Martin Guitar Factory Tour & Museum

Travel

Attaching guitar necks and bodies at Martin Guitar factory.

Five days a week, guitar players and enthusiasts make the pilgrimage to Nazareth, Pennsylvania, to visit Martin Guitar. The longtime family-run company, officially called C. F. Martin & Company, makes guitars for popular current favorites like John Mayer and Ed Sheeran. Elvis, three-quarters of the Beatles, Tom Petty and many others have played their instruments. And with a visit to Martin Guitar’s museum and a factory tour, it’s easy to see just why these expertly crafted instruments are so coveted.

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My First Opera: Das Rheingold at Academy of Vocals Arts

Travel

The Academy of Vocal Arts production of Richard Wagner's Das Rheingold in Philadelphia.

The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia has officially made my husband and me into opera fans. When the Academy of Vocal Arts kindly offered tickets to see one of their two upcoming operas in German I was instantly excited. When it comes to language learning I’m willing to try just about anything. Soap operas, romantic comedies — even if I don’t enjoy it in English, I’m willing to try. But this sounded like a lot of fun. And it also happened to coincide with our anniversary and made the perfect date. In the end, it was the Academy of Vocal Arts’ production of Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold that really wowed us.

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Free Things to Do in New York City

Travel

Cruising by the Statue of Liberty on the Staten Island Ferry is one of the great free things to do in New York City.

Although the Big Apple is known for being rather pricey, there are plenty of free things to do in New York City. Free doesn’t have to be a dirty word. Even if you’re a luxury traveler, you have no excuses! There are some really fun and engaging things to see and do that shouldn’t be missed even if you aren’t a budget traveler. I’ve put together a list of my favorites free things to do in NYC! You’ll have such a good time that you’ll forget you’re not even paying a dime with these free things to do in New York City.

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Washington DC’s Freer|Sackler Galleries of Asian Art

Travel

Indian art on display at the Freer|Sackler Galleries in Washington DC.

The Freer|Sackler, that is the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, is easy to miss along the imposing and impressive National Mall in Washington, DC. The galleries are surrounded by significant museums. Just across the way is the popular Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Castle. The Hirshhorn Museum and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum are also nearby neighbors. It’s easy to not notice the Freer|Sackler given all those “distractions,” not to mention its petite buildings, relatively speaking.

But the Freer|Sackler Galleries are home to an impressive collection of Asian art as well as works from the American aesthetic movement, northern Africa, and the Islamic world. What’s more, there’s never been a better time to visit the museum. The dual museums celebrated a reopening in October 2017 after the Freer Gallery of Art was closed for renovations that lasted nearly two years. I recently visited the galleries and to say that the museums house an extraordinary collection is an understatement.

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Ring in 2018: New Year’s Eve in Philadelphia (& Nearby)

Travel

New Year's Eve in Philadelphia with fireworks along the Delaware Waterfront.

Don’t have plans yet for saying goodbye to 2017 and hello to 2018? If you plan to spend New Year’s Eve in Philadelphia and the surrounding area then I’ve got some ideas for you! Seemingly every restaurant or nightspot has something special going on for the last night of 2017. I’m highlighting eleven events that I think are some of the most traditional, unique or fun. But no matter where you go or what you do, have a good time and here’s to a happy, healthy and safe 2018!

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28 Ways to Celebrate Christmas in Philadelphia (And Nearby)

Travel

28 things to do and see to celebrate Christmas in Philadelphia!

The holidays are here and Christmas in Philadelphia offers all the cheer, shimmer and joy that you would expect. Kids of all ages will feel that festive thrill when they explore the holidays in Philadelphia. No matter what gets you feeling festive, there is something for everyone. I’ve put together a list of 28 things to see and do during Christmas in Philadelphia (and the surrounding area)!

Many of these things to see and do are winter activities in Philadelphia aren’t limited to Christmas just the holiday season. There are lots of fun things to do this winter, no matter what holidays you are or aren’t celebrating!

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Post by . Originally published November 27, 2017. Last updated December 23, 2017.

Christmas in Historic Odessa with Tradition and Charm

Travel

Christmas tree and gingerbread house in the Wilson-Warner House in Historic Odessa, Delaware.

Christmas in Historic Odessa, Delaware captures all of the charm and tradition of the holiday season. It’s not over-commercialized reindeer or cartoony men in red suits. It’s far more innocent and heartfelt. The town captures a yuletide feeling that hardly seems to exist anymore these days. The small town of historic homes put on its holiday finest each year to awe, inspire, celebrate and welcome visitors. My husband and I made a trip to Odessa, Delaware to experience the holiday cheer and the historic homes in person.

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Post by . Originally published November 24, 2017. Last updated November 27, 2017.

Old Masters Now: Philly’s Johnson Collection Turns 100

Travel

Old Masters Now highlights the Johnson Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The classics never go out of style. Just ask Paul McCartney’s accountant. And those classics come in all styles and forms. Take art, for example. Philadelphia lawyer and art collector John G. Johnson fell in love with the Old Masters and you can’t get much more classic than that. Johnson collected the Old Masters and then some. He acquired everything from Renaissance masterpieces to impressionist classics. And now through February, art lovers can visit a special exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art dedicated to the collection, which is celebrating its centennial. I recently got a peek at the splendid exhibition as part of the museum’s members preview.

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Checking In: Historic & Luxurious Hotel Du Pont

Reviews, Travel

Two double beds in a Hotel Du Pont room.

For over a century, HOTEL DU PONT in downtown Wilmington, Delaware, has been hosting guests. From presidents to kings and queens, HOTEL DU PONT has been THE place to stay, dine and be entertained. But it’s also the ideal place to stay if you’re discovering the region along the Pennsylvania-Delaware border that’s peppered with museums and history (Longwood Gardens, Nemours Mansion & Estate, Winterthur, Brandywine River Museum of Art). Recently my husband and I checked in at Hotel Du Pont for the night and it was the perfect place to unwind and relax.

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Post by . Originally published October 25, 2017. Last updated October 22, 2017.

Valley Forge Park Travel Guide & Dog Friendly Tips

Travel

A wooden cabin at Valley Forge.

The City of Brotherly Love gets much of the attention when it comes to the history of the United States’ founding. True, Philly did serve as the capital and the location of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And today, you can get up close to the Liberty Bell or visit the Museum of the American Revolution. But the surrounding suburbs of Philadelphia played an important role, too. Crucial battles were fought in some of these areas. But it was the battle of a different kind that makes Valley Forge Park worth visiting.

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Post by . Originally published October 18, 2017. Last updated October 14, 2017.