.All Trips / Massachusetts / North America / Northeastern USA

Over There! A look at World War I through Poster Art

IMG_3314 By L.A. Schaffer

While visiting Boston this past spring I encountered intense wintery weather that made me focus most of my free time on indoor activities, rather than strolling through the interesting streets of this historic city.  I enjoyed these days and visited some wonderful sites that I hope to share with you in the coming months.

A highlight was a fascinating day spent at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, a large yet “manageable” collection.  Among the many excellent displays at the museum was a temporary exhibit of World War I art.  Propaganda pieces really, mostly from the USA but also from Europe and Russia, many beautifully crafted, some quite familiar.

It’s been a century since World War I — among the bloodiest …

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.All Trips / Hawaii / North America

Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park (The Place of Refuge), Big Island of Hawaii


Perhaps the best place on the Big Island to enjoy a sunset (from many great possibilities), Pu’uhonua o Honaunau (the Place of Refuge) is a remarkable destination.  This is a National Historic site which should be near the top of things NOT to be missed by anyone visiting the Big Island.

The Pu’uhonua o Honaunau was built by the Hawaiian people as a sanctuary and place of safety.  Any commoner one who had broken one of the many laws (known as kapu) of their society could try to go here to be safe (although people would be trying to stop them as they tried to get to the place of refuge).  No blood could be shed or people arrested within …

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.All Trips / Hawaii / North America

A visit to the Greenwell Coffee Farm, Kona

08 Greenwell Coffee Plantation

Kona coffee is world famous for its full-bodied, non-bitter, bold flavor.  Hard to put the taste into words, but it’s good coffee!  The micro-climate just south of Kona, around 1000 – 2000 ft above sea level, is perfect for growing coffee beans.  The volcanic soil is fertile, the days sunny and warm, the nights cooler, and with frequent light afternoon showers — exactly what coffee thrives on!

Coffee grows on small trees, generally trimmed to bush size.  It’s a fruit known as a cherry which is red when ripe.   Much smaller than the bing cherries you buy in the store, the pulp of the coffee cherry is scanty but sweet — quite tasty and rich in antioxidants.  Most of the …

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.All Trips / South Carolina / Southeastern USA

Signs of Charleston

23 Signs of Charleston

I enjoy looking at small things in places I visit, such as the signage of a city.  Among the best urban walks in North America is the area “South of Broad” in beautiful historic Charleston, past wonderful old mansions, most meticulously and loving preserved.  There are some businesses here, but most of the businesses are “North of Broad”.  This photo gallery has an assortment of signs that I found interesting in the city.  I hope you enjoy it.


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.All Trips / Alberta / Central Canada / North America

Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, Lethbridge

01b Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge.  Pavilion

I’m fond of visiting gardens and enjoy their beauty and tranquility.  This seems especially true of the Japanese Gardens I’ve visited, which combine the various elements — carefully pruned trees and shrubs, flowing and still water, and meticulously positioned rocks — in a balanced and pleasing manner.

One of the last places I expected to find a beautiful Japanese Garden was on the vast Canadian prairies, specifically in the small city of Lethbridge, Alberta.   The Nikka Yuko garden opened in 1967 as part of Canada’s 100th birthday celebration.  The garden covers just 4 acres in Henderson Park, but seems larger.  It was built to recognize the contributions of the Japanese community to Lethbridge, and as a symbol of international friendship …

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.All Trips / Europe / France

Paris’ amazing Orsay Museum

16 Paris 05-2013.  A day at the Orsa

The Orsay Museum is one of my favorite places in Paris!  It has a great location, situated on the Seine River in the center of the city, across from the Tuileries Garden.  The museum was built as the Orsay railway station (Gare), opening in 1900 for the Universal Exhibition.   By 1939 the station’s short platforms had become unsuitable for the longer trains that were then being used and it was largely abandoned.  In 1970, permission was granted to demolish the station but it was saved with the hope that it could be converted to a hotel.   The need for an art museum to house Paris’ extensive collections of Impressionist art sparked the idea to convert the Orsay into a National …

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.All Trips / British Columbia / North America / Western Canada

A visit to Skeedans, Haidi Gwaii

QCI Skeedans 2003 044  Skeedans Island Totems and Guardians

One of the most memorable day-trips I’ve ever been on was to the remnants of the Haida village of Skedans.  It’s a remote and rarely visited place.  Sadly, not much remains of the village, captured near its prime in the image below this paragraph (from 1878), rich with great totem art and beautiful longhouses.

1878 photo of Skedans village.  Courtesy the Library and Archives of Canada

1878 photo of Skedans village. Courtesy the Library and Archives of Canada

Skedans is located on the northeastern shore of Louise Island, at the head of Cumshewa Inlet in Haida Gwaii (formerly called the Queen Charlotte Islands), off the coast of North Central British Columbia just south of the Alaska panhandle.  That sounds really confusing, so to help you better orient yourself to this remote place, here are a few maps I think will help:

Overview of Haida Gwai's location

Overview of Haida Gwai’s location


Location of totems and old Haida villages, Haida Gwaii

Location of totems and old Haida villages, Haida Gwaii

Skedans is also known variously …

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.All Trips / Nevada / North America / Southwestern USA

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Valley of The Fire StateP Park  (122)

Tired of the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas?  Had enough of the concrete canyons and smoked filled casinos of Sin City?  Not sure if it’s day or night (there are no clocks allowed in Vegas casinos)?  Then you should do what I do as often as I can when I visit Vegas — make a trip to Valley of Fire State Park and escape into the beautiful desert world that comprises much of Nevada.  No neon lights, no massive buffets, no dancing fountains (in fact, little water anywhere)!  Beyond usual Mojave desert landscapes, Valley of Fire has wonderful and interesting rock formations that alone are worth the journey. The park is is located 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Las Vegas and …

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