Monday, December 28, 2009

Tombstone........a town too tough to die!

Walking the streets that Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and rough and tumble cowboys walked over 130 years ago, Tombstone was founded as a mining boom-town in 1879. Landmarks and Historic attractions like the Crystal Palace Saloon, Big Nose Kate's, and Boothill Graveyard line the washboard streets where time stands still. And of course, days of lawlessness and violence climaxed with the infamous Earp-Clanton battle, fought near the rear entrance of the O.K. Corral, on October 26, 1881.

Take a ride.......

have a Sasparilla.......

meet the locals.....
make new friends.....

Saturday, December 26, 2009

She's loaded for some serious photography

Martin Scorsese, watch out. Ada's now in the movie business. So many bells and whistles on this new camera, it will probably take her all winter to figure it out. (The instruction booklet is about 150 pages.) Santa Donald found a new way to keep Ada busy while he reads his newspaper. Certainly, she will be immersed in learning all the great things she can do now, and no longer will her pictures be blurry or out of focus. You better be on your guard, she can take pictures from a mile away and catch all your freckles.... Lena & Steve will be my first victims tomorrow. We're off for a drive to Mescal Road. A 16 mile scenic byway that you pick up about 1 hour east of Tucson on I-10. From old movie sets to creek crossings, we'll take it as far as Happy Valley. (if the car holds up to the wash board road.....)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from Tucson

Snow on the Catalina Mountains…..
Christmas in Tucson celebrates the holidays mostly in 70 degree sunshine, but every once in a while a dusting of snow graces the landscape of the Catalina Mountains. And with a view like this, it’s a wonder I ever get Donald to leave his patio. Blessed with the beauty of nature all around, Don and Ada wish family and friends, near and far, a wonderful Christmas and hope you too embrace the warmth of your surrounding nature….where ever you may be this season!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A new sandbox to play in..............

The neighborhood is all abuzz about the new Ritz Carlton Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort that is opening today and located within a stone’s throw from Ada & Donald’s casita. Touted as the largest Ritz Carlton Resort Community ever built, it is nestled in the high Sonoran Desert against the Tortolita Mountains. Marketed as a picturesque retreat northwest of downtown Tucson, in scenic Marana, this world-class luxury hotel includes a destination spa, (3) Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses, limitless adventure programs to include fitness, hiking, horseback riding, bird watching, along with relaxed dining and the serenity of an exclusive desert setting. Their guests will certainly enjoy a vast array of luxurious amenities, plus the added convenience of the city of Tucson less than thirty minutes away. While the hotel is just opening today, their Golf Course opened last year, just in time to host the Accenture Match Play Tournament; one of the tournaments Tiger will not be returning to play this year……… and unfortunately, ticket sales will take a hit for sure. What do you think they are talking about?
Oh, and if your in the market to buy some real estate, they are selling signatures houses all around the 850 acre golf community. Approximately 450 highly personalized homes and 50 custom estate homesites will comprise the Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, at Dove Mountain. All available for an easy 1.25 million to 3 million. Clearly, we Clampett's we got on the mountain before Mr. Carlton found gold in them thar hills......

Monday, December 14, 2009

Arizona Sky

You could tend to take the beautiful days and sunsets like this for granted after awhile, but not us. Every night the camera is ready to capture the most colorful end of a day. The best sunsets occur when there are at least a few high clouds. Higher clouds are hit by the sun's rays before they pass through the lower atmosphere, where the air has more particles. Sunlight is composed of a spectrum of colors that range from violet and blue at one end to orange and red on the other. At sunrise or sunset, sunlight takes a much longer path through the atmosphere than during the middle part of the day. Tonight we got the blue and violet end of the spectrum for sure......... And most likely, rain tomorrow.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

4th Avenue Street Fair

Twice a year Tucson hosts a spring and winter street fair called the 4th Avenue Street Fair and for the last six years we have enjoyed attending and buying one of their artist commissioned posters that highlights the southwest landscape or the multi-cultural aspects of the region. This year, they have chosen the Tucson Trolley, which runs along Arizona University Blvd to 4th Avenue.

Riding the Streetcars in Tucson.
Electric streetcars began operating in Tucson in 1906 as a replacement of the horse and mule drawn streetcars already in service. By 1930 the growth of Tucson outpaced the ability of the streetcars to provide adequate service and in December of that year rail streetcar operation in Tucson was ended. Then, in 1983, a group was founded to bring back the trolley as part of the University of Arizona’s 1985 Centennial. Old Pueblo Trolley, a nonprofit, all volunteer museum was formed. Trolley restoration began in the spring of 1985 and track construction began in 1987. Major support has been received from all parts of the community (FAMA is a big contributor), including members of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1116, who, with the support of Tucson Electric Power Company, built and continue to maintain the overhead power.Old Pueblo Trolley operates through some of the most historic and diverse areas of Tucson. Beginning in the heart of The Fourth Avenue Business District, the trolley passes the length of the Avenue, turns onto University Boulevard where it passes beautifully restored homes (and the Arizona Historical Society) and terminates near the main gate of the University of Arizona.

Southern Arizona’s Largest Festival
Free to the public, the Fourth Avenue Street Fair brings together 400+ arts and crafts booths, oodles of food vendors, 2 stages, street musicians, jugglers, street performers, the Free SPIKE kids hands-on-art Pavilion, face painting, balloons, and tons of other fun activities, and then packs them into a three day celebration.And when you no longer have a use for your saxaphone or trumpet, you can turn it into a lamp or end table. How clever!

Two delectable characters accompanying us to the fair; Lena & Steve

Friday, December 4, 2009

The one and only.......Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson and his
"Asleep at the Wheel" band

"Mama don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys.
Don't let 'em pick guitars and drive them old trucks.
Make 'em be doctors and lawyers and such.
Mama don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys.
They'll never stay home and they're always alone.
Even with someone they love".

With his signature red bandanna that surrounds his now silver braids, to his songs that speak of tough and rough Texas livin, Willie Nelson and the Asleep at the Wheel band rolled into Tucson this week for two sold out performances. Ada only had to mention to Donald that Willie Nelson was coming to town and he didn’t hesitate in saying “Can we go? Is it too late to get tickets?” And before he could say “how much”, Ada was online ordering the best seats she could get her internet hands on. A country legend at 76, Willie still attracts fans of all ages and from all music genre’s. Last night, Willie certainly excited the entire audience and had them dancing in the aisles with a formidable list of famous crowd pleasers that span six decades. "Mamma's Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," "Poncho and Lefty," "Always on My Mind," "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," and of course, "On the Road Again", were just a few of the 100 songs he performed non-stop. A must see concert when ever he’s in town and a truly great start to our southwest hiatus.
A early Christmas gift for my Cowboy……… wrapping required!

Monday, November 30, 2009

A contradiction for sure...........

Snow in the Tucson desert is rare, depending on the elevation.....
Last night we had a lightning and rain storm; usually a welcome sight when you live in the desert and it hasn't rained for a while. Surrounded by five mountain ranges, Tucson can also get measurable snow if you live at an elevation above 4000 ft. We live at about 3000 ft, so a dusting of snow is a common occurrence and just enough to blanket the golf course in the early morning, but certainly gone as soon as the temperatures rise to the 70's by noon....... Mother Nature giveth and taketh away. Beauty without the nuisance of shoveling.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

In his Arizona kitchen, and just loving it!

Chef Donaldo.......
When it comes to the kitchen, this guy rules! Nothing makes him happier then when he’s chopping, peeling, sautéing, and especially tasting. And…….he does most of the clean up too. A gal couldn’t be more thankful for all the hours this guy spends in a kitchen, whether it’s in Salem or in Tucson. While Ada might have done the shopping, planned the menu, set the table and hoped to manage the whole production, Donald is in his groove behind this counter. And after the feast, Donald will surely be content in his easy chair with a new 1000 page book Ada bought him yesterday while she watches three NFL games in hopes of maintaning her first place position on her Fantacy Football team. And just maybe, there might be a walk around the golf course to make room for dessert, as on Thursdays you get to “Walk on the Wild Side”. A term golfers have for non-golfers who dare to walk the course during open play.

However you spend your holidays, Don & Ada wish everyone a great Thanksgiving; one we surely celebrate for the truly blessed lives we enjoy, and for all the friends and family that we might not see this day, but are in our thoughts always, and especially today.

Monday, November 23, 2009

This never gets boring................

Tucson weather for the week and for as long as they can predict, is heavenly, heavenly heavenly. Approaching from the north upon arrival last week, we did hit colder weather and a bit of snow in Show Low, AZ., but now that we are in Tucson, this is how it's going to be for quite some time. Early morning walks and after sunset temperatures can differentiate by 30 to 40 degrees, but refreshing just the same. Are you ready to hop a plane and visit?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Arrived Arizona to find these guys moved in.......

Cute, but being evicted. Humanly, of course.
Arrived Az. to find these guys have been having a good old time in the back yard........ Usually hiding under a spoon cactus, they burrow underground hoping to stay out of sight from larger varmints on the lookout for them. Sorry guys, but you've got to move, especially after you chewed on the drip system, burst the water line and flooded the yard. Start packing!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Meet & Greet with Alan Jackson.........

Star struck.........Ada & Alan Jackson

A superfan, Ada has always wanted to meet her Country Music idol, Alan Jackson. While her sister would be considered an AJ stalker, Ada thought, maybe someday she would have an opportunity if she just passed through Nashville enough times. We’ll, this trip through Nashville, TN on her way to Arizona, an opportunity, or fate, made it all possible. Of course, snooping around town and making friends with the locals helped. (You just have to hide that Boston accent, especially after the Patriots shellaced the Titans a few weeks ago 59 to zip..)

Ada and all the other country music fans coming to Nashville during CMA Week had the opportunity to meet Alan Jackson at a new attraction – a temporary Cracker Barrel Old Country Store retail shop, right in the middle of downtown, at lst & Broadway. A one-week-only attraction; it opened November 7th and continued til the 11th. It featured the newly released Alan Jackson Collection. (A new album and a whole host of products from calendars to coasters.) The highlight of the week for Ada & Don was the in-store appearance by superstar Alan Jackson on Tuesday, November 10th, where purchases could be autographed and a photo taken with “the Man” himself. Who cared that we had to get up at 5am to get one of the 300 tickets available for the Meet & Greet……… For sure, sleeping is so overrated!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Almost residents...........
Another year filled with special guests having a great time in our fascinating City, Ada & Don can’t believe how fast the season has flown by. And while Halloween has it’s own excitement, somehow people seem to find the true essence of Salem, beyond the carnival atmosphere that seems to prevail in October. Repeating guests, Carl & Barbara are two of those folks that have fallen in love with Salem and just can’t get enough of it. We are glad to recognize and enjoy their company as our last guest of the season and look forward to seeing them again in 2010 for their 4th Halloween retreat with us. For sure, we will be rolling out the fun carpet!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Driscoll Wins, Salem Wins! Let's Party

Celebrating Kim's victory, Theresa's birthday, and Ada's freedom

Rich the Finance Guy & Two Driscoll cheerleaders

It was a long day (7am to 8pm), but well worth the results, and the Election Day party gave everyone the chance to let loose and celebrate Kim's victory and leadership for four more years. It also seals Ada's "Girl Thursday" volunteer job at city hall with Jen, Jason, & Kim; a never boring diversion from her B&B chores. Although Ada will miss her friends for a few months while she and Donald travel to Arizona for the winter, all will be in good hands with Mayor Driscoll in the corner office. Congratulations to her, and all the other candidates that ran for public office. Campaigning is hard work, but the real work begins when the phone starts ringing with constituent concerns. For now, let's just enjoy the moment!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009, This is it!

Candy Man

Off to the "Reality Bites" Costume party at the Hawthorne Hotel
I hear crateman won 2nd prize!

Bride and Groom, pretty scary couple!

Halloween Day, the night will be another story

Ok, the day has finally arrived. It's so quiet outside this morning. The lull before the chaos of tonight's crowds. Should be a good day weatherwise; mild temperature with a slight breeze. let the pictures tell the story.
Marie at Sophia's waiting to sell to the crowds....
Caffe Graziani crew ready to feed the crowds.....
Wheaton College Glee

Casino Girl

Witch sitting for a spell

Till death do us part.........

a Mazing kids

Mr. Foliage

And ...... they just all want to have fun!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Picture perfect......
Always ready to take your picture, Ada & Don take lots of them, and usually with other people's cameras, so it's nice to see the results every now and then. This one came today via e-mail with a nice message imprinted in the image. A keepsake for sure. Thanks Laura and Sarah.....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Vintage Photgraphy

Minnesota bound brooms......
All the rage, and a lot fun to boot, Vintage Photography in Salem has them lining up at 172 Essex Street to have there photos taken in Halloween garb for that souvenir 8 x 10 portrait. This mother and daughter certainly got into the "spirit" of the season and can't wait to show the folks back home their "good witch" photos.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Recognizing greatness, but Ada's not taking anything for granted…..

Re-Elect Kim Driscoll for Mayor

I know it's Halloween in Salem, but Ada’s friend Kim is running for re-election, and although it’s a quiet election year (really no opposition for her) no one is taking anything for granted. Most likely, the signs will be a public service reminder to vote on Tuesday, November 3rd, as we do have a few Ward Councilor, Councilor at Large, and School Committee races that people need to come out and vote for. For sure, Ada will do whatever she can to see that Kim has great exposure on Winter Street. Besides, she has her volunteer job as Girl Thursday to secure. Now, if you could only see her car!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Side by side.........

Standing on the corner, watching all the visitors stroll by......
Well, we couldn't be in a better spot (entrance to the Visitor's Center) or partnered with a better business than the Witch Museum, the Amelia Payson House is a proud sponsor of one of the many Haunted Happenings Banners that decorate the lamp posts lining the streets of Salem this October. While Biff keeps me company on the post, we've been seeing record crowds coming and going as the city has certainly rolled out the fun carpet. I hope you're coming, as there isn't a better place than Salem to be in October and at Halloween. You'll have a "spooktacular" good time for sure!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Off to the Topsfield Fair

LeAnn Rimes

While everyone in Salem is enjoying the Biz Baz Fair and Kids Day on the Common tomorrow, Donald and Ada will have slipped out of town to go to the Topsfield Fair; probably the oldest continuing harvest fair in the country. Crafts, 4H, Midway, Clydesdale's, Flying Wallendas, not to mention the curly fries, kettlecorn, fried dough and a 1400 lb pumpkin. All that and more, but the real reason we are going: a LeAnn Rimes concert in the arena. A Mississippi girl, she is Donald’s favorite flavor and has watched her grown up from the 13 year old that hit the country music scene with her 1st number one hit “Blue”, to the "all grown up" professional she is today. She is truly one of the shinning stars of Country Music.........

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Let the Halloween fun begin.........

I know it's only October 1st, but in Salem, we celebrate Halloween all month long. And tonight, residents and visitors lined the parade route along Derby, Washington and Essex Streets to watch the Grand Halloween Parade. The theme this year was "A Night at the Museum", so there were costumed Sacagawea's, Teddy Roosevelt's, Cowboys, Dinosaurs, tiny Romans, Pharaoh's and mischievous monkeys; all lead by the Grand Marshalls, Mayor Kim Driscoll, and the Hero of the Year, retiring Police Chief Robert St.Pierre. Certainly, a great kickoff to a really fun month and spooktacular good time in the Witch City.
(Thanks Kate Fox for the pictures.)