Welcome ...

One day I was contemplating the advice I had been sharing with hundreds, if not thousands, of people over the years. I decided it was time to put my experiences into the written word and hope that you find as much pleasure in my adventures as I have ... and maybe, just maybe, if your travels cross some of the same places that mine have, perhaps my words of wisdom will make your journey that much more fun and exciting.

So whether it's local restaurants or exotic destinations ... as my Uncle Jim described me, I am the "intrepid traveler", always ready for an adventure, whether traveling solo or leading the way ... you never know what will pop into my head and come out on the keyboard.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Hillsboro Village and Radnor Lake

A Sunday in Middle Tennessee can be absolutely spectacular simply seen from the balcony of my house, however the icing on the cake is getting out and enjoying good food and beautiful nature.

Food:
Fido in the Village
My first choice was the Pancake Pantry (a Nashville tradition).  I've been home for over two months now and still haven't made it there - not for the lack of trying, I assure you.  My order was ready and my taste buds watering with the dream of two eggs scrambled and two sweet potato pancakes, however 10 am on a Sunday is still not the time to go unless you want to stand in line for an hour and a half.  Yes, it's a Sunday and you would think that most people would be in church, but then again, summer school at Vanderbilt and the U2360 concert the night before, would have a lot of people in town and nursing hangovers.  And what is better to absorb the leftover alcohol?  Pancake Pantry pancakes!  It seems that I was not the only one who had the idea to go and the line wrapped around the building, as usual.

Change of plans ... a quick walk up the alley and in the back door to Fido www.bongojava.com/fido.php.  Yes, Fido, as in dogs.  That's how you get identified by the wait staff when they bring your food ... I love it that you are not just a number, you are a pooch.  And our pooch is looking for a home.  Because of the long lines at Pancake Pantry, I've actually been to Fido more times than the Pancake Pantry but I never eat the same thing twice and although the menu is short, the food is never dull.  I like that they buy their food from local farms.  It's great to be able to eat local and support the local farmers ... just like heading to the Farmer's Market but that's another topic for another day.  So yesterday's choice was the Euro Eggs with Veggie Sausage.  Now I'm normally not a big fan of veggie sausage ... veggie burgers, yes, but under an egg? This was going to be something new.

Two eggs perfectly poached, the right amount of Hollandaise without going overboard with fattening calories, perched on a veggie patty on an English muffin, that was lightly toasted.  Side note, restaurants can over-toast the English muffins and they are like hockey pucks!  Small side of breakfast potatoes, cooked to perfection, tender on the inside and lightly crunchy on the outside.  Complemented with some fresh fruit.

As for a beverage, normally I drink a Pink Poodle which is an espresso with non-fat milk, white chocolate and raspberry.  This I have never deviated from until YESTERDAY.  I ordered the Rollover which has chocolate and carmel.  Not a bad choice, but it's definitely NOT the Pink Poodle so "note to self" next time, I'll return to my house favorite.

Words of advice about finding a seat ... it's always busy at Fido.  The best thing to do is come in the back door, and send your friends off to find a seat while one person stands in line.  Two bonuses for this, 1) you can check out what everyone else is eating before making your decision and 2) you can make a friend while standing in line.  We lucked out yesterday and got a booth ... I spied a couple getting up and sent my Mom immediately over to nab it - I think the wood was still warm when I eventually sat down.

Try It:  PC Muffins ... Pumpkin and Chocolate Chip.  THE BEST.  And on a hot day, leave the muffin in your car so the chocolate melts and then eat it.  I guarantee you will be licking your fingers happily afterwards, wondering ... did I REALLY eat the whole thing by myself?

The Nature:
Radnor Lake www.radnorlake.org is truly one of my favorite places to immerse myself in nature and I don't have to go very far to get there.  The lake trail offers you a nice walk while enjoying the scenery and looking for wildlife and then the ridge trail offers you elevated heart therapy.  When you get to the top, you can stop and listen to the wind in the trees and in the winter time, you can actually see the high rises downtown.  I've had a herd of deer run past me, seen hawks soar in the thermal winds, snakes slither across my path, chipmunks bury their nuts, yes the wildlife abounds.  This week, not only did I get to see two of the fawns that have been growing in the park, but the Ranger brought out two treats, one was a Red-Shouldered Hawk that had been hit by a car and whose feathers never grew back well enough that she could fly and the second treat was a Great Horned Owl who had gotten his wing caught in a barbed wire fence and then had to have it amputated.  Both cases are sad (however I do feel blessed for having seen them) and I ask the questions:

What is life like for a bird who can no longer soar?
Do they have memories of where they have been, what they have hunted?
Do they hunger for freedom in flight?

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