Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Xmas lights at Cape May, NJ

It's been a while since I posted, largely because we haven't gone anywhere. However, we have been doing an asynchronous house exchange with a couple from Dunedin, New Zealand for the past week and while they are in our house, we are up at our house in NJ.

Last night we went out for a tour of the Christmas lights in the local area and also down in Cape May. It was about freezing and windy, so most of the photos have blur, but why not post the results.

 One of the local houses. Not much, but better than what you would find in driving around in Athens, GA for a couple of hours at this time of year.

 This house, Meerwalds, used to be one of those extravaganzas where people would come from miles around to gaze at all the lights. It's much reduced now.

 The blur actually helps with some of these photos.

The blur really helps with this photo. In fact it is the dashboard of the car. Just making sure you are paying attention.

Great patterns.

 A typical bunch of lights. There seemed to be more blue lights about this year.

This collection of lighted trees was different.

 Down in Cape May, many of the mansions were decorated, particularly in this street.

This set of lights became more effective because they lit the house as well.

I've never been tempted to put up Christmas lights on our house, but if I did I would try to put rings around our round house that would go around and around and up and down. Quite nauseating.

By the way, not having lived in Australia for many years, I don't think Aussies go in for the lights too much. Possibly it's because the days are long at Christmas, particularly further south.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ligonier, PA

Ten or more years ago, I passed through the small town of Ligonier, Pa which is about fifty miles east of Pittsburgh. It really looked interesting so I decided to check it out again.

The square in the centre of town.

More of the square which is known as 'The Diamond'. It was a Sunday morning, and very quiet.

I suspect that on a sunny afternoon that the joint would be jumping with hordes of little old ladies checking out the boutique shops. There are plenty of little cafes as well, perfect for an afternoon's outing.

The Main Street is lined with ornate houses, none in poor condition.

I liked the blue.

It looks like it should be a B andB, but it isn't. The house has an ornate garden.

Of course, this is Steeler territory and the bars were all offering cheap beer and free food while the game was on. Pittsburgh loves its football team.

The test of any little town is how the back streets look and Ligonier passes this test with flying colours. Here is a gorgeous barn.

Another barn. The greenish colour appealed. 

The Town Hall which is on the square.

Even the Post Office is grand.

The theater which appears to be still in use. The local actors were putting on Blythe Spirit that night.

One of the local churches.

It was a cooler Fall day, a pleasant change from the heat of summer and pumpkins were everywhere.

I didn't visit the Fort that is a feature of the town especially since it's just a re-creation. Perhaps next time.

Pittsburgh - Carnegie Museum of Art

We have been out in Pittsburgh visiting our friends Larry and Mary and on Saturday Larry and I took advantage of a free entry day to visit the Carnegie Museum of Art.

We took the back entrance from the parking lot ($5).

And up the staircase.

As you would expect for a museum of this stature, there are thousands of exhibits most of which would be worth a large fortune.

But what really impressed me was the Grand Staircase to the Art Galleries. 

The stairway leads to the second floor which has large murals on the wall.

One of the murals.

The floor.

The Museum is famous for its collection of plaster casts of famous porticoes, temples etc. The casts are quite realistic, it's only when you bang on them (lightly) that you can tell they are not the real thing.

The detail is impressive.

More porticoes.

The Hall of Sculpture, modeled on the Parthenon's inner sanctum.

On this day, there were just these chairs in the Hall.

This was perhaps the exhibit that fascinated me the most and it's only a few thousand years old.

What a great office chair. It looks so heavy and solid.

An interesting way to make a dining table out of two slabs of wood from the same tree.

Part of a fascinating video by Doug Aitken, 'Migration' which features wild animals placed in motel rooms. The link leads to a Youtube video. 

Of course, there are the usual range of famous paintings that one would expect to see in a major art museum. However, after three months in Australia, I did note a serious lack of Aussie paintings in this museum and I did rather miss them.

At this stage, my camera batteries ran out so although we went into the adjoining Carnegie Museum of Natural History and saw the dinosaurs,I have no photos of them.

If you plan to visit these museums, allow the best part of a day. They are quite large and there is plenty to see.