Archive for the ‘Travels’ Category

A Foggy Morning Sunrise

April 6, 2021

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

I’ve often talked about how much Betsy and I love watching the sunsets when we visit Mt. Nebo State Park in Arkansas. But we also enjoy catching the sunrises from Sunrise Point in the park.

A few years ago we were greeted by a blanket of fog in the valley below Sunrise Point. As you can see from the photo above, it was almost hard to tell that there was a valley and city below us.

As the sky got lighter we began seeing the trees and the tops of hills in the valley below. In the distance we could make out the mountains on the other side of the valley.

Fields and buildings began coming into view

Finally parts of the Arkansas River came into view, reflecting the red of the sky above it.

What a gorgeous way to begin a day!

A Mountain-Top Sunset

February 9, 2021

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

One of the main reasons My Beautiful Bride and I like going to Mt. Nebo in February is that the cabin we rent offers some gorgeous views of the setting sun that time of year. Often, when there are relatively few clouds, the sky is streaked with gorgeous color.

But even a very cloudy day can provide dramatic sunsets, as this picture taken a few Februarys ago shows.

Poinsettias

December 29, 2020

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The poinsettia has long been associated with Christmas — we have a red poinsettia like the one above on a coffee table in our living room.

I think I knew there were many varieties of poinsettias, but I didn’t realize that there were so many different colors until Betsy and I visited the Conservatory at Biltmore when we were there for the Christmas at Biltmore event. There were plants of different colors, such as this yellow-green poinsettia which was one of the first we saw as we entered the Conservatory. There were poinsettias of different hues and shades through out the building.

But I think I was most impressed with the multi-colored poinsettias that we saw. This red and white beauty was definitely eye-catching.

Some plants were more subdued than others, but still very pretty. I did like this point and white poinsettia very much.

It would be hard for me to pick a favorite, although these yellow and red plants that we saw near the end of our visit to the Conservatory definitely caught my eye.

 

A Mountaintop Sunset

September 1, 2020

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

One of the joys for Betsy and I when we visit Mt. Nebo State Park in Arkansas is the sunsets we can enjoy from ‘our’ cabin when we visit in February or March. All the pictures in this post were taken on February 12, 2013.

Regardless of what we do during the day, we try to get back to the cabin before sunset. Sometimes, as in the picture above, the late afternoon gives a hint of the glorious sunset to come.

As the sun drops lower, a look to the south across the valley shows the reds, oranges and pinks of the clouds above.

For a moment the sun seems to pause just as it touches the mountains to the west and baths everything in a golden glow.

Then the sun is gone, but it leaves a reminder of the beauty of God’s creation in the sky.

Biltmore’s Walled Garden

August 27, 2019

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My Beautiful Bride and I have season passes to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, and we try to visit the estate several times a year. Although we have gone into the house several times, we usually go to visit the conservatory and the gardens.

The Walled Garden is the centerpiece of the gardens at Biltmore. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, as were all the gardens at Biltmore. Frederick Law Olmsted is often considered America’s foremost landscape architect.

The Walled Garden is usually the second area we visit (after the Conservatory) on each trip to Biltmore. This post show a typical Spring visit to the Walled Garden. All these photos were taken in April, 2013.

The Walled Garden features a seasonal rotation of blossoms. A long arbor covered with grape vines runs down the center of the garden.

Openings in the arbor provide a pretty frame for the tulips.

Over 50,000 tulips (and 14,000) daffodils are planted in the garden each Spring, making a beautiful display.

I was fortunate to find another type of beauty in a different section of the garden.

To see these and other images from our visit, click HERE.

Down Memory Lane: Barong and Rangda

June 11, 2019

Barong, the symbol of virtue and good in Balinese mythology.

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice. These images are scanned from slides taken in 1987)

On one of the first days we were in Bali, our group was taken to an outdoor theater to see a traditional Balinese dance drama that depicted the struggle between Barong and Rangda. The dance represents the eternal battle between good and evil.

Rangda, the symbol of evil.

Barong is a symbol of health and good fortune, while Rangda is a child-eating witch who leads an army of evil witches against the forces of good — Barong.

Queen Dewi Kunti and her stepson, who will be sacrificed to placate the anger of Rangda.

In the version of the story we saw, the stepson of the queen was to be sacrificed to placate the anger of Rangda.

Unti, a minister of Dewi Kunti

The king sent his prime minister to deal with Rangda, although he was unsuccessful.  His failure set the stage for the battle between Barong and Rangda.

The dance/drama was definitely interesting and provided a glimpse into traditional Balinese culture.

To see larger versions of these pictures, as well as others from the performance, click HERE.

Down Memory Lane: Dublin

April 9, 2019

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In May of 2002 I was working as a systems analyst at a plant fairly close to our home in Hendersonville, Tennessee. The plant was run by an Irish company, and I was sent by my boss to work on a software project at company headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.

Although my trip was definitely a business trip, I was put up at a very nice hotel on the outskirts of Dublin, as you can see from the photo above.

The hotel was far enough out of the city that I could get some nice views of the beautiful Irish countryside.

One evening after work an Irish colleague took me to dinner at an Irish pub and then on a quick tour of Dublin. One of the places we saw was Dublin Castle. We were able to get into the courtyard of the castle for a quick look-around. Bedford Hall (above) in the castle caught my attention.

After we left the courtyard we walked around the exterior of the castle for a few minutes.

Later, on a Dublin street, I saw this statue of Molly Malone. Of course, that reminded me of the song, which ran through my head for the rest of the night!

You can see additional pictures of my Dublin visit by clicking HERE.

Shooting in the Dark

February 19, 2019

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I realize that the holiday season is long gone, but I was so happy with these photos that I just had to share them with you.

Betsy and I went to the Candlelight Christmas event at Biltmore last December. We didn’t take our big cameras, but I used my iPhone to take pictures as we approached and then toured the house. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the outdoor night photos, but I think they came out pretty well. The picture above is of the big lighted tree on the lawn in from of the Biltmore house.

We were early for our entrance to the house, so when we got off the bus from the parking area we walked away from the house so we could see both the tree and the house. The lights gave a nice, warm glow to the scene.

There was some snow on the ground, but there had been a couple of days of warm weather so there was not much left. We walked on the lawn to get closer to the tree, but were happy to get back to the walkway as we got closer to the house.

We got a good look at the front of the house as we approached the line to get in. Our candlelight visit to Biltmore had gotten off to a very good start.

Wyoming Morning

January 29, 2019

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Betsy and I had a long day of driving when we started home from our western trip, so we left Jackson, Wyoming, while it was still dark. Getting up that early is not much fun, but on this day it paid off beautifully.

The sun started to rise about the time we reached the Hoback Canyon. Although we couldn’t see the sun, the clouds in the sky above us turned a brilliant crimson. When we rounded a curve we could see the sky reflected in the Hoback River (above) so of course we had to stop.

We really had problems deciding which was the most amazing — the reflection in the water or the sky above.

The sky remained gorgeous even as the canyon widened. It was an amazing morning and left us with unforgettable memories of Wyoming.

Rise and Shine

September 25, 2018

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I imagine that most ‘normal’ people use a vacation as an opportunity to sleep in and take things easy. Fortunately (or unfortunately) My Beautiful Bride and I are not ‘normal’. We often get up earlier than we normally would just to enjoy the sunrise.

That was certainly the case when we visited the Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina in August. We couldn’t see the sun from the balcony of our room, but the sky was still beautiful at sunrise. The picture above was taken the first morning we were there.

The fog in the valleys looked like a blanket spread around the mountains below us.

Looking to the west also gave us a peaceful, serene view of the world from the mountains.

The sunrise on our last morning at Pisgah Inn gave us a lot of incentive to come back.