Posted in Travel

Wyoming

 

Our 50 State Challenge
Inspired by my brother Michaels book “Born Again America” Don and I decided we wanted to see all 50 of our countries beautiful states, with the challenge being we needed to spend one night in every state.

Wyoming, was my parents first home after getting married and where Dons mother and my oldest brother Jay were born, so it had a special significance to both of us.

I was amazed at the different terrains as we drove through the state, from endless fields to magnificent mountains (and we only made it through part of the state.) I was also surprised by the very windy and chilly weather.

In Cheyenne The Capitol building was closed for renovations but the fence and construction site did not hide the beauty of this historical building. Downtown was small, but had several nice restaurants and a cool brewery (see our favorite places Wyoming below.).


The most impressive part of our visit though was Devils Tower, a huge cement rock that rises out of the ground, there are pathways to walk around the area and a campground right at the base for those who want to stay.

This land mark was featured in Close Encounters, but we did not have and extraterrestrial sitings on this trip.   In 1906 it was also the first location to be designated as a National Park by Teddy Roosevelt.

One day in not enough time to explore this magnificent state, so there will defiantly be a repeat visit in our future.

Our Favorite Places in Wyoming

The Historic Plains Hotel

1600 Central Ave Cheyenne WY

Plains Hotel in downtown Cheyenne not fancy, the rooms definitely could use some serious updating. The king size bed was actually two twin beds put next together, so if you rolled into the middle of the bed you found yourself falling down the middle. The AC was a small window unit and there were stains on the carpet and the faucets in the shower were coming out of the wall. There is one small elevator that 2 people with luggage could barely squeeze into.

With those things said this is a historic hotel, the lobby is beautiful and if you want a true downtown Cheyenne experience this is the place to stay, as there are no other hotels in the downtown area.


From our room you got a distant view of the state Capitol, the front desk staff was nice, though not all together helpful nor knowledgeable of the area. There are several fun little restaurants and bars in walking distance of the hotel (check out Sandfords or Accompis).

They had a nice restaurant that served delicious and very filling breakfasts for a pretty good price.


We got a good nights sleep and the price was really good, so I would probably go back for the experience plus my father told me that is where my mom worked when they lived there so it was a sentimental stay.

Accomplice Beer Company
15 West 15th St Cheyenne WY


If you like beer you will love this place. You get a card that you can use to get several small samples or just a couple beers. Your charged by the ounce, so it’s a great way to sample several types of beer. Limited food menu, we had the sliders with chips and kale salad. All delicious. Inside and outside seating, it was a fun place.


Sanfords
115 E 17th St Cheyenne WY


Located in downtown Cheyenne a fun little place with eclectic decor that included Route 66 signs, license plates, sports memorabilia and old record albums on the walls.  The  large menu offered a variety of foods from burgers to steaks.

Boasting an impressive beer selection with everything from domestic to local crafts.  We chose the Snake River Zonker Stout, a delicious dark beer that was the perfect compliment to our lunch.


For an appetizer we tried the fried pickles that were served with ranch dressing and peanut butter, amazingly the peanut butter mixed with the fried pickles was a pretty good combination.

We shared a delicious patty melt for our main course, the burger was cooked to perfection and the sweet potato fries were the perfect side.  The kitchen even split it for us on 2 separate plates saving us from the awkwardness of who gets the most fries or larger cut.


The music was classic 60s  to 80s not so loud you could not carry on a conversation.   There is live music on Friday nights and we were treated to a sound check of Beatles and Yes songs performed by local artist Ken Wooster.   Imagine that, live music on a Friday afternoon for lunch.


Thomas our waiter was great and helped us to choose from the extensive menu.
What a great find on our road trip across the Great Plains.

The Capitol Building was under construction when we went to visit. Its a small building with a park in front. Very limited parking outside.

I would have loved to have see Wyoming in the days when my parents lived here. I recently found a letter she had written to her Aunt describing the long drives through endless flat roads and extreme wind, that part has not changed at all. The hotel she worked at still remains and of course the air base that my father was stationed at and my mother in law was born at was still there.

Don and I made our own memories in this very remote, beautiful state and enjoyed our far too short stay.

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Posted in Friends

My Friends at The Sea


I am so fortunate to have some of the most amazing, beautiful, inspiring friends. Friends that I laugh with, cry with, friends who inspire me with their strength, and friends who make me laugh with their fun perspective of life. Friends who are near by that I see often, and friends who are far away that I rarely see, but the moment we are together we connect as though not a day has passed.
Each year a group of my friends travel to Port Aransas for a retreat on the beach. It is a weekend filled with prayer, laughter, singing, reflection, some tears and lots of hugs. The kind of hugs that fill your heart and soul with strength and joy.
Many of these woman I only see during this weekend, they are like the waves on a beach that roll in and out of my life. We supported each other as young mothers and now share stories of our children’s success as adults. We have been there for one another through graduations, first and last days of school, weddings, sickness and deaths. Never judging always accepting.
A professor of mine once told me that each of us needs a support group in life, a group that we can turn to in times of trouble, companions that you give your strength to when they are faltering. I have been blessed with friends like that, and this group of woman who gather at this yearly beach retreat is one such group.
I thank God for those woman who inspire me daily.
For one of life’s greatest gifts is friendship.
The weekend passed quickly and now I am home again, back to all those mundane things that keep our lives steady, but I know next year I will again have the opportunity to return to the beach and my seashore friends,

Posted in Family

I Love a Good Wedding

I must say, I love weddings nowadays!  When I got married, it was all the same. We walked down the aisle to the wedding march, we had wedding coordinators who were almost militant like who choreographed and counted each movement and step.   There were unity candles, bridesmaids in matching shoes and dresses.   All wonderful and beautiful, but the most personality we interjected was what we wore and the occasional brave bride who would change the music.
But now our brides are swaying down the aisle to popular music that signifies who they are.     Bridesmaids are given a color or idea and are allowed to pick out something they feel compliments their body type and not just the maid of honors’.
And the venues are amazing. My cousin Monique was married in April,  at The Mountain Top Inn, in Vermont. The venue was a beautiful cozy inn that looked like it was pulled from a movie set.  With a string quartet announcing her entrance, she was married outside with the backdrop of the Vermont Green Mountains. Her wedding party consisted of their young nieces and nephews. I have never seen such a devoted group of wedding attendants. The wedding of Catholic bride and Jewish groom was officiated by a Lutheran Minister. At the end of the ceremony, a couple came up and gave us all a beautiful education of the Jewish tradition of the couple breaking a glass to complete the ceremony. It was a cold April day, so guests were provided with hand warmers and blankets to help break the Vermont Mountain chill.
My niece Alaina was married in June at the Whitewater Conservatory in Iowa with the beautiful backdrop of a canyon and lake. They wrote and spoke their own vows that were lovingly written in homemade books crafted by the bride. Guests put their wedding gifts in the back of a classic old pickup. After the wedding, we all went to a barn where we ate BBQ, wedding cake and wedding pie, then danced until we couldn’t breathe. It was summer and the bugs were out, so there was a basket of bug spray that guests were encouraged to use.
Wedding guest gifts are another new tradition. They also seem to mirror the personality of the couple. For my cousins wedding, they gave everyone maple leaf shaped bottles of Vermont syrup. At my nieces wedding, they gave out jars of homemade jam, life is sweet…
The unity candle was always a big tradition. My niece chose a unity cross they put together at the ceremony. I have a friend who went to a wedding where they had a unity plant. The families each brought up a pitcher of water that the couple used to water a plant.
Traditional weddings are nice, but I envy these young couples who are making their wedding a reflection of their personalities.
Traditional or not though I love that there are couples who are still willing to make the ultimate commitment to one another.  In 1 Corinthians 13:13 St Paul reminds us: “Three things remain faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is Love.” These 2 couples shared the kind of committment that will not only bring them a lifetime of happiness and joy but will also bring faith, hope, and love to all whose lives they touch.
Next year my niece Tasha will be getting married in Arizona, we are looking forward to another celebration that will again bring our family together to celebrate the hope and joy for the beautiful future that weddings bring!

Posted in Uncategorized

Who Doesn’t Love a Good Wedding

I must say, I love weddings nowadays!  When I got married, it was all the same. We walked down the aisle to the wedding march, our wedding coordinators were almost militant like who choreographed and counted each step down the aisle.   There were unity candles, bridesmaids in matching shoes and dresses, all wonderful and beautiful, but the most personality we interjected was what we wore and the occasional brave bride who would change the music.
But now our brides are swaying down the aisle to popular music that signifies who they are.   Bridesmaids are given a color or idea and are allowed to pick out something they feel compliments their body type and not just the maid of honors’.
And the venues are amazing.     My cousin Monique was married in April, at The Mountain Top Inn, in Vermont. The venue was a cozy inn that looked like it was pulled from a movie set.  With a string quartet announcing her entrance, she was married outside with the backdrop of the Vermont Green Mountains. Her wedding party consisted of their young nieces and nephews. I have never seen such a devoted group of wedding attendants. The wedding of Catholic bride and Jewish groom was officiated by a Lutheran Minister. At the end of the ceremony, a couple came up and gave us all a beautiful education of the Jewish tradition of the couple breaking a glass to complete the ceremony.    It was a cold April day, so guests were provided with hand warmers and blankets to help break the Vermont Mountain chill.
My niece Alaina  was married in June at the Whitewater Conservatory in Iowa with the beautiful backdrop of a canyon and lake. They wrote and spoke their own vows that were lovingly written in homemade books crafted by the bride.   Guests put their wedding gifts in the back of a classic old pickup. After the wedding, we all went to a barn where we ate BBQ, wedding cake and wedding pie, then danced until we couldn’t breathe. It was summer and the bugs were out, so there was a basket of bug spray that guests were encouraged to use.
Wedding guest gifts are another new tradition. They also seem to mirror the personality of the couple. For my cousins wedding, they gave everyone maple leaf shaped bottles of Vermont syrup. At my nieces wedding, they gave out jars of homemade jam, life is sweet…
The unity candle was always a big tradition. My niece chose a unity cross they put together at the ceremony. I have a friend who went to a wedding where they had a unity plant. The families each brought up a pitcher of water that the couple used to water a plant.
Traditional weddings are nice, but I envy these young couples who are making their wedding a reflection of their personalities.
Traditional or not, I love that there are couples who are still willing to make the ultimate commitment to one another.  In 1 Corinthians 13:13 St Paul reminds us: “Three things remain faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is Love.” These 2 couples shared the kind of commitment that will not only bring them a lifetime of happiness and joy but will also bring faith, hope, and love to all whose lives they touch.
Next year my niece Tasha will be getting married in Arizona, Our family is looking forward to another celebration that will again instill  that warm, wonderful feeling of hope and joy in our future, because everyone loves a good wedding!