Friday, September 28, 2018

Autumn around the world offers color, light, bold but wistful change

Autumn in the Beartooth Mountains in Montana's Northern Rockies, with splendid color and snow already down.
Leaves are beginning to turn as autumn blossoms enjoy the Oregon sun. 


"Autumn:  the year's last, loveliest smile....."
--William Cullen Bryant

FALL LENDS itself to a photo essay, so this one will feature some of our favorite autumn shots from our global wanderings.
The Whitehorse Pass Railway journey out of Skagway offers splendid color.
Keller and Cookie enjoy autumn in Tarragona, near Barcelona.
  My  Irish grandmother Olive always announced the arrival of fall. "It's feeling very autumnal to me," she'd say as that first chill crept in, forecasting a long Montana winter.  But she loved the smell of leaves burning in the alley, the aroma of chokecherry and plum jam simmering, windfalls from our pear tree and  autumn leave bouquets we kids fashioned.  She also played a wistful piano medley of fall songs.  Her favorites were Lotte Lenya's "September Song" and Mel Torme's "Autumn in New York."
Autumn comes to the northeast coast of Italy in the province of La Spezia.
So let these photos and fall quotes evoke your own particular autumn memories...... enjoy....

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is awakened."
--Albert Camus

"Autumn killed the summer with the softest kiss."
A bighorn sheep looks over the ledge at twilight northwest of Nye, Montana. 

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the Earth seeking the successive autumns.”
--George Eliot
A male finch boasts the colors of autumn.

"Autumn is more the season of the 
soul than of nature."
-- Friedrich Nietzsch
 "Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all." 
--Stanley Horowitz

"If a year was tucked inside a clock, then autumn would be the magic hour."       
-- Victoria Erickson

UP NEXT: Perfect to usher in the autumn is an evening of brilliantly played classical guitar music.  A gifted interpreter of the instrument lives in Julian and drives his motorcycle twice a week to play in San Diego. Jesus Soriano, performs Tuesdays and Thursday evenings each week at Costa Brava restaurant in Pacific Beach.  You'll be transported via his dazzling artistry to the streets of Seville, Barcelona or Madrid, where the musician was born. Meanwhile, do remember to explore, learn and live, and catch us each Friday for a fresh look at art, music, nature, travel, family and more.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Fort Lauderdale's water taxi lures adventurer, sun seeker, tourist


Fort Lauderdale's mansions along the canals are legendary.
Many are owned by stars, athletes, "old money" Floridians.
Fort Lauderdale's delightful Water Taxi offering boasts a unique mode of easy, relaxing transportation.
Guests at the lovely Hilton Marina and Convention Center find easy water taxi access. 
The company's stable of knowledgeable guides and drivers enhances the journey with humor and fun stories.

Travel by water taxi is fun, reasonably
priced and a lovely way to tour.



IF YOU love star gossip and wouldn't shy from a glimpse of the rich and famous, Fort Lauderdale's your place. For location, you can't do better than the lovely Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina Hotel.
NFL stars, singers, musicians, actors, writers and, yes, porn stars invest in Fort Lauderdale.
TO YOUR LEFT ladies and gentlemen, that's where Sonny and Cher lived for years.
Stunning view from the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina Hotel.
Down the way, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz loved their little white home on the corner. Andy Griffith lived nearby.
The Water Taxi transportation in Fort 
Lauderdale  is one of the delights of  a
visit to this delightful port city in Florida.
He loved to come out in his own boat. ("Little" in lush and lovely Fort Lauderdale may mean 5,000 square feet, so keep that in mind.)
Over there -- that's the palatial estate where many "Magnum P.I." episodes were shot. There's the home of an oil sheik from Saudi Arabia.  He bought his daughter a little place down the canal for a wedding gift last fall.
WE'VE BEEN to Fort Lauderdale many times, always on the prowl for new adventures. Our favorite base is the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina Resort, conveniently located near a water taxi pick-up.
The "hop on, hop off" attraction of the water taxis in Fort Lauderdale allows
the tourist to explore various areas for shopping, dining or maybe a museum. 
 The town has exciting nightlife, beautiful waterfront dining, and gorgeous shops on fashionable Las Olas Boulevard, the Rodeo Drive of southern Florida.
But the town's Intracoastal Waterway system makes its canals a uniquely beautiful way to play tourist. You'll learn the city's history from the draw bridges of the historic Esplanade area, to the "spring break" beaches, resort areas, and stately old homes.
Fort Lauderdale offers gardens, 
parks and marine life. The water
taxis can take you there.
Keller and Cookie enjoy the Water Taxi each time they return
to Fort Lauderdale.  It's unique to the city, a waterway trolley.
This guy isn't real --he's a lawn
ornament in one of the mansions.
WHETHER YOU want history, scenery, eateries or a blend, Fort Lauderdale's Water Taxi service  delivers.  Its main route travels in two directions. Figure out what you want to see, and find your closest stop. We use the water taxis every year to get to favorite restaurants, museums and to just enjoy the journey.
If you time it right, you can get a photo
of the beautiful coral hued draw bridge.

THE FORT Lauderdale Water Taxi runs year-round, closing only Christmas Day.

Fort Lauderdale's water life is at the
 heart of the city.
 THE WATER taxis glide by the town's exciting nightlife, outdoor eateries, the famous shops of Las Olas Boulevard, beautiful beaches, yacht clubs and majestic cruise ships traveling in and out of Port Everglades. Nothing worldwide compares to Fort Lauderdale's Intracoastal Waterway. Its lovely canals are so unique and beautiful, they've earned Fort Lauderdale the moniker “Venice of America.” Water Taxi is the best way to see them!

Chokecherries look appealing -- and are, to the bears, who gorge on them
before their long winter's nap. Our friend Corby makes delicious syrup, too.
UP NEXT: Autumn comes to the world -- at least those of us north of the equator. Many people, including the two of us -- writer and photographer -- think autumn is one of the prettiest times to be in Montana or elsewhere. The chokecherries are plump and inviting to birds and bears, the leaves are getting that golden glow and the air is crisp -- cool mornings and evenings, with sunshine in the afternoon.  We take you there, remembering to explore, learn and live.  Catch us Fridays when we post for each new week -- a novel twist on travel, nature, the arts and family.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Autumn harvest delights San Diego play goers with theatrical gems

From left, Teagan Rose, J. Todd Adams and Joanna Strapp in "Blithe Spirit."



ALONG WITH pumpkins, zucchini and a berry bounty, San Diegans are harvesting a bumper crop of plays.
Here are highlights, upcoming dates to save and some stellar "don't miss" productions. These are our favorites.
  Isabella Pruter sings "Ring of Keys"  
"Blithe Spirit." Noel Coward's wise, witty, well constructed story of a flamboyant medium, a sassy wife who returns from the dead and a sparring couple. Like all Coward's wonderfully droll plays, the real star is the language.  Sharp, elegant direction by Rosina Reynolds and a fine cast deliver this long but satisfying production with panache. Through Sept. 30.

"Fun Home."  San Diego Repertory Theatre presents an energetic, full throttle production directed by Sam Woodhouse of the Tony winning story of a daughter's search to understand her father and his complicated identity.  Set in a funeral home (fun home), several actors play the young woman as she matures and searches for meaning. Beautiful, moving, imaginative. Through Sept. 30.

Jesse Perez gives an electrifying performance as Richard III
in Will Power's reimaging of the Shakespeare classic.
"Seize the King."  La Jolla Playhouse. An absolutely masterful tour de force by actor Will Power, an inventive reimagining of "Richard III."  Intense, wonderfully acted. You'll be thinking about it for days, the true mark of fine art. Through Sept. 16 only.
"Real Women Have Curves." The Roustabouts Theatre Company. A one-night-only collaboration between this cutting edge company and Amigos del Rep, at the Lyceum Sept. 17.  The "funny story of five full-figured Mexican-American women" tells of their race to meet nearly impossible production deadlines in order to keep their tiny factory from going under.
Preparing for Sophie's wedding, her mother Donna (Misty Cotton)
 and Sophie (Olivia Hodson) share a moment. Excellent voices, sharp 

direction make the show a hit. It runs through Feb. 24 at Welk Resort.
"Mamma Mia." Welk Resorts Theatre. Classic ABBA score as a teen searches for her birth father on a gorgeous Greek isle. The theater has undergone a spruce-up and the museum is redone. The cast is top-notch. The musical's long run, likely a sell-out, is through Feb. 24.

Michael Louis Cusimano and Caitie Grady charm in "Once."

"Once." Lamb's Players Theatre." It opened to raves in early summer and has done gang-buster's business, but if you have yet to see "Once" you have only through Sept. 16. Beautifully sung and cleverly directed, the feel good, rousing production features a blossoming romance in an Irish pub. Energetically performed, it  has been extended for the last time. Inventive staging, terrific score and a great excuse to visit Coronado. 

"Legacy Lab." Diversionary Theatre. New for 2018, from this cutting edge theater company, Diversionary launches an intriguing new concept, the Lecacy Lab," to feature staged readings of classic LGBT text with a presentation of the goundbreaking 1934 play by Lillian Hellman, "The Children's Hour,"  It is a drama set in an all-girls boarding school run by two women, Karen Wright and Martha Dobie. The reading is Oct 5 and 6 at 7 p.m. It's free, with a suggested $15 donation. Check out the wonderful 1961 Audrey Hepburn-Shirley MacLaine film.
  "Guadalupe in the Guest Room." New Village Arts, Carlsbad. The always inventive play docket just closed a hit "Legally Blonde." Next up: "Guadalupe....," a story of two people, in the bond of shared grief, with an unexpected friendship and healing. Written by the rising playwright Tony Meneses, on the boards Oct. 6-28.

Actor Ro Boddie  -- brilliant at Cygnet.
"Every Brilliant Thing." Cygnet Theatre.  If you haven't seen this captivating performance piece, you have only through Sept. 16. A wonderful one-man show about a son who wants his depressed mother to cheer up. Funny, touching. All the right stuff. Then  leave it to inventive Cygnet to jazz up dull Mondays with a series of Cabaret shows, each with a different theme and Cygnet's top singers, known around town. Oct. 22. "HIR" is next up for the season. Sounds intriguing.

Fort Lauderdale's Water Taxi service is fun, economical
 and a fine way to see the city's sights.
UP NEXT: Come with us to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where we visit a favorite American port city by Water Taxi. The city's splendidly designed canal enterprise is our favorite way to see the sights. We meander via Water Taxi to enjoy the city's history and play tourist as we glide quietly past homes of the rich and famous, sports and acting figures, wealthy investors and "old money" Florida families. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us each Friday for a novel look at art, travel, nature, music and travel.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Ka-ching! Hooray for Harvey's Lake Tahoe, treasured through the years

The view from a high room at Harvey's Lake Tahoe is stunning.  Snow remains on the mountain tops most of the year,
and that will increase with ski season around the corner. Across the street is Harrah's, for variety in your gambling fix.

While Harvey's and Harrah's offer delightful entertainment, gambling and 
dining, it's fun to take a breather from the casinos and enjoy the scenery.

The calming waters nearby offer pleasant recreational time
and soothing sounds and sights when you need a break.



PICTURE YOURSELF enjoying a morning cuppa or evening cocktail with Lake Tahoe glistening before you.  You won't find a better view than from a high room at Harvey's.
So let the revels begin.
We booked a room last visit for a three-day adventure, knowing that Harvey's and Harrah's are "Tahoe sisters." It's easy to hop from one to the other for an appealing variety of restaurants and to vary your gambling.  We like the Harvey's rooms because they are quiet and welcoming.
WE ALSO LIKE HARVEY'S for its beautiful views, particularly on the higher floors.  And because it has a unique history.
The Wagon Wheel Saloon grew from modest
beginnings to Harvey's Lake Tahoe.
Harvey's goes back to World War II days when an ambitious Sacramento meat wholesaler and his wife opened a six-slot machine club and bar, the Wagon Wheel Saloon.  In 1944, it offered people weary of war a place to unwind. Harvey Gross and his wife Llewellyn loved to get away from the city and relax in the woodsy Tahoe environs, just as folks do today.
The couple developed the hotel to attract visitors from across the country, toughing out the winters, shoveling the roads themselves to clear them after storms.
Snow adds to the luster at Tahoe.
And it doesn't impede travel.
THEIR GUTS, PLUCK and success allowed them to expand so they opened the area's first high rise tower in 1963, an 11-story, 197-room hotel in Nevada just across the state line from Lake Tahoe, California. The hotels and casinos 
If you venture outside the hotels and restaurants, you'll
enjoy some lovely hiking 
The M.S. Dixie II is a pleasant diversion and another
entertainment option if you're based at Harvey's or Harrah's.
(technically in Stateline, Nevada) offer live entertainment and a mix of dining options. Heavenly Ski Resort is a close 10-minute drive away. With winter approaching, people are planning ski-casino get-aways. It's always pretty at Tahoe.  We've hiked the area as late as March. Snow doesn't slow the action or stop the fun.
HARVEY'S LAKE TAHOE features a 51,700 foot casino with non-stop gaming.  Families like it because the outdoor pool is perfect for kids and adults can enjoy gorgeous views of the Sierra Mountains from the hot tub.
Guests can sample entertainment in the Cabo Wabo Cantina and The Improv at Harvey's Cabaret. For dining, we tried the steakhouse one evening -- terrific ribeye -- and tasty Mexican fare another day.
With ski season around the corner, it's time to book
a ski-casino vacation.  South Lake Tahoe beckons.

If you fancy a dinner cruise, the M.S. Dixie II offers visual and culinary pleasures. It's a pleasant drive Harvey's, winding through the town, then over to the lake to Zephyr Cover and the boat. The food and atmosphere are casual and we danced to a fun three-piece band. The award-winning Lake Tahoe cruiser is the largest cruising vessel in South Lake Tahoe and a local favorite. All her cruises depart from Zephyr Cove Resort and Marina, including daytime cruises and charters for up to 300. It's fun to traverse the lake on a paddlewheel and the ambiance is friendly.

A gifted ensemble of actors breathes fresh, fun air into
 Noel Coward's classic "Blilthe Spirit" at Northcoast Rep.
UP NEXT: The present bounty of theatrical gems in southern California brings us to our annual "fall harvest" theater piece.  Here we preview and give mini-reviews of highlights of the enticing autumn theater season in the San Diego area. The region's temperate climate and rich artistic reserves bring talent from across the country. We'll share the bounty -- from cutting edge drama in a brilliantly conceived contemporary take on "Richard III" at La Jolla Playhouse, to a polished production of Noel Coward's witty "Blithe Spirit" at Northcoast Repertory Theater, and a touchingTony winning musical, "Fun Home" downtown at San Diego Rep. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us each Friday for a novel look at art, travel, nature, music and travel.