Buckhead, Atlanta

I just read an article in the New York Times travel section (albeit a year old) about Buckhead, which is just north of Atlanta’s central downtown area—or we say “uptown” since it tends to be classier, more upscale, and a lot more expensive. According to the NYTimes article, it’s “one the of the nation’s wealthiest communities…the Beverly Hills of the South.” Now I don’t know if I’d go THAT far, but it certainly is a very nice area, with beautiful malls, great restaurants and bars (yes, I’ve created for myself a bit of a social life), museums, and stunning houses and hotels.

Here are some places in the Buckhead area that are worth checking out:

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Happy Thanksgiving Month!

In my classroom, November is Turkey Month. Why celebrate a fun and meaningful holiday for only one day when you can celebrate all month long? Besides spending a lot of time focusing on what we are thankful for, collecting charity for those less fortunate than we are, and learning about (and cooking) traditional American and Native American food, we spend a lot of time talking about the first settlers, American history, and early American geography. I simulate a Mayflower journey to America and we travel around the East Coast delving into all these subjects. Here are the highlights from our historical journey through New England. Ask your kids—they should be able to tell you the early significance of all these places (that is, if they have a teacher as good as I am!):

Happy Turkey Month!
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A Kid’s Guide to L.A.

It’s been a while since I’ve put in my two cents on the California scene, and when my sister and her two little kids came for a visit, it inspired me to do a little research. So here’s a list of fun activities for kids in the Los Angeles area. Some are more obvious and some are a bit more obscure. Feel free to add to the list!

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San Francisco

I can’t believe our family trip has already come and gone so quickly! I don’t think I have ever had such a jam packed vacation. Usually we’ll go somewhere A LOT smaller and spend most of the time on the beach or hiking, with a museum or theme park thrown in for kicks. This time, we spent the entire time on the go. it was exhausting, to say the least, but fun. The kids had a great time and I really felt like they deserved it after a difficult year, moving and all.

We did the things that were on my list: Basic Brown Bear Factory (loved it!), the Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf (helloooo Elvis!), and Alcatraz Island (Julia threw up on the ferry, but otherwise, fun!). We also went to Pier 39, at Fisherman’s Wharf where we bought tons of junk and saw sea lions (which Justin loved).

Other big hits were the Exploratorium which was fantastic, the de Young Museum which I loved, but mainly because it was just me and my dad. My mom took the kids to the Golden Gate Park. One day we went to the Ghirardelli store and then rented bikes and rode across the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito. Had lunch, and ferried back (Julia was fine that time). That was probably the best day.

We spent a day on Baker Beach only having to shield the kids’ eyes a few times. (NOTE: if you want to stick near clothed (at least minimally) beach goers, stay away from the northern section of the beach). We went to Oakland Zoo, Children’s Fairyland (cute), the Chabot Space & Science Center, and Waterworld Park.

And more! It was definitely our best trip. I only got into a few fights with my parents (which is NOTHING) and the kids got to see their cousin and my brother is doing great. it was such a relief to have things out of my hands, the planning, the paying, the transportation. And the best part…is that it’s nice to be home!
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Daytime visits to Washington, D.C.

Homeschooling the kids for the year was a success, though I do have to admit, having them in day camp for the summer is making me reconsider. For one, I have the whole day to myself, free to run errands and work on some freelance editing work that I’m very behind on. Also, the girls seem to be having fun. Not that they don’t have fun learning at home, and not that they don’t get plenty of social time, with the “homeschool school” and other group activities and playdates that they’re always busy with. I guess before I make any drastic decisions (the plan is to homeschool for one more year) I should remember that camp is always more fun than school, right? Anyways, the nicest thing about summer so far is that I’m free to go into Washington, D.C. and meet Rick for lunch. I’ve actually been going almost everyday, bringing some work with me so I can sit away from the distractions of home and focus, and visiting some museums while I’m in the area. I’ve been enjoying the alone time, but I do miss my girls!

My Washington, D.C. travels so far have brought me to museum classics like:
National Gallery of Art
National Portrait Gallery
National Building Museum
Phillips Collection
Folger Shakespeare Library
Library of Congress
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

I’ve been to all of these before, but usually with other people and it’s nice to go at my own pace.

Rick has only two business trips planned this summer. One to San Antonio, Texas that I think we (the girls and I) may skip (I’m not sure I can deal with the heat down there), and one to Minneapolis, which coincides perfectly with the end of camp. So, more about that later!

Summer exhibits at New York City museums

The best part about being a teacher is the vacation time. And since my wife and I both teach, summer vacation is the time to really relax, spend quality time together, travel, and do all the things in New York City that we’re always meaning to do during the year but don’t get around to…mainly, going to museums. Here’s a great list of summer exhibits at some of the best museums in the city:

  • Rococo: The Continuing Curve 1730–2008 at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (through July 6)
  • Double Album: Daniel Guzman and Steven Shearer at the New Museum of Contemporary Art (through July 6)
  • “A Railroad Reborn: Metro-North at 25” at the NY Transit Museum gallery annex at Grand Central Terminal (extended through July 6)
  • Glossolalia: Languages of Drawing at MoMA (through July 7)
  • ©MURAKAMI at Brooklyn Museum () (through July 13)
  • Sex in Design/Design in Sex at the Museum of Sex (extended through July 13)
  • First Under Heaven: Korean Ceramics from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection at the Asia Society and Museum (extended through July 20)
  • Multiplex: Directions in Art, 1970 to Now at MoMA (through July 28 )
  • Projects 87: Sigalit Landau opens at MoMA (through July 28 )
  • “Warhol’s Jews: Ten Portraits Reconsidered” at the Jewish Museum (through Aug. 3)
  • Inspired by Kashmir: Works by New York City Students at the Asia Society (through Aug. 3)
  • Ardeshir Mohassess: Art and Satire in Iran and Vietnam: A Memorial Work by Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba exhibitions at the Asia Society (through Aug. 3)
  • Making It Together exhibition inspired by the ‘70s Feminist Movement at the Bronx Museum of the Arts (through Aug. 4)
  • French Founding Father: Lafayette’s Return to Washington’s America at the New York Historical Society (through Aug. 10)
  • Click! A Crowd Curated Exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum (through Aug. 10)
  • From Another Shore: Recent Icelandic Art, including works from Olga Bergmann, Hildur Bjarnadóttir, Margrét H. Blöndal and Ólafur Elíasson, at The Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America (through Aug. 15)
  • Woven Splendor from Timbuktu to Tibet: Exotic Rugs and Textiles from New York Collectors at the New York Historical Society (through Aug. 17)
  • Orientalism in New York opens at the New York Historical Society (through Aug. 17)
  • Eminent Domain: Contemporary Photography and the City at the NY Public Library (through Aug. 29)
  • Mother Goose in an Air-Ship: McLoughlin Bros. 19th Century Children’s Books from the Liman Collection at the Brooklyn Historical Society (through August)
  • Bedford Stuyvesant: Neighborhood of Change at the Brooklyn Historical Society (through Aug. 31)
  • Philip Guston: Works on Paper at the Morgan Library and Museum (through Aug. 31)
  • Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (through Sept. 1)
  • Wiener Werkstatte Jewelry exhibition at the Neue Galerie – Museum for German and Austrian Art (extended through Sept. 1)
  • Framing a Century: Master Photographers, 1840–1940 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (through Sept. 1)
  • “Radiance from the Rain Forest: Featherwork in Ancient Peru” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art () (through Sept. 1)
  • “Multiple Choice: From Sample to Product” at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (extended through Sept. 1)
  • “Arbus/Avedon/Model: Selections from the Bank of America LaSalle Collection,” “Heavy Light: Recent Photography and Video from Japan,” and “Bill Wood’s Business” at the International Center of Photography (through Sept. 7)
  • 183rd Annual Invitational Exhibition of Conemporary Art at the at the National Academy Museum (through Sept. 7)
  • Asa Ames: Occupation Sculpturing at the American Folk Art Museum () (through Sept. 14)
  • Jazz Score at MoMA (through Sept. 15)
  • Dalí: Painting and Film at MoMA (through Sept. 15)
  • Dargerism: Contemporary Artists and Henry Darger at the American Folk Art Museum (through September 21)
  • New York Fast Forward: Neil Denari Builds on the High Line opens at the Museum of the City of New York (through Sept. 21)
  • “Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning, and American Art, 1940-1976″ at the Jewish Museum (through Sept 21)
  • Louise Bourgeois full-career retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum (through September 28 )
  • Red, Black, and Gold at the Rubin Museum of Art (through Oct. 13)
  • NYC Waterfalls in the East River (through Oct. 13)

(thank you newyorkology for a great list!)

(P.S. Check out my post Free NYC (Things to Do and See) for more ideas of ways to spend time (but not money) in New York City this summer.)

St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida – an educational/business/pleasure trip!

Listed on www.parents.com as one of the top six (why won’t they just give us ten??) Florida vacations for families, I was thrilled when Rick said he had to be in St. Petersburg for a week. He’d be busy 5 out of the 7 days, so said I should plan accordingly, keeping in mind that he’s dying to go to the Salvador Dali Museum.

So as we all know by now, I love nothing more than planning a trip (almost more than actually experiencing the trip – is that normal?), so I got out my travel books and browsed the travel websites, and here’s what I came up with, keeping in mind the need to combine fun with education:

We’re going to spend in between time at either St. Pete Beach, Madeira Beach or St. Petersburg Municipal Beach on Treasure Island. Gulf Coast winds make for good kite flying, so I figure this can be turned into a science lesson on wind and tide as well as the science of kite flying (there must be a great unit on this somewhere—anyone know?).

Salvador Dali Museum is a definite, especially since that’ll be a whole family outing. Rick has actually been prepping for the girls for this one, which is nice for me b/c I’m learning a lot about Dali and Surrealism along the way. Also on the museum list is the Florida International Museum which I’m still a bit iffy on. There is a permanent exhibit on JFK and there’ll be an exhibit on Princess Di when we’ll be there, and I’m not so sure I can either get the girls interested or make these topics relevant. Really I want to go because both exhibits are right up MY alley…. so we’ll see.

Something high on my list is Heritage Village in Largo which is off of Tampa Bay (a bit of a drive). It’s a recreated Florida pioneer village. There are historic homes, a one-room schoolhouse, and De Soto National Memorial, a fort dating back to 1898 which protected the bay area during the Spanish-American War.

Definitely not my first choice, but the girls want to go to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay… And it’s only redeeming factor is that there’s an African Safari. Also, apparently there are “educational presentations” so we’ll see what that’s about…