Garden Wall, Tryon Palace

Tryon Palace, in New Bern, was the official residence of the British Governors of North Carolina from 1770 until 1775.  Eventually, to be more central in the newly formed state, the capital was moved to Raleigh in 1792.  Some time shortly after that, the original palace was destroyed by a fire.

The palace was recreated, according to the original plans, in the 1950s.  It’s an interesting part of North Carolina’s early history.

My favorite places at Tryon Palace are the formal gardens.  While the plans for the original palace included garden plans, the original gardens were never implemented.  The current gardens were designed by Morley Williams, who had assisted in the restoration of the gardens at Mount Vernon and Stratford Hall.

This walk along the garden wall is one of my favorite spots in the gardens.  It’s a peaceful place where you can sit quietly and enjoy the beauty of the gardens.  I also like that it’s just a little shaggy, not as well manicured as other parts of the garden.  It just feels warmer to me.

Garden Wall

Capela de São Bentinho, Braga

There are churches everywhere you look in Portugal.  Many are tourist destinations, like the monasteries of Jeronimos, Batalha and Alocbaça, the Sanctuary of Fatima and Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga.

The tiny São Bentinho Chapel in Braga is not on most tourist itineraries.  We stumbled upon it while exploring areas near the Braga Cathedral.  It’s a beautiful little shrine to Saint Benedict, located on a narrow lane that gets its name from the chapel.

Inside the eighteenth century chapel is a lovely painting depicting Saint Benedict, Saint Bernard and Our Lady of Light.  Capela de São Bentinho provides an intimate setting to practice your faith.

Capela de Sao Bentinho

Emerald Lake, Yukon

We visited Canada’s Yukon Territory in May of 2016.  The Yukon is the least populous of Canada’s provinces or territories, with just under 36,000 residents.  We were part of a cruise ship excursion up the Klondike Highway, from Skagway, Alaska, to Carcross, Yukon.

What struck me about the Yukon was the natural beauty of the territory.  I expected a cold, barren place and, instead, found wildflowers, greenery, and huge snow-capped mountains.

An example of the beauty of the Yukon is Emerald Lake, just up the highway from Carcross.  The lake gets its name, obviously, from the bright green color of the water.  The color comes from sunlight reflecting off white deposits of marl, a mixture of clay and calcium carbonate, which was deposited here by glaciers many thousands of years ago.

It’s a stunning sight, and well worth the trip.

Emerald Lake HDR Outdoor 1

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

We had the opportunity to spend a couple days exploring New York City a few years ago.  I had the best tour guide ever; my wife is from Long Island and worked for a while in Manhattan, so she knew exactly where to take me.

One of our stops was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I love museums and the Met is probably the best museum I’ve ever visited.  We could have spent days there but we only had a few hours.  If we make it back to New York City, another trip to the Met is a must.

This photo is the Charles Engelhard Court in the North Wing.  I love how the shadows from the modern glass enclosure fall across the classical facade of the entrance.  I also like that they brought a little nature into the museum with the grass and shrubbery and natural light.  You can sit in what amounts to a tiny park inside the museum and enjoy the beautiful artwork.

Art Museum

Baseball Still Life

I’ve always been a baseball fan.  I grew up in the era when giants like Hammerin’ Henry Aaron, Say Hey Willie Mays and the great Roberto Clemente roamed the turf and giant killers like Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver and Bob Gibson battled them with arms that could fire a baseball over 90 miles per hour.

My favorite teams are the Earl Weaver led Baltimore Orioles, the Amazing Mets of 1969 and the New York Yankees, who have provided decades worth of the kind of baseball that legends are made of.

I made this photo about 30 years ago, when I was toying with still life photography.  The glove, bat and ball are actual equipment that I used during my youth.  The cards are replicas of classic baseball cards.  The uniform was also mine when, as an adult, I moved to a kinder and gentler version of the game, slow pitch softball.

I’m looking forward to this year’s All Star Game.  While I haven’t kept up with the players of today with the same zeal that I had for the players of my youth, I still love the game.

Baseball

Largo da Portagem, Coimbra

Located across from the Santa Clara Bridge, Largo da Portagem is the main square in Coimbra and a central gathering place.  The name comes from the fact that in the old days, goods coming into Coimbra from the south were taxed in the square.

The beautiful little square features the beautiful monument to Joaquim António de Aguiar, an 18th century politician and Coimbra native.  Interestingly, he was best known for signing into law an order that dissolved all church-run monasteries, convents and colleges, effectively extinguishing the great power that the church held in Portugal, turning the power over to the government instead.

Joaquim António de Aguiar

Sponger Monument, Tarpon Springs, FL

Located at the Sponge Docks, this beautiful monument honors the sponge divers of Tarpon Springs.

The sponge industry has been one of the leading industries in Tarpon Springs since the 1880s.  Prior to 1905, sponges were hooked.  That changed when John Cocoris introduced the traditional Greek method of sponge diving.  Cocoris recruited divers from his home country and soon, Tarpon Springs was home to the largest percentage of Greek Americans in America.

Sponge Diver Monument

José de Guimarães Exhibit

Born in Guimarães in 1939, José de Guimarães is one of Portugal’s most important artists of contemporary art.  His art is exhibited all over the world.  The small art gallery at the Dukes of Braganza Palace is dedicated to the city’s most famous artist, and has a great selection of his work.

Art Exhibit

Sunset, Aveiro

Half of Portugal’s border is coastal and faces west.  It’s ideal for catching some gorgeous sunsets. This sunset was over the canal in Aveiro.  The moliceiros are docked for the night.  Aveiro was a great city and I look forward to returning.

Sunset on Canal

Rua Dom Paio Mendes, Braga

It was raining when we visited the cathedral  in Braga.  That’s not unusual; it rains a lot in Braga.  The street was virtually deserted when we got to the cathedral and most of the shops were closed.  We found, on our trip through Portugal, that a lot of shops close between lunch and dinner.

Rua Dom Paio Mendes is the street in front of the cathedral.  The yellow tiled building in the center caught my attention because of the strange figures on the balcony over the first floor.  I don’t know how old they are, but the figures have a kind of medieval feel.  I can imagine them as characters from the Canterbury Tales.

Braga Street Scene 3