Category Archives: Theatre

Pensacola, FL

IHG Hotels has a program called “points breaks”.  Several times yearly a number of hotels are available for the bargain rate of 5,000 points nightly.  For my third time, I spent two days at a Holiday Inn Express in Destin, Florida.

I drove due north on I-75, then travelled west on HWY-10, a boring journey only rivaled by the trip from London, ON to Detroit, MI on HWY-401.  There were two surprises along the way.  There are cotton fields along the way, and west of Tallahassee there’s a time change.

Destin is one town among a number along the panhandle, frequently referred to as the Emerald Coast.  Truthfully, not much there.  A short trip to nearby Pensacola proved quite interesting.

 

Fountain
Fountain in Plaza Ferdinand  VII, Pensacola, FL

The architecture on Palafox Street reminds me of Ybor City in Tampa.  Exterior galleries on the street and balconies above, with intricate fretwork.  The street contains more than a few interesting visuals.

Meyer
Original storefront showing the tile entrance
Storefront
Storefront

The above are two examples.  The first shows how the original storefront has been maintained, down to the original store’s name in the tile.  The second photo shows a new business that has had their name incorporated into the tile store front.

Saenger Theatre
Saenger Theatre

What at first glance I thought was a storefront was actually the beautifully restored Saenger Theatre.  Originally opened in 1925, it was finally closed in 1975 and donated to the City of Pensacola.  It was re-opened after restoration in 1981.

Fountain
Fountain in Plaza Ferdinand VII, Pensacola, FL

Plaza Ferdinand VII is a small park on Palafox Street.  It was here, in 1821, that General Andrew Jackson received West Florida from Spain.  The park has a bust of General Jackson and an obelisk in the centre.

And finally, on your way out of town:

Marlin Sign
Visit Pensacola Beach with a 1960’s flair

Make a slight right turn and visit Pensacola Beach.  Cross over a long bridge, pay a toll, and you’re there.  From here you have easy access to Gulf Islands National Seashore.

 

Stratford, ON September 2014

Every year I spend a few weekends in the historic town of Stratford, Ontario, which is located about two hours from my home in Toronto.

Located there is the world famous Stratford Festival, which began in the 1950’s in a tent, with Sir Alec Guinness in the role of Richard III.  Over the years, it’s stages have also been graced by Christopher Plummer, William Shatner, Peter Ustinov, Christopher Walken, Maggie Smith, Colm Feore and Brian Dennehey.

The season is winding down now,  This year I have seen King John, King Lear, Crazy for You, Man of LaMancha, Hay Fever, Mother Courage and The Beaux’ Strategem.

Lots of Shakespeare, some Noel Coward, two broadway musicals and a Restoration comedy.

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Warren, Ohio 2013

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Once I left Cleveland, OH I had a specific destination in mind.  I love museums, and have a fondness for automobile museums.  I’ve been to both the Chrysler and Ford museums near Detroit.  While researching, I found the National Packard Museum.

Having left Cleveland in disgust over the traffic situation (many, many roads closed for the filming of Captain America), I took a leisurely drive to Warren, OH, the birthplace of Mr. Packard.  It was here that the Packard Automobiles were first manufactured.

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Warren, OH is a small town near the PA border, steeped in history.  The National Packard Museum is quite small, mostly confined to two large public rooms.  The first room houses some displays, signs, check-in and the gift shop.  The larger room houses the automobile collection.  It was a bit crowded when I was there, although with cars, not visitors.

The wonderful people at Best Western had given me a free night which I had to use before it expired, so I stayed at the Best Western Penn-Ohio Inn, located in Hubbard, OH.  A very nice choice.  Welcoming (with cookies!), spotlessly clean, and an indoor pool.  I never actually went in to Hubbard, but ate at a local restaurant which wasn’t so good.

PA is just minutes away, so my stop the next morning was in the town of Sharon.  Another place that reeks of turn of the last century beginnings.  There, I found Ryer’s Shoe Store.  Self-promoted as “The World’s Largest Shoe Store”.  They had a good sale on ECCO shoes, and in PA clothing and footware are exempt from state taxes.  Bonus!

Next stop:  Jamestown, OH

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Future Travel:

August:  Fort Wayne, IN; Little Rock, AK; Oklahoma City, OK; Albuquerque, NM; Colorado Springs, CO

November:  Istanbul, Turkey

April:  Amsterdam, NE; Lisbon, PT

Summer Travels Begin

I’ve been back in Toronto since mid-April.  It’s a great time to watch the city transform into summer, however we have had an unusually cold spring.  As I write this it is a chilly 10C and there’s been light rain all day.

Last week was my first venture out of town; one of several I’ll make to the lovely city of Stratford, Ontario.  It’s just slightly over two hours driving one way.

The city is home to the exciting Stratford Festival. one of the greatest classical theatres in North America.  This year marks my fortieth year of attending performances there.  Thursday I attended performances of The Three Musketeers and Blithe Spirit.  There’s nothing like some Noel Coward to end your day with a smile.

I’ll be back before the end of June for two more productions, and probably several times more before their season ends this fall.

This looks like a good year for a summer road trip.  Over the coming months I’ll be in Cleveland, Fort Wayne, Saint Louis, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Little Rock.  More to come, for sure.

 

Stratford Downtown
Stratford Downtown

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