Sher and I decided that we wanted to flee the cold Indiana winters this year. Thus off we headed to the South Texas area known as the Rio Grande Valley. New Year’s Day seemed like a good day to not only start the new year but also start our journey south.
Our trip took us three days. Three wet, rainy, and drab days. Yes, it rained continuously from the time we left home base until just south of Corpus Christy, Texas. Finally some sun!
After 3 days of rain, we loved seeing a sunset north of McAllen, Texas
We arrived at Park Place Estates & RV Resort in Harlingen, Texas just at dark. I had talked to the office, and we were expected by the gate guard, who showed us to a spot with electric for the overnight. Come morning when the office was open, we toured the park. They had suggested two spots for us, and we were happy with one of them. As first timers at this park, we received a very good discount for our first month’s fee.
Nice concrete patio at our site. The weather for our first day was sunny in the low 70’s. We’ll take that!
This facility is designed with Snowbirds in mind. There are tons of activities planned, everything from horseshoes to making stained glass. An 85 degree heated pool and hot tubs are always available. We brought our bikes which will make getting around this large park easy. This park is one of several under the same corporate umbrella, and several other RV Resort companies are represented in the area.
This is our first time being true “Snowbirds”, that is in a warm winter climate in a park for +55 folks. We aren’t visiting family, nor are we traveling about doing touristy things. Sher and I are looking forward to a relaxed but sometimes busy couple of months. We’ll let you know how things are going…
Santa gives Buddy a snow globe
We had a delightful evening at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre with Elf, the Musical on stage. This is the first time in years for the popular Indy theater to not have a Christmas variety show. The choice of Elf, The Musical, however, gives patrons a wonderful celebration of the season.
Elf, The Musical is of course the story of a human raised by Santa’s North Pole Elves. Buddy thinks he is an elf. But, when Buddy hears that he is human, Santa decides to send him to New York City to meet his human father. Thus the chaos begins. Dan Bob Higgins gave a remarkably energetic performance as Buddy. His character gushes with joy and happiness. Higgins’ performance carries the show.
We enjoyed young Aiden Shurr, a 5th grader, who plays Michael Hobbs, Buddy’s younger brother. This young man did an admirable job both in song and line deliverance. Doug Stark both directs and fulfills his favorite role: Santa Claus. Christmas time at B&B would be incomplete without Stark’s Santa!
Jill Kelly Howe has again done an outstanding job on the costumes. She has successfully made gown actors become short elves. Clever, indeed. The lighting and set design works to enhance the production. Kristy Templet’s orchestra shines.
The show is filled with some great humor. We got a kick out of some great lines both traditional and contemporary. The Ron Morgan choreography gave the entire cast the chance to show off their dance talents.
Elf, The Musical runs through December 31st. For reservations, you can call the box office at 317.872.9664 anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays. For a complete show schedule, including information about the New Year’s Eve party, visit the Beef & Boards website.
Our family group was headed to Delaware, Ohio to visit some of the Antique shops and malls in the downtown. Our son recommended the Hamburger Inn Diner for lunch after we visited the shops. What a great recommendation it was!
The Hamburger Inn Diner opened in 1932. It has remained virtually unchanged since it opened. It is a classic diner with primary seating at horseshoe shaped counters instead of tables. The vinyl covered stools rotated much to the delight of our grandson. There were ten in our party, and after a short wait while another couple finished their meal, all of us could sit at the same counter.
Grilled cheese and fries
Half pounder with bacon and eggs
The diner’s name gives a huge hint as to the menu. Yes, there are marvelous burgers on the menu. In addition to burgers and other sandwiches there is a full breakfast menu offered. Breakfast is served anytime. The food was outstanding: best biscuits and sausage gravy I have ever had. The service was terrific. Sher ordered a grilled cheese on rye. It came on white, and shortly thereafter here came another sandwich on rye, no charge.
Huge order of biscuits & gravy topped with a fried egg
After the great meal, I was fortunate to meet one of the owners, Bill Michailidis. He told me about the restaurant’s history, and shared some of the things that it does to support and help the community. One remarkable event put on by the diner is their annual Thanksgiving feast. The diner first has a meal for employees and their families and a neighboring gas station. Then the diner opens for the entire community. That’s right, free meals are offered to anyone and everyone. This year over 900 were served. Some of the other happenings at the diner are described in our post here.
That’s me, seated, and Bill Michailidis, right
Given the quality of the cuisine, the excellence of the service, and the citizenship of the establishment, it is no wonder that The Hamburger Inn Diner is one of the most popular places to visit in central Ohio. If your travels take you to central Ohio, it will be worth your time to eat at the Hamburger Inn Diner.
Saturday morning, November 10th, saw union members of IBEW local 481 braving brutally cold temperatures and wind to install the long strands of LED lights on the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the center of downtown Indianapolis. This is the traditional start of the Circle of Lights celebration.
Working hard to get the lights up
Putting on the finishing touches
This year the lights will be turned on on November 23rd. One lucky kid will be picked to flip the switch and turn on the lights! (The contest is going on right now: a coloring contest.) 2018 will be the 56th year of this beloved Indy tradition. The lights come on at 7:30 that evening after a delightful variety show with local talent. Oh, and a huge fireworks show will follow the festivities.
All the strands are up
Close up of the top
You check in at a table in the lobby of the Hilton in downtown Indianapolis. The show is 90 minutes, no late seating allowed. Hop the elevator and head to the 15th floor. There you are seated group by group in a small and intimate room by Katarina, one half of the performing couple.
Christian pops out from behind the curtain with a dab of background information. He and Katalina are both Army vets, have been performing for decades, now live in Indy, etc. etc. He then starts the actual performance. What a great patter he continues throughout the show! Interaction with and including the audience is an important part of this romp into “miraculous” and “amazing” tricks of mind reading and, as the title suggests, mind tripping.
L to R: Katrina, Sher, Maj, Christian after the show
Katrina and Christian make a terrific team. Their timing is flawless as Katarina performs the classic “take a card, don’t show me, I’ll tell you what it is”. Same goes with the color of the Crayola crayons. You’ll chuckle as five folks from the audience draw body parts. The fact that anyone can be involved brings a sense of comradeship to those in the crowd. You do begin to know your fellow patrons.
All in all this is a fun and funny evening’s entertainment. Christian brings clean humor to the performance. Katalina makes you feel at home and does some amazing things. They are a wonderful husband and wife Comedy Mind Reading act. Ticket prices are reasonable with nice discounts for Seniors and Military. Details and show dates and times are available at the Mind Tripping Show website.
Indianapolis on a Saturday night in early November can be quite pretty and full of activity. Landmark structures are well lit, and the street horse drawn carriages are already offering cozy rides to couples and families alike.
Soldiers and Sailors Monument
McCormick and Schmick’s Steak and Seafood restaurant is located in downtown Indianapolis on west Market street between Monument Circle and the Capital Building. Housed in the Hilton Hotel, this restaurant offers fine dining in a comfortable and elegant facility.
Entrance to the restaurant
Sher and I decided to have our dinner there as we waited for a show in the hotel later that Saturday night. The restaurant can be entered either from the lobby or from West Street. We were seated immediately and our waiter, Andrew, came to our table right away. He provided excellent service during our entire dining experience.
Our cocktails and menu
Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Salmon
Our cocktails were delivered quickly, along with warm bread and butter. We ordered the Lump Crab cake for our appetizer. It was delicious. Sher had ordered the Blackened Chicken Fettuccine without the chicken. I had the Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Salmon. We were both delighted with our choices from the menu. Pricing was definitely in the $$$$ range, but we both felt that the price was worth it.
While visiting our family in the Seattle area they took us to a restaurant called Bob’s Burgers and Brews. It is a local chain. It is known for it’s burgers and its large selection of craft beers on tap. There are several of the restaurants in the area, but they have so far stayed in the state of Washington.
The huge “double” burger and fries
The extra large portion of cheese quesadillas
I had a huge double burger and Sher had some cheese quesadillas. The portion sizes were great and the food was delicious. In addition our waiter was fantastic and took care of us exceptionally well. This is one of those local establishments that offer great dining at a good price.
Driving back to Indiana from Seattle always provides some really neat scenery. We stopped at Deer Lodge, MT to take in the view of the recently snow covered mountains south of I-90.
Snow shining on a sunny day
Sher and I got to go to the 2018 version of the Washington State Fair in Puyallup. We went with our daughter, son-in-law and our 4 year old grandson. The fair was packed with all kinds of “state fair” type stuff, including a large midway, tons of vendors and of course, agriculture exhibits.
We went on the last day of the fair, and the fairgrounds were packed. A good time was had by all, and Sher and I had our first ‘Scones”, a jam filled biscuit type pastry that is a famous item at this fair.