Hocking Hills Autumn Splendor

A quick two-day mid-week trip to Hocking Hills State Park for hiking followed by soaking in a hot tub with girlfriends was just what the doctor ordered!  Located in Southeastern Ohio, 2 1/2 hours from Cincinnati, the rugged cliffs, breathtaking gorges, cascading waterfalls, and flourishing forests of Hocking Hills State Park, afford visitors a pristine outdoor wonderland.  Our first hike was to Old Man’s Cave.  The well-marked one mile round trip trail, includes both man-made and natural steps.  The view from inside the mouth of the wide cave looks down onto a small stream and stone bridge…

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Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year to visit this park…

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Water and Wine in Amsterdam

I left off yesterday having arriving in Amsterdam by overnight train from Munich for a three-day visit and promised I would share with you some of the beautiful canals that so generously weave their magic through the City!  I also mentioned how Amsterdam is one of my favorite European Cities.  The architecture, canals, culture and laid-back vibe merge to create an atmosphere that to me, is quite special!

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This one reminds me of James Bond…

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I had so much fun taking the metro or trams and walking around the City to see as much as I could in the limited time I had.

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First Stop on the Girls’ Weekend…Butler Winery

When I prepared the itinerary for my annual girls’ weekend this year, I included a stop at two of Indiana’s beautiful wineries.

After driving three hours from Cincinnati and getting lost a few times on the back country roads, we were ready for a glass of wine!  I had Google map directions and my friends had smart phones, but some of the streets didn’t have signs and we lost signal with the phones.  Butler Winery, located just five minutes from the Vacation Rental By Owner, was a convenient and fun stop!  They offer six complimentary tastings.

Notice the reflected vineyards in the window…

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O’Bryonville Christmas Walk

On my quest to explore more of Cincinnati, my friend Dee and I went to the O’Bryonville Christmas walk last night.  It was fun…all of the shops had free wine and snacks!  This is another area of Cincinnati that I don’t usually frequent, but who could pass up free wine!

Some of the arts and crafts were very interesting and “crafty”!  These are quite whimsical!

The “hair like” photo below is actually a lampshade!  And…the last photo that looks like a flower is a chandelier with cloth draped on the ceiling!

The materials that some of these things are made out of are unique!

I know it’s a little early for Christmas decorations…but here are some that were displayed.  I know it’s kinda wierd…but I already put my Christmas tree up.  I usually wait until after Thanksgiving, but I had the time!

We stopped into the Phyllis Weston Art Gallery and saw some works by Mark Patsfall.  The lady in the photo is the owner.

Here I’m snapping a photo of us in a mirror above us at a restaurant we stopped in!

Events like these are nice because you get some exercise, meet new people, eat, drink and be merry!

Exploring Cincinnati

Yesterday, my friend Dee and I went exploring in Clifton, an area of Cincinnati next to the University of Cincinnati.  I haven’t been there in five years and enjoyed walking around, taking photos, and having a bite to eat!

Here’s some of the architecture…

We stopped in a wonderful wine shop called “Ludlow Wines” and here’s a photo of Mike — the extremely hospitable owner!  He loves his business and is expanding into a larger building down the street.  We had a tasting of four wines for $5.00.

Next, we went through some of the shops that lined Ludlow Avenue.  I have so much fun just looking at things with an eye for photography.  It keeps me busy and an added plus…I don’t spend money!

This is an African shop owner and some of his wares…I remember going in here and buying a ring back in 2006.

We went for a short walk through Burnett Woods.  Dee was going to go for a hike with the Tri-State Hiking Club through Meetup.com, but she knew I needed some company, so she came with me.  I’m thankful I have good friends like Dee!

We filled our tummies at Sitwells.  I had a Gouda and Guacamole Sandwich.  Our waitress was cool…she had red-eye shadow on and a few piercings.  I love when people feel free to express themselves through fashion/makeup/body art.  She was very pleasant and sweet also!

This picture was in Sitwells…when you look at the lady from one angle, she looks like this…

and from another angle like this….

No matter where we live, there is beauty and interesting people…so let’s get out and explore our own backyards!

Wine and Women

Our second stop of the day on our annual “girls’ weekend”, was to Talon Winery in Lexington, Kentucky!

Here is the tasting room.  As you can see, the grounds and scenery were lovely!

For $5.00, you receive six tastings and they were yummy!  I had two Chardonnays, a Traminette, a Syrah, and their Chambourcin Reserve.

According to Wikipedia…the oldest known winery is located in the “Areni-1” cave in the Vayots Dzor Province of Armenia. Archaeologists announced the discovery of this winery in January 2011, seven months after the world’s oldest leather shoe, the Areni-1 shoe, was discovered in the same cave. The winery, which is over six thousand years old, contains a wine press, fermentation vats, jars, and cups.  “The fact that winemaking was already so well developed in 4000 BC suggests that the technology probably goes back much earlier.”

It’s a good thing this glass wasn’t used!!

Sausalito and Sonoma

During our two-week training class to become a Tour Director, the 27 of us traveled by motor coach to Sausalito for lunch and onto Sonoma.  Sausalito is known for their houseboat homes.

These are some photos I took…

I love outdoor art sculptures…they’re readily available for everyone to enjoy!

Initially, I thought this bird was part of this sculpture until he moved…

This is Richard in Sonoma where a group of us went in for a quick wine tasting.

Of the wines I sampled, I was impressed with the White Zinfandel…I like dry wines and thought it would be on the sweet side, but it was excellent!  I just don’t remember the name of it.

I’m heading off to Lexington today for the weekend, so I’ll report back next week!

Hope your day is filled with wonder and beauty!!