Festival of Trees

Festival of Trees at Museum of East Texas 2013 (1a)The Festival of Trees is a collection of over 90 Christmas trees on display at the Museum of East Texas in Lufkin Texas.

Festival of Trees at Museum of East Texas 2013 (14) Festival of Trees at Museum of East Texas 2013 (19) Festival of Trees at Museum of East Texas 2013 (19a) Festival of Trees at Museum of East Texas 2013 (27)The trees are sponsored by local businesses, family’s and organizations.

Festival of Trees at Museum of East Texas 2013 (6) Festival of Trees at Museum of East Texas 2013 (12) Festival of Trees at Museum of East Texas 2013 (29) Festival of Trees at Museum of East Texas 2013 (43) Festival of Trees at Museum of East Texas 2013 (45)All of the trees have a theme. Some are traditional, some not so traditional, all are beautiful.

Festival of Trees at Museum of East Texas 2013 (49) Festival of Trees at Museum of East Texas 2013 (51) Festival of Trees at Museum of East Texas 2013 (52) Festival of Trees at Museum of East Texas 2013 (53) Festival of Trees at Museum of East Texas 2013 (54) Festival of Trees at Museum of East Texas 2013 (56)It is free to the public to see the spectacular display of trees. However there is a donation box set up that benefits the Art Camp Sponsorships.

Creating Art

2010 (20)On our last trip to Las Vegas I collected $1 Chips from each Casino that we visited. When we got home I bought a Shadow Box and a Black and White Poster of Las Vegas. I also printed out one of the Pictures of us that I felt like showcased when and where we were.

DSCF0204Elvis, Las Vegas Sign, and Christmas Tree. You guessed it, Las Vegas in December. There is even a Christmas ornament that has the year on it.

Las VegasI now have a work of Art to hang in my house and a pretty cool conversation piece.

 

Texas Renaissance Celtic Christmas

112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (2)The last weekend of the Texas Renaissance Festival is the Celtic Christmas Weekend. The festival is open the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday after Thanksgiving. We went on Friday thinking there wouldn’t be a big crowd since so many people do Black Friday Shopping. We were wrong, it was just as packed as ever.

112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (5)Everyone was decked out in their Christmas Finest.

112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (4)Christmas Trees and Decorations can be found throughout the Festival on this weekend.

112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (25) 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (26) 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (71) The Kings Jewels112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (29) Circa PalcoI love the music that you find on different stages.

112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (91) Shrimp and BeerWe eat our way around the Festival. Everything is delicious.

112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (100) 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (94a) Angus the Gnome 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (101) 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (103) 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (112) Whimsy's Muse 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (116) 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (125) 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (130) 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (132) 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (133) 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (145)

112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (171) 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (166) 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (173) Royal Mint 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (178)As the sun went down, the Christmas lights started to twinkle.

112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (181) 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (209) 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (218) 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (227) 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (242) 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (245) 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (252) 112913 Texas Renaissance Festival (257a)The time has changed so it gets darker faster. We ended the night with Italian Cream Cheese Cake and Hot Chocolate. Now we wait until next year…

Las Vegas Postcards

I was digging in a box and came across some post cards from my 2002 trip to Las Vegas. I thought I’d share. Some of these hotels are still there and sadly some are gone.

083002 Las Vegas PostcardLas Vegas Strip.

083002 Mirage Hotel (1)I love the FREE entertainment you can find in Vegas.

083002 Riviera Hotel (1)When we booked the Riviera we had no clue how far down the strip it was. We almost walked our legs off.

083002 Venetian Hotel (1)Gondola Rides at the Venetian. When you can’t make it to Venice it’s the next best thing.

083102 (1) New York New YorkWe rode the roller-coaster on the top of New York New York.

083102 (9) ExcaliburKnights in Shining Armor at Excalibur.

083102 (18) Mandalay Bay Lenny Kravitz PinkPink and Lenny Kravitz in concert at Mandalay Bay August 2002.

090102 Las Vegas (1) Bellagio HotelThe Bellagio Gardens are beautiful any time of the year.

090102 Las Vegas (17) Monte CarloI can not tell a Story. We didn’t go in the Monte Carlo. I’m sure it was grand.

090102 Las Vegas (18) Stardust 1958-2006Stardust 1958-2006 The last day of operation was November 1st, 2006. I was in Jamaica getting married on the same day.

090102 Las Vegas (19) Sahara Hotel 1952-2011Sahara 1952-2011

090102 Las Vegas (20) LuxorLuxor. The grand pyramids of Egypt.

This trip holds a lot of meaning for me. I hope you enjoy my walk down memory lane.

Oak Alley Plantation Louisiana

Oak Alley Plantation (2)

We stopped at Oak Alley Plantation on our way home from New Orleans. There are quite a few plantations about an hour outside New Orleans that you can visit and tour. We always seem to be tired and ready to get home so haven’t had to time to go inside any of them yet. I love the buildings and grounds, but plan on making more trips back to spend more time exploring the past. Oak Alley is where Interview with a Vampire was filmed and we missed it on our trip in the spring so I had to see it this time. There is a quarter of a mile alley of Virginia Live Oaks that lead to the house. I can just imagine a horse and buggy driving between the oaks and pulling up to the front entrance.

Oak Alley Plantation Sugar Kettle

Oak Alley was built in the 1830’s. It is still a working Sugarcane Plantation today.

Oak Alley Plantation Communication BellThe Plantation Bell was the communication system for the plantation. Each ring had a different meaning. The Oak Alley Bell was cast in 1848 and is still used to signal the guided tours beginning.

Oak Alley Plantation Fire ExtinguisherAbove is a fire extinguisher that was used on plantations. I’m not sure exactly how effective it might have been.

Oak Alley Plantation Restaurant Pecan PieAfter looking at all the sites stop by the Oak Alley Plantation Restaurant and have some lunch. Our Pecan Pie had more pecans that pie in it. The menu tells what page each item can be found on in the Plantation’s Cookbook. Everything we ate was so good that we came home with that cookbook. Now I have to see if I can do it justice.

Oak Alley Plantation Restaurant Mint JulepFinish your visit off with a Mint Julep.

Oak Alley Plantation (3)

Take a Trip to New Orleans with Me!

My husband and I made our first trip to New Orleans in March 2013. The city has been on my bucket list for about 15 years but between hurricanes and life it just never seemed to work out. We made it a weekend getaway and drove in on Friday. It is about a 6 hour drive from our home in Texas. We checked into the St James Hotel on the corner of Magazine and Natchez. St James Hotel New Orleans

The hotel is full of character. We stayed on the 4th floor in room 401. As you are walking down the hallway you can feel that the floor is uneven from the age of the building. The beds are pillow top and heaven to sleep on . I’ve added some pictures of the room and private balcony.

St James Hotel New Orleans (2)St James Hotel New Orleans (4)St James Hotel New Orleans (5) - CopyThe St James Hotel is a great place to stay with great rates. It is centrally located to everything that you want to do. We paid for valet parking and never needed our vehicle again the rest of the weekend.

We fell in love with the city immediately. There is so much to see and do. We spent Friday night roaming around the French Quarter and enjoying the 2 for 1 and 3 for 1 beers on Bourbon Street.

55Take your tennis shoes. To heck with being fashionable. I started off in my most comfortable pair of boots with a heel on them. They didn’t last long.

Saturday morning we hit the road running. I had a laundry list of thing that I wanted to do and see. We got on the St Charles Streetcar and headed to the Garden District. You can get an all day pass on the streetcars for $3 per person. It is an automated ticket taker on the streetcar so you have to the exact amount of money. It’s not capable of giving change. The streetcar stops every couple of blocks so travel is slow going. I was ok with that. It gave my feet a rest and the opportunity to take some pictures.

13This is one of those pictures I took form the streetcar of Lafayette Square. The azaleas were in bloom and they are panted all over the Garden District.

We toured the Lafayette Cemetery No 1. located in the Garden District. When I say toured I mean that we roamed around on our own and explored. It was very interesting.

The Garden District has nineteenth century home and a slower pace. We ended up walking back to the hotel. It didn’t seem that far when we started out. It’s father than you think. Time for a nap.

We hit Harrah’s Casino and made a little walking around money. Don’t stay too long or they will take it all back.

Everyone told me that I had to eat Bennetts while in New Orleans.

43Bennetts are fried dough shaped in a square and rolled in powdered sugar. They are served in portions of 3 in a brown paper bag. So simple and yet so yummy!

Time for a carriage ride. Another MUST when in New Orleans. The carriages are pulled by mules because they are more sure footed and smarter that horses, or at least that’s what the carriage driver said. You get a history lesson and a beautiful view of the French Quarter. Did you know that Joan of Arc is the Patron Saint of New Orleans? I didn’t.

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There is even a golden statue of her.

We ran across a parade. I think they are pretty common in New Orleans. Any excuse for a party.

58This one was the Italian American Parade.

We ended up Back on Bourbon Street.

54Make sure you go to Pat O’Briens and have a Hurricane, their signature drink.

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Music pours out onto the street. 70

This guy is playing on the bar.

At the end of the night we stumbled back to our hotel room for some much needed rest.

Sunday morning rolled around and it was time to pack up and head home. New Orleans is a destination that we will be coming back to again. Next time we plan on staying Sun- Wed. Weeknights have better hotel rates by almost half. We didn’t get to eat at any of the restaurants that I wanted to because the wait was way too long. (an hour and a half at most places) I’m hoping that it won’t be as crowded during the week. Friday to Sunday in not long enough to do all the things that we wanted to do. About the time you get the lay of the city down it’s time to go home. Also I will be power walking for the month before we come back. I couldn’t feel my legs by the time Sunday rolled around.

About an hour outside of New Orleans you can visit plantations. We stopped at a couple of them. You can take tours, but we just couldn’t walk another step. That will have to wait for our next visit.

There are posts on my blog that have the photos of the places referred to in this post. Go take a look. I hope you have enjoyed reading about our trip to New Orleans. Please leave comments for anything I should add to my bucket list for the next trip.