Maine’s Capitol – Simple Yet Elegant

Seal.jpg

When I arrived at Maine’s State Capitol building which is in Augusta, Maine, I immediately felt like I was in Maine with this seal to greet me.  The capitol building itself was very simple and yet elegant.  As I was exploring the inside, I managed to capture the view looking out one of the beautiful windows.

window from inside maine capitol.jpg

As you can see, the capitol sits on a hill so there is quite a view out the window.

The dome from the inside is not decorated like many, but you can see below just how simple, yet elegant, it looks.inside dome

I love the windows in The House of Representatives which is pictured below.

house of reps.jpg

Likewise, the senate had the same shape of windows and was also in keeping with the entire theme of simple yet elegant.

Senate.jpg

Last, but certainly not least, is the view from outside, and the dome is a brown shade!

Maine Capitol from distance.jpg

 

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And in what city is the Capitol Building of Pennsylvania?!

Approaching the Capitol I was a bit embarrassed when I had trouble recalling the capital city of Pennsylvania until my college-age son had trouble with it too.  I found out I was going to be close by on a job so decided to fly into Harrisburg so i could visit the Capitol building there.  Yes, Harrisburg and not Philadelphia is the capital city of Pennsylvania.

capitol grounds

I visited in early May and missed most of the spring flowers, and the landscaping for summer had either not been done yet or hadn’t had time to grow.  The fountain on the other side was also not operating.  I did manage to get in the above shot the colors of Spring.

outside capitol

The green glass tile dome was just beautiful and unique.  I am partial to my Iowa Capitol gold dome, but this was very easily the next best dome I have seen so far.  Each side of the entrance is flanked with a white sculpture of men appearing to hold up the wall.  I’m not sure I like the white against the grey stone, but it does make it stand out.

Once inside I was blown away by the opulent interior.

Staircase

The following photos were just looking straight up into the dome.

Inside the dome

I eventually made my way up the stairs and had my breath taken away not only from the hike up the stairs, but from the breath-taking view as well, when I walked into the House Gallery.

house gallery1

It was hard for me to imagine arguing or heated conversations in such beauty.  On each side of the room, there was a row of stained glass portals up in the rafters.  I tried to capture their beauty in the picture below.

portals house gallery

I also got a shot of the stained glass dome in the center of the supreme court, although not well centered because I wasn’t sure if pictures were allowed and didn’t want to ask permission since someone might say no!

supreme court dome

As I came back out into the main hallway above the staircase to the second floor, I captured a picture of the beautiful white staircase.

stairs from top

Once back down on the first floor, I noticed that even the underside of the staircase was carefully decorated.

underside of stairway

I shall leave you with a few more of my favorite shots:

Beautiful Skylights at Kentucky’s State Capitol

Kentucky State Capitol buildingSo much time has passed since my last blog! I have a new job now where I am traveling around the country conducting various trainings.  Until I learn all the components of my job, I have to spend a lot more time preparing for the actual engagement so now I know what a first-year teacher must feel like.

But enough about me and on to my visit to Frankfort, Kentucky.  I was so excited to get this assignment since I doubt I would ever get another chance to check out the Kentucky State Capitol building.  Frankfort is  halfway between Lexington and Louisville, and it is a small town compared to other capital cities.  Although the outside building was nondescript as capitol buildings go, the inside was very beautiful.  The skylights set this capitol building apart from others I have seen. Statue and skylights inside Kentucky State Capitol Marble and granite were everywhere, and the different skylights were just beautiful.  The below picture was a stunning stained glass skylight that was inside one of the end rooms.  (I think the House of Representatives?) state representatives skylight Kentucky State Capitol I arrived after class, so the building was just closing.  This was the only room I got into because they were vacuuming and closing up.  As it was, another couple and I undid the barricade and walked into this room so I had to hurry and take a quick shot.  Of course, we put the barricade back, but all the other rooms were actually locked so I was unable to view them. inside view kentucky State CapitolIn the above photo, there are kids on the balcony  which gives some perspective on the grandness of the pillars.  Below you can see what the inside of the dome looked like.  20140429_160828

Did you notice that the color of the inside of the dome changes?  I’m not sure even I would have noticed had I not been told by the desk lady as she was leaving.  The dome color changes very subtly, but it does get very pink at times so I might have noticed by then.

Below the dome, there was a display of porcelain dolls representing all the governor wives in their inauguration gowns.  The only gown I could guess what era it was designed in was the Roaring 20’s, but then again, I’m not a fashionista!  I enjoyed seeing how the fashion styles came and went and then came back again.

governor wives porcelain dolls

It had rained off and on the whole time I was in Frankfort but cleared off just in time for my trip to the capitol, so I wasn’t too surprised when as I left the capitol building and got into my rental car, the rain drops started in again.

Bicycling Clive to Des Moines, Iowa,

Since I work in Des Moines and have a long drive each day to work, I sometimes spend the night with a friend who lives in Clive.  We have been having continuous horribly hot weather here in the Midwest, but we managed to go on a bike ride one night after work on a rare evening when it cooled off enough for us to be able to go.  We headed out on the Greenbelt Bike Trail which has a trail head  just down the hill from her house,and our goal was to make it to Grey’s Lake which is a fantastic lake right in the middle of the city.  We have many fond memories of Grey’s Lake, where we hung out in college, but that is another story!

All along the trail you will see these sign posts where bike trails intersect other bike trails, and although a bit confusing, I just think it’s great that, number one,  they have them well marked and, number two, that Des Moines has so many trails to pick from!  The Greenbelt trail twists and turns its way towards town and is highly popular, so you have to watch out for others and we stayed single file as we pedaled.  It is a paved trail with the occasional wood-planked bridge like the one below.  Most of the trail is shaded, and although we didn’t see any deer this time, we have seen deer on the trail before.

Nine or so miles later we found ourselves at Grey’s Lake where they have a really nice patio area with tables and chairs located on the top of a small hill so you can really enjoy the view.

The following picture is not the greatest, but I have to show off the gold dome of our Iowa Capitol building that you could see off in the distance.

After a rest and chat at our table, we cast one last look at the Des Moines skyline and headed back glad that we finally got to get outside and enjoy a nice evening.

An evening in Des Moines, Iowa

For several years I have attended the lecture series called SmartTalk in Des Moines.  The SmartTalk series consists of different female speakers, usually once a month, and there are many different cities that hosts SmartTalk.  It is always very interesting and usually entertaining.  Well, Tuesday night Arianna Huffington spoke as the Des Moines speaker for February at the Civic Center, and since I’m not traveling this winter like I usually do,  I decided to make it a special night by staying in town for the evening at the Embassy Suites.  I had some Hilton Honors points earned so I applied those for my stay so I did not have to pay quite so much so it was fun to pretend I was rich for the night!

When I arrived and entered the room, I could not believe how big the suite was so I tried to take a picture that represented it.  That room at the end is where the huge bed was.  The picture at the top of the blog was the view out my window and that is the Iowa Capitol building in the background.  It, of course, was much more impressive in real life since the gold dome was much more visible.  I had a girlfriend come over, and we got caught up with all the news of our lives before the event while enjoying the manager’s reception where you can have free drinks down in the lobby.  We just brought our drinks up to the room.  Here is a photo off the sixth floor balcony of the lobby area.

We walked across the river to get to the civic center and enjoyed listening to Arianna Huffington.  In the picture below you can see the river and the band shell that is right down by it where they hold concerts occasionally.

When I got up in the morning, it was so nice to just leisurely get up and go to a great breakfast that came with the room where they have a chef make you up almost anything you want along with the usual buffet line!  I especially enjoyed getting in the car and, instead of my usual 1.25 hour trip to work, arrived at work within 5 minutes!!!  Just what the doctor ordered.  I’ll leave you with a picture out my bedroom window in the morning.

A Stormy Night in Washington DC

This was my first time to Washington DC, but I wasn’t able to spend much time sight-seeing as I had a conference to attend so I only managed to get away one night to see the monuments.  We stayed at the Westin Tyson’s Corner Hotel in Falls Church, VA.  I really loved the hotel’s ambiance and rooms.  However, in order to get to the mall or the Metro, you had to have the hotel’s van take you. Now, there were scheduled times it left, but if you had a large enough group, you could get it to take you at other times also.  I just found it a bit clunky if you wanted to do any sight-seeing.

See how the puddles reflected the Washington monument?  The only night we could all go together it, of course, stormed!  A small group of brave souls decided we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity so off we went to brave the elements.  I was really close to backing out as it had been storming like crazy with tornado watches and warnings, but we waited it out and eventually it stopped for a while.  Below is my favorite photo, but we were in such a hurry to see everything before it started to rain again, that we didn’t stop long to take pictures.

I don’t even have a picture of my favorite monument which was the Korean War Memorial.  Wow, if you get a chance to see it at night, GO!  That was so spooky and cool I found myself looking around for enemies.  It’s a whole platoon of realistic statues walking along on patrol, and at night their faces are lit and become very ghostlike.

Just as we decided we had seen enough, some serious thunder and lightning started in.  We started waving down cabs on a busy street trying to find one in a hurry.  It was that scary kind of lightning!  Finally just as the rain started coming down in big plops we got one to stop.  Even though he didn’t know where our hotel was and there were five of us, we didn’t give him a chance to back out and dove into the cab saying, “We’ll look it up on our phones!”  With four of us in the back with the lightest girl sitting on our laps, we made it back dry and happy we didn’t back out!