Sometimes you just have to take a moment, catch your breath, and enjoy the world around you.
That sentiment captures the purpose of this site. It’s a place to celebrate the everyday beauty we have around us in the places we live, the drives we take, and the sites we have the privilege to visit.
Over the past week, I’ve taken a few of those moments to live. As the extreme heatwave of late June/early July finally broke and we reached a more manageable set of highs in the mid-90s, I took the time to enjoy Tower Grove Park. Nightly walks through the park with my wife allowed us to get some fresh air. This morning we were able to take our time as we strolled through the Tower Grove Farmer’s Market, enjoying the watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, beans, and other fresh, seasonal produce that has popped up over the past several weeks. And though it was short, we had a few moments to stop by Food Truck Friday and sample some cupcakes.
I believe that Tower Grove Park is one of the underrated treasures of St. Louis. Growing up outside of St. Louis, I knew of and visited Forest Park. We checked out all the big-ticket amenities such as the Zoo, Art Museum, and Science Center. We even visited the Missouri Botanical Garden. Yet we never made it into the heart of Tower Grove Park, which is unfortunate.
For me, the beauty of Tower Grove Park is found in way that people use the park. It feels like a big neighborhood front yard, a place where you can stroll along the gently curving roads, admire the beauty of the pavilions throughout the park, and can have fun people watching as they play kickball, softball, corkball, picnic, or sit and watch the ducks.
As you’re getting out and enjoying the weather, enjoy this photo of the Tower Grove Park bandstand, framed by a June moon.
Spent a bit of time during the most recent full moon (which was on July 3rd) at the top of the Compton Hill Water Tower in South St. Louis. Here’s one of the images I captured that night as the sun was setting over the city.
Much of structure that comprised the iconic Pevely Dairy has already been torn down, including the smoke stack and most of the warehouse facilities. However, the original dairy structure and the iconic Pevely sign remain for a while longer. Before this piece of St. Louis history is relegated to our memory by the wrecking ball, I had to stop and get several photos. Here’s one view of the building with a summer sun setting in the background.
When you walk down the street, do you ever look up? No, I don’t mean just looking up from the sidewalk and staring at the mass of approaching people. Or the birds.
When I really look up while walking around, I try to watch for the parts of the city that aren’t at eye level. You know, those parts of the built environment that we don’t often see, but are integral to the character of the places that we inhabit. These are the details, the nuances that differentiate buildings, neighborhoods, and cities from one another. They are part of what helps create the meanings attached to a place.
One especially pleasant spring evening in late March, I took advantage of the weather to stroll around parts of downtown St. Louis with my camera. This was during the NCAA tournament, so I expected to find crowds of basketball fans carousing on Washington Avenue.
Instead, I found was a fairly quiet set of restaurants and bars. So, I started looking up. And, as expected, I started seeing new worlds. I saw the Civil Courts Building lit for night. I saw the green glow of a neon “Shell” sign. And I saw the weather ball on top of the General American Life Insurance Building (which is now Terra Cotta Lofts).
Slowly leaving that coming night sky was a sliver of the moon. It was just above the skyline, about to head out of sight. Once I saw this view, I knew I wanted to try and capture it. Yet I also knew that time was not my friend. Luckily, after several tries, I finally got the camera to stand still long enough to capture this shot.
Needless to say, I was glad to have spent the night peeking in to another world, the world above the streetscape, above our eye level.
Just a quick photo tonight of a beautiful sunrise taken in April 2012 from our lanai the Green Coconut Studio in Kauai.
Summer has finally arrived in Wisconsin! While much of the country has been enjoying warm weather for at least the last few months, those of us living in Wisconsin have been experiencing an exceptionally cool and wet spring. But that’s finally changed, and it’s now time to experience summer along the lakes.
In Madison, there are plenty of places where you can relax along a lake shore and enjoy life. Of course, the Memorial Union Terrace is a beloved institution, a place where all of Madison seemingly gathers during the summer months. Picnic Point juts into the middle of Lake Mendota, providing moments of solitude along the wooded shoreline. But our two favorite spots to sit, watch the lake, and take in the sunset are on the eastern short of Lake Mendota – Tenney Park (especially along the breakwater that surrounds the lock) and James Madison Park.
With the warming temperatures and a bit of free time, we finally decided that we had to grab a coffee and head out to enjoy the evening along Lake Mendota. Even though we recently saw the amazing sunsets over the west coast of Florida, we found this one to be exactly what the doctor ordered. Enjoy!
It’s been a while since I had the opportunity to post. Between a personal tragedy and mountains of snow, the month of January was a long month for my wife and I. However, we’re well into February, and it’s time for me to start sharing pictures, writing about our travels, and thinking about the joyful times of life again.
This is a picture of the Pacific Ocean on the Oregon Coast. While I love visiting typical tropical beach destinations, no place I’ve visited has ever compared with this part of Oregon. Once we arrived on the coast, we found a rugged, wild landscape filled with green mountains that plunge into the crashing sea. Each turn on US101 brought new vistas, from the iconic Haystack Rock to lovely little hamlets perched precariously along the sea. And while I know this area is filled with tourists, it didn’t feel busy during those few days. In fact, we felt like we had our little resort town to ourselves, like the coast was – at least for that night – our own little secret.
In fact, Manzanita is a well-established stop along the coast west of Portland. It’s a fantastic little artists colony, filled with a great bookstore perched on a wide, relatively protected stretch of the coast. We had a spectacular evening watching the sun set, listening to the waves crash on the beach, and strolling along the wide stretch of sand.
As I sit in the comfort of my living room, starting at the 55+” of snow that have accumulated so far this winter, I think back to that June evening and remember the sound of the waves, the gentle breezes, and the joy at finding a hamlet like Manzanita.
As we prepare to head back to the snowy northwoods from a brief visit to the promised land, I longingly look back over photos from our trip to Hawaii from last May. Some of our best memories are from when we left the confines of the tourist-trap called Waikiki and explored life in the islands. Of particular interest was Hilo, a city that is filled with a laid-back island charm, an delectable Farmer’s Market, and some amazing local restaurants (including Sombat’s Thai Restaurant). Plus, we got to stay at a wonderful little B&B, where our lanai opened onto Hilo Bay and we fell asleep to the gentle symphony of coqui frogs mixed with crashing waves. If we had one regret from our trip, it’s that we didn’t spend more time relaxing in Hilo and less time navigating the hustle-and-bustle of Honolulu.
Despite our weariness of Waikiki, nothing can beat sunsets along the world-famous beach. Here’s an image from along that stretch of sand when the sun is just starting to make its way towards the horizon. Ahh, the glory of Hawaii.