Monday, December 28, 2015

Embracing Nostalgic Christmas Memories, While Creating New Memories

Embracing Christmas in Spokane

Free Carriage rides are available during the Christmas season.

Christmas brings a time of memories emerging from a lifetime of Christmas's from the past.  Each year, long before destination shopping malls, the local residents of Spokane did their shopping in the downtown area.  One treasured memory from my childhood was the annual visit to the Crescent Department store windows in Downtown Spokane.    Each Christmas there was a new design to be unveiled for the outside windows that surrounded the full block of windows that wrapped around the store.
 Pictures of the Crescent building and window from the internet

Each year we would get dressed in our finest shopping clothes and make the trek to downtown for after Thanksgiving shopping, where the Christmas Windows would be unveiled and of course Santa's arrival.  The magical windows were different each year and certainly not to be missed.

Each year we would get dressed in our finest shopping clothes and make the trek to downtown for after Thanksgiving shopping where the windows would be unveiled and of course Santa's arrival.  The magical windows were different each year and certainly not to be missed.

The Crescent Department Store is long gone, now a multi-use building with a few stores and a Starbucks with High end Condos on upper floors. The Christmas windows exist only in the memories of who made the annual trek.  Through the years new traditions have replaced the old traditions so each year we try to find a new experience to celebrate the Holiday Season.

This year we made a trip to downtown Spokane on a Sunday afternoon to see Christmas in the city.

 The Historic Davenport Hotel, first opened in 1914

  Caroling in the lobby

The grand lobby

I was able to take a picture of a picture in the hotel of the same room where my High School Senior Ball took place. Above was as seen today, below as in the 1930's.  The  Historic detail was preserved in a renovation done in 2000.  It is a beautiful hotel and offers a glimpse of the splendor of years past.

The flower shop as remained in near the lobby and the sweet aroma envelopes the entrance. 

Two new hotels owned by the same Corporation have been built in Spokane and provide a modern experience.  The Davenport Towers has an African Safari motif and was our next destination..  It is located near the original hotel though is not nearly as grand an experience as the Historic Davenport..

Near the lobby entrance.....
        wild animals.

Closer to Riverfront Park and across from the convention center is the third hotel which just opened this last year so we had to take a peak.

One of the spectacular creations in the Grand Hotel is the stained glass window of the Spokane Falls with is located in the coffee shop near the main lobby.

As we walked through the very modern decorated halls we discovered the annual Gingerbread competition had just been completed.   In the hours before, the ballroom was filled with children and families (and creative noise and chaos) who along with Spokane's Chefs were busy creating gingerbread houses.  The children and their individual house creations were gone but the Chef's creations would remain on display throughout the holiday season.  Here are a few of the creations...

The finale of our visit downtown was a walk through Riverfront Park which was now lite up with lights.

 Winter Glow is a new tradition that started in 2014.  It is free to the public and the lighting displays are designed by local businesses and non-profits.  It is a magical place with all the twinkling lights.

While some people look back at nostalgic memories and people now gone with such fond longing that they are not able to embrace new experiences  . I look back over all the memories of Christmas's past and treasure each of them.  I hope I never loose the Christmas Wonder and continue to seek out new experiences and embrace them as well.

Please excuse the quality of the pics.....These were taken with my cell phone. 

I hope your Christmas was full of wonderful new memories.

Monday, December 14, 2015

We got Our Kicks.... on Route 66

During the summer a group of women followed the Route 66 pulling vintage trailers and having a boatload of fun.  I followed their journey on Facebook knowing that I would follow in their tracks at a later date.  While in Chicago we visited the starting point of Route 66 but we we headed to New England leaving the Route 66 trail in the dust, but we always knew we would find the trail again.

We picked up the Route 66 trail in Oklahoma and followed along the southwest through Arizona before heading up to Utah.

Our first stop was in Clinton, Oklahoma where we stopped at the Route 66 Museum.  We stopped at another Museum along Route 66 but this was our favorite.


We watched for signs and noticed that the highway follows along I-40 which makes it easy to follow along.  Zip off, follow along, back on to the interstate...We make our way along the highway at a snails pace. 

One of our zip off the interstate revealed this iconic gas station....though not open for operation, it was a great photo op in Shamrock Oklahoma.

One stop that we were sure that we would see was Cadillac Ranch.... ,  Most people have heard of it.  We were determined to see it, fortunately it is right off of the highway so if you miss the exit just get off at the next one and circle back.

Can you imagine how many layers of paint it on the old relics?

 Clearly, everything available to be! 

                                                         Probably the most ignored sign in Texas!

We took a couple of grocery bags with us as we walked among the Cadillac tombstones and gathered some of the discarded cans.  It is so nice to have everything you need in your little home as you go down the road.

Plenty of cows......but where are the oil rigs?

We asked along the way about a Route 66 Diner and many people recommended a diner in Albuquerque that we added to our must do list.

We don't eat out a lot during our travels but this was one exception. Though I don't remember a lot about the breakfast (except how hungry we were for the pancakes) We were so busy enjoying all thee memorabilia.  The building started out as a local gas station and garage and was later converted to the diner of present.  


It was like having breakfast in a museum.  It was worth the stop!!

After breakfast we headed into Old Town Albuquerque.  Not exactly my thing.... since I'm not much of a shopper, but it was hard for me to drive on by and not check it out.   Who knows when I will be in the area again.

We were here on Sunday morning so we did not go into San Felipe de Neri Church as we did not want to disturb the worshipers.  (We did peek in and it is beautiful)

Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest city, sits in the high desert. Its modern Downtown core contrasts with Old Town, dating to the city’s 1706 founding as a Spanish colony. Old Town is filled with historic adobe buildings, such as San Felipe de Neri Church, and shops selling Native American handicrafts.


We wondered through the streets and shops and I particularly enjoyed the architecture and the hidden courtyards.  In the New Mexico heat, they are a cool respite.

A beautiful community out side of the city.

There is much to see and we saw so little.  I am looking forward to spending much more time in the area and exploring more sights and the culture of the area.  My eyes have been opened to how much there is that I haven't experienced that it stir the hunger for my wondering rather than satisfies the wonderlust.

What a Great Big Beautiful World we live in.....