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    Gordon Atlantic employees Travel Blog

    Travel: The Keys of Florida

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff on Thu, Jun 02, 2016 @ 09:49 AM

    My travels to Key West Florida, the most southern point in the United States.

    The trip began in Boston, MA on a 5am flight to Miami, FL. I meet my travel companions at the airport. They are a combination of old friends and some new acquaintances that have become friends. They reside in the Clearwater beach area of Florida and drove down to pick me up in Miami. We were on the road by 9am to the first of many Keys.

    The Florida Keys are a coral cay archipelago located off the southern coast of Florida, forming the southernmost portion of the continental United States. They begin at the southeastern coast of the Florida peninsula, about 15 miles south of Miami, and extend in a gentle arc south-southwest and then westward to Key West the westernmost of the inhabited islands, and on to the uninhabited Dry Tortugas. The islands lie along the Florida Straits, dividing the Atlantic Ocean to the east from the Gulf of Mexico to the northwest, and defining one edge of Florida Bay. At the nearest point, the southern part of Key West is just 90 miles from Cuba. The Florida Keys are between about 23.5 and 25.5 degrees North latitude.

    The climate of the Keys is defined as tropical savanna according to Köppen climate classification. More than 95 percent of the land area lies in Monroe County, but a small portion extends northeast into Miami-Dade County, such as Totten Key. The total land area is 137.3 square miles. As of the 2010 census the population was 73,090 with an average density of 532.34 per square mile, although much of the population is concentrated in a few areas of much higher density, such as the city of Key West, which has 32% of the entire population of the Keys. The US Census population estimate for 2014 is 77,136.

    The first adventure was to Robbie's of Islamorada. We had lunch Oceanside watching tourist take pictures of the torques waters and some marine life. We also had a chance to feed tarpon. Please see attached photos.

    key_west_3.jpg

    After several hours of driving through many smaller keys, we arrived at Key West. After hopping into the pool for a few minutes to get the stiffness of traveling in a car, we headed down to our local bike rental shop and got our wheels for the weekend. This was the view at the end of our street. Yes, that is my bike I road for three days.

    key_west_2.jpg

    We drove to the most southern point in the United States and took the proper photos to document “We were there “ Then we proceeded to bike around and see the charm of key west.

    key_west_1.jpg

    Tags: vacation, travel tips, key west, the florida keys, southernmost point

    Orlando, Florida: Islands of Adventure

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff on Fri, Sep 19, 2014 @ 03:41 PM

    Visit_Universal_with_personal_travel_insurance_and_tips_from_Andrew_G_Gordon_IncYou can't go to Universal Studios without spending some time in the Islands of Adventure park, too! Islands of Adventure contains a few more thematic areas (like little mini parks) than Universal Studios, and is home to some infamous rides like the Hulk and Jurassic Park.

    The first mini park you encounter (after walking past lots of shops in immediately after getting in) is Superhero Island. There's the Hulk, a roller coaster that I personally think is worth no more than a 30 minute wait. I love roller coasters, but after the first 15 seconds for me, the Hulk just feels bland. There's also a teacup ride for kids as well as many superhero themed shops. The Dr. Doom ride is just an up and down dropping ride, a style I love, but I would say don't wait more than 15 minutes for this one. For me, the highlight of the superhero park is the Spiderman ride. Similar to lots of the rides at Universal Studios, Spiderman is a motion simulator that's fast paced and exciting, if you love 4-D. There are some cool stores here too, and the heroes ride by occasionally on motorcycles!

    After Superhero Island is the toon park; I personally don't spend too much time here, but the Dudley Do Right Ripsaw Falls is a water ride sort of like Splash Mountain at Disney. There's also a Popeye themed river rafting ride (the kind where ten people are seated in a circular float), which is a fun way to cool off after a hot day. Perhaps these cartoons just don't cater to my generation, but if you're familiar with these sort of cartoons it's a great place to check out!

    Next is my favorite part of Islands of Adventure; Jurassic Park! The ground has cool leaf patterns and dinosaur tracks, and there's the infamous River Adventure Ride. This seemingly calm ride takes a surprise twist (and drop) near the end, and I wouldn't recommend it for little kids. There's a restaurant in this mini park called Thunder Falls Terrace, which is pleasantly indoors but with lots of windows and light. There are unique and healthy meal choices here, and it has clean bathrooms!

    I'll save the Hogsmeade section of Harry Potter World for my next blog, and as I don't know anything about the Poseidon's Fury show, I'll skip that too.

    Last is Dr. Seussland, a GREAT place for kids! There are soft serve places, candy shops, and the rides are low key but fun. The Cat in the Hat ride is similar to Disney rides, where you're in a cart and move throughout the story (this one is my sister's favorite)! There's also a One Fish Two Fish ride with the same setup as the Dumbo and Aladdin carpet rides at Disney, but there is water spraying involved! My favorite ride here is the High in the Sky Trolley Train, in which you're in a little cart and ride around over the park. You go into the ceiling of a restaurant! There's also a roof to keep you cool, and this is another calm ride.

    Overall, Islands of Adventure is great, though I personally prefer the Universal Studios park. If you get a three-day pass to Universal, I'd say spend one day in Islands of Adventure and the other two in Universal Studios, though it also depends on the ages of the people you're traveling with. Definitely check out Superhero Island, Jurassic Park, and Dr. Seussland!

    Get some travel tips here, and read the first part of this Universal blog series!

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    Tags: vacation, travel, review, tips, florida, universal studios, islands of adventure, amusement park

    Orlando, Florida: Universal Studios

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 @ 03:31 PM

    Have_the_best_vacations_with_advice_and_personal_insurance_from_Andrew_G_Gordon_IncThis summer I went to Orlando with some of my extended family. We bought 4 day passes for the Universal theme parks: Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. As of last month, there is a new Harry Potter park, Diagon Alley! This area is in Universal Studios, while the old Harry Potter world, Hogsmeade, is in Islands of Adventure. Here's the first part of a review of my trip and a basic guide for getting the most out of your Universal passes. There's so much to do in Universal that this blog will focus on Universal Studios, excluding the new Harry Potter world.

    As I mentioned before, Universal has two theme parks: Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios (the same way Disney has Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and more, but they're separate). You have to walk through CityWalk to get to either park, and a Hard Rock Cafe is in between. So you don't need a Universal ticket to enjoy the restaurants on CityWalk, but you still need to pay for parking (which is only $5 after 6 pm, $17 during the day). There aren't any rides or other real attractions at CityWalk.

    For the most part, I personally prefer the rides at Universal Studios. If you love a calm but exciting ride or have kids, E.T. is a good choice. It's also a cool, air conditioned ride if you're looking for a break from the Orlando heat. E.T. is my favorite movie and was my favorite ride until recently. Next door is a Simpsons themed area, and even as someone who has never watched the show, I really enjoy the main ride; it's a motion simulator, so you're in a cart that moves while you watch a screen (like a 4-D movie). There's also a Men in Black ride where you shoot aliens, similar to the Buzz Lightyear ride in Disney's Magic Kingdom. 

    After the Simpsons and Men in Black comes London, a facade in front of the new Harry Potter park, but I'll get to that in another blog. Continuing past London is the brand new Transformers ride. I've never seen the Transformers movies, but the ride was my second favorite of the week; 45 minutes of waiting was definitely worth it! It's another motion simulator ride, but it moves more than the Simpsons. Next to Transformers, our favorite eatery of the week, Louie's serves pizza, pasta, and chicken parm. We ate there twice, and I recommend it for lunch or dinner.

    Get_personal_travelers_insurance_from_Andrew_G_Gordon_IncContinuing down is Disaster, which is a fun show in which the audience participates to make a movie, and the Mummy. The Mummy is a dark and scary roller coaster (again, I've never seen the movie), and while I personally love the ride, I wouldn't recommend it to most kids or those who don't like roller coasters. Also in the area is Twister (a show about the movie and that simulates a tornado: I wouldn't recommend it for kids, as it made my brave 9 year old cousin cry) and Rip Ride Rock It (a roller coaster which plays music). Shrek is a 4-D movie which is great if you're looking for a break with kids, but I find it underwhelming, and the new Despicable Me ride is another motion simulator that's kid friendly. 

    Universal Studios also has a new show at 9 pm. As long as you can see the lake at the center of the park, you'll be able to see a screen, but remember to claim your spot early unless you want to stand! The show is about 15 minutes long and is just a series of short, 2 or 3 second long clips of memorable movies. As someone who loves movies but has yet to see many of the classics, I found the show extremely boring. Many of the clips were too short for me to recognize the movie, and there isn't really any guidance or narration. Overall, if you're already there that late and love movies, see the show, but I would say it's not that important. 

    I absolutely had a blast at Universal Studios; even as a huge Disney fan, I have to say that the rides at Universal are more exciting and interesting for teenagers and adults. The atmosphere at Universal was also extremely pleasant; every employee I encountered was extremely helpful, patient, and friendly. However, if for some reason 3-D rides bother you or upset your stomach, I would really only recommend E.T., Disaster, the Mummy, and the roller coaster. The food was also great (especially Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream!). I'd recommend Universal Studios to families whose children are over age 10 and any adult or movie lover. 

    Read some general travel tips to further enhance your vacation, and don't forget to have fun! Contact us with any insurance questions.  

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    Tags: vacation, travel, personal, insurance, review, tips, harry potter world, universal, orlando, florida

    Aruba - One Happy Island

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff on Mon, May 13, 2013 @ 11:00 AM

    In March I had the pleasure of going to Aruba for the first time. Although I have been to many islands in the Caribbean, this was certainly one that I am looking forward to going back to. When I mentioned to people that I was going to Aruba, I heard nothing but wonderful remarks. This indeed made me wonder; what was so special about this "Happy Island"?  I was soon to find out…

    Aruba is located 15 miles north of Venezuela in the souther Caribbean. The island is 19.6 miles long and 6 miles across. The trade winds that constantly blow keep the temperature comfortable, but the winds are very bad for the hair. My advice: relax, and don't worry about it! Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986 and became a separate member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Although the main languages are Dutch and local language Papiamento, Aurbans speak fluent English as well.

     

    The first experience that was great was that Jet Blue flies directly to the island, so we left in the morning and arrived with over half of the first day to enjoy at the beach, not in airports.  When we got there, the friendliness of the people was overwhelming. Everybody seemed genuinely friendly and helpful; they would offer to answer any questions or assist in any way.

    We were able to do just about everything we could want to. There is snorkeling, wonderful restaurants, shopping, all the water sports that you can imagine, and of course, just plain relaxing. And these are just a few of the many wonderful things Aruba has to offer!

    We did lots of walking around, which you can do quite easily in Aruba, because you feel safe anywhere you go on the island. At many other islands, once you leave the resort area, you take your life into your own hands- not so in Aruba.

    Over course, there is the beach, which is absolutely stunning. The color of the water is amazing, and the sand is clean and rock-free. You can float around in the water for hours if you want. We stayed at Eagle Beach which had chairs and Tiki Huts so we were always comfortable.

    After we were there for a couple of days, we rented a Jeep and drove all over the island. There are absolutely breathtaking waves on the “far” side of the island where nobody really goes. The surf crashing against the rocks is beautiful and angry at the same time. See picture below. 

    Aruba waves

    While we had the Jeep we went to Baby Beach which is just amazing, simple, and peaceful. On the way there you drive through what looks like a desert with plenty of cacti to keep you looking constantly out the window. See picture below.

    Baby Beach

    If you go to Aruba, drive out there at least one day; it is well worth it. However, be sure to buy the insurance you are offered as your Massachusetts Personal Auto Policy will not cover you there.

    One of the best days was our visit to De Palm Island. For one price, you get to stay on the lovely little island just about 5 minutes off of the main island. It includes food, drink, snorkeling, water park, banana boat rides, and a beautiful little beach with plenty of places to get out of the sun.  This was one of our best days.

    Aruba is working very hard to maintain a beautiful and econonmically growing island. They do not have intentions of adding hotel after hotel. The government wants to improve life for their own citizens as make Aruba a wonderful place for tourists. I think this is especially what makes Aruba special- the perfect "One Happy Island."

    I cannot wait to go back!

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    Sue Shiels

    Tags: vacation, travel, aruba, tropical, one happy island, tropics, caribbean

    Travel Tips

    Posted by Sue Bird on Mon, Jul 16, 2012 @ 12:57 PM

    travelHopefully you are enjoying your summer and you are lucky enough to take trip somewhere fun!  It’s handy to have a checklist of things to do or bring along so that you are better prepared. 

    Confirm reservations.

    - You never want to get caught at a check in counter with either the wrong reservation or none at all.

    Check weather conditions for your destination. 

    -It will also help you determine what clothes to bring. Don't get caught in a storm without a raincoat, the sun without sun screen, or up a creek without a paddle.

    Put mail delivery on hold.

    -You won't enjoy the overstuffed mailbox upon return and neither will your postman.

    Keep lights at home on timers and keep a stereo turned on.

    -See our blog about home safety and break ins. You don't want your return to be marked by theft and insurance claims.

    Leave a car in the driveway if possible.

    -It's a great way to deter theifs and other unwanted guests if they think someone is home.

    Have a friend/neighbor keep an eye on your house

    -Give the number of where you will be staying. Offer to do the same for them if they go away, a few neighborly actions can lead to a stronger friendship and mutually benefit both of you.

    Make sure you have prescriptions filled ahead of time

    -And keep a list of those prescriptions, doctor’s and pharmacy’s numbers on hand. It's important to stay on top of your meds and other needs, especially with a younger family member who may need it and not keep track of them.

    Make sure pets are taken care of

    -If your pets are staying home and you have a sitter, make sure they have your number and the vet’s number in case of an emergency and plenty of food. Your dog is a part of the family and although he couldn't come on the trip, he still should be taken well care of.

    Bring cell phone charger.

    -Having emergency numbers and housesitters is great unless they can't get in touch with you during a crisis.

    Happy Summer!

    Sue Bird

    This is just a list of suggestions and cannot absolutely guarantee you home safety, pet protection, or a fun vacation.

    Tags: vacation, travel, trip, summer, vaca, outing, adventure, plan, destination, mail, theft, theft prevention, travel tips

    Fishing in Dumoine – licensing changes

    Posted by Geoffrey Gordon on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 @ 10:23 AM

    turn off the road toward quebecWhen visting the Dumoine region of Quebec, I’m struck first by what has changed, and then by what has stayed the same.   The man-made changes are usually more surprising, because the natural changes are such a part of the environment to be predictable in their dynamism.

    This year the man-made changes included a new licensing station location.   The licensure in Quebec is a byzantine operation created by the quebecois government many years ago; its original intent is hard to figure, but the net effect is a complicated system that seems to be more about holding on to make-work desk jobs in tired old air conditioned offices than managing a fishing stock. 

    Fishing in Quebec is controlled by ZECs (Zone-d'Exploitation-Contrôlée, meaning controlled harvesting). The first stop has always been to obtain a transit pass at the Rapides des Joachim (Swisha) ZEC.  Then, about an hour in, one has to buy a Quebec fishing license and a ZEC Dumoine 1, 3, 7-day or year fishing license at the ZEC Dumoine station.  A 3-day Quebec and Dumoine license costs about $90.   What the woman at the Swisha ZEC (where we got our transit pass, just off the paved road) didn’t tell us, was that the Dumoine licensure station had moved to a trailer about a mile back out on the paved road.  So after an hour on bush roads, we found the station closed and had to re-trace our steps to get our actual fishing licenses.  Fortunately, these stations keep long hours, so the extra two hours of driving across poor sandy roads didn’t prevent us from fishing early the next morning.  

    Moving both ZEC licensing offices closer together and near where the road turns to bush road makes sense, even if we did miss the trailer the first time by.  Maybe they’ll combine the offices, but that would mean losing the opportunity to pay someone to transcribe name and address information and collect a fee.   

    swisha air signThe road across the Swisha ZEC hadn’t changed much, be we were pleased to see that the Dumoine roads had been dragged, culverts cleared of beaver dams, even a new culvert installed.  Thus, the roads were greatly improved from last year.

    The changes that are constant are in the natural world.   For our five day stay (with three days of active fishing), we learned that the water temperature (taken at West Trout) was a balmy 62 degrees after the mild winter.  This is generally too warm for trout to feed aggressively, and our trout count (3) was weak.   We were skunked at our first lake, Whiskey, a normally well-stocked, easily accessible lake, and a proven good early hit.  In addition, high pressure weather followed us in, making the sun hotter and the wind calmer over each successive day.   That’s pike and walleye weather.

    Our second attempt at trout was at a highly controlled, natural-only (no stocked fish) Lake Benwah.   A special pass is required, and fishermen must report total caught, pardoned (released) and kept (eaten) on departure.   This usually productive water yielded two trout, only one worth keeping, with two canoes on the water early, and working for about three hours.     Thus, we changed our program to meet the conditions.  That afternoon we headed into the waters of the Fil de Grande, a mostly river, relatively fast moving body of water on the way home from Benwah.   Upstream from where the river crosses under the road is Lake Dixon.  At Lake Dixon we got well into the northern pike.  In fishing lingo, we touched a lot of big fish.

    The next morning, we decided to explore our camp lake, Lake Cullen, known for northern pike and walleye, a little better.   We got our even earlier that we had for Benwah, and fished new areas of the lake with great success, before breakfast.

    A great way to become familiar with the region is to join a club such as the Dumoine Rod and Gun Club, which maintains an array of cabins with easy access, on great lakes.  Members of these clubs also have years of great experiences they're usually glad to share.

    On balance, the trip was a success.  One noteworthy change was the lack of bugs.  Normally the black flies and mosquitoes are ruthless, infinite, and never ending.   One should never travel to water country without proper preparation.  In addition to your favorite bug spray, don’t leave behind a bug head net

    bug jacket,

    and even if you’re in a bug-proof cabin, I strongly recommend Coughlin’s mosquito netting to assure a good night’s sleep.

     

    Changing objectives on conditions is part of the experience of fishing in Quebec.  While we only ate trout one night, the fishing experience was fulfilling.  We’ll have to see what next year’s conditions bring.  Maybe we’ll get lucky and miss the bugs.

    Geoff Gordon

    Tags: vacation, travel, trip, Dumoine fishing, Dumoine licenses, ZEC Dumoine, Lake Whisky, Lake Benwah, Lake Dixon, Fil-de-Grande, canada

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