Saturday, 24 October 2015

Shenandoah National Park

We headed to Skyline Drive early this morning, concerned that many people would have the same idea!  We had decided to visit only the 'top' part of the Drive and so we headed to the Thornton Gap entrance. 

 We passed through the historic town of Warrenton en route and it looked interesting for a future visit but as the Virginia Gold Cup was being run there today and we needed to get on, we didn't stop.

It was fairly cloudy to begin with but so much clearer than on our visit last month when we were shrouded in fog..

Later today as the sun came out there was a distinct difference..

It would be nice if all our visitors could enjoy it like this!

David was able to take some lovely detail shots.

Some of the 'back country' trails looked very inviting today.. who would not want to follow this path into golden woods?

As we got closer to the Front Royal entrance it was steadily busier, but plenty of view for everyone, even if we were lined up elbow to elbow along the overlooks at some points!

As we left the park around lunchtime the queue to enter was several miles long, stretching through Front Royal and out the other side, so we were glad we had started out early!

Friday, 23 October 2015

Big Apple from the Air

David flew to Boston on business this week.  The weather was clear and so, flying over New York, he was able to take this photo.  It is surprising how much it is possible to pick out!

He also was able to see that the trees are changing colour, particularly on high ground and further north.

On our local news/weather programme, as well as temperature, rainfall etc they have started to report on 'fall foliage', showing the areas where the fall colours have reached a certain stage.

The Blue Ridge mountains are in the Moderate/High area at the moment and we are hoping to take a quick look tomorrow.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Biggest Diner in the World?

This is the Amphora 'Diner Deluxe' in Herndon where I had lunch today with a friend.   It was opened in 1997, following the success of a much smaller diner which opened in 1977 in Vienna, and it claims to be the biggest diner in the world.  It might well be just that, on several counts - one is its size - it seats 300 and is open 24 hours as a full service restaurant, bakery and bar (latter may not be 24hrs but have yet to visit at night).  The second might be the menu - it is not often you see a menu which is the size of a small novel and divided into chapters.

There are 350 items on the menu, all prepared on the premises and within those items there are probably infinite possibilities in terms of different side orders and sauces.  There are, for example, 15 different types of Eggs Benedict on the Breakfast menu (available at any hour).

The portions are not ungenerous!  This gyro wrap would have looked even  more ample if I had accepted the side of French fries rather than fruit - though they did look good!

Needless to say there was no room for dessert but I did bring home a slice of the 'pie of the month' for David.

Amphora is justifiably famous locally for its diners; outside catering and wholesale and retail bakeries.  All of the businesses are run by two Greek families - descendants of the founders of the businesses in the 1970's - so I am sure that their americanised version of Baklava will be good - this is a slice of 'Baklava Cream Pie'!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Passing Through

I was just sitting here thinking about closing the blinds and wondering what I might write about today as it had been a quiet one, when look who wandered past the window and hopped over into next door's garden..

I was spotted of course, but they didn't run.

May be the same ones who visited as the sun went down a couple of days ago.  Not much light and rather well camouflaged.

We usually see a larger group than this and the annual deer management cull is underway in the Reston woods until the beginning of February.  Hopefully the two facts are unconnected.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Looking back - Oceanarium

Today has been a day of cleaning,  picture pricing at the Loft and Pilates class.  No photos taken at all, so I am revisiting some of the many images that we took on holiday for today's blog.

While we were staying in Waikiki we went to a neighboring hotel for dinner in their 'Oceanarium' restaurant.  We were unprepared for the enormity of the seawater tank which covered one wall - and two floors!  It was home to some very large fish indeed, including a Manta Ray.  It was also, rather bizarrely, decorated for Halloween with skeletons..

We were half way through dinner when a diver appeared in the tank to feed the fish.

She swam through the tank with the Manta Ray.

It was a bizarre experience altogether..

Monday, 19 October 2015

Frosty night

Just one photograph today - a young downy woodpecker in the early morning light on the edge of the bird bath.

Last night the temperature dropped below freezing for the first time this Autumn - not enough to freeze the water in the bird bath but it may not be long..

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Bird Bell

A friend recently gave me this lovely bell made of bird seed.  I hung it up yesterday when I filled up the other feeders and a Carolina Wren was quick to come along to check it out and choose a few tasty morsels.

Of course it soon drew the attention of others..

I was reasonably confident that the squirrel would find it difficult to get at, although when we brought it in for the night (to avoid the raccoon stealing it), it was well nibbled and I had my suspicions, which were confirmed when we put it back out this morning.

I should have realized that these annoying but very agile creatures would not give up easily..

It has now been liberally dosed with chili pepper to deter the squirrels.  It doesn't seem to have put off the chickadees, tufted titmice and nuthatch, all of whom have visited this afternoon.