PATCHWORK PADUCAH: HOME OF THE NATIONAL QUILT MUSEUM

There are many forms of art and craft that have always fascinated me; however, quilting never captured my interest as much as glass-work or woodwork, my two favorite mediums.  That all changed in 2006, when I saw the most amazing quilts as part of a fiber arts exhibit, at the Southwest School of Art, in San Antonio.  Sometime after that, I heard that Paducah, Kentucky was home of the National Quilt Museum.

Paducah?  This California gal had never heard of Paducah, population +/- 25,000; however, I kept hearing the name over and over, after moving to Georgia.  When Bruce and I noticed Paducah was on the itinerary for our American Queen Steamboat cruise, it piqued our interest, because of the National Quilt Museum.  If the quilts at the exhibit we had attended were that amazing, imagine how incredible they would be at a national museum!

P1140651.JPG

We made the museum our first stop, following the hop on-hop off bus tour of the artsy town that is located on the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers, halfway between St. Louis and Nashville.

As soon as we walked into the lobby, we knew this wasn’t just your grandmother’s quilt museum!  There are not enough adjectives to the describe the quilts we saw, and if photography (flash or otherwise) had been permitted, the pictures wouldn’t have done those quilts justice.  Go ahead and check out their website, though; you will be amazed!  Glancing at the current exhibit, you will think those are paintings hanging on the wall.  You can’t possibly imagine the thousands of hours that went into making some of those quilts, obviously labors of love.

I did, however, take pictures (with permission) of the gorgeous stained-glass windows in the lobby and conference room:

P1140607

P1140605

P1140604

P1140606

P1140608

Visiting the National Quilt Museum was not only the highlight of our day in Paducah, but it was one of the highlights of the entire cruise.  Those sentiments were echoed by Bruce as well as several of the other men we spoke with on our cruise.  (Even the men who were dragged to the museum by their wives were enthusiastic about what they saw and happy they went along!)

Aside from the museum, the entire town of Paducah had such a cool, artsy vibe.   As a matter of fact, UNESCO designated Paducah as the world’s seventh City of Crafts and Folk Art, in 2013.  (Santa Fe, New Mexico is the only other American city given such a designation.)

P1140627.JPG

P1140628.JPG

P1140657.JPG

P1140609.JPG

P1140611.JPG

In addition to the artistic feel of the town, great care has been taken to preserve the historic buildings of Paducah.  As a result, twenty blocks of the downtown commercial district have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.P1140621.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P1140629P1140618

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P1140613.JPG

Paducah also did a great job of beautifying their formerly drab flood wall with murals designed and painted by Robert Dafford and his crew.  We enjoyed learning about Paducah’s history through these murals, just as we had done in Cape Girardeau.

P1140632.JPG

P1140647.JPG

P1140646.JPG

P1140645.JPG

P1140643.JPG

P1140639.JPG

P1140633.JPG

P1140649.JPG

P1140648.JPG

P1140631

P1140654.JPG

P1140652.JPG

P1140656.JPG

Walking around downtown was such a pleasure, and we enjoyed seeing the historic (and beautifully maintained!) homes nearby.

American Queen Steamboat Company’s marketing department definitely got it right when they chose Paducah as the meeting point for American Queen and the company’s third riverboat, American Duchess.  On its inaugural river cruise, the brand-new Duchess arrived before sunset and tied up just ahead of our boat.  It was a beautiful evening that couldn’t have been planned any better.  As the passengers from both boats waved, shot photos, and shouted greetings, the Queen welcomed her sparkling new sister with several loud steam-horn blasts and a calliope concert.  It was a travel brochure moment for American Queen’s marketing department, and we were sure the drones that were sent up captured some amazing shots!  We sure had a lot of fun, too!

P1140682.JPG

Although several of the crew and passengers went over to tour the Duchess, we opted to enjoy another fabulous dinner in the dining room, and wait until January to see the new girl in town.  (More to follow next month!)

Until then, here are some scenes from that Kodak moment, reminiscent of when the American Queen, Mississippi Queen, and Delta Queen met up in Paducah in 1996, as was depicted in one of the wall murals (above).

P1140676.JPG

P1140675.JPG

P1140692

P1140660.JPG

Coming up next:  A DAY “AT RIVER”

 

 

TOURING ST. AUGUSTINE BY DAY & NIGHT

84

Usually, when we arrive in a city that offers a hop-on/ hop-off Old Town Trolley Tour, we take the tour at the beginning of our stay to get the lay of the land and hear the history. We then go back and see selected stops in more detail, throughout our stay.

This time, it didn’t work out to stick with our plan, because we needed to take weather, wind, and fishing conditions into account for kayak fishing. And, it worked out better to front-load that activity, while the conditions were most suitable.

As it turned out, it didn’t matter anyway, as far as fishing goes (Bruce came up empty-handed), but it did matter for kayaking. Paddling in windy conditions and strong currents is no fun, so we were happy to avoid it and ride on the trolley, instead.

We got an early start, yesterday, to get our 1+ hour round trip on the trolley completed before the heat and humidity beat us down. Wise decision; the temperature was 88 degrees with a “feels like” of 98. So, we comfortably relaxed in our cottage during the hottest part of the day, before venturing back to the historic district for some photography, dinner at Pizza Time and our St. Augustine City Walks tour, “History, Mystery, Mayhem & Murder!” (http://www.staugustinecitywalks.com/?page_id=77 )

85

86

87

41

32

31

34

33

35

83

More on last night’s events later…

Back to the Old Town Trolley Tour, they really do a great job filling you in on the history of the area and adding interesting and humorous facts. The commentary is always enjoyable and the open air trolley fun to ride.

This time, the same was true- except for the trolley ride always being “fun”. There were some bumpy parts of the ride that literally sent our butts flying completely off the seat- which meant having to land back on them. Ouch. Not good when you have herniated discs in your neck…

We were more than ready to bid farewell to our Old Town Trolley, after we completed our round trip and returned to our first chosen stop, Memorial Presbyterian Church.

Henry Flagler built the church as a memorial to his daughter who passed away, shortly after she was born. Flagler’s wife died a couple of days later. (This, by the way, is the same Henry Flagler, founding partner of Standard Oil, along with John Rockefeller, who built Hotel Ponce de Leon- now Flagler College.)

56

55

57

What drew us to this church, besides the gorgeous architecture, were the stained glass windows we spotted from the street. A German artist by the name of Herman Schladermundt designed the 92 stained glass windows in the building. They were installed in 1902, and then restored from 2002 – 2005, at a cost of $748,000.

58

59

60

61

62

63

64

The remainder of our time downtown today was spent stopping in to see some of the buildings we were curious about, when we drove by on the trolley. Casa Monica, for one, is a beautiful upscale hotel, well worth a stop in to get out of the heat and admire the interior decorating. We also took a peek around the grounds of the Lightner Museum and Villa Zorayda Museum, just to take a few photos.

 

65

Villa Zorayda Museum

66

67

I also insisted on stopping in to see Isabelle, at Tours Saint Augustine/ St. Augustine City Walks, who I had communicated back and forth with via e-mail. After reading about their “Tour de Chocolate” walking tour (http://www.staugustinecitywalks.com/?page_id=67 ), I just HAD to sign us up for the tour. But, there were no tours listed on their calendar for our travel dates. Disappointed, I e-mailed Isabelle asking if there was any way a tour might be added to the schedule for any of the 9 days we would be visiting. At first, we would need four people to get a tour scheduled. So, I wrote back letting her know that if anybody else inquired, we would happily join them, because I just HAD to take that tour. I also included a link to these blog posts to emphasize my point: https://elaineiakstravels.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/chocolate-haul-the-final-tally/ and https://elaineiakstravels.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/82/ . Well, Isabelle spoke with her boss and she added a date just for us, for this afternoon.

Isabelle also invited us to be her guest on another City Walks tour, which brings us back to last night’s walking tour…

Before the tour, we stopped at Pizza Time for some authentic N.Y./ Italian style pizza and garlic rolls. It was another excellent Trip Advisor recommendation; 266 reviews averaging 4-1/2 out of 5. How could we go wrong?

It’s just a little hole in the wall dive; eight tables and four counter stools. But, the slices of Sicilian “Lasagna Pizza” and thin crust “Four Seasons” (artichoke, ham, mushrooms, and roasted tomatoes, with basil pesto) were terrific, as were the garlic rolls with marinara sauce on the side.

We walked it off with Maggie, our City Walks tour guide, and two other couples, on our “History, Mystery, Murder & Mayhem!” tour. The tour was two hours long (she asked if we minded if it went longer than planned, so she could add some extras) and about 1-1/2 miles of walking.

Maggie was a wealth of knowledge; she definitely had the “History” part of the tour covered. And, she was a great story teller, getting in plenty of “Murder” stories in, as well.

We stopped on Treasury Street, the narrowest street in North America, so Maggie could tell us about the murder of Lt. Delaney that took place in 1785. It was another murder, but she also covered “Mystery” in her story, as this murder was the first documented unsolved murder in St. Augustine’s history. It is still unsolved; the oldest “Cold Case” ever!

Where “Mayhem” came in was when pirates came in and created plenty of it. We listened to a very interesting story about it, as the Castillo San Marco fort served as a backdrop. It was dark by that time, but the fort was beautifully lit.

29

For the entire tour, we walked through the old historic part of St. Augustine; much of it on old brick streets. At the fort, there was uneven terrain best traversed wearing comfortable walking shoes which we all were wearing. That’s common sense for a walking tour, right? Wrong; at least for a past guest on Maggie’s walking tour who completed the tour wearing 5-inch stiletto heels. We learned a new term from the urban dictionary while hearing that story: Touron. It is defined as, “The derogatory term combines the words “Tourist” with “Moron” to describe any person who, while on vacation, commits an act of pure stupidity.” If the shoe fits…

Maggie was a terrific guide and her stories made the history of St. Augustine come to life. What a fun way to learn!

30