Weekly Photo Challenge: A Good Match

February 24, 2017 — This week’s photo challenge is a good match.

The boats and boat houses along Boat House Row in Philadelphia.
The boats and boat houses along Boat House Row in Philadelphia.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadows

February 9, 2017 — This week’s photo challenge is shadow.

Shadows (or reflections) of the light houses on the water. Boat House Row, Philadelphia.
Shadows in living color (or reflections) of the boat houses on the water. Boat House Row, Philadelphia.












A lunchtime tourist in her own city: The Philadelphia Museum of Art

thJuly 23, 2013 – Paris has the Louvre. Rome has the Sistine Chapel. Philadelphia has The Museum of Art.

As one of the largest museums in the United States, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, an architectural wonder of Greek design that sits atop the Schuylkill River on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, is world-renowned, and can proudly stand among its fellow museums in Paris and Rome.

The main museum, visited by nearly one million people annually, contains more than 227,000 art objects from European, Asian and American paintings, prints, drawings, and other art forms. Exploring the museum takes more than one hour, but you could view a special exhibit in that period, which is why it made its way on to the lunchtime tourist list.

ladderThe museum has hosted many special exhibits through the years, including Cezanne, Dali, and Renoir to name a few. Two exhibits that I visited included Van Gogh and O’Keeffe. Last year’s “Van Gogh Up Close” was a remarkable sight, and the only American stop on a groundbreaking tour. What an honor for Philadelphia. A few years before, the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit gave me the chance to see one of my favorite paintings live, “Ladder to the Moon”, which she painted in 1958. It’s simple, but it makes me ever so happy.

This summer, the “Art Splash” exhibit invites you to channel your inner child. Through Sept. 2, the special exhibit features creations that appeal to both kids and adults, and brings interactive activities to the museum. One of those exhibits, “Candy Coated Wonderland”, is the brainchild of local Philly based artist Candy Depew, also known as Candy Coated. Her creations feature costumes from storybook characters; they can be seen on the mannequins throughout the exhibit, and also cover the walls and floor of the exhibit hall.

stepsFor those with a more serious take on art, there is plenty to explore in that venue. Go back to the middle ages with rooms of armor and weapons on display, along with paintings dating back to 1475. Or explore the wide halls and many rooms filled with priceless paintings, such as Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, or Monet’s Japanese Bridge and Water Lilies.

Perhaps you have a taste for pop culture. The museum can provide that fix, too, as the building featured prominently in the 1975 movie “Rocky”. The title character is shown running up the museum steps as part of his training routine, and dancing at the top its many steps with his fists high in the air. Philadelphia’s visitors and locals alike can be spotted doing the same in broad daylight or after a night on the town. After the movie, a bronze statue was commissioned of Rocky, and it sat at the foot of the museum until it was moved to a Broad Street location, where it rests among the sports stadiums that host the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers, and Sixers.

The grounds surrounding the museum are an artistic wonder in their own right. A stroll outside allows you to enjoy several pieces of outdoor modern art, the summer weather, and beautiful Boat House Row along Kelly Drive.

Check out the other options in the lunchtime tourist series. These excursions are perfect if you want to explore Philly on your lunch hour (and work downtown), or if you’re a visitor with an hour or so to spare.

Franklin Square
The Wanamaker Organ
The City Tavern and McGillin’s Olde Ale House
The Philadelphia History Museum
The Italian Market
The Reading Terminal Market

Jeweler’s Row
Old City

The best museums in the United States

September 10, 2012 – The summer may be winding down faster than we want to admit, and I hope the memories of how you celebrated the season – whether at a beach, lake, mountain resort, abroad or even in your own neighborhood, keep you warm through next spring.

If those summer plans included a road trip to one of this country’s many fine museums, here’s a link you may enjoy. Ranker.com lists the best museums in the United States, and I’m proud to say the museum in my own backyard, the wonderful Philadelphia Museum of Art places high on the list.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a great place to wander through on any given day, but Sundays are popular because you can pay what you want to get in. The museum features a wide range of art to please any taste — some pieces that are nearly 1,000 years old, right up to modern-day, and everything in between. 

It also hosts several special showings each year of works that tour the country and the world. Recently, it featured “Van Gogh Up Close”, which touted 30 paintings from the often-misunderstood artist, and was the only U.S. stop on a worldwide tour.

The coming months are a perfect time to visit the museum; afterwards you can stroll the lovely grounds and take in the fall foliage by Boat House Row and along Kelly Drive.

Spring at the cemetery

April 16, 2012 – If the title sounds a little like an oxymoron, you should know before you continue to read on that I believe cemeteries can be beautiful, peaceful places, and that they cry out to be visited, especially in the spring when life is beginning again. They are great places to walk alone with your thoughts and really put things into perspective. One glance at the picture below backs my theory.

I’ve always been fascinated by cemeteries, although I come from a family who doesn’t visit the graves of relatives. I used to enjoy walking through them as a child, reading the gravestones and wondering about the people buried beneath them and the stories they could tell. And as the years went on, that didn’t change.

After I saw the weekend weather report, I decided that Saturday would be a perfect day to visit Laurel Hill Cemetery, which describes itself as Philadelphia’s Underground Museum, with 78 acres rich with history and beautiful landscaping overlooking the Schuylkill River.

Laurel Hill, which dates back to America’s pre-Revolutionary War colonies, is one of the few cemeteries in the United States that carries the designation of a National Historic Landmark. It sits right off of Kelly Drive and its quaint Boat House Row, where it intersects with Ridge Avenue. It’s the final resting place for many famous Philadelphians, along with generals from the French and Indian Wars through the Civil War. Interestingly, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, I also learned that there are six passengers buried there.

The cemetery is open daily until dusk, and visitors are welcome to stroll the grounds on their own, or with a tour group. The grounds are popular with joggers, bicyclists, nature lovers, and amateur photographers like me. Here are other shots from my visit: