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

 

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.

Last but Certainly not Least — More New Orleans!

My final post on New Orleans for this trip consists of a hodge-podge assortment of photos I wanted to share but didn’t fit into any other blog.

I am especially proud of my shot of the Saint Louis Cathedral in the above photo.  My small camera has broken so this was just taken with my cell phone!  The cathedral is one of the most photographed buildings in New Orleans.  On the tour they explained that this is the oldest cathedral that has been in continuous use in North America. The cathedral opens onto Jackson Square which is a great place to stroll around and look at all the artists that display their art/wares  for sale. There were several paintings that had me wishing I was rich and could afford to purchase! One night we also went to Jackson Square to arrange an evening horse-drawn carriage ride.

Perhaps the place I spent the most time was located near the end of the Riverwalk and cable car line — the French Market.

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I made several visits to this open-air market.  As you can see, it did have a roof but no sides, so the vendors are open to the environment.  There were a lot of booths to shop!  I wanted to be sure to support the local economy! hehe   Also, I did find an actual store near the French Market area that sold local artists’ items where I did find some small items I actually could afford.

At the very end of the French Market was a row of booths selling food.  I did stop for some yummy shrimp.

A tasty little snack!

The last two pictures are of a lovely convent that we rode by on the city bus tour.  It was explained that a long time ago New Orleans suffered a fire where most of the buildings except the convent were burnt to the ground.  Perhaps the nuns prayed and God heard their prayers and saved the convent.  However it happened, I am just glad it was saved!

Outdoors in New Orleans

City Park tree

In my first post on New Orleans (here), I highlighted the colorful creole houses, but this blog is my favorite because I am talking about photos more focused on my favorite things — the statues, trees, and, of course, the Mississippi — as I walked around New Orleans.  After the stop at the cemetery that I wrote about in the previous post, the bus took us to City Park.  I can’t believe I did not make it back here after this initial very brief visit, but it was not to be on this trip.  There is a sculpture park here along with the an art museum that I will visit one day!

city park tree closeup

We did actually get off the bus and enjoy the trees.  At least this happened on the one nice day I had, and I just love trees so was “a very happy camper”!   The tour guide said after the rains the moss hanging down turns bright green.

Mississippi The above picture is of the Mississippi River which was  just a block away from my hotel.  The Riverwalk was a very nice area, but it was cold and windy since the sidewalk was right on top of the dike.  As you can guess by the clouds, it did indeed rain on Monday so I did not make it out until noon or so.  There is a free pedestrian ferry that will take you across the river, but I never had the chance to go across.

As I have mentioned in many posts, I love sculptures and statues.  The photo below was a statue on the Riverwalk looking out over the Mississippi River honoring the immigrants.  This was my favorite sculpture!

On the other side of the French Market there was the below sculpture.

Lastly but certainly not least: Once we left the French Market area, we headed back to the hotel and ran into Joan of Arc.  How cool is all the gold?!

Dem’ Rattlin’ Bones – New Orleans Cemetery

During my New Orleans city tour, we did get off the bus at a cemetery and were allowed to walk around.  I have read that since these cemeteries are above ground and have the house-like structures, that muggers like to hide behind them, and I was told by several people to not go there alone, so all the more reason to be on a tour!  I knew they were entombed above ground because of the water table, but I really didn’t give any more thought to it.  I found myself very impressed with the system they have set up, especially when I heard that they do not embalm.  I’ve never liked that idea, nor do I like the idea of spending all that money on a casket but I guess they still use those.

In the picture above, all the names of the nuns that you see listed there are laid to rest in this one tomb.  When someone dies, the body is laid to rest on racks inside the tomb for a couple of years, and then the tomb is sealed shut and no one can be buried there.  After two years, it can be re-opened for another body, and the bones are put into a special bag in the back or side of the tomb.  I suppose for the squeamish this sounds horrible, but I just find it so natural.  I love the idea of a family vault.

Now, if you don’t have money and can’t pay for the cemetery to take care of your vault forever, the below picture happens which is definitely not as pretty.

Walking around rows of vaults, I see where the phrase “city of the dead” came from, because the paths through the rows did resemble streets in front of houses.

I like the idea of honoring our dead and sharing memories of our loved ones so in our hearts the deceased do in fact live on.

Link that explains New Orleans cemeteries: here

Wandering Around New Orlean’s French Quarter

This was my second trip to New Orleans for work so on this trip I made sure to go down a couple of days early so I would have time to explore a bit more.  I know some people find New Orleans dirty and don’t really enjoy it, but being a music and food lover, this city is just so magical to me.  It was great to see the huge strides the city has made since Katrina.  When I first visited, it was a year or two after Katrina, and there was a lot of work that still needed to be done.  This time the street cars were mostly operational, and in the portions where they were not, they had buses that took everyone to the street cars.  It was $1.25 to ride one way or $3.00 to ride anywhere for the day.

I stayed at the Doubletree which is in the Hilton chain of hotels.  I love Hilton beds and was not disappointed in my bed this time. (someday I’m buying one!)  The location of the hotel was perfect as it was near the Riverwalk, French Quarter, and trolley car stops.

I started off my day by taking a city tour so I could get a broad overview of the town.  I thought that way I’d have a good idea of what I might want to visit for the next two days.  Rain was forecasted for the next day so originally I thought it would be great to visit the museums on Monday, only to find out on the tour that the museums were closed on Mondays!  Alas, I did not get a chance to visit the art museum or the aquarium like I had wanted since I did not want to burn my one good weather day inside.  The city tour was great, and I loved seeing all the colorful creole houses.  It was hard to take pictures on the bus so I waited and wandered around on my own later to snap some pictures to share.  However, while I waited for the bus, I decided to start my pictures with the nearby gorgeous doorway below.

As I walked around the neighborhoods and businesses, I found myself having to be careful to not gaze up all the time as I walked and to be sure and look down every once in a while to see where I was going because I kept tripping over the uneven streets and sidewalks.

In the below picture it’s a bit hard to see but that small yellow home is the only example of a shotgun house that I could find as I wandered.  The tour guide said they got the term shotgun houses because in the old days they had to pay taxes on only the frontage space a house took up, so they learned to make their houses small in width but extend way back. If for some reason the homeowner wanted to, they could stand outside the front door and shoot a shotgun at something in the backyard and never hit the house as it was a straight shot front to back. Voila, the term shotgun house was coined. The below picture gives you an idea of how far back the house goes.

Unfortunately the only house I found of this type had this beautiful shrub in front of it so it is hard to see how small it is, but it is hard to complain about such a beautiful tree.  I figured they probably had it there so people like me didn’t take pictures of it and for privacy, but I still took some pictures.  It was too colorful and nice to just pass by.  The green one next to it was what they call a double shotgun because it is like two of the smaller yellow one.

In the below picture that is the extent of the width of the house.  What a great job of painting they did on this!

I loved all the metal work on these balconies below.

On the tour we also learned that for a lot of the houses we are seeing the back or sides of the house.  Many of them are in fact facing inward into courtyards.   There were a few examples of houses that had small iron fences that we could see through into the beginning of beautiful courtyards with ferns and fountains, but I could not find any to photograph on my journey.

I did find a gated alley way where you can see the nice green wall and the cobblestones and uneven pavement that I wrote about earlier.

I’ll leave you with my favorite picture because I love stairways.