Monday, November 3, 2014

Ahhhh - Home!

What a fabulous trip!  Couldn't have asked for more with all our wonderful visits with family and friends, many rounds of golf and beautiful sights and experiences along the way.  Our last two days were a bit "hairy" - to say the least - as we dodged high winds, tornado and flood warnings!!  The high winds caused us to cut one day short to only 4 hours driving - which made the next day a 13 hour day.  Not our usual - but, we avoided all the bad stuff and got home right on our schedule;-)

A quick unload and back to storage.

The last two weeks have been spent getting reconnected with family and a few friends as well as getting back into some of our usual routines.  That means a couple of dinners, a few rounds of golf, a few volunteer days at the Musical Instrument Museum, a few concerts, etc. etc. etc.

NOW - it is time for Gary's new knee.  Tomorrow at high noon!!  We are both anxious to get this behind us and to REALLY be back into our routine.

Glad to be home - thankful for all our good times on our trip - looking forward to the holiday season ----

With Lots of Love to All - Elizabeth & Gary back in Scottsdale;-)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Frank Lloyd Wright Designed Homes

Just a couple more stops before we are home.  The first was Ohiopyle, (just love saying that name;))PA where two Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes reside.

Small Falls in small town of Ohiopyle, PA.

The first that we visited was Kentuck Knob - I. N. & Bernardine Hagan House.  The Hagan's purchased 89 acres in the mountains above Uniontown in western PA.  After falling in love with Fallingwater (only about 30 minutes away), they asked FLW to design a house for them - one of the last homes to be completed by Wright.  Kentuck Knob was built around the knob of the hill in a very similar manner to his own home - Taliesen in Wisconsin.  Kentuck Knob had incredible views until Mrs. Hagan seeded thousands of trees, which grew over the years to obliterate the view from the house!!!  The current owners have attempted to maintain the integrity of the house, including finding some of the FLW designed furniture (or similar) to bring the house back to its original appearance and have done a wonderful job with it.

Patio deck of Kentuck Knob.

Views from the Kentuck Knob - after walking through the trees.

On the other side of Ohiopyle is Fallingwater - perhaps the most famous of the FLW designed houses.  Fallingwater was designed by FLW in 1935 and constructed  from 1936-38, followed by the guest house in 1939, for Edgar Kaufmann, Sr. and his wife Liliane as a mountain retreat.  The home was owned and used by the Kaufmann's and their son, Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., until 1963, when it was entrusted by Edgar, Jr. to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.  Because this house was entrusted directly to a Conservancy by the original owners, it is intact with its original furnishings, artwork and setting - the only major FLW designed house to open to the public in such a state.  It is pretty impressive!!

Views of Fallingwaters

Pretty Awesome!!

While we were now ready to be home - there were two more stops to say 'Hi!' to family and friends.  First stop - Louisville to see cousin Galadriel and her family Jeff, Graysen and Henry;-)

The Morgenthau's

Second stop - Springfield, MO to see loooooooong-time friend Janet and her husband, Perry -

Partners in many a crime?????

AND NOW - we are horses headed for the barn!!!!

Amarillo by morning - or maybe its tomorrow evening - and Flagstaff Tuesday;-)

See you in Scottsdale - Elizabeth & Gary on their final leg

Friday, October 10, 2014


Where to begin?  As noted before, all Americans should see our National Parks.  While Gettysburg is a  National Military Park (not just a NP) - it should be the equivalent of 'required reading' - required visitation?? - for ALL Americans!  If walking through this hallowed ground does not at some point bring a tear to ones eye - I can't even think of words to comment.

Much has been written and said about Gettysburg (and we have all read about this battle in our elementary school days).  BUT - the most tangible connection to those three days in July is the battlefield itself, parts of which look much as they did in 1863.  Fences, hills, rocks, cannon, and even the monuments provide an opportunity to reflect and TRY to understand what happened here.

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee marched his Army of Northern Virginia northward into Maryland and Pennsylvania.  They were followed by the Union Army of the Potomac.  The three day battle of Gettysburg opened on July 1 with Confederates attacking Union troops on McPherson Ridge.  The Union troops were overpowered and driven back to Cemetery Hill.  During the night the  main body of the Union army, commanded by Maj. Gen. Meade, arrived and took up positions.

July 2 - battle lines were drawn with the main portions of both armies nearly one mile apart on parallel ridges - Union forces on Cemetery Ridge and Confederate forces on Seminary Ridge.  Lee ordered an attack against both Union flanks which were momentarily successful, but could not be exploited to the Confederate advantage.

July 3 - After a two-hour bombardment of the Union lines on Cemetery Ridge by Lee's artillery, which did little to soften up the Union defensive position, some 12,000 Confederates advanced across open fields toward the Union center in an attack known as "Pickett's Charge".  The attack failed and cost Lee over 5,000 soldiers in one hour!  The Battle of Gettysburg was over and 51,000 soldiers were dead, wounded or missing.

There are 'state' memorials on Seminary Ridge noting where various of Lee's troops began their charge.  (The Confederates were not the winners here - so the documentation of their positions/actions are not as detailed as those of the Federation/Union.)

Segways are a great way to tour the battlefield.
The Seminary on Seminary Ridge - area of Confederate line.

Detailed markers/memorials note the positions of each battalion and many of the officers of the  7,000 Union/Federation soldiers on Cemetery Ridge as they held their position and repulsed the bulk of the 12,000-man Pickett's Charge.

Markers and cannon in position - Frightening to think of these firing down on you as you cross the open battlefield.

A view from the Union positions on Little Round Top, looking down onto the Devil's Den area of the battlefield.  More markers noting positions.

The Pennsylvania Memorial provides the backdrop to the cannon.  All the small memorials note positioning of troops and cannons are in actual firing locations.

Memorials mark the Union front battle lines along Cemetery Ridge.  The open field to the left is the ground the Confederates advanced on.

When the armies marched away from Gettysburg they left behind a community in shambles.  Most of the dead lay in hastily dug and inadequate graves and some had not been buried at all.  This situation so distressed PA Gov. Curtin that he commissioned the local attorney to buy land for a proper burial ground for the Union dead.  Within four months of the battle, reinterment began on 17 acres that became Gettysburg National Cemetery.  The cemetery was dedicated on November 19, 1863 where President Abraham Lincoln gave the famed Gettysburg Address.  Only 272 words that took a mere 2 minutes to deliver.  Considered a masterpiece that transformed Gettysburg from a scene of carnage into a symbol giving meaning to the sacrifice of the dead.  Think of standing in a cemetery with all these dead - many unnamed - in the very middle of the battlefield and read this piece again.  A whole new meaning!!

The Ohio memorial - noting their position in the 3-day battle on Cemetery Hill - which now happens to be in the National Cemetery.

The Soldiers Memorial in the National Cemetery marks the spot near which Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.

The remains of  Confederate soldiers were removed from the battlefield to cemeteries in the South and the black soldiers were buried in a cemetery not far from Cemetery Hill.

 On the western edge of the Gettysburg battlefield - just beyond where the Confederate forces amassed on Seminary Ridge - is Eisenhower's retirement home (Eisenhower National Historic Site).  Eisenhower wasn't looking for an army career but he wanted to go to college.  He discovered that free education awaited young men appointed to the U.S. Military Academy.  In 1917,  he spent World War I at Camp Colt in Gettysburg in charge of training soldiers for the army's tank corps.  This is when he fell in love with the area.  When it came time to anticipate retirement, he and Mamie bought a farm near Gettysburg in 1950 - but, their retirement was delayed for another decade.   However, in November 1955 their country home became a temporary White House while Ike recuperated from a heart attack and then a place for him to entertain dignitaries thru the remainder of his presidency.  He loved to show off his farm as he was quite proud of the property and the Black Angus cattle raised on it.

Finally in 1961 they did 'retire' to their farm in Gettysburg - the only home they ever  owned!  They made a gift of their farm to the federal government in 1967 with the agreement that Dwight and Mamie would live there for life.  Which they did until Dwight died on March 28, 1969 at the age of 78 and Mamie died November 1, 1979 at the age of 82.

The grounds are quite beautiful and peaceful - leaving no reason to wonder why they loved the place and the time they could spend here.

The Eisenhower home in Gettysburg.

This mantle in the Eisenhower's living room was originally in the White House during Lincoln's Presidency.

Unfortunately - it was time to move on even though we could spend several more days here.  But before we left, we had an early morning to see the sun rise over the battlefields of Gettysburg (also the Blood Moon set - appropriate, don't you think).

The "blood moon" working its way to a full ecclipse over the battlefield at dawn. 

What an incredible sight.  Figure out a way to get here and see it if you haven't yet.

Elizabeth & Gary - WOWED!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Down on the Singley Farm

What a GREAT week-end.  Nancy and Mike opened their 'farm' to friends Gary, Chuck and us.  Three days of eating, visiting, drinking, eating, redecorating (the living room with a new fireplace!!), eating, sightseeing (a sad, burning up, ghost town - Centralia), eating, drinking, reminiscing, playing games, MORE eating and just enjoying each other's company in a beautiful setting;-)

Our hosts, Nancy and Mike.

A view of the Singley Farm from above - the house (in the trees) and barn (and Magic!).  

Magic's terrific parking spot....

...and the beautiful view from Magic's front window.

The 'Gang' -  Nancy, Mike and Maggie and our friends from Wisconsin, Chuck and Gary.

Even our departure was beautiful - AND NARROW!
A fabulous week-end!!  A BIG THANK-YOU to Nancy and Mike for sharing their home with us.

(We DID make a stop in Woodstock on our way to the Singley Farm.  The residents there are definitely still stuck in the 60's!  Lots of fun.)

Heading West - Home in a week - E & G

Friday, October 3, 2014

Southern Maine...check

WOW!  What a whirlwind 24 hours of the 'hot spots' a little further down the coast in Maine.

By 12 noon Wednesday we were checked into and all set up at the Freeport Village RV Park in Freeport, Maine.  For those of you who are not L.L. Bean aficionados, this is their home office and location of their signature stores.  Yes - that is stores - plural.  There is a 'Retail', 'Fishing & Hunting', 'Ski, Bike & Kayak' and  'Home' store.  Then there are all the usual 'outlet' stores within the same two block radius.  So - we were shopping by 1PM;-)

As soon as we had done as much damage there as we could, we were off to Portland - AND AN APPLE STORE.  (Gary had been the whole month of September without a phone!!  A VERY long story with MANY hours on the phone and in Verizon stores with NO results that led to a useful phone.  We even 'hit' the Apple store in Halifax just so G could see, touch and hold the new iPhones.) After about an hour in the store - and a VERY helpful Manager - G had his new phone.  WHAT A HAPPY CAMPER - FINALLY;-)!!!

After 5 weeks without a working cell phone...a happy camper

Now Old Port of Portland was calling with a wonderful little Italian Osteria for dinner with all home made pasta.

Next morning was up and at 'em early as it was a travel day.  But, first we needed to make a little side trip to Kennebunkport - breakfast and a little jaunt around Ocean Ave. to see the Bush quarters on Walker Point. 

The Bush compound in Kennebunkport, Maine sits on Walker Point.

A closer view.
It was now 12 noon on Thursday and our allotted 24 hours in southern Maine were up.

Off and running to - - - - Woodstock?????

Elizabeth & Gary on their way back to the 60's;-)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Acadia - A Stunning NP along side Bah Hahbah (Bar Harbor)

The National Parks in our country are true gems to be enjoyed.  Each one has its own charms, beauties and history and Acadia NP is no exception.  Inhabiting a large portion of Mount Desert Island, Acadia has many personalities.  One of our favorite spots in the Park - Cadillac Mountain - began as molten magma.  As it cooled, it hardened and crystallized.  This granite is found all in and around the park - even just below the turf on the golf course!  YEARS after the molten magma the glaciers came and shaped the domed summit of Cadillac Mountain and the U-shaped valley of Bubble Pond.  Then came inhabitants - the first dated 5,000 years ago and were hunter-gatherers.  More recently hunters and traders came to the island - then the European fishermen and explorers.  150 years of war between the French and the British made it disputed territory unsafe for habitation until 1761 when English colonists established the first permanent settlement.  After artists came to the island and spread their pictures tourists came to see the beautiful scenery and a tourist trade was born.  The wealthy came to build their "cottages" (which were million dollar homes in the late 1800's to early 1900's!) transforming the quiet farming and fishing villages.

Thankfully, many of these wealthy were also preservationists and acquired 5,000 acres in donated land that they then presented to the Federal government in 1916 to be designated a National Monument.   Many more acres were  obtained through donations and in 1919 it was redesignated as a National Park.

We have been looking forward to checking this NP off our list for some time now - and we were not disappointed.  Of course our first view of the area was our 'parking place' as always.  And again - we had a beautiful spot on the Western Bay of the Atlantic Ocean.

Our new spot near Acadia National Park - at low tide.

Great views while grilling.

Never seen one of these before..a sleeper tour bus.  Sleeper bunks in the rear - bus tour seats in the front.
26 Germans were on a 2 week trip from Boston to Montreal.

Bar Harbor, a quaint harbor town, sits on the east side of Mount Desert Island and Acadia NP.  We again were blessed with some of the most beautiful weather during our weekend here - which made a lunch on the lawn of the Bar Harbor Inn really delightful.  (It is also a port for cruise ships, which we quickly learned to avoid when we saw two or three of those floating cities in port;-(  )

We had lunch at the Bar Harbor Inn under on of the umbrellas before our harbor cruise on the
 fourmasted schooner in the background.

See the island in the background?

You can walk to it during low tide.

Once one has investigated Bar Harbor, it is time to head into the Park.  There is way too much to do but we attempted to pack in as much as possible.  The 20-mile Park Loop Road provides outstanding shoreline views - both from high above the bays and ocean and from the lone sand beach and rocky outcroppings.  Remember - I talked about the warm, beautiful weather?  Well, Saturday it was in the mid-80's and all the pasty easterners were exposing themselves at Sand Beach.

Just like a day at Venice Beach, CA??

There were several hikes to the top of Cadillac Mountain - the park's highest peak AND the tallest mountain on the Atlantic coast north of Brazil!!  The summit is 1,530 - which, coming from Park City, hardly seems like it could be the tallest on the Atlantic coast but that's what all the literature says?!?!  In any event - it was one of our favorite places in the Park.  One gets a 360 degree view atop the granite dome and, therefore, a favorite spot to watch the sun rise and set.  While we were here there was also a night sky watch as there was a new moon so very little light to interfere with the star watching.

A view of Bar Harbor, Bar Island (the long one on the left) and Frenchman's Bay from the top of Cadillac Mountain.

There were lots of folks getting ready for Sky Watch on the top of Cadillac Mountain.

Another favorite - The Carriage Roads.  Forty-five miles of rustic carriage roads, the gift of John D.  Rockefeller Jr., weave around the mountains and valleys of Acadia NP.  Rockefeller wanted to travel on motor-free byways via horse and carriage into the heart of Mount Desert Island.  (He was afraid that the new automobile would take over the quiet of the Park so they were forbidden on the Carriage Roads.  It remains that way today - only hikers, bikes and horses can use the Carriage Roads.)  His construction efforts from 1913 to 1940 resulted in roads with sweeping vistas and close-up views of the landscape.  On these roads, Rockefeller financed 16 of 17 stone-faced bridges, each unique in design, to span streams, waterfalls, roads, and cliffsides.  We only managed to do a five mile loop with five bridges and fell in love with these roads.

The Carriage Roads in Acadia National Park provided lots of beautiful scenery for our "walk in the park".

And afterwards...

Of course, we took the loop that would allow us to end at Jordan Pond, the Bubbles and the Jordan Pond House for lunch;-)  In a park dotted with glacier-carved ponds and lakes, Jordan Pond is perhaps the loveliest.  Its waters are clear and cool - a water supply for the area - so no swimming allowed.  Its shores are flanked by Penobscot Mountain to the west (which we hiked around on the Carriage Roads) and to the north the pair of round mountains, aptly named, The Bubbles!

The Bubbles rising out of Jordan Pond.
(As we were wandering around taking these pictures - a young man came up to Gary and asked if he would take a picture of him and his girlfriend.  He turned away from his girlfriend and whispered to Gary that he was going to propose - so would Gary take several shots!  We got to be the photographer and witness the happy event as he proposed on one knee right here in front of this pond!!  What a memory for them - and us.)

The best part of ending ones hike here is Jordan Pond House, where one can have lunch or tea on the  lawn.  As Saturday was that wonderful 80 degree day - it was tea on the lawn with their 'famous' Popovers;-)

So did many others!


It was bound to happen - a gloomy day.  So - it must be time for a ride around the southwest part of the island.  First - Somes Sound - the only fjord in the contiguous 48 states.  Next - the Seawall - literally a seawall protecting the island from the tides of the Atlantic.  Bass Harbor Lighthouse - One of the most photographed lighthouses on the East Coast, the head light rises from the rocky southernmost tip of Mount Desert Island.  The light was built in 1858 and marks the entrance to Bass Harbor.  Now it is fully automated and managed by the U. S. Coast Guard.  There were also great views of the turbulent ocean this day from the rocks below.

The Bass Harbor lighthouse.

This serves as a memorial for two brothers who ran a lobster fishing business from this wharf for over 50 years.

With the beautiful 'parking' spot that we had, watching the low and high tides and the bird life just out our door kept us busy when we were actually at the Bus.  Gary had his eye on this crane for several days and finally managed to get good lighting and a low tide to capture this guy fishing ---

It took almost a half hour to edge up on this blue heron while it was hunting for breakfast.

Then I got too close.

Another fantastic five days of experiences and an ever growing love for our National Parks.

E & G Wowed by Nature