Tuesday, February 25, 2014

If you like pecans, you'll love Priester's

I love pecans.

And I also love sweets that are attached to them.

— Like honey glazed pecans, frosted pecans, white chocolate covered pecans and key lime pecans. The list could go on and on and at Priester’s Pecans in Fort Deposit, AL, it almost does.

The family-owned company has been making scrumptious treats for more than 70 years. And wifey and I get to be enticed about three or four times a year when we pass by their location on Interstate 65 between Mobile and Montgomery. 

That’s the route we usually take on the way to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or to visit our grandkids.

We don’t always stop. Their offerings are too enticing — and they offer free samples of a variety of pecans which we can’t resist.

But its a good selling point for them, because  after partaking of  a few handfuls here and there, we’re loading up with a variety of bags filled with pecans and candy made with pecans.

The business also offers a wide variety of other candies and nuts along with baked goods, dips and salsas, syrups, smoked turkey, snack mixes and other country store items. They have a food bar (hot lunch from 11 to 2) and cold bar (11 until 3).

Visitors can travel up the stairs or take an elevator to their viewing area where workers are preparing handmade candies, cakes, pies and brownies.

The business is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Next post: March 4, 2014

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

1850 House shows 'middle class' life

How did a middle class family live in New Orleans during the mid-19th Century?

Well, an easy answer to that question would be to visit the 1850 House located at 523 St. Ann St.

The 1850 House, a National Historical Landmark, is considered a time capsule in the French Quarter.

It is one of many homes and businesses situated in the Lower Pontalba Building on the east side of Jackson Square. 

More such accommodations are located in the Upper Pontalba Buiding across the square. St. Louis Cathedral is to the north of the square.

On a visit to the Crescent City in October, wifey and I took a French Quarter tour and also acquired tickets to visit the 1850 House.

After a 2-hour traipse around the area, wifey didn’t have enough energy for the House, so we put that off until this past weekend.

The history of the building can be found on the museum’s website which tells wouldbe visitors that  the museum “re-created what one of the residences would have looked like during the Antebellum era when the Baroness Pontalba first opened her doors."

The site notes the residence is “faithfully furnished with domestic goods, decorative arts and art of the period” and that “the 1850 House depicts middle class family life during the most prosperous period in New Orleans’s history.”

While visiting, we took a self-guided tour which included working our way up to the third floor and out onto a balcony and back down a second set of stairs.

Visitors should note that the facility is not handicap accessible. Making one’s way to the third floor involves negotiating two sets of spiral staircases and the trip down involves another two sets of stairs which could challenge some who may have trouble walking.

All in all, it was an interesting visit getting to see how “middle class” people lived during that period of time.

Next post: Feb. 25, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Photo book evokes nostalgia

Rio Grande River Gorge just west of Taos, NM
I am painfully, sort of, reliving my wife’s retirement trip back in 2008. Yes, I was with her.

But maybe I can almost finish the roughed-out project by Friday, Valentine’s Day.

She knows about it, therefore it won’t be a surprise. Matter of fact, she’ll be doing some work on the project which will be at least 20 pages off photographs and memories.

Sunrise at the Grand Canyon

I’ve been thinking about the project for a number of years, but she indicated this past week or so, when someone else said they were working on a similar project, that she wanted such a book.

She’s been  hinting for a number of years, and I figured I had better go ahead and get it done.

Thowing together such a project isn’t that easy, and of course, the more one works toward the end goal, the more ways one finds how the project could have been easier.

Hiking near the cliffs outside Bluff, Utah

Route 66 rest stop
Well, my next photo book will be easier, but I am enjoying digging out my digital prints and putting them together and reliving those 6,000 plus miles that took us from home in Ocean Springs, MS to San Francisco and back over the course of 30 days.

Our trusty Chevy van, a year 2000 model, is still going strong after all these years and has amassed some 241,000 miles.

Hiking the Golden Gate bridge
The project has me using the internet to correctly identify places we visited. Wifey will make sure the cutlines are correct and readable.

Its almost time to take another trip out west. This time we hope to be heading farther north and up into Wyoming, Montana and Washington state before, I assume, taking the coast road down to San Francisco.

Next post: Feb. 18. 2014

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Downhill, hockey golds wins for the ages

A real downhill run

The Winter Olympics kicks off Friday.

Ever since 1976, its been all downhill as far as me watching the competition.

That “downhill” reference was relating to probably the greatest downhill skiing run ever — and that was by Franz Klammer in those games when Innsbruck, Austria was the host city. I remember watching the event on TV and then watching it repeatedly as time went by.

Even since then, it seems the downhill competition hasn’t been quite as interesting. I can’t remember what year it was, but it seemed that the racers were just in a tuck mode for the last half of the race. There didn’t appear to be that much of maneuvering by the skiers — as if the run was just a straight line to the bottom.

How things have changed over the years.

The big news concerning the current olympics is about terrorism threats and security. Such threats have been part of the olympics  in the past. 

In 1972, 11 members of the Israeli team were killed by terrorists in the summer games in Munich. 

And then there was the Centennial Park bombing in Atlanta, Ga., in the summer of 1996 which took the life of one.

But I digress.

My wife and I have been at the site of a winter olympics.

And that was in the fall of 1977 when on an adventurous trip, we happened to pass through Lake Placid, NY., the location of the 1980 winter games.

We arrived in town in the early afternoon to witness several venues of competition under construction. 

Before we left town that afternoon, the snow began to fall. Wifey and I along with our only son at the time, got out in the snow and romped around and threw snowballs at each other. We didn’t know what to expect or how deep it would end up being, so we headed down the mountain and found a campsite.

The farther away we got from Lake Placid, the less snow we had to contend with until it quit altogether.

US beats Soviets in 1980 ice hockey

The remembrances came rushing back some two years later when watching on TV the "Miracle on Ice" at Lake Placid.

We had the “feel good” experience of most all Americans when the US hockey team beat the Soviet team against exceptional odds. That was followed up by a victory over Finland which clinched the gold medal.

Next post: February 11, 2014