Art Work brings Lincoln in new light

Today is the 10th anniversary of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. This amazing site in Springfield is celebrating in a big way and one of the things they have done to bring attention to the 10th year is to have a student art competition.

The pictures on display at the museum are winning selections sent in by student from K-12. Over 1200 entries arrived at the museum and a panel of three judges pored over the pictures selecting three overall winners and runners up from each age group. The end result is a wonderful collection of Lincoln art that is on display in the entry way of the museum until the end of the year.

Check out the exhibit and enjoy the festivities. Abraham Lincoln lives on through the eyes of these talented young artists!

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St. Charles, history that dates back!

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St. Charles Missouri is a historic town with shops, restaurants and museums to draw tourists and locals alike. I spent an afternoon their recently with my friend Linda Spanberger. We ate at a dining establishment that used to be a bank called Llyelwan’s Pub. We dined on a wonderful flat bread pizza and made the waiter take our picture in the former vault turned banquet room before we left.

While the shops caught our eye, what we loved the most was the history that proceeds much of the Midwest. Before this was a US territory, it was settled in 1769, by the French Canadian fur trader Louis Blanchette who built a cabin on the Missouri River in what is today St. Charles. He called the settlement Les Petites Cotes, or the little hills. A beautiful bronze plaque is in Frontier Park and the area offers a view of the river and historical data along the broad walkway.

The District of St. Charles was established on October 1, 1812 by Governor William Clark. If that name sounds familiar it is because he is of the famed Lewis & Clark Expedition.
The District of St. Charles back then was a huge parcel of land. It extended from the Missouri River on the south to the Canadian border on the north, and from the Mississippi River on the east to the Pacific Ocean. The History of St. Charles County, Missouri (1765-1885) states that the area comprised all of what is now Minnesota and Iowa and major portions of the states of Idaho, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Oregon.

We stuck our heads into the very cool First Missouri State Capitol Historic Site which includes buildings and grounds of the first Missouri State Capitol after they joined the Union August 1821. We walked along the Frontier Park which borders the Missouri River and oogled the site where Lewis and Clark left on their overland expedition that took them all the way to the Pacific. We saw the plaque where the first settlement was made in 1769 and the train depot that was under restoration when we were there.

Shopping, dining and glimpsing amazing river views, as they used to say in the Pawnee Post “A good time was had by all!”

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Let’s go Fly a Kite – Picture by Keith Ladage

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Spring is sprung and part of the joy of the season is getting out and enjoying activities. Stretch your legs and your mind by flying a kite and being a kid for a few.

Remember Mary Poppin’s and head back to your childhood for a few minutes. Travel back to a simpler time and enjoy!

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New book When Matilda Made Time Stand Still

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While not a travel story, I was excited to share that I have a new children’s book out, When Matilda Made Time Stand Still.The story line for When Matilda Made Time Stand Still is about a little girl who wants to continue with her tea party when her mother tries to get her to take a nap. Matilda inadvertently breaks her mother’s watch and time stands still.

The story stemmed from tea time with my grand daughter. For more information about Matilda email me at cindy.ladage@royell.org.

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Blue Owl Restaurant, a stop in historic Kimmswick

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It is really quite amazing how many stops end up happening on the way between point A and Point B! That is the story of how we happened on the Blue Owl Restaurant in the town of Kimmswhick, MO. Traveling with my brother-in-law Craig and sister-in-law Debbie to Memphis for some blues infusion Debbie remembered dining at the Blue Owl and suggested the stop.

The restaurant is down home with comfort food and desserts they are famous for. We liked the place so well that we stopped on our way to and from Memphis.

Part of the charm is that the Blue Owl is located in Kimmswick a town that was founded by Theodore Kimm in 1859. Kimm was a successful St. Louis dry goods merchant, that settled the town and named it they think after himself.

These days the town has several renovated buildings and I look forward to a visit back to check out the shops and the Anheuser home! For now though the focus is on the Blue Owl itself and the amazing food they have to offer.

The restaurant has been profiled on several travel channels and owner Mary Hostetter is famous for her Levee High Apple Pie which was selected as one of Oprah’s favorite things in O Magazine. We saw one of these pies that have lots and lots of apples that form a mound under a beautiful crust. I can’t imagine trying to eat it, but I sure did manage a half a piece of French Silk pie during one of my visits.

The food was great, the staff friendly and the story of a baker realizing her dream of opening a restaurant is touching. Most of all I was impressed by my sister-in-laws great built in food radar for brining us to this wonderful place!

Log onto http://theblueowl.com/ to learn more.

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Marlsgate, a plantation experience

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It was last year in early summer during a bus trip to Arkansas that my mom and I had the express opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Marlsgate and be greeted by the proprieter David Garner. The home belongs to him, his parents and late Grandmother. Mr. Garner had a story about each and every item in the home that brought the mansion into focus and had the group oohing and ahhing over the antiques and the beauty of the home. The website shares a description of just what we saw as we walked up the lane. “Mansion shaded by ancient oaks and a pecan grove overlooking the waters of Bearskin Lake. Majestically rising amid acres of rice, cotton and soybeans, Marlsgate is a refection of the opulent plantation era when cotton grew tall and there was a privileged class of wealth in the Arkansas delta.”

To be sure, Mr. Garner was a character with stories to relegate the crowd. We were able to not only see every room in the storied plantation, but eat at the dining room table and enjoy the wonderful southern cooking and hospitality. We truly felt like part of the genteel members of society or maybe in all honesty like their poor relations that got to come and dine before heading back to home to our real lives. For an evening we were immersed in the charm that only the south can provide.

The mansion located in the Arkansas Delta, has brick Doric columns that rise over forty feet in height. Inside the mansion offers, “…original beveled glass windows, sliding oak doors, handcrafted woodwork, Carrara marble fireplaces, and sculpted metal ceilings throughout the mansion. White oak floors were installed over an inch thick layer of horsehair insulation. The mansion was constructed with thirty two rooms and contains eleven thousand square feet of living space. The first floor has a magnificent central hall and staircase, drawing room, dining room, music room, master bedroom, plantation office, and a separate kitchen and service wing attached to the mansion in the prevailing custom of the day. Second and third floors contain additional bedrooms, sitting rooms and private studies.”

To say the place is “pretty” is an understatement. We filled the entire first floor and flowed out onto the porch for our dining experience. If you get down Arkansas way, stop if you get a chance, it is another world!

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Remember the Tourism Bureau

I am just finishing up a story about a tourism bureau and am reminded of all they have to offer. When planning trips this summer, don’t forget the visitor’s guides both in paper and online form. If you have a particular area you want to travel to, think about using the tourism guide calendar, there are a lot of festivals and events that may be the deciding factor when planning your getaway. Looking at the Tourism Bureau Illinois South I was amazed at all the homes offering unique architechture namely French. Having a bit of French history myself, I want to head out and see it all.

The guides offer phone numbers, addresses etc. While it is a blast to just jump in the car and head out, if you are like me and enjoy seeing out of the way sites, keep in mind that they are often manned by volunteers and have restricted hours and may just be open by hook and crook or a direct appointment. My mom and I just completed a business trip to Madison for her and planned to stop at two sites along the way. I neglected to call before leaving and just did while enroute only to find that one wasn’t open for months yet and the other was closed for cleaning. So do as I suggest, not as I did and call and plan ahead for the best results!

Happy tourism travels!

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Sublette is over….

Every year there are some events that mark the end of a season and the beginning of another. The Sublette Toy Show does that for me. This was the 33rd year for this show that is a wrap up of the indoor winter toy shows and the advent of Spring. You never know what kind of weather the Sublette Toy show will bring; this year it was nice, hopefully an advent of things to come.

Oliver was the featured brand for this year’s show and there were a cool bunch of tractors lining the streets of Sublette. This has been our year to attend Oliver events and the brand was well represented in the streets although club attendance was down in part I think because of the winter event and the following big event in Peoria. You can only go so many places.

This show is quite beloved because it has all the small town charm, kind folk, and the proceeds from vendors and other events goes to the local sports and scholarship so it is a win/win event for everyone.

We attended the banquet this year and listened to Don Dinges share his fun jokes and introduce this one and that one and hand out the scholarship to various 4H and FFA winners. It is nice to see young people interested in these great clubs and that agriculture is still going strong in the rural communities. The entertainment was a magician that made us laugh.

The show itself brought some neat equipment out of the woodwork. Some of my favorites included a very cool 1940 Cockshutt 70, 1951 Farmall McCormick MV high clearance tractor and some amazing scratch built combines to name a few.

My favorite part of the show is walking down the street and seeing the trucks, old cars, tractors and such lining the small town streets with the huge grain elevator looming over it all. This is small town America at its best

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Jones Brother’s Market, a Step back in time

When I was a kid I lived in Mattoon, Illinois not too far from a little store called “My Store”. While I admit not very original in name, the store was my store, our store. My sister Debbie and I would walk to the store for candy or other treats, or a loaf of bread for our mom. The store was close enough she didn’t worry a lot about where we were although I grew up in a time when parents were not required to have near as tight a rein on their children as they do today.

Recently I drove to Ashland, Illinois to visit Jones Brother’s Market for an interview for Senior News & Times and found myself back at “My Store” all over again. There was the old fashioned building, meat counter and friendly faces. The Jones family offers up amazing meats and specializes in brats that are bringing people from all over central Illinois to this small town. Last night I tried a Cheddar brat and loved it. I can’t wait for the Monzerella garlic brats as well.

The business began back in 1932 with a woman at the helm. In fact, Dan Jones said she was the first female business owner in Ashland. The building was built in the 1850’s and expanded by the second generation to run the store in the 1940’s. Needless to say, I loved my visit and hope you will read all about it in the May issue of Senior News & Times.

If you can’t wait and need more details, Jones Market is located at 201 Editor Street in Ashland.

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They are open Monday – Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. ad Saturday from 7-4. Check out their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jones-Boys-Market for more information or call 217-476-3914.

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Tractor Winter Conventions – Good for the Collector’s soul

March is here and the snow is finally beginning to melt and thoughts of spring don’t seem quite so ludicrous as they did a couple days ago. One bright spot in the midst of the winter doldrums were a couple of winter tractor shows that Keith and I hit. The first one was during the midst of a winter snow storm, the Hart Parr Oliver Collectors (HPOCA) that was held February 27, 28 and March 1st at the American Farm Heritage Museum. When we first walked in the door we had a deja vu moment when we saw Marvin Stinebaker he and Keith had been at another place and time recently and it took us a minute to place the cool lawn and garden collector who had his Oliver beauties on display.

The show had an array of neat tractors and vendors set up. We stayed for the banquet that evening, but hightailed it before the speakers so we could get home before the snow piled higher than Keith’s four-wheel drive could maneuver. The next day was our 35th anniversary and we heard Kurt Aumann had a bit of fun with our date during his portion of the presentation.

This past weekend over we headed north and attended part of the Red Power Winter show to get a bit of Farmall Red fun. The show was put on by Chapter 33 and we stayed at the Blue Chip Casino where the event was held. It was quite a sight to see International Harvester tractors outside the casino/hotel doors. From our window we also got a glimpse of the nuclear tower as the sunset offering another surreal view over Lake Michigan.

The winter show offered up and auction and banquet where we heard the stars of Small Town Big Deal and enjoyed the truth behind the stories of real people and real towns. The show is family friendly and that in itself is a miracle these days. The tractor shows are family friendly events that bring families and friends together and allowed us a bit of scenery besides our farmhouse walls.

Spring really is around the corner, and the winter shows made us ready for summer and tractor show after spring planting is done!

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