Tag Archives: Texas

Downton Abbey Christmas Supper Club – Camp Lucy

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aaaaaaaaOh Glorious Day………it is time for the Downton Abbey Supper Club at Camp Lucy!

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Preparations had been ongoing for weeks for this most anticipated event…

Remember Camp Lucy from the last Supper Club – East Meets West?  CLICK HERE to see that post…

Every time we arrive at the gates of Camp Lucy we feel like Alice going through the Looking Glass into a magical world…

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We had to stop and admire the beautiful creek that runs through Camp Lucy as we crossed the bridge…

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We came to the top of the hill and found our way to the most luxurious cottages on the planet

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Beautiful – Simple – Elegant

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A quick nap and then up to dress for the evening…….

Husband wore is Black Mink for the evening

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Our friends stayed in a Cottage across the way and came over so that we might walk to the festivities together…

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Off to Ian’s Chapel we went.. the original chapel, pavilion, and events hall, along with surrounding gardens, stone terrace, arch, and great lawn are collectively known as Ian’s Chapel to honor Whit’s son who not only sparked this grand adventure, but also left this world far too soon on December 23, 2011….

Upon entering the Great Hall we are whisked into Downton Abbey…

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Elegance, Grace, Charm, Pure Delight….the room a buzz with excitement and conversation…

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What a grand adventure we have embarked upon…

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Our Hosts, Whit and Kim Hanks, so gracious ….

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After delightful cocktails and hors d’oeuvres around the massive fireplace…

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…….we are seated for dinner……be still my heart…

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As the song goes……….”these are a few of my favorite things”

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We begin with Fried Oyster with Celery and Bacon Cream and Caviar and Sorrel Coulis paired with Deviled Quail Egg and Pickled Red Onion

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Followed by……Butternut Sage Bisque with Cranberry Brie Croustade..

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Oh …………did I mention Wine……lovely, lovely Wine…

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The Room was filled with the clinking of glasses and joyous laughter…

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Oh my I was so busy with the wine that I forgot to photograph the salad!!  Watercress and Fennel with Stilton-Leek Tartine and Rhubarb Vinaigrette…

Now the Entrée ….Herb Tournedos of Beef and Truffle (yes I said truffle) Madeira Jus

Asparagus with Hollandaise and (get ready for it) Chive Popovers with Foie Gras Butter

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Oh swoon…….would that this would never end……but alas here comes dessert….

Floating Islands with Shaved Black Plum, Grand Marnier Anglaise and Salted Pistachio Brittle AND Sticky Toffee Pudding..

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……oh yes and did I mention wine….

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What is most delightful about these Supper Clubs at Camp Lucy is that the evening is never rushed and guests walk and mingle during dinner, fully enjoying the experience…..here is husband with our lovey hosts ….

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New friends were made, selfies were taken

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A most lovely and enjoyable Downton Abbey Evening at Camp Lucy

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If you are ever driving on 290 between Johnson City and Austin, Texas …..you MUST stop by Camp Lucy

A Most Magical Place

Just give them a “like” on Facebook and you won’t miss the fun!

CLICK HERE

 

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Camp Lucy – Supper Club

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We have the great pleasure of knowing Whit & Kimberly Hanks and have so been looking forward to attending the Supper Club at their most marvelous and enchanting ranch, Camp Lucy…

Camp Lucy, home to the Texas Hill Country’s premier wedding and special event venues, is nestled on a gorgeous Hill Country ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas.

The property, owned by Whit Hanks, is named for his mother, Lucy Hanks, and its history as an idyllic family getaway.

CLICK HERE  or HERE for more information about this great place..

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The property’s path from family ranch to wedding and special event destination began when Whit’s oldest son Ian moved to Asia several years ago – an odyssey that, quite unexpectedly, would marry this Texas property with French Colonial buildings from Vietnam and inspire Whit to open up the family’s land so others could experience the Hill Country dream.

Upon Ian’s suggestion, Whit visited Asia, including Hanoi in Vietnam, where he discovered a wealth of French-Colonial antiques. As an avid antiques dealer and collector, Whit is always on the hunt for the truly unique and special antique and, in Vietnam, he found what could be the ultimate antique – an 1880s Catholic church. On the brink of destruction to make way for a new church, the gorgeous 19th Century chapel, built from intricately carved ironwood, was available for purchase. Whit was sold.

The chapel was carefully disassembled and packed in sea-land containers, all of the timbers and tiles painstakingly photographed, labeled, and provided with a diagram and video to show how the church would go back together for its new life in Texas.

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After a long sea and land voyage, the chapel arrived in Dripping Springs where it was reassembled and a campanile added to hold a 19th Century French bell which, today, signals happy events at Camp Lucy. The original chapel was soon joined by a second French Colonial church from the 1930s, reconstructed at Camp Lucy and roofed with 1920s Ludowici tile repurposed from the Bexar County Courthouse in downtown San Antonio. The courthouse was getting a new roof and now the deep green glaze of these antique tiles is the crowning glory on the Camp Lucy pavilion.

 

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The next chapter in the Camp Lucy storybook was written in December 2011 when the doors opened to a magnificent events hall. This addition to Camp Lucy, created from a repurposed Amish barn originally built from hand-hewn white oak timbers in Ohio in the 1800s, continues the unique design aesthetic of Camp Lucy.

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Today, the original chapel, pavilion, and events hall, along with surrounding gardens, stone terrace, arch, and great lawn are collectively known as Ian’s Chapel to honor Whit’s son who not only sparked this grand adventure, but also left this world far too soon on December 23, 2011, shortly after marrying the love of his life, Sandra Hanks, at Camp Lucy.

  Sacred Oaks, opened on September 22, 2013. Named Sacred Oaks to honor the space’s remarkable setting, the venue expertly blends the impeccable design and enviable style that are the hallmarks of Camp Lucy with the natural surroundings and, as with all things Camp Lucy, celebrates life, family, and new beginnings. 

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As you enter the property and drive across a small bridge, you realize that you are entering a very special place…

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We decided to book a cottage for the evening

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The Cottages are nestled together in a peaceful community..

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Brian was wonderfully attentive upon our arrival and his excitement about the evening’s Supper Club was contagious..

We opened the door to our Cottage and were surrounded by Hill Country Elegance and Charm

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The Bath was simply outstanding…

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Each Tub and Sink were carved from single blocks of Limestone…

After a quick nap …..it is time to be off to Supper Club.

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The Evening began with Soy Lacquered Pork Belly on Crispy Wonton with Carrot Ginger Relish and Pulled Port Tostaditas with Granny Smith Pico and Cilantro Aioli

new 063We enjoyed some marvelous cocktails as we met new friends

Then we sat for Supper…

Mizuna, Shaved Carrot and Daikon with Crispy Rice Vermicelli and Ginger Sambal Vinaigrette and Shredded Iceberg, Ovendried Tomato and Pickled Red Onion with Crispy Tortillas and Jalapeno Ranch Dressing……….must have been the cocktails……….I forgot to photograph this course!

Then we moved on to Garlic and Soy Braised Short Ribs with Mirin Cabbage Slaw and Sriracha Aioli and Smoked Brisket with Cider Slaw, Cotija and Chipotle Crema

accompanied by Tempura Fried Root Vegetables with Ponzu and Fire Roasted Grilled Seasonal Vegetables

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Followed by……….I know, what a divine feast……

Lemongrass and Red Chile Poached Salmon with Creamy Sesame Black Soba Noodles and Coriander Seared Snapper with Tomatillo-Mango Arroz and Ancho Lime Broth

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……….and for Dessert……Coconut Fried Ice Cream and Summer Peach Cobbler…

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We had the most marvelous waiter who was more attentive than any 5 Star restaurant server ever dreamed

Our Hosts were so kind and gracious…….Whit and Kimberly…….inviting everyone back for the next Supper Club

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Brian, the Lodging Manager, attended the Supper Club and informed us that he had something special waiting back in our Cottage..

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What a delightful evening it was!

After a wonderful breakfast in the Cottage Offices, we took a peaceful stroll about the grounds of Camp Lucy..

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But, Alas, it is time to go…….we glanced back at the Beautiful Camp Lucy as we drove away…

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Uncommon Journeys – Canadian Panorama – Across Canada by Train

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It began as dusk approached and gathered us into her arms….we walked to Union Station in Toronto to begin our train trek across Canada.

Excitement abounded……..we were all a dither with expectations of a wondrous trip…

Outside the station was a beautiful sculpture of the Olympic Torch..

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Passengers bound for distant points all converged together…

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The time drawing near for our departure…

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Uncommon Journeys (click here for information) conducts this two week fully guided tour across Canada, but once a year.  We had decided that we would give it a go.  Never had we been on a guided tour before and therefore our apprehension of someone owning our time was great. 

The itinerary for the trip included the following:

Day 1: Arrive Niagra Falls

We had a terrific stay at the Sheraton on the Falls (Canadian Side of Border)

You can read about that part of the Journey by clicking HERE

Day 2: Arrive Toronto

We had a grand time in Toronto the Westin Harbor Castle.  We spent our free day exploring this wonderful city which was highlighted by a welcome dinner at the acclaimed Canyon Creek Grill, a favorite haunt of the great and near-great in Toronto.  You can read about it by clicking HERE

Day 3: Depart Toronto

 The stunning train is a perfect 1950’s time capsule with the famed Vista-dome cars, a real old- fashioned dining car and first rate dining and service.

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The first night we joined for cocktails in the swank, end of train ‘Bullet Lounge’ before our welcome aboard dinner in the art deco diner as we roll west over the Canadian National Railway

We were given a private dining car to enjoy a most marvelous dinner..

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Day 4: En Route

We booked a Suite on the Train which gave us a king sized bed, two baths and two picture windows to enjoy the beautiful Canadian sights.

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It was amazing crossing the Canadian Prairies aboard the Canadian.

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Civilized amenities abound including hot showers, a special lounge just for First Class passengers and the best dining on any train in North America, deluxe train travel at its very best in a manner that has all but vanished. 

Each morning, the staff delivered Breakfast to our Suite…

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We had no desire to leave our suite and the cabin staff was so very attentive to our needs.

We enjoyed reading and before dinner cocktails in our suite, unencumbered by anyone…

 

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Day 5: En Route

We were overnight on train en-route as the Canadian sped across the great prairielands over the Canadian National Railway

The views were breathtaking…

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As part of booking the suite, the Canadians call it the Romance Package……and it was, we had Champagne and Flowers delivered to the suite each evening….

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Day 6: Overnight Jasper

After lunch the Canadian begins its ascent of the eastern slope of the Rockies, a not to be missed spectacle.

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This afternoon, we arrive in gorgeous Jasper and transfer to the Amethyst Lodge for our overnight stay in this magical and unspoiled mountain hamlet. All evening free to relax in this glorious setting

Wandering about the town were Elk…….what fun..

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We had a delightful time wandering about and visiting with locals…

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We dined at Papa George’s and had some of the finest French Cuisine…

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Day 7: Overnight Banff

We spent a stunning day of sightseeing as we traveled to Banff via the Columbia Icefields Parkway

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 We were thrilled to get a ride on the Glacier itself on a ‘Sno- coach’  before our arrival in Banff for our overnight stay

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Day 8: Overnight Banff

We enjoyed a full day in Banff beginning with the gondola ride up Sulphur Mountain

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followed by a visit to the Banff Hot Springs that have made this village famous.

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Later that night we had a special dinner at Le Beaujolais….

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Day 9: Overnight Banff

Another magical day with a sightseeing tour to Yoho National Park that takes in Bridal Veil Falls, Moraine Lake and Lake Louise with all afternoon at leisure to further enjoy Banff

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 A fun “selfie” with our great tour director, Patrick…

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Day 10: Overnight Banff

Our final day in Banff we planned to sleep in and to enjoy Banff at our own pace

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Day 11: Depart for Vancouver

We depart this morning after breakfast bound for Jasper with a special sightseeing tour north over the Icefields Parkway stopping at Peyto Lake and Sunwapta Falls en route….

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Later we board the westbound CANADIAN, featuring spectacular views of the Rockies from its many vista-dome cars, one of the great travel treats in the World.

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Drinks in the classic Observation Lounge are a highlight tonight followed by dinner in the diner as we roll west over the historic Canadian National Railway.

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Day 12: Overnight Vancouver

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The CANADIAN arrived in Vancouver after breakfast time…….we had the most marvelous Duck Confit Eggs Benedict on the Train…

 

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 We enjoyed a brief sightseeing tour of this beautiful city, Canada’s third largest.

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The balance of the day was leisure…. we found a delightful Japanese Restaurant, tucked away on a side street….

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We are anxious to get to sleep, because the next day we would meet Virginia of Bel’ Occhio’s Blog

Day 13: Spend the Day with Virginia

We spent a grand day with Virginia and the Good Husband…read about it CLICK HERE…

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Day 14: Journey Home

Alas, our incredible Canadian Adventure has come to an end….aboard the plane…….

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Home Sweet Home

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I must admit that as I close my eyes each night, the vision of our nightly Champagne comes to mind…

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Hope you enjoyed this trip across Beautiful Canada with us…

CLAFOUTI : Toronto – Canada

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It began by a chance meeting in the virtual world of Blogging….and so the journey continues…

We booked passage on Uncommon Journeys Canadian Panorama cross country Train Excursion……..two weeks…yikers I thought….

Our Second Day was to be spent in Toronto….not caring for Large Cities….I saw her looming before us…construction cranes everywhere..

You see, in Canada,  there are two seasons:  Winter and Construction

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Virginia of BEL OCCHIO’S BLOG had already told us of Queen’s Street and Clafouti…home of the BEST croissants outside of Paris…….off we went

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Pure Victorian Delight……….peace, tranquility and not one construction crane in sight…..only the rumble of quaint street cars going by….

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Then we turned the corner and there it was…………Clafouti….mecca of the Croissant and the Crookie………….more about that later…….

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We came to the well worn steps leading to her front door….

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Inside………the aroma of fresh baked goods and coffee….

Clafouti reaches out and throws a Parisian Wrap around us….

Just look at the Delectable Delights……….

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We grab the table next to the window……….Virginia’s favorite, so we could look out at the beautiful Trinity Bellwoods Park across the street….

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Our Croissants so flaky and delicious………the coffee, rich and fragrant…..

We did not try the Crookie……a Croissant with an Oreo Cookie baked inside…..Clafouti created this masterpiece…

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The Bell on the Door was always a-tinkle with customers coming and going…..

The Bohemian Interior of Clafouti so enchanting….

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Alas, time to go explore the Park and seek out those mysterious albino squirrels, Good Husband of Virginia has spoken of…..

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We look back at our Clafouti……..and think of all the times our friend Virginia sat here gathering strength…..

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The Park is full of Flowers………but not one albino squirrel to be seen…..

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Time to hop the streetcar and head back for dinner…….What a treat is was to escape to Paris for a couple of hours……..

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Until next time…………

Grosseto – Italy

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grosetto3You always know when you are entering Tuscany……the surroundings suddenly begin to look sculpted, as if you were walking in a work of art…

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Our destination is Grosseto, whose origins can be traced back to the High Middle Ages.

Grosseto was first mentioned in 803 as a fief of the Counts Aldobrandeschi, in a document recording the assignment of the church of St. George to Ildebrando degli Aldobrandeschi, whose successors were counts of the Grossetana Mark until the end of the 12th century.

Grosseto is enchanting, in part, due to the fact that the city is surrounded by ancient Medicean Walls.

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The walls embrace this beautiful city and no vehicles are allowed!  Peaceful, quiet and simply divine!

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  Grosseto has a long and turbulent history.  In 1137 the city was besieged by German troops, led by duke Henry X of Bavaria, sent by the emperor Lothair III to reinstate his authority over the Aldobrandeschi.

In the following year the bishopric of Roselle was transferred to Grosseto.

In 1151 the citizens swore loyalty to the Siena, and in 1222 the Aldobrandeschi gave the Grossetani the right to have their own podestà, together with three councilors and consuls.

In 1244 the city was reconquered by the Sienese, and its powers, together with all the Aldobrandeschi’s imperial privileges, were transferred to Siena by order of the imperial vicar.

Thereafter Grosseto shared the fortunes of Siena. It became an important stronghold, and the fortress (rocca), the walls and bastions can still be seen today.

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In 1266 and in 1355, Grosseto tried in vain to win freedom from the overlordship of Siena. While Guelph and Ghibelline parties struggled for control of that city, Umberto and Aldobrandino Aldobrandeschi tried to regain Grossetto for their family. The Sienese armies were however victorious, and in 1259 they named a podestà from their city. But Grosseto gained its freedom and in the following year and fought alongside the Florentine forces in the Battle of Montaperti.

Over the next 80 years Grosseto was again occupied, ravaged, excommunicated by Pope Clement IV, freed in a republic led by Maria Scozia Tolomei, besieged by emperor Louis IV and by the antipope Nicholas V in 1328, until it finally submitted to its more powerful neighbour, Siena.

The pestilence of 1348 struck Grosseto hard and by 1369 its population had been reduced to some hundred families. Its territory, moreover, was frequently ravaged, notably in 1447 by Alfons V of Sicily and in 1455 by Jacopo Piccinino.

Sienese rule ended in 1559, when Charles V handed over the whole duchy to Cosimo I de Medici, first Grand Duke of Tuscany.

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Later you will see that we had the privilege of dining in an ancient Medici building that was an amazing experience.

In 1574 the construction of the Medicean Walls was begun and we are so glad they survived and protect this beautiful city today.

We knew that our visit to Grosseto would include staying at the marvelous Grand Hotel Bastiani

grosetto4We had stayed here once before and fell in love with the old world charm and elegance of the hotel

It is located just inside the ancient Medicean Walls and on the Piazza Gioberti, in the shadow of the Cathedral of Grosseto…

grosetto6I do not usually gush on about hotels; however, this one is on the top of the list of our favorites…

A beautiful staircase….

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europe2 161Our suite was so very luxurious and comfortable…

europe2 163…..and nothing……….nothing beats an Italian Breakfast……..nothing….

europe2 160Okay, enough gushing…………..onto the city….

The Romanesque cathedral, the main monument of the city, is named for its patron St. Lawrence, and was begun at the end of the 13th century, by architect Sozzo Rustichini of Siena.

It was erected over the earlier church of Santa Maria Assunta, it was only finished in the 15th century (mainly due to the continuing struggles against Siena).

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The façade of alternate layers of white and black marble is Romanesque in style, but is almost entirely the result of 16th century and 1816–1855 restorations: it retains decorative parts of the original buildings, including Evangelists’ symbols.

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The layout consists of a Latin cross, with transept and apse.

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The interior has a nave with two aisles, separated by cruciform pilasters. The main artworks are a wondrously carved baptismal font from 1470–1474 and the Madonna delle Grazie by Matteo di Giovanni (1470).

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The campanile (bell tower) was finished in 1402, and restored in 1911.

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The Church of San Francesco is located on the Omonym Square, it was built in the Middle Ages.

It was an important Benedictine convent, before moving to the Franciscans.

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At the center of the cloister stands the characteristic Pozzo della Bufala (Well of the Buffalo) in travertine; another well is located in the square outside the church.

Then there is the Church of San Pietro. the oldest religious building in Grosseto, it was built along the stretch of the Via Aurelia that crossed the center and was originally a plebeian and stational church along the old consular road.

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The beautiful Palazzo Aldobrandeschi whose origins are medieval.  It is now a Neo-Gothic edifice with ogival mullioned windows and merlons in the upper part of the walls.

It houses the seat of the province of Grosseto. The architect was Lorenzo Porciatti.

europe2 165The city is filled with marvelous shops and the people are all so relaxed and friendly……………

…..I do believe it is the absence of vehicles!

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europe2 173As we venture about town we stumble upon an ancient structure whose upper portions have collapsed over the years…

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The Ristorante Locanda de Medici de Peccianti…WOW……….we must eat here!

europe2 176We find the entrance into the ancient Medici cellars that now house this fantastic restaurant…

We learn that these ancient cellars were used as bomb shelters during World War II…..

europe2 168We venture into a world of culinary delight….

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Leonardo, the Chef – Owner waits on us!  The pasta is hand made………no machines….

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grosetto14What a delightful and enchanting visit we have had here in Grosseto…….now it is off to bed to dream of the rest of the journey ahead….

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……….until next time ciao!

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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..

 

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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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……

 

 

Wolff’s Apple House

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The road to Wolff’s Apple House is a bit windy and littered with wine bottles…….

……at least the road  Tin Man took to get there is!

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You see Tin Man lives in Texas and Wolff’s is in Media, Pennsylvania

One evening (while enjoying wine with The Equestrian Wizard) Tin Man notice a large alien pod lying in the kitchen

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…thinking that perhaps too many glasses of Chardonnay had been consumed……

…….. or that the Munchkins had returned to claim their planet

one had to find the origin of this giant pod. ……… A HUBBARD SQUASH!!!

Well it was my very first encounter with such a beast and my culinary mind began to wonder what one would do with such a thing.

Okay……..anyways……….back to Wolff’s….off we went on our journey to visit the Mystical – Magical – Mary of Media

……the second nor’easter of the season was blowing in and the promise of winds and snow were in our immediate future!

AHHHHHHH………Gingerbread Hubbard Squash Soup……..says The Tin Man, with all the confidence of a world renowned Chef, inspiring confidence in the small group huddled around!

“We shall go to Wolff’s and obtain this Hubbard Squash,” announces Jim, husband of Mary…

YIKES………. they think I know what to do with this Beast!

It was easy…..I just thought…….WHAT WOULD VIRGINIA DO?……You know Virginia of Bel’ Occhio’s Blog …..

…..NO!!!        Then click on it and go visit…she is a CHARM!!   With all the confidence of Virginia, the Culinary Goddess,

I set forth on my quest…….

Wolff’s Apple House has been supplying local residents with farm fresh produce since 1910, four generations of Wolff’s have dedicated themselves to this mighty task and the goodies all come from farms within a 50 mile radius. 

Such an amazing place! 

 

Several acres filled to the brim with marvelous, fresh produce, flowers, herbs, spices and did I mention baked goods!

 

We returned home and with all the confidence of a Master Chef, The Tin Man created

Gingerbread Hubbard Squash Soup topped with Pumpkin Oil

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It was a wonderful evening and to the Tin Man’s great surprise the soup was very good and left a smile on everyone’s face

We loved Wolff’s so very much that we went back and shipped a case of apples

back to Oz in Texas and are still enjoying them!

Thanks for the confidence, Virginia!

Miss you Jim & Mary………until next time……

Sacred Trust – Magical Place

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“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch.  Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”

e.e. cummings

Once in the life of the Tin Man there entered such a person, who brought such insight and confidence in exposing one’s vulnerability and inner light. 

This Most Magical Mary was the Undergraduate English Professor of the Tin Man, many decades ago.  Their lives have remained intertwined by the vines of love, respect and joy.  The vines continue to bear such beautiful fruit, even the Fall of their lives.  Once the roots of self  plunged into the sacred earth of conviction there sprouted buds to flourish a lifetime.

Marvelous, Magical Mary

 

Want to read more about Mary, click on this link:   https://the-tin-man.com/2012/04/08/reflections-a-visit-to-pennsylvania/  This was the Tin Man’s last visit to the Emerald City of the East and little did he know that his life would almost end upon his return home. 

It was time, to once again, pay a visit to Marvelous Mary in Media, Pennsylvania.  During this visit we wandered the paths of Ridley Creek State Park (just outside her front door – yeah, I am just a bit green with envy!) 

Ridley Creek State Park’ is a 2,606 acre Pennsylvania state park in Edgmont Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, Middletown Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania and Upper Providence Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The park, about 5 miles north of the county seat of Media, Pennsylvania, offers many recreational activities, such as hiking, biking, fishing, and picnicking.

Ridley Creek passes through the park. Highlights include a 5 mile paved multi-use trail, a formal garden designed by the Olmsted Brothers, and Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation, which recreates daily life on a pre-Revolutionary farm.

The park is adjacent to the John J. Tyler Arboretum.   Ridley Creek State Park is just over 16 miles from downtown Philadelphia, between Pennsylvania Route 352 and Pennsylvania Route 252 on Gradyville Road.

The bulk of the property was acquired in the late 1960s from the estate of well-known horse breeder Walter M. Jeffords, Sr. and his wife Sarah, a niece of Samuel D. Riddle.   The Jeffords had acquired the land starting about 1912 in small parcels, until they had over 2,000 acres, which was the largest private undeveloped property in the Philadelphia area by the 1960s.    By 1918 they had built a large mansion, now the park office, around a stone colonial farmhouse.  

Twenty-four other historic properties were located on the grounds, many farmsteads that had retained family ownership since the seventeenth century. 

In 1976 these properties were registered on the National Register of Historic Places.

The area was originally settled by English Quakers and remained agrarian into the twentieth century.   The oldest property is the 1683 Worrel House.  In 1718 a water mill,  then known as Providence Mill,  began to grind corn. In the late 18th century a plaster mill was established next to the grist mill.   

A rolling and slitting mill replaced the plaster mill by 1812,  and became known as Bishop’s Mills.   

Workers cottages, a dam, and several outbuildings complete the mill complex, now known as Sycamore Mills.    The mills operated until 1901, when they were damaged by fire.

When one walks through the park, nature reaches out and gathers one’s soul into her embrace; thereby removing all the pins and needles of civilization…

 

“Trust your heart if the seas catch fire, live by love though the stars walk backward.”
e.e. cummings

…….until next time, dearest Mary: “listen: there’s a hell
of a good universe next door; let’s go”
e.e. again…….