Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Dinosaur Invasion at Leu Gardens

Here is a little photo journal of a lovely morning spent at Leu Gardens this week. The kids loved searching out the dinosaurs that have "invaded" the gardens (The Dinosaur Invasion lasts until the end of April). It was amusing how frustrated they were with us moms for continually stopping and talking. There is just so many interesting plants in these 50-acres of beautifully cultivated gardens. The camellias, ferns and cycads were among our favorites. 
Admission costs to this lovely garden are usually $10 for adults and $3 for children; we picked up a free child pass at the Orange County Library. Admission fees at Leu Gardens are waived on certain days of the year; check their calendar of events for details.

Angel's Trumpet
I do love all the mature Southern Live Oaks
Grove Workers Sculpture
"Pink Perfection"variety of camellia
The kids waiting on us to catch up
This is what they looked like before I had them pose for a picture
Acanthus montanus (a.k.a Bear's Breech, Mountain Thistle and less commonly Alligator Plant)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Quebec's National Museum of Fine Arts

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The actual name is Musee National des Beaux-arts du Quebec. I visited this museum during our month stay in Quebec City this past summer. This lovely museum that spans 3 different buildings on the historic Plains of Abraham is dedicated expressly to art produced in the province of Quebec or by artists from Quebec. 

I was drawn to some areas more than others as I tend to prefer landscapes and documentary paintings like this painting of Montmorency Falls by Robert Clow Todd circa 1840. 2016-08-11 13.32.16  
Or this painting by Marc-Aurele De Foy Suzor-Cote circa 1907 of Jacque Cartier's 1535 meeting with natives at Stadacona
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Much of the museum is dedicated to modern and contemporary art, but I found the Inuit Art even more fascinating - most made from carved stone, bone, tusks and horn. I was pleasantly surprised by these pieces. Here is one of the more elaborate objects made from a Walrus skull shown from three different angles. Amazing!
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I had the pleasure of spending the better part of a day in this lovely place making discoveries and photographing some of my favorite pieces.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Montmorency Falls: A Must See in Quebec

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Montmorency Falls or Chute-Montemorency on the the north shore of the St. Lawrence River is a mere 15 or 20 minute drive from the old city of Quebec. There are stairs, bridges and overlooks (belvedere in French) all around the site allowing views of the falls from many vantage points. A lovely picnic spot with swings sits atop the falls on the eastern side and a small playground is situated on the west side of the bridge. Another playground lies at the bottom of falls near the visitor center. There are fees for vehicle parking whether at the top or the bottom. For a more unique and expensive perspective, one can view the falls from a sky-tram that transports riders from the visitor center below to a restaurant and trails at the top.
Montmorency Falls is a must see that provides a spectacular view of the city and the surrounding area. The natural beauty of the place is impressive in any season and it provides a great physical context for learning the history of Quebec City.
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A belvedere along the elaborate stairs overlooking the falls
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A view from the top of the St. Lawrence River Valley with the bridge to Ile de Orleans
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A view of Quebec City from Montmorency Falls
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An idyllic park near the top of the water fall

Monday, January 02, 2017

Ponce De Leon Springs State Park

On our recent camping trip to Falling Waters State Park, we decided it was warm enough to take a swim. It may have been only a few days after Christmas and technically winter, but we were still in Florida where winter has to battle it's way even into the northern reaches of the state.  For our swim, we preferred the clear, inviting waters of  Ponce De Leon Springs State Park about 25 minutes away over the small lake at our campground.
This is a small day use park great for a picnic and a swim and is not to be mistaken with the much larger De Leon Springs State Park in central Florida. Both state parks are named after the towns in which they are located. I did not previously realize that Florida had two towns - Ponce De Leon Springs and De Leon Springs - so similarly named.