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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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September 10, 2010

A Wonderful Labor Day Weekend

Gosh, I haven't posted since August 29!  I guess I figured all I would have to say is I was looking forward to Chris coming over for Labor Day weekend!  But he got here, we had a real nice weekend (at least I did!) and now I have a little bit to report.

Chris drove over and I suggested that I meet him in Lewisburg, WV, to break up the drive but also to have lunch there and poke around in the town a little bit.  I visited there with my sister a few years back and we really enjoyed it and I figured Chris would too.  There are a number of real nice galleries with lots of beautiful art pieces and we all seem to enjoy that kind of browsing.

Lewisburg is an old, old town.  It was formally established in 1782 but a young surveyor by the name of Lewis (hmmmm) had established a camp there back in 1751 I think I read.   So there are a lot of old buildings, not necessarily that old, but old and it's really a lovely little town.  And, actually, the Presbyterian Church there is called The Old Stone Church and it is old - the inscription over the door states that the building was erected in 1706 so I guess that means it was there before the town and even before the surveyor set up camp.  I searched on line for a little more detail about the history of the town and/or the church but wasn't successful.  And, of course, I took a couple pictures of the church.  Totally didn't think to take any of the town itself until we were on the way out of it!  But here's the church with its very old cemetery.

Very plain, very simple, but pretty wonderful when you think about the fact that it's been there for 304 years!!  That's hard to believe...

So, that pretty much took care of Friday.  We had a large lunch while there and I can't remember that we did anything in particular for dinner

Saturday we hung out in the apartment for a while with me getting Chris to help me with various little camera, computer, and whatever issues.  We took a little tour of the downtown area to see what was new since his last visit (most everything really).  We visited the 842 Gallery which is a really nice gallery a group of local artists have established in one of the empty storefronts right downtown.  Their current (well, actually it came down yesterday) exhibit was really wonderful.  Two beautiful pieces of handmade furniture and lots of wall art, ceramic pieces and several items that really made me wish I wasn't quite so short of space for more "stuff".  I didn't think to take my camera with me but don't know if they would have wanted me to take pictures anyway.

We also visited the new Simply Whisk store which had opened the day before and it is delightful as I figured it would be since the woman who owns it owns the also delightful Mug and Pia shop.  I did take a couple of pictures there just because everything was so colorful although the pictures don't really do a good job of showing that.  She seems to have a little bit of everything and I love looking at kitchen stuff.  And the name is appropriate - she has all kinds of whisks, some of which I've sure never seen before!  

Lots of LeCreuset too which I kind of lust after.  Although even if I could afford one of the Dutch oven types, I don't know how I'd lift it once it was filled with a pot roast!

So, then we wandered on down the street and lo and behold, there was another new store that I hadn't even known about.  I remember seeing the name on the front - Room 2 Create - but I thought it was probably an interior decorator's shop.  We went in for a look around and it's wonderful - all kinds of beautiful, quirky, chic, etc., things for the finishing touches.  Turns out she is an interior decorator but decided to expand her business to include a retail shop.  The shop has been open since June of this year.  Can't believe I missed one! :)  I took a couple pictures of her shop also...

Well, this is pretty embarrassing - I took three pictures but no matter what I do this is the only one that uploads right side up.  I've edited the other two over and over, rotating them so they're right side up in the file and then when I upload them here, they're upside down again.  I took them with my I-phone - could it possibly be because I was holding the phone the wrong way?  I don't think so...  But, this was the nicest picture anyway and I may try and get another one tomorrow or Saturday.

Saturday evening we had a really nice dinner at Savannah's Restaurant which is within walking distance.  It's in an old house with all the various rooms set up as small dining rooms and the food is fairly upscale and good!  I suggested we just order a variety of appetizers because they all sounded pretty wonderful and seems like the older I get, the more I enjoy getting a little of this and a little of that when I'm eating out instead of one huge entree.  We had seared sea scallops, some shrimp, mushrooms stuffed with crabmeat and some cheese beignets (they used another name but that's what they were) served with a spinach and ricotta cheese ball.  Then, since we hadn't stuffed ourselves with a big entree, we felt entitled to have a delicious dessert.  Mine was this soft fudge-y "something" that they serve in a wine glass with whipped cream and a raspberry coulis.  Oh, my...

Sunday morning of course was still Starbucks even with a visitor.  And Chris bought the NYT so I got to work on their crossword puzzle for a couple of days.  Our outing for Sunday was to visit the Huntington Museum of Art which I always enjoy.  And I'm always kind of stunned at what a wonderful collection of art the museum has managed to acquire.  And, of course, they have special exhibits - not just all their own works - and we chose a good time to visit - all the exhibits were interesting and impressive (well, except for one that we agreed didn't do much for us).  They also have a pretty incredible conservatory - that was added to the museum since I've lived here - and it just gets better and better.  One man is pretty much in charge of it and has done a great job with it.  I have probably more pictures than necessary of mostly the conservatory but I think the museum is a real gem.

A view of the conservatory...and the rest will be in the conservatory.

A chocolate plant (I guess really it would be a cacao or something?)

This is a chenille plant, a totally appropriate name.

And I loved this one called a red wax ginger plant.  I didn't do it justice and it's not really very big - maybe four inches or so.

One of the many orchids.

And a miniature orchid - probably not even an inch long.

A pomegranate tree filled with fruit!

And such a pretty little white flower - very feminine somehow.

And a real stunner - a Dale Chihuly installation courtesy of a very generous museum donor.  I love this - when I'm standing in front of it, especially in the evening, I almost expect it to move - it's so alive somehow.

So, that's your tour of our museum.  If for any strange reason you're reading this and sometime find yourself anywhere near Huntington, it really is worth a visit.

Sunday evening we had dinner at Chili Willi's the local Mexican cantina that goes way beyond Taco Bell!  Our whole family has always loved it so, of course, it was on our list.

Monday all I can remember of our doings was going out to the mall.  I wanted to go to Best Buy and think about memory sticks and camera memory cards and I don't remember why I mentioned the Hobby Lobby that's out there but when I did, Chris had no idea what it was and decided we needed to go there too.  And once we got there, he decided that he would have to go up and down each row which was quite fun, actually.  Monday evening I fixed one of my spaghetti with a made-up sauce - the zucchini, the yellow squash, the olives and so on, and unfortunately I decided to try using tomato puree instead of tomato sauce and so it wasn't one of my better ones.  But it was all right and I made little bruschettas as a pre-dinner nibble with a little glass of red (getting into Italian mode...)

Tuesday was the drive back down to Lewisburg, pick up my car and me come back here and Chris go back home.  So, just a real pleasant weekend and so nice to have a visit from one of my kiddies!  That makes two this summer and it's not definite at all, but there's been a little talk about the possibility of January and Maggie coming here for Christmas!  Be still, my foolish heart.  (tee hee)

Well, if I can go on this long about 4 days in West Virginia, I imagine everyone is cringing at the thought of my upcoming three weeks in Italy.  But coming it is - I leave on September 22 and I will be posting so better rest your eyes now.


January said...

Sounds like a totally nice weekend was had by all! Meeting up in Lewisburg was a fun idea - did you caravan to Huntington then, or did he leave his car parked there somewhere?
Nice picture of the Chihuly!

Christopher said...

It was a fun, and tasty weekend... My tired feet have recovered from the acres and acres of Hobby Lobby aisle-browsing we covered ;)
Can't wait to see your first postings from Italy---color me jealous!

vrmichie said...

I loved the stone church pictures especially because I'm not really sure I remember seeing it, sort of remember, but not yeah, sure -- its simplicity is part of its appeal. And all your colors are looking good on my screen, the Chihuly is dazzling and it I do remember. Sounds like a fun weekend and excellent weather and now I think I'll go see if Chris posted pics. xoxo

Hi! said...

9/16/10 - Chris just e-mailed me that he had Googled the Old Stone Church and had more luck than I did. Here's what he found:

The Old Stone Church is the oldest church in continuous use west of the Allegheny Mountains. The original congregation was established in 1783 and this building was constructed in 1796 of native limestone and was approximately 44-feet square. In 1830 and extension was added, expanding the overall size to 75 x 44 feet. The original entrance to the church was located on the east side of the building, but with the 1830 addition the entrance was moved to the west side of the church. The church is a been in continuous since 1796 except for a brief period during the Civil War when is was used as a hospital for both Union and Confederate forces.

Today, the Old Stone Church is still in use serving the Presbyterian Congregation of Lewisburg.

214 years old!!

Anonymous said...

Bon Voyage, Mary Lynne!
Hope you have a W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L trip! I have no doubt that you will. Please take care and ENJOY!
-Cindy B

Hi! said...

Thanks, Cindy! It's Tuesday evening so I'm getting there - going to have dinner shortly with Chris and January at a cheese and wine bar which I'm looking forward to.


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