Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Museum Day - Norton Museum of Art

Typewriter Eraser
Claes Oldenburg
Norton Museum of Art
West Palm Beach, FL

 Yesterday was museum day. Chris and I visited a first class art museum in West Palm Beach. We were looking for something different to experience and it had been a while since we visited an art museum. We headed off to the Norton Museum of Art where we enjoyed some fabulous art and a very nice lunch.  

The museum is an exciting place to visit. The art is displayed creatively and that makes it easy to view and appreciate. 

We were greeted by Clear Oldenburg's, Typewriter Eraser, at the entrance. It is larger than life standing at least 10 feet tall. The funny thing is that this once ubiquitous office tool is almost extinct with the advent of computers. There is no need to erase mistyped letters anymore, just correct the document before printing. 

As we walked through the collections, we were challenged to expand our horizon to accommodate the subjects that the artists were confronting us with. Sometimes it was easy and fun, but with others the subjects were hard and gritty. 

I enjoyed the museum and will likely return in the near future. 

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Thursday, June 20, 2024

National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force

Me in front of the B-17G City of Savannah
Pooler, GA
June 19, 2024

 I have driven by this museum, which sits just off I-95, on many occasions. There is a beautiful B-47 sitting outside which calls to me every time we pass it on the road. Yet, until yesterday, I had been too focused upon the destination and not the journey to stop and visit the museum.

B-17G City of Savannah
Pooler, GA
June 19, 2024

The National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force is located in Pooler, Georgia. Actually, it is a Savannah exit. It is easy on and off the interstate and definitely worth a stop if your interests include the Air Force and WW2. 

Both of those topics interest me and I was assigned to Eighth Air Force for six years of my Air Force career. First to a bombardment wing in Rome, NY, and then to the Eighth Air Force Headquarters itself which was then at Barksdale AFB, LA. 

The museum presently focuses the history to the Eighth Air Force through the Berlin Airlift, but is being expanded. There are two Vietnamese era fighters on display outside: a MiG-17 and an F-4. But the items associated with WW2 and the story of the campaigns and the crews and personnel assigned are rich. The museum has the only escape and survival section, in the form of a reconstructed house, that I have seen and describes how the civilians living in Europe assisted allied airmen to evade and escape from Nazi-controlled areas--often at the price of their own lives and freedom. 

Why is the museum outside Savannah? I learned that the first headquarters of the Eighth Air Force was in Savannah, Georgia! 

The artifacts in the museum are inspiring and relevant to today. I found the Hitler Youth Oath posted on the wall of the museum. The youth are often portrayed as more like the Boy Scouts, but this oath indicates that it was much more allegiance to one man and not an ideal or a republic--but a single person, which I found scary.

Of all of the items in the museum, except for of course the B-17, one item that really caught eye was the Nazi banner. I had never seen one in real life. I had seen images of them hanging from buildings, but never fully comprehended their larger than life size and impact. 

I definitely recommend this museum. They also have a mission briefing that runs through how the aircrews were prepped for missions and the ground crews maintained the planes. It has a lot of actual footage and is well done. I was told it is soon to be replaced by  something similar which is being produced by the 100 Bomb Group organization which assisted with the series Master's of the Air.

-- Bob Doan, Pooler, GA

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Sun Goes Down Tour - Opening Night


It was the first night of the tour. The summer concert season was beginning. The crowd was amped and the bands were equally as excited. 

So here are some observations of the event.

The doors to the stadium opened at 4 PM and the first act, Uncle Kracker, was scheduled to be on at 5 PM. Amazingly, Uncle Kracker was onstage right at 5 PM and the evening began under a bright blue sky and hot sun with temperatures in the high 80s. 

The stadium was mostly empty when the show began. People continued arriving right up until Kenny Chesney took the stage at 9 PM.

Uncle Kracker

Uncle Kracker  

Great performance. Lot's of energy and a lot of fun. He sand songs we knew and could sing along with. He was in a tough spot, being the first act of the evening with a mostly empty stadium, but he handled it very well. I was glad he got to return with Kenny later in the show for a couple songs.



Uncle Kracker Grade: A


Megan Moroney

Megan Moroney
Megan Moroney is a solid musician and sings enjoyable songs accompanied by an excellent band. I was disappointed that she came across as a Taylor Swift wannabe. The way she dressed and sang suggested she was imitating Taylor's style to expand her audience.
She showed a great stage presence during her performance. I enjoyed her and her band, I especially loved their tee-shirts which read EMO Cowgirl. I think she would have done better to stick with that identity rather than emulate the Taylor Swift look.

Megan Moroney Grade: B

Zack Brown Band

Zac Brown Band

What is not to love about the Zac Brown Band? They put on a great show and are headliners in their own right. Their music was superbly performed and the tribute to Jimmy Buffet, Pirates and Parrots, was well done.

I enjoyed their well-known songs and was able to really sing along as the crowd grew and sunset approached. They performed a full show and I was left fully appreciating the band and their songs as well as their versatility. I was most impressed with the cover of Charlie Daniels's The Devil Went Down to Georgia. I never would have believed anyone could play it faster or as good as the original, but I was wrong. I was mesmerized by the fiddle and the overall execution of the song.

The band also covered U2s, With or Without You, which was a lot of fun to sing with them.

Zac Brown Band Grade: A 

Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney
What to say. Kenny was fantastic! The energy and the song selection was perfect for the evening. I had thought we would hear more songs from the new Born album, but I think there was just one: Take Her Home

I was amazed at his energy and command of the stage. This is the third time I have been to a Kenny Chesney concert and they each seem to be better. His music has evolved, but the real crowd pleasers are all fast moving songs that speak to the No Shoes Nation mentality. 

Kenny's band was fabulous and each member had a showcase moment. 

The set began about 9 PM and continued until almost 11 PM--without a stop. The two songs with Uncle Kracker were great and well done. It was fun being part of and watching the crowd respond to Kenny and his music. The Come Monday tribute to Jimmy Buffett was excellent.

Being the first show of the series, there were some small miscues, especially the handoff between the Kenny and the stage hand with the guitars. Late in the show Kenny displayed some evidence of tired voice--but it was a long day for all of us. 

One other note--the encore could have included some of the songs not in the program, like Boys of Fall and Anything but Mine. I'm not sure if the encore was truncated by a stadium imposed hard stop at 11 PM.

The setlist can be found here. 

Kenny Chesney Grade: A

Raymond James Stadium

Restroom Facilities for Floor Seating
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
April 20, 2024

I wish I had positive comments for Raymond James Stadium, but sadly the venue leaves a lot to be desired, especially given the cost of the tickets.
Arrival was smooth as I had secured parking in advance. 

Parking was the easiest part of the evening. We were seated on the floor and that meant we got the worst in terms of food and restroom facilities. Using the restroom, the port-a-potty area, meant fighting the crowd streaming in or trying to get food to get back outside the stadium. It was not pleasant. The food area was too small and located in the same hallway as the entrance and the passage to the relief area. That meant it was always too crowded. Drinks were readily available, however. During the break between Zac Brown Band and Kenny Chesney there was not enough time to use the restrooms due to the apparent under planning by the stadium staff.

But the tragedy of the evening was departing the parking, for which we paid $50 plus tax. It took 45 minutes to get out of the lot because no one was directing traffic. Then, once out of the lot we were forced to drive away from our desired destination for miles before being able to hop onto an interstate and drive back through the stadium departing traffic to get to our hotel. In the end, the 3 mile journey back to the hotel turned into a 10 mile drive.

Raymond James Stadium Grade: D-

I have attached a 3 minute video of portions of the evening just to give a sense at how great was the evening we enjoyed.

Thanks Kenny!

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

#kennychesney #sungoesdowntour #openingnight

Sunday, April 14, 2024



Kravis Center Set for Hamiltom
West Palm Beach, FL
April 13, 2024


To say the show was fabulous is an understatement. 

Chris and I sojourned into West Palm Beach yesterday to attend a matinee performance of Hamilton at the Kravis Center

Kravis Center View Behind our Seats
West Palm Beach, FL
April 13, 2024

We had wanted to see the musical about Alexander Hamilton since it was first performed on Broadway and our desire was heightened by the Disney production a few years ago.

Wow! Being there in person was an emotional and, yes, a religious experience. I read the book Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, upon which most of the production is based. The story of Hamilton is a true rags to riches story where a Caribbean orphan becomes an influential founding father and whose vision for the fledgling nation remains the basis of our banking system today. Not to mention his explanation of the Constitution as documented in the Federalist Papers. It was an interesting coincidence that we attended the performance of Hamilton on Thomas Jefferson's birthday. Jefferson, as you might expect, is part of the story.

The Kravis is a superior venue. I was awed by its size and comfortable seats. Very unlike the Hippodrome in Baltimore where, frankly, I never enjoyed attending shows. I look forward to attending another performance at the Kravis soon. AND, they have free EV car chargers and parking! I was also very impressed with the parking garage egress plan. We did not hurry to our car after the show and yet were out of the garage and on the highway in about 11 minutes.

P. S. I now know what A.Ham means!

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

#hamilton #a.ham #kravis

Friday, November 17, 2023

Neil Diamond Tribute Band


David Jericko as Neil Diamond
Lyric, Stuart, FL
November 16, 2023

It was concert night. We went to a see a Neil Diamond tribute band performance at the Lyric in Stuart, FL.

It was a windy and stormy evening, but that did not take any energy away from the crowd or the band. 

The band, Solitary Man: A Tribute to Neil Diamond, provided a solid two hour show, with a break, and played Neil Diamond hits all night. 

The Lyric is an intimate venue and the band filled the house with Neil Diamond tunes all night. David Jericko does a good job as Neil Diamond, and I have seen Neil in concert multiple times. The band encouraged the audience to participate and sing along although some of the concert-goers perhaps got into the night a bit too much, which is not a bad thing; just distracting. 

I was touched by couple of the songs, one in particular, America. I was torn singing these great lyrics about how America is the shining star for immigrants, yet against the current political backdrop that is no longer true. The lyrics say:


To a new and a shiny place

Make our bed and we'll say our grace

Freedom's light burning warm

Freedom's light burning warm

Everywhere around the world

Somehow, I don't believe we are the shiny place that welcomes immigrants trying to escape from a dismal life anymore. 

But, all of that aside, the band was great and I took a video of them doing the song Desiree to remember them by.

It was a great night and I recommend seeing this tribute band if you like Neil Diamond's music.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Universal Orlando Resort - A Review

Chris, Luke, and I in Harry Potter Land
Universal Orlando Resort
April 3, 2023

 It was a very full day. Chris and I departed home at 7:30 AM and returned home just after 9 PM. In between was four hours driving with the rest of the time spent at Universal Orlando Resort. 

Let's begin with the cost. We bought a two-park one day pass for $209 per person. We knew we would be visiting both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. We made the transition on the Hogwarts Express--definitely worth the ride, but not the posted 75 minute wait. To miss the wait, we also bought the two park Express passes at $314.99. Total admission cost for the one day jaunt for two people: $1116.12 (with tax).

First Observation. The resort is incredibly expensive and that jaundiced my objectiveness even before we arrived. I paid less for a 7-day cruise in November than one day at Universal. 

Second Observation: Driving to the resort is relatively simple. It is right off Interstate 4 and there are large parking garages close to the resort. I was not happy that after paying over $1K to visit the resort for the day that they gouged me for $30 to park my truck. Ugh! Really? With the price of admission being astronomical, parking should be included. 

Street Sight
Universal Orlando Resort
April 3, 2023
Third Observation: It took 45 minutes from parking the truck to finally get through security and the admission process and actually be inside Islands of Adventure. This meant navigating the crushing crowds on City Walk and getting scanned and admitted. The actual admission process is cumbersome, even with passes on the phone because there are so many people who are unfamiliar with the process.

When we finally met up with family, who proceeded us to the resort, we began to have some fun. We went first to the Jurassic Park area and our first ride was the VelociCoaster. Even with the express pass we had a very long wait and it was almost 90 minutes from arriving at the resort's gates until we were actually on our first ride of the day. 

As the day progressed, things got better. I was told, but unable to confirm, that the park was a maximum capacity while we were there. It was clear that they were unprepared for the crush of people and the crowds were evident all day. 

Fourth Observation. Use the mobile app to order lunch. It took about 90 minutes to get burgers and eat them because we did not use the mobile app. The automatic Coke dispensing machines are a joke. They were not dispensing drinks reliably and I saw many people put their daily paid cups in the dispenser only to be turned away. I found that beer was a much better choice. Overall food prices are not bad. The burger platter was $15.49 and beer was $9.50. Coke was $4.49 per glass or they had a plan for an all day drink package--which seemed a bit pricey to me. 

So let's talk coasters. I love coasters and I got to sit in the front seat on two of the best. We did not get to experience Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure due to long lines and it does not accept the Express Pass. But here is my ranking of the four coasters that I experienced:

1. Hulk - old, yes, but smooth and like flying a jet fighter (P.S. I did fly a jet fighter trainer, once) (I was in a front seat)

2. Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket - really cool vertical start and music to enjoy while riding (I was in a front seat)

Men In Black Alien Attack
Universal Orlando Resort
April 3, 2023

3. VelociCoaster - Fun, but not smooth and the turns are rough although the maneuvers are creative.

4. Revenge of the Mummy - Nice special effects, but I always think a coaster in the dark removes the fun of seeing the world spin around.

Other rides as I remember them:

Dudly Do-Right's RipSaw Falls - A classic log ride with a scenario that has outlived its time. A great ride to enjoy getting wet, but the story is dated.

Jurassic Park River Adventure - Great ride, you will get wet. It seemed that parts of the ride were not fully operational when we were on it. 

Men In Black Alien Attack - A great fun ride to play "shoot the outer-space aliens." I won the car with 75,000 points. Sorry Luke!

The Simpsons Ride - Not worth the time. They paid too much for this ride. The story is not compelling and the 3D graphics are cheesy.

The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman - nice ride, good 3D graphics, great story and put together pretty well. Enjoyable.

Hogwarts Express - already mentioned. 

Harry Potter The Forbidden Journey - great ride but somewhat intense. Great story and graphics.

We probably did a couple more, but these were the memorable rides. When you divide it out, I paid about $45 per ride. 

We departed the park about 6:30 PM to allow us to get home at a reasonable hour.

It was a fun day filled with thrills and the joy of being with family. Some of the rides were memorable, BUT the overall park experience needs improvement. Given the amount of money being collected, I expected a first class experience--I do not feel as though I received that. 

Fifth Observation - The Express Pass is a requirement! That written, the pass is expensive and in a perfect world I would do away with express passes and increase the capacity of the rides. I felt bad walking in front of families with kids who could not afford an extra $300/per person and had stood in line for 75 or 80 minutes for a 90-second ride, while I stood in line for maybe 10 - 20 minutes at the most.  As the day went on we actually almost walked onto some rides, for the same 90-second experience. 

Bob's Recommendation - Visit but only after fully understanding the cost! Universal Orlando Resort is overpriced; offering mediocre service in every venue. Some of the new rides are first class, but looking around, many of the others require maintenance and the warts are showing. The day I visited, the park seemed to be over capacity.

Important note--this was not my first visit to Universal Orlando Resort. I remember the days before Harry Potter when one of the marquee rides was the Jaws boat ride and there was a dueling rollercoaster, both now gone. Express passes were not a requirement in those days. I believe express passes are a result of running the parks above capacity.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Note: I updated the ride list and amount per ride because I had forgotten one. April 4

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Rodney Atkins Concert - March 26, 2023

Witham Field, Stuart Airport,
Stuart Florida
March 26, 2023

 As I mentioned in my Monday Musings this week, Chris and I attended a Rodney Atkins concert in Stuart, Florida, on Sunday night. 

The concert was in a field at Witham Field, the Stuart Airport, and it was a fun venue. The concert was staged to support the Farm Dog Rescue charity and I felt it was a well attended event. I very much appreciated the reasonable prices for beverages, including adult beverages, and the presence of food trucks on-site to provide a variety of dining opportunities. 

Maggie Baugh was the opening act and went onstage right on time. She covered a range of classic country and sang some of her own compositions. Her vocals were strong, but she really showed off when she grabbed her fiddle. She covered Charlie Daniels' The Devil Went Down to Georgia and while the vocals were a bit rough, the fiddle playing was excellent. She provided a great and enjoyable opening act. 

Rodney Atkins
Witham Field, Stuart, FL
March 26, 2023
Rodney Atkins' portion of the show was solid. He saved his hits for last and I was almost afraid that If you're going Through Hell was going to be left out--but it was his final number and also his strongest performance of the night. His portion of the show lasted about 90 minutes and highlighted especially the expertise of his band. During the first portion of the show I felt that Rodney's vocals sounded tired. He strained for the high notes which were mostly unsupported. I never felt he connected with the crowd except in the most superficial manner. The second part of the show was much improved vocally as Rodney really seemed to enjoy singing and telling stories related to his hits.

Rodney covered a classic 1967 Buffalo Springfield song, For What Its Worth (a/k/a/ Stop Hey, What's That Sound). I enjoyed reliving the experience of the 1960's right up until he changed the words to reference "not let them take our guns" or something like that. The is no reference to taking guns away in the original song and while the sentiment may reflect his personal political views, and played well to the Florida crowd, in light of the gun violence related tragedies happening across America I felt it inappropriate.

I have a one minute video of the night from during the first part of the show. Lighting was a problem. The stage had a couple of bright lights that often were blinding. The sound, however, was expertly mixed and provided a clear and balanced experience.

Overall, I enjoyed the concert and am looking forward to supporting the Farm Dog Rescue next year. It was fun to see the performer of some of my favorite songs in person.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Eagles Tribute Band - Hotel California


Hotel California - Eagles Tribute Band
Lyric Theater, Stuart, Florida
March 3, 2023
I like the idea of tribute bands. They bring the authentic music of famous groups live to the people at a reasonable price. And they are fun.

Last evening, in Stuart, Florida, at the classic Lyric Theater, Chris and I enjoyed the Eagles Tribute Band called Hotel California. The were excellent and each of the band members demonstrated an incredible amount of musical versatility. The Eagles songs they played were true to my memory of the songs and the band had a "big" sound. 

The Lyric is a small and almost intimate theater and the band played very well to the crowd. We walked to the 8:30 PM performance after enjoying a fantastic dinner on the waterfront at the Stuart Boathouse. The weather was perfect and the table, service, and meal selections were second to none. 

But it was the band which provided the entertainment by filling the evening with familiar songs. The band closed with an encore performance of songs not performed by the Eagles' which further showcased their diverse talents including a religious medley that worked very well and played excellently to the crowd attending the concert. 

I videoed a portion of Peaceful Easy Feeling to capture the tight vocals and musicianship of the band. During the evening the band played the biggest Eagles' hits and the crowd could be heard singing along. 

I highly recommend this tribute band and will definitely see them again sometime. They bring the music of the past to life with energy and excitement. 

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Friday, February 17, 2023

Trying New Places - Dive Bar Restaurant

Dive Bar Restaurant
Jupiter, FL
February 16, 2023

 We did not make it to the beach yesterday, even though it was a beautiful day, but we did enjoy Happy Hour at a new location, the Dive Bar Restaurant,  along the Intracoastal Waterway.

In an effort to widen our knowledge of local watering holes, Chris and I are trying some new places for Happy Hour and possibly dinner. Happy Hour is a creative way for restaurants to bring people in and have them stay to enjoy dinner. Although we did not order dinner last evening, the apps that we enjoyed became our last meal of the day. 

Being on the waterway, the bar was very enjoyable. There was a lot of activity and both the apps and service was great. This place is definitely a keeper and that explains why it was so busy. The Happy Hour prices are fantastic. 

The restaurant also boasts very nicely presented salt water aquariums. 

For a great Happy Hour to head off into the evening, I recommend this place.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Flamingo Gardens Return

Flamingo Gardens, Davie, FL
January 28, 2023


It being a new year, we journeyed to Flamingo Gardens yesterday to enjoy the animals and plants. Chris and I realized that we had not been to the gardens since last March and it is a place that we very much enjoy. Of course, the over an hour drive does deter us from more frequent visits, but even so, we decided to join the gardens so that we could head there whenever we had the itch to wander around the 60 acre piece of heaven that sits right here in South Florida.

Orchid Bloom
Flamingo Gardens, Davie, FL
January 28, 2023
I also enjoy the Flamingo Gardens because I get a chance to take a lot of images that I will never use again. I also play with some of the features on my camera (iPhone) that I only rarely use. For instance depth of field, which allows me to blur the background while keeping the orchid bloom in full focus. And there are many potential subjects for my photographic interests. 

I have determined that taking images of birds and animals in enclosures is not desirable. The enclosure gets in the way and takes away from the scene. The nice thing about Flamingo Gardens is that many of the birds wander around the grounds or are enclosed in natural settings. 

Ibis on the Rocks
Flamingo Gardens, Davie, FL
January 28, 2023

I enjoy taking images around the pool where the flamingos and other water birds are on display. Its open area provides a natural background as do the rocks and waterfall. The area is next to the food stand and having lunch or a snack while watching the birds, and especially the Flamingos, continues the experience. Of course the numerous peafowl which wander the grounds also provide amusement and photo opportunities, but how many images do I really need of a peacock on full display?

Even though the sun was hidden behind the sky full of clouds, it was a very enjoyable afternoon. I look forward to returning again, soon.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Friday, January 27, 2023

Busch Wildlife Sanctuary


Chris and I did something a bit different yesterday. We visited the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, which is very close to us in Jupiter. 

Eastern Screech Owl
Busch Wildlife Sanctuary
Jupiter, FL
January 26, 2023

We had an enjoyable couple of hours walking through the exhibits and talking to the volunteers. The Sanctuary is planning to move to a new larger 20 acre location later this year. They currently occupy 9.2 acres. One of the volunteers indicated that they rescue about 6,000 animals per year. The ones on display are the permanent residents which cannot be returned to the wild due to either injury or domestication. The animals being rehabilitated are kept away from the visitors so that stye do not become accustomed to human interaction.

Barn Owl
Busch Wildlife Sanctuary
Jupiter, FL
January 26, 2023

We last visited the sanctuary about 10 years ago on a hot summer's day which also was filled with a multitude of mosquitoes. Yesterday was almost idyllic. Temperatures were in the mid-70s and there were no flying annoyances to worry about. 

With the impending move to Jupiter Farms, which was planned for March of this year but reportedly has been delayed until September, I felt that some of the enclosures are not being maintained as would be normal. The site looks a bit rundown, frankly, but the animals seem well cared for. Chris did remind me that it is the middle of winter. There is a good variety of animals to view and we saw a Florida Panther, a bobcat, two Black Bears, turkeys, deer, fox, an alligator in addition to numerous species of birds and a few reptiles. The otters were not in view! All-in-all we cruised through the sanctuary in about an hour and a half. 

The entrance fee is by donation and the staff was very welcoming.

I recommend a visit to gain an understanding about Florida's native and non-native animals and plants as well as to support the sanctuary's animal rescue work.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Break in the Action : Cranes


A much needed break from the house preparation happened last evening. Along with two other couples, Chris and I experienced Cranes, a restaurant in D.C. specializing in the intersection of Spanish and Japanese cuisine. 

It was a good evening to head into D.C. because of the Federal Holiday the traffic was light. It only took about 45 minutes to arrive at a parking garage and then just a few minutes more to walk to the restaurant.

The restaurant is easy to find and it is very large. The staff was friendly and accommodating. The food options provided something for everyone. I noted that the prices have significantly increased since the web menu was posted. This is a One Michelin Star rated restaurant. So be prepared to be wowed and enjoy the experience. 

By the time the three couples departed we had enjoyed a bit of most of the menu. Everything was presented in an eye-appealing and tasteful manner. The flavors from some of the items literally exploded in our mouths and provided a symphony of tastes to enjoy as we savored the offering.

We met Chef Pepe and could immediately understand why this restaurant is a Michelin rated restaurant. He is charming and dedicated. The kitchen runs like a well oiled machine, but everyone looks as if they truly enjoy their work.

A great evening and I recommend visiting and enjoying this restaurant. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, June 10, 2022

Golden Girls - Review


Last evening we took a break from baseball and downsizing. Chris and I escaped to the Hippodrome theater to enjoy Golden Girls!

We last went to the theater while we were wintering in Jupiter, Florida, and saw, Why I Hate Hamlet. I have to admit, I am not a fan of the theater. When I am crammed into the too small seats of the Hippodrome Theater, as I was last evening, I can't help but think that I'd be more comfortable at an Orioles game. At least the theater allowed me to enjoy a glass of wine while seated.

Golden Girls was great. I thoroughly enjoyed the show. Important safety tip--the actors were men doing the parts of the four famous women and they were believable and enjoyable. Second safety tip, the sexual comments and jokes could be considered offensive to some, but may also expand your vocabulary. The show done just like the TV show with two sets: living room and kitchen. All of the action took place in one, or at times both, of the rooms. The audio was clear, I was near the rear of the theater, but could both see and hear without trouble. 

Parking, which can be a problem in Baltimore, was not an issue last evening. I believe it was because the Orioles were out of town. After the show, Chris and I were able to exit the theater, get to the car, and were home within about 30 minutes--and it is a 19 minute drive. 

Great escape and great evening. 

Third safety tip: This show is not suitable for children.

Recommendation: See Golden Girls.

-- Bob Doan, ELkridge, MD

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Walking Down the Yellow Brick Road

Yellow Brick Road
Big Cork Vineyards, Rohersville, MD
May 28, 2022
One would think I was off to Oz, but in fact I was at my favorite East Coast Winery to enjoy a night of Elton John music performed by Yellow Brick Road. 

It was a great evening at Big Cork Vineyards in Rohersville, Maryland. The lawn was packed with Elton John fans by the time the show began and the wine was flowing freely. The weather was nearly perfect. The temperatures remained moderate, the skies cleared during the show and the winds were calm. It made for a great night of music and fun.

Yellow Brick Road
Big Cork Vineyards, Rohersville, MD
May 28, 2022
The band generated energy which the crowd reflected back to them as the show continued. The first set was relatively slow punctuated by long, almost too long, instrumentals and highlighting some of Elton John's lesser known hits. The highlights of the first set were Rocket Man and Candle in the Wind.

After the intermission, the show began to really rock with every song being a classic. This is where the band energy increased as did that of the crowd. I found myself near the front of the stage dancing for most of the set--and singing as loudly as I could and slightly off key as I could. There was good interaction with the band as they at times encouraged the crowd to sing the refrain from some of the songs. As darkness fell, the excitement grew with each familiar song. The highlights I remember were Benny and the Jets, Philadelphia Freedom, Crocodile Rock, Levon, Tiny Dancer, and a great rendition of Pinball Wizard. 

I was able to take a short video of the band doing Philadelphia Freedom which also shows the crowd. 

Yeah, we had a good time! I recommend an evening with this band if you get the chance. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 27, 2022

Highway to the Danger Zone


Last evening, I returned to the movie theater for only the second time during the COVID era. The event was to see Top Gun Maverick on the big screen.


What a ride and what a movie. The sequel, 36 years in the making, pays homage to the original Top Gun by continuing the storylines, but it is much more than that. A taken from the news world situation, a should-be but not over-the-hill renegade pilot, the music, and all of the drama you might expect are rolled into the plot to create a movie experience that should draw people back into the theaters. 

Yes, the movie is a formula movie. It is predictable, but wow, the plot twists and the flying action are definitely not green screen. 

If you like the original Top Gun (and the music, did I mention the music?) and have been waiting for a reason other than a Marvel superhero movie to go back to the theater--this movie is it. It must be seen on the big screen to be fully appreciated. 

At the conclusion of the movie, Chris commented, "I wish I could stay here and watch it again!" Chris does not generally watch movies more than once in the theater.

One reviewer wrote: But mostly, honestly, it’s two hours of sheer, visceral fun on the big screen, which feels very retro. In the best possible way.

Bob's recommendation: A must see! 

Side note: If it has been a while since you saw Top Gun, watch it before you go.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Flamingos to Enjoy


Flamingo Gardens
Ft Lauderdale, FL
January 4, 2022


What is my favorite bird? 



Flamingo Gardens
Ft Lauderdale, FL
January 4, 2022
Chris and I found a small piece of paradise called Flamingo Gardens Botanical Gardens and Wildlife Sanctuary close-by in Fort Lauderdale. 

We spent a relaxing afternoon touring the gardens and enjoying the wildlife most of which roams freely around the grounds. 

The variety of waterbirds and local animals is fun to enjoy as well as seeing multiple tropical plants and trees that we might never enjoy in person. The history of the area is engaging and I found out that originally the farm was planted as an orange grove and the clementine and tangelo were both developed on-site. 

The tour of the original house constructed by the owners, which is now a museum, was very interesting and enjoyable as it is furnished in original and period furniture and accessories. It provides a snapshot of a working farmhouse of the 1930's. I was most impressed with the correspondence from President Eisenhower upon the receipt of a case of oranges for his personal use. 

And the multitude of botanical plantings on the property are not to be ignored. It is not often that I see a real coffee tree with beans and a huge grove of banana plants and I had never driven through a mango grove before. 

Flamingo Gardens
Ft Lauderdale, FL
January 4, 2022
But it was the birds, the huge flock of ibis and the roaming peafowl, that were the stars of the show. The display of flamingos really stole my heart and time and became the subject of a large number of images. 

As might be expected, this spot  is now on my visitor tour list. It is a long-ish drive from Jupiter, about one-hour-and-a-quarter, but definitely worth the time investment. 

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Sunday, June 27, 2021

1964 The Tribute

1964 The Tribute
Big Cork Winery
Rohrersville, MD
June 26, 2021

On a beautiful summer evening, perched on a grapevine covered hillside as the sun was setting down the valley, Chris and I attended a no kidding real concert last evening in Rohrersville, Maryland to enjoy the music of 1964 The Tribute. The band plays primarily the music of The Beatles and dresses the part. The advertise themselves as providing a Beatles concert experience as it was 50 years ago.

1964 The Tribute
Big Cork Winery
Rohrersville, MD
June 26, 2021

Of course the concert was hosted by our favorite winery, Big Cork Vineyards and we were seated on the lawn with hundreds of other people who appreciated the music of the Beatles. It was a fun and fast moving evening. 

The band covers not only the music of the Beatles, but added in some other period songs as well. The band attempts to be authentic in the way they speak and the musician playing there part of Paul McCartney even plays the bass guitar left handed. We were seated along the area where the band entered and departed the stage. It was fun to see the performers up close. 

By way of a review--the band did an authentic job of trying to represent the Beatles during their early years. The first set was well put together with a nice mix of songs. The second set dragged in the middle as if the band was trying to save energy for the final songs and the encore. Covering a Buck Owens song, Act Naturally, in the middle of the second set did not fit the mood of the evening. If the band wanted to pay homage to an American song writer/songer something by Johnny Cash from the period might have played better. The finale and encore were worth the wait, however, as the crowd did finally enthusiastically dance as the band played it final music of the evening.

It was a great evening and we enjoyed the well-balanced wines of Big Cork along with the music. The staff at the venue was superior. The only comment on the venue would be that pop-up dining canopy's should be at the back of the seating area. In the middle, as many of them were, caused for obstructed viewing of the band and the show. I was told that people started arriving for the show early in the day! 

Great weather, great music, the best wine in Maryland--what could make for a better evening?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Lunch and a Movie

 We did it!

Our first post-COVID movie and food. 

Chris and I went out to lunch followed by a movie at a no kidding movie theater on Sunday afternoon. It was a freeing experience. Our first post-COVID movie.

We saw the movie "A Quiet Place Part II." It was a great afternoon and the theater was practicing both good physical distancing and enforcing facial coverings. 

We felt safe and even though we are both fully vaccinated we did not mind wearing the facial coverings. 

We felt normal for a while. 

I recommend the movie, but ensure you see the first installment before seeing the sequel. There are some references that are cleared by remembering the storyline.

And--go to the movies!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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