A Travellerspoint blog

Roanoke – Round Two

Back Again

I drove about an hour up the Blue Ridge Parkway from the Meadows of Dan to Roanoke.
Blue Ridge Scene

Blue Ridge Scene

From the Parkway

From the Parkway


If you have followed along, you might remember I was here in Roanoke in the middle of March. (I had to look back at my blog to learn the date!).
At that time, I thought this town might have some charms worth exploring. This is what I found.
At Home with Another ATC Couple

At Home with Another ATC Couple


A very nice ATC couple with a very charming colonial style house in the SW part of town who shared dinner with me at Rockfish in a local business district. For its size (<100,000), Roanoke has some good independent neighborhoods with restaurants and shops.

A library with a McDonald's style children's playground with slide from the mezzanine to the 1st floor, a rather limited stack of books, and very good free Wi-Fi.

The Center in the Square
From the Rooftop of the Center in the Square

From the Rooftop of the Center in the Square


which is the cultural center of the city and includes:

An Atrium

Center in the Square Atrium

Center in the Square Atrium

Looking Down from the Top of the Atrium

Looking Down from the Top of the Atrium

A museum of the African-American experience in Roanoke with a some mildly interesting items and art, African art and masks, mid-century home décor, unreadable oral histories with non-functioning audio, and a very unhelpful, uninterested, staff. The guest book showed I was the first visitor in about ten days. After I had seen everything I queried the person-on-duty one last time about the non-functioning AV programs. Her reply only slightly looking up from the computer was "They should all be working except the one on the corner." I walked out saying, "No wonder no one ever comes here."

A Western Virginia history museum with a more cordial staff and an interesting presentation with some interactive exhibits on Roanoke history.

A theater with local actors currently performing Hairspray. I was tempted to go, but decided to save a little money thinking I would probably be a bit disappointed after full houses at Broadway musicals and it appeared that fewer than 10 seats out of 200 would be filled for the Thursday night performance. Sorry, ….. theater; you probably would have liked one more filled seat.

Virginia Creek Aquarium

Virginia Creek Aquarium

A surprising lobby with aquariums, including the second largest coral reef aquarium – either in the USA or east of the Mississippi, I can't remember which.
Why Here.....Because They Can

Why Here.....Because They Can

A rooftop garden from which you can look across to the roof top garden of the Taubman Art Museum – I guess rooftop gardens are a Roanoke thing - I took a picture from the Taubman when I visited there in March.
Roanoke Hotel and Taubman from the Rooftop

Roanoke Hotel and Taubman from the Rooftop

The downtown area is quite vibrant with independent shops, a market that has been operating since the 1880s, and restaurants.
Roanoke was not chartered until after the Civil War when a businessman saw it as a good linking area for major railroads as it had been historically for Indian trails and colonial wagon roads.
Of course, the railroads aren't as big and important now, but there are many inter/ and national companies. I won't bother to tell you about them here; you will have to come and visit the museum to find out.
The tracks still go through the heart of the town with bridges for both autos and pedestrians.
Pedestrian Walkway Over the RR Track

Pedestrian Walkway Over the RR Track

Ceiling Art in the Pedestrian Walkway

Ceiling Art in the Pedestrian Walkway

Up and Over the I Have a Dream Bridge

Up and Over the I Have a Dream Bridge

MLK Statue

MLK Statue


The railroad built an imposing hotel on the hill above the station and the tracks. It fell into disrepair in the late 20th century, but has been purchased by a university and is once again a luxury hotel being used as training facility for hospitality students.
I spent an okay happy hour at the luxury Hotel Roanoke, but don't know about the rooms. Let me know if you stay there.
The Roanoke Hotel

The Roanoke Hotel

Roanoke Hotel Lobby

Roanoke Hotel Lobby

Roanoke residents seem to love their town. They are especially enthusiastic about the star on the hilltop.
THE Star in Daylight

THE Star in Daylight


Their nickname is "The Star City." I don't know which came first – the star on the hill or the nickname.
I guess if Hollywood can have its name spelled out and Denver can have a funeral-home-sponsored cross adorning our hills, Roanoke can have its star.
View of Roanoke from Below the Star

View of Roanoke from Below the Star


So if you are in the area – especially if you make a twice a year trip to and from Florida – I suggest you stop for a day in Roanoke.

Posted by pscotterly 12:27 Archived in USA Tagged viginia Comments (1)

Meadows of Dan, Virginia

Who is Dan?

There is the Dan River, Peaks of Dan, Meadows of Dan, Danville, and perhaps other so-named places in the area - but no one knows who Dan is. I was told it was named by the original surveyor (Byrd?) after a location referenced in the Bible. I would not know.

Driving to the Meadows from Portsmouth is a few hours through a rural Virginia. I headed down a two-lane road to visit the oldest plantation house in Virginia.
Prestwould Plantation

Prestwould Plantation


They were closed, but it was still interesting to walk the grounds a bit and imagine the farming activity on the plantation and the shipping on the river in the late 1700s. As I drove the meandering road I was thinking about the difference of life here and in Colorado at the same time. Picturing the vast plains with herds of bison and nomadic natives in contrast to the fields and homes.
And then, I drove around a curve and came right up to a buffalo farm! I saw at least 50 head.

I arrived in Meadows of Dan which has a financial district at the bottom of the hill (post office and BBT) and a commercial district (two gas station/markets and a handful of gift and antique shops) at the top of the hill.
Honeybee Heaven

Honeybee Heaven


I had a beautiful and spacious guest cabin to enjoy while I spent a week pet sitting for Stella, Spindle, and Hera.
Best Place on the Parkway

Best Place on the Parkway


If you are wondering who Dan is, you might also wonder what you do in his Meadows. Folks say you have something to do every day when you walk out your door.

Saturday, you head to the commercial area to get your shopping done. I was lucky enough to discover that Leslie was opening up a yarn shop in her old family home. Probably the only yarn shop you will find where the chickens come to greet you and the owner has to step outside to help the goat get its head unstuck from the fence.
Chcken Greeters at the Yarn Shop

Chcken Greeters at the Yarn Shop

Duties

Duties


Bingo goes on every Saturday at 6 PM at the Community Center. Unfortunately, I got so busy walking with the dog and scratching cat tummies, I forgot about it until 7:30 and missed out.
The Happenin' Place

The Happenin' Place


Sunday, you go to church. I chose the little stone Presbyterian church in Mayberry because it is so quaint and I had sped read The Man Who Moved a Mountain, the autobiography of Robert Childress and a good bit of history about the area.
Mayberry Rock Church

Mayberry Rock Church


The pianist at the Presbyterian church (quite good, as a matter of fact) has to leave right after fellowship to play at the Baptist church.
There was a spaghetti supper on Sunday night, but I only learned about it after the fact. That was okay because I had met people for lunch at the Crooked Road Cafe in the Cockram Mill Complex.
Moonset on Monday-001

Moonset on Monday-001


On Monday you had better walk into town and check out the Baptist cemetery and watch the Blue Ridge Parking mowing crew take a break. Plus there's all that walking and scratching you have to do to keep those pets as content as you are.
A Colorful Day

A Colorful Day


On Tuesday and Thursday mornings you go to the Community Center for a stretch class.
Exercise Class at the Community Center

Exercise Class at the Community Center


If you want, you can also go to a yoga class at the Presbyterian church fellowship hall on Saturday AM and Tuesday night. However if you want to join the knitting group on Tuesday evening, you have to miss the yoga.
Weekly Knitting Group

Weekly Knitting Group


Wednesday means you had better go to Nancy's candy factory and buy fudge to send to the family. It might also be the day of the monthly blood drive or the book club luncheon at the Woodberry Inn. By the way, the Woodberry is for sale if you are looking for such an opportunity in this idyllic spot.
Monthly Book Club Luncheon

Monthly Book Club Luncheon


One of a Handful

One of a Handful


By Friday, you are glad to see the rain so you can build a fire in the stove and curl up with a good book or your knitting and have a trusty dog curled up at your feet.
Plenty of Room to Relax

Plenty of Room to Relax


The area is a spot of rural beauty. Many homes have been used for generations by the same family; others are newer and started as vacation homes now happily filled fulltime by retirees.
Sit a While

Sit a While

Tulip Bed on the Bank

Tulip Bed on the Bank


Showing Its Age

Showing Its Age


Others have been abandoned because the last resident has died and everyone in the family has interests elsewhere.

Posted by pscotterly 03:44 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Pet Sitting on the Blue Ridge Parkway

This Might Be TMI

If you are not into dogs and cats and how Paula idles away her days, this might be Too Much Information on my current pet sitting assignment.
I am in a lovely guest house just outside of Meadows of Dan, Virginia. My driveway is also named Croquet Hollow and is intersected at Mile 178 of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Intersection of BRP and the Croquet Hollow Driveway

Intersection of BRP and the Croquet Hollow Driveway


Stella is just "dog." Perhaps more black and tan hound than anything else.
She is definitely a sweetheart - except she does not usually come when called, but only at the opportunity to do something she feels like doing.
Keeping Guard Across the Pond

Keeping Guard Across the Pond


Such as taking a ride in the van.
However, to get her to come to the van. I have to call "Stella, let's go for a ride in the van."
Then, I have to start the motor and honk the horn. Stella will then run the 1/4 mile up Croquet Hollow. She checks the driveway and surrounding pasture for anything that might need attention as she races me to the Parkway.
A Stroll Up Croquet Hollow Driveway

A Stroll Up Croquet Hollow Driveway


Then, I must get out of the van and holler and holler for her to come. When she gets thirsty and decides there are no rabbits to chase, she will come and hop in the van.
She will sit and sleep in the van for hours at a time while I do whatever I feel like doing.
Stella Loves to Go for a Drive

Stella Loves to Go for a Drive


She will also be happy to walk around on a leash and explore where we have gone.
When we return from our journey, I must stop the van at the top of Croquet Hollow, open the van door, and say "Stella, see us home."
She then races through the same pasture and hedgerows to see what has changed since we left.
Generally, about 3/4 of the way home, she walks in the middle of the lane as if to slow our progress home.

We take one walk around the property. Around 5 or 6 PM, I say "Stella, let's go to the woods."
Let's Go to the Woods, Stella

Let's Go to the Woods, Stella


She then takes off and we take a stroll around the property.
Hurry Up, Paula

Hurry Up, Paula


One evening she nosed up about four feet into the crotch of a rhododendron. Finally she came running with something in her mouth. After much pleading, she showed me what she had found - an ancient beef neck bone. She must have stored it there sometime and just remembered she wanted it.
What's Hiding in the Rhododendron

What's Hiding in the Rhododendron


She eats only one meal a day. I can't seem to entice her with any treats. I also left her in the van for about 30 minutes with a load of groceries including fresh meat. She did not bother any of it.
Around 7 PM each night, she lets me know it is time to eat. She waits patiently while I prepare the dinner. I place her bowl outdoors and tell her to sit. I then say some kind of grace such as, "Yummy food for Stella's tummy. This will make us feel so sunny. Namaste."
Only at the work Namaste will she begin to eat. The first night, I forgot about this and she just sat and looked at her bowl until I remembered.
Namaste

Namaste


Seems like she could have also learned the word "Come." It is impossible to get her to come in at night until she is absolutely ready. She sleeps most of the day and then runs all around the property until any time after 11 PM.
I am staying in a guest house near her owner's home. I put her bed at the foot of my bed. There was a woolen blanket in the bed. I covered her up with it the first night. She looked at me morosely, but did not move. After I crawled in bed and turned out the light, I heard her click downstairs and then immediately return and get back in bed. When I got up the next morning, I found the woolen blanket shoved in a corner downstairs. Guess she didn't want it.
I also have two cats to tend - Spindle and Hera.
These are two outdoor cats who are fed in the garage.
I have not been able to catch a photo of big, fat, long-haired Spindle. She comes out to eat and wants me to brush her every day. My hands are so full at the time, I can't get a photo.
Hera Waiting for Breakfast

Hera Waiting for Breakfast


Hera is even a little more skittish.
However, she takes a walk around the property every morning after breakfast.
Hera Brings Up the Rear

Hera Brings Up the Rear


First we go up the hill with her following.
Soon, she races ahead and takes the lead.
Hera Leads the Morning Walk

Hera Leads the Morning Walk


They have a family burial plot and Hera stops every morning at this spot for a good bit of affection sitting on one of the benches.
Stopping for a Morning Rub

Stopping for a Morning Rub


Perched for a Better View

Perched for a Better View


She generally likes to ride on my shoulders going down the hill. I will try to catch a Selfie of this.
There is another bench near the base of the hill where we must stop for another bit of purring and affection.
Hera Looks for Critters

Hera Looks for Critters


All this walking and feeding manages to take up about two hours a day.

It is not a hard life.
This is Hera and her "real owner."
Hera and Kathleen

Hera and Kathleen

Posted by pscotterly 14:54 Archived in USA Tagged viginia Comments (0)

Getting Here Was Half the Fun

Portsmouth, Virginia

I didn't know until I looked at the map that you could go from Delaware into the Virginia mainland on a bridge over the Chesapeake Bay.
I didn't know until I actually drove it that there are three different sections of bridge and three separate tunnels!
It was one of the most amazing legs of the 23,000 miles I have traveled in the last 14 months. Unfortunately, I missed the stop for the one place to take pictures, so you must right-click on the link and see if you can get a view.
I doubt if you will see what I did, however.
As I am driving along the bridge wondering how they can start the tunnel, I see a huge cargo ship heading for the bridge.
What is it doing?
Will it crash?
I start to descend into the tunnel and the cargo ship passes over the tunnel.
That is one DEEP tunnel. As I drove along, I kept trying to picture that cargo ship sailing above me. I tell you, I think it is truly amazing.
I hope I come back in another life as a civil engineer who can design something like this.

You might not want to make Portsmouth, Virginia a final destination, but it is worth it to travel the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
If you decide to come, I recommend Sara's AirBnB Cottage.
My Cute Portsmouth Cottage

My Cute Portsmouth Cottage

Sara works with a realty company. She also does some great fix/flips, including this property.
My Cottage Parlor

My Cottage Parlor

My Cottage Bedroom

My Cottage Bedroom

Portsmouth seems to have a great many historic homes all lovingly restored and many of them well below $300,000. I don't think I have seen any town outside of the Midwest where fine homes were priced this low. If you want to be near some fine beaches (which I didn't see) and some great history, I suggest relocating to Portsmouth.

Sara and I chatted up over a fire one night and then again on my last night there she invited some of her neighbors from the historic part of town for S'Mores and popcorn.
Bonfire Spot Across the Street

Bonfire Spot Across the Street

Bonfire at Sunset

Bonfire at Sunset


I am here to say, however, if that sun does not start shining more than 3 hours out of every 48, I am never leaving the SW USA again if I ever get back there.
Although Portsmouth pretends to be bicycle friendly, there are only a few miles of paths and lanes. Still, I managed to do my shopping and see the historic sites. Hurrah for the flat coastal country again instead the hills of Pennsylvania!
Mouth of the Port on the Elizabeth River

Mouth of the Port on the Elizabeth River

Revolutionary and Civil War History

Revolutionary and Civil War History

Historic Preservation

Historic Preservation


This house was interesting because they named it after themselves, the most current owners and renovators. This had been a military barracks in the late 1700s.
For some reason, I didn't take many pictures around here but there are certainly a lot of historic homes to see, some nice visual arts centers, and a 1940s restored movie theater that serves food and beverages.
Maybe I didn't do much photo shooting because I am still rather ill. Went to the optometrist and for $500+ was told I probably had allergies and increasing cataracts and received a new pair of glasses to replace the pair lost in December and the pair I just broke.
Now, I am off to the Blue Ridge Mountains again. Hoping that this time the grass is greener and that my allergies/flu finally go away.

Posted by pscotterly 08:40 Archived in USA Tagged viginia Comments (1)

Chester Springs, Pennsylvania

This Sure Ain't New York City

I traveled off Long Island and through the city with ease. Actually, the parkway traffic seems much less hectic than in southern California. I decided it must be because the exits are much further apart which eliminates the frequent back-up at the on and off ramps. People use public transportation or surface streets here instead of getting on the freeway to get a mani/pedi.
I wasn't exactly prepared for the various tolls and had to stop at a service area to get cash for the toll booths. One time, I mistakenly pulled up to the booth where only Eco-Pass cards were accepted. Before I even realized it I was in error, a patrolman ran out. He had me pull over to a "safe" location while he went and got the $4 change from my 20 dollar bill. I was going to tell him "keep the change," but I thought that might seem like a bribe. Given the way he safely dodged the streaming traffic, I don't think I was the first person to have erroneously pulled into that booth.
Davis Lane

Davis Lane


After a four-hour drive, I found my way to Davis Lane outside Chester Springs, Pennsylvania.
Cottage and Pond Taken from Davis Lane

Cottage and Pond Taken from Davis Lane


Original Stone Fence

Original Stone Fence


I knew I was coming to a cottage - but I was still quite surprised with what I found.
Taken from the Hill

Taken from the Hill


This area was a farm that dates back to the late 1700s.
As Seen from the Road

As Seen from the Road


The original farm house burned down and the spring house was expanded to be the home. It is now a guest cottage that you can find on AirBnB.
Original Foundation

Original Foundation


Owners' Home

Owners' Home


The current owners have renovated the original barn into a modern large home. I did not have the opportunity to talk with them and find out if they were the actual engineers, remodelers, etc that turned this property into what it is today. They have a sailboat under a tarp in the parking lot; the owner was currently bringing another sailboat up the Intercoastal Waterway from Florida to dock in the Chesapeake Bay.
They had two young boys that came into my cottage one day to explore the attic. They also had a dog Oscar who frequently came to visit.
Oscar also liked to take walks with me down the road.
Oscar Leads the Way

Oscar Leads the Way


I Didn't Do It

I Didn't Do It


We visited the neighboring horse farm to spend some time with miniature donkeys Fanny and Bunny.
Oscar, Fanny, and Bunny

Oscar, Fanny, and Bunny


Fanny and Bunny

Fanny and Bunny


Bunny and Funny Try for Treats

Bunny and Funny Try for Treats


The owners winter in Florida and board their horses while they are gone. It seems like Fanny and Bunny appreciate a little attention while they hold down the fort.
Neighboring Gentleman's Farm

Neighboring Gentleman's Farm


The entire area has very historic farm and village homes from the mid 1700s to 1890s. Most of them have been expanded and modernized. Some are a little rough, but this is obviously a place populated with folks with some money. It is quite close to Philadelphia.
Birchrun Creek

Birchrun Creek

Another Spring-Fed Pond

Another Spring-Fed Pond

Another Neighboring Home

Another Neighboring Home

Still Farms and Dairies in the Area

Still Farms and Dairies in the Area


I decided to just spend the week relaxing instead of running around to visit historic Valley Forge and fighting the traffic into Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell. I was satisfied to just know it was there and to merely imagine life on this land and along the these stone fences 250 years ago.
Path to the Swimming Pond

Path to the Swimming Pond


Scene from My Pond-side Rocking Chair

Scene from My Pond-side Rocking Chair


Through the Kitchen Door

Through the Kitchen Door

Springhouse Bedroom

Springhouse Bedroom

Pellet Stove

Pellet Stove

My Springhouse Cottage at Dusk

My Springhouse Cottage at Dusk

Morning Light

Morning Light


I have developed a nagging cold and a bit of "achey flu." Probably something I picked up on the NYC MTA. Am hoping that when I move back into town and stop sleeping on top of a running spring that I will get a bit healthier.
Original Door and Key

Original Door and Key

Kitchen Door

Kitchen Door


Now, I wend my way down Davis Lane heading for Virginia.
Forsythia Hedgerow

Forsythia Hedgerow

Posted by pscotterly 04:31 Archived in USA Tagged pennsylvania Comments (2)

Living in Brooklyn

Touring NYC, NY

After another week on Long Island, I returned to visit the city.
There was so much I wanted to see and do that I had missed in the previous two days. I made a list.
The first objective was to "Pretend I lived in Brooklyn and learn how to use the NY subway system." The ATC couple in Port Washington on Long Island helped me find a place on AirBnB. It proved to be just right.
10th Street Brooklyn

10th Street Brooklyn


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn


I left Ol' 95 Chevy in the LIRR station parking lot at Central Islip and headed to Brooklyn. Fortunately, the AirBnB host provided good train directions, so I knew to change the LIRR train at Jamaica, go to Atlantic Terminal, and board the R train for two stops.
At the Atlantic Terminal, I asked the man in the ticket booth which direction I should head.
"Don't tell me you want off in two stops!" he insisted. "Tell me where you want to go. I'm a professional and I will tell you how many stops to go before you get off!"
Then he insisted he had to inspect my ID before he could sell me the senior 1/2 price fare card. He stared at it for a long time and then handed it back. Still no ticket and the line was getting long behind me. Finally he said, "1944 does that mean you are 61 because that does not qualify."
I had to tell him that even though "I was not a professional train rider, 1944 meant I was almost 71 and did qualify."
By the way, he also gave me some other slightly incorrect information about traveling the subway. However, all ticket professionals were usually quite helpful and friendly as were all the other communters I asked for directions and information. Nothing to fear in taking the MTA.
My Brooklyn Trainstop

My Brooklyn Trainstop


My first venture on the subway was a success and I made it to my Brooklyn flat.
My Brooklyn Brownstone

My Brooklyn Brownstone


My Brooklyn Bedroom

My Brooklyn Bedroom


My Brooklyn Parlor

My Brooklyn Parlor


I had also listed Prospect Park and the Green-Wood Cemetery as places to visit, but by this time it was 4 PM and I decided to just keep figuring out the train system and exploring my Brooklyn neighborhood.
My Brooklyn Grocery

My Brooklyn Grocery


My Brooklyn Shopping Area

My Brooklyn Shopping Area


I had read on line about a new public art exhibit at the Metro Tech center, so decided to find my way there. Wasn't much to see, but I did find a Macy's with an excellent shoe sale.
I Hope They Keep the Art

I Hope They Keep the Art

Maze

Maze


I was also puzzled about why the street was blocked off, so I asked the policeman. He said it had been that way since 9/11 because there were many courts in the area.
Keeping the Neighborhood Safe

Keeping the Neighborhood Safe


This rather seems like closing the barn door a little too late. Also, everyone just walks through the barricade while half a dozen policemen stand around chatting and drinking coffee. Boy, did I feel a lot safer.

Next on the list was to visit the Guggenheim, but somewhere I saw a listing for a pay-what-you-want walking tour. On day two, I met a tour guide on Wall Street in front of the Federal Hall where George Washington took the oath of office. On a chilly, windy day 18 of us walked the city.
GW at Federal Hall

GW at Federal Hall

Wall Street

Wall Street

View From Wall Street

View From Wall Street


On the way, I was able to support a march. I was encouraged to go along, but stuck with my tour.
Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter


If I looked at a map, I could not be able to tell the route we took. I walked, I looked, I listened.
Cemetery Gate

Cemetery Gate


Memorial at Slaves Graveyard

Memorial at Slaves Graveyard


We visited the 9 11 Memorial.
Exquisite Memorial

Exquisite Memorial

Firefighter's Wall

Firefighter's Wall

First Completed WTC Tower

First Completed WTC Tower


St Paul's Chapel

St Paul's Chapel


We walked through the Meat Packing District.
Still the Meat Packing District

Still the Meat Packing District

There Goes the Neighborhood

There Goes the Neighborhood


We went past City Hall.
The Start of a Beautiful Lif Together

The Start of a Beautiful Lif Together


We had lunch at the Chelsea Market.
Water Feature at Chelsea Market

Water Feature at Chelsea Market

Lunchtime at Chelsea Market

Lunchtime at Chelsea Market


Lights at Chelsea Market

Lights at Chelsea Market


We climbed up the stairs to walk the High Line Park.
Park Above the Street

Park Above the Street


We walked and took the subway until 5:30 that night.
I saw a lot. I learned a lot. I forgot most of it before the next day.
It's Superman

It's Superman

I Wish I Had My Knitting Too

I Wish I Had My Knitting Too

I Just Liked the Image

I Just Liked the Image


I ended that night having a very tasty dinner at Mexique with some friends of my sister.
Some of Diane's Special People

Some of Diane's Special People


I found my way back to my Brooklyn flat on the train around 9 PM.

I am not sure what was on my original list for day three, but I decided to spend it on lavish entertainment as you might have read in Breaking the Bank on Broadway. While strolling through Central Park, I saw the same tour guide now leading another group through the park. I called to him and commented, "You sure get around - but so do I."
Same Tourguide Different Place

Same Tourguide Different Place


New York can be a small place.

Day four, I returned to my list and went to visit see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
The subway stop is clearly marked where to get off at the Whitehall Ferry stop. As soon as you walk out, several ticket hawkers will bombard you.
Do one of the following:

  • *If you only want to take a 90 minute cruise around the harbor, take any one of those cruises they are hawking.
  • *If you want to ride the free Staten Island just to see the harbor and sail past the statue, walk into the big terminal ahead of you. Go up the steps and get in line.
  • *If you want to take the ferry that lets you get off and spend time on Liberty and/or Ellis Island, ignore all this and head right across the street, around the American flagpole, and into Battery Park. From there follow the signs to the National Park and the ticket booth.

What to Take

What to Take


One of the hawkers told me I wouldn't be able to set foot on Ellis Island if I had not made reservations three days in advance, so I might as well take his tour. When he saw I was just going to leave, he felt sorry for me and said "You can go stand in line for 3 hours and maybe you will be able to go." I was not in line for more than 10 minutes to either get my ticket and then again to get on the ferry. During the summer tourist season the line might be longer and it might be like Alcatraz where reservations are mandatory, but you couldn't prove it by my experience.
Two Ladies

Two Ladies

There She Is

There She Is


I was content to sail past Lady Liberty; I will return someday with grandson Bazil to climb to the crown. (Remind me to make reservations way in advance to do this, however; the crown is limited.)
Reception Hall on Ellis Island

Reception Hall on Ellis Island


Of course, I spent hours on Ellis Island with the audio tour, reading placards, attending orientation videos - there was even more than I was able to handle. Next time, I will take the hourly ranger's tour.
I did learn that my ancestors came to the USA too early to have entered through Ellis Island along with 7 million other immigrants. I will need to do more research to determine if they even entered through New York.
Manhattan from New York Bay

Manhattan from New York Bay


After visiting the islands, hang out in Battery Park to watch the street show.
Street Dancing

Street Dancing


They admit to doing this almost every day for ten years. They are fun, but seem to be a little old and tired. They ask for $20 from everyone and most folks give it. I didn't.
I had big plans for the morning of my fourth day to visit the Brooklyn Museum. I felt "toured out."
Spring in My Own Back Yard

Spring in My Own Back Yard

My Brooklyn Bagel Shop

My Brooklyn Bagel Shop


Instead, I just wanted to relax in my Brooklyn flat with some Brooklyn bagels before returning to Long Island to pick up Ol' 95. By the way, leaving the van on Long Island was a very smart move. I would have had to constantly move the van, pay an exorbitant daily fee, and never find any spot near my flat.
Not Ol' 95

Not Ol' 95


LIRR Back to Ol' 95

LIRR Back to Ol' 95


I missed the Guggenheim, the Tenement Museum, Carnegie Hall, Sotheby's , and so much more. There will have to be another day. My next big step was to drive the NYC parkways, bridges, and toll roads to head to my next stop.

Posted by pscotterly 09:03 Archived in USA Tagged new_york Comments (0)

Breaking the Bank on Broadway

Enjoyed Every Minute of It

Attending the theater in Denver or when visiting other cities often seems like spending too much money. But, I am in New York - What the hell!
The place to get tickets is at the Tickt booth on Times Square. They also have location in Brooklyn and, I think, someplace else...Check the website.
The sign tells you which performances are reduced and by the percentage.
Where to Get Broadway Tickets

Where to Get Broadway Tickets


Here's a hint. There will be a long line all during the day. Walk up an hour or so before the evening performance and you will only have to wait for a handful of people ahead of you. I arrived about 11 AM for a matinee and the line moved quickly even though there were at least 100 people in line. This is April though; I don't know what it is like during the summer.
I paid $90 for the matinee performance of Beautiful the Carole King Musical at the Sondheim theater.
Waiting for Beautiful

Waiting for Beautiful


It was beautiful.
By the way, only Radio City Music Hall allows photos inside the theater. All others tell you not to take photos even before and after the performance. I didn't realize this until after I was admonished.

While waiting for the matinee to start, I took a stroll up 7th Avenue and into Central Park. It was much more inviting than the last time I was here.
Skyline from the Park

Skyline from the Park


Spring has started creeping.
Green Grass

Green Grass

My Spring Day in Central Park

My Spring Day in Central Park


Some musicians were performing. I heard my theme song "oh what a beautiful morning" before I saw the sax player.
Oh What a Beautiful Morning

Oh What a Beautiful Morning


Carousel and Carriage

Carousel and Carriage


Leaving the park, I decided to stop into the Plaza Hotel for a light lunch and see how it looks in a hotel where you pay $800 + for a room.
Plaza Hotel

Plaza Hotel


It was interesting to see how politely the staff treated the little girls who were staying there and showed them the Eloise treasures. People who are accustomed to only this kind of wealth and attention will never be able to understand life for the average or poverty-level child.
Champagne Cocktail at the Plaza

Champagne Cocktail at the Plaza


I thoroughly enjoyed my champagne cocktail and salad for lunch. I was treated with the utmost respect, but no one showed me Eloise's patent leather shoes.

I dallied too long over my cocktail and had to run like a New Yorker the 25 blocks to the Stephen Sondheim theater.
Stephen Sondheim Marquee

Stephen Sondheim Marquee


Leaving the theater, I thought I should treat myselfYour text to link here... to a nice dinner in town. I went to the Lamb's Club. I had a nice chat with some ladies seated on the banquet next to me who had also been to see Beautiful. They were surprised I had never been to Westchester, but they had never been to Colorado!
After they left, a woman alone was seated next to me. I find it interesting to watch woman sitting alone. You can always tell if they are not accustomed to it. She announced to the maitre d', the server, the water attendant (everyone but me!) that her companion was stuck in traffic. She refused to make any contact with me, but proceeded to begin filing her nails! She stopped just as I was ready to ask her.
Then she started playing on her phone and picked up some kind of rhythm to which she began tapping her feet and lightly keeping time on her knee. She stopped at my look.
Finally, her female friend arrived saying "I am so sorry, I was stuck in traffic."
"Oh, you know me," was the reply, "I can always take care of myself when I am alone."
I almost snorted aloud. Folks, I am here to tell you I have never seen anyone who was so uncomfortable being alone in all my travels.
Okay, I admit, it takes practice to eat alone. Ladies, just do it. Don't be afraid - talk to someone sitting beside you, take a book, have a cocktail, just look around you. But for pity's sake, don't file your nails and look nervous.

Leaving the Lambs Club and headed to the subway, I passed the Tickt booth again. I saw there were no lines. I said "oh what the hell" a second time and stepped right up for tickets to that night's performance at the Barrymore, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
The staging was absolutely exhilarating. The play was quite remarkable - the first act better than the second.
I want to read the books.
Barrymore Theater Billboard

Barrymore Theater Billboard

Barrymore Theater 8 PM

Barrymore Theater 8 PM


By the way, I had excellent seats at both theaters. They can probably find better single seats throughout the theater, so don't be afraid to break up your party to get the best seats. Really, you will be okay sitting by yourself. Usually, you begin talking to the people next to you and nobody thinks you are a creep for sitting alone.
I had an hour to kill before I could be seated.
I ran into some people who had been marching to protest the needless shooting of black men by the police force. We called to one another and chatted a bit. They told me another group of marchers was coming.
Instead of a police protest, I found a rally to support a $15 minimum wage for hotel workers, health aids, and food service employees.
Hey, I can support that. Especially thinking about my day of wild spending and observing the rich all around me.
A Living Wage

A Living Wage


It's not fair to claim that giving others a living wage will increase the price of our burgers. I am all for the 1% getting just a bit less. Someone stepped out of the march and gave me a clapper bell so I could continue to cheer them on.
If you don't want to see more pictures of the march, you can exit this blog now.
Community Support

Community Support

Healthcare Workers Deserve It

Healthcare Workers Deserve It

Many Marched

Many Marched

Marching for More

Marching for More

Playing Jazz for More Pay

Playing Jazz for More Pay

They're Not Lovin' It

They're Not Lovin' It

Visual Cacophony

Visual Cacophony

15 and a Union

15 and a Union

Posted by pscotterly 06:07 Archived in USA Tagged new_york Comments (2)

Living Long

On Long Island, New York

Goodbye Connecticutt

Goodbye Connecticutt


There is certainly much more to see and do in Connecticut, but I had made plans to cross Long Island Sound on the Bridgeport- Port Jefferson Ferry.
Ol' 95 Takes Another Ferry Ride

Ol' 95 Takes Another Ferry Ride


I Heart Long Island

I Heart Long Island


Again, I was hosted by an ATC member in another very fine home. She took me on a pleasant drive around the village of Bellport, where just across the bay you can see Fire Island, which is another place I would like to return to some day.
Nancy in Her Long Island Home

Nancy in Her Long Island Home

Keebler Checks for Critters

Keebler Checks for Critters


After a night with Nancy, I headed further east to Jamesport where I was responsible for Hyacinth.
Hyacinth Enjoys Dinner

Hyacinth Enjoys Dinner


Hyacinth shares her home with a chef and an extremely artistic and crafty woman. I was lucky to spend three days here.
A Kitchen for Cooking and Gathering

A Kitchen for Cooking and Gathering


Many Nice Features

Many Nice Features

Welcome Home

Welcome Home


Easter Sunday proved sunny but windy. I took a little bike ride through the areas filled with potato fields, sod farms, commercial greenhouses, and vinyards.
Typical LI Rural Scene

Typical LI Rural Scene


Long Island Guard Dog

Long Island Guard Dog


After two days in NYC, I returned to Long Island to recoup and figure out what to do next.
Hosted at the Hadley House in Port Washington

Hosted at the Hadley House in Port Washington


I was kindly hosted by the Van Dykes in Port Washington.
A Nice Place on a Cold Day

A Nice Place on a Cold Day


The weather stayed cold and dreary, but the hospitality was warm.
Paancakes for Breakfast with the Van Dykes

Paancakes for Breakfast with the Van Dykes


There was plenty more of Long Island to see, so I headed to the southeast tip of the Island.
The weather remained cold and rainy.
View on Day 1

View on Day 1

My Amagansett LI Condo

My Amagansett LI Condo


But as the days passed in a vacation condo on the beach, I could see the sea and the sun.
View on Day 2

View on Day 2

View on Day 3

View on Day 3


Long Island is long. There is more to see than anyone could in seven days. But I got a good idea of all the differences and similarities as I drove from side to side and point to point. Now, I will know what the place looks like when I hear or read about The Hamptons, the LIRR, Long Island farms and beaches.
LI Beach at Jamesport

LI Beach at Jamesport

Atlantic LI Coast Near Montauk

Atlantic LI Coast Near Montauk

Sag Harbor LI Historical Society

Sag Harbor LI Historical Society

Whaling Museum Sag Harbor LI

Whaling Museum Sag Harbor LI

Posted by pscotterly 19:36 Archived in USA Tagged new_york Comments (1)

I Made It to NYC, NY

There Was Nothing to Fear

I have been to at least nine foreign countries and 49 states. I had never been to New York City.
Coming Out of Penn Station

Coming Out of Penn Station


For some reason, I have always been afraid to go! I thought I wouldn't be able to get around and just stand like a fool on the corner. Not sure why I never thought about that when I went to St Petersburg, Russia on my own!
I finally, closed my eyes and randomly clicked a hotel booking. The Park Central couldn't have been a better choice!
Stay at the Park Central

Stay at the Park Central


I Didn't Stay Here

I Didn't Stay Here


I arrived at Penn Station on the Long Island RR and walked the 30 blocks to my hotel, grinning the entire way.
Walking Along 7th Avenue

Walking Along 7th Avenue

New View for Me

New View for Me

Am I in Cuba

Am I in Cuba

Adolescent Treated to Times Square

Adolescent Treated to Times Square


Working for Their Keep

Working for Their Keep


I put some money in the pot for this guy and his 12+ fur and fowl. I didn't even take a photo of the young man huddled on a blanket with his two black cats on leashes, one of which was using the litter box and the other eating from a little dish. There are fewer panhandlers and homeless in Manhattan than there are in Denver, however.
My first activity was to get on a hop on/off bus and tour the city both day and night.
Lady and a Gull

Lady and a Gull

Hudson or East River

Hudson or East River

Duke Ellington in Central Park

Duke Ellington in Central Park

Apollo Theater

Apollo Theater


On the Campus of Columbia University

On the Campus of Columbia University


Brooklyn Bridge at Night

Brooklyn Bridge at Night

Manhattan from Brooklyn

Manhattan from Brooklyn


Spring still had not come to New York.
My Spring Day in Central Park

My Spring Day in Central Park

Not a Day for Park Bench Sitting

Not a Day for Park Bench Sitting


Only Spot of Spring in NYC

Only Spot of Spring in NYC


I put a sweater on, pulled my scarf around my head, and got to as many places as I could in 48 hours.
City Scene

City Scene


There was only one disappointment - the New York Public Library!
The Only Public Toilet in NYC

The Only Public Toilet in NYC

Patience or Fortitude

Patience or Fortitude


Hallway in NYPL

Hallway in NYPL


It is a beautiful building, however....
They boast of the 4000 publications they subscribe to - but none are available without request - neither are the books.
No Periodicals in the Periodical Room

No Periodicals in the Periodical Room


The children's library didn't even compare to any of the DPL branches.
Also, there are no homeless people in the library. I have said that the homeless in America are the most well-read people in the USA because they sit in the libraries all day and read - not in NYC, NY!
I can understand why all the books and periodicals are in locked stacks in a city this size, it just caught me by surprise. They also offer some excellent public events with authors, readings, etc. but I only had 48 hours.
Sculpture in the Plaza

Sculpture in the Plaza


I walked up to the Kinky Boots ticket counter about 30 minutes before showtime to see if they had any discounted tickets. I was immediately approached by a nervous woman about my age who was trying to sell a ticket for a friend who could not come. I told her what I could pay and she walked away. I returned to the Al Hirschfield ticket line to see if anything was available. Within seconds, she returned and said $50 was better than nothing.
Ladies with an Extra Ticket

Ladies with an Extra Ticket


The show was fantastic. I laughed, I cried, I stamped my feet, I clapped my hands.
Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots


I also donated $20 to the Aids collection after the performance and received a Kinky Boots apron. I think the ladies thought I should have given that money to the original ticket owner instead. I wanted to give them the apron to give to their friend, but lost them in the crowd and they have not responded to email.
Lobby of Radio City Music Hall

Lobby of Radio City Music Hall


I also could not resist going to Radio City Music Hall to view the Rockettes in their Spring Spectacular which was a sappy tribute to New York. I get so emotional at anything live that I even got "sap in my eyes" watching the Rockettes kick and the other dancers cavort through the famous New York sites that I have finally seen.
The Rockettes Close the Show

The Rockettes Close the Show


I went to the Museum of New York City, which seems to be a minimally attended venue that I thoroughly enjoyed.
A Nice Little Museum

A Nice Little Museum


Light Feature

Light Feature

Light Feature 2

Light Feature 2


What I could not miss was the MoMA.
Four Floors of the MoMA

Four Floors of the MoMA


Future Artist Sketching at MoMA

Future Artist Sketching at MoMA


You can get a free audio tour. I only had about two hours (nothing opens before 10 AM around here), but I managed to stare for a very long at some excellent Pollock and a two whole walls of Mondrian. They even have one Clyfford Still - only Denver can boast of having the entire collection in the Still Museum.
United Enemies in the MoMA Sculpture Garden

United Enemies in the MoMA Sculpture Garden

Toddler Takes Off

Toddler Takes Off


If you want to see more of New York City, ..........
Trying to Blow the Rain Away

Trying to Blow the Rain Away

Times Square from the Millenium Lounge

Times Square from the Millenium Lounge


Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge

Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge


so do I.
I'm coming back!

Posted by pscotterly 02:50 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Looking for Spring

In All the Wrong Places

All the places I have been the past week are actually the "right" places, just not a place where I could find spring.
What Are You Looking At

What Are You Looking At


Once the young niece of a co-worker was leaving California for the first time to visit her aunt in Colorado. As they were driving from the airport, the young girl started to cry and asked "Is everything dead in Colorado?"
Now, I sure understand why she was frightened. Everything in the eastern half of the USA up from the panhandle of Florida looks as if it will never return to life.
From Winchester, Virginia, I drove through the corners of West Virginia and Maryland. I saw a lot of businesses with Mason Dixon in the name and even followed the Molly Pitcher Highway - and I am not sure why it was so-named because I don't think I was near her battle area. But perhaps, there is not much claim to fame or activity in whatever burg I was in as evidenced by this sign. I was able to snap this photo, however, because for some reason traffic had come to a complete stop.
Not Much to Do on a Saturday Night

Not Much to Do on a Saturday Night


This posting was for cemetery plots and not a housing development. Guess more people are leaving than coming in.
Cemetery Not a Housing Development

Cemetery Not a Housing Development


I have never traveled in this exact corner of Pennsylvania. I don't know why I was surprised to see mountains as I made my way to Montrose, especially given the name of the town. I rose 1400 feet trailing or being swept on the left by water trucks going for or bringing stream water to the fracking sites located throughout Susquehanna County. Like it or not, it has saved the economy for many a farmer. It made me want to see Promised Land again.

I was hosted for two nights by another wonderful ATC family.
Hilltop Home in Montrose

Hilltop Home in Montrose


Breakfast in a Nice Bright Diningroom

Breakfast in a Nice Bright Diningroom


As I had not done any research, I had assumed Montrose was a charming little Pennsylvania Dutch town. Well it is charming and the people are delightful, but it is mostly known for summer camping and fishing activities. Despite the windy and snowy weather, my hosts made sure I saw everything in the area.
This included a made-to-scale Scottish castle constructed by hand one stone at a time as a man's pastime.
I can't find a link to it, but if you get in the area anyone will tell you how to find it. The only way you will find the house is because it has a small sign in front of a modest ranch house "Flags for Sale."
Pennsylvania Stone

Pennsylvania Stone

One Stone at a Time

One Stone at a Time


We walked atop six inches of frozen snow to view the bit of the Scottish highlands behind the house.
Is It Spring Yet

Is It Spring Yet

Handmade Castle Replica

Handmade Castle Replica


I also celebrated Palm Sunday with them in their historical United Methodist Church. I particularly was impressed with the minister because during the public confession she asked God to forgive our country for torturing prisoners of war.
Delores in Church on Palm Sunday Weekend

Delores in Church on Palm Sunday Weekend


Stained Glass in a Small Town Church

Stained Glass in a Small Town Church

Montrose United Methodist Church

Montrose United Methodist Church


Spring didn't come as I headed northeast to New York and the Catskill Mountains - should I have been surprised?
I spent three nights at the very charming Fairlawn Inn in Hunter, New York.
I'm in the Gazebo Room

I'm in the Gazebo Room


Evening Clouds Over Hunter Mountain and the Fairlawn Inn

Evening Clouds Over Hunter Mountain and the Fairlawn Inn


Although I would have thoroughly enjoyed just sitting for three days in that beautiful bay window, I went out each day to tour the area. My original intent had been to hike the paths of the Hudson River artists, but the weather kept me from hiking.
Gloomy and Dreary on a Cloudy Day

Gloomy and Dreary on a Cloudy Day


Oh I don 't know, maybe I used that for an excuse. I am really letting my knees be an excuse for not being as active as I was in the past. Now, I think it is becoming more of a habit of inactivity than actual pain.
Rip Van Winkle Bridge from Odlana

Rip Van Winkle Bridge from Odlana


I also discovered that the activities in the Catskills are open Memorial Day to Labor Day. I only saw the birthplace of American art and Olana from the outside. I didn't even get near the Opus 40 sculpture quarry - so will probably never see it.
Thomas Cole Hudson River Art Studio

Thomas Cole Hudson River Art Studio


Barges and Tug on the Hudson

Barges and Tug on the Hudson


Ice Floating on the Hudson

Ice Floating on the Hudson


Plan your trip to this part of the country during the summertime to really enjoy it. If you want to stay in town instead of the village of Hunter, I suggest Catskill, Hudson, or Saugerties - where I got a haircut at the Lux salon,
Lux Salon

Lux Salon

Friendly Lux Staff

Friendly Lux Staff


found another great yarn shop, and had a great lunch at Love Bites.
In my quest for spring, I then headed across the hills and dales.
Hilltop Cemetery

Hilltop Cemetery

Public Sculpture Along the Road

Public Sculpture Along the Road

Coffeeshop Sculpture

Coffeeshop Sculpture

Covered Bridge

Covered Bridge


Otcagon Home

Otcagon Home


I could have spent a few days in Litchtfield. Perhaps another time; it is just a quick train ride from NYC.
Litchtfield Is Very Historic

Litchtfield Is Very Historic

Lichtfield Is Impressive

Lichtfield Is Impressive


I continued to Southington, Connecticut where I stayed in another ATC household. I was their first ATC guest, so I am hoping I behaved myself so they will keep in the program.
They had a fairly long driveway and the yard was soggy from freeze and thaw, so my host and I didn't want to take a chance of my erratic backing causing deep ruts (as it had in Montrose, by the way).
Paul Backs Out Ol' 95

Paul Backs Out Ol' 95


Paul is an excellent chef as well as a driver.
A Very Fine Dinner Indeed

A Very Fine Dinner Indeed

Posted by pscotterly 06:04 Archived in USA Comments (1)

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