Monday, May 22, 2017

Nathanael Greene Park Springfield Missouri USA

Lake at Nathanael Greene Park Geoff W Sutton 2017

Nathanael Greene Park located at 2400 South Scenic in Springfield MO (65807) is more than a place to enjoy a picnic in a pleasant setting. In addition to the usual park things like trails, picnic areas, play areas, and a small lake, this park has other attractions.

There are many gardens with a special focus such as dwarf conifers, roses, and an English garden.

Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden is a traditional Japanese Garden present since 1986. There is a fee so check the web site for details.

A Butterfly House is open on a seasonal basis- see the website for details.

Local life in the mid 1800s can be examined at the Gray-Campbell Farmstead. There's a cabin, barn, kitchen, granery, outhouse and school.

Trails circle the Lake and connect to the area Greenway Trail. On the trail outside the park is a marker for the Trail of Tears route.

Facilities: There are restrooms and a shop and classrooms in the Botanical Center.
Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Cost: No cost for the general park area but there are costs for some activities.
Parking: I have always found a place to park even on busy event days.
Garden Map:
Arboretum Map:

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Osborne House and a Great Beach

Osborne House by Geoff W Sutton 2017

Osborne House is a beautiful mansion on the Isle of Wight, UK. If you have several hours, and enjoy Victorian art and furniture, English history, gardens, beaches, a pleasant picnic site,and childrens' play areas, you will probably enjoy the visit as I did.

There really is a lot to see and do at Osborne House, built 1845-1851 by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria as a retreat for them and their family.

You could spend a day here. The walk through the house is organised to move you through the available rooms. Staff offer insights into the contents of several rooms.

There's also an onsite guide at the Swiss Cottage, which includes children's activities.

Swiss Cottage for the children at Osborne House/ Geoff W Sutton 2017

I spent an afternoon and saw most of the estate but I had no children with me who might like the play areas.

Osbonre House Children's Play Areas

And there's a beautiful beach with places for a picnic.

Osborne House Beach Scene/ Geoff W Sutton 2017
There's also walking trails and well-kept gardens-- opportunities for exercise, birding, and relaxing.

I used public transportation from Ryde, which worked well for my needs.

There are large parking areas with many open spaces when I visited in April 2017.

Information about fees can be found on the website. It is an English Heritage site so there is no charge for members.

Location: York Avenue, East Cowes, Isle of Wight  PO32 6JX

See the Osborne House website for more details.

Carisbrooke Castle A Good Half-Day

Clarisbrooke Castle, Geoff W Sutton 2017
Carisbrooke Castle, like many UK castles, has a long history and was rebuilt more than once. The history includes a place where Charles I was a prisoner. Other Royals were here as well. Much of the history can be learnt at the Museum, a separate entity on the castle grounds.

King Charles I Bedroom at Carisbrooke Castle

Hornbook- Child Reader 400+ years old

There's also a chapel honouring veterans and King Charles I.

And you will find demonstrations of a donkey powered treadmill used to raise water from a well. See the video for a brief clip of the donkey at work. A few donkeys are onsite.

The walls are in good enough condition to walk around the castle, including the Norman keep.

My video from the castle walls.

There are toilets, refreshments, and picnic facilities.

There is a fee for admission. Admission is free to English Heritage members.

See the website for details including other events.

I used public transportation- a bus stops nearby.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Yarmouth Castle, Isle of Wight

Canon atop Yarmouth Castle, Geoff W. Sutton, 2017

Yarmouth castle is small compared to many others in the UK but if you are in the area, I think it is worth a short visit. There was no charge when I visited in 2017.

Storyboards provide information about the history of the castle and the contents of the rooms.

There are a few rooms where castle life is illustrated with furniture, foods, tools, and so forth.

There is a great view of the waterfront on top of the castle. And there are picnic tables there as well.

There are no toilets onsite but there are facilities nearby in the Ferry Terminal. The ferries are visible from the top of the castle.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Royal Navy Museum Portsmouth

In addition to a special exhibit featuring Lord Nelson, the museum includes a history of the Royal Navy.

Storyboards, audio-visual presentations, and artefacts tell the story. Many individual stories reveal elements of Navy life. Special exhibits draw attention to the role of women in the Royal Navy.

The museum is located in the Historic Dockyards at Portsmouth.

Boathouse 4 Shipbuilding Historic Dockyard Portsmouth UK

Boathouse 4 allows visitors to see ship building and repair on a variety of boats.

There's a variety of wooden boats on display and interactive activities

Food is available at the Midships Cookhouse.

Boathouse 4 is close to the Visitor's Centre.

At the time of this post, there was no entry fee.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Jutland Battle 1916 Portsmouth UK

Jutland Exhibit, Historic Dockyard
The National Museum of the Royal Navy presents the Battle of Jutland covering a 36-hour period (website).

The battle involved 250 ships and 100,000 men. The audio-video presentations, storyboards, and artefacts present the historical context, timeline, and personal stories to make the events come alive.

The Battle began in the afternoon of 31 May, 2016 off the coast of Denmark's North Sea.

Following the battle, both the Germans and the British claimed victory; however, the larger British fleet remianed in control of the High Seas.

As of this writing in 2017, the exposition is scheduled for a limited time- until 2019.

Allow about 1-2 hours to walk through the presentation.

The odd-shaped presentation screens and position of the speakers can interfere with a straightforward telling of the story. To get more out of the presentation, it might be helpful to read a summary of the battle.

I am glad I saw the presentation but it is not the best exhibit at the Historic Dockyard.

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Harbour Tour Historic Dockyard Portsmouth UK

 A tour of the harbour is included with a multi-attraction ticket to the Historic Dockyard. I recommend taking the tour early on to get an overview of the area and introductory information about this busy port.

In addition to the ships, which are amongst the attractions, there are various Royal Navy and other ships in the harbour. I'll include a few examples from my April 2017 visit.
HMS Westminster

HMS Diligence


Powerful & Helen


102 and 81

Also, here is a brief video clip from the tour.