It was 21 degrees and windy when I stepped onto the trail at Aullwood Audubon Saturday. It was a rare sunny day for Ohio and too beautiful to spend inside. So I went to visit Thomas Dambo’s trolls or forest giants as they are sometimes called. You can read about them here.
It was surprising to find the place mostly empty but I didn’t complain one bit. It was refreshing to feel the wind in my hair and to breath fresh, cool air.
It’s about a three mile loop to see the trolls. I also paused for a while in the barn, visiting the farm animals and the barn cats who keep things in order.
The highlight of the day though was seeing a mink in the wild. Something that resembled a black squirrel scurried across the trail ahead of me. I stopped to get a better look and was surprised when it turned to face me and I realized it was a mink.
Sadly, I stood there holding a cell phone in one hand and a camera in the other, gaping like a fool. I missed the photo op. Sigh. In case you aren’t familiar with the mink, here’s a photo from WHIO TV.
What a cute little face!
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says that mink are commonly found in every Ohio county. Yet, they aren’t commonly seen because they are quick and they are good at hiding.
It was well past my breakfast time and my blood sugar was hovering in a place between “ok” and “getting kind of snippy.” We were en route to Grand Central Station to find breakfast before our Summit One Vanderbilt tour when this little number practically yelled my name.
Isn’t she fun?
She reminds me of the Dancing Hippos in the Disney classic “Fantasia.” She was part of an installation outside Grand Central Terminal through December.
I’m a little sad to think she won’t be there for future visitors to enjoy but that’s the thing about a city that we don’t see so much in our more rural communities – things are always changing.
This larger than life bronze sculpture is the work of Danish artist Bjørn Okholm Skaarup.
Meet Patience and Fortitude. These fabulous Pink Tennessee Marble Lions have been greeting guests and guarding the New York City Public Library since its dedication in May 1911. The library is a magnificent Beaux Arts building that’s one of the most famous libraries in the world.
These sculptures are among the most photographed pieces of public art in New York and they were on my bucket list when we visited the city.
Located conveniently just a few city blocks from Grand Central Station, we were able to hoof it there for pictures. Sadly, our timing was bad and we missed seeing inside the famed library (that’s ok, we will go back another time). Still, I was overjoyed to meet the pair of famous felines.
Their names changed a few times in the early years. They were originally named for the city library system’s founders John Jacob Aster and James Lenox. They were later called Lady Astor and Lord Lenox.
In the thirties, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia renamed them Patience and Fortitude for the qualities he believed New Yorkers would need to survive the Depression. The names stuck and the rest is history.
They really have stood the test of time as they are more popular than ever. Back in 2019, the lions were professionally cleaned and restored, making them look good as new.
When we were there, several tourists were milling about with their selfie sticks and taking turns photographing their groups with the lions. It was lovely and refreshing to see people so excited about art and a library.
Go if you are in New York. Get your picture with them and be sure to go in for a look see. I’ll make it back for my tour one of these days!
I snapped this photo as we scurried to the car after our meal at Broadway Joe’s. It made me think of how some people only take while others tend to give more than they should. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all learned to coexist in this world and to give what we can and only take what we need?
Every year the town of Cambridge transforms into a charming destination that celebrates Victorian era Christmas. The concept of the Dickens Victorian Village is brilliant if you ask me.
Downtown Cambridge is a special place at any time of year. There are loads of historic buildings that house some lovely shops, restaurants, offices and even a fantastic bakery that has been in business for nearly a century. A gorgeous 1881 era Courthouse holds court (literally) over the downtown, providing a gorgeous focal point and even a backdrop for an amazing light show during the holidays.
The Dickens piece adds something unexpected. You see, it involves about 180 life sized characters in Victorian dress and arranged in about ninety vignettes around downtown. They tell the stories of people who lived here and of the activities that went on in this area. There are carolers, a photographer, a glass blower, a seamstress and many, many more. I was especially taken with the Father Christmas and with the coal miners who looked so lifelike I wanted to sit down and ask their stories.
Characters can be found under lampposts, in doorways and in building windows. A few are placed so unexpectedly, that they were almost surprising when I happened upon them in the dark. I did return the next morning to hit a couple of shops and got to see some things in the daylight I had missed the night before.
Plaques placed with each scene tell a short story, making this public art project an easy history lesson too.
This event always takes place November 1 through December 31 and has been going on for seventeen years. It attracts small groups like families as well as large groups that come by the busload to take part in the fun every year.
Go if you can. It’s free to walk around. As mentioned before, there are plenty of places to eat and shop while you’re there so be sure to support those small businesses. Click here to read about that fabulous light display at the courthouse too!
For all you National Road enthusiasts, note that this is right on that famous route we all enjoy so much! Follow Make The Journey Fun on Facebook to see more pictures from the Dickens Village!