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The Bryan Museum opened in 2015 and is housed in the old Galveston Orphans Home which opened to 1898. The museum contains the extensive collection of businessman and collector, J.P. Bryan. Bryan began collecting Texas artifacts at an early age. His lineage goes deep into Texas roots. In fact, Emily Austin Bryan Perry, Stephen F. Austin’s sister, is Bryan’s great-great-grandmother.

The Collection

This Texas sized collection holds some seventy thousand items from rare books and documents to weapons and artwork. Bryan’s goal for the museum is too demonstrate the wonder of the American West and provide evidence of the events that happened there. 

Throughout seven galleries, you will take an in-depth look at Texas history. From the calling card of Stephen F. Austin, the Father of Texas to the artwork of Frank Reaugh, Texas history is found in every corner of the building. Due to the massive size of the collection, the docent led tours are recommended. Tours are available twice daily.

The main floor galleries take you through the history of the West from the Spain’s involvement to the creation of the Republic of Texas.  You will also find a Civil War violin case and a wall of Old West saddles.  On the second floor, artwork of the Old West Masters covers the walls. 

The upstairs gallery is dedicated to the art of the Old West. A collection of rifles and pistols used in the American West dominates a large display alongside that of with cowboy spurs. Bryan’s favorite artist, Frank Reaugh, the “Rembrandt of the Longhorn” covers a large portion of the gallery.  In the special exhibits area is a collection of murals of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. 

In the basement, you will find the children’s area and a gallery dedicated to the building itself.  The home was damaged in the 1900 hurricane. It was rebuilt and continued to serve as an orphanage until the mid 1980’s.

Orphanage items

History buffs will be absorbed at the Bryan.  It tells the story of Texas like no other.



Moody Mansion

W.L. Moody, Jr. purchased the thirty-one room Mansion in 1900 and it served as the family’s home for some eighty years. Moody was one of the wealthiest people in America in 1950 having interests in some fifty businesses. 

Built in 1895 by the Willis family, the mansion is a magnificent work of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture.  The residence did not receive much damage in the 1900 storm due to its steel and concrete construction. The ornate wood paneling, ceiling and staircases are massive. Moody died in 1954 and his daughter Mary inherited the home and businesses.

Mary Moody

Mary Moody was a woman ahead of her time in the 1950’s.  She managed the fifty companies left to her by her father. During the 1950’s, she was the first lady of finance in America. Mary was also a world traveler and loved to hobnob with celebrities and funded the theater.

The Galveston Children’s Museum is housed on the ground floor of the mansion.  In a unique twist, the self guided tour of the mansion is narrated by the six members of Moody family.  The likes of this fine piece of architecture is something not seen today.  Be sure to look in when in Galveston.



Bishop’s Palace

Bishop’s Palace is an extraordinary building.  Located in the East End Historic District of Galveston, it has stood the test of time against the elements. Built in 1892, by Walter Gresham, the Chateauesque mansion constructed of steel and stone, weathered the 1900 Hurricane with little damage.  From 1923 through 1960, it served as the residence of the Bishop of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese. The residence is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The residence is massive. Sienna marble columns flank the ornate mahogany staircase to create a grand entrance for the residence.  The staircase is lit by an elaborate skylight and there are fourteen foot coffered ceilings are found in the first floor formal rooms.  The large windows light the space with rich stained glass. 

The audio guided tour is well worth your time to enjoy this magnificent architecture and design. 



I ended my Galveston journey with a ferry ride across the Bolivar Peninsula that put me on the road toward home.  This ferry is a free service offered by the Texas Department of Transportation takes only about 15 minutes but is well worth the trip.  If you’re lucky, you might spot some dolphins on the way.

Bolivar Ferry



Blue Bonnet Café, Marble Falls, Texas

My trip to Fredericksburg began bright and early with a stop for breakfast at the Blue Bonnet Café in Marble Falls, Texas.  This café has been open since 1929.  The restaurant’s name came from the blue bonnet hat not the Texas wildflower.  In 1981, John and Belinda Kemper bought the Café and have been serving up some of the best food and pie in the country.  Be sure to stop by and have a slice.



National Musuem of the Pacific War

The National Museum of the Pacific War is an enormous museum dedicated to the story of the eight million who served in the war in the Pacific and the over hundred thousand that died there. In fact your ticket is good for two days here and you will need every minute to thoroughly review the artifacts and displays. Admiral Chester Nimitz is also honored at the museum.  In fact, he is the reason the museum is located in Fredericksburg. Nimitz’s boyhood home is located adjacent to the museum and his role in the Pacific theater is legendary.

Admiral Nimitz

The museum boasts many artifacts from the Pacific War; including a submarine that served in the Pearl Harbor attack and a door from the U.S.S. Arizona that was sunk during the Pearl Harbor air raid. There are many uniforms, rifles and items that have been donated to the museums by servicemen or their families.  The docents here are well versed about the war. They can relate details of each gallery should you have questions about any of the battles. 


You will learn about each battle in the Pacific Islands and the price paid by our troops.  The thirty-three thousand square foot space containing some of nine hundred artifacts takes some time to absorb.  Upon your entrance to the museum you walk through a timeline of the history of the war.  You begin with Japan’s massive increase in military power, the Pearl Harbor attack to the enormous challenge gearing up for war and the quick enlistment of troops who would do battle in the Pacific through each Pacific battle and the final solution of the use of two atomic bomb


My father was a Marine who served in the battles of both Tarawa and Iwo Jima.  He never talked much about the war, as many of his generation did not.  Seeing actual footage of the battles and the toll of lives it took, I can understand why he didn’t want to discuss it. He did tell me about the shacks he stood guard over while stationed in Tinian.  Turns out, he was guarding the atomic bomb.

This is an impressive museum that tells the story of World War II Pacific Theatre like no other. While history buffs will be enthralled with what they can learn here, this is a place where everyone can learn more about their county’s history.


Fredericksburg is a prominent wine growing region. I was able to visit and sample a selection of wines from two of the areas vineyards.


I was looking forward to enjoying more Texas wines since I had discovered them when I was in Austin some year ago.  Grape Creek selections are known as well balanced wines.

My friend and I joined Jim Overman, our Tasting Ambassador, at the tasting table for a sample of seven of Grape Creek wines. Jim is retired and has lots of stories and knowledge to impart about the wines.  He explained that Texas was akin to Italy in is climate.


I was looking forward to enjoying more Texas wines since I had discovered them when I was in Austin some year ago.  Grape Creek selections are known as well balanced wines.

Grape Creek Tasting Room

My friend and I joined Jim Overman, our Tasting Ambassador, at the tasting table for a sample of seven of Grape Creek wines. Jim is retired and has lots of stories and knowledge to impart about the wines.  He explained that Texas was akin to Italy in is climate.

Jim Our wine Tasting Ambassador led us through the wide range of Grape Creek wines from the Viognier to the Mosaic. The good thing about Grape Creek Jim told us is that, “Every category of wine from dry whites to reds, to the sweets is a good wine.”

Grape Creek wine tasting

Grape Creek is a wine club vineyard, so you cannot buy their wines except though the wine club or at its locations in Fredericksburg or Georgetown. There are four wine clubs: The Black Label Club, The Mixed Club, The White Label Club and The Sweet Club.  They will ship or you can pick up at their two locations.  The clue ships five times year in 3, 6 or 12 bottle shipments.

Grape Creek Crew

My friend and I each chose a bottle based on our very different tastes. The Petit Sirah for me and the Muscat Canelli for him.  This was a welcoming and enjoyable tasting room. Seek it out when you’re in Fredericksburg.



Lost Draw Winery

I visited Lost Draw’s tasting room at the invitation of the local Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. I must say, it was a great choice for my all too brief visit to Fredericksburg. Texas wines are known for their unique flavor profiles. Lost Draw’s wine maker, Andy Timmons, is the second largest grape growers in the state and largest grape supplier to vineyards in state.

And Lost Draw serves up some fine vintages. They are the largest grower of Mourverde in the state.  Their Tempranillo is very popular in the tasting room.


Lost Draw Tasting Room

My friend and I were treated to taste of five selections of wine. My favorite among the five was the Rousanne, a Texas Chardonnay.  Lost Draw is a small batch winery meaning they create 100 to 150 cases of each wine.  They create some 25 wines per year.  A wine club winery, they offer four different levels of membership and ship 4, 6 or 12 bottles per shipment.  Lost Draw is the only Texas winery that offers free shipping to its members.



Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu

Madri Gras Musuem

I take pride that my hometown, Mobile, Alabama, is the home of Mardi Gras. On my recent tour of the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu in Lake Charles, I found here that Carnival season is celebrated year round. The museum told the story of how Lake Charles celebrates the season and bought back fond home town memories of ‘Throw me something, Mister.’

This six room museum features the largest collection of Mardi Gras regalia in the South and the collection grows yearly duet to the donations of costumes from members of the Krewe’s at the end of the each season.  As the collection grows, so does its encroachment into the halls of the Lake Charles Central School of Arts and Humanities Center or the Historic 1912 Central School.  The museum opened in 1998 on its mission to preserve Louisiana’s second largest Mardi Gras celebration.


The collection in the Museum is impressive beyond belief.  I was fascinated with the detail and sheer size of the mantles that adorn the costumes. Everything from space aliens to kings and queens is represented.  In Mobile, the Mardi Gras Kings and Queens invest thousands of dollars into the design, size and length of the trains of their costumes.  In Lake Charles, the mantles of the costume are impressive and some are massive. The Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu Museum is awash in vivid colors.

Lake Charles’ Carnival celebration is something special. Since 1964, with the formation of its first Krewe, the Krewe of Cosmos, Lake Charles has made carnival something for everyone. The common there for Mobile and Lake Charles is the celebration of traditions that remain constant, it’s all about the party. 

Laissez les bons temps rouler!!





I did not expect to find a naval vessel docked on the Calcasieu River in Lake Charles but what I found was a story of determination by a small number of volunteers.

The Orleck was built in 1944 in Orange, Texas and commissioned in 1945 by the widow of Joseph Orleck’s widow.  The destroyer served from 1945-1982 where it served throughout World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The ship was then purchased by the Turkish Navy and renamed Yucetepe where it served until 2000. The ship was then transferred to a foundation in Orange, Texas where it was to be made a museum ship.  Hurricane Rita severely damaged the ship then 2009 and it was moved to the City of Lake Charles for display as a museum ship. The Orleck is one of the few U.S. Destroyers that remains on display in the U.S.

The Orleck

For some older visitors the ship brings back memories. Many visitors have been crewmen that served onboard as well as individuals who worked in Orange, Texas where the ship was constructed. Ninety year old, Rosa Lee Miller, who on her visit showed the volunteers where she installed cabling throughout the ship. 

Ron Williams, Executive Director is the spokesperson for the ship. He explained that money is always an issue for ship and the group has come up with many inventive ways to keep the coffers full. Recently the Orleck worked with a movie company which used some artifacts from the ship. This was a profitable venture.  Ron also told me that the volunteers are the key to the success of the ship.

One volunteer, David has been a working on the Orleck for several years and told me that, “You can’t put a price on the memories that people share when they visit the ship.”  He also enjoys teaching history to the kids and showing them how things work on the ship.

Check out this piece of history in Lake Charles, you will be glad you did.




Since 2017, the American Village in Montevallo has planted tulips in December for the community to enjoy in the Spring.  This year over 100 thousand bulbs were planted. This herald of spring has become an attraction that draws people from many miles away as the beautiful blooms are a stunning compliment to the entire Village campus. 

The blooms will only be around for another few short weeks so get there soon!


You can walk among the blooms and pick the ones you like and take them home. Come and pick a few Skyliners or some Monte Orange’s to add to your bouquets. This is a fun afternoon for young and old alike.


The American Village
Montevallo, Alabama

The American Village in Montevallo, Alabama is a unique creation. The Village was the idea of CEO Tom Walker. He had drawn out the facility on a napkin while at lunch one afternoon in the mid 1990s.  Tom’s vision was and is to create a place where people can learn about what it means to be an American Citizen. The Village was founded in 1999. The 183 acre Village is the culmination of his vision that sits on a hill just outside the small town of Montevallo. 

The American Village is committed to teaching young people about our founding generation and what it means to be an American. At the Village, they teach history in a “hands on” manner with a staff of a dozen historical interpreters, including, Martha Washington, Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine and Abigail Adams who bring history to life.  

Thomas Paine

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon

The centerpiece replica of Mount Vernon stands as symbol to our forefathers and our country’s history. Here, you will see a full scale of the Oval Office. Docents and historical interpreters educate visitors in how the government works. A statute of George Washington, a replica from the Virginia estate greets you upon entrance. A replica of the assembly room where the Constitutional Convention was held educates visitors about the founding of America. The room where Washington received guests has also been replicated with faithful execution of the color palette.

Bruton Parish Church

Bruton Parish Church

The Bruton Parish Church is a faithful reproduction on the Williamsburg, Virginia site.  Here, visitors can hear historical interpreter Patrick Henry give his impassioned ‘Give me liberty or give me death’ speech.  The magnificent wood pulpit was imported from England and the boxed pews where the wealthy would be seated and pipe organ are accurate replications. 

The Village does host occasional services at the Parish Churchr.  While visiting the Church, a local craftsman and wood carver overheard the need for a lectern and pulling a quarter out of pocket and asked if the Village wanted a lectern, ‘like this’ he asked, indicating the quarter.  Just a few weeks later the elegantly wood carved Eagle lectern was in place.

National Veterans Shrine

The village holds several inspirational surprises for its visitors, none are as inspiring as the National Veterans Shrine and Register of Honor which opened in 2014. The National Veterans Shine, which resembles Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia, was created to honor the service and sacrifice of our county’s Veterans.  It serves to help visitors understand who our veterans are and what they did for the United States. 

Both inside and outside of the Shrine pays tribute to our Vets. Lady Liberty stands tall at the entrance holding a staff that commemorates the original thirteen colonies. She stands on the crown and sword of Britain and the shackles of slavery she has yet to tread on. Enshrined at the time the statute was revealed was dirt from hallowed ground of thirty battlefields from around the world along with water from Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Register of Honor

Veterans Register of Honor

The Shrine has everything to do with elevating the individual. Every veteran is someone’s child and they need to tell their story. In the Veteran’s Register of Honor, veterans tell their story through an online database. Visitors can view the register of Veterans stories through kiosks located in the Shrine.  Visitors are encouraged to upload their Veteran’s story through the website.


Add this unique and inspiring destination to your travels.  You will likely bring home a beautiful bouquet as well a wealth of knowledge about America.




1940 Air Terminal Museum located adjacent to, Hobby Airport, is the original Houston Municipal Airport. It is a magnificent location to plane watch because you can safely walk onto the tarmac.  The art deco building was a Works Project Administration (WPA) project when Houston was an up and coming city mostly due to the oil and gas business.  In 1956, the last year the Terminal operated, it served over nine hundred thousand travelers. The building was left to decay in the 1960’s, however the tower remained active until the 1970’s to service Hobby Airport. A group of aviation and history enthusiasts gathered to keep and renovate the site and it reopened to the public in 2003. The Terminal was designed by Joseph Finger, who also designed Houston’s City Hall. The original marble floors, art deco style railings and the art deco chandler still hang in the Air Terminal.

Today, there is one paid staff member and many volunteers at the Terminal. One volunteer worked on the Lunar Lander for NASA and created a display about the Space Program.

Lunar Lander

My two guides for my visit, Jack and Russell are enthusiastic volunteers and related personal stories of the vintage building.




Air Terminal Waiting Room

The main mission of the Air Terminal is “keeping the space alive,” Amy Rogers, the Executive Director told me. The Terminal hosts a number of functions throughout the year, from Kids camps, Women in Aviation, Plane Spotting, Wings on Wheels, as well as many private events, which include weddings.  While it is the goal of the Air Terminal to preserve its history, they also want to bring in new visitors and are focused on collaborations with other groups than just aviation.

Plane Spotting (akin to bird watching for aircraft) is big at that Air Terminal.  During the last Super Bowl held in Houston, seventy-five European men came to the Terminal to take pictures of the airplanes that were flown into Hobby Airport.


The Terminal served international flights to Mexico and South America via Braniff Airlines and Pam Am Airlines. Trans Texas Airways initially flew only throughout the State of Texas but would merge with Continental Airlines to begin service to the Mexico and South American routes.


James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor made a stop at the Terminal when they were filming Giant.  The Elizabeth Taylor bathroom hasn’t changed much since she was there.  Humphrey Bogart also passed through the terminal on his travels.


Throughout the Terminal you will find artifacts on the aircraft and personnel that worked in the Terminal.  Individuals donate model aircraft to the museum continuously and many are on display. Both Braniff and Trans Texas Airways aviation history is well defined here.

Trans Texas Letter

An interesting artifact is a letter to one of the Trans Texas stewardesses regarding her weight. Back then the airlines had strict weight restrictions for stewardesses. The 60’s uniforms were colorful as well.









Paul Barnhart’s Lockheed Lodestar has a place of honor outside the Terminal on the tarmac. Barnhart was a fifth generation Texan, an Eagle Scout, engineer, oil tycoon and philanthropist. He purchased the plane in 1968 and it was donated to the Terminal in 2002.

Lockheed Lodestar




The Terminal’s Hanger dates to 1928, and was originally used as an air mail hanger. Howard Hughes was a big influence on the Houston aviation and occupied the hanger next door.


Inside you will find several pieces of vintage navigational equipment that were used in the tower as well as two King Air Flight Simulators. There are several aircraft on display, including the Cessna that the Terminal will raffle off this year for its yearly fundraising event.  As you walk outside the hanger you will see many aircraft getting ready for takeoff on the runway.  The Southwest jets were pretty close as they prepared for takeoff.


If you want to have an up close look at aircraft, this is the place to do it.  The 1940 Air Terminal holds more than the aviation history of Houston and an indelible spot in many locals’ memories.



Lone Star Flight Museum

Lone Star Flight Museum has recently relocated from Galveston to Ellington Air Field in Houston.  The massive facility houses vintage aircraft that fly. With some 24 aircraft on display, you can view vintage aircraft including the Stearman; War birds including the B-17 and B-25 to the passenger plane DC-3 in the enormous easily accessible hangers.





A special exhibition is Wood and Canvas of World War1 Aviation Art of Jim Dietz which pays tribute to aviations’ coming of age in World War 1. These reproductions of Dietz artwork commemorate the combat aviators that sowed the seed of combat aviation today.

Combat Aviation Artwork







Walk through Texas Aviation Heritage Gallery, a chronological history of aviation in Texas. With its interactive screens and displays, here you can learn the history of Texas aviation endeavors and the men and women who made it happen.

In the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame you can pay homage to Texans that were and are the movers and shakers of the aviation world.  Some may surprise you.

Be sure to add The Lone Star Flight Museum to your list to visit. Take a ride in a vintage Stearman or B-17 bomber.  You will surely not be disappointed.



Johnson Space Center is the integral part of NASA.  Houston is where the astronauts do most of their training and where the space flights are controlled through Mission Control.



The tram tour is an open tram ride through the Johnson Space Center.  In just under two hours you will visit Mission Control, the Space Vehicle Mock Up Center where men and machines are being prepared for future missions. You will also visit a Saturn 5 rocket that was flight ready back in the 1970’s.  The massive rocket lies on its side in a hanger created for it.  You can get up close to the colossus.  The Apollo Space Program is recounted here in displays of the crews and their flight missions.


Here you will view what’s next for the space program. From the new space station designs to the robots that will assist the astronauts, to the vehicles they will use to explore, and the space craft that will make the voyage, this massive facility is at the forefront of new technology.









Space Shuttel and 747

Just outside the Space Center, you can walk through the Space Shuttle and the 747 that carried her.  You will discover just how small the shuttle was and the engineering it took to get it off the ground.




The next great mission of NASA will be a mission to Mars.  How will we get there? What will take us there?  How will we survive?  These are some of the questions they seek to answer at Johnson.

Travel to Mars








The Astronaut Gallery pays tribute to all the crews that have flown in space.  Next to the Gallery you will a number of spacesuits worn by astronauts from the Apollo program through and the Space Shuttle.  Also on display are many spacesuits that will be used on the journey to Mars.


You may also want to enjoy one of the several IMAX films that are featured during the day. In the central area do the Center you can see how NASA will get to Mars and live there and participate in numerous demonstrations about Mars. Inside another gallery, you can touch a moon rock and you will see space suits and artifacts from various missions.


Gloves used by Scott Kelly

There is plenty to keep the children entertained at Johnson from flight simulators to a play area. Many adults can relive their memories of the space program and be just as engrossed as the kids in the anticipated Mars journey.  One my visit, I even came across some vintage TV memorabilia in the Food Court.

Star Trek Galileo 7








Magnolia Table


Magnolia Table just celebrated its first anniversary in Waco.  Chip and Joanna Gaines have created a terrific restaurant.  Service is excellent and the food is scrumptious. Joanna’s taste is reflected throughout the décor as well as in the menu.  The food is straight forward comfort and filling.  It was a busy Friday morning when I arrived.  I was seated quickly and Casey, my server, was quick to advise me of the highlights of the menu.  I chose the Farm Breakfast which consisted of eggs, bacon, tater tots and a biscuit.  Everything was delish although I found the tots a bit dense for my liking but the biscuit was light and buttery.  I was chatting with, Mike and Diane from Plano at the table next to me, when Mike offered me a taste of his pancakes.  They were out of this world good!

The Elite became Magnolia Table

Magnolia Table can get busy and has been known to have a substantial wait time, but it’s worth your time and taste buds.  Make sure to stop by when in Waco, I know you won’t be disappointed.




The Waco Mammoth National Monument is the actual site where, in 1978, two local men, Paul Barron and Eddie Bufkin found a three foot bone of a Columbian Mammoth. The Mammoth existed during the Ice Age. Teams were quickly dispatched to the site and ultimately a building was constructed over the site to preserve it. Of the one hundred and seven acres only 2 acres have been uncovered.

Fossil remains

Between 1978 and 1997, twenty-two fossil remains of mammoths were discovered. The best theory to date is that a nursery herd of mammoths drowned in the rising waters of the nearby Bosque River.  The massive creatures were some fourteen feet tall and weighed some twenty thousand pounds with tusks of some sixteen feet.

Jeremy, our guide

Jeremy, Our Ranger tour guide walked us though thousands of years of the history of the area of this unique archeological find.






Homestead Craft Village

Homestead Craft Village is located about five miles north of Waco. This unique craft village is the campus of the Ploughshare Institute for Sustainable Culture.  Here you can learn hands on, the techniques used in each craft area from iron work to pottery.

Brazos Cheese

I especially enjoyed Brazos Valley Cheese.  After a tasting at Brazos, I purchased a wedge of cheese for my friends and I to enjoy.  I understand, from the locals, that Café Homestead serves superior breakfast and lunch menu.


Don’t miss the unique village when in Waco.  It’s well worth the short drive.



Texas Sports Hall of Fame

The Texas Sports Hall of Fame was the brainchild of Sports Editor, Thad Johnson in 1949.  The Hall of Fame opened originally in May 23, 1981 in Grand Prairie but closed in 1986.  In 1990, members of the Waco community devised a plan to relocate the Hall of Fame to Waco.

On April 16, 1993, Texas Sports Hall of Fame held its grand opening in Waco on the Campus of Baylor University. The museum also houses the Texas Tennis Museum and Hall of Fame and Texas High School Football Hall of Fame and Texas’ preeminent college conference, the Southwest Conference (SWC) in this  the thirty-five thousand square foot facility.

Southwest Conference

The Southwest Conference exhibit displays the grand history of college athletics in Texas. Unfortunately, the Southwest Conference was broken up in 1996.  It is a walk down memory lane to review the mascots and famous games of the teams.

The Hall of Fame exhibit is enormous and jam packed with every sport played today.  From Heisman trophies to Nolan Ryan’s no hitter baseballs, there is something here for everyone.  The Tom Landry Theater and the artifacts inside are not to be missed.

The Friday Night Lights exhibit evokes memories of the pain and the glory of the high school football games we attended in our youth.

Texas Tennis

The Texas Tennis Museum and Hall of Fame is a large exhibit about the history of the sport as well as its grand history in Texas.

The Hall of Fame inductees for 2019 were just announced: Tennis Star Maureen Connolly Brinker (deceased), NFL kicker Tony Franklin, Houston Texans Wide Receiver Andre Johnson, basketball star Nancy Lieberman, University of Arkansas Outland Trophy winner Loyd Phillips, MLB pitcher Greg Swindell and Dallas Cowboys Tight End Jason Witten.  The ceremony will take place on March 30th and is sure to be a sellout.



The Mayborn Museum

The Mayborn Museum is also located on the Baylor University Campus.  I made a quick visit to the museum and enjoyed a  look at the Strecker’s Cabinets of Curiosities and the Hall of Natural History.

Mayborn Natural History





The information on the Mammoth National Monument added to what I learned at the Monument earlier in the day. The Historic Village is an interesting look at life in the 1890s. Take some time here, adult and children will enjoy the stories held here.



Dr. Pepper

The Dr. Pepper Museum located in downtown Waco is a look back to when the soft drink was created.  The unique and refreshing drink was created by pharmacist, Charles Alderton at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in 1885.  It is America’s oldest soft drink.

By 1891, the Dr. Pepper Company had been born.  The 1904 World’s Fair would be the drinks major unveiling to some twenty million people. Dr. Pepper would soon become known around the world.

Dr. Pepper Corner Drug Store

The Dr. Pepper Museum is housed in the original 1906 Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company in downtown Waco and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the “Home of Dr Pepper.”  While only a small portion of the building opened to the public in 1991, construction continued and the entire building was opened in 1997. The museum continues is mission in preserving the history of this delicious soft drink.  Visitors will now be treated to a taste of soft drink with a ticket purchase. Visitors will walk back in time through the hallways of this iconic building and Waco’s original soft drink.



Magnolia Silos

The Magnolia Silos are a very popular destination in Waco.  Chip and Joanna Gaines took two old grain silos and turned them into a location for food and fun.  The Magnolia Market features housewares and Chips corner will make you understand what ‘Demo day’ is all about.  The Silo Bakery usually has a line out the door but service is quick for the delicious cookies and fantastic cupcakes.



The Silos also feature a number of food trucks.  From Barbeque to sandwiches, you can’t go wrong here for good eatin.





C R Smith American Airlines Museum

The CR Smith American Airlines Museum opened in 1993 is located in the heart of the Dallas Fort Worth airport.  Named for the first president of the airline, C R Smith led the airline for 34 years and built the airline into the largest airline in the world. The American Airlines museum is now run by American Airlines employees.  It was recently renovated to pay tribute to all the employees of the worlds’ largest airline.

You begin your visit with a short film about “Why I Fly” which relates stories of several of American’s employees, their career journey and why they wanted to work in the aviation field. The museum walks you through the history of the airline, from its beginnings as a mail carrier and the numerous mergers with other airlines throughout the years. The OneWorld Globe shows real time flight data of all American flights around the globe.  It’s surprising to see how many flights are in the air at any given time.

American Airlines Theater





A look through the years at the flight attendants uniforms transitions is fun to remember especially the swinging 60’s.

Flight Attendent Uniforms Through the Years







A large portion of the museum is dedicated to IOC or Integrated Operations Center for American. Here is where all the decisions about the airline happen. Flight delays, crew problems, weather delays, maintenance issues, it is all handled in the IOC.  Visitors can participate in a series of “What would you do,” questions and see how the issues can be resolved.

There are seven kiosks of displays that tell the employee story of each major workgroup of the airline, including airline, pilots, flight attendants, baggage handlers, maintenance crews and others.  American asked some 300 employees to tell their story of their job, so the real story of American Airline is told.

American MD80

Kids and adults alike will enjoy the MD80 flight deck. Narration by a MD80 captain will explain just what is takes to fly this small, efficient aircraft. American has the youngest fleet of aircraft flying today.


“Flagship Knoxville” is a 1940 DC-3 that revolutionized commercial airline travel.  The DC-3 was purchased by the retired American pilots, restored by American employees and presented to the museum.



This is much more than an aviation museum this is an AMERICAN employees’ museum who want to share the real story of American Airlines.



Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Bureau of Engraving is a bit off the beaten path in Fort Worth but is well worth the time.  Here you will walk through the history of currency in the U.S. and see how money is made.  The process is complicated and arduous even today with the high speed technology.  Perfection is key here.  Each step is carefully examined and executed so that the United States currency is of the highest quality and not able to be counterfeited.  That is the whole reason that bills today carry a colorful background.  As one can image, this is a highly secure facility and unfortunately no pictures are allowed within its walls.  With upwards of a billion dollars on the grounds at even given time, that is to be expected.  Too bad, they don’t give out any free samples.


To learn more about how money is made see:



Texas Civil War Museum

Texas Civil War Museum located in Fort Worth, Texas is the largest Civil War Museum west of the Mississippi. In over 35 years of collecting, Ray and Judy Richey amassed over three thousand Civil War artifacts. The Daughters of the Texas Confederacy collection pays tribute to the Texas’ participation in the Civil War.  Due to the size of the museum you will want to plan your time accordingly.


Civil War Galleries

Authentic guns, uniforms, cannons, dresses and swords tell the Civil War story from both sides of the conflict.  While the collection boasts its Texas Civil War past, it also focuses on the stories of the artifacts; Jeb Stewarts’ sword, General Grant’s coat and cigar from the signing of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox and an original copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.


Dresses of the Era

The museum also features a display of 40 dresses from 1860-1900 which shows the progression of ladies fashion through those years.  Ms. Richey has some 300 that she has collected.



Naval Gallery

As you walk through the Infantry, Calvary, Medical and Naval galleries, the Civil War story comes alive.  You will see the uniforms worn on both sides of the conflict, the weaponry used, the medical devices used on the soldiers, the inside of a cannonball and pieces of artillery used during the conflict.


The museum also houses the United Daughters of the Texas Confederacy collection of artifacts from President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. Texas Civil War artifacts are rare and many are housed here.

Battle of Wilderness

Two notable pieces for the museum are two dioramas constructed by Arizona high school students that depict the Battles of Palmetto Ranch and the Battle of the Wilderness.


Gallery of Civil War Flags

The museum has an impressive collection of Civil War flags.  The Confederacy had a difficult time settling on a design of the flag which led to many designs and confusion throughout the war.   Oddly, there were no state flags before the Civil War.

The museum also features a dollhouse of Beauvoir, Jefferson Davis’ post-war home in Biloxi.  While the house itself survived 17 hurricanes, the dollhouse was in shambles when it arrived in Fort Worth.  The curator meticulously restored it.



This museum hosts is a fascinating look at our county’s Civil War history.  Don’t miss it when in Fort Worth.




National Museum of the Cowgirl

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame began in 1975 and is a unique museum dedicated to the celebration of women, past and present, whose lives exemplify courage, resilience and independence that helped to shape the American West.  Housed in the beautifully ornate building in Fort Worth’s Cultural district, it is ‘pure cowgirl’.




The main gallery hosts “Hitting the Mark: Cowgirls and the Wild West Shows” which pays tribute to those women who performed in the Wild West shows popular in the 1880’s through the early part of the 20th century. Footage from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show is featured as well as a large gallery paying tribute to Annie Oakley, who is perhaps the best known Cowgirl. You will hear Annie Oakley share her experiences in the West.

With some five thousand artifacts housed at the museum, the thirty-three square foot museum’s mission is the preservation of the Cowgirl’s importance to the history of women in the West.

The “It’s Never Just a Horse” exhibit pays homage to the link between the horse, the woman and the West, as a partner, muse, friend and more.

The Hall of Fame which consists of 238 members is scheduled to reopen on March 9, 2019, upon completion of its renovation.  Come in and get your Cowgirl on!


The City of the Hills, A Walk Through History in Oneonta, New York

Oneonta Historical Society on Main Street

Oneonta, New York, (oh-nee-ON-ta), the “City of the Hills” is located about a half hours drive from Cooperstown. This eclectic town was at the center of some of the world’s most notable early industrialists. From the humble beginnings of the founders of IBM to new education opportunities, this small town played a huge role in New York State’s and the Nation’s history.

Oneonta began as a railroad depot between Albany and Binghamton which led to its incorporation in 1848. Ironically, the Historical Society is housed in the oldest remaining building on Main Street that dates to 1866.  I met Bob Brzozowski, Executive Director of the Greater Oneonta Historical Society (GHOS), for a walk back through Oneonta’s past accomplishments.


True to its railroad roots, Oneonta once had the largest railroad roundhouse in the world.  These roundhouses allowed the locomotives to be serviced and turned around for transport. The Railroad Brakeman’s Union was founded in Oneonta in 1883 and it was soon a million members strong. In the late 1890’s, you could have ridden a horse drawn trolley.  It would later develop into the Southern New York Railway and would ultimately reach Mohawk, New York. The rail line was shut down in the 1970’s.  Today, The Train Depot Restaurant and Tavern occupies one of the remaining local rail depots.


George Fairchild, the founder of IBM (International Business Machines) was born in Oneonta. Harlow Bundy and his brother Willard were the first to use a new invention, a time clock, in order to track his employees’ time. Fairchild became an investor in The Bundy Time Recording Company. Bundy would move Bundy Time Recorders to Binghamton, New York where it would eventually become a part of IBM.

Carlos Huntington was born into a railroad family and would later bring his railroad smarts to Los Angeles where he would have great influence in real estate.  He established the Huntington Library in Huntington Beach, California and The Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta.

Wilbur Bank

David Wilbur began his banking business in Oneonta in one small corner of the hardware store at the present location of the GHOS.  It would soon outgrow the confines of the store and would set up shop just down the street as Wilbur National Bank. Charted in 1874, it merged with Community Bank in 2011 after 137 years of service to its customers.


Oneonta SUNY was once a teacher’s college in the late 1880’s and became the founding member of the State University of New York in 1948.  Hartwick College, originally founded in 1797, as a seminary, joined the education community in 1928. Both play a significant role in the Oneonta community with some 7500 students in attendance at both colleges.


Photographer Carleton E. Watkins was born in Oneonta but would leave to follow the gold rush of the 1850’s. He found his passion in landscape photography in California. It was Watkins’ photographs of Yosemite’s Half Dome and El Capitan that would help to encourage President Lincoln to preserve the California lands.

Today, Oneonta’s citizens are working to preserve the Oneonta Theater built in 1897. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. It served as both a vaudeville theater and cinema. The theater closed in 2016.


Downtown Oneonta saw its losses in urban renewal of the 1960’s and 70’s.  Many buildings have been lost to time but the main downtown corridor remains. The Oneonta Downtown Historical District was established in 2003.  Today, it is a vibrant downtown commercial district.

Wilbur Manison

The Wilber Mansion, a Victorian designed home, is a focal point for Oneonta’s downtown history.





Farifield Mansion now the Masonic Lodge

The Fairchild Mansion was added to the National Historic Register in 1974 and is now the home of the Masonic Lodge. The Lodge has kept the structure in the Queen Anne style as it was when George Fairchild held the property.

The GHOS Building has a third floor ballroom that is in the early days of its restoration.  Once complete, it will house lectures and events for the area.  The society holds local fundraisers and campaigns to raise funds for the restoration of the building.  Bob explained, “We have generous donors. Unlike a lot of groups that say if you get a donation of stock that you have to cash it in the next day, we tended to get IBM blue chip stock and just hold it until we could spend it on the building.”


The GHOS houses a player piano that was made in Oneonta by the GB Shearer Company and is over 100 years old. While it took a significant investment of time to the get the piano running, it can still play a tune. Playing the piano is a bit of a workout because it uses a bellows and compressor to produce music and it must be pumped in order to play the notes which are punched onto paper roles. The player piano is the only instrument that combines wind, strings and percussion. You could call it the first Karaoke machine. The GHOS has a large collection of donated player piano rolls and have produced two CD’s of player piano songs.

The Greater Oneonta Historical Society’s work is to enhance the future by providing a tradition on which our contemporary culture can be based and out of which it can grow. Oneonta’s combination of tradition with contemporary culture is easily recognized on a walk through the downtown historical district.  During the year, GHOS will offer walking tours on the downtown area.  Don’t miss the eclectic small town New York, you will not be disappointed.


Holdiay Inn and Express in Oneonta

My overnight accommodation in Oneonta was at a brand new Holiday Inn and Suites. A helpful staff greeted me with smiles on check in. The room was simple in decoration but well appointed for this road weary traveler.  Waking up, overlooking the city and mountains wasn’t bad either. Albeit a short stay, I was very comfortable, well looked after and well fed at breakfast.


Autumn Cafe

It was a chilly and night as I searched out, the Autumn Café on Main St in Oneonta. Delighted to be out of the rain, I ordered the wild boar pasta and a glass of wine. The chill of the day quickly passed with delicious food and first class service. Always search out a local recommendation; I doubt you will be disappointed.


Buffalo Soldiers Museum, Houston, Texas

Entrance to Buffalo Soldiers Museum

The Buffalo Soldiers Museum in Houston, Texas serves to remember all African American soldiers who have served in each American War from 1783 through the present day. Although the Buffalo Soldiers fought in the Revolutionary War, it was not until 1866 that Congress created the 9th and 10th Calvary units. The nickname, Buffalo Soldiers, was given to these fierce fighting men by the Cheyenne Indians. The term has been synonymous with all African American Soldiers. I was privileged to tour this inspiring museum with board member, Sam Davis. 


Founder, Paul Williams

Paul J. Matthews, founder of the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, researched military history and collected military artifacts and memorabilia about the Buffalo Soldiers for more than thirty years before creating the museum. Today, nearly half of the museum’s collection and exhibits have been donated from Matthews’s private collection.  The bust of the Buffalo Soldier, donated from a doctor in East Texas, is the centerpiece of the museums’ collection.

Buffalo Soldiers Bust

The mission of the BSNM is to educate and to perpetuate the history, traditions and contributions of the American Buffalo Soldier from the Revolutionary War through the present. The museum provides reenactments of a day in the life of the Buffalo Soldier and a talk from abolitionist Harriet Tubman for school groups.  These talented reenactor volunteers bring history alive for the students.  

Harriet Tubman. reenated


Cathey Wiliams

You find many stories as you walk the halls of the museum.  One that stood out was that of Cathay Williams, the first woman Buffalo Soldier.  She was a 22 year old African American woman, born a slave, who served as a cook for General Sheridan during the Civil War.  Inspired to join Buffalo Soldiers, she changed her name to protect her identity to William Cathay and enlisted in Missouri. She also attained the distinction as a sharpshooter. She served in 38th infantry and marched as a Buffalo Soldier to New Mexico in 1868.  After the long troop march to New Mexico, she became ill and her true identity was discovered.  She was discharged and lived in Colorado in 1892 where she most likely died before the turn of the century. Williams was the first woman to enlist in the military some eighty years before women would be admitted to military.

The Houston Riot in August, 1917 was the largest court martial in the history of the military where sixty-four soldiers faced charges. The soldiers were there for construction of new military installations in and around Houston, Texas. One evening a solider saw a policeman assaulting a black female.  Soon the soldiers massed and attacked the police. The riot involved 156 soldiers in the racial charged Texas town. The riot left seventeen people dead.  The twenty-two day court marital was held in San Antonio and the sentences were implemented on December 10.  Nineteen soldiers were hanged and forty-one served life sentences.


Buffalo Soldiers Wooley Coat

The Paul Matthews Collection of artifacts is exemplary: The Buffalo Soldiers’ Woolly coat, Solders’ Saddle, and Uniforms from the Revolutionary War through Vietnam are displayed. The artwork that adorns the walls is remarkable. 

Buffalo Soldier Uniform House and Saddle

Don’t miss this impressive tribute to the Buffalo Soldiers when you are in Houston.  You will not be disappointed.





In January I visited several cities in Texas to explore some of the state’s history and it’s aviation past.  While I could only scratch the surface during my short visit to Dallas, I found three unique museums that celebrate history in Dallas, Texas. 

Sixth Street Museum


The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza follows the events of a black day in U.S. history, November 22, 1963 and the assassination of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.  As Kennedy’s procession passed the Texas School Book Depository building, shots rang out striking the President and Governor John Connally who was seated in front of the President. Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots from an open window from the sixth floor of the Depository building.  Chaos ensued as Kennedy’s car was rushed to Parkland Hospital where the President was declared dead.  Oswald would escape the Depository lockdown then later shoot policeman, J.D. Tippit before being arrested at the Texas Theater. Once in police custody, Oswald would be shot and killed by Jack Ruby during his transfer while in police hands. 

Sixth Floor Window


The Sixth Floor Museum preserved the area where Oswald fired the fatal shots.  Here visitors walk through the event from Kennedy’s arrival in Dallas to the investigation of the incident through the findings of the Warren Commission report.  On the Sixth Floor, you can view the window and the street below where Oswald’s shots changed the world.  

Model of route


Artifacts surround the exhibit space including, a replica of the rifle Oswald used, Oswald’s wedding ring and the Zapruder film of the assassination as well as many others. 


At the Sixth Street Museum, you will walk in the footsteps of history. 


Frontiers of Flight

For thirty years the Frontiers of Flight Museum has delighted visitors with its aviation displays as well as the massive collection of George Haddaway’s of some thirty-five thousand aviation artifacts. The museum began at Love Field on the mezzanine then relocated in 2004 to an enormous 100,000 square foot facility near Love Field. I had the pleasure of a tour with Dan Steelman, VP of Collections and Exhibits.

Here you will delight in viewing over 30 aircraft, some suspended from above, from the Wright Flyer to Apollo 7 capsule. 

Apollo 7


The model shop is a large draw for adults and kids alike. The talented craftsmen have outdone themselves with the detailed aircraft on display.  One volunteer and modeler, Hal Schneider, who is 90 years old, is working on a Vietnam era plane as a gift for a fellow member. One of my favorite planes, the Gee Bee Model R, is featured prominently in the Air Racing display of the Golden Age of Aviation.

Gee Bee

Another stand out model display is that of Master Modeler Al Duval’s 350 1/48 scale aircraft models. The craftsmanship of these planes is a testament to his 40 years in producing the models.


Southwest Airlines makes a landmark contribution to the museum with its cockpit simulator and static exhibit of a Southwest 737.  Southwest’s signature plane serves as a unique display of the creation, and evolution of the airline. Herb Kelleher, the founder of Southwest, passed away on January 3, 2019 and Southwest is his legacy to the airline industry.



A large Braniff display is featured on the upper level of the main exhibit floor which was arranged by former employees of the airline. Braniff was unique in that it blended fashion, art and transportation in one.



Visitors can walk through the aviation of both World War I and World War II.  Here you will find aviation artifacts from both sides of the conflicts. The Vietnam and Korean Wars displays are presently under renovation.

German WW1 Uniform


One of the notable exhibits was that of Dirigible flight and the artifacts from the Hindenburg disaster of 1937. On display was the radioman’s chair from the Hindenburg which survived the disaster because the radio room was insulated. The silver cigarette case of Hindenburg Capitan Max Pruss is also part of the display.   

Hindenburg Radio Chair


Another aviation marvel on display and is on loan from the Smithsonian is the Chance Vought V-173, “Flying Pancake”. The all wing experimental plane has a similar design to the present day Osprey.  It was powered by a small 4 cylinder 80 hp engine.  Charles Lindbergh flew the aircraft and was impressed with its design.  The plans to continue the plane were scrapped after the war. 

Frontier also plays host to some three hundred events each year and is one of most popular venues in Dallas. This remarkable and vast collection of aviation history is well worth your time when in Dallas and is easily accessible from Love Field.  



Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison, Texas is a true flying aviation museum.  The meticulously restored aircraft from World War One through the Vietnam era are actively flown and visitors can purchase flights in these most treasured aircraft.


This is a bucket list destination for some aviation enthusiasts.  At Cavanaugh, you don’t have to imagine flying in the aircraft; here you can ride in a P-51 Mustang, T6 Texan, B-25 bomber, Stearman Biplane or a Korean War era helicopter.  Flights in the vintage aircraft range from $300-$2000.00 depending on the plane. 


Also featured at Cavanaugh is a stunning gallery of aviation artwork.  Some of the pieces are signed by the artist as well as the pilots in the piece.

Embrace your inner pilot and take flight at Cavanaugh.