Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Painting Class given by Paul Valdez

Photo courtesy: Paul Valdez

Last week, Tagawa Nursery hosted a painting class given Paul Valdez, local artist and instructor. It was a great afternoon with funny, entertaining ladies who each chose a different subject to paint. We are a diverse group of painters/artists, some more talented than others (I'm in the latter category...but I try hard) and therefore we are a constant challenge to our teacher. Valdez gently corrects our work during critique session, and constantly encourages us to do better.  He offers water color and oil painting classes at his studio, and also at Heritage Eagle Bend, Aurora. For more information go to:  http://pauljvaldez.com/

Looking for an unusual idea for a girl's birthday party? Why not consider having a Fairy Party at Tagawa Nursery. In fact there are so many classes and ideas...it's best to check their site. I particularly enjoyed the Fairy Garden - very creative and enchanting!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cayman Island Castle

Over the years, I have visited the Cayman's many, many times, but this last visit was truly wonderful. The view was spectacular...the villa was clean, the private pool was well maintained, and the weather was glorious.

There are two "castles" located next to each other. Since we had six people...we chose the smaller of the two, but the larger would accommodate a very large family, or group of friends. There is a private beach (that is swept daily) next to the facility with several kayaks for visitors' use. A dive shop is within walking distance. The shop provides all the gear for scuba divers and snorkelers. They set out  each morning and afternoon, and offer a deep water dive of 100 feet...and also a reef dive.
Following is an excerpt from the trip notes.

I woke up early the next day to take advantage of the sunrise, which was just to the left of the pool.  Amazing!  You will hear roosters crowing in the morning, as there are a lot of chickens roaming the island along with green iguanas (although we didn’t see any iguanas at the property).   I then took a kayak out to a white pole that is about 300 yards from shore.  Take note of this pole: right beneath it is a wonderful coral head, absolutely teaming with fish.  The water is about 10 to 15 feet deep here, and it makes for a delightful dive.  Most of the kayaks have a line on the bow or stern, so you can tie up to the pole and swim with the fish.  I thought this was a brilliant “perk” of the property.  Take advantage of it!

Other than hanging out on the patio and in the pool (which the kids loved) and on the beach, we did the following activities:

1)    Dolphin Discovery.  This is located north of Seven Mile Beach, about an hour drive from the property.  It was great fun.

2)    Turtle Farm.  This was included in the price of the Dolphin Discovery.  The main tank holds all the mature turtles and we got to see them being fed.  Quite an experience.  They are huge!  They also have smaller tanks where you can pick up and hold the little turtles (the kids loved it).

3)    Red Sail 65 foot catamaran sail from Rum Point to the reef at North Sound and Stingray City.  You have to do this.  It was fantastic.

4)    Mastic Trail.  This is a guided walk which begins up near Rum Point.  If you like nature walks, this is for you.  Our guide was very well-informed and pointed out all the different trees, birds and other critters which we encountered.  Make sure you take plenty of water and bug spray.  It’s not a hard walk and lasts about two and a half hours. 

A quick note on Rum Point.  It is about a 25 minute drive from the property, and is highly recommended.  We actually went back the day after the sail just to hang out.  It is perfectly maintained and the beach is gorgeous.  The water is only a few feet deep with a sandy bottom, so the kids can explore the water without being worried about it being too deep.  We found a number of live conchs there, too.  We couldn’t resist taking a couple of waverunners out (again from Red Sail) on an excursion.  There were three stops.  The first was to the mangroves, then on to Starfish Point (where you stop and hold live starfish), and then on to a 15 minute snorkel dive on a beautiful coral head.  We had a blast on this tour.

For more information you may go to: