January 31, 2018

Things to Do: horse-drawn carriage tours, a market, a restaurant in a repurposed church; Charleston, South Carolina


CHARLESTON HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE TOURS + SURROUNDS  

Five horse-drawn carriage companies are located in the bustling Market Street district.  There are five different zones/routes, but drivers and riders never know in advance which one they will get because it is decided by lottery.  A local says, “I haven't had a bad tour yet.”  It is interesting to know that the only city with a larger historic zone is Rome, Italy.
horse-drawn carriage tour of Charleston, South Carolina, with view of leaning St. Philip's Church
horse-drawn carriage tour of Charleston, South Carolina, with view of leaning St. Philip's Church

Palmetto Carriage Works  6 Guignard St., (843) 723-8145.  From 9am.  Reservations recommended.  Free parking.  This is the oldest carriage company in town, and it operates out of Charleston’s oldest and largest barn.  Palmetto Carriage Works is known for having experienced guides and treating their animals well, and it is the only company that uses mules.  Riders board inside an air-conditioned red barn, from a platform that allows passengers to walk right into the carriage--eliminating stepping up.  Tours last one hour.
boarding the horse-drawn carriage inside barn at Palmetto Carriage Works in Charleston, South Carolina
boarding the horse-drawn carriage inside barn at Palmetto Carriage Works in Charleston, South Carolina

My tour was of Zone 1, which took us through the oldest French Quarter in the U.S. and past a magnificent parade of vintage houses.  It included:
Rainbow Row (99-101 East Bay St.), which is seen on many of the carriage rides.  Built between the 1720s and 1790s, it was considered a slum after the Civil War.  A renovation in the early 1900s gave it the pretty Caribbean colors still seen today.
Rainbow Row in Charleston, South Carolina
Rainbow Row in Charleston, South Carolina

Located just a block from the carriage rides,
Charleston City Market  Market St./between Meeting and East Bay sts., (843) 937-0920.  Daily times vary by season.  This market is a must see.  Built in 1841 to sell produce and meat, today this open-air covered market features independent merchants selling a variety of items that make good souvenirs.  At the entrances, Gullah ladies weave and sell prized sweet grass baskets.  At one end, a newer enclosed and air-conditioned section can bring welcome relief from the heat. 
sweet grass baskets at Charleston City Market in Charleston, South Carolina
sweet grass baskets at Charleston City Market in Charleston, South Carolina

Christmas ornaments at Charleston City Market in Charleston, South Carolina
Christmas ornaments at Charleston City Market in Charleston, South Carolina

Among the food stands in the new section is:
        ●Hot Little Biscuit  188 Meeting St., (843-577-8900.  Sweet little handmade Southern dinner biscuits featuring a variety of fillings are hard to resist.  And because they are small, you don’t need to.  (When you get home, make your own cream biscuits using my recipe, which I think is even better.
yummy biscuits at Hot Little Biscuit at Charleston City Market in Charleston, South Carolina
yummy biscuits at Hot Little Biscuit at Charleston City Market in Charleston, South Carolina

Outside the market, the street is additionally lined with specialty shops and restaurants.  Located just a block from the carriage rides is:
5 Church  32 N. Market St., Ansonborough, (843) 937-8666.  L M-F, D daily, Sat-SunBr.  Situated within a former church that was desanctified in the 1960s, this unusual venue provides the opportunity to dine in a massive room with beautiful stained-glass windows.  The high ceiling was hand-painted by artist John Norris with Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” written out in its entirety (his wife read the book to him while he wrote on the ceiling.)  It took four months to complete and is a breathtaking sight to contemplate.  The sophisticated-yet-casual decor includes a white concrete bar, black leather banquettes, and elaborate chandeliers.  A more intimate dining room and outdoor patio adjoin.  The innovative New-American cuisine menu includes a delicious Lamb Burger with gorgonzola fondue and a sweet Crispy Chicken Roulade.  A variety of signature steaks and seafood are also options.  The full bar serves up some tasty cocktails, including the mai tai-like Lucky of the Irish, which consists of pineapple, orange juice, lemon juice, orgeat, and Jameson whisky.  I downed two with no trouble.  More restaurants in former churches. 
dramatic interior of 5 Church restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina
dramatic interior of 5 Church restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina

dramatic hand-painted ceiling of 5 Church restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina
dramatic hand-painted ceiling of 5 Church restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina
5Church Charleston Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
 

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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


January 26, 2018

Good Eats: Sompong Thai, NYC--Queens--Jackson Heights


Sompong Thai  37-09 83rd St., (718) 899-8424.  L-D daily.  Featuring a lovely decor with natural wood walls and atmospheric decor, this tiny spot (only 6 tables) is perfect for a quiet meal.  Lunch specials are a great deal and include soup or salad and a spring roll.  We shared sautéed tofu with basil sauce and Drunken Noodle--sautéed flat rice noodles with mixed vegetables and a special sauce.  The portions were generous enough that when a friend saw us and stopped in, we had enough left to let her have a mini-lunch, too.  And to help us get through the day, we each ordered a regular Thai ice tea, though, if you really need a bigger jolt, a large version is also available.  I hear the lychee and coconut juices are also delicious. 

interior of Sompong Thai in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC
interior of Sompong Thai in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC


Thai iced tea at Sompong Thai in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC
Thai iced tea at Sompong Thai in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC



springroll at Sompong Thai in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC
spring roll at Sompong Thai in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC



lunch specials at Sompong Thai in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC
lunch specials at Sompong Thai in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC
Sompong Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 
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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


January 16, 2018

Things to Do: Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California


Santa Monica Pier  At end of Colorado Blvd./Ocean Ave., (310) 260-8744.  Free access. 
Dating from 1909, this wooden wharf, now known as a “pleasure pier,” holds a variety of restaurants and attractions.  A wide, paved footpath leading onto the Pier extends west from Ocean Ave.  The pier juts out over beautiful Santa Monica State Beach and on over the ocean and is lined with attractions, restaurants, and shops
pier map

entrance to Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California
entrance to Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California


overview of Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California
overview of Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California


Free Historical Walking Tours are scheduled on Saturday and Sunday at 11am and noon.  They last an hour and depart from the Pier Shop in the carousel building. 

Webcam View the action before and after you visit.

Parking: 
     ●A lot is adjacent down on the beach.  $6-$15.
     ●An inexpensive city lot, Garage 8, is at 4th St./Colorado Ave..  First 90 minutes are free, then $1.25/hour. 
     ●map 

oceanfront parking lot at Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California
oceanfront parking lot at Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California

●At the start of the pier is an antique 1922 Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel with its original Wurlitzer organ plus 740 lights, 2 hand-carved chariots, and 44 original hand-painted hand-carved wooden horses--not to mention a pig and ram.  It is completely enclosed in a 1916 Looff Hippodrome building, making it the perfect rainy day destination as well.  Parts of “The Sting” with Paul Newman were filmed here.  $2, children $1.

antique carousel at Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California
antique carousel at Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California


●On the level below the carousel, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium exhibits more than 100 local marine animals and plants (my favorite are the moray eels in the tall Kelp Forest tank).  Run by nonprofit Heal the Bay, it offers three touch tanks where kids can handle sea stars, sea cucumbers, urchins, hermit crabs, and several kinds of sea snails, plus a popular shark nursery where newborn pups are on display and egg cases can be viewed.  Educational activities and special events such as Sea Star Feeding on Tuesdays and Fridays at 2:30 p.m. and Storytime Saturdays at 2 p.m. are also scheduled.  The Aquarium is a part of Santa Monica’s own “Heal the Bay” program, an initiative to educate, inspire, and empower its visitors to be stewards of the environment.  Tu-F 2-5pm, Sat-Sun 12-5pm; in summer to 6pm.  $5, children under 13 with paying adult are free.

moray eel at Santa Monica Pier Aquarium at Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California
moray eel at Santa Monica Pier Aquarium at Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California


The Trapeze School of New York offers a fun-filled experience for everyone.  Classes are 2 hours long, and no prior experience is necessary.

trapeze school at Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California
trapeze school at Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California


66 To Cali sells American-made souvenirs near the spot where the iconic Route 66 ends at the ocean.  Nearby is an official sign indicating you’re at the end of the road--the perfect spot to capture a photo--but the actual end of the route is a little farther away at the intersection of Lincoln Boulevard and Olympic Boulevard on Highway 101. 

tour group from Wenzhou, China at the Route 66 sign on the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California
tour group from Wenzhou, China at the Route 66 sign on the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California



●The Playland Arcade has more than 200 games from the classic to the contemporary. 

Pacific Park--the West Coast’s only amusement park on an oceanfront pier--has a variety of rides, including the 9-story-high solar-powered Pacific Wheel Ferris wheel (the largest on the West Coast and the world’s first solar-powered) and a unique 5-story-high column-suspended roller coaster.  An assortment of midway games round out the fun.  Daily in summer.  Rides $5-$10; wristbands age 8+ $32.95, online $29.65, 7 &under $17.95, online $16.15.

solar-powered Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California
solar-powered Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California


●You can fish off the pier.  No license is required, and Pier Bait and Tackle offers gear, poles, and bait. 

●The pier has 7 restaurants, ranging from fine seafood to classic American.  Among them, The Lobster has been a favorite with locals since 1923 and features traditional American seafood and whole lobsters plus ocean views.  Bubba Gump appears mid-pier, and the Food Court is in Pac Park. 

war memorial:  Each Sunday from sunrise to sunset, a temporary memorial of crosses appears in the sand below the pier.

war memorial in the sand beside the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California
war memorial in the sand beside the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California


●The Original Muscle Beach is along the Ocean Front Walk about a block south of the pier.  There await muscle-building equipment, volleyball courts, and a children’s playground featuring a stone-walled sandbox with a concrete Viking ship and an interactive dragon’s head.


More things to do in Santa Monica.
 
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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

January 10, 2018

Sights to See: NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale, Florida


NSU Art Museum  One E. Las Olas Blvd./SE 2nd Ave., (954) 525-5500.  Tu-Sat 11-5, Sun 12-5.  $12, seniors $8, 13-17 $5.  No pets.  Founded in 1958, this museum became part of Nova Southeastern University--one of the largest private research universities in the United States--in 2008.
Its permanent collection contains the country’s largest collection of 19th- and early 20th-century paintings and drawings by American realist/French Impressionist-inspired William J. Glackens.  Currently, the Frank Stella: Experiment and Change show fills most of the galleries through July 8, 2018.  It is a big show with an entire room devoted to his preliminary drawings and collages, and a mini-theater shows an enlightening interview.  Stella says, “In the end it’s all about geometry.”  Cafe service is available in the lobby.

entrance to NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
entrance to NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


"Cape Cod Pier" by William J. Glackens at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
"Cape Cod Pier" by William J. Glackens at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


"Children Roller Skating" by William J. Glackens at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
"Children Roller Skating" by William J. Glackens at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida



the parlor of William J. Glackens, at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
the parlor of William J. Glackens, at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida



Frank Stella show at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Frank Stella show at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida



Frank Stella show at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Frank Stella show at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida



Frank Stella show at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Frank Stella show at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida



"Hercules and Achelous" by Frank Stella, at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
"Hercules and Achelous" by Frank Stella, at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida



Frank Stella Show at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Frank Stella Show at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida



sketches by Frank Stella, at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
sketches by Frank Stella, at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


January 4, 2018

Things to Do: Oaks Amusement Park, Portland, Oregon


Oaks Amusement Park (503) 233-5777.  Amusement park is seasonal, Apr-Sept; skating rink is open year round, Tu-Sun.  Admission fee varies depending on rides.  Free parking. 
Located beside the Willamette River at the foot of the old Sellwood Bridge, this was the first amusement park in the West.  Now more than 100 years old and a non-profit, it opened in 1905 and was once called “The Coney Island of the West.”  Rides are well-priced, and it is a popular place to roller skate and picnic.  Nostalgia reigns with a section of kiddie rides and miniature golf, plus a hand-carved 1911 Herschell-Spillman “Noah’s Ark” carousel, bumper cars, and a miniature train that chugs all around the park.

carousel at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon
carousel at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon

My mom, who grew up in nearby Gresham, skated at the Oaks Park roller skating rink here when she was in high school.  She remembers the organist--who performs live on the beautiful Wurlitzer here on Thursday nights and all day Sunday--and the fun bumps at the back of the rink that they skated over (which are still there).  This rink is the largest in America, and the last to play a live pipe organ.  Its floor was replaced in 1948 when the original floor was destroyed in the Vanport flood, and the ingenious barrel flotation system that was used in the replacement floor has saved it several more times.

exterior of roller skating rink at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon
exterior of roller skating rink at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon



skate counter at roller skating rink at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon
skate counter at roller skating rink at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon



colorful rental skates at roller skating rink at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon
colorful rental skates at roller skating rink at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon











 
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My mom was a Rosie.

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©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers