Lake Lure Retreat Sunday, Jun 18 2006 

Mt. Mitchell

Mt. Mitchell

Last night we returned after a week at Lake Lure, North Carolina. We spent the first two days and the last day reading and resting. The visibility was low on the day we traveled north on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We were impressed with the quilts on display at the Folk Art Center. We picnicked on the Craggy Garden Trail. The catawba rhododendrons here and on the Craggy Dome Trail were past their peak. Although there was no view from Mt. Mitchell, the tallest peak east of the Mississippi, the temperature was cool. We enjoyed traversing the short Balsam Nature Trail. We descended by car on the winding route 80 and made our way to Black Mountain. Before dinner at the Black Mountain Bistro, we walked around Lake Tomahawk and enjoyed the mountain views.

Carl Sandburg’s NC home

Carl Sandburg Home

Glassy Mountain view

Glassy Mountain View

We had clear skies for our visit to Hendersonville and surrounding communities. After lunch at the Highland Lake Inn in Flat Rock, we visited the Carl Sandburg Home, a National Historic Site. Although we hadn’t dressed for hiking, we toured some of the farm areas, hiked to the top of Glassy Mountain and around Front Lake. We saw many beautiful homes on our drive through Laurel Park to Jump Off Rock. After dinner at the Sinbad Restaurant, we walked around the historic Hendersonville downtown to see this year’s decorated bears.

Looking Glass Falls

Looking Glass Falls

We especially enjoyed the quality (and low price) of our gourmet meal on Mt. Pisgah. On our way we found a couple of new waterfalls. In order to get close to Cove Creek Falls, we traveled about 1.5 miles on a washerboard gravel road. Bumpy! After stopping at the Looking Glass Falls, we hiked to Moore Cove Falls. We drove as far south on the Blue Ridge Parkway as Devil’s Courthouse. In addition to the short, steep climb to the top for panoramic views, we explored a trail that connected with the Mountains to the Sea trail. We once again enjoyed our week at Lake Lure.

Columbus Park of Roses Sunday, Jun 4 2006 

After church today, we stopped at the Columbus Park of Roses. Many of the roses, with a variety of colors and shapes, were at their peak. Unfortunately, the battery on my digital camera got exhausted after taking only 50 pictures.

Columbus Park of Rosesyellow rosepink rose

Columbus Symphony Concert Sunday, Jun 4 2006 

Friday evening we attended the final Columbus Symphony concert of the season.  Gunther Herbig, the principal guest conductor the past three seasons, conducted without the use of a score.  Johannes Brahms turned to the spring blossoms of earth for inspiration in his Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op.73.  The theme of Dimitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Op. 47, according to the composer, "is the development of the individual."  We enjoyed both inspiring pieces.

La Jolla Ocean Views Saturday, Jun 3 2006 

La Jolla coastline

La Jolla Coast

Over Memorial Day weekend we attended the wedding of my wife’s cousin’s youngest daughter at the La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, California. This provided an opportunity for a reunion of my wife’s maternal relatives in a beautiful setting with great food. We enjoyed walks along the Pacific Ocean where we spotted a variety of birds and appreciated an array of colorful flowers. Seals have claimed a protected area that used to be a favorite swimming beach. The ocean sounds and smells were a welcome respite from the Midwest.

Los Angeles Oasis Saturday, Jun 3 2006 

Los Angeles cityscape

Los Angeles

On Thursday, May 25th, we visited my wife’s aunt at Hollenbeck Palms. The grounds are truly an oasis with views of downtown LA. The landscaping for this retirement home founded in 1890 includes a central fountain, a refreshing pond with waterfall, prolific flower beds, an aviary, even a putting green with sand trap. Employees were very friendly and all the residents that we encountered seem to dearly love their final home.