The Doll House Museum, Granbury, TX

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The Doll House Museum at 421 Bridge Street, Granbury, TX is really pretty cool. It had its grand opening on December 8, 2012 and per the owners has been gaining in popularity. The museum is on the main floor of the historic house.  There are about 3,000 dolls at the museum with many of them on display. I don’t know much about dolls, but there were some lovely ones there. And the women (sisters) that were there when I visited were so nice, welcoming and devoted to their passion. Really, if you like dolls or history at all, it is worth a visit. And if all you want is an interesting place to get out of the Texas heat (over 100 degrees today!), it’s good for that too. More information can be found here.

Eiffel Tower

IMG_1959When I learned that I was going to Paris, I began to read up and the more I read about the Eiffel Tower the more intrigued I was. It was erected in 1889 as a focal point to the 1889 World’s Fair. At 1,063 feet in height, It is the tallest structure in Paris. It is the most visited, paid monument in the world.

I was inspired by the fact that in 1940 when Germany invaded France, the French people cut the lift cables (elevator cables) so that Germans could not the structure.

Other interesting facts include that there is an ice skating rink on the first platform each winter. And that the tower is repainted a different color every so often. It is currently bronze.

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Arc de Triomphe, Paris

ArcThe Arc de Triomphe, Paris at 162′ feet and 150′ wide is much larger than I expected. Constructed between 1806 and 1836 it is situated on the western end of the Champs-Elysees. Beneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. Various victory parades have traveled through and later around the structure including the Germans in 1940 and the French and their allies in 1944/45. More information can be found here.

As much I was impressed with the Arc itself, I was equally impressed with the six lane traffic circle that surrounds it. There are no traffic lines and it was a thrill. Glad I wasn’t driving!

Three Meter House ( Schmidt House)

12398795915_f3d03a564c_cThe Schmidt House, also known as the Three Meter House, was built 1904 for Leopold and Johanna, the owners of the Olympia Brewing Company which operated in close proximity to property. The Olympia Brewing Company operated between 1896 and 1983, when it was acquired by a different company. The Schmidt House, at 330 Schmidt Place SW, Tumwater, is on the national and city of Tumwater historic register. It is operated by the Olympia-Tumwater Foundation.

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Poulsbo Marine Science Center

11640381284_6ba1f0d4b4_b(1)Poulsbo Marine Science Center at 18743 Front St NE, Poulsbo, WA 98370 was my choice while my dear husband perused antique stores in the charming town of Poulsbo. The center is free, though donations are encouraged. There is a large open touch tank as well as several aquariums with such great things as jelly fish, clown fish, sea stars, sea anemones and an octopus (pictured above).

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Giant Shoe Museum, Seattle

Giant ShoeHow could I have lived here all this time and not have known that Seattle had the World Famous Giant Shoe Museum! It’s in the lower level of the Pike Place Market and the photo shows all of it. For $1.00 in quarters one can see the entire exhibit. The stool on the left cost $.50 and the two in the middle cost $0.25 each and the one on the right explains the museum ad is free. The museum was built in 1997 by Sven Sundbaum and is next to Old Seattle Paperworks. One of the windows features the size 37 shoes of the world’s tallest man, Robert Wadlow. That is him on the mural in his real height of 8’11.1″. Robert Wadlow died at the age of 22 after complications from blister. 40,000 people attended his funeral. When I stand next to him, the top of my head is in the middle of the W of his last name. 11485114596_27375cfbf6_b

Seattle Asian Art Museum

9624773113_137b2023da_bSo, as a last hurrah before school started I wanted to go to the conservatory in Volunteer Park in Seattle. Dear husband and I parked the car and first wandered over to the dahlia garden. From there we spotted Seattle’s Asian Art Museum. Oh! We’ve been meaning to go there. It is a lovely, art deco building constructed in 1933 was originally occupied by the Seattle Art Museum until 1991 when they moved into their new downtown location. The property is a designated Seattle landmark. The space is open and I really liked most of the exhibits. We never did go to conservatory! Maybe next time. The museum’s website is here.

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Grays Harbor Lighthouse, the tallest in Washington

9567640608_dc4d7cb376_oThe 107′ Grays Harbor Lighthouse in Westport is the tallest lighthouse in Washington State and the third tallest on the West Coast. It was built in 1898 by architect Carl W. Leick to provide a guiding beacon for ships entering Grays Harbor. I said to my dear husband that I was surprised to see that the lighthouse was so far away from the Pacific Ocean. In reading the history I discovered that the lighthouse was originally 400′ from the high tide line, but because of build up caused mostly by the jetty system now in place at the entrance of Grays Harbor, the lighthouse is now 3,000′ from the high tide line. In 1998 the property was leased and then renovated by the Westport-South Beach Historical Society and in 2001 public tours began. In 2004 the Historic Society became the owners of their lighthouse under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. The property is on the National Historic Register.

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Ginkgo Petrified Forest Museum

9519078987_09b46847d8_bOn my way home from dropping dear daughter off at college, I stopped at the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park in Vantage, WA.There are over 40 species which have been petrified in the 7,470 acre park. Per Wikipedia the area had originally been lush and wet, but much of the vegetation was covered in volcanic ash and eventually became petrified. The park opened in 1938 and much of the work had been done by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). I didn’t realize that petrified wood is the state gem for Washington! The site is one of 594 properties to have the National Natural Landmark Designation. I would have liked to have stayed longer, but I wanted to get home, I didn’t have the right shoes for rattle snakes and it was really hot!

Two of the photos below are from the nearby gem shop, which was also very cool.

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Sydney, Australia

9404410630_f6c8564f90_bWe had several glorious days in Sydney. Activities included exploring the amazing Sydney Opera House, taking a Captain Cook Tour, a walking tour through The Rocks, repelling down a cliff in the Blue Mountains, surfing Bondi Beach, practicing at the Sydney Cricket Grounds and learning about opals.

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