Terra Madre: Women in Clay — Dogwood Arts 2014

Patricia Herzog: "Spring Rain"

Patricia Herzog: “Spring Rain”

Although not one of the official Dogwood Arts Festival 2014 events, the Opening Reception of unique pottery by the Terra Madre potters on March 28th was the starting point for us of what this festival is all about:  a celebration of the natural beauty of East Tennessee and the creative spirit of area artists.

Pottery by Jacqueline Mirzac

Display at entry to The District Gallery with pottery featuring stamped Navajo designs by Jacqueline Mirzac

Owners of The District Gallery & Framery, Denise and Jeff Hood, dedicated a major portion of the gallery to the show.  And patrons turned out to view the pottery by this juried organization of women clay artists living and working in Knoxville.

Denise Hood, The District Gallery

Denise Hood, co-owner of The District Gallery, welcomes guests to the Opening Reception for Terra Madre: Women in Clay.

Mike Murphy and Linda Bonds

Mike Murphy, Photographer, and Linda Bonds, owner of Stones of Spirit, admire the pottery at the Opening Reception.

Liz Howell and Gray Bearden

Liz Howell and Gray Bearden, Terra Madre exhibitors, take time to visit.

The pottery was as varied as the styles of the artists from fanciful, decorative pottery to pieces of a more utilitarian nature — vases, bowls, pitchers, etc.  When we returned the next day to take a look without the crowds, we noted that many items had been sold. Enjoy this sample of the excellent craftmanship on display at the Opening Reception.

Lisa Kurtz whom we had met at last year’s Art Detour and whose vase we purchased was on hand to assist with the reception.  Her wall pocket glazed in shades of brown left a lasting impression as it held spring daffodils in the midst of a lovely show.

Wall pocket by Lisa Kurtz

Wall pocket by Lisa Kurtz

Pottery from Terra Madre: Women in Clay runs through April 18 at The District Gallery.  And while you’re there, take a close look at the other exhibit: Vision of Home: Recent Works by Kathie Odom. For more information:

The District Gallery & Framery

Owners:  Jeff and Denise Hood 5113 Kingston Pike, Suite A Knoxville, TN 37919 Gallery: 865.200.4452 Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/TheDistrictGallery

Terra Madre 


Posted in Art Show, Artist, Festivals, Retail Shops | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Travel theme: Clean

Ailsa who blogs at Where’s My Backpack? selected a theme this week that immediately brought to mind some of the daily routines we saw in Nepal: Travel theme: Clean.  As we observed various methods people used to keep clean, we reflected on our own culture and lifestyle.

The Habitat for Humanity house we worked on was situated on a steep mountainside on plot of land belonging to one family; therefore, several houses stood alongside each other on a ridge.  At the base of the mountain was a stream where family members gathered to do laundry and fill jugs with water.

This photo shows the grandmother doing her laundry after she had bathed and re-wrapped her garments around herself.

Woman in Nepal filling jug with water

Woman in Nepal filling jug with water from stream at base of mountain

Then she slowly, painstakingly, climbed back up the mountain with laundry in tow and a jug of heavy water on her hip.

Woman carrying laundry and jug of water

Woman carrying laundry and jug of water

We watched briefly as another family did their laundry in a small body of water and then afterwards spread their clean clothes out to dry.

Family doing laundry in Nepal

Family doing laundry in Nepal

On a hike we took to a monastery one day, we saw this woman bathing at the public bath. We couldn’t help but wonder how cold that water must be, yet so necessary to keeping clean.

Woman in Nepal bathing in public bath area

Woman in Nepal bathing in public bath area

As we hiked further, we saw another woman finishing her bath alongside the trail.  She seemed quite skilled at bathing and cleaning herself without ever revealing much of her body.  A series of wrappings and re-wrappings helped her preserve her dignity and privacy.

Woman in Nepal bathing alongside hiking trail

Woman in Nepal bathing alongside hiking trail

For more examples of Travel theme: Clean, click here.

If you would like to follow Oh, the Places We See, just click on the Follow box in the right-hand column.  We’d love to have you travel with us!

Posted in Photography, Travel, Travel Theme | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

A Three-Gallery Night: Dogwood Arts 2014

It was a night of openings at three galleries celebrating that important middle word in Knoxville’s Dogwood Arts Festival: ARTS.  On a warm spring evening  – April 11 — patrons headed to the galleries to view creative pieces by some of the best-known (and some unknown until now) artists in the area.  Combining that Open-House-kinda-feel with well-crafted, original art, the Featured Art Exhibits kicked off the 2014 season of honoring artistic creativity in East Tennessee.

The District Gallery

5113 Kingston Pike

Vision of Home:  Recent Works by Kathie Odom

April 11 through May 3

"Bethlehem Road" by Kathie Odom

Kathie Odom stands beside featured painting “Bethlehem Road” bearing this caption: “While standing in a country church parking lot located somewhere between Seymour and Walland, I painted this farm. Nestled in the Smokies, light bounced off the barn. Be still my heart!”

The featured artist of the Dogwood Arts Festival, Kathie Odom was on hand at The District Gallery.  Her painting, Sycamore Row, was selected as the 2014 Limited Edition Print.

After graduating from the University of Tennessee, Kathie distinguished herself as a pastel artist in the 1982 Dogwood Arts Festival. But in 2009, she began working in a new medium:  oils.  Her subject matter is influenced by the rural landscapes she loves with nostalgic scenes of barns, sheds, fields, and trees changing with the seasons.  Notes hand written by the artist were posted next to each painting, providing personal insight into what had inspired her to create each painting.

Bennett Galleries

5308 Kingston Pike

Richard Jolley

A Retrospective of Work, Creating Something for Nothing

April 11 through June 28

Don bosch, Richard Jolley, Ashley Capps

Attending the Opening Reception at Bennett Galleries: Don Bosch, Richard Jolley (featured artist), Ashley Capps, and Maureen Bosch.

In conjunction with the unveiling of the largest glass installation in the U. S. at the Knoxville Museum of ArtThe Cycle of Life, Within the Power of Dreams and the Wonder of Infinity by Richard JolleyBennett Galleries opened a retrospective of work revealing the stages of Jolley’s career.

Born in 1952 in Wichita, Kansas, Richard Jolley, now known as a glass master, was raised in Oak Ridge and studied at Tusculum College (Greenville, TN), George Peabody College (Nashville, TN) and Penland School of Crafts (Penland, NC).  Maintaining a glass studio in Knoxville since 1975, Jolley has been heralded around the world for his creativity and unique style.  More than 65 public and private exhibitions and 33 collections boast at least one glass creation by Richard Jolley.  A huge crowd of supporters at Opening Night at Bennett Galleries gathered to talk with the artist about the pieces on display and the upcoming reveal at Knoxville’s Museum of Art.

Fountain City Art Center

213 Hotel Avenue

Foothills Craft Guild Spring Exhibit

April 11 through May 9

Larry Gabbard, Potter

Larry Gabbard explains his unusual techniques (adding horse hair and sugar, for example) to create one-of-a kind pottery pieces.

Members of the Foothills Craft Guild were honored guests at the 2nd annual Fountain City Art Exhibit located at the home of the Fountain City Art Center. Works from Foothills members will be on display and on sale through May 9.

Foothills Craft Guild is known for fine craftmanship and unique creations.  Applicants for membership in the guild must reside in Tennessee and submit original work for jurying. On Opening Night of the Foothills Craft Guild Spring Exhibit, members of the guild were on hand to talk to guests and explain the processes used in creating the pieces on display.

A night for art.  A night for crafts.  And an interesting first look at Knoxville’s 2014 artsy side!

The District Gallery: http://thedistrictgallery.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheDistrictGallery

Bennett Galleries and Companyhttp://thedistrictgallery.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BennettGalleries

Fountain City Art Center: http://fountaincityartctr.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fountain-City-Art-Center/166052916742955

Foothills Craft Guild: http://foothillscraftguild.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoothillsCraftGuild

You might enjoy my Pinterest board, “For the love of art.”

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/rushasams/for-the-love-of-art/

Posted in Art Show, Artist, Crafts, Festivals | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Chalk one up for fun: Dogwoods Arts 2014 — Chalk Walk

Chalk drawing by students at STEM Academy, Knoxville

Favorite entry in Chalk Walk 2014 by students of the STEM Academy.

It its sixth year at the Dogwood Arts Festival, Chalk Walk has again brought out artists young and old, amateur and professional to create ephemeral art from mere pieces of chalk.  Although last year’s Chalk Walk was mostly washed away by heavy rains only an hour or so after completion, this year’s event left lasting impressions in Krutch Park and Market Square downtown. Chalk Walk 2014 sign And the crowds loved it! Sidewalks were packed as viewers moved cautiously, elbow-to-elbow, careful not to disturb those carefully shaded areas of the designated, marked-off squares.

Chalk Walk is art.  But it’s also an event.  And this year’s combined the best:  great weather, huge crowd, fabulous art!

Artists at Work

The artists were as much fun to watch as they moved in closely or stood up to get a better idea of how the work was flowing.  Sometimes they talked to the crowd; sometimes they worked in silence.  We found it fascinating to watch an artist and then return an hour later to check on the progress.

Artists sometimes worked together to share chalk — whether the rainbow shades came in neat boxes or in sacks of leftover pieces like children use on home driveways.  Jerry’s Artarama donated some of the chalk, but we have a feeling that there could have been several runs to the store for more as artists wore the pieces down to nubs.

Chalk Walk: color selection

Artists worked together to select and share the right colors

Chalk Walk: Colorful bird

Sometimes we wondered if artists dressed to match their creations!

Chalk Walk: Artist using baby powder

Baby powder was the medium of choice for the faces in this entry.

Teamwork for Chalk Walk

Teamwork helped Faith McDaniel, Katy Rivers, and Sam Artman create this dancing lady piece.

Chalk Walk: Curtis Glover's entry

Curtis Glover dedicated his chalk drawings of the characters from Monsters, Inc., to his nephews, Anderson and Max.

Young Artists

Some of the best entries in the competition came from students.  Teams and soloists from area schools gave it their all in the hot sun — and made quite an impression with their creativity and detail.

Chalk Walk: Blue Grass Elementary

Taking a picture of the entry by students at Blue Grass Elementary.

Chalk Walk: Princess painting

Loved this picture even more when we discovered the artist was only 14 years old!

Chalk Walk: Entry from Vine Middle School

An eighth grade student from Vine Middle School worked on this creative drawing and then talked with us about what inspired her.

West High Students draw tiger

Sent a picture of this colorful tiger done by students at West High to the LSU fans in my family!

Chalk Walk: Summer Meiling finn

Summer Meiling Finn, the 2013 People’s Choice Award winner, won again this year in the Middle School category.

Personal Faves

Of course, any time you go to an event like this, you have some standouts. Here are the ones we remember most . . . just because we like them.

Portrait of a lady with artist

The artist evaluates the many shades of color in this portrait of a lady.

STEM students painting a dreamlike lady

Many hands — students from STEM Academy — worked on this dreamlike creation while the principal and teachers cheered them on!

Chalk Walk: Smokey

If you live in Knoxville and you love the Vols, you’ll crowd around (like just about everyone did) to snap a picture of their favorite hound dog, Smokey!

About the only thing I can remember drawing with chalk during my lifetime is a hop-scotch grid, so I’m thinking we just may have to join our granddaughter when she creates something special in our driveway this summer.  After all, if  you mess up a chalk drawing, so what?  It’s not like we could compete with the artists on Market Square.  They’re good.

Chalk Walk: Emerson quote

Emerson quote rang true with a lot of folks judging by the number of photos taken of it!

Chalk Walk 2014 was sponsored by Avanti Savoia.  Chairing this event were Kathy Slocum and Jim Dodson.

For more information, click here for the Dogwood Arts Festival Website.  You can also check out the history of street art as well as the winners in this year’s competition.

Posted in Art Show, Artist, Festivals | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

A Word a Week Photo Challenge: Sign

This week’s A Word a Week Photo Challenge: Sign from the blog A Word in Your Ear reminded me of a trip through The Palouse in Washington state. I was driving alone — encountering almost no one on the roads running through vast wheat fields where only a few homes and barns dot the landscape.  I had just wondered what would happen if I had car trouble when I spotted this sign on a side road.

Sign in The Palouse

Needless to say, I didn’t turn down that road not even for a good picture.  It was too foreboding!

For more examples of signs that meet this challenge, go here.

Posted in A Word a Week Challenge, Photography, Travel | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Dogwood Arts 2014: A beautiful beginning!

Dogwood BloomWe always know the dates of the Dogwood Arts Festival in advance — websites, posters, and billboards keep us informed.  But it’s not until we see the redbuds blooming in town and along I-40 that we know dogwood blooms can’t be far behind.

Knoxville’s Dogwood Arts Festival 2014 officially runs through April, but blooms don’t always get it!  We can remember festivals beginning AFTER the delicate four-petaled dogwood blooms have peaked and faded.  On the other hand, we can also remember years when blooms just aren’t ready for opening day even if we have visitors from around the world in town to see them.  They do what they do when they want to do it!

White dogwoods

But this year’s different.  Timing seems perfect.  First, we noticed our Lenten Roses (Helleborus Orientalis) perk up their nodding heads and show us their throats mid-March.

Lenten Roses, Helleborus Orientalis

Lenten Roses are first to peek out and show their colors in the garden.

Then we were blessed with massive blooms on our White Star Star Magnolia.

White Star Star Magnolia

Open bloom on a White Star Star Magnolia

Daffodils, too, opened with yellow profusion in late March along the Interstate where dedicated volunteers have sprinkled them for years, thanks to the vision of Maria Compere and others.  And the rest of us just follow suit, adding handfuls of bulbs to our landscape each fall.

Budding daffodils

Daffodil blooms anxiously awaiting their own “open date.”

Redbuds with their graceful branches dotted with tiny pinkish, purplish blossoms began around the first of April saying, We’re here.  Look at us.

Redbuds along Knoxville's Lake Loudon

Redbuds along Knoxville’s Lake Loudon near the Henley Street Bridge

And this pink profusion of tulips was enough to make us stop and take a closer look on Sunday, April 6th, even if we did have to get on our hands and knees for a good shot!

Pink tulips, Knoxville, TN

Full plantings of pink tulips in bloom at Cherokee Country Club, Knoxville

But finally on the first weekend of Dogwood Festival (as if the blooms knew what we wanted this year), we were blessed with lacy canopies of luscious springtime beauty. It’s Dogwood Time in Tennessee!

Entrance to Krutch Park, downtown Knoxville

Dogwoods blooming at entrance to Krutch Park, downtown Knoxville

Wanna keep track of dogwood blooms?  You can watch one pink dogwood tree on the Fountain City Trail unfold from bud to full bloom as pictures are added each day.  Head to the Dogwood Arts website for Bloom Watch 2014.

Pink dogwood bud, Dogwood Arts Festival, Knoxville

Just buds on Wednesday, March 26, 2014.

Bloom Watch 2014, Dogwood Arts Festival, Knoxville

Almost full bloom on Monday, April 7th: Pink dogwood, Bloom Watch 2014

Or come to Knoxville for any one of the signature events and activities that put us on the map for the best place to visit in April — events like Rhythm ‘n Blooms, Chalk Walk, Open Gardens, Dogwood Trails, and Art in Public Places.

Musicians entertaining the crowd

Singing happy songs on a sunny day in downtown Knoxville! Does it get any better than this?

Loving the sunshine and music downtown

Loving the sunshine and music downtown

Art in Public Places

“Sailor’s Warning” by Duke Oursler. Part of Art in Public Places, downtown Knoxville

Spamalot, Chalk Walk 2014

As part of Chalk Walk 2014, artists from Spamalot add their entry to the sidewalk in Krutch Park. Spamalot arrives in Knoxville April 24th: http://clarencebrowntheatre.com/plays/monty-pythons-spamalot/

The Dogwood Arts Festival invites residents and visitors to enjoy music, art, and festivities downtown or drive through subdivisions marked with pink “follow-me” markings where dogwoods and other flowers celebrate the 60th year of Dogwood Trails.

Strolling through Krutch Park

Strolling through Krutch Park: Dogwood Arts Festival 2014

Prettiness is blooming all over Knoxville.  So join our blog this week and next as we drive the trails, stroll the gardens, and admire the art.  The Dogwood Arts Festival is here at last!

Dogwood Arts Festival

Digital Guidehttp://www.dogwoodarts.com/about/

Trails and Gardens: http://www.dogwoodarts.com/trails-and-gardens/

Events & Exhibitshttp://www.dogwoodarts.com/events-exhibits/

Bloom Watch 2014: http://www.dogwoodarts.com/bloomwatch2014/

Have you visited Knoxville during the Dogwood Arts Festival?  Or do you live here and love the events and blooms?  Add your comments below.  We’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Art Show, Festivals, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

A threshold can be symbolic of the beginning of a new venture. Or a threshold can be a doorway through which one can pass.  This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold brought to mind three images from our trip to Nepal where building a Habitat for Humanity house became the threshold of a new life for one family and an unforgettable adventure for us.

First, as tourists in Bhaktapur, we snapped this early-morning photo of a woman standing on the threshold of her home, broom in hand, preparing for Sunday visitors who might pass through her village.Woman on threshold in Bhaktapur

Second, when we arrived two days later at the site of the Habitat build, two women next to our vacant lot stood upon the threshold of their brother’s house  – watching and waiting – anxious to see what we were all about.

Women in doorway in Nepal

Finally, when our two weeks of work ended, we stood at the threshold of the home we had built — adorned with celebratory strings of marigolds and touches of red on our foreheads thinking of the future for the family who would live here.

Standing at doorway in Nepal

For more expressions of Threshold, click here.

Posted in Travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

Discovering Boise: Six places to eat you won’t find back home!

Boise sign: City of Trees If you believe the huge sign hovering over the escalator at the Boise airport, you’d think this is just the City of Trees.  And it may well be.  But Boise may also be known as the City of Food!  We had no idea what two Southern food lovers would find in this Idaho capital city.   When we asked locals for special, unique-to-Boise places to “chow down” in style, we were slammed with great recommendations.  But we’ve narrowed it down to six — all with a little “somethin’ different.” Here are our six unique Boise restaurants that merit foodie bragging rights!

Barbacoa Grill

276 Bobwhite Ct.; www.barbacoa-boise.com

Go for the art, stay for the fabulous food, but arrive before sundown to catch the view from the windows.  Chef Enrique Martinez orchestrates dazzling cuisine in this artsy, eclectic, over-the-top gallery/dining room/museum of a restaurant. From the tableside-prepared guacamole to the sweet corn bisque to the Certified Angus Beef, you’ll think you won’t have room for the creations they call dessert, but force yourself!  It’s all good, and the evening will be way too short to take in the art (even in the bathrooms!) AND the gourmet dining experience.

Bardenay Restaurant & Distillery

610 Grove Street; www.bardenay.com

A distillery in a restaurant?  You got it!  On April 25, 2000, Bardenay’s served the first cocktail made in a U. S. restaurant with spirits distilled on site at its Historic Basque Block location — and still does!  Even the name Bardenay was a term loosely used by sailors for the word cocktail.  Watch distilling right near your table, and then sip away as you order from the creative menu with something for everyone.  Pair a chicken, beef, salmon, or shrimp satay (grilled skewer) with soup or salad, and with a Bardenay London Dry. Won’t find this dinner anywhere else.

Bar Gernika

202 S. Capitol Blvd.; www.bargernika.com

Standing on the corner of the Basque Block of downtown Boise, Bar Gernika has served authentic Basque food, wine, and desserts for almost 20 years.  In the tiny L-shaped space,  folks gather in tiny groups or power up computers or, like us, hang out at the bar and chat with the bartender. You can even watch ‘em cook those legendary fries — crisp, flavorful hand-cut Idaho spuds — that you don’t want to pass up.  But then what do you do about the Basque food?  It’s what you came for.  So you order a Double Solomo Sandwich of piled-high marinated pork loin and pimientos and a side order of melt-in-your-mouth Croquetas,  (little balls of butter, chicken, onion, and milk) deep fried and golden.  And if it’s Saturday, you hope you get there before the beef tongue sells out so you can really get into that Basque thing in Boise.  Yep.  Boise.

Boise Fry Company

111 Broadway, Suite 111; www.boisefrycompany.com

We’ve written about this one, but what’s good bears repeating.  This fry place that serves burgers on the side takes Idaho’s best crops of the day, posts them on chalkboards, tells you how they’ll be prepared, and you choose.  If you want a side-order burger, they’ve got ‘em:  free range, grass-fed beef or bison burgers or veggie burgers made with black beans and high protein quinoa.  Head over to the Seasoning Station for any combination of sea salts (flavored or unflavored), and then squirt some toppings like chipotle aioli or malt vinegar or seasoned sauce into little white cups and have at it.  It ain’t fancy — bar stools and shared spaces — but it is some good.  If you think a pile of fries can be a meal — and we do! — get there.  Burgers optional.

Cucina di Paolo

1504 Vista Avenue; www.cucinadipaolo.com

Look for the washer woman on Vista Avenue (Click here for more info.) as she scrub-a-dub-dubs, and you’ve found this intimate, seasonally decorated little gem of a shop owned by the gregarious and talented husband/wife team of Paul and Mary Jean Wegner.  Known for their take-out gourmet lasagnas (12 or more kinds) and chicken pot pies, the Wegners prepare on Sunday and Monday and then open for in-house dining or take-home orders Tuesday through Saturday.  Entrees and sides change daily, so check the board for what’s in, but you’ll definitely eat well on Chicken Fiori (chicken breast stuffed with proscuitto, spinach, and mozarella served over noodles) or Chipotle Meatloaf with Potatoes au Gratin or Chicken Penne Gorgonzola.  Whatever you do is really a don’t:  don’t skip dessert.  Get Paul to wax poetic on the virtues of peach pie made with hand-picked peaches from a farm in Emmett or peanut butter pie drizzled with chocolate or fresh rhubarb pie.  And that’s just shelf number one!

Goldy’s Breakfast Bistro

108 S. Capitol Blvd.; www.goldysbreakfastbistro.com

As you may have read in a previous post, finding Goldy’s was happenstance.  As we walked through snowy Boise in search of hot coffee and anything substantial one morning, we asked a well-dressed businessman where to find breakfast.  What ended up being a short recommendation (Goldy’s is the best breakfast in town!) became our morning home for three days of gluttonous start-the-day sustenance.  It’s hard to beat my first order of hash browns and basted eggs or my husband’s three-egg omelette, but when you get the chance to return, you also get to try the specials like a Cajun Omelette or the generously loaded blueberry pancakes.  Swift service, steaming mugs of coffee, and walls lined with awards from Boise Weekly make this restaurant a go-to for morning goodness.  Thanks, Randy and Wanda Martinat, for breakfasts that hold you ’til suppertime and hospitality Boise-style!

If you’ve got a favorite place to dine in Boise, Idaho, leave us a comment.  We hope to get back and try more great places to eat in the City of Trees!

For more on our travels in Idaho and Washington, check out the Page at the top of this post labeled Inland Northwest.

For more information:

Vista Washer Womanhttp://ohtheplaceswesee.com/2013/12/04/weekly-photo-challenge-let-there-be-light/


Posted in Restaurant, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Discovering Boise: Old Idaho Penitentiary

Large key: Old Idaho Penitentiary

Large keys like this one unlocked cell doors at Old Idaho Penitentiary

It was almost closing time at the Old Idaho Penitentiary when I arrived in Boise after working in Idaho City, but this landmark I’d seen from the Idaho Botanical Gardens next door was on my list of must-see destinations.  One of four Territorial Prisons open in the U. S. today and designated a National Historic Site, the Old Idaho Penitentiary (1870-1973), now opens its campus and buildings to visitors seven days a week.

Setting sun over Old Idaho Penitentiary

Setting sun over Old Idaho Penitentiary

When I arrived an hour before closing time on a coldish, early-spring day, I was a lone visitor taking what became a sort of eerie self-guided tour around the campus and inside the buildings.  As I walked from place to place (looking over my shoulders, uneasy about fully exploring open cells), I found myself imagining how life inside these walls must have unfolded day after day.  And coupled with that feeling of loneliness, I also noted the impact of dwindling afternoon light on my mood as I walked among the buildings into open doorways. Slanted rays of afternoon sun formed long shadows, making me wonder what impact the lack of light — as well as the lack of freedom — had on the residents at Old Idaho Penitentiary. Take a walk with me and see for yourself.

Old Idaho Penitentiary — Outside


Old Idaho Penitentiary — Inside Rooms and Hallways

Women’s Ward — Old Idaho Penitentiary

In 1905, male inmates built the wall with its signature tornado-like brickwork on the corners around the old warden’s residence.  In 1920, according to the Walking Tour Guide, the permanent structure contained seven two-person cells, a central day room, kitchen and bathroom facilities. Brick: Old Idaho Penitentiary Was I glad I went to Old Idaho Penitentiary?  Yes.  But enjoyment may not be the operative word here.  The only other prison I’ve visited is Alcatraz, and I had the same empty feeling there as I did at Old Idaho Penitentiary.  Reading the displayed accounts of inmates and wardens helped me put real faces and names into place.  But seeing stone and iron-gated exteriors, scarcely-lit interiors, and small, tight rooms made me wonder how prisoners lived day-to-day with so little of what I take for granted.  It’s definitely a tour worth your time if you’re visiting Boise.

For more information and to check on visitation times:

Old Idaho Penitentiary State

2445 Old Penitentiary Road Boise, Idaho 83712 208.334.2844 http://history.idaho.gov/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Old-Idaho-Penitentiary/94920681668

To read more about our travels through Idaho and Washington, click on the Page at the top:  Inland Northwest.  Thanks!

Posted in Architecture, Destination, Museum, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Boise Fry Company: Fries with burgers on the side!

Boise Fry CompanyAs work in Idaho schools comes to an end this year, we wanted to wrap up our series on the Inland Northwest with a few posts on some of our favorite places to see and eat in Boise, McCall, and Idaho City. And what would make a better start on this journey than a place serving Idaho’s signature food:  potatoes?!

Boise Fry Company fries

A pile of fries from Boise Fry Company

Luckily, my husband Bert had lunch with a friend who lives in Boise while I was working — and then, as good husbands do, he took me to that same place the very next day:  Boise Fry Company!  Now you’ve heard of burger joints with fries on the side, right?  Well, not here.  Fries are the main attraction!

Potato menu -- Boise Fry Company

Be sure to check the daily menu for fries and how they’re prepared.

You line up at the counter and stand there reading the chalkboard.  (So many taters, so little time, if you ask me.) Available varieties for the day are listed along with suggested prep styles.  (Just pick one.  They’re probably all good.)

Order here at Boise Fry Company

Order here!

In fact the website says, For too long restaurants have persecuted fries, treated them like second-class citizens, stuffed them with chemicals and preservatives and forced them to share fryers with hot wings and corn dogs. And why? Have not these beautiful, slender pieces of fried vegetable graciously accompanied entrées without condition or prejudice? Have not fries comforted, satiated, and delighted us? Are fries not entrée worthy? 

Burgers on the side

Burgers are on the side at Boise Fry Company!

And we think they are.  But burgers on the side at Boise Fry Company are special, too.  You have your choice of free-range, grass-fed beef or bison burgers.  Or you can try the vegan burger made with black beans and high protein quinoa.  All are served on homemade wholewheat potato buns baked fresh every day.

Burger options

Burger options — from beef to bison to vegan!

Taylor and Zach walked us through the ordering part.  (Guess they’re used to “foreigners.”)

Taylor and Zach -- Boise Fry Company

Taylor and Zach understood our order — Southern accents and all!

But that’s just a start.  You then take your fries to the bar where sauces await.

Sauce bar -- Boise Fry Company

Sauce bar — Boise Fry Company. (Yes, they have plain ol’ ketchup, too!)

And you’re still not through.  A line of shakers a yard long multiplies the options, making the act of deciding almost impossible.  So do as we did: try a little of a lot of them.  No telling what you’ll end up with, but it’s bound to be good.

Salt shakers -- Boise Fry Company

Choices, choices, choices — all lined up

Boise Fry Company – where fries are fresh and crisp (peanut oil, they say) — and big, juicy burgers sit on the sidelines. With three locations in Boise and a food truck, too, you have no excuse for missing out on this Idaho fave.  (Couldn’t they take a road trip to Tennessee?)

Boise Fry Company



Twitter: @BoiseFryCo

More to come on what to see and do in Boise — so check back with us at Oh, the Places We See.  For all our posts on Idaho and Washington, go to the Page at the top: Inland Northwest.



Posted in Cooking, Food | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments