Sunday, March 18, 2018

Expected Rain...Unexpected Snow

When I went to Oregon with my friends Julie and Dave last month we anticipated cold and rain.  After all, we were headed to Oregon in the winter.

Although the vineyards looked wintery in shades of gold and brown, they were still beautiful  and a delight to observe around every bend in the road.

Dave found a great place to stay that was located right in the middle of vineyard.  It was called Red Ridge Lodge and it was actually a small house.

It was a perfect place with views out over the vineyard and the trees in every direction.  It had two bedrooms and two baths and a porch that wrapped around the outside.  It was a perfect retreat.

On Sunday morning we were surprised to find our vineyard view had turned white with snow.  For us desert dwellers, it was a bit of a treat to see all that frosting decorating the scenery.

All those pretty vineyards were now a patchwork of green, brown and white.

It was interesting to observe.  The snow would stop for a while and the snow on the ground would melt.

And then, it would start again and quickly cover everything in sight.  
It was a treat to see for our short visit to this winter wonderland. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Wine Country

These days good wine is produced almost everywhere in the world.  It's no longer just France and California dominating the top ranks.  The Oregon winery Domaine Serene located in the beautiful Willamette Valley, was tagged by one critic as one of the 50 best wineries in the world.  In 2013, one of their Pinot Noir's was ranked #3 in the world.

My good friends Julie and Dave are members of the Domaine Serene wine club and when they received an invitation to go to a special dinner at the winery, they decided to go and asked if I wanted to join them.  I had never been to the Oregon wine country before so I thought it was a great opportunity to see what it was like.

The weekend we were there was designated the Oregon Truffle Festival so this dinner had a truffle theme that went with everything that was served.   I didn't know that Oregon also harvested quite a lot of truffles.  That was a surprise to learn.

The dinner began with a wine tasting and small bites in the beautiful cellar of the Domaine Serene Clubhouse.

Every course of the dinner was complimented by some of those Oregon truffles.  Above is the main course, a braised short rib.  (The full description reads: Braised Wagyu short rib with Oregon black truffles, celeriac-truffle remoulade and truffled pommes Anna.)  Look at the size of those truffle slices!  Delicious!

The Domaine Serene Clubhouse is a beautiful facility from the gorgeous cellar on the lower level to the main floor where the dinner was served to the private members room where a warming fire was roaring.

I certainly enjoyed learning about wines produced here and how the owners built this business after retiring.  They were also instrumental in creating the Oregon luxury wine industry that has skyrocketed since.  And, in a true turn of events, they recently achieved a dream of theirs by purchasing a winery and vineyard in France.  I'd say they have a bright future now on two continents.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Iconic New York Scenes

It doesn't get more iconic than the sight of the Statue of Liberty.  I took this photo from the boat trip out to Liberty Island.

If you go up to the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you get a wonderful view over Central Park toward the tall Manhattan buildings.

The Atlas statue at Rockefeller Center has been there since 1937.  It was created by Lee Lawrie with the help of Rene Paul Chambellan.

Around the corner from the Atlas is the very famous Radio City Music Hall.

St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church is a Byzantine Revival building located in a very prominent location on Park Avenue.  I love the look of this building.

I stopped on a raised walkway to snap a quick shot down a street toward the Chrysler Building.

Located very close to the World Trade Center is a historic cemetery called the Trinity Church Cemetery.  This is a beautifully peaceful spot in center of a very busy city.  It's on the National Register of Historic Places.

Not far from the cemetery is that famous Wall Street Bull.  This sculpture was originally displayed as "guerrilla art" which means it was displayed "unofficially".  It became so popular that it was given a temporary permit and it's been here ever since.  Not so temporary after all.

New York....what a great place to visit!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

My Childhood is Now Vintage

I have some very fond memories of family vacations, traveling across the United States pulling a Shasta travel trailer similar to the one pictured above.  The only difference between our Shasta and the one above is that ours had an overhead bunk so there was a small extension over the front of the trailer.

It seems my childhood travel accommodations are now considered "vintage".

In the town of Dayton Oregon in the beautiful Willamette Valley is a trailer resort called The Vintages.  They have a whole row of these old-style travel trailers that can be rented for a stay in the Oregon wine country.

We didn't do that on this trip, but I just had to take a drive through this nostalgic place.

Driving down the "vintage" street is like a real blast from the past.  All kinds of travel trailers can be found on this one street.

Each one appears to come with a set of bicycles to enjoy and the website boasts other amenities to be had.

The site says that terrycloth robes are provided along with comfortable mattresses.  As I recall, those original travel trailer mattresses were not in the "comfort" category.  (Ah but, we were young, it didn't really matter.)  The site also says that hotel-quality linens are provided.

Each site also has a propane grill and tableware for the visitor to use.  Also included is a wine opener.  This is in the Oregon wine country after all.

It's a very clever idea, but it's not the only way to stay at The Vintages.  The place also has spaces to rent for those who still bring their own trailers, campers and motorhomes with them.  It's only this one street in the park that offers these "vintage" accommodations.

I'm adding a "vintage" photo to this post.  I went searching through some old photos to see if I could find a photo of the old trailer and this is the only one I found.  It is badly faded but I added a little saturation and contrast to brighten it just a bit.  That's me on the right next to my dad and holding the dog's leash.  The dog is Chrissy our beloved English Bulldog.  Mom is standing on the step, my sister Pam is next to her and my sister Judy is on the end.  I bet my dad set up the camera on timer to get this shot.

Ah, sweet memories!  My family had lots of fun roaming the country while pulling our little home-away-from-home behind us.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

International Buskers

I'm sure that everyone who travels has seen buskers or street performers wherever they go.  There are certainly some places like Trafalgar Square in London for instance, where you will find many of them all at one time.

I think I've seen this "floating Yoda" every time I've gone to London.

The seated-in-mid-air, floating man was a new one to me. I hadn't seen him in the past.

But buskers aren't just found in central London, you can find them all over the world.  In Paris I saw this happy accordion player at one end of the Pont de Sully bridge.  His distinctly French melodies were luring tourists from every direction.

The headless man in Rome was found near Castle Sant' Angelo and he was drawing quite a crowd.  The young boys above were in awe of the fellow without a head.

In Siena, this pretty young girl was singing some Medieval melodies and with her period clothing, she fit right in with her ancient surroundings.

Back in London, I bet many visitors remember seeing the man playing the bagpipes on the Westminster Bridge.  He's there most days to entertain the tourists crossing the bridge.

I think my favorite busker of all I've seen was spotted on my last trip to London in a cozy little corner along the South Bank.  He was playing his tuba with so much gusto that flames were coming out of the top.  That was probably the most unique form of street entertainment I've seen in quite a while.

How about you?  Have you seen any interesting buskers on your travels?

Sunday, February 11, 2018

221 B Baker Street

Sherlock Holmes is revered all over the world and although he is a fictional character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, his life has been memorialized in London for all his fans to see and enjoy.

The Sherlock Holmes Museum is located appropriately as 221B Baker Street but, don't tell anyone, the actual location is between 237 and 241.  The city of Westminster has given special permission for the address to actually read 221B.

The museum is representative of the period of time between 1881 and 1904 when Holmes and Doctor Watson were residing as tenants of Mrs. Hudson.

Walking from room to room, visitors can see all sorts of items that will be totally familiar to them.  Like Doctor Watson's medical bag to the left.

And of course, Watson's bowler hat and Holmes' deerstalker hat.  That magnifying glass and his signature pipe will also be familiar.

Holmes' violin is present along with his microscope and assortment of vials.

The rooms have been furnished with items that were actually used in scenes from the 1984 television series, Sherlock Holmes.  The rooms are all deliciously Victorian.  

Can't you just picture Holmes running down these stairs and shouting "Come Watson come, the game is afoot".