Finally made it to the Figge Museum, thanks to the Des Moines Art Center’s Docent program. I enjoyed the French Moderns show, a traveling exhibit from the Brooklyn Museum, but also enjoyed the fabulous outsider art of William Hawkins, an exhibit of John Bloom (liked his rural scenes much more than the work of his known wife Isobel.) The Figge building, the first new major U.S. commission for English architect David Chipperfield (whose latest commission is an addition to the Met in NYC) is stunning. It’s clad in white see-through glass with huge windows looking out to the Mississippi and high white ceilings inside.
We stayed at the renovated historic Hotel Blackhawk which was organized by the tour, otherwise I would stick with a much less expensive Airbnb, although the hotel had some charming features including an old-fashioned atrium lobby and a funky bowling alley /bar in the basement. I’m also curious about the artsy Current Hotel, which has a fantastic rooftop bar called Up, with an outdoor patio with stupendous views of the river and lock and dam. We bumped into the Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell who was preparing for a debate today. We wished him well!
Dinner was very good at The Faithful Pilot, about a half hour drive north in LeClaire. Three others joined us and we were all happy with our meals and each other. We all had small plates. Dirck and I had excellent pork belly with potatoes plus mussels in a light tomato sauce. Glad we booked ahead. Small place and busy. It has a cool view of the old riverboat beached behind a glass wall in the local history museum and a cozy atmosphere, with an occasional train rumbling past, near the riverbank.
We had a mediocre lunch at Lagomarcino’s Confectionery in East Davenport. Better to stick with their specialties – -candy and ice cream. We did have a good chocolate milk shake. Also went to a nonprofit art gallery in rock island. Other Davenport restaurants to try: Me and Billy Cafe, Front Street Brewery and Duck City bistro.
Playing catchup- post-vacation:
This may be one of the nuttier trips I’ve taken: traveling to Helsinki solo with a broken arm. The trip was going to be arduous to begin with– first the overnight boat trip from Stockholm and then finding my Airbnb in an out of the way place. The arm situation doesn’t help. But hey, I did it and it’s no wonder that I am in bed at 8 p.m. yeah!
I sort of slept last night on the ferry and had the grand breakfast buffet. Who knew I could get sick of lox…but I have. I sat next to a kind Swedish man whose young blond son looked at me somewhat suspiciously. Who was this weird American lady with the big cast on her arm? Stuck up a conversation with a group of quintessential upper Manhattan women (inwood?) who I think also thought I was a bit nuts.
Just off the ferry, I found my way at the harbor to the #3 tram and got to the Kallio neighborhood. The hard part was finding and getting into this apartment. Thank God for a Shell gas station, which served as a visual marker, and some very kind Finns who helped me out during various times of need. This is a one-bedroom apartment in a functional modern apartment block. It wasn’t well marked and my directions weren’t clear but people helped in all kinds of ways. My host wasn’t here and I realized she wouldn’t be for several hours. Fortunately an extremely kind couple who run a vintage sign shop next door offered to let me leave my bags with them, which was huge! I made my way to a cafe with WiFi so I could connect with dirck who arrived safely in Chicago and is now on the road to Dsm and God knows what, given the flood damage in our neighborhood while we’ve been away.
I went down to the open air market at the harbor and found some great crafts and gifts…better than anything else on this trip. I already wish I had more time in this city. It feels more exotic and foreign than our previous stops. The market was serving reindeer and moose; selling dyed fur cuffs and socks from Russia. The architecture is very dramatic and feels Soviet modern in places, art nouveau ornate in others. The Saarinen train station is amazing and people don’t seem to notice. They are too busy traveling through it. I also went to the Kamppi chapel, (aka Chapel of Silence) a stunning modern high wooden pod in the middle of a busy brutish shopping square. The idea is to step into it and enjoy the silence of the plain, airy space. It was designed by a Finnish firm and opened when Helsinki was the 2012 World Design Capital.
Tonight I had a weird Turkish kebab at Doner Harju, a block from this apartment in Kallio , which is known for its funky restaurants. Tomorrow, I have to pace myself and make some choices, given my limited physical abilities and all the things I’d ideally love to see. Such is life. (Next trip: visit the cool marketplace, Teurastamu.)
Blustery day in Chicago, with the winds especially fierce along Michigan avenue so after a pleasant lunch at cafe zinc ( cream of mushroom soup, egg salad sandwich) I got a bus pass and some ear muffs at Walgreens and hopped onto the 151 bus to the art institute where I caught what I believe is one of the last days of an exhibit about studio gang, the architecture firm of Jeanne Gang, which designed the fabulous Aqua building in downtown Chicago and lots of other buildings as I learned from the exhibit. Well worth a visit. I also popped to see the small collection of folk art at the institute. I didn’t have enough time or energy to go to the Picasso in Chicago show that just opened.
this is a cool building in Iowa, near grinnell.
I don’t want to know HOW Amazon knows that I’m going to Chicago soon – and probably to Oak Park as well. It’s all a little too Big Brotherish for me. But I guess it’s nice to be offered a good deal – as Amazon has done – on tickets to tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio in Oak Park (although I’ve done at least two times and probably won’t do again – at least during my next trip to Chicago in February.) But thought I’d pass it along in case anyone else is interested. The offer is also good for the Robie House on the South Side, which I also toured a few years ago.
Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust
Sold by LivingSocial
Get a glimpse inside one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous works with this offer from the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust:
- $15 ($30 value) for two adult tickets for a guided interior tour beginning February 2
- Explore Wright’s Home and Studio in Oak Park or Robie House in Hyde Park
- Tours last about 45 to 60 minutes
- Both locations are National Historic Landmarks
What You Need to Know
- Limit 2 per customer, up to 2 additional as gifts
- Limit 1 per couple per visit
- Each voucher valid for 2 people at choice of Chicago or Oak Park location
- Advance reservations highly recommended
- Without advance reservations, guests will be placed on the next available tour upon arrival; space on each tour is limited and is filled on a first-come, first served basis
- Availability is greater on weekdays; morning arrival is recommended
- Please note that the museums have limited access for those with mobility restrictions
- Entire value must be used in a single visit
- Valid for all published guided interior tour dates beginning February 2, 2013 through November 17, 2013
- Available for use beginning February 2, 2013
- PROMOTIONAL VALUE EXPIRES FOLLOWING NOVEMBER 17, 2013
- PAID VALUE EXPIRES 5 YEARS FROM THE PURCHASE DATE
Mason City Iowa’s Park Inn Hotel – the last remaining hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright – is offering a good excuse for teachers to visit the recently restored hotel next year. Wish I could go! More details below…
Front of the Park Inn Hotel (right) and side of the City National Bank Building (left)
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT AND THE PRAIRIE SCHOOL IN THE MIDWEST
|Wright on the Park Inc., in Mason City, Iowa, will be hosting a national Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of America Workshop in the summer of 2013. The topic: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School in the Midwest. This is an amazing opportunity to let teachers see how architecture is significant to a study of American history, culture and art.
“Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School in the Midwest” is the subject of a National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of American History Workshop for Teachers in the summer of 2013. To be held in Mason City, Iowa, at The Historic Park Inn Hotel – the last standing hotel in the world designed by Frank Lloyd Wright – the workshop will feature a faculty of leading experts on Wright; Prairie School architecture, landscaping and interior design; tours of significant Prairie School sites; and collaboration time with other educators to develop curriculum which uses architecture to teach history, culture and art.
The workshop is hosted by Wright on the Park, the non-profit organization that restored The Historic Park Inn Hotel in 2011 and now focuses its efforts on educational programming.
Teachers who attend will each receive a $1,200 stipend to help offset the cost of attending the workshop. The workshop is offered at two different times: July 14-19 and August 4-9, 2013. Teachers, librarians and curriculum coordinators who wish to apply must submit an application by March 4, 2012. Attendees will be selected from the applicant pool and notified by April 1, 2013.
Those who would like more information about the workshop should e-mail Pat Schultz, Workshop Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. A full description of the workshop is available at www.wrightonthepark.org.
Pat Schultz, Executive Director
Wright on the Park, Inc.
Front of the Park Inn Hotel (right) and side of the City
People from beyond Iowa tend to find it remarkable that Mason City Iowa has such a treasure trove of Prairie Style homes – by architects including Frank Lloyd Wright. But Conde Nast travel mag is in the know: It recently listed Mason City among the top 15 cities in the world of noteworthy architectural history, according to Wright on the Park, a Mason City nonprofit instrumental in restoring and reopening The Park Inn Hotel, the last remaining hotel designed by Wright. The hotel plus the Wright-designed Stockman House (both of which offer public tours) and the Rock Crest-Rock Glen residential area, where you can take a self-guided tour of the area’s historic homes including many Prairie Style homes, no doubt won Mason City the same destination nod as cities including Barcelona (presumably for Gaudi!) and Tel Aviv. Word has it the restaurant has opened at the hotel (it wasn’t opened yet when I visited about a year ago.)