Friday, January 29, 2016

A Picture Tour of the Stonewall Jackson Inn Harrisonburg, Va.

I spent a night here the first week of January but in  November when I was in the area, the owner arranged for me to have a private tour so that I could choose which room I wanted to stay in. Trust me, it was not an easy decision since all the rooms are lovely. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Flashback Thursday: Churches of London

Visiting churches is something that I have done many times in London. Here are pictures of there that maybe are not quite as well known as St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey but are just as historic and charming.
St. Martin in the Field London

Westminster Cathedral London

St Mary Le Strand Church London

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Upcoming Events in Wilmington, Delaware

Subject:  The Arts Take Center Stage in Greater Wilmington

Wilmington, Del (January 13, 2015)…As the weather warms, the arts take center stage in Greater Wilmington, DE.  Some are established favorites; others are new undertakings.

OperaDelaware Festival (May 14-22) The OperaDelaware Festival makes its debut on two consecutive weekends in May.   The festival features two main stage opera productions at the Grand Opera House in the heart of Downtown Wilmington.  OperaDelaware presents the fully staged East Coast premiere of Franco Faccio’s lost opera, Amleto (Hamlet), which was discovered in Italy after 145 years and painstakingly reconstructed by Maestro Anthony Barresse.  OperaDelaware also performs Verdi’s timeless Falstaff basedon Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry IV.  In recognition of this prodigious undertaking, OperaDelaware has been awarded a $15,000 grant by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Clifford Brown Jazz Festival (June 21-25)
The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival is recognized as one of the largest festivals of its kind on the East Coast. This festival brings some of the most exciting jazz personalities to the stage in Wilmington punctuated by a mix of fusion, funk, blues and rock.  Sponsored by the City of Wilmington and held in Wilmington’s Rodney Square, this open air festival is free, open to the public and held rain or shine.

Delaware Shakespeare Festival (July 15-31)
Pack a picnic, bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy Shakespeareunder the stars at beautiful Rockwood Museum & Park during the annual Delaware Shakespeare Festival.  This year’s featured production is Comedy of Errors.  Performances begin at 7:30 on Wednesday through Saturday and 6:00 on Sunday.

Nightscape: A Light and Sound Experience (August 3-October 29)
Nightscape: A Light and Sound Experience returns to Longwood Gardens in August.  Using a patented mapping technology to synchronize moving images and light with an original music score, Klip Collective, a Philadelphia-based visual arts firm, transforms one of the world’s most celebrated display gardens into a living canvas where lights and shadows dance and music fills the air.  Nightscape takes visitors on an immersive, after dark journey through Longwood Gardens.

The Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau is a non-profit organization founded in 1978, chartered by the Governor of Delaware, the New Castle County Executive and the Mayor of Wilmington.  Its mission is to serve as the community’s customer-focused destination marketing organization, generating economic growth through leisure travel and meetings development by aggressively marketing attractions, facilities, amenities and services for visitors.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Museum Plantin Moretus Antwerp

This is the former home of the great printer Christophe Plantin (1520-1589). He was certainly the greatest printer in the history of Belgium and perhaps of all time. His works were held in esteem by all the great men of his time. Philip II appointed him Royal Printer, and he was granted a monopoly on all religious printing in the Spanish Empire. The Moretus family are his descendants, and the museum now carries both names.

I wish there were an audio guide to this museum, but there isn’t. The rooms are numbered, and you get a small paper guide to help you locate the most important items in each room. You get to visit over 30 items. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to photograph the inside of the house.

Room 1 is hung with Flemish tapestries and a Rubens’ painting The Lion Hunt. The fireplace is lined with wonderful mulberry tiles, and there is a case of Chinese porcelains.

Room 2 has 10 portraits, some by Rubens and some by his school. These are all family members. There is a beautiful art cabinet made of rosewood, ebony, and tortoiseshell near the fireplace

Room 3 has two volumes of the Bible that belonged to King Wenceslaus and a copy of the Froissart Chronicles. A beautifully illustrated Book of Hours, however, was my favorite piece in the room.

I am not going to list the contents of each room, but there was not a boring one among them. You have a fair share of both family rooms and all the rooms of the printing business. You visit the offices, workrooms, and the foundry, but more than that, you see examples of the finest printing techniques from as early as the 15th century.

The geography room was absolutely one of my favorites. There is a globe on a stand, but also some very early maps. I had a very hard time dragging myself away. I was fascinated at how accurate the early drawings were, especially of the East Coast of the United States. In addition, a map of Antwerp from 1565 shows even where the houses were. As a genealogist, I was intrigued. You could literally locate your ancestor’s home if they lived in Antwerp.

  Allow yourself at least 1.5 hours to visit this museum. It takes quite a while to read the little descriptive cards in all the rooms. They do not have much of a gift shop.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Flashback Thursday: Travel is an Adventure

Travel for me has always been an adventure. My love of adventure and travel was born on a trip to Canada  in 1954 and has never waned. 

Now you may say, I have small children or I can't afford to travel. I say nonsense. Travel doesn't have to be far and children are very adaptable. If you believe that they will be able to sleep in a hotel bed they will sleep. Don't hold them back or yourself, let adventures happen. 

If a hotel is too expensive, camp. Many history sites are free. Some of the first places we took our children other than Canada were to Gettysburg, Lancaster  and Washington DC. If you live in New England, how about an overnight to Easton, Pa and the Crayola Factory. Perfect place for children. Lake George and Fort Ticonderoga are good for two nights. Kasey and I took 2 month old Jack with us on a tour of the mansions in Newport. 
Consider this a musing. I promised that I would muse and this is my first one. I encourage you to develop a love of travel in your children or like me, in your grandchildren. It makes everything just a little more interesting to see it through the eyes of a child.
This is Al and Christian at Montmorency Falls

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Head to Montreal this winter

Bonjour! With snow, sparkling light, mouthwatering food, outdoor activities and a cultural scene that dazzles, you can’t go wrong this winter in Montréal. From MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE at the heart of downtown to Igloofest in the Old Port and more, see how the city lights up with snow-inspired fun.
Luminous discoveries in the Quartier des spectacles
Don’t miss the fun of the Quartier des spectacles invites everyone to bask in the light of Luminothérapie once again this year. Take a trip back to your childhood with Impulse, a new interactive installation of seesaws that glow and make music as you bob up and down. Or tour this vibrant quarter and take in the impressive videos projections on major building façades.

MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE is a feast for the senses
Our much-loved winter festival of gourmet food and the arts promises more one-of-a-kind surprises from February 18 to March 5. Savour the delights of featured city Shenzheng’s culinary scene, soak up a diverse program of the cultural arts and be dazzled by the fun and lights of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE’s free outdoor site. And don’t miss Nuit Blanche, a dusk-to-dawn immersion in the city’s vibrant cultural arts scene on February 27.

Enjoy some serious chill with Igloofest
For its very celebratory 10th edition, Igloofest offers four weekends of electronic music and dancing from January 14 to February 5 in Montréal’s Old Port. DJs from far and wide will be whipping snowsuit-clad crowds into a frenzy on the quays and keeping everyone warm. And for the sartorial-minded, Iglooswag invites you to strut your funkiest, thowbackiest winter togs.

Lift your spirits with Old Montréal’s lighting plan 
In the mood for an evening stroll? Take some time to wander Old Montréal, whose unique lighting plan makes it even more enchanting when night falls. Casting a new light on the unique architectural details of its colonial buildings, cobblestone streets and public spaces, this designated circuit allows everyone to revel in the ambiance of our historic city centre.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Breakpoint Antwerp

This is a small croissanterie. We had indulged in the breakfast buffet at the hotel and for the very high price found it lacking. We decided to find somewhere else to have breakfast. This is two or three blocks south of the Grote Markt. We were getting a little desperate to find some place by the time we wandered in. There is not a breakfast restaurant on every corner in Antwerp.

I had a mokka which was a tiny little cup of expresso with chocolate in it. It woke me up that’s for sure. I had two pastries with it; they were very light and sweet sort of like a Danish. Al and Bob had appleflaps, which are basically apple turnovers that they warm up for you. They were delicious. Joe had pain chocolate; he always has pain chocolate. The men all had hot chocolate with their meal. 

We also got bottles of orange juice. This is obviously a local joint. Even at 10am, people were coming in and getting their lunches on the way to work. Their case of full of delicious looking baguettes stuffed with meat, cheese and vegetables. This was very good fast food and the price was very cheap.