All posts tagged: Travel

Observations from the Road: The “How to Lose Your Vacation Zen and Regain Your Perspective (All in 30 Minutes)” Edition

You know you travel a great deal when your first day back from vacation includes leaving on a 3-day trip to Denver. That’s the situation I found myself in yesterday. I was determined to keep my vacation Zen (and motivation to exercise – but that’s another post) as I returned to work. Yet the travel gods were conspiring against me. Southwest Airlines decided to reset the preferences in their customers’ accounts a few weeks ago.  The result:  things like Known Traveler Numbers (which put you into TSA Pre-Check) and other preferences which get you into the “A” check-in group (and assured of an aisle seat) were lost.  In setting up this trip, we didn’t realize those weren’t in place until it was too late. Now you may be thinking, “David.  Suck it up.  Lots of folks go through the regular security lines.”  That’s true.  But if you do it 2-4 times a week, the thrill of taking off your shoes and belt, pulling out your laptop, and getting reprimanded because you don’t have your 3-oz. …

Touring Old Salem

Last weekend I had the chance to tour Old Salem while on a work trip to Winston-Salem.  It had been more than 10 years since I visited this historic home of the Moravians in North Carolina, and it was a great way to reconnect to this very historic – and special – place. I knew the day would be a treat when a long-time and dear friend, Martha Hartley, stepped on our bus with her husband Mo to give us the traditional Moravian escort from the boundaries of Wachovia.   Martha and I worked together in preservation many years earlier in Virginia, and I didn’t know she had been tapped as the organizer of the day’s tours.  Mo and Martha traded special insights back and forth about the founding of Salem, the impact of the landscape and waterways, and the practices of the Moravians. After the short organ recital on the David Tannenberg Organ by Janette Fishell (see my earlier post In Praise of Tracker Organs), we spent the rest of the morning touring the town, …

Sacred Places

After two wonderful days at the Grand Canyon, we headed out on Tuesday – but not before making a stop at Mary Colter’s beautiful Desert View Watchtower at the eastern entrance to the park.  Colter designed this gift shop and observation tower for the Fred Harvey Company in a way that appears to blend into the landscape.  She also brought in Hopi artist Fred Kabotie to paint the interior of the tower with symbols that depict various elements of Hopi mythology and religious ceremony.  There is a great reverence for the Native American culture here in Colter’s work.  Click on the link above for a description of the construction of the tower.  This structure is also featured on the beautiful cover photograph of my colleague Arnold Berke’s wonderful book on Mary Colter. After leaving the Grand Canyon, we headed to Utah, driving through the magnificent Monument Valley of Arizona and Utah.  Read the Wikipedia write up linked above to begin to understand the geological and tourism aspects of this wonderful place, but it is best understood …

Meteor Shower Over the Grand Canyon

We were fortunate to be staying at the Grand Canyon on the night of August 11-12, when the Perseids Meteor Shower took place over North America.  Had we been at home, we would have lamented the fact that we’d have to drive a long distance to get away from the city lights to hope to have a chance to see the meteors.  However, when Andrew saw a feature while checking his email yesterday, he stopped by the front desk to see if the park was planning anything special and yes! – we were going to be up at 2 a.m. checking out this celestial fireworks display. The Olympics have come along at a bad time for us, because we stayed up until 11:30 p.m. (local time) to see if the USA men’s gymnastic team would hang on to the silver team medal.  (They didn’t, losing in the last event and dropping to the bronze.)  So we got about 2 hours of sleep before the alarm went off, but everyone pulled themselves out of bed, put on …

A Magical Day at Acoma

Yesterday was magical for the Browns as we visited Acoma Sky City, the country’s oldest continuously inhabited community, on a splendid summer day.  Acoma Sky City is a National Trust for Historic Preservation Historic Site and one of this country’s very special places.  Rising early we arrived at the spectacular Sky City Cultural Center – a center that blends with the land and was designed only after the community held a series of focus groups with tribal members ranging from age 4 to 96.  Every detail at the center has been thoughtfully considered, and we received a top-to-bottom tour from Center Operations Director Randy Howarth.  Randy was our host for the day and saw to it that we got to experience all that Acoma had to offer. Acoma Sky City – the spiritual home of the pueblo – sits on the top of a 357 foot mesa.  We joined a tour group that included some bikers from Belgium who were riding Historic Route 66 from Chicago to LA.  After riding to the top of the mesa, …

Petroglyph National Monument

On our first day headed west, we spent most of the day in the air getting to Albuquerque, but did arrive in time to walk a bit around Old Town and then visit Petroglyph National Monument.  Our time in Old Town was spent eating some good New Mexican food and taking photographs.  We’ve included one below by Claire that we all enjoyed. After leaving Old Town, we drove out of Albuquerque a short way to visit the Petroglyph National Monument.  Most readers will know that Petroglyphs are Native American sacred art – images etched in stone that may date from 2,000 – 3,000 years ago according to the NPS brochure.  The landscape itself is amazing.  This is a 17 mile mesa created by volcanic eruptions which left striking basalt boulders.  The images were then etched into these boulders – some 20,000 in all with the majority made 400 to 700 years ago.  On our hike to the top of the mesa, we took countless close-ups of the petroglyphs.  These are wonderful works of art and we couldn’t …