New Orleans has a large collection of public art, both traditional and murals by street artist. Below is a visual representation of some of the more interesting seen around town.
Some random views of Birmingham, Alabama. The city is known as the Magic City because of the fast growth in the late 1800s during the rapid expansion of the steel industry.
There are a number of classic old buildings downtown.
With the industry gone, today Birmingham depends on education (UAB) for much of it’s employment.
Eddie Kendricks grew up in Birmingham before moving to Detroit and starting the Temptations.
The Vulcan Statue is the symbol of Birmingham, reflecting the steel industry roots. It stands on a 180′ pedestal high on a hill overlooking the city.
The statue itself was made for the 1904 World’s Fair in St Louis where it was awarded the Grand Prize.
Today you can walk up the many stairs or take the elevator to the top for great views.
We took the elevator!
For a medium sized city Birmingham has a nice skyline.
With sunset, the lights came on around town.
The skyline lit up nicely from atop the Vulcan Park tower.
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.
Our weekend in Detroit resulted in some venues that didn’t result in enough photos for a single posting so they are grouped together in ‘Random Sights’
Up first – Eastern Market.
Detroit has one of the finest farmers markets in the country. Contained in a number of indoor and outdoor ‘sheds’, they offerings vary throughout the year.
On this day there was little produce, but many people with various meats and even landscaping items.
A few street performers were on hand trying to generate some tips.
Surrounding the market are many food service companies. A number of the buildings had food related murals.
A little Detroit muscle in the Market.
In nearby Dearborn is the Henry Ford Estate.
When you invent the Model T you can have any house you want. Henry had this nice home on what was once a 1700 acre grounds. Most has been developed into a college, mall and corporate center for Ford.
This home’s styling has kept up better than most of it’s era.
And when you start a car company you need a really stylish 5 car garage.
A brief tour of downtown revealed a number of art pieces. This skyscraper at One Woodward Avenue was designed by Minoru Yamaski. If the design of the windows looks familiar it is because he later designed the original World Trade Center in New York.
The statue is The Passo di Danza (Step of the Dance).
The Spirit of Detroit is a large statue completed in 1958. Today this symbol adorns most of the city of Detroit’s department logos.
A recent addition is a 17′ high statue called ‘Waiting’ . While many like the addition some say the ‘X’ for eyes represent death.
Detroit is in Wayne County – and the County Building is in a classic Roman Baroque Revival style,, and was completed in 1902.
Cadillac Tower was the first building outside of New York and Chicago to be 40 floors tall when completed in 1927.
Across the street from the Guardian Building is the Buhl Building. Stylish in it’s own right, it pales to its world renown neighbor.
From the 32nd floor of the Guardian Building we had a great view of the surrounding area. This is a view southwest looking at the Ambassador Bridge leading to Canada (on the left), as well as the Rouge Factory in the distance.
The Renaissance Center was built in the 1970s in an effort to revitalize downtown, however it was built across an 8 lane street, along the river, and with huge walls that visually were imposing. Fail.
From our high vantage point we could see out to the vacant Packard factory that we toured the day before.
The Penobscot Building was Detroit’s tallest building from it’s completion in 1928 until the Ren Center was finished in the 1970s.
The building was named after the Penobscot Native American’s in Maine. The exterior motif pays tribute to them.
Day 7 started out with breakfast at Ken’s House of Pancakes – enough breakfast we didn’t have lunch. When in Hilo, stop at Kens 🙂
About an hour north of Hilo we arrived at Waipii’o Valley Overlook. The valley is 2000′ deep, with great sea cliffs just beyond.
A waterfall comes out of nowhere along the cliffs.
Hawaii has a number of micro climates, with the landscape looking very different. Once we passed Waimea (Cowboy Capital of Hawaii), it all of a sudden switched from rain forest to ‘Central California hills’.
Our next stop was one of the highlights of the island – Polulu Valley Overlook. With a bit of a hike down and toward the ocean, the view south was stunning. I realize after 7 days there are a lot of ‘cliffs and ocean’ photos, but this is one of the best spots.
The town of Kapaau is famous as the birthplace of Kamekameha. It is celebrated with a statue of him. Legend has it that this statue was made for placement in Honolulu but it was lost in a shipwreck, so they made a replacement.
Locals in Kapaau believed it was karma as they felt Honolulu should not have the statue since he is from their town. The original was recovered from the sea and sent to Kapauu.
Kapaau is a nice little Hawaiian town.
On the way back to Kona we stopped at the Hamakua Macadamia Nut Factory.
Some of their processing is located here where you can check out people preparing the nuts.
We left with plenty to last us the rest of the trip.
As we neared Kona, we headed 3000′ up a mountain (and from 86 degrees to 67 degrees) to the Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation.
Kona is famous for their coffee, and this nice small family business gave us a tasting and a tour.
The beans after the first step of processing.
The coffee trees are grown on top of lava shoots, which provides the unique chemical balance that makes Kona coffee what it is.
The Hawaiian Road Trip continued with an early flight to Kona. As with many things in travel, even getting there can be amusing.
Our flight was scheduled to leave at 6:45 AM. About 6:15 they announced a gate change, so we moved down 1 gate only to look out and see the mechanics working on the front wheels of the plane. They changed the front wheels – 4 times!
Finally satisfied we were ok to leave the first passenger boarded – a shackled prisoner with a goofy smile being lead down the jetway by a policeman.
Thankfully the flight itself was short and uneventful, and after about 25 minutes we found ourselves on the Big Island.
About an hour south of the Kona Airport we arrived at Pu’uhonua O Honaunau, a National Historic Park.
This park preserves a site where Hawaiians who broke a law could avoid death sentences by fleeing here as a place of refuge. By serving their penance, they could be absolved by a priest and set free.
The site is considered sacred to native Hawaiians. Out of respect to the native Hawaiians, no activities occur within the park. It is a place for reflection and inner thoughts and peace.
After leaving the park, we continued south along the coast. This area has for centuries been impacted by volcanic activity. Amazingly many of the houses are built on the lava flows.
Our next destination was the South Point of the island. As we made the turn onto South Point Road, we stopped at a farm called Paradise Valley, where we met Raccine.
Paradise Valley is a small working farm where they have an assortment of Hawaiian specialties including Macadamia nuts, coffee trees, and banana trees (among many others), Raccine was more than happy to share with us an assortment of flavored nuts, and their specialty coffees. Later she took us on a tour of the farm.
I was particularly amused with the banana trees.
Finally we left (chowing down on the local chocolate and macadamia nuts), we made our was to the South Point of the Big Island. For those who have been to Key West and seen the ‘Southernmost Point in the United States’ marker, they are way off.
This part of Hawaii is on the same latitude as Guatemala. The point, as with much of the coast here, is from lava flow.
While nearby the sea cliffs make an impressive view.
People jump off he cliffs into the ocean!
Many native Hawaiians feel their land and culture was stolen from them by the U.S. (very similar to the natives across the entire continents). We saw a number of signs stating – This is not the U.S., this is the Kingdom of Hawaii.
It should be noted that almost all of the people we met were very pleasant, receptive and welcoming, they just feel their land and culture has been hijacked.
Nearby is the famed ‘Green Sand Beach’. I had read about this place before we arrived, so we made our way over to the parking lot at the top of a bluff overlooking the ocean.
As we walked across the parking lot there were old 4 wheel drive pickups that said ‘shuttle’. One of them asked us if we wanted a ride – nah I can see the ocean just down the hill.
With a total lack of preparedness we set off – only to figure out much too late it was a 3 mile hike across lava fields and dusty trails to get to the beach. To top it off I forgot water as I thought I was just heading down the hill.
It was a long dusty hike to reach the beach. As we arrived one of the pickup shuttles was parked there. I told the driver I had 2 questions – first, do you do 1 way trips. Absolutely (whew)
Two – do you have any water for sale. Nope, but I can help you out. With that he opened his cooler in the back and handed me a cold beer! My new best friend.
With that cold beer I could finally enjoy the view of the famed green sand beach.
The ride back was insanely bumpy (almost so much I spilled my second beer).
Safely back at the car we continued our journey, with our next stop being the Honu’apo Black Sand Beach. Thankfully it was only about 100 yard walk to the beach, and the sand was indeed black.
It was beautiful, and had an interesting somewhat coarse texture that felt good on the feet.
It is also a turtle habitat.
Our first day on the Big Island complete, we headed to our hotel at Volcano National Park in preparation for tomorrow.
After a week in the city running around each evening taking photos, a number were left without a theme, so they are grouped together here as ‘Scenes of the City’.
The view from the roof of the Met.
Cool interior shots of the Daily News Building on 42nd Street.
A Bloomingdale’s on the Upper East Side.
The 9-11 Memorial.
The Oculus – I seem to take a photo or two every time I am there and it never gets old.
George Washington keeping watch over Wall Street.
A cool interior downtown.
Fountain in City Hall Park.
The Flatiron with interesting lighting and coloring.
Statue on top of City Hall.
Chambers Street Subway Station entrance.
Before all the subways in New York consolidated into one large Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), there were many including the BMT (Brooklyn Manhattan Transit), The Independent Subway System (INT), and the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT).
Numbered trains are IRT, the letters are either INT or BMT.
A vertical Madison Square view.
A series of contrasting architectural styles.
New York City always provides lots of subjects for photos.
For this warm and windy Saturday we headed to Mansfield to see the Kingwood Center Gardens. These gardens, and the mansion, were built by Charles King, who made his money leading a company that made electrical fittings for the trolleys and railroads of the early 1900s.
The house and grounds were built in 1926, and feature 47 acres of formal gardens, as well as greenhouses.
When Mr King died in the 1950s the estate was turned over to a private foundation that to this day own and operate the beautiful grounds.
My first photo of the day was taken with the ‘wrong’ settings. A couple of nights earlier there was a vivid full moon and I had changed the white balance and numerous other settings, forgetting to reset them. When I took the photo of the fountain it did not represent it’s actual look, but rather this ‘full moon’ look.
Returning my camera to more proper settings for garden photography we set off. We were immediately impressed with the landscaping.
As we made our way through the gardens we passed numerous planters with interesting mixes within each one.
The stone paths and perfectly trimmed hedges framed the flora.
The newest lens was perfect for some close ups.
With the full frame capabilities, getting clear shots of the flowers is much easier.
So much easier I came home with numerous photos of insects on plants and flowers.
Additional planters on stone walls.
The lawn and gardens in front of the house was immaculate (except for some gardener put tire tracks in it 🙂 )
As with most gardens, weddings are a big business. Unfortunately for the bride this day some heavy rains came later, after we finished our tour.
The house opened at 11, and a local peacock was there waiting for entry.
While not extensive, there was some statuary well placed throughout the gardens.
The carriage house had 5 bays for automobiles. What could be better, a 5 car garage and great landscaping.
One of the greenhouses featured cacti.
More insect closeups, this time in the greenhouse. Fortunately for this one he stayed away from the nearby Venus fly trap.
We were pleasantly surprised by the Kingwood Center Gardens. While not Longwood (who is), this is one of the best, if not the best, gardens we have seen in Ohio.
While reading online for something to do I read that there was going to be a tour of the Ohio Statehouse grounds, focusing on the sculptures and landscaping. It was to occur at 10 AM on a Sunday morning.
We arrived 10 minutes early, and waited until 10:15 and nobody showed up, so we decided to make our own tour.
We started along State Street on the south end of the grounds.
From here we had a nice view of the classic Ohio Theater as well as the flower beds along the entryways.
The statues flanking the McKinley statue are known as ‘Peace and Prosperity’.
While McKinley towers over the west entrance to the grounds.
The other side of ‘Peace and Prosperity’
Even the lamp posts are stylish.
There is a statue of a ‘Doughboy’ from World War I – this is the plaque beneath the statue.
The north entrance features a statue called ‘Peace’, with floral beds.
The sundial was added by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1932.
A second look from the south entrance across the grounds to the Huntington Bank Building.
While the northeast view from this vantage point looks towards the Statehouse, Senate building and PNC Bank Building. Clearly banks like to overlook the government buildings.
Christopher Columbus (with yet another bank building in the background)
Some of the famed Ohioans on the statue ‘These Are My Jewels’.
This statue is topped with Cornelia, a wealthy and respected Roman woman who when asked where her jewels were – pointed to her sons.
The back entrance to the Senate building.
Fountains in front of a World War II memorial wall. It seems almost all of the statues on the grounds have to do with war, or the hope for peace.
The grounds are fairly open to the streets, this fencing is decorative to protect the landscaping. We didn’t have a formal tour – but had a nice morning wandering the grounds with nobody else around.
A Sunday afternoon in downtown Philadelphia…
Flowers outside Independence Hall Visitor Center.
Everything in Philadelphia seems to be dedicated to Benjamin Franklin. Apparently his newspapers are laying on the ground to this day.
The Benjamin Franklin Parkway that leads to the Art Museum (and the Rocky statue)
An Airplane outside the Franklin Institute
As well as the grand front entrance.
A fountain in the Franklin Parkway looking back towards City Hall.
The Pennsylvania Convention Center – built in part in the old Reading Railroad Terminal.