Written by Trey Ellis and Richardo Khan, Fly follows the stories of four Tuskegee Airman during their Army Air Corp pilot training.  Chet, Oscar, J. Allen and W.W. have their own reasons for joining up but the one through line is their love of flying and desire to serve the county.  The four young actors who star in this production are exceptional in their roles. Each seems to be in touch with the unique and historic nature of the piece.

The staging of the play is simple with footlockers and chairs which are imaginatively transformed into planes. The most intriguing part of the show is the Tap Griot or Inprovographer, Omar Edwards.  He is tap dancing marvel and moves the story along with the rat-a-tat-tat of his shoes.  His athletic moves astound the audience.

Fly made its world premiere at the Crossroad Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ in October, 2009.  The Montgomery production was part of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s 2017-2018 season.  This poignant look at the Tuskegee Airmen is to be treasured as part of Alabama’s aviation and black history.

Alongside the February production, the Alabama Humanities Foundation with its sponsor Airbus, provided the attendees several stand alone and interactive displays regarding our aviation history.



Aviation in Alabama







Exhibit Tour schedule:

  • Southern Museum of Flight, Birmingham, March 23-April 23, 2018

To inquire about the exhibit schedule or venues, contact Laura Anderson, AHF Director of Operations, at 205-558-3992 or email



Festival of Flowers-25th Anniversary


25 years!

Festival of Flowers began in 1994 as the brain child of Tommy Zieman, Jr. after his visit to a flower show at the Royal Hospital in London. The yearly fundraiser for the Providence Hospital Foundation has grown to the largest outdoor flower in the Southeast.  The show moved to its present location at the Providence Hospital campus in 2006 from its initial location at Springhill College. The Providence location has allowed the show to grow to its 300,000 square feet of space that draws some 15,000 visitors each year.

Azalea Trail Maids always begin the show







Blake Smisson, lead designer and landscape architect for the show, designed the “Walk in the Park”, which features a carousel and multiple fountains for visitors to enjoy their morning or afternoon stroll.

Bellingrath fountain





Along with the festive displays are a number of horticultural seminars for the novice and accomplished flower enthusiast.

More flowers!







Local artist, Augusta Hyland Wilson’s work is featured in the park like setting.  There is also a photographic exhibit featuring local photographers.

A number of vendors are in attendance featuring flowers and outdoor sculptures.

Plane wind art

The festival is an enjoyable and relaxing way to spend an afternoon.


Muckross House

Muckross House, Killarney, Ireland

A short ride from The Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney is Muckross House. The House, Gardens and Farm is a 19th Century Victorian mansion sits adjacent to Muckross Lake situated in the middle of the three Lakes of Killarney. The tranquil lakeside setting explains why the location was chosen for the stately home.

The Long Walk
Muckross House

Built by the Herbert family soon after their arrival from Wales in 1665 the house was constructed with the wealth they accumulated from mining.  By 1770, they owned the land around Muckross. The present house was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife Mary in 1843.  The Great Irish famine occurred began in 1845 and the family left for England but continued to maintain their tenants on the land.

In 1861, Killarney and Muckross House hosted a royal visit by Queen Victoria. It is believed that the improvements invested in the house by the Herbert’s for the Queen’s visit, may have cost the Herbert’s their home.  By 1889, the estate was forfeited.

The estate was purchased by Arthur Ross Vincent and his wife, Maud in 1910 and they made many improvements to the house and gardens. After Maud’s death in 1932, Arthur presented Muckross House to the people of Ireland.  The house was vacant until 1964 when it was opened to the public.

The home has been held in the condition as it was in 1932. Visitors can tour the house for a small fee of nine euros.  It is ornate decorated as the period would dictate.  The gardens and farm are large and provides a glimpse back to old Ireland.


Adjacent to Muckross House is Killarney National Park, Ireland’s oldest national park. The only way to tour the grounds and park is in a horse drawn jaunting carts.

Pony Cart

During your ride, the driver will provide you with tidbits about your surroundings.


A short hike up the hill from the drop off site will bring you to the striking Torc waterfall.

Torc Waterfall

Muckross House is a look back at Ireland in a different age. It is thought provoking and beautiful location to spend a day out in Killarney.


An Introduction to the Emerald Isle

Kenmare Bay, Sheen Falls Lodge and Lorge Chocolate,  County Kerry, Ireland

Attending Tbex Europe was great learning experience. On our first day, our coaches left bright and early from the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney for our pre-bex tour of Kenmare Bay. The motor coach was comfortable and not completely full, so each of my fellow travel writers had plenty of space to spread out.  Ireland’s roads are narrow for these large coaches and on occasion we had to stop for a car to pass.  It was a bit of journey to Kenmare Bay but our tour guide, Maureen, kept us entertained with Irish tales and history.  I enjoyed every minute of it, if only because of her charming accent.  Disembarking at Kenmare Bay we had a few minutes to photograph our surroundings and with the tide out we had a different perspective of the watercraft.

Boats of Kenmare Bay

Our crew of Tbexer’s loaded our vessel for a Seafari and we headed out for seal watching.

The Seafari

Our Captain, Raymond Ross got us amazingly close to the creatures as they lolled about on the rocks.  After an hour of photographing the animals, we headed to the dock where we would meet our motor coach to whisk us to the next location.



As made our way to the dock, the crew provided us with tea and biscuits which was welcomed due to the brisk air.  Several of us got a shot of rum in our tea to help keep out the chill.




Back on the motor coach, we took a short drive to Sheen Falls Lodge, a charming five star hotel of sixty-eight rooms outside of Kenmare.

View from Sheen Falls

There we were treated to a tour of the hotel and its ample facilities and spa.  This is a first class hotel. The rooms and suites have balconies that supply visitors with stunning views of Sheen Falls and Kenmare Bay.  The property also has thatched roof cottages and villas for families and larger gatherings.

View from Patio of Sheen Falls Cottages

The cottages provide a full kitchen and multiple bedrooms for visitors.   We were driven to the cottages in a vintage 1936 Buick.  After the tour, we were treated to a proper tea with a view of the falls.










Afternoon Tea

As the champagne flowed freely, my fellow participants shared their opinions of the lodge.  All agreed, they would return in a heartbeat.  The Lodge would provide a relaxing and luxurious getaway for guests.  After thanking our genial hosts, we boarded our coach and made our way to Lorge Chocolatiers in Bonane Kenmare, County Kerry.

Lorge Chocolatier

Benoit Lorge greeted us in the small building that houses his shoppe, Lorge Chocolatier.  Ten of us were going to learn to make chocolate.  We excitedly donned our hats and aprons for the immersive experience.


After a quick introduction and apologies, Benoit left us to prepare his offerings for the Tbex opening night festivities. He left us in the capable hands of his apprentice for our class.

Chocolate rain

During the hour long class each of my classmates and I took turns learning each step of the chocolate assembly process.




It’s a messy job but someone has to do it.  At the conclusion of the class, we each left with a bag of delicious treats that we had helped prepare.

After our long and wholly satisfying day out, our return to the Gleneagle was quick and the scenery lush.  The day had been a warm and gracious welcome to the Emerald Isle.

If you would like to learn more about Tbex, please follow the link below.

Ireland’s Home Brew

Guinness Storehouse Brewery, Dublin, Ireland

Guinness Gate

I was excited to be visiting Ireland for the first time. I also knew that it would be an adventure with TBEX Europe. The journey started with an excellent introduction.  My friends, other TBEX attendees, and I arrived in the early morning from the states and headed directly to the flat we found through Airbnb which was in easy walking distance of the Guinness Storehouse.  Unfortunately, we would not be able to drop our bags at the flat until a later that day. Our friendly cab driver suggested that we check our bags at the Guinness check desk while we toured Storehouse.  This simple piece of information started our trip off right.

To be honest, I had tried Guinness some years ago in the US and had not been impressed.  How wrong I had been!  Guinness is fantastic!  In Ireland, they exercise such control of the brewing process and presentation it could only be fantastic.

One of my fellow travelers had arranged tickets for the Guinness tour. You can choose either the standard or connoisseur experience (which includes the tour and the tasting experience in a private bar). There is a charge for the tours, either self guided or guided. Guests learn about the barley, the hops and the water used to make the beer to its fermentation temperature, the process of making the delicious caramel color concoction is detailed. Throughout the building there are displays on transportation, advertising and it also contains four restaurants.

The Correct Temperature

For a small additional charge, you may attend the Guinness Academy. There you will learn to you pour your own perfect pint under the direction of a master. I recommend this addition as you learn that the presentation of the beer is part of the entire Guinness experience. After your successful pour, you can then take your pint and climb to the Gravity bar for a pantomimic view of the city.  What an introduction to Dublin and all before 11 in the morning!

Arthur Guinness bought the old brewery in 1759 and signed a nine thousand year lease for it. The lease is on display for all visitors to see as they enter.

9000 year lease

The Storehouse was erected in 1904 and served as the fermentation plant until the 1980’s. It is a towering building of seven floors of displays with much to read and learn about process of creation of the best loved beer in Ireland. By 1824, Guinness was known world-wide and by 1833, Guinness was the largest brewery in Ireland.

The Harp, the symbol of Guinness is prominently displayed on each glass and you can even play it.  The Harp was imprinted on the first bottle of Guinness in 1862.  The Irish Government later adopted the symbol as its official government symbol.

The Harp

By 1886, Guinness was a publicly traded company and had become the largest brewery in the world. By 1929, 2 million pints were sold daily and by 1950, in had increased to five million pints were being sold daily.  In 2000, the Guinness Storehouse opened to the public. By 2008, 10 million pints were being enjoyed daily.

Tasting Time

Just for the record, there are approximately 198 calories in a pint of Guinness and it is the best selling stout in the world.






Home Brew

Guinness can be found in nearly every country and I doubt it will ever be overtaken in its’ homeland. It is truly Ireland’s home brew.