Day 1,411 of Traveling the World | Los Angeles, CA | December 12, 2021

A gorgeous, sunny December Day. Downtown Los Angeles. Our friends Chantik and Sol. And…a Food Tour! What riches we were offered yesterday. We took the Sidewalk Food Tour with our very good guide, Scarlet. We learned a lot about the history of downtown, stopped to gawk at some amazing buildings, and had six “tastings” of some of the best food offered there.

We started at Pitchoun!, which is a classic French boulangerie owned by a couple from France. The name is from the Marseilles dialect of French for “kiddo.” It was crowded even early in the morning. Their almond croissant stuffed with frangipane was amazing, as was their strong cappuccino. We arrived early for the tour, sat down, and each ordered a large coffee. They were so big that they were served in bowls!

We then walked by the Biltmore Hotel, now the Millennium Biltmore, which opened in 1923 as the largest hotel west of Chicago. It hosted the first Academy Awards show, and in 1964 the Beatles stayed in the Presidential Suite during their first US tour. Fans crowded the the streets so densely that they had to get to their room via a helicopter landing on the roof.

After walking through Pershing Square, we headed to the Grand Central Market, across from the Angels Flight funicular that takes passengers up to Bunker Hill. There, we tasted Horse Thief BBQ and DTLA Cheese’s grilled cheese sandwich. The BBQ was very tender brisket with a spicy/sweet sauce and pickles, while the grilled cheese was made on brioche with two cheddar cheeses and some mozzarella. Because the brioche is a sweet bread, they crisp it with the oven broiler rather than in a frying pan. It was heavenly – very light, flaky, and tasty. The Grand Central Market is jammed with food, whimsy, color, AND people, as you can see from the photos. It was a lot of fun to see people out again, enjoying life.

In the Broadway Arcade Building we had a good margarita pizza at Pizza Napolita and great tacos at Guisados. The corn tortillas are handmade there, and the three varieties of tacos were all delicious. Our final stop was at Donut Friend, which makes vegan donuts. It is quite remarkable, because all of the donuts taste like “normal” donuts…you couldn’t tell that they didn’t have eggs or dairy in them. The last three photos are of some of the vast array of unusual donuts. It was an amazing place!

All of the tastes we had were in places that you likely wouldn’t discover on your own, which is what makes a really good tour. We normally wouldn’t order a cheese sandwich, for example, but the one we had was surprising and delicious. And a good guide always delights. Scarlet was very knowledgeable and interesting. Not a woman to be daunted, she bravely talked over all the street and truck noises and amid all the pedestrians bobbing through and around our sidewalk tour of 16 people. It really was a remarkable day!

Every large city we have visited has encouraged us to drink beer. Wonder why that is??
Pitchoun! had three or four cases of baked breads and patisserie items. Every single one looked sinfully delicious.
We thought the sign on the wall on the right (“Pain”) was funny, even though we know it is the French word for bread. It wasn’t near the bread display, though. It was just hangin’ out on its own.
Our guide, Scarlet, in front of one of the entrances to the Millennium Biltmore, with its massive columns and decorative arch. Many movies and TV shows have been filmed here.
Pershing Square. It seemed funny that it won an award for its “design,” even though there wasn’t much design. It was a large expanse of concrete devoid of anything pleasant or pretty. There is only this one tree that might give a little shade, with the rest being palm trees. Scarlet told us the square is slated for renovation in 2022.
A building we passed had these hollow-eyed cherubs all along the facade.
Only seven funiculars exist in the US, and Angels Flight leading up to Bunker Hill is one of them! But Pittsburgh holds the record for the most, with two.
This is the pretty patio adjacent to the Grand Central Market, where Horse Thief BBQ delivers up some great delights.
A gorgeous, bright piece of neon art in the Grand Central Market.
We ate at Eggslut (also in Grand Central Market ) many years ago. Their most notable specialty is the SLUT, which is a cage-free coddled egg on top of potato purée, poached in a glass jar, and topped with gray salt and chives, accompanied by slices of baguette.
A view down one of the aisles.
The Million Dollar Theater, close-up. Check out that detail work!
The Million Dollar Theater, including a view of the impressive statuary at the top of the building.
The historic Bradbury Building, the oldest commercial building downtown (1893), now closed due to the pandemic. The interior was used in Mike’s favorite film, Blade Runner. It has the classic metal elevators and metal scroll work on the staircases and banisters inside.
We didn’t know that LA had an arcade building, as we have seen in other countries. This houses a variety of restaurants, including our tastes at Pizza Napolita and Guisados.
Guisados had the best tacos, on homemade corn tortillas.
Pizza Napolita served a margarita pizza that had a slightly charred crust, with splotches of sauce, cheese, and basil. The crust was very pillowy underneath the crunchy, crispy exterior – a triumph.
We liked the way the light worked in tandem with this street art.
An ice cream shop! What a cute name!
The imposing doors to the Los Angeles Stock Exchange, which opened in 1930. The doors weigh one ton each and are original to the building. It served as a stock exchange until 1986, and has since been the site of two nightclubs. The exterior is protected by the Los Angeles Conservancy.
We haven’t seen a cuter name for a cafe!
This is a true LA treasure, Clifton‘s Cafeteria. We ate here many years ago, and the seating area inside had a gigantic tree framing the tables, along with taxidermy animals, foliage, and mood lighting. Quite the place!
Enjoy the inventive names….
…the bold colors…
…and the whimsy. Oh, if only by looking at them, you could taste them somehow! Amazing.

Day 1,395 of Traveling the World | Huntington Beach, CA | November 26, 2021

Oh, Boy! OH, GIRL! What a perfect day for driving along, and walking around, the beach! We lived in a house in Huntington Beach for many years before we sold it to travel the world four years ago. It is one of the best areas in the world to live, but we were very happy to be free from owning a house anywhere. Like we did today, we can always go back and enjoy it for a while before we move on to some other spectacular place.

Today felt like the middle of summer, 80 degrees, sunny, and so clear that we could see Catalina Island perfectly. We also saw lots of cargo ships waiting offshore, as reported on 60 Minutes a few weeks ago. The surfers were out, and Main Street was closed for a block. We thought it was for the weekend Farmer’s Market, but it was just for all the extended outdoor patio seating. That is one thing that has changed since we were last here.

We know that most of California is not coastal, as the Central Valley produces much of the fruit and vegetables to feed the US during the winter. But being in California and not being close to the beach and ocean just seems crazy to us. Driving on Pacific Coast Highway is one of the great joys of our traveling life whenever we are back in Southern California. In just a few days we have driven along the ocean several times, and we fall in love with the view – the gloriousness – each and every time.

The beach, the waves, the ocean, container ships, and Catalina as the backdrop, along with a clear blue sky. November??? No way!
Palm trees, lots of sand, beach volleyball, blue skies, and people. November?? This is crazy!
Snowflake Christmas decorations on the pier, beach volleyball, and a perfect, blue, calm ocean.
Bikers, walkers, people watchers, volleyball players, and the Huntington Beach pier, with Catalina as the backdrop.
She caught a wave! But the ocean was pretty calm…only tiny ripples, really. San Pedro and stationary cargo ships are visible behind her.
Waiting, waiting, waiting…but not much happening. Catalina Island is visible in this photo, also. There is an old song that says Catalina is 26 miles across the sea. We heard an interview by the man who wrote it many years ago who said the distance just fit well in the song, and he really didn’t know exactly how far off shore it is.
View from the end of the pier toward shore. Wouldn’t you just love to live in that white apartment complex on the left?? We would, but only for a week or two….too much of the world yet to visit!
The air temperature (80 degrees), water temperature (60 degrees), and surf conditions. Locals call it the Surf Report! You can see the hand – and green fingernail – of the nice lady in the information booth who took it off its mounting so we could get a better picture.
A sidewalk sale for Black Friday. But honestly, they seem to have sidewalk sales several times a month in downtown Huntington.
Main Street, closed off for extended restaurant seating. Believe it or not, one restaurant has installed cloth-covered BOOTHS rather than tables and chairs! We haven’t seen that anywhere on our travels.
A Huntington Beach/Surf City surf board
The Surf Museum, along with a surfing dude!
Two blocks and a wide beach away from the ocean, and you can STILL see Catalina Island! Amazing!

Day 1,386 of Traveling the World | Albuquerque, New Mexico | November 17, 2021

Funny. Did you know that Albuquerque was famous for things other than being the filming location of Breaking Bad?? It is! It has a long and storied history. It has part of Route 66, the “Mother Road.” It is home to the world’s largest hot-air balloon festival every October, the International Balloon Fiesta. And, it hosts North America’s largest pow wow, the Gathering of Nations.

Six or seven years ago, we took the self-driving tour of most of the real-life filming locations from Breaking Bad. The people who bought Walter White’s home have multiple No Trespassing signs, and they sat in lawn chairs inside the open garage, watching that nobody trespassed! It looked exhausting. We looked, and took photos, from across the street. So, this trip, we did not repeat that tour.

Instead, we visited Old Town and took a walking tour. If we didn’t know we were in Albuquerque, we would have thought we were in Santa Fe. There are many very old buildings with second-story balconies and lots of covered sidewalks. There are bunches of dried red chili peppers everywhere, and we mean everywhere! As we walked around, we kept commenting to each other how hard the merchants worked to keep the area clean and interesting. There is a lot of attention to detail.

There is a pretty park in the center of Old Town with leaves the color of sunshine. One of the most notable landmarks is San Felipe de Neri Church (St. Philip Neri), dating to 1793, which replaced the previous structure from 1706 that collapsed. And Old Town has a Breaking Bad store – if we had a home in which to put our favorite things, we would have bought quite a few favorite things! But photos will have to suffice.

Inevitably, there were lots of sugar skull-inspired pieces of art for sale, including full-size statues. These are here year-round, and one was an entire store devoted to all things sugar skulls, rather than a “pop-up”store for Halloween or Dia de Los Muertos (the Mexican Day of the Dead). And there is marvelous New Mexico cuisine here, centering around the hatch chile – it has a unique flavor and spiciness, which could be said of the entire city. It was great walking around and getting more of a sense of the city’s history. (And, if you don’t know what Breaking Bad is, the last three photos from the store won’t mean a thing to you – if there is anyone alive who isn’t familiar with the best television series ever created.)

The pretty center of Old Town Albuquerque
San Felipe de Neri Church, 1793
The busy interior of San Felipe de Neri
A shopping plaza with covered sidewalks and balconies
For the Love of Salsa…and a great bench for people-watching (did you notice the dried chile peppers?)
A cafe with cactus and mariachi musicians – it has it all!
A small, colorful shopping plaza
Wow! Lots going on here!
From the Santisima Art Gallery
So…is she scared, or scary? Let us know!
Colorful, happy, skeletal flowered-skirted mermaids. What’s not to love?
A HAPPY sugar skull – ready for his close-up. Oops! This IS his close-up.
Another view of the park, with – you guessed it – sunshine leaves!
Dancing Crow Gallery (did you notice the dried chili peppers?)
It’s hard to tell what this is, but it’s a pretty fountain with a bucket scooping up water and pouring it back in – cactus in front, of course
We liked the stylized wings of this coffeehouse
One of the gorgeous, interesting courtyards with stores and cafes
A sculpture park
A very weathered old trough now used as a planter, but the flowers seem to have gone missing. We liked its rusticness.
Trying to be all things to all people (and make a little cash while doing so), this business is impressive…it is an Indian Art Gallery, a Restaurant, an Indian Gift Shop, and a Souvenir Outlet. If you can’t see the sign beneath the Community Bulletin Board, it says, of course, “Restaurant Entrance Through Gift Shop.” (And, did you notice the dried chile peppers?)
One of the shopping plazas announced the names of its stores with overhead hanging barrels
The Breaking Bad store offered for sale these glass prayer candles with pictures of some of the show’s characters. What’s that? Blasphemous, you say? Well…maybe!
Some of the t-shirts for sale
…and a little shrine to the famous Los Pollos Hermanos of Gus Fring

Day 1,382 of Traveling the World | Oklahoma City, OK | November 13, 2021

🎶 Ohhhhh – O!KLAHOMA!….where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain…. You know the song. And now, we know a small part of the capital city, commonly called OKC. Mike’s mom, and her family, were from a small town near here, Anadarko. But we had never spent any time in OKC.

Our hotel was located in the reconverted, trendy area of town called “Bricktown,” which was the old warehouse district, but we didn’t know that when we booked it. There are lots of bars, restaurants, hotels, breweries, and even the National Banjo Museum! Who knew??

We visited the 1995 Oklahoma Bombing Memorial site, and it is quite lovely and peaceful, as you can see. It was constructed on the site of the bombed Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which was demolished several weeks after the incident. A new federal building was constructed in the next block in 2003 to replace this facility. The set of inscribed empty chairs alongside the reflecting pool, one for each of the 168 people killed, is quite moving and haunting.

Mike’s grandmother and uncle were in downtown Oklahoma City on the day of the bombing, at her doctor’s office. They were not close to the blast site and were unhurt. But it reminds us of what a small world it is and how these incidents can affect any of us, no matter how far removed from us they seem.

The Myriad Botanical Gardens were also very quiet and peaceful as we walked along. The biggest attraction there, the Crystal Bridge Conservatory, is closed for renovations, so we walked around and enjoyed the quiet in the midst of traffic and business. There were murals, sculptures, and statues around the city, as usual. We are displaying a few of them. We were surprised, as we walked through the city, to have several strangers greet us and ask how we were doing. This happens in very small towns, but not usually in larger cities. It was nice. We liked it, we liked it! 🆗

Memorialized in brick on the sidewalk of Bricktown…the 2003 Bike Bash…Harley Davidson, of course.
So pretty, painted dark red.
Also painted dark red is the National Banjo Museum
A beautiful Native American mural in a pedestrian underpass.
…and more of it.
Contemporary sculpture in the Myriad Botanical Gardens
Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory at the Botanical Gardens. We hear it is spectacular, but it was closed for renovations.
A pretty scene at the botanical gardens, but what’s the yellow thing in the fountain? (See next photo)
How cute! Someone put a rubber ducky in the fountain!
Much like the 9/11 Memorial in New York, a peaceful garden has been constructed to honor the lives lost in the Oklahoma City bombing.
…a reflecting pool…
…and empty chairs, each with a person’s name inscribed on it.
We don’t know why, but many buildings in the downtown have tops reminiscent of a castle or fortification.
We just loved and smiled at this sculpture even though we didn’t have any idea what it was – see the next photo.
Yay! The explanation!
We love this depiction of a proud and contemporary Native American.
Along with the drawing above, these wall murals were painted by Eric Tippeconic in 2020. He said: “This piece illustrates the concept that indigenous Americans are living, contemporary cultures firmly rooted in their traditions while thriving in their modern environs.”
This sign was in the window of the restaurant we visited with our dear friend Sue at Tenkiller Lake, near Vian, OK. Every town seems to love the local high school sports teams, and this is no exception.

Day 1,373 of Traveling the World | New York City, NY | November 4, 2021

Back in New York, we have had a great time for the past two weeks! But the cold has set in, as we thought it might – November in New York is supposed to be cold, right? But it has gotten into the 40s and 50s over the past several days. Prior to that, it was short sleeves and shorts!

We visited some off-the-beaten-path places as well as the most famous. We attended a total of four Broadway plays and one off-Broadway show. They were all very different and wonderful in their own way. The off-Broadway show was “Tammany Hall,” held in an actual social club used by members of Tammany Hall. The setting was election night, 1929. It was interactive, so we talked with all of the actors throughout and followed them up and down stairs into different settings and rooms. In two of the rooms, you could even buy a drink to sit and chat with them. Mike (the Mike of 1929, that is) expressed his learned opinions on the stock market, that the crash of 1929 was short-term and that happy days would soon be here again; and, also in politics, that New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidential ambitions were misplaced and he would never achieve anything further in politics. Only history will determine the quality of Mike’s prognostications. It was lots of fun. We would do it again, now that we are more familiar with interactive theater.

Speaking of little-known places, the first few photos are of the Morgan Library and Museum, one of the most stunning places we have seen, as you can see for yourself. Speaking of well-known places, these are followed by photos of the World Trade Center memorial. We have been to the memorial twice before. Both times it was still under construction, and we had to get tickets beforehand and undergo three security checks. Today, it is all in a park setting, and you just walk through on your own, as in any park.

We went on a glorious food tour with Nice Guy Tours. The food was great, and Dante truly was…a nice guy. The Museum of the American Indian is housed in a beautiful old building with a great rotunda…see for yourself! We ate in a historic tavern, walked our feet off just wandering and admiring the architecture, and we greatly enjoyed Times Square on Halloween night. It was very, very crowded, though, much more than we like, in these still-pandemic times. Overall, another great visit to New York, a gift that keeps on giving – we find new things and places every time we come here.

J. Pierpont Morgan’s library, now a museum. A little-known museum, it is one of the most magnificent rooms we have been in.
Another view of the gorgeous Morgan library showing the wall tapestry and skylight.
The skylight ceiling!
The ceiling of the rotunda just before you enter the library! Lifestyles of the rich and famous, huh?
One of the two fountains marking the footprint of the World Trade Center at the Memorial Site.
Dramatic, soaring architecture at the World Trade Center site.
…and more!
The fabulous inside, now a subway/train station and mall.
…bringing some color to the area.
The area around the fountains has the feel of a beautiful, carefree park.
The 9/11 Cross, outside a church across from the World Trade Center.
The amazing story of the 9/11 cross.
Fun!?!? Does this look like FUN to you?
Boink! Rat runs into street sign!
The lines have returned for popular restaurants. This was the lunch time line at one of the City’s best delis, Russ and Daughters.
Outrageous colors for winter coats! So much variety!
The Lady in Red!
bu bu. Just bu bu. Cutest name ever!
Love this! Oops!
Gorgeous NY “Big Apple” chocolate cakes.
Check out this glorious building!
We visited Economy Candy on a Food Tour. These are just some of the old-fashioned candies we saw.
In the Port Authority window, we saw – and loved – this display of two witches’ houses on chicken feet, called Baba Yaga in Slavic folklore.
The beautiful ceiling at the Schubert Theater, where we saw Jeff Daniels in To Kill a Mockingbird.
We wonder – did he pass the required height and weight minimums for the NYPD??
In a store window as we walked around Soho.
A little pricey for being idle, don’t you think?
This was cool – the cat was climbing down from the top of the building, and moving back and forth every once in a while.
The “speakeasy” part of Soho Playhouse, where we interacted with the actors of Tammany Hall.
What do you think? Theater? Church? Museum? Think again. It is….a pizza parlor! John’s Pizza in Times Square.
Look at all of those video screens! This is Halloween in Times Square.
More Halloween. The Phantom mask appeared a few days before Phantom of the Opera’s return to Broadway.
No comment! But….there were three of them! They were putting their arms around every man who passed, including Mike.
You can see why Times Square is one of the most-desired marketing venues in the world.
Can you believe this? It is the main rotunda in the Museum of the American Indian.
“My Love, Miss Liberty.” 1987, Cup’ik Tribe, Alaska. This is made from sea lion fur, sea lion gut, sealskin fur, cotton, glass, and wood.
These are Cherokee dance masks. The one on the right is a Booger Dance Mask, in fact, worn by the troublemakers!
A view down Wall Street toward Trinity Church, seemingly right in the middle of the action!
We had a delicious meal at this 1719 tavern – yes, predating our beginning as a country. The Fraunces Tavern hosted George Washington.
The inside of Fraunces Tavern is very cozy. We counted four full bars as we wandered around after dinner!
A peek of the interior of Walter Kerr Theater, now hosting the spectacular musical, Hadestown.

Day 1,354 of Traveling the World | Washington, DC | October 16, 2021

A TV journalist turns toward the camera and says, “Now, from Washington this morning….” and you think very seriously: government, lawmakers, lobbyists, infighting. But we discovered a very friendly, whimsical, and sometimes playful side to this amazing city. Every museum guard/greeter, server in a restaurant, and hotel worker enthusiastically greeted us with a smile, spoke to us at length, and thanked us profusely as we left. We found whimsy in restaurant menus (fried chicken with a glazed donut? – who does that?) and swings where there normally would be plain old boring benches! It has been a marvelous week in the country’s capital.

Our first photos are of the National Building Museum, which neither of us had ever heard of. We saw it on Google Maps, on the path from our hotel to the Smithsonian, so we decided to stop and see it. Are we ever glad we did! It is a magnificent room with gigantic brick columns (covered, of course). The room has been used for inaugural parties and political rallies. We passed a woman with two small children, playing on the floor adjacent to one of these towering columns. If she comes here often, what a great memory that will be for her kids! Sitting on a bench in front of the fountain was magical, as it was so quiet in this gorgeous space with few visitors. We also – finally! – got to the top of the Washington Monument! Over the past four visits to Washington, it has been closed for renovation, cleaning, or a special event every single time. We held our breaths as we approached, sure that it would close just as we got there. You must book your tickets online the day before, as only a limited number of visitors are allowed in the elevator at one time. They are still “free,” but with a $1 booking fee. And if you don’t nab your tickets within a few minutes of their 10:00 am availability, you may have to wait another day. We were surprised that the inside doors were actually vault doors!…very thick and heavy. We were also surprised that the elevator was built in from the beginning. It originally hauled freight and stones to the top, then switched to passengers once it opened in 1885, when it was the tallest structure in the world! (The Eiffel Tower eclipsed the monument just three years later, as it was twice as tall.)

There was still a good deal of fencing around the city, and many streets, sidewalks, and access ways were blocked off. In addition, many government buildings had giant planters along the sidewalk so that cars or trucks couldn’t be driven into the buildings. We “only” went to four museums this time (mainly because so many are closed early in the week, but all are open on weekends) – the National Building Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the Museum of Natural History, and the Spy Museum. The Spy Museum had lots of interesting information, along with maybe a dozen short films on various spies and missions. There was enough info to keep you in there for an entire day, although we didn’t have that much time!

We enjoyed many of the restaurants we went to, particularly the unusual flavors in two Middle Eastern restaurants. There are photos below from a Mexican restaurant along the waterfront, Mi Vida. It was beautifully decorated, and they take a risk by serving food that is fairly spicy, although we greatly enjoyed it. All in all, it was a most enjoyable week in Washington, and we are left with a good impression, great memories, and satisfied appetites.

The National Building Museum. Who even knew it existed! FABULOUS columns and serenity.
A pretty fountain in the middle. It was heaven to sit and enjoy the quiet, as not many other people knew it was here!
The arches and design are dizzying.
An American Icon, the Washington Monument
View from the top of the Washington Monument toward the Lincoln Memorial
View from the top of the Washington Monument toward the Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin
Near the White House and Capitol, there were fences and warnings everywhere
We couldn’t even approach this statue, as canine dogs were in use!
A guard house, road barriers, STOP! and an arm barrier.
Many government buildings had these gravel-filled planters along the curb to prevent a Timothy McVeigh-like truck from getting close to the building. These planters surround FBI Headquarters.
This elephant is the “greeter” for the National Museum of Natural History. Photos of him abound on the internet!
…but few bother to capture his “better” side!
The Hope Diamond, one of the world’s most famous gems. From India, it is 45.52 carats, surrounded by 16 white diamonds. There are 46 more diamonds on its chain. It is renowned for its flawless clarity and deep blue color.
Sleeping Beauty,” in the Spy Museum. This is a motorized submersible canoe from WW II. It glides along the surface, then dives underwater, where the pilot, wearing an oxygen mask, operates unseen by enemy ships. The design evolved into crafts used today by US Navy SEALs.
Spy Museum. This shortened ice climbing axe was used to kill Leon Trotsky, in Mexico, as ordered by Lenin. It still has a bloody fingerprint!
Looks pretty good, doesn’t it? It is a blow-up tank, used to trick the enemy into thinking there were far more tanks than were actually there and to fool the enemy into thinking the attack would be in a different location than where it was planned.
Just more of the beautiful architectural ornamentation that we like so much.
And more ornamentation! We don’t know what it represents, but this looked so pretty atop a building.
The handsome Smithsonian’s Arts + Industries Building. Its pediment stone is titled, “National Museum, 1879.”
This gorgeous piece of furniture in the National Gallery of Art is the Pier Table, built in Boston, 1815-1825. It is made of mahogany and inlaid with marble and semiprecious stones.
This ornate, inlaid side chair is from Baltimore, 1815-1825. National Gallery of Art.
One of the pretty fountains with a statue in a central court in the National Gallery of Art.
“Odalisque,” Augusta Renoir, 1870. We like all of the Impressionists, but went wild over the dizzying colors and patterns that Renoir captured – on fabric, no less! And her expression is one of a very world-wise, weary woman, which is difficult to depict in a painting.
Another lovely small court with a statue and fountain, an oasis in the middle of the museum.
A view of the Potomac River, along with an advertisement for a concert: Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. Yeah. We suspect not many of our readers have heard of them, either.
A pretty, fabricated tree in the lobby of Mi Vida restaurant at the Wharf.
The colorful bar at Mi Vida.
Woman, lounging on cow. Ben & Jerry’s on the Wharf.
Thrasher’s Rum, a bar. The other side says, “Make rum, not war.”
Lots of seafood stands near the water, like all wharf areas around the world.
Washington does a lot to make the city friendly, such as these picnic-tables-with-swings-as-benches!
The Recreation Pier…with even more swings! So fun!
The Natural History Museum gave the names of many of the plants that surround it. Have you ever heard a cuter name than Snowflake Candytuft???

Day 1,348 of Traveling the World, Chagrin Falls and Berea, Ohio. October 10, 2021.

Charming. Small Town America. Chagrin Falls and Berea are the definition of friendly, charming small towns. We are here in Chagrin (as the locals call it) for the second time, attending their marvelous documentary film festival. The films we have seen have been powerful and interesting. We have learned a lot! You can see a lot of the town in the photos below. A lot of effort is put into their being so adorable! We have said that it is like stumbling into a charming tourist town like Carmel, California, and you enjoy every second.

The Opening Night film was “War on the Diamond,” about the long-standing rivalry between the local club, the Cleveland Indians, and the NY Yankees. In 1920, Yankees pitcher Carl Mays threw a pitch that hit Ray Chapman in the head. Spectators said it was such a loud crack, they thought the ball had hit the bat. Chapman died the following day, the only baseball player to die as a direct result of playing in a baseball game. It has created a century-old rivalry (but isn’t every team a rival of the Yankees?). So, the first two photos are from opening night, as the film was sponsored by the Cleveland Indians. Next up is a photo of the fabulous Morgan Crawford, never too busy to say hi and help out with questions and problems. She has been a marvelous asset to the festival.

We got to Berea thanks to Gerry Nemeth, who teaches a class on game shows. We attended a documentary on Tiny Tim (which was very good, but all positive, none of the darker chapters!), and got into a conversation with Gerry, who, out of the blue, asked if we ever watch the game show Jeopardy. Since we are missing it this week (and it is killing us!), at that moment we had up a website that gives that day’s scores and statistics. So we told him we were the biggest fans, had met Ken Jennings, and had attended tapings of the show four different times. We then showed him what was on the iPad, and he laughed incredulously. He TEACHES a class on Game Shows in Berea, Ohio, and the next day was doing a class on Jeopardy. So after the movie, he asked what we were doing the next day, and we told him, of course, watching documentaries. He said he wished we could come to his class to talk about our Jeopardy experience of viewing and attending the tapings. We asked what and where, and said we’d love to come!

So we went, and it was a nice class of about 30-40 senior citizens. They played a mock game of Jeopardy, and then he introduced us as nomads that he had met the night before, who sold all their personal belongings to travel the world, blah blah blah. So we got up and talked about Jeopardy tapings, then asked if there were questions. First one: How long have you been homeless, and do you have an RV, or what??? So we answered, and ALL the subsequent questions were concerning our travel and way of life. Jeopardy was left in the dust! Very funny, but they were very interested, excited, and responsive. It was so fun to share our lives and our story! Gerry didn’t mind at all.

Last week, our post was on the Big City, the Big Apple, New York. But all big cities are made up of small communities, areas, and individuals, who are all mostly friendly and down to earth. Chagrin Falls and Berea are likewise made up of very nice folks, so today we are celebrating Small Town America. A toast!

Second from right: Cleveland Indians Slider, inspired by the Philly Phanatic. Don’t ask about the others, though. One or two appear to be hot dogs. We know nothing about sports or mascots!
Our very own Mike, with some Cleveland Indian face-on-a-stick. He is probably a household name around here, but again, we know nothing. NOTHING!
Morgan Crawford, one of the Film Fest organizers at breakfast in Town Hall. She is one of the nicest people we have ever encountered who actually makes a film festival happen and work!
Projected from two cameras across the street. Anyone entering Chagrin Falls this week certainly knew what was happening in the village!
All of the stores were already getting ready for Halloween.
A pretty display window.
…and another…
…and another…
The deck of 17 River Grille, overlooking the Chagrin River and Falls.
This was a very popular place on Saturday night!
So creative!
Velvet skeletons, anyone? How about velvet pumpkins?
Part of a jewelry store display
Very pretty!
LOVE the name!
A Face Plant!
A glimpse of Chagrin Falls’ main drag.