Phyllis Tarlow Fine Art - Hudson From Bear Mt
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Unexpected Inner Peace Found On The Soil of Peace

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A WINTER WEEKEND IN THE ADIRONDACKS (revisiting childhood vacation spots Lake George & Brant Lake)

For those of you that follow WonderfulWonders, you know that I very rarely go back to places I’ve already been.  Never really sure why, just never felt the strong desire to go back (with the exception of Plymouth, MA).  Well, this past weekend we set out to attend the Lake George 50th Anniversary Winter Carnival 2011 in Lake George NY.       Interesting that as a child I vacationed in nearby Brant Lake for much of of youth as we returned year-after-year staying with my aunt, uncle and cousins.  With Lake George being so close we ventured into the lake community each year to visit many of the area’s local attractions, shop and have dinner in some of the many restaurants. 

So while our initial intention was to attend the Winter Carnival, I must admit, I was looking forwarding to “going back” and revisiting the places I enjoyed so much as a child. Heck, I celebrated a milestone in Lake George – I turned 13 and my aunt bought me my 1st bottle of champagne to celebrate the occasion!  Along with my bat-n-ball that I received every year as my birthday always seemed to coincide with our vacation to Brant Lake and back in the mid/late 1960’s and early 1970’s a bat-n-ball was about as exciting as it got in that community.  Looking back now, I LOVED every minute of those times!

We arrived in time for dinner Friday night.  Jack‘s American Bistrowas highly recommend by Ron (our inn keeper) so we headed over to headed over to Jacks.  We started with the Fried Calamari with the most delicious homemade creamy orange ginger sauce! That sauce was more than wonderful!  I enjoyed the Chicken Cordon Bleu ham, with swiss cheese, Japanese bread crumbs, honey-mustard sauce, and mashed potato while my honey enjoyed the Braised Short Ribs pulled off the bone, roasted vegetables, potato “ravioli”, and red wine demi.  The food was great and the service was perfect! Thanks to Ron our inn keeper we had a delightful dinner on our first night in the Capitol Region.

After dinner we went back to our B&B,    The Manor Inn located on Glens Street, Glens Falls.  Ron & Denise the inn keepers of The Manor Inn are great and previous “neighbors” both originally being from Connecticut.  This 1921 Victorian inn has 4 bedrooms 2 w/private bath, each decorated with warmth and style.  We stayed in the Black & White room with its luxurious antique bedroom furniture featuring a magnificent Queen size bed.  We couldn’t have asked for more!

Saturday morning we headed over the Lake George to partake in the Winter Carnival festivities!  We were disappointed that there was a high wind warning in affect throughout the day preventing the Hot Air Balloon Tether Rides in the morning, the helicopter rides, the Saratoga Skydiving and especially the hot air balloon moon glow.  While those events/activities were cancelled, we were able to completely enjoy ourselves at the remaining events/activities.  With those brisk/whipping winds the Chowder Cook-Off was not only tasty but the warm chowder was much needed!  The day was filled with car races on the lake, ice diving demonstrations, snowmobiles & ATV having fun on the ice throughout the day, many children’s activities and more.  We stopped to admire the various sculptures on display and available for sale.  What caught our eye immediately was the simply beautiful eagle by Sculptures by Frank.  Frank has been creating his cchainsaw art here in the heart of the Adirondacks since 1990.  His mission is to “provide quality hand crafted art at an affordable price.”  Imagine our surprise when we discovered him specializing in Bears, Moose’s, Seagulls and Eagles!  Well, you all know how much my honey and I enjoy eagle hunting during the winter months here in the Hudson Valley along the Hudson River so, we simply couldn’t resist purchasing the most amazing eagle sculpture!

To complete our Saturday we ventured over to the local park for a dog sled ride!  Okay, maybe they weren’t huskies but the thrill was the same!


Sunday was spent trying to find my childhood vacation spot in Brant Lake.  Like I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I spent much of my childhood vacations at Brant Lake.  We stayed with my aunt, uncle & two cousins.  Every year, usually the last two weeks of July my aunt & uncle rented a cabin known as “The Martha Ray” at Mead’s Cabins.  Going back this past weekend was both exciting and a bit disappointing….while I absolutely found Mead’s Cottages, I can’t be certain that I found The Martha Ray which makes me sad.  I’m not sure if it is going back in the winter makes it look so very different, or if it’s time, 35+ years can make a difference.  I know that some sections have gone private since I was last there and perhaps that in itself has made the appearance different but it was sad none the less.  We used to walk straight downs the road past Martha Ray and right on to the beach, now, you can no longer do that from what I can tell, maybe I’m wrong, hopefully I’m wrong and I just missed it!  If by chance you too have vacationed at Mead’s Cottage at Brant Lake I would love to hear from you….please share your comments below!

To complete this day filled with reminiscing childhood memories, Sunday evening we had a nice dinner at Mario’s Italian Restaurantin Lake George.  What’s amazing is that one night when I was a child (maybe 7, 8 or 9) we had gone into Lake George to have dinner at this very same restaurant.  It was there that when my parents turned away from me for only a moment, I somehow wandered to the stairway and fell down what at the time, seemed to be a huge flight of stairs.  It was somewhat serious, the ambulance came, took me to the hospital and all I remember was having a bad headache!

And let’s not forget the all important art of shopping LOL! Yes, we all know that we are very good at visiting the local shops & boutiques on our many trips and this was no exception.  I love  the Indian Teepee Gift shop in Bolton Landing!          Be prepared because when you walk in the door you’ll be surprised at how much there is to see in this adorable half-century-old store.  Here you will find everything from edible goodies, crafts, toys, plush animals and novelties, plus cozy slippers and flannels to keep the adventurer warm on those Adirondack winter days. The snowy Christmas section will entertain kids even in summer. And there isn’t a better place to scoop up those all-important souvenir sweatshirts!  So I had to have a new fleece that proudly shows my love of the beautiful Adirondacks!  The Silo Country Store & Restaurant is another gem in the Adirondacks and not to be missed!    


As we made our way to Monday (President’s Day) we found ourselves waking to about 5″ – 6″ inches of fresh snow!  So what to do in this freshly fallen snow in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains – we decided on snow tubing!  Now, I’ve NEVER been snow tubing so we were in for an experience! 

We made our way to West MountainWe were so excited as neither of us had ever been tubing!  Our excitement took precedence over our frame of mind as neither of us read about the tubing trails – we didn’t know how many or how high they were.  After we purchased our lift tickets we soon discovered there are 6 tubing chutes, four lower 700’ long chutes with a 65′ drop and two upper 1000’ long chutes with a 100′ vertical drop – YIKES! Okay so this was about the time I thought hmmm, maybe I should reconsider.  But I didn’t reconsider; instead we started out on the lower chutes and after having “mastered” that, we eagerly ventured to the upper chutes!  We of course went down together, meaning we were each in our own tube but my honey was securely holding on to my tube.  Apparently going down together is very popular and a common practice (whew, lucky for me!).

Enjoy more pictures!

As always, I wish you days filled with wonder – take a minute to wonder what it is that made you smile today!

Please feel free to “share” this post with your family/friends!  And don’t forget to leave your comments below, we love hearing from you!


15th Annual America's Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration

Can it be…can it be that I have written since October? Yikes! Can it be that 2010 is gone-it went too fast! Can it be that we are ushering in a new year already-wait it’s happening all too fast!  So I need to play a little quick catch-up here…below you’ll hopefully get a better understanding of why and how much we love Plymouth, MA.  Remember we accidently found our way there back in the summer when thanks to hurricane Earl our vacation to St. Thomas was rudely interrupted.  Because we fell in love we Plymouth we were eager and excited to go back this past fall and take part in their annual Thanksgiving Celebration….hopefully after you read this and browse through some of our pictures you too will want to visit and perhaps attend their celebration this year!

In November we went back to Plymouth, MA for their 15th Annual America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration and loved it!  We already established that we LOVE Plymouth so I’m not sure if it was the Thanksgiving Celebration or simply the fact that we were back in Plymouth that made our weekend so special!

Rand McNally rates Plymouth’s Annual America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration #1 in “unique ways to celebrate America’s Thanksgiving.”   The weekend long celebration was kicked-off by a great concert held on Plymouth Memorial Hall on Friday night.  We were treated to great performances by the American Originals Fife & Drum Corps followed by a spectacular concert performed by the Air Force’s Tops In Blue; the Air Force’s premier entertainment show.

We were thrilled to be among the 175,000 people at the parade on November 20th.  The annual event is billed as the second largest Thanksgiving Day Parade in the country, according to event organizers.  A special treat this year was for the first time in recent memory, a C-5B from Westover performed a flyover at a parade.

The aircraft carried 200,000 pounds of cargo on a mission bound for a base in the Midwest. But first, it flew a “positioning leg” up the Plymouth, Mass., coastline to the delight of all us attending the parade.

While an Army National Guard unit shot large-caliber blanks next to Plymouth Rock and in sight of the Mayflower replica, Mayflower II, the C-5 banked and headed west out of sight.

From the concerts to various events & activities such as the Thanksgiving Parade, America’s Hometown Historic Village – New England Food Festival – Crafter’s Pavilion –  Wampanoag Educational Pavilion by Plymouth Plantation and more all taking place at the Waterfront Park it made for a spectacular weekend, one I’m grateful we had a chance to attend!  I would strongly encourage you to consider attending this year’s celebration – trust me, you’ll be  glad you did.  And remember, if you need a great place to stay, call Sandy at B&B.  Sandy’s warm hospitality will welcome you from the minute you meet her.  Her smile is inviting, her home is  comfortable and her sincerity is refreshing.  Sandy’s charm, and holiday decor will bring a smile to your face! Oh and bring your appetite because her breakfasts are totally over-the-top delicious!

As always, I wish you days filled with happiness and “wonder” – take the time to “wonder” what it is that made you smile today! 


Our Modern Day Pilgrimage

Hey everyone, well this Summer we stayed a lot closer to home, didn’t take as many of our famous “day-trips” because we were saving and planning on a trip to US Virgin IslandsSt. Thomas!  America’s Caribbean Paradise – words such as Exotic, Luxurious, Beautiful, Romantic are used to describe this tropical paradise – WhooHoo right, we were excited and couldn’t wait until August 30th to take off! 

It was 4:00am Monday Aug. 30th when the alarm went off as a signal of the start of what was supposed to be our dream vacation.  We leave the house at 5:05 headed to Newark Liberty International Airport for the 1st part of our journey a short flight to Charlotte, NC.  The thing we didn’t know was that at 5:26am we received both a voice mail message at home and an email informing us our connecting flight from NC to STT had been cancelled due to hurricane Earl

Upon landing in NC is when we learned our connecting flight to STT was cancelled.  The airline didn’t assume any responsibility for providing us with lodging for the night so we were on our own.  At that time the next day’s flight to STT was still on schedule according to the airline so they re-booked us for the following day’s flight to STT.  We found a hotel for the evening, had a quiet dinner and watch the weather channel all night keeping a close eye on Earl and its path.  It was early evening when my cell phone rang – it was the owner of the villa in St. Thomas advising us not to continue on – she said the airport was closed, power lines/tress were down, and rain was fore-casted for the entire week!

The next morning we headed over to the Charlotte airport and explained we needed to re-book our flights again, this time back to NY.  Long story short, the airline was not helpful or understanding but we finally made our way back to NY.  We picked up our car at about 4:00pm on Tuesday August 31st (by now we have lost 2 days of our vacation).  We looked at each other and said well our bags are packed and in the car. . .let’s go somewhere / anywhere to salvage the remainder of our week’s vacation.  We agreed we needed to head north as Earl was projected to hit the east coast and move up later in the week – we needed to stay ahead of Earl (if possible).

So we were off, not sure where to, but we were off and looking forward to finishing our week better that we started. 

As we crossed over the Massachusetts border on the MA Turnpike we pulled over for a slice of pizza (not the tropical dinner we were supposed to be enjoying) and started surfing the Internet looking for a place to stay.  We knew we wanted to be along the coast but wasn’t sure where to go and still being out of Earl’s lingering path.  We called a couple B&B’s that were booked when we were then referred to Above the Bay at The Thornton Adams B&B in Plymouth.     


Never having been to Plymouth, therefore not realizing its close proximity to the ocean / Cape Code, our initial thought was okay we’d stay the night, maybe two but then move on to either Hyannis or somewhere that we knew (meaning someplace that we’d heard more about other than historically) was close to ocean. 


Once we arrived at Above the Bay at The Thornton Adams B&B and meeting Sandy we knew we were not going anywhere else! This was exactly where we were intended to finish our vacation.  Sandy is absolutely wonderful; she is warm, friendly, inviting and most helpful.  The Thornton Adams house is perfect, a great location, clean, spacious, and Sandy’s breakfasts are top notch!


Of course Plymouth is rich with history but I’m not certain I would have enjoyed or appreciated as much if we actually planned a trip there.  I think there was something about Sandy providing us with tips on places to go, things to do, restaurants to enjoy dinner and of course the greatest shops to shop and the fact that like the pilgrims we set out on our journey not knowing where we would land and we landed in Plymouth – both elements made our entire visit more special. 

The ever famous Plymouth Rockwas not what I expected – it was smaller and incased in a portico – none the less, once there and learning more about it’s history I have a new appreciation for this very special time/place in history.  From the Leyden Street (the street stretching from Brewster Gardens to First Church is Leyden Street, named for Leyden in Holland, a refuge for Pilgrims during their persecutions. This is the original Plymouth Street) to Mayflower II (replica of the ship that carried The Pilgrims to the New World).     

Jenney Grist Mill (first mill built in the United States),  

 1640 Richard Sparrow House Pottery and Museum (Plymouth’s oldest house),           Burial Hill (A must stop along the historic Pilgrim’s Path. This site is one of the first forts of the Pilgrims and the burial place of William Bradford       and other first settlers. Set high atop the hill, the Pilgrims placed their cannons facing the harbor for protection), and of course the Plymouth Plantation –        Situated along the Eel River wetlands overlooking Cape Cod Bay, the 100-acre main campus is a stunning setting for the recreated historic Wampanoag Homesite, the 17th Century English Village, and the Crafts Center. Truly a great place to visit and learn – their gift shopshave very unique gifts many still made by original crafters and in the same manor of the Wampanoag Indians and first settlers (trust me, you know me, I’m a shop-a-holic so if I say it’s unique its unique LOL). We purchased one of the very special pottery items – a mug with three handles.  According to Sandy (our very special innkeeper) history or legend has it that the purpose for multiple handles was that when drinking with friends, the mug could be easily passed from one person to the next without have to worry about turning in a manor that the handle was easily available for the next person. 

These are just a few of the many places to visit and learn the fascinating history of this beautiful area.  Now you all know me and my honey do love our waterfront dining and Plymouth Harbor offer many wonderful restaurants to enjoy both a great view and great food.  We enjoyed dinner at the 14 Union Dockside Bar & Grill– service was good, location/view was great but for me, the food was a little pricy for what was offered.  I would have liked to have seen a bit more of a selection of seafood on the entrees.  As our first course, we shared the Lobster & Crab Rangoon – Lobster and crab rangoons golden fried and served with an orange ginger soy sauce which was absolutely delicious!  As my entrée  I had two appetizers: Coconut Shrimp which was golden fried and served with an orange ginger soy dipping sauce. and the 2nd was Crab Cakes which was a wonderfully light blend of lump crab meat with panko breadcrumbs. Served with a remoulade sauce. both were great!  My honey enjoyed the Seafood Bouillabaisse which was Shrimp, Mussels, Scallops and Fish steamed in a savory saffron flavored tomato broth with an herbed crostini. Yup, we do know how to dine well LOL!  We also enjoy great dinners at the East Bay Grill and Pebbles and others!                       

Then there is Cupcake Charlies– OMG – WOW are just a couple phrases that come to mind LOL, Let’s just say that their slogan is “Life is short, eat a cupcake” that should give you an idea how serious they are about cupcakes – every flavor, combination and topping you can imagine – yes, we indulged in the triple chocolate something or other–it was hmmmm hmmmm good!  If your taste buds are looking for something a bit less sweet you have to visit Blue Blinds Bakery!  You’ll be amazed with the wonderful murals on the walls and be delighted with great cup of locally roasted coffee and a white chocolate chip raspberry scone. They sell fresh-baked artisan breads, pastries, pies, cakes and more. Everything is made from scratch — okay okay, yes, here were treated ourselves to a wonderful cranberry biscotti and coffee!  Hey, cranberries are from this region so we had to support the local economy (he he he).

I could go on and on about this wonderful village.  Visit “more pictures of our visit in Plymouth.”  While we were able to see and do a lot, there is much more that we didn’t have time to do on this trip so Sandy, be on the look out because we can’t wait to come back!  If you too have visited Plymouth I’d love to hear from you what some of your special places were-leave me a comment below. 

As always, I wish you days filled with happiness and “wonder” – take the time to “wonder” what it is that made you smile today! 

The 98th Annual National Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossoms2-DC 2010

Some of you may know how much I love gardening, flowers, and the fragrance of some flowers and the bounty of colors provided by a beautiful garden.  So we decided to head down to Washington DC to the 98th National Cherry Blossom Festival®.  In a word, wow!  It was beautiful and truthfully some of the blossoms had already fallen, but what we saw was spectacular!

The National Cherry Blossom Festival® annually commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, honoring the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and celebrating the continued close relationship between our two cultures.

In 2012 the Festival will be celebrating the centennial anniversary of the gift of trees.  If you haven’t visited DC during this spectacular time I would highly suggest making the trip!

Of course there is a lot of history in Washington D.C.  Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States, founded on July 16, 1790.

There is so much to see while visiting Washington D.C. that you should plan on at least 3 days.  We were thrilled to see a few of the more well knows sites including:

The Capitol Building – The United States Capitol is no doubt the most architecturally impressive buildings I have ever seen.  Begun in 1793, the Capitol has been built, burnt, rebuilt, extended, and restored; today, it stands as a monument not only to its builders but also to the American people and their government.


The Lincoln Memorial is my personal favorite.  For me, standing at the top of this massive, all inspiring memorial looking out at the reflecting pool and the Washington Monument was breathtaking.  As an enduring symbol of freedom, the Lincoln Memorial attracts anyone who seeks inspiration and hope.

Abraham-LincolnAbraham Lincoln MemorialAbraham-Lincoln-Memorial-Wall-Inside

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial brought chills to me.  I lost my cousin in the Vietnam War so this was especially heart warming for me.  The silence was somewhat eary yet at the same time was our way of showing respect for our fallen military members. 



When you think of visiting a cemetery the word beautiful doesn’t normally come to mind I don’t believe, yet when visiting the Arlington National Cemetery, beautiful was one of the first words that came to our minds.  This is truly metery the most peaceful resting place I have ever visited. As we entered the Memorial Entrance, we were honored to show our respect and thank those that now rest in this cemetery, including:


President John Fitzgerald Kennedy 



Robert F. Kennedy Memorial 



Edward M. Kennedy

Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial 



Space Shuttle Columbia Memorial 



We have all seen the famous picture of The Flag Raising (the most reproduced photograph in the history of photography) at The Battle of Iwo Jima yet seeing this The Marine Corps War Memorial before me, I again stood in awe. 


While we did not get to actually visit The National Air Force Memorial, the spires were another beautiful site.  My father was in the Air Force so for me, seeing these 3 spires reaching upward into the sky had a special meaning.  James Ingo Freed, one of America’s finest architects, gave the nation a design that truly honors the men and women of the Air Force. Featuring three stainless steel spires that soar skyward, the tallest reaching a height of 270 feet, the Memorial’s design is truly representative of flight and the flying spirit of the Air Force. The three spires impart a sense of accomplishment in command of the sky, and evoke the image of the precision “bomb burst” maneuver performed by the United States Air Force Thunderbird Demonstration Team.


The three spires also represent the three core values of the Air Force – integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all that is done – and the Air Force’s total force – active, guard and reserve.

A poem about this soaring “monument to victory” was inspired by these 2006 dedication events. Click here to read and experience this moving tribute to our Nation’s Airmen.


Like I said, there is so much to see in DC.  It is well worth the trip!  As always, I wish you days filled with happiness and “wonder” – take the time to “wonder” what it is that made you smile today!

More photos click here

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An Early Spring Afternoon @ The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens!

The weather was absolutely spectacular this past weekend!  On Saturday afternoon we couldn’t wait to jump in the car and head out on one of our famous “day-trips”!  This time we headed south (shh, we ventured outside of the Hudson Valley, LOL) and went to the beautiful Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

On one hand, we were amazed and how crowded (because of the “recession”) and on the other hand we expected many people enjoying quiet time reading under a tree or walking through the gardens as we were. 

We were visiting at the beginning of the BBG’s Cherry Blossom Season which is April 3 – May 2. We are planning a trip to DC next weekend to visit during the National Cherry Blossom Festival so we choose to pass on walking through the early blooms of these cherry trees.  Instead, we headed to the left side of the gardens and leisurely strolled along.  First walking along the brick path passing Shakespeare Garden, which wasn’t yet in bloom but still beautiful and peaceful. 

Fragrance Garden

Then it was on to the wonderful Fragrance Garden.  The BBG proudly recognizes this as “the first garden in the country designed for the sight-impaired.”  The fragrances will capture your senses and take your mind wondering to a tranquil place that we can, for a movement, forget all the worries of our lives.  

Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden

Continuing along we wandered into the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden.  The garden was the first Japanese garden to be created in an American public garden. According to BBG, “it is considered to be the masterpiece of its creator, Japanese landscape designer Takeo Shiota (1881-1943). Simplicity and “harmonious asymmetry” are important principles in Japanese gardens, making them more beautiful than most to me. 

Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden

Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden

Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden

Then it was on to the spectacular Judith D. Zuk Magnolia Plaza

Judith D. Zuk Magnolia Plaza

When I say spectacular, I mean spectacular!  I was surprised to learn there are some 17 varieties of magnolia’s.  Magnolia Plaza is both breath taking and fragrant.  An elegant formal garden of magnificent trees spread in front of the beaux arts Administration Building. The sweet scent and showy blossoms of magnolias are among the early signs of spring at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. In March, the star magnolias (Magnolia stellata) bloom, covering the trees.

Judith D. Zuk Magnolia Plaza

Then on to Daffodil Hill which filled the hillside with bright yellows sure to put a smile on anyone’s face, including ours! 

Daffodils on Daffodil Hill

Just down the steps past the magnolia’s we approached Lily Pool Terrace.  

Jenkins Fountain at Lily Pool Terrace

 The centerpiece of Lily Pool Terrace is the Jenkins Fountain, directly in front of the Palm House. Two large pools are situated to its north and south, bordered on the west by the mixed perennial border, and on the east by the annual border.  Two large pools are planted with nearly 100 varieties of hardy and tropical water-lilies and sacred lotus—a stunning attraction in July, August, and September. 

A Day at Lily Pool Terrace

Then we stopped and enjoyed a great lunch at the Terrace Café.  The café offers delightful outdoor dinning with a “wonderful menu of gourmet lunches & beverages from spring to early fall.  How special lunch was when we sat with another couple that is also planning on visiting the DC area next weekend for the final weekend of the National Cherry Blossom Festival; maybe we’ll see them in DC!

 Now for all you shopaholics, no trip (be it a “day-trip” or week long vacation) is complete without some shopping, but of course!  The BBGarden now has two shops, both located on Lily Pool Terrace.

The Gift Shop carries some unique stationery, personal accessories, and items for your home. Many items are exclusive to the Garden, including signature products featuring the Garden’s distinctive logo. Several products that utilize the artwork of Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Florilegeum Society are also available.  If you can’t get to the garden, consider visiting the online Garden Gift shop

The Garden Shop carries everything for the garden, books, and gifts for children. New York Magazinewrites that “the (garden) shop has an amazing selection of plants … and features one of the most extensive selections of bulbs and seeds in the city.” The shop, located in Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s spectacular Steinhardt Conservatory complex, carries just about everything a gardener could want, from plants to tools to garden supplies, as well as an extensive collection of gardening books.

We had a great afternoon at the BBG and if you love flowers, gardening, strolling along pathways or simply enjoy nature and the outdoors, we encourage you to consider making a visit too. 

As always, I wish you days filled with happiness and “wonder” – take the time to “wonder” what it is that made you smile today!

Beautiful!Persian Fritillary-Lily Family

Alpine Squill-Hyacinth Family


As February draws to its end, I look back and can’t believe the month is over already.  I know it is the shortest month but golly, seems like it flew by and at the end of the month the Hudson Valley saw one of its biggest snow storms in years!

My Valentines 2010 Roses

I was treated to long stem roses and a wonderful brunch at Overlook Lodge at Bear Mountain for Valentine’s Day! 


The food was delicious as we enjoyed a grand view overlooking the Hudson River and its winter background. 

Our view while having brunch

Sunday Brunch @ Overlook Lodge at Bear Mt

My Healthy Brunch-egg white omlete-fruits and veggies

After a wonderful Valentine’s Brunch at Overlook Lodge at Bear Mountain, we headed south for a long weekend in the sunshine state; FL. 

Moss Tree

Our trip covered over 500 miles in just 4 short days. 

It was an action packed fun filled weekend of visiting family and friends from coast to coast.  First stop, was an overnight stay on the east coast in Ft. Lauderdale.  Then early the next morning we headed to Delray Beach to have brunch with family.  Next, we set out on a 4 hour drive across the state to Bradenton on the west coast. While traveling across the famous “Alligator Alley” (I-75) we saw several alligator along the banks. 

Alligator along Alligator Alley in FL

Arriving in Bradenton late afternoon/early evening, we enjoyed dinner and an overnight stay with more family! 

Bradenton FL

Early next morning we were in the car as we set out for a 3 hour drive further north & west to our next destination of Dunnellon, FL

Dunnellon FL

Arriving in Dunnellon late morning we now enjoyed a wonderful lunch with even more family (yes, I have family and/or friends practically in every corner of the state LOL).  

After a restful night at my aunts in Dunnellon, we headed out towards Cedar Key for a day of fun in the sun! Cedar Key is a quiet island filled with nature’s beauty!  A place that allows you to stop, relax and enjoy the unique qualities of the coastal environment.  One of my “Top Picks” and a place we can’t wait to go back and vist and maybe spend a week or weekend!  The streets are lined with my favorite type of unique shops and great waterfront dining!  We had lunch at Kona Joe’s Island Cafe overlooking the gulf!

Kona Joe's Island Cafe Cedar Key FL

Strolling along the streets of Cedar Key FL

All in all, we had a great month and great trip to FL – even if it was one of their coldest winters in 40 years some of the locals told us. 

Pelicans & birds in Cedar Key FL

As always, I wish you days filled with happiness and “wonder” – take the time to “wonder” what it is that made you smile today!

A visit to Olana

As much as I love our famous “day-trips” they are not as frequent during the winter months  as I find it more difficult to deal with the colder temps.  My poor hands and feet get chilled so fast the older I get LOL!

Today was a blustery cold and windy day here in the lower Hudson Valley as we ventured out headed toward the Mid-Hudson Valley Region.  Traveling west on Bear Mt. Road was the most amazing views including massive ice draped along the mountain as if it were a blanket keeping the earth covered over until springs’ thaw.

Ice Draped Mountain along Bear Mt.

Ice Draped Mountain along Bear Mt.

Continuing on our venture we headed toward Hudson, NY to “Olana“, the Persian style home of the famous Hudson River School artist Frederick Church.  This beautiful home sits high on a hill surrounded by the beauty and “wonder” of the Hudson Valley.  “Olana” is a derivative from Arabic, meaning “Our place on high” is located in some 260 acres of valley, woodland and meadows. 

Frederic Church's Olana

Frederic Church's Olana

Artist Frederic Edwin Church was hugely popular during the mid nineteenth century.  He was very well know for his canvases of American and foreign landscapes. Mr. Church and his wife traveled all over the world, all the time collecting furniture, mementos and architectural ideas. When the Churches decided to build a house overlooking the Hudson River they initially hired society architect Richard Morris Hunt, who designed them a French chateau. Mr. Church nixed these plans with his own ideas to create the exotic Persian-style structure. Inside and out Olana, was designed to capture the breathtaking views surrounded by windows that were tinted and/or framed to showcase the beauty of the views. 

 frederic-churchs-olana-state-historic-site olana formal-entrance-of-olana olana3 olana4 olana5 olana6 ombra-balcony-at-olana 

The most beautiful Arabic symbol meaning “Thou Art Welcome” adores the vestibule and welcomes guests.

Thou Art Welcome

Thou Art Welcome

So whether you like the Morris style or the Persian flare, there is no disputing the magnificent architectural design of Olana.  While we were not permitted to take pictures inside Olana, trust me that the inside reflected the same majesty yet with a more welcoming and home feeling welcomed you in each room. 


As always, I wish you days filled with happiness and “wonder” – take the time to “wonder” what it is that made you smile today! 🙂

Winter’s Passionate Sky

Winter’s Passionate Sky

Weekend in Newport, RI

welcome-to-ri-small We spent the weekend in Newport, RI and loved it!  Mapquest said 3 1/2 hours – thanks to Friday evening traffic on I-95 coupled with rain showers we didn’t arrive until closer to ten o’clock but we were then ready to enjoy our time away.

First on our list was a helicopter ride over RI by Bird’s Eye View. aerial-of-newport-small
Then the famous 10 mile drive along Ocean Drive – exploring the rocky shores, crashing waves and beautiful views. waves-along-10-mile-drive-small
Dining at Pier 49 was spectacular, a great band, wonderful sunset and delious food! We loved it.

The mansions are amazing…Newport was the home to many of the rich and famous–the mansions or “cottages” as they were known are breath taking from both the air and ground.

The only downside to this trip is that it was too short, I would highly recommend a visit to Newport.

Missing the peacfulness of Knickerbocker Lake

Knickerbocker Lake-Boothbay Harbor Region in Maine