Lexington, Kentucky – May 2019 – Scenes of the City

Two things are important in Lexington – horse racing and bourbon!




Even some of the public art – including giant sculptures of books often depicts horse racing.


A number of artistic horse sculptures are scattered around town.

A downtown sculpture area is called Thoroughbred Park – depicting the finish line in great detail.


The best ‘ghost sign’ in town is for Horse Racing Oats.

But there is more to Lexington that just horses and bourbon – there is the University of Kentucky, and their stunning library.



For a city this far off the east coast there are a number of early 1800 or older buildings and homes.



A former courthouse is now the main visitor center – as well as other civic offices.



The area has been growing, and there is evidence of new investments downtown with government buildings and plazas.



The main library is newer as well, and features this 5 story pendulum clock – reputed to be the largest in the world.



We visited Transylvnia University and an art fair that was occurring there. The college was the first institution of higher learning west of the Allegheny Mountains. It is named for the Transylvania Colony – a proposed 14th colony that never really came to be – but the university name stuck.




Our final stop was the arboretum shared by the University of Kentucky and the city of Lexington. On this spring day there were a number of groups using the setting for their backdrops – homecoming groups, weddings, engages, and others…




Our final stop was a memorial to 49 people who lost their lives in a commuter airline crash in 2006. They are represented by 49 birds in flight.

For a mid sized city Lexington has a lot to offer – a good place to spend a day or two.






Lexington, Kentucky – May 2019 – Mural City

The city of Lexington, Kentucky like many cities has some murals around town. Unlike anywhere we have ever seen, they seem to have them everywhere – and most are very well done.

In addition they aren’t all the traditional history based murals – rather many have artistic statements. Below is an extensive view of many of the murals – if you are interested in more details behind them I recommend checking out the two links below:

http://www.lexarts.org/participate/public-art/lmp/ using the hashtag #sharethelex

or
http://www.prhbtn.com/murals/

We spent a few hours on a mural scavenger hunt and found most of them. This posting is quite long with around 40 photos in it.






































Washington DC – May 2019 – People of the World at the Embassy Open House Day

Once a year many of the embassies located in Washington have an open house, officially known as The Around the World Embassy Tour.




This was the event we went to Washington for, and it didn’t disappoint. On this busy Saturday the embassies were open from 10-4. We had selected 14 from over 50 that were open. In the end we visited 17, but only 6 that were on our original list – regardless it was a great time.

Easily the best part was meeting the people from around the world. Each embassy had a variety of people – artists, musicians, delegates, and just regular folks from their home country. In the Peru embassy we met the artist Mario Arcevedo Torero.





Our morning continued down the street at the Embassy of Trinidad and Tobago, A recurring theme soon began that the smaller countries had the most lively groups.





At the Iraqi embassy we met this artist and his traditional (yet electrified) guitar.





India’s was so popular they took over the nearby street and had a concert, with the traditional dancers, as well as a drum circle.











The visit to Albania was great as well – really tasty free food, traditionally costumed people, and a free shot of alcohol at the end!





There were numerous people in their traditional dress.






Despite tasting our way through 7 countries we had lunch in Costa Rica. As with the others it was nice to taste the local foods.

While many had small tastes of food and drink, some had food lines set up for a nominal fee – it was well worth it.





The Dominican Republic was a lively place as well.





In addition to the dancers there were a number of craftsmen, including this chain saw artist who makes amazingly small items using a chain saw (and seemingly still has all his fingers).




The Korean Cultural Center featured dancers as well.




The second act we saw was a drum line. It is interesting that the cultures from around the world tend to use similar items for their entertainment – dance and drums.




The Haitian embassy featured an artist doing paintings on site.





Meanwhile over at Cote d’Ivoire the greeters wore traditional headdresses.





They also had a display of costumes.



This artist was proudly displaying her work – it was beautiful.





Ah Belize…. What a party….




Before you even entered the grounds you couldn’t help but feel the energy of the party.





People were dancing in front – people were dancing in back.




People from very different cultures were jamming out to the Belize party. Ironically they were next door to the Muslim Center, which we visited in what I would expect should be quiet respect, but you could still hear the party next door – hopefully they get along ok.




We went through a very quiet and strangely austere Brazilian embassy, then headed on up the street to see these two colorful ladies….





Coming from Bolivia! They had a number of dancers performing their traditional dances.





And posed for a group photo at the end of their act.




This older guy was very active in his dance.




And with that we ended our amazing day at the Embassy Open House. This is one you need to put on your list!

Washington, DC – May 2019 – National Cathedral

The Washington National Cathedral is the second largest church in the country, and serves as the church for many state funerals, among other activities.




Because of Washington’s unique building height restrictions it is the 4th tallest building in the city, despite only being 300′ high.




The day we visited they were having the annual Flower Mart. As part of this event there were a number of group performing, including the choir from the nearby St Alban’s School.




The main section rises to the aforementioned 300′, with a length of nearly 500′ making it an impressive space.




State flags line the cathedral. Despite the name it receives no money from the government.




There is a significant amount of carvings throughout.




The organ was built by Ernest Skinner & Son Organ Company. It was completed and installed in 1938, with over 10,000 pipes.




A closeup of some of the carvings.




The church suffered significant damage in a 2011 earthquake, and they have been raising money ever since to complete repairs. By selling Lego bricks at $2 each, they hope to raise the final $19 million to finish the repairs. The bricks are to build an exact replica of the cathedral.




A statue of George Washington was sculpted in 1947 and placed in the church. It is said to represent Washington not as a soldier, or president, but ‘just a man’.




As noted previously the Flower Mart was occurring on this day. As part of this celebration the country of Ecuador flew in fresh roses and was giving each lady a rose, presented by a representative of the embassy.




Many countries had floral displays, none more unusual that Switzerland’s rose cow.




Many lined the nave, with the stained glass windows providing backdrops.





The arrangements were very well done.




The Washington Cathedral is a stunning building, and the Flower Mart display added to the experience.







Southeastern Ohio – April 2019 – Interesting and Unusual Sights Part 1

A long spring Sunday was spent wandering throughout Southeastern Ohio. For those not familiar, this area of the state is the beginning of Appalachia – both the good point and bad points.

Part 1 of the posting is showing the interesting sights of the area. Part 2 (in a second post) shows some of the hardships endured.

The day started out passing through the small town of Somerset, home of the Civil War general Phillip Sheridan. His statue graces the middle of the traffic circle in the center of town.





Just south of Somerset we passed by a large collection of ‘Ghost Bikes’. These bikes are normally placed where a bicyclist was killed in accidents. I am not sure if this person is paying tribute, or makes the bikes.





Southeastern Ohio is made up of small towns that all have seen better days. They were mostly coal towns or clay/brick towns. Murray City has restored their small train depot and even has a small engine and caboose.



While inside they have the items used to run the depot. Apparently nobody has used the calculator in a long time as it was covered in cobwebs.





Nearby Glouster has restored their depot as well.




Glouster also has a number of public art installations including a large, nicely done mural showing the history of the town.




They also have a number of reproductions of famous pieces of art on the side of the building in the center of town.





Nearby Nelsonville is a center for tourism for the area, as they have a very popular scenic railroad. In addition the town square has been restored, including this great building – the Stuart Opera House.

Nelsonville has a music festival that brings ‘nationally known’ artists, as well as many regional artists. The Stuart also hosts many concerts.




This stylish house on the edge of the town square is made of some locally made bricks, with the interesting coloring.




Nelsonville was a brick town, as noted by this great building and the brick street.




One of the manufacturers was the Star Brick company, with their distinctive stars embossed in each brick.





With the natural beauty of the hills and valleys, it has become a tourist mecca with nearby Hocking Hills being the center.

As with many parts of the country they have converted old railways to trails. This trail goes through the King Hollow Tunnel. This tunnel is unique in that is was (and still is) wood frame, as opposed to stone or concrete. It was recently restored and stabilized but still done with wood.





Nearby Lake Hope State Park has a historic Iron Furnace.





The highlight of this area is the famed Moonville Tunnel. The guide at the visitor center told us to take a road until we reached the stream and walk across the bridge. Clearly this is not the bridge to cross.




We eventually found the correct one, and headed for the tunnel. The Moonville Tunnel is infamous for being haunted, with numerous different stories about ghosts.





All we found were graffiti from previous ghosts (or tacky people).





It has rained a lot recently and the side of the trail through the tunnel had a light layer of water which coupled with the stunning amount of graffiti gave it an interesting look.

Part 2 of this day is highlighted in a second post.






Columbus – April 2019 – The Dog Show Returns

The annual dog show returned, so it is time once again for ‘what are the dogs really thinking’.

Starting with – “does my tongue look big to you.”





“I think they have been cloning me”





“Why am I here”





“What did I do now?”





“No – I want to go this way”





“I can stand like this all day”





“Lady get my treat out of your mouth – why do they all do that”





“Whadda ya lookin’ at?”





“I like her hair – it looks like mine”





“Keep up lady”





“You really gave me this look?”





“I am cooler than all of you”