Washington DC – June 2018 – Museum of Natural History

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is the most visited Natural History Museum in the world. With over 1.5 million square feet of space and 126 million specimens it is the authoritative view on natural history.

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The Hall of Mammals has an extensive collection.

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A map of the world has the population ‘clock’ that constantly updates.

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The Hall of Human Origins has a collection of sculptures of humans over time.

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The Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals has a number of impressive pieces.

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Finally we toured the Ocean Hall.

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Cove Neck, NY – May 2018 – Sagamore Hill

As American presidents go, none were more interesting than Teddy Roosevelt. Born and raised in New York City Teddy did as many wealthy people of the time did, he bought an estate in the country. In his case he purchased 155 acres along the North Shore of Long Island, near Oyster Bay. By 1887 a home was completed and Teddy moved in.

 

 

 

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Today the estate is part of the National Park Service. As you arrive and park about 100 yards away at the visitor center, you approach the home from the rear therefore the first close up you get is of the ice house. Without refrigeration an ice house was an integral part of life.

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Making our way around the exterior (once again we arrived somewhere that was closed to tours for the day) we were greeting with a view of an eagle sculpture on the side of the home.

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When it was built in the late 1800s it was thought to be a very modern looking house.

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On this closer view of the front you will note that a portion of the railing is missing. Teddy has this removed so he could more easily address crowds that regularly gathered on the front lawn.

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The front porch is massive, and the awnings add to the comfort on a warm summer day even more.

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The traditional entrance featured a porte cochere (carriage porch).

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Our final view of the home provided an interesting perspective up the hill past the ice house to the main house. Note the numerous roof lines.

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Nearby Teddy Roosevelt Jr later built his home.

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The estate property goes all the way down the hill to Cold Spring Harbor. Sagamore Hill is a great place to spend a couple of hours – just try and time it when the house it open!

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Delaware, OH – April 2018 – Architectural Tour

The small city of Delaware, Ohio is the county seat of a county of the same name. Located just north of Columbus it was for more than 150 years the center of a farming county, as well as the home of the small college, Ohio Wesleyan.

With Columbus suburbs fast approaching, most of the county to the south has been developed  in tract housing and shopping centers, and it now has a population of over 200,000, and is recognized as having the highest per capita income in the state.

The town of Delaware however still feels like a small town, with many historic buildings.

First up is Beiber’s Mill which was was built in 1877 as a grist mill. Long abandoned, it sits directly on the Olentangy River – there were enough No Trespassing signs, and neighbors that looked like they would have shotguns that we took the photos from the road.

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The next stop was Perkins Observatory.  While in town there is an observatory that was built in 1896 that is still standing (barely), this building is about 3 miles south of town, next to a golf course.

Built in 1925 it has been in use ever since, but has over time reduced in scope as central Ohio is not very conducive to astrological observations – due to the low altitude, cloud cover and light pollution from the cities.

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As we arrived on the small campus of the 1900 student Ohio Wesleyan University, we found Edwards Gymnasium. Built in 1905 it is a spectacular building with an amazing wood ceiling with skylights.

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Just up the hill is Slocum Hall, which contains a library.

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As well as a great skylight.

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Next door is the University Hall and Chapel, although it appears to me very similar to most of the county court houses and jails around the state.

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On the west side of the campus are a series of newer buildings.

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Leaving campus we moved on to an area where all of the Delaware County Government buildings are located including what was a Carnegie Library – now the County Commissioners home.

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Next door is the old courthouse.

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Our last stop is what should be the main attraction of the town – the birthplace of a U.S. President – in this case Rutherford B. Hayes. However someone messed that one up long ago when the home was torn down, so now it is the Rutherford B Hayes Memorial BP Gas Station. But it is the only Presidential Gas Station in America, so Delaware, Ohio has that going for them.

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Boston – June 2014 – North Shore Highlights

A trip to Boston to help our daughter move provided us an opportunity to see some of the highlights of downtown Boston and the North Shore highlights.

Our 660 mile drive to the Boston suburbs took us 10 hours, and our 15 mile drive from our suburban hotel to her apartment took an hour and a half. But we picked her up and walked up the street for dinner. We treated her to a nice dinner at a place called the Fireplace, where I had a small bowl Lobster Mac & Cheese, which cost $35.

Saturday morning, we picked her up for a tour of Boston and the North Shore area.

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For those fans of milestones we went through the Ted Williams Tunnel under Boston Harbor. The end of this tunnel is the official eastern end of Interstate 90. Having been at the western end in Seattle a few weeks earlier made this even more interesting.

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After cruising through downtown we headed to Winthrop, a town on a peninsula that juts into Boston Harbor, beyond Logan Airport, which gave us cool views of the airport in front of the tall buildings.

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We continued up the north shore to Salem, where we went in a very cheesy tourist trap called the Salem Witch Museum. It was some of the worst animatronics ever made.

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The rest of Salem, especially the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, was very nice.

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In addition, it was just around the House of Seven Gables.

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Later we went to the small seaside town of Rockport, Massachusetts, not to be confused with the more famous one in Maine. Tripadvisor suggested a place called the Roy Moore Lobster Company. We walked in this small shack, where the guys working there immediate gave me shit about my Pittsburgh Pirates shirt, which of course I returned, then we proceed to get 3 complete, fresh from the ocean lobsters for $35, or the same price of a bowl of Lobster Mac & Cheese in Brookline!

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We found a picnic table in the back, over the water and chowed down. Easily the best lobster dinner I ever had.

Early Sunday morning we started for home. Since it was Sunday, and early I decided to take I-95 down the coast to New York City, which normally is far too busy to try.

We made our way through Providence, New Haven, and Bridgeport before crossing into Westchester County, and eventually onto the Cross Bronx Expressway, UNDER a 20 floor apartment building and onto the George Washington Bridge.

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Once in New Jersey there is about 50 miles of suburbs then 300 miles of nothing through Pennsylvania.

It was a long weekend, but it was great to see our daughter.

Colorado Mountains – 2012 Road Trip – Day 8 – Independence Pass & Royal Gorge Railroad

Glenwood Springs was our western most point on this trip, and we ‘started home’. We were heading in a southeast direction for Aspen. I had been in Aspen many years earlier, during the winter, so it seemed like a totally different place.

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Far too much traffic, and too little for us to do so we continued on through Aspen for Independence Pass.

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Colorado Highway 82 is the road from Aspen to Independence Pass. As you leave town the valley narrows into a canyon as the road begins to climb. From this point most of the land is part of White River National Forest. There are several short sections where past rockslides have forced the road to narrow to one lane and access is controlled via traffic lights.

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Shortly afterwards, Highway 82 crosses the Roaring Fork for the last time, a few miles below its source at Independence Lake. The road then turns along the canyon’s headwall to the south. After a switchback it climbs above the tree line and into the high-elevation alpine tundra landscape of  Independence Pass.

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Continuing east, we passed Twin Lakes on the way to Salida.

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Beyond Salida we began to run in the Arkansas River Canyon, which continued all the way to Canon City, the home of the Royal Gorge.

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The gorge begins at the mouth of Grape Creek a mile upstream from downtown Canon City and continues upstream for six miles. With a width of 50 feet at its base and a few hundred feet at its top, and a depth of 1,250 feet in places, the canyon is a narrow, steep gorge through the granite of Fremont Peak. It is one of the deepest canyons in Colorado.

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One of the peak attractions of the area is the Royal Gorge Bridge. The bridge crosses the gorge 955 feet above the Arkansas River, and held the record of highest bridge in the world from 1929 until 2001, when it was surpassed by a in China. It is a 1,260’ long suspension bridge with a wooden walkway with 1292 planks.

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Below this is the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. The railroad transits the royal Gorge on a 2-hour scenic and historic train ride along what is considered to be the most famed portion of the former Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. The 1950s-era train departs the Santa Fe Depot in Canon City.

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We chose to ride in one of the open cars, and it was well worth it. Running through the canyon directly next to the river we passed by rafters, under the bridge and close enough to the cliffs to reach out and touch them.

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Our next stop, and home for the night, was Colorado Springs. The drive from Canon City was only 45 minutes, and passed along the Front Range until we reached the edge of town.

The area had been experiencing forest fires in the days before, up to the day we arrived, but that afternoon they had strong thunderstorms with significant rainfall so the fires had been put out, but the entire town smelled like a campfire that someone had doused with water.

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The thunderstorms literally had cleared about 30 minutes before we arrived, and when we went to the Garden of Gods we were the only people there.

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The geologic features of the park are the ancient sedimentary beds of deep-red, pink and white sandstones that were deposited horizontally, but have now been pushed vertically into fins caused by the uplift of the Rocky Mountains. The following ice age resulted in erosion and glaciation of the rock, creating the present rock formations.

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We spent the rest of the evening driving around Colorado Springs.

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Boston – June 2012 – Time to Spare in Beantown

In late June I found myself in Boston for the day with no particular commitments, so I toured various sites looking for photo ops.

Fenway Park

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Harvard Stadium

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Charles River

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Mass Avenue Bridge

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Seaport District

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