Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Pre -Valentines Day Stop

I wrote on my Facebook wall that I had eaten dinner at the bank and slept in the parsonage when I was on this trip south.  I did not add details at the time I wrote the post because I did not want to emphasize I was out of town to the public, but other posts I made pretty much blew that cover over time.  Also, since there were no car tracks over the snow in the driveway when we returned, I think that might have given any nefarious person a clue.

Hubby was very sweet in trying to make this fishing/canoe trip more fancy for me and he arranged that we stopped on our drive down at North Carolina in a little town called Washington.  Not the D.C. one but Washington, North Carolina, a town that claims they were the first city (town) to be named after General George Washington.  We were there only overnight, but I do want to return and explore the interesting historic buildings some day.  We stayed in the B and B below.

This building sleeps ten to twelve and all bedrooms include a private bathroom.  The house is a century old and was a Rectory in its beginning in 1906 built by St. Peter's Episcopal Church.  The B&B is currently managed by a delightful woman who came to this country years ago from Central America.  At least one celebrity has stayed here in the past--Michelle Williams.  Beds were very comfortable, evening atmosphere was quiet, and breakfast was great!  Orange juice, fresh fruit with yogurt, french toast and sausage with hot tea or coffee.

We did not spend much time in this quaint sitting room, but I did grab a photo.

It is a quiet winter season in this little town, so we were two of only three people that stopped by for dinner at this former bank which is now a high end restaurant.  A young couple came later and sat at the bar.  Food was not cheap but delicious, and we got a private concert by the piano player!  I wish they would ditch the large screen TV.  Each of the few people we passed on the street on our way back to the B & B later that evening smiled and greeted us warmly as if we were neighbors.  It is a lovely town and I am going to return when weather is warmer since it is near a wildlife refuge which I will post about later on my other blog.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thursday Thoughts 13-#38 Thankfully

I will be sharing Thanksgiving away from home and with my son's future in-laws whom I have only met twice.  It will be a long drive and a bit of an experience, but I am sure by the end of the day I will be thankful that I didn't have to cook, didn't have to hostess, didn't have to eat with just the two of us and didn't have to bite my tongue once over something not worth such behavior.

Thus I am thankful that:
  1. The holiday catalogs that will fill my mailbox on my return are not overdue bills.
  2. The candles I light tonight are for beauty and not because of lack of electricity.
  3. The fire in my fireplace tonight before departure is not the only warmth in my house.
  4. The clothes that I pack are well-worn but by me and not a stranger.
  5. The long drive that I take will be to see friends and not to seek shelter.
  6. The food I eat will not be the only warm food  I have had that day.
  7. The stories I hear will be followed by laughter and not tears.
  8. The photos I take will be for smiles and not for insurance assessments.
  9. The tours I take will be to see places for the rehearsal dinner and not the damaged neighborhood.
  10. The thing broken will be my diet promises to myself and not something rare that I loved.
  11. The loss will be the passage of time but not whole days in my life.
  12. The hugs I share with others will be for the future and not to forget the recent past. 
  13. The thankfulness I give will be no less sincere than that of others on this planet.
Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving this week or an other time in your life, I wish you peace, understanding and forgiveness as you break bread with strangers and loved ones.

(posted early due to travel)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Chinese Apples and Wine

The world is a better place due to wineries and I am looking forward to the day when they are available on all country trips...well, at least that is my opinion. We stopped at this winery in the photo above in the apple country in Pennsylvania last week. It has only been in existence for about five years.  Yes, my European and South American readers can turn up their noses at this. We are babies in this industry, at least on the east coast, and  I admit, most of the wines reflect that in lack of sophistication.

This winery is called the Hauser Estate Winery and the building itself is brand new. I was told by the visitors center staff in the town when asking for directions to the winery to look for a lovely building on a hill. Well, one person's "lovely building" is another person's new and somewhat boring rock structure.  They do have the catbird's seat on the hill, though.

This view is across an agricultural area known primarily for its apple orchards.  One can purchase a glass of wine and sit out on a very large patio and drink in the scenery along with the fermented grape juice.  They even have shawls and wraps near the door to borrow on cold days.  On our day there was no need for anything but a light sweater.

But this post is more about the conversation that I had with the woman who poured our (my) wine.  (They have apple cider for those who want a less strong drink.)  She is the (one of the?) granddaughter(s) of the man who created Musselmans apple products in America, most famously you may know the applesauce.  Her mother and two aunts have built this winery as their new enterprise and 80% of the grapes they grow are used in their wine.  The daughter went on to say that they were moving into the wine industry because it now was cheaper to import apples from China to make applesauce then to grow them in our own country.  It now is cheaper to import apples from China to make applesauce in this country then to grow the fruit in our own country!  We no longer manufacture most things in this country...we don't even grow fruit economically it seems even with the rising costs of fossil fuels!  What would Johnny Appleseed say?  Or, perhaps, he viewed this on a much smaller more personal scale when he took his trek.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

The island of Aruba is hot, hot, hot.  And I do not say that because of the effect of the voluptuous body below in the string bikini.  (I thought I had excluded her from the serenity of this lovely pocket beach.)  Throughout the afternoon, as we walked back from swims in the water, every single person was talking about how cheeky she was...and much to my reader's disappointment I did not get a photo of her facing sea!

Okay, enough!  With the magic of photo-shopping, lets remove her from the picture, shall we.?

Does it still look hot?  No?  Well it was!  It was so hot, that while we could walk on the sand barefoot, we went directly from the water to lie in the shade of the Palapas, palm frond covered tables, each and every time.  Only mad dogs, Englishmen and ladies in string bikinis would lay out in the noon day sun.  Below are my fair haired son and future daughter-in-law shade bathing, both with enough Irish fair skin to practice safe sunning.

The difficulty for photographers, such as myself, is the hot flat sun.  Everything is over-lighted within an hour of sunrise, and each photo tends to lose any depth and colors are washed out unless the lighting levels are changed later by software.  Thus my eye was drawn to shadows in taking photos.

This is an early morning photo from our east facing balcony.  I never saw anyone on any of the other balconies the whole time we were there.  Of course our free condo balcony did face the parking lot!

We spent a good deal of our time seeking the shade of trees and buildings and yet I still came back with a really good tan.  Go figure.  The other thing that would draw my eye was the shadows beneath large cactus on hikes.  Sort of a tempting/not-so-tempting approach to sitting in the shade.

The other respite that was welcome was spelunking.  Aruba has a number of caves.

It is interesting to see how many people while afraid of the cave residents (rattlesnakes and bats) did not mind "hanging out" in the cool shade for a while.  On the other hand, I tend to neither fear nor want to cuddle with either.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


What a busy vacation!  One whole week of beaching, snorkeling, eating at fancy and not-so-fancy restaurants, hiking, touring, going to festivals, swimming in the pool, shopping, and of course, photographing.  But in the very center of all the activity and in the physical center of the island itself I found my center and some restorative peace.  We visited the oldest church (rebuilt of course) and while I have mixed feelings about visiting churches on remote islands from outside religions by non-natives, the simplicity and honesty of this one calmed my spirit.  There were no bells, whistles, gold leaf or tragic icons to call to the attention of a distant god who might have forgotten them.

Inside was one lone soul praying quietly in the cool shade and whom I did not frame in the photograph.

Behind the church was something even more refreshing and inspiring.

I do not believe in traditional religions but I do believe in the power of prayer.  I slowly walked this maze and said to my self with each careful step "Peace on Earth. Goodwill Toward Men."  I held in my mind the embassies across the globe with their hardworking diplomatic corps wondering if they will be called home without warning on this day or if they might face a greater challenge through no fault of their own.

And then we took a tourist photo for remembrance.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Tabor is back but not quite ready for prime time blogging.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mainly Maine

Just  few of the photos so that those readers who have been so generous with their interest in my travels can get a feel of the State of Maine.

How the top 1% live in Maine where they get a view of the harbor at Bar Harbor, Maine.

A not very good photo of the red fox that was intrigued by the sound of children laughing and chasing in the nearby playground.

A public beach in Maine. Water in the ocean was still pretty cool!

John D. Rockefeller put his millions to good use by purchasing the area above Bar Harbor which became Acadia National Park.

This view in the photo above is from the highest point in Acadia looking back toward the town of Bar Harbor.

And we never were hungry as blueberries were in abundance wherever the soil was boggy enough!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Signs of This Time

My trip north through Maine toward Prince Edward Island and back through New Hampshire provided lots of opportunities for photos, many of which I have deleted upon my return already.  I will not bore you with them all, but here are a few that certainly reflect the area and are very different from what I might see in my neck of the woods.

Best place for breakfast in Bar Harbor.

Great place for a lobster roll at the ferry crossing.

Quote of Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables.  Taken where she grew up.

Enough said...or written!

There were no skiers that I could see!

We didn't, but there were plenty of places where we could!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tail End of the City

This famous city was surprisingly clean and non-odoriferous.  At least not lots of bad odors.  Cleaning up car emissions over the years has improved the air in cities everywhere.  There was some noise due to car honking but around Central Park the most obvious noise was bird song!  Birds sing louder in cities and urban areas because they are competing with all the ambient noise.  The sidewalks and street gutters were also clean for such a large and busy city.   I felt very safe almost anywhere I went and we even walked all the way back after our evening dinner without incident.  We passed the Today Show studio and noticed it was directly across the street from a nice bakery.  We made a note to head that way in the morning for breakfast as it would be Sunday and the studio should not be open and therefore not much competition for breakfast.

But as they (whomever they are) say...the best laid plans are easily thwarted.  We got up bright and early and headed out only to discover that all the streets within two blocks of that bakery were blocked off.  When we asked if we could head to the bakery a young woman in jeans that were so tight they must stop circulation, barely looked up from her I-phone and said she was sorry but they had just flipped a car.  "They" we later learned was the movie crew who were filming  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, starring Ben Stiller.  My daughter sighed and then said...well he is not exactly eye candy, and thus we walked on trying on her phone to find another bakery, and we did.  We were in New York, after all.  Below is one of the movie trucks although I am sure they have some special fancy name for them like grip wagon.

After breakfast we headed out to see the Frick Gallery which had been suggested by blogger guy, Stephen, The Chubby Chatterbox.  This was a perfect suggestion on Stephen's part as it was within walking distance, and I had never heard of it, and it ended up being a gorgeous collection of artwork by the masters.  We were surprised to see the beginning of a line 30 minutes before the museum opened and once inside we learned this was a donation Sunday.  Pay what you want!  I treated my daughter and I and paid the full price because I can afford it and it is a good cause.

The museum is a mansion on Central Park once owned by Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919).   I could not take pictures inside, but you can read all about it here.  At the end of this tour we headed out for lunch and found a street-side deli and had sandwiches and were most incorruptible by avoiding all the delicious bakery items in the case by the door.

The rest of the afternoon was devoted to street walking and shopping.  Daughter wanted to supplement her work wardrobe and I actually found a very few things that fit me.  Everyone is size 0 to 4 in those shops!  Once I tried on the Large size I actually found something that fit!  Those skinny Europeans do not play fair.

We then enjoyed the architecture of the city before catching our train back home.  While there was no time for a show or play, there is always time for another trip in the future.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

City Life Part II

My trip to the city was paid for by my daughter. For those who wondered where I stayed, it was at the Marriott in Mid-town and my daughter used her many points to pay for the overnight bill. My daughter figures that we walked an average of 20 blocks each day...but I think it must have been more. My ankle did not give me pain although my daughter showed due concern. My issue was just the old joints and muscles that reminded me I must slow down. Actually, if I kept walking I was fine.  Once we sat for an extensive time to rest on a Central Park bench both on the Saturday and the Sunday, moving again was a real challenge. Those of you who are my age realize how your joints fill with lactic acid when you have moved extensively and then refuse to move smoothly after extensive rest until you have forced the walk for another 10 minutes through the stiffness and pain and finally you return to the normal walking mode.

We paid for taxies as the day progressed and the deadines to be somewhere else were closing in on us, and these came to an average of about $8.00 each time.

The very first visit we made was to the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art because I have been to N.Y. City only twice and never to this museum.  Most of my relatives are not into museums and I have given in to their interests on prior trips.  But Mother's Day was mine!  We saw only a tiny part of this HUGE museum.  We saw the Egyptian special exhibit which was not nearly as romantic or exotic or dusty as when I wandered the museum in Cairo many years ago.   But it was very informative.

Then we visited the Dutch gallery, saw some Vermeer, and of course, Rembrandt.  Then a short walk to see the Degas collection.  With over two million works housed here there were so many artists we missed, but we had the audio and those paintings that we actually studied were rich in audio description.  For lunch we ate at the museum 'wine bar" and had just a salad and wine. The waiting area was filled with shadows and light and created a feeling of magic as if stepping back in time.

We waited in the lunch line next to an elderly woman who was alone and nicely dressed.  We got to talking and she explained that she lived near the museum and came often.  When I perused the entire collection in the brochure I realized she could come every day for years and years and never really catch up.  She must have had lots of money because living off of Central Park is not for the middle class and for a brief time I was envious.

After lunch, my daughter wanted to peruse the flea market at Hell's Kitchen and this was certainly a dramatic change from the atmosphere at the Met.  It was like going from the Palace to the market place in a medieval city.  She likes to look at antique costume jewelry.  There was lots in the way of junky treasures sitting on folding tables under plastic tents, and even those old pieces that were most intersting could be priced over a hundred dollars unless you were a good bargainer.  We looked at clothing, purses, hats, kitchen ware, lamps, 'antique' books, and junk without definition.  I thought about those men and women who sat each day selling this stuff and wondered if, indeed, it supplemented their disability or social security income.  I also thought about the many prior owners of all of this stuff.  Had they passed on and their relatives sold this stuff or did they sell it because they needed the money?  Or was this stuff found in dumpsters along the streets of New York?  We did not buy anything.

This flea market was in sharp contrast to the antique store on 5th Avenue that we had walked through.  Every piece in the antique store was thousands of dollars even though it was at a marked down price because of the store's closing.  I looked at the jewelry and mused (out loud) about what had occurred to force the owners to sell their diamonds and emeralds and rubies and works of art.  The nephew (mentioned in the prior post) chuckled and told me not to be concerned.  Most of these people were trading up for larger pieces of jewelry he said.  I keep forgetting about the 1%.  I am so out of orbit with these folks!

We ate that evening at A Voce – the Columbia location, a new Italian restaurant that had a write up in our hotel's brochure as one of the top ten new restaurants in the area.  We were impressed because there are hundreds of high end restaurants in the area to write about.  Alas, I was disappointed in the food.  Al dente was too chewy and nothing was exceptional in my estimation, other than an exceptional 'by the glass' wine list.  Neither of us finished our expensive meals, but I did not complain as this was my treat from daughter.

Sunday's activities in the next you can skip this blog for a while if following someone's boring travel is not to your tastes.

Monday, May 14, 2012


I find it more noticeable the changes in feelings that I have when returning home from a very different place than I am used to.  I no longer adjust with slippery ease.  New York City (and the mid-town Manhattan area where I stayed) is a totally different planet than that in my woods where I live. The rigid buildings standing high and imposing block all but a few hours of sunshine.  When you think about all the people and all the activities taking place just above your head it is very imposing.  Cars and taxis are moving to "important" places constantly.  I also saw my share of stretch limos and a Rolls Royce or two...probably paid for in some strategic way by my tax payments!  I think the magic of this place is the compression of all of humanity in one, poor, lucky, unlucky, smart, not-so-smart, old and young.

Some streets are so full of tourists (everyone else is in in their offices working hard paying for the high rent on the closet where they live) that you can barely pass.  We all seem to adjust as we cross streets, avoid hot coffee and limp cigarettes.  I saw Park Avenue matrons in spring suits walking tiny whippet dogs.  I saw a transvestite or two.  Various gay guys dressed so carefully casual.  Lots of families with strollers.  Mothers and sons and daughters carrying bouquets and lost in the love of their mom on Mother's Day.  The young man below was delivering Mother's Day bouquets to women who lived overlooking Central Park!

I saw many people from other countries speaking in languages I did not recognize and wearing clothing styles that were clearly European.  I saw a few women in Burkas and a few nuns in traditional dress.  I also viewed several wealthy Asians enjoying their money spending vacation.  Many typical New Yorkers of every ethnicity working the streets, the cabs, the hotel lobbies, the storefronts with resigned looks on their faces accepting another day, and a few college age couples enjoying spring.  People watching is the best past time in New York.  Every human phenom on the planet is there.  I did not see any celebrities but I am sure some ran past me in sweaty exercise gear.  My daughter and I sat for a few hours on a Central Park bench resting my weary feet and I was fascinated!  As we people-watched we visited with a new grandfather who was touring with his daughter and her new born grandchild from Boston...the conversation was interspersed with that musical accent that Bostonian' s have.

I soon learned that you cannot walk more than two blocks before you encounter either building, sidewalk, or street construction.  This city is used to pieces!  But I did find that all the locals whether waiting on me or standing in line waiting with me were extremely polite and helpful.  I did not get the finger once, although I did have to be aggressive with a taxi that wanted to drive where I was walking once!! "Hey, I am walking here!"

We shopped an antique store that was closing due to retirement of the owner.  I talked to his nephew (my age) who explained his uncle was 88 and retiring to his horse ranch in Ocala, Florida next door to John Travolta.  It appears they share an airplane runway!  I hope he lives a long time.

A few places including one on the famous 5th Avenue were empty and looking for tenants.

I cannot even begin to think how expensive the rental on this retail space would be...but as the ad tells you...YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT.  And in New York, if you have to cannot afford it.  More next post.