Friday, January 31, 2014

January In The Rear View Mirror

The first month of 2014 was a good start for our year.

First, we made our goal of having the house (less our two ‘offices’) completely decluttered and organized.  Boy did we find a lot of lost items!  Now that is done, I can get back on a regular cleaning cycle without having to work around ‘stuff’.  Also I can start doing some redecorating and some make-over’s. 

February will be the month we focus on our personal rooms… my studio and his study! 

Culinary fun is in full swing, we did three classes at Whole Foods as volunteers.  We love being able to do the classes without the expense, plus get some perks too.  We learn, we eat, we get the leftovers, and we either get points towards taking a class or WF gift cards. 

I haven’t had a bit of time for creative projects.  I’m so looking forward to get my studio finished. 

For travel we made our monthly trip to see the babies, and the kidnapping I wrote about earlier.  I love those kidnappings… hehehe…

January has been a great month…can’t wait to see what February holds!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Great Groupon Get-away: Exploring Along The Trace (Pt 2)

We drove off on the cold morning (21*F!!) and headed west to Hohenwald, TN for our next stop at a very special place. 

As most might know, we have a soft spot for elephants and sponsor a young bull thru the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.   

In Hohenwald there is a sanctuary for elephants who have been abused or are old and unwanted.  It is a true refuge for them…over 2000 acres where they can wander about, spending their last days just being an elephant. 

As a refuge, there are no visitors to the sanctuary itself.  However, they have a nice visitor education center in town, where you can learn about the overall issues of elephants in the United States.  

Each elephant has her own special story…these are just a few.

They have programs for school children too.

The gift shop helps to raise funds for their care.

The elephant sanctuary has its own channel on YouTube.  Here’s one of the many videos available to watch…

After spending over an hour at the visitor center, we headed back out to the Natchez Trace to head north towards the rest of the day’s stops.

The Trace is beautiful, with many stops such as this one with waterfalls.  Cold, icy waterfalls on this day.

I had to stop at this point as my slick soled shoes were not the sort for navigating the  ‘unimproved’ trail to the bottom.  I handed the camera over to Himself and headed back to the truck. 

Here are shots of the first waterfall.  In the first photo you can see the deck I was standing on.  He said that largest icicle was about 8 feet long!

The second fall was even more amazing.  He said the ice ‘bubbles’ were average about the size of a tennis ball.  And I have never seen ‘spikey’ icicles before!!  

Didn’t he get some great shots?

Next stop:  Leiper’s Fork for lunch at Puckett’s…

… then browsing in several art galleries.  This dog belongs to the owner of one of the galleries.  She had been seriously ‘dissed’ by a squirrel a few minutes earlier. 

We spent the most of the afternoon looking thru the galleries, and made a quick stop to check out a new-to-me TJ Maxx before our final event of the day.

We had reservations at Whitfield’s for dinner.  (Yes, another photo I didn’t take.) 

If you want a delicious dinner in Nashville, I will highly recommend Whitfield’s.  The dining room is cozy and comfortable without being crowed.  And the food was fantastic!  Himself had Chicken Saltimbocca (Pan Fried, prosciutto, mozzarella) over herbed linguini with a cremini mushroom pan sauce.  I had Beeler Farms Pork Porterhouse: 12oz bone in porterhouse, sweet potato mash, sautéed collard greens with garlic and chives, with apple butter.

This wonderful meal ended our very full day, and we headed back home until our next adventure.

Yes, I have another ‘kidnapping’ planned up…

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Great Groupon Get-away Kidnapping (Pt 1)

Last week I had a couple Groupons that needed to be used by the end of the month.  So reservations were made and I informed Himself that we were busy Wednesday and Thursday. 

With much curiosity on his part, we departed home in the morning and made our way south down the Natchez Trace.  All computers were left home!  

After a couple hours we arrived at our destination for the day; Natchez Hill Vineyard and B&B.

The package I had was for a box lunch then a tour of the vineyard and wine production area.  With temperatures in the mid 20s, we opted out of the walk among the vines. 

Instead we had our lunch in a cottage used mainly for weddings (the site is also an event venue).  

A bit later the owner Jim came over and we talked about the winery in the warmth of the cozy cottage.

Next was a walk across the parking lot to the tasting room and production building.

It was very interesting to see the workings of a small artesian vineyard doing things the old fashioned way.  

Once we asked every question we could think of, we moved into the tasting room. 

Owners Jim and Karen have based their wines on the drier wines of Europe and produce 2 blushes, 2 merlots and a Riesling.  But before you think ‘only five?’ remember quality is better than quantity. 

After the tour we headed over to the B&B a few miles from the winery.  It’s located near their house.  There are 3 options to choose from:  a room in the main house, a cottage or a wee log cabin.  They are an easy stroll away from the house.  

I picked out the cottage for our stay.  (Forgot to get a photo from the outside so I’ve taken this one from their Facebook page.)

Isn’t it cute?!  The bed was so comfortable I pulled up the sheet to see who made it.  Sterns and Foster will be at the top of my list when we get a new mattress! 

No computers and no television.  We spent our evening talking about our plans for the future.  

Next morning we were treated to a delicious breakfast and a lovely visit with Karen. 

All too soon it was time to start on the day’s adventures I had planned up…