Feb 25, 2014

Things discussed at the Brewhaus, No. 19 (and scenes from a Brewhaus Sunday night)

Whenever my favorite drinking establishment in beautiful downtown Springfield, Ill., has its ups and downs – and I like to think they’re poised for another upswing with some recent improvements – you can usually count on two constants at the Brewhaus:  a reliable crew of regulars you can always have a good drink and good conversation with, and Sunday Night “Church” with Tom Irwin and his band. 

Except for a few hiccups over the years, Sunday night with Tom is about as reliable of an institution as you’ll find in Springfield.  Sure, some nights are as quiet as … well, church.  But other nights  … well, they’re memorable.  Like a recent Sunday night over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.  A lot of people took advantage of not working Monday, and some familiar faces joined the band for a special night of great, rocking music. 

But enough of my rambling … I’ll let the pictures I took that night capture the moment.   

Tom Irwin (right) and the Raouligans, with the ever watchful presence of Raoul on the wall. 

Feb 12, 2014

Scenes from the Cheshire Inn, Saint Louis

To say the Cheshire Inn & Lodge has character is an understatement.  In fact, in the Richmond Heights/Clayton neighborhood of Saint Louis, it stands out because of its uniqueness.  After all, you don’t find a hotel complex masquerading as a British hunting lodge just anywhere in “the Lou.”    

That said, the Cheshire isn't the first landmark of note when you get off Interstate 64 at Clayton Road to head to Forest Park (home of the Saint Louis Zoo and other attractions).  

No, it’s the world’s largest Amoco sign still in existence.  Don’t worry; you can see it from the interstate.

Smile, Kent!

Feb 4, 2014

5 life lessons for enjoying affordable live music

It’s no secret that I love music almost as much as I love travel.  And nothing beats seeing great music live.  But sometimes that can be a challenge to do on a commoner’s budget (and let’s face it, these days I’m operating more on a peasant’s budget!). 

So, while I rarely splurge to see a high-dollar concert at a massive arena or a cavernous convention center (and even more rarely would I have the desire), I have learned a few life lessons that have helped me enjoy a lot of great shows over the years – and made these experiences more memorable and personally rewarding.

1. Go to music festivals

Weather never seems to discourage to music lovers at Beale Street Music Festival

A commoner dines at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, Monroe, Wis.

I wasn’t sure a place existed that could be the perfect representation of Wisconsin life, but then I traveled through Monroe, Wis., one week...