Visiting the Frida Kahlo Museum, “La Casa Azul,” Coyoacán, Mexico City

In early January, we made a visit to the home of famed Latin American artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), in Mexico City. Also called La Casa Azul (“The Blue House”), the property is operated as Museo Frida Kahlo, and much of the home has been left furnished as it was when the artist died. Judging by the crowds, and the difficulty of obtaining tickets, I would say this is a pilgrimage for fans of the artist.

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Middlethorpe Hall, York, England — a National Trust Country House Hotel

Front entrance of Middlethorpe Hall, York.

This fall, my husband and I had the great fortune to stay at Middlethorpe Hall, one of three National Trust UK’s country house hotels. Middllethorpe Hall is just a few miles outside of downtown York; the other two National Trust hotels are located in North Wales and Aylesbury, the latter being about an hour from London. All three hotels were acquired by the National Trust by donation.

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December Getaway at Stockbridge’s Red Lion Inn

I recently managed a quick, two-night, mid-week, pre-Christmas getaway with my best friend at the historic Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Mass., in the heart of the Berkshires. The Inn is shown at the right of this 1967 illustration done for McCall’s magazine by Norman Rockwell, titled Home for Christmas (Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas). Rockwell’s own South Street home appears at the far right.

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Live like a student at Oxford University: B&B at Christ Church College

This September, I had the privilege of spending a week in Oxford, England, while taking a course on the history of the British/American relationship. The program was a collaboration between the University of Virginia and Oxford University.

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Radcliffe Camera, Oxford.

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Nifty items in new exhibit at Old Fort House Museum, Fort Edward

By Sandra Hutchinson

A newly-opened exhibit at the Old Fort House in Fort Edward highlights significant objects and paintings in the collection, and reveals some surprising information tied to those objects. Click here for the museum’s Web site.

“A Century of Collecting: Treasures from the Old Fort House” was researched by guest curator Jillian Mulder, who serves as curator of the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls.

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Tea Island, Lake George, circa 1882-1892. Helena Dewey Little

“I’m hoping that people recognize that Fort Edward has this terrific collection,” says Ms. Mulder. “Go see it. Take some pride in it. It’s worth valuing.”

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Wiawaka Center for Women, Lake George, NY

by Sandra Hutchinson

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The Victorian, Mansard-roofed Fuller House, is where guests check in and have their meals. There is also lodging on the upper floors.

Nestled along the southeastern shore of Lake George, in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, is the oldest continuously operating women’s retreat center in the United States. Wiawaka Center for Women was founded in 1903, by Mary Wiltsie Fuller (1862-1943), the daughter of an industrialist from Troy, New York, as a place for the female workers in the textile factories and laundries of Troy and nearby Cohoes, to enjoy an affordable summer respite.

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Sandra’s top travel tips — planning and packing

by Sandra Hutchinson

I’m constantly getting notified of posts on blogs and on Pinterest that list writers’ travel tips and hacks. They tend to be repetitive, in my opinion, so I’ve decided to share my own.

Apps and websites for booking airline tickets and planning your trip (these are just a few of my favorites):

Seat guru: check this site — seatguru.com —before you purchase your airline tickets — enter the flight number and airline, and you can find detailed seat maps of your particular aircraft. What looks like a great seat on the chart when you book online through your booking site, may in fact be less than optimal. It may be lacking a window, for example, be next to a bathroom, or not recline for some reason. On the seat guru site, hover your cursor over a particular seat, and a description pops up telling you whether there are any issues. Just make sure you have the correct seat map for your particular aircraft. This image is a portion of a seat map for a large aircraft.

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