Friday, October 31, 2008

Witches & Goblins

WHEN? Friday · October 31

WHERE? Magnolia Springs, Alabama · find us on the map

Halloween was another cloudless day on the Gulf Coast, and it didn't look like it was going to be very scary in the daylight of the afternoon.

We did get out some to enjoy the beauty of the day.

Clear Halloween afternoon sky on the Gulf Coast

We noticed a custom in Magnolia Springs at a convenience store. Children in their costumes were stopping by for a "trick or treat," when we stopped there. We had not seen this before.

Up the road a little further, we stopped by Magnolia River Bar & Grill because we knew they were having a costume contest. We didn't stay long, but just around dark we were able to see four people dressed in their costumes. They were all good, so we were glad we didn't have to judge who had the best costume.

As we drove on home, we noticed the slightest sliver of a crescent moon in the clear sky. Bet you did too if you were out Halloween night.

Check out our photos on flickr:
Halloween at Magnolia River Bar & Grill

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gulf Islands National Seashore

WHEN? Sunday · October 12

WHERE? Perdido Key, Florida · find us on the map

WHAT? Gulf Islands National Seashore

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Today's visit to Perdido Key was inspired by last Spring's scenic beach drive with our friend Steve. Johnson Beach's white sand and deep blue skies hadn't changed, and lots of healthy sea oats still waved in the breeze, but the beachfront looked noticeably different. We learned from park brochures that this wasn't our imagination, since tropical storms and hurricanes are always at work changing the shape of these beaches and barrier islands.

Image courtesy of flickr member christie210
Sea Oats at the beach in Florida · flickr member christie210
For current images, visit the Perdido Key BeachCam

Before leaving Johnson Beach, we picked up several park brochures and learned that this is one of many locations in Gulf Islands National Seashore. Instead of being a single block of land, it is a mosaic which includes 12 separate units that stretch from Cat Island in Mississippi, to the eastern tip of Santa Rosa Island, Florida, and includes some parcels on the mainlands of Mississippi and Florida.

The Mississippi District includes:
· Ship Island
· Fort Massachusetts
· Horn Island
· Petit Bois Island
· Davis Bayou
The Florida District includes:
· Perdido Key
· Fort Barrancas
· Fort Pickens
· Naval Live Oaks
· Okaloosa

click on map to enlarge


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Shrimp Festival

WHEN? Thursday · October 9

WHERE? Gulf Shores, Alabama · find us on the map

WHY? 37th Annual National Shrimp Festival

37th Annual National Shrimp Festival · Gulf Shores, Alabama

From the website:

"The Annual National Shrimp Festival is held each year during the second full weekend in October on the beautiful beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama. The Festival is one of the nation’s premier outdoor festivals featuring over 300 vendors that offer fine art, arts and crafts, a retail marketplace and of course, SHRIMP!!"

We chose to attend this popular area event on Thursday to avoid weekend crowds. Attendance was reasonably heavy even before the weekend, so we rode the convenient Festival Shuttle, which put us out right at the front gate. How's that for good service?

The first booth that caught our attention featured Native American music and dancing, where we observed their art and dress with a large audience. Although it wasn't extremely hot, we certainly didn't envy them with so many clothes on dancing in the hot sun. We both recalled a similar performance at Devils Tower last summer.

It was lunchtime when we arrived, so we strolled down the booth-lined midway in search of food. We came across a friend who recommended a special seafood-on-French-bread sandwich that started with a P, and looked hard for it as we neared the Pink Pony, where it was supposed to be. Having not found it, we settled on a small basket of fried shrimp at Doc's booth. We went to the back side of the food booth where a boardwalk with benches allowed us to enjoy our shrimp while looking out at the beach and waves.


Since we hadn't visited the recently-opened Hangout right at the entrance to the festival, we stopped in to check it out. A huge ceiling fan like none we had ever seen caught our attention there, and we snapped this photo of it.

Wendell noticed this festivalgoer's t-shirt that shared her political message. For those who are unfamiliar with the whole Alabama scene, Sarah Palin's likeness is wearing a University of Alabama lapel pin and a Bear Bryant houndstooth fedora. Roll Tide!Palin Power t-shirt

Best of the fest:
Just as we were thinking about calling it a day, live music began playing from a nearby beverage tent. Like following our noses, only in this case our ears, we quickly found Top Hat & Jackie. We took advantage of the folding chairs and sat down to enjoy them.

See our photos on flickr:
2008 Shrimp Festival

A big hug from Gulf Coast shrimpNative shrimp dance?Shrimp festival midway

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Hanging Monastery

The above photo came from

WHEN? Probably never except by armchair, but that's okay

WHERE? Xuangong Si above Jinlong Canyon near Mount Heng in the province of Shanxi near Datong, China

Another email from BH had a Powerpoint Slide Show regarding a tourist attraction and historical site. This Buddhist Monastery was built more than 1500 years ago and includes Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian elements with sculptures of Sakyamuni, Laotzu and Confucius appearing together inside. A unique mechanical theory was applied to building the framework of hemlock wood with mortise and tenon joints. Twenty-seven cross beams are the key building elements.

The video stops abruptly. That’s because this video is 1 of 3.

It's a lot to take in, but shouldn't using the computer at the ripe old ages of 73 and 74 be educational. Wendell collects trivia in his brain cells somewhere (in the box marked TRIVIA) so he might as well selectively put this there for future reference.