Sometimes we look at sights in nature but don't really see. While hiking in the woods the other day, it became a realization that we need to open our heart and eyes to see the beauty of the simple things in nature with each season. There is so much order and purpose in His creation. God has given us awesome beauty in this world to see and enjoy... if we would but stop to see and feel it. Join us as this blog is about stopping to see the real beauty around touch and feel it... "Through the Lens".

Our Friends

Friday, November 24, 2017

River Boat Ride

Gerri and I have so much enjoyed all the things we have done and places we have been while at the Escapees Park...Rainbow Plantation in lower Alabama.  We have been on the go every day and taken it all in.  At a Sunday ice cream social at the clubhouse, a gentleman named Jay announced that he would give boat rides along the Fish or Magnolia River for a minimum fee.  The monies from this boat ride would all be given to the Memorial Gardens at Rainbow.  So for Jay, that means he is donating his time and costs for fuel etc. at his own expense.  Jay has been coming to Rainbow every year for at least 8 year if not longer.  He was a fishing guide in Illinois before he fully retired and now he spends a lot of his time on the river fishing and just boating in the river.                      
We came out of the boat ramp area into the river
Gerri and I decided it would be fun to go on this boat ride so we booked up an afternoon slot and the boating trip ended up being a 2 hour outing along the river.        
I would like to share with you in pictures some of our boat ride.  We ended up going into some back water river and seeing some really neat sites and pelicans and other water fowl.

       As we went further into back chanel waters, we were able to capture some water fowl in their natural habitat.  
This Comorant is a little blurred but still a fun capture
As we floated along, Jay noticed an Osprey way up in a tree, so he turned his motor off and set the trolling motor on and we kind of coasted toward the tree where the Osprey was.  I got my zoom lens out and tried to capture him on camera.
Notice the fish he has his talons around

   After we were able to get some pretty good pics, we moved on down the water and came across some other interesting scenery.
An old falling apart boat dock as a result of a previous hurricane
According to Jay, a man had been building this boat and just stopped and the remains lie in the water

For some of the people living on the river, the mailman has a very fun route delivering the mail.  I don't think this mailman uses the traditional mail truck. 

     As we got back into the river toward the bay area, we noticed several pelicans.


Our afternoon boat ride took us into backwater channels and it was so peaceful and quiet as the only way to some of the waters was by boat only.  We greatly enjoyed our 2 hour ride/float and were very grateful to Jay for taking his time to give us such a wonderful experience.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Sunsets at Mobile Bay


One thing Gerri and I have enjoyed during our stay here is to go to the pier in Fairhope and enjoy the sunsets.  A lot of folks in the area congregate at the pier to watch and enjoy them…it seems to be the gathering place in the late afternoon.

Rather than being a bit wordy, we just wanted to share several of the pics with you.              

In the parking area at the pier there is a fountain surrounded by a lot of roses, many still in full bloom.                       

The leaves here are not quite at peak, but still many are starting to fall.  As we watched the sunset and reflected on the fall season, we so realized the order in which God created this universe.  There may be a lot of chaos in the world, but when you see the sunset at the end of the day and realize the seasons of the year, you know God is in control and He has established order in this world.                     
Sunset a couple days later
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.  Ecclesiastes 3:1

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Panini Pete's and Tolstoy Park - All in One Day!!

Entrance to the eating area at Panini's
A trip to Fairhope wouldn't be complete without a trip to Panini
Pete's for lunch!!  We visited Panini Pete's for the first time in February 2010 when our son, Stephen came to visit us during our winter stay at Rainbow Plantation.  We were very fortunate that on this day Pete himself was present at the restaurant located in the French Quarter area of Fairhope.  We got to meet Pete and talk with him and even got him to autograph our book by Guy Fieri, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, in which he was featured.  

On this visit we didn't see Pete but found the area still as quaint as ever and the food excellent.  We had to wait about 10 minutes for a table but got lucky and landed a table in the courtyard area outside!!           

 We both ended up ordering the Turkey Panini sandwich with the homemade fries.  Lunch did not disappoint us and we enjoyed sitting in the courtyard in this beautiful area!!     

Another place that we discovered the winter of 2010 was Tolstoy Park.              

There is an amazing story about a gentleman named Henry Stuart who lived in a round house that he built himself and he named it Tolstoy Park.      

The story goes like this -

Local author Sonny Brewer tells the true story of 62 year old Henry Stuart who was living in Idaho when he was told that he was dying and had about a year to live.  It was recommended to him to move to a warmer climate so that the "end" wouldn't be so painful.  This is when he made his journey to the quaint city of Fairhope.  It is said that he "left his shoes out west, and lived barefooted in a round concrete house made by himself with his own two hands."  He lived beyond the predicted one year, he lived twenty-two years in his handmade round house and yes, he was barefooted.  Clarence Darrow, who was his friend, visited him many times in Fairhope.  Henry named his house after his favorite writer Tolstoy.  Henry was a poet, writer, a gardener and above all self-sufficient.  A man after Thoreau's own heart.  Sonny Brewer tells Henry's story in his book, The Poet of Tolstoy Park.                      

The first time we visited Tolstoy Park it was a bit difficult to find since there have been many buildings erected around it.  This time we knew exactly where to look and as soon as we entered the parking area we saw it....the sweet little round hut built by the hands of Henry Stuart.  The little hut sits beneath a huge live oak tree.  As we walked inside it was difficult to imagine living such a simple life in such a small area but it obviously gave him much happiness and joy! It is said that he tied a hammock up inside and slept in it. It was here in this hut that Sonny Brewer lived while writing this amazing story of Henry Stuart.   

Looking up to the top of his home inside

Interesting facts on this if you click on, the pic will get bigger so you can read it
What a nice reminder that life can be lived simply and beautifully!!
I purchased the book, The Poet of Tolstoy Park by Sonny Brewer when we visited last time but now I am thinking I should read it again.          
On every downtown street corner in Fairhope 
Baskets like this were hanging all along the downtown sidewalks
We are having fun getting our cameras out and discovering all the beauty that is around in this area!!  There is so much to see and do that we stay pretty busy all day!!  Sadly we realized today that we have less than a week left here.  We will be returning to our "home" base to spend the holidays with our son, Stephen!!  Looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas....what a wonderful time of the year!!!