Can You Guess Where I'm Going This Week?

 

Can you guess where I'm going this week?  I will be packing for some cooler temperatures than where I live in Southwest Florida.  I will be visiting family and friends and taking photos of course!  I've posted five photos as hints which I doubt will leave many of you guessing!

Church-street-418552_1280Here is my alma mater where I had way too much fun!
Church-street-418552_1280This mural is seen in the downtown area of the state's biggest city which isn't that big! 
Church-street-418552_1280I think this photo will be a definite giveaway!
Church-street-418552_1280I'm looking forward to some cooler weather!
Church-street-418552_1280Thanks so much for visiting.  I'd love to here your guesses below!  If you guessed have you visited this state in New England?

~Michelle


Visiting the Lovely Sonora Desert Museum in Tuscon Arizona

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I visited Tucson Arizona in the fall of 2013 so this is another post I am writing from memory.  I wasn't really that excited about seeing the desert, but I was definitely pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the two-story high cactus, the colorful sunsets were gorgeous, and I loved the beautiful colors of some of the flowers all over the Tuscon area. 

There is also a lot to do in Tucson area.  My favorite attraction was this Sonora Desert Museum which is number one of 274 things to do on TripAdvisor in the Tuscon area.  I recommend spending several hours there as there is so much to see especially if you like to take photos as much as I do there are prairie dogs, a hummingbird exhibit, as well as several beautiful gardens. 

The Sonora Desert Museum is definitely a place I would love visiting again someday.  We were there for a week and actually considered going back for a second day!  I definitely learned that the desert is just as beautiful as any tropical islands I've visited.  The admission fee for adults is $19.50 a person which I thought was very reasonable.  Here is a link to their web site for more information:  Sonora Desert Museum

96996444Here is a cute little otter that took me forever to get a decent photo of.  They swim so fast and gracefully.
96996444The prairie dogs look so cute and cuddly.  Too bad their claws and teeth are so sharp!
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96996444This mountain goat was quite a long ways away from me, but was staring right at me so I tried to get a satisfactory photo of him/her.
96996444I tried for a long time to get a good shot of a hummingbird, but I was new to using my DSLR so it's not anywhere near perfect, but they were beautiful!

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Living in Florida, I don't get to see many rock formations or mountains so images like the one below were a treat.
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There generally isn't a lot of water in the streams, but the area had recently gotten a lot of rainfall so that made the area especially colorful and interesting.
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The cactus gardens were so much more colorful than I expected!
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I will leave you with one of the lovely sunsets I saw

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Thank you so much for reading.  As always I love hearing your feedback and comments.  Take care my friends and I hope have a wonderful week.

~Michelle


Visiting the Amazing New Marlin's Park in Miami, Florida

During my visit to Miami Florida in June 2015, I had the pleasure of attending a baseball game at the Marlins new stadium.  This is a really new stadium that just opened in the spring of 2012.  The Marlins were playing the New York Yankees that night and it was a sold-out game.  I'm a Yankees fan so I was a little disappointed when they were losing eight to nothing in the first inning.  I know it's team can't win every game but it's not really much fun to watch once one team is winning or losing by that much from the very beginning.                                    

.  I thought the new stadium was absolutely beautiful.   It has a capacity of nearly 37,000 people and  has a retractable roof which many people feel has increased attendance to the games tremendously.   I love how you can see the skyline through the windows and the home run Marlin decoration that goes into action when the team scores a home run.  You can see a video of it in action here on YoutubeHome run .  Some people see it as over the top or cheesy.  I thought it was fun and I loved the added color to the stadium. 

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I usually try and photograph the players, but I was busy catching up with a friend I hadn't seen in years.  My favorite player was not playing in this game since the National League doesn't allow designated hitters.  Yes, I'm an Alex Rodriguez fan and I hope not too many of you stop reading this post here :)
Wandering and searching island girl-1-13We had great seats!
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Wandering and searching island girl-1-13I would ask you to caption what the group of guys was saying in the row behind us in the photo below.  The score was 8-0 in the first inning and they were not happy about that being Yankees' fans as well.  I want to keep my blog family friendly though ;)
Wandering and searching island girl-1-13I'm not terribly pleased (at all) with this photo of the Miami cityscape, but I thought it was gorgeous with all the different colors and especially the red building seen on on the left.
Wandering and searching island girl-1-66Thanks for your visit.  I would  like to hear which baseball stadiums you have visited and are your favorite.  Have a great week. 
~Michelle

 


My European Escape To Vizcaya in Miami Florida

 Here is the entrance to Vizcaya:

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Villa Vizcaya now called Vizcaya Museum and Gardens on Biscayne Bay in Miami Florida was built by businessman James Deering as a winter home.  Vizcaya was planned and built between 1914 and 1923.  Vizcaya combines french and Italian garden layouts combined with Cuban limestone stonework. 

I felt like I was touring a mansion or palace in Europe while I was there.  The ceilings and decor is so incredibly ornate.  The only thing I didn't like about my visit was not being able to take photos indoors, but that is the policy in most similar places I've visited in Italy as well.  I would also recommend visiting this lovely museum during the "cooler" months.  I was there in mid June on a very warm day and there are three floors of rooms to see! 

Vizcaya can be rented for special occasions such as weddings and photo shoots.  One can do a self guided tour for $18.00/adult.  It's an additional $5.00 for an audio tour.  Special guided tours can be arranged as well.  Vizcaya will be undergoing renovations beginning in mid July 2015 until October 2015.  The price to tour the museum will be reduced to $16.00/adult. 
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Here is a photo of the court yard:
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The water in the pool really was this hue of blue - not sure if it's safe to swim in!
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Here is the court yard:
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The statues throughout the grounds were amazing!
Wandering and searching island girl-1-2I was so fascinated by this Italian barge structure behind Vizcaya.  It's mainly for decorative purposes, but it's supposed to calm the waters near the shore as well.
Wandering and searching island girl-1-2  Wandering and searching island girl-1-60I loved the statues throughout the grounds:

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I will leave you with a photo of my friend Jahna Robertson and I relaxing in the air conditioned gift shop/cafe.  It was a very warm June day and made us appreciate what it was like to build and work on this mansion as well as live in southern Florida before the invention of air conditioning.  I would definitely recommend visiting Vizcaya if you are ever in the Miami area.  Most people like having 2-3 hours to tour the grounds.  For more information about visiting, here is their web site:  Click here: Vizcaya

 

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Thank you for visiting my blog.  Please leave me any comments and questions.  I would love to hear your thoughts on my blogs new design as it's still evolving.  I hope you are having a great week

~Michelle


The Mysterious Coral Castle in Southern Florida

  I wanted to see the Coral Castle when I visited the Miami area because it looked to beautiful in the photos.  I was not prepared to hear the interesting stories surrounding the man who built it, how he did it, and why.  Like the Egyptian pyramids, much of how one man was able to work with stones weighing a ton or more remains a mystery.

A man named Edward Leedskalnin was rejected by his 16-year-old bride to be in Latvia just one day before the wedding.  Edward decided to leave for America at that point.  He spent more than 28 years building the castle and refused to let anyone view him working on it.

The Coral Castle is made of a stone called Oolite (see the close-up below).  The Florida Keys and the surrounding Miami area are primarily made up of Oolite.  The Coral castle has remained intact since the builders death in 1951 and survived a direct hit by Hurricane Andrew

Along with  the builder's two story residence, the castle contains the following impressive items:

Accurate sundial,

A Polaris telescope,

An obelisk,

A barbecue,

A water well,

A fountain,

Celestial stars and planets,

Furniture including a heart-shaped table, a table in the shape of Florida, twenty-five rocking chairs, chairs resembling crescent moons,

A bathtub, beds and a throne.

The current adult admission fee is $16.00/person.  More can be read at the Castle's web site here:   http://coralcastle.com/

 Here is the view as you walk through the doorway of the Coral Castle:

Wandering and searching island girl-1-33It used to only cost 10 cents to see the Coral Castle.  The owner left a bell for visitors to ring.  If he didn't answer, they were supposed to slip a dime in the slot.
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Wandering and searching island girl-1-33My friend Jahna Robertson:
Wandering and searching island girl-1-33Oolite close-up
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Wandering and searching island girl-1-33Yours truly:
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Here is the entrance to the builder's living quarters.  Edward didn't have an air conditioning when he needed a break from the intense South Florida heat.  I imagine he could have used it while working as hard as he did!
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The Coral Castle has a nice cafe and outdoor eating area:  Wandering and searching island girl-1-38

I will leave you with a couple photos of my friend Jahna Robertson and I:

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Thanks so much for stopping by.  Please feel free to ask any questions and of course comments are always appreciated.  I hope you are all having a great week.

~Michelle


Fun at South Beach in Miami Florida

Nok-1-7The above photo was taken from a nice restaurant called the Rusty Pelican where you can get a pretty good view of the Miami city skyline.

I always enjoy taking photos of people at the beach.  Most of them are having fun especially the children.  I enjoyed seeing the ocean and big waves which I don't get to see in the Tampa Bay AreaSouth Beach in Miami is very beautiful as most of the beaches I have visited in Florida are.  
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I will leave you with a photo of the Royal Palm Hotel at night:

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Thank you for your visit.  As always I welcome your comments and questions.  Have a great week.  

~Michelle