Thursday, March 31, 2016

Flashback Thursday: McNay Museum San Antonio Texas

Viewing great art is often part of our travels, San Antonio was no exception and it has several very stellar places to visit, the McNay is certainly one of them. 

In order to understand this museum you need to understand the woman who created it. Jessie Marion Koogler was a woman born before her time. She was the only child of a Doctor who became wealthy when oil was discovered on his land. Jessie attended the University of Kansas then the art school of the Art Institute of Chicago, it was during this time that she began to use her middle name. 

In 1917 she fell in love and married the great love of her life Don Denton McNay. Tragically he died in the influenza epidemic of 1918 less than a year after their marriage. Marion married and divorced several times but she always returned to the name McNay and also gave it to the Museum she left which was the ultimate tribute to Don.

In 1926, Marion commissioned a house in San Antonio which she called Sunset Hills. Built in the Spanish Colonial Revival Style it is the home which holds her collection today. Around this same time she became a serious collector of Art, at one time there was even a school of art on the property. The first painting she purchased is entitled Delfina Flores.

When Marion died in 1950, she left a collection of over 200 items and it was opened to the public in 1954. She also left an endowment and together with further donations the collection has grown to over 1600 items about 900 of which will be on display at any given time. 

The McNay is primarily about modern art but you will be amazed by the wonderful medieval items. You walk into recreated rooms that take you to back to the middle ages complete with paneling and furniture and works of Flemish art. There is no guarantee about what will be on display but we saw a Mary Cassatt head of a young girl, Degas, Seura, Pendergast, Homer, Picasso, Klee, Chagall and a monumental Monet of can you guess, lily pads. 

Also on display a nice collection of Galle vases for fans of Art Deco. 

The Interior courtyard, The Blackburn patio is worthy of a tour. The tiles were made especially made for the patio. It is the home to several very beautiful sculptures done in bronze and one in aluminum. It was used as an outdoor artist studio in Mrs. McNay’s day and is still a favorite spot to sketch today.

We began our visit by watching a short orientation film that introduced us to Marion and the museum. Don’t pass on this, it really sets the stage for your visit. The museum is set on two levels but there is an elevator and is wheel chair accessible.

Free parking is available in their own parking lot and take the time to walk in the grounds. There are sculptures and even in January the gardens were worth a look. The gift shop as expected was quite well stocked with a variety of eclectic items. Entrance is free but you are strongly encouraged to donate $5 per person.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants Spring Open House

Tufton Farm

Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Celebrate Historic Garden Week with a visit to Monticello’s nursery, set within inspiring display gardens of historic plants in their full spring glory, and find your favorites and more for sale in our nursery. Pollinators are the theme in talks by Southern Exposure Seed Exchange’s Ira Wallace, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Director of Horticulture, Grace Chapman Elton, and Monticello’s Beekeeper, Paul Legrand.

 Bees and other native pollinators are very important for the productivity of your vegetable garden; in “Attracting Pollinators to Your Vegetable Garden,” Ira will share tried-and-true practices that welcome pollinators and other beneficial insects to your vegetable garden for an abundant harvest. Then, learn how to create a native landscape that will attract and support our pollinators in “Native Plants for Pollinators;” in this talk, Grace will discuss our area’s most common pollinators as well as landscape design tips and her favorite native plants to use in your home garden. Beekeeper Paul will also share tricks for swarm prevention after the hive’s first year.

Enjoy guided garden tours and ask our knowledgeable staff your gardening questions.

GPS Address: 1293 Tufton Farm, Charlottesville, VA

Monday, March 28, 2016

A Day at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens in Gainsville

Leave it to me to choose the hottest day of the year to date to visit the Kanapaha Botanical Garden. I knew I had to visit here, our niece Jaclyn received her very romantic wedding proposal on the bridge over the water feature and I was determined to see what it looked like. It took us about 45 minutes to drive there on I-75 and much longer to come home on a more scenic route. 

We arrived at about 10:30 a.m and headed to the Woodland Trail. It is quite shaded which certainly helped. We wander through that section to the sink holes and into the Bamboo Garden. I loved the peace of this area and the statue of Buddha seemed perfect. There was not too much blooming in the herb garden at this time but the spring garden had plenty of color. 

We stopped and spent a little time resting in the gazebo at the Hummingbird Garden before heading to the Rock Garden and the Palm Hammock. We stopped on the porch of the Spring House to rock in the chairs on the porch and get our temperature down a little before heading over to the second part of the garden.
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The azalea and camellias garden still had plenty of color and the rose garden was very fragrant. Only a few plants were blooming in the bulb garden so we headed across the bridge and then back over to see the waterfall and the butterfly garden.

I was obsessed with the butterflies and tried very hard to get a great picture I was not very successful but by this time I was so warm and over-heated that I ready to call it a day.

The gift shop had some interesting things but I want to buy local not from China and almost everything that appealed to me was from China. So unfortunately I left without a souvenir of my visit other than some great memories.

Next year I think I will go in January when the weather is cooler and maybe the camellias will be at their peak. I highly recommend visiting here however if you are going to be in the area, it is a lovely place.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Photo Friday: A look back over 3 months in Florida

We arrived here the first week of January and are leaving Monday March 28. Here are a few photos of our time here. 
Our azalea was blooming when we got here.

Al made himself comfortable

Our first sinkhole experience

Making home feel like home

Kathy checking out the quilting sewing machines

Our trip to the Gulf of Mexico at Cedar Key

Lunch with an Inteneet friend

Typical Ocala scenery

One of the hot tubs here at Oak Run

Weeki Wachee River

A visit to the art museum

Tea with another Internet friend

What would Florida be with alligaotrs?

Hummingbird Garden at Kanapaha Gardens

Another of our azaleas is blooming now

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Family Farm Fest Old Sturbridge Village April 16-24, 2016

Young and old are invited to celebrate spring with the arrival of baby animals and the prepping of our fields at Old Sturbridge Village. Meet the Village’s cuddly, heritage breed newborns up-close and experience first-hand the responsibilities of raising animals on a farm in 1830. At the Freeman Farm, families will learn about 19th century agriculture practices and tools, as well as learn how they are applicable to today’s farmers and even backyard gardeners. Kids will even have a chance to try their hand at seasonal chores!

Visit with a variety of animals including cattle, lambs, goats, chicks, bunnies and piglets.  Compete in our Farm Yard Games, check out some antique tractors, and listen to bluegrass music. Visit with Teamsters from around New England, meet their Oxen, and learn about the animals that powered 19th century agriculture. Laura Ingalls Wilder will also be with us on select days!

Enjoy expanded hands-on and interactive activities throughout the Village, along with family-friendly performances and entertainment, including music and storytelling. Meet the new arrivals at the farm (every day) and on Monday (Patriots' Day), take part in martial activities.

Check the website often for updates. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Apple Valley Restaurant Milford, Pa.

When you are traveling on Interstate 84 Milford, Pa. is a really good place to stop for a bite to eat. They do advertise the restaurant along the road but and if you decide to drive the Delaware Water Gap, route 209 in Pennsylvania you do get off of at Milford. You will drive by Apple Valley Restaurant and you will notice that the parking lot is almost always full.

You don't have to drive very far from I-84 before you come across Apple Valley. It is on the right hand side. It is a low slung rustic looking restaurant that is part of a village of shops. This makes a good place to take a break, stretch your legs and do a little shopping.

You can opt to sit in the bar or in the restaurant. The restaurant is made up of several different rooms all decorated with an eclectic array of antiques. Everything from snow shoes to old pots and pans is hung on the walls. The daily special are on a sandwich board that they bring over to your table when they come to get your drink order. Once you have ordered they take it away again.

The food here is best described as down home country cooking. It is stick to your ribs food. You can get homemade soup or chili, overstuffed sandwiches and larger entrees. They have a great selection of hamburgers and when in doubt this is always a good way to go. They are excellent at giving you your burger cooked the exact way you ask for it.

The Pike County Burger is a beauty with Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese, honey glazed ham, BBQ sauce and mixed cheeses. It is terrific. Another favorite burger is the hearty melt with Swiss cheese and sautéed onions. You can’t go wrong with their open faced Reuben. It is on toasted rye bread with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and special sauce. Traditionally it is corned beef but they also offer turkey and pastrami.

If you are a vegetarian they also offer plenty of choices among their sandwiches, wraps and salads. They offer lots of Mexican dishes along with good solid meals like Grandmas chicken pot pie which is served in a bread bowl, fish and chips and chicken fried steak which is excellent.

They have a nice selection of desserts and the bar serves all the mixed drinks that you could possibly want. They offer live entertainment on a regular schedule. Just check their website to see what is going on.

Apple Valley Restaurant is family friendly and very popular with locals and visitors alike. Don’t forget to check out the shops before or after you dine.  We have been coming here for more than 10 years and it is one of our favorite places to stop when we are in the area.

These pictures are from our latest visit. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Flashback Thursday MadHatter's Tea House and Cafe San Antonio, Texas

MadHatters Tea House and Cafe San Antonio, Texas

What a great name for a tea shop and café, MadHatters. It is every bit as interesting as its name would imply. There are three dining areas in this café though the back room was closed when we were there.
The idea is quite simple. You get a menu from one of the employees and find a table. You then decide what you are going to try and go to the cashier and order. If you are having hot tea, then stop by and pick up your cup and saucer. When you food is ready it will be delivered to your table.

We were debating the pros and cons of ordering the high tea and the afternoon tea. Both are $18 for two people The high tea gives you three types of sandwiches, a scone to share and 2 petit feures. The afternoon tea has cream cheese and smoked salmon sandwiches and cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches, two scones and two petit feures. I don’t like salmon and Joe didn’t want to share a scone. Al didn’t want to eat so we twisted his arm.

We decided it was every man for him or herself. Al got the club sandwich, I ordered the cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches from the tea menu and Joe got a cup of pumpkin soup and half of an egg salad sandwich. Joe and I both got a pot of English breakfast tea and we also both ordered the 4 berry cobbler served warm with ice cream.

We went happily back to our table to wait for our feast. It wasn’t long in arriving. First the teas in very different and eclectic pots arrived. Then came Al’s sandwich, I have never seen the like, it was huge, I mean two man huge. Even Al who is a good eater was intimidated by this behemoth. Ham, turkey bacon, tomato lettuce and huge slices of bread and excellent flavor to boot. My sandwich were served crustless with a sliced strawberry in the center of the plate, these were not only pretty but very delicious sandwiches. Joe’s half an egg salad sandwich was also huge but the cup of soup was normal size.

The four berry cobbler was served in small cups very warm with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. It was perfect, not too sweet with loads of berry flavor.

If having tea is not your idea of a good time don’t despair their menu offers plenty of other options. As I have stated the sandwiches certainly are generous, there are salads and burgers and lots of vegetarian choices as well. The dessert case was also loaded with pies and cakes and all sorts of very delicious looking items. They open early in the morning and served breakfast as well. I am almost sorry that we will be getting breakfast at our B&B because I would have liked to try some of the things that they offer here. We did however, return for lunch another day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Nashville's July 4th Event Details Announced


The lineup also includes Maddie & Tae, Erin McCarley, Andrew Combs, Ruby Amanfu, and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.


The free concert moves to two stages at Ascend Amphitheater and The Green at Riverfront Park.
What better way to celebrate our country's independence than with free live music in the heart of the city built on music? Add to it a full day of family fun and an incredible fireworks show and you've got Let Freedom Sing! Music City July 4, presented by Dr Pepper. You don't want to miss what has been named one of the best July 4th events in the country!

With the McDonald's ® Family Fun Zone, the Jack Daniel’s Stage at Ascend Amphitheater, and the Music City Stage at The Green at Riverfront Park, it's all happening in downtown Music City and it's all free. Get all the details you'll need here to prepare for one of Nashville's biggest parties of the year.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Crafter's Basket Cliffony County Sligo

Kathy and I were adventuring. We followed whatever road looked interesting after we left Galway Bay. Truth be told, I did navigate a bit but finding the Crafter's Basket was purely accidental.

Kathy is an avid quilter and we spent a bit of time in Cavan City trying to find a quilt shop or at least a shop that sold material on the bolt.  We were unsuccessful. Coming upon this shop in the middle of nowhere was a Godsend.

I was tired and since I am pretty uncrafty, I stayed in the car with my iPhone and played games. I told Kathy to take her time and enjoy. When she returned she was very happy and she also had a gift for me. A great handmade hat. I loved it but it was so tight it cut off the circulation in my head. I asked her if she minded if I went inside to see if I could find a better fit. Of course she didn’t mind.

I did love the color of the one she had picked, a maroon color but they didn’t have another. I ended up with a blue one which I loved so much I got one for my granddaughter Syd in pink for Christmas.
Me and my pretty blue hat

Not only does the Crafter's Basket have what you needed to do crafts, they also sell some crafts already made and they have classes as well to learn a new craft or improve your skill.

Kathy rated this one very high as a quilting shop so if you happen to be in this area of Sligo, it is well worth a stop. Stop by their website to check them out. 

This shop was easily accessible by car from our base in Cavan at the Farnham Estate

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

News Release from Hagley Museum in Wilmington, Del.

Hagley Owns World’s Largest Private Collection of Patent Models
Wilmington, Del (February 23, 2016)…Hagley Museum & Library now has the world’s largest private collection of patent models, a collection that is second only to that of the Smithsonian Institution.  Approximately 100 of the patent models are currently on display in the Copeland Room in the Hagley Library.  Hagley traces its beginning to 1803 when E.I. du Pont settled in Delaware along the banks of the Brandywine River and began harnessing the river’s power to make high quality black powder thus spawning the mighty DuPont Company.  Today, Hagley functions as a major museum and research library dedicated to exploring the history of American business, technology and innovation and its impact on the world.
These one-of-a-kind models range from an apparatus for drying cloth and a variety of gears to a brass artificial leg.  The library is open from 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM on weekdays and 9:00 AM until 4:30 PM on the second Saturday of the month.  Admission to the exhibition is free.  Those interested in seeing the exhibition should use Hagley’s Buck Road entrance to access the Library.  Plans are underway to organize a full-scale display in the Visitor Center.
In 1790, the United States issued the Patent Act, which stated that “Any useful, art, manufacture, engine, machine, or device, or any improvement therein not before used” could be patented.  Patents were granted for fourteen years and allowed the patentee rights to manufacture and sell the idea and to prevent others from using it without permission.  Like its European predecessors, the United States required patent applicants to submit a written description and drawing of their idea for examination.  However, the United States went a step farther and required applicants to submit a physical model of their proposed patent. 
Patent models are small, three-dimensional prototypes created to accompany a patent application.  This requirement remained in place until 1880 when the cost of storing the models and re-creating patent models after two fires became excessive.  The Smithsonian Institution kept a substantial number of the models for its collection; the remaining models were sent to auction in 1925.
Hagley’s collection of 870 patent models has been dramatically expanded by the acquisition of 4,101 patent models from the Rothschild Collection and now numbers 4,971.  David A. Cole, Jr., Hagley’s Executive Director, describes the patent models as “…emblematic of American ingenuity and inventiveness.”  According to Cole, “These models fit perfectly into Hagley’s vision of becoming a place where innovation inspires and imaginations run wild.”

Friday, March 4, 2016

Horse photos around Ocala

Ocala is the horse capital of the world, it isn't hard to get some great horse photos just driving around. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Military Through the Ages event at Jamestown Settlement


Take in Artillery Firings, Children’s Parade, Military Pass-in-Review

Hundreds of re-enactors depicting armed forces from the first century A.D. to modern times will come together on Saturday and Sunday, March 19 and 20, for Jamestown Settlement’s “Military Through the Ages” event.

This chronological display of military history, held each year at Jamestown Settlement since 1984, will feature 35 groups based in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Military re-enactors and modern-day units will show how uniforms, weapons and military tactics evolved through the centuries, as well as aspects of field communication and medical treatment. This family friendly event also showcases a variety of military vehicles and equipment. Visitors are encouraged to interact with re-enactors to learn how soldiers attired and armed themselves, as well as how they were fed and housed in times of war.

Weekend highlights include artillery firings, a Saturday children’s parade and a Sunday military pass-in-review. Merchants also will be on hand to sell reproduction wares.

Timeline from the Roman Legion to the Virginia Army National Guard

More than 400 re-enactors will portray soldiers and military encounters from Roman times, the medieval period, Hundred Years’ War, War of the Roses, American Revolution, War of 1812, Napoleonic Wars, and American Civil War.  Re-enactors depicting World Wars I and II, and the Vietnam War will take visitors through the 20th century.  The National Museum of the Marine Corps and the Virginia Army National Guard will represent the present. 

Artillery, Children’s Parade, Military Pass-in-Review

Comparative artillery-firing demonstrations will be presented at noon Saturday and Sunday, with weapons ranging from a 17th-century swivel gun to a modern-day howitzer. A children’s parade at 1 p.m. Saturday, allows young “troops” to march through the museum’s re-created colonial fort and re-enactor campsites to formally present ribbons to each of the participating military units.

A military pass-in-review will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday and will feature recognition of re-enactor units judged on camp sites and field demonstrations, as well as awards for visitor and re-enactor’s choice for the top re-enactment unit. 

World War II Veterans Oral History Project

The Virginia War Museum will present “World War II Veterans of Hampton Roads: A Collection of Oral Histories,” a video documentary created by Mitchell Woods of Fort Monroe Boy Scout Troop 31 for his Eagle Service Project. The one-hour documentary features interviews of 30 veterans covering nearly every major World War II battle of the European and Pacific theaters in chronological order.  Showings will take place at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday and 10:30 a.m. Sunday in the Elmon and Pam Gray Presentation Hall. 

Military Aspects at Jamestown Settlement

Arms, armor and military accouterments of 17th-century Virginia can be seen inside Jamestown Settlement’s extensive galleries, featuring films and interactive exhibits that tell the story of America’s first permanent English colony and of the Powhatan Indian, European and African cultures in 1600s Virginia. Families can experience hands-on activities, such as trying on reproductions of English helmets and breastplates, in outdoor re-creations of a 1610-14 English fort, a Powhatan Indian village, and on board one of three ships that brought English colonists to Virginia in 1607 – Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery.

Jamestown Settlement is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily year-round. Admission is $17.00 for adults and $8.00 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 are free. A value-priced combination ticket with the Yorktown Victory Center, a museum of the American Revolution, is $21.25 for adults and $10.75 for ages 6-12.

Jamestown Settlement is located on State Route 31 near the Colonial Parkway in James City County, just southwest of Williamsburg and adjacent to Historic Jamestowne. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838, or visit

Event details, including a full schedule of events and list of participating re-enactment units, are available at