Thursday, August 10, 2017

Tanglewood 2017

This year for our trek to the Berkshires and Tanglewood, we invited two dear friends, Rick and Kate. We were discussing the fact that they hadn't been to the Norman Rockwell Museum for 20 years, and that evolved into a short but very fun getaway.

Rick and Kate are very accommodating travelers....they are happy to let me make all the plans and decisions.

So our first stop "out west" was at a little out-of-the-way place called the "Fifties Diner".


There was an added bonus of a very cool car in the parking lot!


We made it out to The Berkshires by early afternoon and checked in early at our hotel so we could get over to Tanglewood around two.   It was "Tanglewood on Parade" and that means they have music all afternoon before the evening show.  We got ourselves situated in a great spot right beside the shed and then we were on our way.

The grounds at Tanglewood are beautiful, and it was a nice sunny day.


 Our first stop was Ozawa Hall for a Cello Concerto!   They played several songs, including some Beatles songs like "Cello Submarine"!

As you can see, Ozawa Hall has great seating with the entire back wall of the hall able to open up so the overflow of people can sit outside on the grass and look in.



After the Cellos, they brought out a Grand Piano, and 5 or 6 young pianists played some amazing music.  Waiting here for the concert to begin.....Tag wishes it were him getting ready to play on that stage!


Walking around the grounds and people-watching is always fun.  Some people go all out with their picnic set-ups!




A choral group took the main stage in the "Shed" for an afternoon concert.



And then another Orchestra



And a Bluegrass Band on the porch of the Visitor's Center.



Tag and I and Rick and Kate had brought our own picnic lunch.   Not as fancy as some, but sandwiches with all the fixin's worked well for us!

The main concert was just outstanding!  We sit right beside the shed, so we can see the Orchestras and also see up close on the big screen.

As darkness fell, we listened to The Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by John Williams, and then the Boston Pops conducted by Keith Lockhart.   They finale was the 1812 Overture, complete with cannons!



The evening was capped off by some amazing fireworks!


The day at Tanglewood was wonderful.....but our short vacation was only half over!

The next morning, we drove to the next town over for breakfast.  Hubby and I are not thrilled with the hotel breakfasts usually offered, and Kate and Rick were very accommodating in going out to a local breakfast cafe called Otto's.



  After a very satisfying meal, we headed over to the Normal Rockwell Museum.  (which is one of my very favorite art museums!)

I didn't think you could take photos inside, so I didn't.  But we had a lovely time looking at all his paintings and his Saturday Night Post covers.  An amazing artist!!

We even walked over to Rockwell's studio, which was brought over from Stockbridge and placed on the grounds of the Museum.



While we were there, Hubby found a brochure for the Berkshire Museum, which had a special exhibit called "Guitar: The Instrument that Rocked the World".    Rick and Tag are both musicians, and were eager to go see it   .So we made an extra side trip to the Berkshire Museum.


They had a 43' long guitar that Hubby and Rick tried hard to play!




BB King's "Lucille"


An eight-neck guitar!



This guitar is more Rick's size


He was delighted with the exhibit!



   Kate and I don't know one guitar from the next  ("oh look!  A pretty blue one!  And that one is so shiny!")  so we chose to let the boys have their fun and wander around the rest of the museum.  It was an odd, very eclectic mixture of exhibits, and Kate and I were quickly done.   When we checked on the guys, they were only halfway done going through the guitar exhibit!

Kate and I went outside and found a bench to sit on and wait for the guys.  We found a good spot next to a friendly dinosaur.  Rick came out.......but he'd lost Tag!



When I went back inside, he was serenely playing one of the guitars!  Thank goodness we found him!


Another great vacation in the books, and very special because we got to share it with some great friends!










Thursday, July 13, 2017

Audrey at the Aquarium

Our tradition is to bring the Grandkids out for an adventure rather than buy them a gift for their birthdays.  Grandchild #4   (aka the Beautiful Audrey Elisabeth) was celebrating Birthday #4, and Memere decided to take her to the Boston Aquarium!     

Audrey is happy to be finally here!


Audrey is a very quiet and thoughtful child.  She stood in front of each display and watched all the activity.  When she was ready, we moved on to the next thing.


We went outside to see the Sea Lions.  They were very frisky and playful, so Audrey watched them for a long time.


We went to the cafeteria for lunch and of course, Memere let her get whatever she wanted.   Mac and Cheese and Chocolate Milk!


And a great big M and M Cookie!


After that, we went downstairs to see the Manta Rays.   She hadn't been willing to put her hand in the water earlier in the day to touch the starfish or Sea Anenomes.   But she did reach in and pat the Manta Rays!



Pepere got a turn to try it too.   After seeing the Manta Rays, we went downstairs to see the sharks.  Surprisingly, the baby sharks were her favorite!  So much so that when we went to the Gift Shop for a special treat, she chose a stuffed shark!


On the way home, Pepere insisted we stop for ice cream.  Audrey chose "pink" ice cream in a cup, and Memere had Totally Turtle in a cone.   I offered Audrey a bit of my cone, and next thing you know, she was eating my cone!


A little ice cream on the nose is always funny!


As usual, Memere and Pepere enjoyed the adventure just as much as Audrey did!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Aquarium du Quebec

Our last stop on our trip to Quebec City was at the Aquarium du Quebec.  It's just south of the city, so we stopped on our way home.



They had a couple of different buildings, plus a huge outdoor area for some of the animals.  Plus a couple of cool sand castles!




The first building we went into had lots of beautiful jellies!




And some cute seahorses.


A tank where you could pat Manta Rays......although, as usual, they like to swim juuuuuuuuust out of reach!


Outside was a very active Polar Bear.  He loved his big plastic trash can, and cavorted around in the water playing with it.


They had a huge group of walruses.  There were two females and two babies in one tank, and a male in a separate tank.  They were very active as well, and put on quite a display of swimming and diving.  (the markings you see on their arms are just the way the sunlight came through the canopy!)


Mom and baby go for a swim together.


For some reason, they had an arctic fox.  Not really an animal you usually see in an aquarium.   This little fox is waiting for his food.


We were just in time to see the sea lion show.  Kind of funny to listen to the whole thing in French! Although the tricks the sea lions did were all the same!


Inside the second building they had a small tunnel you could walk through so the fish were swimming all around you.


It was a very nice little Aquarium and very well kept.  It was a fitting finale to our trip to Quebec!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Quebec City Food Tour

One of the fun things we did on our trip to Quebec City was to go on a walking Food Tour.

Our tour guide was Antoine - who was very funny.   He walked us around for almost three hours, and we stopped at seven different places.



First stop was "La Buche" which turned out to be our favorite place.  We ended out going back there that night for dinner.  I had a sample of their smoked salmon, and it was so delicious I got a smoked salmon salad for dinner that night.  Besides being covered with the smoked salmon, there was a poached egg and two slices of Canadian Maple Bacon on top!  Yum!!  


We were surprised to see the proprietor lining up shot glasses.  Turned out we also got liquor at almost every stop!  


 La Buche served us "Caribou" which is.......a sweet Quebecois alcoholic beverage composed of red wine, whiskey and maple syrup.

Hubby liked it so much he tried to find it in the US and could not.   Our "tasting" for this restaurant was a small piece of smoked salmon.


Our next stop was Tournebroche, which is the French word for "spit"...as in the spit the meat is turned on.  They figured Tournebroche was a nicer name for a restaurant than Spit!  We were served a some wine, and a crustini with Wild Boar Pate.   (tastes like pork)


Next was the Maple Store...with everything maple!  Candy, syrup, teas, coffees, etc.  They gave a short talk on the way Maple Syrup is produced, and gave us a taste of three or four different grades of syrup, as well as some Maple Ice Tea.



Our next stop was the "Snack Bar".   We had passed this on our record store search, and didn't realize they had an area out back with picnic tables.  Here we had some delicious Poutine!



Hubby thought they should have served us some beer with the Poutine, but he loved it!


Le Moine Enchanson was our next stop.  The story goes that the owner wanted to open a bar, but there were no liquor licenses available.  But he told if he opened a restaurant, he could serve liquor.  So his claim to fame is that, instead of pairing wine with the food, he pairs food with the wines.   (Same difference to me, but I am not a wine connoisseur.)   We  had a nice glass of wine and some Cod Fritters.  (which are tastier than they sound!) 




"Le Billig" was our final restaurant stop.   They served us another lovely wine with a delicious crepe.




And our Grand Finale was a stop at the Chocolate Shop!


We had a really wonderful time.....and still managed to find room to eat dinner that night!