Fburg Shines home tour 2014Casa Grande at The Willows is proud to announce our participation in the Fredericksburg SHINES Home Tour.  We are the 3rd home on the tour and will have Lynn Herrmann, designer and builder of the house, on the property to answer visitors’ questions. 

Fredericksburg SHINES hosts their second annual Fredericksburg fall tour of homes to spotlight local examples of sustainable-living practices. Nine homes (ten locations) are on the tour which will be Saturday, Sept. 20, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sustainable practices to be showcased on the tour include solar applications for electricity generation, water heating, and solar tubes as interior light sources. For those interested in water applications, there will be examples of xeriscaping and rainwater collection systemCasa Grandes.  Compressed earth block, rammed earth, strawbale, and “cool roof” type constructed homes will be included on the tour.  

Tickets for the event are $25 and include a map and a description of what is available for viewing at each home. Tickets are available at these locations in Fredericksburg:   Judy’s Liquor, Memorial Presbyterian Church, and Peach Basket.  Tickets may also be purchased in Ingram at the office of Rainwater Systems, Inc. and Solar Power Systems.  For your convenience, tickets may also be purchased online. Maps will be emailed to online ticket purchasers.  Program booklets will be available at our base home, listed as home #1 on the map.

For more information:  Email:  john@fbgshines.org   Phone: (830) 997-3543, ext. 27




Summertime at Domaine de St. Remy

by MPI Traveler on August 28, 2014

St.Remy summer 2014

Summertime at Domaine de St. Remy and the living is easy.  The pool invites our guests to come sit outdoors with a glass of our award wining wine and enjoy the late afternoon sun.

Close to the village of Aimargues, St. Remy offers great hospitality in quiet comfort. 

for more information:  http://mas-saintremy.fr/






News from Rancho Santana

by MPI Traveler on August 18, 2014

Rancho Santana 2014 Just in from Nicaragua….a new update on Las Cinco Playas de Rancho Santana.  For the non-Spanish speakers the name translates as The 5       Beaches of Rancho Santana.  And beautiful beaches they are. 

Most outposts and camps are small, boutique properties. That’s because it’s hard to find the attention to detail, beautiful accommodations, and expert guides that we so value at big name resorts around the globe. Las Cinco Playas de Rancho Santana in Nicaragua breaks the mold. The 2,700-acre resort on the Western shore of the country merges a wildly large operation with first class hospitality and lodging, creating a destination perfect for the entire family to visit.    11830-RanchoPool-Large

Rancho Santana boasts five distinct beaches, a farm to table restaurant literally stocked by a farm on the resort, and enough activities to convince you to move there – which you can do, if you’d like to purchase a private residence on the property. We think you just might.   

For more information on Rancho Santana:  1-888-870-0903




Marrowstone Island, Washington State

by MPI Traveler on July 31, 2014

geraniums on deck

We recently had the pleasure of staying at Marrowstone Island in Washington State.  Beautiful doesn’t begin to describe it.  Our home away from home had pots of flowers on the deck, immediate access to the lake, a fire pit that we used almost nightly.  What you can’t see is that it is a magical place for observation and contemplation – a true sacred space.





On a more practical level, the house was fully stocked with every important appliance for cooking a great meal and all the cupboards were filled.    We will definitely come back.




Enjoying a little alfresco music on the deck



Le Charm French Bistro in San Francisco

by Mark Graham on July 26, 2014

dining2 (2)One of our favorite dining spots in the City is Le Charm, a small neighborhood bistro that serves up some scrumptious French dishes. Lena manages the restaurant and she has a top notch team that provide excellent friendly service.  There is usually live jazz on Thursday nights which makes for a fun evening.  We went this past week and started our dinner with two Kirk Royale, then partook of the prix fixe menu.  I had the goat cheese salad to start, Derek had the saluted chicken liver salad.  For the main I had the special fish, which was a petrol sole in a lovely sauce with a very tasty crispy potato.  Derek had the Risotto with mixed mushrooms, parmesan cheese and truffle oil.  Both were delicious!  The prix fixed includes dessert so we had to take part – I had the chocolate cake and Derek had the tarte tatin.  An awesome deal for $35 each.  Our server suggested a very nice bottle of Marsanny Louis La Tour 2009 which was a great value at $45.


Happy Independence Day!

by MPI Traveler on July 3, 2014


fourth of july 2014


  “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people”

                                                                                              Abraham Lincoln


Bay to Breakers in San Francisco!

May 18, 2014

Bay to Breakers, the always fun and crazy San Francisco tradition takes place today.  Tens of thousands of runners and revelers took to the streets in usual form. We have run this race many times – a nice 12K that goes from the bay to the ocean and has one killer hill in it.  It […]

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Bite City Grill – Fort Worth

May 5, 2014

We had a very nice lunch today at Bite City Grill at Montgomery Plaza in the ever growing Fort Worth 7th Street Corridor. This is a relatively new restaurant and fortunately for us the lunch crowd wasn’t so bad.  They have some very interesting offerings such as Charred Octopus, Lemongrass Coconut Clams and Shishito Peppers.  […]

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Mangia Lasagne

April 28, 2014

If you are in Midtown or Chelsea and looking for good solid Italian food at a reasonable price check out Ristorante Lasagne.  We picked the one closest to our hotel, at 2nd Ave and 50th St.  They bake to order 17 lasagnes and have what they call ‘Pastas of Many Nations”…basically they have a lot […]

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Eolo Sicilian Kitchen and Wines

April 21, 2014

After a morning of walking around NYC and touring the Empire State Building we were quite hungry and looking for a restaurant that would be casual, simple, inexpensive and have good wine. We found Bar Eolo while wandering down 7th Avenue in Chelsea (190 7th Ave at 21st Street to be exact!). There were several […]

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