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Austin, Blog, Ghost Walks

Ghost walk in….Austin

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Ghost Tours Austin
Allegedly haunted by the original mistress of the house Alice Littlefield. She is variously reported to have been either insane or possibly agoraphobic, whatever the case, it appears that she rarely left the house in life and it is claimed that her ghost still haunts it to this day. People claim to see and hear her ghost restlessly roaming the upper stories and some claim that she will occasionally play the old piano that is there.

I recently did a ghost tour with Haunted ATX…we went to some of the most haunted spots in Austin – check it out!

A Bit More About The Haunted Sites in Austin

Clay Pit Indian Restaurant

Built by a group of early settlers in 1853 as a trading post. It was a business where white men and Indians could carry on their trading. In 1872, O.R. Bertram purchased the building to house his family as well as his dry goods business. Bertram’s General Store occupied the premises for the next eight years. The first floor continued to be used as a store with the saloon in back. The second floor became the Bertram family residence, with a parlor in front and bedrooms in back.

The building continued to serve as a general store in the 34 years following Bertram’s departure. During the 1880’s the State Treasury was stored in the building’s wine cellar along with barrels of gunpowder, molasses, wine, and whiskey. The wine cellar is famous for its double-arched construction inspired by the medieval castles and monasteries of Europe.

Starting in the 1940’s a series of restaurants occupied the property. The first was the Old Madrid Café, followed by the Old Seville, the Old Toro-all popular hangouts for UT students throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s.
In 1977, the building opened as the Red Tomato Italian restaurant and remained for several years. Currently now known as The Clay Pit. Serving Indian cuisine.

The most frequently reported manifestations are that of the sounds of a party going on in one of the upstairs banquet rooms when no one is in the restaurant. Also, in the 1800’s, Bertram’s five-year-old son died from typhoid fever while quarantined in his upstairs bedroom. It is believed that the tiny child remains in his old home, perhaps not understanding that he passed on.

The Driskill Hotel

The Driskill Hotel, opened on December 20, 1886. It was the second tallest building in Austin for many years, the State Capitol Building being the first. Within four months of the Grand Opening, Jesse Driskill was bankrupt and lost the hotel in a high-stakes poker game to J.M. “Doc” Day. The Driskill Hotel closed its doors in May 1887. . Three years later, Driskill died, flat broke.

The Driskills first ghost is that of Jesse Driskill. He makes his presence known by smoking cigars and turning bathroom lights on and off in several guest rooms on the top floors of the hotel. The daughter of a U.S. Senator haunts the grand staircase leading from the mezzanine down to the lobby. According to hotel lore, the senator was visiting Austin to participate in a political event at the hotel. His unattended four-year-old daughter was playing with a ball near the staircase when she slipped, and fell, and died on the marble floor at the bottom of the stairs. Late at night, the front desk staff has heard the child bouncing the ball down the steps as her giggling echoes through the empty lobby.

Suicide Brides

During the 1940’s a young woman who planned to marry and spend her honeymoon at the hotel met a tragic end by her own hand. After her fiancé canceled the wedding at the last minute, she hanged herself in her rose-filled room. Known as one of the Driskills more active apparitions, many employees and guests have witnessed the sad woman pacing the hallways of the haunted fourth floor traditional side in her wedding dress.

Bride #2 was a Houston socialite engaged to be married in the early 1990’s. When her fiancé had second thoughts and called off the wedding, the young woman took a trip to Austin to recuperate from her shock and depression. She booked Room 29 on the haunted traditional side and went on a weeklong shopping spree with her ex-fiancé’s credit cards. The young woman was last seen coming out of the fourth floor elevator, arms full of bags and packages. Her body was discovered three days later when housekeepers became concerned that she hadn’t left the room to eat. She was found lying in the bathtub, having shot herself in the stomach through a pillow. She is seen most often during October wandering the hallways in a modern wedding gown and with a gun in hand.

“Himalayan Cedar” imported from the Himalayas and planted on the property of Littlefield House
Ghost Tours Austin
Himalayan Cedar Tree imported from the Himalayas and planted on the property of Littlefield House… the most haunted site in Austin
The Driskill Hotel is haunted by multiple ghosts including 2 suicide brides
Ghost Tours Austin
A vault from 1890 – original 
Ghost Tours Austin
Witnesses at The Driskill report hearing sounds of people upstairs when no one is there, and feeling something they can’t see touching their face and arms. Also, apparitions have been seen sitting in chairs or at windows.
The blonde lady in the portrait is said to have been seen around the hotel
The tavern is haunted by two Mexican prostitutes who were murdered there in the 1800s
Ghost Tours Austin
The Clay Pit is said to be haunted, especially the basement. The restaurant was built by a group of early settlers in 1853 as a trading post 
The Haunted ATX hearse arriving at Littlefield house

Haunted trinkets at The Tavern
Our Cadillac hearse on 6th street
A Zoltar machine predicts your future at Pinballz Arcade
“The Tavern” bar has a fortune machine on the upper floor
Blog, Newport

The Elms Mansion, Newport

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The Elms Mansion, Newport1

The Elms was the summer residence of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind of Philadelphia and New York. Mr. Berwind made his fortune in the coal industry. In 1898, the Berwinds engaged Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer to design a house modeled after the mid-18th century French chateau d’Asnieres (c.1750) outside Paris.

This is last in my travel series throwing back to the Newport Mansions on Bellevue Avenue. Scroll down for pics of this posh palace!

COST: $1.5 Million (more…)

Blog, New York

A Chocolate Recipe!

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Maison du Chocolat New York
Macaroons from La Maison Du Chocolat in New York 

Today’s post is all about your favorite treat and mine – chocolate! Specifically, a chocolate house in New York called “Maison Du Chocolat” as well as an espresso bar 5 mins away with delicious pastries called “Sant Ambroeus“. If you’re in New York…Definitely visit! I’ve included a chocolate recipe that you can follow to make your very own chocolate!

Founded in 1977 by Robert Linxe, one of the top French artisan chocolatiers, La Maison du Chocolat today has boutiques in various cities including Tokyo, New York, London and Paris

Make Your Own Chocolate! (more…)

Blog, New York

Hotel Pierre, New York

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Hotel Pierre New York
The beautiful lobby of the Pierre Hotel in New York

Highlight on The Pierre Hotel

  1. The Pierre is a landmark on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
  2. Built in the 1920s.
  3. The iconic US flagship of the Taj reopened its doors after an impressive $100 million renovation in 2007.
  4. This New York hotel occupies a pride of place on the corner of Central Park and the Upper East Side, an area where upscale shopping seamlessly blends with residential elegance.
  5. The Rotunda on 5th Avenue, NYC is the signature room of The Pierre, with famous Renaissance-style trompe l’oeil murals created in 1967 by American artist Edward Melcarth.
  6. French-American cuisine at signature restaurant Perrine.
  7. Two E Bar/Lounge is the in-house bar.
  8. Located in the Heart of Manhattan.
  9. Classic Manhattan Style Residences.
  10. Sprawling Views of the Central Park.
The Pierre Hotel
I loved their checkerboard floor
Leaving NYC for Newport at the end of our trip
A fresh Lily in our room daily
Some Christmas shopping
Chanel NO.5 Limited Edition
Chanel No.5 Limited Addition
Christmas Carol Design Ideas
Little Town of Bethlehem Sheet Music
Saks 5th Avenue
Saks Fifth Avenue on a Rainy Day
I found a South African favorite – Indian Samosas – on the menu at Two E Bar!
The Rotunda
Louis Vuitton New York
Louis Vuitton nearby
Louis Vuitton New York
Beautiful Christmas displays
St Regis Hotel
St Regis nearby – another gorgeous hotel – decorated with fairy lights and nutcrackers for Christmas
Enjoyed a dinner at “Nello” near the hotel
Nello NYC
Peony at Nello
Nello NYC
The swanky restaurant is on Madison Avenue
Nello Madison Avenue
Loved the African menus!
Children's Zoo NYC central park
Central Park
Beautiful Christmas flowers
Cartier Christmas Display
❤ Africa, Blog, Lesotho, My Life in Africa

The Faces of Africa

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Tami Scripps

I wrote before about Lesotho – the African Kingdom I visited last October. Now, I’d like to put faces to the name. Here are some children at an orphanage in Maseru, the capital. There are also pictures of children I met while on my way to a school in the Maluti Mountains. The culture and history of Lesotho are so rich, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the people and the kingdom. Stay tuned for a piece on a spiritual cave nearby…. where a prophetess used to give healings and prophecies in the 1800s about the future of this kingdom. Have you ever considered going to South Africa? I’d love to know your thoughts + questions!

Tami Scripps
“Dumela” means “Hello” in Sotho
Tami Scripps
A child smiling at an orphanage in Maseru
Tami Scripps
Children ride donkeys to school in the morning
Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village
Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village
Tami Scripps Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village
Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village
Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village
Lesotho Food
A buffet breakfast
Lesotho food granadilla
Lesotho Hotel in Maseru …. the Basotho hat is the symbol of the country
Lesotho Herder
Herding cattle
Monastery Lesotho
A monastery outside Lesotho
Blog, Lesotho, Outreach, Rotary

Lesotho, South Africa, A Kingdom In The Sky!

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Tami Scripps South Africa

Next in my travel series of throwback trips from last year is Lesotho. I’m writing about Lesotho – a Kingdom within the borders of South Africa – because it meant so much to me when I was there. I was very lucky to get the opportunity to visit as part of a Rotary trip; more specifically, a club visit by my mother District Governor Gianna Doubell. Needless to say, I loved it so much that if I could go back tomorrow I would. Unfortunately, I visited such a remote area that chances of that are highly unlikely!

The history of people living in the area now known as Lesotho goes back as many as 40,000 years.

The present Lesotho (then called Basutoland) emerged as a single polity under paramount chief Moshoeshoe I in 1822.

Under Moshoeshoe I, Basutoland joined other tribes in their struggle against the Lifaqane associated with the reign of Shaka Zulu from 1818 to 1828.

Moshoeshoe I

Read on for more photos + facts about this fascinating Kingdom in Africa! (more…)

Blog, Clarens

In The Heart of The Maluti Mountains

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Travel South Africa: Clarens

Highlight On Clarens

I’m still doing my ‘Travel Throwbacks’ blog series, and today’s post is about a charming town in the heart of South Africa that’s causing quite a stir on the culture map, for its chain of new pop-up boutiques, small business and trendy outdoor events.

Clarens is a small town situated in the foothills of The Maluti Mountains in the Free State province of South Africa and nicknamed the “Jewel of the Eastern Free State“. It was established in 1912 and named after the town of Clarens in Switzerland where exiled Paul Kruger spent his last days.

I stayed at this adorable quaint guesthouse while I was there for the weekend.

Things To Do In Clarens

  1. Golden Gate Highlands National Park
  2. Bushmen Art at Schaaplaats Farm
Corkscrew Willow Tree
Corkscrew Willow Tree
Millpond Guest House
Serene Millpond Guest House at the foot of the mountains
Millpond Guest House
White roses
Millpond Guest House
Lounge/Dining area
Millpond House
Our room for the weekend
Garden view
African sun
Ducks crossing a nearby road