Sunday, April 14, 2019

Ghost Town

About 50 miles east of Phoenix is an old ghost town that has been turned into a tourist attraction.  It's called Goldfield which is the same name it had when it was a booming gold mining town back in 1890.

Back in those days, it was large enough to have 3 saloons, 1 boarding house, a general store, blacksmith, brewery, meat market and school house.

When the gold vein faulted, the town started to die.  There was a slight resurgence between 1910 and 1926 but soon after that, everyone had left.

Today, most of the buildings have been reconstructed and serve different purposes.  The Bordello to the right is a gift shop, the saloon in the top photo is a restaurant serving steaks and burgers and the jail is just for show.

I was there on a Sunday and I saw lots of people coming out of the church so I thought they might have services but, I couldn't find anything like that on the web site.  However, the church does have an organ and pulpit so it's set to go.

There is even a gallery with art from local artists available. If you see those rugged Superstition Mountains behind the gallery, you can see there is a lot of subject matter for artists to work with in this area.  Goldfield Ghost Town is a fun place to visit and if you live somewhere in the Phoenix area, it's a nice weekend day trip.  You can even tour the gold mine or pan for gold.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Memorable Meals in NYC

Dining at new places is part of the fun of any travel experience and while visiting New York City last fall, I took full advantage of the bountiful opportunities the city has to offer.  And, it all started on the day of our arrival.  My friends and I stayed at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square and the hotel just happens to have a fine restaurant on one of the top floors appropriately called The View.

I started my little vacation in style with steak and lobster and I ended the meal with a smashing dessert in which chocolate was the star.  Chocolate ice cream and chocolate mousse inside a shell of white chocolate.  It was delicious and gone before I left the table.

All the while we were dining, the revolving restaurant was giving us panoramic views over the city.

At the Morgan Library, my friend and I had a light lunch of cheese and crackers and delicious deviled eggs.  It was just the right amount before and evening of theatre and late dining.

I wish I had thought to take a picture of the food at Carmine's near Times Square.  I think I was too much in shock after the food arrived at our tiny table for two and there was enough food to feed six.  We could have given everyone at the bar a piece of garlic toast if they'd wanted it but, it seems they were all dealing with their own huge portion of food.  I will say the lasagna was fantastic and if I had been at home, the left-overs would have fed me for two more days.

My favorite place was JoJo on 64th Street.  It's a wonderful restaurant owned by renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.  We had some amazing appetizers like the Spicy Yellowfin Tuna Tartare Lettuce Cups and the Crab Dumplings in a Meyer Lemon-Celeriac infusion with Ginger.  The flavors were wonderful.

For my entree I had the Crispy Skin Organic Chicken with Lemon and Olive Oil Potatoes.  To me, it was perfection.  I failed to take a picture of the outside of the restaurant but if you click this link, it's the first thing you see on their website.

Another memorable meal was our lunch at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  It was in the beautiful main dining room and I have to say, the meal was very impressive.  My friend Glenda had the cheese souffle and I had the Ahi Tuna salad.

The dessert was a show stopper for me.  It was concord grape creme brûlée and it was delicious.  I never would have even thought about making a grape flavored creme brûlée but now that I've experienced it, I may give it a try.

The main dining room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a beautiful space that has a certain old world charm and a fabulous view over Central Park.  We were lucky enough to have a table by the window.

This last meal was at a restaurant called Sistina and it was located near the Met on 81st Street.  This was definitely a place where movers and shakers dine.  Even though we didn't see anyone we recognized, there was a strong feeling of being in a room of well heeled individuals.  We topped our meal here with a chocolate shuffle and several little cookies to go with it.

the dining room at Sistina was elegance through and through.  So there are my favorite meals while in New York City. The next time in the city, I'll go to JoJo again and I'll enjoy the dining room at the Met again.  In fact, my friend Julie went back there with her husband Dave just a few weeks ago when they were in NYC on business.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

LACMA Inside and Out

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, or simply LACMA has been located on Wilshire Boulevard since 1965.  Architecturally, it has gone through a number of changes and expansions over the years but, its position in Los Angeles has remained the same.  When I get a chance to visit, I enjoy walking between the two buildings and admiring the colorful design of the modern art wing.

The series of stairs, escalators and platforms make think of a huge carnival ride.  The top is a great place to look out over the Hollywood Hills and.....

....maybe get a glimpse of that famous Hollywood sign!

When I was there last summer, I specifically wanted to see the David Hockney exhibit called "82 Portraits and 1 Still Life" that I wrote about last year.  Once I had taken in all those colorful portraits, I moved on to some other exhibits like this one called "50 Kitchens" by Mark Grotjahn.  Being in the two rooms with the 50 dynamic colored-pencil, geometric drawings can make one feel a bit dizzy if you move around them too fast.  Each one was made with two different colors for the background and lines.  They quickly became a magnet for selfie photos.  Imagine someone standing in front of this painting and letting those lines radiate out from behind.

Not being much of a "selfie" taker myself, I left that to the younger set.

I also visited Richard Serra's wonderful sculpture called "Bond" once again.  Serra spent most of his career examining humanity's metaphysical bond with physical space.  I'm not sure about the metaphysical part, but I love the smooth lines and the sheer size of this monumental piece of steel.  I love walking around it and inside it.

When I cross that center walkway between the two buildings, I can't pass up another opportunity to snap photos of Chris Burden's "Urban Light" assemblage.  It's located right on Wilshire Boulevard so you don't even need to enter the museum to enjoy this brilliant piece.

Inside the Ahmanson Building, there was another interesting exhibit called "To Rome and Back".  I sat for a while on that bench and studied "Stair and Fountain in the Park of a Roman Villa " by Hubert Robert.  It's based on the real Villa d'Este.

You can't tell from this photo that this is a micro mosaic and not a painting.  In fact, I had to get very close to it to see the tiny chips of marble.  No artist was given for this amazing piece.

I'll end this series with this photo from a few years ago on a visit when I had dinner at the museum and so got to see "Urban Lights" all lit up.  The museum might be closed but, this piece is still drawing crowds.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Helicopter to Sedona

A few years ago, I took a helicopter ride from Wickenburg Arizona to Sedona for lunch at the Sedona airport.  Two friends joined me for the trip so that we could view that wonderful red-rock scenery from the air.

After lifting off from the Wickenburg air field, we started to pass over rolling hills of the Wickenburg Mountains and we could see bits of the Hassayampa River.

It wasn't long before we were seeing the mountains ahead of starting to turn that rusty color that the Sedona area is known for.

As we got closer, the red color was becoming stronger.

When we turn over the hills, we start to see the crags and canyons.

We made a wide turn over the city of Sedona and looked down over the houses, businesses and roads of the town.

Finally, we made our approach over the beautiful red mesas to land at the Sedona airport.  

We had a lovely lunch at the restaurant at the airport and then we flew back to Wickenburg, this time getting an even closer view of the Hassayampa River.  It was one of those once in a lifetime experiences.  I've enjoyed the beauty of Sedona on many occasions but viewing it from the air was something special.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Monsoon on the Southern Border

A few years ago, I took a road trip down to our southern border with Mexico during the monsoon month of July.  One of the places I stopped was a small town called Sonoita which happens to be the gateway to the southern Arizona wine country.  Heading into the town, I stopped to admire the cowboy on the hill.  This sculpture is called "Gathering Strays" and it was created by sculptor and Sonoita resident Deborah Copenhaver Fellows.

The summer months bring the desert monsoon season and while that results in a few storms where I live in Phoenix, the southern Arizona area sees a lot more storm activity.  While I was there in July, every afternoon brought dark clouds and rain.

The vistas in this part of the state are breathtaking with rolling hills dotted with a cattle ranches and windmills.  The dramatic monsoon skies only enhance the scenes.

You know you are close to the border with Mexico when you see huge parking facilities for border patrol vehicles.  Since I had already passed at least six of them on the highway coming into town, I was surprised to see this many parked at the Sonoita Border Patrol Station.

I was headed a mile or so southeast of the city to visit a few of the vineyards when I saw another Statue on the opposite edge of town.  This one is a tribute to Sonoita ranchers and it was created by the same artist I mentioned above.

The road passed many vineyards and several tasting rooms.  I was there on a week day so some of the tasting rooms I passed were not open.  I soon learned that this area gets most of it's traffic on the weekends so many of the wineries only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

I was on the lookout for Sonoita Vineyards, one that I knew would be open, when I found the entrance leading up a very long driveway.  The look of snake-like drive topped by a two story building and three trees had me pulling over the take a few photos.

And, as I got to the top of the hill, I saw a horse-drawn cart taking quite a few people for a ride over the hills and to the edge of the vineyard.  They appeared to having a good time in spite of the occasional sprinkles of rain.