The House of Umbrellas in Barcelona

A rainy afternoon seems like a good time to write about the House of Umbrellas in Barcelona. The House of Umbrellas (Casa dels Paraigües) is located on Las Ramblas, the busy major thoroughfare and pedestrian walkway in the center of the city. The building is close to the popular market La Boqueria and just a […]

Olives and olive oil are a special part of Spanish cuisine. In visits to Barcelona, I’ve enjoyed seeing the colorful displays of olives in markets and sampling olives as tapas in cafés. Olive oil is part of many Mediterranean dishes, from pasta to pan con tomate (bread rubbed with tomato and seasoned with olive oil, […]

poinsettias - photo by Julie Dodd

Poinsettias always make me think of Christmas and the holiday season. When I was growing up, my dad was a member of Kiwanis, a civic organization, and selling poinsettias at the holidays was one of the club’s big fundraisers for community projects they sponsored. I’d go with Dad to help him deliver the poinsettias to […]

GSMNP Little River - photo by Julie Dodd

The sun was shining as we hiked the Little River Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on a cool fall day in a time before Covid-19. We carried tripods so we could try some slow motion water photos. Stepping from rock to rock, we walked out into the river. We set up our […]

vote pumpkin

Have you voted? In the 2016 Presidential election voting, only about 56 percent of the voting age population voted. In close elections, that means just over 25 percent of the voters are determining the outcome.  To find out election information, check out The League of Women Voters’ very helpful website of election information.  Here are […]

National Public Lands Day logo

National Public Lands Day, on Sept. 26, is one of the five days when admission to national parks is free. Thousands of people will be in the parks on National Public Lands Day and millions will be in the parks this year to enjoy nature and perhaps look for a boost in spirit in the […]

Portland Japanese Garden Peace Lantern - photo by Julie Dodd

Join me in a peaceful stroll through the Portland Japanese Garden, located in the hilltops overlooking Portland, Oregon. I toured the Garden last summer and thought you might enjoy the calmness of these garden views that I photographed. The Portland Japanese Garden is 12 acres and contains eight different styles of gardens. The idea for […]

Clingsman Dome in GSMNP

The Fourth of July is a time for those of us living in the United States to think about what makes this country special. The 62 national parks certainly are one of the country’s greatest treasures. I was fortunate to grow up less than an hour’s drive to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hiking […]

Alum Cave At-Home Adventure finisher medal

I’m taking a different approach to hiking to Mt. Le Conte this year because of Covid-19. Usually, I drive more than 500 miles to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, spend a few days in Gatlinburg, and then put on my hiking boots and hike to Mt. Le Conte, the third highest peak in the […]

View from Sant Jeroni - photo by Julie Dodd

A year ago almost to the day, friends and I hiked to Sant Jeroni – the highest peak (4,055 feet) in the Montserrat Natural Park in Catalonia, Spain. The park surrounds Montserrat Monastery, which is built into a mountain-side about an hour train ride from Barcelona. The monastery was founded in the 11th century, and […]