Jubilee Festival of Arts

Jubilee Festival of Arts,   Olde Town Daphne, Alabama

September, 2017 marked the 29th year of the Jubilee Festival of Arts in Daphne, Alabama.  Over 100 vendors packed the main street of Daphne for the free weekend event.  The warm weather did not deter the crowds as they wandered though the tents filled with the merchant’s offerings. Local artisans, photographers and craftsmen along with those from Texas and Tennessee, provided a sea of artwork and crafts for purchase.

Various musical acts and cooking demonstrations took to the stage for the enjoyment of the festival attendees. Local hospitals, medical practices as well as local utilities and government dispensed information.

The two-day event was a good way to get started on that Christmas shopping list.

Applying for Global Entry

I applied for TSA Pre check three years ago and have used the expedited service going through security.  It was an easy application process and a brief interview process at a local transportation licensing center.  Last week I applied for Global Entry, which enables a quicker re-entry process to the U.S. in airports from international destinations using of a kiosk to fill out your declaration instead of going through the cue. Global entry also provides a card for use in quicker crossing at landed borders (Canada and Mexico). Global entry also provides you with TSA Pre check, so you get the benefits of both programs.  Again, it was an easy application process and interview, taking only about five minutes.  The only downside was the only center near Mobile for the interview was at the Gulfport airport about an hour’s drive. The website offers a number of centers across the county where the interview can be conducted.  I recommend both as they are timesavers when traveling domestically or abroad.

https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry

Gators, Birds and Sunsets, Oh my!

Bartram Landing

Wild Native Delta Eco tour

The 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center is located just off the Mobile-Spanish Fort causeway in Spanish Fort just past the Bluegill Restaurant. Meaher State Park is located just across the street. Located at the Bartram Landing is Wild Native’s Delta Safaris’ Eco Cruise is a relaxing way to spend a Saturday evening.

The Delta

The water was calm and peaceful as we boarded the open canopy 40 passenger Osprey with Captain Chris and our scenic guide Chista. Both were passionate about the Delta’s eco system and wildlife. They provided an ongoing narration and provided vast amounts of details about the 2nd largest delta in the US. The Mobile Delta is second only to Mississippi.

Chris talking about gators

Providing tours since 2006, Wild Native provides multiple daily boat tours of the Delta and Mobile Harbor as well as Kayak tours. The Osprey seats 40 people of all ages. Beverages (adult and other) and snacks are welcomed onboard and there is a restroom available onboard.

Our Ride

After a quick safety briefing, we departed with a cool afternoon breeze beckoning the passengers to the water. Within moments of leaving the dock, we spotted a gator just below the water line. He only had his eyes above the water but he was estimated to be about six feet long. Gators grow at about a rate of one foot per year.

Gator eyes

We spotted a Great Heron on the water as well as ducks and blackbirds. There were also white cranes, Pelicans and Mullet jumping in the water.  There are several venous snakes that inhabit the Delta, thankfully we didn’t come across any of those.

Heron on the bank

We passed underneath the Mobile Bayway and entered Mobile Bay. Watching the sunset over downtown Mobile was spectacular ending to our hour and half tour.

Majestic Cypress trees line the shore and are adorned with Spanish moss and guard the coastline. After the devastation of Hurricane Katina in 2005, it was discovered that the sand in Mobile had undergone a major shift and uncovered Cypress trees at the bottom of the bay. They have been estimated to be 50,000 years old. The samples retrieved still contained the fresh scent of Cypress because the trees do not rot.

Cypress Trees

Two-thirds of Alabama’s rivers drain into the Mobile Delta. The five rivers of the Delta are: Blakley, Apalachee, Tensaw, Spanish and Mobile. (BATSM)

Sunset Kayaks

If you want a quick relaxing boat cruise only minutes from downtown Mobile, book a fun-filled beautiful sunset Delta cruise. You might even get up-close to a gator.

http://wildnativetours.com/delta-safaris/

Other Sites to See in Texas

Sites to see  in Texas

Last December I drove through Texas in order to visit the three Presidential libraries. During my three day trip, I made a few other stops along the way.

Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas

The Sixth Street museum and Dealey Plaza in Dallas, where President John Kennedy was assassinated are well preserved monuments to day in November, 1963. Little as changed in The Plaza since ’63 and the old Texas School Book Depository building, now the Dallas County Administration building, houses the Sixth Street museum.  There you can purchase an audio tour of the museum which includes a walk through the sixties and exhibits that walk you through the events of that November day. You can view the corner window where Lee Harvey Oswald shot the President Kennedy and Governor John Connelly.  It is a thought provoking.  I received a photo tip from a local resident, there is a pedestrian bridge that overlooks the Plaza and is a good location for photos of the plaza.  Be sure to buy your ticket online before your visit as the tour fills up quickly.  There are numerous parking lots in the area and parking can be a bit pricey. 

http://www.jfk.org/

Magnolia Market at the Silos

HGTV personalities, Chip and Joanna Gaines, have reclaimed two old grain silos near downtown Waco that stand watch over the area.  Magnolia Market is the large shop for their lines of home goods which I found a tad on the expensive side. There is a large area of picnic tables and a green space for kids to play.  Surrounding the green space are various local food trucks which sell all types of foods from barbeque to ice cream.

The Silo Baking Company, usually with a line out the door, is small building that turns at dozens of tasty treats daily. Yes, it is worth the wait. It is a hot spot in town and usually crowded. The Gaines’ have obviously hit the nail on the head for the visiting public.

https://magnoliamarket.com/silos/

Official Texas Ranger Hall of Fame

I passed the sign for the Official Texas Ranger Hall of Fame in Waco, so I went to investigate. The Hall of Fame is look at the role of the Texas Rangers throughout the history of Texas. There are numerous displays, consisting of guns, rifles and other law enforcement items that provide visitors with an overview of the roll of the Ranger’s in law enforcement.  A forty-five minute film provides a look into just what Rangers accomplish on a daily basis.  A wall of photographs honor each Ranger that as died while in performance of his duty.  Excellent historical references and oral histories are provided that put you in the moment of an arrest.  The statuary alone is worth a stop to see.

http://www.texasranger.org/

Trattoria Lisina and Mandola Winery

Even after a long drive from State College to San Antonio, I wanted to visit Trattoria Lisina and Mandola Winery in Driftwood, Texas again.  While it is a bit off the beaten path, it is worth every minute spent getting there. The surrounding vineyard reminds you think of Italy and the food puts you in the midst of the Italian countryside. The wine tasting room was buzzing when I arrived a little early for my reservation. I opted to wait for a glass of wine with dinner.  Dinner was a scrumptious seafood risotto with plenty of parmesan.  Service was top notch. If you’re close by, go and have a meal.  It’s worth it.

http://trattorialisina.com/

State Capitol of Texas

Everything is bigger in Texas and it is true of the State Capitol which is a bit taller than the US Capitol. It is an impressive site to behold and even more impressive on the interior.  Guided and self guided tours are available daily.  The nearby Visitors Center also maintains a wealth of information about the capitol and grounds.   Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy learning more about Texas.

http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/