Monday, March 25, 2019

Discover Zhangjiajie with China Highlights

Visit World Heritage Site Zhangjiajie with tour operator China Highlights.
Visit and share their Zhangjiajie website:

We have used China Highlights for several of our adventures in China, and recommend them wholeheartedly. They are able to take care of everything, from flights and transfers, to providing a guide and driver, hotels and meals. We started using them for only a portion of a trip, and ended up letting them handle everything! Every guide was outstanding and very accommodating.

Check out some of our posts about these trips (each trip has multiple posts):

Chongqing was the start of the Three Gorges Cruise arranged by China Highlights.
Between picking us up at the train station and putting us on board the
cruise boat, our guide, Peter, took us sightseeing and to a hot pot restaurant

In Guilin, our guide, Lele went to pick up
snail eggs to show us

Huangshan/Yellow Mountain
Our guide, Jerry, took us to Pig's Inn in
Xidi; it is a B&B but we did not stay there 

Longji Rice Terraces
Our guide, Avan, demonstrates the use of
the wall steps, above the rice terraces

Our guide in Harbin was Yvonne, who took many photos of us!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Lakewood Masonic Temple (3/22/2019)

Friday, March 22, 2019
Another Lenten Fish Fry took us to Lakewood, OH, to the local Masonic Temple. There we joined Josefina and Fernando F, and Josefina's brother, Luis. After the meal we took advantage of the free tour of the building.
Lakewood Masonic Temple (1915-1916, by James W Chrisford
in Classical or Grecian style), constructed of
Bedford limestone and described as "fireproof"
The Lodge Room (here at the stage end) is decorated in
Egyptian Temple motif as in the era of King Solomon,
the time to which the Masons trace their origins
The Lodge Room, where all the Masonic ceremonies take place,
has a Votteler-Holtkamp-Sparling pipe organ that is a rare example
of a tubular pneumatic organ still in its original state
Detail of the Lodge Room ceiling
A decorated pilaster in the Lodge Room
One of the twin pillars reflecting the pillars of
Jachin and Boaz at the Temple of Solomon
One of several anterooms
The Stair Hall with a winding staircase of white marble
A gavel doorknocker
A masonic symbol is the square and compass
with the letter 'G', which "stands for 'Geometry,'
the mathematical science upon which Architecture
and Masonry were founded"
Below the Lodge Room is the ballroom, with its original hardwood floor
(Look! there's Josefina, guide George, Kent, and Fernando)

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Maple Madness (3/9/2019)

Saturday, March 9, 2019
We continue to discover new happenings in the Cleveland area!
Consider the Ohio Maple Madness Driving Trail! There are dozens of locations and you just have to pick and choose.
We went to Hale Farm and Village, where we not only would see maple tree tapping and maple sugar rendering, but also have a pancake breakfast with locally made maple syrup, and visit a living history museum.
The pancake breakfast was sponsored by
Acme Fresh Market, and the supermarket mascot,
Buffy the Dog, made an appearance
If it was a sugar maple tree with a diameter
of 8-12 inches, it was tapped
In the maple tree grove, the earliest means of rendering the sap
was demonstrated: rocks were heated and placed in the sap
that was held in wooden troughs
Frozen and snow-covered waterfall
(it is only about a foot high!)
Water trickles under the ice of the stream
The 1910 Sugar House of C O Hale
Inside the sugar house, the sap that is
generally about 98% water is boiled into syrup,
then filtered to remove minerals
We had a sample of the "syrup" that was like drinking maple sugar candy! SO sweet!
An "educator" demonstrates the use of
a wooden yoke with rope and hooks
to carry pails or buckets
Hale Farm and Village belongs to the Western Reserve Historical Society. The property was purchased by Jonathan Hale in 1810, and bequeathed to the Society by his great-granddaughter in 1956. Over the next 30 years, historic structures were moved here for preservation and to provide a venue to display historic artifacts and demonstrate early American craft and trade.
The 1851 John A McAlonan Carriage Manufactory
Char-a-banc carriage (1885 in Cleveland),
an early sightseeing conveyance
c 1812 Aten Log Barn constructed with hand-hewn logs
Glass blowing demonstration (he is making a witch's ball)
Checkers set outside the General Store
The checkers are slices of corn cob!
Jonathan Herrick House (1845), from Twinsburg, OH
Goldsmith House (1831, designed by Jonathan Goldsmith
for William Peck Robinson), from Willoughby, OH
One-room School House (1816) from Summitville, OH
Dear Cousin Mary: We finally have seen the school house from Columbiana County!
Inside the school house
Meetinghouse (1852) from Streetsboro, OH
Inside the meetinghouse
Jonathan Hale Homestead (1825)
A shorn Tunis sheep
Bright and Star, the oxen team
A pair of Percheron draft horses
We also visited Greengate Farm, a so-called backyard operation
of maple syrup production
A wood-fired evaporator
The collection of maple sap begins when there is a fluctuation in temperatures above and below freezing each day. (Our polar vortex delayed the season this year!) It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup, and the process can take about eight hours.
Stopped at Romito's in Independence, OH for their
trademark cheeseburger pizza; different...

Friday, March 8, 2019

Fish Frys in Cleveland (3/8/2019)

Friday, March 8, 2019
We like to attend Lenten Fish Frys in the Cleveland area, to support local charitable organizations and churches. There are so many options from which to choose that we have followed themes in past years, such as nationalities (Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Greek, etc.), denominations (Roman Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc.), and fraternal organizations (Elks, Knights of Columbus, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, etc.). In five years there is only one place we have patronized twice, Sts Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral, which would be our number one recommendation.
A lunchtime fish fry is rare. This year we found one at St Joseph Byzantine Church in Brecksville, and attended with friends Josefina and Fernando.
St Joseph Byzantine Church (1983-1996) was founded in 1912 by
immigrants from the Carpathian Mountains in Eastern Europe
Mosaic of St Joseph
Mosaic of the Holy Family
Interior of St Joseph Byzantine with the iconostasis across the front
Outside were three bells dedicated to a former pastor,
Rev John Loya, from St Nicholas, St John, and St Joseph Churches