On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com


Merry Christmas to those who celebrate, and a wonderful day to all!


Today, pictures from valued commenter J R in WV.

This is the second day of our trip to NYC last November. A visit to the American Museum of Natural History, a huge building, a block square in the style of a castle of knowledge, partly in honor of famous New Yorker Teddy Roosevelt, his horseback statue is proudly out front on the steps.

Taken on 2018-11-15 00:00:00

American Museum of Natural History

Another gorgeous butterfly, feeding on nectar from a sponge they use to feed butterflies. There were at least a dozen feeders in the small Conservatory, it wasn’t possible to keep enough flowers in bloom to provide enough nectar for the flutterbies, so they put out additional scented nectar for them.

Seems to work well, no one seemed stressed at all.

Taken on 2018-11-15 00:00:00

NYC west side of Central Park

The front steps of the American Museum of Natural History, where famed wild west New Yorker, rough rider and Real President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt still rides his huge horse yet today.
htrouble finding our way to an exit even with signs, as an event was taking place and many of the usual paths were closed off for that party. Must be nice!

Much of the contents of the big NY museums are gifts of private collections, from elephants to dinosaurs.

Taken on 2018-11-15 00:00:00

American Museum of Natural History

Arriving museum goers are greeted by a fabulously tall dinosaur, actually lots of them, everywhere. Very popular for nearly everyone.

Taken on 2018-11-15 00:00:00

American Museum of Natural History

Our first exhibit was a small butterfly conservatory, filled with lush greenery and approximately 100,000000 butterflies of dozens of species. There were a ton of docents guarding the butterflies from visitors, and butterfly locks with multiple doors to keep the flying guests from escaping into November Museum spaces, with guards to watch for escapees.

None-the-less, two hours after we left the butterfly conservatory, a fellow museum goer asked me why I had a butterfly on my leg!!! I immediately went to a staff member and asked her to rescue my unwanted passenger, At first she was “Don’t bother me, stranger!” but when she saw the escaped butterfly she instantly cupped her hands around the little guy and ran away with him. He was quite still from the chilly 68 degree museum, compared to the tropical air of the conservatory. No harm came to the poor little guy!

Taken on 2018-11-15 00:00:00

American Museum of Natural History

One of the colorful inhabitants of the Butterfly Conservatory. There seemed to be dozens of colors and sizes of butterflies.

A continuation of our visit to the American Museum of Natural History on Central Park West in New York last November.

More butterflies…

Taken on 2018-11-15 00:00:00

American Museum of Natural History

Just another butterfly, not as colorful as some, but you can see lots of detail of how this guy is put together.

f/4.9 for 1/30th sec 100mm equivilant

Taken on 2018-11-15 00:00:00

American Museum of Natural History

Here’s a crowd of flutterbies in a tropical plant. There’s a lot of variety, I suspect lots of work went into selecting which butterflies to keep on hand for the crowds.

Taken on 2018-11-15 00:00:00

American Museum of Natural History

A great Dinosaur trackway stone is installed right into a wall of the Museum. Obviously fake as dinosaurs can’t walk on walls, right?

f/2.0 for 1/30 sec at 25mm, ISO 800

Unless taken with a cell phone, all these NYC photos are taken with the Olympus TG-5, which Mike dropped. Good thing they’re Tough cameras intended for outdoor adventure use. No harm done.

Taken on 2018-11-15 00:00:00

American Museum of Natural History

This is another fine ancient skeleton. You can see a tiny model of the whole critter below the jaws of the actual sized skeleton. There are several different exhibits full of dinosaurs and more recent Mastodons and trackways etc.

This place is huge, many times the size of the large museums in LA or Denver. I’m amazed all over again every time I visit.

Taken on 2018-11-15 00:00:00

American Museum of Natural History

Not really a blizzard, but ti did the trick in downtown Manhattan. Just after I took this photo we got a cab. Our driver was from Ghana, Africa and had been driving in NYC for several years, so this wasn’t quite his first experience with snow. We did encourage him to power up the defroster!

There were trees broken by the wet snow on the remaining leaves of fall, fallen across residential streets, damaging cars parked on the street. It took over 2 hours to drive from the museum at 79th street to our hotel on Lexington and 37th street!

Once we were a couple of blocks from the hotel on Lexington and traffic was stopped, we paid our driver and set out to walk home. Big tip, he didn’t hit anything, nor get hit by anything, so a total success!! We walked by a great looking Japanese place, very well designed, comfortable looking, and dove in out of the snow. Dinner is the next set of photos. It was exquisite in appearance and taste!


During the “blizzard”, on our way back to our hotel on Lexington Ave from the Museum up on Central Park West, we abandoned our cab to walk the last 2 or 3 blocks, and found a wonderful Japanese place just a block from the hotel, with room for three snow-blown refugees.

It was a wonderful meal, with great care given to wild presentations of delicious seafood. So I took some pictures, even though that can’t give you any idea of how things tasted, just believe that very little of what we were served was not eaten with gusto and admiration. NYC is a great seafood town.

Taken on 2018-11-15 00:00:00

Wokuni restaurant, Lexington Ave, NYC

Here is the rest of the first course. We ordered a chef’s selection, told them things we liked and didn’t, they took care of everything else. Fresh oysters, sashimi, nigiri shushi, soup, noodles, a little of everything. And good drinks, we were only a block from the hotel.

We were a couple of hours at dinner… worth every minute.

Taken on 2018-11-15 00:00:00

Wokuni restaurant, Lexington Ave, NYC

There are edible flowers with the wonderful seafood.

F/2.0 for 1/15th sec at 25mm, ISO 800

Taken on 2018-11-15 00:00:00

Wokuni restaurant, Lexington Ave, NYC

The last photo of this meal. Fortunately I could keep the flash off, and each photo only took a few seconds to take, so I didn’t miss out on eating the food, which tasted as good as it looked.

f/2.0 for 1/15 sec at 25mm

Even dessert was great!

Taken on 2018-11-15 00:00:00

Wokuni restaurant, Lexington Ave, NYC

This bowl has a tiny pool of water with a piece of dry ice in the bottom, and the rest of the bowl is filled with great seafood above the water.

What a presentation! And the food was great, recommended by Michelin Guide, not starred, but recommended, and they’re right a great place to eat and drink with friends. Lots of Asian folks there, too, always a recommendation for a sushi place.

f/3.1 for 1/25th sec at 46mm ISO 2500

Thank you so much J R in WV, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


One again, to submit pictures: Use the Form or Send an Email

8 replies
  1. 1
    JPL says:

    What a great trip, and the feast looks amazing.

  2. 2
    HinTN says:

    Somehow we missed the flutterby conservatory when we were there two years ago. Great pix, thanks. Loved the food story and photos.

    Merry Christmas, all.

  3. 3
    arrieve says:

    Wonderful photos — thank you and Merry Christmas to all. I haven’t been to that museum in years and I’m overdue. Maybe I’ll even manage to get some decent butterfly photos next time. Yours are really wonderful.

  4. 4
    HinTN says:

    If you’re around, JR, that was a sweet story about your neighbor in the early morning thread.

  5. 5
    debbie says:

    I loved the city after a snowfall. So quiet and peaceful.

  6. 6
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    I only went to Mexico during the rainy season once and the flutterbys were everywhere, a kaleidoscope of colors.

  7. 7
    Miss Bianca says:

    Great photos and color commentary!

  8. 8
    J R in WV says:


    I’m here now, slept late. I had a clue this would be posted today, I’m glad, butterflies are so cool.

    My neighbors on both east and west are amazing people, we’re so lucky to have them close by. We’ve been close for 30+ years now.

    My buddy Mike took the photos of the World Trade center building and memorial in the previous post about this trip. Ruth took most of the cell phone photos. I took all the photos of this post.

    Mike dropped the camera, no harm, and also managed to twist a control dial that set the camera into microscope mode, which made it “difficult” for him to take any more photos around the trade center on our first day in NYC. It didn’t slow us down once I took a look at it.

    Merry Christmas, everyone!

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