Chanticleer Garden: Farewell to Fall Season

Chanticleer Garden: Farewell to Fall Season

Within 30 minutes of Philadelphia, Chanticleer Garden is one of the great oasis’s in the region. Once the Rosengarten estate, today its a colorful and contemporary garden within an historic setting.

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We visited there in late October and I was amazed by the abundance of flowers blooming so late in the fall season. Especially since Chanticleer Garden closed just a week later — until next spring.

My sister-in-law, had arranged the outing for six of us, which included two of my husband’s brothers and their wives. She and her husband had discovered Chanticleer Garden earlier this year with friends and were anxious to share it with us.

We stayed in the city at our son D’s place. After first dropping off our Scottie dog, Whiskey, Mr. Buzz and I headed to NYC .There was lots of packing (and unpacking) to help his older brother with a big move from the Upper East Side to Hoboken, NJ. See his old penthouse and the housewarming gift I made for the new condo in, Modern Style, Fall Floral & Twig Wreath.

After returning to Philadelphia, hubby and I house-sat, while our younger son went into his office. Because a contractor was making repairs from water damage on the main floor of the row house, we (and both energetic dogs) had to spend the better part of three days upstairs on the third floor. It was a physically and mentally exhausting week!

Finally spending a weekend relaxing and visiting with family was a welcome change of pace. Come with me on a stroll through Chanticleer Garden for a little Zen and farewell to fall. Think of it as my way of wishing you a most Happy Thanksgiving!

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Walk on the Wild Side at Zoo Lantern Festival

Walk on the Wild Side at Zoo Lantern Festival

Returning to our magical evening at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium for its first ever, Asian Lantern Festival.

In part 1, Zoo Asian Lantern Festival Illuminates Wildlife, we paused in the African Savanna after seeing lion, tiger, zebra and elephant creations.

The sun had set and it was dusk, with the sky showing off its own beautiful light show of color.

But, that was only about halfway through the zoo’s winding pathways and 44 different lantern displays of animals, flowers, decorative archways, and tunnels. Some of the best were yet to come!

I particularly enjoyed those associated with the aquarium’s inhabitants, including schools of fish, jellyfish, penguins, seals and a colossal octopus.

Lantern displays became even more striking as darkness fell, with dramatic lighting, animated movements and color changes.

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Zoo Asian Lantern Festival Illuminates Wildlife

Zoo Asian Lantern Festival Illuminates Wildlife

Recently, hubby and I enjoyed an enchanting experience at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. The Asian Lantern Festival illuminates the zoo with the glow of wildlife-themed, handcrafted figures.

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As dusk settles in, the lanterns begin to glow. Visitors stroll the winding pathways throughout the zoo, pausing to admire the beautiful lights. Intended for all ages, the festival also features live performances and entertainment. Music, dancing, and food represent elements of Asian heritage.

In all, 44 different lantern displays are spread across the zoo’s grounds. While the majority are animal themed — pandas, elephants and giraffes — there are also flower lanterns, decorative archways, tunnels and even a colossal butterfly tree. Some, like a flock of flamingos, are bigger than life. Many also change colors, or are animated with subtle movements. Most impressive, is the massive, 100-foot long and brightly colored Chinese dragon.

The Asian Lantern Festival is a family-friendly nighttime event that requires a separate ticket, in lieu of the zoo’s daytime admission. And, as Mr. Buzz and I discovered, it also makes for a romantic, date-night under the stars. Come stroll along with us.

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Return of Traditional Summer Activities & Family Visits

Return of Traditional Summer Activities & Family Visits

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Hello all! Sorry I haven’t posted in a bit. But, we’ve been busy enjoying back-to-sorta-normal summer activities with family and friends. Rather than living a more virtual existence on the computer or watching TV, I’ve been out and about. How about you?

Following ten days in Philadelphia, we drove back across the state with my mom and Whiskey — the puppy, not the alcohol lol! She spent nearly three weeks here with us enjoying summer activities, including trips to the zoo and aviary.

A couple of weeks later, we had the best July 4th in years! Both our adult sons were here for an extended visit. It was a big dose of happiness and fun!

There was a Pirates baseball game, riding roller coasters at Kennywood, dining out at favorite restaurants in different parts of the city, and playing amusing games together. On July 4th we all pitched in to create a wonderful meal on the porch, followed by fabulous community fireworks.

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Hacienda Vacation: Horses, Cows, Llamas, & Condors

Hacienda Vacation: Horses, Cows, Llamas, & Condors

Still passing the time at home going through vacation pictures and making photo albums. Clicking my heels today and traveling back to our hacienda vacation, located in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador.

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A place I never knew existed or ever imagined visiting!

Over 450 years ago, and after defeating the Incas, a Spanish conquistador took over the land and ruled the area that eventually became Hacienda Zuleta. In Spanish speaking regions, a “hacienda” is a large estate or plantation with a dwelling.

Today, the 17th century hotel and working-farm belongs to the family of two past presidents of modern-day Ecuador. Set in a lush setting, Hacienda Zuleta offers beautiful antique rooms, delicious home-grown Andean cuisine served family style, and a variety of activities.

Over a four day stay, hubby and I enjoyed seeing mountain vistas, herds of dairy cows, pre-Columbian archeological pyramids, and llamas. All while riding on the hacienda’s own breed of horses. We also had the rare opportunity to see and learn about the endangered Andean Condor.

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Galapagos Trip Sea Lion Colony Encounter, Part 3

Galapagos Trip Sea Lion Colony Encounter, Part 3

Finishing up my Galapagos trip series, with our final day’s heartwarming wildlife encounter. Since I’m pretty much stuck at home during the virus case surge, I thought it would be therapeutic to virtual travel together.

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For our final excursion we headed to Mosquera, one of the smallest islands in the archipelago. Located between North Seymour and Baltra Islands, we had basically circled back from where we started our Galapagos trip five days earlier.

Mosquera is a reef of rocks and coral (the result of a volcanic uprising), with a beautiful, white sand beach. Most importantly, the inlet is home to a large colony of sea lions.

Before we even got out of the pangas (motorized, hard-bottom raft), we could see them clustered in small groups across the sand, vegetation and rocks. And as we waded onto shore for a wet-footed landing, several playful sea lions frolicked around us. Talk about a welcoming committee!

We spent a wondrous couple of hours on the small inlet, while trying to maintain an appropriate distance from the more curious sea lions.

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