Travel Tips & Adventures

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Archive for the ‘Museums’ Category

Travel to the Music

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Even people who can’t play a note will find a trip to the Musical Instrument Museum a fascinating exploration of music, cultures and instruments.  A new museum near Scottsdale in Northern Phoenix, Arizona, it is not quite six months old.  The facility itself shows vision, with large spacious galleries, engaging displays and musical instruments of every description – everywhere.

When you arrive, you pay your admission fee ($15 per person for adults) and are handed a set of headphones with a transmitter.  Unlike some museums, the music follows you.  No need to turn the receiver on or off if you arrive at a display and your timing is off.

Gorgeous inlaid floor with the continents - entrance to a Mim gallery


Travel to Scottsdale

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Previously, we’ve visited Scottsdale in this blog, but we have some new items to share and some new perspectives.  Scottsdale really is a state of mind, like being in Boca Raton or Palm Springs.

Trendy Kazimierz World Wine Bar calls itself a speakeasy and has its entrance around the back!


Travel to Payson AZ

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Until we spent part of a day in Payson after visiting Tonto Natural Bridge (see previous blog  two weeks ago), we had just been through Payson on our way to other places.  It is the junction for Arizona State Routes 87 and 160, and about equidistant between Flagstaff and Phoenix, so it was just a place to fuel our car and keep going.  We’re glad we stopped by this time, though!

With a population (at last count) of over 13,000, they are a giant metropolis in comparison to Strawberry and Pine, the neighbor burgs we visited the same day.  There is more of everything, but the scenic backdrop of the mountains gives everything the “aah” factor.  You can relax in Payson.  It’s that kind of place.

There is shopping along the main street, including the Swiss Village shops which a resident we met at the Natural Bridge told us not to miss. We missed it, because we weren’t there for shopping. We just wanted to see what it was like for someone visiting and looking for scenery. (more…)

Travel to Rim Country

Monday, September 13th, 2010

When Arizonans try to escape the heat, they change climates and altitudes by heading up north to Rim Country.   Barely two hours from Phoenix, Arizona are some towns terraced into the mountains.  Payson, up the circuitous State Route 87, is the largest town with other towns clustered a few miles away.


Strawberry, charmingly named, has a much smaller population (in 2007 – only 1,000-plus!) and has a few amenities.  According to, Strawberry residents are older, richer and have more expensive homes than the median Arizona population.

One tourist magnet with some charm is the Strawberry School, the “oldest standing school in Arizona.”  According to a representative of the Pine/Strawberry Archeological and Historical Society, the school was almost razed when a developer bought a large tract in the area.  A local informed the crew that was about to raze the school as they were removing the roof, that the building was the old school house.  The developer decided to spare the school and the roof was rebuilt.

Strawberry School - the "Oldest Standing School in Arizona "

The original building’s walls were constructed in 1885 with logs that surround a one-room area dominated with a wood-burning stove.  The historical society rep commented that the old wooden desks were not the original furnishings.  Instead, tables were used.

Closed in 1916, the school is a reminder of what schools were like a century ago.  However, the furnishings were considered more opulent than was normal with wainscoting, wallpaper, slate on the wall as a blackboard, a world globe, an organ, a dictionary and a clock.  The school was also a meeting location and social center.

Interior of the one-room Strawberry School

For many in the area, the school was part of their heritage, so residents were integral in having it declared a Historical Monument in 1981.

There is no charge to view the school, but a donation is requested.


Another small town with a lot of activity the weekend we visited is Pine.  Again, as in Strawberry, the median age and income levels are higher than the median for Arizona.  The population tallies just under 2,000. Can we say, “retirement community”?

An arts and crafts fair was sprawled out along the road as well as in a community hall.  The variety seemed to be strongly focused on food.  However, we enjoyed the crafts and most especially our chat with Bob Gleason, a basket weaver, who was weaving as we spoke.

Bob Gleason weaves baskets right in front of your eyes.

Bob is from Phoenix, but enjoys demonstrating his craft, which he finds relaxing and has recently begun more elaborate baskets.  The colors and craftsmanship are top notch.  The materials are rattan and can be extremely light, but sturdy.  Bob’s business, with the URL of, (602-317-0644), shows he has a sense of humor.  He has to with some of the dumb questions that people ask – “Who makes the baskets? –He does – “I’m making one now!” (I’m sure he’d like to tell people to pay attention.)

Another crafter, Ron Lepore with Melted Bottles (928-443-8865), uses recycled bottles to make very attractive serving pieces with knives attached.  Great for serving cheese, crackers, fruit and other edibles, the pieces show the whimsy of the bottles he recovers from peoples’ discards.

Ron Lepore exhibited his recycled "Melted Bottles" - great for serving and gifts

Other items sold included emu meat, quilts, and other attractive art.

When we finished, we stopped at the Gingerbread House for some ice cream.  At the old-fashioned style soda fountain, the flavors were great (I had black cherry cordial and my husband had cookies and cream).

Gingerbread House - ice cream treats and collectibles

After we ate every bite of the ice cream and waffle cone, we headed to Payson.

Next week… We’ll give you a short tour of Payson, home of rodeos and other pastimes.

Coming soon!   We will be launching a new site for all of  you Couch Potatoes out there – who want to get up and get going!  More soon…

Traveling the “Loops” in Phoenix

Monday, August 16th, 2010

The first time I flew into Phoenix, I was amazed at how spread out the metropolitan area is.   From west to east, Buckeye to Apache Junction, the metropolitan area of Phoenix, with all its suburbs, easily reaches 70 miles.

In some giant US cities, they build up with multi-storied skyscrapers. But, with the vast spaces available in Arizona, they have built out and even have had height restrictions on how high buildings can be built.

So, welcome to Phoenix.  Spread out and still in the desert.

Saguaro cacti and mountains are a short ride from the hustle and bustle


Travel to Boise – more on a great city

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Over the years, we’ve been in many cities, both capitals and smaller cities.  Boise, Idaho ranks high in our estimation as one of the most attractive downtowns we’ve seen.

With a population of over 200,000, Boise still seems like an accessible and people-friendly place to live, raise children, work, and enjoy leisure time.


Traveling on Tucson’s Old Pueblo Travel

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

After a long trek around the University of Arizona campus, resting my tired feet while trying out the Old Pueblo Trolley was much anticipated.  The Old Pueblo Trolley, billed on their Web site as “an operating transit museum” is a short, evocative experience. (more…)

Travel to Charming Prescott, AZ

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Prescott has charm.  It is absolutely undeniable.  When you first see Prescott (pronounced Pres – CUT), you have the feeling that you’d really like to live there.  Warm and friendly with quirky shops and a town square around the courthouse, Prescott is a great place to visit. (more…)

Travel to the National Air and Space Museum

Friday, November 27th, 2009

By Guest Author Peggy Bradshaw; Photos by George Bradshaw

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM) maintains the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world. Located in Washington, DC on the National Mall, it also has a companion facility at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles Airport at Chantilly, VA.

The space shuttle Enterprise is housed at the Udvar-Hazy Center, as is one of Amelia Earhart’s planes.

The NASM holds in trust some 50,000 objects, including air craft, space craft, engines, rockets, uniforms, space suits, balloons and artwork. The Wright Brothers 1903 Flyer is on display with related artifacts. A whole section is dedicated to the Wright Brothers with original and replica flying machines.


Charles Lindberghs Spirit of St. Louis

Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis


Monticello – Travel to a “Founding Father’s” Home

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Okay, you’ve got some money, you’ve got some land up on a hill, and you’ve got some brains. But, what you don’t have is a place to live!  What will you do? What will you do?

Thomas Jefferson, never at loss to come up with a new idea, decided he was going to build a house on the hill as the centerpiece to his 5,000-acre plantation.
And talk about privacy! You can’t see it from the road, even if you know where to look.

Preparation of the site began in 1768 with construction beginning the following year. With approximately 11,000 sq. ft. of living space, this is not your basic suburban master-planned community house. Monticello was designed by Jefferson after a visit to Europe. The Roman neoclassic design contains forty-three rooms following a remodeling expansion completed in 1809.

Much of the construction material came from the land around the house. The window glass came from Europe and about one-third of the glass now in the house is original.

Monticello - Thomas Jeffersons home

Monticello - Thomas Jefferson's home

Alcove Bed

Of interest is Jefferson’s bed, which he designed after seeing alcove beds during his time in France. Taking the idea of beds built into walls upon his return from Europe, Jefferson redesigned Monticello, adding an alcove bed to his bedroom, but leaving both sides open. This connected his bedroom with his study.  So, Jefferson was never totally hidden away in his bedroom, but was able to access both rooms easily.  Obviously, Jefferson was not a man to rest easily.


Tours of the house run constantly throughout the day with timed tickets, so it is best to visit other areas of Monticello following your background tour.

Those background tour areas include the Gardens, dependencies, Mulberry Row and Jefferson’s gravesite.

Tickets are available throughout the day on a first come-first served basis. Tours of the house begin every 10 minutes.


House Tour/Grounds: Nov. – Feb. $15.00 / March – October $20.00
Age 6-11: $8.00

Hours Vary – See Website for calendar of hours.

Tomorrow – Come back for a retrospect on our blog and some things to be thankful for.