 2019: Athens   1 comment

On our last day in Greece, Leah and I tried to see all we could see in Athens. We started with a tour of central ancient Athens, including the Temple of Olympian Zeus, a colossal monument to the king of the ancient Greek gods; the Acropolis, the sanctuary of the ancient city; the Ancient Agora, which was its cultural center; and the Temple of Hephaestus, one of the best preserved temples dedicated to the god of metallurgy.

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Posted 6 Apr 2019 by John McManigle in Adventure, Travel

Greece Adventure 2019: Milos   1 comment

Fresh from our adventures in Santorini, we flew to Milos, a smaller Aegean island with a population of about 5000, and gorgeous beaches. We checked into our lovely windmill and (after a brief adventure figuring out driving manual transmission) headed out to explore the island!

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Posted 3 Apr 2019 by John McManigle in Adventure, Travel

Greece Adventure 2019: Santorini   1 comment

Leah has always had a penchant for clear blue water and romantic island life, so while she’s been away doing her master’s in London, we decided to meet up for a week in Greece. Our first stop was Santorini, known for its beautiful ocean views. We arrived on March 30, and checked in to Hotel Sunny Villas built into the side of a cliff in Imerovigli, famous for its beautiful sunsets.

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Posted 1 Apr 2019 by John McManigle in Adventure, Travel

Key West and Miami   Leave a comment

In our continuing hunt for getaways involving sandy beaches — especially important as Leah gets ready to head off to London — Leah and I took a few September days to enjoy some sun in Key West and Miami. We spent the weekend in Key West, staying in a cute AirBnB just off the lively Duval Street. I showed Leah some traditional Key West highlights: the southernmost point in the continental United States, the nightly sunset celebration in Mallory Square, and of course a few encounters with the wandering chickens. We also enjoyed the regional delicacies of Key Lime Pie on a stick and drinks in coconuts.

On Monday, we drove back up to Miami, where we stayed at the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside. Here, Leah introduced me to the Ocean Drive club scene at the Clevelander, and we enjoyed some relaxing beach time. Unfortunately, our trip was cut short by the impending Hurricane Florence. We were able to catch an earlier flight back to North Carolina to avoid the storm, and can’t wait for our next sandy beach adventure.

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Posted 13 Sep 2018 by John McManigle in Adventure, Travel