Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The $5 Solution

Ever have this problem? (Only applies to anyone with a suction window-mount GPS unit.)

The GPS refuses to adhere on the windshield because the suction mount will not stay on the window for more than 5 3 minutes.

There's a solution — NO, you won't have to buy another GPS or even replace the mount.

Instead — use Velcro. And yes, this package is empty because . . .

Grenville applied the velcro fastener strips to the windshield of my car and also to the back of the GPS unit. (The photo looks a bit ghostly when shot from outside.)

It really works!  While we can remove and re-attach the GPS to the Velcro strips, we just leave it on the windshield, except when there's a map update.

SO, our lesson learned was that the $5 spent was way less costly than other alternatives.

Velcro, who knew it was so versatile.

Do YOU know any good unusual uses for Velcro?

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Big Reveal

Earlier this month, a Friday Funnies post showed a local retail store with part of its name still covered. 

Of course, we were curious as to why? and really enjoyed post comments that included solutions like: a possible misspelling, waiting for the glue to dry, trying to create suspense.

Last weekend, the mystery ended as the store opened for business with the not-so-big sign uncovering.
And, to our non-surprise (and most likely yours) it's a CVS retail pharmacy and open 24 hours too.

Why was the sign partially covered, we asked a store employee who told us with a straight face: "They forgot to remove the paper last week."

Mystery solved. Sherlock can rest now (and so can we).

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Funnies

There's always a place to get a Coke® no matter where you might walk. 

It just might be in an unusual locale.

For example, this soda vending machine was just off the paved rail trail we walked this spring in Nashua, NH. Yes, we were told that the machine works. Electrical power is provided by a homeowner who also maintains the unit.

And, it was unwrapped the next time we walked this trail. Grenville passed on a soda, but rested awhile.

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Street Art

On a walk around downtown, NH, recently we noticed this new street art. I took a photo in two "parts" first.

Before capturing the full wall mural in a panoramic photo — it is very magnificent and a tribute to those who have served and continue to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

We hope it won't fall prey to unscrupulous graffiti vandals.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Rest in Peace

Cemeteries are not just for the dead. Anyone who has ever walked through one knows that.

Many cemeteries offer a peaceful respite from the hectic pace of everyday life in park-like settings to folks not ready for that final destination (including Grenville and myself). Some final resting places include spectacular monuments to lives well lived or not — who's to judge?

We have often sought out cemeteries notable for their natural beauty or the scope of their monuments. That was the case when we spent a recent weekend in RI visiting family. We stayed at a B&B and during breakfast talk with other guests, we were told about River Bend Cemetery in Westerly RI, near where we were staying.

Of course, we had to make a side trip there on the way back to Nashua, NH. It was well worth the detour.

Incorporated in 1849, as Elm Grove Cemetery, the cemetery name was changed to River Bend due to its unique location on the eastern bank of the Pawcatuck River. It has
served as a final resting place for over 165 years with waterfront views on Route 1A, between downtown and the Westerly beaches.

Asher Babcock has a prime burial plot high on a mount overlooking the Pawcatuck River. I learned through online searches that he was a mechanic and inventor. He is credited with creating the pin wheel motion in plaid looms as well as a shoe peg machine and other mechanical applications that were widely adapted by the manufacturers of his time in the 1800s. He and several family members are buried in this high view.

More outstanding than this location are the memorials, many are granite works of art as granite is not uncommon in New England. The most spectacular memorials we've seen to date can be found in Hope Cemetery in Barre, VT, the city that calls itself the "Granite Capital of the World."  Should you ever want to see granite craftsmanship immortalized, do make a trip there, if you happen to be in New England.

A cemetery walk through can reveal a unique tale of the people and events interred there. War veterans from the Civil War, two World Wars, and up to the present. The monuments tell stories of untimely death, some due to wars, accidents, hurricanes and other calamities.

This cemetery abounds with magnificent granite carvings created by artists and their descendants, brought to the area to work in the granite industry. Some monuments are large and intricate; others are small and delicate.

Walking through a cemetery may not be everyone's idea of a "good time" but, for us, reading headstone inscriptions can often provide a glimpse of others lives. We have been humbled by many epitaphs. One thing that is never easy to see are headstones of so many children who died at such young ages in the 1700-1800s.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday Funnies

No worries here about a close encounter with the curb; this driver wasn't anywhere near it.

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Salmon with Asparagus

We enjoy fish dinners that's no secret. 

Salmon is one of our favorite types of fish  to prepare largely due to its versatility and taste, not to mention health benefits. A favorite vegetable we enjoy is asparagus, especially when readily available in local markets. 

Finding a recipe that combined both of these favorite foods and was also (very) easy made this a perfect meal. And, it's really very good as well.

This recipe is from Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook from America's Test Kitchen and as the title states, it serves 2 people.

Salmon with Asparagus and Herb Dressing
  • 2 (4 to 8 oz.) skin-on salmon fillets, 1-1/2 in. thick
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. thick asparagus, trimmed
  • 4 tsps lemon juice
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tsp minced fresh parsley, basil or mint
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  1. Pat salmon dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Lay fillets skin side up in skillet, cook about 5 minutes until well browned on first side. Use tongs and gently flip over, reduce heat to medium and cook until center of fish is still translucent when checked with tip of paring knife. Transfer to serving plate and tent loosely with aluminum foil.
  2. Wipe skillet clean. Add butter and 1 teaspoon olive oil and heat over medium heat until butter melts. Add half of asparagus to skillet with tips pointed in one direction and other half with tips pointed in opposite direction. Sprinkle with salt and shake into even layer.
  3. Cover and cook about 5 minutes until spears are bright green and still crisp. Uncover, increase heat to high and continue cooking, 5 to 7 minutes, until spears are tender and well-browned on one side. use tong to move spears from center of skillet to edge of pan to ensure that all are browned.
  4. Whisk remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, shallot, parsley, and mustard in small bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer asparagus to plate and add fillets then drizzle with dressing and serve.
Both Grenville and myself gave this dish a forks up. It will definitely be on a future dinner menu.

When asparagus are no longer available, I will substitute fresh green beans.

Monday, June 13, 2016

For the Birds?

Wondering what these are?
Maybe a collection of bird house condos for oversized birds?

But that's not correct. And, these structures surprised us as well on a visit to Salem, MA.
What are they? 
These are known as "environmental sculptures." This one is called What the Birds Know (so you were close). This environmental art installation was created by North Carolina artist Patrick Dougherty. 

Like many of Dougherty's works, it was built with saplings that were weaved and flexed into sculpture and it was commissioned by the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) also in Salem, MA.  Over the past 30 years, Dougherty had created more than 250 pieces throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia. Photos of his other environmental sculpture pieces can be seen on his aptly named website,

If you're in New England anytime the rest of this year, you can see and explore these sculptures, FREE of charge. Just walk around in downtown Salem, MA at the corner of Hawthorne Boulevard and Essex Street.  Believe me, you won't miss them and they will remain there until the end of December 2016.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Friday Funnies

Memorial Day was celebrated here on the U.S. recently on May 31, a day to honor Americans who have died in military service, but also the start of the summer season and now a major shopping holiday.

This online promo for a local furniture store was a bit off on its calendar date.
Notice that the sale extension date is before the holiday date. Obviously, the date was meant to read June 6th; you can't always believe what you read.

This is a screen shot from the actual website. We were shopping there last weekend shopping and were told the management knew about the error.

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Another Grand Visit

During our anniversary trip to the Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa in Whitfield, NH, we made a lunch stop at another of the "grand" hotels in the state of NH.

The Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, NH, was a 30-minute drive from the MVG. 

This "other" grand hotel offers spectacular views of Mount Washington. It's a very large grand hotel with nearly double the 145 guest room capacity of the MVG we stayed in.

Unlike the MVG, the Mount Washington is clearly visible from a roadside view. Its white and red colors are quite striking when contrasted against the snow-capped mountains behind. These photos were taken a few weeks ago in mid-May

The Mount Washington Hotel was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986. It was built by Joseph Sticky, who made his fortune in coal mining and railroading before age 30. He spared no expense in building the Y-shaped hotel which was started in 1900 and completed in 1902. Stickney brought in 250 skilled Italian artisans to work on the granite and stucco masonry and woodworking. The hotel had its own private telephone system and post office. As the most luxurious hotel of the time, its clientele were wealthy guests from major East Coast cities, Boston, New York and Philadelphia; as many as 50 trains daily stopped at three train stations in Bretton Woods.

Sticky died at 64, a year after completion. His widow summered at the hotel for the next decade. Under its first manager, the hotel was a success, but the advent of income tax, Prohibition, and the Great Depression curtailed business. After her 1936 death, Mrs. Stickney's nephew inherited the hotel and closed it in 1942 because of WW II. 
During a hotel tour, we learned that in 1944 when the U.S. government was looking for a site for a worldwide monetary conference to deal with the financial aftermath of WW II. The Mount Washington Hotel was chosen because of its location and room for 730 representatives from 44 nations. That conference is known as the Bretton Woods International Monetary Conference.

But the hotel, vacant for years, was in disrepair with roofs that had collapsed under heavy snowfall. Two months before the conference start, the U.S. Government sent workers with 50 cans of white paint each and instructions to paint everything white. Without concern for historic preservation, paint was applied on mahogany doors, brass fixtures in the Great Hall, and some Tiffany windows to make everything look clean. The Conference took place over 21 days in July 1944; hotel owners were paid $300,000 for the loss of business and a daily room charge of $18 per person. 

Years later restoration efforts focused on removing the white paint, traces of which are still visible today in the hotel.
The hotel was not always open year-round. It would close in late fall and re-open in the spring. It re-opened for its first winter season in 1999. This 19th century grandfather clock is one of the few original pieces remaining in the Great Hall (lobby). Before the hotel was open year-round, the starting of the clock signaled the beginning of the summer season. On the final day, the last guest would stop the pendulum until the next season began.  
Beyond the lobby or Great Hall is the Conservatory, originally called the Hemicycle. This half-circle shaped sun parlor is built almost entirely of plate glass with surrounding views of the Presidential Mountain Range. The domed ceiling is ringed with Tiffany glass and gives the room natural acoustics for musical performances, still held there. 

Our day trip to visit the Mount Washington Hotel was a "bucket list" stop. We had seen this imposing structure on previous trips to the area, but had never stopped in. This time we were glad we did as it was really another grand experience.
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