Can’t get to France this fall? No worries…get the best of France and North America in one shot in Montreal, and at a fraction of the cost! We enjoyed a long holiday weekend there (Columbus Day for the Yanks, Thanksgiving for the Canucks) and took in some great fall foliage, architecture, art and music. Highlights included:
A Robert Maplethorpe exhibit (Isabella Rossellini, unlike for David Letterman on one famous occasion, was-a-show…or, well, at least a famous portrait of her was) at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, which has to be one of the most confusing museums to navigate
A Postmodern Jukebox concert at the Place des Arts where three numbers brought down the house (Casey Abrams’s wacko-bluesy slow-down of Sweet Child O’ Mine, Morgan James soulful tear-inducing rendition of Take Me to Church, and Maiya Sykes sassy cover of Creep)
A hike up Mount Royal for some killer leaf-porn and skyscraping views
Local tip: check out great views of Old Montreal (and the Notre Dame Basilica) from atop Hotel Nelligan’s rooftop bar and terrace (the terrace season closed on Monday). It’s also a totally chill and cozy place to just hang out in the lobby bar/restaurant on a rainy day.
*** Actual dialogue and “how this all went down” dramatized here for effect.
*** Bonus Points if you correctly guess the source of the literary quote used for the title of this post! (Wedding Guests are Disqualified)
This October, I…we… got hitched…right there in Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Park amidst the autumnal splendor. The weather, the company, the location, the colors…it couldn’t have gone better.
Knowing the fleeting nature of fall’s fickle resplendence, we returned to the scene of the crime the following week (on the last day of October) to enjoy the natural beauty sans the marital hubbub before all the leaves fell and winter set in (alas we live not in a world of Game of Thrones where winter’s coming takes…forever).
For those faithful readers who have keenly noted/questioned the decrease in frequency of film reviews in 2015 (note: I’ve been going to the movies just about the same amount as other years, it’s just too many of the films have failed to inspire me to write…I mean, The Martian? What a snore…next!) or have wondered when the next short story might be coming down the pike (who knows?)…I sincerely thank you…and now you know I’ve been busy writing another kind of story with a co-author, one of the best kind of stories – a living story that has evolved into a novel, that will now be serialized and open-ended. Through these pictures I hope you enjoy the magnificence of Wissahickon Park as much as we have over the past year and a half and hope to continue to do so until we are old and gray. Until I see you again, dear readers…at the movies. Continue reading →
Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia’s East Falls’ section overlooking the Schuylkill River between Kelly and Ridge Drives is one of the oldest cemeteries in the nation. It houses such pop culture artifacts as Veteran Stadium seats surrounding Harry Kalas’ microphone-shaped tombstone and Adriaaaaaane! Balboa’s fake grave. It’s also the eternal resting place of numerous historical dignitaries from various wars and the Philadelphia area along with countless family plots dating back to the early 1800’s. The gardens of the dead there are sprawling, monument-laden and fecund with stories told and untold. It’s a perfect spot for an autumnal stroll as the towering trees sheading their brightly covered leaves under the waning sun cast a perfect light on the splendid environs.
Below are photos I captured on one such Sunday stroll.
While Cooperstown has become a second home to me, I thought it was about time to explore other areas of Upstate New York. As a last-minute autumnal getaway, I ventured up to the Adirondacks as far north as Lake George while also stopping in Glens Falls — home to the Hyde Collection — and Saratoga Springs — home to one of the friendliest casinos I have ever been to. There’s something inherently adventurous when driving up a highway that has signs for Montreal — less than two-hundred miles away — and this civilized wilderness boasts some of the oldest settlements of both Native American and European origin. The drive up marked the first time I was ever able to leave New Jersey without paying a toll — quick, someone fact check this…is the 287 the only way to get out the Garden State by car for free? — and the Catskills and Adirondacks unfold in gently rolling forms on the horizon as one heads up I-87N. It’s astounding to think these now weather-worn and inviting mountains were at one time higher than the Himalayas. Taking in all the gorgeous lakes and interconnecting canals and creeks flowing into the Hudson and eventually down to NYC, it’s no wonder the French, English and Indians all wanted to not only live here, but also control it. Archaeological sites like Forts William Henry, Ticonderoga and Edward beckon us to stare into our Pre-Revolutionary past and see why this land…this wilderness was the first to be conquered.
The fresh air is meant to be drunk…the humble expanse breathed in…the fall colors tasted…. Continue reading →
As not only the birthplace of baseball but also the birthplace of the American novel, Cooperstown, New York (named for the family that spawned America’s first great novelist, James Fenimore Cooper) is an endless source of inspiration. After last year’s visit in early Spring, I decided I wanted to make a yearly pilgrimage to the place of Glimmerglass and Doubleday, leaves and lakes, ballplayers and writers, Coopers and Mohicans. Mid-Autumn is an intoxicating sight to behold in Cooperstown and around Lake Otsego. It’s the time of year when the “off season” is just beginning, part-time locals are enjoying a less crowded hamlet before retiring to warmer climates, year-round natives are still enjoying the nicer weather, the last shot of selective tourists leisurely ascends into town for fall foliage or in honor of the baseball playoff season, the few remaining sailboats glide over Glimmerglass, and the wildlife still roams freely but sleepily as they settle in for their upcoming long winter’s nap. Hibernation, ice and loneliness await as the leaves slowly dance down from the treetops and cover the sidewalks as a colorful precursor to the white snow that will blanket the area all too soon.