Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review

Sculpterra Winery is Family Friendly


Having children along need not keep parents from wine tasting. Paso Robles has a few family friendly wineries that have plenty to keep children happy and occupied as parents do the tasting. My personal favorite of these is Sculpterra.

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review

Photo©Barbara Radisavljevic

Sculpterra Owner Dr. Warren Frankel Cares about Families


He showed how much he cared for his own when he moved his medical practice from the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County to Templeton in 1970. In 1979 he bought a 90-acre ranch in Paso Robles on which to raise his children. Trust me,  There couldn't be a more beautiful place to raise children than the location Dr. Frankel chose. He and his wife Kathy also have room to keep the horses they like to ride and plenty of room to ride them through the vineyards and orchards.

But Dr. Frankel cares about more than his own family. He and some other doctors got together to found His Healing Hands, a medical ministry that sends medical missionaries on short term missions to almost every corner of the world to bring medical care to the poorest of the poor. They are often on the scene after a major disaster like Hurricane Katrina. I personally know people who have participated in these short term missions with Dr. Frankel, and I've met Dr. Frankel himself at Sculpterra. When you buy wine at Sculpterra, part of the profits go to support His Healing Hands. Read more about Dr. Frankel here.

Dr. Frankel loves his country and the people of Paso Robles. He is a concerned and active citizen. I often hear him express his views about local issues on our local radio stations "Morning Exchange" and "Sound Off" programs. Every year he also hosts an Independence Day party at the winery for the community. In the past he has treated those who attend to free hot dogs, popcorn, pizza, apple pie, bottled water, and wine. Read more about these parties on my blog post, Independence Day at Sculpterra Winery.

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review

Photo©Barbara Radisavljevic

What Does Sculpterra Have to Offer Kids?

Sculpterra's sculpture garden is full of renowned sculptor John Jagger's gigantic sculptures in bronze and granite. (Miniature versions of many of them are for sale in the tasting room.) If you are anywhere near the tasting room you probably will be able to see at least one large sculpture near you. There is also usually a place within view of the sculptures where parents can sit and drink their wine as children explore the paths that lead to the sculptures.

This sculpture by John Jaggers is my favorite of all of them.

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review
"Sweet Dreams" by John Jagger at Sculpterra

I can imagine "Gentle Giant" wowing the younger generation. It, like the other sculptures, is huge. They make even adults looking at them feel small.

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review
"Gentle Giant," by John Jagger at Sculpterra Winery, Photo © Barbara Radisavljevic

The Work of Resident Artist Dale Evers 


I've always loved what our local artist Dale Evers did with an old car door. I first saw the dog in this door outside Dale's Paso Robles studio. You couldn't miss it as you walked by.

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review


Then one day when I was at Sculpterra after almost a year's absence, I saw this right between the parking lot and the path to the tasting room entrance. Look familiar?

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review

Of course, that's only one piece of Dale's work on display at Sculpterra. Every time I visit Sculpterra I find more of it. He works in metal and much of his work is very delicate. So it is with the butterfly chimes below. I was really surprised to find them at Sculpterra because they used to live nextdoor to our Templeton house at ZinAlley winery. Here's how they looked there.

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review


Now they live at Sculpterra in Central Park West.

Central Park West


Here are the chimes in their new home.

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review


Central Park West has all kinds of activities for children and adults who like to play games. Of course, everyone likes to push the chimes to hear them ring. There are also two stone chess tables, a bocce ball court (on the other side of the picnic tables), a cement foosball table, and a custom made table tennis table. Parents can sit in the comfortable chairs to drink their wine. The very top photo in this post gives you another look at the game tables from a different perspective. Equipment for the games can be checked out in the tasting room.

Sculpterra Mural, "Legacy of California Wine in Art" 


Another part of Central Park West I hope people will show their children is the "Legacy of California Wine in Art." (See above.) Artists Bob Bentley and Steve Kalar collaborated to present this mural of the history of wine in California.

Art is Everywhere at Sculpterra


Besides the sculptures and art panels scattered around the area near the tasting room, there is plenty of wall art by local artists for sale inside the tasting room. One art wall is reserved for each month's featured artist. I was last there in December 2018, and the Artist of the Month was Drew Davis. I had actually found him painting in front of the tasting room that day and we talked for a bit. You never know what or who you will find on a visit to Sculpterra.

Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review
Artist of the Month Wall Featuring the Work of Drew Davis, ©Barbara Radisavljevic



Sculpterra: The Family Friendly Winery in Paso Robles: A Review
Drew Davis, Photo ©Barbara Radisavljevic

A Visit to Sculpterra Is Educational


Look at the mural shown above and talk with your children about California's history as you look at the individual pictures on it. It begins with the missions and so far ends with the arrival of the railroad.

As you walk through the sculpture garden, talk about the artists and their work. Talk about sculpture as an art form. Do a bit of research before you go and learn enough to teach your children. Help your children notice the characteristics of the sculptures. Ask how the sculptures make them feel or how they think the artists may have felt about their subjects. Note the expressions on the animal faces.

Like most wineries I visit, Sculpterra grows herbs in the gardens surrounding the the tasting room. See if your children can identify them. Point out the various birds and beneficial insects the garden attracts.

If you're really lucky, you may even get to watch an artist work. And on Sunday afternoons there are usually free concerts outside.

Find out when harvest will occur in the fall and plan to observe it. On some of my visits to Sculpterra I have watched Dr. Frankel's son Paul, the winemaker, at work and he doesn't mind answering questions. In this video he explains how they handpick the grapes at Sculpterra. This short video is one of a series that may be good preparation for your family to watch before they visit Sculpterra.




Everyone in Your Family Will Find Something to Enjoy

For personal reasons related to family history, I don't drink anything alcoholic, so I can't comment on tasting Sculpterra's award-winning wines. I do have many friends who have joined their wine club. It's a shame to live in wine country and not drink wine. But I can always find something new to see and enjoy at Sculpterra when I'm the designated driver. If I had children at home, I would certainly not hesitate to take them with me on my visits. I know they would come away enriched by the experience. And for sure, there's enough to see and do here to keep designated drivers and those too young to drink from getting bored. 

Next time you are in Paso Robles California, make a point of stopping by Sculpterra. You will be glad you did. Learn more about Sculpterra and other wineries on the California Central Coast in this beautifully illustrated book.



See more Sculpterra photos here: Sculpterra is a Great Place to Find Unique Gifts from Local Artists
See also my article on HubPages: Sculpterra Winery: Where Art, Wine, and Music Mix for more about Sculpterra and links to the videos I made there on my first visit.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

My Visit to Ronald Reagan Presidential Library: A Photo Review

Up the Long Road to the Reagan Library at the Top

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
When we visited in June 2011, the library grounds were full of flowers. 


We visited the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, as part of our 47th Wedding Anniversary celebration.  The library is easy to access, since it's in a part of California that so far does not have the traffic problems of larger cities. You can find library hours and directions here. The driveway was long and curvy as it climbed to the library buildings at the top. This is what we saw when we got there.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review

The view below shows the other side of the entrance.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review

On the way up we passed this picnic area just before we got to the buildings. If you look toward the back of the photo below you will see part of the enormous parking lot. Parking is free, but some spaces require a long walk up to the building.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Picnic Area at Reagan Library


The Library Entrance through the Courtyard


This is the way to enter the courtyard that leads to the main entrance. You pass through the shadow into the light, where you see the fountain in the courtyard.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Through the Shadows and into the Bright Courtyard


Here is a better look at the fountain. You can pick up this view at Zazzle as a postcard, a puzzle, blank greeting card, magnet, or beverage coaster set.  I show it here as a puzzle. You can click the image if you want to purchase it or see the other products.

As you approach the door, this statue of Ronald Reagan himself greets you.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Ronald Reagan Statue


Once inside the door, you can pay for your admission and proceed to the exhibits. There is an order to it. I went accidentally the wrong way, so I didn't see the displays in the order I should have. But it was still a  wonderful walk through Reagan's life - personal, professional, and political. (Note: The docents were wonderfully helpful at getting me back to where I took the wrong turn.)

Ronald Reagan's Early Years


The library's archives reveal that Ronald Reagan grew up in a poor family. He just didn't realize it at the time. His father was a shoe salesman and the family didn't own a home. When young Ronald was 14 he got his first job - digging ditches. Later he worked as a lifeguard during the summers. He saved his money toward tuition to supplement his college scholarship for Eureka College.

Reagan was raised in Dixon, Illinois, and his mother was a devout Christian and a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ.) His father was Catholic. Nelle Reagan was known in her church as a prayer warrior. She maintained her ties to the Dixon church even after she moved to California. Her Bible is on display at the Reagan Library, along with many family photos and other family possessions in the exhibit on Reagan's early life.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Nelle Reagan's Bible


The Air Force One Pavilion

I think the most impressive exhibit was the Air Force One Pavilion. I was overwhelmed by the spaciousness of it when I walked in. Whereas most of the exhibits were enclosed by walls on both sides as you walked the path between them, the Pavilion displaying all the means of presidential transport was wide open and multistoried. Its glass outside walls allowed one to survey the surrounding valley as far as the eye could see. As you look at the photos of Air Force and Marine One, and gauge their size, you realize just how big this pavilion is to house it all. The library makes some space in the Pavilion available for public events. 

Maine One

The photo below of Marine One shows you how large it is in comparison to the tables you see in the background that are often used at events. 

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Marine One


Below is a closer view of the front of the Marine One helicopter. 


Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Another View of Marine One


Air Force One

Those of us who have only taken to the air in commercial planes can easily be impressed when we board Air Force One and see what those fly on private or special government planes are treated to. Air Force One is a flying office, command center, and a place to entertain guests and the press corps. Library visitors not only tour Air Force One, but they can also get their pictures taken as they exit. One cannot take pictures aboard the plane legally without official permission. The exterior is impressive enough!

Here's the front of Air Force One

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Front of Air Force One


Below is the tail section of the jet that carried President Reagan and all who traveled with him. I took the photos from the second level of the Pavilion. At the back on the lower level you can see the mural depicting all the air transportation presidents have used. 

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Tail of Air Force One


I have included this official video  from the library to give you a better view of the Pavilion. It takes a video to do it justice, but you really can't take it all in unless you actually visit. Honestly, it is truly awesome. 



The Motorcade

The Pavilion also houses the land vehicles the President and those that protected him rode in.  You will find President Reagan's 1984 Cadillac limousine and a "follow-up" or "chase" vehicle -- a 1986 Chevrolet Suburban. That vehicle handles on-site communications and transport for the agents protecting the President. I had not realized that when the Presidents travel outside the country, these secure vehicles are transported by air to wherever the President will be .  Both vehicles are in the photo below. Please click to see a larger view.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Part of the Presidential Motorcade


I just had to add this photo with the limo's Gipper license plate. They sure keep the limousine shiny. It might as well be a mirror.

The "Gipper" License Plate



The Berlin Wall


Perhaps some best remember Ronald Reagan for his appeal in a speech: "Mister Gorbachev, tear down this wall."  As we know, the wall finally did come down. One of the displays that really hit me was the reconstruction of part of the Berlin Wall. Here is one view of it. The hole is there for children to crawl through to explore.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Berlin Wall Exhibit


Here's a genuine piece of the wall that is displayed outside of the buildings so you can see both sides.

This is the drab side that would have faced inside the wall.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Genuine Berlin Wall Fragment


This is the other side, facing outside, where people drew pictures and wrote messages. I believe this part is particularly beautiful.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
The More Artistic Side of the Berlin Wall Fragment


 I made of two different views of this Berlin Wall panel as postcards . They are for sale in my Zazzle store, Barb's California Card and Gift Gallery.



Here is Reagan's famous "Tear down this wall" speech.




Last Photos


These photos didn't fit under the headings above. One exhibit reflects Reagan's love for horses. I'm not sure if it depicts his favorite horse, El Alamein, or not. I read that El Alamein was buried on Reagan's Santa Barbara Ranch. On the wall around this exhibit there is a life-size photo of Reagan riding his horse. That is not visible in this photo.

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with Me: A Photo Review
Reagan loved his horses. 


A fitting image to complete this post is the final resting place of Ronald Wilson Reagan, who died on June 5, 2004. The lettering on the monument is too light to read in the photo, but this is what it says:

"I know in my heart that man is good
That what is right will always eventually triumph
And there is purpose and worth to each and every life"
The poster below and a postcard with the same image are in my Zazzle store.

 I hope you have enjoyed this mini-tour of the Ronald Reagan Library. If you ever get the chance, I hope you will go see it. Some of the exhibits I didn't have room to mention here are very moving. There is a video of the attempted assassination, and other videos reveal how much Nancy and the President loved each other. The final one left me in tears. I hadn't thought to bring tissues, but a docent was handing them out after I finished watching that video.

Many exhibits deal with Reagan's relationships with the leaders of other nations. You will also see a full-size replica of the Oval Office with Reagan's desk. You can even get your picture taken behind Reagan's podium with his seal. Do you recognize those who who are listening?



If you visit the Reagan Presidential Library, be sure to leave enough time to enjoy it all. You should be able to get through all the exhibits in three to four hours. If you are hungry, there are two dining options available -- a cafe and a pub. You don't need to pay admission to visit the cafe, but the pub doesn't have an outside entrance for the public. You will also probably want to leave some time to walk the grounds.

SEE ALL TRAVEL TIPS & DESTINATIONS REVIEWED

All photos and text are © B. Radisavljevic





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Saturday, February 2, 2019

Review of Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans

Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans. (Source: Wikipedia)
Cafe Du Monde is a famous coffee shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  It was opened in 1862 and is famous for it's chicory-blend coffee and Beignets.  It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except for Christmas Day (and the occasional hurricane).  Luckily, this famous cafe suffered only minor damage during Hurricane Katrina.

I've visited Cafe Du Monde twice on visits to New Orleans.  It has a charming atmosphere and the Beignets are the most delectable pastry you will ever taste.  I do have to admit, though, that I personally find the famous chicory coffee 'undrinkable'.  I do not like the taste of chicory and I dislike strong coffee.  But if you love chicory coffee or Vietnamese-style iced coffee, you will love the Cafe Du Monde coffee, particularly their Cafe au lait. 


Cafe au Lait




Cafe au Lait  (Image Source)

Cafe au lait is coffee with hot milk added.  This is different from coffee known as 'white coffee', which has cold milk or other whitener added.  Cafe au Lait simply means “coffee with milk”. 


Beignet




Beignets (Image Source)

Beignet is a French pastry that is deep fried and served topped with powdered sugar.  It is so light and flaky and irresistible! 

The allrecipes site has a recipe for you to make your own Beignets at home if you are not able to visit Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. 



Beignet Recipe

Ingredients:

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup shortening
1 quart vegetable oil for frying
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions:


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, salt, eggs, evaporated milk, and blend well. Mix in 4 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Add the shortening, and then the remaining 3 cups of flour. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours.
  2. Roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares. Fry in 360 degree F (180 degrees C) hot oil. If beignets do not pop up, oil is not hot enough. Drain onto paper towels.
  3. Shake confectioners' sugar on hot beignets. Serve warm.


There are also box mixes of Beignets available if you do not care to go to the (delicious) trouble of starting from scratch. 

The word Beignet, of course, means donut.


Visit Cafe Du Monde




The original Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand is located at 800 Decatur Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans. In 1985 a second cafe was opened and today there are 8 Cafe Du Monde locations in the New Orleans Metropolitan area.  

The Cafe Du Monde coffee stand is a 'must-see' and very tasty attraction for any New Orleans Visit. The literal translation of Cafe Du Monde means “Coffee of the World”

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(c) 2/2/2019. Article by Wednesday Elf




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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Photographing Christmas in Historic St. Charles


One of my favorite Christmas outings is a walk down Main  Street in downtown St Charles, Missouri.  This charming town was built on the banks of the Missouri river.  I wrote about this town in a previous post World Wide Photo Walk
In that post you see the town decked out in their fall décor.

In this post I will give you a brief history of the town and then share my photos taken during early December.

A Brief History of St. Charles

Here is a few of the highlights of St. Charles history. If you'd like to know more, check out the link below.

  • Founded in 1769 by French-Canadian fur trader Louis Blanchette
  •  In 1804 on the banks of the Missouri river, Lewis and Clark met here to begin their westward expedition.
  • In 1818 Saint Philippine Duchesne established first free girls school west of the Mississippi.
  • Between 1821-1826 St. Charles served as Missouri's first capital.
  • Today it is a destination for over one million visitors each year.
https://www.discoverstcharles.com/about/history/


Conservatory for Weddings


Before we started our walk  down Main Street we stopped by the Conservatory a greenhouse turned into a wedding venue.  It was my first visit and I found it a delightful setting for small weddings.  Below is a shot looking toward the front of the greenhouse.


Photos from our Walk down the Historic Streets

After visiting the Conservatory  we proceeded down Main Street to photograph the historic buildings in their Christmas décor.  I was especially drawn to the windows and doors as you can see in the photos below.






Zazzle Products from Main Street Photos




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