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Joan

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Celebrate 25 Years of Japanese Art at Chigirie.com

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  • January 17, 2019

Buy “The Trout” and I’ll donate 10% of the proceeds to two well-known and deserving organizations.

Celebrate with me! I’m commemorating my 25th art anniversary at chigirie.com. You can purchase “The Trout” in three sizes at joanmatsuitravelwriter.com/shop.

Friends and acquaintances who know me well understand why I love to fly-fish but they’re also aware I’m an advocate for responsible fishing, land and water preservation, and the healing effects nature provides. Much of my time on the road is spent fly fishing and appreciating our waterways that Trout Unlimited (TU) has worked so hard to preserve. TU and Casting for Recovery (CfR) will each receive 5 percent of the proceeds from the sale of “The Trout” prints.

TU is a national organization that’s at the forefront of fisheries restoration work at the local, state and national levels. Its 300,000 members and supporters are organized into 400 chapters and councils from Maine to Montana to Alaska with approximately 30 offices nationwide. Over the years, I’ve assisted with TU fly fishing education programs and I’m one of the founding members of my local TU Women’s Initiative.

Casting for Recovery (CfR) is a non-profit organization that provides phenomenal healing outdoor retreats for women with breast cancer and at no cost to the participants. Their retreats offer inspiration, connections with other women and of course, one of the greatest healing powers known to mankind, nature. CfR retreats are open to women with breast cancer of all ages and in all stages of treatment and recovery. Women from all walks of life have benefited from CfR’s inspiring program model for more than 20 years with 60 retreats across the country that serve 800+ women each year. CfR partners with volunteers in Canada, UK/Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Italy and its volunteer teams are made up of medical and psychosocial professionals, fly fishing instructors and alumnae. Click here to learn more about CfR.

“The Trout” original was a commissioned piece I created around the same time I took my first fly fishing lesson with my local Trout Unlimited chapter and the PA Fish and Boat Commission. The original trout collage was used to create trail art at a neighborhood community park and I donated the original to the park as an auction item.

The unveiling of “The Trout” trail art at a community park.
“The Trout” is permanently displayed as trail art on a walking trail in Pennsylvania.

If you’re not familiar with Chigirie, the Japanese art of tearing paper to create a collage (or painting with paper), glance at The Trout and you’ll see 50 or more tiny pieces of pre-dyed torn paper I blended (without paint) to create a layered effect.

The Trout is my one and only fishing-related art project and I’m thrilled to be able to offer prints and support TU and CfR.

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America by car America's road trips Lifestyle Scenic Road Trips The most breathtaking highest roads in America Travel America Travel and Tourism U.S. Road Trips

Revealed: The Highest Road in Every U.S. State

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  • January 15, 2019
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Geotab Study Ranks America’s Most Breathtaking Views

Travel to One or All: 2019 U.S. Must-See Vistas

Information provided by Geotab
Toronto, ON – November 27, 2018 – Geotab, a global leader in IoT and connected transportation, has launched a new study analyzing U.S. road data to identify the highest paved road in every state in America. Treat yourself and your family to America’s scenic wonders.
All photos courtesy of GEOTAB

At 4,757 feet, the highest point of Alaska’s Dalton Highway (in the Atigun Pass on the Continental Divide) was identified as having the most stunning view in America. Taking second place is Colorado’s Mount Evans Scenic Byway. At 14,132 feet at its peak, it is the highest paved road in North America and one of the highest in the world.


7,419ft Washington National Forest Development Road 5400 to Slate

The interactive piece, which also ranks the top ten most breathtaking views can be accessed in full here. By analyzing the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Elevation Dataset, Geotab was able to determine the highest road coordinates in each state. Aside from identifying the highest, reachable peaks, Geotab also leveraged the expertise of renowned outdoor photographer, Tony Bynum, to help determine the ranking of the ten most breathtaking views in America that can be accessed by hitting the open road.

“I’ve visited all of the roads on this list and there is simply nothing like Alaska for solitude and breadth of views,” says Tony Bynum, outdoor photographer, and conservationist. “In general, Western U.S. scenery is the ‘best’, with a tendency to offer better visibility up to 100 miles on clear days. However, most of the higher elevations in the west are closed in winter, whereas the central and eastern roads are often available all year round.”

Tony Bynum

The full ranking of America’s 10 most breathtaking views is below:
Rank Height State Road

  • 4,757ft Alaska Dalton Highway, in the Atigun Pass
  • 14,132ft Colorado Mount Evans Scenic Byway
  • 10,953ft Wyoming Beartooth Highway
  • 7,419ft Washington National Forest Development Road 5400 to Slate

Peak Radar Site

  • 9,714ft Oregon Steens Mountain Loop Road
  • 13,781ft Hawaii Mauna Kea Access Road
  • 6,265ft New Hampshire Mount Washington Auto Road
  • 5,740ft Tennessee Clingmans Dome Road
  • 4,850ft West Virginia Forest Road 104 to peak of Spruce Knob
  • 4,765ft Georgia State Route 180 Spur to Brasstown Bald

“This piece serves as a useful reminder of the sheer beauty that can be seen across America’s world-leading road network,” said Maria Sotra, VP of Marketing at Geotab. “Thanks to the nation’s ever-growing infrastructure system, you no longer have to embark on a grueling hike or commit to climbing a mountain in order to take in an awe-inspiring view. Instead, breathtaking views can often be seen from behind the wheel of a car.”

Maria Sotra
Explore the full findings and view the stunning landscape photography here:

6,265ft New Hampshire Mount Washington Auto Road

About the data

U.S. Census TIGER/Line® Shapefiles were used to build a set of coordinates representing segments of every road in the United States, then the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Elevation Dataset was applied to establish the height of each segment. Google Maps and OpenStreetMap data was used to exclude roads that were not clearly accessible via an ordinary road vehicle. Roads were analyzed in October 2018. Main background image of Mount Evans supplied by Airphoto. All photo credits and licenses. About Geotab
Geotab is advancing security, connecting commercial vehicles to the internet and providing web-based analytics to help customers better manage their fleets. Geotab’s open platform and Marketplace, offering hundreds of third-party solution options, allows both small and large businesses to automate operations by integrating vehicle data with their other data assets. As an IoT hub, the in-vehicle device provides additional functionality through IOX Add-Ons. Processing billions of data points a day, Geotab leverages data analytics and machine learning to help customers improve productivity, optimize fleets through the reduction of fuel consumption, enhance driver safety, and achieve strong compliance to regulatory changes. Geotab’s products are represented and sold worldwide through Authorized Geotab Resellers. To learn more, please visit www.geotab.com and follow us @GEOTAB and on LinkedIn.


14,132ft Colorado Mount Evans Scenic Byway
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Lifestyle

Hilton at the Heart of Downtown Harrisburg

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  • January 3, 2019

Rooms with a View

Day or night, you're within walking distance to the best-of-the-best Harrisburg downtown attractions and nightlife.
Do you love bright city lights and the faster-paced “downtown” scene? Day or night, you’re within walking distance to the best-of-the-best of Harrisburg’s downtown attractions, entertainment, or a walk along the Susquehanna River.

Do you have travel plans that include Pennsylvania’s state capital?

When you’re looking for outstanding lodging in Pennsylvania’s historic capital city, the Hilton Harrisburg is at the center of “downtown” activity, making it the perfect setting for a business trip, getaway, and sight-seeing adventure. You’ll find all the services you’ll ever need to make the most of your visit and the Hilton is in close proximity to many historical sites, shopping, dining, and a plethora of other attractions.

Travel Tip: Wallow in city life and plan your day around a visit to the State Capitol Complex, only three minutes by car or a whopping eight minutes by foot. Take advantage of the Hilton’s valet parking and begin your stay with lunch. Plot your route using this map courtesy of Google. Who knows? Is a leisurely stroll in order?
Use this map to navigate to the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex where you’ll find history in the making and magnificent architecture. Map courtesy of Google.

Hilton Brand = Exemplary Service

The Hilton over-delivers in every way – from location and hospitality to the decor and business services. Use my suggestions below to make the most of your stay.

Order a bottle of wine from room service and celebrate your overnight or weekend get-away with your partner.
Take a leisurely nap or continue to plan for your Harrisburg visit while lounging on the ultra-comfortable furniture. My “mini-suite” was the epitome of comfort and style you’d expect at a Hilton property.
The Hilton Harrisburg "Junior Suite" sitting room and bedroom are spacious with plenty of room to set up your laptop and ease into the relaxation mode after a busy day.
My spacious “1 KING BED MINI SUITE” included a sitting room and bedroom with plenty of room to set up my laptop and ease into a “relaxation mode” after a busy day covering Harrisburg dining, hiking, and fishing on the Susquehanna River.
Get in touch with local happenings in and around the Harrisburg area. Elevate your feet and read a copy of The Burg, the Greater Harrisburg’s Community Magazine.

Don’t Skip Breakfast!


The motto is “old favorites ‘turned on their side.”

Are you an early-riser breakfast-type who can’t wait to rise and shine to a full breakfast? AD LIB was my first stop on my second and third day in Harrisburg. You should allow time for the buffet, which is lovingly prepared and attended to by the staff to be sure the breakfast items are piping hot. Special requests for eggs cooked your way are honored by the gracious staff.

Travel Tip:
While you’re enjoying your breakfast, schedule some FREE outdoor time. Explore fresh- air options at Wildwood Park where you’ll find a Nature Center (perfect for families with children) and plenty of trails and boardwalks geared for exercise and nature enthusiasts.

Hilton Dining

The Hilton’s fashionable decor is also home to The 1700 Steakhouse open daily for dinner. Small plate options, 30 varieties of wines by the glass, and more than 60 selections of beer, and “edible cocktails” will round out your meal. Hours of operation and other details are available by following this link.

Many thanks to Visit Hershey-Harrisburg, my sponsor, for the opportunity to spend three glorious days exploring Harrisburg during my second media trip. This week, I’ll return to Harrisburg to cover the PA Farm Show, an annual event that focuses on education and family fun.

Be sure to navigate to Visit Hershey-Harrisburg to learn more about year-round and seasonal attractions and activities.

Disclaimer:

My trip was sponsored but my opinions are my own.
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Arts and Entertainment Lifestyle Pocono Mountain history Pocono Mountain history Pocono Mountain lodging Pocono Mountain resorts Skytop Lodge

Review: Images of America

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  • December 23, 2018
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Skytop Lodge

Skytop Lodge
Skytop Lodge is a legendary vacation destination located in the Pocono Mountains. Skytop opened its doors on June 16, 1928. Photo courtesy of Lucille May and Kendric Packer. This image appears on the cover of “Images of America: Skytop Lodge by Claire Gierwatowski.

You would recognize Skytop Lodge today if you were to compare the grand opening day photo in Claire Gierwatowski’s “Images of America: Skytop Lodge” with the lodge and grounds you see today. Additions and modifications since opening day on June 16, 1928, have only enhanced Skytop’s magnificent, stately appeal.

Images of America: Skytop Lodge covers more than 90 years of lodge history from the Roaring Twenties through The Great Depression, World War II, and other significant world events that could have led to its demise. The truth is Skytop has continued to grow and thrive through those ups and downs.

Whether you’ve visited Skytop Lodge, you’re planning a visit, or you want to learn more about Skytop’s history, Gierwatowski spent years researching and compiling the information and photographs contained in Images of America in order to preserve the memories and moments that have shaped the Skytop we know today.

The Dutch Colonial Revival lodge is surrounded by natural beauty with exceptional gardens, lakes, streams, and cascading waterfalls and set on 5,500 pristine acres in the heart of the Poconos that has beckoned guests to return year after year to relax and play. Images of America: Skytop Lodge is a must-see historical overview available at Arcadia Publishing and The History Press. 

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Central Pennsylvania dining Harrisburg Italian Restaurants Lifestyle places to eat in Harrisburg restaurant reviews and information

Mangia Qui

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  • December 19, 2018
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Mouthwatering Risotto Mangia Qui Harrisburg

RISOTTO at it’s finest

Primi (first course): Risotto Quattro Formaggio Aquarella rice, sautéed greens, taleggio, parmigiano, romana and leonora cheeses, fried baby artichoke

Want to try the most uncomplicated, melt-in-your-mouth risotto you’ll find anywhere on our planet?

MANGIA QUI – CAN THERE BE ONLY ONE PERFECT RISOTTO?
All photos by Joan Mead-Matsui unless otherwise noted. 

I’m certain there’s only one perfect risotto and I found it at Mangia Qui, an immensely popular Harrisburg Italian restaurant across the street from the Pennsylvania State Capitol. Don’t be alarmed by the green tint. The sauteed greens were harmoniously balanced with perfectly cooked (al dente) arborio rice, artichokes, and a medley of cheese and garnished with pansies and flower foliage from co-owner Staci Basore’s garden. 

Before I tell you more about my experience at Mangia Qui, you should know I was raised in a predominately Italian family. My father was of mostly German lineage but he couldn’t have cared less about German food. My maternal grandmother’s meals (i.e. homemade pasta and meatballs, roast chicken, and pork butt layered between a crusty cornmeal “sandwich”) set the tone for most gatherings. She labeled many of her native Southern Italian dishes as “peasant food.” What exactly is peasant food? Simply stated, they’re dishes that are specific to a particular culture or region and made from accessible and inexpensive ingredients. Sadly, Risotto was not in her repertoire but years later after she died, I tried my hand at preparing Arborio with a variety of seasonings and aged cheeses. The result was a gooey and lumpy blob and probably the reason my youngest son turns his nose up when I mention “Risotto.”

When Rick Dunlap, Visit Hershey-Harrisburg, and I set up my travel itinerary, he asked if I’d like to dine at Mangia Qui on day two of my three-day solo media trip. I said, “Of course.” I arrived at the restaurant around 5 p.m. after a jam-packed day filled with outdoor activities. Throughout the afternoon, my stomach growled non stop and perhaps because
(as many Italians do) immediately after one meal (lunch, for example) my thoughts shift to dinner. By 1 p.m., I had already begun to contemplate what I’d find on the menu

Not long after I arrived, I was in the process of unpacking my gear when my server brought to my table a small stainless steel bowl brimming with olives, a bottle of water, a water goblet, and the menu.

Mangia Qui Olives Appetizer
The server brought a stainless steel bowl brimming with olives to nibble on while I was settling in at my table.

He discussed the daily specials as I perused the menu a second time. Half-way down the page, the words Risotto Quattro Formaggio popped out. I would have been satisfied with my appetizers and Risotto but my server asked what I’d like for my entree. Do you mean there’s more (food), I thought. The Branzino Seared a la plancha, olive oil poached sweet onion, Kentucky flats, Yukons and squash, and lemon caper brown butter was one of the “Secondi” that appealed to me so I ordered it. Sadly, I had no room or need for dessert afterward. 

Branzino with a delightful citrus flavor. 

Basore is part of the team that owns and operates Mangia Qui and two sister restaurants, Rubicon and Suba.  Mangia Qui offers a fresh, locally sourced, and artisanal approach to dining that’s as much about meeting friends and family for a relaxed dining experience as it “the food,” which was superb. Without hesitation, I recommend Mangia Qui to anyone who is seeking a first-rate Italian restaurant for a date night, family gathering, friends’ night-out, special occasion, or business-related dinner. 

Deep-fried squash blossom appetizer
Mid-way through my meal, Staci Basore, co-owner, stopped by my table to say hello. She came to my table bearing another appetizer – a squash blossom (she picked from her garden) that was deep-fried and crispy. 
Mangia Qui - Stacy Basore, co-owner and chef, prepared the best risotto I've ever tasted.

Mangia Qui: Casual dining and
phenomenal Italian cuisine. 

272 North Street
Harrisburg, PA — 17102
717.233.7358

Complimentary valet parking on Friday and Saturday evenings, 5 -11 p,m. 

Join the staff for a New Year’s Eve celebration

For more information about Hershey and Harrisburg lodging and attractions, visit www.VisitHersheyHarrisburg.org.

My trip was hosted and comped by Visit Hershey & Harrisburg but my opinions are my own and are based on my personal experiences. 

This father and son duo prepare to cast a fishing line into the Susquehanna River. Plan a Harrisburg family fishing trip or water activity and enjoy the outdoors TOGETHER.    

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America travel destinations Art and Culture Art Exhibits Art in America art of travel Arts and Entertainment Authors Chigirie Japanese Art Online Course Lifestyle The Art of Travel Learn to Plan Your Solo Media Trip

A French Bakery and The Barnes

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  • December 17, 2018
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The Barnes Foundation

CLASSIC PHILADELPHIA ART AND CULTURE

PHILADELPHIA MEDIA TRIP NOVEMBER 2018

Philadelphia Art Culture The Barnes Foundation
Begin your Philadelphia art and culture tour at Le Pain Quotidien, (translated from French to English, “the daily bread”), a Belgium bakery and restaurant close by to The Barnes Foundation. Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui unless otherwise noted. 

My most recent Philadelphia media trip began at Le Pain Quotidien, (translated from French to English, “the daily bread”), a Belgium bakery and restaurant at The Granary, 1937 Callowhill St., Philadelphia, PA. Le Pain Quotidien is a franchised eatery founded by Alain Coumont. I chose Le Pain because I was in Philadelphia to cover The Barnes Foundation and the online menu reflected my hankerings that day. 

An eatery that features gluten-free, vegetarian-style fare is consistently my first choice for lunch and Le Pain Quotidien Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai was outstanding. The menu and decor are ideal for the diner who is looking for French-inspired pastries, soups, and savory lunch options and an assortment of healthy, plant-based selections. 

Le Pain emanates European culture with the comforting aroma of bread baking in the kitchen and a casual French-country charm. It’s a perfect prelude to an afternoon at The Barnes. 

Call ahead to be sure seating is available during peak times.1 215 789 9870

Philadelphia Art and Culture The Barnes Foundation and Le Pain Quotidien
Are you feeling “cultural” and hungry for artisan food? If you’re looking for a French-inspired meal that will set the stage for your visit to The Barnes Foundation, Le Pain Quotidien is close by and the aroma of bread baking is only the beginning of your romance with European culture in Philadelphia. 

AFTERNOON WITH THE MASTERS

Why are we so fascinated with museums? 

I’ll tell you why I can’t stay away from them or better yet, I’ll show you why you should set aside time to visit The Barnes Foundation. (See my gallery below). Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui unless otherwise noted. 

Museums are my go-to place for inspiration for my own art (https://chigirie.com) and an opportunity to tune into my creative side and tune out the noise and chatter around me. Too much time had passed since my last visit to a metropolitan museum and upon reading more about The Barnes (as it’s often called), I knew I had to set aside an afternoon to experience this Philadelphia treasure. The Barnes Foundation houses a must-see collection of art by the world’s greatest master painters, sculptors, and designers. 

As I made my way around the first-floor galleries, I came across paintings by my all-time favorite Impressionist painters: Renoir and Monet. And then, gallery upon gallery, the genre expanded to Matisse, Van Gogh, Picasso, Cezanne, Seurat, and Modigliani. 

I was so enthralled by the selection of paintings that I didn’t allow enough time to visit the second-floor exhibits but that’s all the reason I’ll need to plan a follow-up trip to Philadelphia. 

The Barnes, (as it’s known to many) is a non-profit Philadelphia cultural and educational institution recognized for its exceptional art collections, programming, and special exhibitions.    

Thanks to Dr. Albert C. Barnes for his vision and the foundation that honors his name for maintaining this collection of priceless treasures by impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modernist artists. 


Dr. Albert C. Barnes assembled a collection of African art, Native American pottery and jewelry, Pennsylvania German furniture, American avant-garde painting, and wrought-iron metalwork that are interspersed with the paintings throughout the galleries. Image courtesy of The Barnes Foundation

TIP: Allow ample time (three to four hours) to explore the galleries. 
African art, Native American pottery and jewelry, Pennsylvania German furniture, American avant-garde painting, and wrought-iron metalwork are arranged throughout the galleries in a manner that encourages time to view, study, and reflect on each object in the ensembles. 

Watch this video clip and visit https://chigirie.com for additional insights. 

Learn how to plan a solo media trip here

FROM THE BARNES FOUNDATION: 

The ensembles, each one meticulously crafted by Dr. Barnes himself, are meant to draw out visual similarities between objects we don’t normally think of together. Created as teaching tools, they were essential to the educational program Dr. Barnes developed back in the 1920s.

Directions: The Barnes Foundation is conveniently located along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA. No need to worry about parking. Visitors are invited to park in the lot adjacent to the foundation. 

For additional information, call 215.278.7000. 

Disclaimer: 

My visit to The Barnes Foundation was comped but my opinions are my own. 

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America travel destinations Art Exhibits Art in America art of travel Arts and Entertainment Central Pennsylvania Arts and Entertainment Central Pennsylvania Attractions Custom trips and tours Events Exhibits Family Travel Global Tourism historic architecture history Holiday Travel Lifestyle Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Attractions and Musuems Tour Guide App Tourist App Travel Travel Advice Travel and Leisure Traveler Information World Travel

Artistic Treasure: PA State Capitol Complex

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  • December 3, 2018
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Rotunda Exterior Image PA State Capitol Complex
The Pennsylvania State Capitol Building complex, Harrisburg, PA Photo courtesy of Visit Hershey-Harrisburg

Pennsylvania State Capitol Building

An Architectural Masterpiece

Plan a visit to Harrisburg and add this National Historic Landmark to your itinerary.

Imagine you’re standing in front of the Pennsylvania State Capitol building around the time of its dedication on Oct. 4, 1906. Close your eyes and envision you’re looking skyward at what was considered to be the tallest structure between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The capitol building held that record for 80 years. That must have been quite a sight to behold.

As a life-long Pennsylvania resident, I’m sorry to note I had only seen my state’s capitol building from a distance until earlier this year on a sunny late September day. As the traffic whizzed by me, I took a moment to admire the dome from the sidewalk in front of the complex. I realized I had no idea what entrance to use. As I walked up and down two flights of exterior steps twice, I checked my watch and realized I was five minutes late for my scheduled tour. I stopped briefly to ask a bystander to point to the main entrance that would lead me to the main lobby and the man directed me to two sets of double doors. A security guard mapped out my trek to the lobby where I found the information desk surrounded by several large groups of visitors who were ready to embark on their tours. There, I met my tour guide.

Visit Hershey-Harrisburg arranged my tour as part of a three-day media trip to Hershey and Harrisburg. I left Central Pennsylvania with a significantly greater understanding of why Harrisburg has remained Pennsylvania’s capital since October 1812 thanks to my tour guide, Jill Fetter. She’s the Capitol Visitor Services director and The Pennsylvania Capitol Shop manager in the Main Rotunda and an expert in both the building’s history and design.

The 272-foot, 52 million-pound capitol dome glistens with Vermont granite and is topped with a green-glazed terra cotta tile roof and inspired by Michelangelo’s design for St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Photo Courtesy of UncoveringPA.com

Philadelphia architect Joseph Huston (1866-1940), designed the massive capital structure based on his vision of a “Palace of Art” and that’s exactly what you’ll find. The building and furnishings cost $13 billion.

Aside from its obvious grandeur and size, the exterior of the building is a gateway to the splendor you’ll find inside – classic American Renaissance style architecture that’s combined with artistic details that are unspeakably magnificent and illuminated by approximately 4,000 lights and 48 portholes in the dome.

Suffice to say, the building lives up to its reputation as the most beautiful capitol building in our nation. In fact, history has it that President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed the capital as “the handsomest building” he ever saw when he attended the dedication of the building.

PA State Capitol Building Architecture Art
A visitor stops for a moment to gaze at the statues and ornamentation as he descended the grand staircase in the main building. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

The interior focal point is the grand staircase – an ideal vantage point for visitors to view eight large murals by Philadelphia artists, Edwin Austin Abbey, and the famous Barnard  Statues by George Grey Barnard, and 17-foot bronze doors that each weighs a ton. Keeping your eyes fixed on one element at a time might be difficult for even the most disciplined spectator as your tour guide describes each of the massive installations of stained glass, murals, and paintings crafted by the most talented artisans of that era.

Pennsylvania historical exhibits
Love art? The capitol building is as much a series of exhibits as it is a hub for lawmakers and lobbyists. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

Some of the largest rooms feature a European influence with distinctive Renaissance elements – Italian in the House Chamber, French in the Senate Chamber, and English in the Governor’s Reception Room. Add to that mix Greek, Roman and Victorian installations of exquisite art and ornamentation displayed throughout the building.

PA Senate and House Chambers Tours
When the legislature is not in session, you’ll have a chance to gaze at the murals, gold embellishments, custom-crafted lighting fixtures, and exquisite woodwork in the chambers. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex Tours
What will you learn during a tour of the PA State Capitol Complex? This massive structure is an ideal opportunity for students of all ages to learn local, state, and national histories, law and politics, and art and architecture. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

Historians, politicians, teachers, students, architects, travelers, and anyone with an appreciation for history and art and a fascination with politics and lawmaking, should visit the Pennsylvania State Capitol complex. Architectural students will want to study how Huston, the architect-of-record, incorporated motifs that embody Pennsylvania’s achievements in history, animals, industries, occupations, and modes of transportation into his design. Whether your glance is towards the dome, straight ahead, or under your feet, you’ll find examples of Huston’s affinity for art. One example is the Moravian tiles you’ll see intermingled on the lobby floor. They were designed and manufactured by Henry Chapman Mercer of Doylestown, PA as a way to illustrate and incorporate the talents and wares of local craftsman.

Henry Chapman Mercer Moravian Tiles
As many as 400 tile mosaics by Henry Chapman Mercer, a Doylestown, PA craftsman, are interspersed throughout the first floor of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building Rotunda and nearby corridors. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

William B. Van Ingen 24 Stained Glass windows
The “Militia” is one of 24 stained glass windows in the Senate and House Chambers crafted by Philadelphia native William B. Van Ingen. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

There’s so much to see and take in at the State Capitol Building.  Take the time to download the PA Capitol Self-Guided Tour Mobile app to learn about the self-guided tour stops, how a bill becomes law in PA, and research additional information in five languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German.

Tours are free and offered every half hour Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. or on weekends and most holidays at 9 and 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. You won’t be able to tour the capitol building on New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving and Christmas day but you’ll have plenty of other options before or after those holidays. I encourage you to register for a tour so won’t miss a detail along the way. A Capitol Tour Guide will fill your head with architectural, artistic, and political highlights that will make this building’s incomparable beauty come alive for you. If you decide to wait to schedule your tour until you arrive in Harrisburg, be sure to check the schedule before arriving at the capitol complex.

PA State Capitol Complex Tour Guides
Allow Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex tour guides, Jill Fetter and her staff, to show you around one of Pennsylvania’s most extraordinary buildings.

For help planning your trip to Pennsylvania, visit www.VisitHersheyHarrisburg.org.

My trip was hosted and comped by Visit Hershey & Harrisburg but my opinions are my own and are based on my personal experiences. 

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Shop for Sunglasses

Sunglass Warehouse: New Styles

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  • December 3, 2018
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Sunglasses for your adventurous spirit

Sunglass Warehouse

This post is sponsored by Sunglass Warehouse.

If you own several pairs of sunglasses, you’ll never need to ask, “Has anyone seen my SUNGLASSES?”

Maybe they’re in my car or in my handbag. In 2017, I sampled six pairs of fashion eyewear from sunglasswarehouse.com and I keep a few pairs in each of our cars so I never leave home without my sunglasses.

FORGET EXPENSIVE DESIGNER EYEWEAR

The last pair of expensive designer sunglasses I purchased did not come home with me after playing a few sets of tennis. I left them on a bench near the tennis court and I experienced buyer’s regret for at least a few weeks after losing them.

Forget the expensive designer eyewear if you’re prone to breaking or losing your sunglasses.

Sunglass Warehouse review by Joan Mead-Matsui
Sunglass Warehouse has a fantastic selection of sunglasses to suit your every mood and activity. You can buy your next pair of Retro Sunglasses for less than $20

Sunglass Warehouse offers a variety of styles and frames that can be worn for all of your activities from hiking and cycling to fly fishing. Your options are to buy sunglasses at affordable prices with no worries if you happen to lose or break them, or obsess about your designer frames when you should focus on your activity and have fun.

What if your sunglasses fall off your head into the water while you’re fly fishing or on a canoe or kayak trip? Will you dive into the water to retrieve your glasses? I hope not.

Sunglasses are not only accessories. They also protect our eyes from UV damage and Polarized lenses improve visibility for activities like fly fishing. Each of the five pairs I’ve sampled has withstood the test of time, after countless hours on the water.

Sunglass Warehouse has hundreds of styles of sunglasses that are priced at $20 or less. If you prefer round, square, oblong, Aviator, textured, black, blue or brown, you’ll find what you’re looking for at www.sunglasswarehouse.com. Click to shop sunglass warehouse BEST SELLERS. 

The site is easy to navigate and filters allow you to find your ideal pair from among Sunglass Warehouse (SW) Exclusives, Festival Shades, Brow Bars, Flat Lenses, Matte Metals, Retro Classics, Bold Shades, Colored Lenses, Cut-Out Shades, and Rose Gold.


DISCLOSURE:

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.

 

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Lifestyle

Learn Journalism and Travel Writing

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  • December 1, 2018
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Plan Your Solo Media Trip Mini-Course

PLAN YOUR SOLO MEDIA TRIP (LIKE A PRO)

Mini-Course Available here

Plan Your Solo Media Trip Mini-Course
Plan Your Solo Media Trip is a high-value, low-cost mini-course available through joanmatsuitravelwriter.com. Learn practical tips from a four-time award-winning freelance travel journalist. 

GET STARTED TODAY! 

Imagine the possibilities that await you in the travel world! Learn and grow your travel business with “Plan Your Solo Media Trip (Like A Pro),” a mini-course I’ve designed to teach you how to arrange a solo media trip. 

Finding a course that prepares you for your career AND matches your lifestyle and needs can be a challenge. 

That’s why I created “Plan Your Solo Media Trip,” a high-value $10 mini-course that will teach you THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PLANNING AN EXTRAORDINARY SOLO MEDIA TRIP. You can buy it here, now, and get a jump on your plans today. 

My goal for my mini-courses (with additional course offerings in the works) is to teach you the tips and techniques I’ve learned as a journalist and travel writer while covering a myriad of destinations and events on more than 50 media trips. Throughout my careers in journalism and travel writing, I learned we all need a coach now and them to help us achieve our dreams.   

BECAUSE if you’re like me, you WANT TO UTILIZE YOUR SKILLS AND TALENTS but when you’re embarking on any new venture or career, you simply don’t know where to begin. I’m here to guide you.  

The truth is my years as a print journalist were some of the best days of my life and winning four newspaper association press awards was the icing on the cake.

I didn’t have demanding editors pressuring me to take on additional assignments and I rarely turned down assignments but I knew I couldn’t pass on an offer to cover services and amenities at lodging destinations in a popular Northeastern Pennsylvania resort region. With more than 1,300 published features’ stories to my credit and eight years writing for the same publications, I accepted my first freelance travel writing position with a tourism website.

Oh, rest assured, reporting on local, national, and international travel is exciting but even more so, when you can tailor your itinerary to reflect your interests and skills. You owe it to yourself to be part of the planning process.

That’s the beauty of a solo media trip. 

Let me guide you along. BUY my mini-course today and get started on your journey into travel writing.  

 

 

Plan Your Solo Media Trip
Learn how to plan your solo media trip today.  

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Lifestyle

ARTPIQ: Inspiring Artists

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  • November 19, 2018
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ARTPIQ: INSPIRES ARTISTS

Hands-On Workshop Culminates with Vernissage

ARTPIQ is an artists’ platform that helps budding artists connect with other artists and collectors.

Six emerging, talented artists from around the world gathered at the vernissage (a private viewing of paintings before a public exhibition begins) on an idyllic rural farm near Dusseldorf following their three-week residency. 

ARTPIQ’s Summerhouse Dusseldorf was an artist-in-residence camp for international up-and-coming artists that culminated in the Vernissage at Hof Lindenbeck on September 1, 2018. Brazil, South Korea, Italy, and England were some of the artists’ countries of origin. The budding masters’ assignment was to dedicate every day completely to art and find inspiration to create art in for their surroundings.  Visits to local art institutions, prearranged sessions with a life coach, and an opportunity to connect with artists (at the art academy) and collectors added to their overall learning experience. 

The art created during the project was presented to a curious audience at the vernissage. For this purpose, the organizing art company, ARTPIQ, worked closely with the newspapers, Handelsblatt and Wirtschaftswoche. The event was also sponsored by start-ups such as Harvest Moon, Little Lunch, a pharmaceutical company, Gerstaecker and Kremer Pigmente.

ARTPIQ, an online art-funding platform was founded in March 2017 and is based in Düsseldorf. ARTPIQ offers artists a means to represent their vision so that they can sell their works and raise necessary funds. The company believes that every single artist is unique and has a story to tell and aims to democratize the art market by connecting collectors and investors with emerging artists. 

Artist-in-Residence Camp Dusseldorf
ARTPIQ offers artists a means to represent their vision so that they can sell their works and raise necessary funds.

Katharina Wenzel-Vollenbroich, CEO of ARTPIQ, answers below offers additional insight into the ARTPIQ platform and its role in assisting artists.

  1. Why is art so important to our world?

Art is important for many reasons. Ultimately, it’s about the intimate experience of connecting with another’s emotions, views, and vision. But art can also reflect the world around us, offering new perspectives on political, social and psychological issues. It provokes curiosity, incites new questions, and in certain cases, can inspire us into action.

 

  1. How were the artists selected?

The artists for the Summerhouse project were selected after we asked artists to submit work based around the theme of water — something that relates to both the local area, and the climate issues we’re currently seeing. The quality of work submitted for entry was way beyond our expectations. This made choosing which artists to select an extremely difficult process. Both I and Janine sat down and spent many grueling hours debating which ones we felt offered the best balance of talent, technique, and vision. We eventually came to a decision, but it was far from easy.

  1. How would you describe the farm? 

The farm is a protected house just outside of Dusseldorf and is surrounded by beautiful nature, where horses and chickens once lived. There is a small river which crosses the plot of land; there are also large trees surrounding the house, both of which have a calming effect. The house itself is a cozy space with up to 7 bedrooms — suitable for a group of people wanting to independently live together — or in the case of the ARTPIQ summerhouse, talented emerging artists.

  1. What were the students’ living conditions? Did they have full access to studios, Plein Air, models, etc?

Throughout their stay, we made sure the artists lived in comfort so that they could focus on creating new and exciting works. Food, accommodation, and materials were all provided. We also took some trips out as a group to experience the area around the farm, and the city of Dusseldorf itself.

  1. What were some of the mediums the students used? Did they have specific criteria or instructions they were required to follow?

No, we didn’t have any specific criteria or instructions. We gave artists complete freedom. We understand that shifting between mediums happens, and is not only necessary, but it’s also where the magic often happens, especially as collaboration starts to occur. So we provided everything we could in order to facilitate the artists’ creativity. I think the art produced is an amazing reflection of what can happen when artists can really focus on what they’re good at.

  1. How did you prepare the next generation of artists for what lies ahead i.e. earning a living?

As a platform, our goal is to support emerging artists journeys into earning a living from their craft. We help to sell their works online, using a number of digital marketing techniques, including social media and email marketing. We also have an investment model were collectors can invest not only in an artwork but an artist themselves. This can give artists the capital to invest in long-term artistic projects. Without that cash flow, it can often be difficult for emerging artists to express themselves, especially if they have to take on full-time jobs to support their practice. What we do is try to make sure this doesn’t have to happen.

  1. What are a few of the important lessons the students learned during ARTPIQ?

I wouldn’t go so far as to call them lessons, but the collaborative element of the ARTPIQ summerhouse project certainly showed that sharing ideas can develop greater works of art. I guess you could say that being able to focus solely on creative output helped them to understand that you sometimes need time solely devoted to creation to really get to grips with what you want to achieve as an artist.

  1. Please list the sponsors’ names.

Gerstaecker, Kremer Pigmente, a pharmaceuticals’ company,  private person sponsors, Harvest Moon, Little Lunch – furthermore we had a collaboration with Handelsblatt and the Wirtschaftswoche.

See more at https://artpiq.net

 

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