August 31, 2010

A Peek at the Pool

Outdoor Swimming Pool, Basye

This swimming pool in the resort is open to the public but it's rarely very busy. To reach this pool, turn next to the Community Store onto "The Hill" road and head toward the dam.

August 30, 2010

Filtered Water

Lake Laura in Basye

I used a couple of filters in Photoshop to make it look like a painting (I hope).

See pictures of Lake Laura posted two years ago here. I took those in the resort at the other end of the lake.

August 29, 2010

Scenes at Glen Burnie Gardens

Summer is drawing to a close and I still have pictures from spring that I have not yet posted. Here are some taken in Winchester, Virginia.

The bright blue flowers are Virginia Bluebells.

August 28, 2010

Water Features, Glen Burnie

I took these pictures in April in Winchester, VA.

Glen Burnie Gardens can be visited next to the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley along Route 50 in Winchester. The water gardens there are among our favorite places in the northern part of the valley.

The gurgles and burbles of the moving water drown out the sounds of city traffic and the landscaping is stunning. Don't miss this peaceful oasis located between historic downtown and the hospital complex.

August 27, 2010

Belle Grove in Summer

Belle Grove is a historic plantation between Strasburg and Middletown, VA.

Historian Ed Bearss at Belle Grove

Last month I attended a lecture by Ed Bearss at Belle Grove. He gave a spirited talk on the Battle of Cedar Creek and the state of the battlefield.

I had not heard him previously except on TV but I had heard that his historical tours are lively and fascinating. This one fit the description, although the planned walk on the battlefield did not take place due to high temperatures.

Bear Advice from the Bryce POA

The homeowners' association here at Bryce Mountain is known as Sky Bryce. I noticed that their website has advice on "What do I do if I meet a bear face-to-face?" Basically you should make noise and back up slowly. You should also avoid cornering the bear, avoid eye contact, and speak in a calm assertive voice. (I don't know how you'll manage the calm part.)

Also the association advises us that it is illegal in Virginia to leave food out that will attract bears. This includes bird food, pet food, and garbage.

August 26, 2010

Wetlands Trading Company

On Orkney Grade at Supinlick Ridge
Jim's landscaping and pond business is open on weekends. It's on Route 263 just after you pass the first turn-off for 611 and before you head down the big hill toward the main part of Bryce Resort.

An August Sunset

Our View with Yellow and Orange Clouds

August 25, 2010

Recently Read

My husband claims that all I read are Civil War books and health books, but that's not accurate. Here are some books I've read this summer with links to the description page although I got the majority of these from the library. (I got the Civil War Collection on ebay.)You may notice I read a lot of non-fiction. That's a habit I learned from my mom. I think the last work of book-length fiction I finished was Last of the Dixie Heroes on audiocassette. It was a fun piece.

August 24, 2010

Photospray Plus Photoshop

Here I duplicated the background layer and then sprayed foliage and flowers around the face using Human Software's Photospray. Then I applied a Photoshop filter that gave a painterly look (still working on the duplicate layer). I used the eraser tool to draw over the eyes, mouth, and a few other lines so that some detail would show through from the background layer. Then I sprayed on a few more flower blossoms.

Photospray is fun to use but I wish the set I got (Volume I) had a greater variety of graphics. Additional volumes are available but are expensive.

August 23, 2010

Playing with Photospray

After playing with tubes in Paint Shop Pro, I wanted a similar tool to use on my Mac. Finally I purchased Photospray Vol. 1 for Mac. Of course I couldn't wait to play with it. Here's my first try.
This is the old cabin at Elizabeth Furnace (nestled in the National Forest in the Massanutten Range). I "sprayed" on extra foliage and flowers using Photospray as a Photoshop plug-in.

For historical background of the cabin at Elizabeth Furnace and some natural-looking pictures of it, see HMDB's When Pig Iron was King.

August 22, 2010

Post #2600

For my 2,600th blog post I decided to scan in a photo of me as a child. I was about 11 years old and still wore my hair short.

August 21, 2010

Pictures of Bryce Resort

My husband asked for more photos of Bryce Resort for real estate ads on Postlets and I want to make it obvious that the photos show the resort amenities and not a view from a house that he's selling, so I'm including a Bryce sign or logo.

In the first picture there's a sign in front of the mini-golf course. In the second scene, there was no convenient sign in the foreground of the regular golf course so I copied and pasted a label from another picture. I added some layer styles in Photoshop (bevel and shadow) to give it dimension. Also I added a blue tone to the grayish sky (copying the sky to a new layer, making it bluish and using "Color" as the blend mode). Do you think it looks odd?

August 20, 2010

Squirrel Sitting on the Rail

Viewed from Our Sliding Door

August 19, 2010

A Haircut for Ben

Before we went on vacation I made reservations for Benny with the groomer who shares a building with the kennel. When we picked him up he looked like a new dog. Doesn't he look neat and slim?

The right-hand photo shows how shaggy he looked before his haircut. We don't have him groomed very often because it upsets him. The woman who groomed him this time said she had to baby him a lot and it took a long time.

August 18, 2010

Three Things I learned on Vacation

  1. Paying a premium price for lodging doesn't mean it offers as much as a Best Western.
  2. Making a reservation ahead of time does more than guarantee you a place to stay. It gives you a chance to spend more time researching the accommodations (for instance, checking TripAdvisor), plus it provides any anxious traveler with a feeling of reassurance.
  3. The rudest drivers in the six states we drove through are in Delaware!

August 17, 2010

Morning View, Rehoboth, Delaware

Seen from the Hotel Henlopen

Another Hotel with a Water View

A waterfront hotel costs more than a hotel out by the highway. But it may not give you as much in amenities.

After a single night at the Island Resort in Chincoteague, we decided to travel north a short distance for the last night of our vacation. After all, we would be closer to home there and besides, Frank wanted to visit Ocean City and Rehoboth. I couldn't argue with making the drive home shorter, plus I was disappointed that the Island Resort did not provide a coffee maker or a microwave, so I couldn't fix myself much of a breakfast. (I prefer to fix myself a little something to eat in the morning because I can't always find breakfast that's gluten-free and dairy-free. Also, I usually get up an hour earlier than my spouse and so I get hungry earlier.)

After a brief stop in Ocean City we drove up to Rehoboth. Even though it was a Thursday afternoon, many of the hotels were already full. We wound up at the Hotel Henlopen which fronts the Atlantic Ocean. We paid extra for the location and hoped that the accommodations would be extra-nice.

They weren't. The hotel lobby was attractive but no one helped us with our luggage, and Frank found the staff lacking in warmth. My big disappointment was that there was no free internet. I had to pay extra and use a local wireless service.

Our room did have a coffee maker and a microwave, set in an alcove that used to be a closet. The furnishings were ordinary and the bed lumpy. But we had a door to an open area with a view of the ocean.

Evening in Rehoboth, Delaware

The streets of Rehoboth are busy in the summer. Since parking and tourist services tend to be pricey, I was glad to see a Five Guys burger place. On this main street, you can only buy a half hour of parking at a time, so a leisurely dinner would have been interrupted by having to go outside to feed the parking meter.

August 16, 2010

Frank in Ocean City, MD

Frank likes this tacky restaurant overlooking the boardwalk. I tried to talk him out of eating there but he was determined. Fortunately, the food was much better than it was the last time we were there. I had a salad with broiled chicken in it.

You might think broiled chicken is a safe dish for allergies but in restaurants it is usually marinated ahead of time in some ingredients that the wait staff knows little about. In fast food places it is often prepped in a factory and shipped to the restaurant frozen so you cannot restrict the ingredients (and they often taste unpleasant). But here it was actually good.

If you look at our 2008 visit, you'll see a photo that's a lot like this one.

August 15, 2010

Marker in Berlin, Maryland

I stopped at a Civil War Trails marker on the way to Ocean City. It turned out to tell the story of a man who was freed from slavery by the U.S. Army in Maryland and served as a soldier for the remainder of the war.

Isaiah "Uncle Zear" Fassett was born into slavery southeast of here in Sinepuxent in 1844. His owner, Sarah A. Bruff, released him from bondage at age nineteen on November 11, 1863, when the U.S. Army paid her $300 in compensation. That same day, Fassett enlisted in Company D, 9th United States Colored Troops. This infantry regiment served in South Carolina and also fought in several battles in Virginia in 1864-1865, including the Wilderness, Deep Bottom, Fussell's Mill, Fort Gilmer at Chaffin's Farm, and the siege of Petersburg. The regiment was among the first to occupy Richmond on April 3, 1865. After the Confederate capital fell, Fassett was promoted to corporal then discharged on November 26, 1866. His brothers, Franklin, Andrew, John, and George, also were freed and served in the U.S. Army.
The text goes on to tell how Corp. Fassett was active in the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) in the years after the war until his death in 1946. A sidebar discusses Worcester County as a haven for smugglers during the war.

The marker is in front of the St. Paul United Methodist Church. I followed a Civil War Trails sign from US 113.

Atlantic Morning

Frank took these photographs of the ocean at Assateague Island, Virginia. He managed to get out of bed early (at the motel in Chincoteague) and make the short drive to the beach to see the sun come up.

I have to admit I stayed in bed. Two long days of driving had tired me out.

August 14, 2010

Eagle Diorama

I wandered through the Bateman Educational and Administrative Center on Assateague Island. There are some interesting exhibits. This diorama has a life-size model of a bald eagle. If you look closely you can see the wires suspending him.

Another exhibit shows how park employees manipulate the water levels in the marshes to keep them optimal for birds.

View from the Island Resort

We were tired by the time we arrived at the Island Resort. Frank promptly took a nap and I entertained myself taking pictures from our balcony, which has a view of Chincoteague Bay.

August 13, 2010

View of the New Chincoteague Bridge

Seen from the Island Resort, Chincoteague, VA

August 12, 2010

Driving to Chincoteague

Poolside View at the Quality Inn in Suffolk, VA

Our plan was to spend a few days at a Carolina beach after visiting Kate's family. However, by the time we reached I-95, Frank decided he wanted to head for a beach in Virginia in order to be within a day's drive of home. So we headed for Virginia Beach.

We had not started out early and even though we made our lunch stop brief (Popeye's!), we got tired and hungry before approaching our destination. Considering this plus the high cost of hotels at the beach, we decided to stop in Suffolk. We found a decent restaurant and got a recommendation from locals for a hotel. However, that one had no vacancies so we wound up at the Quality Inn, which turned out to be comfortable and good enough for a short stay. Our room had a view of the pool.

By morning, Frank decided he wanted to continue on to Chincoteague, which was fine with me because I have enjoyed our previous visits to that island and nearby Assateague.

We made a brief stop at the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge and called in reservations for a hotel in Chincoteague. Then we enjoyed a leisurely lunch at Mallard's in Onancock.

August 11, 2010

Group Picture

Austin, Justin, Kate with puppy, and Frank

Compare the recent picture of Frank with Katie and her kids with the one from four years ago (right).

August 10, 2010

Austin and Justin

...and the puppy.

Austin and Justin have really grown since we saw them last year!