Thursday, September 22, 2016

Maryhill, WA Adventure- Fine Art, Wine & Stonehenge?


One of those places we'd wanted to go visit forever.
Why are some of the closest places the hardest to cross off your list?
Frankly, all our lives are so busy, how do you start to prioritize new places?
For a tried and true "local" getaway, we usually head to the Oregon Coast, Leavenworth Bavarian Village or Vancouver BC.
Maryhill, WA? 
Sounds like a ridiculous place to take a holiday... until you actually GO there!

Maybe you've seen pictures of the Columbia River Gorge?  A 100 year heritage highway lining a beautiful waterway dividing two amazing states, Washington and Oregon.
It's a must do if you live around here.

We set out early on Friday morning of Labor Day weekend, hoping to beat the crowds to our VRBO rental near Hood River, Oregon.  We made a relaxing day of it,and took a totally different road that we first considered.  Pouring rain was coming down on the West side of the mountains, typical for a holiday weekend in Western Washington.
Once we crossed the Cascades?  Beautiful sunshine.  Awwww.

First stop, Maryhill Museum of Fine Arts.  
Hmmm... really?  
I haven't seen a stop light in about 3 hours, and you want me to believe fine arts?  Well, I was wrong.  Do you want me to repeat that... what, you didn't quite hear me admit that?  

Maryhill Museum is a stunning old castle like building built in the early 1900's by Sam Hill, the pioneer of the NW region of highways and railroads. The guy had some serious bank!  However, he never consulted the "Mrs" on his remote (albeit beautiful) location for their mansion. She refused to live there.  Next thing you know, Sam Hill decided to use it to house his serious collection of art collections.

  • Indian artifacts from every region of the US. I especially liked the Arctic Indians waterproof jacket, made out of seal intestines.  Ewwww.
  • French decorator fashion dolls, used after WWII to help rebuild France's couture status.  I kept leaning in to take pictures of these cuties and setting off the alarm.  I couldn't figure out what that annoying noise was until my hubby said "stop doing that!". LOL, who knew?


  • Royalty dress from Queen Marie of Romania (niece of Tsar Nicolas, and granddaughter of Queen Victoria).  A wonderful story of how she supported her friend, Sam Hill
  • Religious Icons... super sparkley gold and OLD. Cool.
  • Rodin sculptures from France... a whole room full of them!  Rodin has been my favorite since reading "Naked Came I" (a book about Auguste Rodin silly!)
  • A chess set collection from around the world, must have been 50 different sets!
  • Art Nouveau glass- collections from Lalique and Daum (Love this, I used to be a crystal buyer at a department store)
  • American Pottery from the 1920's- McCoy  etc. etc.
  • Pendleton blankets looking at current in 2016 with 1905 designs, like my favorite below.


Just down the road, is Maryhill winery!
You get a free tasting if you show them your ticket from the museum.
Isn't that nice that they value arty folks?
The place was mobbed, we couldn't even get near the tasting bar. 
My Solution?
Buy some wine, have them open it and head to the deck to feast in the view.
Oh... what... a ... view!


But wait... not too much wine.  There is still so much to see, and do.  
Cork that bottle, shove it in your trunk and head a little further down the road to...
Stonehenge!
Yah baby, who knew?  (Actually, we did... but hey, maybe you didn't?)
We went to the real Stonehenge in 1989 while visiting friends in Britain.
we loved it, but you can't get real close, and there was a lot of people around. 
And.. the weather was totally sucky.
So...

Maryhill Stonehenge was a beautiful surprise.
Totally open
Totally empty of others
Totally, breathtakingly beautiful scenery!
Plus, a poignant memorial to WWI veterans, the first in the US. 


In hind sight, I'd say plan ahead and bring some picnic makings (bread, cheese, meat, fruit) and grab that bottle from Maryhill Winery, and feast on the bluff outside of Stonehenge as you soak in the Columbia River Gorge.

Note the petroglyph in the rock over my right shoulder.  This is on the balcony by the museum cafe over looking the river. Doesn't suck at all.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Maple & Dijon


Fall is in the air.  It is officially the last day of Summer today.
I guess I am ready, since everything I have been making lately is incorporating maple syrup!
I was even dreaming of maple cheesecake the other day... hmmm, we will see.

This recipe is a keeper for a variety of reasons- 1) it has only five ingredients 2) It's an easy side dish for those holidays that might be coming up and 3) it's different from so many other recipes for sprouts! Hey it's really pretty too, so it gets some points for that.


Serves 4-6
Ingredients

16 oz fresh brussels sprouts, trimmed
1/2 red onion, diced
4 oz bacon, diced
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1-2 Tbsp maple syrup
  
Trim up the brussels sprouts, cutting a bit off the stem end if it looks like it needs it.  Cut each in half and set aside.  I throw in any leaves that fall off and include them too. 


Dice up the bacon and cook over medium high heat until it starts to darken and crisp, but be sure remove it from the heat before it gets hard and crispy.  You want it a bit soft still.  Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon to a small dish off to the side while you cook the rest.  Discard all but about one tablespoon of bacon fat for sauteing the onions and sprouts.
 

Add the red onions and cook until they start to soften and the color become more pink, and less purple.  Throw in the brussels sprouts and stir to cook.  I like my sprouts a bit on on the hard side and still bright green, but they taste good when they soften up a bit more too.  You will need to cook them for about 5-10 minutes, depending on how done you want them.
 

Add in the maple, the dijon mustard and stir to combine.  Add salt and pepper and then taste. Depending on your tastes, you may want to add more dijon and/or more maple syrup.
Serve at once. 

 
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