We loved our time at The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Sher and I loved our time with our family members who had converged on Disney World recently. While our kids and grand-kids stayed at Disney hotel resorts, we were able to get a campsite at Disney’s RV/Cabin/Tent park, named The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness.

Our site was a “full hook-up” accommodation. It had a large paved pad that would have held a large motor home. Our 24′ rig fit with plenty of room. Backing in was very easy, but I could see that parking a large class A or a fiver could be a challenge. There was a large area behind the pavement designed for a large tent. Many of the sites in our “loop” had both a motor home/trailer and a tent.

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Our campsite, #1705, was close to the bus stop.

Fort Wilderness is huge, to say the least. There are designated areas for tent camping, primitive camping and hundreds of cabins as well. The Settlement area houses four eateries, including a special Mickey’s BBQ and a musical review dinner show. There is also large gift shop and store.

There are docks where you can rent both pontoon and fast watercraft. Horseback riding, archery and kayaking is also available for a fee. Many folks bring their own golf cart, and carts are also available for rent at the park. Free things? Of course! There are long hiking/running/bike trails. There is a movie each night with a campfire so you can make s’mores as well as a sing along with Chip and Dale.

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We had three wild turkeys visit our site. They were just wandering through, and could have cared less that I was standing in the door of the RV taking their pictures.

Disney is famous for its internal bus system. Fort Wilderness is served by buses that run from The Settlement to the Outpost, with convenient stops along the way. We only had about a 3 minute walk to our bus stop. Buses run every 20 minutes (or so it is said). The Outpost is where you catch a bus to the theme parks.

We were at Fort Wilderness during Halloween. Let’s say that we did not know you could decorate both a campsite and golf cart to the extent that we saw! It was so much fun seeing all the decorated sites and golf carts. We also really enjoyed taking the boats from the dock. We road the boats to the Contemporary Resort and to Magic Kingdom.

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This boat runs the same times as the buses, and goes from Ft. Wilderness to the Magic Kingdom about every 15 minutes

While of course the parks are fun, we also found that you can really enjoy your time hanging around the Fort Wilderness Resort and enjoying the many activities offered. Make reservations early: It can be hard to book the times you need.

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Been searching for this RV park

Recently Sher and I took off for a rendezvous with family at Disney World in Orlando. Never wanting to take the same route to anyplace (in other words we did not want I-75 south again), we headed from Indiana to Orlando by way of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

With the afternoon slipping away, we decided to find a place to stay for the night. Sher spotted an RV park south of Myrtle Beach on US 17. Pirateland Family RV Resort turned out to be the park we have been searching for for a long time. The fellow at the desk informed me that they had a spot right on the beach! A mere 30 feet from our full hook up site was a gap through the sand dune to a beautiful stretch of Atlantic Ocean beach!

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Enjoying the beach. Our campsite is only about 100 feet away!

Pirateland is a huge place with a mixture of RV campsites, tent sites, permanent trailer homes and a series of lakes in addition to the beach area locations. Rates vary according to season. Off season rates are very reasonable for beach area sites.

Security is terrific, with a 24 hour manned gate. All the facilities you would need are available, including seasonal snack bars and BBQ stands.

We ended up staying two nights at this delightful campground. We have looked for a campground on a beach for a long time. Turns out that we happened onto this one by accident. We heartily recommend Pirateland Family Camping Resort. Sher and I will definitely return to this friendly resort.

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Our full hookup campsite complete with a picnic shelter. The beach is behind the sand dune in the background

Beef & Boards Ring of Fire is a different kind of musical

Photo courtesy B&B media

Photo courtesy B&B media

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre is currently offering a different kind of musical. Ring of Fire brings the story of Johnny Cash to life by means of his songs via an ensemble made up of eight remarkably talented musicians who also shine as singers and dancers.

The clever script in the first act brings you into the history of the Cash family with the eight players each taking on the “role” of Johnny Cash. By means of narration and appropriate song selection the audience gets a real appreciation of the ancestry of the family of Johnny Cash.

One remarkable aspect of the players is their ability to play virtually any instrument. While most have a primary instrument, all take turns on most all of the instruments. Guitars, 5 string, bass fiddle, accordion and washboard are but a few of the tools that produce the exciting, toe-tapping and emotional music in the show.

While all of the players are very talented and worthy of mention,  I would be remiss if I did not comment specifically on the fiddle playin’ of Melody Allegra Berger. She is the featured performer in the entr’acte offering of “The Orange Blossom Special”. Her rendition makes it clear why she is an award winning fiddler known nation wide.

This is not your typical musical by any means. The Man in Black is never impersonated, but Johnny Cash’s remarkable story is told through his music. Ring of Fire does not have a plot line. Expect instead great music, songs made famous by Johnny Cash and a most enjoyable evening. This unique production is one you will not want to miss. If you think you don’t like the music of this genre, well, that is too bad. You’re missing a terrific show, a great meal and a great time.

Ring of Fire runs through August 13th. For reservations, call the box office at 317.872.9664 anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. For more information visit the Beef & Boards website. This production is sponsored in part by WFMS 95.5 FM and Gaither Family Resources.

Ring of Fire opens at Beef & Boards

Johnny CashThe iconic songs of Johnny Cash will provide a unique entertainment opportunity starting this week at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre on Indy’s northwest side. Ring of Fire is not your typical musical. According to a Beef and Boards press release:

“An icon of American music history, Johnny Cash’s contributions as a singer songwriter are legendary. Ring of Fire brings his story of love and faith, struggle and success, rowdiness and redemption, and home and family to the stage. More than two dozen of his hits, from “I Walk the Line,” to “A Boy Named Sue,” to “Folsom Prison Blues,” and the famous title tune are performed by a multi-talented cast.”

Johnny Cash’s amazing story is told through his music, making Ring of Fire an exhilarating salute to the Man in Black. Of interest is the fact that Cash is never impersonated in the show. Sher and I are really looking forward to attending a performance soon. We will have a full review posted after we go!

There will be 44 performances of Ring of Fire in the intimate atmosphere of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. Tickets include Chef Odell Ward’s dinner buffet. For reservations, call the box office at 317.872.9664 anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays. For complete show schedule, visit the Beef & Boards website.

Hellas Greek Restaurant at Florida’s Tarpon Springs

Hellas Restaurant and Bakery storefronts

Hellas Restaurant and Bakery storefronts

Tarpon Springs, Florida is known for its Greek community founded in both the sponge diving business and restaurants and shops. One of the best restaurants is Hellas Restaurant and the joining Hellas Bakery. The businesses are on the main commercial street in the town, Dodecanese Boulevard.

We really enjoyed our meal at the restaurant. The “flamed” cheese was a real treat, and yes it was served in flames! I had a beef gyro, Sher had a Veggie Pita, and we both shared a huge Greek salad. This restaurant was very comfortable and the staff was delightful. We were there early afternoon when there were few other patrons.

After our meal we went next door to the Hellas Bakery. There were a lot of people in the bakery, but the line moved fairly quickly. Yes, we indulged and picked up some sweet bakery goods for an evening snack back at the RV park.

Delicious Greek Salad

Delicious Greek Salad

Hellas interior

Hellas interior

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We would highly recommend stopping for a meal at the Hellas Restaurant. Tarpon Springs is about 45 minutes north of St. Petersburg, and is home to the highest percentage population of Greeks in the country. After you eat at Hellas, be sure to check out the Sponge Docks and local Fish Shoppes.

My Fair Lady is back at Beef & Boards in Indianapolis

Eliza DoolittleIt has been 20 years since My Fair Lady has been seen at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. The 2017 version of this classic musical entertained us completely this past Saturday evening. The house appeared to be a sell out and all were treated to a dynamic, exciting and professional show.

The Lerner and Loewe classic My Fair Lady won six Tony Awards including Best Musical during its run on Broadway. The B&B production continues the tradition of excellence. It is the story of Eliza Doolittle, the dirty, street wise cockney flower peddler in Edwardian London. Her accent riles the conceited Professor Henry Higgins to the point where he offers to tutor her. Enter Colonel Pickering who bets Higgins that he can’t turn the brash Eliza into a proper lady. In the wings we find Eliza’s conniving father Alfred P. Doolittle who wants to cash in on his daughter’s relationship with a rich Professor Higgins.

Eddie Curry, center, as Alfred P. Doolitle singing "With a Little Bit of Luck"

Eddie Curry, center, as Alfred P. Doolitle singing “With a Little Bit of Luck”

Higgins, Doolittle and Pickering singing "The Rain in Spain"

Higgins, Doolittle and Pickering singing “The Rain in Spain”

Kimberly Doreen Burns has the lead role of Eliza Doolittle. She has played the part before and has won a Broadway World Award for Best Actress during one of these engagements. Her experience shines through during her fabulous performance. Prof. Higgins is played by David Schmittou, a B&B regular. Mark Goetzinger  portrays Colonel Pickering and Eddie Curry plays Alfred P. Doolittle. Curry also is the Director of the musical. Curry’s talent is showcased not only on stage but as the Director as well.

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Eliza, center, as a Lady at the races

The supporting cast is very deep. The choreography is precise and suited for each number.  Jeff Stockberger and Doug King are hilarious in their interactions with Curry as the senior Doolittle. Herb Porter provides striking vocals as the romantic interest in Eliza. The costumes are remarkable, the live music from the orchestra is perfect, and the sets and lighting add to the professional feel of the show.

Have you figured it out yet? We loved the show. My Fair Lady is filled with favorite songs like “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and “Get Me to the Church on Time”. It runs through May 14th. Order your tickets now, this show will sell out many times! Go to the Beef & Boards website or call 317-872-9664. For you Twitter folks, see #bbmyfairlady.

We enjoyed Sex with Strangers during our first visit to the Phoenix Theatre

20170326_132229Don’t take the headline the wrong way, folks. Sex with Strangers is the play title! Our first visit to this well established Indianapolis theater was most enjoyable. The Phoenix Theatre experience is different from larger venue playhouses. From the lobby we walked to the stage down a somewhat narrow flight of stairs. It seemed like we were headed down into a catacombs. The Basile Stage is outfitted with tables and chairs as well as a couple of rows of theater type seating. The seating is comfortable and intimate.

We really enjoyed Sex with Strangers. The cast has two actors. Brandon Alstott plays Ethan, a 20 something blogger and writer whose questionable morals lead to your questioning his motives. Ethan’s counterpart is a 30 something wanna be writer named Olivia, played by Angela R. Plank. Both players do an excellent job in their character development and delivery.

Thrust together by accident, the play begins with Ethan and Olivia discovering each other’s history, personalities and desires. There is great humor in the first act with references to blogging, the internet, smart phones and social media. Olivia is writing a new book. Ethan is ready to launch a new app. Yes, they do “hook up” to use current terminology. It seems like they can be a couple. But wait! The relationship sours a bit after the intermission.

We really enjoyed the show and are looking forward to attending other productions at this marvelous venue. When you go be sure to purchase one of the pastries offered. I can speak for the brownies: they are as good as your mother used to make.

Be warned, some of the language is right out of the gutter. There are explicit sexual references as well as some serious ‘making out’ on stage. I would give the show an “R’ rating.

A one ton granite ball floats on water

I had to try moving the ball! It rotates with a tiny touch.

I had to try moving the ball! It rotates with a tiny touch.

The 28 inch diameter, 2000 pound granite sphere floats on a cushion of water pumped up from a fountain below. The socket of the granite base is precision carved to allow an 8/1000th inch thick layer of water that the ball rests on. Even a child can rotate the ball!

This marvelous floating granite ball fountain is in front of the Nature Center at Holliday Park in Indianapolis. 

“The Ruins” from New York City are one of the strange things to see in Indianapolis

Holliday Park is located in the near north-side of Indianapolis in one of the more higher end neighborhoods. The park is a beautiful setting with hundreds of trees, flowers and wildlife. In addition to the natural features of this inner city recreation site you will find an eclectic display affectionately tagged “The Ruins”.

The centerpiece of this ‘artwork’ is a structure that is the home of three massive sculptures atop a brick and mortar conglomeration of various architectural details. The three statues are called “The Races of Man”, are carved from (fittingly) Indiana limestone and represent Caucasian, Asian and African ethnic groups.

 

IMG_5095The original home of the three statues was a building in downtown New York that was torn down in 1950 to make way for a new skyscraper. The building’s owner, Western Electric, held a contest among US cities for the rights to have the sculptures. Long story short, Indianapolis won the competition. It took two decades and tons of money to bring “The Ruins” to a condition suitable for public use.

 

We visited the park today and frankly were amazed. What a beautiful setting! The Ruins were fascinating to see. It was fun walking the grounds and touring the nature center as well. We will return later after the trees bud out and flowers make their Spring appearances! There was adequate parking for RV’s and buses.

 

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