When autumn is as brilliant as it’s been this year, we want it to continue.  A crisp but not cold day, blue sky with some clouds, the changing colors with their deep hues, and a country road that winds through the woods with leaves crinkling under the tires and the deeper smell of fall in the air –  the very best way to soak up a prime day of this most beautiful season.

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I sat on the opposite side of the lake watching the shoreline come alive in the sunshine.  The clouds had lingered throughout the day, but an hour before sunset they parted giving the light a truly golden color.  And as the clouds parted, the lake calmed to a sheet of glass; everything on the shoreline was reflected in the mirror-like water.  It was a magical few minutes, long enough to absorb the colors of a brilliant fall evening and to wish the season would linger much longer before we head into winter.

While we were in Brooklyn, New York we wandered through Fort Greene Park.  The park was first designated over 170 years ago at the suggestion  of Walt Whitman.  The history of the site dates back to the Revolutionary War when the British held thousands of captives in prison ships in the nearby bay of the East River.  Over 11,500 people died from overcrowding, starvation, disease, and bad water while on the ships.  The remains of many of these martyrs are entombed in a crypt within Fort Greene Park.  Also here is the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument to these people.  I was drawn to this door at the base of the monument.  It’s weathered look, it’s textures, it ornaments and details all caught my eye.  As I studied it closer with my camera I looked through the column and caught the sunlight illuminating the window of the door on the other side.  It was eerie and beautiful all at the same time, much like the history behind this site.

A whirlwind weekend in NYC, all thanks to a Christmas present of tickets to see the Broadway production of “Hamilton” at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.  The show surpassed my expectations, as did the entire weekend.  Unbeknownst to us, our hotel was located in the heart of one of the largest festivals – the 91st annual Feast of San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples, Italy.  We had the smells, sounds, and tastes of Italy all outside our doorstep in the heart of Little Italy.  We took in many of the standard sites in the City, but also included some unique items.  An AIA architectural cruise around Manhattan Island gave a new perspective of the buildings and the history of the area; a trip to the Tenement Museum and to the Transit Museum helped give additional historical perspective; a meander through a huge street fair in Brooklyn was filled with wonderful food and beverages.  But amidst all the hustle and bustle of crowds and noise, we found a reverent quiet at the 911 Memorial and One World Trade Center.  It was a hot evening as the sun was setting, but the light illuminated the surrounding buildings with a distinctive glow.  The importance of this place and the glowing colors seemed to create a hush causing everyone to pause, reflect, and remember.

One of my favorite places at Como Park is the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, and one of my favorite rooms in the conservatory is the palm room.  The central, tallest room has a 64′ tall dome that’s visible throughout the park.  Within the room are palms of all types, some nearly 100 years old.  Below the peak of the dome is a bronze sculpture titled “Crest of the Wave,”  created by Harriet Frishmuth in 1925.  Its grace and upward motion leads your eyes up to the very top of the dome, celebrating the spaciousness and the beauty of the glass surrounding the room.  Whether daytime or nighttime, the view is wonderful!

We’ve returned from a getaway to Ontario – a needed trip into the north country away from city life.  We drove north of Dryden to Route Lake Lodge where we were met at the landing by Glen who motored us and our gear across the lake to the lodge.  With our cabin perched on the rocks right at the edge of Route Lake we had a panoramic view of the south end of the lake.  Here the terrain is rocks and trees –  both coming down to the water’s edge.  The weather was unseasonably warm and the winds blew constantly during the day creating whitecaps on the lake.  But we were able to find lovely protected bays, sand beaches that extended around points for perfect lunch stops, and towering cliffs that dropped straight down into the depths of the lake.  We were serenaded by the sound of the water lapping the rocky shoreline, an occasional boat motoring by, honking skeins of geese headed south, and the loons’ haunting cry.  The sunrises were painted orange from the smoke and haze of the fires in western Canada and the US.  The night sky was dark and sprinkled with stars – numerous and plentiful, with the Milky Way high above.  The hospitality of the lodge owners Glen and Shirley, the beauty of the area, and the “escape” from the city was just what we needed.

Summer’s official closing party took place this past Labor Day as the Minnesota State Fair came to its conclusion.  I spent the final day of the fair with 170,000+ of my new friends enjoying the perfect weather, the food, the animals, the rides, the entertainment, and the people watching.  One of the oldest rides, and in my opinion one of the simplest rides, is the Giant Slide.  Climb up the stairs, sit on a mat, and slide all the way down to the bottom.  No flashing lights, no blaring music, no mechanical anything; it’s simple, it’s fun, and attracts people of all ages.  It’s a chance for adults to be kids again and for kids to be amazed at the adults around them having fun!  This cutout was meant for someone to put their face in, but it became the perfect frame for all the fun and laughter that was going on behind it on the Giant Slide.  Wheeeeeeeee!