Moldova Day 1: Let the adventure begin!

July 16th, 2013 by admin


After a very long trip we arrived in Chisinau. Entry was much easier than I had imagined it would be, really little different than arriving at Shreveport Regional Airport. Andreas met us and took us to our home for the next few weeks, the Hotel Villa Natali. On arrival we were welcomed as if we were old friends back for a visit.

Andreas and Meg frequent a great little pizza joint, Caruso’s, so we were treated to a delicious grilled veggie pizza for dinner.


Then we were off to MallDova, yes a shopping mall incorporating the national name, for some groceries. There is an impressive array of foods in this store. The only thing more copious is the drink. I’ve never seen a 2.5 L bottle of beer before!



Let’s talk airlines for a moment. We flew American Airlines from Shreveport to Dulles International in Washington, D.C., with a connection in Dallas. It was the usual cattle car flight, save the one leg where I paid extra for a couple of inches more leg room. No amenities, at least not without a charge. Now, Dulles to Vienna and on to Chisinau was such a different story! We chose to fly Austrian Air. All the seats in coach were roomier than our more expensive AA seats. Each seat had a personal entertainment center, much like an iPad with movies, TV, games, flight information, and a USB charger port for our electronics. Food and beverage services were frequent, good, and free. I could learn to like a drink trolley serving free wine. Flight attendants were superb, no spill-over attitudes at all. My message, consider a foreign national airline if you can. Enough griping/praising.

Far too tired to stay awake, last sleep was a day ago. Good Night!

Posted in Chisinau, Food, Moldova | Comments (0)

Learning to Fly Fish (Little Missouri River – Arkansas)

April 7th, 2013 by admin

What a great way to end spring break! Daron Lusk and I ventured to southern Arkansas in search of trout and were duly rewarded.
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Posted in Fishing, Little Missouri River | Comments (0)

NASP 2013

April 7th, 2013 by admin

Early February means NASP Convention. This year we met in Seattle Washington. It was a busy, productive week.

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Amongst other things, Seattle is known for coffee. In addition to being ground zero for coffee giant Starbucks, there are dozens of smaller competitors. I fueled myself at as many different brands and roasts as possible. Many were good, but to me Seattle Coffee Works was the best.

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Along with over 4000 school psychologists, Seattle had another visitor the week we were there. For most of the week we enjoyed many long periods of sunshine. I overheard locals in a gallery on Bainbridge Island excitedly discussing having seen their shadows.

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Posted in Seattle, U.S. Cities | Comments (0)

Anniversary Tour 2012 (Charleston, SC)

April 7th, 2013 by admin

Betsy and I celebrate our wedding anniversary on the road each year. The 2012 Tour, number 35, was a road trip including Mobile, Alabama; Savannah, Georgia; and Charleston, South Carolina. We had a great time and would love to visit these cities again, especially Charleston.

Charleston was all about history, architecture, and food on this visit. Home base on this trip was the Fulton Lane Inn on King Street right downtown. If you want to stay in the heart of Charleston this might be your ideal hotel. We are big walkers and loved the location. There was no place on the peninsula that we could not walk to easily. This hotel is within a few blocks of many of the finest restaurants in Charleston (82 Queen, Husk, FIG, SNOB…). Our room (336) was large, comfortable, and quiet. The included breakfast was simple, but good, and delivered on time to our room. The staff was friendly and very competent. Parking was convenient and affordable for a city center location. When we return to Charleston we will definitely stay at Fulton Lane Inn.

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Founded in 1670 by a grant from English monarch Charles II, and named Charles Town in the king’s honor this town has a rich history. The history is reflected in its architecture which changes throughout its many neighborhoods.

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Charleston is also a splendid city for eating, especially seafood and recipes influenced by the low country and Gullah communities. We took in a special meal each day, trying 82 Queen, S.N.O.B, Husk, and Low Country Bistro. In between meals we often stopped at City Lights Coffee for refreshment. The owner is a professional photographer with an amazing portfolio.

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82 Queen

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She Crab Soup @ 82 Queen

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Shrimp & Grits @ S.N.O.B.

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Crostini @ Husk

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Rabbit @ Husk

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Pork & Poached Pear Salad @ Low Country Bistro

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Who knew there was a real, working tea plantation in the United States? We did not! Located about 30 minutes outside of Charleston the Charleston Tea Plantation provides a nice half day side trip. There is a short factory tour that explains how tea is grown, cut, and processed. You may sample several teach in the showroom, and purchase your favorites on-site.

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Also unknown to us was that the area was home to the Firefly Distillery, where among other treats they produce a tea flavored vodka in collaboration with the Charleston Tea Plantation.
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We stopped in for a visit and tasting and ended up buying a few bottles. Stop by and we will share a bit with you.

Posted in Charleston | Comments (0)

Anniversary Tour 2012 (Savanna, GA)

April 7th, 2013 by admin

Betsy and I celebrate our wedding anniversary on the road each year. The 2012 Tour, number 35, was a road trip including Mobile, Alabama; Savannah, Georgia; and Charleston, South Carolina. We had a great time and would love to visit these cities again, especially Charleston.

Savannah is a beautiful, history filled city that is perfect for walkers. We stayed at the historic Kehoe House B&B. This is a lovely home offering a great location and service.

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Our anniversary dinner was at Local 11ten and was excellent.

A more casual, but equally enjoyable meal can be found at The Green Truck. Because we had walked about 13 miles that day, including walking from our B&B downtown to the restaurant, we were able to enjoy an awesome burger and still stay within our diet. We highly recommend this friendly, neighborhood eatery.

The little squares all over the city provide a wonderful walking experience and we did a lot of walking. Most of the city is tourism oriented. There were some great galleries, but there were more tourist shops.

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After the obligatory tourist stroll we headed out to Wormsloe Plantation State Historic Site. This is not only an important part of early American history, it is an iconic southern vision. Almost a mile of huge, arching oaks lead from the gate to the interpretive center. The interpretive center provides a good orientation and the walking trail is peaceful and gorgeous.

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Another nearby attraction is the Tybee Island Lighthouse. From the top of the lighthouse you can enjoy sweeping views of the island and ocean. It is a heck of a climb, but well worth it.

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We asked the lighthouse docent for a restaurant recommendation and she said she often ate at Sundae Cafe. It isn’t much to look at, located in a strip mall next to a gas station, but do not let this deter you. The food was fabulous!


On our last morning in Savannah we made an early trip to Bonaventure Cemetery, resting place of Noble Jones the founder of Wormsloe. “Another reason behind Bonaventure’s popularity is John Berendt’s book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which featured a cover photo of the now-famous “Bird Girl” statue, formerly located in Bonaventure. The statue has since been moved to the Telfair Museum of Art, founded through the bequest of Mary Telfair, also buried at Bonaventure. ” (Bonaventure Historical Society)

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Posted in Charleston, Food, Savannah, Tybee Island, U.S. Cities | Comments (0)

Central Texas Wildflowers

April 21st, 2012 by admin

We made our spring visit to Johnson City during the first week of April to visit Mitch and the JC house. What a beautiful area. We had not seen it so green or been able to enjoy the wildflowers on previous visits due to the drought. We set up house keeping at our home-away-from-home in hill country, Songbird Meadows. It was great to see Patrick and Patti again. They are such great hosts and the setting and cabins are so relaxing.

Day one was a tortuous day of tree trimming, garden tilling, and waste disposal. Mitch is doing an awesome job on a landscape makeover. The next day we drove the Willow City Loop, just northwest of Johnson City. This narrow ribbon of road through private ranch land sparkles with brilliant colors from a mix of Blue Bonnet, Indian Paint Brush, Poppy, Indian’s Blanket, and more.



Lunch was in Fredericksburg, at the Auslander restaurant. It was not bad, but it was not special either. We found two great fabric and fiber shops in Fredericksburg. Sandy Jenkins Designs offers a broad array of quilting and needlepoint materials. Pocket Full of Poseys has a great variety of quilting materials. We ended the day with a fabulous meal in Driftwood at Salt Lick BBQ. Generous portions of meats (brisket, ribs, and sausage) are slow cooked over an open pit and accompanied by country sides (potato salad, beans, slaw).


Posted in Close-up Photography, Flowers, Johnson City, Texas, Travel | Comments (0)

Mt. Magazine State Park, Arkansas

December 20th, 2011 by admin

We wanted to get away for a few days; so we looked for some place off the beaten track, scenic, and quiet. Well, without a doubt we were successful. Mt. Magazine State Park in Northern Arkansas is all of these things and more. Perched atop the highest point in Arkansas on a limestone bluff overlooking the Petit Jean River Valley sits the park Lodge and 13 homey cabins.

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Last night the wind howled across the face of the bluff. We huddled inside with a fire trying not to recall every scary story we had ever read or told.

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The next morning, we woke to a sight we had seen many times from an aircraft, but never from our bedroom; the top of the clouds.

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Returning to the cabin after a day of exploring small communities and an unexpectedly diverse wine region we were treated to this dramatic sunset near Havana, Arkansas.

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Posted in Arkansas, State Parks, Travel | Comments (0)

Central Texas Wine

July 20th, 2011 by admin

The 30 short miles of Highway 290 between Johnson City and Fredericksburg, Texas are not only part of the beautiful Texas Hill Country they are home to 10 vineyards and wineries. Part of a larger network of Texas Hill Country Wineries this stretch of road is known as the Fredericksburg Wine Road 290. During our July trip to Johnson City, we were able visit two of the ten vineyards.

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William Chris Vineyards - Hye, Texas

The William Chris Vineyards tasting room is located in a renovated farm house shaded by old oak trees in Hye, Texas. They produce small quantities of unique wines using 100% Texas fruit. We enjoyed their hospitality and brought home a few bottles of their Semillion 2010, Mary Ruth 2010, and the Cibola a fortified white wine.

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Pedernales Cellars - Stonewall, TX

A bit further west we found Pedernales Cellars in Stonewall, Texas. From their hilltop tasting room you get a beautiful view of the surrounding vineyards and hills. Our host graciously explained each wine we tasted, all made from Texas fruit. We selected a few bottles of the Texas GSM 2010 (a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre), Texas Muscat Canelli 2010, and once again fell for a fortified wine the Texas Ruby.

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After a morning tasting the great wines in this area we needed some food. We chose the Rathskeller Restaurant in the basement of the old Keidel Memorial Hospital in downtown Fredericksburg. The service was great and our schnitzel was just right.

We are ready to return and visit more of the vineyards on this stretch of road. These wines are really good and will have a growing place in my wine rack.

Posted in Johnson City, Texas, Travel, Wine | Comments (0)

Songbird Meadows B & B – Johnson City, TX

May 1st, 2011 by admin

In the hills just outside Johnson City we discovered a wonderful retreat. Songbird Meadows Bed and Breakfast sits at the end of the road, literally, atop the hills southeast of Johnson City. Owners Patti and Patrick McLead have created a wonderful get away for visitors to Texas Hill Country west of Austin. Songbird Meadows offers three nicely appointed cottages surrounded by oak and cypress.

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Walking paths punctuated with places to sit and soak in nature complete the setting. As the name suggests, songbirds are the theme inside and out.

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After your morning walk, you’ll find a picnic basket delivered to your cottage and filled with wonderful treats. Breakfast included a savory hot treat and fresh muffins, fruit, and juice.

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We are certain that you too would find the hosts,lodging, food, and setting as wonderful as we did. We wish Patrick and Patti a full house everyday.

Posted in Johnson City, Texas, Travel | Comments (0)

Wimberley III

March 20th, 2011 by admin

Slippery Rock on the Blanco

Well, we were back in Wimberley Texas for a few days. This time we stayed at Slippery Rock on the Blanco, another property managed by Hill Country Premier Lodging. This little cabin is compact, cute, comfortable, and well located. We were right on the Blanco River in a beautiful location. The owner was very hospitable. He greeted us on arrival, shared local history, and made certain that our needs were met.

Blanco River, Wimberley TX

Posted in Texas, U.S. Cities | Comments (0)

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