Doors of London II

Doors of London II


I know.

I know.

It’s been a while since I’ve been back to share some scenery from my time in London.

If you’re a regular to my blog, then you know that shortly after I returned from the United Kingdom, my oldest teen graduated from high school.  Then the youngest and I traveled to Florida for three weeks. Of course, upon return, much mothering and household responsibilities consumed (and are still consuming) my time.

Here and there I’ve had a chance to catch up on a few blogs. So when I saw that Norm will be taking a two-week break from hosting Thursday Doors, I quickly rounded up one of my sets of doors from London to share.

Doors of London II.

My first set of doors was from Belgravia.

If you missed that series, you can find those here.

After grabbing a bite to eat at the Duke of York Square Food Market in Chelsea (no, I haven’t forgotten that I have a funny story to share from there), we got on the Underground at the Sloane Square station.

Notting Hill.

One of my goals during my brief time in London was to see color.

Colored buildings….colored doors.

Color, color, color!

And I had read that Notting Hill was the place to find it.


We took the Underground to Notting Hill Gate station.

Google maps was one of my best friends while touring London. Or touring the U.K. for that matter. I put Portobello Road Market in as our ultimate destination. There are also signs around that say “you are here” and the way to Portobello Road Market, but I still like the comfort of having it on my phone.

It started lightly raining while we were still in Chelsea. We had rain coats but didn’t want to go all the back to the hotel for umbrellas. As such, I didn’t pull out the camera as often as I would have liked. Trust me when I say that Portobello Road has some amazing finds. So many, that even the few that I managed to capture can’t be shared in one post.

Where to begin?

Well, I suppose at the beginning.


Portobello Road.

It was a Saturday, so we knew that we wanted to check out the famous Portobello Road Market.

But first, I had to stop and admire some of the doors along the way.


#12 Portobello Road.

As we rounded the first corner of Portobello Road, the doors and entries were quite fabulous.


#14 Portobello Road.

Located beside #12, #14 was quite fabulous as well.

So many people were stopping to snap a photo of #14 that I thought perhaps somebody famous lived here or that it was showcased in a movie. I didn’t find anything of the sort when I tried to search. While it is quite spectacular and I love the addition of the topiaries, of the two, I was partial to #12.

Which of these two doors do you prefer?


#24 Portobello Road.

Moving along, we come to #24 in its vibrant shade of pink.

I tried to look up shades of pink to be able to offer a name to the color.

Fuchsia? Magenta?

What would YOU call this color?



#28 Portobello Road.

To me, #28 is an interesting combination of color.

I’m partial to the building color. I love a pastel pink. It reminds me of the color that I painted Miss Sunshine’s room when I found out that I was going to have a girl. And would you believe that she has never cared for pink! As a toddler, her favorite color was red. It quickly evolved and has remained in the blue family, in shades of aqua and teal.

What do you think of the blue/pink combo of #28?


#44 Portobello Road.

#44 is a pop of bold!


#46 Portobello Road.

Compared to its neighbor, #46 looks almost demure. However, while the door chooses to be understated, you can see that building color does all the speaking.



#58 Portobello Road.

We close out this segment of the Portobello Road series with #58.

I didn’t take the shot of door from directly in front because I wanted to be able to share the plethora of greenery found surrounding it.

Since my maiden name is Lyon, I am also drawn to the door knocker and statue.

#58 opted to have the door in the same shade of eggplant as the building and tone down the darkness by having a cream-colored trim. I think it works nicely.

What do you think?

To be continued.

I do have more photos as we near Portobello Road Market that I’ll share in the future.

Which door was your favorite in this series?

So much of who we are is where we have been. -William Langewiesche

Let your light shine!




Doors of London

Doors of London


On my most recent travels to the UK, I visited London for the first time.

We only had two days in London, but they were two full days….and, boy did we fill them!!


I knew that I would find a plethora of beautiful architecture in London, which would also include some amazing doors.

In this department, London did not disappoint!

Looking for doors was not the only thing that I did in my jam-packed two days, yet I still managed to have enough photos of doors that I will have to share them in more than one series.


Today’s series of doors is from a walk that we took in Belgravia

(According to the map. I admit to being confused by the breakdown of the quadrants on London. There was a sign that we passed on Bourne Street that said The Royal Borough of Kensington on Chelsea, so I assumed that I was in Chelsea).

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But on with the tour…

On my list of “must see” items were some pastel-colored buildings.

I stumbled upon a location to put into Google maps from this post by A Lady in London. While I would have loved to have seen every cafe that she recommended, time just didn’t allow for it.

After our trip around the London Eye, we took the underground to Sloane Square and proceeded to head toward my final destination.


I can never pass up the opportunity to photograph a red door (ok, maybe sometimes…like when there are so many to choose from that you’d stop every minute).

I loved how this one had the hedge to create a framed pathway.


Not only did the door itself look elegant, but the inlay on the stairs also added an element of posh.

I also love flower boxes.


I couldn’t pass this door without snagging a shot because I loved the door knocker.


I think the intricate tile work is very pretty, but we know that I snapped this photo because a blue door is going to stand out!

71 Elizabeth Street.

Les Senteurs.

As we moved closer to my ultimate destination, the doors and displays became magnificent. I only wish that I’d had time to capture more, but rain was on the way and we still had so much to see.

53 Elizabeth Street.

Moyses Stevens.

Passing by flowers spilling into the street was just too gorgeous not to stop and capture.

However, if you are looking for a door, #51A & 51B to the left of the photo looks quite nice.


116 Ebury St.

Peggy Porschen Cakes.

This was my ultimate destination.

I could not pass up the opportunity to see pastel pink in all its glory.

We were late enough in the morning that capturing an empty door would have been time-consuming. And time was the one thing that I had in limited quantity.

This is a well-known Instagram location so people were having shots taken while they sipped their coffee at the lovely outdoor tables. I crossed the street to take in more of the scene, but at that point, someone had lined up in front of the door with a photographer. I have one of them as well, but I like this one of the server wearing his pink attire and entering the shop.

We considered lining up to eat, but again, time was a force working against us. It worked out rather well since we stumbled upon the Duke of York Square Food Market in Chelsea.

Stay Tuned.

I’ll share more about this surprise excursion and some hilarity with dialect in a future post. I’ll also be sharing more doors from London and some from our time in Scotland, so be sure to check back.

Meanwhile, if you have an affinity for doors, hop over to Norm’s blog, where he hosts Thursday Doors, and you’ll find many more.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions"

Let your light shine!


Views Along the River Clyde in Glasgow, Scotland

Views Along the River Clyde in Glasgow, Scotland


During my most recent trip to the U.K., my mother and I made a day trip over to Glasgow, Scotland.

There are trains from Edinburgh to Glasgow that take just around an hour and run regularly. If you are traveling during off-peak hours (which we did) the tickets price is nominal (We paid £13 each for a return ticket. It’s less if you are traveling with more because you can purchase a groupsaver ticket, which is what we were able to do last year when 3 of us traveled over).

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time then you are already familiar with the fact that many of my traced Scottish roots come from the Glasgow region.

Photography Series.

I’m squeezing this photography series in just under the deadline. The weekly photo challenge is twisted, which ask us to consider things that don’t maintain a straight line.

Obviously, this challenge could be taken many ways and I have many photos from my time in the U.K. that would qualify.

However, I am rapidly preparing to witness my oldest child graduate from high school. Big Mr. is done with tests and done with all the “officialness” of school. Today, he has graduation practice and varying fun things at school. And then, it’s just wait until graduation day on June 8th. It would have made more sense for them to graduate this Friday, but I don’t make the calendar.

This culminating time is a busy one, but it also makes me reflect on family.

River Clyde.

The River Clyde is the second longest river in Scotland.

Quite often you will hear it said that “Glasgow made the Clyde, and the Clyde made Glasgow”.

Clyde Arc.

The Clyde Arc (also known as Squinty Bridge) stands out amongst the landscape. It connects Finnieston Street on the north bank of the river to Govan Road on the south bank.

These first two photos were taken during our trip to Glasgow in 2017.


We still have quite a ways to go in researching our roots, but we do know a few ancestors for whom the River Clyde must have played a part in their life.


My 4th great-grandfather, Hugh McLachlan, married Mary McLachlan on December 7, 1827. The old parish registers of Glasgow state that he was a seaman and that they were residing in Glasgow. I have not been able to trace either of these grandparents back any farther at this time. Their son, my 3rd great-grandfather, Hugh McLachlan, was born in in 1835 in Glasgow. That was according to his death certificate. By the time of his death in 1881, he was living in Airdrie and was a former miner (I visited there last year).

His daughter Agnes was my 2nd great-grandmother and she would emigrate to Nova Scotia, Canada with her husband and sons in 1911.


Her husband was James Scott and his family lineage would have also been affected by the River Clyde. His mother, my 3rd great-grandmother, was Mary Munn. She was born in Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland around 1842.

Her father was Thomas Munn. His death certificate lists him as a ship carpenter, journeyman, and living at 67 High Street in Dumbarton, Dunbartonshire, Scotland in 1874. He was born in 1815 in Irvine to David Munn (also a ship carpenter, journeyman) and Janet Orr. On the 1861 census, he was listed as a ship carpenter living on Keppoch Row Possil Road in Maryhill (once a burgh, now part of Glasgow).


Mary Munn gave birth to my 2nd great-grandfather, James, in Holytown, but by the birth of her son Thomas (two years later) and daughter Jeanie (two years after that) they are living in New Kilpatrick, Dunbartonshire. My 3rd great-grandfather, James would die in October of 1871 from Caries of the Spine (which appears to be caused from TB and would explain why the baby was living with her aunt and uncle, John and Margaret Hay, on Pollacks Hill in Holytown on the 1871 census).

Mary Munn would marry George Brown at the end of 1872 and some of the Brown children would be born in the Lambhill and Maryhill areas

Bell’s Bridge.

It was with this family history in mind that my mother and I chose to make a stop along the River Clyde.

On our first trip, we only passed by on the tour bus. This time we wanted to walk across the River Clyde.

We chose to do that on Bell’s Bridge.

Bell’s Bridge is a pedestrian bridge that spans the River Clyde.

The bridge can rotate open to allow ships to pass.


BBC Scotland.

From the bridge, you can see the BBC Scotland building along with the Glasgow Science Center, which also includes the Glasgow Tower (which, according to the website is the only structure on earth capable of rotating 360 ° into the prevailing wind).


SSE Hydro.

Of course, no tour of this area of the Clyde waterfront is complete without sharing photos of two architectural marvels.

One of those is the SSE Hydro. Located on the opposite bank as the Science Center, the SSE Hydro is the largest entertainment venue in Scotland. It can hold 12,000 people (all seated) or up to 13,000 (seated and standing in performance bowl.)

The shape was inspired by ancient Greek and Roman amphitheaters.


SEC Armadillo.

Located just beside the SSE Hydro is the SEC Armadillo. It was originally called the Clyde Auditorium. The inspiration for the 3,000 seat venue was a series of interlocking ship’s hulls. However, the nickname “armadillo” obviously stuck.

Have you ever visited the Clyde waterfront?

I’ll have plenty more to share from Glasgow in future posts, but if  you’re interested in my time there last year, you can find my posts here:

The Necropolis

George Square

University of Glasgow

The Cloisters

Murals of Glasgow

The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace. -Mahatma Gandhi

Let your light shine!


The Mercat Cross of Edinburgh Scotland

The Mercat Cross of Edinburgh


Edinburgh is a city filled with many treasures.

Some treasures that I stumbled upon, I didn’t even discover what they were until I returned home and searched for them.

Mercat Cross.

One such treasure was the Mercat Cross.

In case you’re wondering what in the heck is a Mercat cross (I know I was), it’s the Scots name for a market cross. They were first erected to display a burgh’s right to trade, as well as a gathering place to hear important public announcements.


Last week, I shared my photographs and the history of St. Giles’ Cathedral. You can see from the photographs that the Mercat Cross is located in Parliament Square, near the East Side of St. Giles’ Cathedral.

At the time, I just liked the architecture of the little building. I didn’t realize its historical place.


While the first mention of the Mercat Cross is in a charter of 1365, this pillar was placed upon this octagonal building, at this location, in 1885.

I’ve since learned that there is an octagonal arrangement of cobblestones along High Street that mark the location of the Mercat Cross from 1617-1756. I know one thing that I’ll be looking for when I return in May.


The Royal Unicorn sits atop the cross holding a shield. You can also see the Scottish Flag beside him.


The Mercat Cross is a popular gathering spot for tours. The people gathered in the photos were about to head out on a ghost tour.

The Door.

Of course, no tour of a building is complete without sharing a door for the fans of Thursday Doors.

The tympanum above the door is in Latin and reads “Thanks to God. This ancient monument, the Cross of Edinburgh, which of old was set apart for public ceremonies, having been utterly destroyed by a misguided hand A.D. MDCCLVI, and having been avenged as well as lamented, in song alike noble and manful, by that great man, Walter Scott, has now, by favour of the Magistrates of the City, been restored by William Ewart Gladstone, who claims through both of his parents a purely Scottish descent. 24 November 1885” (source: Wikipedia).


What little gems have you stumbled upon when traveling?

The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. -Marcel Proust

Let your light shine!


A Visit to St. Giles' Cathedral Edinburgh Scotland

St. Giles Cathedral


Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland. It has been recognized as the capital since at least the 15th Century.

Given that traces of Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements have been found at Castle Rock and Arthur’s Seat, it should come as no surprise that Edinburgh is teeming with historical places.

A Visit to St. Giles' Cathedral Edinburgh Scotland

St. Giles’ Cathedral.

As a matter of fact, one of those historic places is St. Giles’ Cathedral. According to the Cathedral’s website, St. Giles’ was founded in about 1124, either by King Alexander I, who died that year, or King David I, who succeeded him.

If you think that King David I sounds familiar, then you may remember him from my post on Holyrood Abbey. 

King David I was the one who founded the Abbey in 1128. This was after being thrown from his horse and saved from being gored by a stag by the appearance of a holy cross.


According to legend, St. Giles was a seventh-century Greek hermit who lived in the forest near Names, in the south of France, with a tame deer as his only companion. One day, the King of the Visigoths, shot at a deer, only to find it held in the arms of St. Giles, who had been wounded in the hand by the arrow. Then, after some visits, the King persuaded him to become the Abbott of a monastery which he founded for him. Later he was canonized, becoming the patron saint of lepers, nursing mothers, and the lame.




Know Before You Go.

St. Giles’ Cathedral, also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, is located along the Royal Mile.

Entry to the church is free.

A permit, which is available for a small fee, is required to take interior photos. However, I arrived close to closing time (story of my life). I did walk around the beautiful interior and lit a candle and said a prayer on the Holy Blood Aisle. But alas, I have no interior photos.

Holy Blood Aisle.

In case you are curious, the Holy Blood Aisle is an area where you can light a candle and also write a prayer request. The stained glass window there depicts the death and funeral of James Stewart, Earl of Moray.

After Mary, Queen of Scots, forced abdication, the government of Scotland was placed under her illegitimate half-brother, James Stewart, Earl of Moray. He was a friend of John Knox (founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland). After James Stewart was assassinated in Linlithgow in 1570, he was buried in St. Giles’ and John Knox preached at his funeral.


Heart of Midlothian.

Another piece of history is located High Street, just away from the Cathedral’s West Door.

The Heart of Midlothian is a heart-shaped mosaic of colored granite built into the pavement and marks the entrance to the 15th century Old Tolbooth. This was the administrative center of the town, a prison, and one of several sites of public execution.

Prisoners were tortured here and spikes were used to display the heads of some of the more notorious who were executed.

The Tolbooth was demolished in 1817 but was featured in Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Heart of Midlothian, published in 1818.

It is a tradition to spit on the heart. Some say it was for solidarity for those inside. Others say it was the prisoners themselves who spat upon it as a sign of disdain when they were released. These days spitting upon the heart is seen as done for good luck.

Cathedral Entrance.

I had to wait until the Cathedral was closed to capture the entrance doors for all the Thursday Door lovers.



The architectural style of St. Giles’ Cathedral is 14th Century Gothic, with many alterations.

The Cathedral has a collection of stained glass windows that date from the 1870s onward.

Crown Spire.

The Crown Spire is the Cathedral’s most famed piece of architecture. While you can see the Crown Spire peeking out in the above and below photos, the first photo from the side of the Cathedral gives you the best view of this feature.

The Crown Spire was erected in 1495 and rebuilt in 1648.

Parliament Square.

St. Giles Cathedral is surrounded by Parliament Square. Parliament House, which gave the square its name, was built here in 1641 and used by the Scottish Parliament until the Treaty of Union in 1707.

Duke of Buccleuch.

The statue in the foreground is of Walter Francis Montagu Douglas Scott. Otherwise known as the 5th Duke of Buccleuch, who was a politician and substantial landowner.

The bronze memorial was unveiled February 7, 1888, and it shows the Duke wearing the robes of the Order of the Garter.

The top gallery has huntsman chasing a stag.

On the lower level, there are bronze reliefs of episodes from the Scott family history.


While I’m sure my genealogy diverges substantially, I still find it fascinating.

For those of you who are new to my blog, the trip to Scotland with my mother and aunt was an ancestral journey. My mother’s maiden name is Scott and her father was born in Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, Canada. His father was born in Bothwell (Holytown, Pollocks Hill…it varies on documents), Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Scott Lineage.

So far, we’ve been able to trace back the Scott line to my 5th great-grandfather, John Scott (b. around 1771) in Scotland. He married Esther Palmer in Renfrewshire on September 21, 1794. He is living in Redtown, Renfrewshire on the 1841 census. Esther, who was born in Stirling, Stirlingshire, is listed as a pauper in Redtown, Renfrewshire, in the parish of Paisley Middle Church by the 1851 census. She is also listed in the same location as a Coal Miner’s widow on the 1861 census. Also, I have her death record which states that she died of old age on October 12, 1861, and that the informant was the Inspector of the Poor.

However, many first names are used, again and again, making the Scott line hard to trace. But, based on typical naming patterns, I believe John Scott’s parents to be John Scott and Euphemia ?.

Your Turn.

Have you been to Edinburgh?  If so, what did you find most fascinating? I return again in May and would love to know if you there’s anything I should add to my “can’t miss” sights

Have you studied your ancestral history? If so, from what part of the world do they hail?

Preserve your memories, keep them well, what you forget you can never retell. -Louisa May Alcott

Let your light shine!



Hotel de Ville


Paris is a city of beauty and wonder. As I strolled about the city, I constantly found new things which caught my gaze because of their splendor.

Hôtel de Ville.

I love the architecture found in Paris and the Hôtel de Ville was quite spectacular. It is located in the 4th arrondissement on place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville. It is the City Hall and houses the city’s local administration.


It has been the headquarters for the municipality since 1357.

The original building was a mansion called maison aux piliers “House of Pillars”. In 1533, King Francis I decided the city should have a city hall worthy of Paris. After that, the House of Pillars was torn down and the new building, which was completed in 1628, was erected.

During the Franco-Prussian War, the building played a key role in events. One of which was that the Paris Commune chose the Hôtel de Ville as its headquarters. As the anti-Commune approached the building, the Communards set fire to the Hôtel de Ville destroying almost all extant public records from the French Revolutionary period and leaving just the shell of the building.


The Reconstruction lasted from 1873 to 1892. The interior was rebuilt inside the shell. The architectural style is neo-renaissance.

According the the Paris Visitors Bureau, it is possible to set a reservation for a guided tour.


Ceremonial Doors.

Not only did the building catch my eye, but the ceremonial doors are quite spectacular. When I saw them, I knew that I needed to capture them for all the Thursday Doors fans.

I don’t read French, but I can tell that the inscription on the doors is referencing September 4, 1870, the day when the Third Republic was proclaimed.


This history from Versailles sheds some light on the turmoil surrounding those times. The Third Republic would be definitively established in January 1875. The establishment would come down to a single deciding vote, and three amendments later, the 1875 constitution would remain in force until 1940.

We took a day trip out to Versailles. You can find my posts from the visit to the Palace here and here. We also made sure to visit the Queen’s Hamlet.


The statues along the building are magnificent. There were around 230 sculptors who were commissioned to produce 338 individual figures of famous Parisians, along with other sculptures.

From left to right, the best that I can read are: H. Estienne, P de Viole, F. Miron, and M. Lallier.

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Clock Tower.

While I didn’t have the best lens for the job, I did want to give you a closer view of the clock tower. You can also see some more of the many statues.


The Hôtel de Ville is a very grand and extensive building. However, I didn’t want to leave you without a view of the facade.  In the distance, you can see the bronze sculptures which were flanking the gates where I stood to take the photos. The sculptures are titled Art by Laurent Marqueste and Science by Jules Blanchard.

Paris Square.

The square is the the oldest in Paris. This area was the principal port of Paris for centuries. From 1310 to 1832, it was Paris’s principal place of execution.

Sometimes it’s hard to fathom all of the history that took place in one location.

Today, the area is teeming with vibrant locals and tourists, all strolling along admiring the beauty of Paris.


Let your light shine!



Houseboat of Amsterdam Part Twee (Two)

Houseboats of Amsterdam Part Twee (Two)


Although my time spent in Amsterdam was very brief, I loved every minute of it. We filled our days with many adventures.

One of those adventures was a boat tour through the canals of Amsterdam.



Amsterdam’s canals are filled with houseboats. In fact there are around 2,500 legally moored houseboats in the more than 100 km of canals found in Amsterdam. But you may have already known that fact. Especially, if you’ve read Part One of my Houseboats of Amsterdam series.

Let’s head off for part two.

It’s never too late in life to have a genuine adventure.

– Robert Kurson

To live is the rarest thing in the world.

Most people exist, that is all.

– Oscar Wilde

I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.

– Susan Sontag

If you think adventure is dangerous. Try routine. It’s lethal.

– Paulo Coelho

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.

– Helen Keller

I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen.

– A.A. Milne


I hope you’ve enjoyed this houseboat tour of Amsterdam.

If you’re a fan of doors, be sure to hop over to Norm’s blog where door lovers of the world meet each Thursday.

If you’d like to see more posts from my time in Amsterdam, you can read about our visit to the Anne Frank house here. I’ve also shared about stumbling into the red light district with a set of teens.

If you are a fan of architecture you can find a tour of doors here or a stroll along the streets here.

Of course, another thing that Amsterdam is well known for is all of the bikes and I’ve share some photographs of them in this post.

Have you visited Amsterdam? What was your favorite place to visit?

Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures. -Lewis Carroll

Let your light shine!




Photos that will make you fall in love with Roanoke, Virginia

Photo Diary of My Current City – Roanoke, Virginia


Tour Guide.

I have often highlighted the city in which I currently live. For those of you who may be unfamiliar, I live in Roanoke, Virginia. After living for the first 30 years of my life in Naples, Florida, and another 5-ish across the state of Florida, I moved to Roanoke in July of 2013. If you’re ticking off the numbers on your fingers, I turned 40 this past September. But most of you already know that since I’ve been actively doing 30 day challenges for my year of #thisis40. When the weekly photo challenge came up as tour guide, I knew that I would have plenty to share.

Usually, I participate in the photo challenge on Wordless Wednesday, in which (as is indicated in the title) no words are used. I did share some photos of the Hotel Roanoke, but wanted to share some more photos and talk a bit about my current city.

Photos that will make you fall in love with Roanoke, Virginia


Photo Diary.

Today’s photography series will be a collection of some of the photos that I’ve taken from around Roanoke. A photo diary of sorts. I will also share some links to my past posts about Roanoke, where you will find plenty more information about the area.

Roanoke is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia. With easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is the delight of many fans of the outdoors.

If your interested in the Blue Ridge Parkway, you can check out these posts (a few are outside of Roanoke, but not too far away):

Roanoke Star.

One of the things that Roanoke is quite well known for is the Roanoke Star. The Roanoke Star is also known as the Mill Mountain Star. The star is located on Mill Mountain and is the largest, free-standing, man-made, illuminated star in the world.

The star was designed and built by Roy C. Kinsey and his two sons. It was constructed in 1949 and is three stars that contain 2,000 feet of neon tubing. The star is illuminated every night. It is primarily illuminated white, but can include red, white, and blue for various occasions.

I must admit that when we return home from points north, the star upon the mountain is a welcome sight, letting us know that we are close to our final destination.

H & C Coffee Sign.

There are also two other neon signs sitting atop buildings in downtown Roanoke, which are illuminated at night and visible from I-581. One is a Dr Pepper sign. According to this article, Roanoke consumed more Dr Pepper per capita than any other place on earth from 1957-1959, and again in 1961. The other is the H & C Coffee sign. H & C Coffee was established in Roanoke in 1927 and the sign built in 1948. (cee’s which way photo challenge)


This sign was my favorite upon moving here because the coffee appeared to be pouring into the cup. However, I’ve noticed that it just stays fully lit now. According to this article from 2014, the animator mechanism needs repaired. I don’t often drive home in the dark, but I don’t think that its been replaced as of yet.

If you’re wondering about where the photo above was taken…I’ll tell you.

It’s from inside one of my favorite places to visit when I’m in downtown Roanoke:




Another of my favorite things about Roanoke is the amazing architecture. Having grown up in Florida, the architectural styles here are very different. While I have always been cognizant of architectural details, when I began to participate in Norm’s Thursday Doors, a weekly roundup of amazing doors from around the world, I began to see buildings through new eyes.

I’ve shared a close-up of one set of these doors in my post, Keys to the Past


Municipal Building.

The Municipal Building is located at 215 Church Avenue. It is Neoclassical Revival and was erected in 1915.

Big Lick.

Prior to being named Roanoke, the city was known as Big Lick. As shown on the sign at the Municipal Building, the original name was based on a salt outcropping which drew the wildlife to the site near the Roanoke River.

City Market Building.

The City Market Building is located at 32 Market Square SE. It is considered the heart of downtown. The Farmer’s Market is the oldest continuously operating open-air market in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It began in 1882. After the original building (built in 1886) was destroyed in a fire, the current building was built in 1922.

There are wonderful views to be had from the rooftop of the Center in the Square building. In addition to this one, I’ve shared some others in a much older post: Downtown Stroll.


Quite often there is something happening in Roanoke. I haven’t been able to make it to many events since we’ve moved here. Why? Miss Sunshine has been playing travel soccer since we moved here and that ties up most weekends. Occasionally we have some down time in the winter, but most of the events are not winter events.

Last year I did make it to the Local Colors Festival and I attended a Veteran’s Day parade a few years ago, where I gathered these photos.

However, Miss Sunshine will not be traveling for soccer this spring so I plan to take full advantage of the weekends to attend events and do more hiking!


You never know what treasure you might stumble upon when you are wandering around Roanoke. For example, there are beautiful sights to stumble upon in the alleyways found in the heart of downtown. (cee’s fun foto challenge). This is a connection in the alley behind the Center in the Square parking garage.


More Architecture.

Of course, no tour is complete (on my end) without showing you more architecture. The stone at the top of the building says 1926. I know that much of our United States architecture pales in age comparison to those of Europe, but a building that’s 50 years  older than me and looks this good deserves a glamour shot.

709 S. Jefferson Street.

I knew that a building with this much character had to have a history.

And it does.

Gill Memorial Hospital was founded by Dr. Elbyrne Gill in 1926 and is believed to be the Commonwealth’s first specialty hospital. It was an Eye, Ear, and Throat hospital.

It is currently home to RAMP (Regional Acceleration and Mentoring Program).


The Roanoke Valley is a great place to come visit. There is a great mix of urban and wilderness. Many people enjoy a great portion of their time outdoors.

High Adventure.

Many high adventure enthusiasts love it here. There are plenty of trails for mountain biking and cycling. There are places to fish and kayak and rock climb. There’s even a climbing gym for those times when you can’t make it to the trails.

Not so High Adventure.

If you aren’t quite into high adventure (like me…the only one in my family of five), there’s still plenty to do. Roanoke likes its green space and preserves much. I’ve shared before some of our walks along the Greenway. I like to hike the many trails surrounding the area.

There is scientific backing to the benefit of spending time in nature and I can heartily agree with the conclusions.


Even though I take my Pilates and Yoga classes at my local gym, there are plenty of studios around town offering a focused workout. There is Empower Pilates & Yoga and Uttara Yoga Studio. There are also places like Pure Barre and Orange Theory Fitness. These are just a few of the places that I’ve heard of through friends.

Event Locations.

As I mentioned above, there are often events held around Roanoke. There are often a calendar of events at Elmwood Park, Dr Pepper Park, and the Berglund Center (where the hubby and I just watched Riverdance).


There are breweries and vineyards and an array of dining options.

Local Information.

There is so much more that is available to see and do in the area. Here are some great websites to check out for upcoming events and information on the area:

But you don’t just have to take my word for it.

Not only did Forbes put Roanoke on their 2017 list of 25 Great Scenic Places to Retire, but TripAdvisor recently named Roanoke as one of the best small USA cities to visit in 2018.

But you don’t just have to take their word for it.

Come visit and see for yourself.

Hope to see you soon!

The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.- John Muir

Let your light shine!




Doors of Stirling Scotland UK United Kingdom

Doors of Stirling

Photography Series.

I’ve been enjoying creating these photography series. They seem the best way to showcase the photos that I’d like to share with all of you. I have shared many doors since discovering Norm’s (host of Thursday Doors) blog.

I shared in last week’s Friday Faves that my mother and I would be traveling back to the United Kingdom in May. The logistics were still being worked out at that time, but have since been booked. I promised to share our plans so I thought that for today’s photography series we’d travel back to my time in Scotland.


Our time in Stirling, Scotland to be exact. I’ve chosen this location because Stirling is considered to be the “Gateway to the Highlands”.

You may recall that we took a day trip from Edinburgh to visit Stirling Castle. I’ve even showcased the King’s Old Building that is located at the castle. But I also admired the doors as I strolled through town.

Hotel Colessio.

The Hotel Colessio is located at 33 Spittal Street. Its architecture was quite magnificent. I’ve captured the end, but the entry has a portico with Doric columns to welcome you. My shot of the entry was through the fence as we were heading toward a lunch destination, so it didn’t do it enough justice to share. I’ve linked the hotel in case you’d like to see the entire building.


The hotel website shares that this building was a landmark in Stirling. I did a little digging because I know you all want the details. According to Canmore, it was designed by James Gillespie Graham and was built 1825-1827 as the Commercial Bank. It was converted to use as the first Stirling Infirmary in 1873-1874, and enlarged in 1878, 1883, and 1913. It was later used as the district library and offices for the Forth Valley Health Board.

The Stirling Highland Hotel.

I didn’t get any photos of the doors of the Stirling Highland Hotel, but the building was just too beautiful not to capture.

The hotel is located on Spittal Street and according to its history section, the property was once a Franciscan (or Greyfriars) Convent, founded by King James IV in 1494. The King who died at the Battle of Flodden often did penance at the Greyfriars. The Convent was demolished in 1559.

In 1852, it was proposed to build a new school house. Stirling’s old Grammar School merged with the English and Mathematical Academy, and in 1856 the new High School of Stirling, moved into this site. The hotel has retained remnants of the old school in its interior design.

Number 4.

Since traveling and photography are still somewhat new to me, I am learning lessons as I go forward. One of those lessons is to take notes on the locations of my photos. Sometimes, I am able to use Google maps, taking into account where the photo falls in my sequence. It’s likely that this door was on St. John Street, but don’t take my word for it.

No. 2 Baker Street.

The doors aren’t really visible on this building, but the building itself looked amazing.

No. 2 Baker Street is a Belhaven Pub. This is where we stopped for lunch before catching the train back to Edinburgh.


While I am no expert on dining in Scotland, there was one thing that I noticed about many of the pubs that we frequented. Unlike at a “restaurant” where the waiter/waitress takes your order and serves your meal, at these pubs, your table has a number on it. You then order your food and drinks at the bar and let them know your table number.

I ate fish and chips at almost every pub we visited. You just can’t go wrong with fish and chips. In case you’re wondering, I did try a bite of my aunt’s haggis. Although this was not the day or restaurant in which she ordered it.


I liked that No. 2 Baker Street offered a flight of beers. I love trying beers that aren’t available (or at least, easily available) in the United States. I tried many different brands while in Scotland. The bartender helped me choose my flight because I prefer darker beers (think Guiness as opposed to a citrusy IPA). Another lesson learned about note-taking… I could barely remember the names of the three I had chosen by the time I sat down. It was hard enough to remember all the parts to correctly order for three people, much less remember beer names. Next time I’ll snap a picture of the taps. I do know that my favorite had “red” in the name and I’m pretty sure it included a man’s name. When asked which was my favorite, she informed me that one had the highest alcohol content. Big surprise that it was my favorite! Just kidding. I really like its flavor best.

39 St John Street.

It’s an interesting thing about 39 St John Street.


I took the photo of this door because it said Bothwell House. Documents vary on the birthplace of my great-great grandfather James Scott (1865-1925), but further research shows that it is Bothwell. He was born in Holytown, which was a village in the parish of Bothwell, explaining why they were used interchangeably. His wife, Agnes McLachlan (1865-1944) narrows it even more on her U.S. Naturalization Records, stating that he was born at Pollocks Hill, Scotland. At one time, I had found information on Pollocks Hill, but it is buried in my paperwork. Given that his father was miner, I suspect it was an area of homes rented by miners.


The interesting thing about this door though is that I looked up its history. The townhouse was originally built in the 16th Century, although it has gone through many alterations.  It is traditionally associated with the family of Bruce of Auchenbowie. Robert Bruce of Auchenbowie was magistrate of Stirling in 1521 and Provost in 1556.


While I could tell you exactly where this is located or you could take a stroll along Google maps and find it, since I can tell that it is somebody’s actual residence, I won’t be publicly disclosing my information. The reason that I stopped to photograph the entry was because I loved that they had horseshoes hung on the entry, along with the hanging planters and window boxes (Cee’s “X” fun foto challenge)

Good Luck.

I’ve always heard about horseshoes being hung for good luck, but had never seen it done in real life. According to this website, horseshoes have always been a traditional symbol associated with good luck. They are often used as a part of a Scottish wedding ceremony. The “U” shape retains the luck.


Pre-Christian traditions hold that its supernatural powers were associated with the crescent moon. Many modern associations are associated with the 10th Century legend of St. Dunstan. St. Duntan trapped the devil and extracted a promise not to enter the home of Christians, evidenced by horseshoes over the doorway.

Number  7.

A horseshoe was commonly held in place by seven iron nails, which has been considered an important number since the ancient times.

Given that this home has four horseshoes, I hope that it finds itself very lucky indeed.

The Turquoise Door.

I saved my favorite door for last. The Turquoise Door. I can’t tell if this was a private residence, but it’s extremely close to Stirling Castle. If you’ve been to Stirling Castle, then there is no way that you’ve missed a door this vibrant!


As to why I’ve decided to take you along a tour of Stirling, it is because this May my mother and I will spend some time visiting the Highlands.


We will be flying in to London and spending a few days seeing some of the local sights (I know this is nowhere near enough time to see all that London has to offer). We have a pretty action-packed trip, mostly because my mom is not sure if she will travel overseas again (She said that the last time. I’m pretty convincing).


From London, we will fly to Inverness.  We will be relying on public transportation, which makes the logistics a little harder, but I’m sure we’ll manage.

Isle of Lewis.

We fly over to Stornaway on the Isle of Lewis because we have a dream of seeing the Standing Stones of Callanish. It is a one day over and back trip. We are also doing a day tour that will take us to see Eileen Donan Castle and the fairy pools on the Isle of Skye, as well as some other sights. While we haven’t booked anything, I don’t think we can go all that way and not do a boat cruise along Loch Ness to search for Nessie and take in Urquhart Castle.

Must See.

I’ve also read about a bookshop (Leakey’s ) and a pub (Hootenanny’s. – this one, for traditional Scottish music, but also because “hootenanny” is an Appalachian colloquialism and I now live in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia) in Inverness that I must visit.

Any other words of wisdom, or must sees, in Inverness?


We will then head to Edinburgh for a few days before traveling back to London to fly home. We plan to see things that we didn’t see before and may take the train over to Glasgow since that area is where our ancestral roots are located and we loved it so much when we visited before.

Those are our big plans.

If you’ve been to any of these places, share your favorite place and thing to see.


Let your light shine!





A Stroll Along the Seine

A Stroll Along The Seine


Isn’t it strange how once you’ve visited a place, there is a different type of familiarity when you hear about the location on the news? That has recently been the case as I hear about the flooding along the Seine in Paris.

There RER C line is temporarily closed. That was the line we took to visit the Palace of Versailles. I have walked inside the Louvre. We have strolled along the banks of the Seine.

A Walk along the seine.png


Along the Seine.

I visited Paris last April.

Springtime in Paris.

I could just swoon saying those words.

It was during my first overseas trip and Paris was more lovely in the spring than anything I had imagined.

No trip to Paris is complete without stroll along the Seine.

Pont de la Concorde.

Our first view of the Seine was from Pont de la Concorde. This is the bridge that connects Quai des Tuileries at the Place de la Concorde (on the Right Bank) and the Quai d’Orsay (on the Left Bank).

I’ll let you in on a little behind the scenes secret. The hubby and I watch Vikings on the History Channel. He had been to Paris many years prior to our trip and here he is  pointing out the background on the attack of Paris. If you don’t watch the show (while it’s not historically accurate), the episode was based on the Siege of Paris in 845.

The historical accounts are that the Danish Viking Reginheri (thought to be the same person as the legend of Ragnar Lothbrok) sailed a fleet of about 120 ships along the Seine, raiding the city of Rouen as he progressed. They went on to pillage Paris, which at the time was an island city, located on Île de la Cité, where you now find Notre Dame.


Right Bank of the Seine.

While we walked along the Seine numerous times during our visit to Paris, my photos are predominately from the Right Bank of the Seine. We walked from the Jardin des Tuileries to Notre Dame.

Looking across the Seine at Musee d'Orsay in Paris, France

Museé d’Orsay.

While I did not have a chance to visit the Museé d’Orsay, I did admire its architecture.

The museum building was originally a railway station, Gare d’Orsay. It was finished in time for the 1900 Exposition Universelle. It was the terminus for the railways of southwestern France until 1939.

After 1939, it was used for suburban services and part of it became a mailing center during World War II.

In the 70’s, the idea came about to turn the building into a museum. The plan was for the museum to bridge the gap between the Louvre and the National Museum of Modern Art.

The museum officially opened in December of 1986.

The museum is open daily (closed on Mondays) from 9:30 am to 6 pm, with extended hours until 9:45 pm on Thursdays.

With works by Renoir, Degas, Manet, and Van Gogh (just to name a few), it will definitely be on my “must see” list when I return to Paris.

Have you visited the Museé d’Orsay?

If so, what your favorite piece of art?


All along the Seine, the views are breathtaking. Miss Sunshine was ill for most of our time in Paris. However, she was a trooper and soldiered on during our walk to Notre Dame. This was the view from a water break we took before perusing the stalls of the bouquinistes.

Love Locks.

There are numerous love locks along the Seine. While one of the most famous locations for their placements is along the Ponts de Arts bridge, we found them while walking along the Quai des Tuileries.

While I admire a good love story, I did not leave a lock.

The weight of so many locks can eventually create damage. I have my memories and I’ve snapped some photos of the locks both here and in Amsterdam.



I feel very lucky to be able to travel. To have visited Paris and to have walked along the banks of the Seine.


Have you ever been to Paris?

Which area was your favorite in which to spend your time?

We had a very short visit there and I hope to return again someday.

I hope to return again to Shakespeare and Company, to look amongst its book-filled shelves. To admire the doors of Paris as I stroll along the rues and boulevards.  There are daydreams of sitting upon my current favorite Corner of Paris and watching the vibrancy of Paris.

And, of course, to see all that I missed.


Let your light shine!