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Hauʻoli Lā Hānau - Mai Tai's, Alex O'Loughlin and Another Bi


View Hauʻoli Lā Hānau - Another birthday in Hawaii 2019/11/12 - 2019/11/21 on littlesam1's travel map.

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Birthday morning on our rooms 9th floor deck at Aston Waikiki Sunset Motel

My husband Mark does not really care about birthdays. He does not particularly like celebrating his own birthday. It's just another day to him. But that is not me. I love birthdays. When the first day of November roles around I get very excited. That's because I don't only celebrate the day I was born. I celebrate the entire month. I usually jokingly label my photo's The Never Ending Birthday Celebration every year. Mark humors me and always goes along with my celebration month. He even goes out his way to make it special because he knows how much it means to me. Two years ago when I turned 65 he took me to Hawaii so I could climb Diamond Head on the my birthday. Hawaii has almost become our second home. We have traveled there four times in the past six yeas. It was such a thrill to stand on top of Diamond Head and take my photo on my 65th birthday. Now thanks to Mark, two years later I found myself back in Waikiki for another birthday.

We woke up early and the weather did not look good. Each morning when I woke up on this trip I looked out of the huge window and in our room to check the weather. And most mornings there was beautiful sunshine. On my birthday I woke up and looked outside to see a very dismal cloud cover.

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Oh well. I was not going to let it ruin my birthday. We had already had seven perfect days in the Never Ending Birthday celebration. So I was not going to get upset over a cloudy possibly rainy day. We were not planning on climbing Diamond Head this year anyway. But within the hour the sun started to appear and burn away all of the clouds.

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So I showered and got dressed in my Hawaiian shirt and prepared for the days adventures.

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My shirt almost matches that beautiful blue sky.

The first order of the day was a huge birthday breakfast. We love the breakfasts in Hawaii. I am not usually a breakfast person. But when I get out on the islands I love their huge breakfasts. We usually eat at one of two places near our hotel, either Cheeseburger in Paradise or LuLu's. Both serve huge delicious breakfasts. But I wanted something different on my birthday. So I told Mark and our friend Gillian, who was with us on this trip, I wanted to walk down Kalakaua Avenue to the Maui Brewing Company for breakfast. It was a good walk from our hotel to the brewery but I had seen photos of their breakfast and new it would be worth the journey.

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And I was correct. This was the best breakfast I had eaten on the entire trip. I had Banana Brûlée pancakes with macadamia nuts. The banana's had a crunchy sugar coating. The macadamia nuts were sweet and delicious. And the maple syrup was infused with an IPA beer from the brewery. The IPA was not to strong to take away from the syrups sweetness, it just addressed it perfectly. This was a great start to my birthday.

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Now that's a happy breakfast face.

We had turned in our rental the car the previous day so we could not drive any place outside of Waikiki. So my plans for my birthday were nothing like the previous year when we climbed Diamond Head. I had a few things in my head I wanted to do though. The big breakfast at Maui Brewing was the first thing and I was able to check it off as accomplished. My next goal was a birthday Mai Tai at the Hula Grill at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. In my opinion they make the best Mai Tai's in Waikiki. Later that evening I wanted to go to Arancino di Mare for an Italian meal. It's Hawaii, why not Italian? And finally I wanted to end the day at late night happy hour at Cheeseburger in Paradise. So nothing extravagant was planned. It was our last day in Waikiki. We were flying home the next day. So this plan was perfect in my opinion.

We left the brewery and walked towards Honolulu but we never actually got outside of Waikiki. We, or rather I had a major distraction. We did take some time for goofy photos. That should be of no surprise to anyone. I saw a tattoo parlor and thought it might have been fun to get a tattoo for my birthday while in Hawaii, but I really had not budgeted for that. So instead I just too silly photos outside of the parlor.

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I saw a tall condominium where I told Gillian that Mark and I could by our dream home. Gillian basically said dream on and let me know when you hit the lottery. I'll move with you.

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I still think one of the corner units by the upper pool would be an excellent investment. Maybe I can convince Mark this by my next birthday?

I then saw an interesting statue. It was not a memorial or religious symbol so I did not feel wrong for taking a funny photo with it.

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We then saw a pretty park and decided to cross the street and look at the flowers and trees in the park. As we entered the park we saw some white trailers in a circle. On closer look we realized they were dressing rooms and crew trailers for the TV show Magnum P.I. There were also signs directing you the from the trailers to the filming area for the show. We decided to follow the signs and maybe get a chance to see them filming a scene from the show. But here is the story. Every time Mark and I have gone to Hawaii I have always joked about running into Alex O'Loughlin who plays McGarrett on Hawaii Five 0 I am a huge fan of the show and have watched every episode since it started telecasting ten years ago. And Alex is a real fantasy for me. But each year we have not run into him or any of the crew filming his show. I like Magnum P.I. But it's not Hawaii Five 0. So seeing the trailers and maybe the cast would be fun but not the major thrill of Hawaii Five 0 or Alex.

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We followed the signs to the Outrigger Reef Hotel. This hotel is another one of our favorite bars with one of the best beach views in Waikiki. When we got to the hotel lobby it appeared the film crew was leaving. Then we saw two aids walking with Chi McBride from Hawaii Five 0!

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Chi McBride from Hawaii Five 0

I just stopped in my tracks and stared. So they were filming Hawaii Five 0 even though I only saw production trilers for Magnum P.I. My first thought was it's my birthday and I am going to see Alex O'Loughlin. But we never saw him. Apparently Chi was the last actor to leave the set that afternoon. So we continued on to the Reef Bar at the hotel. We did ask the bartender about the filming and he said it was not unusual to see it going on if you worked in Waikiki daily. Gillian told the bartender that I needed a drink. She said it's his birthday and I had just missed seeing Alex. The bartender laughed and asked me if it really was my birthday and I said yes. He mixed a mai tai and passed it across the bar to me. He said, "Here you go. Happy birthday! Compliments of the house!"

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Having to chill my brow at the thought of almost seeing Alex.

I jokingly told him I needed to chill. Being this close to Alex had me over heated. He laughed. Before leaving we decided to toast Hawaii Five 0 with a a Kona Big Wave. Kona is one of the beers that has product placement on the show regularly. The bartender then asked if we wanted one more. He said to stick around. Alex might be returning. We laughed and thanked him but we needed to move on. Their mai tai was good at the Reef Bar but it could not compare to my favorite at the other Outrigger Hotel's Hula Bar farther down the street. And having one there was my original plan for the day.

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Pretending I'm drinking a Kona beer with the cast of Hawaii Five 0

We thanked the bartender, tipped him well for his kindness and left the hotel. As we walked through the lobby we saw several big cars pull up in front on the driveway and we saw a lot of people getting out of them and heading into the hotel. It was the production crew returning! I was a bit preoccupied and looking all around when Gillian and Mark started yelling at me to turn around. They kept saying turn around, look behind you. And I turned and there was Alex, McGarrett in the flesh. He just walked past me. Wow...this was a birthday present.

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He was surrounded with production crew and they were trying to get him out to the filming location on the beach. He did wave and acknowledge some of the fans in the lobby. Mark and Gillian are both saying to me "Where's your phone! Get a photo!" Well I was just too excited. I did get my phone out and was trying to open the camera but I was all thumbs and he was gone before I could get a photo. But I didn't care. After six years and four visits I finally got to see a filming of the show. And it was on my birthday.

We left the hotel and headed back to Kalakaua Avenue. We did some window shopping at the high end stores that line the avenue. Then we eventually ended up at the Outrigger Hotel where the Hula Grill is located. You can try mai tai's all day, up and down Kalakaua Ave and you will not find one better than the one they make at the Hula Grill in my opinion. And after four visits in the six years I will admit I have tried them all. It was getting late in the afternoon. By the time we reached the Hula Bar we were getting hungry and also needed something cool due to the heat of the afternoon. I remembered how Gillian had mentioned my birthday earlier and I was given a free mai tai. So I decided to try it one more time. I mentioned my birthday to the bartender and voila! There was a complimentary mai tai sitting in from of me. And it had a smiling face on the glass as if to say Hauʻoli Lā Hānau Larry! (Happy Birthday Larry).

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I did need some lunch. I'd had two mai tai's and a beer on an empty stomach so far today. So I ordered shrimp taco's at the bar. They were an excellent fusion of Hawaiian and Mexican food.

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And then I ordered one more mai tai because they are so good here.

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So this had been a three umbrella day... so far.

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After lunch we returned to our hotel. We all needed to rest for a while. We had done a lot of walking and I had done a bit of drinking.

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After napping and showering Mark and I were ready to head out for my birthday dinner. We picked an Italian restaurant near our hotel. It was going to be something different from our standard Hawaiian vacation meals. We have several inexpensive Hawaiian shirts we have bought as souvenirs over the years. But on our last day we always save our dress Hawaiian shirts to wear. So we dressed up and headed out with Gillian to Arancino di Mare for an Italian dinner.

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It was the perfect ending to a very special birthday. But it still wasn't quite over. We decided to stop in to Cheeseburger In Paradise for their late night happy hour. It was near our hotel and had become our night cap stop on several nights. We had gotten to know the two evening bartenders, Andrew and Caleb very well. When we walked in Caleb laughed and told Mark and I that we had gone more Hawaiian than him. They are required to wear Hawaiian shirts and accessories while they are working. He said "Look at you two. The shirts, the kukui nut leis, and Larry you even have on the Makau fish hook necklace. I feel like I dressed down tonight." I used my birthday excuse once more to see what would happen. I told him we dressed up for my birthday dinner. He laughed. Then I told him I had been drinking free mai tai's all day. He said " but I bet you haven't had a birthday shot yet have you? " Gillian and Mark both laughed and told him that I had already had enough free drinks for one day. And then he asked me again if I wanted a birthday shot. And of course I said "Hell yes!" Jacob then made me a shot he called Hawaiian Gummy Bears and toasted my birthday.

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Everyone should have Hawaiian Gummy Bears for their birthday.

We ended up all smiles by the end of the night at Cheeseburger in Paradise.

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And still the night was not over.

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Our bartenders : Andrew and Caleb

We had learned from the bartender Andrew on a previous night that he was from Perry Hall, Maryland. Perry Hall is only about ten minutes from where Mark and I live. It was another one of those small world stories. After I finished my shot that Jacob had made for me, Andrew pointed to another man at the end of the bar. He was a local regular at the bar. Andrew told us that he was from Edgewood, Maryland and I should go say hello to him. So still in the happy birthday spirit I walked down to the end of the bar and said rather loudly "Hey Edgewood. How are you doing?" The guy looked at me like I was crazy and asked how in the hell did I know Edgewood, Md. I told her I had worked there for quite a few years at the US Army base. He laughed and bought me one last drink. . But you know what they say on the internet. Photo or it didn't happen. So then we took a photo together

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Making friends from Maryland while in Hawaii

Finally back in our hotel room. From the cloud cover in the morning, to the sunshine in the afternoon, to the darkness of night

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Hauʻoli Lā Hānau Larry. Happy birthday Larry. If you have to get old, this is the way to do it.

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The birthday is over. One last shaka "hangin loose" salute before the lights go out. And yes the lights did go out. We had a sign on our door telling us the hotel was to lose power at 11:30 pm until approx 4 am. for emergency maintenance. At least they left us a little survival kit.

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Mahalo (thanks) Gillian for joining us on this crazy adventure.

And a very big Mahalo to Mark for making it all happen.

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Posted by littlesam1 17:08 Archived in USA Tagged oahu hawaii waikiki birthdays mai_tai cheeseburger_in_paradise hawaii_five_0 mcgarrett alex_o'loughlin chi_mcbride @alexo'loughlin @chimcbride @cheeseburgerinparadise Comments (5)

The Beer Trail - Hunting for local Mid Atlantic Breweries


View BHAM - Bar Hopping Across America & The Summer 2019 Brewery Tour on littlesam1's travel map.

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Beer glasses from 15 Breweries I visited during summer 2019

Mark and I are travelers. Anyone who knows us has been told at least one travel story from our many adventures. When we bump into friends at the end of summer one of the first questions we are asked is "Where did you go this summer?" Our answer this year is a bit different. We did not really go away any place this summer. Instead we spent the summer taking road trips each weekend. We sat down either on Friday night or Saturday morning and googled " local breweries". Then we made a decision and hit the road in search of that brewery. Our road trips this summer took us through four states and fifteen breweries. This will not be my usual travel blog. I am going to list all of the breweries we visited this summer and give them my own personal rating on a level from one to five. I fully support the small local brewery industry. And I did not have any real bad experiences at any of the breweries I visited. But I did have some I enjoyed more than others. But there are none I would I really not recommend visiting. Even my lowest rated are so far above the big mass produced beers nationwide that there is really no comparison in my opinion. My ratins are based on the beer of course. I also factored in my thoughts on the tap room itself. Was there food or a food truck. Did the servers add to my experience. I included the appearance of the tap room. And even factored in the design of the beer glasses I purchased.

Dogfish Head Brewery - Milton, Delaware

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Dogfish Head Brewery - Off centered beers for off centered people - Milton, Delaware

The first brewery I visited this summer was Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Delaware. My daughter Katie was on a quick vacation before starting a new job. She had no plans to go away for a vacation. She asked me if I would like to do a day trip with her. I suggested visiting Dogfish Head Brewery. We would be able to take a tour of the brewery and then also also have time to go to the beach in Rehoboth, Delaware for the afternoon. We had a wonderful experience at Dogfish Head. This was the largest brewery I visited this summer. It is not your typical small local brewery. It's almost too large to fairly compare it to the smaller breweries. We had a great time touring the brewery.

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Katie and I having fun touring Dogfish Head Brewery

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Dogfish Head is a very large independent brewery

Dogfish head is a very large and successful independent brewery. And they make some of my favorite beers. They have a very good food menu which not all local breweries have. Katie and I had a good lunch and a we each had a flight of four beer samples in the tap room.

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My favorite in my flight was their new beer for the season SuperEIGHT fruited sour gose. Although all four beers were excellent. I bought my first souvenir glass of the summer in their gift shop. Their beer glass is a local classic here in the Delaware/Maryland area. So I have to give Dogfish Head major points for this. Also in Dogfish Heads favor is the fact that I won a raffle the week before our visit at my local pub. Dogfish Head was visiting for a tap take over that night and I won a portable phonograph player with a Dogfish Head design. Their facility is large with ample parking. The tour was very extensive and educational.

My rating for Dogfish Head Brewery - 5 out of 5 Pints.

Diamondback Brewing Company - Baltimore, Mary;and

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My next brewery of the summer came on Fathers Day weekend in June. My daughter Katie took Mark and I out for lunch on Father's Day. After lunch I suggested going to a local brewery. We had such a good time at Dogfish Head so I started reading a lot about local breweries. Just off the top of my head at lunch I suggested that we might want to go visit Diamondback Brewery in Baltimore after lunch and sample their beers. So off we were to our next brewery. We had no plan at this time to spend the rest of the summer visiting breweries. But we enjoyed ourselves so much we decided to locate and visit more.

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I had two beers at Diamondback Brewery. I had their Ostend Sudays Blonde Ale and their Green Machine IPA. I have an app on my cell phone called Untapped. It allows you to list and rate beers that you drink. I rated both of these beers very high on my Untapped phone app. We had already eaten lunch so we did not sample any food at the brewery. They do have a limited supply of pizza and snacks at Diamondback. And they were all out of food when we arrived late on Sunday afternoon. I did really like their colorful Greenfest beer glass they served their Green Machine IPA in. I purchased one for my now budding beer glass collection. The brewery and tap room are small but very welcoming. There was a large outside patio with lots of seating. The servers were very friendly and inviting.

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Katie, Mark and I at the brewery

My rating for Diamondback Brewery is 4 out of 5 pints.

Union Craft Brewing - Baltimore, Maryland

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We continued our summer brewery tour on June 2, 2019. But we didn't have to drive very far. We went to Union Craft Brewing on 41st Street in Baltimore. I was familiar with Union Craft Brewing because I frequently drink their Union Duck Pin IPA. The brewery uses icons of Baltimore for inspiration in the beer names. I had a Divine IPA. It was labeled as perversely hoppy and free spirited on their menu and that description was correct. They also had a unique and fun glass to serve the beer. I bought one for a souvenir.

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I also reied their Rough Drafts Ginger Sour Ale served with a habanero pepper sauce shot. The combination sounded scary but fascinating. As I was first sipping the beer a lady from behind the counter asked me what I thought of it. I said I was surprised at how much I liked it. She smiled real big and said thank you. I created that beer.

Not all of the tap rooms we visited this summer had full kitchens and food available. So Union get points for a very delicious pizza and good sandwiches.

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The tap room is very large and there is a huge patio outside for summer drinking hours. This is a local brewery I plan to visit again.

The staff was very friendly and made us feel like regulars even if it was our first visit. I guess you can see I will be rating this one very high.

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My rating for Union Craft Brewing is 4.75 out of 5 pints.

Waverly Brewing Company - Baltimore, Maryland

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We started out the first weekend in July with a trip to Waverly Brewing Company. Once again this is Baltimore brewery. We had visited the tap room previously for a birthday party for one of Mark's cousins two years ago. It's a small brewery in an old warehouse area on the banks of the Jones Falls River. The building sits just beneath a bridge on the Jones Fall's Expressway. The inside is interesting. Part of the drinking area almost looks like the set for a TV sitcom where characters meet to laugh and tell stories.

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had a Mango'at fruited sour beer at Waverly Brewing. It was a good choice. I rated it a four on my Untapped phone beer app. The atmosphere was fun. From the sitcom set seating area to finding minature babies all over the bar we had a good time. There had been a baby shower the previous day and they left tiny plastic babies behind after their clean up.

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Hey! There's a baby on my beer glass. Que the sitcom audience laughter.

There is no kitchen at Waverly Brewery. But they do have a rotation of food trucks on the weekend. We did not eat here as we had lunch plans later in the day.

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Larry having a Mango'at Sour beer.

I liked the souvenir beer glass. It was colorful and not just with a black or white logo. The beer was good. And the tiny babie's made me laugh. Parking can be a problem if they are busy. All in all a fun afternoon.

My rating for Waverly Brewing - 4 out of 5 pints

The second weekend in July we were off to the country where we found two breweries in the hills of northern Harford County, Maryland.

Slate Farm Brewery - Street, Maryland

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We took about a forty five minute drive from our house in Baltimore County to the Street, Maryland in Harford County to find Slate Farm Brewing. This is a new brewery that just opened this past year. I was unsure what to expect. I knew it was on a farm. I knew it was in the country. And I knew they had live entertainment. We found the brewery to be very nice. Wide open windows overlooking the farm. A large outside patio area. And the beer was excellent. It was way above our expectation. All of ingredients in the beer were grown fresh on the farm.

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Patio and recreation area at Slate Farm Brewery - Pets are welcome on the patio area

The live entertainment was a very big surprise. It was a blue grass band from North Carolina. The group was very eclectic. It was three men and two women. One of the women was dressed in middle eastern clothing, the others were dressed in typical blue grass band type clothing. She was playing the bass fiddle. The groups harmony was spot on. We requested one particular song and they took time to find the music on line to play it for us.

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Blue grass band playing at Slate Farm Brewery

The beer was excellent. The freshness of the ingredients had to have added to the flavor. I had a Quarry IPA and afterwards a Strawberry Blonde Ale. There was just something special about meeting the brewers, seeing the ingredients being grown out on the farm, and tasting the freshness in the glass.

They also had a very good permanent food truck attached to the brewery. Mark had tacos and I had an excellent bacon cheeseburger.

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My burger and the Strawberry Cream Ale

Great experience. Excellent beer. Beautiful farm location. Fun entertainment. Good food. This was a perfect afternoon. We will be returning.

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My rating for Slate Farm Brewing is a big 5 out of 5 pints.

Falling Branch Brewery - Street, Maryland

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Just around the corner in the same area of Harford County we found Falling Branch Brewery. Unfortunately for this brewery it followed an excellent experience at Slate Farm Brewing. It would be all but impossible to top or even equal that experience. Falling Branch is also on a local farm. It's a bit larger than the farm at Slate Farm Brewing.

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There is no kitchen or permanent food truck at Falling Branch Brewery. They do have a rotating schedule of food trucks. The band that was playing outside was very loud and made it difficult to hear inside the barn where we were seating. Had we not visited Slate Farm Brewing first we might have enjoyed the experience here much more. I have to rate this brewery lower just due to the comparison of the two. But as I said in my introduction to this blog I support all small independent brewers. And compared to the watered down tasteless beer you get from the big mass produced national breweries this brewery was far better than any of those. I had one IPA because I had already had two beers previously. The beer was good but not memorable. The beer glass souvenir was not memorable either. Their name was not even on the glass.

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My rating for Falling Branch Brewery is 2 out of 5 pints

Victory Brewing Company - Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

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The first weekend in August we drove north into Pennsylvania to the town of Kennett Square to go to Victory Brewing. I have been a fan of Victory Brewing for several years. Their Summer Love beer is one of my favorite summer beers. So I was looking forward to going to their tap room near Philadelphia.

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Victory Brewing is located in a large industrial building in a shopping area in Kennett Square. The space is large. There is a parking lot so parking is no issue. They have a full menu which a lot of smaller breweries do not have. And they have a huge selection of beer on tap.

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As I mentioned above I an a fan of their Summer Love seasonal beer so I did not try it on our visit. I wanted to try something I had not tasted before. So I chose a pilsner and also a strawberry cream ale. It would be interesting to see how their strawberry infused cream ale compared to the one I had the previous weekend at Slate Farm Brewery.

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I had no complaints on the beer. Both were very good. So on to the food. They do have a full menu and full kitchen. The place is more like a restaurant than just a tap room.

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.The bacon cheeseburger I ordered was made to perfection. And the french fries were fresh cut potatoes not a frozen restaurant variety from a plastic bag. The servers were very friendly and glad to talk beer with us which always is nice in a brewery. This does not always happen but should.

It was a great day. We enjoyed the ride in the country to get there. We spent some time shopping in Kennett Square and also in West Chester, Pennsylvania. And we completely appreciated the experience at the tap room. We liked it so much that we returned two weeks later. We went to tour Long Wood Gardens in Kennett Square and stopped back at the brewery for another good meal and beer that day. They also get points for a colorful souvenir beer glass.

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There is a smile on my face so you know this is going to be a good rating.

My rating for Victory Brewing Tap Room is 4 out of 5 pints

Lancaster Brewing Company - Lancaster, Pennsylvania

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Two weeks later we once again ventured up into Pennsylvania to go to Lancaster Brewing Company. I had family that lived in the Lancaster area so it was like old home week driving back up into the Amish Country of Pennsylvania. I had several aunts and uncle who lived in the Lancaster area while I was growing up and I spent many weekends in this area.

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Lancaster Brewing Company is on a side street in down town Lancaster. And it was very busy the day we visited. The seating area is on a level above and around the actual brewing floor so you get the feel of being in the brewery when you are there. They have a full menu and kitchen which made us happy. After our drive we were hungry.

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This was the view from our table where we sat.

For my first beer I order a a Hefeweizen. Mark always laughs at my Hefeweizen's. He calls them the Lemon Pledge beers because of their citrus aroma. But I really like a good Hefeweizen. And the one at Lancaster Brewing was excellent. It had the required banana/clove after taste and was very light. Perfect. I also ordered their crispy chicken sandwich for my lunch. It was a perfect compliment to the Hefeweizen. Fried chicken, cheeses, pickles, and mayo served with chip. I am always won over by a good crispy chicken sandwich.

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After eating we decided to order a flight of beers to share. They had a large selection of beers to try and we were so happy with our first choices we wanted more. Also we were glad to see they serve a full six glass flight where most breweries only serve you a flight of four.

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On our flight we had a Milk Stout, Strawberry Wheat Ale, Double chocolate milk stout. I did not get the list of the other three written down. But we enjoyed each one and did not find an unpleasant one in the entire flight.

Our server could not have been nicer. He was very busy still took time to explain each of the beers to us. The food was good. I liked the souvenir beer glass I purchased. This was really a very nice experience. We would gladly return here again.

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My rating for Lancaster Brewing Company is 4 out of 5 pints

Black Walnut Brewery - Leesburg, Virginia

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We had a busy weekend. We went to Lancaster Brewing in Pennsylvania on Saturday and then we headed south into Virginia on Sunday. We took a drive down to Leesburg, Virginia in search of our next brewery. I had never been to Leesburg before so it was fun driving some place new to discover beer. We went to the Black Walnut Brewery. There are several breweries in the Leesburg area. We saw several in our Google search before leaving that morning but for some reason Black Walnut Brewery caught our attention the quickest so we decided that would be the one. And it was a good choice. It's a relatively new brewery in Leesburg. The owner was in the taproom talking with us and was very friendly. He was surprised we had driven all the way from Baltimore to visit his brewery. They have an outside area this has a roof over it if you would to sit outside. But it was early in the afternoon and it was not opened yet when we arrived. The tap room is small but it did not have a crowded feel to it. Most of the people there were locals that day.

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The tap room was in an historic building but it had a very modern feel to it inside.

They do have a small kitchen and small menu. But it was not disappointing. The food was very good as were the beers. I ordered pork sliders which came in a very good barbecue sauce. And they paired very well with my Peach Ale. The ale was not sweet at all. It had a nice hop taste to it with just a slight peach after taste. Not at all what I expected but just how the owner described it to me.

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We also ordered a flight. Our first beers were very good so we wanted to sample a few more.

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I'm smiling again so that must mean a good rating.

I give Black Walnut Brewing Company a rating of 4 out of 5 pints.

We took a long time walking through Leesburg taking photos and doing some window shopping before departing back to Maryland. However on our way back we had one more brewery to check out.

Smoketown Brewing Station - Brunswick, Maryland

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We stopped at Smoketown Brewing Station in Brunswick, Maryland on our way home. Brunswick is located on the Potomac River and the tap room was in one of the more interesting buildings we had seen all summer. This brewery was in an old fire station.

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We'd had a long day. It was a long drive to Leesburg. Then we did a lot of walking around in the heat. So when we got to Brunswick we were a little tired and it was going to take a lot to please us. And sadly Smoketown Brewing just did not want to go out of it's way to make us happy. The setting on the Potomac River was pretty. The idea of a tap room in an old fire station was interesting. And the beer was not bad. Yet it was lacking something. There was no table service which was fine but there was no indication or sign saying this to us. Finally a lady cleaning tables told us that we needed to step in the next room and place our order. Mark was still a bit hungry so he ordered some chicken fingers to snack on. And we ordered our beers. I ordered a black IPA named Smokestack. It goes with the fire station theme. Also we were in Patsy Cline country and they had a canned beer named Patsy. This place had so many fun ideas going for it. It really should have been a much better experience.

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The Patsy was a fun name and an ok beer. The Smokestack black IPA was interesting also. But neither were outstanding beers. Then the problems started. We waited for a long time for Marks food and were ready to just ask for our bill and forget the food. We thought they had forgotten it anyway. Then the server suddenly found the food and brought it to our table explaining to us it was burnt and she hoped we didn't mind. Well we did mind.

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So we said goodbye to the interesting themed brewery with the somewhat interesting named beers.

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This is me with a forced smile. Not a good sign for a high rating.

My rating for Smokestack Brewery is a 2 out of 5 pints. Had the food not been burnt I would have given it a 2.5 or maybe a 3 for creativity and an interesting beer glass.

Pig Iron Brewing Company - Marietta, Pennsylvania

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The third weekend in August found us journeying back north to Pennsylvania once more. We seemed to have good luck with breweries in Pennsylvania so we decided to check out one more. We drove to Marietta, Pennsylvania which is a beautiful little town on a hill just above the Susquehanna River.

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This is a rural area. Lancaster to the east is the largest city in the area. So it was nice to see someone starting a brewery in such a small town area. We did not expect anything fancy. We thought it would just be a nice little unassuming brewery. And it was all of these things but something more also. It was warm and welcoming. We were obviously not local people yet we were treated inside like regulars. We immediately felt at home.

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I loved the looks of everything inside. Our bartender could not have been nicer. It was all a little rough but fun. The bartender asked where were from and we said Baltimore. She said that's a long way to come for a beer but I'm glad your here. Some other folks at the bar asked us what brought us up there and we explained we had been hunting down breweries each weekend during the summer. They all were interested in this and asked us where we had been the previous weekend. Then they wanted to know where we were going next weekend. We felt like Travel Channel celebrities.

Now to the important things. Beer. I ordered a Pig Iron IPA. Looking back at my Untapped phone app I see that I rated this IPA 5 stars. And thinking back I was correct. It was probably the best IPA I had all summer long. After the IPA we ordered a flight as had become our pattern.

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Our flight contained a Pig Iron Amber which was an American Amber Red Ale and I rated it 4.75 stars. A Pig Iron Vienna Lager which I gave a rating of 4. A Pig Iron Citra IPA which I gave 4.75 stars and finally a Cucumber IPA with a 5 star rating from me. Mark and I disagreed a bit on the Cucumber IPA which was not a favorite for him but that was alright because I was glad to finish it.

We also ordered food. The have a kitchen here and a full menu. Surprising because it's not a big brewery. But the folks here just don't seem to realize this. I ordered a pulled pork sandwich and some mac and cheese. As you can see from this photo this was no small plate quickie sandwich. This was a full meal.

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We really thought his little place was a great find. Mark never smiles in his photos but trust me he was happy here.

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We are planning to return here and maybe take my daughter Katie with us later in the fall. This place bears repeating.

They have ample parking. There is outside seating behind the building. If I have one tiny complaint, after all no place is perfect, its the beer glass. They only had beer mugs to sell. And I really wanted a glass for my collection. But I bought the mug any way. And it's unique. Just like the tap room. So I'm not complaining.

My rating for Pig Iron Brewing Company is a big 5 out of 5 pints.

Olde Mother Brewing Company - Frederick, Maryland

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The last weekend in August we headed to Frederick, Maryland to visit Olde Mother Brewing. I did not find this one on Google. Instead I saw it's logo on a sticker on a telephone pole in Parkville, Md. I liked the logo. It made me laugh. I thought to myself that brewery is calling me.

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Located in downtown Frederick, Maryland Old Mother Brewing is an interesting brewery in an old store front. They take their beer serious but they have a great sense of humor at Olde Mother's. From the small beer glass in the flight that says listen to your mother, to all of the photos of their logo in the tap room I found it a fun place to visit. There is no food menu at the brewery but I did not mind as I had such a good time here.

We each ordered a flight of beer as we could not agree on which ones we wanted to try.

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My flight contained four beers. White Satin was one of the best witbier's I had tried all summer. I rated it five stars on my Untapped app. Next I had a Sips of Summer: Peaches and Cream Wheat beer. Once again I really liked this one and rated it 4.75 stars. My third choice was Queen of Swords which was a pale ale. This one I rated 4.5 stars. And finally a Nitro Cho Cho which was a silky chocolate milk stout. I gave it four stars. Mark was not as impressed with the beers as I was although he did say he had no complaints and liked the brewery a lot.

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Their selection was smaller than some of the other breweries we visited but for me they were still top quality.

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And I enjoyed the humor in their art work and logo which was on display all over the brewery.

The beer was very good. The atmosphere was fun. The servers were friendly and knowledgeable. And I bought a beer glass with the logo that originally attracted me to the place. So all was good.

My rating for Olde Mother Brewing Company is a solid 4 out of 5 pintts.

With a food menu this would have easily been rated at a 4.50 or maybe a full 5 pints.

Rockwell Brewery - Frederick, Maryland

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We left Olde Mother's Brewing and drove a little farther down the street to find Rockwell Brewing. It's located in a strip mall shopping area. The name Rockwell Brewery seemed to be a little stuffy to me. Not exactly fun or exciting sounding. However I was fooled by the name, as this was a fun brewery. The do not have a kitchen, but there is a restaurant owned by Michael Voltaggio, of Top Chef fame, located right in front of the brewery. The brewery has the restaurant menus available for you and the restaurant will deliver your food directly to you. And although owned by a Top Chef star the food is very affordable and of course very good. So this was a good first impression for us.

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I ordered a flight. The beers all had fun names. I had a Cyborg Bette which was a New England IPA. I liked it very much. It had nice hop taste but not overwhelming as some IPA's can be. It was a solid 4 star rating on my Untapped app. Next I had a Rapture Blonde Ale. The name was inspired by the record by Blondie. The beer was once again a solid 4 star rating for me. Then I had an Atomic Blue Wheat Beer which was once again named after a Blondie record. And once again a solid 4 star beer. My fourth beer in the flight was called My Little Way. It was a sour. I like sour beers or gose beers. And this one was very good with a big 4.75 stars from me. My food arrived as I was finishing my flight so I ordered a fourth flight sized sample named Capital Offense. It was an American Pale Ale and it paired well with my pulled pork sandwich.

This brewery was a lot of fun. From the Blondie inspired beer names...

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...to this friend I met on my way to the men's room...

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...I have to rate this brewery high. The beer was all excellent. The atmosphere was fun. The nearby restaurant delivery was a big plus. And this all helps me to over look the somewhat simplicity of the beer glass design I bought.

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We are all smiles here at Rockwell Brewery.

My rating for Rockwell Brewery is a big 4.5 out of 5 pints

And yes this is a tap room I could easily return to visit.

We extended our summer beer journey one weekend past Labor Day. We spent Labor Day on Maryland's eastern shore with friends in Rock Hall, Maryland. We did not visit any breweries. So we decided to do one last brewery search the following weekend to finish off the summer.

Independent Brewing Company - Bel Air, Maryland

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We stayed somewhat local for this weekend driving only about fifteen miles from our home to Bel Air, Maryland where we visited two breweries. These two are very well know locally but we have never visited them previously. We started out with Independent Brewing Company. Their name is somewhat generic but their tap room is anything but generic. It was a fun tap room! We are dog lovers and this brewery is pet friendly which made us very happy. There were dogs every where.

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There was even a man with his pet bird.

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The tap room was decorated with bicycles which also gave it a fun feeling.

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And they had a sense of humor with their merchandising.

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I really liked this brewery. They have a rotation of food trucks for food which we did not sample. They also have a nice outside patio area both in front and in the rear of the building. And they have a large parking area. I only had one beer here. We had a lot to do on this weekend so we were kind of rushed. But the beer was very good. The beer was Off Your Gourd, Pumpkin Imperial Red Ale. It's now pumpkin spice season here and all of the pumpkin beers are appearing. I have a love hate relationship with pumpkin beers. To me they are either very good or just plain nasty. I don't find any middle ground with them. And fortunately I will say this one was excellent. My only problem was that I was so busy watching the dog and taking photos of them that I forgot to take a photo of my beer.

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So what's my rating? This one was difficult to rate. I would like to return and try more beer and perhaps the food truck also. I did not get a real good sampling to make an opinion. I liked their glass and their other swag they had available though. I am sure on a return visit I would rate this one very high. It was a fun tap room.

My rating for Independent Brewing Company is 4 out of 5 pints

I started to go 3.75 just because I only tried the one beer so I did not have a big sample to compare it to the other breweries. But there was no doubt I would have like the other beer here. So for now I will leave it at 4 pints

Alecraft Brewing - Bel Air, Maryland

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This leads me to our final brewery in our summer brewery tour. And I wish I could write great things about this brewery. But I just can't. The beer was excellent. Their web page looks like it can be a fun tap room to visit. The outside patio also looked lively on their web page. It appears they have bands that perform here and also trivia night. The web page was fun.

We pulled up to the brewery and we both thought the outside of the building looked like a former funeral parlor. I am not sure about this but I have a feeling it just might have been. We went inside and the air conditioning was very cool giving us that funeral parlor feeling also. There were people at the bar and a few couples at the tables. But you could hear a pin drop. Everyone was talking in whispers. There was no interaction between people at the bar. We were almost afraid to talk above a whisper ourselves for fear of disturbing the strange vibe.

Now on to the important matter. The beer. We ordered a flight.

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My flight included Treated Streetts Salted Carmel Porter which Mark seemed to like the best of the ones we tried. I liked it also but not my favorite of the four. Our second one was a Horchata Cream Ale. This was my favorite. Mark only had a couple of sips and moved on. Next we had Shoestring which was a German Klosch. It was also quite good. And our last one was White Rock which was a Witbier. Mark left this one to me as he does not like the Witbiers and I had no problem finishing it. All of beers were quite good. I had no complaints about them at all.

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They have been recognized as one of Marylands best. And I have to admit the beers were good.

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But it was very empty on this day. And so very quiet. We should have stayed longer with the dogs and the man with the bird at Independent Brewing Company I guess.

So how do I rate this? For their beer I have no question but to rate them high. But for atmosphere on the day we visited I don't have much to be enthusiastic about.

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One picture speaks a thousand words.

My rating for Aleworks Brewery in Bel Air, Md is 3 out of 5 pints with a qualification

. The beer was very good and on a better day I am sure we would have liked it much more. They also get points for having a store for home brewing inside the tap room.

This was our summer. Four states. Fifteen breweries. Many beers. Lots of food. Some fun times and some nap times. And on plate of burnt chicken fingers. Will there be a fall brewery tour? Time will tell.

Posted by littlesam1 21:14 Archived in USA Tagged baltimore breweries tap_rooms milton_delaware lancaster_pennsylvania marietta_pennsylvania brunswick_maryland leesburg_virginia street_maryland @slatefarmbrewery @dogfishheadbrewery @oldemotherbrewingcompany Comments (6)

Honeymooning in Hawaii with Elvis and Dennis The Menace

Everything I need to know about Hawaii I learned from Elvis and Dennis the Menace


View Larry and Mark Go Hawaiian - Sept 2013 on littlesam1's travel map.

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I am a child of the 1950's. I was born in 1952. There were only forty eight states in 1952. I entered the first grade in September 1958 at the age of five. I turned six while in first grade. Hawaii became the fiftieth state on August 21, 1959 just two weeks before I entered the second grade. So in 1959 when I was in the second grade the addition of two new states, Alaska and Hawaii, was something exciting. At the age of six I became fascinated with our new fiftieth state. I can remember going home from school all excited and asking my parents when were we going to be able to visit the new fiftieth state of Hawaii. We were a working class family. My father was a heavy equipment operator and drove a tractor and trailer for the Department of Defense. We lived in a rented house in a small town in Maryland. Hawaii was in a different world from us. My sister was just born in 1959. My father, who was taught by his mother to use a sewing machine, made my mother's maternity clothes for her to save money. We weren't poor but we did not have a lot money for extras. Vacation meant driving down the street to Jeff Baldwin's boat dock and talking our little boat out to the "flats" just off the city park in Havre de Grace, Maryland to go swimming on Saturday afternoons. The closest I got to Hawaii was getting my parents to buy me the comic book Dennis In Hawaii - congratulations to our 50th State.

I must have read that comic over one hundred times. Dennis and his family flew on Pan American Airlines to Hawaii. Dennis yells to the taxi driver taking them to the airport "We're going to Honey Lulu". This little boy wanted to go to Honey Lulu also. Dennis got to go to Oahu or "Wahoo" as he called it. He saw a heavy lady in a moo moo and asked his mother if it meant moo moo like in cow. He went to Pearl Harbor, and even though he was too young to understand, he still got teary eyed at Pearl Harbor. Dennis got to taste poi at a luau and thought it tasted like school paste. Dennis even included a glossary of Hawaiian words for me to learn and practice saying.

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Two years later, in 1961, the new state of Hawaii was still big news. Hollywood was making movies about the new fiftieth state. Surfing was becoming a new fascination. Movies set on the beaches of Hawaii were very popular with the small town Saturday afternoon matinee kids. And who else, but Elvis Presley, would capitalize on it it best. I still had my Dennis the Menace comic book, but now Elvis now brought Hawaii to life on the big screen. I saw the movie Blue Hawaii at the State Theater in my little home town on a Saturday afternoon. From the moment I saw the opening credits and the view of Diamond Head my fascination with Hawaii grew even stronger. As you can see above those opening credits still make me smile.

Now I just had to go to Hawaii. Elvis was there. He sang on the beach. He surfed. He rebelled against his parents. He got married and sang the beautiful Hawaiian Wedding Song on a canal in Kauai. I learned about luau's and what the words hooki lau meant from Elvis. What I did not learn from Dennis, Elvis taught me.

Hawaii did not become a reality for me for many years. My best friend from high school and I talked about going to Hawaii after we graduated. I started to save some money for the trip. World travel and tourism was still in it's infancy in 1970. So the thought of going to Hawaii was a real fantasy for us at the time. In reality my best friend got married and I used my savings to go to college. Hawaii remained in the world of Dennis the Menace comic books and Elvis Presley movies for me.

I had two other opportunities to go to Hawaii over the years, but both times they did not happen. One of the planned trips was going to allow me to stay at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel where Gidget and her family stayed in the movie Gidget Goes Hawaiian. But Hawaii was still a fantasy for me and would continue beckoning me in the future.

In 2013 I started thinking about Hawaii again. I had long lost my Dennis Goes to Hawaii comic book. However with the technology of Ebay, I found an original copy of the comic book at a price much higher than the original twenty five cents. But I wanted it. When it arrived I was a kid again exploring Hawaii with Dennis and the Mitchell family. The Elvis movie Blue Hawaii had been in my DVD collection for many years. It still fascinated and inspired me, even with it's cheesy dialogue and plot. I was getting older and knew I still wanted to see Hawaii but wanted to go before I was too old to enjoy it. I wanted to go before I needed a cane or walker. So sixty seem liked a good age to finally visit the island paradise.

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Little did I realize at the young age of six that fifty four years later I would finally get to visit Hawaii. And I would not need Dennis' glossary of Hawaiian words because I would be going to "Honey Lulu", as Dennis called it, with my husband Mark who is a linguistics master. Same sex marriage had just been legalized in our state of Maryland and we decided to go to Hawaii for our honeymoon. We had not traveled for two years, which was an eternity for us. We had recently bought a new house, but we unable to Mark's previous house, so we were paying two mortgages for over a year until his house was sold. Much like my parents, we did not have a lot of extra cash for traveling at this time. But with the sale of his house and now being married the chance of a Hawaiian honeymoon was becoming a reality.

I was a little nervous about finally going to Hawaii. I had such high expectations and was afraid I would be disappointed. I love to travel, but I hate touristy places where nothing is authentic. I love to meet locals, explore foreign cultures, and learn lots of history. Hawaii was touristy. Some places were not authentic. But there was so much more to see and explore than I had expected. When I returned home with over a thousand photos I was overwhelmed at what I had seen and learned. When my daughter came to visit and to see my photos I broke out the Dennis the Menace comic book and showed her how I had followed Dennis The Menace's adventures and she was amazed that I had been able to recapture Dennis' trip all these years late. . I showed her where Dennis had visited and where I had visited. Everything I had learned from Dennis was still there.

As I slowly labeling and organizing my photos after I returned I often had Elvis's Blue Hawaii on my big screen TV. Along with my guide books, notes I wrote, and Dennis's guides, I also have Elvis's travelogue to be my companion in remembering the details of the vacation. Elvis wore a blue Hawaiian shirt on the movie poster and sound track album cover to Blue Hawaii. Can you guess what color shirt I bought in Hawaii to wear to the luau?

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I will close this with words from Dennis the Menace and the Mitchell family on the last page of the comic book.

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Posted by littlesam1 14:01 Archived in USA Tagged honeymoon elvis oahu hawaii statehood honolulu blue_hawaii dennis_the_menace Comments (5)

The Battle of the Taxi Drivers - Chicago

Meeting the new Big Jim Walker in Chicago


View The Music Legends Tour - April 2018 & The Bad Bad Leroy Brown Trip - Chicago June 2018 on littlesam1's travel map.

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You don't tug on Super Man's cape.

You don't spit into the wind

You don't mess around with that old Lone Ranger

And you don't mess around with Jim.

When I travel music is always a part of my experience. I either hear a new song that stays in my memory with the trip or I have an old song in my head when I arrive and that becomes my personal sound track. I first started to notice my habit of creating a sound track for a vacation when I took my first trip to Europe in 1999. I went to France and was very excited about finally seeing Paris and Marseille. While there every single day I heard the song Sex Bomb by Tom Jones. It was playing on radios in taxi's. It was playing in hotel lobbies. It was playing in restaurants. There was no escaping the song. To this day when I look at my photos from that vacation I think of that song. I bought a copy of a CD with the song on it during our layover in London on that trip.

Of course in Thailand I had the song One Night In Bangkok in my background sound track when I was in Bangkok. When we moved on the Phuket I had the James Bond them from Man With The Golden Gun in my head because that is where part of the movie was filmed. I had a slight problem when I traveled to Bratislava and Vienna with music. I had Gladys Knight in my head singing License To Kill from the James Bond film everyday. When I returned home and watched the movie I realized I had the wrong Timothy Dalton Bond movie in mind. The one set in Vienna and Bratislava was The Living Daylights. But it was for the best. The theme by A-Ha is a lame theme and License To Kill fit the holiday much better anyway. While my daughter Katie and I were in Nashville last November the song was Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes by George Jones. There was so much country music history in the city it just seemed appropriate.

In the early 1970's to me Jim Croce was "the man." I loved his music. From his sad love songs to his humorous story songs they all resonated with me. When he died I felt as if I had lost friend. But thanks to old vinyl, CD's and Alexa his music is still with me. So when I visited Chicago in June 2018 I had his Bad Bad Leroy Brown song playing in my head for most of the trip. However at the conclusion of the three day trip the sound track changed a little. I did meet a man that I had best beware of just like Leroy Brown. But he was taught a lesson just like Big Jim Walker from You Don't Mess Around With Jim.

We stayed at the beautiful Swissotel on Wacker Drive in Chicago. It was a luxury hotel in a beautiful high rise. We usually don't stay at over the top luxury hotels but this was a business trip for Mark and his convention was centered at the hotel. We were on the 37th floor with a beautiful view of the Chicago River below us.

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The Swissotel in Chicago

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View from the 37th floor of the Swissotel

There was a doorman at the front of the hotel and a line of taxi's parked in front of the hotel. When you need a taxi the doorman signals the first taxi in line to drive up and pick you up. It's very convenient and easy for both the customer and the taxi driver. First taxi in line gets the next passenger. As we were preparing to go to the airport for our journey home we had thought about using Uber but decided to use the taxi's in front of the hotel for the convenience. However when we walked out with out luggage there had been a minor car accident in the parking area and the doorman was dealing with the minor fender bender. As we stood there looking around a taxi driver walked up to us and said to us "I am the next in line. Let me help you with your luggage. We followed him closely as we were not sure if he really was a legitimate taxi driver or not. We kept one hand on our luggage. We get to the curb and he picks up our luggage and puts it into his trunk. Before he can close the hood of the trunk two other taxi drivers rush towards us yelling "Don't go with him. Not honest. Not honest. Don't trust him." I immediately asked what was wrong. He said nothing was wrong and to ignore the other two men. Then one of the men grabbed our luggage out of trunk and started to walk towards their taxi. He in turn grabbed it back and threw it into his trunk again. We were getting a little concerned by this point. The other two taxi drivers told us he had not waited in line but saw us coming out with our luggage and moved in front of the taxi's that were already in line. And they kept yelling "Don't trust him." By this point I did not trust him. So I went to take my luggage out of his trunk. He told me "NO. You are my customer. I am taking you to the airport." I said politely as possible that I chose to go with the taxi driver in the front of the line. When he blocked me a second time from taking my luggage out of the trunk the two other taxi drives stepped forward and took it out for me. Now here is where Big Jim Walker from the Jim Croce song comes into play. He thought he was big Jim. And he was a big man. He shoved the other taxi drive into the street. When he did this the second taxi driver raised his fist and they both started yelling at each other. But Big Jim was about to learn a lesson. The three taxi drivers in line all worked together. One took my luggage to their taxi. The other two held the first taxi driver back from bothering us. As we drove away our driver yelled out of his window "If you are still here when I get back I will f*ck you up!" So just like Big Jim Walker in the song this man was taught a lesson. And it gave us a great travel story to share. I just wish we had made a video.

There is always a lesson to be learned from a situation like this. Ours was:
Next time - Take Uber.

(When I returned home and started editing my photos I could hear Jim Croce singing in the background. He's Bad Bad Leroy Brown and You Don't Mess Around With Jim.)

Posted by littlesam1 12:02 Archived in USA Tagged chicago taxis fights uber bad_bad_leroy_brown you_don't_mess_around_with_jim jim_croce taxi_drivers Comments (7)

Bad Ass Beer at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge

Exploring the historic Tootsie's Orchid Lounge in Nashville with my daugher


View The Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes Tour - Nashville on littlesam1's travel map.

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My daughter Katie had to travel to Nashville in October 2017 for a work conference. As part of my 65th birthday celebration year she invited me to travel with her to Nashville for the week. I had never been to Nashville before so I was glad to be invited. She would be busy all day at her conference which allowed me lots of time to explore the Music City and see what kind of trouble I could get into.

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Most of what I knew about Nashville I learned watching Ralph Emery on Nashville Now which was on the CMT channel in the 1980's. I worked night work back in those days. When I would get home at midnight I would turn on Nashville Now and my daughters Katie and Danielle would crawl out of their beds and come out to join me watching the show. So it was very appropriate that Katie and I got to share this trip now that she is an adult. When we arrived I knew I wanted to go find Tootsie's Orchid Lounge on Broadway in Nashville. All of the stars on Nashville Now used to talk to Ralph Emery about sneaking out of the back door of The Ryman Auditorium and go into the back door of Tootsie's for a quick drink between shows of The Grand Ole Opry. So after my tour of The Ryman Auditorium I knew I would want to go out that back door and head over to the back door of Tootsie's. You can see the brick wall of the back of the Ryman on the left in the photo and the back door of Tootsie's on the left.

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Tootsie's is a tourist trap. No question about that. It opens at 10:00 in the morning and the crowds are waiting for the doors to open. There are bars with music on all three levels of the building including a roof top deck with music also. I arrived at 10:30 that morning. The bar was already crowded. When I went in the back door I followed the sound of the music and found the front bar on the first floor. There was a band playing and everyone in the bar was singing along with the band. The woman who was lead singer of the band was standing on top of the bar singing Patsy Cline songs. She was singing Walking After Midnight at 10:30 in the morning. It was all that I could have hoped for.

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It was early morning but after all I was in Nashville so I had to have a beer. I stood at the end of the bar and asked for a beer menu. It did not take me long to decide. I saw the name Badass Beer. What could be more perfect than to have a Badass Beer at Tootsie's my first day in Nashville. And it gives a good travel story to share. I can tell everyone I had a Badass beer in Nashville.

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I finished my beer, walked to the front door, left a tip in the bucket for the band, and then found my way back out to Broadway. As I left there was still a small line of people waiting to get inside Tootsie's. They should have watched Ralph Emery in the 1980's or at least read a guide book. Use the back door folks. There is no line!

Katie's conference ended two days later. I took her into downtown Nashville to show her all that I had discovered while she was working. So I course I had to show her Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. We walked down Broadway and when we arrived the lines were twice as long at Tootsie's as they were in the morning of my visit. She looked at the line and said "Dad we will never get in there tonight but it looks like a fun place." I told her follow me. I know a secret. I took her to the alley behind the Ryman Auditorium and showed her the back entrance to Tootsie's. There was no line. We were able to get inside, fight the crowds and get up to the rooftop deck. It was too crowded to bother trying to get a beer at the bar. But she was able to experience Tootsie's the way the stars did back in the day. Through the back door in the alley.

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Posted by littlesam1 22:05 Archived in USA Tagged beer tennessee bars nashville tootsie's_orchid_lounge tourist_traps bad_ass_beer nashville_now ralph_emery Comments (3)

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