This blog is the personal musings about travel from someone who has already spent 50+ years on this planet and is looking forward to the 2nd and 3rd halves of their life. My opinions are mine. I only link to articles I find interesting.
Sometimes, when I am walking through a museum I am inspired by a piece that I observe. Last month I visited the Whitney Museum here in New York City and found inspiration by two pieces that found there.
Perspective - inspired by Untitled by Laura Owens
Perspective is a funny thing Look closely at an object, and it is meaningless A piece of information cut off Floating in space Other objects float nearby Holding more information to observe each is totally incomprehensible On its own But step back Adjust your viewpoint And it all come together Then turn around find another place to stand and its meaning completely changes
Sunday Morning - inspired by Early Sunday Morning by Edward Hopper
It was early. He knew it because the sun was just coming up over the East River. But for him, it was late. His gig had ended at three, and then the band went to an after-hours to wind down. Now, here he was, making his way home while greeting the dawn.
As tired as he was, he loved this time of day. He had Seventh Avenue to himself. It was almost like all other people had been taken away, like a bad Twilight Zone episode. He could stand on the corner and lose track of where he was. The writing on the store windows becomes garbled and the street signs disappear. Was he in New York? Paris? Rome? He becomes lost in a day dream, standing still in the warmth of the rising sun, sending his shadow down the block.
SWISH! SWISH! RUMBLE! RUMBLE! His focus is brought back by the passing street sweeper. He shakes his head and picks up his horn.His bed is calling and the rising sun is saying good night.
Astoria Oregon sits in a beautiful and historic part of the
country. Nearby is the mouth of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean, where
you will find beautiful beaches and where the Lewis and Clark expedition spent
the winter of 1805-1806.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition, which had departed from
Missouri in the late spring
Statue of Sacagewea
of 1804, arrived at the Pacific Ocean on November
7, 1805. They decided to set camp near the Netul River, about five miles east
of the ocean. They chose this spot on the advice of the Clatsop Indians, who
lived in the area. The woods provided some shelter from the weather, and the
Netul River was a much calmer alternative to the Columbia River. The area had
plenty of deer, elk and fish for them to live on.
The expedition stayed built an enclosure to live in that they
named Fort Clatsop, in honor of the local tribe. The expedition stayed there
until March 23, 1806. They used this time to recover from various illnesses,
repair their canoes and restock food for the trip home. During their stay, the
local people visited almost every day to trade goods and help them explore the
The original buildings have decayed in the wet conditions of
the Pacific Northwest. In 1955, the state of Oregon recreated them fort and in
1958, the national monument was dedicated. A fire burned these buildings down
in 2005, but they were again built and rededicated in December 2006. The Fort
Clatsop National Memorial has a very informative visitor’s center. There are
displays outlining the history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and also of
the local peoples. There are also two historical films. The one I saw was a
very thoughtful film on Lewis and Clarks time here told through the eyes of the
native people who were here.
The Canoe Landing
It was Banana Slug season at Fort Clatsop
There are several hiking trails that start at the visitor’s
center. You can take a 13-mile roundtrip hike on the Fort to Sea trail. This
follows the trail from Fort Clatsop to Sunset Beach at the Pacific Ocean, where
members of the expedition had set up a salt refining site. They needed the salt
to prepare food for the trip back to the east. I chose a shorter hike, to the
Canoe Landing. This is a highly developed trail from the visitor’s center to
the Lewis and Clark River (originally the Netul). It is easy to see why the
members of the expedition chose this sheltered area over the open shores of the
The Beach at Fort Stevens State Park
If you want to spend time at a Pacific Ocean Beach on your
visit, there are many choices. One is the Fort Stevens State Park. This state-run
recreation area sits at the extreme north-west corner of the state of Oregon,
right at the mouth of the Columbia River. Fort Stevens served as a guard to the
Columbia River from the Civil War until the end of World War II. Today it is a
4300-acre park that includes a fresh water swimming lake, beaches, a nine-mile
bicycle path, nature viewing and both camping and cabin facilities for
If camping is not your style head further south to the towns
of Seaside and Cannon Beach. Seaside is a resort town with 6500 year-round
residents, and several large hotels and condominiums right along the beach. Its
cement boardwalk offers beautiful views of the beach. There are many activities
for visitors, including an aquarium and a convention center.
Lewis and Clark at Seaside OR
Further south is the town of Cannon Beach. This community is
1500 residents is named for a cannon from the sunken sloop, the US Shark. The
cannon washed ashore in 1846. Cannon Beach has a different feel than Seaside.
Its buildings are smaller, and the area closest to the beach is filled with
shops selling everything from touristy tchotchkes to fine art.
This is the last of my pieces from my recent trip to the
Pacific Northwest. I hope that my blog has given my readers a reason to explore
the area beyond Seattle and Portland when you visit.
Getting There from
Fort Clatsop – Head west on Marine Drive. Follow
signs for U.S. 101 south. Travel 3 miles, then turn left onto Buisiness-101.
After 1.5 miles, turn right onto Fort Clatsop Road. The Fort Clatsop NM is 0.75
ahead on the left.
Fort Stevens State Park
– Head west on
Marine Drive. Follow signs for U.S. 101 South. After 3 miles turn right onto E.
Harbor St. After 1.3 miles turn left onto N. Main Street (WA 104S). Go 0.5
miles and turn right onto SW 9th street. Go 1 mile and turn right
onto NW Ridge Road. Ridge Road will tale you into the park.
Seaside and Cannon
Beach OR – Take
Marine Drive west. Follow signs for U.S. 101 south. Seaside is 17 miles from
Astoria. Cannon Beach is 26 miles from Astoria.
If you throw 4 or 5 pieces of art into a room and call it a
museum I will probably stop in and see it. So, on my one day in Norfolk VA I
decided to visit the Chrysler Museum of Art. It is a lot more than just 5 pieces
of art, and well worth the trip.
Wlater P Chrysler - Harris & Ewing, photographer via wikicommons
The Chrysler Museum was founded by Walter Chrysler Jr., the
son of the car magnate. In 1971 he merged his collection with that of the
Norfolk Museum of the Arts and Sciences. He chose Norfolk because it was the
hometown of his wife, Jean Esther. The museum sits at the head of The Hague, an inlet that serves as the
border to the Ghent District, an area of historic homes, mostly built between
1890 and 1902. The main building opened in the 1920’s and was renovated and expanded,
reopening in 2014.
The permanent collection of the Chrysler is an excellent
survey of art history, ranging from Greek/Roman statuary to contemporary art,
with excellent examples from the entire history. There are also collections of
Asian, Egyptian and African art.
Art of Life in America by Thomas Hart Benton (top) and American Beauty by Walt Kuhn
What is most impressive to me is the organization of the
display of the art-work and the thought that has gone into the writing of
labels throughout the museum. Galleries are not just organized by genre or era,
but also with thought to connecting historical themes. Landscapes or portraits
of a given era, if not the same genre, are displayed together in the same
gallery. What I really loved were the labels written for almost every piece. In
addition to the name of the work and artist, they included additional
information about the style, genre or history of the piece. There are also
explanatory videos placed near some pieces that the curatorial staff feel need
Museum Entrance Hallway
MacPherson and MacDonald by Gari Melchors
Soldiers Wives Waving Goodbye by Kathe Kollwitz
This care in arrangement and labeling is just as evident in
the two special exhibits at the museum. Highest
Heavens is a collection of European style art from the Spanish and
Portuguese colonies in the Americas from the 16th and 17th
centuries. Art of the Revolution
consists of photo and posters from China created during the 1960’s and 70’s. In
both displays the works are organized by themes, Angels or The Virgin Mary in
Highest Heavens; military or cultural posters in Art of the Revolution. Here,
again, the labels are fully explanatory, and in Highest Heaven they are in both
English and Spanish.
Astoria, Oregon, started as a fishing and cannery town. Today
it is an art and culture center. It is home to several museums and galleries
exploring its history and arts scene. Here are some of my favorites.
The Oregon Film
Over the years, may films have been made in Oregon. They are
memorialized at the Oregon Film
Museum. The museum is located behind the county court house, in what used
to be the County Jail. The have left the cells in place, partly because the
jail played a role in Astoria’s most famous film – Goonies. Each cell is filled
with memorabilia from a different movie. There is also the opportunity to film
yourselves in key scenes from Oregon films. There are props, green screens and
cameras available, ready to catch your acting skills for prosperity.
The Goonies Crew
The Museum of Whimsy
Trish Bright is a collector. She has collections of many
things that have caught her eye over the years. Head dresses, costumes, and
dolls are just a few of the items that you will find in her Museum of Whimsy.
When Ms. Bright and her husband moved to Astoria, they
purchased the 1924 bank building in downtown, and turned it into a catering
hall. After several years they decided to close that business. Having this
wonderful space, and a vast collection of items, they created the museum. Today
it houses Ms. Bright’s eclectic, and growing collection. When arrive at the
museum, there are rooms on either side of the entrance way. One houses a
collection of African art, the other aviation related materials. Entering the main
room, you may find your breath taken away. There
is so much to see, that it is
hard to figure out which way to go first. There are dolls, and antique dresses.
Paintings and toys. Just about anything that you could imagine is represented
somewhere in the museum. The Museum of Whimsy is two floors and thousands of
items, all designed to put a smile on your face.
Bag Lady by Mario Rivoli
The Columbia River
By Steve Morgan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
The gem of Astoria’s museums is the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Its beautiful building
houses a collection that explores the history of navigation on the Columbia
River, as well as the science of weather forecasting, a major factor in
Founded in 1962, the museum was originally housed in Astoria’s
old Town Hall. In 1982, it moved to its current location, on the banks of the
Columbia River. Its new building comes thanks to a major renovation in 2002.
Begin your visit with the Hurricane 3-D film. You will get to
see how a small weather disturbance over the Serengeti Desert in Africa grows
to become a category 5 hurricane over the Caribbean. After the film enter the
main hall of the museum, home to several retired boats that have sailed the Columbia.
In other galleries you can follow a Coast Guard rescue crew as they work
against time to save the sailors on a fishing
boat in distress. You can try
your skill at navigating a freighter up the Columbia River, or you can learn
about the tools used to forecast weather and try your hand it. When you are
done inside the museum, don’t forget to visit the Light Ship Columbia docked
next door. The Light Ship was anchored off shore from 1959 until 1979 to help
ships navigate the dangerous Columbia Sand Bar.
The Oregon Film Museum – 723 Duane Street. $6 – Adults/ $2 –
The Museum of Whimsy – 1215 Duane Street. $5 – Adult/$10 –
The Columbia River Maritime Museum – 1792 Marine Drive - $14 –
Adults/$12 – Seniors/$5 – Children. 3-D movie - $5.