Category Archives: Other Stuff

Her Magical Day

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I entered the square of the Emerald City

and the trumpets were blaring as the Mayor of Munchkinland was making a proclamation

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TODAY A BIRTHDAY IS BEING CELEBRATED

Sir Oswald and Edwin Bun along with

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the fairies of the forest and the birds of the sky come to celebrate

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The Goddess of the Rainbow…….The Iris Goddess

Virginia of Bel’ Occhio

Go visit her at Bel’ Occhio to share your wishes on her special day

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Iris goddess of the rainbow
She paints the sky in muted tones
Colors made from her unforgotten world
Crushed jewels that she holds so close
Some say she has gone… Departed from
this world ~ But her memory stays alive and vivid in my life.
Iris goddess of the rainbow
Weeps silently ~Her liquid tears ~
repairing the damage of the previous
years of neglect ~ Pouring down in
the mist of rain from the heavens.
Where she collects… Objects that have no meaning.
No meaning for you or I for we don’t see the whole picture
We see only what is outside ~ things that we think have no significance.
Iris goddess of the rainbow
Brings magic to the skies
Refreshing and restoring everything
that was… Once so beautiful.
Iris Goddess of the rainbow.
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The Stone of The Goddess of Rainbow is the peridot.

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The Peridot  is said to host magical powers and healing properties to protect against nightmares and to bring the wearer power, influence, and a wonderful year.

As peridot is a gemstone that forms deep inside the Earth and brought to the surface by volcanoes, in Hawaii, peridot symbolizes the tears of Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes.

All of us in the Emerald City wish you the very best today and always.

Virginia of Bel’ Occhio – Goddess of the Rainbow Iris

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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Chapel of the Holy Grail – Valencia, Spain

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It was time to board the train from Madrid to Valencia.

The anticipation was great, as we were going to visit The Chapel of The Holy Grail, something I had been looking forward to on this trip.  I could hear the music from the Indiana Jones movies playing in my head, as the train was zipping through the countryside of Spain.

We arrived at  Estacio del Nord in Valencia and began our quest for the Holy Grail

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First a bit about this special city;  Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in 138 BC.

The city is situated on the banks of the Turia river, on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula,  fronting the Gulf of Valencia on the Mediterranean Sea.

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Major monuments include Valencia Cathedral

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 the Torres de Serranos,

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the Torres de Quart,

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the Llotja de la Seda  declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996

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and the City of Arts and Sciences,  an entertainment-based cultural and architectural complex designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela

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The Museu de Belles Arts de València houses a large collection of paintings from the 14th to the 18th centuries, including works by Velázquez, El Greco, and Goya, as well as an important series of engravings by Piranesi

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The Metropolitan Cathedral–Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady of Valencia  was consecrated in 1238 by the first bishop of Valencia after the Reconquista, Pere d’Albalat, Archbishop of Tarragona, and was dedicated by order of James I the Conqueror to Saint Mary. It was built over the site of the former Visigothic cathedral, which under the Moors had been turned into a mosque

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The cathedral contains numerous 15th century paintings, some by local artists (such as Jacomart), others by artists from Rome engaged by the Valencian Pope Alexander VI

who, when still a cardinal, made the request to elevate the Valencian See to the rank of metropolitan see, a category granted by Pope Innocent VIII in 1492

Here are a couple by Goya….

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On our way to find the Chapel of the Holy Grail we stumble upon a mummified arm in a glass case…….yikes!

Turns out it is that of Saint Vincent, the Patron Saint of  Valencia.

Tthe story of Saint Vincent the Martyr begins (ends) when they tried to burn him but his body wouldn’t burn so they tied 4 horses to each of his limbs, whipped the horses and let them run, tearing him apart in the middle of the city, so today one of his arms rests in the Cathedral.

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Okay, past the arm and ……..hello …….tombs…

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Okay, move on,  it is time to find the Holy Chalice the most revered in the world right here in one of this cathedral’s chapels;  this chalice has been defended as the true Holy Grail

………and there it is!  The Chapel is filled with the smell of incense that has been burning for hundreds of years…..

Most Christian historians all over the world declare that all their evidence points to this Valencian chalice as the most likely candidate for being the authentic cup used at the Last Supper

It was the official papal chalice for many popes, and has been used by many others, most recently by Pope Benedict XVI, on July 9, 2006

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 This chalice dates from the 1st century, and was given to the cathedral by king Alfonso V of Aragon in 1436.

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It was quite exciting to be in this place and be in the presence of this acclaimed artifact (by now the music score from the Indiana Jones Movies was BLARING inside my head)…..time to move on..

We visited the rest of the Cathedral, which was quite beautiful and filled with amazing artifacts…

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……wow that was a most exciting and interesting visit…now off to explore the city….

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We found Valencia to be incredibly clean and well kept.  The people were so helpful and friendly!

We had heard about Canela, a most well respected and sought after restaurant….

We arrived when the owner was closing and locking the door…………..NO, please let us in, please……guess what …….. he said yes!!

We went upstairs and the art was amazing…

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The meal was the BEST of our entire lifetimes!  A seven course delight…

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the final course ….. Paella con Arroz Negro…..Paella with rice made with squid ink

Over the Top AMAZING

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If you are ever near Vallence….you MUST eat at Canela

But you know the Tin Man………it is now time to search out the sweets Valencia is known for …….CHOCOLATE

We found it at Valor, known for their outstanding Chocolates….right on the Plaza de la Reyna…

Of course we  had the Chocolate Flight with Churros…..

What experiences and delights we enjoyed in beautiful Valencia….but now it is time to move on…until next time…Adios

Remembering Memorial Day

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Memorial Day is a Federal holiday in the United States which occurs every year on the final Monday of May.   Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Formerly known as Decoration Day.  It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in United States national cemetery.

A fact that you should probably know is that African Americans are the reason that Memorial Day even exists in the first place.

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According to Professor David Blight of Yale University, the event began on May 1, 1865.  A group of former slaves in Charleston, SC gave a proper burial to 257 Union soldiers who’d been put into a mass grave.

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The black community of Charleston then consecrated the new cemetery with “an unforgettable parade of 10,000 people.”

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The event was initially called “Decoration Day” and was led by 3,000 black school children who started off by singing the song “John Brown’s Body.”  They were then followed by hundreds of black women with baskets of flowers and crosses.  After that, black men marched behind them in cadence, followed by Union infantry.

The Union soldiers lived in horrible conditions, and 257 of them died from exposure and disease.

This was the reason for the creation of the mass grave site.  A total of 28 black men went to the site and re-buried the men properly, largely as a thank you for helping fight for their freedom.

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They also built a fence around the cemetery, and on the outside, put the words, “Martyrs of the Race Course.”

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Dr. Boyce Watkins, who created an online course based on a forum held with Minister Louis Farrakhan, says that this is simply the tip of the iceberg.

He says that misinformation is one of the most storied weapons used to perpetuate the oppression of black people.

“Black people must, as part of our healing, go back and rewrite history to ensure that we learn the truth,” said Dr. Watkins. “You’ve been lied to for your entire life, so it is up to all of us to use the Internet as a critical resource in helping us to learn who we truly are.  We are great people and America would not be the country that it is today without our sacrifice.”

Now you know the rest of the story.  Go tell this one to everyone you know……

……let Freedom, Knowledge and Truth Ring……

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Cupid Party

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……..well as you can see from the painting…..we love to entertain…

I have the wonderful pleasure of having retired from my professional career

as a Health Care Administrator, after 35 years of service and

get to work in the field of my true passion………..the Culinary World!

I work in a retail food environment (i.e. Grocery Store) that is very innovative and trendsetting…

I am the resident Chef for my location and have a wonderfully ordained kitchen in which I get to prepare all sorts of culinary delights for customers wanted to expand their foodie interests.

Due to this I also maintain a recipe site : www.Chef-Emil.com , should you ever be interested in checking out my creations!

I work with the most amazing group of people and so very enjoy what we bring to our customers.

Each year I throw an appreciation party for our group, this year it was the Year of the Cupid…

I ran about the house and gathered up all the Hutschenreuther Puttis I could find to create the tablescape

Just as a point of interest, the Hutschenreuther Company was founded in 1814 by Carolus Magnus Hutschenreuther in Hohenberg an der Eger, Bavaria, Germany.   He had previously worked at the Wallendorf porcelain manufactory in Lichte.   After his death in 1845, the factory was headed by his widow, Johanna Hutschenreuther, and her two sons.

From 1860, they produced hand-painted gilded porcelains, and were quite famous for the use of the Putti (my cupids).  

A large part of the factory was destroyed by a fire in 1848.

I wish the photos would show the marvelous detail of the work….We  fell in love with Hutschenreuther and have been collecting for some time..

First and foremost,  we had to pick out the wines for the eventing…

Then, of course,  have the coffee bar ready for those who may have had too much wine…

…..the house is ready for the guests to arrive…

The food is simple and easy to eat, as we plan on doing a lot of talking and mingling…

….a plate of Smoked Salmon with Creme Fraiche,  Rye and Gerkins…

…all sorts of cheese, representing the marvelous tastes of our planet…

…this is The Cupid Party, so some sweets were in order…

This Trifle is made with Triple Chocolate Cake, drenched in Godiva Chocolate Liquor, Strawberries, Vanilla Bean Custard and Fresh Cream…

….wonderful Caprese Salad, with Mozzarella Nibs….

 ……….of course the guests of honor for the evening……

a grand time was had by all ……and then at the culmination of the festivities, these wonderful people

present me with something I shall cherish for all time…

…can you believe the were able to find a Tin Man Chef!!….

….so until next year….Ciao….hmmmm…… wonder what the theme shall be..

 

The Orientalist

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I am currently reading ” The Orientalist” by Tom Reiss

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A marvelous biography about the flamboyant Lev Nussimbaum

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So often when I am reading, a certain passage will resonate so strongly that I make note of it in my journals

The life of Lev is riveting as he mixes memory with desire, straddles the chasm between east and west and becomes Jew, Christian and Muslim…

You see Lev was born in October, 1905, in Baku, Azerbaijan

…but enough, here is the passage that I so wanted to share with you…

 

“….over the great arched portal ran the secret arabesque symbols of a vanished past.

Mighty, incomprehensible letters and delicate ornaments.

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I looked at them for hours, during which I would fall into a sort of dreamy, trance like meditation.

It was a state of true bliss that lasted for hours and hours.

After I returned home I changed back into my lazy, sickly, good-for-nothing self…”

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Beyond the Clock Face ………….Musee d’Orsay, Paris

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Beyond the clock face is Paris, beyond
the ticking away of the ordinary
moments is a lamp-lit cafe with rain
streaking its windows, poetry
spattering its walls. Outside, the
angels gathering on the banks of the
Seine grin back at the ancient
gargoyles. Meanwhile, here at home, the
bed is unmade, the floor unswept. The
party dresses are quiet in the dark
closet……. But there, just beyond the clock
face is Paris. Her angels are listening,
extending their cold fingers to our
outstretched mittened hands……

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Diane Hanna

Grab A Beer – Shiner, Texas

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The Flying Monkeys were restless and wanted to explore some new place, so off we went to Shiner, Texas

Shiner is located in Lavaca County.

It all began in 1887 when Henry B. Shiner donated 250 acres of land for a railroad right of way.

As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 2,069.

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To our amazement there are no hotels in Shiner!  So we booked a room at the Shiner Country Inn..

Not the lap of luxury, but clean

Shiner is the home of the Spoetzl Brewery,  the oldest independent brewery in Texas.  The brewery is most well known for producing Shiner Bock,  a dark German/Czech-style beer that is now distributed in 41 states.

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………..but more about that later.

We explored the entire town to plan our itinerary………okay that took 10 minutes,

so we went to Snowflake Donuts for breakfast…

 

Upon entering we found a table of about 20 locals, all of whom ceased conversation and stared at us the entire time we were in the place…….okay weird!

………..now back the the Spotzl Brewery……

A group of businessmen incorporated Shiner Brewing Association

and placed Herman Weiss in as the company’s first brewmaster.  

In 1914 a German immigrant brewer named Kosmos Spoetzl co-leased with Oswald Petzold

with an option to buy in 1915.  

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Spoetzl had attended brewmaster’s school and apprenticed for three years in Germany, worked for eight years at the Pyramids Brewery in Cairo, Egypt, and then worked in Canada.   He moved to San Antonio in search of a better climate for his health, bringing with him a family recipe for a Bavarian beer made from malted barley and hops.

During Prohibition in the United States,  Kosmos Spoetzl kept the brewery afloat by selling ice and making Low-alcohol beer  “near beer.”   After Prohibition only five of the original 13 Texas breweries were still intact.   When the Prohibition laws were repealed, larger beer plants, such as Anheuser-Busch, moved to Texas making life harder on the smaller independent breweries,  but Spoetzl kept things small and simple,  never going more than 70 miles for business.

The owner’s daugher, Miss Cecelie took over operations in 1922

and became the only woman in the United States to be a sole owner of a brewery in 1950.

In the 1970s and 1980s the brewery’s ”Shiner Beer” and ”Shiner Bock”  had less than 1 percent of the Texas market.   In 1983 Spoetzl produced 60,000 barrels of beer;  in 1990 only 36,000.   Sales improved after Carlos Alvarez of San Antonio acquired the brewery in 1989:   Production grew to 100,000 barrels in 1994,  and over the next ten years,  production nearly tripled.

As of 2012,  it was the fourth-largest craft brewery and tenth-largest overall brewery in the United States.  Spoetzl currently produces eight beers year round and four seasonal brews per year.

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We were so lucky to have the Brewmaster, Jimmy Mauric, conduct a personal tour!

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The brew house was so very beautiful with the copper brew tanks…

The view of the bottling room was amazing……..many thousands of bottles whirling around…..

The tour over it was time for a late lunch……….where should we go…..oh yes the only restaurant in town….

The Shiner Restaurant and Bar..

The place was empty!  The bar was quite beautiful and ornate

The dining room sported wonderful old cabinets…

The food was great….we began with the Shiner Beer Bread and Shiner Black Butter

…..then on to the Pulled Pork Sandwich and the “World’s Best Sandwich”……that was really the name!

It was a Club Style BLT with a Chicken Fried Steak thrown in for Good Measure…….don’t tell my Cardiologist about this post!

Well that was Shiner a quiet, quiet, quiet little Texas Town

So until next time…………PROST!

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Tea & Cakes….and perhaps some Welsh Rarebit

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If you have been reading the exploits of the Tin Man, you know that he often travels to Media, Pennsylvania to visit the Marvelous, Magical Mary.

…………so in usual Tin Man fashion, here is a bit of history of the place called Media….

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The borough of Media was incorporated in 1850 and  is the county seat of Delaware County, Pennsylvania.     

In June 2006, it became the first fair trade town in America.

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The history of the town goes back to William Penn, who was named proprietor of the colony of Pennsylvania in 1681 by King Charles II of England. 

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The Delaware County Institute of Science was founded in Media in 1833.

Media promotes itself as “Everybody’s Hometown”.

 Peter and William Taylor bought the land where Media is now located, directly from Penn. 

Thomas Minshall, a Quaker, was an early Media resident, settling just outside the small village then known as Providence, along the Providence Great Road.  The village then included a tailor shop, blacksmith shop, wheelwright shop, barn and other buildings.  Minshall bought 625 acres from William Penn and arrived in 1682. The Providence Friends Meeting was established at his house in February, 1688, and a meetinghouse was later built on land he donated for the purpose.  The original meetinghouse was built out of logs in 1699 or 1700 and the current building dates to 1814. 

Minshall’s house still stands and was given to the citizens of the borough in 1975. 

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The John J. Tyler Arboretum occupies part of Thomas Minshall’s original  property.   This farm was used by the underground railroad.   The land was donated to a public trust in 1944 by an eighth generation descendant. The arboretum was started as a private collection by brothers Jacob and Minshall Painter.  In 1825 they began systematically planting over 1,000 varieties of trees and shrubs.  Over 20 of their original trees survive including a giant sequoia.

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Media may be best known for secret government documents which were illegally seized there by activists in 1971 and distributed nationwide.  On March 8 of that year, the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI raided a FBI “resident agency” in Media. They later released thousands of documents to major newspapers around the country. These documents revealed controversial and illegal FBI tactics, like the recruitment of Boy Scouts as informants, and confirmed for the first time the existence of COINTELPRO, a FBI program to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” dissident groups in the US.

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Now back to the Tea Room…..

Downtown Media is a plethora of restaurants, shops and art….

We love to walk the streets and run across them to avoid the Trolley Cars, exploring all the marvelous culinary delights.

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On a recent trip, we went to explore the delights of an English Tea Room… Tea & Cakes

what a delightful and interesting place. ……. one of the owners sits in the Tea Room and joins any and all conversations she desires…and she is quite opinionated!

We had some delightful fare……

A plate of High Tea Sandwiches and Sweets…

….of course Welsh Rarebit with Toast Points….

and Tea…Marvelous Tea…..

….back outside to run in front of the Trolleys!…..wish me luck……….

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Havre de Grace

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Whilst driving from Baltimore to Philadelphia, it was time for a break from the road and there before us was a sign for

HAVRE de GRACE, MARYLAND

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Well the rusty old jaw of the Tin Man still has difficulty pronouncing this one correctly

(after all the Emerald City is located in Texas!!)

But off we did go………..

Havre de Grace is a city in Harford County, Maryland  It is situated at the mouth of the Susquehanna River and the head of Chesapeake Bay.

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On May 3, 1813, during the War of 1812, Havre de Grace was attacked by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.   The American Lieutenant John O’Neill single-handedly manned a cannon to help defend the town. He was wounded, captured by the British, and soon released.   In gratitude, Havre de Grace made O’Neill and his descendants the hereditary keepers of the Concord Point lighthouse marking the mouth of the Susquehanna River.

The Town is named after the port city of Le Havre, France, which in full was once ”Le Havre de Grâce”, “Haven of Grace”. 

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In 1789,  Havre de Grace was in serious consideration to be the permanent capital of the United States.

Havre de Grace was a candidate for the honor of being named capital of the United States, when the U.S. House of Representatives voted on the new permanent U.S. capital,

the vote was tied between Washington, D.C. and Havre de Grace—with the tie-breaking vote cast by the House Speaker, in favor of Washington, D.C.

WOW………..and all we really wanted to do was stretch our legs and find a public restroom!!!

We found a marvelous place to rest and decided to have a bite to eat, since the view was so magnificent.

The Tidewater Grille

We got a great table that looked out over the water and a wonderful railroad bridge.

Two railroad main lines pass through Havre de Grace. More than 8 daily passenger trains on Amtrak’s busy Northeast Corridor speed through Havre de Grace at 90 mph on an elevated line. 

The double track bridge was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad between 1904 & 1906

for its New York City & Washington, D.C. line. 

Well, I don’t know about you, but every time I am in Maryland I MUST have all the crab I can possibly consume!

So I began with a marvelous Cream of Crab Soup

Followed by the server’s recommendation of Susquehanna Hash…………and since we were sitting at the mouth of the Susquehanna River, it seemed appropriate.

It was a marvelous Hash made with Maryland Crab ( lots of it!) and Tasso Ham,  topped with an Egg..one of the best dishes I have ever eaten!

We enjoyed our meals and watched the trains as they sped along the tracks over the Susquehanna River and imagined the Capital Building sitting here, but for one vote!

Then it was off to explore more of the town and have a coffee at Java by the Bay

For joy!  The fragrances of the coffee beans was so wonderful in the Shoppe…….

……and the coffee so pleasing, as it was quite windy and cold outside.

Well, hope you enjoyed our little visit to Havre de Grace, now it’s time to get back in the car and continue our journey……

 

 

Dining in a Greenhouse

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Have you ever been in a new town and just “happened” upon a magical place?

That is Styer’s Cafe at Terrain’s

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We were just driving down the street in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania and wanted to purchase a plant as a gift for some friends we were visiting.  The Greenhouses caught our eye and in we drove……….

……..only to wander into one of the most amazing restaurants we have ever visited!

The bread is baked in Clay Pots!!!  It is so fresh and wonderful and served with Herb Infused  Butter

Chef Keith Rudolf uses the local harvest of farmer’s to create his incredible dishes…….

…….like the Mushroom Skillet.

The Pumpkin Latte was creamy and wonderful..

Stop the maddness……….Bread Pudding with Ice Cream……

It  is so magical to be sitting among all the beautiful plants and fountains as you dine on the culinary creations

…..and, oh yes, we did find a rhododendron for our friends which now has a home in this marvelous sitting area….

…….listening to the stories being told over glass after glass of prosecco..