Five Not to Missed Museums in Rochester, New York

I visited Rochester, New York in early November for a week-long visit to the Finger Lakes region. Rochester offers a lot to do and see.  While I was only able to scratch the surface during my short visit, I had the pleasure of visiting five area museums that were both exciting and inspiring.

NUMBER ONE

Eastman House

Eastman Museum is located in the residence built by George Eastman in early 1900’s. The museum which opened in 1949, houses the Eastman collection of some twenty-six thousand items, the Technicolor film archive and exhibit areas;

Levinthal

a David Levinthal exhibit on his career and in the contemporary exhibit area and Gale Albert Halaban’s “Out My Window” is a unique look at neighbors. During the Holiday season, the Eastman sponsors organizations and individuals to create the Sweet Creations Gingerbread displays which are auctioned to raise funds for the museum. One gingerbread house was created by David Levinthal’s wife, Kate Sullivan honoring Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. The thirty-five thousand square foot Eastman residence is a National Historic Landmark and houses the only residential pipe organ in the world.  In fact, Eastman enlarged the residence by nine feet to achieve better acoustics for the organ.

Eastman Organ

This is an impressive teaching museum that serves its community and preserves photographic history.

https://www.eastman.org/

 

NUMBER TWO 

Susan B. Anthony Home

The National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House is located in the home that Anthony occupied during her lifetime. Anthony began her work for women’s rights with the temperance movement. She was the mover and shaker in Rochester for both the temperance movement and most notably for the suffragette movement that would ultimately win women the right to vote.

Susan B. Anthony Gravesite

Anthony was a good friend of Frederick Douglas and together they worked to achieve the 14th amendment, although Anthony thought it needed to include women, Douglas knew it was important to do one thing at a time.  She was arrested in Rochester in 1872 after registering to vote and voting in the Presidential election. She would be tried, found guilty and fined.  The fine remains unpaid today.  Without the struggle of Susan B. Anthony on behalf of women, we would not have the rights we have today. Her story is inspiring and timely today as women around the world continue to fight for their rights.

http://susanbanthonyhouse.org/index.php

NUMBER THREE 

Strong Museum quote

Strong Museum of Play is Rochester’s #1 attraction and I wasn’t sure what to expect at the “museum of play”. What I discovered was toys of all shapes and sizes. The Strong owns and cares for the world’s most comprehensive collection of toys: from Mr. Potato Head to the latest x-box game were represented. The museum was founded by Margaret Woodbury Strong in 1968. Mrs. Strong was an avid collector of all things.

Margaret Strong

The mission of the Strong is to explore play and the ways in which it encourages learning, creativity, and discovery and illuminates cultural history. The Strong continues with the 2002 acquisition of the National Toy Hall of Fame and the Toy Industry Association’s Toy Industry Hall of Fame.  Quotes adorn the hallways:  “Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” Diane Ackerman, American Author.  The Strong is a natural attraction for children but adults will enjoy it has well, if only to rediscover their own childhood favorite toys and what it is to ‘play’.

http://www.museumofplay.org/

NUMBER FOUR

Underground Railroad

At the Rochester Museum and Science Center, I was treated to a tour of a portion of the exhibit area by two long-time docents, Diane and Marie. These ladies really know the topic of the Underground Railroad and its importance in the Absolutist movement. During school visits they educate the children about empathy and the risks taken by those who used the railroad as well as the roll of the Absolutists to the cause. Other exhibits included the Native Peoples of the Americas and Expedition Earth which featured early mammals of the region.

Mastodon

 

 

The Museum and Science Center also hosts the Strasenburgh Planetarium.

http://www.rmsc.org/

NUMBER FIVE

Rochester Memorial Art Museum

Rochester’s Memorial Art Museum, located just around the corner from the Rochester Museum and Science Center, currently holds in its collection some twelve thousand works. Monet’s Waterloo Bridge is the current blockbuster exhibit. I was excited to see this particular exhibit.

Waterloo Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

Fabric of Survival

 

I was struck by the story of The Fabric of Survival which features the embroidered fabric collages of Ester Nisenthal Krintz, who was twelve when the Nazis entered her Polish village. Through the collages her art is an eyewitness to both tragedy and healing. The Memorial Art Museum collection offers its visitors pieces from Ancient Greece, Italy, Asia, artworks from the 17th through 20th centuries as well as a massive Grand Italian Baroque Organ that dominates one wall of the second floor exhibit hall.

Italian Organ

I thoroughly enjoyed viewing the pieces at the Memorial Art Museum.  It offered a quiet place to reflect on my travels throughout Rochester.

https://mag.rochester.edu/

 

 

 

 

I stayed at the Holiday Inn Downtown while in Rochester. The hotel is situated not far from High Falls and the Genoese River. A fine establishment that is well located for visitor and business travelers. Walking around the area one morning, I found the impressive Rochester City Hall and one of the statutes of Frederick Douglas near the hotel.  Rochester was easy to navigate and its newly renovated airport was pleasure to fly into even on a midnight flight.

https://www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/us/en/rochester/rocny/hoteldetail?cm_mmc=GoogleMaps-_-HI-_-US-_-ROCNY

My lunch at Jines Restaurant was a treat. Family run since 1971, it has a large menu and top notch service. The line to get in was my first indication that the community truly enjoys the restaurant as did I.

http://www.jinesrestaurant.com/

On my final night in Rochester, I dined at Pane Vino. The restaurant was a brief walk over the Genoese River in the brisk night.  The Italian restaurant was crowded with patrons who were attending a nearby concert.  Finding a seat at the bar, I treated myself to a plate of pasta and a glass of wine after a long day of driving and wrapping up my tour of the area. It was a welcomed delicious end to my Rochester visit.

https://www.panevinoontheriver175.com/

My grateful thanks to both Rachel Pulvino and Chelsea Metzger at http://www.visitrochester.com/ for arranging such an in depth and wonderful tour of the area. There is so much to discover in Rochester, I hope that I can return to and enjoy more of its rich history.

Four Not to be Missed Museums in Cooperstown, New York

I had the pleasure of visiting Cooperstown, New York in early November during a week-long driving tour. From the pleasant vistas of the fall colors, the comfortable accommodations and the informative museums of the area, Cooperstown is a HIT.  These four museums in and around Cooperstown are not to be missed when visiting the area!

NUMBER ONE

Hyde Hall

Hyde Hall is a 19th century residence outside of Cooperstown designed by architect Phillip Hooker. The residence was built between 1817 and 1834 by George Clarke. It was designated a National Historic Site in 1986.  The magnificent house is perched high on hill overlooking Otsego Lake.  If you stand on the lakefront in Cooperstown, you can just make out the shape of a sleeping lion on the hill, Hyde Hall.  The drive up the long drive to the house is reminiscent of the drive to Highclere Castle of Downton Abbey fame.

Hyde Hall Dining Room

In fact, the entire house brings image of Downton Abby to mind.  When you enter the formal dining room with its extraordinarily ornate vapor light chandeliers and massive painting of ‘Jenny’ that towers above the table, you think the family will enter the room and sit down to dinner.

 

The property was acquired by New York State in 1963 and since 1988, great care has been taken with the restoration of the property by the Friends of Hyde Hall, the organization charged with the care and restoration of massive house.  Due to the excellent records kept over the life of the property by the Clarke family, there is plentiful documentation regarding the building and purchasing for the residence. Much of the furniture, most of which was made in New York State, is original to house.  The house now is part of the Glimmerglass State Park which is a short drive outside of Cooperstown.

https://hydehall.org/plan-your-visit/

NUMBER TWO

Farmer’s Muesum

The Farmer’s Museum was founded in 1943. This turned out to be one of the most interesting stops during my week-long tour the Finger Lakes region. The museum was closed but one employee, a nice young man, Patrick, was generous and gave me a brief tour of this captivating village and life in 19th Century America. All the buildings in this living museum were relocated to the museum space in the 1950’s from a radius of one hundred miles of Cooperstown. The museum features a hand carved carousal.

Carousal

It was carved by one thousand volunteer carvers and it is truly a work of art. We visited the Blacksmith’s shop, the print shop, the pharmacy and the tavern.  This was one of the most unique teaching museums I have visited and it is well worth the trip.

Typeface in the Printshop

http://m.farmersmuseum.org/ https://www.farmersmuseum.org/farmers/collections/historic_structures

 

 

NUMBER THREE

Fenimore Art Museum is located just across the street from the Farmer’s Museum, provided me with a nice retreat from the snow and cold. I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibits at the Fenimore from the Letters from Alexander Hamilton’s Final Act, the works of David Levinthal, Puzzles of the Brain, the Coopers of Cooperstown and the Native American art.  It proved to be a pleasant, quiet refuge in the middle of a hectic day.

Hamilton’s Final Act

 

 

 

 

 

Levinthal
James Fenimore Cooper

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.fenimoreartmuseum.org/

NUMBER FOUR

Baseball Hall of Fame

The National Basehall Hall of Fame lies at the heart of Cooperstown. Baseball may not be my favorite sport but I certainly appreciate our National pastime, especially as it relates to my hometown. Mobile, Alabama has made an enormous contribution to baseball throughout the years. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered a large exhibit about Mobile native, Hank Aaron at the Hall of Fame.  Mobile has produced five Baseball Hall of Famers; Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey, Satchel Paige, Ozzie Smith and Billy Williams. That is more Hall of Famer’s than any other city than New York and Los Angeles.  The Hall of Fame provides visitors with an in depth look at the game and its players from its beginnings to the most recent World Series game.

Diamond Dreams

Exhibits range from the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, the African American pioneers in baseball and Viva Baseball about the Latin American baseball players to the record breaking moments in the game’s history.  All the artifacts and memorabilia throughout the museum have been donated by fans of the game and are truly amazing.

 

 

Babe Ruth’s Uniform

From Babe Ruth’s Yankee uniform to Hank Aaron’s bat and glove, the artifacts help in telling the story of our National Pastime.  The Hall of Fame itself is a meaningful tribute to the men and women who play and have played this game as a testament to their hard work and talent.  Mariano Rivera is eligible in 2019 and Derek Jeter is eligible for induction in 2020.  I am sure the ceremonies on July 21, 2019 and July 26, 2020 will be record breakers for Cooperstown.

https://baseballhall.org/

 

 

Inn At Coopertown

I had the pleasure of staying at the Inn at Cooperstown during my visit to Otsego County. This charming and comfortable B&B is located on Chestnut Street.  I arrived a bit later than intended and the Inn’s location made it easy to dash out to grab a bite of dinner on Cooperstown’s main street.  Breakfast at the Inn was delicious and effortlessly presented to the guests on the main floor.  My room was nicely appointed with a comfortable king bed, large television and cozy bath.  B&B’s are a big draw in the Cooperstown area and I would recommend the Inn at Cooperstown when visiting. Parking was also provided directly behind the Inn.

https://www.innatcooperstown.com/

My grateful thanks to Cassandra Harrington and Jacqueline White at https://www.thisiscooperstown.com/ in arranging such an in depth and wonderful visit to Otsego County.  There is so much to enjoy and discover in Cooperstown and Otsego County!  I hope that I can return to enjoy more of its rich history.

Rene Culler, Glass Artist, Mobile, Alabama

Rene Culler

Professional glass artist Rene Culler relocated to Mobile from Cleveland, Ohio in 2010 to lead the glass program at the University of South Alabama. Rene received her Master’s in Fine Arts from Kent State, is a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar and was also voted one of the 50 top researchers in past 50 years for her knowledge of Kiln work.  Kiln glass work is formed colored glass that has been created is a new art form.  Rene also taught at the Cleveland Institute of Art and recently opened her studio here in Mobile where she teaches classes in kiln glass work.

I became aware of Rene’s artistry in 2017 when she presented “The Delta” at the Southern Abstraction show at the Mobile Museum of Art.  Comprised multiple styles of glass, the piece took her a year to create.  She remembers flying into Mobile and was fascinated by the colors and shapes of Delta from the plane window and she knew she wanted to recreate it in glass.

THE MOBILE DELTA: Glass & Light

BUILDING THE STUDIO

The Studio

In her studio in Mobile, which is housed in a former engineering office, she recently designed and built a large Kiln, a furnace used for heating the glass to temperatures of nineteen hundred degrees.  She is a woman of many talents, which includes welding.  She learned the trade while in school. It was expensive to buy a furnace so the students learned to build the tools needed to work the glass.  She also has a sandblaster, for blasting glass as well several smaller kilns which are lined with fire brick.  Her wall of Frit, or colored glass, in the studio is not only functional but attractive. She explained that, “Kiln glass work can be done on your own, but blowing glass, you need help to do.”

Kiln

With blowing glass, she explained, “Your body can only put up with so much.  There’s a rush when working, you want the opportunity to create something.”  I asked her how did decided what to charge for a piece. “You can’t charge what it’s worth. Two hours and thirty years,”  She laughed.

Blown Glass

 

Magic Square

She is very interested in pattern tile and created a magic square which is based squares she has seen in Asia.  The squares are based on the phases of the moon. In the 1400’s astronomer’s assigned numbers to the stars, if you add the numbers on the diagonal, you get the same number. She said,   “We can’t survive without numbers. The future is all about numbers.”

HISTORY OF THE ART

She told me about Dale Chihuly, perhaps one of the most recognized names in the glass world, he had received a grant to teach people how to blow glass in 1971. With the assistance of sixteen students the group built shelters and a glass blowing furnace at an old tree farm in Washington State. When there was no money to do a second year, Chihuly found a sponsor who owned the tree farm in order to continue the program.  This is now the Pilchuck Glass School, which is one of the world’s top schools for glass artists.

INSTALLATIONS AROUND THE GLOBE

Rene has created many installations for hospitals and libraries across the county. She has been told that people “Like her work because they see different things in it.”  She has pieces in both of the Cleveland’s teaching hospitals.  One San Diego hospital told her not use too much red in the installation, they wanted calm colors because the color and shape affects each individuals emotions.

Art for Sale

She has travelled throughout the world and did her Fulbright scholar work in 2012 in Korea. “Art is a big deal there.” She blew a lot of glass while in Korea and was able to show her work in Seoul. “I really enjoy learning about other cultures, Learning about the philosophy behind what they do what they do.”  While there her husband began to learn and read Korean which was not an easy task.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR

Rene is also an accomplished author with “Glass Art from the Kiln” and the forthcoming “Imagery in Glass.”

https://www.amazon.com/Glass-Art-Kiln-Rene-Culler/dp/0764335421/ref=asc_df_0764335421/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312172766117&hvpos=1o3&hvnetw=g&hvrand=17624136912040013281&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9012995&hvtargid=pla-597604742844&psc=1

What does the artist love about glass?  “It’s a great experience, magical stuff.  To take something from the earth is opaque and make it transparent.”  Transforming glass is just “Another idea of a common material that is taken for granted.” She said.

Mosaic

WHERE TO FIND RENE

Seek out Rene’s work or experience one of her workshops at her studio at 2468 Commercial Park Drive, Mobile Al 36606.  On December 1, 2018, Rene will host a Holiday Open Studio and Sale event from 11-4.

http://www.reneculler.com/wp/

https://www.facebook.com/ReneCullerGlass/

 

Max Morey, Man behind the Crescent Theater, Mobile, Alabama

 

Crescent Theater in Downtown Mobile

 

On November 1, 2018, the Crescent celebrated its 10 year anniversary with a party for the Crescent supporters with a showing of Bottle Shock. This was the first movie that debuted for the reopening of the theater on October 31, 2008.  I recently spoke with Max Morey about the history of the theater and what lies ahead for this popular downtown Mobile movie venue.

 

Max Morey

 

 

Max, who is originally from Atlantic City, New Jersey, was working in the casino business in Biloxi when he came to the Mobile for a college basketball game and was immediately drawn to the City .  He soon relocated here and began working with business partner, John Switzer, developing residential properties in downtown Mobile. When the City approached them with the idea of reopening a downtown movie theater, they jumped into the project, researching the buildings’ history at the University of South Alabama archives, so they could be true to the Crescent’s past.

THEATER HISTORY

The original Crescent Theater opened in 1885 as a vaudeville theater then was updated in 1912 to show silent films. In 1937, the name was changed to the Century Theater which closed in the 1970’s.  In 2008, after a renovation, the Crescent Theater reopened its doors to its Mobile patrons.

“We call it an art house,” Max told me as we discussed the films coming soon to the Crescent. “There’s no plan. I try and get what I can.”  He selects films he likes and knows the patrons will like them too. “I’m trying to get happy films.”  Though at times working with the film studios can prove to be a challenge.

“A single-screen theater is a recipe for disaster.” Max said.   “It can’t be a successful business in and of itself, it needs community support and the community has rallied around the Crescent.”  Max explained.  When the theater faced closure a few years ago, he told the city of the situation.  He is very thankful for the individuals that got together and had a fundraiser to keep the theater open. He said he didn’t see that coming. “The Crescent Film Society is very important to the theater and keeping it going.”

Max says there is always dip in ticket sales in both the summer and the fall when the weather is good and everyone wants to be outside.  But the Crescent’s ticket sales have shown a gradual increase in these past 10 years.  In fact, he has as many new customers as he does regulars.

DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT

Community engagement is important to Max and the Crescent. Charles Morgan, of Chuck’s Fish sought out Max to tell him that the Crescent was the reason he was building restaurants in Mobile.  “Every progressive city in America has a single screen theater in its heart.”  Charles told him.

Max also lavished praise on the Mobile Downtown Alliance, “I’m the President of their fan club. They work quietly behind the scenes for every positive thing we have. Without them, we’d be back in the 1970’s.  Nobody has given them an award, the city ought to.”

Crescent Theater

You can find Max at the Crescent daily, interacting with local business people that stop by to check on his stock of beer and wine for his customers or local patrons in search of a good afternoon movie and a brief chat.  Max is enjoying life. “I’d rather have people’s friendship than money in my pocket.” He told me.

 

 

Come downtown to the Crescent and see a movie in this unique part of Mobile’s movie past and future. You are sure to enjoy a fine film and good conversation.

UPCOMING FILMS

The upcoming films for the Crescent are: Green Book, The Return of Mary Poppins and Mary, Queen of Scots.  Get those tickets now!

https://www.crescenttheater.com/

 

The Culinary Academy Pastry Class, The Grand Hotel, Point Clear, Alabama

 

Grand Hotel

Kimberly Lyons, the pastry chef at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Alabama is a talented 29 year-old.  She thinks about her dishes “constantly” she told me, usually about how to improve them.  She attended Culinard at Virginia College and she was hired by the Grand Hotel five and half years ago. She worked her way up in the kitchen to head pastry chef and is grateful to the chefs there who have trained her. Kimberly is invested in the culinary career.  “I love what I do.” she said.

Chef Kimberly Lyons

Our group of dessert hungry guests assembled in the Lagoon Room.  With the tables adorned in white table clothes, we sat engrossed as Kimberly melted chocolate, whipped cream, beat eggs until they were frothy and combined them into three tasty classic desserts, Bourbon Chocolate Mousse, Crème Brulee and Crepe Suzette.

Chocolate Mousse
Creme Brulee

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crepe Suzette

As each dish was completed, we were treated to tasting of the dishes.  While this was not a hands-on class, the guests were encouraged to ask questions about the recipes. Kimberly took us through each step of the recipes and provided plenty of suggestions to modify the creations to everyone’s particular taste or occasion.

After class, I asked Kimberly what her favorite dessert was, she pulled up her sleeve.  “Macaron’s” she said, showing off her forearm tattoo of the French treat. She is truly invested and loves what she does.

Macaron’s

 

We purchased a few house made macarons at the Local Market before leaving the Grand for the ride home. They were definitely worth the price.

Macarons

 

 

 

 

 

 

The iconic Fairhope hotel recently completed a thirty-two million dollar renovation and part of that transformation took place in the kitchen.  “I could order whatever I wanted.” Kimberly said.  She was thrilled that there is now a hot and cold kitchen, which means she can make every kind of dessert at any time.  This is especially important to a chef in humidity prone South Alabama.

Boardwalk

The Culinary Academy is a big draw for Saturday’s at the Grand, along with the Beverage Academy on Friday evenings. The trick is to come to the Beverage Academy on Friday night and stay over for the Saturday class. For the November 17 class, the chefs will be preparing Thanksgiving side dishes and in December, its make your own Gingerbread House.  The December event is so popular that two classes are offered.  It will surely be a family fun sellout!  The Grand Hotel’s 2019 Culinary Academy should delight as Kimberly has the pastry classes laid out. Whether they are cooking savory or sweet, do not miss a chance to enjoy the southern charm of this historic hotel that overlooks Mobile Bay.

Mobile Bay

https://www.grand1847.com/Culinary-Academy-65.html

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/ptlak-the-grand-hotel-golf-resort-and-spa-autograph-collection/

Victory Teaching Farm, Down to Earth Farmraiser, Mobile, AL

Victory Teaching Farm

I wasn’t sure what to expect at the 4th Annual Down to Earth Farmraiser but I discovered on this pleasant October evening, that farming is alive and well in mid town Mobile.

Planting beds

 

 

Farmraiser

 

 

Local chefs from twelve area restaurants and businesses wowed the crowd of hungry guests with their bite sized delectable creations.  The thirty-five dollar tax deductable ticket admitted me to the event along with two glasses of wine and multiple samples of the various chefs’ bounty.

THE RESTAURANTS

Roosters!

The restaurants included Noble South, Nourish, Haberdasher, Red and White, Pour Baby, Bay Gourmet and Old Dutch.

Pour Baby
Nourish

 

Guncles

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE FARM

Overlooking the plants

Victory Teaching Farm is all about sustainable, clean locally sourced food.  It is South Alabama’s first and only teaching farm located in mid town Mobile on Rickarby Street. While the farm provides ample produce each year for the local area, it also provides internships, volunteer opportunities and fresh pick produce markets for locals.

This event gets bigger and better each year.  Mark your calendars for early October, 2019. You will not want to miss this locally sourced food event. Come hungry, you will not be disappointed!

http://victoryteachingfarm.org/

Barber Motor Sports Museum, Birmingham, AL -A walk in the fast lane

Barber Motorsports

“Oh, wow!” I exclaimed upon entering the Barber Motor Sports museum. It is gigantic! Five towering floors filled with the world’s largest motorcycle collection.  It also contains racing automobiles and bikes which adorn every nook and cranny.

Wall Art

There is even a race car on top of the elevator!

The Chase

A massive sculpture, “The Chase”, commissioned from California sculptor Ted Gall, greets visitors at the entrance of the museum. These three enormous statues of men with masked faces riding large wheels weigh between 3,500 to 3,800 pounds and fits in well with this vast complex.

Inside Barber

Birmingham native, George Barber, Jr., son of Barber Dairies founder, George H. Barber is the founder of the Motor Sports Museum. Barber Jr. who ran the dairy was also a real estate developer.  Barber had raced Porsches in the 1960’s and began collecting motorcycles in the 1970’s. In 1994, his collection of motorcycles was established as the Barber Vintage Motorsport Museum. In 1998, Barber Jr. sold the dairy. In 2003 the museum moved to its present Birmingham location.  Barber himself was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2014.

The nine hundred and thirty acre sports complex contains the museum and a 2.38 mile sixteen turn world class road racetrack. The track serves as site of Indy Car Series Grand Prix of Alabama races.

Race Track

 

 

 

 

Of the fourteen hundred motorcycles in Barber collection, some nine hundred are on display at any one time. The museum welcomes some three hundred thousand visitors yearly including some three thousand foreign visitors.

Motorcycles stacked high

Some two hundred different manufactures’ from twenty counties over the past one hundred years are represented in the museum.  The Lotus 21 is featured in the world’s most extensive collection of Lotus cars.

Lotus cars

 

 

 

 

Jim Roger’s motorcycle that circled the globe

One display drew particular interest, that of Jim Rogers, a thirty-seven year old investment banker who in 1990, with his girlfriend motorcycled around the world.  They traveled some six-five thousand miles and setting the world record for land travel. He wrote a book “Investment Biker” about the journey.

Track

A lucrative part of the Motor sports arena is the North American Porsche Driving School where individuals can experience Porsche racing cars on the track. Prices there can range from $1800 for a day to $9600 for four days depending on what level of experience you care to have.

The facility hosts the 14th Annual Barber Vintage Festival in October which will feature the American Historical Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA).

Easy Rider

This unique automotive museum should not to be missed in Birmingham. Individuals who admire motorcycles and cars will flock to this bastion of automotive bliss.

http://www.barbermuseum.org/

Spot of Tea-New offerings coming to Mobile’s Landmark Downtown Restaurant

Spot of Tea

Spot of Tea began as a tea room in 1994 at 306 Dauphin Street with seven tables and twenty-nine chairs. Ruby Moore made fruit pizza and her son, Tony Moore served tea. A year later, they expanded into what is now the Carriage room. In the mid 1990’s downtown Mobile was a bit of a ghost town and Spot of Tea has had a birds’ eye view of the rebirth of the downtown area. The two hundred year old building has seen a lot of changes through the years as the restaurant expanded to its present location at 310 Dauphin Street.

Seeing a need for breakfast in downtown because of the nearby newspaper, Mobile’s Press Register, Spot of Tea began a daily breakfast buffet created by Chef Patti Culbreth. With daily breakfast going strong, they then expanded the menu to include a Sunday Brunch.

The downtown icon is noted for its tasty Sunday brunch menu but it’s the signature dish, Eggs Cathedral that really put them on the map. In 2000, construction workers were remodeling the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception that stands just across the square from Spot of Tea. While the workers enjoyed the breakfast offerings, they wanted something more.

Eggs Cathedral

Having just received some fresh crab cakes, Tony Moore stepped into the kitchen to create the new dish. He took the crab cakes, an English muffin and scrambled eggs then smothered the dish with the seafood bisque that has been a staple menu item. The workmen devoured the new dish and Eggs Cathedral creation has continued to sate the hunger of many guests. The only complaint they have received about the dish, many guests say they need a nap after eating it.

With its fresh made to order menu, Spot of Tea remains the number one downtown Mobile restaurant for lunch.  Spot of Tea will be making some changes to their menu in November. Don’t worry, nothing is going away but several new tasty dishes are being added, an Ahi tuna salad, Lobster roll and Birdsnest’ egg dish. I was treated to a tasting of these new scrumptious creations as I sat with Chrissi Moore and Ruby Moore to talk about their nearly twenty-five year history of Mobile’s perennial favorite, Spot of Tea. Three new dishes will be making a debut on the refreshed menu in November:

Birdsnest

The Birdsnest, created with a grilled English muffin, avocado, tomato, a poached egg and served with hollandaise sauce. This is a much lighter dish than Eggs Cathedral that will complement the new refreshed menu. Guests will appreciate the creaminess of the egg and avocado and the sweetness of the tomato.

 

Lobster Role

The Second Mortgage Lobster Roll is a complete lobster bite. The lobster claw and knuckle is soaked in butter before it is served on a buttered bun with mayonnaise and celery salt. This is scrumptious decadence. This dish will be a unique flavor treat for guests.

 

 

Seared Ahi Tuna Salad

The seared Ahi tuna salad features seared Ahi tuna, feta cheese, mushrooms, cucumbers, avocado, onions and tomatoes and served with raspberry vinaigrette. This is a super light dish and a delicious salad option.

While serving great food and exceptional service, Spot of Tea has much more to offer.

Children’s Afternoon tea

The matriarch of the family, Miss Ruby offers etiquette classes for children aged five to ten upon request. During these afternoon tea parties usually held on the outdoor patio, children learn about a proper table setting, using proper table manners and how to dress for an occasion. For larger parties, the Carriage Room is available. Weddings are a big deal here too. From the engagement dinner to hosting the wedding itself, Spot of Tea can do it all!

 

Segways!

With their continuing commitment to the downtown community, Spot of Tea launched Mobile’s Original Segway Tour, two years ago. With Mobile’s recently updated and easily accessible sidewalks, the segway tour is an easy and safe ride. This offers a fun and exciting way to explore the downtown areas museums and attractions. Nine segways available to rent and some three hundred have enjoyed the guided and self guided experience.

Recently, Spot of Tea began offering curbside service for food pickup. They recommend guests call back just as they get to red light at Dauphin and Claiborne, so the food will be hot when it is ready to be handed off.

Spot of Tea is truly an “Aquarium to the World”. People watching is entertainment for guests eating on the front porch or for those seated just across the street to have an up close view of the Cathedral.

Ruby, who is in charge of Public Relations, told me her advice for running a family owned restaurant business is simple, “You have to have a love of people.” Mobile’s number one destination for lunch and brunch offers more than food and drink. It offers a unique view of Mobile’s history and its future. Chrissi Moore told me, “I love it when someone from out of town loves Mobile so much that they want to move here. And it happens a lot.”

Stop in for a meal at this downtown Mobile icon and beginning in November you can sample their refreshed menu and new dishes. You may just discover some new dishes to add to your old favorites. One thing is certain, you will not be disappointed.

https://www.spotoftea.com/