Friday, October 23, 2015

Making our way south

The route we took back to Florida led  through Indiana where we made two stops. The most memorable one was French Lick. Funny name but beautiful place. It was originally a French trading post next to a salt lick. Hence French Lick. It is the home of two beautiful, historic hotels, The French Lick Resorts. I especially loved the rocking chairs that lined the wide porches. Basketball fans may recognize the name as the home of Larry Bird. 

Continuing south, we stopped     in Danville and Bowling Green, Kentucky. Danville is a small town with a lot to boast about. The National Trust for Historic Preservation awarded it the Great Main Street Award. Money Magazine ranked it 4th best place to retire in 2011. And two Vice-Presidential debates were held there.  

Not far from Danville is the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, the largest restored Shaker Village in the Country. Immaculate buildings are sprawled over 3,000 beautiful acres. 

Another charming town we stopped in on our way south was Florence, Alabama. It is the home of the University of Northern Alabama. In the center of the beautiful campus is a huge enclosure for 2 lions, the school mascots.

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Not far from Florence is Tuscumbia, the birthplace of Helen Keller 1880-1968. She was stricken with a disease as an infant that left her blind and deaf. Right outside the house is the well where her teacher Annie Sullivan broke through and Helen suddenly understood that Annie was writing the word 'water' in her hand. The story is depicted in the famous movie The Miracle Worker. Helen Keller went on to graduate from Radcliffe College becoming the first blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Then it was on to Birmingham and finally Mobile, Alabama where we visited with my brother and his family. Cousins from New York came down making it a little family reunion. Mobile is actually the birthplace of the Carnival and Mardi Gras. The Carnival Museum houses many of the parade floats and magnificent robes the King and Queen wear. 

Now we will be heading back into Florida. 




Thursday, September 10, 2015


John and Donna took us out on their pontoon boat
Our lodging in Sister Bay
During the second part of our summer in Wisconsin we visited Appleton, Green Bay, Manitowoc, Door County and Milwaukee. While in Appleton and Milwaukee, we were able to reconnect with Wisconsin friends we met on a cruise last year. We spent a lovely afternoon on their pontoon boat. 

While in Manitowoc, we visited the West of the Lake Gardens, 6 acres of beautiful grounds, trees and flowers bordering Lake Michigan. 
West of Lake Gardens
Lighthouse in Peninsula State Park Door County
Interior of the log cabin

Our cottage Baileys Harbor

With Anne & Scott Baileys Harbor cottage

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Ron, Anne & Scott Door County
With Caroline, Nick & Clare

Milwaukee River Walk

Our transportation around Washington Island

Original log cabinWashington Island

DoorCounty is part of a long peninsula reaching into Lake Michigan. It is covered with farms and dotted with cute, little towns. We spent a week in Sister Bay and a month in Baileys Harbor. While in Sister Bay, we drove to the end of the peninsula and took the ferry over to Washington Island, a remote, sparsely populated area. There was only one person in the 2015 graduating class! We wandered through some of the barns and buildings that have been preserved from earlier centuries. 

While in Baileys Harbor, our good friends Anne and Scott came up from Chicago to spend a few days with us. We enjoyed showing them the charming towns Door County is famous for. Between our stays in Door County and Milwaukee, we dipped back down into Illinois for 5 days to attend the wedding of Anne and Scott's daughter Megan. It was a beautiful affair and we were so happy to be part of it.

Our cottage in Baileys Harbor was adorable. The view from the bedroom window was like looking into an enchanted forest.

View from bedroom

We also got to see our niece Caroline while in Door County. Her husband Nick is from Sturgeon Bay and they came up for a weekend so it was wonderful to have lunch with them one day. 

Our final stop in Wisconsin was Milwaukee. It's a very nice city right on Lake Michigan. There are lovely parks and long walking paths along the water. It is also fun to walk through the restored historical Ward 3 and along the Riverwalk through the heart of the city.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


View from our room at Grand Geneva Hotel
Mansions line shores of Lake Geneva
City park Lake Geneva
Wisconsin is a beautiful state covered with lush, green forests and dotted with lakes.

Heidel House grounds at Green Lake
Our first stop was the town of Lake Geneva, long popular as a summer retreat for people from Chicago and Milwaukee. It was here that Frank Lloyd Wright built the first modern drive-in motel. Wealthy barons of the 19th century built homes here and it came to be known as 'the Newport of the West'. We enjoyed a boat tour around the lake, seeing the beautiful homes and mansions that line the shores. 

Then it was on to the smaller but lovely Green Lake. Friends we met while cruising live nearby and it was a pleasure to see them again. As natives of Wisconsin, they were able to give us lots of good advice. We saw them again when we moved on to Stevens Point. 

Heidel House on Green Lake
We spent several days in Wausau, a very nice little city bordering the Wisconsin River. 
On June 13 we arrived in Eagle River where we had booked a  townhouse on Voyageur Lake for one month. The lake is one of 28 composing the world's largest chain of lakes. We were told Wisconsin has more lakes that Minnesota; there are 1,300 in this general area alone. With so much water, you can imagine how popular fishing and boating are here. We were fortunate that neighbors invited us for a boat ride and gave us a tour of 
many of the connected lakes.

Hiking in the National Forest North Country

Our place on Voyageur Lake - one of a row of townhouses
Our view
With 3 stories, our lodging had far more room than we are used to. It was great having our own laundry room and a full kitchen where Ron made many delicious, healthy meals.  

Living area and kitchen 2nd floor

We hiked local trails and the nearby National Forest, and visited surrounding towns. On a drive back from the tiny town St. Germain, we saw two young Chinese girls walking their bikes so stopped to help them. They are on a work-study program at one of the area lodges so we put the bikes in the trunk and drove them back.  It turned out that there are actually 4 of them here. They were so appreciative and sweet that we enjoyed taking them out and to lunch a couple of times.  

Boating with our neighbors
Not to be missed was the Eagle River 4th of July parade. Surrounding towns participate and people come from near and far. It has been a very relaxing, enjoyable time here. Next week we will be heading south to visit other Wisconsin towns and Door County which we've heard many wonderful things about. 


New friends: Chinese girls on work-study program

4th of July Parade

This is what you need for snow in northern Wisconsin


You probably know Wisconsin is known as America's Dairyland. It leads the nation in cheese production and is 2nd to California in milk production. But did you know it produces more than 60% of the nation's cranberries? No wonder cranberry is the official state fruit. 

Wisconsin has long been famous as a major beer producer. Though some of the best known companies are defunct or moved out of state, craft beers have become hugely popular and there are countless microbreweries. New Glarus Brewing Company is considered one of the best in the country. 

4th of July parade: Horse of the fallen soldier
Wisconsin borders Lake Superior as well as Lake Michigan. The state capital is Madison but the largest city is Milwaukee. One third of the approximately 6 million Wisconsinites live in the greater Milwaukee area.

You probably know that Frank Lloyd Wright was from Wisconsin but many other famous people were also from here: Spencer Tracy, Orson Wells, Liberace, Georgia O'Keefe, Jackie Mason, Houdini, Chris Farley and Gene Wilder to name a few.  





Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library
Presidential Museum
Presidential Museum
Replica of  Lincoln's childhood home
Lincoln Family Home

Our first stop in Illinois was Springfield, the capital of the state but its real claim to fame is that President Lincoln lived, worked and is
buried here. 

The magnificent Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library opened in 2004 and houses an unbelievable amount of Lincoln papers and artifacts. Steven Spielberg spent months here researching Lincoln so that his movie would be as accurate a portrayal of the 16th  president as possible. 

As nice as the museum is, it is especially moving to walk down the street where Lincoln ands family lived before he was elected president. The entire street has been preserved as a National Historic site. Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd bought their home here in 1844 and lived there until moving to Washington in 1861. Homes on the block appear as they did when Lincoln lived there.

Lincoln, his wife and 3 of their 4 sons are buried in Springfield. This year marked the 150th anniversary of the assassination. 

We spent some time in the Chicago area to visit our good friends Anne and Scott and see my niece Caroline, her husband Nick and their 6 year old daughter Clare. Seeing people you love is always the best part of our travels.

We are now in Wisconsin and will be moving around the state for the next 3 plus months. 

If you would like to read interesting things about Lincoln's funeral click this link or paste in browser: