Saturday, July 25, 2015

Two Days on Martha's Vineyard - June 2015

On June 6th, my dad and brother threw my mother a surprise 70th birthday party on Perkins Pond.  After spending  a couple of days in Sunapee, New Hampshire; Christine, Maddi, Carson and I headed down to Martha’s Vineyard for a couple of days of vacation. 

We stayed at my Auntie Carolyn’s in Middleboro on Monday night, so we could start our Martha’s Vineyard journey early Tuesday morning by taking the high-speed ferry out of New Bedford  We choose New Bedford over Falmouth or Hyannis on Cape Cod, because it is quicker to get back to Boston, which we ended up needing, because we were the last ones to board our flight home on Thursday.
As is a tradition with Christine and I, we love to start our vacations with a cheesy local tour, and this time we dragged Maddi and Carson with us.  Right after checking into the hotel, we got on an old school bus and headed around the island through all six towns.   We boarded the bus in Oak Bluffs, which is well-known for its gingerbread cottages, and one of the two towns with ferries to the mainland.  We headed towards Edgartown going over the Jaws Bridge, which the tour guide said people jump off, but it was cold and rainy during our tour, so no one was jumping.   After Edgartown we headed through West Tisbury and Chilmark on our way to Aquinnah and the Gay Head Lighthouse.  Gay Head is the only stop on the tour.  
The highlight of the tour of  stopping at Aquinnah, formerly Gay Head, wasn't the view, as you can see in the pictures, Gay Head was cold and rainy on the day we stopped, the highlight was  Lobster Roll at The Aquinnah Shop the heaps of lobster on a fancy grilled hot dog roll, were simple to die for.

We re-boarded the bus and headed back to Oak Bluffs via Chilmark, West Tisbury, and Tisbury.  We had a great tour guide who was both funny and educating, including name dropping from current day celebrities like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Reece Witherspoon to presidential connections with the Obamas, Clintons, and Kennedys. I recommend the tour, however be aware you are only hitting the highlights with only one stop.  You miss Menemsha, Chappaquiddick, Vineyard Haven, and much more. 
After the tour, we caught a taxi to our Harbor View hotel in Edgartown.  The Harbor View (in the back ground behind Christine) is a true 5 star hotel, very expensive but absolutely amazing.  After getting settled in, we walked to The Food Shanty, right on the ocean for a fantastic seafood dinner.
The next morning was our only full day on the island and my most favorite by far.  We rented bikes and spent a full day biking.  After a nice breakfast on the little downstairs patio at Among the Flowers, we took the On-Time Chappy Ferry (aka no schedule) only 527 feet to Chappaquiddick.  

Chappaquiddick is infamous for Ted Kennedy’s 1969 car accident, however the island is a great place to bike.  On the bike from the ferry to East Beach, you will find with the unexpected Mytoi Japanese Garden.  The garden is both free and amazing.  

After enjoying the garden, we continue biking on the dirt road over Dyke’s Bridge to the Atlantic Ocean.  After stepping into the ocean, we biked straight back to the Chappy’s Ferry.
After short ferry ride, we biked six miles to Oak’s Bluff.  Martha’s Vineyard is very bike-friendly but you have to be on the lookout as there is heavy car traffic and several areas where you have to cross active roads.  The ride is flat and beautiful, biking between Sengekontacket Pond and Joseph Sylvia Beach.  The weather was beautiful, and this day, when we got to Jaws Bridge kids were jumping off, and Carson said he wanted to jump too:
After Carson did his best to dry off and de-sand, we got back on the bikes for the last two mile to Oaks Bluff.  We parked the bikes at the Oak Bluffs Ferry and walked around the small town, including Town Beach, Ocean Park, Marina, Shopping Area, and the world famous Ginger Bread houses.  Unfortunately, we were just before their busy time of the year, and Flying Horses Carousel was closed on a Tuesday afternoon.  Christine and I were bragging about getting the brass ring to kids, regrettable Maddi and Carson didn't get experience this old school / not on-line fun.  During our shopping, we found a great T-Shirt for Carson, a life long Patriots Fan.  
After a bite to eat, we biked  back to Edgartown and our Harborview Hotel.  After dropping off the bikes, we walked downtown for another delectable Edgartown dinner, this time at Wharf Pup.    

The next morning our Martha’s Vineyard adventure was over, as we caught the Ferry back to New
Bedford.  We ran into traffic and just made our flight home by mere minutes.  

Thank you for letting us share our pictures from our Martha's Vineyard excursion with you.  If you have any questions, please email Shaun Priest at  

Saturday, October 11, 2014

4 Disciplines of Execution: Getting Strategy Done

CloserQ readers, I want share with you my review of "4 Disciplines of Execution:Getting Strategy Done" by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling.  4DX (4 Disciplines of Execution) was recommended by a colleague, because the book offers specific tactics to successful execute on strategies.

Strategies often fail because they get devoured by urgency of day to day activities, or as 4DX calls them the 'Whirlwind'.  As the name states 4DX, offers four tactics, when followed, to successfully execute on your strategies:

  1. Focusing on the Wildly Important
  2. Acting on Lead Measures
  3. Keeping a Compelling Scoreboard
  4. Creating a Cadence of Accountability
I recommend 4DX for managers and individual contributors looking to enhance their productivity, which should be all readers. 

After listening to 4DX, I put together the presentation below, and presented to my team.   Below are jpeg's of my presentation, and if you would like the powerpoint version, just email me at 

Reader Feedback, please click the ‘comments’ below to give your feedback on  "4 Disciplines of Execution: Getting Strategy Done"
Good Reading / Listening (I actually listened to on Audible), Shaun Priest aka CloserQ. Have fantastic day.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge for Carson, Maddi, and Shaun

This weekend, Madison, Carson, and myself took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge along with Millions of other Americans, all for a good cause.  Below are our videos:


To learn more about the Ice Bucket Challenge, including donations, visit: 

Thank you for letting us share our Ice Bucket Pictures with you.  If you have any questions, please email Shaun Priest at

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Whirlwind Tour of San Francisco Bay Area - June 2014

In late spring 2014, Christine, Madison, Carson, and myself boarded a delta flight for a four day express trip of San Francisco and the bay area.  Below are pictures and notes from our trip.

We arrived at 1pm local time on Saturday, May 31st.  

 When Christine and I travel to new cities, one of the first things that we like to do is take a bus tour of the area, to figure out what we want to do and not want to do.

See Carson on our double decker tour bus with Transamerica building in the behind him.

See Christine and Madison as the bus crosses over the Golden Gate Bridge.  San Fran was cold and three of us were way under-dressed for the bus tour, but we still cross the golden gate bride on the top of the bus.

Madison and Carson on the other side of the bay. 

After the tour bus dropped us off at Union Square, we walked to China Town.  

Sunday June 1st, we got in the rental car to head back across the Golden Gate bridge to visit Point Bonita Lighthouse, Sausalito, and Muir Woods.

Our friends the Smiths, vacationed in San Francisco last year, and they highly recommended Point Bonita Lighthouse.  The lighthouse is only open Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays between 12:30pm and 3:30pm.  We were lucky we went on a Sunday, however, we arrived at 10am, so we decided to get lunch in Sausalito, then comeback to visit the Lighthouse.

Sausilito is ranked as one of the top 20 destinations in the country, with scenic waterfront, panoramic views, small town charm and Mediterranean character.


 Madison, Carson, and I with the bay in the background.

One thing that was really nice about Sausalito is that you can walk on the docks.  At the end of one dock was a Tug boat, that you could walk right up to.  

Sausilito is also know for their floating houses.  It hard to see but the homes behind Shaun are floating. 

 After lunch in Sausalito we got back in the car headed back to Point Bonita Lighthouse.

Just to get to the light house you have to walk down a step path, then through a tunnel.

The lighthouse is unexplainably beautiful, after the tunnel you walk across a suspension bridge to the lighthouse. 

Christine walking across the bridge.

The four us after safely making it back across the bridge.  

Carson scaling up the rocks near the lighthouse.

After the lighthouse, we piled back in the car to drive to the famous Muir Woods to check out the 'Star Wars' Redwoods.

The star attraction of the Muir Woods is the Coast Redwood. The tallest tree in the Muir Woods is close to 300 feet, aka a football field. The oldest is over 1,200 years old, aka  a seedling six hundred years before Columbus discovered America.

Carson in the trees

Hopefully you can see the size and scale of the tress.

Monday June 2nd, Alcatraz, Pier 39, San Francisco Aquarium, Ghiradelli Square, and a surprise Mirror Maze:

Our first stop on Monday, was the boat ride to Alcatraz.  One note, we wanted to do the night tour of Alcatraz but even when I tried to get tickets a month in advance they were sold out, so get your tickets in advance.  Maddie and I on the boat to Alcatraz.  

 This is the last picture you will see of Carson on our Alcatraz trip.  Carson was so excited about visiting Alcatraz, that he want to explore on his own and separated from us as soon as we got off the boat. 

Christine as we approach Alcatraz.

Madison in one of the jail cells.

Christine visiting Shaun in Prison

Shaun in the prison yard with the Golden Gate Bridge behind him. 

After returning from Alcatraz to Pier 33, we made the short walk to Pier 39 for lunch.

It is hard to see but behind Maddi and are the world famous Pier 39 Sea Lions and Walruses.

My favorite, plus low cost, surprise of Pier 39 was the Mirror Maze.  For $5 a person you go through a hall of mirrors maze.  We found the infinity maze on our walk from lunch to the Aquarium.  See pictures of Maddie in the Maze

Madison outside the entrance to the aquarium.

Shaun by the Octopus

Christine, Madison, and Carson in the underwater tunnel through the aquarium. 

Shaun inside one of the tanks.

Tuesday, June 3rd, our last full day in San Fran.  Carson and I did a tour of the San Francisco Giants AT&T Park, then the four of us walked around San Francisco.

Carson in front of the Juan Marichal statue infront of AT&T Park.

Carson and I in the visitors locker room.

In the visitor dugout. 

Shaun making a call to the bullpen. 

Carson and Shaun on the field. 

After walking around the city and dinner on Union Square, we flew home the next morning. 

Thank you for letting us share our pictures with you.  If you have any questions, please email Shaun Priest at