Old Route 66

Old Chain of Rocks Bridge

We crossed the Mississippi River on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, the original crossing of Route 66 from 1929 to 1970. It is now a pedestrian/bicycle trail connecting Illinois to Missouri. It was very cool walking through the tree tops and out over the water. Standing over the middle of the Mississippi, surrounded by history (literally, shout out to MIKE, 1978) and watching the water flow slowly past was an unexpected treat on our Missouri adventure.

Free parking and bridge access are on the Illinois side, watch for the signs on Rte 3 near Madison, Ill. Oh, and heads up, there are no bathrooms onsite. If you are taking your four-legged friends out on the bridge, bring a baggie! Please!

For in-depth information, please visit the national parks website at this address: https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/route66/chain_of_rocks_bridge_illinois_missouri.html




A Magical Adventure With Swanstone Garden

As an early celebration of my upcoming anniversary of life on this planet (I stopped using the “B” word years ago), I was invited to join a day trip being hosted by The Swanstone Gardens of Green Bay, WI. The event, entitled “New England Charm of Port Washington” in the brochure, included motor coach transportation, a breakfast stop, sightseeing, shopping, and a dinner theater matinee of “The Witch in 204”. Sightseeing somewhere I’ve never been, shopping, food, and Witches? Yes, Please!!

Our adventure began at the park and ride at Hwy 172 and GV in Green Bay bright and early on a Sunday morning. We traveled by Lamar’s coach masterfully driven by Chris, who had a wonderful sense of humor and was very accommodating. Kudos to Chris for figuring out the wifi for us! Our stops included a breakfast/potty break at Hardees in Sheboygan and a driving tour of down town Port Washington with photo stops at the 1860 Light Station, The Pebble House, and Coal Dock Park.  We then spent some time browsing a varied collection of items all handmade by WI artisans at the Blue Heron Gift Shop and exploring the shops (and bars) on Franklin St. I, personally, ended up with some lovely chocolate covered cashews from CoCa Lena ( www.cocalena.com ) and some sinfully delicious peanut butter cup popcorn and some pickle flavored popcorn to gift      ( www.BroadwayPopcorn.com ).  The weather was cool and windy, but not unbearable. We had ample time to stretch our legs and see everything at each stop.

By 11:30 we were off to Memories Ballroom for our main event. Matinees at Memories are a plated lunch, and we were served a salad starter with dinner rolls, followed by a delicious signature pumpkin fluff. Our main course was a very generous portion of roast chicken, steamed vegetables, and baked potato. Containers were provided for those of us who couldn’t possibly eat a complete half of chicken and fixings in one sitting. A creamy oreo cookie tort was served during intermission. Our hostess welcomed the various groups attending and our waitstaff were excellent. Ample water and coffee were provided to each table and the bar was open for beer, wine, and soda. A $10 minimum for charge card purchases at the bar forced me to enjoy more than one glass of wine with my lunch, what a shame.

The production was excellent, and the theater was beautiful.  The cast and crew did a wonderful job and we enjoyed our afternoon of comedic insight into witchcraft and magic through the deft employment of modern pharmaceutical hexes and a clever genie. We even got the recipe for the pumpkin fluff. For more information about the Memories Ballroom, this show, and upcoming events, visit their website at www.Memoriesballroom.com.

The entire day was wonderful. David Calhoon, owner of Swanstone Gardens, made this trip a fun adventure. David is a recent recipient of the Silver Trowel Award for Best Garden, and a fun-loving host and teacher. To find out more about David, his beautiful gardens, upcoming classes, and future outings, please visit them online at www.swanstonegardens.com or find them on Facebook.