Even the next block over can be an adventure - Troublesome Creek that winds through Hindman, Kentucky is where my adventure began

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hither: High School performances give big bang for the buck

If there's any hope to be seen in the world, it's in a high school auditorium during a student production. Seriously. Fortunately, this is a joy any traveler can experience.

This past Friday night, I spent three hours in utter joy at the Ft. Hayes Performing Arts High School's spring dance performance. My daughter wasn't dancing, but was in charge of  the lighting. This lighting gig of hers has put me in the audience of the school's production of "West Side Story," "You Can't Take it With You," "The Odd Couple" and two dance performances.

There's an earnestness about high school students who walk out onto a stage and claim their right to be watched and applauded-- whether the person is particularly talented or not-- that brings out the best in people. In the case of what I've seen at Ft. Hayes productions, talent is served up in large portions. (Not to mention dedicated teachers who rally their charges to put forth their best.)

Typically, audiences are filled with the performers' parents and friends, but if you're looking for a way to feel good about the world for not a lot of money, consider checking out your local schools this spring to see what's on the schedule.

As an indication about just how good Ft. Hayes' dance performance was, consider this. My 8-year-old son sat through 3 hours without wanting to go home.

We planned to stay for just the first half, but by intermission, both of us were ready for more. There was no way I was going to miss a single second.

Ft. Hayes is a Columbus City magnet school for the arts, by the way. Students from all over Columbus attend. This is not the only school with magnificient performances. Last year, the audience at Eastmoor Academy's production of "Dream Girls" gave the girl playing Effie a spontaneous standing ovation before she finished the last note of "And I'm Telling You, I'm not Going."

*The photo is from the Ben Evans Recreation Program Collection of the Seattle Municipal Archives

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Yon: Photo From Elsewhere

Lady Expat, aka Nancie, has been living in South Korea for nine years, an experience that was supposed to last only one. I know how that goes. She's been teaching at the university level, traveling and  taking wonderful photographs to beat the band.

I used several of Lady Expat's shots for Photo of the Day picks when I wrote for Gadling. This photo of cherry blossoms in Korea is one of her latest gems. The blossoms reminded me of my quest to view redbuds in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky as a motivator to head there in celebration of spring.

Check out more of Lady Expat's lush and lovely work on Flickr and at her personal blog, Budget Travelers Sandbox.

If you have a picture from Yon, point me towards it. I'd love to promote your work.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hither: Refreshing drink discovery: ice water with cucumber slices

At the launch party for the magazine Edible Columbus, held at The Hills Market in Columbus last night, my thirst was quenched by a drink I kept downing. Sure, the wine spritzer type libation was splendid, but the ice water with slices of cucumber floating on the surface was sublime.

So simple and so wonderful. It was so good that I bought a cucumber on the way home to make my own.

Cucumbers are just  that type of vegetable that says "refreshing." Pair slices with water and what a concept. Along with this heaven in a short plastic glass, I found stimulating conversation and other palate pleasing food. More on food later, but for now, let's stick with the water.

Here's how to make it: Get an aesthetically pleasing clear glass pitcher. Fill with water. Add ice cubes. Thinly slice cucumbers, but not so thin that they get flabby (leave the skins on). Add cucumber slices to the water--just enough that they float on top.

By the way, Edible Columbus will be a magazine and a website to follow. As I talked about food with several attendees, we all agreed that Columbus is filled with great food and wish the Editor-in-Chief, Tricia Wheeler well. She's off to a great, delicious start.

*first photo by Rick Beddie who has this nifty website rhoek.com
*small cucumber by hagit

Friday, April 2, 2010

Yon: Kentucky State Parks are Travel Gems

Lately, I've been busy writing posts on state parks for Uptake.com. Since Kentucky is part of my stomping ground, I took on three of them--John James Audubon State Park, Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park and Natural Bridge. Add these to the post I wrote on Mammoth Cave for a bit of an overview of what Kentucky has to offer.

All this writing about Kentucky State Parks gave me a hankering to head to Kentucky. Natural Bridge and Ft. Boonesborough, here I come. Both places will be my 8 year-old son's version of heaven. He's a wonderful traveling companion and up for anything, particularly if a gift shop is involved. Kentucky State Park gift shops will not disappoint.

Luckily for me, I found out about a lodging deal that the Kentucky State Park system if offering from now through May 27 and again from August 15 to September 30. Rooms, excluding Friday and Saturday nights, are $59.95 plus tax. That's a considerable bargain. Our AAA rate was going to be $95. Here's the post about the deals.

If you live anywhere near Kentucky, don't miss out on a bargain. You won't be disappointed. A state park resort stay is simple, casual and a sort of down home fun you won't easily find elsewhere. Plus, the lodge dining room food is excellent and affordable. Ohh, I hope hush puppies and catfish are on the menu.

The photo of the child is of my daughter when she was about 4 years-old standing on top of Natural Bridge. We were on a short jaunt to Hindman, Kentucky and stopped by here for a quick look see.

This photo was taken by james.thompson.

(The photo of the warbler was taken by Birdfreak.com)