Weekly Photo Challenge: From Every Angle

Knoxville’s Chilhowee Park is known around town as the place for exhibits, the Tennessee Valley Fair, and special events.  But one building, listed in Knox Heritage‘s  Fragile Fifteen, is an endangered structure:  the historic Rabbit & Poultry Barn.  Built in the 1930s from the wood of a dismantled roller coaster in use at the 1910 Appalachian Exposition and incorporating windows from the 1910 Exposition Building, the barn is a treasure, albeit a dilapidated one.  In its heyday, the frequently visited (during the fair, that is) Rabbit & Poultry Barn housed over 400 rabbit and 1,300 poultry exhibits.

From every angle, it’s a photographer’s treat!

For more great angles in this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: From Every Angle, click here.

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Beautifully patterned: Ca’ d’Zan at The Ringling

A beautifully symmetrical patterned walkway leads to Ca' d'Zan at The Ringling in Sarasota, Florida.

A beautifully symmetrical patterned walkway leads to Ca’ d’Zan at The Ringling in Sarasota, Florida.

It’s not just the miniature circus at The Ringling that draws tourists to dreamy Sarasota, Florida.  It’s also the lure of how the wealthy once lived.  And who doesn’t like a glimpse of the lavish lifestyles of the past?  If you’re visiting The Ringling, save time for a tour of the dramatic, highly patterned Ca’ d’Zan.

The imposing tower of Ca' d'Zan, former home of John and Mable Ringling.

The imposing tower of Ca’ d’Zan, former home of John and Mable Ringling.

Ca’ d’Zan (House of John), the historic home of John and Mable Ringling, stands tall at water’s edge. Inspired by the architecture of Venice’s iconic structures — Ducal Palace, Ca’ d’Oro, and the Grunwald Hotel, the Ringlings commissioned New York architect Dwight James Baum in 1924 to create a masterpiece incorporating European design motifs and the creative ideas of Mable Ringling. But as much time and effort that Mrs. Ringling poured into the home (completed in 1926), the time she actually spent living in it was cut short by her death three years afterward.

Stunning zig-zag patterns on the marble bayfront terrace complement arched windows and terra cotta ornamentation.

Stunning zig-zag patterns on the marble bayfront terrace complement arched windows, stained glass, mosaic panels, and terra cotta ornamentation.

The 36,00-square foot home, Ca’ d’Zan, is a study in patterns inside and out. Overall, the style is known as Venetian Gothic, evident in the typical arched windows and doors, layering of terra cotta tiles, and zig-zag patterns of imported marble in the bayfront terrace. Stained glass, mosaics, and graceful arches add to the ambiance of this showcase home.

Patterns repeat themselves inside, too.  Similar arched doorways, black and white tile floors, and ornamentation on stairwells and balustrades reveal an attention to detail and love of Italianate style.

Furniture pieces, frequently embellished with delicate hand painting, often utilize floral motifs similar to art of the old masters.  Don’t know marquetry from faux painting? Talented docents (some of the best we’ve encountered on historic home tours) willingly share their knowledge of styles and periods of architecture, ceramics, furniture, and art. (And answer questions!)

Hand-painted bed with gold leaf: Ca' d'Zan

Hand-painted bed with gold leaf: Ca’ d’Zan

Ca’ d’Zan stands with the best historic homes in America — European and Asian influence but a lavish, well-executed style all its own.  It’s definitely worth seeing when you visit the world of the Ringlings, even if it does make you realize that most of us live in ordinary abodes, compared to the stunning home of John and Mable!

A blend of patterned terra cotta tiles, mosaics, and twisted columns greet guests to Ca' d'Zan at The Ringling.

A blend of patterned terra cotta tiles, mosaics, and twisted columns greet guests to Ca’ d’Zan at The Ringling.

For more information:

Ca’ d’Zan, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, Florida, 34243; 941-359-5700; https://www.ringling.org/ca-dzan

Open daily 10-5; Thursdays ’til 8.

Boomer travel tip:  All areas on the tour of Ca’ d’Zan are accessible.  Tour guides are some of the best we’ve encountered — knowledgeable, yet approachable and patient with all who have questions!

Posted in Florida, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Travel theme: Gleaming

Travel provides memorable moments, gleaming ones, in fact, like sunrises, sunsets, happy sights, and people beaming with pride.  And it’s those very moments that urge us on to carry cameras and hope for the sparkle that the next big (or little) trip might bring.

Knoxville’s Sunsphere, with its gold-toned windows, became one gleaming glass ball behind the Museum of Art on this rain-threatening afternoon.

A gleaming Sunsphere in Knoxville, Tennessee

A gleaming Sunsphere in Knoxville, Tennessee

A flight from Tallahassee, Florida, to Knoxville left me no choice — no way sleeping through this gorgeous sight: rays of setting sun over puffs of gray-turned-amber clouds.

Afternoon flight from Tallahassee

Afternoon flight from Tallahassee

And turning 70 is not so bad if you’re surrounded by friends: birthday boy Bert on the right with fellow septuagenarian Joe Benedict on the left, gleaming in the glow of well-wishing beach friends!

Happy birthday, Joe and Bert!

Happy birthday, Joe and Bert!

For more entries in this week’s Travel theme: Gleaming on Ailsa’s blog Where’s My Backpack, click here.

 

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Miniature circus brings big joy: Tibbals Learning Center at The Ringling

Lining up for the Big Show -- in miniature -- at Tibbals Learning Center at The Ringling, Sarasota, Florida

Lining up for the Big Show — in miniature — at Tibbals Learning Center at The Ringling, Sarasota, Florida

It’s not often you get to see a lifetime project laid out as meticulously as this, but when you go to the Tibbals Learning Center at The Ringling to stare at the tiny circus — figures, tents, animals, wagons, and more — you become enthralled with the lifetime labor of love of Howard Tibbals.  Housed on The Ringling campus in Sarasota, Florida, the million-piece miniature Howard Bros. Circus Model that Tibbals began crafting in his teens is ready to take you back to simpler times, the years from 1919 to 1938 when the biggest thing to hit small town America was the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Extraordinarily, Tibbals (now in his seventies) created almost all the miniatures himself, fashioned after the old-timey circuses he watched as a kid.  Today, it’s on exhibit daily for “children of all ages.”

Using the scale of 3/4 inch to one foot, Howard Tibbals fashioned animal cages, train cars, people and tents for his miniature circus. Looking at the back side, you can see the behind-the-scenes action in miniature.

Using the scale of 3/4 inch to one foot, Howard Tibbals fashioned animal cages, train cars, people and tents for his miniature circus. Looking at the back side, you can see the behind-the-scenes action in miniature.

The former owner of Tibbals Flooring Center in Oneida, Tennessee, Howard Tibbals financed the development and set-up of this remarkable miniature circus, including a $6.5 million donation for the current installation on the grounds of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.  But when he asked if he could use the Ringling name for his miniature version, he was turned down.  No problem, though.  He just named it Howard Bros. Circus.  

And elephant peeks out the door of a yellow train car belonging to Howard Bros. Circus.

An elephant peeks out the door of a yellow train car belonging to Howard Bros. Circus.

And what a circus it is! The stats alone tell a story of determination and stick-to-itiveness:  over 500 circus animals, 1500 performers, 152 wagons, and enough chairs and dishes to seat and serve over 900 people.  (Source: Florida State University website.)

Just sittin' a spell before the show starts -- Howard Bros. Circus at The Ringling

Just sittin’ a spell before the show starts — Howard Bros. Circus at The Ringling

 

A sign at the exhibit offered an insight into what a production it was just keeping the workers fed:  “Typical day’s order: 30 gallons of milk, 226 dozen eggs, 285 pounds of butter, 2,220 loaves of bread, 2,470 pounds of meat, 200 pounds of tea and coffee, and 50 bushels of potatoes.”

Feeding the workers: Howard Bros. Circus.

Feeding the workers: Howard Bros. Circus.

Since we’re from Knoxville, we were surprised to see so many familiar buildings from our city used as backdrops in the first part of the exhibit.  But we shouldn’t have been — after all, Howard Bros. Circus debuted at the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville.  The new, more permanent, even larger, glassed-in exhibit at The Ringling measures 1.5 times the size of a football field!

Knoxville warehouse district forms the backdrop for the entrance exhibit to the Howard Bros. Circus at The Ringling.

Knoxville warehouse district forms the backdrop for the entrance exhibit to the Howard Bros. Circus at The Ringling.

As you walk the perimeter of the circus (and it’s a long perimeter), you get a feel for every aspect — and Tibbals’ keen eye for what humans do.

  1.  Behind-the-scenes work — transporting the animals, setting up tents, hiring workers, and feeding the people who make it all happen.
Workers in action moving crates of produce to feed those who make Howard Bros. Circus come to life.

Workers in action moving crates of produce to feed those who make Howard Bros. Circus come to life.

2.  Here comes the parade! — animals and performers prepping townspeople for what’s to come under The Big Top.

The parade is where you get to know the performers before you see them under The Big Top. And oh, what a show it is!!!

The parade is where you get to know the performers before you see them under The Big Top. And oh, what a show it is!!!

3.  Selling the circus — ticket sales, concessions, programs, and seats.

Popcorn anyone?

Popcorn anyone?

Get yer Frozen Delight before the show starts, ladies and gentlemen!

Get yer Frozen Delight before the show starts, ladies and gentlemen!

Tall Man? Tiny Man?Bearded Lady? Well, step right up!

Tall Man? Tiny Man?Bearded Lady? Well, step right up!

4.  Performers — trapeze artists flying through the air with the greatest of ease, lion tamers,  horseback riders, and stars taking center stage in spangly suits.

And, now, ladies and gentlemen, may I direct your attention to the flying trapeze?

And, now, ladies and gentlemen, may I direct your attention to the flying trapeze?

5.  Animals — always charming the crowd.

The king of beasts!

The king of beasts!

6.  Clowns — making us laugh even when in miniature!

In Tibbals’ own words, it’s a “magical world over 50 years in the making.”  And even now at our age, we’re fascinated beyond belief.  Save time to look closely and longingly.  You, too, will feel like a kid again.

Under The Big Top at Howard Bros. Circus at The Ringling

Under The Big Top at Howard Bros. Circus at The Ringling

Tiny is big, if you’re looking closely at the wondrous Howard Bros. Circus.

Working hard for Howard Bros.

Working hard for Howard Bros.

For more information:

Tibbals Learning Center at The Ringling; 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota, FL 34243; www.ringling.org/circus

References:

Cox, Billy. “Howard Tibbals and the huge miniature circus.” Herald Tribune (January 19, 2012). Retrieved from http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20120119/ARTICLE/120119467

“Miniature circus finds home at FSU’s Ringling Museum.” Retrieved from https://fsu.edu/news/2005/07/21/miniature.circus/

Boomer Travel note: The Tibbals Learning Center is easily accessible for all with ramps leading around the circus.  There is ample parking at The Ringling and golf cart transportation is available for those who need assistance getting around the complex.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Boomer Travel, Florida | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

A Blast with the Past: East Tennessee History Fair 2014

Sharing costumes with kids - just for fun

Everyone loves wearing a costume at the East Tennessee History Fair

With the upcoming East Tennessee History Fair coming up August 15, 2015, we are reposting this blog that was originally published in 2014.  For a listing of all the activities (and there are many), be sure to check the East Tennessee History Fair website here for times and events.  Then head downtown for book signings, reenactors, Friends of the Knox County Library Book Sale, children’s activities, dog costume contest, activities at the Tennessee Theatre.  Or hop on a bus and tour historic homes.  At World’s Fair Park, watch Vintage Baseball as it once was played.  So much to do at the History Fair!!

If the term “jam-packed” ever defined a one-day festival, it would be most appropriate at the Eighth Annual East Tennessee History Fair sponsored by the East Tennessee Historical Society on August 16th! And you might wonder if anyone in our modern tech age would be interested.  But with record numbers in attendance (probably beating last year’s 13,000) and a grand slate of events, there was no way any one person could see it all . . .  but thousands tried. We hung out mainly in Krutch Park in the center of downtown Knoxville since there were reenactors, authors, and history groups galore.  And our position had a little to do with the proximity right next to the food trucks and Market Square Farmers Market, famous in its own right!  (See bottom of this post for a listing of other events that day.)

East Tennessee Historical Society, sponsor of the East Tennessee History Fair

East Tennessee Historical Society, sponsor of the East Tennessee History Fair

Krutch Park was a-buzz with all the history folks.  Like the Knoxville Civil War Roundtable offering special commemorative items.  Since the Civil War Sesquicentennial is just around the corner, they know folks are watching web sites for updates so they can “do it up right.” They were happy to fill us in on what’ll be happening in East Tennessee.

Knoxville Civil War Roundtable booth at East Tennessee History Fair

Knoxville Civil War Roundtable booth at East Tennessee History Fair

You could find commemorative mugs and license plats at the Knoxville Civil War Roundtable booth.

Commemorative mugs and license plates at the Knoxville Civil War Roundtable booth.

Authors like Gordon T. Belt sat under tents and autographed books. Some even posed for pictures and told why they did all that research and published a book.  (No small feat, of course.)

Gordon T. Belt

Author of John Sevier: Tennessee’s First Hero, Gordon T. Belt, takes a break from autographing copies.

In another booth, Laura Still described her Knoxville Walking Tours.  You can have your choice of packaged tours — Civil War, Ghosts, Early Years, Gunslingers, Literary Heritage — and more.  And if you take one of the 90-minute jaunts, you’ll learn a little Knoxville history and add steps to your FitBit, too!

Laura Still of Knoxville Walking Tours

Laura Still of Knoxville Walking Tours

But most impressive (especially in the summer heat) were the many reenactors in the Living History Timeline representing Colonial days to WWII.  Several, like Kelly Ford in an authentic WWI uniform, told how he made everything using remnants from original clothing.

We were especially honored to meet Abe and Mary Lincoln (Tom and Susan Wright) and their son Tad (grandson Kyle Wright) behind The Holston.

Tom & Sue Wright with grandson Kyle Wright pose as Mary, Tad, and Abe Lincoln

Tom & Sue Wright with grandson Kyle Wright pose as Mary, Tad, and Abe Lincoln

Near the side entrance to the East Tennessee Historical Society Museum, onlookers were fascinated that a blacksmith (Bill Rose) was plying his trade and sharing his techniques right on a city street . . .

Mike Rose demonstrates blacksmithing techniques in Krutch Park

Mike Rose demonstrates blacksmithing techniques in Krutch Park

while some young festival attendees fashioned dolls out of cloth scraps with the help of volunteer seamstresses — much as children would have done in days gone by.

A representative from The Society of Civil War Surgeons portrayed Col. Bill Walker as he shared how surgeries were performed using many of the instruments he had carefully displayed. (See those silver prongs?  They had something to do with “bustin’ up” kidney stones, but I wince even as I post this!)

Col. Bill Walker, Civil War Surgeon

Col. Bill Walker, Civil War Surgeon

David Dinwiddie shared the story and pictures of his great great uncle William Dinwiddie, a Knoxville policeman fatally shot by the infamous outlaw Kid Curry in 1902. The constable hat?  Yep, authentic.  Owned by William Dinwiddie and well preserved, don’t you think?

David Dinwiddie portrays a 1902 constable with original hat worn by great great uncle William Dinwiddie

David Dinwiddie portrays a 1902 constable with original hat worn by great great uncle William Dinwiddie

In another tent, long-time friend Bill Alexander charmed us as only he can do with his poetry and “gen-u-wine” mountain humor.  Dubbed the Poet Laureate of Hippie Jack’s, Bill makes mountain berry baskets and writes poetry, much of which he recites when he performs for crowds who appreciate a true Appalachian humorist and lover of “the good life.”

Bill Alexander, Poet Laureate of Hippie Jack's

Bill Alexander, Poet Laureate of Hippie Jack’s

Talented folks inside the East Tennessee History Center shared their knowledge and crafts  — like Dale Liles and Carolyn Rogers  – the art of spinning; Anne Freels  – how to make cornhusk dolls; and Edward Bardill and others who moved handmade miniature soldiers to replicate the Battle of Campbell’s Station.

By all accounts, the East Tennessee History Fair was one for . . . well, the history books:  record crowd, long list of events, and kids (and grownups) listening while those in the know shared what they came to share.  Better check this one out next year.  It really is a Blast from the Past.

Jeremy Hall, Union soldier, shows Zoe his Civil War firearm.

Jeremy Hall, Union soldier, shows Zoe his Civil War firearm.

Other events in the East Tennessee Historical Society History Fair:

  • Free admission to the Museum of East Tennessee History
  • Davy Crockett’s Birthday celebration
  • “History Hound” Dog Costume Contest
  • WDVX Radio & Clayton Country Music Stage
  • Friends of the Library Book Sale
  • Meet the Authors & Book Signing (Gordon T. Belt, Natalie Sweet, Martha Wiley, Jack Neely, Bill Landry)
  • Raku Pottery activity
  • Living History Timeline
  • Demonstrating Artists
  • Historic Home Tours
  • Civil War Bus Tour
  • Tennessee Theatre Tours
  • Women’s Suffrage Memorabilia and Office Tours
  • Vintage Base Ball Doubleheader
  • East Tennesseans on Film (Bijou Theatre)
  • Civil War Commemoration Event
  • Live Music

For more information:

East Tennessee Historical Society:

 

Posted in Festivals, Tennessee, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beneath Your Feet

Over the past few years, we’ve stood on some pretty impressive spots.  And, when we remember to look down, we’ve seen some mighty remarkable floors, stairwells, porches, etc.  Here are a few surfaces that we’re proud to say have recently been beneath our humble feet.

Pittock Mansion, home of The Oregonian publisher, Henry Pittock and his wife Georgiana (Portland, Oregon)

Exquisite parquet floors in the music room of Pittock Mansion, Portland, Oregon

Exquisite parquet floors in the music room of Pittock Mansion, Portland, Oregon

Ca’ d’Zan at The Ringling, home of circus owner John Ringling and his wife Mable (Sarasota, Florida)

Black and white checkboard floors, Ca' d'Zan

Black and white checkerboard floors, Ca’ d’Zan

Exterior of Ca' d'Zan in the Venetian Gothic style

Exterior of Ca’ d’Zan in the Venetian Gothic style with highly patterned designs under foot

State Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia)

Patterned squares on ceiling and floors in this room of the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

Patterned squares on ceiling and floors in this room of the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

For more lowly entries in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Beneath Your Feet, click here.

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Travel theme: Gray

Have you ever built yourself up to see something in the tour guides or on the map, and then you get there only to find it’s closed?  Or under repair? Or something? Well, sometimes a splendid day of vacation can turn gray simply because you don’t read ahead to see if a landmark is ready for viewing.  And for us, that’s what happened this summer during our coastal tour of Oregon.

Sheathed in plastic during repairs, the Astoria Column appears to one big gray monolith.

Sheathed in plastic during repairs, the Astoria Column appears to be one big gray monolith.

It’s our Astoria Column story.  Located on Coxcomb Hill in Astoria, Oregon, the 126-foot high Astoria Column patterned after Trajan Column in Rome (114 A.D.) is known for its pictorial bas relief using sgraffito technique.  Inscribed on this column are 14 scenes and many messages commemorating the history of Astoria, a dream of Ralph Budd, president of the Great Northern Railroad, who, in 1925, wanted to “properly salute Astoria’s explorers and early settlers.”  Visitors (well, usually) can climb the 164 steps to the top for spectacular views of Astoria, the Columbia River, and even the Pacific Ocean in the distance. But time and weather have taken a toll on the column — so much so that the community of Astoria and Friends of the Astoria Column have sheathed it in grayish plastic during summer of 2015 while the column undergoes an extensive renovation.  We had no idea since we obviously didn’t do our homework very well on what to see in Astoria. But with more than 400,000 visitors per year, we’re hoping most of them get the message. Otherwise, they, too, might have a gray day on Coxcomb Hill if they’re coming to see the column.

View from Coxcomb Hill, Astoria, Oregon

View from Coxcomb Hill, Astoria, Oregon

All was not lost, however.  Take a look at the view from the hill (albeit at the bottom of the column). Absolutely superb!

For more information on Astoria Column, click here.

For more shades of gray, click onto Ailsa’s blog Where’s My Backpack for entries into the challenge known as Travel theme: Grey.

And our advice from our mistake:  Talk to those people at the Visitor Center!

–Bert and Rusha

 

Posted in Oregon, Travel, Travel Theme | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

Travel theme: Wind

Walking the long path to the beach at Gearhart, Oregon

Walking the long path to the beach at Gearhart, Oregon

Gearhart, Oregon, is one of those sweet little seaside towns you can’t get enough of:  gray shingled houses, climbing roses over picket fences, small cafe filled with the smells of homemade bread, and a long walk through tall grasses that leads you to a pristine beach.

But for the full Gearhart effect, sit on a bench nestled in the grasses and let the wind carry you away.

For more entries in Ailsa’s Where’s My Backpack challenge — Travel theme: Windclick here.

Posted in Oregon, Travel, Travel Theme | 4 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inspiration

Pawleys Island 2015

For the past 30 years or so, we’ve visited Pawleys Island, South Carolina, the last week of July.  As an educator, I’ve often walked the beach to reflect on what worked the year before in teaching students and what I’d like to do differently in the coming year.  The inspiration I gain from these yearly beach walks keeps me going hroughout the year.

But now that my granddaughter comes with us to the beach, I’m inspired in new ways. Through her eyes, I see the beach differently, more closely.  We look for shells, barnacles, little critters that hang out on the jetties.  We stomp through tiny puddles, hop waves, and try not to get our pants legs wet if we aren’t wearing our suits.  I’m inspired to show her more and more each day, learning from her as we visit the sea.  Hopefully, she gains a little something from me, too.

For more inspiration, check out the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Inspiration here.

Posted in South Carolina, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

20 Great Places to See: Northwest Oregon

Neon sign in downtown Portland.  We've been told the nose lights up at Christmas!!

Neon sign in downtown Portland. We’ve been told the nose lights up at Christmas!!

As anyone knows, there are lots more than 20 great places to see in Northwest Oregon, but when you only have one week in paradise, you have to pick and choose.  Our trip began in Portland on the Fourth of July with sightseeing and food tasting for two whole days.  Then it was off to the coast — from Astoria to Yaquina Head, then eastward through the Willamette Valley‘s wine country, and back up to the Columbia River Gorge scenic area and Hood River. With only a week to see it all, we’re passing along highlights — but by no means the whole story. Here are our favorite 20 Places To See!

1.  Portland’s Saturday Market (portlandsaturdaymarket.com) — Lively, colorful, and generally packed, the Saturday Market offers more than you can imagine.  Go hungry ’cause you’ll watch cooks prepare everything from Nepalese food to chicken on a stick.  There’s not much you can think of that’s not here and plenty of goods you’ve never even thought you’d need: children’s applique shirts, dog collars, carved wooden balls to roll out patterns in sand, and tie-dyed shirts.  Or sit still and get tattooed.  All fun, all good.

2.  Portland’s Japanese Garden (japanesegarden.com) — Chill out and get your zen on. Stroll any or all of this well-groomed 5.5 acres billed as the most authentic Japanese garden outside Japan. Take pictures of Zig Zag Bridge,  Wisteria Arbor, Tea Garden, stone lanterns and sculptures, and those all-too-neat pebbly, raked Japanese beds.  If you’re lucky, you’ll have a spectacular view of Mt. Hood — but only if the haze abates.

3.  Portland’s International Rose Test Garden (portlandoregon.gov/parks)– It’s only fitting that the City of Roses would install a garden featuring 7,000 blooming rose bushes.  And, if you’re there in June or July, you’ll be in luck — especially if a harpist is seated in the garden playing music to roam by.  With three tiers of lusciously blooming bushes all categorized with funky botanical names, you’ll be informed and enthralled —  and ready to buy something rosy in the Gift Shop to take home.

Visitors roam the neatly marked roses at Portland's International Rose Test Garden.

Visitors roam the neatly marked roses at Portland’s International Rose Test Garden.

4.  Pittock Mansion (pittockmansion.org) — A French Renaissance-style chateau, this eclectically designed home once belonging to Henry and Georgiana Pittock from 1914-1919.  But after falling into disrepair and taking hits from a storm in 1962, the mansion welcomed the concerned, caring citizens and the City of Portland who restored it for a re-opening in 1965.  Even if you don’t buy a ticket to tour the tastefully furnished home, you can park free and stand at the edge of the front lawn for one of the best views of Portland anywhere.

5.  Powell’s City of Books (powells.com) — Not just another HUGE bookstore (It occupies a whole city block, for heaven’s sake), Powell’s is replete with stand-alone collections of suggested books for fans of sci-fi, classics, new releases, and the employees’ faves of the moment.  Sip coffee upstairs and catch up on community happenings via a large chalkboard or shop for souvenir mugs and tees.  Or why not buy a book?  You said you wanted to read more.  Get on it!

6.  Voodoo Doughnuts (voodoodoughnut.com) — The trick to actually getting in and ordering one of these freaky-creative doughnuts you’ve heard about is this:  Go early on a weekday morning.  Otherwise, expect to wait a while for a sugary, sweet Loop doughnut, Bacon Maple Bar, Tex-Ass, or Voodoo Doll with a pretzel in its belly. But time doesn’t matter.  You need this.  As founders Cat Daddy and Tres say, The magic is in the hole.

7.  AstoriaThe Goonies house  — What’s not cool about visiting a town named after John Jacob Astor and boasting killer views, one heckuva Maritime Museum, and the now-covered-in-plastic-during-renovation Astoria Column? But it’s The Goonies house that has a steady parade up the hill in front of it. Be warned:  park in the elementary school lot and walk from there.  Then, like the guy from Germany who told us, I’ve been waiting my whole life to stand here, just smile for pictures under The Goondocks sign before you go home and watch Spielberg’s ’85 classic one more time.

8.  Fort Clatsop — If you’re as big a fan of Lewis & Clark as husband Bert is, please stand up.  We were on hallowed ground where Chinook and Clatsop Indians resided and the place L & C ended their 4,000-mile trek across the Louisiana Territory.  Now, with a replica of the fort and another first-class National Park Service Visitor Center, you, too, can dive into history and walk where the Corps of Discovery camped from 1805 to 1806.

Walk in and around and through Fort Clatsop at the Lewis & Clark National Historical Park near Astoria.

Walk in and around and through Fort Clatsop at the Lewis & Clark National Historical Park near Astoria.

9.  Gearhart (visittheoregoncoast.com/cities/gearhart)– Named One of America’s Best Little Beach Towns by Travel and Leisure, Gearhart (north of Seaside on Hwy. 101) oozes oceanside charm.  Park and walk the long, narrow pathways through tall grasses to the wide expanse of sandy beach.  Take pictures of gray-sided houses framed by rose-covered picket fences.  Or have lunch at the Pacific Way Bakery and Cafe and long for an extended stay. Photo ops abound.

10.  Ecola State Park (oregonstateparks.org) — Just minutes from Highway 101 near the north end of Cannon Beach may be the best vantage point for taking in the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse (nicknamed “Terrible Tilly” for the dangers imposed on keepers and suppliers) and Haystack Rock.  But don’t be surprised if you fall in love with this paradise for other reasons like deep forests, bald eagles, or crashing ocean.  So pretty.

Terrible Tilly as seen from Ecola State Park

Terrible Tilly (Tillamook Rock Lighthouse) as seen from Ecola State Park

11.  Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach (Wikipedia: Haystack Rock) — One of the most recognized landmarks on the Oregon coast, Haystock Rock looms large just south of Cannon Beach. Take pics from a distance, but get close, too.  You’ll want to see the thousands of birds that call this 235-foot sea stack home.  (And watch out for sea creatures below.)

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach -- Oregon's Pacific Coast Scenic Byway

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach — Oregon’s Pacific Coast Scenic Byway

12. Tillamook Creamery (tillamook.com/products/ice-cream) — With a quick veer off US 101, we joined the throngs at Tillamook, ready to sample Oregon’s legendary ice cream. Watch ’em make waffle cones and dip into big tubs of flavors, some of which they’ve been making since 1947 — like Tillamook Mudslide, Marionberry Pie, Fireside S’mores, or (our favorite) Oregon Hazelnut Salted Caramel.  And the scoops are BIG! Really big.

Fresh wafflecones made right before your eyes at Tillamook Creamery.

Fresh wafflecones made right before your eyes at Tillamook Creamery.

13. Devil’s Punchbowl (oregonstateparks.org) — For the guttural sounds of a swirling, feisty ocean, stop at Otter Rock about eight miles north of Newport along coastal highway 101. Layers of sandstone form a giant cauldron where angry surf spews its foamy white waters in and out with the tide.  Great place to whale watch or just hang out and stare into the punchbowl’s mouth.

Swirling waters make sucking sounds as they ebb and flow through Devil's Punchbowl at Otter Rock, OR.

Swirling waters make sucking sounds as they ebb and flow through Devil’s Punchbowl at Otter Rock, OR.

14.  Yaquina Head (yaquinalights.org) — A visit to Yaquina Head just may be the total Oregon Coast package.  A historic lighthouse — Oregon’s tallest — first lit in 1873 now offers a glimpse into lightkeeping operations.  Birds — several species — fill the air with identifiable squawks and screams.  Seals sun themselves on bare rocks.  And the ocean moves in and out, displacing and replacing black beach particles in its wake.

Picture-perfect setting of Yaquina Head Lighthouse on US 101, MP 137.6

Picture-perfect setting of Yaquina Head Lighthouse on US 101, MP 137.6

Ask a ranger to tell you which birds are on which rocks at Yaquina Head Lighthouse.  But ask the ranger to speak up -- so you can hear over the screeches!

Ask a ranger to tell you which birds are on which rocks at Yaquina Head Lighthouse. But ask the ranger to speak up — so you can hear over the screeches!

Wayne Bailey, owner of Youngberg Hill

Wayne Bailey, owner of Youngberg Hill

15. Willamette Valley vineyards (willamettewines.com)– Who doesn’t like wine country?  Row after row of grapevines sunning themselves just so we can sip the fruit of the harvest from more than 300 wineries. Pick one to see like Youngberg Hill (YoungbergHill.com) in McMinnville, and then, from the commanding front porch, stare ahead while sipping the area’s signature Pinot Noir.

Listen to the vineyard, and it will speak to you. 

Jamie Good, Authentic Wine.  

View from the front porch -- Youngberg Hill Winery, McMinnville, OR.

View from the front porch — Youngberg Hill Winery, McMinnville, OR.

16.  Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum (evergreenmuseum.org) — Whether you’re interested in flying or not, you’ll be awed by one of the largest collections of military and civilian aircraft anywhere.  Oh, sure, you’ll come to see Howard Hughes’ H-4 Hercules “Spruce Goose,” but you’ll be just as amazed at the other colorful, historic flying machines (hanging or parked).  Don’t know a Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird from a Supermarine Spitfire?  Ask the veteran volunteers.  They’ve been there, done that.

P40B Tomahawks with their fierce shark teeth design were used by the Flying Tigers 1941-42. (Evergreen Aviation Museum, McMinnville, OR)

P-40B Tomahawks with their fierce shark teeth design were used by the Flying Tigers from 1941-42. (Evergreen Aviation Museum, McMinnville, OR)

Vista House, Hwy. 30, Oregon17.  Vista House at Crown Point (vistahouse.com) — Leaving Willamette Valley’s not so bad if you hop onto Historic Columbia River Highway (Hwy 30) and stop at Vista House, the “comfort station” at Crown Point, 693 feet above the Columbia River.  Check out the interior (marble floors, colored glass windows, rotunda), but save plenty of time to just stand on the balcony and stare.  After all, this is what you came for.

Taking in the view from Vista House at Crown Point of the Columbia River Gorge.

Taking in the view from Vista House at Crown Point of the Columbia River Gorge.

18.  The Waterfalls of the Historic Columbia River Highway (historicthedalles.org) — All within 15 miles of each other, the greatest concentration of waterfalls in North America is sure to astound you.  Access them from I-84 or Hwy. 30, but be prepared to spend time looking, listening, photographing, and hiking (if you want to see ’em from the top).  Multnomah Falls may be most visited, but Horsetail, Bridal Veil, Latourell, Wahkeena and others all have something to offer from sheer beauty to a place for wading or swimming.  Be forewarned:  Parking is at a premium, and lots may be closed when full.

It's a 1.5 mile hike but worth it -- Bridal Veil Falls along Oregon's Hwy. 30.

It’s a 1.5 mile hike but worth it once you can sit and enjoy Bridal Veil Falls along Oregon’s Hwy. 30.

You can see Horsetail Falls from the highway and parking lot, but why would you want to when you can get out and cool off in its pool down below!

You can see Horsetail Falls from the highway and parking lot, but why would you want to when you can get out and cool off in its pool down below!

The most visited of them all, Mutnomah can be seen -- and appreciated -- from many levels.

The most visited of them all, Multnomah Falls can be seen — and appreciated — from many levels.

19.  Hood River Fruit Loop (hoodriverfruitloop) — From picking your own blueberries to making a lavender bouquet, you can experience the fruits of the Hood River Valley in one fell swoop.  Take a self-guided tour of the 35-mile loop or stop at just the places that interest you on the map you can access here.  Buy pears, cherries, apples, apricots or whatever is in season on these 14,000 acres. And hope the haze has lifted for the best view of Mt. Hood from the orchards.

Pick your own lavender in the fields at Hood River Lavender and bring home a luscious bouquet.

Pick your own lavender in the fields at Hood River Lavender and bring home a luscious bouquet.

20.  Hood River Kiteboarding (hoodriver.org/kiteboarding) — You may already know that Hood River is the windsurfing capital of the world what with the mighty winds whooshing into the Columbia River Gorge here, but kiteboarding is coming on strong.  For one colorful afternoon, grab this map, head to Hood River Sandbar and give it a try. Or just stand in awe (as we did), watching as other, much braver, sorts catch the wind.

Put Oregon on your must-see, must-do list.  Or, if you’ve been there, add your favorite places to see in Oregon to the comments below. We want to know your favorite spots, too.   After all, even though we’ve been there, we haven’t done it all/seen it all.

Early morning view of Mt. Hood from an orchard near Troutdale, OR

Early morning view of Mt. Hood from an orchard near Troutdale, OR

For more information:  

Travel Oregontraveloregon.com

Travel Oregon/Printed Guides — traveloregon.com/getting-around/printed-guides

For a video of kiting at Hood River, click here for a previous post.

TingNewBlue

 

 

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