Tag: travel

A Self-Guided Tour Of The White House

white house

U.S. White House (Photo by A. Kittredge)

In planning another visit to Washington, D.C., I wanted to attempt a visit to the historic White House. I was happy to secure tickets through our representative. I recommend planning ahead of time if you plan to visit the inside of the U.S. White House. It is recommended to secure dates about 3 months, but no later than 21 days from your scheduled visit. Explore Whitehouse.gov for more details on how to schedule a self-guided White House tour.


The General William Tecumseh Sherman Statue (circa 1903)

The self-guided White House tours security checks begin front and just to the right as you are facing the Tecumseh Sherman Statue in Sherman Square. You will find a gate with a small white booth with two uniformed Secret Service guards and someone with a blue vest here to check your tickets and IDs. If you have purse or bag, these will be searched as well. Please read Whitehouse.gov  as to what is allowed and not allowed in the White House. We witnessed a couple that was turned away because they attempted to bring an item that was not permitted.  You will walk behind the statue and go through another ID check and then, airport style security and two more security checks prior to entering the East Wing of the White House. It took us about 25 minutes to go through this process. Please plan your schedule accordingly.

East Wing


The Library


China Room


The Ballroom


The State Dining Room


The Red Room



The Blue Room


Staircase to Residence

Painted Presidents and First Ladies

As you explore the East Wing of the White House, the painted eyes of presidents and first ladies watch over you. It is a tradition to select an artist and have a portrait made to be placed in the White House. Enjoy the view of as you explore our famous landmark during your self-guided tour.

Painted Presidents


George Washington


Abraham Lincoln


Andrew Jackson




John F. Kennedy

The Painted Ladies


Edith Carrow Roosevelt



Laura Bush





The Apothecary Museum in Old Town Alexandria, Va

A short metrorail trip from the Ronald Regan Washington National Aiport (DCA) allows one to see one of the top smallest cities in the country, Alexandria Virginia.  I recently took the metrorail to the King Street stop to explore Old Town Alexandria.  You can take leisurely walk down King Street to see why this is such an attractive and historical city. Don’t let just explore this one avenue. Go beyond it and you will find more history as I did with the Apothecary Museum


King Street View Toward Potomac River

**The Metrorail from King Street Station** is under construction and will be closed among other stations from May 25, 2019 through September 8, 2019.  I recommend exploring this link to learn more:

As one walks along historic King street, you can take in the sites and sounds coming from the local shops, restaurants, and antiques. Of course, there are some national chains present, but don’t let this discourage you from seeing some of the most historically preserved part of our history by visiting Old Town Alexandria. It is wonder Alexandria is often rated small-towns live. This is a very easy to walk city and commuter friendly to other major city.

The Apothecary Museum


During our walk, we decided to explore the Apothecary Museum. The museum is located at 107 S. Fairfax Street just a half block off of King Street. They offer a 45-minute guided tour of the first and second floors of this historical pharmacy. This museum is now owned by the City of Alexandria and has been preserved for future generations.

Most of the contents of Apothecary includes original herbal botanicals, hand-blown glass jars, and medical equipments. Some well-known figures have appeared in documents, including Martha Washington and Robert E. Lee.


Request from Ms. Martha Washington.

The Museum (circa 1792)

First Floor


Mix of Medicines Used Here including Opium and Arsenic (old lace)



Nursing Equipment of the 1800’s


Forde’s Electric Razor


Second Floor

Exploring the second floor offers a look beyond the scenes to manufacturing of goods and products for the apothecary. The docent this day was informative and excited to show the group several unusual items on display.



If you are interested in learning more and perhaps visiting this gem of a historical pharmacy, please visit the City of Alexandria’s website to learn more about hours and tour times.

Thank you for reading  and please do share your thoughts and comments.






The Montmartre of Paris

Exploring the 18th Arrondissement

A walk through the more hilly streets of Montmartre is like the village for New Yorker or at least, that is what I’ve been told. This part of Paris is where artists used to enjoy a more comfortable part of life and display their works, but the prices have increase. I am sure there are some truth to these thoughts, but this unique part of Pari is definitely well worth a visit just to find what you often won’t see on the usual tourist hot spot. Please let me share some of my photos during my visits to this part of the City of Paris.


The Basilica of Sacre-Coeur


Inside the Basilica


Locks of Love-Montmartre


Tips For Visiting

I recommend arriving at metro Blanche (Moulin Rouge) or metro Anvers and gradually enter the “village”.  This way you will feel like you are gradually approaching the place and can take in the atmosphere of artists and writers.  If you are handicapped, please don’t be deterred as you have an option for visiting the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur There is a small white train that drives up the hill winding through the narrow alleys giving you a sense of the neighborhood surrounding the Basilica.

Once you get off the metro, you just may wish to make a bullseye directly to the Basilica that sits atop the famous hill of Montmartre. You could also just treat yourself to an over-priced crepe at the Place de Tertre. Instead, consider taking your time to just explore the area walking through the maze of narrow cobblestone streets as you make your way to the Basilica. Don’t worry! You can’t miss it.


Place de Tertre

Another option to visit via the metro is to take the Abbesses station and step out into the heart of Montmartre.  Because all the great poets have told us the journey is more important than the destination.

abbesses_station entrancejpg

Windmills in Montmartre


The Radet Windmill in Montmartre (circa 1717)

There are a still a few windmills still standing and found in between homes. The above photo is of the Radet Windmill and it originally stood by the still functioning Bluten-Fin Windmill. The Radey Windmill now houses a restaurant and was moved to its present location at the corner of Rue Girardon and Rue Lepic in 1924.

Cool Finds While Strolling Montmartre


Le Passe-Muraille (the Passer-Through-Walls)

If you are exploring the narrow cobblestone streets of the Montmartre, you may come across the great find of the Le Passe-Muraille (the Passer-Through Walls) statue. This is located in the place named after the writer of the story Marcel Aymé about Dutilleul who discovers that he can (you guessed it) walk through walks.



La Maison Rose

Located just behind the iconic Basilica of Sacre-Coeur on the edge some steep cobblestone lanes, you will fine La Maison Rose. Another treasure in the Montmartre. This little restaurant sits on a corner of a Rue de l’Abreuvoir and Rue des Saules. It is said to have been once visited by the likes of Picasso. You can learn more about the history of this little Pink House by visiting SoloSophie


Le Saint Jean – Cafe in Montmartre

There is more to explore in the 18th arrondissement of one of my favorite cities. These are just some of the more interesting finds during my many visits to this that keeps bringing me back for more to explore. Please do and explore for yourself and see what you can find. Please read my other posts on Paris for other ideas:

Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Paris

Paris’ Flea Markets-A Must See

Opéra Garnier or Paris’ Opera House

Paris’ Eiffel Tower

Christmas in Uneasy Paris

Reminding Us Why Recording of Our History Is Important.

Free Walking Tour Options

Discoverwalks offers free and paid tours of some of the major cities around the world including Paris. I have used them during my visits to Paris and highly recommend them. Please explore Discoverwalks.com  for more details.


A Visit to The Currier Musuem


My most recent visit back to Manchester, New Hampshire gave me the opportunity to visit the Currier Museum of Art  Through a  guided docent tour, one can enjoy the mixture of European and American art, photograph, and sculpture displayed in this art museum. These works include such renewed artist at Hopper, Picasso, Monet, O’Keffe, Wyeth, and LeWitt. In addition, a separate tour is offered of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Zimmerman House.  This renowned art museum offers rotating exhibits from around the world including the current exhibition of beadwork by the Ubuhle Women living in rural KwaZula-Natal, South Africa.


Beadwork by the Ubuhle Women



This rather new form of art uses beads on what is known as ndwango (cloth) to form decorative and visual scenes that often have specific meaning to the artist. This beadwork is being displayed by the Currier Museum of Art  through June 10, 2019.

Ethan Murrow Hauling Display (Ending Soon)

There is a room that offers a unique display of wall art around the room and done  by Ethan Murrow with help of Mic Billingsley and Ariana Lee. The images below were drawn on the walls using black sharpies and depict the Manchester area history of Native fishing, river dredging, farming, and of course, hauling. This exhibition is soon to be taken down (painted over) and replaced with a new one (yet to be determined per our  docent).





Edward Hopper’s Last Painting

On loan to the museum Hopper’s last painting, The Comedians. This beautiful piece of work depicts both the artist and his wife, Jo, on stage. This is worth seeing in person while you can as well as other works by Edward Hopper.


The Comedians


The Bootleggers by Hopper

Other Works of Art


Woman Seated in Chair by Picasso


Max Pechstein (double-sided art)

Explore my other blog posts about Manchester titled  A Stay in The Granite State  Thank you for reading this blog and please share your thoughts.

First time buyer SPECIAL - Free Shipping + Free Gifts

Cinco de Mayo – Ways We Celebrate The Day

man s black blazer and brown traditional hat

Cinco de Mayo or the fifth of May

This is an extremely popular holiday in the U.S. with its roots within Mexico. The holiday is a rather minor holiday in Mexico. In the U.S., Cinco de Mayo is a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage, especially between Mexican-American families. This holiday dates back to the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War when the Mexican army claimed victory over France in May 5, 1862- Cinco de Mayo is also known as Battle of the Puebla Day.

What makes the celebration different in the U.S. and Mexico?  Here are some example of the differ ways each country celebrate this holiday each year. 

Cinco de Mayo in the U.S.


Photo by © JIM Mourgos

The first records of Cinco de Mayo being celebrated in the U.S. was in Southern California in 1863 as way to demonstrate solidarity with Mexico against French rule. It was not until the 1930s that this holiday became more popular in the U.S. as means to share and celebrate Mexican culture and heritage.

Some people will use this day as just another excuse to party.  While others in the U.S. of Mexican-American heritage see Cinco de Mayo as a holiday and there are larger festivals across the U.S. Some cities that are know for their Cinco de Mayo festivities include: New Orleans, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, just to name a few…


Cinco de Mayo has become more commercialized in the U.S. than in Mexico where it is more localized in its celebration. More on how Mexica celebrates this day next…


Photo by © Nicole Law

Cinco de Mayo in Mexico

A minor misconception is the Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of Mexico’s Independence Day.  Mexico’s Independence day is actually September 16th.  Cinco de Mayo is celebrating and remembering the Battle of Puebla  when Mexican forces confronted French forces, which were part of Napoleon III army during Franco-Mexico War.  The one day battle was won by Mexico.  This is not a major holiday in Mexico. The event is not even celebrated nationwide.  Cinco de Mayo is often just celebrated in the state of Puebla.

people near indian flag

Photo by © Ricardo Esquivel

Traditions in Mexico for celebrating Cinco de Mayo include military parades, recreation of the Battle of Puebla, and other festive events. The festivities are often celebrated without any alcohol.  This day has less of a commercial focus as it is not a federal holiday with offices, banks, and stores remaining open.


Plan Your Next Trip to Experience the Culture Heritage unique to both Mexico and the U.S. Go explore this great planet of ours. Thank you for reading.


Visting Bayou Bend in Houston, Texas

Bayou Bend

One can get away from what some may consider the urban jungle of Houston to find a tranquil and beautiful oasis just a few minutes away.  The Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens was once a grand family estate of Ima Hogg from 1882 until 1975. The estate is now part of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and still houses some of the Hogg families collection of American furnishings, art, and decor representing the Colonial period to the late 19th Century. There are a total of 28 rooms in the Estate and touring the Estate is well worth your time.

In addition, you can enjoying the 14-acres of exceptionally maintained gardens and take time to explore the gift shop as you cross back over the Bayou to the parking area. A visit that I enjoyed for part of a day in Houston.

Bayou Bend Suspension Bridge

This Bayou Bend Suspension Bridge has went through a complete renovation and overlooks the Bayou. This bridge provides a scenic entry from Memorial Park to the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens. The unusual wooden suspension bridge, designed by engineer Walter P. Moore, is owned and maintained by The City of Houston.

The Massachusetts Room

In the Massachusetts room, all the furnishings in this exceptionally decorated room are from (of course) Massachusetts.

Foyer and Grand Staircase

You can also learn about the Varner-Hogg Plantation and find out about the connection between the two properties by reading my post- A Visit to the Varner-Hogg Plantation during a recent visit to Houston.


Learn more about the Bayou Bend Collection by Clicking on the Image Below

bayou bend souvenir book cover

Master Your Money Super Bundle 2019

TGBTK 2018 Style Guide

[the_ad_placement id=”after-content”]

Travel Etiquette: What Not To Do While Onboard.

Airplane Etiquette

Sometimes the stress of travel can often lead to forgetting a few common travel etiquettes. Do you wish to have hundreds of people look to you as the enemy while in a long tube? I would think this would not be the case. Here are five common etiquettes to avoid violating during your next flight

Wrestling for the Armrest

If you are the ever left with the middle seat, don’t be the one next them who fights for the armrest. It is not worth wrestling for the space and please give the passenger next to some of the armrest. As a middle aisle passenger, they should have some armrest space and not wrestle for you for it. It is not not airplane etiquette. Have you violated this first etiquette in your flight experiences?

Reclining Straight Away

I personally don’t mind if someone reclines their seat, but be considerate in doing so. Unfortunately, the latter is rarely the case. I can count on my hands the number of times someone has glanced behind them to see if the coast was clear (i.e., no electronic or drink to go flying). Many passengers go straight to the recline position right after a smooth takeoff. Next time, try to consider your fellow passenger just for a few seconds and look behind you.

Hitting the On-Demand Screen A Little Hard

Many of the on-demand screens are starting to go away as airlines expand their wi-fi capacity cutting the cord in this manner as well. Another reason is that these setback entertainment screens receive quite a bit of abuse and use. Thus, the functionality of these little devices don’t often work as expected. The next time that you travel, please keep this in mind and don’t forget the passenger in front of you. Don’t go tapping on the screen too much or too hard trying to get it to work causing your fellow passenger’s seat shake so much they are solely experience their own period of turbulence in flight. Use the remote or get the flight attendant for assistance!. Better yet consider reading a book.

[the_ad_placement id=”after-content”]

Consider Those Feet

Indeed, I said feet. Have you ever been on a long international flight when your fellow passenger decided to take off their shoes. Now, I personally don’t mind that you do this for the comfort, but please don’t have smelly feet. We are in a closed environment with recycled air. Did something happen to your sense of smell? There are reasons for why one might have increased issues with odors during travel and a good article by Smartertravel identifies a few of them. However, don’t violate this etiquette during your travel experience if you can avoid it just to walk around barefoot.

Don’t Pinch The Overhead Space

Traveling by plane can be stressful just to get from point A to point B. One doesn’t need to worry about the rudeness and inconsideration of fellow travels who just take too much during airplane travel. There I said it. I am one who travels light or at least, keeps within my own dedicated space. The tiny overhead bins above the seats are meant for the individual assigned seat, but they are often far game to whomever can get to them first. A few major violations of this fifth and final common airplane travel etiquette are as follows: 1) walking down the aisle and just throwing your stuff in the first overhead bin you see empty (see my comment above about assigned seats), 2) taking advantage of the overhead bin for the small stuff (coats, gifts, hats, gloves etc.,) and 3) using the bin for your carry-on instead of the space under your seat. Please don’t violate this one during your next adventure.


The Genius Blogger's Toolkit 2018

Healthy Meal Planning Bundle 2019

Animals Across the Globe

Earth day is fast approaching and during each trip we see many animals. The little critters we come across can be someone’s pet, a poor stray one, or an exotic creature that requires a second or third glance. The first photo is one of my favorites from our trip to Costa Rica. The bulging eyes just make me laugh. We came across this little guy during a raining and humid walk through a Costa Rican Rain Forest. Dividing the photos into countries and regions is challenges and of course, this is just a sample of what I have seen through my travels from North America, Central America, and South America; and the African continent. I hope you enjoy.

Central America & South America

The Red-Eyed Tree Frog

The Poison Dart Frog

Costa Rica has 8 known species of poison dart frogs or poison arrow frogs. We heard this misconception during our tour that if touch these frogs you will be poisoned and die. This little amphibians of Costa Rica do not carry enough toxin that is strong (poisonous enough) to penetrate unbroken skin. I do caution not risking picking them up if you think any tiny cuts. In addition, these frogs are small, fragile species. They are best left unhandled and viewed from a distance.

Hummingbird of Costa Rica

A Keel Billed Toucan

Iguana on A Bridge

Ecuador is a small South American country that is offers a paradise feel nearly the very near paradise feel and an amazingly relaxed culture expressed by the people. You can visit many historic churches, buildings, and heritage sites and cities. The animals I saw during my first trip here varied and this included bats, snakes, reptiles, and birds. I missed visiting the Galapagos Islands. This is not to be of a too much a concern as it offers me an excuse to return and see other parts of Quito and the country during my next visit.

A Bat in Ecuador or Perhaps Two (Hard to Tell)

Watch Out for the This Little Guy…

Llama in the Field in Ecuador


Enjoying the Sun- A Lioness in Tanzania

Perhaps one of my favorite places to visit is Africa and this wonderful continent is on my backlist for a the next international trip soon. I just need to find the time and plan this next adventure. Love seeing the animals in their nature environments. Zoos are wonderful and offer the opportunity for those who may never be able to see the animals, but there is nothing like seeing the pride of lions, wildebeest, or a baby elephant with its mother at a watering hole. Go and explore this planet. 

Stork in Africa

Giraffes -Traffic Jam Not Often Seen

North America– The House-pet Review 

Enjoying the Morning in South Carolina

Little One Seems Sad

A Couple of Wild Critters in North America on Land and Sea

Humpback Whales

A Rabbit Enjoying an AM Snake

Kure Beach Pier—Don’t feed the birds!

I just realized that this could go on and on as I keep finding photos of animals. Seeing animal friends in photos gives me a different perspective of my travels. Until the next adventure and please do share your thoughts…. 

A final photo from India here. 

A Goat to the Slaughter

Historic Galveston, Texas

Galveston Island, Texas

Have you ever had the itch to travel and just booked something a couple of weeks or days in advance?  We recently did this for a trip to the great state of Texas. The historic island of Galveston is where we spent three of our five day adventure.


Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier

There are many opportunities for exploration while on this Gulf coast historic island. The location is ideal at about 50 miles southeast of Houston, Galveston is an easy getaway for a weekend beach retreat, family adventure, of just enjoy what nature has to offer. In addition, you can explore the 32 miles of soft sands here. Check out the 2,000-acre Galveston Island State Park  for beach, fishing, kayak, or bird watching options.

IMG_6656 2

Fishing Pier

Two major hurricanes in 1900 and 1915 have changed the course of this town and island forever, but Galveston continues to be a major destination along the Texas Gulf Coast. The charming 19th-Century homes are worth just strolling along the historic neighborhoods or touring. These tours could include: The Moody Mansion, the Bishop’s Palace, or museums such as Galveston Railroad Museum and the Texas Seaport Museum, home to the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa, to discover how the city’s port.

Moody Mansion



Incinerator at Moody Mansion



Bishop’s Palace



The Bishop’s Palace or Gresham’s house is a circa 1892 stone shaped with steel structure designed by Nicholas Clayton. This gorgeous home survived the Great Storm of 1900 and is worthy of a tour either with a docent (if time allows) or via s self-guided audio tour. We opted in for the the “Basement to Attic” tour and were not disappointed in this 2 1/2 hour explore of the home.


Seawall Boulevard

You can walked along the Seawall. This protective barrier of the ever-changing tides of Gulf of Mexico began after the devasting hurricane of 1900. It stretches some seven miles and is about 17 feet tall. It is more than just a protective barrier offering the famous and historic Pleasure Pier  and the newer  Moody Gardens. with its pyramids and golf course.  The Moody Gardens are not to be confused with Moody Mansion as they are in two separate locations on the island.

Where did we Stay? 

Avenue O Bed & Breakfast

Jeff & Polly, the owners of this lovely 3 room (all private rooms) are the hosts that go above and beyond to make your stay enjoyable. Polly’s breakfast is worth waking up for as she is a top chef. You can enjoy a evening drink (if desired) on the front porch or in the living room. We highly recommend considering this well appointed B & B with free parking for your next stay in Galveston.

Please share your experiences when visiting Galveston. Did I miss anything?

Gloucester, Massachusetts & the Cape Ann Museum by The Rose Journal 

Gloucester, Massachusetts & the Cape Ann Museum


The holidays are over. Our roses are dormant, sound asleep for the next three months. This is the time when Angelina and I catch up on other things that we like to do, like frequent day-trips to somewhere — eclectic destinations that catch our fancy.

We recently drove to Gloucester, Massachusetts, a fishing port city on Cape Ann on  the North Shore of Massachusetts to visit the Cape Ann Museum. The 2-hour drive north was prompted by a Providence newspaper article that featured the museum and especially its extensive collection of marine art by Fitz Henry Lane. When we arrived we also discovered a rich trove of historical maritime artifacts, ship models, a restored New England lighthouse lens, and exhibits pertaining to fishing and genealogy from the Cape Ann/Gloucester area. An added bonus we hadn’t expected.


Once in Gloucester, our GPS had us driving in circles unable to find the museum until we stopped and asked a local guy where it was. He pointed across the street to a handsome building and it was then that we spotted the tiny sign that said “Cape Ann Museum.”

The museum building is well maintained with three levels serviced by both stairs and an elevator. The Fitz Henry Lane Gallery takes up half of level 1 with Lane paintings on view along with many of his drawings. In comparison, a few pieces of Lane’s work hang in the Museum of Fine Art in Boston and a few at the Metropolitan Museum in New York but nothing like the 40 pictures in the collection at the diminutive Cape Ann.


Lane, a Gloucester native, was a master of fine detail in his treatment of fishing and sailing vessels of the 19th century. So good was he at capturing every little detail, including the complicated rigging of 19th century schooners, that he was often hired by ship owners to paint portraits of their boats. Lane was well-known for his many paintings of Gloucester Harbor scenes, again bringing his attention to detail here as well as he did with ships.


Lane also possessed an amazing ability to show glowing luminescence and accurate depictions of sea and sky. I especially liked the warm sunset glow of “Norman’s Woe” still radiant after 150 years. (Norman’s Woe, seen in the background of the painting, is a rocky reef 500 feet offshore of Gloucester’s outer harbor. It was the inspiration for Longfellow’s famous poem, “The Wreck of the Hesperus.”)


A restored 13-foot Fresnel Lens from a lighthouse on Thacher’s Island is featured on Level 2 along with some fine scratch-built wooden models of sailing schooners. Our favorite was the model of the Andrea Gail, the boat made famous in “The Perfect Storm,” parts of which were filmed in Gloucester. (See photo below)











……..more at The Rose Journal on WordPress.com