Showing posts with label travel photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel photography. Show all posts

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Review of A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
Scene from Port Clyde Area

For my book  club, we just read A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline.  I knew it was historical fiction and that it took place in Maine, but it wasn't until I started reading that I realized I had been to all of the small towns that were mentioned in the book.  I find it delightful to be able to picture the area that the story take place.  The photo above is one that I took on my visit.

The Book

I had read books by Christina Baker Kline before and really enjoy her writing style.  She wrote The Orphan Train and Sweetwater both books I would highly recommend.  So, I started A Piece of the World with high expectations and I was not disappointed.  Christina Baker Kline has a way of bringing you into her book and making you feel empathy with her characters.

Although this book is a work of fiction, the major characters are all real people and the author did a lot of  research into the characters and the area to give a realistic view.  The book is based on a painting by artist Andrew Wyeth  Christina's World , and in particular about the life of Christina.
The author alternates between describing Christina's early life in the early 1900's to describing her life when Andrew Wyeth is painting her in the mid 1900's.  Christina leads a simple and hard life on a farm in a remote area of Maine.  She grows up with her parents and three brothers on the family farm overlooking the bay.  Although it sounds like a beautiful setting the work is hard without any of the conveniences of modern day.  They have no electricity or indoor plumbing and Christina has a debilitating disease that makes it hard for her to move around.  Despite this she manages to do her chores and eventually take care of the household.

In her late teens and early twenties Christina meets some summer people who visit the coast each summer and we hear of her friends and love interest from Boston.

Later in life the painter Andrew Wyeth summers in the area and uses the upstairs rooms in Christina's home to paint.  Christina becomes friends with Andrew and his wife Becky and he is the one person that seems to understand things from Christina's point of view.

I found this to be a very intriguing book that really makes you consider life's choices.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. 

Amazon Links to the Book and the Painting


Rockland and Port Clyde Area Today

I have written about the Rockland and Port Clyde area in two different posts.  This post is primarily about lighthouses in the area and was written on my lighthouse blog.
Mid-Coast Maine Lighthouses

I've also written a post on Review This about the area Review of Port Clyde Maine

Today Andrew Wyeth's son is a prominent local artist.  There is a gallery just above the General Store that displays his works along with some of his fathers.
Photos of the Area
Here are some photos I took of the area around Port Clyde.  I found it to be very picturesque.

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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Photographing Plymouth Harbor

Happy Thanksgiving from the staff of Review This.  Today's post is a bit of history and photography from the site of the first Thanksgiving.

Plymouth Massachusetts is a delightful harbor town on the shores of Cape Cod Bay. It is located 40 miles south of Boston.  I'd like to share some of my photos of the harbor with you but first let's review a bit of the history of this historic town.  

History of Plymouth

The colony of Plymouth (first called Plimouth) was established in late 1620 when the Mayflower landed in this area on the shores of Cape Cod Bay.  These early settlers from England were called Pilgrims and had embarked on the new country to escape the religious beliefs of the Church of England.  

They landed in Cape Cod in December and were not prepared to handle the harsh New England winters.  Their first year was very rough and they survived with the help of friendly Indians.  After surviving the first year they had a celebration to thank God for protecting them during the first year.  This celebration is considered the First Thanksgiving Feast.

Photograph of Plymouth Harbor Today

As I walked along this historic harbor I was struck by all the little everyday features of this small town.  Yes, there are the tourist attractions like Plymouth Rock (really only a rock engraved with 1620) and other sites of interest throughout the town, but I wanted to concentrate my photography on the features of the harbor and the docks.

Here are a few of the photos the depict the harbor on the June afternoon when I visited.  It includes a replica paddleboat for tourists along with items that represent the lobster trade that is popular today.

Zazzle Products from  my Photos

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Explore St Louis-The Old Courthouse

In this post I will give you a pictorial review of the Old Courthouse in St. Louis Missouri. 

History of Old Courthouse

First I'd like to give you a very brief history of the Old Courthouse.  In 1816 land was donated for a courthouse in St.  Louis.  This land is just west of the St. Louis riverfront.  A federal style brick courthouse was first built on the site in 1828.  By the mid 1830's St. Louis had already outgrown this courthouse.  In 1839 construction began on the current courthouse which incorporated the original courthouse as part of the east wing.  Other revisions have been made to the courthouse over the years and the courts remained in the building until 1930.  In 1935 the courthouse became a National Monument and today it hosts many visitors.   The view below is from the southwest.

Important Events at Old Courthouse

There have been many important decisions made and events happening at the Old Courthouse.
Two of the most well known include:

  • 1847 and 1850  Dred and Harriet Scott sued for their freedom.
  • 1872  Virginia Minor sued for the right to vote.
Both of these cases ended up going to the Supreme Court and lost.  But they are both considered to be key  turning points in history.

Prior to the Civil war slaves were sold on the courthouse steps. See the plaque below along with  two photos depicting the Dred Scott case.

Photographing the Old Courthouse

I was able to go down to the Old Courthouse on two different occasions in September and was able to photograph the Old Courthouse from different angles.  The photo below shows the courthouse in a distance as I was walking through the park just west of the courthouse.
In 1965 the opening of the Gateway Arch changed the landscape of downtown St. Louis.  Since that time a popular photo of the Old Courthouse is one where it is framed by the arch as you see in the photo below.
On my second visit during September to photograph down by the arch and courthouse we arrived before sunrise and were able to get some photographs in the early morning light.

Zazzle Items from my Photographs

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Reviewing & Photographing The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott, Arkansas

The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott, Arkansas

Reviewing & Photographing The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott, Arkansas
The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott, Arkansas
Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
Touring and photographing Ernest Hemingway's "home" and studio in Piggott, Arkansas was a fabulous way to spend a day, and a wonderful memory.  The house actually belonged to the Pfeiffer family, but it was "home" to Hemingway when he was in Piggott.

I admit, while I have read several books by Ernest Hemingway, he is far down my list of favorite authors, but he is on the list.  He is also one of my husband's favorite authors.   When we discovered we could tour his home in Arkansas, we were definitely up for the adventure.  

Prior to visiting The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum, I didn't know a lot about Hemingway's personal life.  I was in for a lot of shocking details!  We were basically given a private tour of the home and our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable.  Because we were the only two people there, we asked lots of questions and I had plenty of opportunities to take pictures.   Expecting to be in for a real treat, I had packed two cameras and all of my lenses.  I am really glad I did.  It turned out that I needed them all to get the shots I wanted! 

The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum Home in Poggott, Arkansas - Ernest Hemingway - Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse

Ernest Hemingway & Pauline Pfeiffer

Reviewing & Photographing The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott, Arkansas
Ernest Hemingway & Pauline Pfeiffer
Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
Our guide give us a great deal of historical detail.  It was clear that she greatly admired Pauline Pfeiffer.  She bragged to us about how Pauline Pfeiffer was a journalist for Vogue magazine in Paris, France.  It was there that Pauline met Ernest Hemingway and his wife.  According to our guide, Hemingway was immediately enamored with Pfeiffer and they engaged in an affair.  When Hemingway told his wife that he was in love and wanted to marry Pauline, she suggested that he take some time to think about it.  If he wanted a divorce so he could marry Pfeiffer, she would grant him the divorce.  And, so it was...

Pauline and Ernest married in France that following spring.  When Pauline discovered she was pregnant, they moved to Piggott, Arkansas to live with Pauline's family and to await the birth of their child.  That home is now a part of  The Hemingway-Pfeiffer museum.  It is also the place where Hemingway wrote parts of "A Farewell to Arms" in the barn studio located on the property.  

The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum House & Home

Reviewing & Photographing The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum
Stickley Chair in The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum
Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse

By today's standards, you might not think the house is very big.  However, I have no doubt it was considered quite large in Piggott during the late 20's & 30's when the wealthy Pheiffer family owned it.  

Much of the furniture in the home today, was furniture owned by the Pfeiffers and in use when Hemingway was there.  That alone, makes the tour very interesting.  I could easily imagine Ernest Hemingway sitting in this front room with a romantic fire.

Apparently, the Pheiffers loved Stickley furniture as much as we do!  This is the front room on the right as you enter the Pfeiffer home.

If you look carefully, you will see that the photo of Ernest & Pauline is sitting on the end table.  Of course, I had to take a close-up photo of the couple.

 Reviewing & Photographing The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott, Arkansas
Front Room of The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum
Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse

On the left, as you enter the home, is a grand piano.  The comfortable chair would certainly be inviting to sit and listen to an accomplished pianist.  

Photos from The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum taken by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
The Grand Piano in The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum
Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse

The stairs to the bedrooms is directly across from the front door.  You could literally run through the front door and up the stairs if you desired.  Again, I could easily imagine Ernest Hemingway doing that very thing.  Then calling out to Pauline as he reached the landing at the top of the stairs, all excited about news of a new hunt.

Reviewing & Photographing The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum
Stairs in The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum Home
Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse

The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
Top of the Stairs at The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Home
Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse

Prayer Room in The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum

I found it extremely interesting the Pauline Pfeiffer's mother, Mary Pfeiffer, had a prayer room in her home.  Our guide explained that Mary required a prayer room since there was no Catholic church close by to attend and she was a devout Irish Catholic.  

The existing prayer room was set up to look like Mary Pfeiffer's prayer room.  She had a real altar there, but it is currently being used by a church.  You can see the real altar in a photo that is sitting on the makeshift altar.

Prayer Room in The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum - Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
Mary's Prayer Room in the Pfeiffer Home
Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse

Mary also had a quilt closet upstairs. This was probably my favorite room. Not because of the room itself, but because of the story of the room. According to our guide, the Pfeiffer's were surrounded by people who had very little.  Many of the women of the community would quilt and sell their quilts just to get by.  Mary Pfeiffer never refused to buy the quilts.  She stored them in this room and when they were needed, she gave them away.  

Of all of the people I heard about the day of our tour, I think I would have liked Pauline Pfeiffer's mother, Mary, the most.

Reviewing & Photographing The Hemingway Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott, Arkansas
Mary Pfeiffer's Quilt Room
Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse

The Display Case Held Ernest Hemingway's Autograph

One of my favorite photos was taken upstairs in one of the bedrooms.   There was a display case that contained a book from the Hotel Taube in Schruns, Austria.  This book was not interesting because it was an alpine skiing manual, but because it held Ernest Hemingway's autograph in the upper right corner.  The glass display case sits right under a window, which is why you see the curtain details reflected in the photo.

Reviewing & Photographing The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum
Alpine Skiing Manuel from Hotel Taube
Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
Ernest Hemingway's Autograph - Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
Ernest Hemingway's Autograph
Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse

There were several other rooms in the home and I have lots of pictures, but I chose some of my favorites to share with you today.  Perhaps, one day soon you can tour the home for yourself and see it all in person.  

Reviewing & Photographing The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott, Arkansas


The Ernest Hemingway Barn-Studio in Piggott, Arkansas

Apparently, the upstairs studio of the barn was Ernest Hemingway's place of solace and the place where he went to write.  

Due to the time of day, I was not able to get a great shot of the exterior of the barn-studio.  As you can see, I was staring straight into the sun.  

Hemingway's studio was located up the stairs on the right.

Hemingway Barn-Studio at Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum - Photographed and Reviewed by Sylvestermouse
Hemingway's Barn-Studio
Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse

I'm not pro big-game hunting and I really hated what I saw inside the studio.  It truly put a damper on my day and I admit, I stopped listening to the guide for a while.  However, I will still share the photos with you. 

Ernest Hemingway's Barn Studio
Hemingway's Barn-Studio
Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse

 Stove in Hemingway Barn-Studio Game Table in Hemingway Barn-Studio

No doubt, I would have been better prepared to hear the stories that day of Ernest Hemingway's life if I had read any of the books featured below.  



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House of Sylvestermouse

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Review of Small Town Fun in Conneaut Ohio

Conneaut West Breakwater Lighthouse
On our latest roadtrip we were traveling up highway 90 on our way from St. Louis, Missouri to Manchester, New Hampshire.  We have traveled that way several times as our son lives in NH.  I have noticed signs for the town of Conneaut, Ohio but never have stopped in the past.  This time I was needing a respite from the drive so we decided to stop for the afternoon.  I knew it was a small town so I was pleasantly surprised with all there was to see.  Here is a review of the sights we saw in Conneaut.

Lighthouse in Bay

In the photo at the top of this post you will see the unique lighthouse I photographed in Conneaut.  The walk out to the lighthouse was quite a hike, so instead I got out my tripod and long lens to photograph the lighthouse.


Conneaut is located on Lake Erie in the Northeast corner of Ohio.  As the town grew in the 19th century it became a point for shipping grain, whiskey and forest products.  In 1835 a lighthouse was built to facilitate ships coming into and out of the harbor.  Various improvements and changes were made to the lighthouse over the years.  In 1920 the old lighthouse was removed and the modern cement light we see today was built.  This light called the Conneaut West Breakwater Lighthouse, can be seen for 17 miles into Lake Erie.

Fun Watching Eagles

While I was photographing the lighthouse my husband got into a conversation with a local resident who was out on the harbor enjoying the beautiful day.  She saw my camera with my long lens (600mm) and told him about a place on the other end of the harbor where there was an eagles nest in an old tree.  We went over to that area and had a wonderful afternoon watching the eagles.  There were several juvenile eagles along with the adults.  In the third photo below, I captured an adult eagle pulling a fish from the water.

Covered Bridge

The map of Conneaut that I picked up showed a trail of covered bridges.  There were four in the area and we took a drive and found one that I stopped to photograph. The covered bridge that I photographed is called State Road bridge and it spans the Conneaut creek.  This bridge is 157 feet long and is a single span Town Truss bridge according to the sign on the bridge.  It was built in 1983.

Zazzle Products from my Photos

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Guide to France and a Review of It...Well, More Like a Love Letter!

Why I Love France! 

I'm traveling in Europe, and decided to spend a while in France. It's just as awesome as everyone says! Well not everyone thinks so, of course, and France has a reputation for being unkind to Americans, but my husband and I wonder why. Everywhere we go we are met with kindness and people go out of their way to help us.  This is a welcome change from our Italian experience!

Colosseum Rome
Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Yes we loved Italy;  the ruins, the food, the art, the beauty, and everyone at all our hotels. But the average Italian on the street? Not so much. They all seem in a hurry, and not interested in helping anyone, let alone Americans who don't speak Italian. In fact they seem sort of angry. 

If we hadn't had our guidebooks, and my Google translator app for my phone, I think we would have been lost a lot more than we were. (We were totally lost several times in Florence and walked miles out of our way!) They are sort of rude, even to each other. Just not what I expected at all.

Like I said, the people in hospitality are generally nice. But don't get me started on the people at the train stations! (The ticket office people I mean.) At restaurants they can be either really nice, or really snotty. It's a toss up!

Florence Italy
Florence, Italy

We Love France Even More Than Italy! 

But we love France! Everyone here seems generally happy and nice and they go out of their way to help, not just the hospitality people, everyone on the street. I had 4 different men try to help me with my luggage at the train station even when it meant they might miss their own train! And the station employees are also very nice and helpful. 

Our train to Lyon broke down so it was unavailable; a train employee cheerfully informed us they would find a solution, and they did!  20 minutes later a bus arrived to take us to Lyon and he drove like a madman to get us to the station on time to make our connection. (We barely made it!)  We were not even able to get to our correct car or we would have missed the train.  

I was worried after our Italian train experiences, but not to worry.  The French ticket agent just smiled and said no problem, you're on the train and that's what counts. So refreshing! All the people around us smiled and smiled. They even tried to talk to us and since I speak some French it was totally enjoyable. 

Toulouse France
Saint Sernin Basilica, Toulouse, France

So here we are in Toulouse which is sort of like a mini Paris. It's called the Pink city because many if not most of the buildings are constructed from pink bricks. And it's breathtakingly beautiful too.  Since it's Christmas time, there are lights everywhere, and everyone seems to be in a great mood.  

But the difference between France and Italy  is that when French people hear us speaking English, they stop and tell us where to go for good food!  Ah, the French and their food. All I can say is the reputation is deserved. We love it! 

Palm Tree Cathedral Toulouse France
Jacobins Convent ceiling, Toulouse, France also known as the Palm tree ceiling

Before we left the USA, I checked out several travel books, and after my research I decided that the Fodor's ones are not only tried and true, but they are the most helpful for the kind of traveling we are doing; we don't have a schedule or a plan other than to stay where we like the vibe, and move on after we're done exploring. So if you're going on a trip, I highly recommend the Fodor's guides! We are using this one: Fodor's France 2015 (Full-color Travel Guide).

But there are older ones available too, and of course guides for any country you can imagine.  So far every recommendation has been totally helpful and thorough. I don't think you can go wrong using a Fodor's Travel guide!

For more stories and photos about my travels, follow my travel blog: Peace, Love, Travel Light!  More countries coming up! Do you have a favorite European country? Let me know, as we are open to seeing new ones! 

All photos,© Heather Burns

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