The weekend arrived, marking the start of our second week in Spain. Since we didn’t have any classes, we took a train ride of about an hour out to Jerez de La Frontera. Jerez is the famous for its Sherry as well as its flamenco dancers and musicians. The flamenco shows tend to start late—some start in the early morning hours—so we didn’t make any of them this time around.
We did get some photos of what turned out to be a charming and beautiful town. A few are below.
We made it and we are now settling in to our flat in Seville, where we will spend the next 6 weeks. We are in a (Spanish) language immersion program. Mary Anne is in the advanced class. Needless to say I am not. I am in the class with the other hopeless specimens.
But all is not lost. I learned how to order both red and white wine (vino tinto y vino blanco). So far so good.
Our 2 bedroom flat is in the old town section and is quite comfortable. That said there is a soccer match between Glasgow and Frankfurt scheduled for tonight and the place is teeming with fans. We are hoping to avoid a round of football hooliganism. We’ll see.
The city is very charming. I included a few photos taken in the neighborhood where we are staying. More on the way as we get settled in and get more familiar with the city.
We are finally getting back on the road. We recently gave Road Scholar a test spin with a trip to New Mexico. Our group leader, Scott Aarestad, whose photo is included below, did a great job of showing our group around—with the sites ranging from places in the city of Albuquerque to Taos to Los Alamos to hikes in Bandelier Monument. Bandelier is closed for the time being due to the horrific forest fires that are now raging in New Mexico.
Anyway, a couple of photos from our trip, including one of our terrific group leader are below. We will post more photos in the coming weeks. In the meantime we are leaving this afternoon for an extended trip to Seville, Spain. After we settle in, expect photos and comments on that trip.
Longwood Gardens is an immense collection of botanical gardens in Kennet Square, PA. It is largely the creation of Pierre DuPont who originally bought the 1,077 acres to preserve the trees growing there. Located in the Brandywine Creek Valley, it is one of the premier display gardens open to the public year-round.
Pierre DuPont, who was 36 years old when he bought the property, did not originally intend the create Longwood Gardens. Within a few years though, he transformed it from a country farm into a leading horticultural display gardens. It was opened to the public in 1921. The Gardens have attracted over 1 million visitors a year since 2012.
We recently visited the Gardens and took a few photos; some are shown below.
The New York Times describes Asheville as a big blue dot amid a sea of red voters in western North Carolina. And it is that. It is also a tourist mecca and home to the Biltmore Estate. Built by George Washington Vanderbilt between 1889 and 1895 it is, according to Wikipedia, the largest privately owned house in the United States and a prominent example of a Gilded Age mansion.
Originally built as a summer home, today with its 250 rooms and 130,000 square feet of living space, it serves as a museum. Vanderbilt commissioned the architect Richard Morris Hunt to design the house, and Frederick Law Olmsted to design the grounds. Olmsted is famous for his design of Central Park in New York. He also designed Divine Park in Spring Lake, NJ.
We visited the Biltmore and spent a few days looking around Asheville just recently. A few shots from the trip are below.
Fall has finally arrived. This fall the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival returned to Reston Town Center. Sponsored by the Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art, the festival provides a forum for artists to display their work and offer pieces for sale. This year’s festival was rescheduled from May of 2021 to September 9 though 12 of 2021. All in all a welcome development after last year’s festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A few shots taken at the festival are below. Also include is a photo of looking over Reston West and the changing colors of Autumn.
There is a lot more to see and do on the Outer Banks in North Carolina than just hang out at the beach–which truth be told is pretty enjoyable by itself. There are plenty of other things to see. Among them are the lighthouses at Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras, the Jockey Ridge Sand Dunes, Corolla Park, the town of Mateo and the Roanoke Island Lighthouse. And not too far away is the Kitty Hawk Museum that celebrates the first flights of the Wright brothers. We visited them all. Some photos are below, available for licensing at www.evocativephotos.com.
We recently traveled back up to New Jersey to attend the wedding of our nephew Kevin McDonald to Becca Lipke. The wedding had actually been scheduled for 2020, but due to the Covid pandemic, it was postponed for a year. With things finally opening up, the wedding went forward.
The ceremony took place at Hudson House on Port Liberte. It overlooks the Hudson River, with spectacular views Manhattan’s downtown skyline, including Freedom Tower and the Statue of Liberty.
While we were in Jersey City we took a walk through the Newport section and then the Hoboken train station. Here (below) are some photos from Jersey City and the train station.