Weekly Photo Challenge: Tour Guide

I’m a Kansas girl, just like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz! We have much in common, Dorothy & I. We have both visited places far, far away… beyond the yellow brick road… and yet Kansas always beckons us home.

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A Kansas farm draped in morning fog

Kansas is “fly-over” country! As planes fly across the heartland headed from one coast to the other, passengers fail to see the acres of wheat that wave up at them from the wind-swept fields of the great plains. In Kansas, you’ll find miles and miles of flat, fertile farmland with gently rolling hills peaking up here and there—especially in the Northeastern corner of the state near Kansas City.

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The Missouri River – dressed for Fall

Born and raised in the rural mid-state region, I have since made my home in a suburb of Kansas City on the Kansas side. The Missouri River divides the states of Kansas and Missouri as it cuts through the heart of our city. With a population of approximately 2.2 million including suburbs on both sides of the state line, Kansas City is a cultural hub and is best known for barbecue, craft beer and jazz.

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The JC Nichols Fountain – one of over 200 fountains in the Kansas City Metro area

Kansas City is called the City of Fountains, the largest percentage of which can be found at the popular Country Club Plaza. The Plaza is a European inspired open-air shopping center that is well known for its stunning display of Christmas lights.

The Plaza Lights – a Christmas tradition in Kansas City

Union Station was once one of the busiest railroad terminals in the country, serving an annual passenger traffic of over 670,000 at the end of World War II. Closed in the 1980’s, Union Station set empty until a bi-State initiative in 1996 helped save the iconic landmark.

Union Station and the Kansas City Skyline

We have no oceans, no mountains, no ancient treasures to admire in Kansas, which is why I love to travel. As a tourist, I will often turn to my husband and say, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”! But after a few weeks spent “somewhere over the rainbow” in some of the loveliest places on earth, I’m usually ready to click the heels of my ruby-red slippers and repeat the words “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home”, just like Dorothy did. Then, poof—I find myself back home in Kansas!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Tour Guide (This week we were challenged to act as a Tour Guide and show you where we live)

PS – If you’ve not read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz  by L. Frank Baum, or seen the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, then this post may not make much sense to you.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved

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Our beloved white schnauzer, Heidi, will be 15 years old in a few days! She suffers from arthritis and can’t see or hear as well as she used to, but for her age she is doing remarkably well. She has developed an attitude that suggests–no demands–that we cater to her every desire, but I suppose she has earned it. She still delights in her two walks a day, no matter the weather, even snow. Oh, how she loves the snow! I’m pretty sure she thinks we put it there just for her enjoyment. Well, if only we could, we would – whatever you want! Happy almost birthday, Heidi!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved

Weekly Photo Challenge: Variations

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I spotted this creative piece of art on an exterior wall at the Riedel Glass Factory in Kufstein, Austria. It represents variations on the use of color and pattern in the production of a wine glass. A tour of this factory is fascinating; and it ends in a showroom with some of the most beautiful glass (artwork, drink-ware and jewelry) you’ll ever see.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Variations on a Theme  (Show us the same thing — an object, place, or person — presented in several different ways.)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Silence

IMG_2209 (2)There is silence today at Harper’s Ferry in West Virginia, but that wasn’t always the case. During the Civil War, Harper’s Ferry was a key supply base for Union troops and an important transportation corridor.

In 1862, Major General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and his Confederate troops surrounded and captured a much larger Union garrison near this once tranquil little town. The Confederates methodically positioned cannons along the three separate ridges that overlook Harper’s Ferry, where Union Colonel Dixon Miles had neglected to post men or artillery. Bombarded without means to escape or retaliate, Union officers unanimously agreed to surrender here on the morning of September 15.

Jackson captured over 12,700 Union troops at Harper’s Ferry – the largest surrender of United States soldiers during the Civil War. The Confederates also seized 13,000 arms and 47 pieces of artillery.

It may be silent now along the paths that wind through Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park, but if you stand on the ridge where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet, you just might hear the cannons roar.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Silence