2013 draws to a close; looking ahead to 2014

Published 5:40 am Sunday, December 22, 2013

As we wrap our Christmas gifts and bake one more batch of cookies, we are eagerly looking forward to the holidays ahead of us.

Whether you are at home or at a distance, “Hearts always come home,” for this most special holiday.

We also are reminiscing about the many places we have visited this past year, including several theater shows popular with our group.

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This year, our show productions included “War Horse” at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater, “Cowgirls” at the Old Log Theater in Excelsior, “Happy Days” at the Marion Ross Theater in Albert Lea, “Fiddler on the Roof,” at Chanhassen, and coming up on New Year’s Eve, “A Carol of a Christmas” at the Fanny Hill Theater in Wisconsin.

Also popular was the State School Orphanage visit in Owatonna, which continues to draw interest.

Our annual Mystery Trip, has always been one of our best trips. Lately we have visited more in-depth destinations and have and surprised our travelers with what each area has to offer. Winona was our destination this year, with visits to the stained glass factory, the Watkins Museum and Store and the town’s newest vineyard. We also had a great city tour by one of the local councilmen. We still are talking about the delicious bismarks made by a popular vintage bakery. Would you believe they were topped with bacon and filled with a delicious cream filling?

An eight-day October tour to Nashville, Tenn., by deluxe motor coach, was a highlight this year.

Nashville has so much to offer. We were excited to see the recently opened Opryland Hall of Fame. A step-on guide gave us the real story of their city.

Branson, Mo., Is getting to be an annual trip as well.

Added to this year’s four-day trip, was our first-night’s stay in Kansas City. Of great interest was a museum tour of the Steamboat “Arabia,” which sunk more than 100 years ago. It was discovered in 1988 where it was buried 45 feet underground on a farm. Men and machines unearthed what would become the discovery of a lifetime.

Included in the find were European dishware, jewelry, guns, tools, food productions and clothing. Local persons take much interest and give detailed tours with a video to share their story.

And of course, Branson itself is a jewel. There are always new shows, eating places and so many holiday decorations.

We are now looking forward to one last outing in 2013, which will be an overnight trip to Wisconsin on New Year’s Eve. We have an evening gala planned. Our trip will begin at Chippewa Falls and head into Eau Claire, to the Fanny Hill Dinner Theater for the evening. A reminder that we will depart a half hour earlier at 11 a.m. in the Walmart parking lot.

A special “thank you,” to all our friends who support us at the Senior Center all year long. Wishing you a warm and happy holiday season to all of you.

We are currently working on travel plans for 2014. You are all invited to a February Travel Show/Coffee party which will be announced after the holidays.