Monday, November 26, 2018

Chichester and Oxford - Cathedral Cities in England

Once and a while I get the chance to travel for work. I'm fortunate enough to work with colleagues in both Chichester and Oxford.


As I was walking through the what I termed a village, my colleague said Chichester is a city because any place that has a cathedral is a city. The city is about 12 blocks with the Cathedral in the center. 

City Center

Cathedral Courtyard
City Walls


Not at all what I expected. In television and films the images of Oxford are tree lined streets, castles and garden paths. However, most of Oxford is very urban with shops, fast food joints, and malls. There is a section of the city where the colleges are located where trees, gardens and the rest of what you'd expect to see, are present.

Seeing Oxford in a cloudy day, provided the typical English backdrop.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

London the City of Bridges

Tower Bridge
Many think London is filled with lovely gardens and parks, and it is, but from my short trip staying in the West part of the city all I could see are bridges. Within in about 30 minutes radius there are about 8 bridges across the Thames; Tower, London, Southwerk, Millennial, Blackfriar, Waterloo, Hungerford, and Westminster. I walked across five of the eight.

Several years ago I toured the Tower of London, on this trip I walked across the bridge and around the Tower.

From the Globe it is a short walk along the South Bank to Waterloo and Westminster.  The Abbey is somewhat under construction as it Big Ben. From four visits to London, I don't think I've ever seen Westminster Abbey and/or Parliament when it wasn't under some sort of construction or cleaning, still it is quite impressive.

Right across the Thames is the London Eye. Unfortunately it wasn't very nice weather when I went to the Eye but I decided to buy a ticket and take the trip up over the Thames. It was still beautiful to see the city in a typical London Fog.

Here are some more photos of London.

View of the Millennial Bridge from the Top of the Tate
After visiting St. Paul's Cathedral I walked across the Millennial Bridge leading to the Tate Modern. The Museum is free and I stayed about two hours and then had lunch at cafe on the top floor.

St. Paul's Cathedral

Other London Sites

Globe Theatre
From the Tate I ventured to the Globe Theatre and booked a play for the afternoon. The open air theatre in the round. I saw a new play, Eyam, about a small village in England that lost over 200 people (out of 320+) during the plague. The ticket was only £20 and I couldn't have had a more beautiful day for an afternoon play.

221 B Street (Sherlock)

Southwerk Monument

National Gallery

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Ride the Boston Rails Weekends for Only $10

Visiting the North Shore from Boston is fun, interesting and picturesque, but can be pricey to stop off and on from Salem to Gloucester. However, as it turns out, not during the summer weekends. For only $10 I bought a pass whereby I can hop/on/hop/off the train all the way up the North Shore both Saturday and Sunday!

This weekend was particularly nice so I spent Saturday by traveling from Boston to Gloucester and walking around the harbor and visiting the historical museum.

Gloucester is a favorite North Shore destination, filled with art studio and scenic harbor views. I usually go every summer to get my fix.

On this visit I decided to stop by the Crows Nest where many shots of the film The Perfect Storm was filmed.

From Gloucester I hopped back on the train to Manchester by-the-Sea, a favorite little coastal village, for lunch. Last time I was in Manchester I ate at Calas, this time I decided to try Seven Central. It was lovely. I sat outside overlooking a stream.

On Sunday, I traveled to my old stopping ground, Salem. I lived in Salem so I have several posts. This time I visited the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) to see the latest exhibition, The Empresses of the Forbidden City. Wow! What a treat.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Pilgrim Memorial Monument & Museum in Provincetown

Bottom of the monument looking up
I've written about Provincetown before, but this was the first time I actually visited the Pilgrim Monument & Museum, and it was well worth it.

The rain was coming down pretty hard so I knew I wouldn't be able to see much, but I also knew it would be worth the trek up.

Some monument facts:

  • Building began in 1907 ended in 1910
  • Tower is 252 feet and is 350 feet above sea level
  • 116 steps to the top (oh yea, I walked it)
  • The Pilgrim Monument is the tallest all-granite structure in the U.S.
  • There are many stones inside detailing the different cities in Massachusetts
  • President Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone in 1907 and President Taft dedicated it in 1910

The museum houses the Mayflower Compact written by the original pilgrims who first landed in Provincetown before heading off to Plymouth where they started their settlement in 1620.

They stayed in Provincetown for almost two months before sailing to Plymouth. Many did die in Provincetown due to the strenuous trip from Europe, where they thought they were heading to Virginia. After falling well off course, they landed in Provincetown.

The museum also documents Provincetown originals such as the first theatre players; Susan Glaspell (novelist, actor, and founder of the Provincetown players), and Eugene O'Neill.  Loved this quote from Susan Glaspell; "We live close together and we live far apart. We all go through the same things. It's all just a different kind of same thing." Seems pretty timely doesn't it.

I also enjoy lobster when I go to Provincetown. It is so fresh and tasty. Even in the pouring rain, it is a great place to walk around and enjoy the welcoming community of Provincetown.

What a great way to spend a summer day!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Washington D.C. The City of Trees

Recently I visited Washington D.C. for my nieces graduation from George Washington University. In between graduation ceremonies (there were two) and party dinners and brunches, I took my sister on a Hop On Hop Off bus tour around D.C. 

The tour guide started the audio program with the statement, Washington D.C. is known as the city of trees. And, I know why, D.C. receives more rainfall per year than Seattle. The city is covered with tree-lined streets (of course, it had been raining for days), so the name fits.  

Unfortunately it did rain most of the time I was there so my pics are not all that good. But I did get a few.


We started at the "Mall" where the Vietnam Memorial and Lincoln Memorial start at one end and finish with the Washington Monument (elevators still not working so I could ride to the top)

Lincoln Memorial

I saw the memorial in the day and at night. Night is definitely the better time to see this masterpiece. It will give you goosebumps to be in his presence.

Vietnam Memorial

Definitely not what I expected.  I thought is was a very tall wall but actually it is in a V shape, starting low to the ground and then building to a wall whereby you can touch the top of it and then slowly works its way down to the ground again on the other side. 

I'm not sure what the significance is to the 1959 at the top of the wall at its peak, but I think it was the beginning of the Vietnam "conflict".

Bronze statues at start of Vietnam Memorial

Across the street from the Lincoln Memorial on Constitution Avenue is the Einstein Memorial and the Science Technology Building.
If you rub his nose it brings you luck!

White House


After the tour of monuments the bus stops by the White House. My sister and I had lunch at the Old Ebbitt Grill. It was yummy! Not sure if the president was in residence.


And then there were the museums...for this trip, just one exhibit at the Smithsonian is all I could get in, the Freely Exhibit and the Buddha's. Namaste!

Next time, more of the Smithsonian.

It was a lovely trip and I have to end this post with a pic of my beautiful, talented niece with two undergrad degrees. Congrats Sarah, we will all be working for you someday!

And still more D.C.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Charleston, the Best of the Low Country

St. Philips Church
When my friend Kathleen and I decided to take a trip together, I was excited to see how I would do traveling with someone else. All my trips have been solo. We decided on Charleston, mainly because of I've never been, and Kathleen was excited to get back to the South. She had visited Charleston several times because he first husband (who unfortunately passed away many years ago) was from South Carolina. Both he and her son, attended the Citadel so she was very familiar with the area.

The winter in New England has been particularly harsh this year and the warm weather as well as the charming hospitality of Charleston was a treat!

One of the oldest cities in the United States, Charleston has a rich history (good and bad). 

Magnolia Plantation
Kathleen wanted to go to the largest plantation in the area, Magnolia. At first I wasn't sure because seeing a house and gardens, however beautiful, built by slaves, really wasn't something I wanted to support.

It was however, amazingly beautiful and the historical tour was very informative.  The gardens are spectacular and I'm very glad to have had the opportunity to see them. Without Kathleen, I probably wouldn't have seen something like this. 

Another unexpected site that normally would not be on my list, was the Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. Kathleen had made a donation to the alumni association for a brick in the new alumni center in honor of her husband, Richard. We couldn't see it at the time we were there, but she was able to see it on her way out of town. I'm very happy she had the opportunity. 

The grounds are very impressive. We weren't able to see the parade which takes place every Friday. But if I go back again I will definitely stop to see it. The Citadel is only a few miles outside of Charleston so it was worth the visit.

Fountain in French Quarter at the Wharf

Meeting Street Inn
The second day of our trip, we stayed in the old part of town at a lovely inn, Meeting Street. It is pretty much in the center of everything and walking distance to museums, art galleries, the French Quarter and wharf and of course, shopping. We took a "buggy" ride with tour guide around the city. I do love history!!! Also, well worth the time.

Next to history, architecture is my favorite past time in all my travels. A port city, Charleston, next to Boston and New York, is where it was all happening in the beginning before Independence. Mainly Europeans settled the city and due to the religious freedom, there are churches on every street corner, from every denomination.

Now, let's get to the good stuff, food...The Low Country food selection; shrimp and grits (Cajun style of course), she crab soup and hush puppies...yummy!  Our guest host at the Meeting Street Inn told us about the Low Country Bistro and Kathleen's son gave us the next place not to be missed, Hyman's Seafood, only a few blocks down from the hotel. One night we had drinks and apps at the Rooftop at Vendue (meaning vendor) in the French Quarter.  Let's just say we ate and drank well.

Although I don't think I could travel with many people, I loved my vacation to Charleston with my guide, Kathleen. We both had a wonderful time and have lovely memories that will last 'till the end of our days.

Here's some photos to share. Nothing beats Charleston architecture!

Circular Church Original Meeting Place for non-denominational church goers

Oldest house in Charleston

Rainbow Row

Rooftop Bar at Vendue

St. Michaels Church

French Quarter Tree Lined Walkway

Enjoy my swing time video with Kathleen on the Charleston Wharf