Thursday, April 30, 2015

Flashback Thursday : Hauntingly Beautiful St. Thiebaut Church

According to legend, the church was founded when the servant of St. Thiebaut was given a divine sign.   The servant with St Thiebaut's thumb in his pilgrim's staff (that is a whole other story) was on his way home to Holland. His staff grew into the ground in Thann, and the local Comte took it as a sign to build a chapel here in honor of St Thiebaut. The staff came free after the promise was made.
The chapel was built around 1287 and dedicated to St Thiebaut. Pilgrims began coming here in increasing numbers, and the need for a larger church became evident. It was completed over a 200-year-period, and the steeple was added in 1516.
I have a very interesting picture that I took inside the church. I was looking in the direction of the creche and nothing was in my way. It wasn't until the next day that I looked at my pictures and got quite a shock. There is what appears to be fog in front of me, and if you look carefully, you can see the man who appears to be walking across the church, oblivious to us mortal visitors.

The church has some very fine wood carvings on the choir stalls, which are made of oak and date from the 15th and 16th centuries. Some of the carvings are of men, the fiddler, the monk, the scholar, and the gossip just to mention a few.
In the Lady Chapel, there is a very lovely polychrome linden statue of the Virgin of the Wine Growers from the 16th century. It was a gift to the church by the wine growers. It is amazing, fresh looking, and quite beautiful.
The small treasury is located in a case and has some chalices and monstrances. There is a statue of St Thiebaut in the nave that appears to be covered with gold.
Some of the stained-glass windows are from the 15th century, which is amazing to me. There are wonderful statues over the main portal as well as the side portals. They tell the story of the Bible in a way that people of the Middle Ages could understand, and they are still as thought-provoking today. You can follow the story of creation and Genesis. We spent quite a while identifying the different scenes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

408th Anniversary of Jamestown Settlement



 WILLIAMSBURG, Va., April 23, 2015 — On Saturday, May 9, Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement collaborate to offer a range of programs marking the 408th anniversary of the 1607 founding in Virginia of America’s first permanent English settlement.

“Jamestown Day” features Historic Jamestowne’s ongoing archaeological discoveries of the 1607 fort and one of Jamestown Settlement’s ships sailing in the James River. A variety of family-friendly programs on Powhatan and English weaponry, military and maritime demonstrations, and traditional music and entertainment will take place at both sites.

“Jamestown Day” is sponsored by Historic Jamestowne, site of the original 1607 settlement jointly administered by the National Park Service and Jamestown Rediscovery on behalf of Preservation Virginia, in partnership with Jamestown Settlement, a living-history museum of 17th-century Virginia administered by the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.

While there is separate admission to Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement, a four-site value ticket to Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement, as well as Yorktown Battlefield and the Yorktown Victory Center, is available on “Jamestown Day” and throughout the year. The ticket, available at Historic Jamestowne, Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center, is $35.00 for adults, $23.00 for ages 13-15 and $12.50 for ages 6-12 and offers seven consecutive days of admission to all four sites.

Jamestown Settlement

Virginia Tourism’s massive LOVE artwork will greet visitors upon arrival to Jamestown Settlement. An artillery salute will mark the mid-morning departure of the Discovery, a re-creation of one of the three ships that brought colonists to Virginia in 1607, to set sail in the James River. In conjunction with the “Working and Racing on the Bay: The Chesapeake Log Canoe” special exhibition, The Mariners’ Museum will present a program exploring the world of the Powhatan Indians and examine the culture’s  methods of travel, trade, hunting and fishing. The Virginia Living Museum will offer opportunities to see and touch examples of nature experienced by English colonists upon arrival in the New World.

Entertainment of the 1600s will be presented, as well as artillery demonstrations, military drills and Powhatan Indian and English weaponry. Visitors can enjoy a 17th-century fair with puppet shows, juggling and magic. Traditional music will be performed by David Gardner and Lynn Trott and Cliff Williams. Visitors can engage in a variety of diversions, such as hobby-horse racing and jousting, hoop rolling, and quoits.

Historic Jamestowne
“Jamestown Day” at Historic Jamestowne will feature tours, demonstrations and ongoing archaeological excavations of the 1607 James Fort, allowing guests to share in the moments of discovery while interacting with archaeologists on site. Guests can meet English colonist Anas Todkill, interact with American Indian interpreters, and see displays of American Indian and English archery.

A variety of ranger tours and programs highlighting the history of first settlement will be available throughout the day, including costumed glassblowers at the Glasshouse showing one of America’s first industries.

Separate Admission to Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement
There is separate admission to visit Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement. Free parking is available at both sites.

Admission to Jamestown Settlement, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, is $16.75 for adults and $7.75 for ages 6 through 12, and free for children under 6.

Open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Historic Jamestowne adult admission is $14.00 and includes Yorktown Battlefield. National Parks passes and Preservation Virginia memberships are accepted, but a $5.00 fee may apply for entrance to Historic Jamestowne. Children under age 16 are admitted free.

For more information about Historic Jamestowne, call (757) 229-4997 or (757) 898-2410 or visit or  For more information about Jamestown Settlement, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or visit



All Day: Explore America’s Birthplace. Discover the story of Jamestown by touring the Visitor Center exhibition gallery and the Nathalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium Museum, Memorial Church and archaeological site of the 1607 James Fort, and the waysides of New Towne.

All Day: Free Enterprise and Early Industries. Experience the work of craftsmen at the Glasshouse and James Fort site as they demonstrate glassmaking and iron smelting industries as practiced during Jamestown’s early years.

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: “The Buried Truth.”  Share in the moment of discovery at the original 1607 James Fort. Meet the Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists and learn about ongoing excavations and the latest discoveries.

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: Native Lifeways of the Chesapeake. Learn about the material culture and lifeways of the Tidewater Algonquians and their interactions with the settlers of Jamestown.

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: A New Life in the New World. Learn firsthand about the trials of the first English settlers and their experiences exploring the Chesapeake from Anas Todkill, one of John Smith’s companions.

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: New Happenings at the Archaearium. Join the curatorial staff and view American Indian artifacts from the archaeological collection and learn the stories of their discovery.

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: “Preserving a Historical Treasure.” Join a member of the James River Association at the Ed Shed Preview Station as they discuss the history of the James River and current efforts to conserve this historical treasure.

11 a.m. & 1 p.m.: Archery Demonstrations. See American Indian bow demonstrations and learn of the military technology of the Powhatan and other Virginia Indians.

9:30 a.m. and 12 & 2 p.m.: Ranger Walking Tour. Take a guided Park Ranger tour to gain unique perspectives on the history of Jamestown.

10:30 a.m. and 1:30 & 3:30 p.m.: Archaeologist Walking Tour. Join an archaeologist for an in-depth tour of the 1607 fort site and learn about this season’s excavations and new discoveries. Tours continue on Sunday, May 10, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.



All Day: Explore Museum Galleries. An introductory film and expansive gallery exhibits, featuring more than 500 artifacts, tell the Jamestown story in the context of the Powhatan Indian, English and African cultures that converged in the 1600s.

All Day: Living-History Interpretive Demonstrations.  Visit the re-created Powhatan Indian village, 1607 ships and colonial fort where costumed historical interpreters present hands-on programs and demonstrations, including canoe-making, navigation and matchlock musket-firing.

All Day: Period Games.  Join in fun and games of the 17th century, including hoop rolling, hobby-horse racing, lawn bowling, ninepins, and quoits.

All Day: “Working and Racing on the Bay: The Chesapeake Log Canoe.”  An ongoing special exhibition in partnership with The Mariners’ Museum traces the evolution of the dugout canoe through the centuries. View black-and-white portraits of oystermen by photographer Glen McClure.

All Day: Visit the LOVE Sign.  See the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s massive LOVE artwork, extending 16-feet wide and six-feet tall, in the museum’s Quadricentennial Plaza, and share your “LOVE” of Jamestown Settlement. Visitors are encouraged to take a picture in front of the artwork and share it on social media using the special hashtag #LOVEVA.

9:30 a.m. and 1:15 & 4:15 p.m.: “Godspeed to Jamestown.”  A documentary from A&E Television Networks’ History® chronicles the 2004-2006 construction of Jamestown Settlement’s replica Godspeed.

10 a.m.: Discovery Sets Sail.  An artillery salute signals the departure of Discovery, one of Jamestown Settlement’s replica ships, from the ships’ pier to demonstrate sailing maneuvers in the James River through mid-afternoon. (Weather permitting.)

10 a.m. and 1 p.m.: Virginia Living Museum “Mini Museum”. Visitors will have opportunities to see and touch examples of nature experienced by English colonists upon arrival in the New World. (Weather permitting.)

10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.:  Children’s Puppet Crafts.  Children can decorate their own puppet and take part in an afternoon puppet show during Colonial Fair performances at 12:30 and 3:15 p.m.

10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.: Artillery. Drill with a falcon crew, and then cover your ears as historical interpreters fire the weapon. Behind Fort (Weather permitting.)

11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.: Comparative Weapons. Learn about the early relationship between Powhatan Indians and English colonists and take part in comparative demonstrations on weaponry.

11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.: “Riding in a Log Canoe.”  In connection with the special exhibition, The Mariners’ Museum will present a program exploring the world of the Powhatan Indians and examine the culture’s methods of travel, trade, hunting and fishing.

11 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.: 17th-Century Music by Lynn Trott & Cliff Williams.  Enjoy popular music of the 17th century on mandolin, guitar, flute and viola da gamba.

11:45 a.m. and 2 p.m.: 17th-Century Music by David Gardner.  A nationally prominent Scottish fiddle performer, David Gardner will perform popular sounds of the 1600s.

12:30 and 3:15 p.m.: 17th-Century Fair.  Music, juggling and magic culminate in a 1600s-style puppet show.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Belgium: Le Savarin Restaurant Brussels

Call it great advertising, but we were literally lured off the cold, wet street by our waiter. We were saying how cold we were, and he pointed out that his restaurant had a warm fire burning and asked why we didn’t stop in. Okay, we were hungry, and it didn’t take too much luring. He led us to a table right by the fireplace.

Up close, we realized that it was gas, not real logs, but hey, it gave off heat, so we weren’t complaining. To warm us up, we were given a white wine and kir aperitif (on the house), and it was a delicious way to warm our insides while the fire took care of our outsides.


No one should visit Brussels without eating some mussels, so this is where we decided to have ours. Mussels in garlic butter as a starter were priced at 14.25 euros. They were fabulous, tender, garlicky, and full of flavor--a great choice.

They have a very eclectic menu, and we had some very different choices. I had paella. It was a monstrous bowl of prawns, langostinos, clams, calamari, mussels, peas, and peppers. It was not the best I have ever had, but it was good. The fish was all fresh and tasty, but the rice was too bland for my taste. I use more saffron in my own version.

Joe’s Ghent waterzooi, on the other hand, was fabulous. This is a real Ghent favorite, and I can see why. It is large chunks of white-meat chicken in a creamy soup base with onions, carrots, potatoes, celery, and green beans. Al had beef stroganoff. It was the usual beef served over rice, but it had a reddish color as if it had paprika in it. He enjoyed it, and it was a large portion.

This is a tourist restaurant on a tourist street, but the portions are large and the food better than average. The prices, though, are a bit steep.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Belgium: L’Ecu d'Or Taverne Place De Brouckere Brussels

Our first evening in Brussels was a Sunday. We decided to try to find a restaurant close to our hotel, Sundays being a notoriously hard night to find a restaurant. This tavern was right across the street. Sometimes the easiest choices turn out to be the best. This was one of those cases.

We had a great time here. Our waiter was very friendly, and we enjoyed having an English menu. The atmosphere was warm and cozy, with padded booths along the walls and crisp white tablecloths. The lighting was low, and I would have called it romantic if I had been alone with Al.

I started my meal with soup. It was a creamy green vegetable, whether celery or broccoli, I couldn’t tell for sure. Either way, it was very satisfying. It was served with some warm and crispy bread and plenty of fresh butter. Next came my salad of endive, tomato, red cabbage, and lettuce. It was already dressed with a creamy and delicious dressing. My entrée was brochette (chunks of beef on a stick) served with a three-pepper sauce and the proverbial frites. The sauce was so good that I soaked up every drop.

 Al, Bob, and Joe all had steaks, each one cooked perfectly (as was my brochette). They were simply done, but when a steak is of good quality, little else is needed. Like the brochette, they were served with salad and frites. We added a round of Stella Artois beer and were perfectly satisfied.

 As good as the entrées were, it was the dessert that stole the show. We all had crepes. 

Mine was with chocolate sauce and ice cream, and it was decadent - a single large crepe cooked beautifully, folded and drizzled with wonderful hot chocolate and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. We finished with fresh coffee and, with a contented sigh, walked back across the street to our hotel.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Boston: Now and Then a Photo Tour

Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States and it present and its past sit rather comfortably side by side. You can see the skyscrapers of today along side the historic past.
View out the window of the Boston Harbor Hotel

View from the harbor tour

Old Ironsides The U.S.S. Constitution

Old State House

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Flashback Thursday Old Homestead B&B Barnet Vermont

Located in the peaceful village of Barnet, Vt, The Old Homestead B&B has its own homey charm. Our room was located on the second floor and was reached by climbing some very steep stairs. The room itself is good sized with a king bed and also a love seat that turns into a single bed which was perfect for us since we were traveling with Brandon, our grandson. There are hooks on the wall for anything you might want to hang up and also an open closet (more of a niche in the wall.) There is also an antique dresser with a doily on top. Two luggage racks are provided for those who are luggage challenged.

With this room, you also have two porches, one screened and one with windows. It gave us lovely views of the backyard and the very pretty flower gardens. The porches both have seating areas and a small table and chairs were available on the glassed-in one. I sat there with my computer and was able to get some work done. 

We had arranged with Gail to arrive a little outside of her target time 4-6 p.m. and she was there to greet us with a smile when we arrived. Brandon’s bed even had two stuffed animals waiting which was a very nice touch. It is not always easy to find a bed and breakfast that is willing to tolerate children and here they are made to feel very welcome and Gail encouraged Brandon to go out and explore in her expansive yard.

The bathroom is basic with a shower and toilet and plenty of towels. The pedestal sink was located within the bedroom. The bed was very comfortable and covered in a white spread with floral shams and king sized pillows, there was a chenille throw if you want to lie down and not mess up the bed. 

Al had an end table with a lamp on his side of the bed, I had a small table covered with a floral cloth. There is a large ceiling fan as well as lighting on the ceiling and two other lamps around the room. The floors are wide wooden boards and are covered with a carpet in the center and several throw rugs around. The feeling is warm and comfortable and you would think that you are visiting a member of your family.

This is a traditional bed and breakfast where you come to get away from the stress and the hustle and bustle of daily life. There are no TVs, telephone or WiFi in your room. At first, it scared me but reading and relaxing is a very good thing.

Breakfast is served between 8 and 9 a.m., family style. Great attention is paid to any allergies you may have and no wheat or eggs were used in the delicious pineapple upside-down cake we had.

For those who may have difficulty with stairs, there is one bedroom located on the first floor. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Belgium: Place Royale Brussels

Place Royale was built between 1772 and 1785, inspired by Charles of Lorraine. His statue graced its center until the French Revolution. Now we see Godfrey of Bouillon raising the standard of the First Crusade.

St James Sur Coudenburg is done in the Greco-Roman style, with a triangular pediment and Corinthian columns. You face this building as you walk up the hill from the lower city.

At first glance, I had no idea that it was even a church. Upon closer examination, you will see the statues of the saints where you would expect to see Greco-Roman gods and goddesses. The interior is bright and simple, and there is a painting attributed to Ribeira in the chancel. There has been a religious institution on this site since the 12th century. In the twentieth century, it witnessed the funeral of King Leopold, and it is now the principal church of the Belgian Armed Forces.

Museum of Fine Arts -- This is a fabulous museum with an outstanding collection of paintings. Tours are color-coded. We did the blue and brown tours. Blue included the 15th and 16th century, and brown 17th and 18th. Their collection of Bruegel is unparalleled.

Charles of Lorraine Museum -- These are the rooms that remain of the palace of Charles of Lorraine. You enter the same entrance where guests would have arrived in the 18th century, walking up a magnificent staircase to reach the rooms from the ground floor. The plaques on the banister represent the trials of Hercules. These are replacements for those that were carried off by the occupying French army in 1794.

The Rotunda is stunning, with a black-and-white marble tile floor and a gorgeous ceiling. There is a rosette in the center of the room, made up of 28 samples of marble from all the quarries in Belgium. This is a small but pretty museum, with rooms filled with porcelain, musical instruments, and hunting guns. You can pick up a sheet in English that will give you some information about Charles of Lorraine, in general, and about some of the items in the rooms.
Notre Dame de Sablon -- though technically off the Place Royale, this wonderful church is close enough to be included with this location. This wonderfully Gothic Church dates mostly from the 15th and 16th centuries. A miraculous statue of the Virgin from Antwerp turned this church into a pilgrimage location. The original statue disappeared, but another was brought in to replace it.
Both sides of the church are lined with chapels and to the left and right of the main altar; they are family funerary chapels. Just walking through this church is interesting, but beware of the man at the door who acts as door opener. He expects to be tipped for offering this service.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Belgium: Museum Van Buuren Brussels

This fabulous small museum is located in the former home of David and Alice van Buuren. The house, built in the deco style from plans drawn by David van Buuren, was constructed in the 1920s. It is a beautiful house in its own right, but the main reason to visit here is its exceptional art collection.

The museum is not located in the center of town. We took the tram to the Edith Cavell stop and then walked up Churchill to the roundabout. Go left in the roundabout to the first street, which is Ave. Leo Errera. The museum is down the street on the right-hand side. It is not well-marked and can be a little tricky to find. Go to the front door and ring the bell to be let in. This heightens the impression that you are a guest at a private home instead of a tourist. Once you have purchased your ticket, you will need to hang up your coat and put protective covers over your shoes. When you see the beautiful floors, you will understand why. 

The first room you visit is the dining room. The furniture is built from exotic woods in the deco style with definite oriental touches in the decor. A large picture window opens the room to the gardens. The walls have cases built in to display an attractive collection of china. The room has a peaceful aura, enhanced by a startling blue ceiling between sycamore beams. I kept waiting to see Joan Crawford with her big padded shoulders come strolling through the door. 

The Brazilian rosewood staircase is magnificent, with a sculpture sitting on the newel post. I really regret not being able to photograph in the house; this feature, in particular, is hard to do justice to and words alone are inadequate. Above the stairway hangs an unusual bright glass paste and bronze lamp.

Several of the pieces of art in the house are spectacular. The most famous is Bruegel's "Fall of Icarus." It is in the reception room with three paintings by Fantin Latour. Upstairs there are some very rare paintings by Hercule Seghers, who was Rembrandt’s teacher. Only 14 known paintings are in existence and David van Buuren owned five. Impressive to say the least. Add a Joos van Cleve Madonna , some really fine furniture, and a very pretty garden and you can spend a very enjoyable hour or two here. Entrance fee is €10 for the house and garden. 

Photography is not allowed inside the house.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Iowa: Rolling on the River in Davenport

In 2013 we drove out to Davenport, Iowa. We took a ride on the Celebration Belle on the Mississippi River. We also went back and ate along the river in the evening and that is when I took the nighttime picture of the river boat. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Flashback Thursday Vermont Teddy Bear Company Tour

One year on the way home from Quebec, we decided to take the western Vermont route instead of going down I-91. We stayed in Shelburne, Vt. Shelburne is known for a few interesting things but one of the most interesting is that it is the home of the Vermont Teddy Bear Company. 
 I knew that there was a factory tour offered showing how the teddy bears are made. They are not mass produced they are hand cut and stuffed. They are, however, sewed on machines. We signed up for the next available tour and then walked around the huge gift store at all the bears that are for sale. If you want, you can make your own. Lots of kids were taking advantage of this option. 

Our tour was a real mixed bag with lots of kids but also parents and obviously grandparents. You walk through the different operations. Our guide gave a running commentary but there are also signs giving you additional information. Photography is allowed. 

We were able to see the workers sewing the bears. No one was cutting out the material but there was a sign showing the 10 parts that make up every bear. It also takes ¾ of a pound of stuffing to fill a 15-inch bear. 

The part of the tour that everyone loved the best was the bear hospital. With a lifetime guarantee, many bears will be mailed to this hospital for everything from simple to catastrophic repairs. The cost of taking this tour is minimal, $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and free for children. If you are going to be in the area, especially with children, I highly recommend that you stop by and take the tour. It is very enjoyable.