Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for March, 2012

The Magic World of Orchids

Step back into the Victorian era when orchids were a symbol of luxury, and walk leisurely through the Orchid Forest at the Franklin County Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio.  These beautiful orchids, entitled Orchids! Vibrant Victoriana, are displayed in the Dorothy M Davis  Show House, which was built in 1895.  The exotic orchid speaks of refinement and innocence and the elegant Victorian garden is filled with hundreds of incredible orchids in all sizes, shapes and scents.

Paul Busse’s Garden Railroad featuring children’s fairy tales is a popular place to stop and take a break.  In this magical world amongst the foliage in the Himalayan Mountain Biome, three dimensional structures are all made from natural materials.  You might see roof shingles made from fungus, a chimney cap from an acorn, or a door hinge from a tiny leaf.  Moss, twigs, leaves and seeds combine to form houses, bridges, and castles. Children will definitely enjoy the fairy tale settings, while adults will marvel at the construction of the scenery.

In an outdoor garden area, discovered the Hot Shop where a young man, who had been blowing glass for two and a half years, showed the curious visitors how to create a vase. From gathering the hot, hot glass to dipping it in either powdered colored glass or pellets, the glassmaking process produced many questions from those watching. Especially found fascinating the use of thick layers of wet newspaper being used to shape the glass, as seen in the picture above. The young man told the attentive audience, “We are still finding out new things about glass every day.  It is an ongoing learning experience.” His finished vase, which started out with a red glow, turned out to be a beautiful violet shade.

An added attraction was the beautiful blown glass art work by Debora Moore, Collectanea Botanica – Orchidaceae, showing her interpretations of orchids in blown glass sculptures. The Blue Orchid Tree, a beautiful Moore creation, is featured just inside the Cardinal Health Gallery. Debora feels that her work is a figment of her imagination combining the real qualities of the orchid with what she sees in her mind. This glass artist was a student and later an instructor at the Pitchuck Glass School, which was founded by Dale Chihuly whose work is also featured throughout the conservatory on a permanent basis.

My favorite artistic display was the large Pink Glass Orchid. Nature has always been Debora’s inspiration as she uses the medium of glass to express the grandeur and fragility of the natural world. She constantly learns and combines new methods with traditional glassblowing techniques to create her masterpieces.

Today, orchids are the top house plant with 25,000 varieties available. Symbolizing rare and delicate beauty, the orchid is an alluring and captivating plant to enjoy in your home. Franklin Conservatory is one of those places you can visit again and again, as they have featured shows throughout the year as well as an outdoor garden that blooms seasonally.

Walt Whitman wrote,”Give me a garden of flowers where I can walk undisturbed.” This is one of those special places that answers that request.

Franklin Park Conservatory can easily be reached off I-70 as it passes through Columbus, Ohio. Exit on 315 North and quickly you will make another exit onto Route 40 where you will turn right.  You are almost there as just a few blocks through the city, you will find Franklin Park on the right hand side.

Advertisements

There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills

In a gold mine, what is the difference between genius and talent?

“Genius is the gold and the miner is the talent that brings it out of the ground.” ~Marguerite Blessington 

This quote came to mind while traveling through Montana and spotting an abandoned gold mine at the edge of the road. Heading toward Old Virginia City, a well preserved 1960’s mining community, this old mine at Alder Gulch deserved a closer look to discover more about the gold and the miners. The gulch was aptly named due to the large number of alder trees that grew along the creek there.

Fourteen-Mile City was the name given to the numerous settlements that built up along Alder Gulch after gold was discovered there in 1863 by Bill Fairweather and his party.  This gold strike was an accident, which occurred when Fairweather’s Yellowstone bound party got distracted by a band of Crow Indians. After escaping the Indians, gold beyond belief was discovered very near their camping ground. This was said to be the richest placer gold strike in world history with $30 million worth of gold being taken from the mine during the first three years.  Now that’s a lot of value even today, but imagine how special that would have been back in the 1860’s. Everyone wanted to strike it rich in the gold field as 10,000 people flooded the area. Most of Montana’s population was right there along the gulch.

As miners staked their claims, the first rough buildings of Virginia City were hurriedly built with approximately 5,000 people settling there the first year.  People lived in tents and shacks, and it is often said that every third building was a saloon. This was the first social center and early Capitol of the Territory.  Virginia City was a booming gold mining town. These settlers were really “sitting on a gold mine”.

In the early days, there was no rail service to Virginia City, but it did reach as close as Alder just ten miles away. That made it much easier to receive needed parts for the gold mines’ dredges. In 1964, history buffs Charlie and Sue Bovey decided to establish the Alder Gulch Short Line using an old Baldwin 1910 locomotive, which looks and sounds authentic. This is indeed a Short Line as it only runs the one and a half  mile track between Virginia City and Nevada City.

The Virginia City Depot today is actually the original depot used by the Northern Pacific in Harrison, Montana around 1895. Enjoyed the tale told at the depot of the arrival of the actual depot building by train in 1964. One elder resident of Virginia City said, “I have often gone down to depots to watch the train pull in, but this is the first time I ever went down to the train to watch the depot pull in.”

Today Old Virginia City has approximately 150 residents year round. Over one hundred historic buildings complete with artifacts and furnishings are on display – a priceless collection of Western American history. Being a bit of a gypsy myself, had to stop in at the Gypsy Arcade, home of the classic fortuneteller booth – only a couple left in the world! Here the Mills’ Verbal Machine speaks your fortune from one of two wax cylinder recordings on an Edison gramophone…one for women, and one for men. By the way, my fortune said I was going to travel!

During your visit, you might even get a chance to ride in a stagecoach or on the Alder Gulch Short Line.  There are still a few placer mines and hard rock operations today getting a little gold out of them thar hills, but little compared to that original find. You can even pan for gold yourself at Alder Gulch Gold and keep any you happen to find.

Some folks made a fortune here, but what they left behind was priceless.

Old Virginia City is located in the southwestern corner of Montana. I-90 and I-15 intersect close by and State Route 287 leads you through Alder Gulch and Old Virginia City. This is a great spot to include on a trip to Yellowstone National Park as it is only about 90 miles away. Enjoy the scenery!

Go To Hells Canyon

Come discover a place where time stands still as you descend into Hells Canyon carved by the great Snake River. As you drive down into the canyon, quiet and beauty surround you. Here is the deepest river gorge in North America with heights of up to 9000 feet surrounding you. It can be approached from either the Idaho or Oregon side, but this day the approach was from Idaho Highway 86.  You will eventually find yourself driving on the famous Canyon Scenic Byway, “Devil’s Tail”, also known as National Forest Road #454, leading to Hells Canyon Dam at the end of the road.

Scenery was awesome and it seemed impossible to capture the towering feeling that surrounded you as you drove along the Snake River in the bottom of the canyon. This canyon separates Idaho from Oregon in a most spectacular way.

The forest road along the top of Hells Canyon was a one-lane dirt road, which was rugged and steep and took several hours to ascend.  Towards the top, the road was covered with a light coat of snow. The last 350 yards had to be traveled on foot in order to arrive at Heavens Gate where the altitude was 8,690 feet and the scent of pine hung thick in the mountain air. The foot path was rough, but the view from the top was breathtaking, my favorite view of the canyon.

From this point, you could see the snow covered Seven Devils Range and the Snake River. There are actually twenty peaks in this range with He Devil and She Devil being the highest, both at about 9400′. At one angle you could see four states: Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Wyoming.

Back in 1955. Idaho Power Company began construction of a three dam project in Hells Canyon. First a road had to be constructed and even then couldn’t bring in all the needed supplies. Helicopters were used to bring in tools and equipment as well as help with erecting the transmission towers that carry the power out of the canyon to the Oregon side. Finally, we reach the end of the 22 mile road and cross over the dam to the Oregon side where the Visitors Center is located.

On close observation, the rugged rock walls of the canyon are like a museum with pictographs and petroglyphs left over from the time when Chief Joseph’s band of Nez Perce Indians lived there.  Some say part of the petroglyphs date back possibly 15,000 years. Nez Perce Indians  enjoyed the mild winters here as well as the lush foliage and plentiful wildlife. The Snake River provided abundant fish as well as goods they would be able to trade.

Later, in 1895,a cargo ship captain, named Haller, met with rapids more dangerous than expected. Either because of people discussing his adventure in Haller’s Canyon, or perhaps what the captain said when he got in this dangerous situation, the name Hells Canyon stuck. The precipitous mountain sides and the wild rapids seem to reinforce the idea that the name chosen was very fitting.

There is only one way back out of the canyon from the dam, and that is back the same 22 mile road that was originally used to enter. But now it is dusk and the drive out will be a careful one, driving slowly because of the sharp curves and always being aware of dodging fallen rocks either in the air or on the rugged highway. Be sure to keep your eyes on the road and stop when you want to really enjoy the scenery.

Today this magical place is great for whitewater rafting, jet boating as well as fishing excursions. Just being here makes you look at the world with a different perspective. Great spot to relax and leave your worries behind. See you in Hell’s Canyon!

Hells Canyon can be reached from I 84 in Idaho at Exit 304 Hells Canyon/Weiser Road. Follow the signs for the Canyon Scenic Byway and enjoy the adventure.

Cambridge Lions Go Hollywood

“Don’t You Hear Those Lions Roar?” as you pass the First Baptist Church in Cambridge, Ohio on a Sunday afternoon January through March. The parking lot is not filled with people attending a church event, but those practicing for the 39th Annual Cambridge Lions Club Music & Comedy  Show.

This year’s theme of “Cambridge Lions Go Hollywood” offers a wide selection of favorite songs ranging from the slow and mellow to those with vim and vigor.  While the songs are familiar, the arrangements may not be, as they were specially designed for this show by local well known musician and director of the show, Paul Hudson.

Paul has recently retired as Band Director from John Glenn High School and is active down many musical avenues including being percussionist in the Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra.  “You Can’t Stop the Beat” when Paul is able to get everyone on the same musical wave. Frequently he tells the chorus members things like : “You have to know the words,” or “Listen to Tom play the melody.” Know he is hoping that after ten weeks of practice, the words will all be memorized and the rhythms will be somewhat correct.

Once the chorus has practiced for a few weeks, Lion Troy Simmons arrives to record the practice session using microphones over each vocal area to pick up the parts clearly. Then he makes a CD for each member so they can practice along with it during the week. So if you see someone singing while driving down the road and tapping out rhythms on their steering wheel, it very likely could be a Lions Club chorus member trying to learn all the words and parts correctly.

A big part of the success of the show also goes to accompanist Tom Apel, who appears in the local area at the piano wherever and whenever needed . Tom attends every practice and patiently plays the parts over and over again. Sometimes it seems he could use four hands! As it gets closer to show time, Tom will be joined by some other local musicians, who are part of the Lions’ Music & Comedy Show Band.

Being associated with the Lions Club, you can be certain that after practice, chorus members will say, “I’ve Had the Time of My Life.”  Lions Club members seem to have an extra dose of humor in everything they do.  Of course, this show is more than fun as the main purpose of these Knights for Sight is to raise money to help those in the area who need some assistance in paying for eyeglasses and eye care.

Make plans to attend “Cambridge Lions Go Hollywood” on March 29, 30, or 31 at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in downtown Cambridge, Ohio for an evening of fun entertainment as well as contributing to a great cause. Tickets may be purchased online at www.cambridgelions.com or at Country Bits & Pieces. Tickets are $8 on Thursday evening or $10 on Friday or Saturday. All shows begin at 7:30.

Members will definitely tell you “There’s No Business Like Show Business” as they prepare for the 2012 “Cambridge Lions Go Hollywood.”  Let’s go on with the show!

Coming to the show from out of town? From I-70 take Exit 178 at SR 209. Proceed west on 209 /Southgate Road until you arrive downtown at the Courthouse. Make a right hand turn and two traffic lights later you are in front of the Scottish Rite Auditorium at the corner of Wheeling Avenue and 10th Street.  It is across from the Cambridge Post Office. Coming from I-77, take Exit 180B, which is US 40 West. After approximately one mile, you will arrive in downtown Cambridge. At the corner of Wheeling Avenue and 10th Street, you will find the Scottish Rite Auditorium. Hope to see you there!

Tag Cloud