Weekend Wonders

“Art is the proper task of life.”

~Friedrich Nietzsche

Happy Monday everyone!  Hope you had a lovely weekend. Summer bowed to Fall in the most graceful way imaginable Saturday—the letting go and the going on made easier by glorious azure skies and refreshingly crisp autumnal air.   Sunday proved to be equally heaven-sent and a perfect day to stop by Chicago’s Navy Pier where the city had been playing host to more than 100 of the world’s premier galleries, to kick off its international arts season. read more

Things That Make Me Smile

“Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time

as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going to happen next.”

~Lewis Carroll,  Alice in Wonderland

Had I imbibed one too many glasses of wine the night we arrived at our hotel in historic Savannah, Georgia, I could easily have thought I had fallen down a rabbit hole and into some kind of Alice In Wonderland fantasy.  The Mansion on Forsyth Park, is a whimsical, eclectic confection of a hotel that perfectly embodies the sweet, quirky, Southern charm of the city it takes up residence in.  Like Savannah, the Mansion is a visual feast, with so much to see when you walk through its doors that you don’t know where to look first. Walk straight ahead, past the gilded lobby and crystal chandelier and you will find another crystal chandelier illuminating an intimate outdoor terrace that leads to the hotel pool.

Back inside the hotel there is a huge ladies vintage hat collection, contemporary paintings draping every wall, and sculptures large and small.

At every turn it is a celebration of art.  The hotel has its own gallery showcasing the creations of over 400 local and internationally recognized artists.

Dinner was divine at the Mansion’s award-winning eatery, 700 Drayton.  This gorgeous 1888 mansion adjacent to the hotel, has been completely refurbished and offers an outstanding selection of contemporary Southern cuisine—try the fried green tomatoes! The artistic flair continues here, with a wide array of paintings on the first and second floors.  We discovered a great bar upstairs with live entertainment and an outdoor stone terrace that overlooks the park.

With so much creativity on display at this hotel it was easy to fall in love with it.  There were no talking rabbits— the Mad Hatter was nowhere in sight,  but there was certainly a fantastical sensibility to the place that left me feeling like I was in some kind of fairy tale— and like all good fairy tales, this story has a happy ending. :-) We were only in Savannah for two nights, but now that we’ve discovered it, we most certainly will be back.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!  Hope you find countless reasons to smile!

xo—

~M

Weekend Wonders

Hi all!  Hope you had a wonderful weekend!  We had a great time celebrating our 7th Anniversary with a weekend getaway in the city.   Got a chance to check out the Roy Lichtenstein Retrospective on Saturday.  The late pop artist’s work is on display at Chicago’s Art Institute, through September 3rd.

Lichtenstein is best known for his comic-strip-style paintings, but his body of work, which spans some 50-years, includes much more—like beautiful Chinese landscapes.

In homage to Mr. Lichtenstein, I decided to take a collection of my weekend photos and share them with you pop-art- style.  Enjoy and as always, thanks for stopping by!

Hidden Treasures

“Earth proudly wears the Parthenon as the best gem upon her zone.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nashville, Tennessee

A full-scale replica of Athens Parthenon stands in Nashville’s Centennial Park, exacting in its detail to the original.  The massively ornate structure, originally built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, is one of the city’s main tourist attractions.

As impressive as the classical architecture is on the outside is what you will find on the inside: A nearly 42-ft. tall, gold-gilded statue of the Greek Goddess Athena.   Nashville’s Athena is said to be the largest indoor sculpture of its kind in the Western World.

The Parthenon—Athena—in Nashville—who would have thought?

Where Have You Been?!

Allow me to explain…

I know, I know, I have promised for two weeks now to share my travel tales.  Easier said than done, I’m afraid.  Since returning from LA, I’ve discovered one irrefutable truth:  re-entry into day to day life and all its responsibilities is not an easy task after weeks on the road and in the air.  It’s taken awhile but I am slowly regaining my balance and am grateful for your patience.

So, where to begin?  Begin at the beginning, of course.

In late April my husband and I decided to add a little pleasure to a business trip we were taking. “Let’s drive,”  I said.   “I’m in,” he said.   And with that, our plan for a road trip was hatched. We packed up the SUV and headed out onto the open road, ready for an adventure and bound for the south.

First stop:  Nashville, Tennessee.

Nashville— home to the Grand Ole Opry, The Country Music Hall of Fame, and Vanderbilt University— is one of my favorite destinations.  There is a down-home charm and hospitality here that is truly hard to beat.  The people are some of the nicest I have ever come across in my travels—warm, welcoming, and helpful.  There’s a great vibe in this city, like there’s a big party being thrown and everyone’s invited.

We stayed at the Historic Hermitage Hotel, named after Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, Tennessee, Presidential estate.

This gorgeous five-star jewel, located in the heart of downtown Nashville, first opened its doors in 1910, with room rates, if you can even imagine, starting at just $2.00. It soon became the preferred hotel for the movers and shakers of the day,who just may have been lured through the doors by the hotel’s savvy advertising:  “Rooms are fireproof, noise-proof, and dustproof.”

The hotel underwent a massive $20 million renovation in 2000, and was completed in 2003.  It is the only remaining Nashville hotel done in the Beaux Arts style, and is both a member of the National Register of Historic Places and the Historic Hotels of America.

The hotel’s breathtakingly beautiful grand salon is exquisite, replete with soaring ceilings, ornate moldings, massive fluted columns embellished with marble inlays, marble flooring, stained glass, gold leafing, and hand painted ceilings.

It is truly a wow!

Our room was really lovely and had a spectacular view of the state capital and the expansive concourse that stretches out in front of it, which is the city’s War Memorial Plaza.

Love this place,  so much so that we stayed at the hotel twice during our travels, both at the front end of our trip and the back end.  The only negative?  We couldn’t stay longer :)

Much more from Nashville coming soon.

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I used both my Olympus E-620 and my iPhone 4s to capture the above shots and it’s getting so I can barely distinguish the difference between the two.

Homeward Bound

As I boarded my flight at LAX bound for Chicago, I felt like a giddy child on Christmas morning.  I’ve absolutely loved my travels over these past many weeks, but there’s no place like home and I couldn’t be happier to be back.  As I’ve mentioned before, I look forward to sharing more about my travels in the days ahead.  For now, I thought I’d share a shot I captured from my window seat at the midway point of the trip.  Hope you enjoy!