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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bunker Hill, Boston Massachusetts

Colonel William Prescott StatureBoston Harbor viewBunker Hill  Gate
Colonel William Prescott's statue welcomes yous after you climb Breeds Hill where The Bunker Hill Memorial is located. The Battle of Bunker Hill was the first major battle of The American Revolution. The bulk of the battle took place on Breeds Hill, rather than Bunker Hill and thus is known by the wrong name. The Colonists were far out numbered, but suffered fewer causalities in the battle. Though the battle was ultimately won by The British, The American Colonists inflicted large numbers of causalities in their forces (in fact almost 50%), repealing them successfully in the first 2 rounds of battle.

"Don't Fire Until You See The Whites of Their Eyes!", a famous quote that perhaps tells why The Colonist did so well under the direction of Colonel William Prescott.

The impressive granite obelisk stands 221 feet. Hubby and I climbed the 294 steps to the top of memorial in the oppressive summer heat to see the view. Our traveling compions whimped out and sat waiting impatiently for us. The view is through the window and so even when you reached the top, there is no air. I did find the closeness a bit difficult.

If you look carefully you can see The US Constitution behind the red brick building their in the harbor.

The monument is open to the public daily from 9-5 except holidays and is FREE. They do stop the line (if there is one) at 4:30 to allow people time to climb and down those 294 steps. It's a tight winding stairway and not suitable for small children, or adults with breathing or walking difficulties; as there is no where to rest.

I'm hopeful to return to this area in Boston to explore more; but not with the same inpatient traveling companions.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia

rows of marble gravestonesRow on row of gravestones, an impressive site with the white marble glistening bright reflecting the heat of the day. And hot it was, most of the grass no longer green scorched from the extreme temperatures. We did our best to go the distance between the trolley and walking to see and feel as much as we could. The feeling you get is hard to describe; but something I believe everyone should experience. Let me suggest you go though not in the August heat.
James Richmond Medal of Honor HeadstoneShade inches up on Pvt. James Richmond's gravestone (far left front row), a fellow Ohioan who captured The Flag at Gettysburg while serving in Co. F. 8th Ohio Infantry on that fateful day on June 3, 1864. A Medal of Honor Recipient, who gave his all; as so many did. 4 Million visitors annually visit Arlington. 200 acres filled with people to be remembered and honored. Park you car, walk or ride the tour bus; driving in the cemetery is only allowed with special permission for funerals. Visit the visitors center and obtain a map to help you plan your path.
Memorial Amphitheater Arlington National CemeteryThis is The Memorial Amphitheater where special ceremonies are held on Easter, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day. Thousands attend these special ceremonies. 44 US Battles from The American Revolution through The Spanish American War are inscribed around the freize above the colonnade
Kennedy GravestonesThe Eternal Flame, President John F. Kennedy's final resting place, that of his wife and 2 of his children. It's very difficult to obtain a decent picture because everyone wants to be there. What I found terribly troubling was the lack of quiet reference I believe should have existed. I've discussed this with others who toured here at Arlington. They experienced the same, rudeness really. People want pictures, pushing and shoving in some cases to get where they felt they had a right to be. I was filled with such emotion, remembering his being assassinated. Remembering where I was when I heard the horrible news. And so, I stood here on the side and took my photo at these unpretentious graves.

Tomb of The UnknownProbably no one needs me to say this is the changing of the guard at The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. A very very impressive site, watching the precision and the dedication shown by these guards. The Tomb is in need of repair from the elements and places are worn from the guards movements. The 3rd Infantry, The Old Guard has this very high honor 365 days a year through all kinds of weather.

The first graves were dug by James Parks, a former slave at Arlington House. He is the only person buried at Arlington who was born there.

The history of those that served spans far and wide and touches many of our family trees. A separate history of Arlington House, as well as a separate tour awaits those with stamina when they get to the top of the hill. Thought many say it was Robert E. Lee's house that's not technically correct. It belonged to his wife's family. Pvt. William Henry Christman of the 67th Pennsylvania Infantry was the first military burial. It was thought if Union Soldiers were buried on the estate of Robert E. Lee, he could not and would not ever return.

I highly recommend spending time, lots of time here. Come prepared with sunscreen, water, and walking shoes. While I think children need to experience this, I also suggest it's not suited for young children who need to run and yell. Parents need to prepare children for what they will see and experience so proper respect can be shown. I do hope to return for another visit, in cooler temperatures.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Golf in the Desert, Arizona

waterhole at the golf courseDesert, mountains, and a water hole make for a pretty site at the golf course.
golfingHubster golfing in the desert.
sunset at the golf courseSunset on the golf course with the moutains in the background is a common, but beautiful site in Phoenix.

golfball in a cactusOoophs, bet someone had a hard time trying to find their ball after this shot. Sadly, you can see from the holes in the cactus this isn't uncommon. I don't know if this damages the cactus. I did ask when we were there, but didn't really get a good answer.

There are lots of beautiful golf courses in and around Phoenix. I don't play, but hubby sure enjoyed himself.
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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Phoenix, Arizona Marriott's Canyon Villas

diningroom and kitchenoutdoor play area
This is a picture heavy post.Canyon Villas (Marriott Time Shares) in Phoenix is a fabulous place to stay while vacationing in the Phoenix area. Inside and out the resort is wonderful. Yes, I did say timeshare; but they are also available to rent as you would a hotel room or condo. The first photo is the view from the dining room looking into the kitchen. If you rent the full villa (2bedroom), or the full 1 bedroom side you get the use of the living room, kitchen, and dining room. Quite spacious. The 2nd picture is one of the play area's at the resort, so you can tell this is a family friendly vacation spot.

efficiency side kitchen areaefficiency suite
This darling little kitchen area is the small side. If you rent what I call an efficiency you get dishes, bar size sink, microwave, campus size fridge, coffee pot etc. I really thought this cabinet was very pretty. The picture with bed is again the small side ... look at how much room you have. The small side has the kitchen area, sleeper sofa right lower corner of the picture, bathroom is to the right of the kitchen area, all have patio or balcony.
desert flowersdesert flowers
The grounds are very pretty with fabulous flowers everywhere, even among the desert rocks.

Waterfalls as you walk the grounds, as well as the large one in the pool area are both pretty and peaceful. Long shadows show you I photographed as dusk began to fall over the desert area. There's much to see and do in and around The Phoenix area. I've posted about many of them.

There's fine dining at The JW Marriott Resort nearby, if you don't want to cook all your meals in, as well as host of dining options at a nearby shopping area. Outdoor grills are also available for those who like us, like to grill out.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Luggage, LUGGAGE, Luggage

vera bradley lugguageIt's time to start planning your next vacation and take advantage of great sale prices on luggage. Having the right luggage can make packing less stressful. Many airlines are now charging for your bags so having good quality, light weight luggage is a must. No more worry about being charged for a heavy bag.

Search and shop on line today and take advantage of The savings are extraordinary and include free shipping. Tired of watching hundreds of the same black bags go round and round on the conveyor belt at the airport? You can solve that problem by selecting from the wide array of sizes and colors of Delsey Luggage, Hartmann Lugguage, and Tumi Luggage. And that's not all, you can personalize your luggage with free monogramming on Hartmann and Delsey collections. Styles include both hard and soft luggage. Durable, quality luggage at drastically reduced prices. Village Lugguage and Gifts site is secure and offers ease of payments with Visa, MasterCard or American Express. What are waiting for?
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Baltimore (Inner Harbor), Maryland

Quackers from Ride the Duckentering the water in The Inner HarborSeven Foot Knoll Light
Mother and Daughter Quacking while touring on Ride the Duck in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. This photo was from 3 years ago when we went to Baltimore for the first time. The Duck is an amphibious vehicle, from World War II; updated for tourism in cities around the country. You get a nice over view of the area on land and on sea. The Captain gives you history and points out areas of interest. After your tour on The Duck, you can decide what you'd like to go back and see in more detail. The tour began on Light Street in The Inner Harbor, went through Fells Point, and Little Italy then entered the water. Everyone gets a quacker to wear and blow calling attention to the tour as you meander through the downtown streets.

The second photo is us entering the water. The 3rd photo is Seven Foot Knoll Light. This historic lighthouse has a long and interesting history from the early 1800's. You can tour the lighthouse and learn all about the families that lived and worked there, the live saving mission, and how it was moved to it's current location. The lighthouse is now owned and operated by The Baltimore Maritime Museum located on Pier 5.

We passed a very historic graveyard (where Poe is buried), the first Washington Memorial and many other interesting areas. The Duck Tour in Baltimore has since closed down. I'm not sure why or when. However, one can still use the water taxi's to see the sights from the water, and there are still Duck tours in other cities (San Francisco, Newport, Branson, and Philadelphia) you might enjoy. So, while you can't enjoy this specific tour; I do highly recommend this as a good family, all age appropriate adventure. You can order your tickets on line, or call ahead.

Quack Quack

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Packing Tips for Travelers

ski photoSki trips present quite a packing challenge. This photo was taken 14 years ago, when the fam and I were all a bit younger, and a few pounds lighter. Geessssssss, it was even before gray hair. sigh

Packing a necessary evil of any and all trips. What to take, how much to take, how much does it weigh, will it wrinkle. First thing to consider is are you driving, or flying. If you're flying that bumps up the difficulty factor. If flying you have to think about weight, how to protect items, how to keep clothes presentable and still have all you need.

Our method of packing for ski trips was a clean turtleneck a day. After skiing, showering for dinner the clean turtle neck for dinner was the one you wore to ski in the next day. 2-3 sweaters was enough for the whole week and maybe 2 pair of jeans. Remember packing your ski equipment takes space so it gets the priority. And, you're wearing your ski clothes the bulk of the time, so you whatever else you're wearing are items used for a short period of time.

Pack ski socks and long johns, which are bulky items in your ski boots, and around your skies. It saves space in your suitcase, and protects your equipment.

**Always pack lots of lip balm, and cloth handkerchiefs/bandannas. Paper tissues don't hold up well outside and can't be used to protect your face or neck.

Folding your dirty clothes for the return trip will make packing easier too. Put them in a plastic bag, but folded gives you the same space you had when you packed the first time. If you have undergarments that are on their way out, you could through them out instead of packing them for the return trip; which frees up space for items you purchased on the trip. Personally I've not used the throw away method; but know several people who have and it worked well for them. People tend to buy new things for a trip and they did just the opposite. Took old stuff, wore it, pitched it instead of packing it to bring home.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sedona, Arizona

petroglyphshubby and ISedona Arizona lies about 2 hours north of Phoenix. It's known as "Red Rock Country". No wonder as you look around. There's much to see and do there. You can tour by car, rent a jeep (guided), walk, hike, bike and enjoy the history and archaeology in the area. The town itself is quaint, artsy and a bit pricey. Layer, layer, layer. It maybe warm in town; but even then there's a strong wind as you walk around. People will have shorts on; then pull out a heavy fleece 5 minutes later. Be prepared. Hubby and I are pretty bundled up and were still a bit cold. We took the famous Pink Jeep Tour, and in an open jeep it gets pretty cold. Petroglyph's have always fascinated me, so we opted for The Ancient Ruin Tour, though there are others to pick from. Each tour varies in cost and time. Believe we paid $70.00 a person for our pink jeep tour, which includes a knowledgeable tour guide. Though once you add a tip at the tours end, it's even more costly. Our tour was one of the shorter ones, between 2.5 land 3 hours.

beautiful red rock countrylooking up into the sun
Scenery is breathtaking. The area we toured was a 700 year old Sinaguan Cliff Dwelling. You hike a bit once the jeep get's you there so good supportive boots/shoes are necessary. If you're not the outdoor type, you might enjoy the shopping in town which includes lots of art galleries.

This is not an area to rush through, take your time and really experience it. Some of the hiking might be too difficult for families with small children so pick your activities carefully.
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Taliesin West, Arizona

Taliesin West HouseFrank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West is near Scottsdale, Arizona. I'm not a fan a "modern" exterior's. They aren't warm and inviting to me. I'm most definitely not a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright, the person...more on that later. But, I do recommend the tour here at Taliesin West. It is most enjoyable, educational and rather eye opening.

He is still revered globally by architects despite his personal life being a mess. He was born just 2 years after The Civil War in 1867 though he often lied about his birth year. He died at the ripe old age of 91 in Phoenix. His list of accomplishments with regard to living with nature, forward thinking with architecture is long and impressive. An apprentice program started back in 1932 continues today as The School of Architecture because of him and the foundation. The foundation serves to keep alive his legacy and to promote opportunities to the public for life long learning.

This house, Taliesin West is a National Historic Landmark. It like many of his homes was built with money from others.

I especially enjoyed the art on display from residences in the program.

Resident Art The familyresident art running
And chucked when I saw this bed, which might be a good item today with "friends" living together but not being a couple.
The public is unsympathetic today, and downright disgusted by recent news about Tiger Woods. However, Frank Lloyd Wright was married 3 times, had a mistress, lied, cheated not only his family and wives; but his best friends. He stole ideas from others, broke contracts, deserted his family, lived off of other people and-- was for the bulk of his life a "user". He didn't return favors, he didn't pay back loans not even when his best friend--- whom he owed a great deal ended up dying as a pauper. Frank was not an honorable man, but history has remembered him fondly.

You'll need to draw your own conclusions about Tiger; I certainly have with regard to Frank.

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