Think There Is No Way You Can Help? Think Again!

If you can’t adopt….foster.

If you can’t foster…sponsor.

If you can’t sponsor…volunteer.

If you can’t volunteer…donate or transport an animal to safety.

If you can’t donate or transport…educate, network, and cross-post.

Everyone can do something, large or small, to help save a life.

~Pit Crew, IL

 

I often hear people say they can’t help because “It’s too upsetting,”  “I don’t have the money,”  “I don’t have the time,” …etc, etc, etc…. well – you CAN help – in many different ways, regardless of your time, level of involvement, or financial situation.  The purpose of this post is to show you that there are many different ways, and numerous levels of participation you can involve yourself in to help save an animal’s life – both with little time, or little/no money!

There are also many people out there who really want to help, but not sure what they can do to assist.  There are plenty of different ways to help either at a local shelter – or a rescue organization.  Remember…Just a few hours can make such a difference for an animal in need!

Contact a local shelter or rescue organization today, and ask how YOU can contribute…there are MANY ways to assist! Here are just some ways how you volunteer to help change the life of a homeless animal:

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LOCAL SHELTERS:

  • Walking and exercising the dogs: Get some exercise yourself while giving a shelter dog a break from the kennel! Walking and playing with shelter dogs can be very rewarding, and provide much-needed exercise and stress-relief for shelter animals.
  • Cleaning kennels: Help keep kennel, walking areas, and play spaces tidy, and help wash kennel bedding to help shelter animals’ stay a more enjoyable one.
  • Donating food, toys, newspapers, old towels and sheets: Have you ever heard the saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure?”  Many items you may normally throw out could be used by shelter pets to provide stimulation, reduce stress, or provide bedding. There are MANY toys, household items, pet care supplies, medical supplies, and even office supplies that shelters could use. Contact the specific shelter to find out what items they could use most.
  • Donating money to the shelter: Most shelters even have an online donation option.
  • Planned Giving: Remember a favorite local shelter in your will.  Making a lifetime gift by bequest is easy.  Simply direct your attorney to include the shelter in your will when it is drafted.  You can designate a specific dollar amount, or percentage of your estate.  You can also bequeath specific assets to the shelter or organization.
  • Sponsoring a shelter animal:  You can sponsor a specific shelter animal by donating monthly to that animal until they find their forever home.  You can decide on the level of support to which you would like to commit, select a shelter pet to designate that support to, and receive updates on that supported shelter animal.
  • Memorial and tribute gifts:  Honor a loved one – human or pet – by making a memorial or tribute donation.  Most shelters and organizations will send a card to whomever you wish to honor with your donation.
  • Get involved at shelter events: Volunteer to help set up, break down, or run a table (sell merchandise, educate people who stop at the table by telling them about the organization, accept donations, etc) for the rescue at events.
  • Foster a pet to free up space at the shelter: Fostering a shelter pet frees up space in the shelter for other incoming animals.  It is also a very rewarding experience, and a personal way to get involved in saving an animal’s life. Fostering increases the number of animals a shelter can save, and plays a huge part in the shelter’s ability to find homes for homeless animals.  Most shelters will provide veterinary care, supplies, advice, and more while the animal is in your care. Contact a local shelter for specific details.

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RESCUE ORGANIZATIONS:

  • Become a foster: Fostering is a critical part of an organization’s success.  Fostering provides a loving a stable environment for an animal until they can be adopted into their forever home.
  • Transport animals to their foster or adoptive homes: Drive a “leg” or two of a transport!  Most legs are only an hour or so long, and just an hour’s drive can help get a homeless animal closer to their foster or adoptive family.
  • Be a coordinator: Help coordinate or monitor transports, or help by working with shelters and other groups who need assistance with animals in need. Coordinators receive information about dogs in need, and work with the shelter and rescue to place dogs in foster homes.
  • Perform home visits/inspections for  potential adopters: Visit homes of nearby potential adopters and evaluate the home, property, and family for rescues in order for decisions to be made for adoption approvals.
  • Make phone calls: Call potential adopters to review applications, and applicants’ veterinarians for background checks in order for decisions to be made for adoption approvals.
  • Evaluate a animal in a shelter: Visit a specific animal in a shelter to analyze it’s temperament, overall health, etc.
  • Get involved in a fundraising event for the organization: Volunteer to help set up, break down, or run a table (sell merchandise, educate people who stop at the table by telling them about the organization, accept donations) for the rescue at events.  There are even more opportunities for fundraising, or participating in the event itself.   Some events you can even bring your dog – have them participate as a donation dog!
  • Donate: Rescue organizations depend greatly on donations from supporters.  Most rescues are all-volunteer non-profit organizations. Monies donated go directly to the care (spay, neuter/vaccines/heartworm testing, treatment, and preventative/and other general vetting of the animals in the program)… there are no offices, shelter, or paid staff to support.
  • Donate supplies: Food, treats, collars, leads, toys, bedding, crates…and much more!
  • Shop Online and at Sites that Support the Organization: Many rescues now have sites that will donate a portion of sales to the rescue.  It does not cost you any additional money, and really adds up for the rescue organization.
  • Buy rescue merchandise: Show off your love of animals and your passion of saving animals lives by buying merchandise from a rescue.  Rescues often sell hats, shirts, magnets, and more.  Proceeds will help fund your favorite rescue or organization.
  • Educate: Get the word out of animal-related events happening in your area.  Rescues always need volunteers to help spread the word about the work they do.  Often rescues have brochures and other materials available to help publicize their organization and the work they do.

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I’m sure there are even more ways to assist a local shelter or a rescue organization – contact one today to see how YOU can help save the lives of animals!

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“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever”

~Karen Davison

Jenny’s Birthday

Brian had asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday.  After giving it much thought, I decided that after the awful winter we endured, it would be great to get outside for the day since the weather was foretasted to be gorgeous.  I decided on a family hike, ending with lunch and drinks at an outdoor, dog-friendly eatery.

There was a hike that I had saved on my All Trails wish-list, and have been intrigued ever since with the photos and description of this hike. The hike was at Wissahickon Valley Park.  We left the house at 9am to drive to Valley Green Inn, where our hike would begin.  When we arrived at Valley Green Inn, Brian, Cello, and I completed a 3.37 mile hike filled with gorgeous views and interesting trails.

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We then headed over to the Fairmount Neighborhood in Philadelphia.  What a great time we had!  We stopped to take in the awesome Eastern State Penitentiary before heading down Fairmount Avenue to The Bishop’s Collar to cheer on the Flyers as we enjoyed a bite to eat and a celebratory birthday cocktail. Our next stop was at London Grill/Paris Wine Bar where we enjoyed a glass of wine.  Next, we stopped at Urban Saloon for a quick drink before heading further down Fairmount Avenue to Hickory Lane American Bistro, where we enjoyed some delicious bruschetta.  Our last stop was at Jack’s Firehouse for a glass of wine and some uniquely prepared calamari.

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We didn’t get home that day until about 7:30pm!  What a fun-filled birthday outing I had!  The hike was gorgeous, and we packed a lot of culinary and historic experiences in to our day in the Fairmount area of Philadelphia.

To top my birthday off, Brian bought me a (much needed!) new laptop, from which I am composing this blog! Before this, I had been using a slow-running 7 year old laptop with a broken “A” key, and faulty battery!  Brian realized how much I have enjoyed creating this site for Cello, yet how frustrating it was to work on an insufficient computer.  He was thoughtful enough to purchase a great portable laptop so that I could transport it to work and to camping trips.  I am a very, VERY lucky gal to be married to and loved by Brian.

Thank you, Brian, for a GREAT birthday filled with fun, adventure, and new experiences, and for picking out THE most perfect gift!  You are the greatest husband, and best friend a girl could ask for – I love you with all of my heart!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

Jack’s Firehouse, Philadelphia, PA

Located in the Fairmount Neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA, and set in a 19th century firehouse, Jack’s Firehouse is definitely worth a visit!  Jack’s Firehouse is located directly across from Eastern State Penitentiary on Fairmount Avenue.

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Even though we sat at the dog-friendly outdoor seating area, Brian and I each took a moment to explore the inside of this unique establishment. Most of the original mahogany interior, wooden plank flooring, and yes, even the brass fire pole are still intact!  There is also a racing shell suspended over top the bar.

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What great history this place has! The fire company that originally occupied Jack’s was Truck A, now referred to as Ladder Company 1 and located on Parish Street in Philadelphia. Truck A was the first paid Philadelphia Fire Department in 1871.

We enjoyed a glass of wine and ordered the Calamari with Hot Pepper Chips, Carrots, and Hot Lava – and it was absolutely amazing! We enjoyed being able to take in the historic, yet sometimes eerie views of Eastern State Penitentiary, and Cello enjoyed people and dog watching from her blanket.

Urban Saloon, Philadelphia, PA

Located in the Fairmount Neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA on Fairmount Avenue, Urban Saloon has outdoor seating, is dog-friendly (they even bring our a bowl of water for your pup!) and is situated directly across from Eastern State Penitentiary.

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“Not a worry in the world, a PBR on the way – Life is good today. Life is good today.” ~ Zac Brown Band

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It was exciting, yet eerie to enjoy a glass of wine at their outdoor seating area while gazing at the historic Eastern State Penitentiary.

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Hickory Lane American Bistro, Philadelphia, PA

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Hickory Lane American Bistro is located in the Fairmount Neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA, on Fairmount Avenue.

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While enjoying a glass of wine at their outdoor seating area, we ordered the “Warm Wild Mushroom and Spring Ramp Bruschetta” – – and it was delicious!  These dog-friendly folks even brought a water bowl out for Cello, and were very attentive to her!

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London Grille, Paris Wine Bar, Philadelphia, PA

Located in the historic Fairmount Neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA, London Grille  is a short walk from several museums, including The Franklin Institute and The Philadelphia Museum of Art.   This establishment has been featured in Philadelphia Magazine, Philadelphia Style, The Wall Street Journal, and US Airways Magazine.

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Although we did not try the well-known food at London Grille, we did enjoy a glass of wine from Paris Wine Bar, the “sister-establishment” to London Grille.  Six wines are offered here “on draught,” tapped from kegs that have  been specifically filled by the winemakers for Paris Wine Bar.  The wine selections change frequently in order to showcase the best of Pennsylvania’s winemakers such as Allegro, Pinnacle Ridge, Galen Glenn,  and Manatawny.  The rotating selections always include 2 whites, three reds, and one dry rose.

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Cello enjoyed the attention she received from 2-legged and 4-legged passerby’s, and the Sauvignon Blanc we ordered was delicious.

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The Bishop’s Collar, Philadelphia, PA

The Bishop’s Collar – Salvation by the Pint. Come worship with us.”

                                                                               ~The Bishop’s Collar

 

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Named after a perfectly poured pint of Guinness, The Bishop’s Collar is located in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA on the corner of 24th Street and Fairmont Avenue.

This was our first stop after my Birthday Hike at Wissahickon Park.  Here we enjoyed Risotto Balls appetizer, served with marinara sauce (YUM!)… and of course washed them down with a Bloody Mary (Jen’s choice) and a pint of Boddington’s (Brian’s choice).

The atmosphere was fun and lively on this day, as the Flyers were playing.  Cello enjoyed people and dog watching along Fairmount Avenue, and we very much enjoyed our food, drink, and the jubilant atmosphere here!

 

Cello people-watching:

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Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA

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Located in the Fairmount Neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Eastern State Penitentiary is chock full of history, and quite a site to see!  Be sure to take a moment to read the history and timeline of this place…you won’t be disappointed!

If you ever want a REAL scare, visit this landmark at night in the month of October for “Terror Behind the Walls!” …by far THE scariest Halloween Haunted tour I’ve ever been on!!

 

If you look closely, you will see Jenny and Cello standing just to the left of the front opening of the penitentiary:

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Opening in 1829, Eastern State Penitentiary was the most expensive structure of its time, and became the most famous prison in the world. The penitentiary was also “home” to many famous criminals including:

  • Al “Scarface” Capone – Chicago’s most famous mob boss
  • William Francis Sutton – one of the most famous bank robbers in American history
  • William “Blackie” Zupkoski – Self-proclaimed “Toughest Man in Philadelphia”
  • Leo Callahan – the only prisoner to ever successfully escape from the penitentiary

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You many even recognize the penitentiary in some of these movies/videos:

 

If you are ever in the Philadelphia area, a visit to Eastern State Penitentiary is a must!!

Valley Green Inn, Philadelphia, PA

Located along Forbidden Drive in the Wissahickon Valley Park area of Philadelphia, Valley Green Inn is a great place to end a hike in the Wissahickon Valley Park, and has some great history behind it!

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We started my birthday hike in the park at the Inn, and were planning to end our hike here with a reward of good food and drinks.  We made reservations for the dog-friendly porch seating area, overlooking the Wissahickon Creek.  However, Cello had her own agenda planned.   We did not realize it was Wissahickon Day, which included a horse parade down Forbidden Drive.  Cello has been very vocal in displaying her distaste for horses lately (something we have begun working on immediately and hope to correct).  We decided it would be best for the horses outside of Valley Green Inn if we had lunch elsewhere!   We decided to head over to the Fairmount Neighborhood of Philadelphia instead.

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We hope to come back to Valley Green Inn someday soon with Cello to enjoy food, drink, and the view of the creek.

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Wissahickon Valley Park, PA

DSC00701Wissahickon Valley Park is located in Pennsylvania, in the Fairmount Park area of Philadelphia.  The park consists of 1,800 acres and consists of 50 miles of trails, used by hikers, runners, equestrians, and cyclists.  The Wissahickon Creek, which runs through the park, is stocked each year with trout, which draws many fisherman as well.

I picked this hike for us to do on my birthday, as I have had this hike on my All Trails “wish-list” for quite some time.

It just so happened that my birthday also fell on Wissahickon Day,  where each year on the last Sunday in April people gather at the park to celebrate the fact that Forbidden Drive ( a gravel road that runs along the Wissahickon Creek) was successfully closed to cars in 1921.  Around that time, a turnpike was proposed to run the length of this gravel road.  However, equestrian park users protested with a parade of carriages and horses.  Hundreds of horses turned out for the parade in protest of the turnpike, and the proposal was defeated.  Each year on Wissahickon Day, horses and carriages return to celebrate…festivities include a horse show, parade of carriages and horses, and added this year was a Fancy Hat Competition.

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We chose to skip the horse-related activities, as Cello has become “spooked” by horses lately (something we are trying to work on with her). We did see lots of horses and carriages coming and going from their activities though!

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We did about a 3.37 hike that led us on the trails, as well as onto Forbidden Drive.  The hike took longer than usual because of all the stops we made to take pictures, and also because Cello has suddenly begun to lunge at all bikes, as well as all horses, and random bigger dogs.  She was a bit on-edge at the park with all the  horses, so we didn’t want to push-it with her. We have contacted a well-recommended local trainer and hope to counter-condition these behaviors.

Here is the hike that we did, recorded on MapMyFitness:

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 Our hike began on Forbidden Drive at the Valley Green Inn, a historic Inn along Forbidden Drive.

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About a half-mile into our hike we came to Magarge Dam that once powered the Margarge Mill wheel, the last active mill in the Wissahickon Valley, which closed in 1883.

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At about 1.15 miles, we came across this neat stone bridge, archway, and stairs.

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We stopped for a minute so that Cello could go in the Wissahickon Creek

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Then at about 1.55 miles we reached Thomas Mill Covered Bridge, the only covered bridge still standing within the city limits of Philadelphia, and the only covered bridge in a U.S. City.  The bridge spans across the Wissahickon Creek.  As of 1980, the bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Thomas Mill Covered Bridge was originally built in 1855.  It was renovated by the Works Progress Administration in 1938, and by the city of Philadelphia in 2000.  The bridge is open to pedestrian traffic only.

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Our first time walking through a covered bridge!  

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At this point, we decided to head back to Valley Green Inn, where we parked. We took Forbidden Drive all the way back to our starting point.

Forbidden Drive:

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Cello and Brian on Forbidden Drive:DSC00792

Overall, this is is a great hike with decent trails, historical significance, and beautiful sights along the way!

Meet the Pointer Sisters

“I”m so excited, and I just can’t hide it…”

…Well, ok, not the ACTUAL pointer sisters, …more like “sistas-from-otha-mistas!”   😉

 

Another Pointer Rescue, Org (PRO) transport led us to meet Mollie and Emmie, two beautiful and sweet female English Pointers.

We picked up the two gals from another PRO volunteer, Kirk.  He told us how well-behaved the two ladies were on his drive!

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Emmie is already adopted, and this transport was taking Emmie to her forever  home!  She was an absolute joy to ride with in the car, and was so loving the entire ride!  Her forever family is very lucky to be adding Emmie into their lives!

 

Meet Emmie:

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“Sista” number 2, Mollie,  was fresh out of rescue and on her way to her foster home.  Once Mollie is settled in with her foster family, she will be available for adoption through PRO.  Mollie was also quite the sweetheart – full of love and affection!

 

Meet Mollie:

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It truly amazes me with each transport we do – and each rescue dog we meet – -that even though these gentle, innocent beings have been wronged – often abandoned or abused – or both, they still want nothing but to be loved by humans, and will still also show so much affection and love toward humans, even after all that they have been through…  Dogs are truly astonishing creatures.

 

There are many different ways to help either at a local shelter – or a rescue organization.  Just a few hours can make such a difference for a dog in need! Want to assist, but not sure how?  Click HERE !

 

People who say “Money can’t buy you happiness” have never paid an adoption fee 🙂  …Don’t shop adopt!

Easter 2014

Brian, Cello, and I spent Easter weekend camping in Staunton, Virginia.

 

On Easter morning, Cello woke up to her basket and huge bunny left for her from the Easter Bunny!

Cello’s Easter Basket:

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Cello’s Easter gifts waiting for her on Easter morning in our camper:

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Cello was happy to see that the Easter Bunny did not pass her by in her camper

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Cello even had her own egg hunt!  Each egg was filled with treats!

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Lamb Chop was even hiding an egg!

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Found another one in the toy basket!DSC00554

Brian helped Cello get the treat in each egg as she found them:DSC00555

After the Easter festivities in our camper, we took a ride onto Skyline Drive.  Even though we had been on Skyline Drive before, we had never been this far south on it, and we can’t ever get tired of seeing these views!

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After our scenic drive on Skyline Drive, we visited Veritas Vineyard , and then stopped at Byers Street Bistro for some fried green tomatoes!

We had a great Easter Day, and a wonderful Easter weekend trip to Virginia!  Hope you all enjoyed your Holiday!

Happy Easter!

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Veritas Vineyard, Afton, Va

Located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Verita’s Vineyard offers a variety of delicious wines.   The vineyard grounds are dog friendly, and the setting offers a gorgeous view of the mountains!

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The tasting room was really nice and had a cool display of wine corks over the bar:

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Humpback Rock Farm, Milepost 5.8, Blue Ridge Parkway

Located at milepost 5.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Humback Rock Farm displays what’s left of a 19th century mountain farm.

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Cello was on meds for a rash that she developed, and Brian had hurt his knee, so we didn’t hike this trip – – but you can, from this location, also hike out to see Humback Rock, pictured below.

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Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia

Cello had her first ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway!  She had been on Skyline Drive before, but she had never been on the Blue Ridge Parkway! The Blue Ridge Parkway spans 469 miles and connects the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive.  Construction began in 1935 in Cumberland Knob, near the North Carolina/Virginia state line.  The parkway was completed in 1983.

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Natural Bridge, Natural Bridge, Va

The Natural Bridge is located in Natural Bridge (Rockbridge County), Virginia. It is one of the oldest tourist attractions in the United States, and is included in several “Natural Wonders of the World” lists, designated a National Historic Landmark, a Virginia National Landmark, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

 

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Natural Bridge was amazing to see.  We enjoyed sitting down for a while and taking in all it’s beauty.

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Brian got lots of kisses from Cello at the Natural Bridge!DSC00457

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Rockbridge Vineyard, Raphine, Va

Rockbridge Vineyard sits on a hill at 2,000 ft in elevation in Raphine, Va.  The wine maker has worked in wineries in Germany, California, and Virginia, before buying the land to have his own vineyard. The tasting room is actually inside the barn!

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The wines here have won many medals including Best in Show in the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, Best in Show in Town Point Competition, and has also won the Virginia’s Governor’s Cup twice.

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We did the white wine tasting list – and each one was delicious.

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Cello is waiting patiently for an oyster cracker – or maybe her own glass of wine?  She is the “legal” human-age of 21 now 😉

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After the wine tasting, we enjoyed a glass of wine before heading out to our next adventure!

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This tasting room had a neat concept for the ceiling too…

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Wade’s Mill, Raphine, Va

Wade’s Mill is a working flour mill built in the 1700’s.  The mill was built by Captain Joseph Kennedy, an early settler of the Shenandoah Valley.  The Kennedy family owned the mill for about 100 years before it was bought by James Wade, whose family operated the mill for the next 4 generations.

Cello and Brian outside of Wade’s Mill:

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Wade’s Mill is now officially registered as a historic place:

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Wade’s Mill is one of the few remaining flour mills that actually still produces flour exclusively on mill stones.  While we were there, the current owner was milling!

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The bottom of the mill has a store where you can buy all the goods milled at Wade’s Mill.  We bought some polenta, grits, and pesto bread…YUM!

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This mill provides flour, grits, polenta, etc for the local restaurants.

 

 

Byers Street Bistro, Staunton, Va

Byers Street Bistro was the perfect place to grab a bite to eat while exploring Staunton, Va!

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They were super dog friendly (even brought water bowls out for the pups!), and the food was absolutely amazing!

 

Cello, Brian, Brandi and Guinness entering Byers Street Bistro:

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I had the fried green tomato appetizer and shrimp and grits (couldn’t resist some good southern menu choices that we can’t get up here in Southern NJ!)

 

Cello and Guinness enjoyed themselves and were very well-behaved:

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Redbeard Brewing Company, Staunton, VA

How could Cello resist stopping at a brewing company named after her Daddy 😉  With Brian being a “ginger”… we couldn’t resist stopping at  Redbeard Brewing Company , located in the historic Wharf district of Staunton, Va. It is Staunton’s first downtown brewery,  and they specialize in “small batches of big beers.”

 

Here is Cello with her Papa Redbeard 😉

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Ox-Eye Vineyards, Staunton, Va

Ox-Eye Vineyards is located in the historic Wharf District of Staunton, Va. The Vineyard was named after the Ox-Eye flower that grows in abundance on the owners’ farm.

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The tasting room is in a building that was originally built in 1904 and used as an office for a local coal and lumber business.  The building also served as a scale house for horse drawn coal wagons.  The loaded wagons would pull up under the building’s archway to be weighed by the Fairbanks scale.

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Barren Ridge Vineyards, Fishersville, VA

While camping in Staunton, Va, we visited Barren Ridge Vineyards right after we did some

“spelunking” at Natural Chimneys in Mt. Solon, Va.  

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Barren Ridge Vineyards is located in Fishersville, Va on a former apple orchard.  The winery makes 14 different wines, many of them award-winning. The tasting room is a converted 1890’s apple barn.  The owners preserved the original structure of the barn, and it’s wooden beams.  The ceiling in the tasting room is constructed of the original barn’s wood…it was really neat!

 

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We enjoyed doing their wine tasting, and being able to have Cello in the tasting room with us:

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The tasting room was really nice:barren ridge 2

Our friends Brandi and Stan, and their dog, Guinness, also enjoyed the wine tasting:

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After the tasting, we enjoyed a glass of wine overlooking the vineyard:

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Natural Chimneys, Mt. Solon, VA

During our Easter camping trip, we were lucky enough to have visited Virginia’s Natural Chimneys.  Natural Chimney Park is located in Mt. Solon, in Augusta County, Virginia, along the North River.  There is a campground located at the park with a pool, playground, and hiking trails.  Natural Chimneys Park is also home to one of the largest jousting tournaments in the Eastern United States.  The tournament has been held annually the third Saturday in August, since 1821!

It’s pretty amazing that the Shenandoah Valley was once the floor of an inland sea!  The “chimneys” formed from limestone that began to accumulate under the sea during the Paleozoic Era (some 500 million years ago!!) … the seven “chimneys” that stand at Natural Chimneys Park in Mt. Solon, Virginia tower an amazing 120 ft, and have caves within them.  While visiting the chimneys, Cello had her first spelunking expedition!

 

Jenny and Cello at Natural Chimneys:

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Let’s go spelunking!

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Brian and Cello entering the cave!

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Friends Brandi, and her daughter, Payton, entering the cave:

DSC00311Thank goodness for iPhones, and camera flashes…it was DARK in there!!

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Jenny and Cello taking a rest after our first-ever cave exploration:

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It was amazing to learn the history of this incredible natural formation.  The chimneys and the cave we were in is something I will definitely never forget!

The historic town of Staunton, Va

Looking at the AAA magazine one evening, an article caught my eye about a small town in Virginia ranked one of the best small towns in the United States… Staunton, Va. We decided that this would be a great place to camp for our annual Easter camping trip. 

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Staunton is a unique and quaint town made up of 5 historic districts.  There is great architecture and unique shops and eateries to enjoy.

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Staunton/Walnut Hills KOA, Staunton, VA

Looking at the AAA magazine one evening, an article caught my eye about a small town in Virginia ranked one of the top 20 small towns in the United States…Staunton, VA.  After doing some research, and having never stayed at a KOA before, we decided to give Staunton/Walnut Hills KOA a try for our annual Easter camping trip.  Not only was Staunton/Walnut Hills KOA in close proximity to the town of Staunton, it is also located between the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountain ranges on the site of a former walnut plantation…pretty awesome!

 

Our campsite was right on the lake, and was spacious and clean.

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Around the campground… 

We are the third camper in from the left.

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The campground had a fenced-in dog run, so of course we broke out the “Chuck-It,” and let Cello run like the wind!

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The sunsets we saw from our campsite were amazing!

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We got to see and do some really incredible in and around Staunton, which you will see in upcoming posts!

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Flagstone Patio

Ever since the first time we looked at our dream cabin, we said the flagstone patio needed to be repaired and re-done.  Almost every stone was loose, and just about every time someone stepped on the walkway or patio, it was near disastrous.  I’m really surprised (and thankful!!) that no one had every fallen or twisted an ankle.  Although we vowed to do all the work to our cabin ourselves, there are few things we decided may be beyond us – and the patio was one of them.  Luckily, we met some nice guys who had done some work at our neighbors house, and booked them to do the patio…five years almost to the date of our settlement, the patio is completed!

When we bought our historic log home, we decided that we would do our best to keep everything we could original, and use every bit of original material that we could as we renovated the cabin.  We loved the flagstone, but we did not like that it was broken, uneven, and very unsafe to walk on.  We wanted to be sure to use the original flagstone pieces.

Before

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During…

Each stone was picked up, and then reset.  Then each piece had to be wiped with an acid to remove the concrete haze from the stone so that the pretty colors of the flagstone could shine through.

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After:

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As this brutal winter is now behind us, and we look forward to nice weather, we can now (safely!) enjoy walking and sitting on our patio as we enjoy the view of the lake!

2019 Update: Patio, Take 2!

The 2014 flagstone patio project did not hold up well, and our patio went back to being unsafe to walk on.  Although we loved the flagstone, we decided it would be best to replace it with something more suitable for our pack of pups!

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Clarabelle’s Journey

Meet Clarabelle!

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Clarabelle was Cello’s house guest for 5 days while she was in between foster homes.  Clarabelle was rescued from a high-kill shelter in North Carolina, and is a (approx) 9 month old Hound-mix.  She is a sweet southern belle with ice-blue eyes (no filter on those baby-blues – they are truly THAT blue!).

She is spayed, up to date on shots, and has been to the vet this week.  We took her to the vet while she was with us because I suspected that she had ear infections (she did)…and while we were at the vet, it was discovered that she has an umbilical hernia – which is common – and  is not harmful to her at the moment, but would have to be watched for possible repair.
In the Jeep on the way to the vet, enjoying a bully stick:
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She is a very happy and affectionate dog despite her unfortunate past.  After being abandoned in a kill-shelter, Clarabelle was then unfortunately placed in a foster home that was found to be not adequate.  That’s when we took her for a few days, so that she would be out of yet another unfortunate environment.  She came to us with a broken harness, un-bathed, and I immediately could “smell” ear infections (if you’ve ever had a dog with a bad ear infection, you know what I mean!!)   It was also suspected that Clara was made to stay in a crate for long hours at her first foster home.
We went to a local pet store and bought Clara a new harness and martingale collar asap.
We made sure to provide her with lots of running and play time so that she could release some of her pent-up energy!
Clarabelle after much running decided it was time to rest!
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Clara was SO good during her clean-up and let me bathe her, clean her ears and teeth, and brush her after her bath.  It was great to see her all cleaned-up and smelling good!
She was so sweet… she “hugged” me gently with her paws and nuzzled in for kisses for as long as I would let her.  All she wanted to do was to be around people and dogs, and be petted, kissed, and loved – and OUT of her crate.  As far as we had seen, she had shown no aggression toward people, children, or other dogs.  She had seen my cat, Loki, from afar/through a gate – and just stood there watching – no barking or aggression – just curiously watched.  We did not truly introduce her to Loki, so I can’t verify if she is completely cat-friendly.
Clarabelle loved playing soccer in our yard!photo 4
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Clara has an amazing jumping ability, and can easily jump over gates and fences and onto tables and counter tops.  A high, physical fence is necessary, as she can easily jump a 4ft+ fence.
Originally, we were only supposed to have Clara for a night or two.  During her move to us, her next lined-up foster home fell through.  She wound up being with us for 5 days.  Although she immediately stole our hearts, we knew our home was not the right fit for Clara to be fostered.  Cello was NOT happy with Clara’s puppy behaviors, and was acting-out.  Clara also continuously tried to jump our 4ft fence.  We did our best in our short time with Clara to love and care for her.  We were happy to have gotten her out of her unfortunate situation, and to have been able to provide Clara with a temporary stay in a gentle, loving, and caring environment.  Clara’s has moved to another foster home, and is still looking for a long-term foster, or better yet – a forever home!
Here is a FB link with her pictures
Also, pictures and video of her can be viewed on New Life Rescue’s FB page  https://www.facebook.com/NewLifeAnimalRescue
New Life Animal Rescue’s website  http://www.newlifeanimalrescue.org/   … as well as on Cello’s FB page, and Cello’s Instagram and Twitter pages (all easily accessed here on Cello’s Corner).
Help Clarabelle’s Journey end, and give her a forever-home! …To find out more details on Clara, to volunteer to foster her, or to apply for adoption, please visit New Life Animal Rescue’s website  http://www.newlifeanimalrescue.org/  or email them at newlifeanimalrescue@gmail.com.

Tommy D’s Limoncello

Tommy DiRenzopop pop

For those of you who have been following Cello’s Corner from the start, you know that Cello is short for Limoncello…and that Cello’s full name is “Tommy D’s Limoncello.”  Jenny’s Grandfather, Tommy DiRenzo, was famous for his homemade Limoncello, made with his “secret recipe.”

For those of you who may not be familiar with what Limoncello is, I hope this post gives you a good explanation…

When Brian and I give someone a gift-bottle of my Pop Pop Tommy’s Limoncello, we always attach a little folded card to the bottle that explains what Limoncello is, and includes a picture of my Pop Pop Tommy and Jenny, a watermark picture of our cabin, where the Limoncello is made, and of course, Brian’s favorite puppy-picture of Miss Cello! The card explains the history of Limoncello, as well as the background behind our Limoncello recipe.

Front of our card:

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Inside of our card:

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Back of the label:

pop pop and Jenny

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There are many different recipes for Limoncello – – even a cream-version.  We think homemade Limoncello (especially Pop Pop Tommy’s recipe!!) is better than bottled versions bought at the liquor store that we have tried.  Summer is right around the corner…and Limoncello is wonderfully refreshing on a nice summer day! …Google search a recipe or two and give it a try!