My visit to the Edison Ford Winter Estates was a last minute decision designed to fill time while visiting my in-laws in Florida. Since I hadn’t done any research in advance, all I expected to see was a few historical homes, and maybe an antique car or two. It turns out, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison bought these neighboring homes on the Caloosahatchee River in the late 1920s to work with Henry Firestone on a very specific project. They were concerned with the Unites States’ dependence on foreign rubber, and were determined to find a plant that could be cultivated in the US, allowing for the production of domestic rubber. They constructed a laboratory on the land shared by Edison and Ford, and brought in plants from all over the world to test. Eventually they discovered a plant, goldenrod, that would work. Today the homes on the estate are preserved, along with the laboratory and 21 acre botanical garden created from all of the plants that were tested during the project. There is also a …
As Charlotte slowly thaws out from winter, I’m looking back at some of the places I explored last year, and planning new excursions. Around this time last year, I visited Körner’s Folly, a historical home in North Carolina in the midst of a renovation. It was a fascinating visit, and I’m looking for more places like it to see this year. So far I have my eye on a massive greenhouse, a few battlefields, and the glaciers in Alaska. Stay tuned!
Love is never defeated, and I could add, the history of Ireland proves it. Pope John Paul II
By the time this is posted New Years Eve celebrations will be well underway around the world, and no song will be more played during them than Auld Lang Syne. Originally a Scottish poem set to the tune of a traditional folk song, it became a Scottish tradition to sing on New Years Eve, funerals, and at the close of other events. As Scots emigrated to other parts of the world, they took the tradition with them. Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians played Auld Lang Syne at Times Square from 1939-1977, and is credited by many with popularizing the tradition in the US. His version is still played in Times Square after the ball drops every year.
There is only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous. -Napoleon Bonaparte
Growing up a town over from Plymouth, Massachusetts, I spent a lot of time in elementary school learning about the Pilgrims. Their perilous trip across the Atlantic in Mayflower, surviving disease in the first few months of arriving in America, and finally establishing Plymouth as a colony. Although Plymouth is known for being the settlement of the Pilgrims, it also has a local reputation for being home to one of the most disappointing historical sites in New England. Plymouth Rock, to be specific. Named the official landing place that the Pilgrims stepped on when they came ashore by Elder Thomas Faunce in 1741, (121 years after the Pilgrims arrived!) the rock has been moved, broken, and chipped away at before finally being returned to its original place on the waterfront and covered by a granite canopy. It is now half buried by sand and frequently covered by the high tide, disappointing visitors who come expecting a huge stone slab, and look down to find an unimpressive stone marker. If you ever visit Plymouth, there is …
I’m heading home to Massachusetts this weekend for the Thanksgiving holiday, and am planning on visiting as many of my favorite places as possible during the week I am there. One of those is is the wildlife refuge that I used to live a few minutes away from in Taunton, Ma. A quiet park with trails and a boardwalk along the river, it was the perfect place for summertime strolls and appreciating the local fall foliage.
I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death. -Leonardo da Vinci
Eccentric and secret genius that he was, Bosch not only moved the heart, but scandalized it into full awareness. The sinister and monstrous things that he brought forth are the hidden creatures of our inward self-love: he externalizes the ugliness within, and so his misshapen demons have an effect beyond curiosity. We feel a hateful kinship with them. The Ship of Fools is not about other people. It is about us. Wendy Beckett The Story of Painting
If you owe someone an apology, tell them you are sorry today. If someone asks for your forgiveness, forgive them. Start being the person you always wanted to be today and don’t waste your time worrying about tomorrow.” Mary Kate McErlean Her Father was killed on 9/11 when she was 8 years old. Read her full essay here.