Florida Trip Blog: Skipping thru time & space~ Part 3 (Antietam Battlefield)

Our last adventure on our trip back north this year, was to the Battlefield of Antietam on our way home.
You can find the Antietam Battlefield Visitor Center at
5831 Dunker Church Road, Sharpsburg, MD 21782

This museum and location,  documents the day, September 17, 1862, one of the bloodiest battles in the history of this nation.
Here is a Betsy Ross flag with the 13 stars

Oh my. So much history...and it's of the tragic kind.

Americans fighting Americans.

23,000 soldiers killed in 12 hours. Making it the bloodiest one day battle in American history. 

And the meeting point of both the North & the South, was here at Dunker Church.

Ironically, this church was pacifistic and the battle was fought on its front yard.
Let that sink in.

 Here is a photograph from that tragic day...
The church was nearly destroyed due to artillery, souvenir hunters and storms...
but was later rebuilt

Here it is as it stands today..

Visit Dunker Church webpage

 The museum was very interesting, with so many exhibits to absorb.
Here is a battle drum...
and a minstrel coat of the era....
Some of the many, many monuments that dot the countryside in this historic area:

You can even take a virtual tour on the website! Amazing story.
The Antietam Battlefield Museum

The battlefield itself is now pretty much devoid of any trees...

and there is a haunting feeling of sadness and despair that lingers there to this day....

We remember and pray for those who died there...
and we hope and pray that our present day Americans can learn to listen to each other and work for the good of all now and in the future.

Florida Trip blog: Skipping thru time & space Part 2 (Hindu Temple of FL & Henry B. Plant Museum)

Hey Ho~

Continuing the traveling stories from our tour south....

Our second adventure was to the "Hindu Temple of Florida" and it was wonderful to go and see the artwork and feel the vibes here at this most beauteous temple! Construction started in 1994 and was finished in the year 2000.  The folks there were very kind, hospitable and welcoming. We each came away with a banana that was given to us by the Priest. :) We marveled at the shrines, the artwork, the stories, the lavish colors. It was very, very kewl.

We couldn't take pics of the inside of the temple, (which is fine and we used our decorum) but there are a couple of pics posted on the web, that I did include.
See for yourself and surf here:
Hindu Temple of Florida
Check out the Osprey's nest on tip-top of the shrine!

(Ospreys are symbolic for The Osprey is a majestic Bird of Prey. ... The Osprey is a symbol of true power, with mastery over the sea, air and land. It is a true hunter, with speed, agility, power and precision. It is a symbol of keen vision, seeing its prey clearly and not being blinded by the sun as it dives towards its target.)

Ganesh, with his big elephant tusk to carry things is the "Remover of Obstacles"
I personally said a prayer to Ganesh for you, and for our country. <3
Hey, we need all the help we can get! :)

It was beautiful!

Our third adventure was to the Henry B. Plant Museum in Tampa. Talk about your gilded age in the day of robber barons! WOWSA. This building was previously a 500 room hotel in its heyday! So posh! Yet so HUGE! It never really filled....and started going into decline...but it was saved by turning it into another site for the University of Tampa.

The Henry Plant Museum was formerly known as the Tampa Bay Hotel, which was a 511 room resort hotel opened on February 5, 1891 by Henry B. Plant near the terminus of his rail line. The museum's exhibits focus on Gilded Age tourism, the elite lifestyle of the hotel's guests, and the building's use during the Spanish–American War. It was designed by architect J.A. Wood who also created the old Hillsborough County Courthouse and the Oglethorpe Hotel.

U.S. National Historic Landmark
The Tampa Bay Hotel was built by railroad magnate Henry B. Plant between 1888 and 1891. The construction cost over 3 million dollars.[5] It was considered the premier hotel of the eight that Mr. Plant built to anchor his rail line. The hotel itself covers 6 acres (24,000 m2) and is a quarter-mile long. It was equipped with the first elevator ever installed in Florida. The elevator is still working today, making it one of the oldest continually operational elevators in the nation. The 511 rooms and suites were the first in Florida to have electric lights and telephones. Most rooms also included private bathrooms, complete with a full-size tub. The price for a room ranged from $5.00 to $15.00 a night at a time when the average hotel in Tampa charged $1.25 to $2.00.

The grounds of the hotel spanned 150 acres (0.61 km2) and included a golf course, bowling alley, racetrack, casino and an indoor heated swimming pool. In all, 21 buildings could be found on the hotel's campus. The Moorish Revival architectural theme was selected by Mr. Plant because of its exotic appeal to the widely traveled Victorians who would be his primary customers. The hotel has six minarets, four cupolas, and three domes. In the early 90's, all were restored to their original stainless steel state.

Click this link!
Henry B. Plant Museum on Youtube!


Just LOOK at the SCALE of this place!
See me?
See the size of the window??
Look at Donna and I...
can you see us?

See how long the hallways are???

After all that walking and learning and adventuring....
Lunch was long overdue!

So a trip to Frenchy's Rockaway Grill, in Clearwater, right on the beach!!
Complete with a sighting of a PIRATE SHIP!

We enjoyed the day to be sure!
And Rockaway Mules to drink washed down Steamed Oysters and Shrimp.
What a great treat.

 A very happy time of it!
Thanks to Donna Davenport for being our tour guide and driver!


Florida Trip Blog: Skipping through time and space tour~ Part 1 (Salvador Dali Museum)

Hey Ho~

If last year's trip was hell on wheels, then this year's trip was heaven on wings.

While calamity and depression seem to sell the big clicks these days on news and product...
there is something to be said about delight, friendships, safety and adventure combined as well!

The traveling was (thankfully) without incident and except for the occasional wild tractor trailer driver, the road conditions were just super. We got ahead of a storm on the way down...and we sidestepped a storm on the way back! WHEW! Lucky!

 Of course, our first order of business once we landed...
was turning Santa back into HARRY!
So I bought him a pampering day with a "Hot towel shave!"
Harry said it "was fantastic!" He felt like a million bucks afterwards! <3

We visited and stayed with friends in our love of communal gatherings, we worked at the Fort Myers Medieval Festival and enjoyed playing with the other minstrels and with the patrons!

We performed for an early morning news program, live on the air at 6am on a Sunday morning IN GARB, ON SITE. This is no small feat if you've ever had to get into garb at 5am for performance!
Oh, it was also 38 degrees. Did I mention that? We were fine. Harry's guitar got a new crack in the finish from the cold. We got free sandwiches, coffee and Meade for breakfast. It helped. :)

Our first faire weekend was chilly but fun! Here is a clip of friends of ours (Jay & Abby of The Harper & The Minstrel) and hammer dulcimer babe, Barby Holder) playing with us after the pub closed. It's pretty fun and special.

Click on it.
Minstrels off on a tangent :)

Our midweek found us doing a slug day (our traditional minstrel holiday) on the Mondays after faire. Slug days include padding around without a brain for 1/2 day. ...errands to the liquor store and otherwise laying around, eating, drinking, smoking and binge watching something awesome on Netflix or Amazon prime. Our choices this year was "Reign" which was really quite grand! We also absorbed "Mozart in the Jungle" 3rd season. We all binge watched the first two seasons last year! Excellent. Highly recommend you watch it if you love stories of sex and drugs and rock n' roll (only it's sex & drugs & classical music!) It's a soap opera based on classical music aficionados.

Our midweek gig playing at The Celtic Ray in Punta Gorda was great. This was our third year playing here. Great food, nice people. And we loved a secret sign for all the performers there which said:
"Please...no buffet, no wagon wheel, no country, no skynyrd, eagles, etc."
(this sign...a message for performers...and those who come down the stairs...only visible from the stage).  Ha!

Needless to say, we played Celtic music all evening. And other than leaving the pub and accidentally going the wrong way on a one way street (we blame the GPS), a very nice Florida cop only gave us a warning and wag of the head. We DID say we had just come from the pub too. But with all the gear and instruments in the back, he believed we worked it. Also checking our website with it on our gig calendar showed we weren't there drinking all night too :)


Our first adventure was to the Salvador Dali Art Museum in St. Petersburg.
Click here to surf it
Salvador Dali Museum

Now THAT'S a moustache Harry!

And as luck would have it, we were also able to enjoy the exhibit of Frida Kahlo's work as well!
Surf here for more info:
Frida Kahlo Art

 The Labryinth!

It was all so inspiring and consuming! How'ere, something weird DID happen there. Whilst I was wandering the Kahlo exhibit, I was becoming more and more aware of becoming achy in my body...and then I was in flat out PAIN. I'd measure it at about a 6 or 7 on scale of 1-10. Why? What was happening? All of a sudden, my lower back, hips, legs and feet were just excruciating! I didn't know how to get to the car fast enough, which was a good stretch of the legs distant to walk it.

 I did finally get to the car, sat gingerly in the back seat and took off my sandals and sat cross legged. Some pain subsided. I tried troubleshooting WHY and WHERE it was coming from previously. Was it msg from the Chinese food the day before? And then after a day or two of wondering, it finally DAWNED on me.
I was at Frida Kahlo's exhibit and that's when I became SO aware of her, the bearer of pain!

Well, silly Merlyn...you ARE an empath! Her paintings were very much about her pain. Her pain in her lower back, hips, legs, feet. OF COURSE I must've picked it up. It dispelled more and more the longer I was not around it. I would however, HIGHLY recommend you see and view her art work!  Just put up your shields and learn and don't dive in like I do! She was FABULOUS as was Dali's artwork! Mindblowing!

I leave you with this WALL of flowers for her!

Stay tuned for more pics and stories tomorrow!