Wednesday, January 22, 2014

It's been awhile

Much has changed since I was at Falling water and hiking civil war sites. In 2009 we went to Italy and had a grand tour. If I get some time I will post. Stayed in Massa Lubrense for a week looking out at Capri and the steaming Vesuvius. Had dinner with Gore Vidal in Ravello after seeing the Greek ruins of Paestum and the following day on Gore's suggestion went to Herculaneum. Capri was magical as usual and then when we ventured to Casserta to the Unesco site we were all blown away. It was the same architect that built Versailles. The French Bourbon's figured out Naples was no place for the French. So they created some aqueducts and made a Versailles that was 4 times the size. The art in the palace though is rather special, especially for Italy.The theme was all enlightenment. not a bloody jesus or suckling babe on Mary anywhere. It was all constellations, tools and greatness of human endeavor. We walked the garden/pools. Everyone else took buses, or bikes, etc. We thought they were silly until about half way there we found that each of these pools was a football field long. With fish bigger than us swimming in them and then huge sculpture scenes rivaling anything in Rome. But we persevered and made it. It was like Rocky. We were drenched in sweat and jumping or barely jumping we were so tired. Yes the Italians were amused. Then we had to walk back and drive to Florence. I hidden gem. No one was there but really worth seeing. We loved Florence and then had an amazing meal that consisted of a pound of truffles. We smelled of truffles for days. We could have stayed a great deal longer in Florence. The Uffizi was amazing. Walking the steps of room with a view was a life long dream fulfilled.  And then we were off by train to Rome. We were pretty exhausted but we did ancient Rome the first day. It is amazing to see how close and intertwined modern day rome and ancient rome really are. It was like going to Concord for the first time and realizing transcendentalists all lived on the same road and had been taught by the same teach Mr. Alcott. It just made everything much clearer in all that you had read.Rome seemed so much more understandable. We did the Vatican art museum and Sistine chapel the second day. Sickened my stomach I must say. Makes you realize why Luther went home after seeing it himself and writting a few things in protest.
Did not mean to make this post about Italy. Just sort of went there. Much more has happened or greater import like Joe and I having a little human. And Joe being diagnosed with stage IV Cancer. But I suppose it is more fun to write about Italy.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Civil War Battlefield and FallingWater Holiday Itinerary


Tuesday April 29th Leave at 8 AM for Sharpsburg, Maryland (Approx 8 hours).

Check in at the Historic Jacob Rohrbach Inn

Antietam's Jacob Rohrbach Inn138 W. Main St.Sharpsburg, Maryland 21782
Joanne & Paul Breitenbach, Prop.Phone: 301-432-5079Toll Free: 1-877-839-4242
Staying in the General’s Quarter’s April 29th and 30th. Check in 3-5. Check out by 11 am.
Find Dinner for Tuesday night
Captain Benders Tavern
Pub Food-local flavor

The Press Room
Shepherdstown, WV
Italian a bit pricey but lovely food

April 30th Wednesday Tour Antietam
Open 8:30-5PM
$6.00 a person

Download Podcast for Antietam

Also see the Pry House Field Hospital Museum

Near by sites Harper’s Ferry

Monocacy National Battlefield
John Brown’s House

Directions from Philadelphia to Inn
Take I-76 and the PA Turnpike towards Harrisburg, PA
Just past Harrisburg take the US-11 South exit, exit number 16
Take US-11 about 4 miles to I-81
Take I-81 South towards Chambersburg and continue south on I-81 to Hagerstown, MD
At Hagerstown proceed on I-81 crossing I-70 to the second exit past I-70, this exit is MD Route 68 and there is an Antietam Battlefield sign.
Turn left on MD Route 68
Go 5 miles and turn right on MD Route 65
Proceed 7 miles to the stop sign in Sharpsburg
Turn right at the stop sign onto W. Main St. (MD Route 34). Go two blocks to the Jacob Rohrbach Inn on the left.

May 1st Leave Sharpsburg. Drive to Gettysburg (1 hour)


Things to Do

Gettysburg National Park

PARK GROUNDS AND ROADS The park is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. April 1 to October 31
Depending on personal choice, there are several ways to tour the battlefield including a self-guided auto tour, with a Licensed Battlefield Guide (fee), and tape tours. The self-guided auto tour can be followed by using a park brochure that will direct you through the park. There are numbered stops at high points of the battlefield along the tour route and visitors can take their time stopping to view the monuments and field exhibits.

By Automobile Gettysburg National Military Park is located in Adams County, Pennsylvania. From North or South, follow US 15 to Gettysburg and watch for signs to direct you to the National Park Service Visitor Center. The visitor center is located between Taneytown Road (State Rt. 134) and Steinwehr Avenue (Bus. Rt. 15). From East or West, drive into Gettysburg on US Rt. 30, turn South on Baltimore Street (Rt. 97), and follow signs to Steinwehr Avenue (Bus. 15).

Podcast for Gettysburg

Check Into the Baladerry Inn 3-7 PM on May 1st
40 Hospital RdGettysburg, PA 17325(717) 337-1342

Staying in the 1830’s house-The Vines Room

Directions to the B and B
From the South
Travel North on Route US 15.Exit at Taneytown Road (PA 134).Turn left onto 134/Taneytown Road. Continue about 1 mile to a Little Round Top Chuck Wagon Food and Ice Cream Stand on your left. Turn right onto Blacksmith Shop Road. Continue to the stop sign, the first street on your right. Turn right onto Hospital Road. We are the first property on your left.

Check In/Out

Check–In is after 3 pm-7 pm
Check–Out is at 11 am.

Food in Gettysburg
Appalachian Brewing CO.
Good pub food
Good beer

Dobbin House (Springhouse Tavern)
Farnsworth (outside eating)
The Pub
Good food and affordable

Check out by 11 on May 3rd drive to the Laurel Highlands

Laurel Highlands

Saturday and Sunday stay May 3rd and 4th

Summit Inn Resort Confirmation
Kentuck Knob May 3rd / 3:00 PM
Fallingwater May 4th / 8:30 AM
Summit Inn Resort101 Skyline Drive Farmington, PA 15437
Reservation: Local: 724-438-8594 Fax: 724-438-3917
Cancel within 72 hours
From the East
When traveling West on Route 40, The Summit Inn Resort is located directly on Route 40 approximately 6 miles west of Farmington at the top of the summit. Entrance is located on your left.
3 hour drive from Gettysburg. Kentuck Knob tour and Fort Necessity on Saturday the 3rd. Then check in. Sunday May 4th In depth Tour of Fallingwater 8:30 am. Rest of the day is open to hiking, water rafting, relaxing, caving, etc.
Things to do
Laurel Caverns
Located 5 miles of the historic National Road (Route 40) on Skyline Drive, Laurel Caverns is a 435-acre geological park featuring Pennsylvania's largest cave, which contains over 3 miles of passages under the Chestnut Ridge. A variety of activities caters to the traveling public, school education programs, scout merit badge programs, summer camp programs and high adventures seekers. Visit or call 800.515.4150
Located 5 miles off Route 40 on Skyline Drive, Farmington, PA. Open seven days a week from May 1st to October 31st and other times by special arrangement.
Kentuck Knob
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the last decade of his career, Kentuck Knob is nestled high in the western Pennsylvania mountains seven miles south of Fallingwater and six miles from the historic National Road. The home's construction of native sandstone, tidewater cypress, and copper blends naturally with its surroundings in true Wrightian harmony. A sculpture garden with over 35 major works enhances the visitor's experience, and a former greenhouse now serves as the visitor center, with a gift shop and cafe. Visit or call 724.329.1901
Tours of the house and grounds require one or more hours. Reservations are recommended. Sculpture garden tours are available by reservation only. Tours are available daily January and February 11 am to 3 pm and March though December daily 9am to 4pm. Special Saturday tours occur May through August from 9am to 6pm.
Fort Necessity National Battlefield

Fort Necessity, site of the first battle of the French & Indian War, is located about 11 miles east of Uniontown along the historic National Road (Route 40) in Farmington, PA. A state-of-the-art Interpretive and Education Center provides lively, interactive insight into the war and construction of the Nation's first federally funded highway. The park includes the battlefield, reconstructed fort, and Mount Washington Tavern. Nearby are the sites of Braddock's Grave (1.5 miles west) and Jumonville Glen (7 miles west). Visit www.nps.gove/fone or call 724.329.5805
Located 5 miles off Route 40 on Skyline Drive, Farmington, PA. Open seven days a week from May 1st to October 31st and other times by special arrangement.
Falling Water
Recognized as one of Wright's most acclaimed works, Fallingwater was voted "the best all-time work of American architecture" in a 1991 poll of the American Institute of Architects. As a supreme example of Wright's concept of organic architecture, Fallingwater illustrates the harmony between man and nature that occurs when building, furnishings and site are fully integrated. Wright embraced modern technology to achieve this, designing spaces for living which expressed architecturally the expansive freedom of the American Frontier. Visit or call 724.329.8501.
A tour of the house and grounds requires 1 to 2.5 hours. Reservations are essential to guarantee admission. Wright aficionados should ask about the early morning in-depth excursion when inside photography is permitted. Visitors an also hike the property's 20+ miles of trails, visit the museum store and enjoy a meal in the cafe.
Ohiopyle State Park

A crown jewel of the Pennsylvania State Park System, Ohiopyle is situated where the slopes of Laurel Ridge meet the Youghiogheny River to create Pennsylvania's deepest gorge. Sightseers and those seeking biking, hiking, or paddling adventures will enjoy waterfalls, natural waterslides, rock outcroppings, rare plant species, and amazing overlooks. Whitewater enthusiasts can test their skills on the Lower Youghiogheny, the busiest section of the whitewater in the Eastern United States. Those seeking something a little milder can take a float trip on the Middle Youghiogheny. Over 79 miles of trails provide biking or hiking in all four seasons. Rock climbing and repelling are also available. Whether you are looking for an afternoon stroll or a for the start of a 70-mile backpacking trip on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, Ohiopyle State Park will deliver. Visit or call Ohiopyle State Park at 724.329.8591. For outfitter information, call Laurel Highlands River Tours 800.472.3846 , Ohiopyle Trading Post 888.644.6795, White Water Adventurers 800.992.7238 or Wilderness Voyageurs 800.272.4141.
A trip to the falls, the overlook and a short visit in town requires 2 or more hours. A more intense visitor experience can involve 8 hours or multiple days.
The Christian W. Klay Winery, one of Pennsylvania's premiere wineries, is located in at 412 Fayette Springs Road in Chalk Hill just off the historic National Road and minutes from the Summit Inn Resort. The winery offers tours, entertaining special events, shopping in two locations, complimentary tastings of their award-winning vintages and a restored 1880's antique barn which is perfect for private events. Visit or Call 724-439-3424.
Check out May 5th and drive home.

Spring Vacation

The winter was so long this year in New England we had to go South a bit to find something living. So we decided to go tour the Civil War battle sites (Antietam and Gettysburg) and Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling water and Kentuck Knob.

First the weather was beautiful, great for hiking and birding, which there is an abundance of in all three locations. April and May are great months since the kids are not out yet and it is not hot and buggy as it is later in the year. And we had these locations to ourselves. Since, the only other people traveling during this time are older people we had these National Parks to ourselves since the older folks tend to take the bus tours. Antietam we only saw people at the visitor center and some bike riders. The Georgian Trail by the Burnside Bridge was glorious. We saw foxes and ground hogs and 15 different kinds of birds. We stayed at the Historic Jacob Rohrebach Inn in Sharpsburg, MD. It was lovely, Great breakfasts, great garden, close to everything. The Generals Quarters where we stayed was lovely, smelled of Cedar, great light, a private porch looked out onto the garden, and complimentary wireless. Our host at the Inn was very friendly and had directions to places to not miss in the area. We took her advice and took the back road to Gettysburg and went by the President's retreat. It was beautiful. Went and hiked the C and O Canal went to Harper's Ferry which was rather depressed and sad. She had warned us on the way to Harper's Ferry to not stop for anything, not a picture, not a dead animal in the road and not a child. A child? She then expounded on the fact that we were going to be going through a bit of West Virginia that was notorious for graft and murder. They would put a baby in the road and as you stopped would steal your catalytic converter or take you. We thought she might be joking but we met a fellow at dinner that night who told us that luckily he liked us or he would have sent his boys out to get our catalytic converter in our car. But instead he invited us to go into the real country for some moonshine in a shack. We declined. Was very happy our car started in the morning:-)

The new museum at Gettysburg was awesome and there were school aged classes being taken there but outside the museum and off the bus tours we were alone on the battlefield. We hiked from Little Round top to Big Round top and then the entire Confederate Line and then Pickett's Charge to the Union Line and then back through Devil's Den. It was gorgeous and so much more interesting getting out of the car and actually reading all the monuments and seeing what they saw, it make very real. Also I highly suggest reading or getting the Cd's to Killer Angel's By Shaara. It makes it all very prescient and personalizes it as nothing else can. The town is touristy but also services a college. We found some nice eateries and lots of history since the battle pasted through the town itself. We went in an antiques shop that at first blush had bullets and flags and old canteens. Then I wandered into a room in which everything in the room had a swastika on it. Dishes, lighters linens etc. I found Joe and we quickly made our exit. Gettysburg may have been the furthest North the South got but it looked like some south stayed.

We ate dinner at a nice brewery and  then took a walk along the battlefield at dusk. There were many ghost hunting troops walking about. When we went to go back to our Inn it was pitch black. And driving through the battlefield without a moon their was not a light. I was going slow when I went up a hill and then down and there looking straight at me in the headlights was soldier pointing his rifle right at me. I screamed and hit the gas. Joe just laughed. The next day I drove back to see what it was I saw a tall statue one a rectangular pillar with soldier in a laying position with his rifle pointed just at car height. It was funny but at the time it truly gave me the shivers.

We stayed at the Baladerry Inn which was a farm House turned Hospital after the battle. We stayed in the old house in the Vines Room which had a luxurious King bed, an electric fireplace and 5 large floor to ceiling windows that gave great light and views to the beautiful grounds. The common areas were lovely and the breakfasts were grand. Highly recommend. We did the battle fields during the week so we would not have to deal with the civil war actors on the field. On Friday when we were leaving for the Laurel Highland's the quiet Balderry Inn which we had, had to ourselves the night before became full with ghost hunters, sanitation commission workers, and both sides of the war North and South. It was a good time to leave for architecture.

Fort Necessity in the Laurel Highland's was beautiful. Again we were the only one's there. There was a rather large interactive museum for the tiny fort that is actually there and there is Washington's Tavern which is only open a few times a day with Ranger talks, but still pretty cool.
Kentuck Knob is a beautiful Usonian House. The grounds are also spectacular. One thing you learn is that rich people always get the best land. This house is owned privately by a British Noble, friend of Fergie and Diana, godfather to Fergie's kids. They no longer live here but live just below the knob. No photos are allowed in the house but no matter the grounds have a sculpture park and is just beautiful to walk around. The tour is great, well worth the trip alone. The gift shop and cafe is top notch as well.

We stayed at the Summit Inn which was very close. The Nemacolin is a five star resort in the area as well but we could not afford pure luxury. The Summit Inn was built in 1901 and was a resort destination back in the day. Worth staying here for the friendly service, the big porch with rockers looking down on Uniontown and  to the North Pittsburgh, and the large fireplace with chess. The rooms were clean and did the job but not luxurious, but one did not care since you did not want to stay in the room you wanted to go hang out in the hotel. We got on the early morning in-depth tour of Fallingwater because that is the only tour you get to see the whole house and are allowed to take pictures inside. The tour was great worth the extra money. See the great pictures on the slide show. The hiking was beautiful as well. Also hiked Cucumber Falls and the Ohiopyle after the house. The Laurel Highland's are low key, but that is what is nice about them, it makes you slow down and actually relax. Wonderful trip. I will add our itinerary.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Letter to the Boston Globe and the Mass Turnpike Authority:Massachusetts Turnpike Hiking tolls to pay off Bechtel

I am mad as Hell and I am not going to take it any more.

I am not going to Pay for Bechtel and the Pike’s misuse of funds resulting in death and debt, and Neither Should You! I do not use the Big Dig. I get off at the Allston/Cambridge Tolls from Framingham. Yet I will be hit twice paying for the Turnpike’s misuse of funds while we sit by and get fleeced again. The last raised hike on the tolls resulted in the back roads filling up to the point it was taking me two hours to go twenty miles into Boston. Taking the pike takes me now an hour. Yeah, can I spend more money to take me longer to get to work? Please can I?

Now with the “New” toll hike that they keep speaking about as if it is a done deal, it will take me even longer, both ways. What happened to No Taxation Without Representation? Yes they are having little meetings in the towns that they will completely disregard. Their rhetoric has already been put into the past tense. Today it came out that the forecast of windfall from this hike is actually more than they thought. But instead of lowering the fees they are going to apply it to their debt. First, that rhetoric states they are hiking the tolls regardless of any town meetings. Second, Maybe I can legally change my name to Bechtel Parson and murder someone through negligence and then have the Mass Turnpike Authority pay off my debts. Seriously with these hikes and having to go to work every day in Cambridge I am going to go into debt.

I suggest that before they hit the people creating industry and commerce in Boston (an economy), they should actually go after the people that stole the money in the first place, Bechtel. Oh and by the way, I grew up in Colorado where after a toll road is paid for, the toll booths go down. The toll is to get the original road created, not to create a huge bureaucracy around the road itself. I can not believe there is a Turnpike Authority, or that it can be so crappy as to allow such graft and death and yet everyone feels they are powerless to stop this mess. We must stand up and say NO!!! We don’t get to create phony taxes to pay off our debts why should they? Who are they, anyway? We are the citizens of this state and country, they work for us. We need to remember it and they need to remember it. Let’s get a backbone and fight this, it is not right that we are being put in the position of the victim to be bled once again. Go after the real criminals Bechtel and make the Turnpike Authority accountable for its misuse and mere existence.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

David Halberstam-R.I.P.

David Halberstam was truly the Best and the Brightest.

On reading his books years after the conclusion as well as the fruition of his subjects I was enlightened beyond my schooling and consciousness. His writing brought me to a mode of thought that allowed me to view the America I grew up in, in a very different and more substantial way.

I never met him but he is one of the few famous people I truly wish I could have had dinner with, because I think it would have been fun and worthwhile. If Vanloon's Lives was realized I think I would definately have a beer and a Redsox game waiting at my house for him so we could discuss everything. We have lost a great man and I am very sad I shall not be able to read anything more from him. This is a very sad day.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Justice in Our Hearts: Until the pardoning pen comes out for Libby

You know the scene in "The Verdict" where Paul Newman's character (Frank Galvin) with the most real human frailty ever depicted in cinema, confronts the jury and the world stating,"You know, so much of the time we're just lost. We say, "Please, God, tell us what is right; tell us what is true." And there is no justice: the rich win, the poor are powerless. We become tired of hearing people lie. And after a time, we become dead... a little dead. We think of ourselves as victims... and we become victims. We become... we become weak. We doubt ourselves, we doubt our beliefs. We doubt our institutions. And we doubt the law. But today you are the law. You ARE the law. Not some book... not the lawyers... not the, a marble statue... or the trappings of the court. See those are just symbols of our desire to be just. They are... they are, in fact, a prayer: a fervent and a frightened prayer. In my religion, they say, "Act as if ye had faith... and faith will be given to you." IF... if we are to have faith in justice, we need only to believe in ourselves. And ACT with justice. See, I believe there is justice in our hearts."

I want to thank the jury for not letting us as a people of these United States become powerless and weak. We all need a little more justice in our hearts.
Please look back to my string of tirades on this issue, sort of fun historical progression.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Your no Rock and Roll Fun!

It is and end of an era. Sleater Kinney will be no more as of August 11th. The world will be a sadder less rock filled place without them.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Save the Brattle!

So this is not political, like usual, but they are trying to close down the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square one of the last great picture show houses. If you have never been I suggest going. If you need a tax right off I suggest donating to the fund to save it They still show Boggie and BeCall movies. Oh, and Joe and I had our first date there, to go and see It's a Wonderful Life December 19, 1997. It would be sad to see it go.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Alfred Brendel is Joe's Father

After feasting on much steak, creamed spinach, and dirty martini's while watching the older business set woo young college girls at The Palm Joe and I walked to the BSO where we saw Alfred Brendel perform Mozart's Piano concerto in D. It was beautiful accept for after each break in the music. The whole of the concert hall would breakout in a loud and continuous death rattle of coughing.
The T ride home of course proved tedious yet oddly entertaining, as rich BU girls scantily clad in 10 degree weather complained of how cold they were and all the different countries they were going to get their boyfriend's, girlfriend's, and parent's to pay for them to visit. Not quite sure who this behavior is cute too? But, it must work since she "Sarah of the T ride" is going to Prague, then D.C., and Chile, and had several avid listeners and a whole train load of forced listeners. My favorite statement of the night " it is so cold! Cold like hell, wow it is so cold like hell". Not sure what our country or our religious teachings are coming to if people now think hell is cold. Or maybe she is just suffering malapropism and has confused hell freezing over for the proverbial hell as being an inferno. Well what do you expect from BU? A student from BU once came to me asking what "Nazis" stood for, since she did not believe her professor. I asked her what her professor had told her. She said," He told me it was a term that Churchill used in a speech and it stuck." So maybe these students are not to blame.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

The B-Side of things

Well I finally recovered from the month and a half long illness, no thanks to doctors, but to the glorious Alca Seltzer. Yes, the orange flavor really pulled me through. Since my illness though I have become a power house of productivity. I bought a house and got a new job. I am thinking this is the Spring of tiff. But some are saying the year. I am thinking I should start playing the lottery and go to Vegas before this streak ends. But it could possibly just be a trinity thing. Marriage, house, job and now there will be a long stretch of nothing. Off to the Symphony tonight to see James Levine. Very excited but wish we had an opera in town.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

State of the Tiffy is Bad

Yes, I have been sick for over a month. Could not breath head so congested I wanted to cut it off drain it and re-attach. I do not usually go to the doctor for "a cold" but this lasted for so very long and everyone around me said," Go get something that will make you feel better." I was none to sure that anything less than a sledge hammer to put me out of my misery would make me feel better. So here is it is, the best privitized medicine can buy.

Trips to doctor 2

Advice given to treat illnessby doctors:
-Take more vitamin C
-Stay away from children you are highly contagious
-You are on the mend don't worry
-Wow you look terrible
-yep, these viruses are tricky

Just want to say I did not come out of this feeling very optimistic that the medical profession has moved forward in any way. My mom can tell me to take more vitamin c. ANd if this is the best privatized health care has to offer then bring on socialized medicine. At least when they told me to take more vitamin C I would not be contemplating what meal I would have to cut this week to afford it.