Travel Muse Press

Food

Imagine a world with no limits...what would you eat? Where would you go to eat? Who would you share these Divine Delights with? ...Read More

Wine

From young root clippings in dry, arduous conditions to fruit bursting with the essence of the surrounding countryside, grapes are cultivated over a long period of time to bring you an explosion of sensory impact...Read More

Art

Where does inspiration come from? Travel has always been a vehicle to carry an artist off in a new direction. Travel, it has been said, purifies the mind, body and soul.Read More

Archive for Walking

Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas Nevada – Fun Stuff I Saw

Inside the hotel, there are numerous areas that have been decorated in a fantastical manner. The artsy touches and designs change with the season and are always spectacular, designed to be whimsical and take one’s breath away. As my visit coincided with Mother’s Day and Springtime, the presentation was along the lines of “April showers bring May flowers, what do Mayflowers bring?” –the answer might surprise you. Take a look!

Handpainted umbrellas with large colorful poppies hang upside down from wires in an artistic show, under the glass ceiling of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Icelandic Poppy Painted Umbrellas Overhead

This is a photo of hand painted umbrellas hanging from various wires in the ceiling of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

Poppies always delight the eye

This is a photo of umbrellas hanging from the ceiling of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

This is a photo of hand painted umbrellas in detail as they hang from the ceiling of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Seriously, what's not to love?

This is a photo of hand painted umbrellas as viewed through an archway into a garden.

I want to have cocktails under these umbrellas!

This is a photo of the garden scene behind the concierge desk at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

Maybe after a few cocktails I'd feel like Alice...

This is a photo of large planters with flowers tucked into a large fountain basin at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Genius! No need to throw out your old fountain, stuff it full of planters. But make sure they've had a few cocktails first.

This is an image of a vintage Schwinn bicycle resting against a ticket booth in a flower bed inside the Bellagio Hotel and Casino Conservatory of Flowers, as part of an artistic display.

No locks needed

This is a photo of the heron bird sculptures made from moss, seashells and paint inside the Conservatory of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Bigger than life herons

This is an image of a floral sculpture at the Conservatory in the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Floral Sculpture or Floral Painting?

This is a detail of the floral sculpture inside the Conservatory at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

All I could think of when I saw this masterpiece was, "Wow!"

This is a photo of the painting referenced by the floral sculpture inside the Conservatory of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

The floral sculpture is inspired by this painting by David Hockney. The original is inside the Bellagio Hotel in the Fine Art Gallery.

This is a detail of the floral sculpture inside the Conservatory of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Someone gets an "A+" for artistic cleverness. How I wish it was me...

This is a photo of a handcrafted butterfly that hangs from the ceiling inside the Conservatory of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Butterfly Magic!

This is a photo of a large pink butterfly resting against a handcrafted tree inside the Conservatory of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Butterflies are best seen from a distance. Up close, they are quite creepy.

This is a photo of a handcrafted tree with pink blossoms and butterflies inside the Conservatory of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Blossoms and Butterfly...how much more enchantment can a person handle?

This is a photo of my daughter Arabella inside the Conservatory of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Arabella inside the Bellagio Conservatory

“The Flower Fields” in Carlsbad, CA – Part I

This is a photo of a golden ranunculus.

Gold Ranunculus

In San Diego’s north county region, there is a glorious spectacle that comes only once a year each Spring. The growing fields, a full fifty acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus,  start blooming in waves under warm southern California sunshine around the first of March like clockwork.

The Flower Fields, face the Pacific Ocean just east of Highway 5. Getting there is very easy from The Five and parking is free. The fields offer more than just show stopping Ranunculus; they have a miniature rose garden, an artist garden that changes every year, a Sweet Pea maze, tractor ride to the top of the field, a children’s playground featuring the darling play structures from the old Santa’s Village in Lake Arrowhead, the world famous Ecke poinsettia collection for history buffs and believe it or not, you can pan for gold on site.

This is a photo collage of some Sweet Pea flowers taken at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, CA.

As an oil painter witnessing the fields, my first thoughts went to Holland and the images I have seen of their Tulips…and there is no comparison! There is no way Holland could ever capture such a dazzling display of color due to the structure of tulips which only has one flower per bulb (unless it has become irregular).  Tulips provide a pale green background for “spot color” which can become more dramatic depending on the viewing angle. Tulips displays often use harmonizing ground covers such as Pansy and Johnny-Jump-Ups to hide the dirt between bulbs. Ranunculus, in contrast, have multiple sprays of flowers per plant which accounts for the broad sweeping strokes of color on the hillsides.

This is a photo of yellow Tulips in Golden Gate Park, SF, CA.

Tulips in Golden Gate Park, SF, CA

From a distance, the flowers merge into horizontal stripes of fantastic length. Part of me was hesitant to visit The Flower Fields it seemed too touristy, contrived, paying to walk through someone’s flower business seemed overrated –and ten bucks to roam around dirt roads near The Five? ….yeah! Well, it was the best bang ever for ten bucks! Guess who will be buying a visitor pass in 2011 so I can return with family and friends multiple times it’s that incredible!

This is a photo of the ranunculus growing in rows at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, CA.

Broad Strokes of Color at The Flower Fields.

I took over three hundred photos that day with my digital camera. I did not want to leave but I was a guest and had my daughter and mother-in-law with me this day and I was holding up lunch plans. There is no need to rush once you are inside The Flower Fields and I recommend that you come early when the light is good for photography. Of my photos, I can’t say I have one favorite, no, I have at least 20 to 30 favorites! Each time you think you have found a beautiful shot of the fields, you turn to the other side of the road between growing beds and discover something else equally beautiful.

This is a photo of cut ranunculus in a white bucket.

Fresh Cut Ranunculus

I felt ALIVE out there amongst the beauty of these flowers. The ocean breeze was delightful and fresh.

The workers appear to be from Mexico and are mindful of their work. They ignore the tourist and actually add to your photos in a way you probably never imagined…let’s go back to Holland for a moment. Remember all those beautiful 15th through 19th century oil paintings of people cultivating the land? For example, Piet van der Velden’s “Workers in the Fields With Tulips” shows two figures planting tulip bulbs in the empty fields. Workers have always been featured in oil paintings and photos. Here are my visions of a modern day painting of workers in a field:

This is a photo of workers in The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, CA.

Like an oil painting of days gone by: "Workers in The Flower Fields"

This is a photo of workers and a truck in The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, CA.

The Flower Field Workers

This is a photo of workers and tourists in The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, CA.

Workers and Tourists Mingle in The Flower Fields

The Santa’s Village playground equipment and structures adds more to the play area for children and makes for great photo opportunities.

This is a photo collage of some of the playground equipment from Santa's Village in Lake Arrowhead that was sold to The Flower Fields of Carlsbad, CA.

Santa's Village Playground - Photo Collage

Here is my daughter smelling a flower.

This is a photo of a little girl smelling a flower.

Arabella

The dazzling array of colors from white, yellow, orange, red, pink, purple and chocolate brown is best seen in person.

Dazzling, Colorful Ranunculus at The Flower Fields

Make sure your camera battery is charged and put it on your calendar for March 1, 2011. The Flower Fields are not open very long –just as long as the flowers are blooming which may be anywhere from 45 days to 60 days.

-Annie

Moonlight Beach looking south, Encinitas, CA, January 16, 2011

Moonlight Beach looking south, Encinitas CA Jan 16 2011

An image of peace from a California morning at the beach.

Port of San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA – Around The Cruise Ship Terminal

This is a photo of the Vincent Thomas Bridge in the Port of San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA.

Vincent Thomas Bridge - Port of San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA

Our friends Ralph and Marjorie are serious cruisers. They surpassed the 50-cruises mark long ago and are nearing their 75th. The vast majority of their cruises have left from San Pedro. Over the years, they have seen the port develop into an attractive area with a few noteworthy things to see, places to eat and enjoy Happy Hour among other things. This series will cover the highlights of our explorations. A word of warning: The Port of San Pedro is not a place you tell your friends they have to see…in fact, you might tell your friends to avoid it entirely but if you are cruising from that location, they will want some tips on how to make the most of their visit.

Up next…
Crown Plaza Hotel
Mishi’s Strudel Cafe
Port’s O Call – Happy Hour
Off The Vine – Wine and Cheese Shop
Red Trolley Line
Terranea Resort and Spa in Palos Verde
Sacred Grounds Coffee Cafe
Whale and Ale Pub
Catalina Island Ferry Terminal
Terminal “Walkabout” – Bellagio styled fountains and public art
Ante’s Restaurant – Serving Dalmatian food since 1943

Stay tuned for pictures and video!
-Annie

Christmas in San Diego, CA – Little Italy by Day

This is a photo of India Street signage proclaiming "Little Italy".

Retro signage for the Little Italy neighborhood

The charm of a large city lies in its many neighborhoods that are formed by the cultural influences of a unique group of people. In Little Italy, San Diego, CA this little neighborhood was crafted over the years by fishermen and their families, restaurateurs, grocers and bakers from Italy. Of late, the addition of art, festivals and general tourism have brought a resurgence of energy, money and even more local color into this retro/modern area and brought about a charming revitalization.

Here’s the approach into Little Italy from India Street of all things! The signage has been the neighborhood landmark.

This is a photo of India Street as you drive towards Little Italy.

Little Italy on India Street

The corners are festooned with lovely ‘wooden’ soldiers playing a variety of musical instruments in wine barrels filled with red poinsettias.

This is a photo of a wooden soldier blowing a trumpet in a flower barrel.

The Trumpeter

Windows are dressed for Christmas and storefronts look inviting. The general atmosphere is warm and cheerful. Red “Buon Natale” flags are atop the lampposts and line the blue sky. White, sparkly snowflakes dance nearby.

This is a photo of the Christmas decor along India Street in the neighborhood of Little Italy.

Christmas Decor in Little Italy, San Diego

For a quick and amazing bite of pizza by the slice, visit Landini’s Pizzeria. Lightly browned thin crusts, divine red sauce, delicious toppings and heated to piping hot perfection before being served with Peroni draft beer to wash it all down!

This is a photo of Landini's Cafe

Dine here for delicious pizza by the slice!

This is a photo of a sandwich board advertizing pizza prices. Ha, ha!

A sandwich board that advertises everything but sandwiches! OK, I'll give you "Paninis" but it is a glorified sandwich!

The buildings in the area have been modernized and new, European-style, condo-mixed use buildings have popped up in recent years. Many are full, many still looking for buyers and lessors in the depressed housing market.

This is a photo of a modern building on India Street in the Little Italy neighborhood.

Modern Architecture in a Retro Neighborhood

This is a photo of a modern building in the Little Italy neighborhood.

"It's A Grind" coffee cafe on the right (unseen) and a lovely fountain in front creates terrific ambiance.

Walking down India Street in Little Italy is like walking in an outdoor museum. The utility boxes on the streets have been painted by local artists with Italian motifs. The buildings’ walls have large paintings adorning them and it becomes a visual treasure hunt looking around for other pieces.

This is a photo of a utility box painted with an Italian motif to hide its plain and ugly exterior.

This is a photo of a utility box painted with an Italian motif to hide its plain and ugly exterior.

Utility boxes wrapped in artwork

This is a photo of a large Italian themed image painted on a cafe building in Little Italy.

Exterior Wall Painting in Little Italy

This is a photo of a large Italian themed image painted on an office building in Little Italy.

Exterior Wall Painting in Little Italy

It’s a lovely place to spend a couple hours before hoping over to the airport which is just a couple minutes away by taxi. I do hope to return at nighttime to see the lights and mood of the people in cafes as they get into the Holiday spirit!

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