Sunday, July 22, 2007

Central City Opera Weekend 2007 and The Best B&B in the West

This weekend Kathy and I celebrated our fifth annual Central City Opera Weekend, staying at our favorite Bed & Breakfast, Chase Creek Inn in Blackhawk, Colorado (see link below). Central City and Blackhawk are two historic Colorado cities that are, unfortunately, now known mostly because of legalized gambling and the influx of casinos. This is unfortunate because their history is very rich and interesting. Additionally, the Central City Opera, in its 75th year, provides excellent operatic entertainment every July and August, high in the Rocky Mountains.

The Central City Opera House, built in 1878, was reopened in 1932 by the Central City Opera House Association, and has been in operation ever since. Here's a picture of the historic building. Check out their website here:

A view down the street running by the Opera House. The historic St. James Methodist church (oldest church in Colorado) is on the left (but unfortunately covered by the huge pine tree!).

Here's Kathy in the historic Teller House Hotel (next door to the Opera House). It is now a museum, not an operating hotel, but they do have a bar and a restaurant operation out of the Teller House during Opera season. In fact, we had a fine dinner here with our friends, Jim and Sue, on Saturday evening, between operas.

This year we were again blessed to enjoy our opera weekend with our dear friends, Jim and Sue. Here is a picture of the four of us out front of the most peaceful, wonderful Bed & Breakfast we have discovered, the Chase Creek Inn.

Here's a view of the B&B from above.

Kathy and Sue relax on the porch. The rocking chairs, gentle breeze, and the sound of the babbling brook make this a very relaxing area. Also, chipmunks and squirrels cavort on the hill behind the house, and hummingbirds visit the feeder provided for them.

The hot tub is one of the attractions that keep us coming back to Chase Creek Inn year after year.

Hal and Karen are the proprietors of the Chase Creek Inn B&B. They are a delightful, hospitable couple (and Karen's gourmet breakfasts are par excellence!). For further details, check out their website here:

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Boulder Shakespeare Festival

Some years ago (1999, I believe) we took some friends to the Boulder Shakespeare Festival on the campus of the University of Colorado, Boulder, to see the Bard's Comedy of Errors. It took us eight years to get back, but last night we attended with four good friends. Kathy had decided to get tickets for my birthday, and our friends were able to join us. It was a most wonderful celebration.

We started the evening at my favorite Italian restaurant, Laudisio's. I had discovered this Boulder eatery a couple of years ago because of their acclaimed specialty, Buffalo Carpaccio. I often stop in for some appetizers when in Boulder. After a lovely dinner, we drove to the CU campus, which is just around the corner from Laudisio's, to watch the play "The Servant of Two Masters," by an 18th century Italian playwright by the name of Carlo Goldoni. (Yes, I know, we went to the Shakespeare Festival and didn't see Shakespeare! We had already seen the three Shakespeare productions in other places, and anyway, this was in the style of a Shakespeare comedy.) It was a comedic romp, a madcap farce, with a lot of physical humor, mistaken identity, and funny swipes at current politics and popular culture. Everyone seemed to have a good time. The production was in an outdoor venue, and there was a nice breeze and a noticeable absence of mosquitos!

All in all, it was a memorable birthday celebration, and I thought I would share it with all of you. By the way, we did have our camera with us last night, but had no time to snap pictures of the group (and we were forbidden from photographing the performance), so I have included a picture of Will himself on the program cover and a shot (from the program) of the theater with the Rocky Mountains in the background.

For more information about the Boulder Shakespeare Festival, check out this link.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day 2007

Our classical station was playing American music and quoting American writers and speakers all day today. One of the highlights was James Earl Jones narrating Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait, one of my favorites. It struck me that the 16th President's words hold some relevancy to our predicament today. With these words of Abraham Lincoln, I wish all of us a meaningful Independence Day, as we celebrate the birth of our nation. May it remain alive and vibrant for years to come.

From Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait
"Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history."
That is what he said. That is what Abraham Lincoln said.
"Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation. We, even we here, hold the power and bear the responsibility." [Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862]
He was born in Kentucky, raised in Indiana, and lived in Illinois. And this is what he said. This is what Abe Lincoln said.
"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we will save our country." [Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862]
When standing erect he was six feet four inches tall, and this is what he said.
He said: "It is the eternal struggle between two principles, right and wrong, throughout the world. It is the same spirit that says 'you toil and work and earn bread, and I'll eat it.' No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation, and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle." [Lincoln-Douglas debates, 15 October 1858]
Lincoln was a quiet man. Abe Lincoln was a quiet and a melancholy man. But when he spoke of democracy, this is what he said.
He said: "As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy."
Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of these United States, is everlasting in the memory of his countrymen. For on the battleground at Gettysburg, this is what he said:
He said: "That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. That this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth."

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Ashland, Ohio -- Someplace Special

I am totally ripping off my daughter's blog post (like that lingo? Totally!).

Bonnie took some great pictures of the three grandchildren near my family's home in Mifflin Township and a classic view of the water tower on Clermont Avenue that has been there as long as I can remember but was recently painted with the slogan "Someplace Special."

Ashland, Ohio, really is someplace special, and there are a lot of special people there, who touched my life deeply, not only my family but many friends from my life before the Navy. Although I may never live in this special place again, I'll never forget or regret growing up there.
These are our "something special" grandchildren, Jono and Alia, and Aidan, during their road trip to see Grandma.
Above are Aidan, Alia, and Jono on the road in front of Grandma's house. (When I was growing up, this was a dirt road.)
We end this travel-blog with the grandkids walking hand in hand down a country lane in Mifflin Township, Ashland, Ohio, in the good old USA.

My children never really had a place on earth to look back on as the place they grew up. They grew up in Spain, Italy, Maryland, Canada, and Japan. All of those places hold a few of their childhood memories, but ultimately home was wherever the family was. They tell me that was okay. For me it was the same growing up. My home was always where my family was. It just so happened that my family was always in the same place -- and that was okay, too.
Here's a link to a fascinating site put together by the father of one of my good friends from high school: Click here: Ashland County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society