Travel to: New England Aquarium

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It was trying to be a difficult day but no matter how hard the day tried we still had a blast! The drive to Boston, MA is roughly three hours for us. We had heard great admiration about the New England Aquarium from friends and family and knew it would be worth the drive. It was forecasted to be a sunny 70 degrees that day but turned out to be a cloudy,windy 40!

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When we finally arrived in the city, we wanted to check out Quincy Market before hand to grab lunch. We had tickets for a 3-D IMAX movie at the aquarium but gave ourselves enough time to eat first. So we started walking towards what we thought was the market until we realized we were walking in the wrong direction for 15 minutes. Did I mention it was cold out! We wasted so much time trying to figure out where we were but we finally found Quincy Market, found some food (very yummy seafood from Salty Dog), and quickly got to the aquarium to catch our movie.

Lines were crazy but moved quickly. We thought we might miss our show but made it in the nick of time. Phew! Turns out we didn’t have to rush. They were having issues with the equipment and couldn’t get the movie to play. They tried for 25 minutes before they called it. Luckily they offered refunds or tickets for another visit. We chose the tickets. We stayed in good spirits and headed to the actual aquarium now. That’s when the real fun began!

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It was pretty crowded but it was a systematic chaos. We were still able to check out everything. Everyone kept moving to give others a chance to look at all the different tanks. When we first walked in, we headed straight for the penguins. The penguin enclosures were just below the first floor so you walked above them, looking over the ledge. It was like they could swim through the bottom floor and you could watch them as you walked around the entire aquarium. There was three different species and they were feeding them when we were there. They were funny to watch; they hopped from here to there, diving in the water and swimming rapidly after each other! I kept thinking about the Penguins of Madagascar and it made me laugh.

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In the very center of the building is a huge cylindrical tank that starts on the first floor and goes all the way to the top. There is a walkway that spirals all the way up and you can watch all the fish swim by in the gigantic tube of water. It’s about four floors high and all the way at the top, at the time, they were giving a seminar and you could look down into the huge tank. There were bonnethead sharks, rays, big balloonfish, and so many other colorful crazy things I don’t even know what they were! Not to mention the green sea turtle which you would never believe her gigantic size until you see her in person! Beautiful, gorgeous animal! She was definitely my favorite creature in the entire aquarium.

We saw shadowy piranhas, electric eels, mesmerizing jellyfish, seals and sea lions, a beautiful octopus and even a ginormous anaconda! We saw native fish, exotic fish, one, fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish! (see what I did there ;)) The cuttlefish were oddly adorable as well!

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The entire day was overwhelmingly fantastic! I really wish I could go on a slow day or in a perfect world after hours. I would just sit there all night; I would watch them all and draw everything I could in amazing colors. I would fill an entire sketchbook. Maybe one of these days I will go out there and do just that. Talk about some meditation.

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So much seemed to go against the grain with this day but it turned out absolutely amazing…and we didn’t even get to see the 3-D IMAX movie! We are excited to see one next time we go back because we are definitely going back!

Have you been to the New England Aquarium? What was your favorite creature? Share your story in the comments below. And if you haven’t made it there yet, I highly recommend going with the family! (or alone for some artful meditation ;)) Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed the photography!

Until next time,

“I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food.”

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Photo Journal: Beach Treasures at Magee Marsh

I made my way to Lake Erie again a couple weeks ago. My family and I walked the beach at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area. It is known for it’s bird watching boasting over 300 different species recorded! Driving up to the beach we passed an eagle’s nest in the trees next to the road. Unfortunatley, no one was home. 

Some interesting beach art.

The beach was peaceful with a consistant, cool breeze. The sand was soft at first. As the tide came in it brought millions of tiny shells and other treasures. It was quite pokey to walk on. We found some “lucky stones”. They look like small, white pebbles with markings resembling either “L” or “J”. They are actually the ear bone of a freshwater drum fish or more commonly known as a sheephead. Fisherman will keep one in their pocket for good luck and others have adopted it into their own collections. I love beach treasures!

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What are some beach treasure you have found? Any lucky gems? Share your story in the comments below! Thanks for stopping by this week! 

Until next time,

“Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.”

The inside of a shell, looks like a planet.

The gulls take flight.
The waves were splashing.
Driftwood….or art supplies?
So many treasures to find!
See what I mean!
Driftwood statues.

Photo Journal: Kayaking at Round Lake

I tried out my new kayak the other weekend at Round Lake, NY. It was a beautiful area, especially following down Anthony Kill (Tenandaho Creek). There was an abundance of water lilies and dragonflies as well as other marshland critters. The air was cool and the sun was shining. We kayaked all the way around the lake, down the creek and back. It was a total of about 5-6 miles and we sure felt it afterwards! It was worth it though and still very relaxing.

It’s definitely a place I would visit again. Thanks for stopping by this week! Do you have any favorite spots for kayaking? Share a comment below. I would love to check out some new places!

Until next,

“The rainstorm and the river are my brothers.”
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Travel to: Put in Bay, Ohio

Did someone say party?

My best friend did so we traveled to Put in Bay, Ohio for a combined bachelor/bachelorette party! A group of us met at Miller Ferry and rode the ferry to the island. It was about a twenty minute ride and the weather was beautiful!

Once we arrived, we took a taxi to the Island Club where we all pitched in to get a cabin for the weekend. The cabin was spacious and had two decks with picnic tables. Even though it was Memorial Day weekend and many of the cabins were occupied, we were nicely tucked into the woods and still felt a sense of privacy.

As with most bachelor/ette parties, we hit the bars! There were many to choose from of course. Mojito Bay had a great atmosphere. It featured an outdoor tiki hut for a bar and sand as the floor to give it a beach setting. To top it off, they served drinks in coconuts! They were tasty! Another great spot was The  Beer Barrel Saloon featuring the longest bar in the world. It truly was the longest bar I had ever seen. They also had a stage with a live band and an outdoor area with umbrella tables.

One needs more than just alcohol to survive. Luckily, there were plenty of restaurants to choose from as well. We stopped at Frosty’s for breakfast. I ordered some of the best french toast I have ever had with a side of sausage links. The coffee was great too!

There was so much more that I didn’t have a chance to check out such as a nature preserve, a cave, and a butterfly house. So much to see, so little time!

It was a great time and I am overjoyed for my BFF and her fiance! Next time I see them, they will be Mr. and Mrs. It’s about time! Love ya guys!

Have you ever partied down in Put in Bay? If you remember it, share your story in the comments below! Thanks for stopping by this week.

Until next time,

“Never cry over spilt milk. It could have been whiskey.”

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Things to do: Raptor Fest

This past weekend my family and I went to Raptor Fest at Schodack Island State Park. No, it wasn’t dinosaurs. It was all about birds of prey. I had to work that morning so we showed up at the tail end of the event. Haha….tail end….see what I did there. Anyways, the festival was hosted by the Audubon Society of the Capital Region. They are an organization that started in the 1890’s to protect birds and their habitats. You can read about the history of the organization here. We were able to catch a fantastic seminar about raptors in the area which covered Kestrels, a couple owls to include the Great Horned, and a couple hawks. Sharon, the representative from Audubon, gave a great presentation and was very informative. I learned about some of my favorite birds and was introduced to some new ones as well. She would bring out each raptor one at a time, perched on her arm. They were beautiful and well cared for but unfortunatley were unable to be released back into the wild for one reason or another. The Great Horned owl sadly was hit by a car and lost a wing. One of the hawks suffered an eye injury and the others were found as hatchlings and raised by people. Therefore, imprinting with humans.

There were also vendors and other organizations related to raptors and nature preserves. I wish we could have made it for the entire event but just seeing that one seminar made it worth going. We had a great time at a beautiful park on a beautifully sunny day.

Have you ever been to a Raptor Fest before? Do you have a favorite raptor?  Leave your story in the comments below! Thanks for stopping by this week!

Until next time,

“Pin feathers and golly fluff!”

Travel to: Fort Hardy Park

I enjoy taking my son to different parks and playgrounds at various locations. We like to adventure and see new places. One park that he enjoys is one we visit often, Fort Hardy Park. It has a playground, baseball fields, basketball courts, and not to mention various events throughout the year that are held by the town of Schuylerville. It’s a quaint and peaceful park for any family to enjoy.

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Although, it wasn’t always a beautiful, serene atmosphere. In fact, it is the very site where the British surrendered to the Americans after the Battle of Saratoga.

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British General John Burgoyne attacked the American troops on October 7, 1777. Although he hailed a minor victory weeks prior to this attack, he was over confident in his depleted troops and was forced to retreat. The British suffered 600 casualties whereas the Americans lost 150. Ten days later, the British General surrendered to Horatio Gates and Benedict Arnold, the Generals who led the Americans during the battle. This became a major turning point in the Revolutionary War and was the deciding factor for the French government’s alliance.

It’s amazing the history that scatters the globe. Where good men have died, children can now play. Where troops marched along the river to prepare for battle, people now gather to watch parades go by.  Where forces invaded and tried to overtake us, we now live peacefully side by side as neighbors.

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It’s a little late for Veteran’s Day and a little early for Thanksgiving but this post ties into both. So many men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that I can live freely with my family and I am eternally grateful.

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Are there any parks you visit that have a bit of history? Share your story in the comments below. Thanks for checking in this week!

Until next time,

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them.”  ~John F. Kennedy

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sources: History.com , HistoryPlace.com

 

Travel to: The Hyde Collection

Thanks to a dear friend, I had the opportunity to check out a wonderful art museum located in Glens Falls, NY. The Hyde Collection was dedicated to the community in 1952 by Charlotte Pruyn Hyde. She was born into wealth, her father being the sole owner to the paper manufacturing company, Finch, Pruyn & Company. Charlotte married a young law student, Louis Hyde, who was convinced by her father to join the family business and eventually become vice president of the paper mill. The family, to include Charlotte’s two sisters, commissioned an architect to create three houses on adjoined properties for them to reside and overlook the Hudson River. These buildings now encompass the Hyde Collection.

Over the next few decades they collected works from their favorite dealers in New York and from frequent summer trips to Europe.

The museum is broken down into three sections. One of which being an educational wing for art classes, seminars, and other related events.

The Hyde Gallery, you can guess, is where the art shows are held. The current show is “Transforming the Hyde: The Feibes and Schmitt Gift. There is also an exhibition going on until December displaying the works of artists from the Mohawk Hudson region. There was many great pieces that took my breath away. There were also many works that made my lip curl. I definitely recommend having a look for yourself and seeing what you like…but no cameras!

The Hyde House is set in a home environment with bookshelves, antique furniture, priceless art hanging from the walls, tapestries, busts, statues, a grand piano…I mean, it just keeps going. This place was gorgeous. There was a great room with a high glass ceiling. Even the architecture was historical art. It was fantastically overwhelming. Luckily, I was able to take pictures here although I only had my phone available.

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I brought a small sketchbook with me as well so I could sketch some of my favorite pieces. I could not pass up sketching an original Picasso. I could literally get close enough to touch my nose to it. It was called, “The Boy With the Blue Vase”. You can learn so much from concentrating on the details of a master’s work. I also came across a Greek statue from 4th century B.C. called “Mourning Woman”. The head and one of the arms had broken off. I feel like it added even more to the emotion of the piece. The figure clutched a piece of cloth in the hand that was left, perhaps the remaining piece of whom or what she lost. She was draped down to the toe in a heavy blanket-like material. The sorrow literally hung from her. It was a very moving piece.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Hyde Collection. It really made for a great day for my artist self. I also discovered that it is free to the public the second Sunday of every month. I have a feeling I’m going to be sketching there more often.

I hope you enjoyed taking a peek into the Hyde House. Have you been to an art museum or exhibit recently? Which place is your favorite to go to? Share your story below in the comments! Thanks for stopping by this week!

Until next time,

“Look beyond the paint. Let us try to open our minds to a new idea.”

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Travel to: The Palace Theater

Last week, I was finally able to visit the Palace Theater in Albany, NY. I’ve heard many people talk highly of it and I had an opportunity to check it out for myself.

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For my husband’s birthday, I got him tickets to a Rob Zombie concert. It was a great show
and we had a blast.

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The theater was amazing! It was ginormous! It was built during the depression in 1931 and was the largest theater in the city. It still has the old fashioned architecture which is a marvel to look at. There were paintings throughout the theater that were stunning as well.

I didn’t have an opportunity to photograph the outside, unfortunately. Being that it was a big name concert, professional photography gear was not permitted inside so I could only use my phone to take pictures. I’m glad I could at least get these photos though!

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I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into the Palace Theater. If you’ve never been there, I am now one of those people that highly recommends it.

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Rob Zombie put on an amazing show! Honestly, it was the best concert I’ve ever been to. What’s the best concert you’ve been to and where was it held? Share your story below in the comments!

Until next time,

“Now raise your goblet of rock. It’s a toast to those who rock!”

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Travel to: Saratoga Monument

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Atop the tallest hill in the area of Old Saratoga (Schuylerville, NY), sits the Saratoga Monument. The obelisk reaches for the clouds at a towering 155 ft! What is this monstrosity doing in a tiny town, you ask? It’s to commemorate the American victory of the Battle of Saratoga, during the Revolutionary War. This area is rich with history and the Battle of Saratoga is said to be one of the most important battles within the last 1000 years.

The monument was not built after the battle in 1777 but rather a hundred years later from 1877- 1882. A group of citizens banded together and after acquiring the plot of land, built the monument to commemorate the American victory and to teach and remind people of the American Revolution.

On each side of the monument, resides a statue honoring the generals that had a great influence on the war. Facing north is General Heratio Gates, to the west General Daniel Morgan and to the east General Philip Schuyler facing the direction of his home (another historical site I will explore and share at a later date). But wait, that was only three statues. Facing south is an empty niche recognizing the leadership of Benedict Arnold.

There is a staircase that leads all the way to the top of the tower. I have yet to check out this feature but hopefully soon I will be able to see it for myself and share my photos with you!

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I hope you enjoyed my mini tour of Saratoga Monument. There is much more to learn and see. If you are ever in the area, prepare for a history lesson!

On a side note, a few weeks ago was the Turning Point Parade to honor those who fought in the Revolutionary War. This is an annual event and another reason to visit Old Saratoga.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed learning a bit of American history. Have anything to add? Leave a comment below!

Until next time,

“Aim small, miss small.”

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This isn’t how you leave your mark in history. Please don’t vandalize!

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Sources: www.revolutionaryday.com , www.nps.gov

Things To Do: Turning Point Parade

A couple weekends ago, the annual Turning Point Parade passed through town. This is the second year I’ve spectated with family and friends. The weather was beautiful and the parade seems to get better every year! The Turning Point Parade commemorates the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga on October 17, 1777 during the American Revolutionary War.

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Until next time,

“Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time.”

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To learn more about the Turning Point Parade & Festival and what it represents check out the website: www.turningpointparade.com