Thursday, July 31, 2014

British Columbia: Lonsdale Quay North Vancouver

While Lonesdale Quay doesn’t have the word market in its title, it should. It is very similar to Granville Island Market in concept, if not in physical style. This is more upscale, but the wonderful smell of fresh, ripe fruit and freshly baked cookies is very similar. I stopped here for a brief nosh; I went to one of the fruit stands that had a fresh fruit bar. You fill a container with cut-up, fresh fruit, and pay by weight. My fruit cost $2.25; my warm cookie cost $1. Now that's my kind of lunch.

If you prefer something a bit more formal, there are Indian and Chinese restaurants, delis and more where you can grab a bite. Loads of tables are located both inside and out where you can rest in the midst of your shopping. This building has shops on two floors and is more like a mall (though not a high-tech one) than Granville.

To get here, grab the sea bus at the end of Granville Street. Your travel day pass will get you on the sea bus. You will soon be zipping across Burrard Inlet to North Vancouver where Lonesdale Quay is located. The view of Vancouver from the quay is lovely and on a bright, sunny Sunday, there were many people enjoying it. 
This market is part of the Vancouver experience and I highly recommend you give it a try. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wisconsin: Harbor Park Jazz & Blues Festival Kenosha

One of Kenosha's favorite music events returns with a diverse lineup Aug. 16 as the HarborPark Jazz & Blues Festival fills the lakeshore along Celebration Place with the sounds of jazz, funk and soul. Jeff Lorber, Everette Harp and Paul Jackson Jr. will pool their diverse musical genres on one stage. Performing as Jazz Funk Soul they will headline the Main stage at the 11th annual event.

Online ticket sales begin Thursday June 12 at the listed website and regular tickets sales begin on June 16th at Tenuta's, Andrea's and the Kenosha Community Foundation office. Advance General admission tickets are $30 and $35 at the gate. The Texas Roadhouse VIP lounge tickets are $85.

Post provided by Visit Kenosha

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

British Columbia: Granville Island Market

Just getting to Granville Island is half the fun. Go to Beach Avenue and take the False Creek Ferry. Once you disembark, head for the Granville Island Market. It is a feast for the senses. The aroma of fresh bread and luscious fruits will tantalize you as soon as you walk in the door. If I lived in Vancouver, this would be the first place I would visit every morning.  Whole grain bread, baguettes, rolls, bagels, Danish, cinnamon rolls. Your senses will be assailed with a myriad of sights and scents. You will also smell fresh coffee brewing and the aroma of ripe fruit fills the air.
Okay, moving on. Visit the craft vendors; look at the beautiful silver jewelry, the crocheted hats and gloves, silk scarves, the hand-painted pottery, and the glassware. This is the place to find your souvenirs, real souvenirs not some piece of plastic made in Taiwan.

You can pick up the makings of a great picnic - sliced meat and cheese, ready-made sandwiches, salads, and hot and savory pies. Wonderful homemade salad dressings and spices are great too. On the other hand, if you have a place to cook, come here for your fresh vegetables and fruits, steaks, and roasts. This market is everything that we wish our local supermarket was. It is all under cover and can be reached either by walking over the Granville Bridge, taking the number 9, 15, 50 or 99 buses, the Aquabus  or by  the False Creek Ferry. I recommend the ferry for at least one leg of the trip.  Check their website for fares.

While you are on Granville Island, you must visit the  Kids Market. Everything in this building is dedicated to children. There are clothing stores, a toy store, arcade, play hut, and even a birthday party restaurant. The little people even have their own door, cut to size. With over 25 stores to enjoy, you are sure to find something to love.

Other Things to Do and Places to Go:

Bard on the Beach

Lonsdale Quay

Stanley  Park


Monday, July 28, 2014

British Columbia: Bard on the Beach Vancouver

We have enjoyed Shakespeare at a variety of venues over the years including Stratford on Avon and London but nothing is quite a beautiful as Vanier Park in Vancouver, the location of the Bard on the Beach Festival which runs from the end of June through September.
2014 was the 25th Anniversary of Bard on the Beach. Almost a thousand patrons can be seated between the Mainstage tent and Douglas Campbell Theatre tent. The Mainstage Tent seats over 700 and has open ends so that the spectacular scenery is never far away. Attendance in 2013 was almost 90,000.
It was an amazing experience, to say the least, to be able to enjoy the bard in this setting. There is a bard village where vendors offer concessions as well as the bard boutique.  

Check out their website for the latest news, dates and times of performances. 

Things you might want to try:



Sunday, July 27, 2014

France: Museums in Nancy

Nancy has several museums worthy of a visit.  The Museum of Lorraine History, located in the Ducal Palace, has a collection of George de la Tour paintings which are exceptional. The Museum of Lorraine Life showcases the everyday life of the people of Lorraine throughout the ages. There are displays of furniture and work implements in an interactive setting. 

You can walk into the homes and rooms and see the actual furnishings. It was attractively done, and even though there were no English write-ups, you can pretty well understand most of the displays. One case was full of different types of foot warmers. Some of them we couldn't figure out and that was half the fun. We invented uses for some of the items we couldn't identify.

The Cordeliers Church has the tombs of some of the Dukes of Lorraine; Rene II, Anthony, and Francois I. Some very unique stone grave covers are on the wall as you enter the chapel; they have skeletons on them, and they are smirking. These three museums can be visited on a combination pass that you can purchase at the Ducal Palace.

But, no visit would be complete without a visit to the Beaux Arts Museum

Saturday, July 26, 2014

France: Musee des Beaux Arts Nancy

We were greeted as we walked into this museum by the monumental "Le Devouerment Du Chevalier de Desilles" by LeBarbier. It is a huge historical work that will certainly get your attention with its realistic brutality. The lighting in the main gallery is wonderful, there is a great deal of natural lighting and the hanging of the pictures is particularly attractive. A lot of open space and the pictures are at eye level make for a very pleasant experience. 

In the first gallery, the paintings are mostly French and are hung in chronological order. A tablet in each room written in English makes it easier to enjoy. I was drawn to a painting by Emile Friant called 'La Toussaint" which is amazingly like a photo. It shows a family in the foreground in mourning, walking by a beggar as they go to the cemetery, while behind a wall you see the burial about to begin. it is a moment frozen in time for us to observe. To see the many ways of suffering in this life, poverty, and death. The beggar holds his cup, the family a large bouquet of flowers. A very thought provoking picture.

Many of the paintings in the French section are not ones that I am familiar with. There is a nice Manet, of his lover Mery Laurent in a Worth gown against a Japanese flower background. On the second floor, they have an excellent Renaissance section with a very effective presentation. the walls are dark blue and show off the rich colors of the paintings beautifully. Here you will find Tintoretto, Joos Van Cleeve, Jan Brueghel and the Savior of the World from the shop of Leonardo da Vinci. Also Rubens, Caravaggio, and Phillipe de Campagne.

What we remember most, however, was called Infiniti Mirror Rom "Fireflies on the Water"  by Japanese artist Yoyoi Kusami. This is a piece of art that you become part of. You walk into a room and close the door. You are standing on a platform, surrounded by water and the walls are mirrors. Hung from the ceiling are colored lights. You do feel like the colored lights go on forever. We called it a 60's "good trip". Check out the photo I took, it's quite amazing.

Additional reading: Other Museums in Nancy

Friday, July 25, 2014

Photo Friday---Florence Griswold Museum Garden

I am going to follow the trend for featuring photos on my Friday blog posts. The photos for today's post were taken on July 23, 2014 at the Florence Griswold Museum Garden. As you can see, the flowers were in full bloom.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

France: Les Cesars Nancy

I went to Les Cesars with an attitude. I wanted to eat at our hotel and was voted down. We came here on a recommendation from Xavier. The menu was posted outside the door and was in both French and English. That sold us.

We entered and after a brief wait were seated right in front of the door. Since it was January and quite cold we were not too happy but the restaurant appeared quite full. The hostess/waitress noticed we weren't too happy and offered us a table near the window out of the draft. Happily, we moved until we got there. The people at the next table were all smoking, it was terrible. Reluctantly we headed back to our old table. Marion took one look at our faces and said follow me, in French. She took us upstairs where there was only one couple and we had a wonderful view down into the restaurant. Thus began our wonderful experience.


Marion our waitress was amazing. She was dressed in a business suit with high heels and shortly after we had ordered our meal a party of 16 was brought upstairs and she ran up and down the stairs in those heels with everyone’s drinks, appetizers, meals, and desserts. We were in total awe of her. We shared many laughs with her and she invited us to eat at her house the next time we are in Nancy. And we managed all this on limited French on my side and very limited English on her side.


The decor is what you would expect on the Place Stanislaus, very luxurious. Lots of gold and lots of red. But it was not at all a stuffy place, it was very noisy and everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time.  The food did not disappoint. We began with an appetizer of roasted vegetables. It contained aubergine, peppers, and mushrooms with fresh mint. It was delicious. Joe and Bob had vegetable soup which was thick and had good flavor. We got a nice basket of crisp bread but alas no butter.


This is sort of an Italian restaurant. All the main courses were served with pasta on the side. We tried the duck, filet of beef, lamb and I had a pasta dish with four cheeses. The duck and lamb were first class, the beef was tough. My pasta was excellent but so rich and the portion was huge.

We all had different flavors of glace (ice cream) for dessert. Lemon, apricot, mandarin orange, apple, malaga, coffee, vanilla, and chocolate. I had coffee with ice cream in it. Very unusual but tasty. Actually, I wanted coffee ice cream but I had a little language snafu.

 This wasn't the best food we had on our trip but it was certainly one of the best experiences.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Illinois: Illinois State Fair

Time to Plan Your Trip to the Illinois State Fair

(Springfield, IL)- If you’re fond of fried delicacies, enjoy spending the evening under the stars listening to music, or just can’t wait to see this year’s butter cow, it’s not too late to book your trip to Springfield for the Illinois State Fair.

The state fair will kick-off August 7, offering visitors 10-days of fun, excitement and thrills. Some highlights this year include grandstand acts such as Robin Thicke, Pitbull, Florida Georgia Line and more, harness racing, dozens of free entertainment stages, contest, exhibits, vendors, food stands and a carnival midway. A complete schedule of fair events can be found here

Springfield is the capital of Illinois and the home of Abraham Lincoln. In addition to the fair, the city offers numerous historic sites and museums, including the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Visitors will enjoy planning a trip to the fair that also includes the city’s historic attractions, interesting local restaurants and variety of lodging options.

Gina Gemberling, Acting Executive Director of the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau said, “The state fair is something everyone should experience. It celebrates the rich agricultural heritage of the state and truly offers something for everyone. It’s a fun getaway for the whole family before it is time to go back to school. We encourage people to get in touch and let us help them plan their trip.”

Interested in visiting Springfield to experience the Illinois State Fair? Let the convention and visitors bureau help:,  800-545-7300.

Post provided by Visit Springfield Illinois

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hotel Review: Grand Hotel de la Reine, Nancy, France

Grand Hotel de la Reine is a marvelous old hotel with wonderful appointments. I would definitely call it a "Grand Dame". It is a former palace, and the high ceilings and chandeliers bear this out. The public rooms are gorgeous.


Our room was large by European standards and just beautiful. Every effort had been made to see to our comfort. It had a desk and armoire, a large comfortable bed with plenty of feather pillows, a pants press, minibar, and superb lighting. Even the chair at the desk was beautiful, in antique style with a velvet seat.

The bathroom was huge and had two sinks, two thick and luxurious bathrobes, a deep tub with detachable shower head, and even a bidet. The amenities basket was also first-class. The robes are for sale if you become irrevocably attached.


But what is really special here is the service, it is first-class. Xavier, the young man at the desk, went way beyond what was necessary to make our one-night stay enjoyable. He went to the bank for us to cash traveler's checks.  Even after we had checked out, we were allowed to leave our car in valet parking while we visited the city. Al and I returned earlier than Bob and Joe, and as I sat waiting, he offered me tea.

It's free, he assured me. I felt pampered, and since it was cold and snowy, I truly appreciated it.  We got a special rate that included breakfast in their beautiful second-floor breakfast room. It included cold cereal, lots of fruit, apricot and grapefruit slices, kiwi, starfruit, pears, pastries, baguettes, scrambled eggs, ham, yogurt, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate, all in a marvelous setting.

I can't recommend this hotel enough. I can't wait to return here myself. It has the perfect location on the Place Stanislaus in the center of the city of Nancy.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Delaware: Festivals in Wilmington

Annual Peoples’ Festival 4Peace Tribute to Bob Marley
(July 26, 2014)
This popular one-day festival, which celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year, is a tribute to former Wilmington resident, Bob Marley.  Held in Tubman Garret Riverfront Park from noon until 10PM, the festival features live music on two stages with performances by Third World, I-Octane, Mutabaruk and eight other bands.  Other highlights include the Children’s Village, International Food Court, Bamboo Rain Hut, Peace Pavillion, Healing Garden and arts and crafts from around the world.

Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen Fine Craft Fair
(July 26 & 27, 2014)
One of the premier craft fairs in the Brandywine Valley returns to the Chase Center on the Riverfront on July 26 and 27.  Described as an indoor shopping experience, the show features an unparalleled collection of beautiful items all of which are handmade in America.  Find one-of-a-kind clothing, jewelry, ceramics, glass, sculpture and fine furniture and meet the artisans who craft them.

Post provided by The Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau

Sunday, July 20, 2014

France: The American Cemetery Verdun

The route through the countryside to the American Cemetery was about 60 kilometers. It took us through several small villages and past many other cemeteries--some local, some from the great war. Of the 800,000 deaths at Verdun, only a few thousand were Americans and yet, as you stand there, looking at the row upon row  of white crosses and stars of David, you are overwhelmed by the magnitude of this war and, for that matter, all wars. It looks so white and so clean, especially in the winter.

I don't think it felt real to me until we actually got out and walked among the stones. There are names, home cities, and states on many of them.

That's when it hit me--these were real young men, just like my sons and brothers, who came here hoping to make the world a better place and never got to come home again. I was more deeply touched than I have ever been before.