Around the Town: the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Right on the corner beside the Community Labyrinth is the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum where a permanent exhibit displays with pride the early days of this small but vibrant community. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Carleton Place was incorporated as a village in 1870, and then a town in 1890. This building, completed in 1872, became the first town hall. It housed a jail, a council chamber, and a caretaker’s quarters on the first floor. A grand staircase led to a second floor where there was an auditorium used for public meetings. In 1879, it became Victoria Public School and served thousands of students until its closure in 1969. In 1985, it became the Victoria School Museum. In 2011 the name was changed to the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum.

The stone building is charming and the surrounding gardens which are beautifully kept used to be the school playground. There’s a bee house in the garden and to the right of the entrance is a book exchange pillar as befits a former school house. A bit of a store is in the reception area with many interesting items and reasonable prices.

The permanent exhibit off the hall to the right explores the beginnings of Carleton Place and Beckwith as a thriving community that grew up around a foundry, a lumber industry, became an important railway junction, and had churches, grocery stores, a hotel, a pharmacy, and a regiment. There is a lovely display of china tea cups, tea service, and dinnerware.

Across the hall are the temporary exhibits which at this writing consist of an exhibit all about bees and bee keeping and a wonderful exhibit featuring the theatre production company, The Mudds, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Sadly, these were summer exhibits and they are finished today. The museum will be closed from September 4th -15th after which it will open with fall/winter hours: Thursday to Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm or by appointment when the Boss Room (which housed these exhibits) will be used for workshops and events.

Their website hosts a variety of virtual exhibits and photo albums which include a history of Carleton Place, the story of Capt. A. Roy Brown, a reluctant hero, and then and now photos of homes of Carleton Place. It would be cool if they could archive the Spotlight on the Mudd exhibit and the Bee exhibit to their site. Check there also for their walking tours and special events. We will look forward to seeing what their summer exhibits hold for us next year.

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Walk the Path

Well, the world is opening up again despite Covid still being around in its various forms and Monkey Pox causing some anxiety for the back to school group and I’m starting to contemplate travel once more. In the meantime, living in my trailer near Carleton Place, Ontario for the camping season is a lovely change from tall buildings, elevators, and traffic, although we do see our share of the latter here, especially on long weekends.

I had to take the car in today to get my back-up sensors checked and as it didn’t take too long, I thought I’d try to find a labyrinth I’d come across last summer by accident. I got interested in labyrinths quite a few years back and took part in creating one in the community surrounding a school I taught at where we put sand in the bottom of a paper bag, added a tea light, and set them out lighting them after dark to form the labyrinth and walked it together. I thought when I retired I’d like to visit labyrinths in various famous places around the world. I went to Barcelona where they have one, but it was a long way from where I was staying and I found I ran out of time. I plan to go back one day and try again. Then I realized there were labyrinths right here in the Ottawa Valley that I could start with, so today I set out and found my first permanent one.

Located on George Street, just behind the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum at 267 Edmund St., The Carleton Place Community Labyrinth is in a beautiful setting, the grounds and adjacent contemplation garden maintained by the Carleton Place Horticultural Society. I arrived just as nearby church bells were tolling 10 o’clock followed by a lovely carillon of hymns, some of which I recognized. Turn up your sound to hear them.

This labyrinth is in the 7-circuit Classical Cretan style designed with grass and brick (you walk on the grass) and is about .5 km in length. I had it all to myself and enjoyed the music for about the first 10 minutes and while contemplating, could not resist taking a few pictures to share with you all. The paintings on boards that cover the windows at the back of the museum are lovely. I kept looking over my shoulder at the policeman who appears to be sitting on the fire escape but, of course, is not. (You’ll have to enlarge the 2nd photo in the gallery to see him.)

A stone bench just to the right inside the entrance has a Chartres labyrinth (an eleven circuit walk) embedded in it so you can sit and run your finger along the path to continue your meditation or start there before your walk. The stone path around the labyrinth has several other benches and is called the contemplation ring, a place to rest or it can be your walk.

On your way out, don’t forget to sign the guest book which is in a baggie in a mailbox with a pen and some brochures. Record your visit, where you’re from, and a nice comment about your experience or the gardens.

The accompanying gardens are lovely and a credit to the horticultural society. I could just imagine sitting and enjoying them on a quiet afternoon either before or after walking the path. It is a perfect setting for contemplation and complements the path beautifully. If you are in the Carleton Place area, you can walk it anytime but an event called “Creativity on the Labyrinth” with Brittany Lepage, The Dahlia Darling is planned for Saturday September 24th from 9 am to 11 am and on October 8th at 10 am “Sock Project” Labyrinth Walk is planned with Jessica Lynn Baird — wear a pair of crazy socks to walk the path and a portion of donations will support the Sock Project.

Next time I’ll tell you more about the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum. Till then, cheers!

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New Adventures

It’s been sixteen months since we saw the world shut travel down due to Covid-19 and it has been difficult, sad, confusing, and even devastating for many who have been ill or lost loved ones or simply been isolated for long periods of time from family and friends. For those of us who enjoy travelling or even just getting out regularly to eat in restaurants, it has been a bit of a trial and has required lifestyle adjustments. Sad but not all that serious.

I have been so grateful that I was able to take that last trip — part road trip, part flight — throughs the US east coast and on to the Dominican and back. Thinking of that and planning what might still come after the world opens up again have been part of what has kept me going, especially through the dark winter months.

Last summer, I started thinking about the possibility that my long distance travelling days might be over and wondered what kind of a vacation I might be able to replace those adventures with. Keeping in mind, too, that summer of 2021 was going to be the year that our condominium would be continuing reconstruction work on our balconies and that it would involve our particular balcony, I started looking around for a vacation spot near home that might serve a double purpose. I started looking at cottages but then there was property tax and so much possible “home-owner” duties and expenses. Then, I thought of a trailer, possibly to rent for a few weeks or even a month. Looked around online and found there was such a thing as a park trailer that didn’t get moved around and the park fees usually included all the expenses like property taxes, electricity, waste disposal, etc. and so I began looking for one not too far from home and with a nice view and a beach.

After a few of weeks, I came up with this as my best choice and put in an offer.

As Is

It was a good buy, I think. The spot is lovely, the view, pretty good, the neighbours are great, and I’m pretty handy so while there was lots I wanted to do, I accomplished quite a bit, mostly inside over the two months left of the summer. We got rid of the rusty bar-b-q and the tacky bird feeder and replaced curtains and headboard and covered the ugly wallpaper border with left over panelling from the headboard, bought some lawn furniture and enjoyed being able to step out onto the deck and into the beautiful outdoors. My budgie and I had some good times there through August and September fixing things up and entertaining visitors.

The problem came when we tried to close up for the winter and the slide with the living room/dining room wouldn’t come in. Turns out there was an 8’x2′ patch on the roof which wasn’t exactly sealed and I couldn’t find out how long it had been there or why the owner hadn’t taken advantage of the 12-year warranty that comes with the roof to have repairs completed free. Anyway, there was all kinds of hidden inside damage so the deck had to be removed and the RV towed away to be worked on over the winter.

Early May, it was returned to site, repairs completed, deck partially restored (I’m going to use a third of it for a little patio) and trailer and deck in better positions so that I can now reach and operate the manually-operated awning which cools the trailer quite a bit on really hot days. Working to tidy up the neglected garden and lawn (the trailer was offered for sale for 3 years during which the owners hardly ever came except to cut the lawn) and try to plan for a full length deck for next year when hopefully the cost of lumber will be back to a relatively normal price, have kept me quite busy and it is coming along.

Lakeside 2021

Lots of work being done in the garden. The Lily of the Valley was spreading all over the lawn so I’ve expanded the garden in one area and taken the flowers and weeds out of the lawn in another area and added a border to try to contain the garden a bit. (Border not quite completed on the road side.) You can see the lake in the background and I’ve built a pedestal for the birdbath.

Garden 2021

Today is a rainy day so Budge and I are listening to music while I blog. I’ve completed a few indoor tasks and will head out soon to shop around and pick up more bricks for the garden border. Rain for the next few days so the border may not be completed this week but certainly soon. Have to transplant some cherry tomato plants I’ve started in a mini greenhouse and get the little patio set up soon and then the bulk of the work will be done and I’ll be spending more time enjoying pleasant afternoons on the deck. Cheers from Mississippi Lake!

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Home, Sweet Home!

Weather photo

Got home mid-afternoon Saturday.  Check-out time wasn’t until 11 a.m. so I made sure I gave the city of Syracuse plenty of time to clear the streets.  I cleaned the several inches of snow off the car, had a nice shower and breakfast, punched in my home address on the GPS and started off.  (Thought I had taken a picture of my breakfast but apparently not:  juice, strawberry yogurt, scrambled eggs, bacon, and a cake donut for the road.)  Syracuse weather photo I did take.  The city streets were a bit messy still but the highway was clear if not dry so still didn’t use my cruise control.

One of the things I really enjoy on the road is listening to my iPod, something I only do on road trips; at home, I don’t change CDs very often in the house or car and am often listening to the radio instead.  But my iPod is a classic which has a huge capacity and I love the ease with which I can change albums or artists and sing along with my favourite music.  I listen to Judy Garland a lot and came home with several of her songs, particularly her jazz, from her album in the early 60s at Carnegie Hall playing away in my head.  Rather appropriate as the movie about the last months of her life was up for an Oscar for Renée Zellweger who won, by the way, and gave an interesting tribute to Judy — more, I think, than what the movie actually did.  Some of my other favourites are Abba, the Beatles, Tony Bennet, Liza, Boy Choir soundtrack, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Lawrence of Arabia, The Lion in Winter, and the soundtrack from Dirty Dancing. It makes the travel so much easier.

At the border, there was no NEXUS lane open (now apparently called Global Trusted Traveller — time to renew my card) but I went through quite quickly to find the 401 not only cleared by dry so was able to use my Cruise for the first time in 3 days.  Much easier on the leg and knee.

Picked up a few things once in Ottawa before going home because I was pretty certain I was not going to want to go out again once I got all my stuff inside my apartment.  Did some unpacking, tidying, and catching up on mail and by the time I was ready to sit down I decided it was also time to catch up on some recordings I had scheduled for while I was away.  One of the things I liked while away was that many places I stayed had ION TV and I was able to watch a number of early episodes of Blue Bloods which I had never seen from the beginning and really think is a great show and I could watch while I worked on my blog.  One of the things I didn’t appreciate while away was the wide variety of remote controls, some of which are really strange (like putting the “mute” button where “enter” is on all the other remotes) and many of the systems didn’t seem to have a TV guide channel.

I enjoyed watching the episodes of the new Rob Lowe show Lonestar 911 which began while I was away.  Very unusual to have the star of a show diagnosed with cancer in the very first episode/pilot. I also caught up on Hill Street Blues which I’ve been watching since they reprised it — I had never seen very many of the episodes so am really impressed with the issues they dealt with for the period it was produced and find the acting very good.

Sunday morning I had the breakfast left for me by my friend, Lynn, who was taking care of my apartment, mail, and plants while I was away.  She is very thoughtful and it is great to have a friend willing to take on these things while I go gallivanting off on my travels.  Don’t you love the valentine bag? It has a cranberry orange scone inside.  And the yogurt is in a little glass bottle!  I went to church and gave thanks for His care of me while I was away and was welcomed back by many friends.  Good to be home.

Not a snowbird!

After a bit more tidying, I went down a few floors and picked up my budgie, Budge, from the young man and his family who were caring for him while I was away.  He’s a pretty adaptable little guy and I think appreciated the fact that we had company in the evening because he does like to have a lot of attention.  Several friends came by for pizza and the Oscars.  It was a pyjama party with many awards: best “elegant” pjs, best predictions, best information, best venue, and best entertainment went to Budge who chattered to us all through it, bobbed up and down, and tried to do manicures on everyone’s hands.

That’s prettty much it for this little adventure during which I saw so many new places, met so many interesting people, enjoyed so many fascinating museums and churches and architecture, and got away from the cold and the snow for a good period of time.  I think I can say my little venture as a fledgling snowbird was a great success.  I may do a little retrospect in a few days but I think it’s going to be back into routine for me and Budge.  Many events coming up for Valentine’s Day including a luncheon at church on Sunday, a Chinese buffet here at our condo building on Friday evening and movie night on Sunday evening, and back to Woman2Woman Bible study on Wednesday morning.  (Also, time to get an oil change ⁄ Overdue!)

So it’s Cheers until next time, from Ottawa, Canada!

Fledgling Snowbird

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Off Again: Day 24 — Final Night on the Road

The day began with  torrential rain in Gettysburg where there were flood warnings and fears of tornados.  The rain was reminiscent of the drive I took through Colorado in September 2013.  Most of my morning drive I was wearing soaked sneakers and by mid-morning the rain was beginning to be snow — splats of wet snow on the windshield.  I took a break after about 2 hours of driving and put gas in the car, had a late breakfast, and made use of the “necessities”.

Breakfast at a Perkins was great plus I was able to slip off the soaked shoes for a bit.  I had a bit of leftovers for a snack tonight and I’m glad not to have to go out again until tomorrow when hopefully the roads will all be cleared.

Most drivers slowed down and used good sense when the snow began to accumulate but there were lots of transport trucks in the ditches, one with cars it was carrying, and I did spot a mustang skidding around with its tires spinning.  Once the roads were just wet, some drivers forgot the effects of their spray on other drivers as they started to make up for lost time.

In New York State, many places were closed and schools had a snow day.  People were told not to travel unless they had to and at least one portion of the I-81 was closed for a few hours.  I was in a wait situation on the I-81 for about 20-25 minutes at one point — transport truck wasn’t in the ditch but wasn’t moving so don’t know exactly what happened.

Looking forward to an easy start tomorrow.  I’ll enjoy the breakfast in my inn and take my time on the last leg home.  No photos today other than the breakfast.  So at last, Cheers from Syracuse, New York!

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Off Again: Day 23

Weather photo

Drizzle, fog, and spray from other vehicles would characterize the weather for this morning as I made my drive to Gettysburg, PA, but I was delighted that my route home was missing the I-81 through Maryland.  I didn’t enjoy that on the way down.  It has a higher speed limit which may appeal to some but it also has a higher instance of accidents.  Traffic northbound when I was heading south was backed up for at least 10 miles — mostly transport trucks which made me wonder if there had been a protest of some kind in DC — but it turned out there had been an accident.  I actually drove through W. Virginia for about 20 minutes today and although the weather was not great, this was one of the shortest drives I’ve had on the whole trip.

The day actually started with a pleasant surprise:  what had been described as a “continental breakfast”, from which I took there would only be cold food, turned out to have scrambled eggs and bacon the gentle smell of which teased me the minute I stepped into the hall to head down for breakfast.  It was wonderful, plus there were better than usual muffins that I can’t even describe.  It was very, very good.

Observation Tower

The rain had all but stopped when I reached the Gettysburg Battlefield and there was a map available at the Visitor’s Centre (which was actually just a building with washrooms) and an auto route to follow through the various areas.  There are many markers and monuments along the route paying tribute to the various cavalry and infantry  divisions from both sides of the war with plaques explaining how the battle proceeded.  There was an observation tower that in nicer weather might have been nice to climb to see the whole area of the more than 1,000 acres of batttlefield.

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One of the highlights for me was the Eternal Light Peace Memorial built on the hill where the Confederates under Major Gen. Rodes attacked the Union soldiers on the first day of the battle.  It was built 75 years later and dedicated by more than 1,800 Civil War veterans.  I also liked the statue of General Lee on his horse Traveller.  They are actually buried in Lexington, Virginia but the statue is very nice and includes statues at its base of the different positions of the men serving under him.  I also enjoyed some of the buildings that are special to the area including the field hospital and the chapel and other buildings on Seminary Ridge.  I didn’t actually get to the Soldiers’ National Cemetery where Lincoln gave his brief Gettysburg Address although it is on the map it was in a different area.  The whole tour would take about 3 hrs but with the weather I chose to leave out some parts.  The Cemetery doesn’t allow cars and what with the rain . . .

I looked through a few of the stores in town but parking was not easy to find and while I might have enjoyed eating (again) in a period pub, I ended up at the Perkins’ Restaurant near my hotel.  It was very good and I think I may head there for breakfast in the morning as well.  I enjoyed a steak and pepper skillet dinner and the first hot tea with lemon I’ve had since I left home.

I’ve booked a place for tomorrow night in Syracuse, N.Y. and the drive should take a bit under 5 hours, weather permitting.  So for now, Cheers from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania!

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Off Again: Day 22

Weather photo

What with it being a rather dismal day with drizzle prettty much all morning and cloud the whole day, I didn’t use the Cruise Control on the car for most of the day.  Saw a funny licence plate today:  & YRPNT.  I had a good laugh over that.  I don’t know if we’re allowed in Ontario to use the ampersand on a personalized plate.

I made good time this morning and arrived at Michie Tavern about 12:45 so plenty of time to have the lunch buffet. There was lots of variety and you could have “all you can eat” but I don’t eat a lot.  I suggested they might offer a “senior buffet” as they already have two “youth buffets” for different age groups.  Anyway, the servers and hostess were in period costumes which added nicely to the atmosphere.  Being a cool day both fireplaces had fires going in them.

Michie Tavern sat on Buck Mountain Rd in 1777 when Corporal William Michie rushed home from Valley Forge to find his father had passed away and the family home now belonged to him.  He decided to turn it into a tavern which remained in his family until 1911 although its doors closed in the mid-1700s as it had become less profitable.  In 1927, it was dismantled and relocated to Monticello Mountain.  At various times, 4 other period buildings were also moved to the same property — a general store, a clothier room, a tavern, and a metal works shop.

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After enjoying the buffet, one is allowed to tour the building and visit the tavern downstairs and take photos.  There were lots of interesting things to see and purchase including many items shaped like pineapples.  Apparently early settlers thought they might be able to grow pineapples in the area and although it never really was successful, the symbol itself became a welcome sign that has stuck through the years.  They also have “peanut tasting” of a variety of kinds of peanuts available.  Also tee shirts with a variety of appropriate slogans.

I thought I might go to Monticello.  I had been there 35-40 years ago and wished I had taken photos or did and have lost them over the years.  There is a whole new (I think) welcome/education centre that I’m sure wasn’t there the last time and you have to take a shuttle.  It wasn’t what I was interested in.  I figure either the book I bought last time or the Internet will have photos I would have liked to take.  I remember being really impressed with the sundial he had made for his front hallway and the way he had a bed that was centred between his dressing room and his writing room that was rather neat, too.

Anyway, I got to my hotel for the night, settled in, picked up some food, booked for tomorrow in Gettysburg, PA, and wrote this blog.  I’m nowhere near any tornadoes, so not to worry.  They’re all further south and west.  For now, it’s Cheers from Charlottesville, Virginia.


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Off Again: Day 21

The breakfast buffet this morning at the Jacksonville SureStay by Best Western.  There was both hot and cold food, not the usual sweet buns, several kinds of juice, and several flavours of yogurt.  What a great start to a day.  The weather was good for driving.  Sunny in the morning and a bit too hot at times but the afternoon clouded over and I had made good time.

As someone who lives quite northerly, it’s easy to forget that some parts of the world have road construction year round, unlike those of us who have a season of construction followed by a season of winter.  We had to slow quite a few times for workers although not the stop and go kind of traveling we do on our northern roads.

I realized all of a sudden that I was low on gas so decided I would take the next exit.  It didn’t give a distance to the town in question but I didn’t expect to find myself driving through the South Carolina countryside.  It was at least 15 minutes before I came to a crossroads with a state highway that would take me back to the main interstate to Charlotte.  Sure enough there was a gas station.  I swear it used to be owned by Ike Godsey and hadn’t changed a bit since the 20s.  There was a diesel pump and an unleaded one.  After all the places I’ve stopped where there have been 12 or more pumps and I’ve had to prepay inside, I couldn’t resist telling the girl “I’m at pump #1 and I need $15 worth of gas”.  Just picture my car instead of the one there — with only 1 pump, I couldn’t hold things up to take a picture of my own.

My digs for tonight are not bad but not great.  It’s clean and comfortable and it’s only for one night.  I had dinner at Captain D’s which would not have been my first choice.  I was expecting lots of buns and fries and batter but was pleasantly surprised.  I had a lovely plate of blackened tilapia on a bed of rice with green beans. It did come with a few French fries and a lovely warm roll.  It was just enough with making me feel stuffed.

The plan is to head to Charlottesville, Virginia tomorrow, a fairly easy drive as they’re calling for rain in this area and I want to visit Gettysburg the following day and have time to look around.  So for now, it’s Cheers from Charlotte, North Carolina!

Weather photo
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Off Again: Day 20

Weather photo

I’m not sure I should still be calling this “Off Again” since I’m on my way home but there it is. It got down to 9°C last night. Yeah, I know, I know. I shouldn’t complain. But they asked me not to turn the heat on if it got cold in case it bothered the neighbours (?), just to turn the thermostat up to about 79  so the air conditioning would stay off.  As a result, my room was cold and damp this morning and I didn’t want to get out of bed where I was cozy and warm.  No more summer clothes for me, I think, until May.

Had a bite to eat, loaded the car, and checked out.  Plugged ‘1 Dali Blvd, St. Petersburg’ into the car’s GPS and off I went.  Trying to avoid toll roads/bridges, it took me at least twice as long as I thought it would and when I got there, I had to turn on my Easy Roam, download a parking app, and register in order to park.  By the time I got into the museum, it was almost 1 pm.  I gave myself 1 1/2 hrs parking and headed inside, taking photos of the amazing building.

The ground floor is a gift shop and café and I actually spent quite a bit of time looking around there.  I was really impressed.  Yesterday at the Ringling Estate, I talked with one of the sales clerks about the items they had for sale.  Apart from the circus items, they had nothing that I couldn’t have bought at the Nat’l Gallery Gift Shop in Ottawa — same jewelry, same books (with one or two exceptions), same coasters, same scarves, same everything.  There are such beautiful designs throughout the mansion and the gardens that they could so easily have incorporated into giftware that people would love to buy for others or themselves.  She was very nice and thanked me and said she saw what I meant.

Today, the Dali Museum Gift Shop had everything Dali!  T-shirts, fancy dress jackets, ties, scarves, cups and saucers, purses, jewelry — everything based on his artwork and style.  That’s exactly how it should be.  The galleries are on the 3rd floor and at first, I was a bit disappointed.  When I think of Dali, I think of his incredible glass art.  There was none anywhere.  It was all paintings.  And then I realized, this was really great because it opened me up to a side of Dali that I really hadn’t given much thought to before and it was really quite amazing. I ended up having lunch there after taking some photos of my favourite things which included the painting of Christopher Columbus discovering the new land that one of the vendors at the Arts and Crafts Fair yesterday had told me about.

There was one photo that a group going through with the docent were gathering at and taking photos and I could see the camera of one fellow and it didn’t seem to be the painting we were all looking at.  It was a woman looking up into the sky.  I took a photo of the painting and walked away.  Later when I was uploading the photos to my iPad I realized what my photo looked like.  I’m definitely going to have to do research on this.  I swear it didn’t look like this.  Keep it small and look at the outline.

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By 2:45 I was on my way to Jacksonville, Fl.  This, too, took a bit longer than expected but as I was later leaving St. Petersburg than I thought it wasn’t totally unexpected that I would arrive about a half hour after sunset.  I got the last downstairs room, close to the breakfast room, and it has a bathtub.  I think, though, they only want people to shower as there was no stopper in the tub.  Not to be denied my soak after several days of only showers, I took one of the plastic cups, turned it upside down over the drain and, voila!

It turned out to be a beautiful day — high of 26°C and sunny all day.  I even walked to a nearby store after checking in and picked up a simple supper for after my bath.  Tomorrow night — Charlotte, N.C.  So for now, Cheers from Jacksonville, Florida!

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Off Again: Day 19

Play Park; Weather Photo

Today was not the warmer day I was hoping for but it was mostly sunny and for most of the afternoon it was pleasant if windy at times.  I went to the bird sanctuary first (after checking out of my motel) and had a pleasant walk around.  It is a rather neat place with a park for young kids across from the public parking area.  There are several wooden walkways from different streets and a camping area that lead to the beautiful white sand beach.

Some areas have protected vegetation and one plant that was there I’m sure was the same as one I saw on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) that is salt water resistant and helps prevent erosion.  On Rapa Nui, it had almost completely disappeared after a tsunami and then about 10 years later another tsunami brought it back.  When I was there on an archaeological dig, we spent a day gathering cuttings from it in one area and planted then in another area because erosion is such a serious problem there.  It was neat to find it there.

There is a launch area for canoes and kayaks into a little inlet that leads out to the Gulf.  (Notice ow the weather has changed in just the last half hour.)  All of the picnic areas have white shells making a floor the way we might use white pebbles at home.  It was a bit disappointing as I only saw one bird which may or may not have been a sparrow; hard to tell as it camouflaged so well with the grass.

After, I drove to Venice to check out the area and do a bit of shopping.  Then I returned to Sarasota to visit the Ringling estate which consists  of a world class Museum of Art housing European, Asian, and American art as well as the Monde Gallery for Contemporary Art, a Circus Museum with an amazing detailed model of the circus at its peak circa 1920 (see the page added to the blog header), an entry pavilion with a gift shop, and the Venetian Gothic Palace John Ringling had built for his wife Mable which they called Ca’d’Zan (House of John), all set in a 66 acre park.

Having no children, John and Mable bequeathed their estate to the people of Florida so it was locked down immediately on his death which ensured that all the furnishings, tapestries, items of clothing, silver, and china are all original to the house.  The history of the building of the house and furnishing it was fascinating.  There was a large walk-in safe, electric ovens and elevator, and an organ in the main living area that has 2,000 pipes hidden behind tapestries on the 2nd floor balcony.  We weren’t allowed to take photos in the house but the pictures I took elsewhere in the museums and on the grounds could fill a photo book.

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The Museum of Art is housed in a building patterned after an Italian villa with many statues, gardens, huge vases of plants, and a bridge connecting the two wings.  Today was the last day of the ZODIAC (2018) LEGO art by Ai Weiwei.  “The 12-part piece builds upon the zodiac theme of the artist’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads sculptures from 2010 which were featured on the Ringling grounds in 2017-2018.”  Each one of the pieces of this exhibit has internationally significant building in the background which the artist scorns as a political statement.  Thousands of pieces of LEGO were used to create this exhibit.  Glad I got to see it.

On the way back to Siesta Key, I stopped in at a Craft Fair I had seen advertised.  There was some pretty neat stuff there.  One lady had kind of small flat purses that had clips that attached to your belt or pants band.  Ingenious.  Another vendor tried to sell me roofing materials.  Oh dear!  There was clothing and jewelry, exotic signs, and soaps and lotions.

I went and checked in to the new resort around the corner.  It’s very different from the other one and I couldn’t say if I like it better or not.  Very cold tonight and they prefer that I not turn the heat on in case it bothers the neighbours — only turn the thermostat for the air conditioner up.  Decided to drive to the Pizza restaurant rather than walk.  It really is quite cold.  They only do individual slices until 4 pm so I decided to just have a slice of Key Lime Pie.  They were extremely busy and it took a long time coming even after I ordered.  On a scale from 1-10, I’d give it a 6.5.  Then I drove to McDonalds and got a meal to bring home so I could start my blog and get warm.

Watching Home Town while I work.  Final time to say,

Cheers from Sarasota!


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