First time back in Cleveland for about 15 years staying with my lovely friends Terry and Brooks who I met on my cruise through the Panama Canal a couple of years ago. They were the perfect hosts and I loved being back at the I M Pei designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – we did about 3.5 hours there but it could easily have been six. Fantastic building and brilliant exhibits. I even got to connect with my beloved David Cassidy – RIP:(. Then we headed to the Science Museum to watch two IMAX movies.
Next day I was once again able to see experience the work of Yayoi Kusama – those who read my blogs regularly will know I am a great fan and always see her work whenever it is available wherever I go. This time if was at the beautiful Cleveland Museum of Art and involved 9 Infinity rooms – amazing as ever and what a treat to catch up with this exhibit which ends here in a week. And I got to catch up with Uschi – another Cleveland resident that I met on the last cruise – Uschi.
Have spent three days back in Buffalo staying with friends Paulette and Michael (perfect hosts). We met up with another ex colleague and friend LuAnne who kindly drove us around for the perfect tour of Buffalo. First stop was the amazing Darwin Martin House which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and has been beautifully and painstakingly restored (only the garden left to do). I am a major FLW fan so am sharing a few photos for others who like this kind of thing. Extra special was that we have a private tour:)
Next stop was the Richardson Complex – formerly the Buffalo Psyhiatric home. It is huge and is also being repurposed/restored as a hotel and event location. We got another private tour thanks to my friend Betsy. Some great artefacts like the beams holding up the roof.
Then we headed to the Canalside area. Formerly grain silos and now being repurposed as a place to dine, skate, roller derby and generally have a good time.
And finally a quick day trip back across the border to Niagara on the Lake, Ontario where the Shaw Festival is on – we saw Henry V – but it was set in WW1 trenches and hospital beds. Sounds weird but it was really cleverly done and very moving. The town is gorgeous and decorated with flowers in abundance so a nice place to stroll and indulge in all things maple!
Spent a couple of days in Boston post cruise and it rained a lot and when it wasn’t raining it was cloudy but I still enjoyed revisiting some spots and going to some new ones also. It is always a nice easy and compact city to visit -very walkable.
My hotel was a stone’s throw from Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall as well as the red pavemented Freedom Trail walk. I had my last lobster roll for a while in Faneuil Hall:(
Next stop – memorials to the holocaust – symbolic towers for each of the Death Camps which had hot steam floating through them – symbolic for sure. Bottom right is a memorial to the Irish who fled the potato famine for new lives in Boston
Then a nice walk around Beacon Hill – the traditional and swanky part of town. When i was 21 and came to the US for the first time, my friend Sue and I stayed at the parents of a friend who lived in this part of town. We had the whole of the top of the town house plus rooftop patio – we thought we had died and gone to heaven. A lovely part of town but the Cheers Bar is looking a little the worse for wear I thought – and nobody knew my name….
First time visit to the JFK Presidential Library – interesting to visit given the history up to and after his time as President. But the star of this place is the fantastic design of the building by I M Pei on the Waterfront – stunning.
In these shots you can see the hotel I was staying in – it was the very tall building with the clock on the top which was formerly the Customs House. Great to stay in such a historical building which still retains its old counting room. There is also an observation deck above the clock with fabulous views of Boston and surrounds – even on a gloomy day. And I loved the fountain which is hot and cold occasionally spurting out steam.
Well I am finally departing the lovely Seabourn Quest after a wonderful trip covering a small part of Iceland (got to go back there for more), a lot of Greenland, and then a number of smaller locations in Canada’s Eastern provinces – Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Quebec and PEI. Finally entered US waters and had one stop in Bar Harbour – before disembarking in Boston.
Bar Harbour is a cute seaside town with an attractive harbourfront, some sumptious hotels and houses (even the birdhouse is plush!) plus more great lobster rolls!
The famous spot to visit in Bar Harbour is Acadia National Park – I took the free trolley bus there and it stops at loads of places so you can stay on it or get off and do some walking and then pick it up again later. Fab place and would love to go back in the Fall sometime in the future.
Then time so say goodbye to Seabourn Quest – my home from home. Lots of food and music for the final sail away night.
The portrait Gallery was opposite our hotel – the Kimpton Monaco which was reasonably priced and easy to walk from or subway from to just about everywhere including the Regan Airport. Of course we wanted to see the new Obama portraits too – from an art perspective I preferred Obama’s.
Here are a few who came before (in very different artistic styles) (and amazingly the Nixon one was a Norman Rockell) plus a few others who could have been president – well anyonce can can’t they????
If you get a chance to get into the National Museum of African American History and Culture – get it. Tickets are available the month before and are free but in hot demand so ask your concierge too – that’s how we go ours on our last day. So worth it. I only did the culture sections as that took three hours – when I go back I will tackle the history floors which are all underground. This montage shows Chuck Berry’s Cadillac as well as the tower of books just about Abraham Lincoln (from the Ford Theatre Museum where he was shot)
Cocktail grazing with Urban Adventures DC after the National Portrait Gallery is a good way to go.
And finally the glorious cherry blossoms. We had a cold spell but because it followed a warm one we hit the prime cherry blossom viewing time.
Ages since I was last in DC and it remains a wonderful place of larger than life monuments, parks and museums – all are some of my favourite things and most of them are free too. Just wandering about and snapping pics of buildings that are iconic and seen in so many movies as well as newspapers and tv is great fun.
I also did a great evening tour with DC Urban Adventures which enabled me to see all the monuments at night – a whole new experience and well worth it.
I have visited a load of museums while here and there are still so many I have yet to visit so might come back later in the year. On Day one I visited the Hirshorn, Sackler and Freer art museums and was delighted to see art named after me and of course as usual thrilled to see anything by Yayoi Kusama – so of course I loved the massive pumpkin on the lawn as well as the superb Bowie photo.
And the magnolias in front of the Smithsonian castle were in full bloom too.
Have had a great time getting to know the Miami region over the past few weeks which was even better given I had the chance to catch up with friends from the US, UK, Austria and Australia who all happened to be visiting at various points.
The Art Deco buildings – exterior and interior are looking really great. Originally they were large private homes of the wealthy and then they were used by the underworld for many decades so are all designed to have a through hall (front to back) for quick escapes when needed and many have a tiny bar (used as a front for more nefarious businesses) and often the hotel was always “full” if anyone asked – another front! Nowadays they are real small and unique hotels on the beach with loads of character. Miami Vice seems a long time ago.
No trip to this area is complete without an airboat tour to the Everglades. Gorgeous scenery as you either drift by slowly or travel at very windy speed. Further excitement added by spotting one or two of the 1.5 million alligators who live in Florida (not sure who counted them?).
Finished the day with a drenching from a typical Miami storm in Little Havana and watching some cigar rolling with my mate Liza.