Two President’s Homes … for the Price of One

My very-accomodating hosts also made sure I got to the President George W. Bush childhood home. Of course, that meant the house was also the home of the elder Bush. The house could not have been more opposite from the beautiful Kennebunkport house that sits above the rocky point that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean.

In contrast, the Midland house was a small, ranch-style home on a residential street neatly tucked next to other similar homes. The Bush family lived here from 1951 – 1955. And for some strange reason, I did not get a good picture of the outside of the home – so will see if I can “borrow” one. (So in in the interest of fair picture taking – I DID NOT take this picture.)

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Of course this house isn’t THAT old, at least compared to somewhere like Mount Vernon, but the tour guide seemed to want to make it historically old. She would hold up an object and say, “Do you know what this is?” like it was something out of the dark ages – when actually it would be something even the kids have in their houses. Besides the presidential significance, the house is thought to be one of the first houses from the fifties set aside for historical purposes.

I so appreciate Kevin and Jenifer for giving me a Bush tour of Midland.

Where George W. Ate

My help-me-get-another-presidential-site hosts took us to another Bush hangout. After the conference we went to Johnny’s BBQ in downtown Midland (a city that was extremely empty on a Saturday night). Johnny’s was started by a friend of Laura Bush’s father who in fact, nicknamed the restaurant “the sick pig” since there was a statue of a skinny pig by the front door.

Who knows – but I was told that this is also the place where President Bush often came to  meet clients and make business decisions when he worked in Midland. (But I have no guarantee of this.)

And the bbq was excellent.

Where Laura Eats

Now … I’m really going back …  to a quick, but unique trip to Midland, Texas almost two years ago. I went down for a conference … and a promise of a visit to something presidential with the Ivie family.

Our first stop was lunch … after a very long night. (I was supposed to get to town at 5:00, but actually flew in at 2:00 a.m. – there were two other people in the whole airport. Fortunately, I knew that Jenifer would be there to meet me – we had been texting – so I wasn’t too concerned, still … And I did feel sorry that she had to stay up that late to get me.)

Anyhow, they had pursued presidential sites and therefore, took me to Dona Anitas – a Mexican restaurant in downtown Midland. The place didn’t look out of the ordinary and the inside was obviously worn – but the servers were friendly and the owner herself, made sure we were comfortable.

The Presidential part is that this is a favorite restaurant of the the Bush family. Even now, when Laura travels to Midland to see her mother, this is where they eat.

However, no one in the restaurant looked like a Bush.

But this was fun and the food was good.

Alabama Rainbow

So last fall I had a conference in Alabama. A friend had promised to drive down with me, but at the last minute had to cancel because of work obligations. Not having a choice, I drove down myself – a quick trip down and a quick trip back. Just the conference – that’s all, no sightseeing.

But I did see something spectacular – the most beautiful double rainbow I have ever seen.

Obviously others felt the same way because it seemed as if everyone in town was out taking pics with their phones. The rainbows were visible for at least 20 minutes and the most awesome aspect of the rainbows was their completeness.

Cannot explain how cool these were. photo

A Walk Through Bronners

Ok, it’s going on 88 degrees outside. The air feels muggy and a storm is coming … what better day to take a walk through Bronners. (No, I’m not there – not this afternoon. This is our trip from earlier in June.) And I don’t go to Michigan to see Christmas ornaments, I go to see my friends … but they just happen to live near Christmas ornaments …because once upon a time, we lived just four miles down the road from “the largest CHRISTmas store in the world.” That’s their spelling by the way – every customer (and they have a lot of them) – gets a John 3:16 tract in their purchase. When we lived there and the afternoons got super, really, very hot – we’d go wander around in Bronners for awhile.

If you don’t know about Bronner’s – here are some facts.

*350 trees are displayed in their stores (lights on).

*$1,250 is the cost of their electric bill – EACH day!

*50,000 customers stop by on Thanksgiving weekend.

*More than two million customers stop by during the year.

*Customers have included everyone from John Wayne to Laura Bush to Faith Hill.

And now you.

So take a stroll through Christmas wonderland and enjoy some glitter and sparkle.

Clementine’s – South Haven, Michigan

So, when you travel with me, you know I looked for indigenous restaurants.

Sue and I found one on our latest trip to Michigan (a few weeks back).

Lunch time and we were in South Haven, a quaint town with quint shops … and a quaint place to eat, called Celementine’s.

(Interestingly, their email address is ohmydarling. Clever!)

Clementine’s (we went to the original – there are two) in right downtown in the old Citizen’s Bank building which was built in 1897. The place is decorated in antiques and looks very much like an old bank. Pictures of early South Haven line the walls. And – the food was extremely good – I had the Claim Jumper – creamy chicken and mushrooms on a croissant. Too much to eat, but what I did eat was delicious.

Fun place.

MAKING THE CANDY

So, I told you in the last post that one of the things we did at Hershey’s was design our own candy bar. We chose what was inside the chocolate – watched it go down the conveyor belt and then designed the label for the bar. The bar was put in a tin can and the label was wrapped around it. And unlike the other food places we visited, we actually were allowed to keep and eat the candy. (Of course, we didn’t touch it in preparation, but so be it.)

Here’s what it looked like.

By the way – probably somewhat a high kid factor here.

Chocolate World

Hershey’s Chocolate World is mostly automated, except for the part where you give a real-life clerk money for all the candy you are tempted to buy.

And it’s mostly free, except for the part where you buy the tempting candy …

Or if you do anything extra – which we did.

We went to the chocolate tasting lesson – which was sort of, semi-interesting.

And we made our own candy bars which was fun (and I still have the medal box that the candy bar came in), but like the pretzel factory, we didn’t really touch the chocolate! Just designed what we wanted in the bar and our label and then watched our automated chocolate go through some automated machines. I’m sort of get-the-whole-experience-type of person and automated doesn’t do it for me. Sorry.

KID FACTOR: Little kids would like this. Big kids would like the massive displays of chocolate. But I’m thinking the amusement park (which we didn’t go to) would be a lot more exciting to both.