Paris and Beyond

Our Personal Tour de France & Other Exciting Adventures!

Archive for the month “November, 2018”

Fall at the Falls

fullsizeoutput_5cbAs planned, we returned to Silver Falls State Park for an autumn viewing. We were not disappointed. Our wish to capture some fall color was granted at an unlikely moment. If you have ever delved into any serious photography, you’ve learned that shooting in the middle of the day is generally not recommended as the sun is high in the sky and your subjects can turn out rather flat and uninteresting. However, there are exceptions to ever rule in photography. This day was proof of that. We arrived at our destination around 11:30 and hiked for two hours. Absolutely midday but the combination of sharply angled autumn sun and a forested canyon location was, nevertheless, perfect. We encountered many beautiful trees still bright with fall yellows, greens, and reds radiantly backlit by the sun. Here are some of the results of our efforts. We hope you enjoy them.

As Thanksgiving approaches, we are certainly thankful for many things in our lives not the least of which is living in a beautiful state where we are surrounded by ever-changing seasons.


Silverton’s Silver Lining

While searching for some breakfast one morning during our countryside adventure, a short drive led us to the town of Silverton. We stopped in to “Silverton’s Original Coffeehouse”, the Live Local Cafe. It was definitely live-ly and definitely full of locals. This time of year, I would guess we were probably the only outsiders there. Nevertheless, we experienced a warm and welcoming atmosphere while enjoying yet another delicious Oregon coffee (Longbottom Peruvian)  and chai accompanied by scrumptious bagel breakfast sandwiches. Originating at Silver Falls State Park which is nearby, Silver Creek runs through town and the cafe features creekside dining which we would have appreciated on a warmer day. 

Following Main Street into town, we passed The Oregon Garden. I had read about this place before but didn’t realize it was located right in the heart of Silverton — truly a silver lining if there ever was one for this small town and our adventure. Even though the day had begun with a drizzle, the rain seemed to be poised to take a break for a couple of hours… or so my weather app said — generally not to be trusted, but this time its predictions held true. I really wanted to check out the gardens so we stopped in for a tour. On this day in late October, we practically had the place all to ourselves.

The Oregon Garden is an 80-acre botanical garden divided into 20 different specialty gardens with a focus on the flora of the Willamette Valley and Pacific Northwest. We began our tour in the large central plaza known as the Bosque (forest in Spanish) where four brick reflecting ponds surrounded by 40 Pacific Sunset Maples were resplendent in fall color. This area immediately draws you into the heart of the garden which then branches out in all directions to a variety of unique spaces. Additionally, we explored the Amazing Water Garden and the Wetlands, both combining local water treatment with the creation of a healthy habitat for plant and wildlife. 

It was definitely a fall feast for the eyes. So we roamed the grounds trying to find the best perspectives and angles to capture the essence of the season. Norman was on the DSLR this time and the first three photos here are his. I think he really nailed it. You can certainly tell the difference between those and the last three that I took with my iPhone.

As the clouds reappeared overhead and the skies became grey once again, we headed out on our way back to our country cabin. Time to relax by the fire with a glass of wine. I’m sure the Garden will be a place for many return visits throughout the seasons of our life here in Oregon.

Joyeux Anniversaire!

Of all our adventures together in the past 24 years, our most cherished ongoing adventure has been our marriage. Yesterday was our anniversary and we were thrilled to be celebrating so many happy years together with breakfast at our local French restaurant, Marché, followed by our customary coffee, chai, and pastry in their Provisions bistro. Later we enjoyed a dinner of duck breast and risotto prepared by my absolute favorite chef, my husband. When I realized we had forgotten to pick up dessert, I quickly whipped up an Apricot Clafoutis. Yes, we blew all the calories we “earned” at the gym this week, but our anniversary only comes once a year. No matter how we greet this day, we always reminisce about how amazingly well this adventure began.

On November 8, 1997 we took our vows under a white gazebo on the lawn of the famous Palm Springs Racquet Club, a resort opened in 1934 by actors Charles Farrell and Ralph Bellamy and frequented by all the big Hollywood stars. When we checked out this venue for our wedding, its popularity had severely declined, but it was still being well-maintained. We were planning the wedding ourselves on a budget and did we ever get a deal as they were happy to have the business. We stayed in the Mary Pickford bungalow where we were able to host all of our family after the wedding late into the night. Our reception was held in the Humphrey Bogart Room. There were even Bogart stamps issued that year which we used on our handmade tuxedo invitations. I made my dress and my dad, age 75, walked me down the aisle like I had always wanted him to do. Norman built two pedestals for each side of the gazebo to support tall ceramic vases he made which were filled with Stargazer Lilies by students from the ROP floral program in my school district. He also created over a dozen candle holders as well as smaller flower vases to decorate the tables at our reception. The cake was simple, but delicious from a local grocery store bakery decorated by additional Stargazers when it arrived. We spent a good portion of our budget on a mariachi that played for both the wedding and the reception. We didn’t have an official photographer in this pre-digital age so we don’t have a lot of photos but, boy, do we have incredibly wonderful memories of this event. It was certainly a dream come true for me.

n & c's wedding cake

We’ve celebrated our anniversary in various special ways every year, some more extravagant than others. Here we are in Lake Tahoe on Anniversary #10… ah, we were still so young. This photo was taken by a professional photographer who just happened to be on the scene and offered to do it for us.

c&n tahoe '08

Last year, we completed two decades of marriage and splurged on a stay at the Whale Cove Inn on the Oregon Coast. Selfie time…


This year, I suggested we take another selfie, but as we are getting back into our photography with a new kit, Norman insisted we do it properly. So he set up our equipment and took about 20 or so shots of us. He finally got one we were both happy with then did some editing and voilà… here we are on Anniversary #21.

N&C 2

We enjoyed yet another special day together doing things we love and hope to be fortunate enough to celebrate many more anniversaries to come.

Willamette Countryside

East of Salem, Oregon’s capital, lies a picturesque countryside of gently rolling hills. It’s covered with vineyards, Christmas tree farms, and various other crops along with the requisite horses, goats, pigs, and chickens anchored by solitary farmhouses. Sprinkled here and there are small towns with interesting names such as Scio, Stayton, Lyons, Sublimity, and Silverton. The major tourist draw to this area is Oregon’s most renown state park, Silver Falls. Its 7.2-mile Ten Falls Trail is a hiker’s and photographer’s delight. 

Beyond traditional picnicking and camping which are limited to warmer, drier times of the year, there are few restaurant and hotel options in the area. On our recent visit for a return to the Falls as an early anniversary celebration, we were extremely fortunate to find an incredibly luxurious AirBNB cabin on the Santiam River a few minutes from Stayton. 

Riverhaven Cabin
The View from our Deck

This cabin is amazingly well-appointed. The hosts literally thought of everything. We were so impressed upon arrival that we immediately added another night to our stay. While we did spend some time visiting the area and taking in the fall color, most of the time we simply relaxed in the cabin… reading, knitting, sketching, watching some of our favorite shows warm and cozy in his and her recliners in front of the fireplace, listening to music or just the rain, and reveling in the peacefulness of our surroundings. All this was complemented by some great food and wine that we brought along to enjoy as well.

During a stay at this cabin, guests have the opportunity to join the hosts in their cleverly-named “Artsy Fartsy Studio” to experience an acrylic pour. There are dozens of videos demonstrating this on YouTube if you are not familiar with the technique.

I was curious so I tried my hand at the process accompanied by a glass of wine and some great conversation with the hosts. I love creative projects and this technique is one with endless possibilities. I chose to do a “dirty pour” and layered my cup with turquoise, orange, yellow gold, white, and silver paint which I inverted on a canvas and released. Here’s my rather surprising result. Not what I expected but beautiful nonetheless.

All in all, we spent a wonderful four days in the country and look forward to planning another adventure to experience a different season at “our” cabin on the river.

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