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Monday, November 14, 2011

Away to Walla Walla, WA we went!

 November is a great month for "just one more" little Road Trip with Les Girls.
WALLA WALLA, WA is only an hour's drive, but is best viewed after a nice, home-cooked breakfast by our "driver" and Personal Chef, Becky. She has the talent to "whip up" (yeah, right ~~~say the others of us) coconut flour pancakes, notably perfect rounds, served up with bacon and bowl of berries. Plus, the requisite coffee, of course. Becky served some of her cold-brewed blend, which heated beautifully.  Where was our trip-let photographer, one wonders, during breakfast, hmmmmm? No pictures to share. Sorry.


We had a fun opp to stop and tour the home of a resident of this pioneer settlement town-----at Maura's most "Dapper Dan" (my moniker!) friend Russ who graciously gave us the Cook's Tour of his remodeled 1935-built house and garden. Purple, BTW, is obviously HIS colour!
Wearing purple, a floppy hat and sporting a tree-limb stick for walking and pointing (see it on right side of photo?), he explained that much of what a visitor sees is either his artistic endeavors or by one of his equally talented offspring. .

Wherever you look, there's something "arty" and very COOL. 

Startling, perhaps, as one trips down the hallway at night, but Amazing wall painting :)

EATERIES abound in Walla Walla, especially along Main Street (what every town used to sport and what makes this college town so charming).  We chose The Green Spoon where the menu is eclectic and with "healthy" options for those who've gone alternative directions, such as Becky has with her gluten-free. 
I loved the greens and raspberry vinagrette of their salad side accompanying my chipolte chicken sandwich on ciabatta bread, and enjoyed sipping a glass of Vente La Ossa tempranillo wine.
AH, DELIGHTED TO SEE that Becky just sent a snapshot of Dapper Dan, who joined us for lunch. Gosh, what if he doesn't like my nickname? After all, I *just* met the man. :-/


Tour Guide: Robert--master wood craftsman who built Becky's wonderful fireplace mantle, and who remodeled Russ's house. The hotel now has him in its employ for his many talents, all of which an 1928-built hotel frequently needs.
Lobby recalls the grandeur of an earlier time.
Remodeled guest rooms in "The Tower" still reflect the era
(with replicated tile flooring in a bathroom, for example)--
as viewed by Becky and Maura.                                     
With fall came the time shift that plunges us back into darkness earlier in the day than in the summer, so we bid Walla Walla adieu from the Whitman and returned home, all expressing willingness to return to WALLA WALLA happily again ~~whenever.


Friday, October 21, 2011

A Visit to the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles: a Must-See!

Located in downtown LA in what is now known as Hancock Park is the site of one of the world's richest deposits of Ice Age fossils.  Since the early 1900s, more than 3  million fossil plants and animals have been excavated --and are still being brought up from the sticky "goo" we call tar (actually asphalt).

While you might have seen the Pond (as it's now labeled) as I did back in the 60s when the fencing was a whole lot lower, this park and the FABulous museum built since then, is definitely someplace you should plan on visiting again or for the first time.

Peer through: can you see the replica of the mammoth trapped in the pond? One of the things I learned while watching the films that run continuously in the museum is that the animals didn't sink into the pits, but rather got stuck and then died either from starvation, dehydration, or attack by predators. 

 What is so fascinating about this place is that excavation still continues (primarily in the summer--imagine working down in a pit like this one 13 feet below ground surface) where they sift or bones and even particles for identification, storage & assembly or restoration.

Labeled as "world-famous" is the Fish Bowl laboratory where you can stand and watch scientists and volunteer clean, examine, and catalog fossils.  That large white thing lying horizontally on top of that table was identified on the white board behind it as the "left tusk of a North American mammoth being restored.

Speaking of mammoths, the museum reproductions are lifesize and.....get this!....move & make sounds, much to the surprise of my grandson who ran over and leaned towards the exhibit, not knowing. Whoa! Did he ever jump back!  Not a LOT of movement on the part of the fake figure but just enough to keep the 5-year-old a few steps back for a bit [wink].

Similarly, the sabertooth cat (learned that they are not called "tigers" here) attacking the ground sloth was wired for sound and movement.

One exhibit, in particular, "blew my mind."  This wall display of 410 of among the millions of skulls of Dire Wolfs discovered already at Rancho La Brea (Spanish for "the tar"). These fellows were among the most prevalent predators of other animals already trapped in the tar.
Need a poster for "Show & Tell?"  My grandson made this one for his first-grade class. :)
Well you get the idea: I was impressed and enjoyed the Page Museum and surrounding park. Hope my miniature guided tour has enticed you to visit also someday. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Gals on the Road Again: to Pendleton, OR

Welcome to Pendleton, Oregon. Please forgive the fuzzy quality of the photos. SOMEone :-/ forgot to bring her proper camera and had to settle for her humble cell phone.

There are some really tasty eateries in this town. Many invite you in with clever sidewalk advertising, such as this Betty Boop'er. I hasten to mention, however, that *we* drove into town and went directly to the GREAT PACIFIC for our lunch! Neglected to snap a picture of it, but here's a link to its website: Think: old wood floor, vintage wood tables & chairs, and serving snappy sandwiches and salads and soup, with an upscale wine shoppe also.

A visit to this town famous on the rodeo circuit for its roundup always involves a visit to Hamley's western wear and gear store. If ever someplace could make me entertain notions of becoming a cowgirl, this place could do it. :-)

For this day's road trip, the four travelers were: Carla (on right side of photo) who lives in nearby community of Umatilla, Oregon and was our tour guide. Becky (in the middle of the photo) Maura (on the left), and Yours Truly--the three representing the Tri-Cities, WA contingent.

One unusual store is the Correction Connection. There one can buy clothing made by inmates of the Eastern Oregon Corrections Institution, part of a mandated program to create job skills for inmates incarcerated in the State of Oregon. Their brand: Prison Blues.

This trip turned out to be the time I purchased an item, as I had been tempted to do on other visits to Pendleton. Note the caption their slogan: Made on the Inside to be worn on the Outside!

Another noteworthy shopping stop is the Sunshine Gourmet Shoppe. There this grandmother simply *had* to get two cupcake containers, "super-handy" for two little boys to transport a cupcake on a picnic, home from a party, or even in a school lunch . . . if they even "take" their lunches to school nowadays. ;-)

AH! but I was not the only one to enjoy shopping Pendleton! We do go there for a specific purpose: antiques! Maura found--at something that apparently is now called a "living estate sale" . . . . a charming waist-high vintage cupboard (aka: a real fixer-upper). She also spotted and purchased an original scenic painting, which she quickly dubbed (and we all concurred must be an apt descriptor) as "California" art-deco.

Yes, Dear Readers, I *will* email Ms.Maura and ask her to snap a couple of photos to append here.

As ever, thank you for joining us.


Maura sent her photos!  Here's the painting she bought at an antique store. Nice, huh?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Last NY TRIP entry, but continuing memories

Images in my mind's eye--special places we visited in the Mid-Hudson River Valley, NY

The "Ambrosia" diner--a Real diner!

"Revolutinary Soldiers buried in here" declares the marker in this cemetary in a village along the Old Post Road, paralleling the river, up from New York City, headed northward. I realized I was in the presence of....U.S. history!!

Boat trip along the Hudson River. View of Rhinecliff Hotel along the waterfront, town of Rhinebeck.
We ate dinner in this old resort, now an upscale Zagat-rated hotel and dining room.

Spectacular view from the site of the Catskill Mountain House, hotel built in 1824 and host to some of the most distinquished visitors of the 19th century.

Also memorable, the view from my bed (!) of my cousin's crab apple tree, which burst into blossom while I was visiting.

There she is--my touring guide and personal chauffeur, my geneaologist, my newly discovered cousin.

Thanks for a great trip....back in time :)


Cousin "Judy" (as family has always addressed me)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Trip Interruption: See Scrapbookers in Action!!

"Crop til you Drop" weekend retreat. Believe me, these gals do exactly that!! Take a look.......
View one: typical table with supplies of three gals.

View two: close up of typical, actual working space.

View three? Of course, the hosting consultant sets up a table with more product to buy!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Family Talk: Walking where my antecedents walked

Here are the women who prompted this trip and to trace my Doyle family footsteps. My mother, born Jean Logan to Wilhemina Christina Doyle (quite the fancy name, n'est-ce pas?) whose sister Inez Doyle is shown here with Grace Sullivan Doyle (who married the one brother William).

Where did I go on this trip? To towns (in which there are villages) along the west side of the Hudson River, sited on what used to be referred to as the Leurenkill Road ("kill" old Dutch for creek).

First stop: Ellenville village in the town of Wawarsing, where my grandmother "Billie" (she of the full name Wilhemina) was born and from where her father--at age 19 came West to eastern Montana to serve as the first administrator of the Ft. Peck Assinaboin Indian Reservation in 1887.

Objective: to find his parent's graves. They came from Ireland, came to NY through Canada, settled in Ellenville and and died in there.
Found 'em! "Mother and Father" Christine Ulrich, wife of Daniel L. Myers born May 28, 1821. Died Feb.26, 1876" Time conspiring with weather is wearing away the inscriptions. Hence, the scribe, Great-Great-Great Granddaughter Judith. An awesome moment, truly.

Then the other marker of William Doyle who died at age 44 in 1868. His marker almost unreadable now, and pushed over by tree roots, and located other side of cemetary side-by-side of his first wife, Mary Dailey Doyle who remarried and didn't die until 1901.

Here endeth this abbreviated (truly, trust me!) digest of all the special ancestry moments provided me by my cousin (*her* great-great grandfather was brother to mine, but hers stayed in the Catskill Mt. area)


Saturday, May 14, 2011

New York Trip retrospect

Refresher: who = "Judy" (as my family has always called me) visits Cousin Barbara, 3rd cousin on my mother's paternal side. We're both descendents of Irish, surname Doyle. My grandmother --one Whilhemina Christina Doyle--was born in Ellenville, very near where Barbara lives even today.

Where = Mid-Hudson River Valley in the Catskill Mts.

Let me hasten to mention that this spectacular view was taken from behind the Staatsburgh Beaux Arts mansion built in 1895 (now a state historic site).

Where Barbara lives: west of the river, up in the mountains
on acreage. Address: Cairo, New York.

This view? From my guestroom bed, second story of her house, hence the "looking down" feel of the photo. Gorgeous magnolia, of course.

What we saw during our seven days of my Grand Tour was so much natural beauty, and plenty of architectural heritage representing the growth of .... America! From still-standing, occupired farmhouses of Dutch settlers to spectacular residences of the rich and famous.

The front portico of the 79-room mansion shown above on the river... contrasted to the stone house, built 1663--the oldest home in the Hudson Valley.

Of course, as this trip was all about my ancestors, we browsed cemetaries. Luckily, Barbara had already done most of the legwork and knew where "the bodies were buried," yikes, literally. Here I'm trying to record what has been inscribed (but almost worn away) about my great-great grandparents Daniel Meyers and Christine Ulrich who settled in Ellenville, NY probably in the 1850s.

Here ends the "overview." Next up, some of my fave places.