Drop Down

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Bridges of Madison County - Winterset, Iowa



My sister and I were headed back to Arkansas from a road trip to the North Shore (Duluth to Grand Portage) in Minnesota. We were looking for a break from the long ride and decided to do a driving tour of the bridges. We thought it would take about 1 ½ hours but took much longer. The GPS signal wasn’t that great and we sort of got lost a few times! You would think getting lost in the middle of nowhere, with no map, surrounded by nothing but cornfields would be scary. Not for us! We were laughing and having fun the whole time! 



Madison County is the Covered Bridge Capital of Iowa, with the largest group of covered bridges in one area. The beautiful bridges were popularized by Robert James Waller in the book, The Bridges of Madison County.  Clint Eastwood’s movie version of the book made the little town of Winterset a desired destination. 





Our first stop was the Imes Bridge. It was built in 1870 and is the oldest of the remaining covered bridges.  Originally located over the Middle River, the length is 81 feet.





Ten miles from the Imes bridge, we stopped at the Holliwell Bridge. A popular one for its feature in The Bridges of Madison County movie. It was Built in 1880 and is 122 feet long.




The Cutler-Donahoe was the third bridge on our route. The location is in the city park. Featuring a pitched roof, it was constructed in 1870 and is 79 feet in length.



We almost skipped this one because someone told us it was gone but decided to take a look anyway. Cedar bridge was almost completely destroyed by arson on April 15th, 2017, but there are plans to restore it.




The Hogback Bridge was the next to the last bridge that we visited. It was built in 1884 and measures 97 feet in length. Traveling through a lot of corn fields is required to reach this one.  





Located on the back wall of the bridge is a notepad for leaving where you are from and a note if you so wish. We enjoyed reading where everyone was from and how far they had traveled. There was even one from Japan!





Our final stop and the most popular of the bridges, the Roseman Bridge. Built in 1883 and at 107 feet in length, it was one of the main locations for the movie and novel. The Roseman remains in the original location of its construction.

It is also known as the “haunted” bridge. Supposedly, two officers thought they had trapped an escaped prisoner inside the bridge, but he rose through the roof and disappeared.




Headed back to the main highway, we came upon this sign. I really wasn't too concerned until we topped the first tall hill and was looking at one that was even taller and without much slope. I refused to drive up it! My sister was laughing at me the entire time that I was trying to turn around at the top of the hill we were on...


She called me chicken! I called myself being logical! I was thinking.... what if we get half way up and have to back down, what if we meet a big tractor, what if.... 😅



The tour of the bridges turned out to be much more fun and entertaining than we expected! Be sure your car is full of gas and you have a printed map in hand before heading out on the tour. Have fun!

Google Map of bridges

Happy Travels!





















Sunday, February 18, 2018

Growing Bougainvillea Indoors

June 30, 2017


Can Bougainvillea be grown inside your house? Yes. Do I recommend doing this? Well, maybe.




June 1, 2017

I purchased two beautiful pink bougainvillea plants from Lowes in the spring. They grew like crazy over the summer in pots on my porch. They were so pretty!



In November, when I brought all of the non-hardy tropical plants inside, I did not bring these in. I was tired of the dealing with them! The thorns are massive (up to 2 inches) and I had been stabbed all summer trying the keep the vines somewhat confined to the porch columns.

Well about the middle of December, after several freezes on them, they were still blooming. I could not stand to leave them out any longer. So, I brought them inside.

At first, I loved them inside. They were placed in a south window to get sun. Most the leaves fell off from the move, but the brachts and flowers stayed on. Within three weeks, they almost completely covered the windows. By the end of January, after several trimmings, they were covering the windows again. They grew and bloomed like crazy without any special care. I watered them two to three times a week and cleaned up all the mess from the blooms weekly.

I have to admit that I loved looking at the snow covered yard through a window of bright pink vines.




The First week of February was my breaking point! The vines were strangling my mango tree, bird of paradise, and anything else they could reach. It was time for them to go!

Armed with long sleeves, gloves, and clippers, the fight was on! The poor mango tree was mangled a little from removing the vines, but everything went pretty smoothly.




I think all the other plants were glad to see them gone! They had actually stared to lean away from the window because they were getting more light from the ceiling fixture.



So, should you grow bougainvillea inside? If you don’t mind these things:

1. A constant mess from the old leaves and flowers falling off. There will be a lot!
2. The soil does dry out quickly and require frequent watering, even in the winter.
3. The vines have a ton of long thorns! They will need to be placed so as not to cause injury to passersby.
4. You may need to prune them routinely.

I have read so many stories about people having trouble getting their plants to grow and flower. I found them to be aggressive and easy to grow inside and out in my zone 7b – 8a. I still think they are extremely beautiful plants, but I’m not sure if I even want them outside anymore. The pots are stilling on my porch now and still have leaves and look great. I might put them in the ground and see how they overwinter outside next year. Maybe…


  Happy Gardening! 









Saturday, February 17, 2018

Tour of Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg, Texas



This place was one of those “Hey, that looked interesting. Let’s go back. “stops. We were on a girl’s trip, the only kind where you can do that kind of thing, headed to Fredericksburg. We had such a good time there! It wound up being one of the highlights of our weekend.



Wildseed Farms is the nation's largest working wildflower farm with over 200 acres of colorful blooms in season. These fields have been used for seed production for over 35 years.




Bright red Corn Poppies and three colors of Texas bluebonnets greet you in the parking area.



Gloriosa Daisy, cosmos, Corn Poppies, larkspur, phlox, sunflowers, and Texas Bluebonnets are some of the flower varieties you will see growing in the fields during your visit.





A half mile trail lined with a wood look fence leads through the display and trial gardens. Sitting areas and water features are placed along the route.



The Brewbonnet Biergarten offers a place to grab something to eat and drink. Unique jams, jellies, salsas, and other goodies are available for purchasing. They all looked amazing!






They are one of the largest plant nurseries in Central Texas with large selections of annuals, perennials, herbs, topicals, cactus and succulents.





The gift store is packed with, unique pottery, garden accessories, clothing, seeds and much more.





Parking and admission are free. Hours are from 9:30am - 5:00pm daily.




We visited in April. Check here to see what will be in bloom for your visit.




Address:



100 Legacy Drive


 Fredericksburg, TX 78624







    Happy Travels! 


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village - Sedona, Arizona




A step through the first grand arched entry way into this authentic style village gives you a strong feel of Mexico, Spain, or perhaps Italy.  A quick trip to another country without leaving the United States, count me in!




Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village has been a landmark since the 1970's and is basically the downtown area of Sedona.





Art galleries, unique boutiques, and restaurants are throughout the village offering upscale shopping and dining.






Cobble stone walkways lead to beautifully landscaped court yards lined with vine covered Stucco walls. The detailed iron work, massive columns, colorful flowers, and unique sculptures are amazing!






Brightly colored Mexican tiles give a pop of color to many of the stairways and water features.






It is a truly a unique experience to explore the village. I would highly recommend a walk through the area even if you are not interested in shopping.




If you are into photography, this place is a photographer’s dream! Well, unless it is crowded and raining like it was on the day we were there!



Address:

336 AZ-179

 Sedona, AZ 86336



Happy Travels!