Thursday, April 28, 2011

Destination of the Day: Windsor's Community Museum, Windsor, ON

Destination 4 in the series "Public Offering"


For a city of 216,473 and a rich past, one would think civic leaders would work with the community and develop and support a much more impressive public museum.  The entire exhibit space is no larger than maybe a combined family and living rooms.  The volunteers and staff though have done their best with the space and provide a visitor a good overview of Windsor's history.  Since a tour will take about 20 minutes, tops, plan a side trip to the nearby Art Gallery of Windsor.  


Hours:
Monday:  Closed
Tuesday - Saturday:  10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday:  Closed


Address:
Windsor's Community Museum
http://www.citywindsor.ca/002821.asp
254 Pitt Street West
Windsor, ON N9A 5K4
(519) 253-1812




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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Destination of the Day: Public Museum of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids, MI

Destination 3 in the series "Public Offering"


Of all the museums highlighted this week, the Grand Rapids Public Museum is by far the most aggressive in its exhibits, special exhibits, and programming.  If you are a museum director for a mid-sized city looking for inspiration, this is the one to visit.  It might also help that Grand Rapids has a handful of very generous families who have the means to donate and support institutions like the Public Museum.  Permanent exhibits include "Anishinabek: The People of This Place", "Habitats", "Streets of Old Grand Rapids" (much nicer than the Streets of Old Detroit), and "The Furniture City".  The system also includes the Norton Mounds (not open to the public yet), Voigt House, and the Veen Observatory.  Currently the museum is hosting 'Bodies Revealed".  For the CTer, the downtown location includes off-street parking, walking distance from a number of hotels, and two other sizable museums (Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and Grand Rapids Art Museum) nearby.


Hours:
Monday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday 9:00 am - 8:00 pm
Wednesday-Saturday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Address:
Public Museum of Grand Rapids
http://www.grmuseum.org/
272 Pearl Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 929-1700
(616) 456-3977



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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Destination of the Day: Lexington History Center, Lexington, KY

Destination 2 in the series "Public Offering"


With the museum only open three days a week (Friday-Sunday, although the three days are counted as four!) it will take some planning to visit the four museums housed in the one complex-Lexington History Museum, Lexington Public Safety Museum, Kentucky Pharmacy Museum, and the Issac Scott Hathaway Museum.  Current history museum exhibits include 'Athens of the West', 'In Black and White', and 'Antique Typewriters'.  Located downtown in the old courthouse it is pretty easy to find with plenty of inexpensive parking in the area.  In addition to the LHC, the area also has the Kentucky Horse Park (FANTASTIC IF YOU ENJOY HORSES), Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate, and the Headley-Whitney Museum.  


Hours:
Friday, Sunday: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm


Address:
Lexington History Center
LHM: http://www.lexingtonhistorymuseum.org/
LPSM: http://www.lexingtonpublicsafetymuseum.org/
KPM: http://www.pharmacymuseumky.org/
215 West Main Street
Lexington, KY 40507 




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Destination of the Day: Putnam Museum and IMAX Theater, Davenport, IA

Destination 1 in the series "Public Offering"


The map of the museum, available online, makes the place look pretty sizable.  While you might be a little disappointed in the real thing (and sometimes its special exhibit quality) the museum currently does have a nice blockbuster show - "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit", along with the companion IMAX film "Ghosts of the Abyss".  Also in their rotating space is 'Spirit of the Land: A Tribute to Native American Plains Culture".  While the museum is only about two miles from downtown hotels, the hill might prove to be too much walking for some.  Note: Davenport is largest of the 'Quad Cities' area (Davenport & Bettendorf, IA and Rock Island & Moline, IL)


Hours:
Friday-Wednesday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thursday: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm


Address:
Putnam Museum & IMAX Theatre
http://www.putnam.org
1717 West 12th Street
Davenport, IA 52804
(563) 324-1933



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Monday, April 25, 2011

Series of the Week: "Public Offering"


The Great Lakes and Upper South regions are rich in history. Beginning with the first Native American nations, the region has experienced war, industrial expansion, political upheaval, civil rights protests, great engineering feats, and other memorable changes.  To help remind us of these highs and lows most mid-sized communities throughout the region have established public museums, ranging from a few spare rooms to massive complexes that would impress the most well-traveled visitor.  So on the next long weekend trip make a little time to visit the local public museum and learn more about the history of the area around you.

If you would like to contribute to this series contact me at rmaihoferii@gmail.com. Include your name, the establishment, a short description, and a photo if you have one.




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Friday, April 22, 2011

Destination of the Day: Barn Theatre, Augusta, MI

Destination 5 in the series "Bright Lights, Small City"


If you were wondering what that noise was a few weeks ago, it was the combined cheering from Michiganders celebrating the return of the Barn Theatre.  After a rough 2009, the theatre went dark for 2010 to retool and fund raise.  While the the theatre does not do original work, it does try to make well-worn shows fresh again.  If you are in the Kalamazoo/Grand Rapids/Lansing area make it a goal to support this great theatre and its fantastic staff and actors.  


Upcoming Performances:
Escanaba in Love: 14 June - 26 June
Man of La Mancha: 28 June - 10 July
Chicago: 12 July - 24 July
A Streetcar Named Desire: 26 July - 7 Aug
Cinderella: 9 August – 21 August
Sunset Boulevard: 23 August - 4 September


Address:
Barn Theatre
http://www.barntheatre.com/
13351 West M-96
Augusta, MI 49012
269-731-4121








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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Destination of the Day: Kentucky Repertory Theatre at Horse Cave, Horse Cave, KY

Destination 4 in the series "Bright Lights, Small City"


Not far from Mammoth Cave National Park, the KRT provides some great entertainment after a long day of hiking and historic places visiting. Its schedule is fairly aggressive for being located in a small seasonal city. Like other professional theatre companies the KRT is involved in new works development with an emphasis on Kentucky-based playwrights.


Upcoming Performances:
Life in Motion: 6-7 May
Simple Gifts: 7 May
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged: 13-29 May
The Oregon Trail: Quest for the West!: 9-26 June
Guttenberg! The Musical: June
Macbeth: June
Summer and Smoke: August
Sherlock Holmes Mystery: September


Address:
Kentucky Repertory Theatre
http://www.kentuckyrep.org/
118 East Main Street
Horse Cave, KY 42749-1154
(270) 786-1200








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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Destination of the Day: The Blue Gate Restaurant and Theatre, Shipshewana, IN

Destination 3 in the series "Bright Lights, Small City"


It would be very safe to say that 'Avenue Q', 'Spring Awaking', and 'Xena: The Musical' will NEVER make it to The Blue Gate Theatre, and there is nothing wrong with that.  Specializing in very family friendly fare with Christian/Amish themes, the theatre fulfills it mission and fits perfectly in this great little vacation community.   The famous flee market is within walking distance along with a number of resort hotels.  WARNING: Many of the hotels either forbid or strongly discourage ANY alcohol use so skip the spirits/beer and enjoy the fresh air.  


Upcoming Performances:
His Life-The Greatest Story Ever Told: 7-23 April
David Pendleton: 29-30 April
The Perrys: 13-14 May
Forgiven & Freedom Trios: 20-21 May
The Crist Family: 27-28 May
The Confession-An Amish Love Story: 1 June-3 December


Address:
The Blue Gate Restaurant and Theatre
http://www.riegsecker.com/php/theater/index.php
105 East Middlebury Street
Shipshewana, IN 46565
(888) 447-4725



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Destination of the Day: The Old Creamery Theatre Company Main Stage, Amana, IA

Destination 2 in the series "Bright Lights, Small City"


Old Creamery Theatre Company, located on rural street and across from a camp site, should not be missed on a trip to the Amana Colonies.  One of the oldest professional theatre companies in Iowa the theatre tries to balance forgettable candy with some serious work. When purchasing tickets for any production be certain if the performance is at the main stage (not as hard to locate) or the studio theatre (located in a former school and much more difficult to find).  


Upcoming Performances:
The Dixie Swim Club: 28 April - 29 May
GI Jukebox: 2 June - 13 July
Suds: 4 August - 11 September
Boeing-Boeing: 15 September - 16 October
The Mousetrap: 20 October - 13 November
A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol: 17 November - 18 December


Address:
Old Creamery Theatre Company
http://www.oldcreamery.com
39 38th Avenue
Amana, IA 52203
800-35A-MANA









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Destination of the Day: Peninsula Players, Fish Creek, WI

Destination 1 in the series "Bright Lights, Small City"


Door County screams adult fun.  With wineries, galleries, fruit markets, and hiking, it is a nice big get-a-way for couples and friends.  After a long day though, what to do?  Enter the Peninsula Players.  Claiming to be the oldest professional resident summer theatre the Players offers an evening of great theatre just off the lake.  It is recommended to do a test run to the theatre prior to your first visit since it is a little out of the way.   


Upcoming Performances:
Making God Laugh (world premiere): 14 June - 3 July
The Importance of being Earnest: 6 July - 24 July
A Few Good Men: 27 July - 14 August
The Fox on the Fairway: 17 August - 4 September
God of Carnage: 7 September - 16 October


Address:
Peninsula Players
http://www.peninsulaplayers.com
W4351 Peninsula Players Road
Fish Creek, WI 54212
920-868-3287








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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Series of the Week: "Bright Lights, Small City"


Theatre has taken a bit of a beating.  A number of theatres and theatre companies have closed/disbanded or suspended seasons.  There are also many potential attendees who believe that only places like Chicago, Toronto, and Minneapolis have great theatre and are just not aware of the fantastic productions just down the street.  Many smaller cities have good and improving productions that are screaming to be seen by the same people who enjoy traveling Broadway musicals.  This week while the GLCT is checking out these theatres, check out your local theatres and support the performing arts.  

If you would like to contribute to this series contact me at rmaihoferii@gmail.com. Include your name, the establishment, a short description, and a photo if you have one.

Robert Maihofer
Moderator
Great Lakes Casual Traveler (GLCT)




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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Destination of the Day: Newport Southbank Bridge (AKA Purple People Bridge), Cincinnati, OH

Destination 5 in the series "Bridge to Somewhere"


Newport Southbank Bridge
Opened: 1896
Crosses: Ohio River
Connects: Cincinnati, OH, and Newport, KY
Street: Pedestrian 


For more information visit its Wikipedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_People_Bridge


Other Site:
http://www.purplepeoplebridge.com/


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Destination of the Day: Houghton–Hancock Bridge (AKA Portage Canal Lift Bridge), Houghton, MI

Destination 4 in the series "Bridge to Somewhere"


Houghton–Hancock Bridge
Opened: 1959
Crosses: Portage Lake
Connects: Houghton, MI, and Hancock, MI
Street: US 41 and M-26


For more information visit its Wikipedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portage_Lake_Lift_Bridge


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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Destination of the Day: Memorial Bridge (Left) and Bayview Bridge (Right), Quincy, IL

Destination 3 in the series "Bridge to Somewhere"


Bayview Bridge
Opened: August 1987
Crosses: Mississippi River
Connects: West Quincy, MO, and Quincy, IL
Street: US Highway 24 (west bound)


For more information visit its Wikipedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayview_Bridge


Memorial Bridge
Opened: 1928
Crosses: Mississippi River
Connects: West Quincy, MO, and Quincy, IL
Street: US Highway 24 (east bound)


For more information visit its Wikipedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quincy_Memorial_Bridge


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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Destination of the Day: Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis, MN

Destination 2 in the series "Bridge to Somewhere"


Opened: 1883
Crosses: Mississippi River
Connects: Minneapolis 
Street: Pedestrian and bicycle lane (extension of Portland Avenue South and Southeast 6th Avenue)


For more information visit its Wikipedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_Arch_Bridge_(Minneapolis)


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Destination of the Day: East End Bridge, Huntington, WV

Destination 1 in the series "Bridge to Somewhere"


Opened: August 1985
Crosses: Ohio River
Connects: Proctorville, OH, with Huntington, WV
Street: State Route 106


For more information visit its Wikipedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Huntington_Bridge


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Series of the Week: "Bridge to Somewhere"


With numerous rivers like the Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio, and the Thames, bridges are an important piece of infrastructure for the people of the Great Lakes and Upper South regions.  Many of these bridges are characterless and basic spans that meet the transportation needs of their communities.  In other cases the communities wanted something more, something striking, something that would be remembered.  This week's series will highlight just a few of the bridges that have inspired to do more.

If you would like to contribute to this series contact me at rmaihoferii@gmail.com. Include your name, the establishment, a short description, and a photo if you have one.

Robert Maihofer
Moderator
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Monday, April 11, 2011

Review: Windsor, ON



Overview: Windsor, Ontario's ninth largest city, is the little brother to across-the-river Detroit.  While a good, very blue collar, town its attractions and cultural institutions have never really developed.  Still there are plenty of reasons to visit and combine a trip with a long weekend in Detroit.  Fortunately for the CTer Transit Windsor offers a bus service between the two cities.  Just do not forget your passport!  


Places Visited:
-Market Square Farmers Market (http://buyfromthefarm.ca/farmers-market/windsor-market-square): No great food hall here, just lots of produce and meat (including chicken feet!).  On this Saturday the market (more of a french market than a farmers market) was busy with a wide-cross section of Windsor.  Since most of the goods are meant to be cooked and consumed at home the CTer's main incentive is to enjoy Windsor like the locals.  A small flea market is at one side.  





-Windsor Wood Carving Museum (http://www.windsorwoodcarvingmuseum.ca/): Located at the front entrance of the Windsor Main Library the museum is basically housed in a an area the size of a large classroom (see photos).  What it does not have in size it does make up with enthusiasm for its art form.  According to its web site it is the only wood carving museum in Ontario and only one of two in Canada.  Tour should take about 20-30 minutes tops.  A paybox lot for the library is located off an alley east of the complex.  







-Art Gallery of Windsor (AGW) (http://www.artgalleryofwindsor.com/): Compared to other cities of similar size (Grand Rapids, MI, Quad Cities, IA, Akron, OH) this barely registers as an art museum.  With only two small floors (Floor 2, Floor 3) it is a quick trip.  The exhibits during this visit were mostly contemporary art with some video installations.  For the $5.00 admission consider it an investment in future expansion and a nice break from the weather.  





-Canadian Club Brand Center (http://www.canadianclubwhisky.com/home.aspx#/?page=heritage_center): While $5.00 might have been too much to visit AGW, it is definitely the right price to participate in a walking tour of the brand center, originally the Hiram Walker & Sons headquarters.  The desk person was upfront that the tour no longer included the distillery.  The tour guide was friendly, excited, and the script very open about the second owner's connections with the mob.  The tour concludes with an optional whiskey tasting led by the guide.  Definitely add this to the to-visit list.








Windsor's Community Museum (http://www.citywindsor.ca/002821.asp):  Similar to the AGW this museum is underwhelming when compared to even small town history museums.  With one small 'gallery' (okay, a room in a history home) a visitor is treated to the short review of Windsor's history.  The museum is free, donations accepted, and is just down from the AGW for a quick one-two punch.




Odette Sculpture Park (http://www.citywindsor.ca/000354.asp).  Located on the Detroit River and stretching from downtown west to the Ambassador Bridge this is a great walking break during good weather.  Unfortunately there is no online guide a CTer can print out to plan the walk.




OLG - Windsor Raceway (http://www.olg.ca/olg-slots/slots_facilities.jsp?gamesite=windsor): This might not be the fanciest of slot machine halls, but really, if one is going to lose money to someone why not to the Province?  There is a cafeteria style restaurant, alcohol, and upstairs is the racetrack viewing center with off-track betting.  The biggest downsides is that the complex is located about 7 miles from downtown with limited public transit options and no table games.  




Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino (http://www.caesarswindsor.com/casinos/casino-windsor/hotel-casino/property-home.shtml).  This much more popular gaming site is located downtown in a massive complex containing two hotel towers, convention space, two auditoriums, a few dining options, and three bars.  Caesars offers both mechanical and table games.  The buffet area has a great selection, but ask about pricing before getting into the line to avoid any surprises.  Check the web site for concerts by The Oakridge Boys, Darius Rucker, George Lopez, and Craig Ferguson.  








Robert Maihofer
Member






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Friday, April 8, 2011

Destination of the Day: Comerica Park, Detroit, MI

Destination 5 in the series "Opening Day!, Week II"


Opening Day is 8 April against the Kansas City Royals. This 45,010 seat stadium has had to work to win the hearts of Tigers fans.  Tiger Stadium, located in the nearby Corktown neighborhood, was a fan favorite even in its last years.  Comerica Park does feel a little amusement parkish with its Farris wheel, carousel, and EXCESSIVE use of tiger symbols in nearly every part of the park.   The park, along with Ford Field, has made a big difference in its new location adding considerable foot traffic that now supports a number of bars and restaurants.  Also in the vicinity is the Greektown Casino, Detroit Opera House, Fox Theatre, and the Gem & Century Theatres.   Public transit options are limited for city-wide travel, but  once downtown the People Mover is useful with its Broadway Station and Grand Circus Station nearest the stadium.  


For more information visit its Wikipedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comerica_Park


Address:
Comerica Park
http://mlb.mlb.com/det/ballpark/index.jsp
2100 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201
(866) 66-TIGER (for baseball tickets)
















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