Tuesday, February 28, 2012

week 72_Stone House Restaurant and Jinshan

After returning from Olympia, I had just a few more days to visit with my grandpa before he returned back to the States. Spent some time visiting new places and dining in a few new restaurants --- time well spent in my opinion.

My husband and I especially enjoyed being introduced to a new restaurant on Yangmingshan (National Park area on the mountain to the North of Taipei city), called the Stone House. It was truly an old stone house serving traditional Chinese family style dishes and offering a bilingual menu. For once I took pictures of the building instead of the food! [Even though the food was great too] The rustic setting is quite unique, and the location in the mountains is a great change of scenery from the everyday hustle of the city. Very neat place to visit, though very remote (inside the National Park... up the mountain), so we picked up a business card and hope that we might be able to reach it again by taxi sometime. For those who own a car, there is limited parking out front.

quaint Stone House interior
Can you see the tiny stone window open to the rain outside? (at right)
After our lunch at the stone house, we continued on to the nearby town/district of Jinshan and ended up stopping to check out a local temple. Specifically, we were checking out the glasswork on the temple exterior. Somehow I had never paid close enough attention before (after all, the details are so ornate on these temples!) to realize that the bright colorful sculptures are made from hundreds/thousands of tiny pieces of colored glass. For example - in the photo below, the dragon scales (at right) and the rose petals (at center) are pieces of glass wedged into a cement or adhesive base to create the beautiful colored reliefs.

A temple in Jinshan
Once we left the temple, we stopped off at a small coffee shop overlooking the ocean. A welcome sight! The water is only about a 45 minute drive from our home, but without owning a car, it is not easily accessible just any day of the week.

Ocean front on a cool and cloudy day 
Fancy cappuccinos, lattes and hot chocolates all around
Us enjoying our drinks ~ proof we were there!
All in all, cool and rainy or not, it was great to get out of the house for a bit and explore new ground. :)

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