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!

Light, Color and Chihuly

Did you read my account of the Dale Chihuly exhibition at the Franklin Park Conservatory? I loved the light in this space and the pops of color.

Franklin Park is a beautiful place all by itself but the Chihuly adds something really special!

Work Is Easier When You Love Your Job

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It’s fun to watch people at work when they clearly love their job. This gentleman does blown glass demonstrations at the Franklin Park Conservatory and offers a wonderful  presentation. It seems that he makes something a little different for each demonstration and I was lucky enough to see him create a bowl.

I’ve witnessed blown glass demonstrations a few times but had never seen a bowl made so this was thrilling. He kept the audience interested and engaged, even eliciting some oohs and ahs as he played with color and shape while manipulating glass at temperatures upwards of one thousand degrees fahrenheit.

If you find yourself at this place, be sure to stop by the Hot Shop for a demonstration. And, if you’re so inclined, you can even purchase pieces made here at the gift shop inside!