Call ahead to be sure seating is available during peak times.1 215 789 9870
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.
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.
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.
My visit to The Barnes Foundation was comped but my opinions are my own.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bringing the world’s cultures and natural sciences to you
Discover diverse cultures as you Journey with Smithsonian. Whether your dream vacation calls for a backpacking trip through any one of the seven continents or a personalized tour of ancient ruins or Japan’s centuries-old temples, Smithsonian Journeys’ primary goal is to bring the world’s diverse cultures and natural sciences to you by way of travel.
If you’re on the Smithsonian Journeys mailing list, I’m sure you’ve found the journey offerings exciting and intriguing, to say the least. I reached out to Paula Swart, Smithsonian Journeys travel expert and Karen A. Ledwin, Smithsonian Travel vice president, program management, for details about destinations and adventures that will stir your inner traveler.
Scroll down to see their answers.
Paula Swart’s primary role is to provide a relevant educational component to the trip experience.
Tell me about your most recent Smithsonian Journeys trip. Where did your travels take you?
Most recent trips, twice to Vietnam (overland and cruise) and one trip to Japan, the Inland Sea.
Where and when will you embark on your next Smithsonian Journeys trip?
Barge trip through Holland & Belgium September 21-29. Being a native of Holland and having traveled many times to Belgium, I have lectured several barge trips since 2013, usually in April/early May to see the flowering bulb fields.
How did your relationship with the Smithsonian evolve? How many trips have you taken on behalf of the Smithsonian?
I was approached in late 2016 and this will be my fourth Smithsonian trip. I have been involved in educational trips since the early 80s after studying for two years in China.
What attracted you to Asian art, culture, and history and how have your experiences helped to prepare you for your trips, i.e. what do you find most fascinating about Asia?
Growing up in The Netherlands with our colonial history in Indonesia, I experienced Asian culture from a very early age through food, art, literature, puppet performances, and storytelling, and in my professional life, I became a Curator of Asian Studies working in various Canadian museums. I am foremost interested in art, archaeology, and history, but it is always the people connections that give meaning to the travel experience. Visiting the same country on many occasions over a long period of time provides the opportunity for a deeper understanding, which in turn can be conveyed during my presentations, or if the opportunity arises to write articles.
What are a few of your goals for your upcoming adventure?
Reconnecting with the countries to be visited and to provide insightful presentations to the travelers.
What languages do you speak?
Dutch, French, German, English, Chinese…in addition, I studied Japanese, Tibetan, and Spanish.
Karen A. Ledwin
What is the overall goal for each of the tour directors and experts you enlist?
The goal of Smithsonian Journeys tour staff is to deliver the high-quality experience our travelers expect and to ensure that Smithsonian’s mission of “the increase and diffusion of knowledge” is infused in the talks, discussions, excursions and other tour activities. See our difference on our website and the Backgrounder document for more details.
How do you choose a destination? What are the criteria?
Smithsonian Journeys has been operating cultural and educational tours for nearly 50 years and offers tours and cruises on all seven (7) continents in a variety of travel styles, including Classic Land, Cultural Stay, Small-Ship Ocean Cruises, River Cruises, Special Interest, Active, Family, Private Jet, and Tailor-Made. With such a long history in enrichment travel, a significant part of our portfolio is selected when our travelers tell us where and how they want to travel, both through sales and in their post-tour evaluations. In addition, new tour selections will often be centered around an anniversary (Leonardo Da Vinci’s 500th anniversary) or event (Chile Total Solar Eclipse) where we know our curious and worldly travelers have an interest.
What are a few of the activities your travel guests can expect to enjoy while on a Smithsonian Journeys trip?
Smithsonian Journeys tours and cruises are infused with talks, discussions, excursions and other activities – all delivering against our promise of in-depth learning and enrichment.
Do you offer opportunities to visit museums, shop?
While not the focus of our trips, during the free time people will certainly shop.
Do the trips allow time for participants to enjoy water activities or experience the peoples and cultures of a particular location, etc.?
Yes to all. One important and distinguishing feature is the inclusion of a Smithsonian Journeys Expert throughout the tour or cruise. One exception is on multi-generational Family Journeys where the focus is on interactive activities for the whole family from learning stage fighting at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, to drawing al fresco in Tuscany. Another exception is found on our new Active Journeys where the act of walking and biking in small groups takes our travelers to smaller towns and villages, where local experts join the group in the evenings for a talk and/or the group visits their atelier, weaving center, or similar.
What are a few examples of trips that uncover the “authentic culture of each destination, providing access unavailable to most travelers?” Would you describe Smithsonian’s signature travel experiences as “off the beaten path?”
Some of our Cultural Stay Journeys are based in small towns like an Andalusian Parador in the small, picturesque town of Antequera from which our travelers explore the region. And our three week Living in Provence program allows travelers the opportunity to live like a local in an Apart/Hotel and to participate in different enrichment tracks. We find that travelers want to see the iconic sites when they visit a destination but they also take delight in combining this with an off the beaten path stop or stops along the way. For example, on many of our journeys, we stay in small, distinctive accommodations that may be family-owned, and the family treats our travelers as one of their personal guests.
For more information about upcoming Smithsonian Journeys, call 855-330-1542.
A NEW stretch of trail in Northeastern Pennsylvania offers residents and visitors one-and-a-half miles of compacted terrain that’s ideal for jogging, walking, and cycling. The Carbondale Riverwalk opened in May (2018) and on a late spring afternoon, adults and children of all ages spent their afternoon taking in the prolific greenery along the Lackawanna River, a 40-mile long river that’s known for extraordinary fly fishing.
On that day, couples strolled hand-in-hand, children pedaled diligently to keep up with their parents, and cyclists took advantage of the safe pedestrian-only pathway.
I imagine I was among the first-timers to participate in the bike loan program. While usage statistics are not available yet, it’s safe to say exercise and nature enthusiasts continue to discover and utilize the new pathway, partly because of “BikeCarbondale,” a free bike-share program that makes it possible for individuals to borrow a bicycle so they can take in the Carbondale’s Coal Mining History. The program is managed by the Lackawanna Heritage Valley (LHV) in conjunction with two prominent Carbondale partners: Hotel Anthracite, 25 S. Main St. and the Greater Carbondale YMCA, 82 N. Main St. The program is made possible with funds made available through the Northeast Pennsylvania Healthcare Foundation. Individuals age 18 years and older are eligible to loan one of the authority’s 10 bikes available at the hotel and YMCA.
Cycling was my first activity after checking in at the Hotel Anthracite, Carbondale’s newly-renovated lodging (formerly known as Carbondale Grand Hotel). (You can read more about the hotel in an upcoming article on my website.) Chris Simpler, Hotel Anthracite general manager, was eager for me to test drive a bike and the new trail. I returned to the hotel revitalized after approximately two hours.
LHV projects stimulate the region’s economic development, enhance tourism, and strengthen community organizations with a goal to improve and increase the quality of life for area residents. The Lackawanna Heritage Valley trail system spans 70 miles from the confluence of the Lackawanna and Susquehanna Rivers in Pittston and continues north where it connects with the Delaware & Hudson Rail Trail and the Carbondale Riverwalk.
You will celebrate the sunshine and appreciate the shaded areas, too. When you stop for a break, take note of the established trees that provide a canopy and the shrubs and native plants alongside the banks that serve as a natural border. Venture into downtown Carbondale and admire the architecture.
Since 2013, LHV has opened eight miles of well-maintained heritage trails that enhance and showcase the region’s striking beauty and diverse scenery. You can watch the videos of the grand openings of the Scranton to Taylor, D&H Extension Trail, and Archbald to Jermyn stretches, and learn more about the most recent, Carbondale to Simpson.
Trail project partners were the City of Carbondale, PennDOT, DCED (Department of Commerce and Economic Development) and DCNR (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources). FABCOR (Jessup) and Rutledge Excavating Inc (Tyler Hill) completed the trail with and QPI (Carbondale) constructed the wall near the junkyard. The Riverwalk section will connect to the D&H Rail Trail later this summer to form a 20-mile stretch of fully developed trail.
Contact me via the form below if you have questions or comments.
Traveling is one of the luxuries everyone wants to enjoy, but not everyone can afford the expense needed for it. You don’t need to be rich to afford your dream travel destination. All you need to do to achieve this is to know how to save money and commit to your goals.
If you wish to travel to a destination you may think is too expensive, here are some tips on how to save for that trip.
HAVE A GOAL
Nothing seems more exciting than impulse traveling, where you take the next available flight to
your dream destination. While this may be thrilling, it’s not a smart move to make. Traveling requires careful planning and goal setting, especially if money is a little bit tight.
It may be an exciting thought to travel everywhere, but it’s more practical to set one travel goal at a time. Be specific about where you want to go. If you plan to go on multiple destination trips, make sure to carefully plan out how you can afford it without going into debt.
Plan out your travel and itinerary, calculate your budget and finances, then stick to your goals.
LEARN HOW TO BUDGET
The most important thing to do when planning a huge trip is your budget. Track your cash flow as it is essential to know where and how much of your money gets spent. This way, you know which expenses are unnecessary, you can determine where to cut back on your purchases, and you find out how much you can save.
Budget your everyday expenses with your travel goal in mind. That makes this first step easier.
COMMIT TO YOUR GOAL
Now that you have set your goal and determined your daily budget, it’s time to commit to your travel goal. Saving money can be hard and challenging. With the right mindset and constant revalidation of why you’re doing it helps.
As you establish your budget, you can now assess your expenses. Start small and avoid spending on your whims. Do this and you can save more than what you initially planned.
This process may be hard to do, so this is where goal-setting helps. Hang a map on your wall or put up pictures of your travel destinations to remind you of your goal. It may be a long way to go, but remember it’s worth it in the end.
The most challenging part of saving is differentiating needs from wants. A lot of items for sale are masked as needs when in fact, they are unnecessary expenditures. Examples of these are shopping for clothes, eating out, buying a cup of cappuccino in your favorite coffee shop, or purchasing unnecessary subscriptions.
If you examine these things, it may look as if you need to spend money on this stuff. Not so. In fact, you can actually find a cheaper or free alternative.
MAKE YOUR OWN COFFEE
Have the urge to buy that tall size Frappuccino? You may reason out that it doesn’t cost more than five dollars. But if you really think about it, it’s about $1,000 you can save a year if you just make your own espresso or coffee at home for $0.17!
If you’re in need of that coffeehouse drink so badly, start small. Cut back by buying that tall drip coffee for two dollars once a week. Then drink homemade coffee the majority of the time.
COOK YOUR OWN FOOD
Instead of opting to eat out every day, it’s a smarter choice to cook your own food. Cooking for yourself doesn’t have to be too time-consuming, especially with all the apps and recipes out there. Plus, think about the money you can save by planning out your meals weekly.
Instead, find unprocessed, healthy foods to make yourself. This might only cost you $40 to $50 a week.
This process will not only help you with your travel savings but could also result in a healthier and more active lifestyle.
CANCEL THE GYM MEMBERSHIP
While a healthy and active lifestyle should be a top priority, it doesn’t hurt to ask yourself if that a gym membership is a necessary expense.
When reviewing which subscriptions and memberships to cut back on, ask yourself these questions. “Do I maximize the use of this membership?” “Do I go to my gym often?” “Do I really need to use the gym?”
If you do realize you need the benefits a gym membership offers, you can cut back on this monthly expense by looking for a gym that offers almost the same benefits but with cheaper price.
However, if you find yourself wasting away funds that can potentially be used for your travels, it’s time to find an alternative.
Outdoor exercising, running in the park, or working out around your home are great and free alternatives you can do for cardio. You can also set up a gym in your own home and exercise with the help of workout videos for free online. By doing this, you’ll see your physique healthier and your savings account fatter.
This not only works for gym memberships but for your other subscriptions, as well. Look at your magazines, newspaper, book club, etc. subscriptions. With everything at our fingertips, it’s high time to stop spending on things you can initially find online for free.
KILL YOUR CABLE TV
As mentioned above, a lot of things are available online for less or for free. That being said, you can save more when you cut your cable subscription. Entertainment doesn’t have to cost around $1,800 a year. That could be what you spend on cable TV!
Instead of spending money on just watching TV, find a healthier and more productive entertainment alternative.
Spend your time on reading secondhand books for as low as five dollars, visit events with free admission, go to a park and witness live music, or take on a free hobby. You can also invite friends over or hang out at their place to watch some old movies. Entertainment doesn’t have to be limited inside your home.
And, if you crave a movie night or would love to binge watch a movie, Netflix subscription is always cheaper than cable.
This process can also cover a wider scope, such as your utility bills. When you ask yourself how you could cut back on your bills, there are somehabits you can do to lessen your electricity and water bill.
The secret to saving more is knowing how to spend your money. You want to spend less and have the same quality. Research and compare products, then apply your street-smart skills.
GENERIC BRANDS AND CASHBACK
One of the things you can do to spend less and save more is to consider buying generic brands. This doesn’t apply to everything, as it should be based on your judgment. But, if there’s no need for you to buy the brand name,you’ll save a lot more when you opt for the alternative.
Another thing to consider when spending is to use coupons andEbates. These can help you in saving even just a small amount. Discount coupons and cash backs are very helpful, especially for cutting down your grocery expenses.
BE SMART ABOUT YOUR ACCOMMODATIONS
It’s always smart to review your home and car insurance and find the best and cheapest options for you.
The car insurance industry is quite competitive, and your rates may be slowly increasing without you noticing it. Experts advice is you should shop for car insurance every year. Search and compare prices to find what’s best for your situation.
Know the rates of your current house and car insurance. Take the option to switch to a lower rate, without compromising the benefits. This will help increase your travel savings.
Another thing to consider when you want to maximize how you save is to cut back on your accommodations. This is a common storysuccessful travelers shared regarding how they saved for their traveling goals.
If you either rent or own a place, it can cost a lot of money living on your own. Take on a roommate or two, and help alleviate that problem. You can save more.
If you’re younger and your lease is about to expire, it’s also ideal to consider moving back to your parents’ home. This is especially important if there are only a few months left before you plan to leave for your trip. This way, you can lessen your bills and expenses, and save more for your travels.
These are just some of the many tips you can do each month to save money if you’re planning to travel more. Of course, there are many other easy ways to save every day.
One last thing to remember when saving for your trip: make sure to have a separate account for your travel savings to avoid getting tempted to spend it. Remember, out of sight, out of mind. With these easy tips, you’ll be able to save up for our dream destination in no time!
Allen Michael is the founder and editor of The Stick Vacuums (https://thestickvacuums.com/), a website focused on helping others keep a clean home as efficiently as possible. Allen stumbled onto stick vacuums while trying to help his family keep their home clean with less work, and has since become an expert on saving money and time in your home.
THE DIPLOMAT BEACH RESORT, HOLLYWOOD, FL AND THE NSU ART MUSEUM PARTNER TO COMMEMORATE 60 YEARS.
What happens when a well-known luxury beach resort and an art museum plan an anniversary celebration?
Guests have an opportunity to take advantage of the ART OF TRAVEL (an art and beach culture) package and an extraordinary deal valid from Dec. 7, 2017, through July 8, 2018. Winter and spring are an opportune time to get away from the cold, or transition into spring and summer with a getaway vacation in sunny Florida. Guests will find incredible rates at the newly renovated Diplomat Beach Resort (beginning at $249 based on availability at time of booking) and two complimentary tickets to the Frank Stella: Experiment and Change (December through July 8, 2018) and the Midnight in Paris and New York (Feb. 4 to Oct. 18, 2018) exhibitions at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale.
The Diplomat and the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale recently announced their partnership in honor of their 60th anniversaries. Both entities were founded in 1958 and continue to play a vital role in Fort Lauderdale area tourism and culture.
“As Hollywood begins to boom, so does the art and culture scene and we wanted to offer that component to our guests,” says Ed Walls, General Manager, The Diplomat Beach Resort. “We plan to hold several special events on site with the Museum; host intimate dinners at our signature restaurants, including, Monk tail, Diplomat Prime and Point Royal to honor the museum’s executive board members, and offer our guests enticing art-related hotel packages.”
Fresh off a recent $100 million transformation in April 2017, The Diplomat Beach Resort offers 1,000 guestrooms (92 are luxurious suites), 10 different culinary destinations, two beachfront, sun-drenched pools, 26 poolside cabanas; a glittering, ultramodern spa overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, 24-hour fitness center, and 209,000 square feet of meetings and event space. The Diplomat boasts the largest hotel convention space in South Florida with the most expansive ballroom south of Orlando.
Water activities include a water taxi to Las Olas from Diplomat Landing, jet skiing, ocean kayaking, paddleboard rentals, and the property’s newest addition, the Dip + Slide water play area. Guests can also enjoy tennis, golf or head to the marina less than one mile away. Fanatical anglers should bring their surf and fly fishing gear and find their spot along the shoreline.
Diners can count on outrageous culinary creativity and expertise from famed Restaurateur and Chef Michael Schulson’s award-winning Japanese-inspired Monk tail to Celebrity Chef Geoffrey Zakarian‘s Point Royal – a Coastal American restaurant.
NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale
The museum is located in the heart of the city’s arts and entertainment district and only a short walk to a variety of shops, restaurants, and galleries along Las Olas Boulevard and the picturesque Riverwalk waterfront promenade. NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale (Nova Southeastern University) is under the helm of Bonnie Clearwater, director and chief curator, and is a leader in the visual arts and a vibrant cultural resource serving South Florida and national and international audiences. Edward Larrabee Barnes designed the 83,000-square foot modernist building that houses acquisitions of 19th and 20th Century American and European paintings and sculpture, Oceanic, African, Pre-Columbian and Native American art.
AutoNation, the country’s largest automotive retailer presents the year of anniversary programming that is synonymous with exceptional learning and inspirational opportunities through access to works of the highest level of artistic expression.
Frank Stella: Experiment and Change is a major exhibition spanning the legendary artist Frank Stella’s 60-year career from the late 1950s. Exhibit-goers are encouraged to allow plenty of time to browse more than 300 paintings, relief sculptures, and drawings.
Another show you won’t want to miss is Midnight in Paris and New York: Scenes from the Fin-de-Siecle. Explore the paintings, prints, drawings, architectural designs, and the decorative arts of the Fin-de-Siecle, a fascinating and legendary period at the end of the 19th Century.
You can learn more about NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale here.