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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Three September Festivals Worth Wasting Gas Money On...

If you are like me, you long for days that aren't so freaking hot.  I know that I have relocated to Tennessee from the sweltering dessert temperatures in Arizona, but Tennessee has it's share of days that are so hot and muggy that you are afraid to move.  I spend all summer reading and hearing about great things to do, but it takes an act of God and Congress to pry me away from my air conditioned home office.  Now that the day time highs are just south of ungodly, it's time to poke my head out of my hermit cave and enjoy Indian summer in Middle Tennessee.

Here is a compilation of 5 festivals in and around middle Tennessee that are worth the gas money...




Photo by Jason Nelms

1)  Tennessee State Fair       September 6-15, 2013
   http://www.tnstatefair.org
I look forward to fair food all year.  In fact, I become rather grumpy if I don't get funnel cake at least once a year.  This year - look for an almost sinfully good deep fried, bacon wrapped macaroni and cheese.  The fair has something for everyone.  I love to look at the winning crafts and animals.  I always leave thinking that I couldn't possibly live without at least one alpaca.  The kids hit the rides and spin around until they puke.  The guys gather around the antique tractors and cars to talk about life in the good ol' days.

Photo by Michael Hicks

2) 35th Annual Mountaineer Folk Festival       September 6-8, 2013
http://www.visitfallcreekfalls.com/visitorguide/mountaineer_festival.pdf

This crafts fair and music festival is a great way to start Christmas shopping for those hard to please people on your list.  When the crafts and bluegrass music get to be a little much - there is always the state park to keep you entertained.  I have a wading/swimming date with my three year old nephew planned for the shallows beneath the falls.  Come on out the water is fine.



3) White Oak Crafts Fair                 September 14-15, 2013
http://www.artscenterofcc.com/Crafts/WhiteOakCraftsFair.html

Cannon County Tennessee is known for two things: white oak baskets and moonshine.  This craft fair held on the grounds of the Cannon County Arts Center.  While you are looking at the crafts and handmade baskets.  I own one and wish I could afford more - maybe one day.

All three of these festivals (and the fair), are great opportunities to get out with your family and enjoy music.  I'll be all three and can't wait to see you there.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Rolling...Rolling Down the River

I know I am starting to sound like a broken record, but it is hotter than four hells here in Pheonix!  I know that you, dear reader, have got to be tired of hearing about how I am melting bit by bit in this heat. I know that the hubby is tired of hearing me complain everytime I venture out of our air conditioned house.  Regardless, I have collected a Phx Valley Guide somewhere in our travels and have been using it to plan little adventures since I am out of school for the summer (and not nearly as disciplined as I should be in finishing the great American novel).  I found a brochure entitled, "101 Cool Things to Do" from www.phxvalleyguide.com

One of the activities is suggested is tubing down the Salt River.  (http://www.saltrivertubing.com/)  If you are in the area, I highly recommend taking an afternoon to relax and cool off. 

We caught a ride on the bus to the drop off point and then floated all day.  It's difficult to explain how relaxing it is to sit on an inner tube and watch hawks circle the cactus on the horizon.






Everything Is Like a Dream in Kansas City...

I've spent the last three weeks in Kansas City.  My in-laws went over to Germany to see my niece (their first grand child), and I stayed at their house to watch their three dogs and two cats.  I spent the day seeing the sights and listening to my father-in-law expound upon the history of the town.  We weren't able to cram everything into today's agenda - the day was jam packed as it is, but I think I was able to see enough to have a starting point for my next visit.

Our first stop was the city market.  Saturday is the farmer's market day, and there were vegetables of all kinds.  I was actually a little sad that I was leaving for Tennessee tomorrow.  Had I been staying in town, I would have loaded up on veggies for the grill.

View of the Missouri River from the Town of Kansas site.

After shopping, we walked town to the site of the Town of Kansas.  The original settlement has long since disappeared (because the railroad tore it down for tracks), but there were enough signs to get a feel for what it must have looked like.

After our shopping, we headed to Arthur Bryant's BBQ (http://www.arthurbryantsbbq.com/index.htm).  I love to try the iconic restaurants when I go to a new place and Arthur Bryant's fits this bill perfectly.  You know that the food is going to be amazing when there is a line out of the door.  We waited for our turn, and finally it was our turn at the window to order.  The cook was very focused on his job, and I was more than a little intimidated to ask for my "burnt-end sandwich", but I was finally able to squeak out my order.  It was worth the gruffness of the cook, because the food was the best BBQ I had ever tried.  The order size was huge, and I worried that they would have to roll me out of the restaurant.  It is apparent why there are so many famous people on the walls - no one can resist this food.
 View of the restaurant - notice the line out the door.  
The best BBQ sandwich and fries I've ever had!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

I think I'll stick to TMP...

The husband and I ventured out of our comfort zone to see a movie yesterday.  No, watching movies isn't out of our comfort zone; we do that all the time.  However, we almost always go to Tempe Market Place because it is very close to the house and closer still to Barnes and Nobles (BN is the shit!).  We ventured to the "other" theater in Tempe because we wanted to watch different movies and it had Promethus (for him) and Magic Mike (for me) both showing at 4:15.

I thought that the theater was great.  We did forget our loyalty cups, but my forgetfulness can't really be blamed on the venue. 

After the movie...I wanted to like Magic Mike more than I did...we decided to walk around the mall because it's air conditioned.  This is our first summer in Pheonix, and we have been making a game out of finding things to do in the AC.  The mall was a little scary.  I've worked the past 8 years with gang afiliated youth, and I lost count of the people I saw walking around with various gang paraphenial and markers on.  I don't think I have ever been to a mall before that had armed security...and this counts the one in Fayettevill, NC where someone gets shot there what seems to be every weekend.

All in all, I think I will save the trip to AZ Mills for when there is something that has to be seen in IMAX or when I'm feeling lucky. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Retro Date Night

The hubby and I try to make a date every so often.  Thanks to a Groupon coupon for 2 hours of unlimited bowling - last night was the night. 

We decided to keep with the retro theme of a bowling date by eating dinner at Jerry's Diner on Thomas and 24th street.  One of my favorite things in the world is fried chicken (insert Southern joke of your choosing here).  I tried the honey fried chicken with corn bread and a salad.  I loved every bite!  (http://www.yelp.com/biz/jerrys-restaurant-phoenix)   Perhaps the best part of our date was an enormous strawberry milkshake with (gulp!) real whipped cream.  Our waitress added extra when she heard me tell the hubby that whipped cream was my favorite part. 

After stuffing our selves with diner fare, we headed to the bowling alley over on 12th street.  We didn't make the entire 2 hours of bowling that the Groupon gave us.  I wouldn't think that bowling was hard work, but I was tired after hefting the 12 pound ball (usually down the gutter) for an hour and a half.  The highlight was our last game where I actually beat the hubby...156/144!  He's says that he let me win, but I think he is just a sore loser... the fact that he won all the other games means nothing.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Heat Doesn't Rise When You Leave the Valley

It is no secret that I am not the biggest fan of the heat in the valley.  The husband planned a romantic weekend get away because he loves me...and possibly wanted me to shut up already about the million degree temps in the valley.

We had a whirl-wind two days in Tombstone, Bisbee, Sierra Vista (Ft. Huachuca), and Tucson.  We left out house in Tempe early in the morning on Saturday. 

OK -- Time for some back story.  The husband celebrated finishing several quizzes and decided to take the motorcycle out.  I am usually totally okay with him riding around, but when 2am rolled around I was getting more than a little worried.  (He made it home fine; he's a big boy and is capable of riding in the dark.)  Needless to say, I didn't sleep well *read: at all* until he got home Saturday morning. 

Regardless, we left the house early Saturday morning and headed south.  Our first stop in Tombstone was breakfast at The Longhorn Restaurant. (http://bignosekates.info/longhorn.html)  My omelet was great - and the hubby's food didn't last long enough for him to taste it.

 
 
The Buffalo soldiers were being celebrated in Tombstone, so we saw a parade and then walked around the town waiting for the comedy gun show to start at  Helldorado Town.  This was the best show that we have seen in a while, and I got to be part of the action...I did, however, shoot the wrong man.  I said then and I'll say it again - It happens! 

We left Tombstone and made our way to Bisbee to have lunch with a friend that the hubby deployed with in Afghanistan.  We ate at Santiagos (http://santiagosmexican.blogspot.com/).  I wanted to like the food.  I really did.  The nicest thing I can say is that the food didn't live up to the atmosphere.  I had the enchiladas from the specials menu - and I left more than half of them on my plate.

We took the trolley tour of the town and learned a lot about this great little slice of AZ.  I'm trying to figure out how to support us in a tourist town, so we can go back.  (The current plan is to let me live there if the hubby ends up at Ft. Huachuca again, so we'll see.)

No trip down south would be complete without the hubby showing me some of his old stomping grounds.  He was stationed at Ft. Huachuca for over a year and took me on a tour that included things like running up this hill sucks and this d-fac is where I ate

We spent the night in Tucson, and headed out to Mt. Lemmon in the morning.  (Not too early this time since we were both working on less than 4 hours' sleep.)  The drive up to the Meadow Trail was spectacular and was one of those times where I am grateful/thankful to have the little red sports car.  We decided to hike the Meadow Trail, and while the meadow looked surprisingly like a mountain, the views were well worth the huffing and puffing it took to get there. 

I also want to take the time to thank the unknown motorcycle rider who warned us about the Sheriff running radar and saved us a ticket.  Like I said, my car is zippy and the road was awesome. 

We headed down to 4th Ave. for lunch after our hike since the restaurants up on the mountain thought that a pulled pork sandwich and some chips were worth over $12.  I used the UrbanSpoon app on my phone to find the Surly Wench Pub (424 North 4th Avenue Tucson, AZ).  It was listed as somewhere to find a burger, and we were both hungry from the hike.  We both ate the "Cooter Burger" (and amazing concoction of nacho cheese and jalapenos on a hamburger).  They were spicy, messy and perfectly delicious.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Easy Hike My Foot!

A little back story is in order for this one.  My birthday is in January and I wanted to hike to see the Petroglyphs in the Superstition Mountains on the Hieroglyphic Trail.  I was dealing with a sinus infection and the medicine I was taking made me very dehydrated.  We walked and walked but never made it to the pictures on the rocks before I got ill and forced us to turn around. 
Fast forward a few months...
I no longer have a sinus infection and have been utilizing my elliptical trainer for more than a glorified clothes hanger, so I thought I might be able to make it.  We decided to give it another try for the hubby's birthday on Memorial Day, so away we went. 

The trail head is easily found and well marked, so there was no worries about getting lost and recreating any of my favorite scenes from Hatchet.  The trail is not that steep (only the first part has much climb to it at all), but the loose rocks that cover the trail make for some tricky footing.  I'm used to hiking back East on pine needle covered trailed, so this is quite a change for my aching, arthritic knees. 

I am happy to announce that I made it back all the way to the pretty pictures, and was able to sit in the shade of a rock outcropping and gloat on how far my conditioning has come.  (I went home and took a nap which kind of tells you how much farther I have to go, but oh well, I will take my small victories). 

I made it, but our 7+ year old Brittany Spaniel, Ginger, wasn't so lucky.  She literally walked the skin off the pads of her feet.  Luckily, the hubby was hiking too and was able to give her a lift back to the car.  She is nearly better now, and I'm sure that she is looking forward to more hikes - but with better foot protection.