Sweet Pete’s

I’m sorry I have to provide another tempting post but I need to share with you about another sweet shop with wonderful décor – Sweet Pete’s.

Peruse these mouth-watering treats with me and capture the smells and taste in your imagination.  You can even make your own candy – and you can indulge in a tasting tour. 

Statue of Peter Behringer at the entrance.

Peter Behringer, owner of Sweet Pete’s, was raised in the chocolate industry. In 1985, when he was eleven years old, his mother opened a family chocolate business, which grew to encompass 32 locations and a large production facility.

After college, Behringer applied his experience in the industry with an on-going education to further hone his chocolate and candy making expertise.

In 2010, Behringer decided to strike out on his own and opened Sweet Pete’s candy shop, located in a whimsically decorated historic home. He quickly went to work, using his confectionary expertise to make the majority of Sweet Pete’s candy by hand.

The rest of Pete’s story is at https://www.sweetpetescandy.com/pages/about-us

Ice cream parlor and party porch upstairs

After appearing on The Profit, Sweet Pete’s opened a new Jacksonville, Florida location in the historic downtown Seminole Club, a building that dates back to 1903 (shown in the photos). The notable location, which hosted a number of well-known visitors such as U.S. Presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, sat vacant for ten years until Sweet Pete’s and Lemonis renovated the property.

“This new confectionary emporium is a vast 23,000 square feet, making it one of the largest candy shops in the United States,” states Sweet Pete’s website.

Happy Valentines and any other celebration you wish! Enjoy and eat responsibly. 🙂

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Sweets Week

Photo of a photo in a Dairy Queen promoting the popular treats.

Since this week is an emphasis on love, sweets, flowers and cards – commonly know as Valentines Day, I figured I should at least post something about sweets, right?

Dairy Queen image of their Cupid Cake. I just have to have some.

Just imagine sitting there in a quaint, relaxing environment with your sweetheart, special friend or just by yourself – tickling your taste buds with some smooth, sweet, soft, flavorful ice cream – even if you’re in the snow. 

What is your favorite ice cream place?  I have many. 

While traveling recently along the U.S. eastern coast, I came upon these signs in a Dairy Queen where we stopped to enjoy this special treat. Dairy Queen is one of my favorite treat stores because of the soft ice cream, smoothness and flavor.  Plus, they’ve been around awhile – satisfying the elder and youth alike. 

While at this particular DQ I noticed old photos on the wall so I decided to capture some of the history with my camera. I delight in seeing images and information from earlier years.  It sort of takes me back in time. 

Wow! If only we had these same prices today as years ago. I could eat to my heart’s content.

Check out this timeline that were posted on the DQ wall:

1938 Americans discover McCullough’s softer and tastier ice cream called “soft serve.”

1940 “The cone with the curl on top” lights up for the first time in Juliet, Illinois.

1949 Shakes and malts are added to the cones, sundaes and take-home pints.

1953 The first Dairy Queen opens in Canada.

1955 The Dilly Bar is introduced to popular acclaim.

1961 The 3,000 store chain launches Mr. Misty, pioneering the      “slush” drink business.

1968 The Buster Bar debuts.

1971 The “scrumpdillyishus” Peanut Buster Parfait” arrives with phenomenal success. (This writer even uses this term today to reference something very tasty)  😊

1979 Dairy Queen debuts in the Middle East

1980 “We treat you right” theme line is introduced

1981 Dairy Queen menu now includes signature frozen cakes and logs.

1985 The blizzard treat makes a spectacular debut.

1991 The first Dairy Queen opens in Mexico.

1992 Dairy Queen debuts in Beijing, China.

1996 The first DQ location opens in Thailand.  There are more than 160 stores operating there today.

1998 DQ is purchased by legendary investor Warren Buffet.

2004 The MooLatte drink premieres and is an instant hit

2006 The first US/Canada Miracle Treat Day occurs

2007 A new DQ logo is unveiled.

2010 The 6,000th DQ opens in Shanghai, China.

2015 The DQ system celebrates its 75th Fanniversary.

Today – DQ continues to operate with great food and treats in more than 6,700 stores worldwide

I must admit I have savored ice cream in many places around the world. I have never been disappointed; however, I still like the soft, fluffy texture of the DQ. 

Maybe we’ll just take a little trip to the local DQ on Valentines Day.  How about you?

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Cuddly Pandas

There are only a few around the world, but doesn’t everyone enjoy the panda? 

We had the opportunity to see them at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C. recently. 

According to the National Zoo in Washington the giant pandas are native to central China and represent the vulnerable species.  “As few as 1,864 giant pandas live in their native habitat, while another 300 pandas live in zoos and breeding centers around the world.”

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is a leader in giant panda conservation. Ever since these charismatic bears arrived at the zoo in 1972 (National Zoo), animal care staff and scientists have studied giant panda biology, behavior, breeding, reproduction and disease. These experts are also leading ecology studies in giant pandas’ native habitat. The Zoo’s giant panda team works closely with colleagues in China to advance conservation efforts around the world. (National Zoo)

The current giant pandas belong to China.  Mei Xiang and Tian Tian arrived at the National Zoo on Dec. 6, 2000.  Unlike Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing before them, they are on loan. In exchange, the zoo contributes funds and expertise toward conservation efforts in China.

The zoo reached an agreement with the Chinese government stipulating the pair could live at the zoo for 10 years in exchange for $10 million. On Jan. 20, 2011, Zoo Director Dennis Kelly and Secretary General of the China Wildlife Conservation Association Zang Chunlin, signed a new Giant Panda Cooperative Research and Breeding Agreement, which stipulated giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian would remain at the Zoo until December 2015. 

Apparently there are ongoing negotiations concerning how long the pandas remain at the National Zoo.  Currently, they are scheduled to live there through 2020. 

The National Zoo website provides excellent information at https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/giant-panda.  You can see live videos of the pandas and their activities.  Volunteers observe panda activity and habits each day from their control room. 

The three pandas at the National Zoo in Washington are:

Tian Tian is a male born on August 27, 1997, at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda at the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan Province, to Yong Ba and Pan Pan.  Born to Tian Tian are Bei Bei and Tai Shan (Wikipedia)

Mei Xiang is a female giant panda born on July 22, 1998, at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong, Sichuan Province.  Mei Xiang had six offsprings.  Current offsprings are Bei Bei and Tai Shan.  (Wikipedia)

Bei Bei is a male giant panda cub and is part of US-China relations panda diplomacy.  He will be sent to the People’s Republic of China at the age of 4. He is the brother of both Tai Shan and Bao Bao. (Wikipedia) Bei Bei’s parents are Mei Xiang and Tian Tian.

Can you tell the difference between Mei Xiang and Tian Tian?

Also, can a giant panda be considered a giant teddy? 

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Ornamental glove?

Small Senate Rotunda and chandelier add uniqueness to the U.S. Capitol.
Floor and columns beneath the U.S. Capitol small Senate rotunda.

Well, not really; although at a glance that’s what came to mind.

Above these columns and opening is the small rotunda in the old Senate wing of the U.S. Capitol, designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe as an ornamental air shaft.  It was constructed after the fire of 1814 as a means of lighting the corridors and circulating air into rooms that open onto the space. https://www.aoc.gov/capitol-buildings/small-senate-rotunda

Small Senate rotunda in the U.S Capitol

In the pre-fire period this elliptical space housed the Senate wing’s main staircase. Benjamin Henry Latrobe remarked to Thomas Jefferson that “it was one of the most remarkable parts of the Capitol.”

The chandelier hanging in this rotunda since 1965 was purchased for $1,500 from the ABC Wrecking Co., which had removed it from the Capitol Hill United Methodist Church on Seward Square in southeast Washington, D.C., before razing that building. Wow, I can you imagine buying it today?

Imported from Europe in 1903, it previously hung in an historic Baltimore theater and a Capitol Hill church. Originally smaller, it has been enlarged and modified over its history. The chandelier reportedly has 14,500 crystals and weighs nearly 2,000 pounds.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

 

Apotheosis Artist

How do they do that? I wonder as I look at the fantastic, artistic work like we see in the U.S. Capitol’s Rotunda. 

Constantino Brumidi (1805–1880) is best known for the murals he painted in the United States Capitol over a 25-year period, including the “Apotheosis of Washington,” the “Frieze of American History” and the walls of the Brumidi Corridors.  (https://www.aoc.gov/capitol-hill/artists/constantino-brumidi)

Brumidi’s artistic vision was based on the wall paintings of ancient Rome and Pompeii, and on classical revivals that occurred in the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and in the early 19th-century.

Frieze of American history by Brumidi. (photo courtesy of Architects of the Capitol)

Brumidi was born in Rome before Italy was a nation. Beginning at age 13, he studied for 14 years at the Academy of St. Luke and was trained in the full range of painting mediums, including true fresco, and possibly in sculpture. He achieved a mastery of the human figure and learned how to create the appearance of three-dimensional forms on flat surfaces, an effect called trompe l’oeil (“fool the eye”).

At the Roman villa of the wealthy Torlonia family, he was in charge of decorating the new theater with murals including trompe l’oeil architectural forms and classical motifs that he later adapted for the Capitol.

Brumidi also worked extensively for the Vatican, restoring frescoes for Pope Gregory XVI and painting the official portrait of Pope Pius IX. His last murals in Rome were in a small church dedicated in 1851.

Brumidi helped support his family with the coffee shop inherited from his father. He also served as captain in the civic guard authorized by Pius IX, but when the pope fled the city, and a republic was declared in 1849, Brumidi was caught up in the revolution when he removed valuable objects from church buildings for safekeeping.

After the pope returned to power, Brumidi was among many arrested and accused of serious crimes. Despite numerous testimonies in his favor, and after 13 months of incarceration, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison. The pope pardoned him with the understanding that he would be leaving for America, where he was promised work in planned churches.

Arriving in New York in September 1852, Brumidi immediately applied for citizenship, which he was granted in 1857. He undertook private portrait and domestic commissions as well as painting altar pieces and murals in numerous churches.

Frieze at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C.

Beginning in 1855, Brumidi decorated walls and ceilings in the U.S. Capitol Building.  He worked with teams of artists to carry out his designs, executing all of the true frescoes himself. His murals combine classical and allegorical subjects with portraits and scenes from American history and tributes to American values and inventions.

Brumidi’s major contributions are the monumental canopy and frieze of the new Capitol Dome, and the Capitol Apotheosis in 1865.  He began painting the frieze depicting major events in American history in 1878 but died on February 19, 1880, with the work less than half finished.

Brumidi’s frieze image depicting Christopher Columbus landing in North America (photo courtesy of Architects of the Capitol)

Filippo Costaggini carried out Brumidi’s remaining designs between 1881 and 1889.  The entire frieze was not completed until 1953, when Allyn Cox added the last three scenes.

The sequence of 19 scenes begins over the west door and moves clockwise around the Rotunda. See https://www.aoc.gov/art/other-paintings-and-murals/frieze-american-history for details of the scenes.

Brumidi’s frieze image depicting North American aviation (photo courtesy of Architects of the Capitol)

Brumidi’s immigration to the U.S. and his citizenship is an example of the influence of those coming to the United States to provide significant and lasting value, how people from around the world helped build a nation to champion world freedom and prosperity. Notice it took Brumidi from 1852 to 1857 to obtain his U.S. citizenship.  He became a citizen the right way, even though it took about five years. 

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Where is your Rotunda?

U.S. Capitol Rotunda dome in Washington, D.C.

It seems that most nation and state capitols have a dome, or rotunda.  Each has a story to tell, with its own unique history. 

U.S. Capitol dome in Washington, D.C.

Although I’ve seen firsthand the U.S. Capitol Rotunda a few times during my visits there, I didn’t have the particular desire at the time to learn more of its history – only to absorb its uniqueness and beauty. 

Why not?  Maybe, as I mature, I realize the significance of what has transpired to where we are today.  I realize there are myriads of untold stories and facts that await discovery.

The U.S. Capitol Rotunda is a large, domed, circular room in the center of the United States Capitol on the second floor. It is used for important ceremonial events such as the lying in state of eminent citizens and the dedication of works of art.

Center of the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C.

The Rotunda canopy features the painting entitled The Apotheosis of Washington, and the walls hold historic paintings along with a frescoed band, or “frieze,” depicting significant events in American history.

The Apotheosis was painted in 11 months at the end of the Civil War, soon after the new dome was completed, for $40,000. The figures, up to 15 feet tall, were painted to be intelligible from close up as well as from 180 feet below. (Note: The word “apotheosis” means literally the raising of a person to the rank of a god, or the glorification of a person as an ideal, as George Washington was honored as a national icon in the nineteenth century). 

My personal opinion about this attempt to show George Washington in this elevated state would have upset this humble, respected leader.  He didn’t even want to continue being president, and certainly didn’t want to be considered king – hence why he returned to his home and family to allow others to be selected by the people to lead the nation. 

Some of the groups and figures in the Rotunda were inspired by classical and renaissance images. 

George Washington is depicted in the center of the fresco rising to the heavens in glory, flanked by female figures representing liberty and victory/fame.  A rainbow arches at his feet, and thirteen maidens symbolizing the original states flank the three central figures. Six groups of figures line the perimeter of the canopy. 

Just below the apotheosis and windows of the dome is the frieze, containing a painted panorama of significant events in American history.

I’ll provide some of the artist’s background and a few more details in my next post. I thought it was interesting.

Blessings along the way!

Ron

Did you miss the national parks?

National Archives in Washington, D.C.

Timing is everything. 

I’m glad we were able to visit some national parks in Washington, D.C. recently before the temporary U.S. Government shutdown.  Otherwise, our latest trip would resemble one a few years ago when we visited during the previous shutdown.

It was disappointing during  the shutdown a few years ago – for us and those from around the world – and equally disappointing during the latest shutdown when the public could not visit the parks under the federal government’s control. 

Smithsonian Castle in Washington, D.C.

I thought of those who looked forward to visiting the various national parks, including the pillars of democracy in D.C.  I’m sure they were disappointed again.  I thought about the employees and their families and the struggles they endured.    

Night image of the fountain at the World War II Memorial – no visitors, cold and dreary, reflecting the impact of the shutdown.

I’m glad these parks will open again this week as employees can work without having to wait for their pay.  As I looked at some of these photos they reminded me of the dark times of government when even the parks designed for enjoyment and learning were minimized, when they should be shining bright for freedom.

Washington Monument and part of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

I’m thankful for local, national and international guests to be able to visit and learn about the United States of America, its uniqueness, its foundation and the desire to help those seeking freedom during the ages. 

May we always be open while protecting those within and without.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron