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One Step at a Time

This weekend was an oil painting marathon. Six hours in two days. I really enjoy oil, the painting seems to emerge from the painting panel. When the color and shape are right, it looks “real”.

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Carol's moccasin left painted


So this is what happened, Carol and I are still put the “first sitting” on. That is the first layer of color.
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Margaret's right moccasin painted


Using fine bristle brushes, since they don’t come to a point like sable, use a smaller size. I like filberts, has a point and a slightly flat side of tip, making the brush more versital.
Now the hard part, look closely at moccasin(your object may be different). There are cool and warm tones on everything. Warm tones are the tones that are in the Direct light, Cool tones are in Indirect light. Wow! That really made sense.(just kidding) Here’s how I sort it out, top of moc is mostly warm tones.
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Direct light- where the light hits object


the sole/bottom of moc is cool tones(cool tones-reflected light from table, deeper, darker, larger shadows)
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Indirect light- No direct light- shadows and reflected lights


The side of moc are a mix depending where the light come from.
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Depending on where light is coming from


Now back to looking for where the shapes of shadows are and paint on your board. I am laughing, because this little task is the hardest thing to figure out. How to tune your eye, brain and intuition about painting to make this happen. 3 years in and I still very much feel like a novice.
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Carol's moccasin


Now to color!  Then mix the color as close as you can to the mid-range local color. The tan color of the suede moc. Not the highlights or shadow colors. Here’s where it gets tricky. Color mixing is practice and color chemistry.  It is about knowing what happens when you mix paint colors, there is no formula.
Back to suede color, it looks kind of yellowish, so mostly yellow ochre, with a little titanium yellow, add a touch of “red” and burnt sienna.
I work in two spots of paint, warm suede and cool suede piles.
So the warm suede adds the cad red light, burnt umber (to darken) and titanium yellow +touch of titanium white (to lighten)
On the cooler suede I add crimson (this is a super strong color, go lightly), raw umber (to darken) and titanium yellow (to lighten). The add a touch of medium to make it flow nice. Now you can see why it takes six hours and I only have half of one moc done.
Add in the drawing mistakes that were corrected. Most frustration comes back to incorrect drawing, at least I can see it earlier this time.
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Margaret's moccasin


We work very hard this weekend.
Have a Blessed Sunday! Wednesday! One week later! Argh!

Have a blessed week.

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Categories: alaska, Art Educations, art expedition, art supplies, Art Supplies and Equipment, Art Techniques, Art Workshops, Food and Restaurants, Oil Painting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pliene Air Travel Sketching: A Watercolor Workshop in Annapolis Md. Jean Brinton Jaecks.

Well to say the least, Carol and I have been art busy since last month.
Pliene Air Travel Sketching: A Watercolor Workshop in Annapolis Md.
Our instructor was Jean Brinton Jaecks.
Jean did a great job explaing how the light reflects off things light building and trees. She also explained how light looks when soming through a tree, it makes the tree glow. I enjoyed the workshop very much.

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Day One: We started sketching at St. John’s College. Then everyone did two sketches around campus. Lovely lunch provided at the boathouse on campus.

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Day Two: We hoofed into town (a few blocks) and sketches houses. Carol and I sat together so we have similar subjects. While we were sketching houses the owners came across the street for a peek and a chat.

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Everyone was crazy friendly on this perfect October weekend. The sun/light kept coming and going behind clouds.

Carol painting

So when they say paint the “LIGHT FIRST”, they mean it. I finally figured out what the teachers have been saying. Duh!
After a sketch in town we wandered back to the boat house dock to paint the College Creek. A water painting. Hmmm. I find watercolor very difficult. I am not painting fast or confident enough….practice! Practice!practice! Ugg…it always comes down to hard work…lol.
After a very nice lunch of soup and salad.

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Jean Brinton Jaecks critiqued our days work. Her critiques were spott on. I was able to see where I did nicely and where improvement was needed. (No, I did not rip up and start over, how tempting is that)
Few hints: bring paper in different sizes, no larger than 9×12 inches. Larger paper means longer time. Practice drawing BEFORE you go! Practice trees, buildings. Bring camera, charged phone, gloves for cold mornings and money for coffee. A little snack would have helped. Our lifesavers were are art carts.

They carry art “STUFF” and have an attached seat. For the old and weary it was a welcome spot.
The class write up:
Watercolor sketching is an optimum way to see and experience travel and understand the world around us.
This workshop will focus on the study of atmosphere in the landscape, architectural details and expressing light in its ever changing moods. Artists will explore and sketch on the St. John’s campus, College Creek, and the historic houses and gardens in Annapolis surrounding the campus. Travel sketching can be very portable, and choosing the correct materials is essential. Lunch will be provided by St. John’s College, and a critique will complete each day. Participants should dress for the outdoors.

Categories: Art Educations, art expedition, art supplies, Art Supplies and Equipment, Art Techniques, Art Workshops, Food and Restaurants, Oil Painting, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alaskan Still Life Oil Painting

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Margaret's set up ,in shadow box

What a whirlwind this summer and fall. Carol and I are settleing back into monthly oil painting lessons. Our lessons are 3 hours Friday and Saturday evenings.

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Toning the panel with burnt umber

We are moving along on our painting.
Our still life is Fur cuffed Alaskan moccasins, alaskan birch bark berry basket and wild blueberries for a natural touch.

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Carol's first sketch

Carol and I loved the texture of the suede and the fur.  The subtle shades and craftsmanship of the birch bark basket is lovely to see and touch. We wanted to paint these qualities into a painting.

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My first sketch.

Carol had a great idea and ordered faux blueberries to paint. As we finish the painting we will place real berries in to bring out the more “real” qualities of the blueberries.
This weekend we started adding our color first sitting. This layer has a color changes by value, light to dark.
The details are few, the challenge is to get the color value and intensity to match.

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Carol's first sitting, beautiful

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Margaret's first sitting

Whew! Now to wait until next month!

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Categories: alaska, Art Educations, art expedition, art supplies, Art Supplies and Equipment, Art Techniques, Art Workshops, Book Reviews, Botanical Drawing, Food and Restaurants, Oil Painting, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hanging Around McCarthy

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Small garden im front of house

Over the next several days, our little art band, ate lunch and dinner at the Wrangell Mountain Center.
We listened to great art lectures and ideas from Kristen Link. Kristen is very knowledgeable on botanical and scientific drawing and the science part of the naturalist field sketching.

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River bed near McCarthy


Most days we waited until after lunch to go on location.
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays
these couriers from the swift completion of their
appointed rounds.” the US Postal saying comes to mind with our outdoor sketching class.
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Looking at fallen cottonwoods


The first afternoon was down by the river bed. Fallen cottonwood trees and feathery Dryas flower lined the rocky dry riverbed. It was mostly misty then turned to light rain. After a little while any a few short sketches.
My watercolor sketches were a mess. We went back to the warmth of the hardware store for a bit of food and to finish our sketches.
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On location in Kennicott


Next day, we set off by bus to Kennicott with baged lunches and a few plastic ponchos. The light rain gave way to a steady cold rain. I was painting under my poncho. Rita had a great idea, she assured us the lady who runs the pizza bus in kennicott would love to have us use her tent. She also sells coffee and hot chocolate.
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Carol sketching


Did not have to ask Carol and I twice. The three of us packed quick and hiked down the hill to hot drinks, yummy calzone and dry sketching place.
Later we rode a very full bus of tour guides getting off duty, back to mccarthy. They said they we going to open mike night at Golden Saloon. Sounds fun.
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The Golden Saloon


After dinner, our books dried out enough to work on them. More talk and friendship.
Yes, we went to Golden Saloon. Great fun listening to Michele sing some of her original songs.
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The Golden Saloon McCarthy


Next day! More rain even harder. In the afternoon we set out to make a sketch map of someplace in McCarthy. I did a little path near the hardware store.
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A little path


Later that night afterdinner we had a final art show. Rita brought her summer works of art. Beautiful painting of the moraines and mountains. Mount Blackburn and Fireweed painted in brilliant shades of pinks, blues and violets. Stunning, they are painted in the Cape Cod Style of art that uses colors to give painting depth and light. Afterwards, the sun finally broke through, Rita and her Husband drove Carol and I back up to Kennicott to photograph the mountains and the mines in sunlight.
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Kennicott


Wow! We watched the sun set over Kennicott and walked to the top of the hill to Silk Stocking Row. Manager housing for the old mines. Many of the homes are fixed up very nice.we walked back to cars and headed back to McCarthy. The four of us went to Golden Saloon for some snacks and drinks. What nice new friends. We said our goodbyes and off to bed.

Categories: alaska, Art Educations, art expedition, art supplies, Art Supplies and Equipment, Art Workshops, Botanical Drawing, Food and Restaurants, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Wrangell Mountain Center

Carol and I showed up at 6 pm with bells on for our Natural History Field Sketching and Journaling workshop. We are hard to miss, two mid-age females who are very motivated to learn art…..

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Wood burning stove


Everyone at WMC was wonderful. Mary made a delicious soup and salad for dinner, we sat in the sales floor of the old hardware store. Long tables with plywood tops and benches all around for seating. It was chilly so Cobi’s dad kept the room warm with the wood stove. Ahhhh, warm dry heat, with the smell of wood stove. Sure beats the chilly heat pump at home.
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Main room at Hardware Store


We later went in to the other room for the evenings lecture and sketching class. Yes, I really love this part. I like traveling, but I love doing, making and thinking art.
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Skulls to sketch


Kristen Link taught our week long class. Kristen is well organized and really knows her stuff. Carol and I were introduced to our “classmates”, Rita, Cobi, Sam and Michelle. Just like at everyclass I have ever been, with great hesitation… we all introduced ourselves. Very interesting, we all like art.
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Feather to sketch


Kristen then went over the syllabus and displayed her sketchbooks. Impressive! A little sketching inside the room. And off to bed….

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Main Street McCarthy

Carol and I rode the Kennicott Lodge bus with our luggage down to McCarthy. It is overcast and cool with bouts of rain.

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Ma Johnson's Hotel


In front of Ma Johnson’s hotel we unload our baggage. Up on the porch we place our baggage. Out comes Neil the owner to help us. Carol, Neil and I wheel in our luggage. On week three, this luggage thing gets tiresome. Leaving the artcarts on the porch. Neil shows us to our room. How sweet, two twin beds with lovely quilts. Pretty folded towels with handmade soap tucked in and a bag of candy with a little poem next to our sink. The potty and shower is close by… big Yeah!  I plop on the bed for a couple minutes of heaven. Carol was looking for electric plug. No, luck….if you want to charge anything…phone, computer, ipad, camera and such you need to take it to the parlor. Electronic are lined up neatly on a few small tables against the wall.
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Ma Johnson's Hotel Parlor


ELECTRONIC WITHDRAW!!! To begin with I was a bit edgey about this, leaving my lifeline unattended. But after awhile you just don’t worry about it. Nobody was touching your stuff and visa versa. The phones and internet just don’t work right anyway. So after a day or so the withdraw subsides.

Not to forget the artcarts, the girl at the desk pointed me in the right direction, told me the Wrangell Mountain Center was in the hardware store and I couldn’t miss it. So off I went with the artcarts. Down the road and into a brandnew building that had hardware stuff in it. Well as it turns out, that was the grocery store. I bought some bottled icetea and a candy bar, I was famished. Back outside with two art carts and bag of food. Down farther a two story very large building with giant letters HARDWARE written on it.

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Harware Store McCarthy ak


How stupid can I be. I took the artcarts in and met Kristen, Cobi and Mary from the wrangell mountain center. Later in the evening our class started.
When I got back to Hotel, Carol was ready for our “tour around town”, one street. McCarthy proved to be more than met the eye.
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Mcountain Arts Gallery McCarthy Ak

We stoppd at the Mountain Arts gallery that showcased many local
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Then we stopped by the McCarthy-Kennicott Historical Museum. Great history and artifacts.
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Kennicott & Kennecott: choose carefully!

Once loaded in the van, Carol and I were off for a 15 minute ride up the mountain side. Passing hikers, bikers and a few trucks or buses onlong the one lane gravel road. The road was heavily tree lined, our only clue that we were on a mountain was the steep incline of the road.

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Kennicott Glacier Lodge


Nearing the top the trees gave way to a beautiful vista. Green mountains capped in clouds, a white glacier peeking out from the clouds in the distance. Red buildings with white trim. We knew we were in Kennicott.
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Mountain view from Kennicott


Still a little awed the group of us from the van we unloaded and taken into the Kennicott Glaciet Lodge. Just beautiful! Warm and welcoming. It was like stepping nack in time. A brass key ring was our room key with a door that opens to the long porch up front. Just lovely.
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Quick water color sketch of toe of glacier moraines


A fire in the parlor was roaring with guests enjoying the leather chairs.
Our had two double/queen beds and a sink.  Two chairs, thats luxury. That ment Carol and I could sit down at the same time.
Everything is super clean. The showers and toilets are shared. This was not a problem at all.
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Steak sandwich and potato soup


The food plan was great. Breakfast was included with room. The meal plan included a lunch and dinner. Lunch was a sandwich with soup or salad and a drink from 12-3. Dinner was family style seating promptly at 7pm. Great food and conversation. The other guests are very delightful.
Walking around the town takes mpre or less a day. They have a walking tour of the town 1 1/2hours, but Carol and I missed the 1pm start. Other tours are available, hiking and icehiking.
The National Park Service has a self guided walking tour and vistor center. Very nice. Everyone is friendly and helpful.
Now about the spelling issue, way back when the mines were started someone misspelled Kennicott with and -e- as in Kennecott. So what has occurred is the local residents use the -i- and the Park Service uses the -e- because of the Kennicott Minning Company. Hmmm…..

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The Road to McCarthy: that’s a story!

After photo-taking event in Chitina, we pulled the car around the corner to see the sign “Pavement Ends”.

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Begining of the road to McCarthy


Then another sign that tells about McCathy road.  “Road ends at Kennicott River, 62Miles.
Limited vechicle services.
Drive at you own risk.
Watch out for loose railroad spikes.
Check locally from conditions and services beyond this point.”
Noone seems to know why the misspelling, mystery? The sign make you wonder what you are doing. You can even see the pot holes from the sign.

Well, we threw caution aside and drove the Road to McCarthy. Bless the road guys, except for a few sections with pot holes, the road was good, (not paved, but a good surface for a gravel road). Mostly two lanes wide, no guard rails(bit un-nerveing when a big RV is coming at you).

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McCarthy road


Many challenges lay ahead for the we don’t like heights and wobbly bridges …lol.. We drove for 62 miles over hill and dale..or more specific, three bridges.
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Lakina Bridge


The Lakina River bridge, wood bridge. The car was making a funny noise, so Carol was driving, we pulled over and I climbed under to see what was stuck in wheel well. 20 minutes later and my whole left side was muddy, I found , nothing. But the sound was gone, thank God for that.(Paul, really nothing happened!) We were on our way. The silty mud sticks like concrete to my sweater.
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The next bridge was Kuskulana bridge, 283 feet from river…. vertigo! Wood slats to drive on and the guard rail doesn’t look sturdy. We made it without fainting.
Then we drove to Currant Ridge Cabins.
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Currant Ridge Cabins


I walked into the office to pick up the keys, the owner asked if I was a local and why I was covered with mud. It took me several minutes to stop laughing to tell my story.
The cabins were lovely, hot showers,hot room heater and indoor toilet. Very clean! Only a couple miles from the last bridge to McCarthy. More to come…
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Dusty Car

Happy Travels

Categories: alaska, art expedition, art supplies, Art Techniques, Art Workshops, Food and Restaurants, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Copper to Copper Aug. 19, 2013

From Copper Center to the copper mines of Kennnicott, Ak. 

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Tractor at Willow Lake B&B


What a trip we left Willow Lake after a nice tour of the handbuilt log cabins and a delicious breakfast of sourdough pancakes at Willow Lake B&B . Jim and Linda are great hosts.
We drove south on Richardson Highway to pick up the road east to Chitina.
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Copper Center Gift shop


On our way we stopped at the delightful shop run by. It is a mix of Alaskan art and gifts, convience store and a bit of hardware supplies. Found some goodies and a couple bottles of ice tea. My vertigo is still giving me trouble, still bracing as I walk around. On to McCarthy. We drove for awhile on Edgerton highway and stopped for gas at The Kenny Lake Mercantile’s General Store .
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Gas and drinks


It took me awhile to figure out how to pump gas on old fashioned gas pump.
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Kenney Lake Gas Station


The lady inside really thought something was wrong with me. LOl…she noticed. Remember to stop about here, no more gas stations between here and McCarthy/ Kennicott.
Off like a herd of turtles, we stopped at the Golden Spruce Convienence Storefor sandwiches.

Very good food homemade bisscotti to die for, vanilla with i think walnuts dipped in white chocolate and chocolate with walnuts dipped in dark chocolate.

Then Carol and I drove and drove, stopping to take photos and Go Pro. So many beautiful photos.
We stopped by Chitina, what a quaint town. I loved the Spirit Mountain Arts Art Gallery.

It was a big WOW! Beautiful artwork from artists around Alaska. Prints, watercolors, drawings, jewelry, knitted hats, slik scarves and more. I found a nice screen print of silver salmon.

After a few hundred shots of Chitna, we got back into our car.

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The Road to McCarthy

This is where paved roads end.
My brother Paul’s parting words on
The Road To McCarthy: “Drive Slow!”

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Alyeska and Girwood Weds.08-07-13

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Heading toward Girwood, Alaska on the Seward Highway. The pictures does not capture the awe inspiring views.

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Near Alyeska


Carol and I traveled to Alyeska mountain to have dinner at the top. It never dawned on us we might need reservations. Well we made reservations for the next night. Afterwards we drove to Girwood for a hot cup of brewed coffee and stop to mail postcards. (Man that is a full time job keeping up with postcards)

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Top of mountain near Alyeska


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The next night our reservations were for 9pm. Great choice. We were one of may be 6 people eating dinner.
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We rode the mountain tram to the top at eight pm. Walked around for an hour. Beautiful but cold. The white glaciers were all visable.
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This path leads to the very top.


Carol and I were seated next to the window, we could see the glaciers and as evening fell it was captivating.
Now for the food, wow!
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Menu Seven Glaciers


I ordered the chefs choice of 5 courses. Carol ordered some food too. (It is late, I will try to get this straight and clean up blog tomorrow)
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Bread course- fresh made bread and crackers


We ate like queens.
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Cunundrum wine- a wonderful blend of wines.


The waitress held the chair for you then, held you knapkin until you sat down, poured the first and later second glass wine.
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Fresh raw snapper with a dressing.

Courses of food were brought as we were finished. One plate was more delicious as the next.

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Chips and dips (sorry I have to find my notes on other side McCarthy bridge)

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