Checking Things Out

We are in Savannah now. The weather is sunny and in the 70′ and 80’s. I am stuck in meetings all day, so husband spent our first day exploring the historic area of Savannah by himself. He took a trolley ride that took him all over the city with a tour guide who explained the sights and scenes. Then he explored a little on his own. I like guided tours. I know some people like to explore on their own. There is sure a lot to see here.

How do you like to get to know a place?  Any memorable guides who you have encountered 

42 thoughts on “Checking Things Out”

  1. If I have time, I like to check things out on my own. There are some things I think it’s good to have someone show you the first time around – riding the subway is one. After that, give me a good map and a pair of walking shoes (and maybe time travel back a couple of decades), and I love exploring on foot…

    I do, however, remember a great “Duck Boat” tour that 4-year-old son Joel and I took in the Wisconsin Dells – these were amphibious boats from WWII (if memory serves) – the guide was funny and informative, and Joel was completely enthralled with the whole thing.

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  2. My best “guide” was a set of purple footprints. While working in Brooklyn Heights, I decided to walk Manhattan. Right at the Brooklyn Bridge, I saw a single purple paint footprint headed West. While walking across the bridge, I encounter more of them. Not like footprints in the snow that might be seen with every step but spaced out about 100 feet. They led me to the North through Chinatown and Little Italy an on to Times Square where the path ended (at least I couldn’t pick up the trail). I was headed to Central Park in any case, so following the Purple Leader was a treat.

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    1. Further. I can only guess how the footprints were made. I believe someone had a contraption that extended down the leg and into the shoe. There was no toe print.

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  3. Six years ago I toured Washington DC for the first time. My local contacts suggested we take a bus tour (the land version of a duck boat tour). We sat in the upper deck of the bus. Right away I became nervous about the tree branches zipping by my head. Some seemed large and many seemed to be just missing me.

    Then I decided to be rational. I reminded myself that I’m not especially tall. Tour buses run that route every day, so obviously the tree limbs posed no danger.

    I calmed down. Seconds later I got cracked by a really nasty limb that almost knocked me out of my seat.

    It was a good tour, and now I know what Ford’s Theater looks like. But if you ever go, sit low or be prepared to duck.

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  4. I like guided tours. I love to get other people’s perspective on their spaces and places. I’ve had so many good tour guides over the years it would be hard to pick but Hugo in Costa Rica was particularly entertaining. He did a very good imitation of the local howler monkeys which got them going as well and he told the story of the volcano with more spirit and excitement than I’ve ever heard a story told before.

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    1. We had a guide at the Maritime Museum of Art in Winona who had some pretty strong opinions about the paintings he didn’t like.
      I felt like he shouldn’t tell us what to like or not, but rather should just describe it; let US decide if we like it or not.

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  5. And I suppose I can’t leave out Teddi in London. I don’t think there’s one single thing about London and English history and the monarchy that she doesn’t know.

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  6. The Eagle Center in Wabasha; the guide who did the presentation on eagles that particular time was very fun and animated and got everyone involved. I asked a question that he played up and made bigger than it was.

    Down in Charleston SC, we took a night time tour of the old Jail. It was supposedly haunted. We had no idea what the tour would be and realized there were several tours happening at the same time so a lot depended on your host. The guy we had wasn’t all that exciting. He relayed the facts (a lot of which was open to speculation) but he didn’t get very excited about it.

    Last summer we were in DC. Kelly had conferences so Amelia and I walked around. We went into the National Archives Building and were just making our way into the waiting area to get in to see the Declaration and Bill of Rights and Constitution. A security guard called to me and I thought I was going to get in trouble for the backpack or something. She asked if this was my daughter and then opened a side door and let us right into the room; bypassing the 150 people waiting. Told us to just get right over there and get in line. And then the guards at the documents, they’d sort of hold a spot and get Amelia right in there and up close.
    To be honest, the guide over with the waiting crowd seemed to be having a good time and while I didn’t regret missing the wait, I did wonder what he was telling everyone.

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  7. OT. I think we have to face facts today and think about postponing Blevins – I can’t imagine tomorrow is going to be pleasant!

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    1. We’re doing OK here in Rochester. Snowing and rained and some ice coating. Had a smallish- dead tree down across part of our road. Neighbor Rick, (Doctor Rick) broke off some small branches on the end and could get around it early this morning. I had gone up just to see how the road was and came back home for the tractor to push the rest of the tree off the road.
      Kelly and I both had meetings at 10:00 and then Kelly and Amelia had haircuts. Since the stylist made it in, so did they.

      I’m working at the college today (“Leaving Iowa” opens Thursday).

      Looks like only a couple inches of snow so far…

      Be careful out there everyone!

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    2. I have to go out to shoot my Sunday photo tomorrow but other than that I’m planning to stay home, book club or no book club. But don’t let me stop the rest of you from meeting.

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    3. Probably not a bad idea, but I’ll be here if anyone cares to make the effort. However, it is another snow emergency, so you’d need to park across the street in the parking lot of the school/church, just like when it was officially winter, back in February!

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      1. I’m close, so I can certainly make it, but if others want to reschedule, I can make it another day too.

        I went to a funeral service today. If it had been anything other than a funeral, I would have happily canceled. The trip to the church this morning was not bad at all, but the trip home was a bit of a challenge. Ice on the windshield wipers, impossible-to-see lane markings, had to just roll slowly forward and hope for the best. Made it home without incident. Happy to be home.

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  8. smithsonian
    vongdon mansion
    lake district
    ireland
    canadian rockies
    ely

    i spent way to long typing detailed wordsmithing on each of the above in one of my longies meant to make up for missing so many conversations of late and word press whacked me

    i had an extensive conversation about wordpress with geeks who make their living doing wordpress stuff and they gave me some tips diviwent bravely forward and had my soul sucked down the wordpress hole to never never land
    i’m not up to it tonight but maybe with a day to hunker down after shoveling i can muster up the enthusiam to take another run at it

    i dure enjoyed the trip down memory lane i tried to recall maybe it doesn’t matter that i left you guys out

    i also commented that i was surprised i had so much to report because i think of myself as a self guided tour guy for the most part but i obviously get lots of input and ideas from folks at my given location in order to do my own self guided tour

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  9. I have mixed feelings about guided tours. Often as not Robin and I find ourselves having to dodge tour groups that stand around in clots obscuring whatever we’re trying to see or photograph. I remember in Ravenna, Italy not being able to get near Dante’s tomb because a large tour group, all with umbrellas, surrounded it. In Florence, we figured out that most tour groups never went above the first floor on any of their stops, so in places like the Bargello we went up a floor and absorbed the artwork in peace. We were staying part of the time with Robin’s sister and her husband in Italy, so we had our own idiosyncratic guides.

    When I know sufficiently in advance that we’re going to travel somewhere, I like to research it myself ahead of time. When we went to Scotland, I had been reading Scottish history for almost a year. And we had an excellent guide book—The Blue Guide of Scotland—that concentrated on the history and significance of areas and sites and was organized in loops and strings you could follow. The Blue Guides changed ownership since then, alas, and the new publisher cut some of the destinations from their books in print. An indication of how highly valued those earlier guides were was revealed when I looked on Amazon to see if older editions were available. The 2001 edition of The Blue Guide to Scotland, used, starts at $125.00.

    In Scotland we mostly had to dodge tour buses. Since we were driving a small car, we could go places the tour buses couldn’t go, like the Glenelg Brochs, and contemplate them in peace.

    We did sign on to a couple of walking tours when we were in Quebec City. One was a “foodie” tour that took us into some historic—and fancy—restaurants that we wouldn’t have afforded and some specialty shops outside the old city walls. It was OK. The better tour was an historic tour. It was that tour guide that clued us into the fabulous Robert Lepage light show:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/massive-robert-lepage-show-reflects-quebec-city-s-story-1.706088
    We might have missed it otherwise and that alone was worth the price of the tour.

    Robin was in New Orleans with some friends recently and took a tour at the Whitney Plantation. The site is devoted to interpreting the slave experience. Robin says it’s the best tour she ever had.

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  10. I was hired four times in Savannah and the area. Three times I could take a couple days before or after to be a tourist, twice on the weekend, always the down season as Renee and her husband must be having. Brought Sandy with those three times, landed in Atlanta and drove down in a rental car, cheaper and gave us freedom.
    First trip we bought a pass that allowed us to get on and off the bus as we toured the squares. Pas also gave us entry to three old homes. No guide on the buses but the house tours were well done. Next day we drove out to Typee Island and toured the fort.
    Second trip we took a guided bus tour and on our own found two other houses to tour. Guides were good. Nothing great. second day we went back to Typee and spent time on the river walk and those fabulous old buildings. I did some sketching and took photos. Later I drew a few dry media pictures of the river area.
    Third trip we knew our way around. So we drove around and walked the squares to see favorites again and places we missed. it was right after new Years so many of the places, such as the cathedral, were still done up for Christmas. And we drove into South Carolina and down Typee.
    So we had the advantage of guides and free will touring, which is one of the reasons we love Savannah so much and have good memories. Ate in very good restaurants.

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  11. I’m sure I’ve done guided tours, but none that I can remember. Most of my travels have been for work, so I was usually in a place long enough to just explore, but that was in the era when I was also putting every dime toward paying off student loans, so I explored on my own, usually on foot.

    I usually found the public library as one of my first stops. Most memorable was checking out and reading Death Comes for the Archbishop in Santa Fe.

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    1. I am in Iowa, where it also snowed this morning, is windy and 25 degrees. Really? There was a tornado near Story City, Iowa Friday evening on my way down here. And now there is snow. ?????

      I hope to travel home tomorrow afternoon/evening if the roads are clear.

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    2. Hans spent a good deal of last evening clearing snow from in front of the garage, various garden paths and sidewalks in front of our house and several neighbors’. This morning he woke up with pink eye. Went to urgent care and they told him he was the fifth case of pink eye they had seen this morning. They speculated that it was from contaminated snow blowing in his eyes. Disproves the notion of “pure as the driven snow,” I guess.

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      1. damn now we have to start being concerned about the crappy air in our face as well as our lungs.
        i have gotten fed up with all the old person reactions i am having out of the blue. digestion skin reaction to fabric chemicals in water . reaction to lights in my eyes, its like the bulletproof me is turning porcelain

        ot anne lamotts retweet is a wowser today it is a thread through the needles eye technique.
        if you dont do anne lamotts tweets maybe you should consider. she is the positive force in the universe

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    3. Our alley has not yet been plowed which means it is impossible to go anywhere by car. Not that I want to drive in this stuff anyway. Last I looked, snow was still coming down. Daughter in Seattle wishes she could be here for the snow. I would rather be in Seattle.

      I went out shooting today (I’m the Sunday photographer for the powderhorn365 project) and got totally wiped out trudging through the deep snow and today’s photos aren’t very good. I might be sick – I feel cold even though I’ve been in bed with blankets piled on top of me. Fun times.

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        1. Dentist appointment this morning. I’ll have to take the bus which means it will take 1.5 (including walk time to the bus stop) hours one way instead of 20 minutes…

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  12. It’s really hard to tell exactly how much snow we got because it’s blowing and drifting around so much. My next door neighbor plowed all at once last night and his driveway was well over two feet but I think it it drifted quite a bit into his driveway. I’ve been lucky.. my friend who lives a couple of houses up came and did my driveway three times in the last 24 hours, twice yesterday and once this morning. I had them over for breakfast after that for pumpkin waffles.

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  13. we got 18 inches but it was light and fluffy except the the slop at the ned. then it melts on the drives and the new falling stuff doent accumulate.
    its so nice out i shoveled in a shirt and vest.

    a little excitement is all
    springtime is a comin

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  14. I went to an estate sale on Summit Avenue this weekend, sort of a self-guided tour. The house was built for the minister of one of the Summit Avenue churches. Lots of floor-to-ceiling woodwork, rounded alcoves, lovely light fixtures, rustic brick.

    I bought a few small things. Including a VHS tape of Rudolph the red-Nosed Reindeer.

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  15. Storm report:
    Like VS said, it’s hard to tell how much snow we got because it’s so windy. Maybe 8″?
    Kelly and I both had to be out yesterday and today. Didn’t *want* to be, just *had* to be.
    All the rain Friday and then snow on top and it’s hard to shovel or clear anything. Main roads are clear except where the snow is blowing over.
    Talked with a sheriff deputy last night. She said the sargent had told everyone the tow trucks were taken off the roads and they should just park in their respective areas and only respond to emergencies. Didn’t help that one of the deputies got stuck.
    Our driveway mostly runs North and South. This snow was all with an East wind so different places drifted.

    One of the benefits to me of this spring is that most years I’m trying to balance getting a show open at the college AND getting farm work done. Plus I’ve got another show to light next week. Normally I don’t light any other shows that open this time of year because I am farming. So at least this year I don’t have that stress…

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    1. Glad this late snow is working out for someone, and that that someone is one of my fellow baboons. I try to take some solace in the fact that I haven’t as yet lost the annual battle with Creeping Charlie.

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