On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish for a day. Another ethnic holiday that is starting to be celebrated by many, not just those who are from where it originates, is Cinco de Mayo. At Casa Villa everyone is invited to experience the food and culture of Mexico.
Besides food they have live music, folk dancing, bouncy houses for the kids, and vendors. I was only there for about 40 minutes and it was back to back entertainment.
I was able to see a more contemporary Mexican music group when I arrived.
Then, Folklorica of Poughkeepsie performed four dances from Oaxaca, Mexico. First, a man and a woman performed a dance known as Mixteco.
Next, the Folklorica of Poughkeepsie performed a dance with puppets called Chinas Oaxaquenas.
A group of girls from the same group then performed a folkloric dance.
Lastly, a dance called El Torito, with a bull puppet, was performed.
The food was delicious. They had food and drinks being sold outside, but during the celebrations a limited menu was offered indoors if you preferred less action.
The party started around lunchtime and went into the night. Some stay most of the day, while others stop in for a short visit. Again, I was only there for about 40 minutes. I understand I missed other performances before I arrived and I am sure others went on after I left.
I wish I could have stayed longer. From what I experienced I highly recommend stopping by Casa Villa around Cinco de Mayo. You can experience the food and culture of Mexico.
Where can you find the highest concentration of grotesques in New York City? The answer is on the campus of City College of New York.
City College is located on Amsterdam Avenue near 138th Street. It is in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood of Manhattan just north of Harlem.
How Many Grotesques?
According to “The City College of NY 150 Years of Academic Architecture” written by Paul David Pearson (1997) the buildings are “encased with over 600 grotesque figures that directly relate to the educational function of each building. The figures were designed by Livingston Smith, a staff member in the post’s architectural office, modeled by G. Grundellis and cast in terra cotta.” I got this quote from another website. Scouting NY website says there are 1,000. I don’t think I was able to access close to either of those numbers walking around campus, however, there are a lot to see.
How to Get There
In Manhattan take the number 1 subway line to 137th Street- City College station. Exit and walk up Hamilton Place and turn right on 138th Street. When you cross Amsterdam Avenue you are there. Anyone can walk around the campus. There are not many people there on the weekend, but I was still able to walk around the buildings. There are areas you can not walk on campus. Some streets or alleyways may be closed off with fences.
If grotesques peak your interest, it is worth a trip up the 1 train. It may also be a good destination prior to Halloween.
In the United States people raise money for many various causes in different ways. Some events that benefit charity include : walk-athons, running races, and dinners. How would one raise money for an animal charity? In Beacon they have an event called Beacon Barks.
Beacon Barks is a parade and street festival. They close down a portion of Main Street from 9D for a few blocks. After a short parade of dogs and their owners, people hang out on the street. Some dogs are rescues and some are not. People mingle on the street, lined with vendors selling canine-related items, charities, and different animal rescues. The animal rescues bring a few dogs each that are up for adoption. and you can interact with the dogs. The vendors carry a variety of gourmet dog biscuits and other doggie treats. Some vendors sell canine attire such as ties, bandanas, and sweaters. There are food vendors as well for humans. Costumes are judged and live music is provided. It is a fun event for dogs and their people.
Several organizations sponsor the event and it has one beneficiary: Safe Haven Animal Shelter and Wildlife Center. Safe Haven has currently started construction on a new building. Besides sheltering dogs, when they finish they will add to their responsibilities rehabilitating birds and other animals such as turtles with the goal of releasing them back into the wild.
When is a parade not a parade? When you think of a parade what usually comes to mind is people marching in groups on a planned route with floats and bands playing. The New York City Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival does not fit into that definition.
The Easter parade is more of a mingle. Fifth Avenue between 49th and 57th Streets becomes filled with not only parade participants, but also spectators. The participants wearing bonnets amble this way and that stopping for long stretches to pose for selfies with spectators and photographs. Spectators have short conversations with participants about their bonnets and where they are from.
It is not just locals who participate, but tourists from around the world join in. I met a group of women from Australia, I believe they said they were from Brisbane. There was a family group from Norway that also joined in. Some people even bring their canines with hats. You will see all ages participating, young children through seniors.
One can see a variety of bonnets during this parade. Some fall under traditional Sunday best hats, while other bonnets were constructed with a hot glue gun or even screws. You will see many spring or Easter themed bonnets, but not all fall under those categories.
If you plan to visit New York City during the Easter holidays join in or be a spectator to this long held NYC tradition. Just head to 5th Avenue near St. Patrick’s on Easter morning. It’s an Easter treat!
What happens when prices rise so high in New York City that renting or buying is out of the question for the average person? What happens when the cost of goods can be up to twice that national average and New York City has the highest income taxes in the country? If you said there would be an exodus, you would be correct. Many upstate communities have benefitted from this exodus, Kingston being one of them.
Town that Supports the Arts
Kingston has benefitted so much so that some are calling it the new Brooklyn. Artists and others have moved up to Kingston due to the town’s much lower real estate prices and cost of living. Also, there are people who make the long commute from the Kingston area.
Kingston promotes art and it has a very active art community. There are several galleries and a gallery hop takes place on the first Saturday night of each month. The Midtown Arts District is trying to promote art tourism to the area. The put on an O+ festival in which murals are created. This fall festival brings in art muralists from around the world.
Where the Murals Are Located
Many of the murals are in the uptown and midtown areas of Kingston. In the midtown area some can be seen on the sides of buildings along Broadway and on streets that run parallel to it or interest it. In the uptown area, otherwise known as the Stockade District., the murals can be seen on streets that run parallel to North Front Street and on ones that intersect it.
The Kingston area saw a marked decline after the closing of the IBM plant in the 1990s. It is now making a resurgence. A more creative vibe is appearing. It affects other areas such as the restaurant industry. NYC’s loss is Kingston’s gain.
I am posting just a few more eagle pictures. These were taken today. Two babies are in the nest. Soon it will be hard to see the nest as the trees are starting to bud. The nest is along the Hudson River in New York.
One of the most recognized symbols of America is the bald eagle. They are in every state except Hawaii according to the DEC-NY. A few decades ago they were on the brink of extiction in New York state. Today they are making a resurgence.
Eagles were previously on the endangered species list. The population of eagles suffered a major decline starting in the 1960s. Eagles were affected by DDT and other pesticides and pollutants. These chemicals were passed along the food chain. As a result, the eggshells of the eagles were weakened, so the babies did not survive.
In 1976 there was only one pair of nesting eagles in New York state. Efforts were put in place to curb pollution and protect eagle habitats. After DDT was banned, eagles were producing young in greater numbers. By 2010 there were 173 breeding pairs of eagles in New York and now eagles have been moved to the threatened species list.
When to See Eagles
The best time I found to see eagles, at least in the Hudson Valley, is between February and April. Earlier during that time period you may see them mate. During that time period they also sit on eggs so you may see the father bring a fish up to the mother. After the egg or eggs hatch, you will see them bring more fish up to the nest to feed the young eagles. It is harder to view them once the leaves grow on the trees, as your view of them will be obscured.
Where to See Eagles
Since eagles mainly eat fish their nests are usually close to bodies of water, such as rivers and lakes. There are nests along the Hudson and Delaware Rivers as well as other bodies of water in the state.
See these websites to find some eagle viewing locations:
Are you planning to visit Cornwall, England? Would you like to go on a day tour with a knowledgeable local? If so, I highly recommend Cornwall Discovery.
Barry Pengelly owns and operates Cornwall Discovery. As his surname suggests, he was born and raised in Cornwall. His surname, Pengelly, comes from the Cornish language. According to Barry, Pen means top of the hill. Barry is a Cornish history buff.
Cornwall Discovery can pick you up for your tour anywhere in Cornwall. He drives a very comfortable Land Rover Discovery in which he is licensed to carry up to six passengers. According to Barry, he operates everyday and does his tours all year. Go by yourself or take along your friends.
Barry has a variety of tours listed on his website or he can cater the tour to what interests you. He can take you to filming locations in Cornwall. One tour he lists covers Doc Martin locations and towns in northern Cornwall. He lives outside of Port Isaac where Doc Martin is filmed. Barry was a driver for the actors on Poldark during filming, so he also is very knowledgeable about Poldark locations. He has one tour that covers Poldark filming locations. Visit his website to check out other tours he offers.
I went along with Barry for two days. One day included some locations I asked specifically to see related to King Arthur and other locations worth seeing nearby. Another day, I just asked him to take me to some scenic Coastal towns. We went to St Ives, some Poldark locations, and a few other locations south of there along the coast that included the Minack Theatre and Mousehole. I was very happy with the locations he picked. Barry related some interesting historical information along the way. Cornish history is his passion.
Will you be in Cornwall without a car? If you do have a car, would you just rather see all the best spots in Cornwall that only a local could show you? Then contact Barry at Cornwall Discovery.
Are you familiar with the stories The Sword in the Stone or Excalibur? Have you ever read any of the King Arthur stories or watched any of the movies based on King Arthur? According to the legend, King Arthur was conceived in Tintagel. English Heritage is in charge of the Castle Ruins in Tintagel that are worth visiting and this village has a couple of spots that have served as filming locations for the British TV show Doc Martin.
History of Tintagel and the King Arthur Ties
Tintagel was first linked to King Arthur during the 12th century by Geoffrey of Monmouth who wrote a medieval history of kings titled The History of the Kings of Britain.
Tintagel is known for its castle ruins. The ruins that are visible, were built around 1233 by Richard, first Earl of Cornwall. He was the second son of King John of England and brother to King Henry III of England. They say Richard may have built the castle to show his connections with Arthur and the ancient rulers of Cornwall.
Recent archaeological activity started in 2016. Archaeologists conducted excavations of the grounds and found other significant building ruins beneath that either belonged to a wealthy individual or possibly a ruler. They have over the years discovered pottery, glassware, containers that transported olive oil and wine, and luxury objects from distant places along the Meditteranean dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries, evidence that a wealthy person or ruler lived on the site. The time frame also fits into the time frame of the legendary King Arthur. Was King Arthur a real person or a legend?
Tintagel is a tourist town on the coast with souvenir shops, restaurants, accommodations, and it has the castle ruins. If you are driving, there are two car parks providing over 100 spaces on the road leading into the village (Fore Street or B3263). You need to purchase a ticket to enter the castle grounds. You can walk different paths on the grounds including crossing a footbridge over to an island. They are currently constructing a new footbridge and most of the grounds will not reopen until sometime in the summer of 2019. The new footbridge is supposed to make the site more accessible. Previously, when you crossed the foot bridge you had to then climb steep narrow steps until you got to a door. Check English Heritage’s website to see what you can access.
Doc Martin Filming Locations
The TV Show Doc Martin has filmed at some locations in Tintagel. They have repeatedly used the Camelot Castle Hotel. According to Kate Kennedy, of Portwenn Online, the Camelot Castle Hotel was used in :
Season 1 Martin meeting with the board about getting a job
Season 5 When they went to a hotel looking for Mrs. Tishell
Season 6 Martin and Louisa’s wedding reception
Season 6 Martin and Aunt Ruth’s lunch
Season 7 Martin and Louisa’s dinner
Season 8 Martin’s meeting with the board about his blood phobia
The Camelot Castle Hotel opened in 1899. In their great hall on the first floor is a replica of the Round Table that hangs in Winchester, England. They have stunning coastal views from some of their rooms and a restaurant on the ground floor.
Another place in Tintagel that has been used as a Doc Martin filming location is the Church of St. Materiana. It is an Anglican Church near the cliffs south of Tintagel Castle. One way you can walk to it is you can follow the South West Coastal Path from Castle Road in Tintagel and follow the path south to the church. Another way is by walking via Vicarage Hill going south from the village. This road does not get a lot of traffic, so it is safe to walk on. This church was used in Season 8 Episode 1, according to Kate Kennedy, for PC Penhale’s wedding. Be careful of going off the footpaths and walking the grounds. There are some signs around warning to be aware off adders. Adders are a poisonous snake. The Church of St. Materiana was used for the outside shots only when they filmed PC Penhale’s wedding. The interior of the church in that episode was St. Endellion close to the village of Port Isaac.
If you are a Doc Martin Fan, check out Kate Kennedy’s website. It has a wealth of information for fans of the show and contains all things Doc Martin. You can access her site at : http://portwennonline.com .
How to Get There From Port Isaac
Tintagel is not far from Port Isaac. The easiest way to get there is to drive or take a taxi. It is officially 6 miles (I guess by how a bird flies), the distance via the coastal path is 9 miles, and by car it’s 10.4 miles. That 10 miles by car can take you more than 20 minutes. If driving, get a good Cornwall road map and stick to major roads. Don’t use Sat Nav/ GPS. GPS will lead you down two-way roads wide enough for one car. It is a strenuous hike on the coastal trail. It is actually labeled a challenging/ severe walk on some sites because the section between Port Isaac and Trebarwith is long and difficult with steep ascents and descents. There is a bus you can catch from Port Isaac to Tintagel, however, it is not direct, you have to switch buses, and it takes over an hour and a half one way. It departs from the Pea Pod in Port Isaac. The buses don’t make many trips per day either.
Whether you are interested in history, the King Arthur legend, or Tintagel’s role as a filming location for Doc Martin, Tintagel is a great spot to visit. It is another Cornish seaside village with stunning views.
Where did Mrs. Tishell on Doc Martin take James Henry after she abducted him? If you said Doyden Castle in Port Quinn, you would be correct. Doyden Castle is run by the National Trust and is a vacation/holiday rental. You can get there by car or you could walk from Port Isaac.
To see this filming location one could walk from Port Isaac to Port Quin on the Coastal Path. Walk up the hill past the the house that stands in for the Doc’s surgery on Roscarrock Hill in Port Isaac to the footpath and follow it three miles. It will take you right into Port Quin.
I do not recommend walking on the coastal path if you have health issues, knee, ankle, or foot issues. It is not an easy hike due to steep ascents and descents. If you are afraid of heights, this may be an issue as in spots you are walking along the side of a cliff with steep drop-offs. I also do not recommend walking the path in the rain or after it rains, as the rocks become very slippery when wet. I did not take my camera out on the steep sections hugging the coast. I was afraid of dropping my camera.
The day I undertook this it was not predicted to rain, but it started to drizzle when I got close to my halfway point outside of Port Quin. Luckily, a friend told me about an alternate foot path inland that passed through farms. I decided to do that for safety reasons after I got to Port Quin.
Upon arrival I saw a food truck in the little village. I was told one is sometimes there. Fiona’s Cafe is in a vintage van. She advertises that she serves crab, lobster, and halloumi. I tried the halloumi and it hit the spot. It was delicious. There were a few picnic tables to sit at close by. I brought two bottles of water with me for the trip, but that did not seem enough, so I bought more for my return. Be safe, bring plenty of water and food with you.
I proceeded to Doyden Castle to walk around. It is a lovely location on the coast. It was raining harder at that point. I kept getting water on my lens.
When I walked up to the road leaving Port Quin, I was able to find the sign for the inland path. The path at times was hard to follow. It is not marked well and it does not get as much foot traffic as the path that hugs the coast does. It is a good option though if it start to rain. It is easier trek than the coastal path. I was able to figure it out based on what a friend previously told me, however.
I am used to walking 5 miles or more, however, most of my walks are flat or gradual ascents and descents. This hike was taxing for me.
I do not recommend bringing your dog along with you on a hike. The trail is narrow at times and is occasionally cliffside. Your dog would need to be in excellent shape. I could easily see a dog getting distracted by a bird.
There are other filming locations in Port Quin. A site named Portwenn Online is a repository for all kinds of information on the TV show Doc Martin. Kate Kennedy, who runs the site, says the house Peter Cronk lived at in season 7 is in Port Quin. It is also the location of where Mark arrested Caroline in season 2 and where the loan sharks were at the market in season 5. Kate has lots of information on the show on her site categorized by Cast, Wardrobe, Episodes, Locations and links to other sites. It is worth a look if you are a fan of the show. You can view her website at: http://portwennonline.com .
If you are a fan of Doc Martin visit Port Quin by car or via the coastal path. Even is you are not a fan of the show, it is worth the trip to see a tiny castle and the gorgeous ocean views.