February 27, 2017

A bit of Mardi Gras in Asheville!

This isn't New Orleans, but for the last 10 years, Asheville has hosted a Mardi Gras parade the Sunday afternoon before Ash Wednesday. 

We have only been to the parade twice. The first time, 5 years ago, it was a rainy day and the festivities were dampened by the weather. Yesterday was a bit cool, about 50 degrees, but sunny, and the parade drew hundreds of participants and likely thousands of spectators! 
We were impressed! 
It was a fun experience.

 We situated ourselves in front of the Haywood Hotel, across from the Flat Iron Sculpture and Wall Street, which was the staging area for the parade. The gentleman clown above was the grand marshal and signaled each of the "Krewes" when they should start and announced some of the floats, such as the one carrying the King and Queen.

I don't usually have video in my blog, but this will give you a general idea of the atmosphere.

We were impressed with the number of groups participating and the elaborate floats.

Beads and candy were tossed to the crowds watching. And many of the spectators were dressed for the occasion. This fellow with the amazing hat was in front of us, likely getting nicer photos than me.

And we saw this dapper couple watching the parade later on as we walked to a coffee shop.

Some other photos you might like to see...

And then, of course, this year's King and Queen...

Downtown Asheville is known for it's costumed buskers and flamboyant street people, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the city embraced Mardi Gras so heartily. 

An "open to the public" party followed the parade, but we did not attend that. Perhaps next year we'll get some masks and glitz... or maybe not.

February 8, 2017

A Walk by the Hudson

We just got back from spending over three weeks with our daughter, son-in-law, and their new baby. They recently bought a house right outside of Peekskill, NY. 

We expected that we would have some old fashioned north country winter while we were there, but had mostly pleasant temperatures and very little snow. However, it was cloudy nearly every day.
On one somewhat sunny morning, we took a walk at the Scenic Hudson Park at Peekskill Landing.
It's a pretty area right at the water's edge that includes a boat launch site, a scenic pier, playground, a walking/biking trail, picnic tables, and a nice scattering of public artwork.

I don't know the story behind the creation of these benches, but there were several of them and I suspect that the tiles were student artwork.

On the wall of the public bathroom was a nice mural depicting the river and it's exploration. The sun cast shadows that made it difficult to capture nicely in a photo.
But I did take some closeups of portions in the sun so you can see some of the details.

The Hudson is a beautiful river and has scenic views on either side.

We're not really sure what that impressive building is on the bluff overlooking Peekskill but it does have a cross on it and someone told us that there had been a small Catholic women's college in Peekskill at one time. We surmise that might be what it is, but maybe we will learn for sure at a subsequent visit.

No good park is complete without a playground and this one looks pretty nice. I suspect that we will visit this with our grandson, Greyson, when he gets a bit older.

And here are some of the nicely placed sculptures.

These last two were interesting. This one was a small shipping container. When you looked through a window at one end you were treated to a kaleidoscope reflection of the Hudson.
The horizontal image just above the center of the photo is the opening toward the river and the rest are mirrored reflections. Looks kind of like a quilt, doesn't it?

And the last image is from inside a large orange sphere (I don't know why I didn't take a picture of the outside) which has a number of tubes protruding from it. Each of the tubes is a kaleidoscope with a different image in it's lens.

Though we are native New Yorkers, we have not spent very much time in the Hudson Valley. 
There is a lot of history and natural beauty to explore here!