Monday, July 22, 2019

Last Place You Looked

Why is it that when you've lost something it's invariably found in the last place you've looked. Why can't that be the first place?

Know why things you’ve lost or misplaced are always in the last place you look?

Because after you find them, you stop looking. But what about losing something important and feeling relieved when you looked in the “last place,” and it was there?

I'll admit it's happened to me quite a few times.

Last week, I somehow misplaced a camera case and it's someplace in our apartment.

Here's the scenario. I planned to upgrade an older point & shoot digital camera, which was stored in a small case. The camera was removed from the case, photographed for eBay sale, and put in its original box (yes, I save them). The case was not being sold but would be re-used with a newer camera. The camera sold last week; it was time to locate the case.

Despite multiple and repeat searches over the past several days, it's nowhere to be found. (The picture at left is a similar sized model.)

Grenville helpfully asked where it was last seen. My reply was that if I remembered, then it would have been found.

I'm certain it was last seen in the apartment. According to helpful Grenville it will be found after a new one is bought. (He's most likely correct.)

Before writing this post, another search was made and the case is still missing.

And, it wasn't the only thing misplaced recently. The last missing item was a small external power bank like the one shown here. 

Multiple searches came up empty until I searched a small luggage tote. Apparently, it was packed for our cross-country trip and forgot about because it hadn't been used.

Apple has a find my iPhone feature. Why can't there be a find my anything I lost feature and why hasn't anyone developed an app for that yet?

According to online sources, the range of things lost daily is staggering. One insurance-company survey revealed that the average person misplaces up to nine objects a day. Many of these items are later found, what isn't recovered is the time lost searching for

As for my missing camera case, there's always the remote (but unlikely) possibility that it staged its own disappearance, perhaps in conjunction with occult forces.

Sounds far fetched, I know, but Grenville swears there's a ghost named Abby, sharing our apartment. 

Maybe her camera needed a case?

What about you — ever misplace something that you found again or maybe never found ?

Friday, July 19, 2019

Friday Funnies

Which title do you prefer ... Doggone, It's a Dogs Life or Hot Diggity Dog
Since it's summer time, how about the “dog days of summer"  as it's going to be a hot weekend one here in New England.

Many people use those words to mean really hot weather, but the phrase has nothing to do with actual dogs. Instead, it refers to the "dog" star, Sirius (not the satellite radio company) in the constellation Canis Major, and its position in the heavens. When Sirius rose with the sun in late July, ancient Greeks and Romans called this the hottest time of the year.

Stay cool, everyone and enjoy Your weekend.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Look, Who's Celebrating

Today is a very special day — it's Grenville's birthday 🎂🎈🎉

Happy Birthday 🥂wishes to my husband, Patrick, the MOST special person in my life.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Friday Funnies

We dined at many places on our extended road trip, as previous posts have described. However, this photo can truly be labelled "road" food.
Not exactly sure "why" it was there or for how long. Thot of plate, food, fork was exactly as seen in a supermarket parking lot where we stopped for a purchase in Alabama (Sometimes, a fun shot just happens.)

Enjoy Your weekend, Everyone.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

All Good Things End

Sooner or later it's been said. And so has our southern U.S. road trip which started from NH in mid-May and ended back here just before July 1. 

Over the course of nearly 6 weeks we traveled through PA, OH, KY, TN, AL, GA, FL, SC, NC, VA, NJ, NY, CT, MA, and back to NH. (Unfortunately, Grenville neglected to set the trip odometer, so doesn't know the total mileage traveled.)

This year, we visited only one state capital (KY) as compared to five visited on last year's NH to OR excursion. On this trip, among other things, we visited 3 historical forts, an underground waterfall, a 1,200 foot underground cave, an incline railway, the largest military museum, a vintage car dealership, the second operating U.S. cyclorama, a historic train station, an icon from a U.S. World's Fair, museums, and many small towns.
The best part of this year's road trip was meeting up with family, including 4 cousins and a niece in 5 different states, some of whom we hadn't seen in a few years to a few decades.
We caught up with long-time friends including Grenville's former Navy buddy, neighbors, co-workers and neighbors from NJ and VA, where we lived and worked. We reunited with blogger friends once again and enjoyed a first-time meeting with a new blogger friend.

I had fun posting about sites seen and foods sampled along our travel route. As always, your comments and feedback were greatly appreciated. It was nice to have "passengers" along for the ride — everyone was so quiet.

As much fun as we had on our trip, we're glad to be home, at least until the next one. Until then, we have several upcoming family events here in New England to enjoy.

How has your summer been going?

Friday, July 5, 2019

Eats & Treats in FL

While on a (mostly) southern states road trip traveling from New Hampshire to Florida, we're sampling foods along the way. It's part of the road trip fun for us. Here's some recent dining experiences in several FL seafood restaurants. 

Nick’s Seafood Restaurant in Freeport, FL is a very casual, family restaurant. This family-owned and operated eatery has been at the same location since the mid-1950s and is being run by the third generation of the family. 

Years before the restaurant opened, the site was a fish camp run by Nick and his wife, Miss Hattie. They sold bait and beer and rented boats for $1 a day. In 1963, the restaurant opened and sold raw oysters, fried shrimp, hamburgers and cold beer. Back then oysters sold for 55 cents/dozen, fried shrimp dinners were $1.55, hamburgers cost 30 cents and beer was 25 cents.The seafood was caught by local fishermen. Soon customers started coming in, parents and children, then children with their children and so on. Customers are still coming as the place was very crowded on the weeknight we dined there. 

Singleton’s Seafood Shack in Jacksonville, FL, on Fort George Island was featured on the Food Network show Diner, Drives ins and Dives in 2010 and of those three choices, it fits the “dive” restaurant category best. It was opened in 1969 by Capt. Ray and Ann Singleton who fed locals and shrimpers in a small shack that has grown addition after addition and now leads out on to the St Johns River.

Singleton’s is in MayPort Village, a small fishing settlement, and we traveled there on the St. Johns River (car) Ferry (shown above) thanks to Grenville’s FL cousin.

Some folks have referred to Singleton’s as a rustic old fish camp. But as it's name states, it's a great example of a Florida seafood shack where fresh caught fish is sold and served. When you enter, there’s a fish market where you can buy fish to go. You can also dine in the indoor dining room or outside on either a covered area or now. 

There are low ceilings, wooden floors, bare wood tables and wood benches. Don’t expect plates, food is served on Styrofoam with plastic utensils and beverages come in plastic cups. While burgers and BBQ are on the menu, what matters most here is the freshly caught and prepared seafood. (After all, it’s in the name and also sold out front.)

The seafood shack's decor is old nautical with lots of newspaper clippings. The late Capt. Singleton built over 130 wooden boat models. In the back of the restaurant, there's a museum with some. Reportedly, he never sold them, but many were donated to local charity auctions. (There's no charge to look at the models and marvel at their craftsmanship.)

Brett’s Waterway Cafe in Fernandina Beach, FL has a great location on the water and the seafood here was good, although pricier and  served on plates with metal utensils as well (vastly different than Singleton's)
From our inside seating we had a great view overlooking the Fernandina Harbor and marina on the Amelia River. 

After dinner, it was a short walk to the dock for a sunset cruise. Unfortunately, it was  cut short due to threatening clouds which turned into a brief storm.
Grenville's fresh catch...
He didn't really reel this shark in, but posed with a "prop" near the dock.

Update — We're back n NH as our road trip ended last week. It was full of wonderful adventures visiting new places and seeing family and friends. There's a couple more posts before this trip ends online. Thanks for traveling along.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Fort-ified in 3 States

We're back home from our "southern" U.S. road trip travels from NH to FL. There's a couple more posts to complete about sites seen & foods sampled along the way. This post describes historic stops in 3 states — Charleston, SC, Fernandina Beach, FL, and Atlantic Beach, NC.

During last year's extended road trip from NH to OR we visited 5 state capitols and 2 state prisons. On this year's road trip, we only visited a single state capitol in Frankfort, KY; however, we did get to 3 Civil War era fortifications, including a very important one.

Fort Sumter in SC was the most notable and historic site. It's where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. This sea fort located on an island in Charleston Harbor is only accessible by boat which is how we visited on a tour boat trip that left us free to explore the fort and check out the on-site exhibit center.

Exhibit Center photo showing Fort Sumter overall size
Named after Revolutionary War hero, and SC native, General Thomas Sumter, it was built after the War of 1812, as part of the coastal defense to protect U.S. harbors. Construction began in 1829 as 70,000 tons of granite were transported from New England to build up a sand bar in the entrance to Charleston Harbor. The fort was a five-sided brick structure, 170 to 190 feet long, with walls five feet thick, standing 50 feet over the low tide mark. (The black structure in the middle of the above photo is where the Fort Sumter exhibit center is housed. The model below shows the fort as originally built.)
Exhibit Center model of original Fort Sumter

Construction was costly (as expected) and stopped in the 1830s due to lack of funds. It resumed in 1841 and by 1860, the island and outer fortifications were done. The interior and armaments remained unfinished when SC seceded from the Union in December 1860. Fort Sumter was still unfinished in 1861 at the start of the Civil War.
Attack illustrations in Fort Sumter Exhibit Center

The First Battle of Fort Sumter began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery fired on the Union garrison. The shots of the war lasted all day. Cannon fire broke through the fortress’s five-foot-thick brick walls, causing fires inside the post.
The fort was cut off from its supply line and with its ammunition deleted, Major Robert Anderson surrendered to Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard the next day. No Union troops died during the bombardment; two men died in an artillery explosion before the Union evacuation. Following the victory, Confederate forces occupied Fort Sumter using it to defend Charleston Harbor.

The Second Battle on September 8, 1863 was a failed Union attempt to retake the fort which while extensively damaged after the 1861 attack, remained in Confederate control. Union artillery effectively leveled Fort Sumter over the next 15 months. Despite over 300 casualties from the Union bombardments, Confederate forces retained control of the fort.

When Union General William T. Sherman was set to capture Charleston, Confederates forces evacuated; Union forces reclaimed it on February 22, 1865. 

In 1948, Fort Sumter was decommissioned as a military post and turned over to the National Park Service. It attracts nearly a million visitors annually.

Fort Clinch is in Fort Clinch State Park, Fernandina Beach, FL. This 19th century masonry coastal fortification was built as part of the U.S. Third System Fortifications. This process entailed a series of forts built long the coastline as a defense against foreign invaders after widespread destruction from the War of 1812.

Construction of the fort started in 1847. The pentagonal compound was built using millions of bricks for both its inner and outer walls. It’s named in honor of General Duncan Lamont Clinch who fought in the War of 1812.

The fort holds a unique distinction — no battles were ever fought here. While never used in direct combat, Fort Clinch served as a military post during three U.S. engagements.

It was occupied by soldiers during both the Civil and Spanish American Wars. The Confederate Army captured it briefly early in the Civil War using it as a safe haven for blockade runners during the first year of the war. In March 1862, General Robert E. Lee ordered it abandoned. In early 1862, Union troops re-occupied the fort using it as a base of operations in the area.

In 1869, the fort was on caretaker status until 1898 when the American troops were stationed there for a short time during the Spanish–American War. It was once again abandoned and gradually deteriorated. 

In the 1930s, workers from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) restored the fort and in 1935, the State of Florida bought 256 acres that included the by-then abandoned fort and surrounding area. Fort Clinch State Park opened in 1938 and the fort was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. 

Fort visitors can tour guard rooms, barracks, hospital, kitchens, a blacksmith’s shop, and a fort prison which Grenville and his cousin experienced. 

Fort Macon is located on Bogue Banks near Atlantic Beach, NC. It’s considered a perfectly restored Civil War-era fort. It was constructed as part of a chain of U.S. coastal defenses after the War of 1812. As part of this chain, Fort Macon's purpose was to guard Beaufort Inlet and Beaufort Harbor, North Carolina's only major deepwater ocean port. 

It's named after Nathaniel Macon, a U.S. Senator from NC, who procured funds to build it. Construction began in 1826 and ended in 1834. The five-sided fort is built of brick and stone. Twenty-six vaulted rooms (casements) are enclosed by 4-1/2-foot thick outer walls. In 1861, at the start of the Civil War, NC confederate forces seized the fort from Union forces and occupied it for a year. In 1862, the fort was attacked and fell back into Union hands. For the duration of the war, it served as a coaling station for navy ships. An ordnance sergeant acting as a caretaker was often the only person stationed there. 

After use as a civil and military prison between 1873-1877, Fort Macon was deactivated. In 1923, it was offered for sale as "surplus military property" to NC for use as a public park (sale price $1). During 1934–35, the Civilian Conservation Corps restored the fort and established recreational facilities. Fort Macon State Park opened in May 1936.

There was a canon firing demonstration when we visited. Fort Macon has several exhibit rooms, but all were closed due to Hurricane Florence water damage. We were told it will take months for the rooms to be repaired, and it's unlikely we will be back.

We enjoyed learning how each fort played a part in the history of the country.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Eats & Treats in SC

While on a (mostly) southern states road trip traveling from New Hampshire to Florida, we're sampling foods along the way. It's part of the road trip fun for us. Here's some recent dining experiences in Charleston, SC.

Hyman’s Seafood on Meeting Street is a family-owned seafood spot, deli, general store spread over most of a city block in buildings dating to the late 1890s. The popular eatery has been at the same location for nearly 130 years. Dining here is casual place; prices are lower, than other city seafood restaurants. The signature dish is crispy flounder, which we didn't try as it's not our favorite fish, but there's plenty of other seafood choices on the menu. If you like seafood, as we do  you won’t be disappointed.

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, no advance reservations. We joined others out front to wait for our chance to dine at this tourist favorite. While waiting, we chatted with a local couple who said they dined here often, but avoided the busiest times, which seem to be any night. Once seated, we checked out plaques that showed famous folks who had dined at the same table. Ours featured NFL player Tony Dorsett, former SC Senator Fritz Hollings, and talk show host Oprah Winfrey. If you go, be sure to try the hush puppies, which were the best we've ever had (see Grenville's smile below). Notice the two spoons as we shared that key lime pie dessert!
Hyman’s is open 360 days a year, 7 days a week, closed only for Jewish holidays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The restaurant has been voted best seafood by Southern Living Magazine’s reader’s poll for several years. There may be another reason too as a prominent sign boasts two rules: Rule #1 the customer is always right and Rule # 2 when in doubt, refer back to Rule #1. 

Pane e Vino on Warren Street, is a downtown trattoria, located just off Charleston’s busy King Street on a much quieter, off-the-beaten street. Entering the restaurant, we passed by a large patio hidden behind an ivy-covered wrought-iron fence. It’s larger than the restaurant’s main dining room. The interior was very comfortable on a warm SC evening with a dimly lit and cozy atmosphere.

For a restaurant with pane (bread) in its name, there was a lack of Italian breads in the basket, exactly one type. Our dinner choices were stuffed ravioli; mine was stuffed with a pureed spinach and ricotta blend in a light smoked prosciutto and asparagus cream sauce. Grenville chose a lobster-stuffed version.  Both were good, but no side salads were included with dinner, which was disappointing. The restaurant was near our hotel. We should have walked further along to nearby King Street which offered more dining choices.

Smoke BBQ on upper King Street started with a food truck business that's expanded to two Charleston storefront locations. We had read that the chef-owner treats smoked meats as gourmet-level fare, and we believe it after eating here. Apparently so do others as it was very crowded the afternoon we were there. 

The menu is simply printed on a single page with several sandwich choices, some wings, meat platters, and a salad. Food is served on small metal trays (easy cleanup). The BBQ was served between the sides in the above photos. My choice was pulled pork and Grenville had house-smoked pastrami. Our meal choices came with two sides as we both selected the slaw, which as more of a salad. It was lightly dressed and included shredded carrots, apples, and pickled red cabbage and pecans. Fresh and crunchy, it was a welcome break from mayo-based slaws. Service was fast and so friendly (it's a Southern "thing"). Every employee stopped by to see if everything was to our liking, which it was and very good as well. 

Brown Dog Deli on Broad Street is a traditional deli, surrounded by attorney and real estate offices and art galleries. This small unassuming restaurant was very busy the afternoon we ate there. There's a  bench where folks can wait for take out. Indoor and outdoor seating is available. While waiting for lunch, it was fun looking at the inside wall art which had musical memorabilia and a selection of albums. The outdoor patio has open air and covered tables and is decorated with hanging lights, a bubbling fountain, and colorful plants. (We didn't know about the patio until after being seated.)

The menu features traditional deli favorites, like hot and cold sandwiches, wraps, salads and hot dogs. The hot dog menu has basics like traditional Chicago dogs, chili dogs and pastrami dogs in addition to some Brown Dog Deli specialties. There's also a build-your-own hot dog option which lets diners start with a plain hot dog and top it however they like.
Grenville’s gourmet lunch choice was called The Fab Four and included pastrami, Swiss, provolone, kraut, spicy brown mustard, Russian dressing, horseradish pickles, pressed baguette, au jus. I opted for a traditional Reuben of corned beef, kraut, Russian dressing, Swiss, rye.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream on King Street features artisan ice creams using whole ingredients and dairy from grass-pastured cows vs. synthetic flavorings, emulsifiers, and stabilizers. The company is headquartered in Columbus, OH, home of its founder, Jeni Britton Bauer for whom the company is named. Currently, Ms. Britton is possibly the most notable ice cream authority in the world. The Wall Street Journal has called her cookbook “the homemade-ice cream-making Bible.” 

Jeni’s operates 33 “scoop shops” in 10 cities, but there’s only one in SC. Lucky for us, it's in Charleston. A first taste of these rich, creamy flavors convinced us that the lines we had seen the night before were worth the wait. We returned the next night at an earlier hour with no lines and could “sample” before making our choices.

The ice cream has unique flavor and unique names as well, including: Sun-Popped Corn, Blackout Chocolate Cake, Strawberry Buttermilk, Sweet Cream Biscuits and Peach Jam, Wildberry Lavender, Pistachio & Honey, Salted Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks, Darkest Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Brambleberry Crisp, Coffee with Cream and Sugar, Cream Puff, Texas Sheet Cake, Roasted Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam, Lemon & Blueberries. Which flavors do you think we enjoyed?

But, if there’s no Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream shop near your location, don't worry as the company distributes pre-packed pints to over 3,000 grocery stores across the country, and also ships anywhere in the U.S. via an online e-commerce shop.

(Here's what we selected —  Salted Caramel and Salted Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks for myself and Green Mint Chip and Blackout Chocolate Cake for Grenville.)
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