Saturday, October 27, 2012

Doughnuts for Lunch at the Rochester Cider Mill

A trip to the cider mill is an autumn tradition in Michigan.

Unfortunately, most of the apple blossoms in Michigan froze after an early warm spell last spring.
Cider is VERY expensive!
But who needs cider - we all know what we really want is the doughnuts!

A good chance to do some pumpkin peeping!

The doughnuts at the Rochester Cider Mill are only $3.50 for a half dozen.  
Here's a peak inside my bag - cinnamon, maple, blueberry, and chocolate glazed.
Sugary sweet with that slightly crunchy crust on the surface. MMMMMM!

(Photos edited with the Vintique  app)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Flowers of Ireland

A final post about Ireland - simply some shots of the lovely flowers in the country, both wild and cultivated:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ring of Kerry Tour - Ireland

On Saturday we joined Easy Cork Tours for their Ring of Kerry tour.

Along the way, we stopped at the Kerry Bog Village - a cute little reproduction town showing the peat bog cottages that were typical in the area.

A stop looking out at Dingle Bay - across the water is the area we drove along when we toured the Dingle Peninsula.

A little dramatic effect with the Snapseed app on my phone.

A stop at the town of Waterville, loved how someone wrote Ireland in the sand.

The road winding through the hills was stunning, especially as it wove in and out of the coastline.

An old church in the village of Sneem

The Ladies' View of the Lakes of Killarney.  One of the most spectacular vistas in Ireland.

On our way back, we had a stop at the small city of Killarney.  It was one of the nicest places that we stopped for souvenir shopping - a lot of variety, several streets of shops, and not too junky. 

The tour was very professional and ran right on schedule.  The tour guide had lots of information about everything that we saw.  A nice way to see some more of the amazing sights of Ireland!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cliffs of Moher Tour - Ireland

A group of us joined a day tour from downtown Cork to the Cliffs of Moher after our conference was completed.  We had a number of brief stops along the way. Above is a view of the Shannon River in Limerick City.

Another brief stop at the ruins of Leamaneh Castle - fun ruins to climb around and photograph.

Many ancient tombs in the area.  Above is a portal tomb called Poulnabrone Dolmen which is over 4000 years old.  (Reminded me of the Stone Table in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.)

We curved through this rocky area called the Burren with a most unique glacier carved landscape.  Stark and beautiful!

A scenic stop along Galway Bay.

Gorgeous wildflowers all along the way.

We had about an hour stop at the Cliffs of Moher. Quite an amazing view in both directions.  

There are nice walkways that let you enjoy the view.  I was not brave enough to go over the barriers into the restricted area to get closer to the edge, but my friends got some amazing photos.  Too close to the edge for me!

Pretty little castle-like tower at the top of one cliff.

Our tour was with Paddywagon Tours and it was a most unusual experience.  Our tour driver was friendly and funny, but a bit ADHD and forgetful.  He had to make 2 side trips to retrieve his forgotten phone, texted while he was driving, played some inappropriate music (we had a couple children on the tour), and forgot what time he was supposed to connect with the shuttle to take us back to Cork and we were a half hour late.  Two guys sat in the back of the bus drinking beer and their melted ice ran all over the floor of the bus.  It was not particularly professional - we still had fun, but I felt sorry for the family on the tour.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fota House - Ireland

Our final celebration of the conference was held at the nearby historic Fota House estate.  The elegant house was originally as a hunting lodge, but was converted in the 1800s into an estate home with over 70 rooms.

We were greeted by an elegant string quartet...

and elegant waiters and waitresses.....

serving elegant oysters (and other yummy goodies).

Tour guides gave us a short tour of some of the rooms in the house.  We saw both "upstairs" areas like the dining room and "downstairs" areas for the servants like the kitchen.

Reminded me of Downton Abbey!

The evening was beautiful and we were able to wander through the extensive gardens on the estate. 

I discovered this quiet green area tucked away in one corner.

I am quite sure that if I walked through this door I would go straight into Narnia!
(At least this is what I pictured when I read The Silver Chair.)

The event was classy and fun - lots of delicious food in a unique setting where we could enjoy being with our ADE friends for one last evening.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blarney Castle, Cork, and Kinsale

During our ADE conference, we had one day where we went touring to a few locations in the Cork area.  We started out early in the morning at Blarney Castle.  We arrived before it opened to the public and had a couple hours to explore the castle and gardens before the crowds showed up.

We had the privilege of having group photos taken in front of the castle by prize winning photographer Bill Frakes.  Bill has been a guest at several of our conferences and always graciously shares his talents and creativity with us!

The castle is actually in ruins, and quite beautiful inside with vines and moss clinging to the stones.

At the top, you get a spectacular view of the green countryside!

And of course, if you wait in line, you can kiss the Blarney Stone.  It is wild, they hold onto you as you lean backwards, grab the rails, and pull yourself down to kiss under the stone.  

Our second stop was downtown Cork.  The city is located on the river and crossed by lovely bridges.

The downtown is filled with shops, pubs, and restaurants.  Many of the streets are just for pedestrians and are fun to explore.

Our last stop was the quaint seaside town of Kinsale.  Here is a view of the town from the harbor.

The town is painted in pretty pastel shades.  I thought this narrow walkway was neat.

And here is the same image, using a tiltshift effect using the Snapseed app.

A totally lovely day seeing the wonderful sights of County Cork!


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