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Road Trip – Sculpture, Music, and Flowers

I rented the house I grew up in, now an air bnb, on a lake in Southern Michigan for a few days. It’s a perfect spot, and was a fabulous place to grow up. On the way I took a « slight » detour, not exactly on the way but didn’t know when I’d get that way again. As it turns out I NEED to go that way again!

I went up the Eastern Shore, since I had all day to get to my first hotel I was able to wander a little. The first stop was in Snow Hill, MD. I’d never been there before, it’s a sweet little town with some beautiful architecture and some nice shops although none were open on Sunday.

Just outside of town there is a place called Furnace Town Historic Site. I drove out to it I did not go in, but it looked interesting.

From 1828-1850 the Nassawango Iron Furnace operated. Workers gathered bog ore from Nassawango swamp, brought clam and oyster shells up the canal from the Pocomoke River from the Chesapeake Bay, and made charcoal in the Pocomoke Forest.

These raw materials were loaded into the Iron Furnace from the top, heated to 3,000 degrees, and the two resulting liquids were drawn off at the bottom of the furnace. Slag was cooled and tossed into the swamp. Iron was poured into molds and loaded onto barges which were towed down the canal by mule to waiting ships. Today there is a collection of buildings that recreate the town. They have a lot of special events including a Renaissance Faire.


The main reason for taking 113 was to visit Berlin. I haven’t been there in at least 10 years but I remember it being a sleepy little town with a neat brick hotel on the main four corner. Well things have changed, it is FULL of cute boutiques and the place was packed on Sunday. What a difference from Snow Hill, like night and day and only a few miles apart. I resisted getting out because I really don’t need anything and I’ve been getting into trouble going into galleries (but I LOVE my “Taking Leave in Dotted Swiss” and “Peace” originals I got out west but need no more). Anyway it is worth a stop if you get up that way.

By the time I got to Dover there was a deluge, intersections flooded with 2 feet of water and rain so hard and heavy you could barely see, but I made it to my hotel north of Philly with no major issues.

Grounds for Sculpture

My next stop was Grounds for Sculpture In Trenton, NJ. I kept telling myself I have to remain focused on seeing new things, I drove though Philly and all I could think of was going to South Street and seeing Isiah Zagars mosiacs, eating at Moriartys and the Caribou Cafe, walking around City Hall, Rittenhouse Square and eating an open faced turkey sandwich at the Reading Terminal Market Dutch Eating Place. We used to go to Philadelphia twice a year for about 20 years and I love it. But I needed to stay focused!

My friend Donna told me about Grounds For Sculpture years ago but this was my first opportunity to go. I envisioned Seward Johnson’s large sculptures of people, like I saw for years in Key West, dotted across a big field, well that is far from the truth. What stuck me immediately is how intimate it is. Grounds For Sculpture is a 42-acre sculpture park, museum, and arboretum founded on the site of the former New Jersey State Fairgrounds. Opened to the public in 1992, it has become one of the premier cultural destinations in New Jersey, welcoming and enchanting three million visitors since then. Since its inception, the park is now exhibiting nearly 300 works, including sculptures by renowned artists Clement Meadmore, Anthony Caro, Beverly Pepper, Kiki Smith, and New Jersey sculptor George Segal. 

Its founder, Seward Johnson, was an American artist known for trompe l’oeil painted bronze statues. He was a grandson of Robert Wood Johnson the co-founder of Johnson & Johnson. The sculptures are not only on the grounds of the museum but are scattered throughout the neighborhood and along the highway as you approach the museum.

My next stop was to be Storm King but due to the flooding rain they were closed , and normally closed on Tuesdays, so once again I was not going to be able to visit this year. The good news about that is I was able to wander in Princeton a bit, never been before, it was beautiful.

And that gave me time to go to Lambertville and New Hope. My friends that own Heart of the Home are moving to Lambertville and the guys from Topeo retired last year leaving New Hope with more touristy shops, while Lambertville seems a little more upscale this year.

Bethel Woods

Next stop – Bethel to the grounds where Woodstock took place. I almost skipped it, so glad I did not. As you approach the town the roads get smaller and smaller. Hearing about how the New York Freeway was shut down I really can’t imagine how they all got there. The Bethel Woods grounds are beautiful and they regularly have concerts. Some coming up and in the past , Rod Stewart, James Taylor, and Jackson Browne to name a few. I have a feeling I will be going back.

There is also a museum, which was not open when I was there but it has 6000 sq ft of exhibits. They have festivals too, a craft food and beverage fest, harvest fest, peace, Love & Pumpkins, Holiday Market, and a drive through holiday light show. And they have Creative Arts Programs as well. If you were at Woodstock they want to hear from you and if you have photos they would love to see those too. On their website they show attendees photos. In a way it would have been neat to go to Woodstock but I had been working for 3 years to go on a trip to Mexico with the Girl Scouts at the same time, on the other hand I would not have liked the mud and lack of food, shelter, etc!

You can tell there are still some hippies living around the area.

As I approached the odd thing was the first and only people I saw walking on the streets of Bethel were Hasidic jewish people. A lot of them. Turns out Bethel is part of “The Borchst Belt” with summer camps for families. Not just one or two camps but I read that tens of thousands spend their summers in the region every year in these camps.

I could not be so close and not visit the town Woodstock.


I’ve been reading about and listening to documentaries about different musicians while I paint. Lately it’s been The Band. They lived in Woodstock when they lived in the Big Pink and Bob Dylan lived down the hill. I had never been to Woodstock, I loved it. The town, other than the shopping downtown district is pretty much in the woods. To get to Big Pink you are on winding very narrow roads, going up the mountain. No wonder they kept crashing their cars, I was sober and had to pay attention! Also went to pay my respects at Levon Helm and Rick Dankos graves at the Woodstock Cemetery in town. I would have liked to go to a Midnight Ramble at Levon Helms Studio but it did not fit into my schedule. Next Time! Well it wasn’t long after I got home that Robbie Robertson died. What a sad time.

Family History

Then I visited Lysander, NY, again, looking for a great gggg grandfathers grave. The only info we have is he died in Lysander. I discovered there is the village of Lysander as well as the Township. So we don’t know if he’s buried in the Village or somewhere else in the township. After looking at several cemeteries with broken, missing, or illegible stones I realized I may never find him. He died in 1834 and left a widow and 7 children, who knows he could have been buried in the back yard so I think I’ve done all I can do to find him that way.

I drove across NY on my way to the Chautauqua Institution. On the way I discovered this Ukranian Church.

Ukranian Church

The St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church & Grazhda in Jewett is an immaculate wood-carved basilica constructed entirely without the use of nails. The interior is also hand-carved, and features a carved wood iconostasis and grand lapidary, as well as gold-covered features.

Designed by architect Ivan Zhukovsky, the church was built in 1962 and dedicated to those who committed their lives to the struggle for the freedom. As part of the Grazhda Music and Art Center of Greene County, the church is open to the public for concerts, Ukrainian craft workshops and art exhibitions, allowing visitors to explore the music, architecture and culture of the Ukraine in the Catskills.

And here are some misc. shots I took along the way.

Chautauqua Institution

I finally made it to Chautauqua. I’ve read about it, seen photos, but it was so much more than what I had ever thought. I’m glad I took my bike because the place is pretty big and full of Victorian architecture and flowers. I was there for just 9 hours and I went to 2 lectures, heard 2 authors talk about their books, heard the symphony, and rode all over. These are my people! I’ve already decided I’m going to try to attend for a week next year.

From their website Every summer, over the course of nine weeks, more than 100,000 people visit Chautauqua Institution in search of respite, community and personal growth. And every summer, they find it. Chautauqua as a community celebrates, encourages and studies the arts and treats them as integral to all of learning. With symphony, opera, theater, dance, visual arts and a renowned music school, Chautauqua produces an “ecstatic mix” of programming that can be found nowhere else. The Chautauqua Cinema has a summer-long festival of feature films, independents, art films and classics.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Next stop – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame I did a quick tour, if you did everything you could easily spend all day there. I had to look for some of my favorite performers.

The Lake

Then finally arrived at my childhood home. It’s been updated so is a lot nicer than when I lived there. I didn’t know how I would feel about being there. It was wonderful, the view obviously is the same which is the most special part of it. Nieces and nephews came, seems like I’m the matriacarch now, last man standing of the Round Lake Trowbridges. We had gatherings on Saturday and Sunday and 6 of us shared the house. It was wonderful. My nieces had never spent that much time with each other, ever!

Five days of hanging out, swimming, doing puzzles, talking, eating, laughing, and having a great time. for me, a very low key vacation because I’m usually on the move.

McCourtie Park

We did take two excursions, one to McCourtie Park, (I’ve written about it before on this blog) but some had not been there. The first time I visited this spot it was not a park at all but a private home, I was maybe 8 or 10 years old.

The W. H. L. McCourtie Estate, may contain the country’s largest collection of el trabeio rustico, the Mexican folk tradition of sculpting concrete to look like wood. Around 1930, most likely inspired by work he had seen in Texas, cement tycoon W. H. L. McCourtie hired itinerant Mexican artisans George Cardoso and Ralph Corona to construct seventeen bridges on his property. 

The second excursion was to Hidden Lakes Garden, now owned by Michigan State University. They have just installed a sky walk which is 60 feet above the ground and has really upped their visitation.

Detroit, Heidelberg Project, African Bead Museum, Motown Museum

After leaving the lake I took a trip to Detroit. Downtown is looking really good, there is a new skyscraper going up right now. Of course some parts of town don’t look so great but in general there are a lot of good things happening in the city. There is quite a food and bar scene going on. I stopped to take a photo of “the belt”, I didn’t go in because I was by myself, and it was getting late, just as I was taking a photo I was asked if I wanted to party!!

The Belt is an alley that is filled with artwork on either side, that’s always changing. The Library Street Collective is an art gallery, there are bars and a restaurant., as well as Louis Buhl & Co. In addition to the art, you can also find The Skip, an outdoor bar and Standby, a cocktail bar that serves food. The Belt is located between Broadway and Library Street and links Gratiot and Grand River.

I visited The Heidelberg Project which is an outdoor art project in the McDougall-Hunt neighborhood on Detroit’s east side, just north of the city’s historically African-American Black Bottom area.

Heidelberg Project

“Primarily a painter and sculptor, Tyree Guyton has also been described as an urban environmental artist. He has waged a personal war on urban blight on Detroit’s East Side, transforming his neighborhood into a living indoor/outdoor art gallery. Through his art, Guyton has drawn attention to the plight of Detroit’s forgotten neighborhoods and spurred discussion and action.”

The African Bead Museum

What I was really interested seeing at this Museum were the buildings and how they were decorated. But If you are looking for unusual beads this is the place to come.!

I also shot a few murals around town.

As I said before I’ve been listening to a lot of music lately and since I grew up just 80 miles west of Detroit I grew up with Motown. We had a dance pavilion just a few miles from my house, Green’s Pavilion, and a second maybe 20 miles away at Wamplers Lake, where a lot of well known artists would come a play.

A little history of Green’s Pavilion

O.E. “Pokey” Green, who had worked several years as a hardware and implement salesman, arrived in 1945 to manage the pavilion. He told the Citizen Patriot he first became interested in dance pavilions in the 1920s when he called square dances in the summer. In 1955, as the big-band era was dying out and rock ‘n’ roll was being born, Green bought the business. Teens heard Del Shannon sing his No. 1 hit “Runaway” there. Roy Orbison, the Mindbenders, the Animals, Freddie and the Dreamers, Brenda Lee, Frankie Avalon, Joey Dee and the Starliters, Bobbie Vinton, Paul & Paula, the Four Seasons and others played there.

On Sept. 2, 1963, the original pavilion burned to the ground in a fire caused by faulty wiring in the band shell. Green rebuilt a 16,000-square-foot building he called Devil’s Lake Pavilion. It opened in April 1964. Then, on April 11, 1965 – Palm Sunday – that pavilion was destroyed by an EF4 tornado that caused widespread damage throughout southern Michigan, an event I will never forget, the Pavilion was in its path, as was our church. We thought the Pavilion was just gone but he rebuilt, this time 20,000 sq feet! Green’s Pavilion opened on Labor Day 1965 to a paid attendance of 10,000.

By the summer of 1966, more than 1,000 teens a week were coming to the pavilion, which was open Wednesday through Sunday nights during the summer and weekends in the winter. Between big-name acts, up-and-coming bands played Green’s Pavilion. This included Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, who performed with the Yardbirds on Aug. 10, 1966. Bob Seger and his first band, the Last Heard, and many Motown artists also played there.

In 1969, Green retired and It was converted it into a grocery store. Recently that closed and the building was torn down to make room for condos that will be eventually be built.

The original Lakeview Dance Pavilion was in the wooded Lakeview Park, which also offered such amusements as shuffleboard, miniature golf, an arcade and a much-loved carousel. The trees and the amusements were destroyed by the Palm Sunday tornado. You can see some historic photo by following this link.

Motown Museum

One of the documentaries I recently listened to was about Barry Gordy the founder of Motown so wanted to see where the recording was done before they moved to California. You cannot take photos inside the Motown Museum. It is an interesting place, growing up so close all the musicians coming out of there were on my radar at an early age.

Cranbrook House and Gardens

The Cranbrook House and Gardens in Bloomfield Hills, on the north side of Detroit were next. In the summer of 1908, George Gough Booth and Ellen Scripps Booth -two of metro-Detroit’s important philanthropists moved into their new home.

Their English-Tudor estate, a true Arts & Crafts style masterpiece designed by renowned Detroit architect, Albert Kahn, served as the active home for their family of seven for 40 years. At their manor, the Booths raised their children – homeschooling their two youngest – and conducted business on their 174-acre farm. From the beginning the Cranbrook House quickly became the hub from which the Booths created what would eventually become the Cranbrook Educational Community.

My neice and I went to the Ann Arbor Street Fair and walked about a million miles, or at least that was what it felt like. It was kind of like old home week seeing artists whose work I used to carry at Carolina Creations like, Wilsea O’Brien Glass, Meredith Wenzel Glass, John Furches etchings, Miktowski Wood, and others. Michaels old girlfriend Sandy was supposed to be there but I never saw her.

Greenfield village

Having not walked enough I went to Greenfeild Village. I haven’t been there since I was a kid.”

“Greenfield Village features over 80 acres and 7 historic districts for you to explore near Detroit, in Dearborn, Michigan. You can visit working farms, take a ride on a steam locomotive, explore Thomas Edison’s lab, tour Henry Ford’s birthplace and more! Greenfield Village was envisioned by Henry Ford himself, to show how innovative objects were made and used, and it still features craftsmen that use traditional craft techniques.

Started by Henry Ford as a place for his collection, he eventually collected buildings from all over to construct this park. Nearly one hundred historical buildings were moved to the property from their original locations and arranged in a “village” setting. The museum’s intent is to show how Americans have lived and worked since the founding of the country. The Village includes buildings from the 17th century to the present, many of which are staffed by costumed interpreters   who conduct period tasks like farming, sewing and cooking. A collection of craft buildings such as pottery, glass-blowing, and tin shops provide demonstrations while producing materials used in the Village and for sale. The Village features costumed and plain-clothed presenters to tell stories and convey information about the attractions. Some of these presenters are seasonal, such as the “games on the green” presenters who only operate in the summer. Greenfield Village has 240 acres of land of which only 90 acres are used for the attraction, the rest being forest, river and extra pasture for the sheep and horses.”

On the way I stopped at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market and met a great artist that likes to paint the things I like to paint, Carlye Crisler.

Next stop

Ford Village Industries

Henry Ford built Mills all over southern Michigan, this one is by Macon, MI. You can’t see it from the road anymore but I knew what I was looking for, having visited it maybe 40 years ago, and found a dirt two track going back there. A description of this particular mill. “In 1944 Ford completed building a new Greek Revival gristmill, Dynamic Kernels Mill along the Raisin River in Lenawee County. Ford owned a home nearby in the old Pennington homestead which he restored. He also updated a chapel, general store, sawmill, school, fire department, blacksmith, woodworking, and community center. These buildings Ford built for a trade school in Macon are still used by Boysville today. Ford became interested in the religious wheat-tithing project being run by Quaker Perry Hayden. Ford built the Dynamic Kernels gristmill of the project however he abandoned it before it ever opened. Today the site is privately owned. The Macon Mill is a perfect example of the Village Industries’ water power being used.”

Here is a map of some of the mills he built, they were called Ford Village Industries. It would be neat to take this map and see how many survive. To see photos of some of them with descriptions follow this link.

GrindStone City

As a child I remember going to GrindStone city in the Thumb of Michigan. Grind Stones were strewn all over. People just went and picked them up. Today you can still see signs of the fact that this was once a world famous place to get your grind stones. We had a front step made from one.

Grindstone City became a fast-growing industry that produced the largest and finest grindstones, scythestones, and honestones in the world starting in 1836.

On my next trip I was in Maine at Winter Harbor and saw a point called Grindstone, and saw some grindstones laying around, I asked someone about it and they said there was a shipwreck (or this is the story THEY heard) of grindstones off the point, I wonder if they came from Grindstone City?

I spent a few days with my friends near Traverse City, mostly hanging out and talking. We did visit a sculpture garden none of us knew existed In Elk Rapids called the Walk of Art.

Bottle House

I remember seeing this bottle house when I was a little kid. I got my wanderlust from my Dad, I never go and come back the same way ever, even going to the grocery store., he never did either. We wandered all over Michigan! I think I saw this house when I was about 6 and I could not remember where it was since we wandered so much. It turns out it is in Keleva. The Keleva Bottle House, now a museum, was built in 1941 in Kaleva out of 60,000 glass bottles by John Makinen.

Mr. Makinen owned the local pop bottling factory, and he used chipped or flawed bottles from his pop bottling factory for his house. In 1983,  the Kaleva Historical Society was able to purchase the property from the John Makinen family and established it as their new and permanent home. 

Then to end the trip I stopped at a couple of sunflower fields.

It was a great trip!! Where to next, 10 days to Maine, my 3rd year in a row.