Thursday, September 20, 2012

Photo Thursday: Revisiting Paris in the Spring Time

We are going to be in Paris this fall for a few days, which made me think about our last trip to Paris in the lovely days of late spring. I love gardens and we spent most of our time wandering the city, spending every moment we could out doors enjoying the city in all its green goodness!

One of my favorite places was the Bagatelle, where the flowers were gorgeous (even in the rain) and the peacocks seemingly performed on command!
I'm expecting we'll want to spend more time indoors when we return this November and I'd love ideas for places to spend a potentially cold and rainy day in Paris!

For great "Photo Thursday" images from around the world, visit Nancie's Budget Travelers Sandbox. Submit your own photo and join in the fun!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Into the Wayback Machine: The Dari-ette in Saint Paul

An unexpected luncheon date at work this summer brought me to the Dari-ette in Saint Paul's Dayton's Bluff neighborhood. 
This is truly a Wayback Machine experience. I'm sure there were places like this when I was a kid, but not that I knew about. Maybe I grew up in the wrong place. . . or maybe I'm just not old enough.

The Dari-ette is an old-fashioned drive-in (the drive in stands are still there, but there is no drive-in service :-(  which REALLY would have qualified as a Wayback Machine experience) with ice cream, burgers, hot dogs, and Italian American specialties. Yeah, Italian. The pasta is decent and the red sauce quite good. Bring your own Parmesan cheese and ignore the garlic bread in favor of a malt and you'll have a really nice Italian American lunch for a minimal price.

While the colleague who introduced me to this Saint Paul landmark will happily drive across town to eat here, that seems a bit extreme. I mean, the food is decent and inexpensive, but how often do you want to risk getting caught in a drive-by Italian diner?

(I'm sure Mr. Peabody would have a good pun to end this story. Unfortunately, he is unavailable at the moment.)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Testing a New Camera at the Twins Game


I'm preparing for an upcoming trip and decided I needed a more flexible, waterproof camera that I could take snorkeling. I decided to get an Olympus TG-820. Of course, now that the camera arrived, I need to test it out and start learning how to actually use it.

While I bought the camera to take pictures when snorkeling, I also want it to take decent pictures out of the water as well. Time to find out if it's any good or if I made a bad decision.

With lighting extremes and long sight-lines, last night's Twins game seemed like a good place to start testing.
 
 
It doesn't have much of a zoom (which I knew and which won't matter underwater), but seems to give good bright colors, handles contrasty light ok, and seems pretty sharp. The files seem a little small, but that's in comparison to my D300, so probably not a fair analysis. I think it will work.

Oh yeah, there was a game going on.

Neither the Twins or the Royals were playing particularly well, so we left with the Twins behind by one in the 7th. (Really, as far as I'm concerned, 7 innings is the right length for a game. More than that is too much.) After we left, the Twins came back and won 4-3 in the tenth.

Now I need to dump the camera into some water and see how it does. Anyone got an aquarium with some fish they'd like photographed?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Photo Thursday: Best Seats in the Marina

There are lots of good spots to sit and enjoy a view of the water in Provincetown, Massachusetts, but this floating"dock" (it's part of a boat) looked like the best seats in the harbor!

For great "Photo Thursday" images from around the world, visit Nancie's Budget Travelers Sandbox. Submit your own photo and join in the fun!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Best Freeway Bakery Stop: The Clearwater Travel Plaza

If you are heading west out of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota) on Interstate 94, make a stop at the Clearwater Travel Plaza. While it may look like just another overgrown highway gas station/C-store/bad cafe, it is not.
 Some of the best bakery treats to be found anywhere are waiting right here - if you can beat the locals to them. (This is a real pastry shop with a local clientele as well as travelers passing through.)  
I don't think there is a local cafe around that can top the goodies you can find here at the Nelson Brothers restaurant and bakery.

If you need a recommendation, I have a special fondness for the peach muffins. . . and the blueberry turnovers. . . and. . .

The Clearwater Travel Plaza is about one hour west of the Twin Cities at the exit for Minnesota Highway 24, in the northeast quadrant of the interchange. Besides the bakery, there is a full service, restaurant, large convenience store, and a gas station and truck stop.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Photo Thursday: The Denver B-cycle As Public Art

Denver, Colorado, like many cities, has a bike share programB-cycle stations can be found at 53 locations all around the city and, once in awhile, those stations with their shiny red bikes almost become works of art.
I'm sure Nancie and her friends at the Budget Travelers Sandbox have some some great Photo Thursday images of their own posted. Head on over and check it out!

Safe Travels!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

When Night Falls on the Midway at the Minnesota State Fair

I love the Minnesota State Fair at any time of day, but I'm particularly fond of the Midway at night.
 
What a fabulous, surreal end to summer!


The Minnesota State Fair closes out the summer every year for twelve days before and on Labor Day. A full schedule and ticket information is available on the website. 

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Little Dancer at the Minnesota State Fair

Friends of mine are playing in the band Timbre Junction at the Minnesota State Fair tonight. We stumbled on them more or less by accident and were pleased to see they had a decent crowd. . . a crowd that included this little dancer.
Who knew bluegrass called for such a lively performance!