Long before the Wizard of Oz - there were intrepid explorers from Kansas that found themselves in whole new worlds. Martin and Osa Johnson from Chanute Kansas - recorded the exotics of Africa the South Pacific and Borneo. Through photos - film and books they shared their adventures. During their lifetimes they would command sold out - standing room only lectures about their "trips". The Wizard of Oz was produced in 1939 - their adventures started in 1917. They weren't in Kansas way before Dorothy left.
In Chanute KS there is a museum dedicated to their exploits. It is the Safari Museum. Not huge but a wonderful foray into these two adventurer's lives. I had the fortunate opportunity to visit a couple of years ago and I did this because one of our grand-daughters is named after Osa. Brilliant.
From 1917 to 1936 they recorded their voyages. Their pictures and film document the wild and exotic before the onslaught of civilization. The museum is a testament to their travels and their travels have enthralled thousands and probably influenced some of your thoughts about travel - without you even knowing it.
During their time - Martin and Osa produced a couple of films: Simba and Baboona which helped to excite expeditions to Africa as well as the South Pacific. In order to document their exploits under some severe and ridiculous environmental conditions Martin created special cameras to record their treks. He was considered a pioneer in the film industry because of it.
The museum is filled with personal items memorializing these amazing people. When I was there it also housed a special exhibit of African items - religious costumes - pottery - masks which fit perfectly with the Johnson's. I found and bought - in a used bookstore in Salt Lake City of all places a first edition of their book...."I Married Adventure". I gave it to our granddaughter as a keepsake from her namesake.
It is believed that if it hadn't been for World War II and the movement of troops in the Pacific Theatre that their adventures would have astounded audiences for decades. But times changed and their exploits became less and less exotic as travel to the more remote parts of the world increased after the war.
You probably won't find yourself in Chanute Kansas. Too bad. The Safari museum is a reminder that although we live in these magical times of global travel... to so easily go where we want to go....someone blazed a trail before us. It doesn't lesson our excitement and wonder or joy in travel.....but it should serve to remind us to appreciate the adventurers before us.
Travel Safe - Travel Well !!! Thank You Martin and Osa !!!!!!
To start with - I didn't take this picture. I took it off their website because I couldn't do this beautiful property justice. It is the Poste Montane Luxury property in Beaver Creek Colorado and we just spent our wonderful anniversary here!
If you have read any other reviews you know that I (we) travel a lot. Because of that I have experienced so many properties across the globe that to compare them isn't fair. So this isn't a comparison. I will review a property as a warning or a heads up. That - I think is fair. ALSO.... when a property stands out - and they deserve a shout out I will do that. So when I review it is often in extremes.....warning - wanting.
Poste Montane in Beaver Creek Colorado - deserves a shout out !!!!
The hotel is located in the middle of Beaver Creek at the Plaza. It is a Luxury Property. The Blue Moose Pizza restaurant is a locating point for those that know BC. The Blue Moose is located to the left of the doorway of the hotel when walking into the Central Plaza from the back of the hotel.
It was one of the original properties in BC dating to 1982 - and was purposefully designed in the Bavarian or Tyrolean style.
The room we booked was a one bedroom - two room - two bathroom suite......for $161.
I mean come on - in BC with the Colorado Classic bike race in Vail about 20 minutes away and we get a beautiful - suite, located on the Plaza, free parking with a hot breakfast buffet included in the morning !!! We felt like we were back in Kitzbuhl Austria........
The rooms together were over 750 square feet with a king bed and pull out sofa in separate rooms. Robes for four were in the closets. They had small refrigerators and a hot water kettle for the morning. Coffee was available downstairs at the breakfast buffett.
The bathrooms - spotless with huge tubs to stretch out in.
The furnishings are more European traditional than moderne American. Dark woods with light walls. Leather sofa and love seat - fabric chairs. Luxury linens and comforter with plenty of high quality, thick, towels in the bathrooms. Comfortable and cozy.
There is no air conditioning. We opened the eight windows wide and there was some noise during the day and early in the evening since we faced the Plaza.....but it got quiet around 10:00 and for the rest of the night it was fairly silent.
Right outside your door is the BC Plaza. During the summer it isn't quite so busy and many of the stores close early. BUT.....it was SOOOOOO relaxing not to have hundreds of people milling around (as in Vail).
They have an agreement with the Park Hyatt - which is just a very short walk away across the plaza. You have access to the Park Hyatt's stunning outdoor pool, hot tubs, work-out rooms and Allegria Spa. If you ever look at pictures of the back of the Park Hyatt - and the pools and deck areas.....you will see why we live in Colorado and take advantage of what this place has to offer. It is a spectacular setting.
There are numerous cushy - sofa chairs all over the central court for people to laze in. We picked one and sat around a fire pit that ignited at 6:00. In the middle of the court is an Ice Skating rink that during the summer it opens later in the afternoon and stays open until around 9:00. In the winter it is opens earlier around 12:00. Kids and adults in t-shirts and shorts....ice skating outdoors in August - the smiles and laughter - what a sight!
There was also a wonderful guitarist playing and singing while we were sitting there watching the fire. It was romantic and just plain fabulous !!!!!
Poste Montane is a wonderful property. I read a couple of reviews on Trip Advisor about management issues but we didn't encounter any negatives. We arrived early. We didn't think our room would be ready and it wasn't but they gave us a keycard pass to the garage so we could park, took our phone number and a little later they called to let us know the room was cleaned and all was good to go.
Finally - as I have ended some other reviews - all I can say is that we will be back !!!!! Our easy to reach - affordable - European getaway in Colorado.
OK - I may have had a little too much time on my hands this week. More travel is coming but yesterday I posted about a product and today I decided to post a travel tip.....it might be a little too graphic so viewer (reader) discretion is advised.
Here goes: (by the way - this is not a product endorsement for Banana Republic or Eddie Bauer - just items I have in the closet.
When I travel I try to keep the number of shirts and pants to a minimum...I like to mix and match outer items over and over again because everything weighs something and takes up space so taking a different outfit everyday doesn't work for me. Just a few shirts and a couple of pants. That leaves room for jackets - coats or any other items you might want heading to your destination based on your needs.
It isn't the same with underwear - t-shirts or socks. I pack them to have for at least a third or half of my trip depending on how long we are going. If it is 10 days - then 5-7 items. You can always do laundry - or send items out or re-use them more that once if possible. The problem was when I had multiple items I would get them mixed up when wearing them. Which ones were fresh - which weren't so fresh. Sometimes (and you know this) it is easy to tell - other times - not so much.
During a trip to Europe I decided to turn my underwear and t-shirts inside out when I was packing. Labels were then very easy to see. When I wore them - I would turn them the correct way. That way after I wore them I could tell which were used and which weren't. Most importantly - after wearing the item the correct way the "more intimate" surfaces were tucked inside the garment. I could then refold them and have the more sensitive parts not touching anything else in my bag. Of course you can always use a laundry or "ice bag" from the hotel to pack your used items but even then I found that folding them and placing them in the bags takes up less space then just throwing them into the bag in a heap. They were in better shape and not taking up additional space.
I do the same thing with t-shirts and socks. When I pack I try to compress the size so not to take up too much space - but after I have "used" the item - I do the same thing. I refold them only now I know which ones are fresh - which are used and I have no issue with (I hate to say this - unwanted contamination)......ok - I said it I told you reader discretion was advised.
Try this next time you travel. You will like it.
I would have done a You-Tube.....but I think you can figure how to do this on your own. I will post a You-Tube on how to fold a suit or sport coat in a carry-on without wrinkling the crap out of it ........ more to come.
Travel well - Travel safe -
This blog is going to be different this week. I love to write about the places I get to visit but I also want to pass along tidbits of travel product information as I come across them. At this point in time - I am not getting paid or provided with free travel gear to review so my biases are just from a personal use perspective. Take these reviews or tips for what they are worth!!!
We have traveled across the globe and I have come to a very specific conclusion after packing for trips from Colorado throughout the Continental US - Hawaii - Alaska - Mexico - to Europe and Asia.....here it is: "everything you pack takes up space and weighs something". Pretty simple isn't it !!! SO what I look for is an item that makes my packing easier - lighter and takes up less space but still does the job it is intended to do !
I came across this little stand and ever since I have not traveled without it. It is a stand for your smartphone or tablet that I use on airplanes - hotel rooms - vanities - anywhere I need to have it.
As you can see it is the size of a business card and it weighs virtually nothing. It folds up to the width of around 2 mm's. I can carry it in my wallet in a credit card spot. These days with personal entertainment systems on most planes or with the option of downloading movies or TV shows you might want to watch during a flight - it sits perfectly on a tray table without taking up a large amount of space. It is sturdy and easily holds my iPhone or as you can see my iPad.
It is manufactured in Boulder Colorado by Nite Ize. Their website is: niteize.com They have a number of items that they offer.....including dash mounts, gear ties, cases, etc.....this item is called a Quickstand. I happened to purchase it for $10.00 at Eddie Bauer in their gadget area. I have not traveled without it since.
As I mentioned before - this blog was going to be a little different and so will others in the future. Travel is about experiencing new things and learning about new places AND sharing some of those lessons as we go along.
Travel well !!! Here is the link in case you are interested:
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions"....
The first prison in the United States was erected in Philadelphia...the "City of Brotherly Love". There were jails in place where "criminals" were held before they were to be publicly humiliated, harassed or punished but it wasn't until the early 1800's that the first prison was officially opened ..... from the Walnut Street Jail with deplorable conditions where thieves, murderers, rapists as well as women and children were housed together awaiting their sentences came the most modern and "reformatory" facility of the time.....the infamous - Eastern State Penitentiary !!!
ESP as it came to be known was supposed to be a model of incarceration, rehabilitation and redemption. It was designed to resemble a castle where you could get in but you would never get out. There is only one entrance to the facility where the walls and ramparts are 30 feet high. It was built about two miles from the city on a hill with the purpose of striking fear into those who might think of committing a crime. It sits today in a gentrified area close to the city center and within walking distance to some of the finest museums in the world.
The prison was designed in a hub and spoke plan. There is a central area (hub) where seven (7) radiating - spoke like cell halls can be continuously monitored. The design was so significant that over 300 prisons around the world would copy with some modifications the fortress.
The cells were cathedral-ish. They had arching ceilings with singular skylights. Each had its own toilet and bed as well as a bible. You see - the point was to isolate the offenders and give them a chance at redemption by biblical study meditation and contemplation.
The penitentiary grew out of the belief that by isolating prisoners - instead of "punishing" them that through personal reflection they would reform themselves. It was called the Pennsylvania System. ....Except isolation didn't work that well.
Prisoners were in put solitary confinement behind latched wooden doors and with little or no interaction with others. The locks were made to be loud when shut...thereby continuously reminding them of their confinement. When out of their cells - they were hooded. When allowed to exercise they were escorted through small narrow doors to the outside....and guarded. It wrecked psychological havoc. It was cold in the winter and hot in the summer and it was hotter than heck the day I walked.
The food was often spoiled and they were beaten. As one prisoner wrote...."take a dog - beat him - starve him - do not let him have any contact with any other animals....then release him and see how he behaves". That was ESP.
There were a number of notorious criminals that found their way through ESP. Al Capone was one of them as was Willie Sutton....who claimed he was the mastermind of the only successful escape from the prison.....(which by the way lasted just a few hours).
Al Capone - is said to have received special treatment from the guards and the warden during his stay before being released and before being re-incarcerated at Alcatraz...although that is up for debate these days....his cell as recreated does look a little different from the others.
This is a fascinating tour. I had worked in Philadelphia for a couple of years and had never heard about ESP. The audio tour is free. It was a surprise. So much history in this area - good, bad and sometimes just ugly.........but if you are interested in such things - this is a must !!!!!! (Not sure I would want to go after dark - pretty creepy) - Take care walk carefully.
The Barnes Foundation - this gallery and collection houses one of the finest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist and the then evolving modernist collections in the world is a vast understatement. It is a magnificent offering into the evolution of transformative art.
Dr. Albert Barnes began his collection in 1912 The walls are covered in Renior's, Matisse's, Picasso's, Cezanne's and even one Pissario. It is the most numerous collection of Renior's in the world with over 181 of his creations as well as 69 from Cezanne. The Foundation is currently including a special exhibit that focuses on the history and influence of Pierre-Auguste Renior the "painter" and his son - Jean Renoir the ceramic artist and influential "film-maker" of the mid 20th century.
Walls covered in paintings and artifacts. The collection stands today as Dr. Barnes left it. When you walk the floors and then enter the individual rooms you notice and find that everyday objects are placed by priceless paintings. A key - a door hinge - a candle or a couple of candles and a bowl sitting under a Picasso.
Picasso - Young Woman Holding a Cigarette
You see - the images that are represented are often just everyday, traditional or ordinary situations or objects but rendered remarkable by the artists and depicted as such through their talents leaving us with lasting "Impressions". Recognizing, realizing and recreating through their talent and imagination the beauty of the ordinary. If we could all do as well.
Degas Cezanne Van Gogh
I was also fortunate to visit during the special exhibition - Renoir !!
It was exploring the relationship and sometimes contentious ongoings between Auguste Renior and his son Jean Renoir. What I found fascinating was the Sr. Renior had used Jean as a model - a subject for his work. Published in magazines and used in photo ops.....to see the actual original paintings along side the stories that surfaced years later was incredible. Here are a couple of examples !
Finally - to watch parts of Jean Renior's films - as in Grand Illusion or A Day in the Country .....to see the cinematic influence that his father had on his artistry - and feel it in real time was extraordinary ---- the colors - the vibrancy - the impressions of delight - watching "paintings" coming to life.....artistry in action.
There are many - many - many things to see and visit in Philadelphia. The historical significance is incredible but it also has a world class collection of museums that house some of the finest art works in the world. If you are a fan of impressionistic and modern paintings the Barnes Foundation is a must on your list. You will be overwhelmed !!!!! So enjoy !!!
That is the original LOVE sculpture! It resides in the Love Park in Philadelphia, PA. It is one of a few reminders that this is the city that William Penn envisioned as a new start to society, religious freedom and a decent civilization. The city of "Brotherly Love".
The land was given to Penn because the King of England owed his father a great debt that the King couldn't pay - so he gave William - Land - in the colony ! Little did the King know that he had sown the seeds of a soon to become new - independent nation.
I had the wonderful opportunity to explore Philadelphia and to visit so many historical as well as infamous locations in the city. I have had a difficult time starting this blog because in two and a half days here is what I did....in general and not in sequence::
1. One Liberty Observation Deck
2. Big Bus - Hop on - Hop Off ! (Thanks Mike - great tour)
3 .Christ Church - founded in 1695
4. Independence Mall
5. Betsy Ross House
6. Elfreth's Alley
7. City Tavern
8. National Constitution Center
9. Independence Hall Tour with the National Park Service
10. Philadelphia Museum of Art
11. "Rocky" Statue
12. Rodin Musem
13. Barnes Foundation
14. Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul
15. Franklin Institute Science Museum
16. American Philosophical Society
17. Federal Reserve - Money in Motion Exhibit
18. Christ Church Burial Grounds - Resting Site of Benjamin and Deborah Franklin and other signers of the Declaration of Independence and/or Constitution
19. City Hall - Beautiful
20. Eastern State Penitentiary (Amazing - sad)
21. Joan of Arch Statue
22. George Washington Statue
23. Reading Terminal Market
24. Irish Pub
25. Finn McCool's Ale House
26. Monk's Cafe - Best Beer Bar in America !
27...........bad Philly Cheesesteak ! I won't tell where...well maybe I will!
I covered over 20 miles in hot - humid - eastern summer weather - and it was a grand tour.
SO I have decided to simply share over the next few days - just pieces of my visit. I am not a tour guide but I will mention the things that moved me......and when you visit Philly - maybe I will mention something new you haven't seen..... or then again - maybe something you might want to revisit with the curiosity of the first time ! More to come ~
BK Travel Tips
To enjoy travel and see the world and often yourself as if for the first time and with with the eyes of a young child.