The Montreal Botanical Gardens is one of the finest, if not the finest, botanical gardens in North America. It has a large number of specialty gardens, such as a Chinese Gardens (covered in a separate posting), as well as numerous thematic gardens – including one dedicated to poisonous plants!
Overall the gardens are amazingly beautiful, and well kept.
For more than 60 years Dave Ramey has been one of the best in the country in restoring old music machines. These mechanical devices date from the early 1900s, and feature a number of instruments including pianos, banjos, drums and others.
Dave’s business has been located in Marysville, Ohio for more than 10 years. In an effort to encourage people to check out downtown Marysville, they have placed the machines in a number of the small shops. All you have to do is show up, use one of the free nickels, and get a song from a cool machine.
Buenos Aires, Argentina is said to have more live theater than any other city in the world. In my 10 days there I even saw an impromptu performance on a subway, which at first I thought was a real argument.
With all of these theaters it is bound to have one or two that go out of business – like this one.
Ah but Buenos Aires is smart enough not to tear it down. Adolfo de Vincenzi purchased the theater and restored it into a bookstore called the El Ateneo! This translates in English to anthenaeum, which was a school in ancient Rome. The word is commonly used for libraries, etc.
The results were spectacular. Numerous publications, including National Geographic, have named the El Ateneo these most beautiful bookstore in the world. I agree.
In addition to the main level, two of the upper levels have books.
The cafe is located on the stage.
The old lighting controls are also located in the cafe.
No matter the angle of view, it is amazing.
In addition to housing the children’s section, the lower level has a small display detailing the history of the theater.
As with many old theaters, the ceiling has a great mural.
As you drive across the flatlands of Oklahoma one feature you do not expect is a redish mesa rising 200 feet above the prairie, but that is exactly what Gloss Mountain does.
In fact there are a few of these features in the area just outside of the small, appropriately named town of Fairview.
The hike up the mesa was on some sketchy looking stairs, but they worked – from the top you have a panoramic view of the area.
These unique features were formed long ago when the area was under a sea that left behind layers of shale and siltstone, with a top layer of gypsum. There is something known as selenite in gypsum that is glossy, hence the name.
The mesa’s were formed from erosion over thousands of years.
From here you have a seemingly endless view across the flat lands.
Once you reach the top you pass numerous fields of wild flowers.
Gloss Mountain – an unexpected and fun hike in the middle of Oklahoma.
While my photography has improved over the years I still struggle with caves, even those that have lights. Carlsbad Caverns is much more than what is represented here. Go see them in person, it is better.
With Avery Island’s location in southern Louisiana the main agricultural business is sugar cane.
With the year round warm, wet weather it is the perfect climate for nature to grow. In the late 1800s the son of the founder of Tabasco sauce, Edward Avery McIlhenny, created the botanical gardens known as Jungle Gardens.
The gardens cover 170 acres of Avery Island.
There isn’t a large number of different plants, flowers and trees, but the gardens are well laid out, and immaculately kept up.
As with most of Louisiana, water is always nearby.
Including this nice pond, with a warning sign to not feed the alligators (which seems like anyone would know that).
We did NOT feed this alligator.
The turtles were safely out of harms way.
A few buildings remain from the early days of Tabasco pepper growing.
This drive is appropriately named Wisteria Lane, as you make your way under the Wisteria arch.
The highlight however is Bird City. In 1895 Edward raised eight egrets in captivity, releasing them in the fall for their migration. The next year they returned with more egrets.
Ever since then thousands of egrets return to Avery Island in the spring and reside there until late summer.
When we arrived for the Tabasco tour we were one of the few who opted to purchase combination tickets for the factory tour and the gardens. It was money well spent!