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June 29th, 2011 | in National Parks | Leave a comment

I always look for the parks that are close to the areas where we are camping, found Indiana Dunes Nat’l Lakeshore about 45 minutes down the road from us in Elkhart, IN. It was a lovely day, I needed some exercise, so off we went to do a little hiking and to check out the beaches. Jim is such a great sport (mostly). The beaches were pretty busy, not much parking available, especially at Central Beach, it seemed to be where the older kids/young adults hung out.

 

June 29th, 2011 | in Photography | 2 comments

It’s fun to stretch your legs, get a little walk, and what a better place to do that than in an arboretum. Terri, Betsy and I decided to spend some time at Holden Arboretum, they are both avid gardeners, and well, I like the walk and to take pictures. I do love to look at the flowers too, so it all works for me. The arboretum is just outside of Cleveland, OH and it was huge. We only checked out 3 of the gardens; the butterfly, the wildflower and the rhododendrons.

 

From the 175+ pictures that I took here are what I thought were the best. Let me know what you think :) If you would like a copy of a picture for anything, let me know, I am most willing to share. I do like to use them for my desktop wallpaper 😀

 

Thanks for the walk Terri & Betsy!

 

June 29th, 2011 | in Family, Friends | Leave a comment

It’s a great thing that Phil & Terri have so many hobbies, but in this case, I really love it :) They crew on sail boats during the racing season on Lake Erie. Our last trip to Ohio, we got to go out with them and Phil & Lorraine D. on Phil D’s boat Changes. I took lots of pictures and posted them (3 years ago, my goodness!). This trip, Changes was on the way back from the Bahamas, so Phil & Terri are now crewing on the Notorious. They are really good at what they do and they finagle ways for us to get at least one sail in each trip. So on a Wednesday morning, Phil, Jim and I met up with Brad (owner of the boat and skipper) & Bob to take a little sail. It started just breezy enough, but it got breezier as the sail continued and we headed back into port before it got too breezy.

 

This is a picture I took the last trip (June 2008) when we were on Changes and we were the committee boat for the evening race.

Notorious from 2008 in the late evening sun

Notorious from 2008 in the late evening sun

 

These pictures are from our sail this trip on the Notorious.

 

Brad at the helm

Brad at the helm

 

sun behind the sail

sun behind the sail

 

Bob, Jim & Phil

Bob, Jim & Phil

 

Brad, Jim & Phil

Brad, Jim & Phil

 

sun shining onto the sail

sun shining onto the sail

 

Notorious

Notorious

 

Me, I don’t do anything while on the boat, just sit back, relax and enjoy. Oh yeah, and I shift sides as we tack (I do make good ballast). I love the feel of sailing, I would do it a lot if I had a chance, but I will still stick to my RV for living & traveling. Thanks Brad for taking us out on Notorious.

 

btw, that same Wednesday, they had a race in the evening. Jim and I did not go, I was worried about the weather. It was a good thing too, they barely made it into port before the wind got so bad that it was pushing trees down. We had shear winds come through the area that night and Phil & Terri had to make 2 detours around downed trees to get back home from the boat. It was kinda scary, but it all worked out fine.

 

June 28th, 2011 | in Scenic | Leave a comment

Here are a few pictures that I took either in Terri’s garden or playing with my (not so new now) camera. I am still learning a lot about the camera and different types of settings. I have fun taking them, I hope you enjoy them just a little :)

 

The Garden

 

Red lilacs that almost look like grapes

Red lilacs that almost look like grapes

 

old fashioned lilacs

old fashioned lilacs

 

lilacs & japanese maple

lilacs & japanese maple

 

chives gone to seed

chives gone to seed

 

columbine, hummingbird & chickens

columbine, hummingbird & chickens

 

find the hummingbird

find the hummingbird

 

did you find the hummingbird?

did you find the hummingbird?

 

The trip to Paine Falls

The falls through a filter

The falls through a filter

 

Phil & Jim

Phil & Jim

 

mama goose & hiding gosling

mama goose & hiding gosling

 

goose family enjoying a swim

goose family enjoying a swim

 

let me know what you think… but yeah, I know, don’t give up my day job 😉

 

June 28th, 2011 | in National Parks | Leave a comment

I finally made it to Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It is only a 1 hour drive from Phil & Terri’s house and this was the first time we got our rears-in-gear and made it out there. Once again, we got Phil & Terri and Grant & Betsy to join us on this trip. I hope we are not wearing out our welcome 😛

 

Cuyahoga is a very pretty park, it’s really long because it goes along the old Erie Canal to the Ohio River. They have created a bike/hike trail called Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. You ride where the donkeys/burro use to tow the boats up & down the canal. It’s pretty cool, lots of different scenery and it has outlets to other historic parts of the park. Terri and I walked along just enough to take a look at one of the old locks, but we had other things to do.

 

We hiked to a couple of different falls (Blue Hen & Brandywine), we ate ice cream, we found wildflowers, I got a couple of stamps in my Nat’l Park Passport book. We walked across an old covered bridge, Terri and I hiked through the mud, and we checked out Ice Box Cave along the Ledges Trail. There is something for everyone here, it’s worth a trip, especially if you like to ride bikes, the towpath is great.

 

Another successful day of National Park touring and being with family and friends. Thanks!

June 28th, 2011 | in Wine & Wine Tasting | Leave a comment

If you remember, we have been wine tasting in Ohio before, the same area each time because it is really close to where my husbands’ brother Phil & his wife Terri live. It works out so great, they love wine, we love wine, we wine together 😉

 

This trip, we invited additional friends, Grant & Betsy (friends of Phil & Terri via sailing and Terri works with Betsy). They were not sure what they were getting into, but they decided to join us. We met up with them at Harpersfield Winery, but that was after we had already enjoyed two wineries.

 

The list of wineries that we visited on this trip (some previously visited, some new) are:

 

They make a lot of sweet wines in Ohio, but all of these wineries have some decent dry whites & reds to enjoy (which is what we like). Many of them serve some type of food, from cheese plates to full menu restaurants. They all have fun tasting rooms, with great outdoor seating. We took advantage of all of the above; wine, food, & outdoor seating.

 

I was bummed when I got to Cellar Rats Brewery, I wanted to talk with the brewmaster, but he was already gone for the day. They do tours during the week and I wanted to talk “shop” now that I am getting ready to brew my own beer (back in Livingston). Oh well, next trip. They had great beer though, I was surprised and impressed.

 

I think we all had fun, some more than others (you know who you are 😉 ). It was a great day spent with Phil, Terri, Grant, Betsy & of course, my lovely husband Jim. Thanks everyone!

 

June 9th, 2011 | in Family | Leave a comment

It’s always interesting to see what hobbies people pick up over the years. My b-in-law (Phil) and his wife (Terri) started target shooting and now belong to a club and compete. Terri even got two trophies this last year, so they are truly enjoying it. Jim and Phil got to talking about guns and they decided we needed to give it a try.

 

They live out in the boonies with only other family members living nearby, so they can practice right in their own back yard. Phil set up some water bottles and hung some potatoes from a rope so that we could shoot at something. I did shoot Terri’s back-up gun (don’t ask me what the caliber was, I can’t remember), her primary gun has a fitted grip for her hand and my hand is bigger.

 

Jim shot Phil’s gun, it was a little bit bigger (Jim says it was a .38). Anyhow, it was interesting, I actually did hit a few potatoes (never having shot a hand gun before), and so did Jim. I still don’t want one, even though they think all “Texans” carried concealed.

 

click on the picture to see a little bit bigger one, and if you want to see it bigger yet, click on the picture again :-)

 

June 9th, 2011 | in National Parks | Leave a comment

Terri (sister-in-law) was babysitting Mason (grandson) and we decided it was a good afternoon to check out another Nat’l Park, or in this case, Historic Park. Just “down the road” in Mentor is James Garfield’s (20th president) home that he built for his wife Lucretia. From the time that James Garfield purchased the 140 acres to the time is became a historic park, it was always in the Garfield family. Hence, over 80 % of the items in the home are original. When rooms were renovated, if they could not find a picture, plan or something to work from, they left it plain. They were able to recover pieces of rugs, wallpaper, colors to copy so that it looks like it did at the time James Garfield died.

 

 

One of the things I found very interesting (and smart) is that Lucretia had a HUGE bank type vault installed in the library so that incase there was a fire, all of the important papers & items would not burn. Today, there are the original letters that James and Lucretia wrote back and forth to each other, Lucretia had saved them all. She also dried & wax covered one of the wreaths that were at the funeral for James and it still is in the vault.

 

If you ever get a chance, you need to check out this park. Another that I just loved was the John Adams homes in Quincy, MA. The “Peacefield” home has been restored and over 95% of the items are original. Touring these types of historical parks are a great way to learn your American history up close and personal.

 

When trying to figure out what to do while in Ohio (other than visit, eat & drink), Put-in-Bay came up from a friend at dinner. So the plans were made, the drive seemed long (because we had to get up so early to catch a certain boat), but it was all worth it. We were just a tad early for the season, a couple of days before Memorial Day, so not everything was open. That was ok, we still had fun!

 

The biggest bummer was that the Perry Monument was closed for renovations (200 year anniversary next year for the War of 1812). We couldn’t go to the top, but the video was interesting in the visitors center.

 

 

After visiting the memorial, we did some shopping and then decided it was time for lunch. We had heard about this marvelous lobster bisque at the Boardwalk, but the Boardwalk was closed. We ran into someone that worked there (they were getting it ready to open over Memorial Weekend) and he said that the Hooligan Pub was also owned by them and they had some that day, it was in the process of heating up.

 

So, off to Hooligans it was. We ordered lunch but they said the bisque wasn’t ready yet, it had to be re-heated very slowly. We said we would come back for it after awhile. Once we were done with what we did order, we headed over to the Put-in-Bay Brewing Co. so that I could try their beers (and get a souvenir glass :) ) We did go back, but they were closing from between lunch & dinner. They never told us that, so we asked for our bisque to go and ate it out on the porch. We were definitely disappointed in the bisque, it was too thick and kinda lumpy.

Here’s there line-up that we tasted:

  • Watermelon Wheat
  • Captain Barclays’s IPA *
  • Summer Brew
  • South Bass Oatmeal Stout *
  • Pass Out Bourbon Stout *

 

I liked the IPA and the two stouts, the oatmeal was the better of the two. I was pleasantly surprised that I even liked one, let alone three of them. I would go back if I ever had the chance.

 

After the brewery, we headed out to do a little wine tasting. There are two wineries on the island, Heineman’s Winery and Put-in-Bay Winery. We didn’t taste at Heineman’s, all they had was sweet wine, but we did make some purchases in the gift store. We did try a few wines at Put-in-Bay, they had a few dry reds and whites. Not bad, but no purchases made here.

 

After wine tasting, we drove around some more in our little golf cart along the waterfront to see how the other half lives. There are some really nice homes and a lot of summer cottages. It was fun to see what was basically a “gosling nursery”. There were 3 or 4 mama geese keeping all their goslings together and herding them from one spot to another. There were all different ages (sizes) of goslings, so it was really interesting to watch. Those mama’s were very careful too, if you got too close, they started spitting at you and would make like they were going to bite. I stayed a little further back to get my pictures 😉

 

We didn’t want to get home too late, so we headed back, but we also wanted to try another winery on the way home. We stopped at Firelands Winery in Sandusky. It was really nice inside (they were renovating the outside), the people very nice and you got to choose 5 wines to taste. They had a little of everything. I bought a cool bottle (blue fish) that has riesling in it (didn’t taste the wine, just wanted the bottle) and a bottle of sparkling brut (didn’t get to taste it either). We did open the bottle a few days later and I found it really enjoyable and was surprised at the quality (not so much for the price though). Terri bought a couple of bottles of Italian styled wines.

 

We were ready to be home, it was a long day, but really enjoyable. How can you go wrong after wine & beer tasting? You can’t 😀