Friday, June 16, 2017

St Louis/Gateway Arch






The 630 foot tall Gateway Arch, the tallest man-made monument in the United States, can be seen from all over St Louis.









But I didn't comprehend just how tall it is until standing beneath it.  That is me in the picture below.






It is impossible to make all of the Arch fit into a photo unless you are on the other side of the Mississippi River or several blocks away in St Louis.  So it was fun finding different ways to take pictures from different angles-even laying down on a bench looking up.



 


With clouds passing by it really felt like the Arch was swaying when looking up to the top.  Later we found out it actually can move up to 18 inches depending on the wind. 




 

 We took the trip up one side of the arch in a small pod that slowly clinged and clanged its way to the top.  There we were able to see the view from the top from both sides of the arch.






Mississippi River view from the top of the Gateway Arch


St. Louis city view from the Gateway Arch with Bush Stadium, home of the St Louis Cardinals, in red on the left.






After returning to the base of the Arch we completed our trip with viewing the documentary "Monument to the Dream"  about the construction of the Gateway Arch.

Very interesting entrance to the theater

The Gateway Arch was a wonderful way to celebrate the accomplishments of those who participated in the western expansion of the United States.








Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Branson, MO


Lots to do in Branson!  
Shopping, the shows, boat rides, and zip lining were all fun.  We really enjoyed the Branson Landing area with the Hilton Promenade as a great choice for a hotel.  It was right in the middle of the Landing's shops and restaurants with a terrific view of the lake and the beautiful fountains that featured a musical show of water and fire every hour.



 
Our most favorite activity was our visit to the Top of the Rock Heritage Preserve just a few miles outside of Branson.



We explored the Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail in an electric cart that we could stop at any time to take pictures of the cave, cavern, waterfalls, covered bridges, and nature trail.  It was a wonderful experience!  As soon as we completed the trail we both seriously considered doing it again.









 Top of the Rock also had a Natural History Museum, a beautiful Chapel for weddings, a lodge, a golf course, and restaurants with amazing views of the Ozarks.




It is definitely a unique place to visit.

 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Savannah, Georgia


 Savannah is a city of full of preserved history as well as southern beauty.  We began our visit with a tour on a Hop On Hop Off bus that gave us an overlook of the historical part of the city as well as useful information of what we were seeing as we weaved through its streets and squares.  The city is divided into 22 squares-each one unique with statues and fountains among their huge beautiful trees.





Lafayette Square



Chippewa Square was in the movie Forrest Gump.  The bench Tom Hanks sat on as he told his story has been moved to the Savannah Museum.





           

    Forsyth Park 
fountains



You could easily spend all day walking from square to square.  Thank goodness for Hop On Hop Off tour buses!

We had a delicious lunch at the Pirates House that contains the oldest house in Georgia.  The restaurant is made up of 15 small dining rooms in this 1700's building.  Legends tell of how tunnels underneath of what was then a saloon were used to shanghai drunk sailors that later woke up on pirate ships going out to sea.  


We enjoyed shopping at City Market and listening to the live music outside in the center of the market as we watched people and their dogs out enjoying the day.  Savannah is a very pet friendly city.
 



We stayed at the Cotton Sail Hotel, an old cotton warehouse made into a boutique hotel.  The entrance to the hotel was on Bay Street facing the historic part of Savannah. 



 
The back of the hotel faced the Savannah River where you could watch the huge cargo ships go up and down the river from your window or balcony.




 


There was a rooftop lounge at the hotel that was my favorite place to take in the view of the Savannah River and bridge. 









From the bottom floor of the Cotton Sail Hotel you could enter River Street which was lined with shops and restaurants and pubs in the old buildings of the riverfront.  Our favorites were the praline and pecan stores which gave out generous delicious samples! 



Lots of interesting things to see and do in Savannah.








Saturday, May 6, 2017

Jekyll Island




For such a small island we found Jekyll Island to have lots of variety.  Besides the expected beaches there are marshlands and mangroves covering much of the island.  The Historic District consists of a hotel and cottages of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century surrounded by huge beautiful Live Oak trees covered with Spanish Moss.  The island has twenty miles of biking and hiking trails.  

 

Our favorite part of the island was Driftwood Beach.  We visited it at low tide and high tide and enjoyed taking pictures of this very unusual place.   






High tide in the early morning was great for pictures.  Sunset would have been even better but I was too chicken to be out there at dark when everything would have really looked like ghosts!



 

The other side of Jekyll Island looked completely the opposite of Driftwood Beach.  The Historic District had a lush landscape of flowers and huge trees surrounding the hotel and cottages.  








 


 Jekyll Island was a very interesting place to visit.