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2013 in review

Below is a summary of the Blog for 2013.  There are many statistics like…

The Blog was viewed 6,100 times

There were 118 New Posts

There are 502 Pictures

The Blog was viewed from 53 countries with the top 3 countries being the USA, Canada and France

See the full report below…and get ready for a new year—-2014 HERE I COME!

Thanks for visiting and traveling along.  You helped make this blog as popular as it is.


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,100 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona

Louise Speaks:  You all know how I feel about museums, but this one earned its own special category and its own page in Patricia’s book, “1000 Places To See Before You Die”.  I remember coming to this museum as a kid, and the think I remember the most is no longer here.  They used to have miniature rooms, like in a doll house…a room full of these small rooms, and now all they have are Indian artifacts and paintings.

Heard MThe Heard Museum downtown was the only museum of its kind when I was in school.  Now there are three different locations, throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area.  The downtown location is still the largest but now there is an annex in Scottsdale and on the west side in Surprise.  These two locations display rotating exhibits as they are much smaller than the main museum.  Today we visited the main downtown location.  It seems much bigger now than when I was younger and now has  many art structures outside as well as the exhibits inside.  A visit to the Heard Museum now includes 11 exhibition galleries, free guided tours, outdoor sculpture gardens, a renowned café, art gallery and trading-post style shopping.  There is also a nice gift shop that sells many unusual indian souvenirs.

KachinasThe Heard Museum is supposed to house the premier and largest collection of Native American art and culture in the country.  The museum has grown to 130,000 square feet of exhibit space and is able to house a Navajo hogan.  If you remember from previous posts, a hogan is an eight sided adobe structure used for ceremonies…although many Navajos lived in these hogans.  There is also a huge collection of pottery, paintings, rugs and a huge collection of Hopi kachina dolls.  These dolls are a true symbol of the Arizona tribes.  The dolls serve as a symbol of the Hopi and Zuni religion.

Since its founding by Dwight and Maie Bartlett Heard in 1929 as a small museum in a small Southwestern town, the Heard has grown in size and statute. Today it is recognized internationally for the quality of its collections, its educational programming and its festivals. Phoenix has grown along with it, hence why there are now three locations. The Heard is a living museum, giving voice to a uniquely American people. 

displayThe Heard Museum opened with little fanfare in June 1929, several months after Dwight Heard died of a heart attack. Maie Heard acted as museum director, curator, custodian, lecturer and guide for more than 20 years.  The Heard Museum underwent significant growth upon Maie Heard’s death in 1951.  In 1958, the volunteers launched two aggressive fundraising projects, a museum Shop and a Fair. Both activities continue with great success today, thanks to the continuing support of Guild members who work in the Shop and plan the Indian Fair & Market, which today draws nearly 20,000 people.  The Jacobson Gallery of Indian Art was added to the museum during the next big expansion in 1968 and ’69, which nearly doubled the original building.  The Heard Museum experienced another significant expansion in 1983, when it nearly doubled in size again to 78,000 square feet. In February 1999, the Heard Museum added 50,000 more square feet. This expansion added several new structures including an expanded Museum Shop & Bookstore, Steele Auditorium, Dorrance Education Center, The Café at the Heard Museum, an artist studio and the Nina Mason Pulliam Pavilion. Also added were the Library and Archives, administrative space, collections storage facilities and exhibit preparation areas. The expansion also added three exhibit galleries, bringing the number of galleries at the Heard to 11.

sculpturesToday being in the middle of summer and the middle of the week, there were still several visitors to the museum.  Many were Native Americans with young children, probably showing them some of their heritage roots.  I’m sure to them it was much more interesting than it was to me.  That being said, I would give the Heard Museum a C rating.  It’s great for a school field trip and maybe interesting to those studying Native American Cultures, but to this girl who just doesn’t like museums, I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to make the stop.

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Thelma Speaks:

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Arizona Biltmore Hotel, Phoenix, Arizona

Louise Speaks:  It’s hard to imagine that after all the traveling we’ve done, that we still haven’t completed Arizona, the state we live in.  It’s not that we don’t drive through the state, but stopping at all these hotels and resorts takes a lot of time and energy. 

frontThe Arizona Biltmoreis probably one of the most famous hotel/resorts in Arizona.  Since 1929, The Arizona Biltmore has been a destination of inspiration. With 39 acres of gardens, swimming pools and iconic architecture it brings the resort to life. This resort has provided a safe haven to celebrities and presidents. There is also a championship golf course, a 22,000+ square foot spa and fitness center, multiple restaurants, and a variety of amenities to fit the entire family.

The Biltmore is one of the only existing luxury hotels in the world with a Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced design, The Arizona Biltmore has been an Arizona landmark since its opening on Feb. 23, 1929 when it Diverwas crowned “The Jewel of the Desert.” The resort was designed by Albert Chase McArthur, a Harvard graduate, who had studied under Frank Lloyd Wright from 1907 – 1909 in Chicago.Although the resort has many pools throughout the property, the original pool was first built by the Wrigleys in 1930 and has been host to diving competitions as well as fashion shows. Marilyn Monroe called this her favorite pool.  I bet you didn’t know that the famed song composer Irving Berlin wrote many tunes, including “White Christmas” while sitting poolside at the Arizona Biltmore.  Harpo Marx and his bride honeymooned here as well as Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

In 1930, when the estimated $1 million construction cost doubled, Chicago chewing gum millionaire, William Wrigley, Jr., one of the original investors, became the sole owner of the property. Over the next 44 years, the Wrigley family owned and operated the Arizona Biltmore and it became world-renowned as the preferred luxury oasis for celebrities, heads of state, captains of industry and other famous travelers. The Wrigley Mansion can still be seen atop the mountain from the Arizona Biltmore.

poolIn May of 1973, the Wrigley family sold the Biltmore to Talley Industries, which closed the resort for renovations that summer.  The project was completed in a record 82 days and the result was a finer, more complete hotel than had previously existed.  In 1975, under Talley Industries’ ownership, the first major expansion took place with the opening of the 90-room Paradise Wing.  This expansion continued over the next seven years with the addition of the 120-room Valley Wing and a 39,000-square-foot Conference Center in 1979.  In 1982, the 109-room Terrace Court opened.  Another renovation was completed in 1987 which included the remodeling of 120 guest rooms throughout the main building in addition to the East and Garden Wings.   A year later, the historic cottages were also refurbished.   One of these cottages hosted President and Jacqueline Kennedy.   In January 1998, a 20,000 square-foot spa and fitness center as well as a  full-service beauty roomsalon opened.  The newest addition is the new Arizona Wing, which features 120 new guest rooms, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and two new meeting rooms.  The Arizona Wing was completely renovated in March of 2009 to become Ocatilla at The Arizona Biltmore, a “hotel within the hotel”.  The Arizona Biltmore now boasts 740 guest rooms and 78 villa suites.  There is also 8 swimming pools, 7 tennis courts, and 5 exclusive dining options.  The adjacent Arizona Biltmore Country Club boasts two of the best 18-hole PGA golf courses in the Phoenix area.  With all of this, The Arizona Biltmore is one of the largest hotels in Arizona.  Classic rooms at the Biltmore range from $227.00 to $527.00 per night, and a signature suite will cost between $567.00 to suite$587.00 per night.  Although the rooms are large in comparison to regular resort rooms, I’m not sure what the big deal is, other than the views are breathtaking, wake up calls are made by a real person, and room service is delivered by a smiling attendant riding a three-wheel bicycle.

Thanks to conscientious owners who have been committed to preserving the Biltmores architectural integrity, the resort is, in many ways, more “Wright like” now than when it was built. Throughout the years, the Arizona Biltmore has set the standard for elegance and style. It continues to attract celebrities and dignitaries from around the world.  I know this is an Arizona landmark.  I know famous people and ALL the presidents, except President Obama have stayed here, but I just don’t get all the hype.  It is in the middle of town so not very secluded and it is very very large so seems like a city all by itself so not very intimate.  That being said, it is a beautiful place but not sure it’s worth the prices they charge to stay here.  That being said The Biltmore gets a rating of a B…it’s worth stopping by and if you can afford it, I guess if you want bragging rights, go ahead and spend the night.

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Thelma Speaks:


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