November Daily Photo Challenge # 2

Hello on this cold, rainy Sunday evening in November……I’m already to the point where I don’t want to leave the house until the temperature is higher than my age and it isn’t even that cold, yet! But…..the damp chill goes right to my bones and joints and I’m not afraid to say I don’t like it. We are strange creatures, aren’t we — not happy unless we have something to complain about, huh? I like to say, “I’m ready to stop complaining about the heat so I can start complaining about the cold” and visa-versa!!! LOL Seriously, though…..the trees are stunning and I’m loving seeing all the beautiful leaves on the ground – listening to them crunch and shuffle under my feet when I walk through them. I do love autumn…..chilly days and all!

And, speaking of all the beautiful colors that autumn brings……let’s get on with the next set of November Daily Photos from our month of colors:

PURPLE

AQUA

PINK

GRAY

BROWN

POP OF COLOR

STRIPES

That’s all for now……can’t wait to see what I come up with for the rest of the month’s color-based topics……that is, if I decide to leave the house again before spring! hehehe

November Daily Photo Challenge – # 1

Hello, November! We ended Daylight Savings Time, last night……it will be rough getting used to it getting dark by like 5:00-ish, but I am really glad it will be light when I get up and let Megan out to do her business about 7:00-ish each morning! Everything in life is a trade-off…..give and take…..ying and yang…..you get the idea!!! But, there is no trade-off, here……I’m going to offer up the first set of November Daily Photos and you don’t have to give up anything in return, except a few minutes of your time….and, I bet it’ll be worth it! 🙂

Just a reminder……we’re doing colors for the November challenge topics….here goes:

WHITE

BLACK

GREEN

RED

ORANGE

BLUE

YELLOW

My last dahlia……literally THE last one in the bed that is still in it’s prime!!!

Catch ya next time!!!

October Daily Photos – # 3

Goodbye October…….I can’t believe tomorrow will be November 1st……and then we’ll be saying goodbye to daylight savings time……and then we’ll be sleeping off a turkey coma after Thanksgiving dinner……and I haven’t even started planning for Thanksgiving, let alone starting my Christmas shopping or thinking about doing my Christmas cards…..and…..I don’t even want to think about having to get used to writing 2022 on things!!!

So….to calm all the anxiety that little paragraph just caused me…..here is the last set of October Daily Photos:

I Love This Time of Day…..

…..while the dew is still on the roses!!!

(It is also a line from one of my favorite hymns – “In The Garden”…….”I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses…”)

I Watched This……

On Mondays, I…..

…..work at the church!

I Like To Eat……

……tomato soup with my tuna fish!

I Can…..

….reach things better with my friend, the step stool!

I Can’t……

….think of a single reason to eat raw fish – no matter how pretty it is!

I Wore This…..

I Have To…..

…..resist breaking into the desserts meant for Sunday dinner with family!

I Believe…..

….there are angels among us! And, these are mine!

For those who like to follow along……here is the November Daily Photo Topic List…..we’re doing colors!

See you in November!!!

2021 Rhode Island Adventure

Rhode Island – WOW!!! When I started telling people I was going to Rhode Island for a week, some said, “WHY?” Others told me I was going to love it! Well……I DID love it!!! When I first thought about a possible trip to Rhode Island, I had a few ideas, but wasn’t sure exactly where I wanted to stay or what all I wanted to do until I started researching it.

I originally considered staying in Providence and exploring from there. I ended up deciding on Newport as my base location…..and, I am sooooo glad I did! Newport is such a sweet town with tons of great things to see and do.

I flew into Boston and drove to Newport – about an hour and a half – longer than I thought it would take, but I made it! I rented a Kia K5 – nice car!!! I ended up putting 572 miles on the rental car in the three days I was there (actually five – Monday was a travel day, I had Tuesday-Thursday to do stuff, and Friday was my return travel day).

I found a lovely Bed & Breakfast called the Artful Lodger on Spring Street in Newport – GREAT location – right downtown and close to just about everything. My host – Heidi – was a sweetheart – very friendly, fun, and helpful with recommendations and information.

My room was large, clean, beautifully decorated, and very comfortable…..and, it had a huge Jacuzzi, which I took full advantage of!!!

Breakfast was served in the Conservatory on the third floor – a beautiful, sunny room with views of the harbor and outdoor seating available if the weather permits – it was a tad chilly for that while I was there. Breakfast was DELICIOUS!!!

Two mornings I had the Azores Sweet Bread French Toast — once with sausage and once with bacon — YUM!!! So good!!! (that’s why I had it two days in a row) On the third day, I had eggs, bacon, and toast. The fourth morning, I had to leave for the airport before breakfast was served…..boo hoo!!!

Me and Heidi — the host of the Artful Lodger

I arrived my first day after dark and a stressful drive from Boston Logan Airport, so I just got settled in, watched some TV, and got an amazing night’s sleep – I slept like a baby every night. Then, my second day, I focused on finding my way around Newport and sight-seeing. I drove around…..not an easy task, at first – Newport is a maze of one-way streets that are very narrow, but I soon got the hang of it and was zipping around the town like an old pro!

Here are some of the sights from my puttering around in the morning:

I visited with the pastor of the United Baptist Church of Newport – the second oldest Baptist church in America. I met with him and took photos for an article I wanted to write for my church newsletter…..I did a separate post on the churches I visited for the article – scroll down after you’re done with this post to read it.

Also included in the next post is America’s First Synagogue, established in 1763.

And, the first Seventh Day Baptist Meeting House, established 1730. Be sure to scrolled down to the next post – lots of history of all these amazing churches that represent the pioneers of religious freedoms in America.

The Redwood Library and Athenaeum – a hybrid library, museum, rare book repository, and research center. First purpose-built library structure in America that has been in continuous use since opening in 1750. It is also the nation’s oldest Neo-classical building and a National Historic Landmark.

AND……it has a big rocking chair in the side yard…..a piece of art work, or so I was told! I REALLY wanted to get up in that chair……but……I was a good girl (but, only because it was so high and I am so short – hehehe)

This is the Newport Tower…….also known as the Old Stone Mill, is a round stone tower located in Touro Park in Newport, Rhode Island, the remains of a windmill built in the mid-17th century. But – several theories add to the mystery of the tower — including claims that it was built by Vikings or the Knights Templar, Freemasons, Native Americans, Chinese explorers, and Celts. Recent investigations conclude all materials are from the mid-17th century and the windmill story is most likely.

I did some walking around downtown – especially Thames Street – a lovely brick and cobblestone street full of wonderful shops and restaurants.

Then, in the afternoon, I took a three hour trolley tour all around the city that ended with a tour of one of the Gilded Age Mansions that Newport is famous for.

Our guide was awesome…..so fun and knowledgeable. He was from Brazil and was a real cutie-patooty!!!

During the mid-19th century, some of the wealthiest families in America came to Newport to build lavish mansions to be used as “summer cottages”. These mansions were summer homes to Vanderbilt’s, Astor’s, Carnegie’s, and many others….including one owned by Jacqueline Bouvier’s step father – Hammersmith Farms – the location of her wedding reception when she married John F. Kennedy. President Eisenhower also had his “summer white house” in Newport, as did John F. Kennedy. Some of the homes are still private homes, but some have been opened to the public for tours. Imagine……building something this massive and grand and only living in it a couple months out of the year!!!

This is the Breakers — a tour was included in our Trolley Tour. It was quite elaborate!

Eisenhower’s Summer White House is located at Fort Adams

Hammersmith Farms – home of Jackie Bouvier and location of her wedding reception when she married JFK

After the tour, I went to The Mooring for dinner……amazing!!!

I had the baked lobster stuffed with shrimp and scallops and a Limoncello cake for dessert!

I walked off my dinner with a stroll around Bannister’s Wharf

Wednesday was another amazing day!!! Started out with a delicious breakfast….then I went across the bridge to Jamestown to visit Beavertail Lighthouse…..then walked a ways on the Cliff Walk (it’s a 7 mile round trip walk, so definitely didn’t do the whole thing)…..then I went to St Mary’s Parish – the church JFK and Jackie were married in, but found they only do tours on Tuesday…….then I found the mansion that the 1960’s TV show Dark Shadows was filmed at – they used it for the exterior shots of Collinwood Mansion – it is a private residence and mostly obscured by heavy bushes, but I found a spot I could get my phone through for a picture!!!! I was careful not to trespass, but I GOT THE SHOT!!!

Beavertail Lighthouse is the site of America’s Third Oldest Lighthouse – established in 1749

The harbor leaving Jamestown…..and a huge, beautiful building on the corner just before I got back on the bridge.

This is the bridge to Jamestown from the Jamestown side……it was a stunning bridge! Obviously, I couldn’t get photos while I was on the bridge, but it really was an impressive drive.

The next few photos are from the Cliff Walk – a 7 mile round trip walk along the harbor with beautiful views. I only went a ways down – too far for me to do the whole round trip and I also had to get back to the wharf for a sail on a schooner I had booked and I still had a couple stops I wanted to make before then.

St. Mary’s Parish — church where John F. Kennedy and Jackie Bouvier were married on September 12, 1953. They have tours that take you through the church and the day of the wedding, but only on Tuesdays — I wish I had known that – I could have swapped my plans around so I could do the tour, but……that’s OK! Another time, maybe!

I was really excited when I found the mansion that was used for the exterior shots of Collinwood Mansion in the 1960’s TV show, Dark Shadows!!! I loved that show…..I rushed home from school to see it!!! This is the home of Barnabus Collins in the show. It is a private home that I was told recently sold for $29 million!!! Best photo I could get through the bushes and the hole in the chain link fence…..it’s a private residence marked “No Trespassing”!!!! I didn’t go on the property…..I was standing outside the bushes and fence…..but I got the shot!!! LOL

In the afternoon, I went sailing on the Madeleine Schooner – WOW – it was a gorgeous day for it! We set sail and spent an hour and a half on the water with the sails up! AMAZING!!! It was an all-girl crew with Captain Annie at the helm and two young ladies working the sails. Captain Annie is the first female captain for this schooner in its 30-some years in operation!

This looks old and impressive — it’s actually a replica that is only about 8 years old…..but, it sure is pretty!

House on an island…..it was built by the original owners, who abandoned it after a severe hurricane a long time ago – before they started naming hurricanes — sorry, can’t remember the specific details……then, it was purchased not too long ago by a guy who came along and asked the city how much they wanted for it – they were so happy that someone wanted it, they sold it to him for the back taxes – about $8000!!! It is a fully self-sufficient home powered by renewable energy.

Rose Hill Lighthouse under the bridge to Jamestown…….Rose Hill Lighthouse is now operated as a 6 room inn that you can stay at…..it is reported to be haunted….just might be my choice for lodging next time….although, I may have to split my time so I could stay at the Artful Lodger, again!

One of the passengers brought their dog – Olivia – a Jack Russell Terrier……here, Captain Annie is giving some love to Olivia! She was a sweetheart!!! She loved being on the boat and visiting with all the other passengers.

Then, I had an early dinner at the Lobster Bar after I got off the Madeleine. I had the Lobster Roll with fries and it was incredible!!!

I wandered around Thames Street for some window shopping (and a little actual shopping)…..picked up a “Grandma’s Carrot Cake” cupcake at Cupcake Charlie’s and then settled in for the night and enjoyed my cupcake!!!

I originally planned to take the ferry over to Block Island, but people I talked to said it really wasn’t the right time of year for that and I found so many other wonderful things to do that I decided not to spend an entire day doing something like that. I was then planning to visit some of the other coastal towns near Newport. But, in my infinite wisdom, I decided I wanted to see Cape Cod!!!

I started out making a quick photo stop at the harbor in Newport and then went to Providence, before heading to Cape Cod — I had to visit the First American Baptist Church in America — again, that is included in the blog post you’ll find after this one. What little I saw of Providence, I was so glad I chose Newport as my base…. Providence was just a big city. I’m glad I went to the church, but other than that, I’m not sure I would have enjoyed being there any more than I was.

French General Rochambeau who joined forces with General Washington on the Hudson River and on to a successful march on Yorktown.

This plaque says “I Welcome the new of your arrival. A new mark of friendship. From his most Christian Majest, George Washington.” I thought that was cool!

The First American Baptist Church in America – Providence, RI

And, off to Cape Cod I went……in hindsight, I wish I had taken the day to visit the other RI coastal towns, but it was a nice drive. But, I spent most of the day in the car on highways and saw very little coastal views. It was taking so long that I decided not to go all the way up to Provincetown (the tip of Cape Cod) and stopped in Chatham, explored the town a little, stopped at the Chatham Lighthouse, and headed back. Chatham was a lovely town with some quaint shops.

I guess I was a tad disappointed cause I expected it to be like the Outer Banks in NC — all coastal roads with water and stunning views on each side……it wasn’t…..maybe if I had gone further up, it would have been, but it was getting late and I was looking at about two and a half hours back from where I was…..and Provincetown was at least another hour or so up…….it made for a very long day. But, it wasn’t a total loss – I did enjoy the drive and my stop in Chatham…..AND…..I did get to scratch off the landmark “Cape Cod National Seashore” on my chart!!! 🙂

When I got back to Rhode Island, I decided I was going to go to at least one coastal town, after all…..I decided to go to Westerly for dinner and hoped to see a nice sunset while eating. Traffic made me miss the sunset, but I did have a wonderful dinner at the Olympia Tea Room right on the water and got to see a bit of Westerly!

I had the pork chop with a loganberry demi glaze, mashed potatoes and broccoli…..sp good!!!!

I got back to the Artful Lodger about 9:00, packed up my things, and went to bed so that I could get up and head to the airport in the morning. It was a wonderful adventure…….I hope to return, someday, and do the things I didn’t get to and maybe re-do some things I really enjoyed!!!

2021 Rhode Island Adventure – First American Baptist Churches

I recently spent a week in Rhode Island and visited a piece of American Baptist history. I had heard the stories about Roger Williams and John Clarke – pioneers in the American Baptist denomination and champions of religious freedom – in Providence and Newport, RI and was thrilled to discover their churches are still alive and being used for Baptist worship. So, I had to go see them. I am a member of the Albion First Baptist Church and found their stories fascinating. Following is information I gathered for an article for our church newsletter….plus a bit more and all the photos I took along the way.

Let’s talk about Roger Williams, first, since he was the founder of the First American Baptist Church in America! Williams, an ordained minister, was a Puritan who fled England in the 1630’s to separate from the religious repression that the Church of England represented. The movement to leave the Church of England included many other Puritans who worked to establish the colony of Massachusetts Bay in 1630. Williams, however, made his pilgrimage in 1631 with different ideas for the colony than the others. They worked to create a Purified Church of England and Williams wanted a total separation from the Church of England with a new church, new theologies, and the freedom to worship as they pleased without persecution.

His descent caused much controversy. Among other things, he believed that the Native American people were the sole owners of the American land and should be justly compensated for it. He also strongly believed in the separation of church and state – maintaining that only God could judge man’s conscience. He was tried, convicted, and banished from Massachusetts for his beliefs.

Williams gathered others who agreed with him and purchased land from the Narragansett people, which he named “Providence”, in what became the colony of Rhode Island. In 1638, he formed the first Baptist congregation in the new world with religious freedom, sole liberty, and total separation of church and state. Williams resigned from the congregation he built in the summer of 1639, but his congregation lived on and evolved over the years. Williams died in 1683 – his remains are interred in Prospect Terrace – a hill overlooking downtown Providence.

In the beginning, Williams and his congregation met in his and other homes until the first meeting house was built in 1700. The current structure was built in 1774-75 and still stands at 74 N. Main Street in Providence – it was the first Baptist church to have a steeple and a bell. The current pastor is Rev. Jamie P. Washam. She became the 37th settled minister of the First Baptist Church of Providence in 2015.

Unfortunately, the church is currently undergoing extensive repairs and restorations – they are currently holding services outside, so I was unable to go inside. Perhaps I will on another trip.

Photo of the current First American Baptist Church of Providence, located at 74 N. Main St, Providence – taken from the back.

Other photos from different angles:

Another pioneer in the history of the American Baptist Church is John Clarke. Clarke arrived from England in 1637 and settled on Aquidneck Island – later known as Rhode Island after he, too, was exiled from Massachusetts for his disagreements with Puritan leadership. In 1638, he founded a Baptist congregation in Portsmouth based on similar beliefs of Roger Williams with religious freedom at the forefront. In 1644, Clarke purchased land from the American Native people, founded Newport, and built a meeting house. This was the first meeting house of any denomination in the colony. Clarke was  instrumental in securing the Royal Charter of 1663 from King Charles II. The charter established Rhode Island as a colony with guaranteed religious freedom without persecution or punishment for religious views. Clarke died in 1676 and is buried in Newport.

While Clarke was in England working on the charter, a group from his congregation broke off and formed the Second Baptist Church of Newport. Then, during WWII, the military used Clarke’s church, so they met for worship with the Second Baptist Church until they could return. After the war, the two churches agreed to reunite and move back to Clarke’s church – the church was renamed “United Baptist Church of Newport” to honor the union and continues to use that name to this day.

The original meeting house was used until 1708 when a new meeting house was constructed. The current building, located at 30 Spring Street in Newport, was constructed in 1846.

The current minister at United Baptist Church of Newport is Pastor David Dewberry – he has been with the church since 2018. I met with and had a wonderful conversation with Pastor Dewberry, who allowed me to go inside. The church took my breath away – just lovely, with a beautiful balcony surrounding the sanctuary and boxed in pews with the original doors remaining!

There is a lot more to Roger Williams’ and John Clarke’s fascinating lives than I can possibly go into in this space. If you’d like more information, the reference sources I used were Baptist Ways – A History by Bill J. Leonard, Wikipedia, and the websites of both churches:

First American Baptist Church of Providence

United Baptist Church of Newport

While in Providence and Newport, I also visited the final resting places of both Roger Williams and John Clarke.

Roger Williams remains are interred in this monument. It was an interesting story about his remains. Apparently, he was originally buried at his home in an unmarked grave in 1683 – the importance of his work unrecognized….the first of three burials for Williams. In 1860, in an attempt to honor him, his remains were moved to a family crypt in the Old North Burial Ground. A committee was formed to create a memorial to Williams and they selected Prospect Terrace as a suitable final resting place. However, funds were meager, the Civil War intervened, and no action was taken. Then, to mark the 300th anniversary of the founding of Providence in 1936, a new committee raised funds and interred the remains under a statue of Williams, dedicated in 1939, at Prospect Terrace.

But…..some reports I read claim there is more to the story. Legend has it that his home was sold and demolished, leaving his remains behind in a vacant lot – unmarked. They were discovered accidentally at the base of an apple tree when someone was digging on the lot. Apparently, there was not much remaining and the apple tree root had grown into the casket – causing the story about the “man who was partially eaten by an apple tree root”. What was found was cremated and moved to the family crypt until the later efforts to create a memorial in 1936.

John Clarke is buried in the John Clarke Cemetery – his stone is the center one. The cemetery was fenced off and closed, so zooming in from the fence was the best I could do for a photo.

There was a large stone in front of the cemetery entrance with this plaque honoring John Clarke.

I was also very excited to see the oldest Jewish synagogue in the United States,  established in 1763 – another shining example of new found religious freedom in the new world – located not far from the United Baptist Church in Newport.

Right next door to the Touro Synagogue is the Seventh Day Baptist Meeting House – established in 1730 and formed by a group within the First Baptist Church who believed that the Ten Commandments should be obeyed literally with the Sabbath observed on Saturday – the seventh day of the week.

And the final building in the area – across the street from the Synagogue is the Levi Gale House – Jewish Community Center. This structure was moved in late 1925 from its original location for use as a community center for the Touro Synagogue.

Unfortunately, I was not able to go inside any of these three sites.

So much history related to the freedom of religious beliefs in a variety of ways in one small state. It was so exciting to be able to see it all and learn their amazing and courageous stories.

More on my Rhode Island Adventure in the next post I’ll write.

October Daily Photos # 2

Well, hello, there…….I got a bit behind on posting these because I was in Rhode Island this past week! I’ll be doing the post(s) for that adventure in the next couple of days, but for now…..I’ll play catch-up with the October Daily Photos – including the ones I used for daily topics while in Rhode Island!

I STOOD HERE…..

I DO THIS ON SUNDAY’S…..

I WROTE THIS…..

I LIKE TO DRINK…..

I LOVE THIS VIEW…..

(taken in Kauai in 2020)

I ONCE…..

….was in the right place at the right time to get this great photo of my brother and sister-in-law

looking over the Badlands in SD

I NEVER……

….had this nail polish color, before!

ON WEEKENDS I…..

(I missed this one…..and, besides, I’m retired……weekends are just another day for me…..hehehe)

I SAW…….

…..this on my way to church!

I DON’T LIKE TO…..

….leave my baby girl when I travel!

I WENT TO….

….see The Newport Tower!

Also known as the Old Stone Mill, is a round stone tower located in Touro Park in Newport, Rhode Island, the remains of a windmill built in the mid-17th century.

I SAT HERE……

….while sailing on the Schooner Madeleine in Newport, RI

I READ THIS……

I DID THIS GOOD THING……

…..picked up the Princess Megan on the way home from the airport!

Ta Ta For Now……..

2021 Canandaigua Wine Tour

I took a day trip with the Busy Buddies – a travel group I belong to. We took a bus to Canandaigua Lake in the Finger Lakes, visited two wineries, and took a riverboat cruise on the lake. It was a perfect day for it and we all had a great time! There were 43 of us on the tour.

Busy Buddies is a local group of mostly retired people (but, I don’t think that’s a requirement) who enjoy adventures, such as day trips, local theaters / dinner trips, and longer trips – some 2-3 days, some longer. Local travel agent, Mitzy Peglow, owner of Orleans Travel, does an awesome job of putting together fun and excited events and trips for us. Dues are $5 per year and if you come to the monthly meetings, lunch is $15. Cost of the trips vary, depending on what the trip is and the costs associated with putting it together. You can sign up for the ones that interest you and fit in your budget and skip the ones that don’t. It is a great group and I have enjoyed several trips with them……including this one!

My partner in crime for the day…….

Heron Hill Winery – 5323 Seneca Point Rd, Canadaigua, NY

We tasted 5 different wines in their lovely tasting room

The Canandaigua Lady – Canandaigua Lake

We had a nice boxed lunch – I had the roast beef wrap

I was sitting near the railing and looked over to find this big guy weaving away next to me…..I moved!!! LOL

Casa Largo Vineyards – 2287 Turk Hill Rd, Fairport, NY

We had our tastings outside – it was a lovely day – they offered us 4 different wines to taste

Another wonderful adventure!!!

October Daily Photos – # 1

Hello, October! My birthday month……and the most beautiful month of the year!

Here is the October Photo A Day List:

And here is the first group of my take on each topic, so far……

I AM…..

……sitting on the porch swing of the home Elvis Presley was born in!

I LOVE…..

…when my suitcase and I get home after an adventure!

I MADE THIS…..

I WORK HERE……

…..my office at our church!

I LOVE THIS COLOR…..

I WALKED HERE……

I HELD THIS…..

I LIKE TO…..

…..mow my lawn!

See ya next time!!!

2021 Memphis Adventure – Monkees

This is my fourth and final Memphis Adventure Blog Post. If you’re seeing this one first, you can continue to read it and scroll through the other three in reverse order: The others focus on Walking in Memphis, Graceland, and Tupelo. Enjoy!

One of the major highlights of my time in Memphis was getting to see the Monkees in concert. Graceland’s Soundstage has live shows on Friday nights with some big name entertainment (upcoming shows include Elvis Costello, The Marshall Tucker Band, Dwight Yoakam, Josh Turner, and the Beach Boys – to name a few). The last night on my trip I had the biggest thrill! I loved the Monkees growing up – watched their TV show, had all their records, loved their music, and dreamed about dating Davy Jones…or any Monkee, for that matter! LOL

Davy Jones and Peter Tork both passed away some time ago. So, the remaining Monkees are Mickey Dolenz and Mike Nesmith. This concert is part of their “Farewell Tour”.

I got all dressed up for my teen heart-throbs! They had strict Covid precautions in place – masks were required at all times inside the venue (unless actively eating or drinking) and you also had to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test within 72 hours. I happily showed my vaccination card and wore my mask. I didn’t see or hear of any issues with people getting stinky about it — they shouldn’t have been surprised, ticket holders got an email a few weeks before informing us of the requirements.

I took the shuttle over to the venue and went through the check-in process. Then we all waited in the lounge for the doors to open. I wasn’t going to have anything to drink or eat while I waited – just wait with excited anticipation! But, they had popcorn popping and the smell of it drove me absolutely bananas!!! LOL So, I got a box of popcorn and snacked while I waited.

Then, the doors opened……..the Soundstage is a nice sized venue — not huge, but not tiny or intimate – just right! I found my seat and was happy with it – I knew it was a good seat, but sometimes you can’t really tell from the seating charts. There was a couple in front of me and the guy was a perfect “barn door”, but the way the seats were positioned I could see perfectly between them – and he behaved and stayed on his side of the space so I didn’t miss a beat!

In my seat —- Row “F”, seat 105!!! AWESOME!!! You can get a feel for the venue looking over my shoulder!

Then, in just under an hour, the show began……..and the crowd went wild!!!

They sang all the old familiar favorites and some others that they recorded in later years and several that Mike Nesmith wrote that were recorded by other artists.

They sounded GREAT!!!

The audience loved them — and sang along —– and showed their appreciation!

Mickey was full of energy – just like I remember him!

Mike was the comic relief – always the funny one! (I missed his knit cap, though….)

Yeah – they are older,…..so am I…….they still put on an awesome show!!! I loved every minute of it!!!

Some of their songs were written by Peter Tork and when they sang them, they pointed to the sky paying respect to their lost friend and band mate.

“Last Train To Clarksville”

“Pleasant Valley Sunday”

“A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You”

“Mary, Mary”

“Me and Magdelena”

And, on and on and on……..One wonderful hit after another!

When they did “Daydream Believer” – Davy’s most famous recording – there wasn’t a dry eye in the house and the cell phone lights lit up the arena with swaying beams!!!

The finale was “I’m A Believer” and it brought the house down!!!

I screamed and sang and didn’t have much of a voice when it was all over!

And I got the T-Shirt to prove it!!! hehehehe

The back of the shirt shows all the dates and locations of the rest of the tour……maybe I’ll see if they are coming close enough to see them again!!!

The evening ended with the shuttle back to the Guest House……full of rowdy ladies singing and hooping and hollering and rocking the bus…….the driver turned on Elvis and cranked up the volume — we had a BLAST with that!!!

It was a bit of a let down to return to my room to pack my bags so I could catch my plane home the next morning!

And…..the trip was done…..and I really didn’t want this one to end……but, it did and I can honestly say it will be one of my most memorable trips! I’d do it all again in a heartbeat!!!

Hope you enjoyed tagging along with my adventure…….that’s all for now…..until the next adventure…….but, I’m not telling when or what I have plans in the works for! hehehe

I’ll leave you with the music video of “Daydream Believer” — a song that brings me to tears and slings me back to my teen years instantly whenever I hear it!

2021 Memphis Adventure – Tupelo

Let’s continue on with more from my Memphis Adventure. This will be the third post — if you haven’t seen the other two: Graceland and Walking in Memphis, scroll down after you finish this one and catch up.

On Friday, I took the Day Trip to Tupelo offered by Graceland. It is a bus tour that goes down to Tupelo, Mississippi every Friday so Elvis fans can see where he was born and lived as a child. It was a very nice tour. There were five of us on the bus that day…..the guide said that sometimes they go with a full bus and sometimes they go with only one or two. I like that it was a small group.The bus left the Guest House at Graceland at 8:30 am and took an hour and a half to get to Tupelo. It was a beautiful day for it, too!

Big bus for just seven people – 5 passengers, 1 guide, and 1 driver

The ride down went by quickly as we watched a video of “hidden secrets” at Graceland and then an Elvis concert — I think it was the one he did in Hawaii — if memory serves!

Our first stop was at the Tupelo Welcome Center for information and a rest stop.

We then went to the Tupelo Hardware Store where Gladys bought Elvis his first guitar. The store is still in operation and owned by the same family – it has been handed down through the generations.

This nice gentleman told us all about the day Elvis was there…….he had saved up his money and went there to buy a bike for his 11th birthday. He soon found out he didn’t have enough money for the bike he wanted. He then set his sights on a bb-gun rifle and wanted that, but his Mom said no!

The “X” marks the spot that Elvis stood that day.

The story goes on to say that Gladys apparently rarely ever said “no” to Elvis, so he proceeded to “pitch a fit”. The store clerk at the time, took a wooden crate and stood it up behind the counter — just like the one there behind the counter in this photo. He brought Elvis around and sat him down on the crate. There was a guitar on display on the shelves behind the counter and the clerk gave one to Elvis to distract him from his little hissy fit. Elvis began to strum on the strings — of course, not really playing it, just pretending. His mother watched and finally said something like “you really like that, don’t you?” and Elvis smiled and said he did like it. So, Gladys told him that if he promised to go see the reverend at their church to take lessons, she would help him pay for the guitar. And….the rest, as they say…..was history!!!

The store still sells guitars to this day……

Then, we went to the fairgrounds where Elvis returned to his home town in 1957 to perform for a photo op with a statue. Elvis donated the proceeds from this concert for the purpose of purchasing the home he was born in and the surrounding property to make a park for fans to visit his birthplace.

From there, we got a city tour — we drove by the library where he loved to spend time reading, his elementary school and his middle school…..at both Elvis was bullied and picked on for being “different”. Elvis didn’t take the bullying lying down…..he gave as good as he got and fought back…..which ended up with him taking notes home about his behavior a few times. We saw other points of interest in Tupelo.

Our last stop of the day was the house that Elvis’s father built for his family. Elvis was born in the little house. Vernon and Gladys were not aware that they were going to have twins. When the first baby – Jesse Garon – was still born, they were devastated! And, then the surprise came 35 minutes later when Elvis made his presence known.

We enjoyed a boxed picnic lunch and then got to wander around the property and tour the buildings.

After Gladys became pregnant, Vernon Presley borrowed $180 for supplies to build a home for them. The home is pictured here – a two room shot-gun style house built by Vernon and his brother. As stated earlier, Elvis was born in this house on January 8, 1935. The house had no indoor plumbing or electricity and was insulated with newspapers. Unfortunately, the home was repossessed in 1939 for non-payment of the $180 that was originally borrowed. When Elvis was 3 years old, Vernon spent some time in prison because he sold a pig for $4 to his landlord that loaned him the $180 for his home, but decided that wasn’t enough, so he altered the check to $40. While he was away, Gladys and Elvis went to live with relatives and by the time Vernon was released, they had lost the home – never to return. They moved several times around Tupelo before they moved to Memphis when Elvis was 13.

The home is in the exact location it was when built and has been restored to it’s original appearance. Vernon helped pick out furnishings that resembled those they had in the home at the time they lived there.

The front room had a bed and a sitting area with a wood burning fireplace.

The back room was the kitchen.

Around the home are stepping stones with a major event in each of the thirteen years Elvis lived in Tupelo – here are just a few:

Originally, the property only had the home. Later, the Assembly of God Church that the Presley’s attended was moved to the property and restored to look like a church of the early 1940s. The property also now has a museum and gift shop, a chapel, a fountain, and statues……..and an outhouse!

We were given a time to be at the church. When we arrived, we had the option to get our photo taken at the prayer bench and then were asked to take a seat in the pews. After a brief history review of Elvis’ time at the church and how/when the church was moved to it’s current location, the screens came down and we were in a “surround” showing of a reenactment of what a church service that Elvis attended there would be like — it was really very cool!!! We were not allowed to photograph or video the show, though.

It was the pastor of this church that taught Elvis how to play the guitar – only three cords, but enough to light a musical fire within him. The pastor also encouraged Elvis to sing in the choir and the quartet. Elvis’ teachers at school also encouraged him to sing to overcome his shyness.

This was recreated from a photograph taken while Elvis attended this church…..it shows the attendance “that day” to be 66 and the offering collected was Five Dollars and Thirty One Cents ($5.31)!

Also on the property was this car – a replica of the one that the Presley’s drove when they moved from Tupelo to Memphis in 1948.

Remember from the post about Graceland…….this is the actual steamer trunk that held everything the family owned when they moved.

Statue of Elvis at 13

There was another statue on the property….it is located up on top of a big hill that overlooks the house and church buildings. It is called “Becoming” and it depicts Elvis at 11 sitting on the crate in the hardware store holding his first guitar and the entertainer Elvis behind him – together, they represent where he began and what he became. There were so very many steps to get up to the top of the hill that I didn’t dare try to climb them with my bad knee…….I was disappointed I didn’t get to see it in person, but I did find these photos of it on the internet…….very impressive and emotional!

That’s Tupelo, Mississippi……..one more post to come — in that one I’ll share photos I took at the Monkees Farewell Tour Concert at the Soundstage at Graceland.