Making Memories at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix

Inside the Musical Instrument Museum

Inside the Musical Instrument Museum

It has been almost a week that I returned from a wonderful nine-day trip with my mother to the Phoenix/Scottsdale/Carefree, Arizona area. We visited many fine establishments, so expect to see posts on this glorious, sun-drenched part of the United States in the upcoming months.

We shared such a special mother/daughter time that I’ve, of course, been missing her. Thankfully I have many photos, mementos and music to remind me of the times we had together. Yes, some fabulous music that I discovered has taken me right back there with mom.

Are you familiar with French gypsy music? I’m talking about swinging gypsy jazz, moody boleros and tangos à la Django Reinhart. It’s the music of Paris from 1910 through the mid 1920s. You hear it and you imagine a smoky nightclub scene in the City of Light as you tap your foot and swing to the zippy beat. We heard this music performed by Zazu, a local French orchestra of Phoenix, during the Bastille Day celebration concert at the Musical Instrument Museum. Quelle découverte! Experiencing this music and this stunning museum was one of the highlights of our trip.

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The Good Life France

Paris Celebrating Bastille Day Last Night

Paris Celebrating Bastille Day Last Night

Ahhhh, la France. I never let le quatorze juillet go by without celebrating France. Even though I’ve been busy bopping around  Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, this year was no exception. I’ll let you know soon what I did in this hot, desert land to toast the richness of my beloved France on its Fête Nationale, but first I’d like to share with you a slice of The Good Life France. Before I left Telluride, I interviewed Janine Marsh, founder and editor of this terrific website/blog for my Travel Fun radio show.

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Play

My Mom: A True Original

My Mom:  Mary Ellen Trigger Rogers Clemente

My Mom: Mary Ellen Trigger Rogers Clemente

“I was great for telling stories,” my mom, née Mary Ellen Rogers, told me as we sipped frosty beers and munched on chips and salsa in an old cowboy bar in Scottsdale, Arizona. “When I was a  young girl, my neighbor had a beautiful horse called Suntan,” she continued. “I dreamed of having a horse, so I started telling the story that Roy Rogers was my uncle. It was a plausible story, since my father was from Wyoming and, of course, my last name was Rogers.”

As I listened to my mom recount this tale—one that I had heard before but was relishing even more beneath the sweltering summer heat of Arizona here in this beloved watering hole where so many had come before–I sensed that she had lived this story so much that she almost believed it to be true. “When I was in the sixth grade, I had a leather belt with letters that hung down, spelling out TRIG. You know, as in Trigger, Roy Rogers’s horse. I was tall with long, bushy, blond hair, so I did sort of look like a horse.”

“I remember people calling you Trig,” I said.

“Yes, a few people—those that are still alive—still do,” my mom added as she scooped up the chunky salsa with her tortilla chip.

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A Patchwork Quilt of Memories from Annapolis

The Perfect Launching Area for Kayaking at Meadow Gardens B & B

The Perfect Launching Area for Kayaking at Meadow Gardens B & B

An Heirloom in the Making

An Heirloom in the Making

Hot weather, boating, men and women in uniform, our nation’s capital, Americana, quilts, the sound of the water, seafood, red, white and blue, family and friends gathering, centuries worth of history—-these thoughts and more flood my mind during this sunny holiday period. I won’t be celebrating July 4th much this year, since I’ve decided to take advantage of the quiet time and catch up at my desk. But I am very much in the Fourth of July spirit and am nurturing memories of these bright, summertime moments even more.

Country Breakfast

Country Breakfast

Some of the best were experienced about the same time last year in Annapolis, Maryland. I visited this charming Mid-Atlantic town with my boyfriend and his family after his brother’s wedding in Virginia. Annapolis smacks of the sea and we enjoyed many aspects of it from savoring fresh seafood, to taking a sail on the Chesapeake Bay, to peering out into one of the many water inlets that typify this long-established seaport, home to the United States Naval Academy since 1845. We stayed in a charming bed and breakfast, one of countless in Annapolis that define the character of this old, historic town as much as their brick buildings and cobbled streets.

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Garden Love

Nina's Garden

Nina’s Garden

I’ve been feeling much love these past days. It’s a different sort of love. It’s a love shared around a theme:  gardening. This is rather new to me, since I’ve never been much of a gardener. I love visiting beautiful gardens and receiving a bouquet of flowers counts as one of my greatest joys in life, but getting down and dirty with the soil has never been my forté. Now, however, I’m much more enthusiastic, perhaps it’s because this year I decided to add vegetables and herbs to my potted plants. This year I yearn to see the fruits of my efforts and I’m crossing my fingers for an abundant harvest of tomatoes, peppers, basil, melon, pumpkins and more. As I sit at my desk, I’m sending love to all my little plants with the hope that they will defy the challenges of living at over 9,500 feet and that somehow they will miraculously thrive.

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Telluride Bluegrass Bliss and How You Can Attend this Great Festival

Me Enjoying All Aspects of the Festival

Me Enjoying All Aspects of the Festival

Our little town of Telluride, Colorado emptied out with all the fury of a Sam Bush mandolin solo on Monday. I’m sure that everyone that attended the Telluride Bluegrass Festival last weekend left with hearts filled and a patchwork of tunes in their head. Post Bluegrass here in T-ride has been sweet and mellow with friends and acquaintances sharing experiences about how delightful Bluegrass was for them this year. Bluegrass marks the official start of summer in Telluride and indeed it feels like locals have blossomed into brighter, more cheerful beings.

Accolades have been flowing like the San Miguel in June for KOTO’s broadcast of the festival. This year the sound quality and interviews were better than ever. Folks streamed the show live from all over the world, enabling them to be connected to our little mountain town and to enjoy some of the best music around. All of the acts except for Ray LaMontagne—-who ended up being a downer for many and was practically booed off the stage—-allowed KOTO to broadcast their sets. Even good ‘ole Stevie Winwood, whom I was lucky to see Friday night, made his superlative quality show available to all. Thank you to KOTO and Planet Bluegrass for making this happen.

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La Marmotte and 221 South Oak: Two Lovely Telluride Restaurants Inside and Out

Delectable Dish from La Marmotte

Delectable Dish from La Marmotte

It’s Bluegrass weekend in Telluride, Colorado, the real start of summer, and from now through Labor Day our little mountain destination will be buzzing with visitors, second home owners and even locals delighting in all that our fabulous town has to offer. Telluride’s vibrant culinary scene is part of what makes T-ride standout and between this historic, old mining town and Telluride Mountain Village, the selection of restaurants is vast. The crowds can be as well, so be sure to reserve your table as far in advance as possible—especially at the more highly regarded restaurants such as the two I outline below:  La Marmotte and 221 South Oak. Both of these long-established Telluride favorites also have outdoor patios where securing a table can pose even more of a challenge on busy weekends. But do, because if the weather is cooperating, these are two of the most prized fresh air spaces in Telluride.

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Summer Sipping 2014

Chloe Wines

Chloe Wines

Summer is the season for wine festivals throughout much of the United States, especially in Colorado. June is particularly big in our Rocky Mountain state since the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen is taking place this weekend and the Telluride Wine Festival—under new direction—is happening next weekend. They’re both long-established events, terrific for sampling and savoring food and libations among the pros. Typically one walks away from these festivals with a go-to list of wines, spirits and restaurants to experience in the upcoming months. They also offer wonderful opportunities for socializing among fellow foodies and wine lovers in beautiful mountain settings.

For me, however, summer sipping feels best outdoors while gazing at a gorgeous mountain vista or inside relishing a delicious dinner of grilled meats and vegetables after having done a big hike. I’ve also been known to pack a good bottle and snacks and share a near-sacred moment with someone special out in a remote place. These treasured times create memories that last the longest for me.

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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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