If you are in the Northern Hemisphere this time of year you are most likely experiencing cold, rainy, icy and snowy weather. It won’t be long now before some of us get “cabin fever,” that irresistible urge to break out of the house to somewhere, anywhere, just to get out of the house. Here’s a tip, check out your local museum. If you are near a large city you are likely near one of the country’s best places to visit, indoors, away from the wind and cold. These are great places to renew your interests, learn more about something you perhaps haven’t taken the time to consider.
Last month we were visiting my son and his family and we decided to visit one of the Smithsonian’s museums in Washington. It was a short drive for us. I had a lot of fun looking at vintage aircraft up to and including the Space Shuttle, “Discover.” But here is another tip, don’t go with young children unless you have a stroller. We expected to rent one, but they didn’t rent them out so our time was reluctantly short. I included a few pictures below and some kinks to museums that may be near you.
Happy traveling indoors for all of us who are locked into winter time in the Northern Hemisphere.
- Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
- Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
- Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois
- Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, Illinois
- National World War I Museum, Kansas City, Missouri
- National Museum of the US Air Force, Dayton, Ohio
- The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
- The Children’s Museum of Indiana, Indianapolis, Indiana
- Children’s Museum of Houston, Houston, Texas
- The Getty Center, Los Angeles, California
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York
- Frick Collection, New York City, New York
- National WWII Museum, New Orleans, Louisiana
- Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
- National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
- The Smithsonian, Washington, DC
- Newseum, Washington, DC
- USS Midway Museum, San Diego, California
- Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington
- National Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola, Florida
- The Ringling, Sarasota, Florida
My wife and I took a vacation day to attend the Indiana Covered Bridge Festival in mid October 2013. The festival primarily covered three Indiana towns, Bridgeton, Mansfield, and Rockville. Each town had its own festival characteristics. Bridgeton was more like a tent city with few permanent structures and unpaved roads. Mansfield consisted of a combination of many tents and many more physical structures, including some historic buildings with about two paved roads. Rockville’s festival was integrated into a formal town with some tents that were interspersed on the sidewalks.
Mansfield and Bridgeton had covered bridges and grist mills. The Bridgeton Bridge had burned down as the result of arson but was rebuilt in 2006. It is no longer connected to the road that passes through town and now sits silently next to a new roadway bridge. The Bridgeton mill was the most interesting because you take the stairs to its three floors viewing the machinery on each level. It represented a time when the nation was becoming industrialized. The internal operation of the mill was made with wood, leather and metal components that I suspect were assembled on site.
The bridges and mills didn’t seem to be the focal point for most people. They were more interested in the dozens of eateries, and shopping. Some of the food was hearty fare including ham, beans, and corn bread. Another example was chicken soup with a side of mashed potatoes with gravy, and a role; how’s that for starch? Most of the rest of the food was typical of a carnival with staples of elephant ears, soft pretzels, ice cream, fudge, fried chicken and vegetables.
The shopping was interesting. Some of the products were made by hand. These items included hats, rugs, wooden signs, wood carved by chain saws into animal figures, potpourri, ceramics, and architectural wonders made of metal. Other products look like they came from companies dumping their inventories, like socks and work or garden gloves lined up in boxes by the dozens. Other vendors sold inexpensive costume jewelry, plastic puzzle lights and knock off perfumes and purses. Some of the more unusual items were animal hides and tools.
Take time to sample the local seasonal customs and celebrations they can be fun.