A Great Time In Colorado and Chicago!
By Rachelle Siegrist
We spent our last day in Colorado, inside Rocky Mountain National Park. Freshly fallen snow covered the upper elevations, and parting gray clouds revealed sunshine and blue skies, creating some nice photo-ops! The wind was unbelievable however, gusting well over 60 mph and making it quite cold! Snow blowing off the surrounding mountains, made it look like snow showers in the distance! We had to be careful when walking near edges and the fierce winds pelted us with snow blowing from miles away, as we walked through fields below! It was a beautiful day though, and it is always an amazing treat to spend time in the park!
That evening Wes and I hiked to the top of the hill behind our friends’ house to enjoy the gorgeous 360-degree view. Amazingly the wind was blowing even harder there, making it difficult to stand up at times, and impossible to talk to each other, and at one point I had to squat to keep from getting blown over! I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to be out in a hurricane . . . now I know!
We had an awesome send off Monday morning, when a herd of elk came to say goodbye, as we packed and left Bob and Diane’s. We all boarded the plane in Denver, heading to Chicago, where we were met by more wind, cold and snow flurries.
Within an hour we arrived at friend and SAA President Reneé and Brian’s home, where we spent this past week. While Wes and Bob continued working on SAA business on Tuesday, Renée and I took their gorgeous English Setters, Max and Marlin for a nice long walk, and afterwards Diane helped us make twice baked potatoes and other things for the big dinner party the next evening. After a delicious dinner that evening, we all enjoyed watching a movie in their personal home theater!
Max takes a nap while Marlin helps out
Wednesday was spent jurying for the SAA annual show which is all done anonymously and in random order (The jurors don’t know who they are voting for or how their peers vote until the end). Neither of us served as jurors, Wes (in training to become the Executive Director) worked with Bob and I read aloud the mediums of each artwork submitted for the show for the jurors and helped run errands. We were extremely delighted to each have a painting selected for the annual exhibition and with this being my 15th year of being accepted, it makes me a Distinguished Signature Member! Congratulations also to everyone whose work was accepted for the upcoming 58th Annual Exhibition at the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art!
That evening Renée and Brian graciously treated everyone to a wonderful time and dinner at their home. Thursday was spent at the Herrington Inn with the SAA’s Spring board meeting and new members’ jury. That afternoon friend Pat joined me for a nice hike along the Fox River, where we visited a Japanese Garden, hillsides covered in beautiful blue flowers and an old Dutch Windmill, as well as other things of interest. It was a warm, sunny day, making it even more enjoyable! That evening the entire board enjoyed a nice dinner at a local Irish Pub.
Friday brought an amazing treat for us, while getting to ride in the “Man Van” as Renée and Brian call their big black office van, while driver Dave took us four along with Renée, to Barabou, WI.
Arriving in style, we met Brian at their beautiful distillery and restaurant, Driftless Glen, and were delighted to get a personal tour of the distillery and facility while seeing the backbones of the operation.
Afterwards we enjoyed a delicious lunch in their restaurant, while enjoying a beautiful view of the river! Working on a new dessert, the chef treated us all to the first tasting of his Tres’ Leches cake, which was of course totally scrumptious, as well as his bread pudding with bourbon sauce!
With happy and full tummies, we hit the infused Balsamic vinegars and olive oil tasting bar, and what a delightful treat it was! Scott offered us different pairings to taste, which were all delicious in unique ways! It was truly a wonderful experience, and if you are ever in the area, I highly recommend a visit to Driftless Glen!
YUM . . . look at all those balsamic vinegars and olive oils!
Wes and I want to personally thank Reneé, Brian, Diane and Bob again for opening their beautiful homes to us and blessing us with a truly wonderful past two weeks!!! I’ll share the images of our accepted paintings next week.
Until next time . . .