Category: Theme Travel

The World in Miniature: Six Great Dollhouses from Around the Globe

The World in Miniature: Six Great Dollhouses from Around the Globe

It’s All in the Details

Ever since my childhood, I’ve been a little fascinated with dollhouses. There is something magical about seeing a slice of everyday life shrunk down into miniature. And the more details there are, the more magical it becomes. Here are five amazing dollhouses from around the world that are on my bucket list to see, plus one I’ve already seen.

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Ten Libraries That Should Be on Every Bibliophile’s Bucket List

Ten Libraries That Should Be on Every Bibliophile’s Bucket List

I love books.  I mean, I pink-puffy-heart love books.  Always have.  I could easily spend hours in a library or book store, even without taking any books home.  Just looking at them, holding them, and thumbing through them is, in my mind, an excellent way to pass the time.

So I was thinking about some of the nicer book stores and libraries I’ve visited, and I thought it would be a great thing to create a travel bucket list for bibliophiles like me.  So here are what I think are ten of the loveliest libraries you could ever hope to step foot in.

1. The Strahov Monastery Library

The Strahov Library in Prague, Czech Republic contains over 200,000 volumes, including over 3,000 manuscripts and 1,500 first prints stored in a special depository. Admission will cost you a little over $4.

strahov-monastery-library-czech-republic

2. The Kelmentinum

Also in Prague, the Klementinum’s Baroque Library Hall is the stunning home of the Czech National Library, housing 20,000 books from the early 17th century onwards. The hall is decorated with magnificent ceiling frescoes, and remains unaltered since the 18th century.  Admission is less than $10 and includes a guided tour of the entire complex, not just the library.

klementinum-czech-national-library

3.  The George Peabody Library

Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland houses the George Peabody Library. It is stunning.  The library’s 300,000 volume collection is particularly strong in religion, British art, architecture, topography and history; American history, biography, and literature; Romance languages and literature; history of science; and geography, exploration and travel.  Admission is free, but if you want to have your wedding there (be still my heart – wouldn’t that be amazing?!?!) you will have to rent the facility.

rsz_george_peabody_library_baltimore_md

4.  The Austrian National Library

Located in Vienna, the Austrian National Library is another beauty. It is the largest library in Austria, with 7.4 million items in its various collections. The library is located in the Hofburg Palace in Vienna. Admission is free.

austrian-national-library-vienna

5.  The Morrin Cultural Center

Located in Quebec, Canada, the Morrin Cultural Center is designed to educate the public about the historic contribution and present-day culture of local English-speakers. The library provides access to English-language books in a largely French-speaking city. Admission is free.

morrin-cultural-center-library-in-quebec

6.  Trinity College Library

The library at the very top of my bucket list is the one at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. The ancient Book of Kells is located at this library.  But perhaps even more famous is its Long Room:

trinity-college-library-dublin-ireland

7.  Stuttgart City Library

I am very partial, as you can see, to libraries with multiple levels of shelving, dark-ish interiors, and  art.  It almost feels like a home, inviting you to come inside, relax, and get lost in the pages of a volume.  However, the much more modern Stuttgart City Library also appeals to me for the exact opposite reason… here the books are definitely the stars of the show, and little can distract you from them.  Admission is free.

Stuttgart City Library Germany.jpg

8.  Royal Portuguese Library

Okay, back to dark and cozy.  The Royal Portuguese Library in Rio de Janeiro Brazil is just that.  It is the largest library in Latin America and the 7th largest in the world.  Its collections include about 9 million items. Admission is free.

rsz_royal_portuguese_reading_room_brazil

9.  The Mortlock Wing State Library

Located in South Australia, the Mortlock Wing State Library is housed in a stunning Victorian era building built in the French Renaissance style.  It has two galleries and a glass domed roof.  Admission is free.

rsz_mortlock_wing_state_library_australia

10.  The King’s Library

Finally, the King’s Library (part of the British Library, and also called the King George III Collection) in London is not to be missed.  When King George III came to the throne in the mid-eighteenth century, England did not have a proper library.  He set about the business of acquiring book collections and setting up a royal library.  Today, many of the books from his collection are on view to visitors behind UV-filter glass.  Admission is free.

king-george-iii-library-london

So, there you have it.  Ten amazing, beautiful libraries that you can visit in your travels around the world.  Have you been to any of them?  Let me know in the comments if you have, or if you think I overlooked an amazing library that should have made the list.

 

Beyond Ruby Slippers: Travel for the Wizard of Oz Fan

Beyond Ruby Slippers: Travel for the Wizard of Oz Fan

If you’re a fan of the classic 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz, you can plan an amazing road trip to visit related sites.

In Chicago, visit Oz Park.  Take a stroll through the park and you’ll be greeted by statues of the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, and everyone’s favorite, Dorothy & Toto.

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Scarecrow Statue, Oz Park, Chicago

If you’ve spent any time on Pinterest, you may have seen a pin about an abandoned Wizard of Oz theme park in North Carolina.  Well, it was a theme park, and it is in North Carolina, but it is not abandoned.  The Land of Oz is a privately owned property that is under 24 hour surveillance. Those caught trespassing  will be prosecuted.  Fortunately, it is open to the public at various times throughout the year.

Land of Oz NC
Land of Oz theme park in Beech Mountain, NC

In Wamego, Kansas, there is the Oz Museum, which features a collection of over 25,000 Oz artifacts. Since the founding of the Museum in April 2004, several other small businesses with the Oz theme have opened, including the Oz Winery and Toto’s Tacoz. On the first weekend of October, Wamego holds its Annual OZtoberFEST, an Oktoberfest-type celebration with an Oz theme that typically features Hot Air Balloon Rides, Tallgrass Brewery Beer Garden, the Yellow Brick Road Bike Ride, and a local stage or music production.

Oz Museum Wamego Kansas
The Oz Museum, Wamego KS

A visit to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will afford you the opportunity to see one of the original four pairs of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the movie.  (Size 5!)

Ruby Slippers
Ruby Slippers, National Museum of American History, Washington DC

Chittenango, New York is the birthplace of Wizard of Oz author Frank Baum, and also the home of the All Things Oz Museum.  According to the museum staff, “All
Things Oz is more than a tribute to a book series; it is a fascinating trip through the life of its author, his wife, Maud Gage, and all the many experiences that shaped his imagination and his world.”  The museum also coordinates a yearly Oz-stravaganza festival.

All Things Oz Museum
All Things Oz Museum, Chittenango, NY

Visit Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, and you will see not only the stars for Judy Garland (Dorothy), Ray Bloger (Scarecrow), Jack Haley (Tin Man), Frank Morgan (The Wizard), and Billie Burke (Glinda), you can also see the Munchkins’ star, which was added in 2007.

Munchkins Star
Hollywood Walk of Fame

After visiting the Walk of Fame, head over to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where you will see a memorial to Terry the Cairn Terrier, known to most of us as Toto.

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Toto Memorial in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

When you’ve finished touring all of these great locations, remember to click your heels three times and say, “There’s no place like home…”