Nancy’s Sky Garden in Austin is a hidden gem

Want to eat healthy? This restaurant in Cedar Park is truly a hidden gem. The menu is unique, to say the least. You pick your protein, pick your carb, pick your veggies, and finally pick your dressing. Get ready for a totally different, delicious and remarkably filling meal that you can consume with no regrets.

Signature plate. So much good stuff here!

Signature Plate protein choices feature varieties of chicken, fish and tofu. Don’t want protein? No problem. Veggies include rainbow salad, with fresh fruit. For your carb you have the choice of sweet potato noodles, baked or a tasty purple rice. Top it off with one or two of seven different dressings.

The smoked salmon Poke bowl featured a very generous portion of salmon

Other menu items include poke bowls with fish on a bed of veggies, purple rice, seaweed salad and other delicious items. In addition, soups, prism rolls, MixMix and Buddha bowls are also part of the unique offerings at Nancy’s Sky Garden. And don’t miss out on the hot and iced teas.

Store front at the Cedar Park location

This dining experience is most enjoyable. Look for all four Austin area locations at Nancy’s Sky Garden website. You won’t be disappointed.

 

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Bull Creek Park in Austin

Bull Creek Park is rather small, (48 acres) but is large in activity. Trails criss-cross the park, however Bull Creek itself is the highlight. The limestone riverbed, flanked by even more exposed outcroppings bring the Wow! factor into this delightful green space. We visited with family on a warm Saturday afternoon.

A beautiful Saturday

Natural water slide into a deep swimming hole!

Hiking and swimming are two of the favorite things to do at Bull Creek. I can imagine this park is packed with water seekers during the heat of the summer. We had a most enjoyable time walking along the river.

Haunted Hotel in Texarkana

The Grim Hotel in Texarkana was built in 1925. At the time of its construction it was considered an architectural marvel of the day. With its massive ornate lobby, upstairs ballrooms and highly elaborate room furnishings it soon became a hotspot for the rich and famous.

The original sign still clings to the rooftop of this now rapidly decaying building

There have been many reports of paranormal activity in the hotel both during the times it was opened and since it was finally closed in 1990. Many famous and infamous people have visited here including Bonnie and Clyde.

This shot shows the massive size of the eight story structure. A recently posted sign states that by 2021 the building will be completely remodeled and filled with apartments for rent

 

Fun muddy day at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Today Sher and I gambled on the threatening rain and went to the Crater Of the Diamonds State Park. We had an absolute blast even though the ground was very very muddy and hard to walk in.

Getting ready to head to the muddy field and begin our search for diamonds

 

Here I am shovel in hand and ready to find one of those huge diamonds shown in the picture next to me

The shed in the background is where you screen the soil for diamonds and gems stones

Little Shop of Horrors is at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

Prepare yourself, Indianapolis, for the off-beat, dark musical comedy that is Little Shop  of Horrors! The show’s premier was in May of 1982. The Off-Broadway run was a great success, and during that run a star studded film was also produced.

Picture a skid row flower shop struggling to stay in business. Assistant Seymour Krelborn comes into possession of a strange plant. Named Audrey II after the girl of his dreams, Seymour discovers that the strange plant talks, sings R&B, promises fame and fortune, and needs human blood to survive and grow. Starting  in a flower pot, the blood thirsty creature soon is a monstrous size.

Seymour Krelborn (Joey Boos), center, introduces Mr. Mushnik (Douglas E. Stark) and Audrey (Jenny Reber) to his strange and unidentified plant

Mayhem breaks out as Seymour tries his best to keep feeding Audrey II the human blood that the creature demands. “Feed Me!” becomes the mantra for the monster, and the terror for Seymour! Side story lines keep the show rolling along as Seymour keeps loving Audrey, who is stuck in a violent relationship with dentist Orin Scrivello. How does Seymour keep Audrey II alive and well? Let’s say that people start to disappear. Laced throughout the show are some wonderful songs and dance routines.

The B&B production is filled with stage favorites. Joey Boos returns to the Beef & Boards stage in the role of Seymour. Also returning are Jenny Reber as Audrey,  and Logan Moore  as Orin Scrivello, DDS. Douglas E. Stark plays the role of Mr. Mushnik, the hapless owner of the skid row flower shop where Audrey II lives. It is interesting to note that the voice of Audrey II comes from Josiah R McCruiston and Josh Maldonado is the talented puppeteer of the creature. You never see either on stage!

Seymour (Joey Boos) is horrified by the demands of Audrey II

 

It is easy to see why Little Shop of Horrors has a nearly cult status.  The sci-fi hit about a carnivorous plant with world domination on its mind is just too much fun. Rated PG-13, the production does present some violence and graphic references and a touch of sexual innuendo.

Little Shop of Horrors is rated PG-13 and is on stage through Nov. 17. Tickets  include Chef Odell Ward’s dinner buffet, fruit & salad bar, unlimited coffee, tea, and lemonade. For reservations, 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 complete show schedule, visit the Beef & Boards website here.

Award winning Hairspray on stage at Beef & Boards

The turbulent 60’s come to life on stage at Indy’s beloved Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre with the presentation of the Broadway musical Hairspray. This Tony Award winning show lights up the B&B stage with a large and very talented cast telling the story of a Baltimore teen who gets a spot on the local TV dance show.

Tracy Turnblad (Adee David) falls for teen idol Link Larkin (Nate Willey) and wants to racially integrate the Corny Collins Show. Standing in her way is the spiteful and prejudiced Amber Von Tussle (Sarah Daniels) who is using Link as her way to fame. The plot thickens and results in jail time after a protest against the segregation policy of the TV show.

The drama aside, the highlight of the production of course is the toe-tapping songs including “Good Morning Baltimore,” “Big, Blonde and Beautiful,” “You Can’t Stop The Beat” and “Welcome to the ‘60s.” Motormouth Maybelle (Tarra Conner Jones) brings down the house with her powerful and poignant version of “I Know Where I’ve Been.” Amber Von Tussle (Sarah Daniels) directs a humorous “Cooties”  at rival Tracy.

A highlight for me was the dance and song duet by Wilbur Turnblad (Eddie Curry) and Edna Turnblad (Daniel Klingler). Their rendition of “You’re Timeless To Me” was one of the funniest and most cleverly choreographed numbers I have seen in a long time. Eddie Curry, by the way, is also the Director of the show.

Every song will have you smiling. The characters will have you rooting for them or loving to hate! The B&B orchestra once again will amaze you with the quality and depth of music it produces. The sets and lighting seamlessly support the production. The costumes are fabulous. Have you figured it out yet? Do not miss Hairspray.

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Hairspray is now on stage through Oct. 6. Tickets include the dinner buffet and are available by calling the box office at 317.872.9664. For more information, including show schedule, visit the Beef & Boards website.

 

Camping in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia

The Monongahela National Forest is a national forest with over 920,000 acres located in the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia. We recently camped at the Horseshoe Recreation Area in the forest. The campground is at the extreme northern end of the Forest, surprisingly close to not only Maryland, but also Pennsylvania as well.

We drove from the Columbus, Ohio area after meeting up with one of our sons a and couple of grand kids. I must say it was quite the adventure driving the narrow, nearly one lane roads as we approached the Horseshoe campground. We got to the campground mid afternoon. The camp host was very friendly and delivered our purchased firewood right to our site.

Large campsite: I am standing in front of the tent

Starting out on a leisurely hike

Our site was huge! The asphalt pad for our Four Winds RV was long enough for our son to also park his SUV. Large rocks strategically placed did keep vehicles off the grassy areas. A picnic table and fire pit with built in grills added to the comfort of our site, with plenty of room for the tent.

We all enjoyed cooking over the fire, watching the lightning bugs, stargazing at night and hiking some of the many trails. The kids and grand kids took a side trip to nearby Blackwater Falls State Park to see the surprisingly tall waterfalls.

Sher enjoying a relaxing time in the Allegheny Mountains

Our last night at the campground turned out to be quite an adventure. Even though rain had been forecast, the sky was putting on a grand lightning light show. For at least two hours we watched the sky with almost constant lights. No thunder until close to bed time. We had everybody in our Thor! Sher and I had our bed, one son and grandson slept over the cab, another son reclined the front passenger seat, and our granddaughter slept on the bench seat at the table. We have never slept 6 before.

The next morning the creeks and rivers were up and roaring. Remember that narrow road coming in? Well, we were told that it had washed out in a couple of places, so we -returned via a north route to I-70. All in all we had a great time and would consider having a large family get together at Horseshoe Recreation Area.

 

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story rocks Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

Everyone received a pair of Holly’s signature glasses in their program. Group photos followed

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story received a standing ovation after last night’s show. Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre audiences rarely give a standing ovation.  I could stop my review right now. However the show is so great that I want to share more details. This musical is filled with over 20 of Buddy Holly’s greatest hits as well as other numbers from Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. The show tells the true story of Holly’s phenomenal rise to fame after his first hit “That’ll Be The Day” hit radio in 1957.

Holly is played by Kyle Jurassic, making his debut at Indy’s immensely popular dinner theater venue. Jurassic is no stranger to this role as he has held the title role prior to this production. He has devoted much time to learning about what kind of man Holly was, and this ads a flavor of authenticity to his portrayal of the man with the glasses.

Among  Holly’s greatest hits featured were  “That’ll Be The Day,” “Peggy Sue,” “Everyday,” “Oh Boy,” “Not Fade Away,” “Rave On,” and “Raining In My Heart”.  In addition  Ritchie Valens’ signature song “La Bamba” and the Big Bopper’s trademark song “Chantilly Lace” are also included in the show.

Chuck Caruso plays the Big Bopper and Edward LaCardo is Richie Valens. Both do a great job portraying the characteristics of these iconic performers. Josh McLemore is outstanding as drummer Joe Maudlin. James Daley shows you things you never thought were possible when playing the bass as Jerry Allison. Beef and Boards favorite Sarah Hund shows off not only her voice but her fiddle playing as well. All supporting actors and musicians add to the incredible talent offered to the audience in the show.

Kyle Jurassic plays the iconic title role in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story Photo courtesy B&B Media

Of special note is the immensely powerful voice of Tara Conner Jones as Mama Pearl, lead signer at the Apollo Theater in New York. Her electrifying version of “Shout” brings the house down.

There is of course a touch of grief as you know what happens. Holly, the Big Bopper, Richie Valens and pilot Roger Peterson were killed  in a tragic plane crash shortly after the Iowa concert. The news is given on stage with gravity and sadness. However, more music follows leading to a grand grand finale.

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story is on stage at B&B through August 18th. For tickets, which include the dinner buffet, call the box office at 317.872.9664. For show details, including performance schedule, visit Beef & Boards website here.