Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sara visits!

Sara flew in on Monday to spend a few days. I was so excited to host my first official STL visitor! Of course we headed to the Arch first. It was a beautiful day but the Arch was PACKED with people. I guess I haven't seen the July vacation crowd there before. We went up to the top of the Arch, although Sara didn't enjoy the elevator ride up very much. It is in these teeny tiny pods, and takes several minutes of going up, then racheting over and going up some more.
Here's a picture of Sara with the Arch in the background.
A view of the Mississippi river and the Illinios river side. Note the trees that are STILL under water from the flooding.

Here's a view of downtown STL from the Arch.

The next day we went to Grant's Farm. This was the homestead of President Grant, and is maintained by the Anheuser Busch company. There are many animals, the original cabin that the Grant family lived in, and the Clydesdales that are the Anheuser Busch tradition.

Pretty macaws!

A Giant Tortoise racing towards us! I can't wait to see these in the wild when we go to Galapagos Islands next year.

Baby deer...

Baby Clydesdales...

Two eagles that I swear looked like they were carrying on a conversation.

This is a capybara, which is the largest known rodent species. They are basically very large rats!

Our visit to Grant's farm was disrupted by my car decided that it was time to blow the AC compressor. So, we had to wait on a tow truck and stand around in the parking lot on a VERY hot day. Fortunately, the car was pretty quickly back in commission and we were on our way to the Budweiser brewery for their tour. Here's one of the many buildings at the Budweiser brewery plant. This isthe original brewery and has several historical buildings, including an old public school right there on the property!

Big grown up Clydesdales, one of the ones that draws the carriage.

Budweiser carriage in the stable. This stable was not your typical stable, but includes stain glass windows and a solid brass chandelier that was displayed at the St. Louis World's Fair! These are some very well maintained horses!

We had a great time with Sara and she got to see several of the local sites, as well as have some great food at area restaurants. She and Mark's dog, Lucy, became the best of friends...hopefully Hailey won't be too jealous!

Friday, July 25, 2008


I'm not sure if blogs are supposed to have dedications, but this one does. This is for Joe, my sweet purple star. We miss you!

Bar Harbor, Maine

Our next visit was to Mark's dear friends Jane and Babette, who live in Bar Harbor. Mark spent some time at the Jackson Laboratory there early in his career, and has remained good friends with them since that time. Our first day there we went hiking on Cadillac Mountain.
Babette and Mark.

A view from Cadillac with the ocean off in the distance.

Along the trails hikers place cairns to mark the way. Here's a small one. Some become big mounds of rocks.

The landscape was so beautiful!

We had to cut our hike short because Jane managed to take a tumble, but we were very grateful that she turned out to only have some minor injuries. Mark and I headed out for more lobsters, and the four of us had another wonderful lobster dinner that night.

Cleaning up the mess afterwards!

On the second day we hiked through a different area of Acadia National Park, ending up in Thula Gardens.

Along the trail to Thuya.

The gate to the Gardens.

Lots of beautiful flowers!!

Asticou Terraces below Thuya Gardens.

A view of the harbor.

A teeny tiny baby cairn!

The Hamilton Log Home

Mark and I stopped in Hamilton, NY to visit a log home that we are considering building. The owners were very hospitable and we enjoyed walking through the house instead of just looking at the floor plan.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New York

We spent the first few days in NY at the Hunter's Hope Foundation conference. Hunter's Hope was started by Jim Kelly of the Buffalo Bills after his son was diagnosed with Krabbe disease. Mark was a speaker there, and we met several families and heard of the progress being made in this disease. After Hunter's Hope we went to Niagara Falls. We were able to cross over to the Canadian side even though I did not have my passport. However, getting back into the good ol' USA meant that we got chewed out by a Customs agent!

The Niagara River above the falls...

The top of the falls...

The view of the American falls from the Canadian side.

The Canadian falls.

We ate at a restaurant there at the falls and enjoyed our view. Just as we were about to leave the rain started, so we ordered another round of beers and enjoyed the view for awhile longer. The area was packed with people, but we managed to stay warm and dry!

Our next day's outing was to the Corning Museum in Corning, NY. Glass, glass and more glass!
Artistic glass...

Red glass is made from actual gold and is apparently rare and expensive. There were several displays where photography was not allowed, but this one had no such sign.

Historic glass....

Glass paperweights....

Extremely expensive glass! The globe was priced in the tens of thousands of dollars, and the lobster was Steuben glass which was way out of our price range as well.

And for the lab rat in us all, Pyrex glass labware...We also saw glass blowing and many other demonstrations of glass. We managed to find a microbrewery for lunch there and had a wonderful days visit to Corning.

The upstate area of NY has "cobblestone" houses. These were very unique, and made up of small round stones that were dug up during the digging of the Erie Canal. The houses are quite old and so quaint and beautiful! This one had been turned into a Starbucks, imagine that!

One afternoon we went for a picnic at a nearby park with our hosts, Mike and Allison. We were hoping to spot some bluebirds, but the bluebirds had a different plan.

Mark and I spent one morning wandering around the historic area of Pittsford, and walked along the Eric Canal.

Mike and Allison have encouraged flying squirrels to come feed on their deck. This was one of the cuties that came to visit while we were there. They are only active at night, and are incredibly quiet as they fly in.

For our last night there, Mark ordered in fresh lobsters from Bar Harbor. Here they are headed for the pot!

Mikel and Allison were very ready for the lobsters with an extravagant lobster party spread. Mark and I are ready to eat!

Somehow even after the lobsters we still managed to have a wonderful dessert. Mike is ready to enjoy his!

Upstate New York reminded me very much of North Georgia. It was a beautiful area.

Mark was very impressed with the windmill farms we saw along the way as we headed to Maine. Here are a couple of pictures, one where they are far off in the distrance so you can see the scale, and another picture were they are closer. They look huge!