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Lovin’ New York

 

There is so much to do and see while in New York. Even 7 days in the city flew by with us wishing we had more time.

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Here are a few fun things to do while in New York.

Greenwich Village Le Poisson Rouge has great food, good drinks.

5641512B-9C7B-43A6-9B88-D6CBC2885C0EThe night Thor and Friends was the featured band.

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We enjoyed their unique sound and haunting melodies that kept the audience mesmerized.

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Greenwich Village has a whole different vibe getting off the subway felt like stepping back into time to the late sixties.

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Great music, fun people and delicious pizza are what you will find in The Village.

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Museum of Natural Science –

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Our visit turned into a Night at The Museum scavenger hunt.

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We found a few of the displays from the movie such as Tiki Head.

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Don got to sit with Teddy Roosevelt for a chat about the great out doors.

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When you go to this museum or the Metropolitan Museum of Art they have suggested prices listed outside, but you only have to pay what you can afford.

Radio City Music Hall Tour –

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This 75 minute tour takes you on an incredible backstage tour that includes seeing costumes

meeting with a Rockette.

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Hearing the history of the building and those who built it.


From the incredible bathrooms to the apartment built for the former manager in the 1920’s.

This our was well worth the $26.00 price tag and kept us inside warm and dry.

Be sure to ask to hear the story of why the elephant had to climb the stairs.

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Our tour guide Joyce was fun and knowledgeable and made us feel as if we were living the experience.

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Hamilton An American Musical –

So we saw his portrait at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and his grave at Trinity Church. But I wanted Don to have the chance to see the show that he so generously had sent all of us to.

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So we walked over to the Rogers Theater and asked again if they had tickets.

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This time the answer was not only YES but they were tickets in the 9th row and for face value.

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The Broadway show was fabulous, and the theater is beautiful.


Later we found out theaters have occasional cancellations and sometimes have tickets at the door. Don’t go to New York and count on getting tickets to your favorite show, but know it is a possible option.

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Central Park Carriage Rides – You can book a carriage ride on line and there are a variety of prices. The average price is about $150.00 on line for an hour.

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We found that just going up to the park that the drivers will offer you a pretty good deal for much less if they are having a quiet night or day.

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Our driver Ishmael and his horse Scooby gave us a lovely moonlit tour of the park, pointing out several landmarks during our ride.

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Church –

There is no shortage of churches in the area. But St. Patricks Cathedral on 5th Avenue is a true experience.

They offer many times for Mass throughout the day so many that as we were leaving one Mass they were starting the next one.

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Of course while in New York, we had to visit Fox News.

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Just to give Don the feeling we had taken him to The Mother Ship.

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We even had a Homer Simpson spotting.

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New York is a unique beautiful city, whether your cheering on the runners for The New York City Marathon.

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looking for fun photo ops

or just traveling the subway

there is always something fun to see no matter how often we visit.

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Womans Wonderful Wild Waco Weekendl

When my daughter moved to Waco last year people from all over would ask, isn’t that where Chip and Joanne are from? Have you been to The Silos or Magnolia Table?

Hearing these comments and questions made me feel I must be missing something important, so this weekend my friends and I headed to Waco for a girls weekend in the heart of Gaines country.

Its a 3.5 hour drive from San Antonio to Waco. Buc-ee’s is always a great place stop and stretch your legs, fill up your gas tank and of course use their famous clean restrooms.

Once in Waco, we stayed at the Waco Hilton in the center of town and a short walk to most major downtown sites.

When visiting the Silos parking is difficult to find I would suggest using public transportation such as the free trolley that will drop you off in front of The Silos.

The entrance had a great “miles to Magnolia” photo op that we took advantage of when we arrived.

The store was not as large as I thought, the decor was fun and unique but the items were a little expensive.

We walked through the store and found a few treasures and souvenirs to purchase before heading outside and to the garden center.

There is a huge play area where you can toss bean bags, play kickball or lay down on the artificial grass. There are picnic tables and a wide variety of food trucks.

We skipped visiting the bakery due to the long line and instead headed to Magnolia Table for lunch. On arrival we were told by the hostess that they would not be able to seat our party of 5 together but could split us up and have us seated in 2-3 hours. Deciding there was no food worth that wait we drove back to Waco for lunch at Hecho en Waco where the food was delicious, service friendly and there was no wait.

We also visited the Magnolia Little Shop on Bosque that has marked down items.

Others highlights of our Waco weekend was a visit to the Dr. Pepper Museum, where a $10.00 fee allows you some fun history of soda and all things Dr. Pepper (if your lucky you may have a ghost siting.)

The Brazos River Suspension Bridge and “Branding the Brazos” cattle drive sculpture is a great place to walk around and find that perfect photo op while visiting Waco.

Pie Peddlers, if you love pie, then you will love the variety of pies where you can get a slice or a whole pie.

My favorite part of the weekend was having the opportunity to spend time with good friends, there was never a shortage of laughter and great stories. I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends.

And of course the huge weekend bonus to me was my daughter Liz was performing at a play festival in Waco that weekend so I was able to spend a short, precious amount of time with her.

At the end of the weekend we committed to finding out what other trips we could make in the future, lots of great ideas were tossed out there. No matter where we go, or what we do it will be fabulous. Any time spent with these woman will always be wild and wonderful.

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Milwaukee

Our trip to Milwaukee was planned as a means to check Wisconsin off our list of states visited together.   I came here with no expectations, didn’t even do any research prior to our trip. 

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Little did I know that the moment our Lyft driver drove into the beautiful downtown that I would fall in love with this gorgeous city located on Lake Michigan. 

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It may have had something to do with the perfect weather that ran from the mid 60’s to low 80’s that was a nice respite from the triple digits we were experiencing in San Antonio.  But there was so much more.

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Lake Michigan was a inviting color of blue, with lighthouse beacons protecting sailors from the rocky shores in front of them. 

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All along the lake there were sailboats taking advantage of the breeze and the weather.  Veterens Park in front of the Lake was the perfect place for flying a kite, riding a a bike, reading a book or taking a nap.

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The dragon flies looked like a battalion of tiny helicopters swooping in on the park.

We stopped to listen to a 1980’s theme band (complete with polyester clothings and tight shirts)that filled us with memories of being young.

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The Historic Third Ward was filled with restaurants like Benelux, where we had brunch on the roof, enjoying delicious food while enjoying the perfect summer weather.

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In Old Town you could find nearly any kind of beer you could think of, while enjoying some of the regions finest cheeses and sausages.

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We stopped at Brüdd Cafe for a beer flight and cheese plate appetizer.

 Then had dinner at the Milwaukee Brat house where we shared a sausage sampler and cheese soup.

The city is filled with sculptures, 

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Fun sculptures

Patriotic Sculptures 

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Odd Sculptures

 

And even whimsical sculptures.

 

I may have felt differently about this town had I arrived in the weather, where I was told the temperatures can drop to 50º below, but if I were going to chose a place to visit in August again, Milwaukee would definitely be top of my list.

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Delta and The Porsche AKA Why We Love Delta

My husband Don has been a million miler diamond member with Delta for years and we have heard mysterious tales of people being picked up by The Delta Porsche Cayenne to transport them between gates.  But we always thought those were just urban legends like the Chupacabra or Big Foot.

Until recently.

 We landed in Detroit ready to make a fast sprint through the airport so we could make our very short connection.

We were barely off the plane when we saw her…Amy… from Delta standing there with a iPad in her hands emblazoned with the words, “Welcome Don & Jill Vermeulen”.

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I adjusted my eyes then nudged Don who was ready to go racing up the jet bridge.

“Hello” he said cautiously, “We are Don & Jill”

With a smile she informed us she was there to escort us to our next gate.

And she was not driving one of those irritating little golf carts that are always honking at you in the airport, she walked us outside and put our luggage in a beautiful Porsche Cayenne!

Was this a dream, did the elusive Porsche really exist?   Were we really being chauffeured like royalty across the airport tarmac?

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This wasn’t just a quick ride from point A to B, she stopped at one of the larger planes, allowed us to take pictures and even insisted on taking our bags up the staircase so Don could take photographs. (Figures I didn’t have my sunglasses and was squinting the whole time.)

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When she took us in the back way up the stairs and right to the door of the plane on the jet bridge, people stopped to stare.

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We felt like rockstars as we got on the plane and were ushered to our first class seats for the flight to Hartford.

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Don has always said Delta Airlines treats him so well that it is hard for him to have to get on any other carrier, and I fully agree, but after our encounter with Amy and that rock star service I know we will be Delta loyal forever.

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Seattle Public Market and a Perfect Day

No matter how many times I visit Seattle I will always find myself drawn to this beautiful menagerie of shops, antiques, music and food.

Plan to spend a couple hours here and come hungry, but don’t blow your appetite on the first donut shop you walk up to, there will be plenty of things to taste as you make your way through.

Start your visit with a photo of Rachel The Pig, if you feel generous be sure to deposit some spare change into her (she is a piggy bank) all donations go to help local charities.

Some days Rachel likes to dress up.

Right behind Rachel is the Fish Market where you can purchase all types of fish, watch out for the flying fish though as this has become a tradition.

Then you can begin your walk down the market place where you can find just about any kind of fruit, vegetable, flower and arts and crafts you can think of.

Take a minute to stop and listen to some of the amazing musicians along the way.

Downstairs you will find music, books, antiques and even a barber shop if you are in need of a trim.

Across the street is the original Starbucks, there is usually a line to get in.

You can have a nice sit down meal at Maximilian’s or pick up some delicious baked goods at Piroshky Piroshky another place you will probably wait in line, but the pastries at the front of the line are well worth the wait.

If its a nice day you can end your trip through the market with a picnic in the park right outside.

There are always artists, musicians, people to watch and of course beautiful views of the water.

No matter what kind of weather during your visit you will always find something to suit the day at this beautiful market in Seattle.

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London Bridge in Arizon

During a visit to Las Vegas we wanted to get away from the bright lights and chaos of the city, so we started a 3 hour drive to Lake Havasu to see if Jerry Jeff Walker was telling the truth when he said that “London Bridge had fallen down and moved to Arizona.”We drove through 3 states to get there, and loved that Nevada not only welcomes you into their state, they also thank you for visiting as you leave.

 

 

 

Through the Mojave Desert we travelled thinking we may never again see signs of civilization.

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  Suddenly we were driving past a beautiful lake with water so blue that wondered if we were seeing a mirage.

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 Arriving at the Holiday Inn we had booked for our overnight stay, we opened up the curtains in our room, and there it was The London Bridge, not just a replica or a few of the bricks arranged for viewing, it was a fully working bridge, cars driving and people walking over.  It even still bore the bullet holes on the sides left over from World War 2.

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From our hotel it was a short walk over to London Land which according to the signs when you walk past the dragons your in London (and you don’t even need a passport.)

 

 

The Bridge was incredible but beautiful Lake Havasu was calling to us, there were several options for boat tours on the lake but Sunset Charter and tour Company was one that came highly recommended.

 

 

 

We were very fortunate to be able to book the three hour Sunset Experience

 

 

The price was $50.00 per person and when we arrived at the boat we were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves boarding a beautiful pontoon boat with only 8 seats (6 passenger seats, a captain and a seat in front next to the captain). Each seat was comfortable and had a water view, there would be no standing tiptoe with 50 other people all trying to get a view instead I felt like I was boarding a boat with friends.

 

 

Kevin our Captain and tour guide was awesome. From the moment the trip started, he shared with us the fascinating history of the area.

 

 

Cruising around the lake and into coves the stories he told made us feel as though we had stepped back in time and were seeing the area as our ancestors had.

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The scenery was awe inspiring no photograph could ever give justice to the palate of colors and perfection of the land and water.   When he was not telling us stories of the lake he played perfect music as we moved through the water.

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When the sun had set we sailed under a magnificent canopy of stars on a moonless night, Kevin had a gift for combining music, landscape, and underwater lights on the boat to create an amazing light show.This was by far the best money we have ever spent on anything we have ever done!   

 

 

The 3 hours flew by and I was sad when The London Bridge came into view and we found ourselves at the end of our tour.

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Sunset Tours has a variety of sailing options available.

In my opinion this was one of the most amazing tours I have ever taken and if I lived in the area I would go on it every day, both Terrie and Sharon at the ticket office were great, they advise to book at least 2 weeks in advance and more if you plan to visit during their busy fall and winter months.

 

 

One of the surprises in Lake Havasu was that it has the largest number of lighthouses in one area, they are smaller replicas of many light houses but they are all fully functional.

 

 

Lake Havasu is beautiful but it is very hot with very little shade, so if you visit bring a hat, water and sunscreen.

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The Holiday Inn was the perfect place to stay as it is walking distance to places to eat, London Town and many of the boat tours, they have free parking and breakfast, and if you join IHG you get points could eventually lead to free stays.

 

 

There are lots of places to eat in the area we chose The Blue Chair for drinks and appetizers it is nearby the docks, great place to wait for one of the sunset cruises if you arrive early.

Shugrues has a great variety of delicious food as well as beautiful views of Lake Havasu and The London Bridge.

Our overnight stay barely left us enough time to scratch the surface in the beautiful town, I definitely would return again!

 

 

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LAX to Burbank by train

49F08781-9E3F-4C35-A89E-74C9EDDA0BD0If your trying to get from LAX to Burbank and you don’t want to drive, you have a few options.

Uber, taxi or Lyft, bus, hitchhike… Or if your feeling adventurous you can take the flyaway bus from the airport to Union Station then take the train from Union Station to Burbank.    

Things to know if your doing this.

Make sure you get on the correct flyaway bus, there is more then.   If you have luggage they will store it under the bus.   You pay for the bus at the end, they only accept credit and debit cards no cash (the cost from LAX to Union Station is $9.75)

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For Amtrak you can purchase your tickets in advance but if your plane is running late you could run the risk of missing your train, so we opted to purchase our tickets at the station.  You need to go to the ticket counter to get a ticket, the kiosk are for metro passengers only.

A business class ticket will allow you access to the first class lounge with snacks, wi-fi, comfortable seating and a red cap to take you to the train. (Business class ticket $18.60 – coach ticket $9.50)

There is some space on the train for your luggage, its very limited but we were lucky and able to find room for all of our bags.

Keep your ticket with you as they will ask for it once your seated.

Depending on how far your going there is a cafe car, our trip was too short to check that out.

Our train did have free wi-if.

The train ride was a quick 25 minutes, we spent more time waiting for the train then we actually spent on it, the stops are quick so be ready when they call your stop or you may wind up in another location.

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You get dropped off right across the street from Bob Hope Airport.

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It was not the most efficient way to travel, and I would not recommend it if your on any kind of schedule.  But  we did avoid Los Angelas traffic and had an adventure, and after all adventure is the best part of travel

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The Original Pantry Cafe Los Angelas

If your hungry in Los Angelas and on a limited budget then consider checking out The Original Pantry Cafe at 877 S Figueroa St.

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Neither fancy nor overpriced this a great little cafe with fair prices, delicious food and huge portions.

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   There is usually a line to get in around the most popular times (breakfast, lunch dinner).   They don’t take reservations, you get in line and wait for a table to open.  

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If its a small group consider trying to get a spot at the counter if one of those seats comes open and your standing there its yours. Open 24 hours and be sure to stop at the ATM before visiting though as they only take cash. Service is fast and you will leave full and happy.

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In A Quiet Iowa Cornfield

In a quiet cornfield in Iowa there is a simple tribute to The Big Bopper (JP Richardson), Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and Roger Peterson, four men who died in a tragic plane crash February 3, 1959

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The crash is a true testament to how a simple act of fate can change a life.

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The Big Bopper had the flu, so Waylon Jennings gave him his spot on the plane, and Tommy Allsup lost a coin flip with Richie Valens.  Neither Tommy nor Waylon could know giving up those seats would save their lives.

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The memorial is neither showy nor fancy, 3 simple records and wings for the pilot, a wind vane made of cake pans and a few treasures that fans have left over the years.

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I was so impressed how well maintained the pathway was, the grass from the road to the memorial was mowed and green.

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Its a beautiful yet sad reminder of an event that changed the course of music and left us wondering where these men would be today if they had chosen to stay on the bus.

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Its a long drive through endless cornfields, there is no fee to get it.  Put 22728 Gull Ave., Clear Lake, IA into your GPS.  Park near the Buddy Holly Glasses near the side of the road and walk about 1/4 mile through the cornfield to the memorial.  

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Be respectful of the surrounding area, some very kind farmer is allowing the public to walk through his fields, show him the same respect he shows for these great musicians and their fans by memorializing  the day and place that the music died.

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Georgia O’Keefe and Abiquiu

If you love Georgia O’Keefe art or if you just want to see beautiful mountains then go to the little town of Abiquiu, New Mexico and visit Georgia O’Keefe’s beautiful home and surrounding property.

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Near the Abiquiu Inn you can purchase tickets ($35.00) that includes the shuttle bus drive over, a knowledgeable guide (we had brilliant Brenda) who knew all things Georgia and had a true passion not only for her art but knew about the beautiful little town and natural back drop that surrounded the home.

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The home is very simple, almost sparse, but the true beauty comes from the views one gets from the enormous picture windows that are in every room.

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Our guide would hold up pictures of paintings, then point to the inspiration that Georgia had to inspire her.

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I knew very little about this iconic artist prior to my visit to Abiquiu, but now I not only know more about her, but I have an appreciation for the way that she captured the beauty in everything from spectacular mountains, to small doors.

We were told stories of how she used all the fruits and vegetables in her meals, this woman was no starving artist, yet she made sure everything in her garden was put to use and that she could not use immediately was canned and saved.

 

They do not allow photographs to be taken in the home, but you may take as many pictures of the surrounding property as you wish.

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After your tour, if your hungry visit The Cafe Abiquiu, the menu is filled with delicious looking meals, I chose the Grilled Cheese Sandwich with tomatoes made panini style.

Wonderful day with my dear friends Patrice and Elizabeth plus a delicious meal, who could ask for more!

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