After the Tour song the Lady Scots sang the "Flower of Scotland" and other songs. At the evening's end and speaking from her heart, Captain Brenda Macintyre thanked everyone for making this a wonderful tour. Speaking afterwards, Courier Margie in turn thanked the Lady Scots.
The Lady Scots traveled 3200 miles by bus and about 2000 by air just in the United States. They played 121 games, threw 7744 rocks, and the leads and seconds swept 12 miles of ice...just to list a few notable facts.
Thoughts from Margie Knitter (Courier):
"I have been dreading this moment since January 6 when the Scots arrived. About 4 years ago, I was appointed chair of the Incoming Scot tour committee and in that time was so focused on the planning and design of the tour that I never gave a moment's thought about what would happen when I would actually be on the tour...about getting 20 new friends, with hundreds more across the USA. And like my 2006 tour to Scotland, it has been a trip of a lifetime. I would not have traded this time spent with these ladies for anything. I am still not sure which tour I like best. Being with these women for the last 24 days has been a treasure. 20 women who cared for each other; when a team mate went down, stepped in to help. Their generosity, kindness and love for each other were a joy to see. To have traveled 3200 bus miles, about 2000 air miles, visit 22 curling clubs, 16 host homes and play 121 games, well you just have to admire them for their stamina, adaptability, patience, and overall good naturedness.
Bridget and I thank you for letting us share this time with you.
To the 2011 Scottish Ladies tour to the USA, We Salute you!"
January 28, 2011 - Seattle
10 AM Friday morning, everyone is at the curling club and ready for the city bus tour. Prior to leaving, the Lady Scots played a great practical joke on Courier Margie. They presented her with a tiara and sash - Miss Lake Michigan; reminding her of her inaccurate response in the family feud game in Madison. What a great surprise and everyone shared in a good laugh!
After the laughter, the tour began at Ballard Locks; this connects the Lake Union and Washington with the Puget Sound. Interestingly there were the fish ladders, but no salmon were present and running as it was not the appropriate time of the year. Next was the Space Needle; there was limited viewing because, unfortunately, it was a cloudy day and there was limited visibility. Box lunches provided a delightful salad and sandwich lunch on the bus as the tour moved towards Pikes Place Market.
At Pikes Place Market, this was a wonderfully eclectic street containing the very first Starbucks, a delightful French bakery, and lots of fruit and vegetables. And in anticipation, as anyone who has visited this area before knows, the ladies were eager to see the fish throwing - alas, the fish market was under reconstruction. No fish throwing was seen today.
Yet, what makes all things better...after about an hour of shopping and sight-seeing, the group make their way to Kerry Park. This is an "overlook" of the city and Space needle.
By 3:30pm, it was back to the curling club for the 4:00 game. This is the second to last game and the tempo remains the same: Scots favor!!! It was one of Ms. Brenda's (Scot Captain) end that took the Lady Scots over the 1000 point mark. Scores at the end of the game: Scots 1020 & US 630.
After the match, there was a wine tasting party provided by curling member Ms. Amber. With all Washington state wines, she was on hand to answer any questions. Dinner included a pasta bar, salad, with sumptuous desserts...in addition to another birthday cake for Ms. Liz Paul.
January 27, 2011 - St. Paul, MN - Happy Birthday to the Birthday Girl: Ms. Liz Paul!!!
Back to the curling club for their 9 am game and team photos, hot cider awaited them...but something special would be happening. Today is Liz Paul's birthday, and she arrived at the St Paul Curling Club decked out in a birthday tiara. Birthday or not, Ms. Paul and the Lady Scots again showed their curling skills. After the first St. Paul game the Scot were up to 941 with the US at 600 even. Yet the final score after both St. Paul games brought the Lady Scots even closer to their 1000 point goal: Scots 985 and US 628.
After the morning game, the ladies were treated to a baked potato bar - first time for a similar lunch, but there were still many different choices. In addition to toppings of cheeses, mushrooms, etc., there were baked chicken drumsticks. Desserts were presented on each table: pink for lady slipper and purple for heather frosted cupcakes. Ms. Liz somehow managed a special one! Gifts to the Lady Scots included silkscreen scarves designed by Ms. Jane Goodspeed especially for the tour.
After Lunch, the GPS navigation system was set for the Mall of America (MOA) and a little more shopping before the flight to Seattle, Washington. With 2 hours remaining, there was just enough time to check out a few of the 520+ stores. With over 40 million annual visitors and every 4 of 10 people visiting the MOA are tourists...our Lady Scots were in great company. Find fun MOA facts: www.mallofamerica.com
After about an hour of shopping, several ladies found Famous Dave's Pub and some more woowoos. Time quickly vanished as did refreshments and then it was back to the bus. While boarding the bus, Ms. Lynette Munkberg, a 1996 tour member arrived with cookies wrapped in stars and stripes cellophane for us; quite a surprise for the Lady Scots. Off to the airport for the final segment of the Tour.
Traveling and visiting now for 3 weeks, the team acquired quite a few gifts, souvenirs, and other memorabilia. Packing for the flight proved quite challenging; yet, again the Lady Scots showed their skills and ability to meet any challenge. After much fan-fare through the MSP airport with large suitcases, broom bags, hold alls, carry-ons, and you name it, we finally reached the ticket counter. And conquering one challenge after another, security was nearly a clean get-away. Everyone, but Ms. Jennifer...seems she had something buried deep within her carry on...it took the guards 3 times to find. Ah...twas, just a wee little jar of jam!!! Once on the plane, all things went well. No delays in reaching Seattle. YEA!!! And, while waiting to debark, the ladies broke into a favored song - the flower of Scotland - much to the delight of the other passengers.
Once off plane, all things end at baggage. And, so Ms. Linda and Mr. Phil Draper, Ms. Marji Yalowicki, Ms. Lesley Frosch and Mr. Tom Wilson greeted everyone there with banners and hands to help. From one transport to another, the group was on another bus and off to the curling club to meet the home hosts. Finally, the Lady Scots were on their way to a good night's rest...as were the couriers!!
One other note: It was a sad day today; our driver, Mr. Dave, dropped everyone off at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport and now he would go home to Green Bay, Wisconsin while the Tour group traveled onward to Seattle. Good bye, Dave! Thanks for everything; for your help with the luggage, the books, the flag bag, but most of all...your good humor!
January 26, 2011 - St. Paul, MN
Travel in Fargo (from one snow spot to another) was great and the weather actually warmed up for the Lady Scots. Mid 20s as opposed to the low 20s...and that would be below zero or -28.8 Celsius. Brrrrrrr...but, all the visiting made for warm and friendly times.
On Wednesday, the second draw was at 9 am; arriving from host homes, the ladies were quick to get organized and ready for curling. While one US team was able to net a win from among the four, overall the Lady Scots commanded the morning. "They simply took us to school!" Struggles with reading the ice (too heavy, too light, sweep, no sweeping, etc...) found many creative explanations. Final score in ND: Scots 905 & US 566. The Lady Scots have a goal of reaching 1000 points. Well wishes to the great curlers with 4 games to go!
After lunch of a Potato Bar with choice condiments, (broccoli, buffalo gravy, chicken, bacon bits, sour cream, chives, chopped onions, butter, and garlic butter) and delicious bars and cookies for dessert, discussions focused on how organized everything was with the different foods. The Lady Scots are really having an opportunity to observe just how diverse our vast country is with the varieties of cultures and foods within the different regions.
Then, it was time for the Lady Scots and singing; they shared their wonderful tour song and a choice song about Scotland. It seems that one of the couriers has the Tour song stuck in her head playing over and over again with Jenny Bain talking as she sleeps at night...it now is flooding her days! ...this Scottish tune is far better than most so perhaps not a bad thing!!
Boarding the bus at 1 pm, the ladies were off with cheers, farewells, and a bright sunny day as Mr. Dave steered the bus toward Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN. Travel across the country has been most fortunate as snow and storms were either ahead or behind providing no obstacles or problems getting to the curling clubs; it truly seems that travel is directly under a lucky star. With a 3+ hour ride ahead, many slept, others, talked, and some had the opportunity to watch the movie "Fargo" provided by Ms. Carmen DeLaney.
Arriving in St. Paul as scheduled, the Minnesota Fire Service Memorial Pipe Band greeted the Lady Scots. After a dinner of beef tips served over pasta with vegetables, curling began with all 5 teams on the ice. Although the Lady Scots only won 2 of the games, they won the match by 2 points; thanks to Ms. Kay Gibbs' team scoring a 7end in the 7th end. What an awesome & great game.
Final Score: Scots 985 & US 625. So very close to the 1000 point goal!!!
After the game, everyone enjoyed a variety of different cakes as dessert: chocolate cake with caramel flan, chocolate with raspberry cake, and spice cake to name a few. The Lady Scots entertained the group with their tour and the Flower of Scotland song. It seems these 2 songs are the preferred choice as it brings an endearing end to the evening.
Smiles were somewhat less bright tonight as the tour is winding down...alas, there is both a gladness to return and see family and a sadness as the tour nears an end. What is notable is that the bonds formed among these Sister Scots will continue to be strengthened not only in the days ahead, but in the years to follow.
Curling Reflection: Thoughts regarding the Lady Scots: Curling with the best. The pure experience of sharing moments with ladies who traveled more than 3000 miles to visit the US creates enjoyable moments in time when all things center upon the respect of a commonly loved sport: curling.
Many may pause when reading today's entry, but contemplation should include points of reality: not knowing each other, 20 women joined together, traveled to a country far away, slept in a different location each night without friend or family, ate strange foods (some more recognizable than others)...all because of the love a sport: curling.
Intertwining not only the Lady Scots, this bond, weaving across cultures and countries, also joins others into the cultural heritage of curling.
January 25, 2011 - Fargo, ND
Traveling from Curl Mesabi (Eveleth, MN) to Fargo, ND (253+miles) included a stopover in Park Rapids. Several Lady Scots indicated that driving into Park Rapids was like coming into an old western town...they were looking for the horses to be tied up somewhere. Lunch at A Good Life included choices of soup or salad for starters with Walleye, Reuben, or Turkey & wild rice as the main entree. After such a delightful lunch, time allowed for browsing in the stores. Monika's quilt store was a favorite of at least 2 people...right Couriers!
The drive to Fargo was scenic with the beauty of the terrain and snow...Quite exceptional! Upon arrival in Fargo, there was a little time for shopping at the Mall; always a highlight.
Arriving at the Fargo Curling Club (4:45 pm), members from Fargo, Grafton, and Grand Forks greeted the Lady Scots with arched brooms and cheers. Scooting quickly inside to avoid the cold, the ladies enjoyed refreshments. After the visit, the ladies boarded the bus and traveled to the North Dakota State University Alumni Center for dinner. A city tour was unexpected because of repeated trips around the NDSU Alumni Center as Mr. Dave was trying to get entry into the parking lot. Dinner consisted of garden salad, Chicken Kiev on a bed of wild rice, and vegetables. Dessert was delayed; plans included an ice-cream social after the evening draw. Ms. Amelia Young, Fargo-Moorehead Curling Club President, welcomed everyone and Mr. Mike Mahoney, Fargo's Deputy Mayor wished the Lady Scots well and recognized Robert Burns' Birthday. The event chair, Ms. Carmen Delaney, presented the Lady Scots with gifts of Chippers (chocolate covered potato chips) and a magnet recognizing Fargo as host of the 2011 National Men's and Women's Curling Championship.
Visiting with several of the Lady Scots, Ms. Shenna Boyd and Ms. Jenny Bain, stated that their experiences were filled with daily surprises. "We are tired, but having a great time and we are being treated like Queens!" So, to all the Lady Scots, several wishes that can be shared with each of you: a wish for good curling, a wish for you to enjoy all things, and a wish for a good night's rest.
The Lady Scots continued their strong showing with the following scores: Scots 863 and US 549.
After a wonderful ice-cream social (cream, nuts, caramel, chocolate, & strawberries toppings), Ms. Michele Frederick, area coordinator, led the group with a Bobby Burns song. Concluding the evening, the Lady Scots sang their tour song and their choice song of Scotland. A great time by all...as everyone scurried off to a great night's rest.
Scottish Hunting Dog
January 24, 2011 - Eveleth, MN
After a great night's rest, everyone was looking chipper and ready to be back on the ice to continue their "winning ways!" Scot score 778 and US 506. Lunch was a Taco Bar. Having a raffle to assist in financing the Tour visit, the Duluth ladies arranged for tickets to be drawn after lunch. With the Lady Scots on such a winning streak, they purchased raffle tickets. And, several of the ladies won prizes. For Duluth, Ms. Barb Payette was the event chair.
Departing from Duluth, the one hour bus ride to Curl Mesabi (Eveleth, MN) was quick. Ms. Patti Maturi, the area coordinator in addition to Ms. Ruth Jayson the club chair, joined other curlers to greet the Lady Scots upon arrival. Another game and another win by the Lady Scots resulted in the scoring of the Scots 823 and the US 532.
Following the cocktail party, the dinner of Northern Minnesota fare was served: wild rice soup, iron miner's pastries, porketta and sarma. Entertainment by the Chorale (20 area men with one lady on the key boards) sang old favorites from the varied decades (40s through 70s). The songs were both entertaining and fabulous...the voices were great! The Lady Scots were a wee bit nervous about singing after the group, but as always the ladies were a delight.
The Lady Scots received beautiful hand-made quilted bags made by club member, Ms. Shirley Legueri. The bags contained goodies, wine charms made of decorated iron ore and a bag of wild rice with recipes. Ms. Shirley also made a lovely wall-hanging quilt depicting the Scot stops across the US; a name was drawn and the winner of the beautiful quilt was Ms. Mary Ann McWilliams.
Before departure, the Ladies were treated to a special breakfast: French toast, eggs, and sausages. Back on the bus with departure was 9am, travels continues into the Midwest.
January 23, 2011 - Duluth, MN
Back on the bus again, we departed at 10 am for Medford. While unable to host a curling match, the club invited the Tour to stop by for lunch at Phil & Eleanor's Steakhouse...and what a delight: Mimosas, salad, steak and baked potatoes, with ice-cream bathed in Creme de Menthe for dessert.
The Lady Scots introduced the Medford Ladies to "woowoos" - a concoction of vodka, peach schnapps, cranberry juice, freshly squeezed lime juice, and fruit for garnish. This seems to be a favorite for morning classes on the bus! The Packer/Bear game began and a few were able to watch for little bit at the restaurant. The Medford Ladies invited us to visit the State Senior men's finals at their curling club. Upon arrival, we found on one on the ice, but at the bar watching the football game! Unfortunately, for those die-hard fans in the group, departure was necessary, but Mr. Dave (the wonderful driver that he is) was able to get the game on the bus radio; lots of cheers rang out when the favorite team won the game.
On a jovial note: Sunday was Mascot Murdo's day to party...it seems he enjoyed and enjoyed and enjoyed Phil & Eleanor's refreshments...am sure he will pay for that on Monday! Tuesday should find him in good form!
The final leg of travel for this Sunday was to Duluth, MN. Arriving at 6:30 pm, a cheering crowd greeted the Lady Scots. Following the cocktail party, a steak and walleye dinner was served. Dressed in tuxedos, the men members of the club served as waiters much to the delight of the ladies. Formal photographs were taken in the ballroom and afterwards the ladies retired to their host homes after a very long day of travel.
January 22, 2011 - Green Bay, WI
Arriving in Green Bay around 11am, the greeting and fan fare of the Green Bay Curlers was enthusiastic. Having become Green Bay Packer fans, the Lady Scots, in anticipation of meeting the GB culers were wearing green and gold! A very delicious lunch of salad, lasagna, and garlic bread was prepared and ready.
With 2 draws this afternoon, 3 and 2 games respectively, the Lady Scots demonstrated their superior curling skills. The first draw resulted in the score widening between the teams. The cumulative score: Scots: 640 and the US 446. The second draw continued the Lady Scots domination moving the scoring to 669 to the US 466.
Immediately after curling the ladies went to host homes to change and return to the club for dinner. Meanwhile, the curling club was transformed to a Night Club. With the area rearranged, soft lighting and tables created the ambiance the evening. Dinner was served over several hours with a variety of superb appetizers: sushi, crab cakes, beef sandwiches, and shrimp to only name a few. What delicious food!!!
Later in the evening, the Lady Scots entertained with their tour song and others. Following the gift presentation to the Green Bay CC members, to the delight of everyone, Ms. Anne Maree Davidson performed her "Julia Child" act...not only are the Lady Scots celebrities, but also there is a notable actress.
Gifts to the Lady Scots were hand-knitted neck scarves with curling and USA style buttons. To Chris Casper: A very special thank you for providing the majority of food and organization. The evening concluded around 10pm as the ladies returned to their host homes.
Kay Gibbs of the Lady Scots with Carla Casper.
January 21, 2011 - Portage, WI
Arriving at 10 am for the state capital tour, a cold morning greeted everyone with -5F or -17C whichever temperature you wish to convert; it was simply cold and did not lend to feeling very warm! Bundled up, everyone was ready for the 11 am tour. Some of the first sights included the Rotunda, Governor's office, Senate room, Judicial court, the Assembly, and the Lt. Governor's office. Newly elected Lt. Governor, Rebecca Kleefisch, read to the Lady Scots the Proclamation from Governor Scot Walker, declaring "January 21, 2011, the Curling Kilts of Scotland Day!" The ladies sang their tour song for the Lt. Governor; she recorded this and uploaded it to her blog.
Completing the tour (which was quite remarkable) lunch was enjoyed at the King and Mane. A delightful restaurant, the ladies had their choice of menu items ranging from Mexican to American, and margaritas to G & Ts (a ladies favorite). Madison chair Ms. Beth Lepping, was elected Miss Congeniality for her pleasant ways, constant smile, and willingness to just have fun. She also presented Scot's Captain, Ms. Brenda Macintyre and Ms. Pat Hughes with the famous cheese hats.
After lunch, the ladies had a choice of shopping on State Street or remaining at the restaurant and visiting. Most ladies chose to shop. For those remaining at the restaurant, a lively game of "pack my suitcase" was enjoyed. Going around each table, every person added something to the suitcase and recalled all the items within...the "suitcase" made it around 3 times before it was time to go...and, of course, if someone missed/forgot an item, they were required take a drink of their choice beverage.
At the 3:30 designated time, everyone gathered and was off to Portage. Nearing the city, there was a grand welcome prepared for the entry. With flashing lights, the Police Chief was waiting at the city limits to provide an "official police escort" to the Curling Club. Imagine...a police escort for a Tour Bus...the Lady Scots are now among the celebrities!! Indeed, they are Rock Stars!!!
Arriving at the club, members were cheering; that would be the least to expect with such celebrities on board! Shannon Green, a reporter from the Portage Daily Register, interviewed Ms. Brenda Macintyre, the Lady Scots Captain. On Saturday, the morning paper was filled with pictures and a story describing the Lady Scots curling. Feel free to check out both the article and pictures. www.wiscnews.com/portagedailyregister/image_16700e04-25f1-11e0-8910-001cc4c03286.html With such media coverage, these famous ladies will need to begin thinking about having body guards! Mr. Dave will not be able to fend off all the crowds!!
After the cocktail party, music by a local trio provided entertainment while the group feasted on Wisconsin's famous "Friday Night Fish Fry!" Breaded fried fish or baked fish was complimented with coleslaw, potato salad, and the famous rye bread; another new meal for the Lady Scots. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful fare. Following the meal, the ladies were out on the ice, but the media and fame only allowed the Lady Scots to take 7 point from the US ladies. This was the US best showing since Nutmeg. Collective scores after Portage: Scots 670 and the US 450.
After entertainment and the Scot's presentation, a hearty rendition of Auld Lang Syne was shared; everyone boarded the bus and the Best Western Hotel was the day's final destination. What a busy and exhausting day, but so filled with wonderful memories and special moments.
With an early morning, Saturday at 8:45 am found everyone gathering the morning newspapers as "evidence of fame." The bus now travels towards "Packerland!" It seems there are plenty of "green & gold" converts...except one and there always should be one to balance the crowd!!!
January 20, 2011 - Madison, WI
With a very short drive from KMCC to Madison, the one hour trip was seemingly nothing compared to previous drives!! And, who would you think greeted us at Madison???? Bucky Badger himself in addition to 8 members of the Madison Marching Band; they performed at the Rose Bowl! What an exceptional welcoming committee.
After photos with Bucky, the curlers were led onto the ice by none other than Bucky with the band playing rink side; a resounding start for sure! With the first game completed, a loaded taco bar with ice cream sundaes for dessert was served for lunch. This hit the spot! In the afternoon the next game was played and this match found the Lady Scots extending their overall lead to well over 200 points: Scots 642 and the US 429.
The Lady Scots changed into their dress uniforms for the evening. To provide an overall idea of their uniforms, below is their attire: #1: Dress Uniform with the "frillies" #2: Tartan trousers with either blazer or cardigan and plain blouse #3: Casual Outfit-blue sweater, black trousers #4: On ice outfit
When everyone changed, from the curling club the Lady Scots went to Mr. Steve and Ms. Diane Brown's new curling supply store for cocktails and shopping. Everyone traveled to the Maple Bluff Country Club for dinner: a pasta bar. On the tables were beautifully wrapped boxes for the Lady Scots containing a wooden curling stone with a tartan cloth attached for displaying their newly acquired pins. These were made by Madison club member, Mr. Cliff Andreoli, a 2001 member of the Men's Scot Tour.
Evening entertainment provided by a DJ consisted of Scottish songs which led to family feud games; Margie Knitter was christened Miss Lake Michigan for incorrectly identifying the largest lake in Wisconsin. With the band providing music, the Lady Scots danced the Scottish country dance called the "Ceilidh." Enjoying the dancing, the ladies relaxed and joined in the merry making.
The evening ended near 11 and to the host homes they went as the day's final minutes swiftly expired. Because of a later start time (10am), the next morning provided for a sleep in...and it was well deserved.
January 19, 2011 - Hartland, WI
Meeting at the Milwaukee Curling Club at 8:30 am, departure to the Kettle Moraine Curling Club (KMCC) was on time. Only 50 miles away, KMCC was a short drive and the Lady Scots were greeted with arched brooms. These ladies are really going to miss such American greetings upon returning home!
After morning refreshments, the curlers were piped onto the ice and the draw commenced. In addition to KMCC teams, clubs from Janesville, Racine, and Wausatosa participated in both the morning and afternoon games.
Between the games, the ladies had a lunch of wild rice soup with chicken and mushrooms complimented with a green salad. Dessert was a choice of chocolate or vanilla pudding filled puff pastry.
Game 16, the second draw of the day, began promptly at 2:30pm. Once again, the Scots commanded the stones and handled the US easily. At the day's end, the running score was Scots 552 and the US 381.
Before dinner at the curling club, everyone enjoyed a cocktail party. Entertainment was provided at the beginning of the dinner by the Kettle Moraine Chamber Singers. Delicious pork tenderloin, green beans, risotto, followed by ice cream and apple cobbler served to complete the dinner.
The Scots entertained us with their tour song; when the ladies sang "The Flower of Scotland," Allie, a Scottish Lass and member of KMCC, joined in and sang with them. The party and visiting ended near 9:30 and the ladies went home with their home hosts.
January 18, 2011 - Milwaukee, WI
There is always a first time for everything; departure from Chicago Curling Club was 20 minutes late. A late cab and difficult maneuvering from the parking lot, found the group finally leaving Chicago at 8:20 going to Milwaukee. Chair of the Scot Tour and courier, Margie Knitter provided a home town guided city tour upon arrival. Along the Lake front many sights were enjoyed: Calatrava (addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum...the wings were closed), the Mark Disuvero, and last but not least was the beautiful scenery. When all traffic was considered, arrival into Milwaukee was only 10 mintues behind schedule.
Greeted by the Milwaukee Kilties, refreshments were served and then the curlers were piped onto the ice for the morning game. After the game, everyone went to the home of Mr. Mike and Ms. Dierdre Snyder for lunch (soup, salad, and a desert). With limited time, it was back to the club for a second game. Healthy until now, the Ms. Mary Anne and Ms. Anne Maree of the Lady Scots have subs for their afternoon games due to injury and illness (the very first time during the tour).
At the day's end, the Lady Scots remain strong and continues to extend their lead. Final score: Scots 455 and US 328. And another note: for the first time of the tour, a US team was "grannied" meaning no points were scored.
Dining for the evening was located at the beautiful Hubbard Park Lodge in the one of the most beautiful parks overlooking the Milwaukee River. While secluded and private, it is centrally located. The architectural details complementing the Lodge are enhanced by the setting: cathedral ceiling, stone fireplace, and a balcony that offer a rustic yet elegant facility. Dinner consisted of salad, Asian beef, chicken, and vegetables, with wonderful desserts. The Lady Scots were whisked off to their host homes for a well deserved and needed rest.
January 17, 2011 - Chicago, IL
Arriving at the Chicago Curling Club, the Lady Scots demonstrated their curling skills once again as they contributed to a commanding win and the spread continues to widen: Scots 376 and US 290. After the match lunch consisted of green salad, chicken with mimosas, followed with chocolate and almond meringue cookies; quite a delightful meal!
Following lunch, we set off for the Chicago City Tour; Ms. Sylvia Dunbeck, the tour guide, shared her vast knowledge of Chicago...very impressive! Photos were taken at the Bahai House of Worship for North America. Everyone enjoyed the tour of the Wrigley building towers and cupolas; William Wrigley, Jr. (Wrigley chewing gum magnate) selected the land to headquarter his business. Combining French Renaissance detail using the shape of the Giralda tower of Seville's Cathedral, the 425 foot south tower was completed in 1921 and a north tower in 1924. The architectural firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst, & White completed the building with walkways between the towers on the the 3 floor and ground level. In 1931, a Chicago statue required another walkway between the 14 floor and bank offices. The two tower (excluding Michigan Ave) has a combined area of 453, 433 square feet!! While tours are not allowed (private offices), one of the Chicago curlers working for the law firm made arraignments for a visit: Views were spectacular and the photo opportunities were plenty.
A little history about Millenium Park: From the 1850s through the late 20th century, the site that is now occupied by Millennium Park was controlled by the Illinois Central Railroad. In Daniel Burnham's 1909 Plan of Chicago, he considered the railroad property to be so untouchable that he developed the Grant Park portion of the plan around it. Construction began on Grant Park in 1917. The first areas to be constructed were the narrow strips between Michigan Avenue and the railroad tracks extending from Randolph Street to 11th Street. The original Peristyle was built at this time at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street.
With the completion of Grant Park, the railroad area remained a blight in its corner. In 1977 four Chicago civic groups proposed the "Lakefront Gardens for the Performing Arts." The proposed park, which included a performing arts pavilion, lacked both a funding strategy and significant government support. Ultimately, the Petrillo Music Shell was built in Grant Park as a compromise between the civic groups and the Chicago Park District.
In 1997 Mayor Richard M. Daley directed his staff to develop plans for a new music venue to be built over the active tracks and surface parking lot. What is now Millennium Park was first conceived in 1998 with the mission of creating new parkland in Grant Park to transform the unsightly railroad tracks and parking lots that had long dotted the lakefront. Over time, with Mayor Richard M. Daley's vision and Frank Gehry's involvement, the project evolved into the most ambitious public undertaking in Chicago's history. Today, with its unprecedented combination of architecture, monumental sculpture and landscape design, the 24.5 acre Millennium Park has become the crowning achievement for Chicago in the tradition of its original founders.
Walking through the park and taking photos of and at the "bean"--- a large stainless steel structure designed for the park---discussions of what this would be like during summer with beautiful gardens, concerts, and Lake Michigan filled a majority of the conversations. Continuing the tour, a stop at the Planetarium for more pictures and a book store to purchase books on Chicago ended with shopping at the Water Tower Place.
After shopping, dinner at Ms. Jennifer Geake's home was simply delightful with pizza, salad, and hot beef sandwiches. This evening the "skit ladies" reappeared as they had not been seen since Boston. Enjoying the party, everything ended early (8:30pm) providing everyone a chance to catch up on various personal needs.
With half of the tour completed, luggage is an issue. One large suitcase, carry-on bag or what the ladies call "hold alls," broom bags, and sport bags (given in Mayfield) that hold gifts find us trying to be creative with packing. For those who traveled to Scotland on the last Scot Tour, memories of the ever growing challenge know it is never resolved.
January 16, 2011 - Chicago, IL
With 285 miles from Detroit to Chicago, there was time for more visiting; favorable weather conditions made travel much easier. Ms. Dawn arranged for box lunches on the bus so it was a near straight drive through; there was concern in getting into Chicago during traffic to the Bears football game. --How about "dem Bears?"-- The Wisconsinites are looking forward to the Green Bay Packer & Bear game on Sunday!!!
One important stop was Target in Indiana as everyone needed to do a bit of personal shopping. Ms. Vilma found the cutest pair of denim boots for her "wee granddaughter." On to Exmoor, we arrived to a parade of arched brooms and cheers. After pictures and a bit of visiting, 4 teams were piped onto the ice for the draw. Once again, the Lady Scots were victorious: 341 to the US 273.
At the conclusion, the ladies went to the host homes and prepared for the banquet. For the cocktail entertainment, the Heather and Thistle Dancers, which included Exmoor Chair Ms. Leslie Armstrong's daughters Jamie and Erin, presented a beautiful program. The Lady Scots absolutely loved it as many of the images brought tears to their eyes as memories of their own families and children filled their minds.
One unexpected surprise was the appearance of President and Michelle Obama--played by Mr. Russ and Ms. Leslie Armstrong. Dinner was delightful concluding with the Lady Scots singing for everyone. With the long trip, this made for an early night. The Lady Scots were presented with a fleece scarf embroidered with "Scot Tour 2011."
January 15, 2011 - Detroit, MI
With another day of curling and bus travel completed, no time like the present to check out the city of Detroit. On the bus at 9:30 am, the Scottish ladies were joined by Ms. Dawn Brauninger (area coordinator and 2006 Tour member) and Ms. Linda Handyside, a 1996 Tour member. In addition to the tour guide, Mr. John, a Detroit NPR reporter also joined the ladies group.
The first stop was the Mary Stratton Pottery House. Ms. Stratton was co-founder with Horace James Caulkins, of the Pewabic Pottery, a form of ceramic art used to make architectural tiles. You can check out the beautiful work at the following web site: www.pewabic.org. The informative tour of the shop and tile factory demonstrated how the tiles are all hand-made. While the tour was quite enjoyable, a choice of gifts was presented: a decorative tile or an ornament. And, of course, the opportunity to shop was open to all.
Leaving the Pottery house, the city tour commenced with descriptions of how the city is making great efforts to revitalize downtown. There were many closed stores and boarded buildings, yet the architectural details in the buildings are quite notable and beautiful. One stop was at the Guarding Building (40 floors) which opened in 1929. Its nickname is the "Cathedral of Finance." The banking hall has one of the largest suspended ceilings in the world and features Mary Stratton's Pewbic's tiles; marble and stone from around the world compliment the structure. Other sites include the colorful Heidelberg Project, a street where would be artists create art from anything and everything and the Indian Village where there are beautiful old homes of great historic value.
Lunch at the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA) was simply wonderful; the DIA has been a "beacon of culture" for the Detroit area for well over a century. Founded in 1885 and originally located on Jefferson Avenue, DIA moved to Woodward Avenue in 1927 due to its rapidly expanding collections. Additionally, the new Beauz-Arts building, designed by Paul Cret, is referred to as the "Temple of Art." With 2 wings added in the 60s and 70s, continued renovations began in 1999 were completed in 2007. During a quick tour, one focal point included the Diego Rivera Mural, a depiction of the auto industry of 1932. The mural was commissioned by the DIA and then Ford President, Edsel Ford.
After such a wonderful tour, it was time to get back to the Detroit Curling Club. Club chair, Ms. Dawn Brauninger, left no detail unattended. Upon arrival, everyone was greeted by their own "personal assistant" who "assisted" with bags, coats, and any other items requiring assistance! Refreshments consisted of mimosas with strawberries complimented by a beautiful assortment of sweets on every table. Ms. Brauninger opened the Welcoming Ceremony with introductions followed by greetings from the club president Mr. Duke Grimshaw and others. By 4:15 pm, the curlers were "piped onto the ice" and once again the Scots prevailed. The running score (in spite of all the touring, eating, and riding the bus ;) after this game continued to favor our Scotties Ladies: Scots 310 and US 249.
After great curling, a "Strolling Dinner" was served: fruit and cheese platters, baguettes with chicken or London broiled beef, tomato basil and mozzarella baguettes, and for dessert - mini cupcakes.
Gifts from the Detroit Curling Club included Pewabic tile and gift baskets in each hotel room.
9:30 pm saw the ladies going back to the hotel, but not for an early night; Couriers Ms. Margie Knitter and Ms. Bridget Matzke opened their rooms for a Pajama Party!! More laughter, fun, photos, and curling stories to share; one of the more memorable: Jenny, Ann-Maree and Kay wore identifical PJs. Go Lady Scots!!! With strokes of midnight upon them, the PJ party ended and the ladies prepared for sleep...thoughts of home, friends, and curling floating into dreams. Someone gently humming an old Scottish tune.
January 14, 2011 - Cleveland, OH
The Lady Scots arrived at the Mayfield Curling club for pictures at 8:15 am. This morning, 3 games were played with two teams having the morning off. Piped onto the ice at 8:45, curling began shortly.
After the Mayfield draw, the ladies share a short broom stacking before the Lady Scots boarded the bus; off to the Cleveland Skating Club for lunch and an afternoon draw. The Scots still scoring strong, continue to pull ahead with a score of 228 while the US score was 190.
Lunch at the Cleveland Club consisted of salad, chicken with rice and vegetables. At 1 pm, curling was in full swing; at the end of the match the Scots continued to expand their lead to 262 with the US with 235.
Concluding the Cleveland match, dessert was served: wonderful hot blueberry cobbler and ice cream. Serenading the Cleveland Club, the Scots shared various songs and presented a flag to Ms. Nancy Seitz, President of the USWCA.
At 4:30 pm, everyone was back on the bus and traveling to Toledo, Ohio. Hosting dinner on the way to Detroit was Ms. Mary Glowacki. Stopping at 6pm the Lady Scots enjoyed dinner. While quite enjoyable, everyone was back on the bus by 8:30 pm and in the final phase of the trip to Detroit as the miles continued to roll off.
Dinner at Mary Glowacki home.
January 13, 2011 - Mayfield, OH
"Paying the Piper" in Mayfield
With departure for Cleveland on the agenda, everyone arose bright and early, and was at the curling club by 6:45am...ready to leave at 7:15 for the airport for the 9:40 flight to Cleveland. Maryland has a half-hour point: half an hour to get to nearly any place and more if the traffic is congested. With Mr. Dave doing an excellent job, arrival at the airport was within the half-hour time (with Guardian Angel help). Driving the bus on to Cleveland while the group enjoyed the air, Continental Air was really nice because the only worry was for taking care of self (no luggage, etc). For those of you who have never traveled with a group through an airport...it can be easy at the ticket counter or less than pleasant!! Typically, one number is scanned and all the tickets are produced at one time...for the less than pleasant experience - all must be checked in individually. Continental Air did a great job and by the time the Lady Scots lined up for photos, boarding passes were printed and everyone was moving through security. Mr. Dave, the fearless driver, met the group upon arrival at the Cleveland airport. Next stop: the Mayfield Curling Club to meet the ladies who had brooms in hand upon our arrival.
After lunch (delightful soup and sandwiches), the Lady Scots were presented gifts of sports bags beautifully wrapped in colorful paper and ribbon. This afternoon was an open afternoon, but special arrangements were made for a "personal service day!" Working with the hosts, Ms. Leslie Cook arranged for the ladies to have manicures, pedicures, massages, hair styled among other services. Everyone was exceptionally thankful for the welcome break from the busy schedule.
With much pampering, at 7pm, everyone returned to the Mayfield Country Club for the William Topaz McGonagall Dinner. In this particular dinner, everything is in reverse. Another unique enjoyment was every time that someone said "William Topaz McGonagall" everyone was required to stand and make a toast to "Scotland's greatest poet!"; which translated into quite a lot of fun. The ladies received "thank you cards" in their kits (instead of invites) and dessert and coffee was served...thus, began our evening meal. Roast beef was the entree and concluded with a salad. The banquet began with Closing remarks by Mr. Jerry Tortorelli who aptly and descriptively told the story of William Topaz McGonagall, continued with the singing of Auld Lang Syne, and included entertainment by Ms. Tracie Moore bringing "the church lady back." The banquet concluded with a Welcome speech from Ms. May Jane Masonville. And, of course, the Lady Scots serenaded us with more great songs.
The evening ended about 10pm and the Lady Scots were off to their home-stay for a good night's rest.
January 12, 2011 - Washington, D.C.
"Raising the Flag" The United States Marine Corp War Memorial, located next to Arlington National Cemetery just outside Washington, D.C.
While the evening was a bit snowy and travel seemed to be slowing to a crawl, the next morning found nothing but sunny skies and clear roads...an excellent day for a Washington DC tour! Meeting at the curling club at 8:00am, everyone boarded the bus and at 8:30 traveled to the White House.
A former curler, Ms. Jan Little joined the Scottish Ladies to serve as a tour guide. Arriving about 9:15 am, the brisk walk brought everyone to the first security entrance area (there are 3 total). All ladies were scanned, identifications checked, as they passed through the checkpoint and at the last security check, the Lady Scot's Captain, Ms. Brenda Macintyre was held up to be "recleared!" It seems they heard of her great curling skills and were a bit suspicious...Alas, they let her through (big smile) for it was found that an error was in her information and once all things were verified, she was given clearance.
Upon entering the East Wing, the group toured the library, china room, all the way through to the State dining room. It was apparent that preparations were well underway for a State dinner next week with China. The furnishings were exceptional; portraits, various photographs, and the furniture all created a magnificent setting. The lady Scots and other visitors with the tour were equally in awe of the history enveloping the different rooms.
While the First Family was not available to visit, the first dog Bo put in an appearance outside the Vermeil Room. With the White House lawn covered in snow, everyone was impressed by the horticultural design and landscape; envisioning the beauty of spring was included in the conversations.
Upon leaving the White House, next was the drive to the monuments and the tidal basin or at least near as possible. Many who previously visited DC prior to 9/11 were struck by the strict control of the area surrounding the historical landmarks. Buses are unable to get very close; rather it requires extensive walking to get from one to another. With the weather being too chilly to walk, Mr. Dave was able to get fairly close to the Iwo Jima Monument, Lincoln and Jefferson Memorial, and the Pentagon. There are spires built where the plane crashed into the Pentagon.
The remainder of the tour included a trip to the Museum of Natural History where the Lady Scots saw the "first ladies" gown collection. Life sized mannequins were used to present the gowns...in the actual size of the first ladies. Everyone was fascinated to see the different styles and sizes. And, one of the most amazing aspects was that Mary Lincoln's waist size was thought to be 18". In addition to the Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of Art was next and included lunch (soup, sandwiches, and salad). While the tour concluded with a final drive around the city, a stop for coffee at Starbucks was a must. Then, back to the curling club at 5 pm for cocktails and dinner.
The banquet, hosted by Potomac Curling Club, was an exceptional evening. For dinner, roast pork with applesauce, cranberry sauce, and roasted vegetables completed the meal with apple crisp and ice cream for dessert.
Gifts to the curlers included a hand quilted pin bag made by club member Ms. Barbara Shirk. Also presented to the Scottish Ladies entourage was a US flag that was flown in their honor at the capital on 11/5/2010. Curling posters were given to the ladies, but for protection sake were shipped to Seattle.
This was the first time the Potomac Club hosted an international tour and commendations for creating such wonderful experience for the Scottish Ladies. Without a doubt, they will be encouraged to host future tours.