Willoughby, Ohio – August 2017 – Holden Arboretum

The Holden Arboretum is located outside of Cleveland, offering a collection of gardens as one of the largest arboretums in America. Recently they have added a couple of features, the Canopy Walk and the Observation Tower.

The Canopy Walk allows you to observe the forest from 65′ above the ground on suspension bridges between towers.

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The Observation Tower, over 100′ high, offers views above the trees, as well as Lake Erie off in the distance.

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After our tree top adventure, we toured the remainder of the gardens.

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New Vrinabad, WV – July 2017 – Palace of Gold

In the extremely unlikely locale of the West Virginia Northern Panhandle is the Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold. Built in the 1970s it is a magnificently ornate building that is showing it’s age, with a multi year restoration effort ongoing.

Despite this, it continues to attract thousands of tourists a year to seek it out (my navigation system took me down a dirt road that wanted me to cross a creek with 2′ of water running through it.)

Once we did arrive we were fascinated with the thought of a Hare Krishna temple just up the hill from numerous fracking wells and their associated tanker trucks, and the oil workers and their giant 4 wheel drive pickups.

While not something I want to do often, it was worth the adventure of finding it and spending an hour or two.

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Bloomfield Hills, MI – June 2017 – Cranbrook Art Museum & Saarinen House

The Cranbrook Academy of Art was founded in the 1920s by George Booth, who asked renown Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen to design the campus and buildings. Eventually the campus was expanded to include both boys and girls schools, a Science Museum as well as the Art Museum.

The Saarinen House has been restored to it’s 1930s look, and the museum offers tours, which we attended. The house itself (in my opinion) was somewhat disappointing as it did not give the ‘wow’ feeling that I often have when going into other famous homes, such as many of the Frank Lloyd Wright homes of the same period. Instead it seems more ‘practical’ and commonplace, in a 1930s art deco way.

The grounds of the campus are very nice, with gardens scattered about, along with numerous sculptures and fountains. The museum was somewhat smallish, but had some interesting artifacts including the chair collection.

 

The Art Museum

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Gardens and Fountains

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The interior of the Art Museum

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Saarinen House

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Cincinnati – June 2017 – Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum

The Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum was designed in the 1840s by Adolph Strauch, a renown lanscape architect who’s view was to have a ‘garden cemetery’ made up of trees, lakes and shrubs.

It is the second largest (in area) cemetery in the United States, with over 700 acres, including 400 that are landscaped. As we toured in our car we passed trams leading tours, as well as numerous walkers. It clearly was different than most cemeteries with the spaciness and landscaping.

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Cleveland – May 2017 – An Afternoon in University Circle

The University Circle neighborhood in Cleveland is the home to most of the major museums in the city, the Cultural Gardens and Case Western Reserve University.

 

The Cultural Gardens is a collection of 31 unique Nationality gardens, most with sculptures interspersed with the plantings. Unfortunately we only had time to visit a handful.

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A residential neighborhood near Case Western Reserve University is home to Hessler Court – an amazing little street that is made out of wood. Known as Nicolson Pavement, the wood block construction was popular in the mid 1800s. Now less than 5 remain in America, and Cleveland is home to one. It is smooth and quiet.

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The Cleveland Botanical Gardens roses were in full bloom.

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Sculpture in front of the Botanical Gardens.

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Nearby they were having stilt walking lessons.

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