Monday, January 30, 2017

Review Glessner House - Chicago Historic Site

A tour of Glessner House, in Chicago's Prairie District had been on my bucket list for a few years. Glad to have completed the tour and experience early in 2017.  

Prairie Avenue, once known as “millionaires’ row” began subdivision in the 1850s.  Chicago icons George Pullman and Marshall Field helped establish Prairie Avenue as Chicago’s premier residential street. Alas by the 1910's the area had fallen out of fashion as the city grew - and today only a few of the original houses remain. Luckily with the rebirth of the south-side- live seems good in the area.



Photo: http://www.glessnerhouse.org/
The exterior of the house I found stark contrast to other homes of the period and on the street. This was the intent and desire of the owner and architect. Lots of good history to the home design can be found on the museum website. I especially liked that the house was devoid of windows on the north-side - environmentally sound and kept more private.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

German Christmas Markets - Review

Rothenburg, Germany
I had the opportunity to be in Germany on a business trip at the start of the Christmas season. Luckily few colleagues took me to Christmas markets in four different towns! These Christkindlmarkt, are street markets during the four weeks of Advent.  The majority I went too were around the town square - or the oldest/largest church. There was always local food, hot drinks (several flavors of mulled wines!) and open-air merchants willing holiday items or trinkets. Many had a schedule of singing and performances from local artists. 

I was in markets in Frankfurt, Mannheim, Rothenburg, and at Schwetzingen Castle (and garden!) Frankfurt was so very large! Almost too large. The one around Schwtzingen Castle was perhaps too small. My favorite was in Rothenburg as the whole town is historic and it just felt like a fairy tale! The only downside to this location was getting there - took four different trains from Frankfurt! Well off the beaten path for tourists (but not locals.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Dublin Castle & Garden - Review

Why am I posting so many things about Ireland? Maybe it's because I'm working for a Dublin based company and traveling there perhaps a tad too much...

A colleague asked it I wanted to visit the Dublin Castle and Garden. She had me at "garden."  That said, without having done any research - it was not what I expected. I thought old ruins of a building with some acreage of grounds - similar to Powerscourt.  I learned that the Dublin Castle is really a government building in the middle of Dublin proper!


We first arrived before anything opened - and it was perfect to walk around the exterior, linger in the garden and really absorb the atmosphere. Later in the day there were hundreds of tourists which made it a tad difficult to place oneself back in time to get a feel for the history.



Dublin Castle - Fall 2016
 
Dublin Castle Tour - Fall 2016
 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Kilmainham Gaol - Dublin Historic Prison (Review)

Hundred Year Old Prison Door - Dublin
On a recent trip to Dublin I had a meeting directly across the street from what seemed to be a very large tourist attraction. I learned it was Kilmainham Gaol prison and that I just had to take time to go! Super glad that I did - as a fan of history and wanting to get off the beaten path a bit. This was an excellent stop. 

I didn't realize much of the history of Ireland until I took this tour. The prison was built in 1787 and many key figures in Irish history were incarcerated and executed here. There could be some really fun costume/haunted house events here. Lots of details on various websites and books. 

Everyone has to go through on a tour - which is a good thing. Our guide was knowledgeable and fun. She put into context the conditions in the country versus the prison - sharing that some were trying to get put into prison as the conditions her, which were harsh (overcrowding, dirty, little food) were better than on the streets. The prison was for both women and men - noted somewhere that 40% of inmates could have been women. This was attributed to lack of employment opportunities or marriage after males emigrated. (women arrested for vagrancy or prostitution or other...)

Perhaps owing to my love of antiques like old woods - I was fascinated with the doors and metal work as you can see in the photos below.

Other Dublin / Ireland events and tours on my blog can be reviewed here.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Preserving Fresh Herbs - Part 2

Before the frost in the next few weeks I'm scrambling to finish harvesting and preserving the fresh herbs from my garden. Herbs can be kept for a long time by drying or freezing (or transforming into another ingredient like a flavored oil or butter.) Some I scoop up and take indoors too - for example chives, parsley and basil. 




Most often herbs are kept for long periods by drying or freezing them. Some recommend using the oven or a dehydrator, but I find air drying is easiest, the least expensive, accessible to all, and keeps the flavor better. While air drying is a slow, the herb leaves should retain flavor oils than other methods mentioned. Microwaves can also start your herbs on fire (now that's a funny story to share some other time...) 
Formal Herb Garden - Dublin


How to Air Dry Herbs: