Travel, United States, Snowboard
Need spring break plans? Spring is one of the best times to ski the Rockies. Warmer weather, solid base, and discounted lodging. Check out Breckenridge before it closes for the season on April 23. It's one of Colorado's best ski resorts. It's absolute bliss with its friendly, laid-back atmosphere, 2,908 acres of terrain, and lively nightlife to let loose. Skiiers and boarders welcome ⛷@breckenridgemtn
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Destinary, Tour, Travel, Burma, Myanmar
Isn't this just dreamy. Watch hot air balloons drift behind ancient pagodas of Bagan, Myanmar at sunset.
Destinary, England, Frankie Jay, Travel, Things to see, United States
When you want a karmic driving experience.
Dine, Drink, Eat, Lunch, Michael Mackie, Restaurants, Travel, Chile
In between Santiago and Valparaiso, Chile is this little oasis of a dining destination. Who knew?! Seems like Michael Mackie did.
Frankie Jay, Manhattan, New York City, Things to see, Things to do, Fashion
Show some leg during New York Fashion Week.
London, Things to do, Things to see, United Kingdom, Travel, Bar
A seemingly small change, but 3 years in the making and decades in the waiting, means that Londoners can finally get their Underground train rides home on a Friday and Saturday night. Welcome Night Tube.
Bar, Drink, Dine, Eat, Frankie Jay, Travel, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, Brazil
Stopping in Rio this Olympic summer? Here are 4 fave places to eat & drink, plus beautiful time-lapse of Sugarloaf mountain - enjoy!
Park, California, Things to see, Things to do, Travel, United States, CAlifornia, Michael Mackie
Deep in Coachella Valley you'll find an 80's punk rocker, giraffes, desert flora and some lucky visitors in an incredible oasis.
Cocktails, Destinary, Duane Wells, Drink, Dine, Luxury, Switzerland, Travel, Things to do, Things to see
Duane Wells experiences La Dolce Vita in the Italian speaking Swiss corner of Lake Lugano, in this dreamy dispatch from Ticino.
England, Drink, Frankie Jay, Manhattan, Luxury, New York City, United Kingdom, United States, Bar, Hong Kong, Sydney, Los Angeles, London, Cocktails
We know, you need a drink after Mother's Day. Let Frankie Jay show you where.
Manhattan, Art, Tour, Things to see, Things to do, New York City, Duane Wells
Award winning historian, art curator and art expert in residence at the über elegant Surrey Hotel, Natasha Schlesinger shows you her top 5 hot spots that showcase New York at its artsy best. By Duane Wells
Savannah, Georgia, GA, Destinary, Eat, Dine, Michael Mackie
Welcome to Alligator Soul Restaurant in the ever charming Savannah, Georgia. Here your soul and stomach will revel in cocktails and the quality Cajun Creole food served here. Michael Mackie's certainly did.
Sweden, Travel, Destinary, Drink, Eat, Luxury, Sculpture, Åre, Ski, Frankie Jay, Family, Romantic
Flying under the radar, seemingly only known to locals but boasts world class accommodation and ski facilities is Copperhill Mountain Lodge in Åre Sweden. Frankie Jay travels north and discovers a special and sophisticated Nordic destination.
Duane Wells, Sonoma, Luxury
Luxury travel writer Duane Wells takes us to a special place in Sonoma County. Plus some additional nearby suggestions so you can create a magical wine country itinerary.
Drink, Eat, Lunch, Restaurants, Romantic, United Kingdom, England, London
In London for a whistle-stop stop work trip but want to squeeze in meeting friends and family while eating well there too? Let moi help you.
Destinary, Historic House, History, Michael Mackie, Museum, United States, Tour
Long before Will Rogers, Erma Bombeck and Garrison Keillor became household names thanks to their amusing musings, Mark Twain held the nation’s comedic sensibilities in the palm of his hand. No wonder even after a century after his death, he remains a beloved literary icon.
Destinary, Drink, Eat, Brunch, Music Tour, Restaurants, United States
Every year in the weeks approaching Christmas, the honkey-tonk band the Sweetback Sisters take their talents on the road up and down the east coast to spread their signature holiday cheer with the annual Country Christmas Singalong Spectacular.
Now in its 7th season, this wildly popular show has audience members returning year after year to sing classic holiday music (lyric sheets provided) as well as some lesser known gems and originals. In their own words, all the songs are presented with the Sweetback Sisters' mix of "harmony singing, rollicking Telecaster and Twin Fiddling along with a healthy dose of holiday cheer."
MFP caught up with one of the leading ladies of the band, Zara Bode, to talk about the shows on the 2015 Country Christmas Singalong Spectacular tours, the excellent venues that they're playing in, and some of the band's favorite places around these amazing East Coast towns.
Thursday, December 17
The Bell House – 149 7th Street Brooklyn, NY (tickets $15 - $20)
"This killer venue in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn has a ballroom-barn elegance, perfect for a wedding or a rock concert. This place used to be in the middle of nowhere but, over the years, dozens of restaurants and shops have popped up. I recommend Dinosaur BBQ for a quick bite before the show. I don’t always have a lot of time between the sound check and the show, but always try to make my way to The Morbid Anatomy Museum, a place to window-shop for quirky gifts and oddities."
Friday, December 18
Little Compton Community Center – 34 Commons, Little Compton, RI
"Straight outta Compton…that is if Compton were an adorable little New England town. This show is held in a sweet old-fashioned meeting hall. Some of the best cooks in the area take over the kitchen and you get a lovely dinner-and-show package."
Sunday, December 20
First Baptist Church – 190 Main Street Brattleboro, VT
"I happen to live in this little town so this show will be a doozie! After some tough years here (Hurricane Irene, then a big fire downtown) this arts-friendly town in southern Vermont is now on an upswing. So many great restaurants and shops.
Some of my favorites are:
- Boomerang – a great selection of new and used clothing and gifts.
- Three Stones– traditional Mayan cuisine. Mmmm...sangria
- Duo – this is the hot new dish in town. Brunch, dinner, cocktails. No joke. It's all good."
Monday, December 21
Christmas Tree Santas Benefit Show at the Firehouse Center for the Arts – 1 Market Square Newburyport, MA
"This show is a benefit for a non-profit called the Christmas Tree Santas, which gives out Christmas trees and ornaments to families in need in eastern Massachusetts. The restaurant on the first floor of the venue, Not Your Average Joe's, is excellent."
Tuesday, December 22
Joan Holliday's Holiday Hootenany at the Academy of Music – 274 Main Street Northampton, MA
"OUR BIGGEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR!! This is our closing night of the Country Christmas Singalong Spectacular, and we are pulling out all the stops (hint: so many surprises in store). This quirky New England town has a bustling downtown full of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. Smack dab in the middle of a brimming college landscape, Northampton is the home of Smith College which has a gorgeous campus and stunning museum of art. Here are some favorite spots in and around town:
- Sip: 8 Crafts Avenue – Damn good cup of coffee; one heck of a cortado
- The Green Room: 28 Centre Street – Cocktail classics, both new and old
- Kestrel: 22 Masonic Street – Rustic, modern goods and gifts with a fantastic selection of pottery, succulents and the most exquisite home touches."
Art, United States, Tour, Park, Sculpture, Iowa
The capital city of Des Moines, Iowa is widely known for a couple things … the incomparable Iowa State Fair and for being a headquarters to countless financial/insurance corporations. But did you know Des Moines has become a Mecca for art sculptures?
United States, Washington, Murals, Art
When a city is known for something … why not promote the living bejeezus out of it and make it your town’s claim to fame? Kansas City, for instance, is the city of fountains. Boise is the city of trees. Well, in the smallish city of Toppenish, Washington – they are known for being colorfully creative as America’s City of Murals.
The city’s motto – “Where the West still lives” – is the theme of the 80+ murals scattered about the city. If there’s a flat surface in town, you can be assured there’s a historical mural on it – or probably a plan to paint something upon said flat surface. “There was a vision to tie in our roots with the Western community,” said Paul Newman, Executive Director of Toppenish’s Chamber of Commerce. “If you have an appreciation for Americana and Western flair, you won’t be disappointed.”
The Toppenish Murals began in 1989 as a way to celebrate Washington’s centennial celebration. Ideas about murals with a “Western-type façade” were bandied about. That year the town hosted their first annual Mural-In-A-Day – where a masterful local artist was chosen to paint and unveil a new mural in 24 hours. It’s a tradition that continues the first Saturday each June. The Toppenish Mural Society helps run the show by also holding fundraisers to sponsor regional or seasonal artists throughout the year.
Each mural has the same inspired motif – a time period between the late 1800’s and mid 1900’s when Toppenish came into its own as a well-known railroad stop. The artists run the gamut of creativity in their larger-than-life paintings – many which adorn nearly an entire block. Even the local fire department wanted in on the action ... using the garage doors to their firehouse as a blank palette.
Several of the murals feature colorful, slice-of-life fare of days gone by. Others are a bit more grandiose and action-packed – spotlighting a time when cowboys ruled the roost and the West was still relatively wild. All are homespun and remind tourists of simpler, less hectic times when the world thrived on bonnets, butter churns, county fairs and newly introduced locomotives.
When asked if Newman had a favorite, he was demur. “It’s all based on personal preference,” he said. “I’ll guarantee you’ll find a number of them that you like.” According to Newman, over 10,000 visitors make a point to visit Toppenish each year to see the town’s latest and greatest artistic endeavors. “Another 10,000 just stumble upon it,” he mentioned.
The town takes immense pride knowing they have something that shows off their heritage and has put them on the Pacific Northwest’s proverbial map. Even better? They even have a sense of humor about it. The town’s unofficial motto, you ask? “Toppenish – come watch paint dry.”
For more information on the city or their impressive slew of murals, visit http://www.cityoftoppenish.us or http://www.visittoppenish.com.
United States, Tour, Ohio, Park, Botanical Garden
Edward Scissorhands has nothing on the volunteer gardeners at Columbus, Ohio’s Topiary Garden. They have lovingly recreated Seurat’s famous painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte” using – what else? – shrubbery. What started as a lark in 1992 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovering America has now turned in to one of Columbus’ hidden gem attractions. “It’s a landscape of a painting of a landscape!” boasts a brochure that greets visitors to the park’s Visitor Center.
The seven-acre arena located inside Old Deaf School Park offers visiting patrons a whopping 220+ trees, but its claim to fame is the well-known painting now brought to leafy life. All the figurines are comprised of several different varieties of Taxus, commonly known as yews. “This is the only topiary garden in the world based on a real painting,” said the park’s stalwart tour docent Jeri Hendricks. The painting it’s patterned after is considered a benchmark in Western art history – a painting that found a whole new pop culture audience when it took center stage in the film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. (Yes, we’re talking about the scene where Cameron stares endlessly at Seurat’s colorful dot matrix.)
The first thing park-goers will likely notice about the topiary is the enormity of the project. The exhibit is done in an exaggerated perspective – giving it ample depth. The next is the attention to detail throughout the project – all painstakingly maintained by the park’s bevy of volunteers. The exhibit features a 3-D display of 54 people, eight boats, three dogs, a monkey and a cat. “If they had a pear tree – there would probably be a partridge in it,” said local Columbus businessman Jay Stanforth who was visiting the park that afternoon.
The park’s glorious display almost didn’t happen. “The piece of land went through a lot of changes and transitions,” said Carlene Palmquist, the coordinator at the Visitor Center. “At different points, it was going to be a parking lot or a grocery store or a retirement home.” Starting in 1988, it took nearly four years to change the park from a near desolate wasteland of rubble and debris to its currently glory. “It was a lost park … an empty space back in the ‘80s,” said Hendricks. The park’s display was officially unveiled as part of an international garden exhibition.
Now thousands of visitors enjoy the all the grounds have to offer each year and the centerpiece that pays homage to the French post impressionist painter. “Look around – this exhibit is the perfect combination of creativity and technical know-how,” said Stanforth. Bronze frames create the structures, set in eighteen inches of concrete. Visitors are often in awe of the enormity of the recreation. “Some of these figures have got to be at least 10 feet tall – if not more,” noticed Stanforth.
Feel free to enjoy the grounds year round – but peak season for viewing is in mid-June after the figurines are trimmed and tied after their spring growth spurt. Of course, volunteers will keep up the topiary’s appearances throughout the summer – as well as the lush flower gardens and 35 different varietals of trees. So the next time you’re in Columbus, pencil in some time to enjoy this one-of-a-kind outdoor exhibit. “The thing that’s important to know is that this park has always been a park,” mentioned Palmquist. “It really breathes when it’s doing something it’s supposed to do.”
For more information on Columbus’ Topiary Garden – visit www.TopiaryPark.org. The park is open from dawn until dusk daily. Even better? Admission is free.
Address: 480 E Town St, Columbus, OH 43215