#Reverb11 Day 23: Travel

Prompt: Travel – Did you visit anywhere new this year?  Any plans to travel next year?

It’s not somewhere new, but it’s somewhere we always go, drawn back to it every summer with that inexorable pull: Villa Louis & Wyalusing State Park, out in western Wisconsin.

Villa Louis and Wyalusing has been a family vacation for years. Now Mr. HouseofBeck and I have made it our own tradition, a combination birthday and anniversary present, a get-away trip for a few wonderful days.

Villa Louis is a house that has been loved. A beautiful 19th century, Cream City brick Italiante Victorian mansion overlooking the Mississippi, the Villa gives you warmth the moment you come within reach, as if the very cream-colored bricks had soaked it all up to radiate out for the rest of its life. When you go on the tour, you feel as if you are a welcome friend come for a visit. If you could only just pause in just the right spot or open the right door, you’d hear the laughter and footsteps and all the little things that made up the daily family life the house knew so well.

No matter how many times we’ve seen it, we always go on the tour.

The other part of our trip–not counting the antiquing and crossing over into Iowa to visit the Victorian shops–is wandering around Wyalusing State Park. Lushly forested trails, grumpy bald-headed eagles soaring above the lookout points and perilous sandstone caves make this one of my favorite parks. The website says there are 2,628 acres, and that includes camping, canoeing and fishing as well as hiking, biking and skiing.

Pictures tell this whole story better, so here are a few from recent years.

Villa Louis–what you see when you come up for the tour

The front of the house. Imagine coming up to this!

Around the back (the veranda wraps around)

The back with kitchen windows on the left (and awnings!)

Front lawn, looking down. Yes, I’m a house hugger.

And here’s a picture of a picture of the family and friends on the wrap-around veranda.

The first thing I always do at Wyalusing

Hiking on one of the trails

That rickety stair is how you ascend to the sandstone caves!

A view from within the sandstone caves

I really do love sandstone caves.

Hope you enjoyed the mini-tour!

More on Villa Louis:  August Derleth wrote about the house and family (Bright Journey and House on the Mound), and there’s a snapshot of its fascinating history here.

A Very Unmacrobiotic Birthday

So I claimed this entire past weekend for my birthday and had in mind that I could do whatever I wanted. This largely involved food. I figured I could indulge and not feel guilty and have no repercussions. I know, might as well take myself out of time while I’m at it, and I haven’t entirely figured out how to do that just yet. *shifty eyes*

I don’t know what’s worse, the guilt or the repercussions. Probably the guilt.

Yet so far the guilt count is 0 and I’m ignoring all repercussionary twinges. Because doggone it, I was in taste-bud heaven.

Continue reading