Highlighting ”The Daddy of ‘em All

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The world’s largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration captures Cheyenne’s essence each July. For 10 days there’s nothing quite like “The Daddy of ‘em All”. Year round, Cheyenne’s visitors can capture that Western tradition and spirit with a stop at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum & Store.

Permanent and changing exhibits demonstrate the multiple facets of the world famous event, saddle bronc riding to championship belt buckles, grand parades to rodeo queens. A current exhibit, “Bullfighters: The Risky Road to Glory!”, features not only the daring and determined bull riders but also the important role of rodeo clowns and legendary careers of Mr. T and Crooked Nose – bulls rarely successfully ridden.

B&N in Carriage - BThe museum houses a historic collection of horse-drawn carriages and wagons, many that make appearances in the Frontier Days parades. Visitors can climb aboard one designated carriage for a photo op complete with a “becoming” hat. “Hole in the Wall” is an interactive gallery giving kids an opportunity to practice roping and Western themed activities.

Shoppers find a plethora of Cheyenne Frontier Days branded merchandise in the Old West Museum store. Need a souvenir belt buckle, t-shirt or etched martini glass? You’ll find it here.

When You Go: The museum located at Frontier Park is open year round except major holidays, 9am-5pm weekdays, 10am-5pm weekends. Admission is $7/adult with children 12 and under free.

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Spring Festival & Children’s Fair

June 4 & 5, 2011

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El Rancho de las Golondrinas (The Ranch of the Swallows) will hum with a multitude of activities during Spring Festival & Children’s Fair, June 4 & 5, 2011. The living history museum/ranch located south of Santa Fe interprets rural life in the Southwest during the 18th and 19th centuries.Golondrinas Making Tortillas - B

A large volunteer staff dresses in clothing appropriate to the period. They share culture and heritage through stories, role playing, demonstrations and hands-on activities. Visitors can make tortillas, grind corn, make a corn husk doll or other arts and crafts, and sample bread baked in the traditional hornos.

Festival presentations include traditional music and dance, sheep shearing, blacksmithing and puppet shows. Sunday morning begins with a special mass and San Ysidro procession. Events run until 4pm both days.

Late spring is a perfect time to walk the 200-acre rural setting and festival weekends offer additional rich experiences.

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2011 Festivals & Special Events

El Rancho De Las Golondrinas

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Any weekend visit to the living history museum El Rancho de las Golondrinas provides historic and cultural experiences from the 18th and 19th century. Annual festivals and events promise even more reason to spend a day at the outstanding facility celebrating colorfulGolondrinas Sheep and Lady - B Southwestern heritage.

*June 4 & 5 – Spring Festival & Children’s Fair

Sheep shearing, animals born this spring, entertainment plus lots of games, puppet shows and hands-on activities for kids.

*June 25 & 26 – Fiber Arts Festival: From Sheep to Blanket

Follow the steps to create traditional New Mexico textiles from sheep shearing to elaborate embroidery. Original fiber arts for sale.

*July 2 & 3 – Santa Fe Wine FestivalGolondrinas Swishing Skirts - B

Meet vintners and sample wines from 16 New Mexico wineries. Purchase your favorite varietals, agricultural products and handmade arts and crafts.

*July 16 & 17 – Viva Mexico! Celebration

Celebrate the culture, cuisine and crafts of Mexico through music, arts and food.

Golondrinas - Bob Mill - B*July 23 & 24 – Herb & Lavender Fair

Tour herb gardens and attend lectures on growing lavender. Hands-on activities plus lavender and herb product vendors.

*Aug. 6 & 7 – Summer Festival: Frontier Days & Horses of the Old WestGolondrinas - Two Men - B

Mountain men and women demonstrate skills necessary in settling the West and relate tales of the era. Peruvian Paso horses from La Estancia Alegre.

*Aug. 13 & 14 – Survival: New Mexico

Practice fire starting, building shelters, using an atlati, making adobe and other survival Golondrinas Carding Wool - Btechniques required in Colonial and Territorial New Mexico.

*Sept. 3 & 4 – Fiesta de los Ninos: A Children’s Celebration

A family weekend honoring youngsters with games, crafts and entertainment. Children 12 and under admitted free.

*Sept.17 & 18 – Santa Fe Renaissance Fair

A Renaissance Fair with Spanish flair – defend a Spanish Galleon, games requiring knightly skills, flamenco dancers, turkey legs, ale and mead.

*Oct 1 & 2 – Harvest Festival

Golondrinas Stringing Ristas - BCelebrate the seasons bounty with wine making, grape stomping and stringing ristas at the most popular yearly event.

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Meeting Harry

Bob and Judy Meet Harry

We stopped in Independence, Missouri today to visit the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. Ever the politician, “Harry” was happy to pose for pictures with Judy and Bob. Portrayed by historian Niel Johnson, the former president greeted visitors and discussed the challenges he faced while in office (1945-1952) including North Korea. Isn’t it interesting that six decades later the same challenge remains a major world concern? Later in the afternoon “Harry” held an impromptu news conference, deftly fielding questions from museum visitors.

The AAA Tour Book recommends allowing 2 hours minimum for a visit to the Truman Library and Museum. We would recommend a half-day, after two hours we needed to hit the road knowing that we had only completed a cursory overview.

Upon entering we were told about the scheduled showing of two films. Unfortunately we were not told there was a great deal of redundancy between the films. With limited time we wish we had only seen one of the movies and had more time in the permanent exhibits.

A 15-minute introductory movie relates Truman’s life up to his inauguration and exits into the museum’s extensive core exhibit, Truman: the Presidential Years.

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The replicated Truman oval office includes the famous “The Buck Stops Here” sign atop the desk.

Ghost Hunting

Jail Museum Sign - B Spend Saturday night, September 18, 2010, in jail investigating paranormal activity in the Cripple Creek Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum. The facility served as the Teller County Jail from 1901-1992. The museum has kept the original cells intact and visitors frequently claim they’ve seen moving shadows or heard voices coming from the cellblock.

Certainly the jail saw many outlaws and troublemakers incarcerated, especially during the boom days when Cripple Creek was known as the World’s Greatest Gold Camp. The museum also  remembers those who enforced and maintained law and order. Police logs, newspaper crime stories and copies of early city ordinances recall the era when gold was discovered and the town grew from a population of 15 to 50,000 in ten years.Man at Jail Museum - B

During the overnight ghost hunting experience Mountain Peak Paranormal Investigations will teach participants the latest techniques and use of equipment for such investigations. Space is limited with reservations required (call 719-689-6556), no walk-ins accepted. Participants must be 18-years-old, cost is $40.

Paranormal activity cannot be guaranteed.

Whether one joins the ghost hunting overnight or just stops in for a look around when they’re in Cripple Creek the Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum offers a worthwhile and unusual look into the region’s history.

Exploring Connecticut’s Farmington Valley

With friends flying to Hartford, Connecticut I can’t resist the urge to recommend a number of attractions, activities and historic sites we’ve experienced and enjoyed in the nearby Farmington Valley.

 Hill-Stead Exterior

  • Hill-Stead Museum – history, art and gardens. The home of the Alfred Pope family during the first half of the 20th century is a National Historic Landmark complete with the family’s furnishings, sculpture, photographs, ceramics and art.  I Hill-Stead Interior loved seeing the extensive  French Impressionist collection –Monet, Degas, Cassatt – hanging in a home environment instead of a sterile gallery. The Sunken Garden blooms from mid-April into October with flowers and plants historically based on the original garden plan. Guided tours of the house give insight into the Pope family, art, collectables and architectural details.  A Poetry & Music Festival highlights five Wednesday evenings during the summer.

 

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  • The town of Farmington has a fascinating history from early Colonial settlement dating to 1640, the Revolutionary War, Underground Railroad and the Amistad. Learn about many of the interesting citizens of the past during a historic walk through the Riverside Cemetery. The hospitality of local inns and restaurants make Farmington an ideal hub for a visit to the region.

 

  • House Guards The 1st Company Governor’s Horse Guard, in Avon, is the oldest continuously mounted Calvary unit in the US. The public is welcome to watch them drill on Thursday evenings at 7pm.

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  •  Phelps Tavern Museum in Simsbury provides a look into the home of Capt. Elisha Phelps where three generations of innkeepers (1786 – 1849) welcomed travelers arriving by stage, canal boat or horseback to the tavern and inn. One can imagine historical figures from America’s early years seeking respite from their journey between Boston and Philadelphia.

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  • Stanley-Whitman House Built circa 1720 the Colonial home relates aspects of everyday life during that period in Connecticut. The living history center and museum encourages an interactive experience for visitors.

  • Canton Historic District Canton Historical Museum This place is chuck full of  "stuff" and every item has a story that one of the volunteers is eager to share. Collinsville was just what I expected from a New England village. The nearby LaSalle Market makes a good sandwich and salad for lunch.

 

  • Pettibone TavernAbigails Grille and Wine Bar,  – because of the building’s history. It was built in 1780 as a stage stop between Hartford and Boston. Abigail is the guest who won’t go away – tales of Abigail give lots of haunting history. This was known as Pettibone Tavern when we were there and has since experienced a fire, come under new management and been renamed so I don’t know about the food, service, etc. today. I loved the building, haunted tales and sense of stepping back in time to walk in the footsteps of earlier guests such as John Adams.

 Auction Barn Sign

  • A real piece of New England is the Canton Auction Barn. When one goes the first thing you want to do is reserve a piece of pie from the night’s selections. They’re homemade, very good and sell out. I’m not really an auction aficionado and didn’t buy a thing (my house is already filled to the brim) but this was still a fun experience. Housed in a circa 1820 barn the Saturday night weekly auction attracts Canton Barn Auctionserious collectors and casual observers. No reserves or buyer’s premiums; all items are owned outright by the Richard Wacht and Susan Wacht. Doors open at 5pm for inspection of items up for sale that evening – the Wachts encourage questions before the auction begins at 7:30. Reserve a seat by placing a cushion on a chair. Don’t forget to indulge in a slice of pie. 

  • Salmon Brook Salmon Brook Historic Society – Buildings include the Abijah Rowe House (circa 1732), Weed Enders House (circa 1790), Cooley School (circa 1870), and the Colton/Hayes Tobacco Barn (circa 19114). Located in Granby, the National Register of Historic Places site  is open Sunday afternoons from June through September.

 

Avon Old Farms

 

  • Old Avon Farms School – The buildings and grounds of this private boy’s boarding school makes one think they will meet Harry just around the next corner.

 

  • Flaming Lamb Flamig Farm – Young and old learn about farm life at Flamig Farm. Who can resist the Farm Animal Zoo populated with bunnies, piglets. llamas, peacocks, emus, ducks, draft horses and sheep? Plus, happy egg laying chickens. Open April through November, pony rides on weekends, old fashioned hay rides by reservation. Fresh eggs for sale in the store.

  • Kayaking Kayak the Farmington River with a guide from Collinsville Canoe & Kayak. See the Farmington Valley from a new perspective – meadows, farmland and Hublein Tower atop Avon Mountain during a gentle 8.5-mile flat water paddle. Numerous other guided trips available as well as equipment rental and sales.

  • Air Museum New England Air Museum  – Aviation buffs will love the collections including over 125 aircraft, 200 aircraft engines and outstanding array of aviation artifacts. The museum is located at the Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks.

Each of these recommendations brings back treasured memories of an area rich in natural beauty, historic preservation and cultural enrichments. I’m ready to plan a return visit to Connecticut’s Farmington River Valley.

From Sheep to Shawl

Littleton Museum – April 17, 2010

Littleton Museum Sheep Closeup Observe the process from shearing the sheep to working the wool and making the shawl during the springtime event at the Littleton Museum on Saturday, April 17th. Free special program events are scheduled from 10am-3pm around the 1860s Farm at the museum.

The museum complex includes two living history farms depicting earlier times in the Littleton area – one in the 1860s and one in the 1890s. Animals breeds at the farms are  authentic to those early settlers would have raised on local farms. Wool from the Churro sheep is especially popular with weavers. Demonstrations on Saturday will include shearing, washing, carding, spinning and weaving.Littleton Museum Sheep

Also currently on exhibit at the museum is a collection of 19th century Rio Grande weavings on loan from the Albuquerque Museum. “Wonders of the Weavers, Marvelas de los tejedores,” runs through June 27, 2010.

When You Go: Littleton Museum, 6028 S. Gallup Street, Littleton, CO is open Tuesday – Friday 8am-5pm, Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 1-5pm. Closed Mondays and Holidays. FREE.

 

 

Related Post 

A Walk Through Littleton History 

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