Over Hill and Dale the Surprises Keep Coming

Flowering Lilly pads

Another Hill another Garden

As I started up the next hill I looked longingly at the water garden. It is such a beautiful peaceful place. So far it is my favorite garden but there’s so much more to see.

 Hydrangea Shrubs in Bloom

White Hydrangea

It’s summer in New England so hydrangea are in full bloom. They are everywhere. It seems every house has a hydrangea shrub in the yard A single l bloom like a pom pomsomewhere so of course the gardens were full of them. In fact, a whole section is dedicated just to these beautiful flowers. Did you know that the colors are determined by the PH level of the soil? I did not know this. I thought they were all different variations. Amid the profusion of blooms a gentleman sat quietly with paint and easel. What a wonderful sight. I wish now I’d taken his photo but I didn’t want to disturb him at the time.

Up and Down and Around

Leaving the hydrangea behind I headed down hill for a change. There was a bench at the bottom of the hill with a handicap sign. Under that was a placard that explained a tram would come by to pick you up if you wanted a ride. Ok then! Lets take the easy way and ride! It wasn’t long before an electric tram came silently along the path. When I climbed on the young driver played tour guide. He wanted to be sure I got to see everything I wanted. 

Next Stop a Carousel


Brown Carved Carousel HorseAfter a few more turns and another hill we arrived at the end of the road. The tram was turned around and as I departed others loaded on for the return trip. This building housed the Carousel and the American Art Collection. I only had eyes for the Vintage Merry-Go-Round. It’s in gorgeous shape. The Carousel is an original Looff from 1908. It’s history is fascinating but more than I have space for here. You can follow this link to continue reading about this beautiful piece of Art.


 White Carousel horse

Gardens of Fun. Beauty and Adventure all in One!

Heritage Gardens Sign

Flower garden at the parking areaThe Heritage Museums and Gardens

Where can you have a fun day surrounded by flowers and gardens and even have an adventure? Located on Upper cape Cod in the little town of Sandwich , Ma you can find a gem of a Museum. The Heritage Museums and Gardens don’t stop with just flowers. There are  exhibits, a carousel, antique cars and even a Zip line. Truly something for everyone.

Checking out the Little Museum and Grounds

I had perfect weather for a little outdoor exploration. I was looking for something new to me that wouldn’t require a 3 hour drive. Sandwich, MA is just about 40 minutes from my home…as long as you avoid the Cape Cod Traffic. For the 2nd time in 2 weeks I headed south on Rt 495 and the Bourne Bridge. Once I crossed the bridge it was just a short drive to RT 130 where I spotted the signs for Heritage Museum and Gardens. As I pulled in I was pleased to see there was parking available. Quite a few people were strolling around following a path down a hill. I bought my ticket for the gardens which included the Museums and started up another paved path.

Windmill gardensFlowers, Nature and a Windmill

Flowers lined the path providing a riot of color and lots of photo ops. There are a series of buildings that I didn’t explore this trip. One building houses the antique car collection. Another holds an art collection. There’s a cafe that seemed to be doing a brisk business. As I wandered along I heard falling water. I looked around and spotted a man-made waterfall peeking through the trees. I wasn’t sure how to get to it but figured I’d find it eventually.Wind Mill First I wanted to check out the  windmill. Daylillies ring the lawn area around the Windmill while a gorgeous garden blooms near the entrance to the space. Benches are placed strategically around the grounds.




Lilly Pond and falling water

I left the Windmill Garden and started down the hill. I briefly considered that I’d have to walk back up it The Man made waterfalllater but I was too interested in seeing the next garden to worry about the return trip. The next Garden was at the bottom of the hill. A large expanse of green lawn gently sloped up to the waterfall I’d seen earlier. The water was falling into a circular pond loaded with Lilly pads. The lawn was surrounded by more daylillies.  I could imagine this as a wonderful wedding venue. Here too benches were set around the pond so you could sit quietly and enjoy the gentle sounds of falling water.

Flowering Lilly pads

Sunday Was Mother’s Day

Sunday Was Mother’s Day

Did you call your Mom? I’m ashamed to say I did not. I didn’t send a card or flowers or go visit. I’m a bad daughter! But I did think about Mother’s Day. What do you think…is it better to send a card late or not send one at all? It’s the old better late than never dilemma.

Mother’s Day has an interesting history.

The Travel channel has a program that you can hardly miss. They seem to do marathons all the time. The show is called Mysteries at the Museum. They ran their Mother’s Day Episode rerun this week and I happened to catch part of it. According to the show The American Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis to honor her mother and the sacrifices she saw other mothers making for their children.

Be careful what you wish for!

Once again the old adage turned out to be true. Anna Jarvis didn’t like what she created. After all her hard work to get Mother’s Day recognized as a National Holiday she grew to hate her creation. It was too commercial. She hated that florists, stationary stores and candy makers jumped on the bandwagon and  made the holiday another commercial extravaganza. She actually spent the rest of her life trying to tear down the holiday her efforts created!

Anna Jarvis’ Vision

Anna Jarvis had originally conceived of Mother’s Day as a day of personal celebration between mothers and families. Her version of the day involved wearing a white carnation as a badge and visiting one’s mother or attending church services. That was fine when it was just a local or personal celebration but it all changed once it  “went National”.


The Sad Result of Mother’s Day Success

Jarvis eventually resorted to an open campaign against Mother’s Day profiteers, speaking out against confectioners, florists and even charities. She also launched countless lawsuits against groups that had used the name “Mother’s Day,” eventually spending most of her personal wealth in legal fees. By the time of her death in 1948 Jarvis had disowned the holiday altogether. She even actively lobbied the government have it removed from the calendar.

In The End

In the end it was the charities that Anna raged against that cared for her once her financial resources were exhausted.

There are lots of other Mother’s Day traditions around the world. A short but interesting read about this history can be found at http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/mothers-day

To my Mom, there is no excuse for skipping Mother’s Day but we’ll have our own celebration in June when you join Sandy and me for our Maine Vacation!

Happy Belated Mother’s Day!



The Most Exciting 2 Minutes in Sports!

The Most Exciting 2 Minutes in Sports

The Kentucky Derby is the premier thoroughbred horse race in the United States. Known as the Most Exciting 2 Minutes in Sports or the Run for the Roses, it is the first leg of the Triple Crown. The Kentucky Derby has been run every consecutive year since 1875. The horses are not the only stars of this race. This is more than a horse race.

This is steeped in Southern tradition  from the over-sized hats the ladies wear to the gallons of mint juleps that are consumed on race day.

A Little bit of History

If you are not a fan of horses or of horse racing you probably don’t understand all the fuss. But The Kentucky Derby is a Big Deal! The excitement starts 2 weeks before the actual race with the Kentucky Derby Festival. The actual race is always the first Saturday in May.

The race is restricted to 3 year old thoroughbreds who can sustain a distance of one and a quarter miles.

What is the Triple Crown?

The Kentucky Derby is the first race in the American Triple Crown and is followed by the Preakness , then the Belmont Stakes. For a horse to be a Triple Crown winner it must win all 3 races.

Traditions Pay A big Role

The Mint Julep is the traditional beverage of the race often served in an ice-frosted silver julep cup. Women appear in fine outfits lavishly accessorized with large, elaborate hats that  alone can cost $500-$2000! So much money just to have a hat like Audrey Hepburn!

The Derby is frequently referred to as “The Run for the Roses,” because a lush blanket of 554 red roses is awarded to the Kentucky Derby winner each year.

Final Thoughts and Observations

I love horses and seeing them racing down the homestretch takes my breath away. Unfortunately horse racing still remains one place where women are facing extreme discrimination. It seems counter intuitive because every girl I know loves horses and recreational riding is embraced more by women than men. Also  the weight restrictions would seem to be more typical for women than men yet the few women that have tried to break the sexual barrier have been ridiculed, harassed and heckled.  Male jockeys still outnumber Female jockeys 7 to 1! I’ll still enjoy the race but I wish more women could or would break the all male barrier.

Congratulations to Almost Dreaming and his team!

(Photo: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports)


Jefferson Memorial

Back on the bus we basked in the warmth. Tony, our driver, had the heater blasting. A welcome reprieve from the raw, wet cold outside.

Around the Tidal Basin we went pulling up next to an easily recognizable monument; the Jefferson Memorial. When I say we pulled up it was to a bus stop. You can’t get near any of the memorials by car. If you are visiting the monuments you will get plenty of walking.

The Jefferson Memorial

The Jefferson Memorial is a circular, open structure topped by a shallow dome. The exterior is beautiful white marble from Vermont. The interior with Jefferson’s 19 ft tall statue is accessed by a series of granite and marble stepped terraces.

For those of us who might not be in the best physical shape the stairs can be intimidating. There is an elevator if you are handicapped or just not up to stair climbing. Unfortunately it was out of order the day of my visit.

But back to some of the significance of various features. Until my visit I just thought the building was meant to resemble Jefferson’s home of Monticello but I learned that there is much more symbolism than that.

As I mentioned the outer marble is from Vermont, the interior walls are Georgia Marble. These choices symbolize the geographic extremes of the original 13 states. The floor is marble from Tennessee.  The inner dome is limestone from Indiana. This diversity symbolizes the expanding union.

Jefferson’s ties to the Louisiana Purchase are honored by the pedestal of Minnesota Granite and a ring of gray marble surrounding the base made of Missouri stone.

Four quotations from Jefferson’s writings are carved into the walls of the memorial chamber. One of the quotes, from the Declaration of Independence, can be found on the southwest wall.


The monument is located on the south side of the Tidal Basin with a clear sight line of the Washington Monument. President Roosevelt ordered trees cut to make it possible to view the monument from the White House.

In 1912 Japanese Cherry Trees were planted on the site, part of the gift of 3000 trees from the mayor of Tokyo. That was what I wanted to see but sadly, most of the blossoms had been destroyed by the unseasonable cold weather.

In conclusion

Even without the flowers, the beautiful monument is a suitable memorial to our Founding father, an author of the Declaration of Independence, Statesman and Visionary for the founding of a Nation.