Travels

Detailed Extravagance: The Breakers

Cornelius Vanderbilt II, grandson of the Commodore, purchased in ground in 1885.  In 1892 the  wood-framed house which had stood on the property was destroyed in a fire. In the subsequent year, Vanderbilt commission architect Richard Morris Hunt to create an Italian Renaissance- style palazzo inspired by the 16th century palaces of Genoa and Turin. Hunt… Continue reading Detailed Extravagance: The Breakers

Travels

Detailed Extravagance: Marble House

Marble House was built between 1888 and 1892 as a summer "cottage" retreat for Alva and William K. Vanderbilt. It was the first of the Gilded Aged mansions that transformed Newport from a relatively lazy summer colony of wooden houses to a high-society resort of opulent stone palaces. Upon completion, the most lavish house in… Continue reading Detailed Extravagance: Marble House

Travels

Detailed Extravagance: Rosecliff

This past September for Labor Day weekend, I finally made a trip to Rhode Island to visit the Newport Mansions built during the Gilded Age and opened to the public by the Preservation Society of Newport County. Rosecliff, also known formerly as the Hermann Oelrichs House or the J. Edgar Monroe House, was built 1898-1902 at a… Continue reading Detailed Extravagance: Rosecliff

Travels

California Dreams (Part IV)

Yosemite National Park is one of the most well-known US national park internationally.  The number of visitors surpassed 5 million in 2016, ranking it as the third most visited national park behind Great Smokey Mountains (11.31 million) and the Grand Canyon (5.79 million). The full list can be found via this link. Surprisingly Yellowstone didn't… Continue reading California Dreams (Part IV)

Travels

California Dreams (Part III)

Day 3 started with a visit to the General Grant Tree. With a base circumference of  107.6 ft (32.8 m), it is the second largest tree in the world after the General Sherman Tree. What was more impressive for me was Cristina, whom we met at the entrance to the General Grant Grove.  She was also… Continue reading California Dreams (Part III)

Travels

California Dreams (Part II)

There is something magical about stepping into a national park. Sequoia National Park was established on September 25, 1890 and contains the highest point within the contiguous 48 states - Mount Whitney at 14,505 ft (4,421 m) above sea level. Administered together with Kings Canyon National Park to its north, the parks were designated a UNESCO… Continue reading California Dreams (Part II)

Travels

California Dreams (Part I)

Back in mid-September, I took a four-day trip to California. In my typical style, I tried to fit as much into the trip as possible. Landing at San Francisco International Airport around lunch time, I rented a car and headed straight for a glass of afternoon wine in Napa Valley. Along the route, I was… Continue reading California Dreams (Part I)

Travels

Beyond the Falls

I am inexplicably drawn to waterfalls as moths are to a flame.  With a 260 feet (79 meters) drop split between two bellowing cascades, Kaaterskill Falls is one of the Eastern US' tallest waterfalls.  Thomas Cole first visited Kaaterskill Falls in 1825 and the waterfall susequently became a favorite setting for painters of the Hudson… Continue reading Beyond the Falls

Travels

Stone Expressions

Inuksuit, inuksuk in the singular, dot the Arctic tundras. Varying in shape and size, they are deeply rooted in Inuit culture. Their attributed uses include as points of references for navigation, as marker for travel routes, fishing places, camps, hunting grounds, and places of veneration, and as drift fences used in hunting or to assist… Continue reading Stone Expressions