Today we set out to see what we could see that we hadn't seen before. We started with brunch at Theresa's in downtown Bradenton. She starts at the crack of dawn, we didn't.
Afterword we stopped next door because we wanted to know what coastal, vintage, boho, glam is. Turns out its somewhat pricey mermaid wear and trinkets in an old house with a pretty front garden.
We checked out the surrounding neighborhood, an older section of Bradenton that borders on the Manatee River and a network of canals.
Next stop was Skyway Classics, to see old cars in various stages of restoration..
Our final stop was Detwiler's Farm Market filled with locally grown produce and made from scratch baked goods.
Most interesting thing we saw at the Red Barn flea market yesterday—a giant felted wool cat cozy. It’s something I think Nancy Fisher can appreciate.
And we did bring home some delicious Florida-grown strawberries from the farm market too.
Later in the day we saw that one of our alligator neighbors came out of the lake and onto the grass for a little afternoon sun. Yes, he’s that black line in the grass in the distance. Next time I promise I’ll get a little closer!
If you know me, then you know my husband is a hot dog connoisseur. He treated me to lunch al fresco at Willy-Yums today. Ben Miller--this could be in your future! Oh and the sign reminded me of the guy I used to work for who counseled me to 'always lie from the same set of numbers'!
Even though we have spent a lot of time in this area, there are still many places we haven't seen. Today we went over to the Emerson Point preserve on Snead Island. There are lots of walking paths and great views from the point, and a number of horse ranches on the island.
We were also in search of a place to get a pedicure. So with a nod to 'Claws' we looked for a place in Palmetto. Unfortunately, appointments are required. Who knew. Funny because shirts are not. So we settled for pedis in Brandenton.
Although I did travel to Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Indiana over the summer, it seems like forever since we've taken Sunny out for a spin. Thursday morning, we scratched that itch and set out for Bradenton, Florida. Three and a half days of rain later, we arrived at our home base for the winter. We have about 400 neighbors living in a variety of abodes, mostly mobile, surrounding a small lake (large pond) on the outskirts of Bradenton. Two of our neighbors are from Ohio (not unusual in these parts) and one is from Alabama. Today the weather is brilliantly sunny, warm, and welcoming. This is the view I am enjoying.
We have been spending time in this area for the better part of the last forty years--Doug even longer than that--so we are familiar with these parts. Last evening at sunset, we drove into town for a bite to eat at the Riverside Cafe--a place we've visited many times.. It's at a marina on the Manatee River. We reminisced about an evening we spent there 20 years ago. Andrew was 16 and Katie 13. We celebrated Christmas here that year with extended family. My parents were with us along with my Aunt Louise, Doug's mom and her friend Ray, Doug's brother and his family. We developed a habit of celebrating a random family member's birthday every evening, surprising the appointed celebrant with a complimentary dessert. The night we were at the Riverside we were entertained by a local singer named Roni. I don't recall whose 'birthday' it was (maybe Chris'?), but we all remember Roni. We were delighted to see that the stage looked exactly the same when we walked in last night!
That was a fun trip. Andy and Seth went jet skiing, we all went parasailing, Katie got to ride in the 'fun' car, I went to the Ringling Museum with Aunt Louse, and we flew home New Year's Eve arriving safely, Y2K notwithstanding!
So yes, it is fall. And I haven't posted all summer. I guess it's time, right?
In September, Geoff's good friend, artist, and gallerist, David Bell, presented a show in LA that included some of Geoff's work. Here's a short video.
After Labor Day we made a second trip to Elkhart, IN to the Forest River factory where they fixed some warranty issues for us. The technicians there are the best, and took care of every issue we could come up with and answered every question we could think of. We had some time to kill while they worked their magic. So this is what we did:
In August I accompanied my friend Madeleine on a road trip to Mechanicsville, MD to visit her daughter's family. We drove her brand new bright blue Subaru that practically drives itself. Maddy's daughter Sarah and her husband Neil have three children--Julia who is a new driver and accomplished cross country runner, Avery who taught us a lot about Minecraft and bakes apple pie, and Claire who is obsessed with and actually rides (at age four) horses. They live in a rural area with a nice pace for family life.
Claire was kind enough to accompany us on a day trip to nearby Solomon's Island that included a visit to the Calvert Marine Museum, a boat ride and lunch by the water.
We spent the first weekend in August visiting our friends Susan and Jeff Dvorin in Honesdale, PA, while Moose and Darla visited Elly, Fred, Bella, Inky and JoJo. Can you find seven dogs in this picture?
Susan rescues senior dogs, and we have wanted to introduce ours to theirs for a long time. Here's Darla meeting her doppleganger, Elly, for the first time.
While our furry family enjoyed puppy camp, we humans had some fun too. Susan took me on a tour of local antique stores. The grand finale was a visit to the world's largest collection of vaseline glass, the Martin Collection in Hawley PA. Most vaseline glass is green or yellow, and the uranium dioxide that's added during production causes it to glow under black light.
The glass museum collection also included some interesting items that have a life of their own.
Other adventures that weekend included minor league baseball (not!), a flat tire, an outdoor concert (not!), a round of golf, a trip to the Wayne County fair which resulted the purchase of a hot tub, a lovely boat ride, several trips for ice cream, lots of relaxing, and lots of laughs.
Moose and Darla want to go back to puppy camp next year!
On the way home, we made a stop in Bellfonte, PA to enjoy the architecture.
Highlights at Home
And there was plenty happening at home too.
Well, I didn't stay home long. On May 8, I headed to Parkfield for a visit with Dave and Geoff. It was a flight, not a road trip--which turned out to be a challenge due to a series of severe storms in the Midwest, but I was able to fly in and out of San Luis Obispo, which is only an hour from their house.
Unknowingly, it was my last visit with Geoff. He passed away a week after I came home. I am so grateful and blessed for the time we was part of our family and for the chance to share these last few days. It was a quiet, peaceful ten days spent gardening, star gazing, listening to music, cooking, visiting with friends in the neighborhood, and taking long walks. And there was napping too! We found time for an afternoon at the beach and attended an artist's talk at the one-room schoolhouse.
I arrived just in time for the annual Parkfield Bluegrass Festival. For three days the population grows from 18 to about 1,000. We were surrounded by tents, campers, and music.
Here are some views from the house.
And views from my walks.
This is a place Geoff loved and he will rest in peace here.
Geoffrey Hart Tuck(1960 - 2019)
January 19, 1960 - May 25, 2019 Geoff Tuck, artist, blogger, baker, friend of all things winged, and loving husband, passed away unexpectedly of complications from brain cancer. He was diagnosed with Gliobastoma on Friday, April 13, 2018. He conquered many medical adversities in his life, thanks to his stubborn and willful nature and the outstanding care of dozens of staff at Kaiser Sunset over the past 20 years. He met this latest challenge with his characteristic tenacity, but it overcame him suddenly in the form of a seizure when he was thinking about where to go for dinner last Saturday. A true child of California, Geoff was born in Anaheim, grew up in Diamond Bar and La Canada, lived in Hancock Park for 16 years, and retired to the town of Parkfield, in southern Monterey County, in 2013 - smack on top of the San Andreas Fault.
Geoff was a tireless champion of the contemporary arts for over 20 years. He authored the blog "Notes on Looking" for more than a decade, his observations on art, artists, music, and most everything else. He led the Fellows of Contemporary Art for two years. He was also, at various times in his life, a doughnut fryer, an employee of the Federal Reserve, a Construction Administrator, and a jewelry maker. With his husband he organized 20 artists' retreats on the V6 Ranch in Parkfield, and edited 5 issues of "The Parkfield Review," as well as "Classical Music for Artists" and a collection of his own writing. For the last several years he was a painter himself. He loved the excitement and energy of Los Angeles, and he cherished the peace and quiet of the San Andreas back country, the Diablo Mountains, and the beach at Cayucos. He leaves behind his partner and husband of 22 years, David Richards; his brothers Mike and Jim; his sister Amanda; his nephew Matt; his cousins Mary and John; his dear friend Sheri Sutton; and dozens of friends. There will be a community burial in Imusdale Cemetery outside Parkfield on Saturday, June 15, followed by a celebration of his life. As Geoff would likely say, "Yay!"
Published in the Los Angeles Times May 30, 2019
We've been home for almost two weeks now, so it's time to wrap up this winter's travels.
It's spring in Texas, and we have enjoyed the roadside display of wildflowers all the way through the state.
Our first stop was in Waco. site of the Branch Davidian debacle and birthplace of my favorite soft drink--Dr. Pepper, where we visited the so-named museum.
Waco is also home to the Magnolia retail empire of fixer-uppers Chip and Joanna Gaines. We visited their downtown silos site, complete with home-goods retail, a bakery, demonstration gardens and related store, play space, food trucks, and thousands of Magnolia t-shirts for sale. It has become a major tourist destination. Word is there are lines around the block on weekends to get in. The spot has spurred a lot of downtown development which has given a leg up to other local small businesses. So, whether or not you like their products, they seem to have boosted the local economy.
Best feature of our camp spot was the resident goat population we discovered on the way out.
Our next overnight was in Hot Springs, AK. It has alot to offer: beautiful natural surroundings, outdoor activities, history related to the natural springs, notable architecture, a good selection of restaurants and shops, walkable main street.
We had dinner at the Ohio Club, naturally--good food and an interesting history that includes gambling, gangsters, baseball, and music.
We stayed at a bautiful campground called Catherine's Landing. It also has a small lodge for non-campers. There was an impressive assortment of nifty camping trailers when we were there. Travel tip: this would be a great place for a family vacation. I give it five stars, for sure.
Yesterday was our last beach day. A storm with heavy winds came through last night and dumped about 2" of rain that lasted all day. We knew it was coming and planned accordingly. It gave us a day to get things in order for the trip north, which starts tomorrow morning. So yesterday did not disappoint. It was the warmest day all month and there was lots going on as you can see.
We have found several great restaurants in this little beach town: La Playa Mexican Grill, Fins, Stingrays, Bluewater Cowboy.
Shortly after, our waiter delivered a generous taste of not only the dish we had asked for, but a sample of their most-requested dish! Both were delicious, as was the rest of our meal. She was a most gracious hostess, returning to see how we liked the food and telling us more about herself and her restaurants. And Pete and Joyce, who generously treated us to the meal and spent the afternoon touring around P.A. with us, are the best company!
So, Doug and I returned for another meal there as our time in P. A. was winding down. This time we opted for seafood--scallops, red snapper, shrimp, and crab. Yum!
Ann, Doug, Moose, Darla, Sunny, and with gratitude, Winnie and Chinny.