A Rainy Day in San Antonio

As I was thinking about this post I thought it was appropriate that I write it today as it’s a rainy and dreary day in Massachusetts. Perfect for putting me in the mood for telling you about our rainy day in San Antonio.

We’d had a full day with the City Tour and the rain had held off until the end at the Japanese Garden so I guess we don’t have too much to complain about.

This morning we woke to more drizzly rain. This was our personal day. We got the grand tour yesterday and now we had the whole day to explore on our own – in the rain.

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We had breakfast in the hotel restaurant looking out over the Riverwalk while we considered our options. I wanted to go back to the Alamo to pick up some gifts I’d spotted the day before. The various tours, trolleys and buses all leave from the square in front of the Alamo so that seemed a good place to start.

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We didn’t want to start the day soaked so we asked the valet to call us a cab. Let me tell you, New York City doormen have nothing on our guys! A piecing whistle and a leap into the street and we had our cab.

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Walking would have been a couple of blocks straight down the street but taking a cab was an adventure because so many streets are one way. Once again I was happy I didn’t have a rental car!

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After loading up with souvenirs and gifts we  crossed back to visitor center where we spotted another T shirt that Sandy wanted to get. Unfortunately they were all out of the size she wanted. Thus began the great T shirt hunt while we explored  up and down the street in every T shirt store and gift shop within sight. Eventually we found a shirt similar enough to satisfy  Sandy.

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Now it was time to figure out San Antonio’s transit system.

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We each bought all day tickets for about $3.00 each and climbed aboard a trolley that would take us to the Botanical Gardens.

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It was in the Botanical Gardens that I got my angel wings. I must say they are pretty heavy.


Along with the Angel Wings were “birdmen” sculptures throughout the gardens. These were from an exhibit by famed Mexican artist Jorge Marín called “Wings of the City.

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The rain wasn’t letting up so eventually we found ourselves relaxing in an arbor that did a pretty good job of keeping us dry.

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We may have been wilting from the rain but the dry desert was coming to life. Cactus was blooming and flowers were perking up.

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All in all it was a nice morning. We didn’t let a little rain put a damper on our day.



The Butterfly Place

The Butterfly Place in Westford, MA is located at 120 Tyngsboro Rd. It’d been a long, long time since I’d been there. From where I live in Taunton it’s about 70 miles and should take about an hour and 30 minutes to get there, depending on traffic.

I was making good time until an RV and an SUV decided to mix it up at the junction of RT 90 (Mass Pike) I was about 2 miles from the “Pike” when traffic stopped. The WB ‘copter floated overhead so I had an up to the minute report. According to them we weren’t going anywhere soon.

I shut off the car and open the windows and doors. Soon everyone was doing the same. People wandered around at the side of the road or up and down between the cars. Several ambulances and tow trucks went by but I didn’t see any Med flights so that was a good sign.

The hour we waited actually passed pretty quickly and I arrived at The Butterfly Place at 2:30 instead of 1:30.

The rules are simple, No Touch, No Talk, No Eye Contact..no wait, that’ the Dog Whisperer but it was similar. To protect the fragile inmates there was a no touch policy. If you are caught trying to attract a butterfly to your hands you are asked to leave.

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It’s smaller than the Magic Wings venue in Deerfield but the principle is the same. There’s a coi pond, paths through greenery and little benches. Butterflies are everywhere. This is a family owned business so I don’t know if the staff was family or “hired help” but they were very nice and quite knowledgeable. They laughed when I told them I wanted to take pictures (Turns out so did everyone else) and challenged me to get a picture of one of the blue butterflies  showing the blue. When they land they close their wings and look like a drab , brown butterfly.

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They were the challenge, for sure.  When they lit on the ground they did spread their wings…for a second and in spite of trying forever I couldn’t time it right so imagine my surprise when one landed right next to me and spread its wings as if to say “take it now, you only have one chance.”

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Although we finally had a pleasant day outside, it was 80+ and humid inside. Just the temps the butterflies love.

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You’ve already seen my favorite pictures on Wordless Wednesday.

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Like Magic Wings, there were little Quail running every where. You had to be careful not to step on the tiny birds. The attendant called them Chinese Painted Quail.

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Don’t let the small size fool you. They are fully mature. More than one pair were intent on making little quail. I got a chuckle when I heard a small voice ask his mother “What’s Mating?”.

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I also spotted a pretty little bird. I couldn’t place it but something was tugging at the corner of my mind so I asked. It’s a Zebra Finch. I must have seen them at a pet store as they are domestic birds. She said there are 3 but the most I saw at once were 2 and I couldn’t tell them apart.

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Butterfly wings closes at 5pm so about 4:30 I picked up the camera and headed home. The timing would put me right in rush hour traffic but it was worth it. It was a great way to spend an afternoon.

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Alaska Garden Party

I went to a garden party To reminisce with my old friends A chance to share old memories And play our songs again When I got to the garden party They all knew my name No one recognized me I didn’t look the same

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But it’s all right now I learned my lesson well You see, ya can’t please everyone So ya got to please yourself

People came from miles around Everyone was there Yoko brought her walrus

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There was magic in the air ‘N’ over in the corner Much to my surprise Mr Hughes hid in Dylan’s shoes Wearing his disguise

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But it’s all right now I learned my lesson well You see, ya can’t please everyone So ya got to please yourself

Lott-in-dah-dah lot-in-dah-dah-dah

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It was all I could think of…Ricky Nelson’s song Garden Party. Here we were at a Garden Party in of all places, Alaska. Not the first thing you think of when you think about Alaska and we’d certainly come “from miles around” and catching up with my sister included  “reminiscing “.

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But I’m getting ahead of myself. The bus picked us up at the Yukon Suspension Bridge. As we made our way back to Skagway we followed a steep and winding road back through White Horse Pass. We were basically retracing the same path we’d taken on the train up the mountains.

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We arrived at Jewell Gardens & Garden City Glassworks right on time. We stepped off the bus to be escorted right into a little enclosed area decorated like a garden shed.

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We were served tea and salad, then the main course of quiche followed by desert. The tea was good and the salad was awesome. I passed on the quiche and I think I skipped desert as I can’t remember what it was.

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Lunch finished we headed into the gardens themselves. According to our guide the spring weather was about 2 weeks late this year so they were just beginning to plant now. Because of the extended daylight the short growing season translates into gigantic plants. The gardens have been in Skagway since he gold rush when it was one of the few places the miners could get fresh produce.

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One of the vegetables that grows extremely well here is rhubarb. We saw lots of rhubarb beds and vintage pictures lined the  fences showing the huge rhubarb leaves. Rhubarb was the perfect plant because it’s high in vitamin C so kept the miners and residents alike from contracting scurvy over the long dark winter.

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Flower beds and native trees were laid out in what is sure to be a beautiful design once the plants begin to bloom.

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Glass decorations made in their own glass blowing shop  accented the beds.

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And speaking od beds, along the back of the grounds was a series of ramshackle sheds. In each shed was a bed frame with flower seedlings.

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They were meant as a rather whimsical salute to  the shacks the prostitutes used back in the day, the gardens’s “red light” district. 🙂

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Speaking of whimsy, an elaborate  model train was set up and ran all through the grounds. The town and it’s miniatures represented different events in Skagway’s history.

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Last but not least we watched the glass blowing. I’ve seen glass blowing demonstrations before but never one that was so detailed and intricate.

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The finished products were available for purchase in the gift shop.

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Jewell Garden is a certified organic garden. We saw the compost heap to prove it! But seriously, their whole style  is dedicated to  this pure form of gardening and if the quality of the salad we had at lunch is any indication of what organic gardening can produce, well then, keep up the good work!