Big Weekly Blend Magazine - May-June2023

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Viva Variety! The Spice That Brings Quality to Life! MAY 29 - JUNE 4, 2023 Travel & Events Food & Wine Business & Family History & The Arts
Editors Block
Celebrate this Week! TRAVEL & EVENTS
Barge Cruise Through Burgundy
Exploring Croa�a
Pandaw Cruise on the Mekong River
Embrace Whidbey & Camano Islands
Visit Buena Park in California 24. Outdoor Adventures in Palm Springs 26. New Mexico Rejuvena�on Des�na�on 28. Summer Fun in Louisiana’s Oldest City FOOD & WINE 30. A Taste of Israel 32. Food & Wine Des�na�ons PERSONAL & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 34. Marine Corps Training Provides Job Skills 36. What Will Your Professional Legacy Be? 37. What Parents Can Learn From Their Kids HISTORY & THE ARTS 38. Photographer William Henry Jackson 42. Military History on the Jefferson Highway


"In Flanders fields the poppies blow; Between the crosses, row on row; That mark our place; and in the sky, the larks, s�ll bravely singing, fly; Scarce heard amid the guns below."

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the BIG WEEKLY BLEND Variety Magazine! Covering Big Blend’s most recent ar�cles, recipes, and podcasts, it’s also a companion publica�on to our new Big Weekend Blend Podcast (formerly) Big Daily Blend) a lighthearted conversa�on that looks at the current week’s pop culture and music history, holidays, and observances.

This issue kicks off two unique small cruise stories; one that travels through the canals of Burgundy, France, and the other that follows the Mekong River in Southeast Asia. Enjoy the travel, food, and wine podcasts that span the globe from Switzerland and Croa�a to Israel and France and take you across America from the islands of Washington State to Southern California, New Mexico, and Louisiana’s oldest city!

On the personal and professional development side, find out how a�orney Ward Heinrichs’ legal career benefited from his Marine Corps training, what to ponder when looking at your professional legacy, and what parents can learn from their children. Plus, we take a step back in �me to learn about the fascina�ng life of traveling photographer and ar�st William Henry Jackson, and to learn about two historic military sites on the Jefferson Highway!

In honor of those on ac�ve duty, veterans, military families, and those who have sacrificed their lives in service, we con�nue to broadcast militarythemed Big Blend Radio shows this Memorial Day. Please keep up with our upcoming and past shows on or on

We hope you have a lovely rest of May and a fantas�c start to the month of June!

Nancy J. Reid and Lisa D. Smith Big Blend’s mother-daughter publishing, podcas�ng, and travel team.

BIG BLENDMISSION STATEMENT: Big Blend is a company based on the belief that education is the most formidable weapon that can be waged against fear, ignorance and prejudice. It is our belief that education starts at home and branches outward. Education leads to travel, and travel leads to understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of cultures and customs different to our own, and ultimately to world peace. Our company is further based on the principle that networking, communication, and helping others to promote and market themselves leads to financial stability; thus paving the way to better education, travel, and the spirit of giving back to the community. This magazine is developed by Big Blend Magazine™, copyrighted since 1997. No part of it may be reproduced for any reason, without written permission from Big Blend Magazine. Although every effort is made to be accurate, we cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies or plagiarized copy submitted to us by advertisers or contributors.


FRONT COVER IMAGE: Formal gardens at the Gruyeres Castle by Debbie Stone. See page 32.


Enjoy Big Blend Radio’s new BIG WEEKLY BLEND podcast (formerly the Big Daily Blend) covering the holidays, pop culture, and historic happenings that span the week of May 28-June 3, 2023. Airing every Sunday, this show is a companion produc�on of this new Big Weekly Blend digital magazine. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.


- Musician and cohost Joey Stuckey

- Military author and historian Mike Guardia

- Mike Dunmyer of US Wind Inc


– Listen on YouTube

– Listen on Spo�fy

CELEBRATE THIS WEEK’S HOLIDAYS –Visit to check out the links to the music playlist, ar�cles, recipes, and puzzles that connect with, celebrate, and honor this week’s holidays, celebra�ons, and observances that include Memorial Day, Hamburger Day, Alligator Day, Moonshine Day, Olive Day, Dinosaur Day, Tennessee & Kentucky Statehood Days, Donut Day, Egg Day, Bubbly Day, Trails Day, Prairie Day, Bicycle Day, and More!


This week’s shows include:

May 29: Na�onal Park Trust Military Family Program

May 29: Bed & Breakfast Military Programs

May 29: Guitarist Brian Tarquin – Brothers in Arms

May 30: Joel Karsten – Straw Bale Gardening

May 31: Tim Arnold – Super Connected Album

June 1: Woodlake Botanical Garden

June 2: Singer/songwriter Lara Ruggles

June 3: Summer Trends at Melissa’s Specialty Produce

June 4: Soul Diving Sunday with Shelley Whizin





When most people think of a barge, they envision a flat-bo�omed boat that hauls goods down a waterway – a working vessel. So when I told family and friends that I was going on a barge cruise in France, I received quizzical and confused looks. They didn’t understand why I was choosing to travel by what they perceived to be an uncomfortable mode of transporta�on.

“Au contraire!” I responded and then proceeded to enlighten them, explaining that this was not a cargo boat, but rather a small, sleek, luxury hotel barge owned by European Waterways. And no, I would not be “roughing it!” In fact, I would be wined and dined, and my every need tended to by an excep�onal staff, well-versed in performing the highest levels of service and hospitality. All this while meandering through the picturesque French countryside along the Burgundy Canal, far from crowds and the hustle and bustle of city life.

European Waterways has been opera�ng voyages since the 1980s and cruises in nine countries across Europe from the Midi in Southern France to the Sco�sh Highlands, and from Ireland in the West to Venice in the East. The company has an excellent reputa�on and is renowned in the industry.

Its immersive cruises offer a more in�mate, informal atmosphere than on larger river and ocean cruise vessels, and are a great choice for

couples, single travelers, families, or small groups.

Each cruise lasts for six nights and the all-inclusive pricing encompasses everything from transporta�on to and from your barge, stateroom, incredible gourmet meals, all excursions, hot tub and bicycles on board, world-class wines, and a fully stocked, open bar.

Debbie Stone on Big Blend Radio Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean. La Belle Epoque
Con�nued on Next Page… PAGE 9

La Belle Epoque, the barge I traveled on, accommodated a max of 12 passengers, however, my cruise in April only had eight. All of us were from the U.S. and six of the passengers already knew each other. My husband and I were the “outliers,” but not for long. We were quickly enveloped into the fold and became fast friends with our convivial fellow shipmates in no �me at all, sharing stories and plenty of laughs.

The atmosphere was like a floa�ng house party with like-minded people, who shared a love of experien�al travel, culture, gastronomy, fine wine, local history…and most importantly, good conversa�on.

Originally built in 1930, La Belle Epoque was converted into a handsome hotel barge in 1995. The boat boasts four staterooms and two junior suites, a dining room, a salon with a bar, and a spacious outdoor deck. Though the staterooms are small, they are cozy and have all the necessary ameni�es.

Our crew of six hailed from France, Poland, Brazil, Greece, and England. At the helm was Andy, our very personable, knowledgeable, and efficient captain/tour guide. Then there was Apostolos, chef extraordinaire; Agata and Maria, ‘hostesses with the mostest’, who were responsible for serving the meals and drinks, cleaning the staterooms, and making sure we were comfortable at all �mes; Fred,

the pilot; and Brice, the deckhand. All welcomed us warmly to the boat and preceded to ensure that our journey would be memorable.

Our trip began in Paris, where we were picked up and driven south to Tomlay in the Burgundy region. There, our barge and a�en�ve crew awaited, gree�ng us, champagne in hand. A�er toasts and introduc�ons, we se�led into our staterooms and then convened in the salon to get to know each other.

Each day, the barge glided sedately along the canal, passing under bridges and going through locks. Most of the canals in France’s extensive system date back to the 17th and 18th centuries and represent a �me when roads were primi�ve. The barges plied the rivers, carrying coal, grain, and other supplies from village to village. These waterways were basically abandoned in the late 18th century when railroads took over as the main transporta�on system. They were later “discovered” by young, Bri�sh travel entrepreneurs and the rest is history.

Although the barges carry passengers today, much has remained the same on these an�que water routes. They are s�ll intersected by locks, which serve to raise and lower the boats between the varying levels of land, and many are s�ll tended to by lockkeepers. We went through a total of 35 locks during our trip and at each, a lock keeper would be there to assist in the endeavor. Passing through them is part of the experience and our group never �red of watching the process.

Lock keeper at one of the 35 locks
Burgundy Con�nued…

As to the speed of cruising, it’s slow. We averaged about two to three miles an hour, a perfect pace for those who wanted to cycle or walk the towpath, then get back on the boat at one of the locks. It was a nice way to get some ac�vity and work off all the delicious food.

Another way I discovered to expend some calories was to try driving the barge. Our pilot let me take a go at it and it was physically much harder than I imagined. Turning the wheel gave me quite the workout!

This leisurely pace allowed us to fully relax and luxuriate in watching the world go by. The bucolic Burgundy landscape is sublime, with fields of wheat and poppies, vineyards, grand chateaus, and villages of cobble stoned streets and medieval buildings. You’ll pass locals on their bikes or strolling along, and fishermen pa�ently wai�ng for their next catch. Others, curious about the barge, will wander nearby for a look-see at one of the locks.

Each day, we le� the barge to enjoy an exclusively curated excursion in an off-the-beaten-tourist-path locale. One day, we explored Chablis, visi�ng Domaine Laroche to learn the story of St. Mar�n and the monks who began the history of the town and its famed wines. We toured the old wine cellar and saw a 13th-century wine press that’s s�ll in use, then had the opportunity to taste several aroma�c Classical Chablis, Premier Cru, and Grand Cru wines.

On another day, we toured Chateau D’Ancy Le Franc, a jewel of the Renaissance. Built in 1542, this imposing castle is the masterpiece of Sebas�ano Serlio, a celebrated Italian architect. It’s known for its large square construc�on with four wings flanked by four pavilions, and an inner magnificent courtyard. The building is enhanced with richly sculpted ornamenta�ons and inside, the apartments are lavishly decorated by Burgundy, Italian, and Flemish painters.

Of special note are the long galleries adorned with eye-popping, flamboyant elements and mural pain�ngs represen�ng mythological and religious themes. Sumptuous marble floors add to this lavish display.

In Montbard, we visited Fontenay Abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded in 1118 by Saint Bernard of Coairvaux, it is the oldest preserved Cistercian abbey in the world. The monks, who resided there, produced and sold metalwork to economically sustain themselves. Up to 500 of them lived at the abbey un�l the �me of the French Revolu�on. A�er they departed, the place was converted for industrial use, which preserved all the buildings of the Romanesque period, including the church (a model of simplicity and ethereal light), dormitory (a vast oak-hulled room where the monks slept, fully clothed on

Con�nued on Next Page…

benches), cloister, chapter room, common room, and the forge.

As our group walked around, we remarked on the beauty and purity of the architecture, which has remained unspoiled for over 900 years. With its lushly landscaped park and gardens, the Abbey is a remarkable site that evokes serenity and spirituality.

Two other excursions brought us in close proximity to French nobility. At Chateau de Ricey-Bas, we rubbed elbows with Baron Charles and his wife, Baroness Segolene, owners of this impressive castle that has been in the Baron’s family for over 200 years. Before dining, we visited the estate’s vineyards and the produc�on building, where we learned how champagne is made.

The Baron explained that the grapes are harvested by hand and go through two fermenta�on processes to create the bubbling liba�on known as “champagne.” It’s an art form that heavily relies on science. Interes�ng fact: you can only label the finished product “champagne” if the grapes are grown in the Champagne Region of France. There are about 60,000 vineyards in this region.

The winery produces six to seven different kinds of champagne with a total of 70,000 bo�les a year, and exports about 70% of its produc�on mainly to the U.S.,

Germany, and Canada.

Lunch consisted of salmon and local trout crustless sandwiches, along with guinea fowl as the entrée, followed by an assortment of cheeses and salad, and strawberry mousse for dessert – accompanied by pink champagne, of course! During the meal, the Baroness talked about the history of the chateau, the family, and their endless efforts to restore the place. She was charming and effervescent, with a deligh�ul sense of humor as she regaled us with story a�er story.

At Chateau de Commarin, we met with Count Bertrand de Vogue, whose family has lived in the castle since the 13th century. He represents the 26th genera�on of the

family and resides onsite. The estate was protected during the French Revolu�on, so it retains its authen�city and is known for its exquisite set of heraldic tapestries, artwork, and furniture. A moat surrounds the stately chateau, offering a pictureperfect reflec�on.

Against the backdrop of the chateau, we were treated to a display of falconry. Two professional falconers presented several birds of prey, including Tinkerbell, an American Kestrel, who flew from one to another of our hands in search of treats; Rico, a Harris hawk, who we learned can see a mouse from 218 yards away; and Daenerys, a very photogenic

The Baron in his produc�on facility Cheese, glorious cheese! Burgundy Con�nued…

barn owl, named for a beloved character in the widely popular series, “Game of Thrones.”

Another highlight of the cruise was the sensa�onal food. Our chef, who was from Greece, took us on a gastronomic adventure and challenged our tastebuds. Meals were feasts for the senses. At breakfast, there were always eggs or egg dishes, yogurts, cheeses, fresh fruit, cereals, breads and croissants, and freshly squeezed OJ. With a spread like this, we were sufficiently fueled for the morning.

Lunch, as well as dinner, was a 3-course presenta�on, consis�ng of fresh seasonal salads, some�mes a fish dish or even steamed mussels, homemade soup, a selec�on of cheeses and/or dessert, and was always complemented by both a red and white wine of the region.

Then there was happy hour, when the liba�ons would flow, along with the hors-d’oeuvres, including such delights as tuna tartare, mango wrapped in prosciu�o, beetroot blinis, snails, and on the last night, caviar.

Dinners, which were announced by the ringing of a bell (causing a Pavlovian response to occur!), were showcases of French and Mediterranean dishes, with entrees that featured duck, lamb, chicken, beef, and fish. And of course, there were French wines and cheeses, all of which were described in

detail to us before serving. Saying goodbye at the end of the trip was hard, as it meant we had to leave our cushy abode, fantas�c crew, and our newfound friends, not to men�on the glorious food. Back to “roughing it!”

Debbie Stone is an established travel writer and columnist, and regular contributor for Big Blend Radio and Big Blend Magazines, who crosses the globe in search of unique des�na�ons and experiences to share with her readers and listeners. She’s an avid explorer who welcomes new opportuni�es to increase awareness and enthusiasm for places, culture, food, history, nature, outdoor adventure, wellness, and more. Her travels have taken her to nearly 100 countries and all seven con�nents.

Sumptuous food is a highlight Wine flows freely aboard the barge
Relaxing on board

On this episode of Big Blend Radio's Vaca�on Sta�on "Hey Wanna Go" Travel Show, travel advisor Cheryl Ogle shares her recent adventures in Croa�a. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

On Big Blend Radio every third Wednesday, Cheryl is a world traveler, accredited travel advisor, and owner of Hey Wanna Go that specializes in travel to Europe and the UK, as well as river and ocean cruises.

More: h�ps://

What does Croa�a have to offer? History, culture, food, architecture, stunning views of the Adria�c Sea, and beau�ful people who are hardworking and proud of their country. The Greeks colonized the coast of the Adria�c Sea in 4BC, and you see traces of this ancient history everywhere you turn. Read Cheryl's Blog about Croa�a.

Beau�ful Croa�a by Cheryl Ogle



Imitated, but never duplicated, Pandaw is the original riverboat cruise company on the mighty Mekong in Asia. Pandaw founder Paul Strachan pioneered the Mekong River cruise concept and successfully put it into prac�ce in 2002. Since then, many other brands have followed in his (boat’s) wake, copying the company’s i�neraries, but not the unique essence that makes a Pandaw River cruise special.

I was recently privileged to cruise on two of Pandaw’s classic river boats on the Mekong. I started with an 11-day sailing on the upper Mekong through Laos on the Laos Pandaw. I then followed this with a classic 7-day cruise on the Bassac Pandaw exploring the Lower Mekong through Vietnam and Cambodia.

I’ve taken luxury barge cruises in France and ocean cruises in a variety of loca�ons around the world, but this was my first river cruise experience, and I went into it without any preconceived expecta�ons. It was also my first �me exploring the diverse delights of Southeast Asia.

I absolutely loved my �me on both Pandaw boats, and they set an extremely high bar for any future river cruises. I discovered that my Pandaw experience was not in the minority as almost all the other guests were repeat cruisers with Pandaw. This company must clearly be doing something right when passengers choose to come back, not just once, but many �mes.

One of my favorite aspects of a Pandaw cruise is the look and feel of their boats. Each boat was specially designed by Paul Strachan and has been beau�fully handcra�ed in Asia to Mr. Strachan’s exac�ng specifica�ons. Because they are made from locally sourced teak, the boats blend in harmoniously with the environment they sail through.

I also love the in�macy of a Pandaw riverboat. These are not large ships with 100 guests or more on board. On the contrary, the Laos Pandaw has only 10 staterooms and the Bassac Pandaw has just 30 cabins.

Con�nued on Next Page…

Rose Palmer on Big Blend Radio: Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.
Mekong Rivel life unfolds for us in Vietnam - Rose Palmer

This means that during a cruise I got to know my fellow passengers quite well since we were a small group. It also means the staff got to know us and our par�cular preferences very quickly.

My cabins on both boats were very comfortable and provided everything I needed. Though not large, the quality of the rooms was on par with a bou�que hotel. The beds, which could be set up in either a twin or a queen configura�on, had highend bedding, duvets, and a choice of pillow types. The ensuite bathroom with its roomy shower was surprisingly spacious, bigger than some of the ones I have had on larger ocean-going vessels.

But it’s in the details that I think Pandaw really excels. I am quite detail-oriented, so when someone else spends �me and energy on the li�le things, I no�ce that and appreciate it. It started by being greeted with a cold washcloth and a refreshing drink. This was the prac�ce every �me we boarded the boat a�er an excursion. Each �me we came back on board, we also had to surrender our shoes which were quickly cleaned and reappeared back in our room in no �me.

The a�en�on to detail extended to our excursions and cultural experiences as well. It seemed that Pandaw went out of its way to provide special

ac�vi�es that I could not easily have had any other way. We explored Cambodia’s Phnom Penh by Cyclo, a tricycle that is pedaled by a driver in the back while the guest sits in a seat in front. In Vietnam, we had a tradi�onal dance troop perform for us, and in Laos, we stopped each day to visit one of the small local villages.

We also toured the popular sights along the way with our onboard guide providing excellent commentary. In Luong Prabang we took part in the early morning almsgiving tradi�on, giving s�cky rice offerings to the many monks that make their home there. And though it was emo�onally challenging, in Phnom Pen we toured the Killing Fields and the Genocide Museum.

But my favorite off-the-beaten-path ac�vity was the evening when the crew from the Laos Pandaw hosted us to a beachside bar-b-q. A�er our boat �ed up to a large sandbank, the staff set up chairs, a grill, music, and candles for a “beach” side bash. The Mai Tais and the kabobs flowed freely as the sun set over the Mekong and we all just savored this magical moment.

Finally, there was the food - delicious and abundant food. The onboard chefs prepared a daily array of choices that appealed to all pale�es and

Pandaw Con�nued… Enjoying the beachside barbeque on the Laos Pandaw - Rose Palmer
Cooking demonstra�on on the Laos PandawRose Palmer

dietary needs with locally sourced ingredients at the forefront of each dish. I liked that I could get a taste of the flavors for which Southeast Asia is famous, but without the excessive spicy heat that o�en accompanies such tradi�onal dishes. I also liked that at each meal there were western op�ons that I was familiar with. So, along with the local freshwater prawns and rice, there were freshly baked bague�es and cheeses, eggs, French toast, and plenty of local fresh fruits.

For me, the Pandaw cruises were the perfect balance of comfort, unique sightseeing experiences, and personalized service that was delivered with sincerity and pride. And because the boats fit into their environment so well, for a short while, I also felt like I was part of the scene. As I stood on the gleaming deck, watching the riverbank slide by, I felt as if I were part of the daily Mekong ritual, not just an observer passing through.

Rose Palmer believes that life is a patchwork of experiences. Traveling the world is one of her deepest passions which con�nues to add to her ever-growing quilt of life experiences. She likes to focus her traveling lens on art, architecture, history, nature, and so� adventure with a touch of luxury. Rose shares her award-winning stories and photos on her blog

One of the many delicious meals on the PandawRose Palmer Photo to right: The Laos PandawRose Palmer
A tradi�onal dance troup performs on the Pandaw boat - Rose Palmer


Bike the Islands, photo courtesy of Embrace Whidbey & Camano Islands

Two Beau�ful Des�na�ons in Washington State

On this episode of Big Blend Radio’s 2nd Tuesday “Food, Wine & Travel” Show with IFWTWA, Sherrye Wya� discusses the various nature and outdoor adventures, as well as the art and cultural highlights, wine, culinary, and lodging experiences you can enjoy on Whidbey and Camano Islands.

Also hear about the region being part of the new Mari�me Washington Na�onal Heritage Area, and its journey of becoming a regenera�ve and transforma�onal travel des�na�on.

Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on

Located in Washington State, Whidbey and Camano Islands are located in the middle of Puget Sound and an easy drive from Sea�le. A great an�dote for big city pressures, these rural islands feature wideopen beaches, scenic vistas, outdoor adventures, great art, fine dining, and more.

See: h�ps://

Frasers, courtesy of Embrace Whidbey & Camano Islands


This episode of Big Blend Radio’s 3rd Monday “Food, Wine & Travel” Show with IFWTWA features Karina Diez from Visit Buena Park in Southern California. Just 5 minutes from Disneyland®, and a short ride from Hun�ngton Beach and Los Angeles, Buena Park is the ideal basecamp for your California dream vaca�on.

Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.

Known as the "Land of Yes," Buena Park invites you to surrender to the power of yes. To say “yes” to everything simply because you can. Yes, to screaming coasters at Kno�'s Berry Farm. Yes, to knights in �ghts at Medieval Times. Yes, to waterslide wedgies at Soak City Waterpark. Yes, to

nights filled with performing pirates at Pirates Dinner Adventure, co�on candy cocktails at The Cauldron, and laughs that never stop at the dueling piano bar Beach Boulevard Club. Because in Buena Park the answer to every ques�on is Yes! Start planning your visit today at h�ps://

Images courtesy Visit Buena Park


OCTOBER 1-7, 2023

Date of Departure from Vancouver, British Columbia: October 1, 2023

Date of Arrival in Los Angeles, California: October 7, 2023

Total Cruise Nights: 6



Welcome Cocktail Party with the Princess Culinary Team & Senior Officers

Two Specialty Dining Experiences & The 360 Experience

Industry Workshops & Networking Opportunities

And much more…

The International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) is the organization of choice for food, wine, and travel writers.

IFWTWA creates programs and services to enhance professional development and facilitate networking while creating a marketplace for destinations, brands, and media professionals to collaborate.

IFWTWA All Aboard! Calling All Food,
You are Invited to IFWTWA 2023!
Registration is open to member and non-members
Travel Writers…



A Southern California Desert Destination

From hiking and cycling to jeep tours, aerial tram rides, and sunbathing poolside, this episode of Big Blend Radio's 2nd Saturday “Sunshine Stays” Show focuses on outdoor adventures in Palm Springs, California. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.


- Kimberli Munkres

Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels.

- Madison Morgan

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

- Ben Crabb

Big Wheel Tours.

This show airs every second Saturday in collabora�on with the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels (PSPH), a consor�um an associa�on of independently owned bou�que hotels in the desert resort community of Palm Springs, in Southern California. Follow the podcast on

Plan your visit and sign up for the monthly Bou�quely Palm Springs newsle�er at:



The Grand Hacienda in Abiquiú Lake, New Mexico

Featuring innkeepers Tom & Carolyn Calfee, this episode of Big Blend Radio's 2nd Thursday "New Mexico Bed & Breakfast Associa�on" Show focuses on The Grand Hacienda, a luxurious stay in Abiquiú Lake.

Hear about the property's ameni�es as well as what to experience in the area including art, farmer's markets, and plenty of outdoor adventures. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

Me�culously designed to frame the extraordinary desert landscape with lake views, The Grand Hacienda Estate of Abiquiú Lake is a bou�que bed & breakfast inn with a culinary experience, for guests looking for the most luxurious stay in Abiquiu’s Georgia O’Keeffe territory.

The property is adults-only, a feast for the senses in a remote and quiet loca�on. Modern luxuries, sophis�cated services, green and eco-friendly, blended with authen�c architecture and inspired adobe and southwestern design.

With only three suites, the Hacienda is a serene escape and a rejuvena�ng retreat nestled on a mesa top overlooking Abiquiú Lake, Ghost Ranch, the Red Cliffs, Pedernal, and plains of red, yellow, purple, and green.

More: h�ps://

Grand Hacienda Sunset
Breakfast Bites at The Grand Hacienda


Experience the Oldest City in Louisiana

Founded in 1714 by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, Natchitoches (pronounced Nack-a-�sh) is the original French Colony and oldest city in Louisiana. Home to the Cane River Na�onal Heritage Area, Natchitoches celebrates a vibrant blend of French, Spanish, African, Na�ve American and Creole cultures.

The Cane River Na�onal Heritage Area encompasses the charming downtown Natchitoches Na�onal Historic Landmark District, Cane River Creole Na�onal Historical Park, as well as the Cane River Na�onal Heritage Trail, which is a Louisiana Scenic Byway that runs along Cane River Lake, and links to the Isle Brevelle Trail and El Camino Real de los Tejas Na�onal Historic Trail, with Longleaf Trail and Kisatchie Na�onal Forest on the outskirts.

Natchitoches retains its European flavor through its architecture, heritage and lifestyle and a full calendar of events. No ma�er what �me of year you visit Natchitoches, you are bound to find a fes�val to celebrate! This historic city is just 275 miles from New Orleans, 255 miles from Dallas, and 290 miles from Li�le Rock.

Arlene Gould on Big Blend Radio: Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast. Meat Pies in Natchitoches, LA
Cane River Lake Riverfront


American Cemetery Tour – Free guided walk at 11:30am, every Friday, (weather and staff permi�ng), sharing the stories of some of the notable people from the area buried in the American Cemetery, the oldest cemetery in Natchitoches. Tel: (318) 357-2492

Natchitoches Farmers Market– 8am-12pm on the Riverbank. The Spring market takes place April through July and the Fall market runs six weeks in October and November.


June 17-18: Juneteenth Celebra�on

July 1-2L Celebra�on on the Cane

July 22: 43rd Annual Natchitoches-NSU Folk Fes�val

July 27-30: Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame 2023

Induc�on Celebra�on

Sept. 2-3: Cane River Zydeco Fes�val

Sept. 16: Meat Pie Fes�val

Sept. 29-30: 17th Annual Natchitoches Car Show

For up-to-date event and travel informa�on, call the Natchitoches Conven�on and Visitors Bureau at (800) 259-1714 or visit

Natchitoches-NSU Folk Fes�val 2019
Natchitoches Na�onal Historic Landmark District in Northwest Louisiana

Israeli cuisine, (ha-mitbaḥ ha-yisra’eli) in Hebrew: המטבח הישראלי), is comprised of local dishes by people na�ve to Israel and dishes brought to Israel by Jews from the Diaspora.

There are two types of Israeli cuisine. The tradi�onal Jewish one, namely, Jews from Eastern Europe. Most of their cooking is done on the stovetop. The others are from Southern Europe and the Middle East where they do a lot of frying and roas�ng. Jewish emigra�on to Israel stems from numerous countries: Africa, North and South America, Europe Yemen, Turkey, and the Middle East, to name but a few. Na�ve Israelis and tourists can experience a variety of restaurants from all over the world offering different foods and fragrances from around the world.

During the early days of the state of Israel, residents of a kibbutz ate their meals in a communal dining hall. It was common for the residents to eat a light snack early in the morning, and then work in the fields for several hours. Then they returned to the dining hall for a hearty midmorning buffet meal, similar to a Brunch.

The Israeli breakfast never includes meats such as ham and bacon, which are common on breakfast menus in many other countries. Following the Jewish laws of Kashrut, (kosher) meat and dairy ingredients are never served together in a meal, and pork products are forbidden. The Israeli breakfast is a dairy meal, and a variety of cheeses are offered. Fish is considered pareve and so it is permi�ed with a dairy meal. Other smoked or pickled fish dishes are also common, including sardines and salmon. At hotels

in Israel, the Israeli breakfast (acclaimed by many as some of the best in the world) is commonly presented as a self-service buffet. In smaller restaurants, a more streamlined menu may be presented through sit-down table service.

In Israeli stores outside of the country, Israelis like me will always look for some of the original foods that are na�ve to Israeli society. Foods that we grew up on always remind us of the tastes of childhood. To name a few: Pesek Zman and Egozie – chocolate bars; Bamba – peanut snack; Bisli –salty snack; Milky and Danny – delicacy yogurt in chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry flavors; Emek cheese – creamy, smooth, yellow cheese; Bagel & Bagel – pretzels, chips, and baked goods; and Elite Chocolates.

Ruth Milstein on Big Blend Radio: Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.


Israeli couscous is served today as a main dish or side dish in many pres�gious restaurants in Europe and the United States. Technically, it is not considered a grain as such. Tradi�onally, couscous was made by rolling moistened semolina (the hardcracked wheat produced by the first crushing in the milling process) in a bowl of flour. Since it isn’t made with conven�onal dough, it’s not a true pasta, and the flour coa�ng takes it past the point of being simply a grain. The Israeli couscous as presented here is the Moroccan style and its texture is like ‘grain’. You can also find couscous in the shape of small pearls. They are both quite healthy and very tasty!

11 oz. couscous

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 ½ tablespoons capers coarsely chopped

2 celery s�cks chopped into small cubes

2 scallions finely chopped

1 tablespoon dry cranberry

Pinch of turmeric

Freshly ground black pepper

Half a cup of parsley finely chopped

2 cans (5oz. net each) of tuna fish in oil

Prepare the couscous according to the manufacturer’s instruc�ons. Transfer it to a bowl and let it cool down a bit. Gently s�r with a fork so that there are no lumps.

Add the oil, lemon, capers, celery, scallion, cranberry, turmeric, and season with freshly ground black pepper. Blend the ingredients with a big spoon; taste and adjust the seasoning. If desired add more olive oil.

Transfer the couscous to a serving bowl and sprinkle the chopped parsley over the top. Place the tuna with the oil over the couscous. Couscous tastes best at room temperature or cool. Makes 6 servings.

Ruth Milstein is the author of the Gourmand awardwinning recipe book, “Cooking with Love: Ventures Into the New Israeli Cuisine.” See more of her recipes on and follow her monthly Big Blend Radio “Cooking with Ruth” podcast here: h�ps://



Tasty Adventures Across America and Around the World

It's all about Food and Wine Des�na�ons on Big Blend Radio's 3rd Friday Travel Writers Show with the Interna�onal Food Wine & Travel Writers Associa�on (IFWTWA). From Switzerland to Spain, and Oregon to Washington State, get a "taste of place" with these two delicious discussions about wine tas�ng and ea�ng local foods when traveling across the country or abroad. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.

Formal gardens at the Gruyeres Castle by Debbie Stone
Two Mountain Winery in Washington by Amanda O'Brien

Featured Guests:

AMANDA O'BRIEN started publishing "The Bou�que Adventurer" in November 2016 a�er nearly 20 years working for big global companies in marke�ng. "The Bou�que Adventurer" is for travelers 35+ years who are s�ll keen to have adventures but like to end their travel day in a bou�que hotel with a high thread count on the sheets and a nice glass of local wine.


** Wineries in Washington

** Wineries in Charlo�esville, Virginia

** Wineries in Rioja, Spain

DEBBIE STONE is an established travel writer and columnist who crosses the globe in search of unique des�na�ons and experiences to share with her audience. She’s an avid explorer who welcomes new opportuni�es to increase awareness and enthusiasm for places, culture, food, history, nature, outdoor adventure, wellness, and more. Her travels have taken her to nearly 100 countries and all seven con�nents.


** French Baking Class in Paris

** All Aboard for Cheese and Chocolate

** Creo Chocolate Tour in Portland

** Venice Street Food Tour

Colorful produce market in Venice by Debbie Stone Vivanco in Rioja by Amanda O'Brien
Design your own bar at Creo Chocolate by Debbie Stone
Iwo jima Memorial: photo by deMys�cWay

I was a Marine Corps Ar�llery officer from 1983 through 1987. Marine Corps leadership training has helped me to be a be�er lawyer. Part of the leadership training I received in the Marine Corps was how to communicate effec�vely. Clear communica�on is an essen�al trait of a lawyer, too.

Marines prac�ce effec�ve communica�on in the crucible of live fire exercises. When orders came down from higher command, a Marine leader must dis�ll that informa�on and clearly explain the details that are essen�al for that Marine’s unit. If the communica�on is not clear and effec�ve, the whole command will know.

Similarly, a lawyer must dis�ll the law and apply it to the facts of his client’s case. A�er that, the lawyer must explain the situa�on to his client in a way that the client can see the risks facing him or her. A miscommunica�on can have a bad effect.

The stress of live fire exercises also helped me, as a Marine Corps officer, to stay cool under difficult and �me-sensi�ve situa�ons.

These days, when a judge is pressing me for a quick response, that Marine Corps training has helped me to stay cool under withering fire.

Another trait Marine Corps training develops is a laser focus on accomplishing the Mission. Civilian employers value that trait, and it has helped me to effec�vely prac�ce law. For example, Marines and lawyers o�en feel many stressors pulling in different direc�ons. When that happens, we need to focus on the objec�ve and then priori�ze the intermediate tasks to accomplish that objec�ve. That type of focus and ability to organize priori�es helped me in the Marine Corps and helps me today as I prac�ce law.

Based in San Diego, California the Employment Law Office of Ward Heinrichs represents both employers and employees in almost all areas of labor law. He and his firm li�gate cases that have been filed in many different parts of California. Visit www.BestEmploymentA�

Ward Heinrichs on Big Blend Radio: Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.

What WillYourProfessionalLegacyBe?

This episode of Big Blend Radio features Lea Brovedani "The Trust Architect" who discusses the importance of building a legacy of trust. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean.

This is Part 2 of this topic, with a focus on Building a Professional Legacy as a business or organiza�on,

and as a leader in one's professional career. As always, Lea's 5 Tenets of Trust (Caring, Commitment, Consistency, Competence, and Communica�on) are a main part of the discussion. Read her ar�cle and hear Part 1 of this conversa�on that focuses on Building a Personal Legacy of Trust on

Lea is a speaker and workshop facilitator on trust who is recognized as a Top Thought Leader on Trust for by the organiza�on Trust Across America, and is the author of “TRUST Me – Restore Belief & Confidence in an Uncertain World” and “TRUSTED –Secret Lessons from an Inspired Leader.” Listen to "Trust Talk with Lea" every Third Thursday on Big Blend Radio.

More: h�p://

Lea is also a cer�fied end-of-life doula. Learn more here: h�ps://


On this episode of Big Blend Radio's "Quality of Life" Show, life coach and author Steve Piacente discusses the various life lessons and skills parents can learn from their children and grandchildren. Read Steve’s ar�cle on LinkedIn, and watch the conversa�on here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean

Steve is a former journalist turned life coach, who is cer�fied by the Interna�onal Coach Federa�on, and is also the Director of Training at The Communica�on Center in Washington, D.C. He is the award-winning author of three novels, “Pretender,” “Bella” and “Bootlicker.” His latest book is “Your New Figh�ng Stance: Good Enough Isn’t and You Know It.”

More: h�ps://



The Life & Legacy of the Historic Traveling Photographer & Ar�st

1899 photograph of El Capitan by William Henry Jackson

In 1894 George Eastman invented film that could be placed on a roll and a few years later the Kodak camera, using roll film, was beginning to be manufactured. Prior to this, photographers had a much harder �me doing photography if they wanted to travel and record the western American landscape as it was being explored. Glass or metal prin�ng plates, a stock of chemicals, and a portable, horse-drawn darkroom were necessary items. The successful 19th-century traveling photographer had to be very hardy as well as lucky to move from place to place without damaging or losing his en�re opera�on as he traveled over rough dirt roads or forded rivers and streams. One such photographer was William Henry Jackson 1843 – 1942.

Jackson was a talented boy who spent many hours honing his drawing skills. An early job as a re-

When Jackson was mustered out of his Civil War regiment, he opened his own photography studio in Vermont. Shortly therea�er, he had his first taste of the West traveling to Montana hauling supplies for a freight company by oxen-drawn wagons. By 1868 he had married, and he and his wife opened another photography studio in Omaha, Nebraska. Leaving his wife to operate their business,

Jackson accepted an invita�on to join the Hayden geologic and survey expedi�on. Thus, Jackson became the first photographer to capture the amazing features of what is now Yellowstone Na�onal Park. In fact, Jackson’s photographs helped convince Congress to establish Yellowstone as the first na�onal park in 1872.

In 1879, a new home and studio were established in Denver, Colorado. In addi�on to the usual portraiture done in studios, Jackson manufactured stereoscopic cards of the outstanding natural wonders he had photographed. It was also during his years in Colorado he dispelled a myth by taking a noteworthy photograph. The Mountain of the Cross had been seen occasionally and spoken of for years, but Jackson was the first person whose photograph proved its existence.

In addi�on, he became the first white man to see Con�nued on Next Page…

toucher gave him experience within a professional photography studio. Victoria Chick on Big Blend Radio: Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.
Muddy Pond, Rutland VT, 1861. Oil pain�ng by William Henry Jackson

and photograph the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde. By the 1890s he had a reputa�on as the greatest landscape photographer in America.

The Chicago World Columbian Exposi�on in 1893, for which he did the photographs, provided an opportunity to meet one of the Exposi�on’s organizers who offered to pay all Jackson’s expenses to travel around the world for 5 years taking photographs of the wonders he saw. Jackson accepted this amazing gi� but completed the tour in much less �me. On his return, he took his nega�ves to the Detroit Publishing Company where he became a director at about the same �me color postcards were first marketed.

Financially, Jackson did very well for over 30 years when Detroit Publishing went out of business due to trouble with trademarking its color process as new companies with improved color processes were established. So, at the age of 71, William Henry Jackson set about reinven�ng himself as a commercial ar�st, lecturer, and writer; and he con�nued doing these things un�l his death at age 99. His pain�ngs, both oil and watercolor, were based on his photographs combined with his knowledge of the history of places he had photographed. The subjects are o�en important historical events or scenes that would have been typical for an earlier era in a par�cular geographic loca�on. Some are personal, such as the pain�ng he did of himself photographing Mt. Holy Cross.

One wing of the Sco�s Bluff Na�onal Monument is dedicated to William Henry Jackson and sixty of his pain�ngs are in that park’s collec�on. Most of Jackson’s nega�ves are in the Library of Congress.

Victoria Chick is the founder of the Cow Trail Art Studio in southwest New Mexico. She received a B.A. in Art from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and awarded an M.F.A. in Pain�ng from Kent State University in Ohio. Visit her website at Ar� and following her monthly Big Blend Radio Podcast here: h�ps://�st-victoria-chick

Restored photochrom print of Hotel del Coronado in Coronado, California by William Henry Jackson for the Detroit Publishing Company, c. 1900. Jackson con�nued… Lone Star Geyser, Yellowstone, 1878, by William Henry Jackson


Reenactment at Honey Springs Ba�lefield

Honey Springs Ba�lefield and Audie Murphy American Co�on Museum

This episode of Big Blend Radio's "Jefferson Highway" Show focuses on two military history sites that span the Civil War through World War One, Two, Korea, and Vietnam.

Created by the Jefferson Highway Associa�on, which was originally founded in 1915, the Jefferson Highway is an interna�onal highway, also known as "The Pines to the Palms Highway," that runs from Winnipeg, Canada to New Orleans, Louisiana. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.

Featured Guests:

- Roger Bell - President of the Jefferson Highway Associa�on.


- Adam Lynn - Honey Springs Ba�lefield & Visitor Center in Checotah, Oklahoma.


- Susan Lanning - Audie Murphy/American Co�on Museum in Greenville, Texas.


Audie Murphy/American Co�on Museum

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