AMERICAN DUCHESS CRUISE: PITTSBURGH (POST-CRUISE)

I’m finally back, after visits to Chattanooga to celebrate Bruce’s 70th birthday, and a 10-day trip to Calabria, Italy.  Those posts will follow Pittsburgh.

The ‘Duchess completed her voyage in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and we stayed on for a few days to see the city before returning home.

Pittsburgh is no longer that steely steel town of the past.  Today, it is home to 1,600 technology firms and was listed in 2015 as one of the “eleven most livable cities in the world” by The Economist.

 I’m not sure the snowy winters would make Pittsburgh livable for me, but it sure was a nice city to visit!  For us, the 24 miles of riverfront trails were one of the highlights of the city that was built where the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers meet to form the Ohio River.  Not that we conquered all 24 miles; but we did get in some nice walks along the downtown riverfront, where we took in views of the skyscrapers, Three Rivers Stadium, PNC Park, and the beautiful bridges that cross the river.

It rained during our first day, so after settling in at our hotel, we took the shuttle to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, where we were able to stay dry while enjoying the indoor exhibits.

Ranked #1 for “Things to Do” in Pittsburgh by Trip Advisor, we immediately learned why over 3,100 reviewers gave Phipps the top ranking.  The moment we stepped into the lobby, we were blown away by the introduction of their current exhibit, “Van Gogh in Bloom.”

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These are my favorites of the many photos I shot during our visit:

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For each “Van Gogh in Bloom” exhibit, a Van Gogh painting was displayed to set the scene.

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Phipps Conservatory also has several Dale Chihualy blown glass pieces on display.

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That was one BIG flower!

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Chocolate is made from this!  Cacao is near and dear to my heart (and stomach)!

Stay tuned for more posts on Pittsburgh!

BEAUTIFUL BOTANICALS

If you find yourself in Atlanta and would like a peaceful place to get away from the noise of the city, Atlanta Botanical Garden is a lovely place to unwind, and get in a good walk.  Although we were there to enjoy the Dale Chihualy blown glass sculptures, I couldn’t resist photographing the gorgeous orchids and other beautiful botanicals.  Here are my favorites from our afternoon of wandering through Atlanta Botanical Garden:

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CHIHUALY IN THE GARDEN

Yesterday, Bruce and I visited Atlanta Botanical Garden to enjoy “Chihualy in the Garden,” a spectacular exhibit by internationally acclaimed glass artist, Dale Chihualy.

The show featured 19 installations throughout the beautiful 30 acre-garden, including these:

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Next up:  Atlanta Botanical Garden Florals

ROAD TRIP DAY 16: CORNING MUSEUM OF GLASS- WOW!

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There is no other word I can use to better describe the Corning Glass Museum. WOW! Just, “WOW!” That is the word I uttered time and time again as we made our way through the museum. Between the brand new 100,000 square foot, 64 million dollar extraordinary contemporary art wing of the museum to the ongoing glass blowing demostrations in their new state of the art amphitheater, it was all fantastic!

We we were so enthralled with everything we saw that we spent 7-1/2 hours there soaking it all in. We even returned to one of the glass blowing demonstrations again at the end of the day.

From Dale Chihualy to Louis Tiffany, and all of the best glass artists in between, the museum houses the most extensive and incredible collection of art glass glass in the world. The glass pieces on display span almost 2,000 years.

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Dale Chihualy

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Louis Comfort Tiffany

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The 500-seat glass blowing amphitheater and more intimate glass blowing studio each house the most modern and top-quality furnaces in existence.

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This was a narrated glass blowing demonstration in the smaller studio.  There were large screen TV’s overhead.

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It just doesn’t get any better than this!

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This huge bowl of fruit measured approximately four feet in diameter.

ROAD TRIP DAY 5: TAKE YOUR (MAKER’S) MARK, GET SET, GO!

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Getting to Maker’s Mark Distillery isn’t a quick trip, though, and that’s just the way we wanted it. From Bowling Green, it was a meandering drive through beautiful farm country once we exited I-65. The distillery was out in the middle of nowhere, but it was definitely worth the drive.

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Upon arrival, as we waited for the tour to begin, we wondered why on earth they would have a large book on glass artist Dale Chihualy sitting on the table in the waiting area. After all, wouldn’t a book on bourbon have made more sense? Oh well, we were quite content thumbing through the pages of his beautiful blown glass as we waited.

The tour was very interesting, and we especially enjoyed seeing the huge barrels of mash and watching the gals quickly dip the tops of each bottle in hot red wax. After being placed back on the conveyor, the bottles entered a miniature black tin “building” complete with red shutters to be cooled by fans. It was really very cute.

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After our tour and tasting session, we were ushered through a hallway to end the tour in their very nicely displayed gift shop. This wasn’t just any ordinary hallway, though. As soon as we entered, we knew why that Dale Chihualy coffee table book was prominently displayed in their lobby. See below, and you’ll see what I mean. WOW!

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