Favorite Spot

My favorite spot in Columbus, Ohio is right here under this glass ceiling. It’s at Franklin Park Conservatory which I have told you about a few times.

I was there this fall and was glad to spend a little time in this spot, staring up at the pretty glass in all the fun colors. The ceiling was created by renowned artist Dale Chihuly whose work can be found throughout this place.

I have seen people walk through this area without ever looking up. They’re talking or they’re tugging at fidgety youngsters. What a thing to miss!

No matter what, always look up!

Fall At Franklin Park Conservatory

I spent a morning this week wandering around Franklin Park Conservatory. They are ready for fall – including their annual Pumpkins Aglow event which takes place evenings this month.

It was a gorgeous, unseasonably warm blue sky day and was perfect for examining pumpkin displays, fall mums and even their outdoor model railroad collection.

Here are a few pictures from this magnificent day. There are a handful of displays with skeletons in action.

Then there are the trains in a magnificent outdoor model railroad that celebrates miniatures, trains and nature.

Are there any Thomas fans in the house? They even have a Thomas engine for the littles to enjoy.

And a black cat or two mixed in for good measure.

But my favorite things here are the pumpkin houses. This one is especially nice.

I doubt I make it back for Pumpkins Aglow this season but would encourage you to go check it out! Get your information here.

Chance Encounter With Barry Gunderson

A recent trip to the Mount Vernon area led me to go looking for some old train paraphernalia in Gambier. As I turned into the park where the trains were located, I noticed a large sculpture at the side of the road.

It was so striking that I made a mental note to pull over on the way out.

I will be perfectly honest with you, I didn’t know what it was or what it meant but I found it striking and wanted to know more. So I pulled over on the way out and went bounding up to the sculpture just as a man stepped into view.

He had a hoe and wore a straw hat to protect against the sun. He smiled and waved and asked “what do you think?”

I called it extraordinary and he beamed.

“I’m so glad you used that word. Extraordinary. I’m not just the gardener, I’m the artist,” he said.

And thus began a long chat with artist Barry Gunderson.

The piece is called “Understorms.”

It’s painted aluminum to represent clouds, rain and butterflies. It was commissioned for the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus thanks to the State of Ohio, Percent For Art Program. It remained there from 1992-2008 when it was removed from that site and relocated to its current location.

Gunderson lives there in Gambier and has taught sculpture at Kenyon College since 1974. It was dumb luck or good fortune perhaps that he was there doing some work that day. He takes care of the weeding and the upkeep around his sculpture. It’s clear he takes great pride in his work and meeting him was a highlight of my day.

It reminded me of something I have been missing this last year. Some of the best travel memories I have are of interactions like this one. I didn’t have an appointment, I just had a chance encounter that was enriching and fascinating.

This is one of the reasons we adventure!

If you’re in the Gambier area, be sure to swing by 302 Duff Street and see this unusual piece of art!! While you’re there, go see the train caboose and locomotive too!

Last Pre-Covid Adventures

One of my last pre-Covid adventures last year was to the Ohio History Center in Columbus.

The purpose of my visit was to tour and learn about the Lustron Home which was manufactured in Columbus in the mid century. However, there were a number of other unexpectedly interesting things to see here including an exhibit on Civil War Battle flags.

This one represents the 121st Ohio Infantry Volunteers which was organized out of Delaware, Ohio. They mustered in for three years service starting in 1862

It’s ragged from use and age but it’s still beautiful.

That was a good day.

Honestly, I don’t recall what all I did that day. It was a cold February Saturday and I had gotten up early to be there when the doors opened. I’m pretty sure there was a Half Price Books stop involved on the way out of town. If I had know that it would be one of my last adventures for a while, I might have dawdled longer and appreciated the freedom better.

But that’s the curse of the human condition, I suppose. We always think we have more time time, more opportunities then we really have.

What was your last adventure before the shutdown? Spare no details. Some of us are starved for the excitement of fun outside home and neighborhood.

Airport Art

Isn’t this pretty?

You see it when departing the John Glenn Columbus International Airport in Columbus, Ohio.

I was dying to get on a shuttle to my car but mosaics always catch my eye. The airport wasn’t at all busy so I had to snap a photo to share since there weren’t a bunch of people behind me.

It’s quite the gateway to our state!

All Aboard: A Streetcar To The Past

This streetcar was manufactured in New York for the Columbus Consolidated Streetcar Railroad in Columbus, Ohio. That was in 1888. It was converted to electric power a few years later before it was sold to the Lancaster Traction Company in 1896.

It remained in service until 1937 when the city switched to a bus system. Thousands of people came to a celebration to take one last ride.

Today the streetcar is on display at Ohio History Connect, our state’s historical society.

You can go aboard and even have a seat if you like. This was my second favorite thing to see at this museum. My favorite is a temporary exhibit about the fifties in America. Read about it here.