Monday, April 24, 2017

4/23 Delicious Detroit

I know that every part of the country has its favorite foods, but having been born in Detroit and having spent nearly all my life living nearby, I cannot help but be partial to Detroit and Michigan foods. Most people think of Detroit as a decayed city and one without much of a future and hardly a place to spend a vacation, especially a culinary vacation.  However, recently a couple of articles have given this area praise for its restaurants.

I have been coming “home” to the Detroit area only about once a year, but when I do, I stock up my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer with as much Detroit food as I can stuff in.  It is the one time of year I wish I had a bigger refrigerator.

Because Detroit was one of the biggest and most important industrial cities for most of the 20Th Century, it has been attracting immigrants from other parts of the U.S. and from the world in general.  The result are the communities of Irish Corktown, Greektown, Polish Hamtramck, and Dearborn, where you can get fantastic Middle-Eastern food.  (Check out one of the summer ethnic festivals in downtown at Hart Plaza, also.)

If you ever decide to come to Detroit and are looking for some good places to eat, here are a couple of lists.

Tomorrow, I will tell you about some of my favorite grocery items I stock up on when I come to Detroit for a visit. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

4/12 Annie Oakley Museum, Darst, OH

I have not posted lately because I have been visiting various relatives as I travel northward. And, in fact, I won't be posting much over the next three weeks while I spend more time in my old home state, visiting doctors and friends.  I'll be doing more posting after May 9 as I head westward for the next year. 

However, one place I did stop at on my way north was the museum in the area of Ohio where Annie Oakley grew up.  This is "Darke County," northwest of Cincinnati.  A lot of memorabilia are on display at the Darst Museum.  I had read a book about her and was interested in seeing some of the things she owned.

First, you have to forget everything you thought you knew about Annie Oakley.  She was played in the Broadway musical Annie Get Your Gun by a 45-year-old Ethyl Merman. In reality, at that period of her life, she was barely 20.  And Ethyl Merman plays a tough, uneducated woman from the west who spoke a form of western "hillbilly."  In reality, Annie may not have had much education, but she spoke and wrote like the gentile lady she was.  She grew up as the oldest of seven children and learned how to shoot to help support her family after her father became ill and eventually died, leaving her mother destitute.  She not only provided her family with meat, but she also sold skins and meat to bring in money to pay off her mother's home. 

At the age of fifteen, Annie entered a shooting contest with a man named Frank Butler. She beat him. He was not only shocked to be beaten by this very small, young woman, but fell in love with her and married her a year later.  So Annie Oakley, really did "get a man with a gun"!!  He became her manager, and they stayed happily married for over 50 years. 
Annie soon joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and traveled with Frank for most of her life. However, her home during those travels was a very well-furnished tent. Notice in this photo that she has taken along a real bed and numerous dressers and other things.  There is even a full rug on the tent floor, so they traveled in style and comfort.

This chest shows some of her personal belongings she traveled with. 

The museum has several of her guns and other belongings.  I have seen some other things of hers in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West museum in Cody, Wyoming.  (If you get out there, it is definitely worth several hours as it actually contains several museums in one.) 

Annie and Frank never had children, but this display talks about the many children she helped support over her lifetime.
The next few slides show some of her belongings.  Some of these may have traveled with her, but others may have come from the several homes she and Frank bought in the east.  She never lived in any of them very long, however, as she became bored in that settled life. 

Some of her jewelry.

And lace items.

This shows her as an older woman and one of the houses she and Frank owned.

This is a portrait of her as a young girl.
I spent about an hour in the museum and bought a copy of a compilation of her journals and letters where she described her childhood.  Have not had time to read it, but am looking forward to it. 


Sunday, April 2, 2017

4/1 Old Federal Campground, Lake Lanier, GA

This is one of my favorite places to go to in Georgia, for obvious reasons, as you will see from my photos.  Not only is this a U.S. Corps of Engineers campground, meaning it is well-kept, but I also get a senior discount, so it is inexpensive.  Lake Lanier is one of the biggest lakes in Georgia and was formed by building a large dam and then allowing the large area behind it to fill.  Because the land was hilly, there are lots of narrow coves and pleasant shoreline area for marinas and homes.  

I went for a bike ride yesterday to the day use area, which is about half a mile away from the campground area.  First, you can tell it is spring in this part of Georgia.  The leaves on the trees are just coming out and I found a tiny violet. 

This is part of the day use area.  There is also a boat launch area and picnic area.  
 The lake level is lower than usual, so the beach is bigger.

Nice view of the marina across the bay.  There are quite a few marinas on this big lake.  This one seems to have mostly sailboats, and it was a perfect day for sailing with winds about 10 MPH and temps in low 70s. 

In some parts of the lake, there are some beautiful homes along the water. I would certainly hate to clean some of these big places! 

The campground consists mostly of three long, narrow peninsulas.  This is the first one with maybe 15 campsites, all of which are directly on the water. 

This is the second peninsula. Most of the sites are at the end of this peninsula, but you can see the water on both sides. 

Some very nice sites at the very end of this peninsula, but a few too many trees for my satellite reception.  The ones at the end of great views. 

I like this peninsula because it is more open and I can get better satellite.  My rig is just behind the cars on the right.  

There is also a tent area, so I took some photos there.  You have to climb down some stairs to this tent site, but it has a terrific view and a nice, level tent pad.  There were several similar sites in this area, all with nice tent pads and views.  
Actually, there were also some non-electric sites down at this end of the campground that could be used for RVs, but as you can see, they were not occupied.  This one would have been a bit scary to back into.  It had curbs, but BIG dropoffs on the side and rear.   
 Anyway, it is hard to go wrong in picking a site at this place!  

Saturday, April 1, 2017

3/28 Steven C Foster Folk Culture State Park, FL

Here is the confusing part:  There are TWO Steven Foster State Parks.  One is in Georgia and the other is in Florida.  Both are along the Suwannee River!  So originally I made a reservation for the one in Georgia.  Then I realized that that one did not have the museum or folk craft demonstrations, nor did it allow you to choose your own site, so I found a site in the one in Florida and cancelled the other.  The one in Florida has more things to do and roads for bike riding. 

This is a nice campsite I had chosen because it is very large and also open to the southwest so I could get a satellite signal. 
 I took this photo because it looks so much like how we visualize the area where Steven Foster wrote his songs.

This is the museum.
Not a lot inside, but they had quite a few pianos from the era and music playing. 

This is Steven Foster's desk where he wrote his music. 

The park has a bell tower that plays Foster songs every couple of hours and can be heard throughout the park.  

 I thought the detail on the top was interesting. Reminds me of a wedding cake.  
This is the inside of the bell tower. 

There are several craft cottages, but only two were open this day.  I stopped at each and saw the jewelry and leather displays.  The park was setting up for a big antique tractor pull on the weekend, so they were bringing in stuff to sell more than actually making things.

I liked the big loop drive.  It made it easy to ride my bike around because it was one-way only, with not a lot of traffic.  I'm sure the weekend will be very crowded. 

And the Suwannee River, of course. 

I rode my bike outside of the porch to check out the nearby small town and found this building.  I am sure it was a general store at one time, with either more sales space or even living space on the second floor.  Might have had storage area in the third floor attic. Note the art on the side of the building.  I took closeups below.   

And a better picture of the river outside of the park.