Planning for spring and summer

Planning for spring and summer

As the rain falls, it is time to take stock and plan where to go once the spring flowers that have pushed their way out of the frozen ground bloom. A trip to southern Illinois is on the horizon for me, I want to search the web find the stops to make and the people to connect with along the way.

Don’t let the drizzle keep you from a destination, use it as day dream time, catch up time or book time, reading about the far away places on the other side of the window pane.

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III Tomasso’s Italian Bistro, fun!

III Tomasso's Italian Bistro, fun!

Yesterday I ventured out to one of Springfield Illinois’s latest Italian restaurants, III Tomasso’s Italian Bistro. With restaurants like Saputos’s, Shepardo’s and other Italian dynasties in town, there is a lot of competition along the way, but I must say, my chicken rigatoni the special of the day was quite tasty and I liked the bright sunny look of the bistro and the great service.

Located in Legacy Point, in Scheel’s backyard, the restaurant was our stop for a birthday celebration for my daughter-in-law. Three of us went to dine there and everyone was excited about the food and the less congested driving in this neck of the Springfield woods.

Looking up details on the Bistro I found that the owner of this restaurant is the owner of another Springfield favorite, D’Arcy’s Pint, so she has a lot of experience with casual dining and it shows. The picture I selected was from the one in the diner, fun place, good food and friendly service, a winning combination. Only one word of warning the sauce that comes with the bread has a bit of a kick so if not expecting it, be prepared!

Log on for details to http://tomassosbistro.com/about-us.aspx.

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Windmill on the ceiling is just one of the unique items on display at the Kenny Bush museum in Milan, Il

Windmill on the ceiling is just one of the unique items on display at the Kenny Bush museum in Milan, Il

During the Gathering of the Green I hopped on the big yellow school bus and traveled to Milan Illinois with my husband Keith and a group of other tractor enthusiasts to see the Kenny Bush museum. Kenny Bush and his wife Marilyn have been married for 55 years and they have 5 children and 13 grandchildren. The museum serves as a place for his extensive collection of agricultural items, tractors and everything in between.

The museum is a place where young people and collectors alike can learn a lot about agricultural history. Taking over the farm at the tender age of 16, Kenny Bush has worked hard and his collection and the family history included in the museum shows his love of farming and his loved ones.

The museum has two phases, one is the main museum with the Baker windmill hanging on the ceiling in the dining hall that is flanked by John Deere literature and grandchildren history plus a rare Velie car. In the front of the building are displays with literature, history of a backhoe for pedal tractors that he developed originally for his grandson and much more. Upstairs is a one room school house, old farm kitchen and small tools. In the shop is Kenny’s collection of tractors which include a beautiful Heider tractor and more.

I will be detailing more about this museum in other publications, but if you get a chance to be part of a tour at this amazing museum you won’t be sorry you did. While my time to visit with the Bush family was brief, it was evident in both his son Kevin, and daughter Karen and wife Marilyn’s comments that this museum is a labor of love for all involved. “I love seeing my dad’s love of farming, family and history expressed in a way people can enjoy,” Karen Jackson said.

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Kenny Bush’s museum is located at 6706 78th Ave. W, Milan, Ill. 61264. This is a private museum and requires reservations to tour. Call 309 787-1926 to set up a time to visit.

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Guido’s Pizzeria & Tapas a restaurant on the hill

Guido's Pizzeria & Tapas a restaurant on the hill

Searching for a place to eat on St. Louis famous hill on a Sunday turned out to be a challenge until we found the delectable Guido’s Pizzeria & Tapas which fit the bill before our viewing of Ghost at the Peabody Opera House. The Hill is always a place we want to go whenever we head to the city.

The Hill is home to any great Italian restaurants. There is an official website https://visit.hill2000.org/tours-of-the-hill for the Hill and the history they offer states, “Once called Fairmount Heights, the highest point in the City, The Hill had German and Irish immigrants working the clay mines. Italians seeking a new future in America came to the area to work those same clay mines and made The Hill their neighborhood in the 1890′s. The Hill has been home to some of Saint Louis City’s most nationally known residents, including baseball heroes Joe Gargiola and Lawrence “Yogi” Berra”.

I was fascinated to note that they even give tours of the Hill. I think this would be great fun and that if a native of the area conducted the tour I would find hidden gems in this historic area.

As for Guido’s, the food was great, my daughter Carrie ordered fettuccini Alfredo, I ordered manicotti and my mom stuck with her favorite spaghetti. Together we all three shared the Guido salad and it was amazing. The restaurant has an interesting twist with a Spanish and Italian menu. It was a great family place and many family combinations came and went while we dined and enjoyed before heading out to our show. Located at 5046 Shaw Ave, St Louis, MO 63110, call (314) 771-4900 for more information!

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Magnolias Restaurant, a new find

Magnolias Restaurant, a new find

Always on the lookout for a different place to dine I was delighted today with my new find, Magnolias which is a former church turned restaurant in Carlinville, Illinois. The church was originally a German Catholic church and I heard about the restaurant and a bit of the history of it from the wonderful Carlinville Writers group (which by the way is really a group of central, southern Illinois writers). The writers are comprised of poets, novelists, short story writers of all genres with an artist or two to boot.

The restaurant came about when the Irish Catholic church and the German Catholic church in town merged leaving the German catholic church with the attached church hall empty and ready for its next phase.
In 2009 Magnolia’s opened and the church hall became a wonderful restaurant with old world charming decor. They feature homemade soups, salads and scratch offerings. I tried the soup and half sandwich option after a long deliberation. The Lobster Bisque soup and chicken salad were great. “I love their soups and this is the only place I know where I can go and get filled up on a salad,” one of the members of the writer’s group shared.

We were able to see the recently finished former sanctuary which has been converted to a banquet hall. The area has been decorated in church style (see photo above) and is a great place for weddings, parties, rehearsal dinners and more. “This would be a great place for my birthday party,” another member quipped.
A bit off the beaten path, if like me you are looking for a change of pace, try it out. My mother-in-law loves the place and I have heard through the grapevine that they offer up a wonderful breakfast.

Located at 531 S. West St. Carlinville, IL 62626, call 217-854-7167 for details or log onto their website at http://www.magnolias531.com/default.htm.

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Ode to Gathering of the Green!

We remember the old John Deere’s
Along with the new
The Gathering of the Green
Was green through and through
Displays and vendors
Vied for attention and time
Enthusiasts wondered about
Considering how to spend their hard earned dime
Much was educational
Learning restoration tips
Visiting with others
Hearing stories from their lips
The days go so quickly
Reminiscing about the past
Gathering of the Green
Isn’t long enough, it doesn’t last
Look at the pictures
Take out the calendar and mark it down
For 2016
When the next gathering will come to town!

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The Hawaii State Capitol, a building reflecting Hawaii’s Culture

The Hawaii State Capitol, a building reflecting Hawaii's Culture

The Hawaii State Capitol building is nothing if not different. At first I did not quiet understand the design. After reading a description from the International Committee for the Documentation and Conservation of Buildings (http://www.docomomo-us.org) it all makes sense.

“The Hawaii State Capitol was designed to reflect the historical and cultural significance, as well as the natural beauty, of the Hawaiian Islands. The number eight has been incorporated into the building as a metaphor of the eight major Hawaiian Islands. There are eight columns in the front and back of the building, groups of eight columns on the balcony surrounding the fourth floor, and eight panels on the doors leading to the Governor’s and Lieutenant Governor’s chambers. The Capitol is also surrounded by water as a symbol of the Pacific Ocean, and the columns that rise from the reflecting pools are representative of palm trees. The curved, sloping walls of the House and Senate chambers were inspired by the volcanoes from which the islands were created. The building was also constructed in an open-air design, with open entryways and an open courtyard containing a glass mosaic floor mural called “Aquarius,” designed by Tadashi Sato and representing the movement of dappled light and underwater formations in shades of blue and green. Replicas of the State Seal hang from the Capitol’s entrances.”

Part of the beauty of this building is the area surrounding complex, with the royal palace and statues downtown Honolulu is quite lovely.

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Whaler’s Museum, Whalers Village, Maui

Whaler's Museum, Whalers Village, Maui

Not far from the Royal Lahaina where we stayed while vacationing on Maui, was Whaler’s Village an area full of shops and restaurants. It was an easy walk along the beach, around the golf course and the Sheraton Resort t Whalers Village making this a popular destination.

My goal at the Village was to see the Whaler’s Museum and learn a bit of this early history that brought westerners to Hawaii shores.

From the beaches Humpback whales could be seen blowing in the distance. They had arrived because this is their Hawaiian mating and calving grounds. The last couple weeks in February and the whole month of March are the best times see their above-water displays and hear their songs underwater. Females Humpbacks are slightly larger than males and can reach over 60 feet in length and weigh up to a ton a foot. While their lifespan, while not known for certain, is possibly as long as 70 years.

This area along the Hawaiian Islands including Maui’s shores is known as the Au’au Channel one of the densest Humpback whale population centers for the endangered Humpback whales.

Whaling was a viable industry in Maui from 1825 to 1860. The museum shares what life was like on a whaler where around 25 men lived together in close quarters seeking out the whales that provided everything from scrimshaw, to pipes and oil that lit up lamps all over the world.

The museum has artifacts that showed how whale blubber and whale meat was harvested from the huge whales.

For more information about this, log onto http://www.whalersvillage.com/museum.htm.

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s design – the King Kamehameha Golf Club -picture by Keith Ladage

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Springfield, Illinois near where I live has the beautiful Dana Thomas house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. My husband Keith and I have enjoyed traveling to homes designed by Wright and admire his architectural style and we have become fascinated with the Lifetime like story of his life.

It was quite a surprise to find when visiting Maui, that the King Kamehameha Golf Course Clubhouse, formerly known as the Waikapu Valley Country used a Frank Lloyd Wright design long after Wright had passed away in 1959.

The clubhouse which spans 74,000 square feet and is surrounded by a pristine course can be toured by the public. We happened to catch it on Super Bowl Sunday after a rain when the course was closed for golfing so they allowed us free rein to wonder and see the combination of Wright’s design, Hawaiian history and the King Kamhameha elegance.

The Clubhouse Guide provides the history of how this design came to be. “In 1949, American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, drew the original plans for the clubhouse as a concept for a 7,000 sq. ft. luxury home in Fort Worth, Texas. However, the plans were never used.”
Later in 1952, the design was again brought out for Raul Bailleres, a cabinet member of the Mexican Government. Adjustments were made and everything was on track until Mr. Bailleres’ young son was killed in an automobile accident. The next couple to see the design was author Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe in 1957 when they wanted a large country home in Roxbury, Connecticut. This was when the design became known as the “Marilyn Monroe House”.

When the couple split, the design was again shelved, and then Wright passed away. The brochure continues the story. “It wasn’t until 1988 that the archived plans were enlarged and adapted to build the 74,000 sq. ft. clubhouse on the slopes of Waikapu, Maui. It was completed and opened for business in 1993. The former owners and operators closed the golf course and clubhouse in 1999, due to the downturn of the economy. The property was abandoned and neglected for nearly six years. However, during this time, the large rooms were still used for banquet functions. In July 2004, the property was purchased by the current owner. Renovation of the golf course and clubhouse took approximately 18 months before it reopened in May 2006 as Maui’s first 18-hole member golf club.“

The club house is taking your breath away beautiful with Wrights art glass and abstract geometric designs inspired by nature. The doors, the flow of the building and everything in between is worth a stop if on the beautiful island.

Log onto http://www.Kamehameha.Golf.com for more information.
would guess that a golf club built in

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The World’s Largest Guitar at Charley’s in Pala Maui

The World's Largest Guitar at Charley's in Pala Maui

One day we found ourselves in the town of Pala, which is the last town before heading up the Road to Hana. A former sugar plantation town we found lots of cool shops to stop in and Charley’s for a quick lunch. Charley’s began as a juice stand. Named for their dog, a Great Dane, the restaurant has become a mega for artists, writers and musicians like Willie Nelson who they say stopped in for breakfast one day and has been a regular ever since. Willie Nelson along with other musicians played concerts at this quiet restaurant that is now more a tourist town than agricultural area.

Willy Nelson’s favorite guitar is named Trigger after Roy Roger’s horse. At Charley’s a favorite place to get your picture taken is at the giant replica of Trigger. The beautiful wooden replica was created by artist EONA.

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