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Friday, July 31, 2009

Big Sur, California, Forest Fires

fire beach sceneThis picture has not been doctored to appear yellow, the yellow shows you our proximity to the Forest Fires that ravaged much of California last summer. Some of the areas we had planned to travel to were off limits. Some areas were smoky, some were yellow from the flames, some streets and cars had ash from fires, carried sometimes for miles. This pretty but very eerie scene was around Big Sur. We traveled quite a ways, only to find out we couldn't get throw and had turn around and head back. We were then able to approach some of the area the next morning from the other side.
yellow sky and sunThe sun did come out a few times, tried hard to burn away the smoke, fog, smog etc, but was unable to. This is one of the few times we actually saw the sun. We passed a staging area for the fireman, a fire camp loaded with equipment before we had to turn around.
fire fighting drop planeWe spotted planes that were making drops of chemicals and water on the fires in several locations. Normally Big Sur is crowded is with fisherman, hikers, campers, as well as those that come to shop, eat in the many lodges. A beautiful area in the central California Coast area bordering the Santa Lucia Mountain Range.

Bixby BridgeBixby Bridge, about 13 miles south of Carmel, one of the worlds tallest single span bridges is also one of the most photographed. You can see why.
Big Sur LighthouseBig Sur Light Station...hard to see I know but it's there way way on top of this large outcropping. We were looking at this from the main road. Off to the left is a narrow rode leading up, though it it was not open to visitors during this time. It is possible to tour this lighthouse with advanced reservations. It's listed as one of the top 10 haunted lighthouses in the US, is registered as a National Historic Landmark. Limited numbers are permitted to tour the facility in this ghost town. The light station was opened in 1899 and the last keeper left in 1974, when it became automated. Parts of the park area in Big Sur were closed, other parts had signs suggesting volunteer evacuation, and no one new was permitted in. Shortly after we existed the park, it was closed due to the fire.
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dedication Page

Today, I'm venturing away from my typical travel information to ask a favor. I'm posting a dedication page for my niece, Janet. Janet was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma just before her 16th birthday. She underwent multiple surgeries, endured massive amounts of chemotherapy, and spent a year of her young life in the hospital. I'm happy to report she's currently doing quite well. She's a very special young lady. She's an honor student about to begin her Junior year in College. This dedication page is part of the Lance Armstrong Project, Live Strong. Please visit and sign her dedication page.

Thank you in advance for helping us support her and so many others in the fight against cancer.


Join me in a couple of days as we continue to explore the California Coast.
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Friday, July 24, 2009

St. Augustine, Florida

St.Augustine Fort
Old photo's from the "Oldest City". St. Augustine in Florida is the first permanent European settlement in the U.S. (These old poor quality photo's are from the dark ages, my honeymoon back in 1972, taken with a little Instamatic then scanned).

There is so much to see and do here in this beautiful city. Spanish influence is most apparent as you tour the city. Spanish explorer, Juan Ponce de Leon first came ashore here in 1513. Though the word here has broad meaning. The exact location really isn't known, but thought to be in this area. He didn't come with a mission to make a settlement, rather his mission was to explore. The area wasn't well thought of, poor land, infested with insects and alligators, humid uncomfortable weather and hurricanes. Ponce de Leon continued on to other places in his explorations.

French Huguenots attempted to colonize the area in 1562, unsuccessfully as they ran out of food and pulled out. The French tried again in 1564 with a larger more well equipment group that included women. Trouble between France and Spanish ensued. I could tell you more about how Menendez rooted out the Spanish, was imprisoned and.......but, instead let me suggest that you schedule a trip to this fascinating city and find out first hand.

A wonderful place for families with beaches to enjoy, parks for those traveling with pets, Lighthouses to explore, Missions, Museums, and lets not forget the Fort. Ft Mantanzas is a National Monument, all children love cannons. History truly comes alive in St. Augustine.
Ponce de Leon Lighthouse

As we continued on up the coast we spotted Ponce de Leon Inlet Light. This lighthouse is 175 feet tall, the tallest in all of Florida. It's located between St. Augustine and Cape Canaveral Light. Though it's history began in 1835, that structure was in a slightly different location, and was burned down during one of The Seminole Wars. The newer structure was constructed in 1883 and in 1998 was noted as a National Historic Landmark.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Golden Gate Bridge, California

Crossing The Golden Gate Bridge is quite an adventure whether you drive your car, ride a bike, or walk. We opted to drive the car over due to the time of day and the weather.

Crossing Golden Gate BridgeYou feel almost like you're in a tunnel, and as you look up you feel quite small. When it was built in 1937, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world.

Looking across Golden Gate BridgeLooking across you get a feel for the size and strength of this structure. Though no longer the longest, it ranks 9th. It's ranked the 5th most favorite Architecture in the United States according to Wikipedia.

Strength of construction under the bridge

Me and Merchant Marine MemorialPlease take time and pay homage to the Navy and Merchant Marine Memorials. The Lone Sailor Memorial was dedicated in 2002 and is a replica of the one in Washington D.C.

Navy Memorial

Merchant Marine Memorial

I highly recommend taking time to site see here, dress warm and prepared to wait your turn to get pictures, and to use the bathroom.

Sadly this beautiful location is a suicide destination, the most popular in fact in the United States. No exact figures were listed however. The feeling is, many bodies aren't found once they do jump due to the strong currents in the waters below.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bucharest Romania, Luxury Vacations

bucharest dome

Imagine yourself in the midst of this picturesque scene.Bucharest apartments ,luxury apartment accommodations await you, the ultimate savvy traveler. Regardless of your needs, business travel or family vacation you can bask in luxury and comfort with superior accommodations. Two or three room suites/apartments available with fully equipped kitchens in the heart of the city. These luxury apartments are privately owned, spacious, and have all the modern conveniences you could ever possibly require. Wide screen TV, wireless internet service, 24 hour concierge service are just a few of the amenities that will make your stay memorable.

Transportation to and from the airport are available for a minimal fee. Maid service is available, because after all, you're on vacation!

Treat yourself to a special vacation and enjoy private, secure and luxury accommodations in historic Bucharest; on par with a 5 star hotel for half the cost. Enjoy the nightlife in Bucharest, a city coming alive with excitement, a rebirth. Visit the museums and see the marks left behind from communism. The Village Museum, Romanian Peasant Museum just to name a few will give you the history of this country in a way a book can't. Walk in the history in an area considered to be bridge between East and West. Bucharest is often referred to as "Little Paris", shopping, dining, entertainment, and culture to make your days full of activity. There’s something for everyone to enjoy.
When I think of Romania, the first thing that comes to mind is Nadia Comaneci, 3 times Olympic Gold Medalist. Experience her homeland, tour the Romanian Athenaeum.
Try traditional Romanian dishes meat, cabbage rolls, sausage and stews. Much of what is now considered traditional Romania food comes from its history of neighboring countries.

Check for corporate specials for pricing, and date availability. Choose from four languages, English, Romanian, Hebrew, and French as you explore the webpage to schedule your trip. Your satisfaction is guaranteed, 100%. Our staff will meet your every need.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lunch travel in Chillicothe, Ohio

Cross Keys TavernLunch time travels. You migh not think of going to lunch as traveling; but it can be. My Dad and I traveled about 50 miles to take care of some family business (dealing with my Mother's Death), and had lunch here, Cross Keys Tavern. We ventured there because my cousin works there. However, once there I became fascinated with it, love historic places, old buildings and often wonder when they were built, what happened there etc. I knew from an old photo this was an historic building in downtown Chillicothe. Chillicothe was the state's first capital and is filled with historic happenings.
Cross Keys Tavern
Currently, it's an Irish Pub with live music. Dixieland music some nights. In fact it holds a bit of a record. After some research here on line I found that it has the 2nd longest continuously playing house of Dixieland music in the country! It's been a tavern since the early 1900's. I asked my cousin what had been upstairs, she laughed and said maybe a bordello. Don't know if thats true, more research is needed. The tavern is on the ground floor, the upstairs I was asking about is where you see the white porch area.

The Goosetown Astonishers is a band in it's 35th year. The name alone tells some history of the area. Chillicothe has a very strong German history. The Goosetown Astonishers was a name of one of the early newspapers, if memory serves me correctly--the one that was written in German. Much of the states early German immigration began in Chillicothe. Many of the houses still show evidence of that influence.

This tavern has been investigated by The Buckeye Paranormal Society. The locals site evidence of ghost activity, primarily in the basement area. Locals say "Harold" makes noise, breaks glasses, turns on and off lights. One story supporting the possible reason for this is a man was murdered behind the tavern in the small ally. Though no one knows when, or why or even what the name of the man murdered was, the ghost has been given the name of Harold. Many of the old downtown buildings in Chillicothe are connected with a series of underground tunnels dating back to the 1800's which this building is or was a part of. Perhaps something happened in those tunnels and thats the cause of higher activity in the basement. Perhaps it's due to the underground railroad?

The Cross Keys Tavern is located at 19 E. Main Street in Chillicothe, serves daily lunch specials of good homemade food. Many of Courthouse employees eat lunch there, as it's just across the street. Years ago I read where someone was hung in front of the courthouse, where the sidewalk now is. I believe it was the States' first hanging.

I've traveled and had lunch here at The Cross Keys twice. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sausalito, California

Salsalito, across the bay from San Francisco is worth an afternoon of touring. The quaint city on the hillside has narrow winding streets lined with flower boxes adorning the windows. A busy little place, heavy traffic. Park the car and walk, you'll see more. A fun place to shop, tour art galleries, and have lunch or a snack but pricey!
wine glass
A jumping off point for many tours of the wine country, though you can taste plenty without hoping a tour bus. This glass was the largest wine glass I've consumed wine in. And one glass was enough!
water view of San FranciscoAs we crossed the bridge, we looked across the cloudy bay towards San Francisco.

packing shipA HUGE packing barge/ship. These are busy ports. We actually had a hard time even seeing the ship with our eyes, but through the beauty of computer edits; I am able to show it to you against the backdrop of San Francisco

hillside sceneThis view gives you a feel for how hilly it is, and how the houses are built into the hillside. Just outside the city is a floating city where houseboats are plentiful. Salsalito is home to the #1 Art Festival in the country held annually on Labor Day. We felt one afternoon of walking around was enough; though perhaps exploring the night life would have been fun. I wouldn't say this is a must to add to your travelagenda; but if you're in the area spend a few hours.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Favorite Places


A few posts ago, I asked you to pack and be ready to travel with me to one of my favorite places. Packing...well, you don't need much. This time of year-- sunscreen, good walking shoes, camera, and water. I'll bring along "the kit".

I traveled with my SIL to the barn last week to photograph Tango Tricks, and on the way there we spotted a cemetery. Not a new cemetery; but what appeared to be an historic graveyard. We stopped on the way back and I got some photographs. No, I'm not a goth and no I'm not obsessed with death or morbid things. Cemeteries to me are stories waiting to be told. Everyone buried there is a wife, a mother, a sister, a brother, a husband, a cousin, a grandfather, or a grandmother. Everyone! They all have a story they'd like us to know, to share; even if you're not family.

Randomly I snapped photo's, pointing to a few I thought were particularly interesting to Jan. She remarked about the peacefulness, serenity and beauty of the cemetery. We were high on a hill, overlooking a bountiful cornfield and it was truly beautiful.

I did minimal research here to prove a point. The point, look what one can learn; what story one can tell with just a little bit of curiosity.

James Garlinghouse (rather unusual name I thought, and so I photographed the stone, and wow, look at the dates). died in 1850. Died before the civil war, at the age of 85........that means James was born in 1765 Before we gained our Independence from England. Think about that for a moment. This stone marking the life of James Garlinghouse is 159 years old. If only it could talk to us. Well, in a way it can and does.

What I found without doing lots research is the following:
James was born in 1765 in Sussex, NJ. He died at the age of 85 years and 8 months in the county of Delaware, Ohio. His military records, indicate burial is unknown; with a side note that says buried in Fancher Maple Grove Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio. The cemetery is in Harlem Township in Delaware County, and while there we speculated that it was probably a church cemetery in the beginning.............Maple Grove, perhaps is the name of the church?

The official Roster for the state of Ohio for soldiers of The American Revoluntion list him with a matching date of death. Our quick little stop, and we're looking at a stone for someone who fought for this country's independence.......and we did this 1 week before this country's celebration on the 4th of July! That too me is awesome.

Futher speculative information says this James and his brother John built a cabin along side a Mill, and Mary Garlinghouse, daughter of James is listed as the first white woman born in the area of Springwater. Springwater is in Pennsylvania. So........why did a man born in NJ, end up buried in Ohio, if he had a daughter born in Pennsylvania? This was, after all before frequent flyer miles. The research does go onto say, the connection of the Springhill Garlinghouse clan hasn't been proven by way of documentation; but it's listed as highly probable.

Math....math is alway in play when telling stories of those that came before us. Math tells me that If this James was born in 1765 he would have been 11 in 1776. Hum.......yes it happened. Then too the date could be wrong, after all records were not infallible, and people didn't read and do have a story; but, surely there's more

If indeed this is a Revolutionary War Veteran, let's doth our hats. If not, well let's honor him anyway. After all he was someone's son, perhaps a brother, a husband and more. If only that stone could talk and tell us more.
I like cemeteries, they are filled with history, with stories of people like you and me, of families who paved the way for us, who gave so much of themselves to the country and the land. Visiting cemeteries, photographing and documenting the stones and the stories they hold are to me ways to honor them. The kit I referred to above is my gravin box. In it I keep a pair of gloves, spray bottle of water, soft brush, American Flags, and trimmers. Sometimes one needs to do a little clean up around these old stones. The water can help cox the story from a hard to read stone.

Next we'll be traveling to sun, sand, and surf. Bring your bathing suits and journals.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Traveling Suitcase 1st Award

blog award
Here are the rules:
1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. Shelly at Wine at 5
2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

I've had this lovely blog award in my file of things to do for awhile. I don't take awards lightly and so; have decided I now have some time to begin this lovely process.

First, many thanks Shelly. Please pop over, you'll enjoy her blog as much as I do. She's become one of my frequent travelers of late and so I have her listed on my blog log as well. She posts about many things that we can all relate to in our daily lives.

Pass the award onto 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered. Wow...that's a tall order. I visit a good number of blogs daily; but to say I've newly discovered them would be incorrect. So here I will list 5, and as I continue to roam about blog to blog; no doubt I'll find others to honor as well.

So this then is part I:
Coming Back to Life (Clara)
Mature not Senile (Judy)
Psychotic Housewife.

This is a very diverse list of blogs, all are worth your time and energy. Do click and visit and tell'em I sent ya.

EntreCard Droppers
Many thanks to my top droppers (I missed the exact end of the month), sorry will post this now.
Dropper # of drops
Split Rock Ranch 31
Hello Kitty Gifts 31
Go Las Vegas Baby! 31
Free Stuff in Las Vegas Baby 30
New Dilemma 30
Confessions of a Psychotic Housewife 30
Lifesigns Life Quotes 30
The Chicago History Journal 30
Winesworld's blog 28
Beyond Feron 27

Please get your bags packed and journey with me as we next travel to a favorite place of mine. I'm really excited to share it with you.

Previous post Colonial Williamsburg perfect as we think about the 4th of July

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ford's Colony, Williamsburg, Virginia

Ford's Colony Condo
The outside of The Manor Club is as pretty as the inside. It's very Colonial in design, which is appropriate, given it's close proximity to Colonial Williamsburg. It's quite homey. A gated community, while hubby was off golfing, my daughter and I could go for walks and feel very comfortable. The Manor Club is a Marriott property in Colonial Williamsburg.

Such pretty bathrooms. This is the 2nd bathroom, the small one condo bathroom
that goes with the 2nd bedroom. A door could be closed between her space and our space, which it private--apt like.

Williamsburg living room The living room was beautiful, roomy and had plenty of furniture. There's a fireplace, though we didn't use it when we were there last July. Looking out the big sliding glass door is our screened in porch with table and chairs. We often had cocktails or ate our meals there.

Marriott's Manor Club grill areaOutside grill areas made cooking out convenient. This area was in the building next to ours; but still quite handy. We sat at the pool, enjoyed walks in the area, toured the historic area of Williamsburg, and hubby played multiple games of golf. Depending on your lodging, you get a certain number of free games. There's a spa which my daughter and I enjoyed one day while he was off golfing.

dinner on the patio
Join us for dinner? We had grilled veggies, baked potatoes and steak with a nice bottle of wine. The 3 of us sat leisurely and enjoyed the pretty views.

This is for the golfers out there. You can see how close we were to the course. Right out our screened porch. In fact, these photo's were taken right through the screen. Very nice to sit and cool off in the shade on the porch, or have our evening cocktails there as we planned what to do for dinner. This is hubby.

While in Virginia, tour the University,
Posting about Williamsburg seems very fitting as we begin to celebrate our Nations Birthday!
Happy Birthday America

**The trip had it all:
  • good food
  • pretty sites
  • historical sites
  • golf
  • pool
  • plenty of relaxation


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