Saturday, July 7, 2018

At D.C.'s Newseum, the Media is the Message

If you’re interested in the world as seen through the eyes of a reporter, the Newseum is a must-visit destination on any trip to Washington, D.C.
Located at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest, (within viewing distance of the Capitol), the seven-level news museum features 15 theaters, as many galleries and is a treasure trove of all things news related. History buffs, in particular, will spend hours poring over the artifacts which span five centuries and tell the story the press plays in shaping our perceptions.
Tickets cost $21.21 for adults and $16.96 for seniors and tickets are good for two consecutive days, so you can take your time to view everything there is to see. If you’re taking children, you can take advantage of their summer special which gains them free entrance from July 1 through Labor Day.
The outside of the Newseum in Washington, D.C. 
Navigating the Space
The education begins before guests set foot inside the front doors of the Newseum. Carved into the front of the building are the five freedoms of the First Amendment to remind visitors of the limited powers of the U.S. government. Located just outside the entrance is an ever-changing exhibit of the daily front pages of more than 80 newspapers worldwide.
Beyond the front doors is the Hearst Orientation Theater where visitors can view a four-minute video for tips on how to make the best use of their time to prioritize the topics that interest them most.

Learn about Law Enforcement and One Country’s Struggle for Freedom
The Berlin Wall Gallery, located on the concourse level, is where most visitors navigate first upon arrival. There guests can view 12-foot-high segments of the Berlin Wall, which museum officials brought back after making a deal with Berlin’s Check-Point Charlie museum. The western side of the wall contains vivid political graffiti with messages like “Act Up,” and contrasts starkly against the bare eastern side, symbolizing the fight between freedom and oppression. “One of most oft-taken photographs at the Newseum is the Berlin Wall,” said R. Scott Williams, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations. Guests will also view an imposing guard tower brought back from Berlin at the same time the segments of the wall were acquired. According to museum officials, when purchased in 1993, each 2.5-ton segment cost the museum $5,000, with the guard tower costing $15,000. When the wall came down there was celebration in the streets. Today, it’s a grim reminder of the nearly 200 people who died trying to escape and the 30,000 political prisoners who were jailed at the hands of a tyrannical regime.
Berlin Wall exhibit
Western side of the Berlin Wall

Also located on the concourse level is the FBI Exhibit, containing 200 artifacts from the biggest cases in the past 100 years. Among them are the Unabomber’s cabin, a sawed-off rifle used by Patty Hearst and the electric chair used to execute the kidnapper of the Lindbergh baby. “The items you’ll see here are related to big moments in history that it’s one of the exhibits that most people remark on after they leave,” said Williams.
Don Bolles' car

Bomb-damaged car belonging to investigative reporter Don Bolles.

Pulitzer Prize Photographs and a 4-D Theater

Photographers, in particular, will enjoy the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery located on level one, where every winning photo is on display, some with interactive kiosks featuring interviews with photographers and the stories behind the compelling images.
Level one also features a 4-D theater, where guests will view a 13-minute film which takes them on a journey through some of the most dramatic events in journalism history, including the story of ground-breaking, female journalist Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, who adopted the pen name of “Nellie Bly.” Cochrane is notorious for blowing the lid off brutality and neglect at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum at New York’s Blackwell’s Island by feigning insanity to gain entrance. Learn of her struggles at the asylum and how her investigative efforts effected change in the late 1800s.

Remembering 9-11
One of the most moving exhibits is located on the fourth level. On the wall of the 9/11 Gallery, are framed newspapers showing journalists’ reaction to events that occurred that fateful day.
Located in the middle of the gallery guests will view the mangled antenna from the North Tower of the World Trade Center and artifacts salvaged from the scene. They will learn how journalists ran towards disaster to bring a story to the masses, and view a tribute to photojournalist William Biggart who lost his life that day. 
newspaper front page
Headlines after 9/11


World Trade Center remains
Piece of the North Tower of the World Trade Center
Civil Rights at 50
Visitors can view the "1968: Civil Rights at 50" exhibit located on Level 4 now through January 2, 2019. Historic images and artifacts highlight events that shaped history after the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. The exhibit explores political and social upheaval during a tumultuous time and juxtaposes political violence against Martin Luther King's advocacy for non-violence.

Journalists Memorial
On Monday, June 4, 2018, the Newseum rededicated its Journalists Memorial.  The two-story, glass structure, located on Level 3, currently commemorates 2,323 reporters, broadcasters, photographers and editors who lost their lives while reporting the news. Their names are etched in glass and kiosks provide visitor with information related to each individual, how they served their profession and sadly how they lost their lives while doing so. The searchable database can be accessed here. 
Journalists Memorial Credit: Maria Bryk/Newseum
Take a Picture with the Capitol as a Backdrop
Don’t end your visit without taking the elevator to the sixth floor to the Greenspun Terrace which overlooks Pennsylvania Avenue and provides spectacular views of the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court and the Washington Monument.
View from the Terrace. Credit: Sam Kittner/Newseum
Welcoming Thousands of Visitors Each Year
Nearly 810,000 guests visit the Newseum each year and the destination now ranks #19 on TripAdvisor’s list of “things to do in Washington, D.C.”  Krista Canfield McNish traveled from San Francisco to visit the museum. “As a former journalist, I was a bit worried that the Newseum might let me down, but I absolutely loved it. I found everything there to be compelling and interesting. For me, the highlights were the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery (some of the images will bring tears to your eyes) and the 9/11 Gallery. I also loved the Today's Front Pages Gallery. The newspapers of the day that they put out are pretty awesome.”

These are but a few of the many exhibits that can take hours to navigate, which is why I suggest splitting your visit in to two separate days if you can fit it into your schedule. You’ll discover that it’s certainly time well spent.

Learn more at:

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Ephrata Cloister Tells Tale of One of America's Earliest Religious Communities

The Ephrata Cloister

The small borough of Ephrata located in northern Lancaster County is home to one of America's earliest religious communities known as the Ephrata Cloister.

This carefully preserved gem, founded in 1732 by German settlers led by a man by the name of Conrad Beissel, tells a tale of Pennsylvania's role in the quest for freedom of religion.

Beissel, who was born in Eberbach, Germany, took issue with his country's state-run churches, believing, instead, that citizens should be free to worship as they pleased. When he set sail for North America, he decided to settle in the only colony at the time to offer freedom of religion. By choosing Pennsylvania, Beissel had shaken the shackles of his native country's demands for obeisance to the religion of the rulers.

After arriving in the colonies, Beissel initially settled in Germantown before moving to Lancaster County, where he led a Brethren congregation. His quest for inner peace and his desire to escape the distractions of the world eventually led him to Ephrata to create a religious retreat. 

Soon others were joining the charismatic Beissel and by 1750 approximately 80 men and women comprised the "Community of the Solitary" at Ephrata. All agreed to live a regimented, celibate life to better worship God.

Today the Ephrata Cloister is recognized as a National Historic Landmark, run by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Tours are conducted seven days a week until December and several days a week thereafter.

Taking the Tour
Parking is plentiful at the Cloister and a short walk takes guests to a Visitor's Center where they will be greeted by a guide in a simple, long, hooded, white robe, the traditional garb that residents were required to wear at the time.

After viewing a short film on Beissel and his pursuit of religious freedom, visitors are led to outside benches. There, in the midst of historic buildings that have been described as some of the most significant, surviving examples of pre-colonial architecture in America, guests learn more about the unique community.
Guide gives insight into the community that lived onsite.
Members of the sect led a life of discipline and celibacy, indulging in only one meager meal a day and sleeping six hours a night. The purpose of such self-restraint, according to Beissel, was to prepare his followers for heaven through earthly denial. Sleeping accommodations were comprised of a bench and a wooden pillow and the six hours of sleep were broken into two three-hour periods, interrupted for a time of worship in the onsite meeting house.
Bed with wooden block pillow.

Bible in the Meeting House

Members spent the remaining hours of their days engaging in a variety of jobs ranging from gardening, to milling, mending, cooking and other tasks related to the upkeep of the compound. The brothers and sisters even purchased a printing press and were responsible for printing the largest book in the colonies at the time. "The Martyr's Mirror" spans 1,500 pages and describes the early persecution of the Anabaptists. To this day, it is treasured by the Amish.
The Meetinghouse
Dining area
Spinning Area
Squirrel Tail oven
Guest cottage
After a short introduction to the life of the people who lived in the Cloister, guests are guided to the Saron, otherwise known as the Sister's House, where members ate, slept, cooked and worked. The second stop is the Saal, or meeting house, known as one of the oldest places of worship in Pennsylvania--where residents listened to sermons conducted by Beissel. Song, penned both by Beissel and his followers, sometimes contained an astonishing 300 verses.

At the end of the tour, guests are given the opportunity to explore the grounds and outbuildings, sometimes with the help of modern technology. Guests can dial phone numbers listed on buildings to learn more about each structure.

Within the Cloister is also a cemetery, where visitors can see the headstones of those who have been laid to rest, including leader Conrad Beissel, whose passing in 1768 led to the slow demise of the community, after the takeover by Peter Miller, who believe that the monastic life was no longer attractive to new generations.
The Cemetery

By 1777, a third of the members died of typhoid and by 1814, the Community of the Solitary at Ephrata dissolved as the last four followers joined the Seventh Day Baptist Church, marking an end to the "holy experiment."

To learn more, visit:

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Not-So-Hidden Gems in Historic Lewisburg

Copper Beech Manor
The upside of living in Central Pennsylvania is that it's within driving distance of so many destinations. The downside is that the winters sometimes seem interminable, which leaves a six-month window to sightsee, unless you feel like contending with Mother Nature pitching a fit and stomping all over the best-laid plans. It doesn't help that most museums and other attractions are open from May through October. When you factor in the weekly obligations that often take precedence over wayfaring, you start to realize just how precious those free weekends are.  This past Saturday I was able to find time to visit the Lewisburg area. I had to return home Sunday morning for a graduation party, so I fit in everything I could during my short, but substantive stay.

What first attracted me to the small town was the annual icefest held in February--a delightful celebration intended to boost business and at the same time nudge us over that winter-doldrum hump. You can read more about it here in an article written by my friend Tricia Kline. When I laid eyes on the cute shops, elegant B&Bs, attractive neighborhoods and diverse restaurants, I knew a return visit was in order. I scheduled my visit during Memorial Day weekend, when I knew the town wouldn't be quite so busy. Students had graduated the week before and fighting the crowds wasn't an issue this time.

First Stop--An Historic Hotel
The Lewisburg Hotel is located in downtown Lewisburg at the corner of Market and Second Streets
The Lewisburg Hotel, once known as the Kline's Hotel, has the distinction of being the longest-lived hotel in the area. Dating back to 1834, its proximity to the Pennsylvania Canal, the Old East-West Turnpike and two major railroads, made it a convenient stop for generations of travelers. By 1992, the weathered mainstay was feeling its age. It was clear to observers that the well-worn destination with the good bones was overdue for a renovation, so in stepped Norman and Nancy Buck to help bring it back to its former glory. In 1997, the hotel reopened and today is owned and operated by Dale Walize, who has been with the hotel for many years. Walize took over operations in November, after Norm's sudden passing.

Walize knew Norm well and said that part of his vision was to bring the historic hotel back to the way it appeared in the days of yore. Walking into the lobby is like stepping back in time when craftsman used woodwork as an eye-catching focal point. Guests can't help but be impressed with the attractive coffered ceilings, the original check-in desk and the tall wooden phone booth that is situated in the corner and an oft-discussed conversation piece.  

As for the elevator--I've decided against spoiling the surprise. Let's just say that the Lewisburg Hotel put the elegance in elevator. If you visit, be sure to check it out.

Over the years, the hotel has seen its share of august dignitaries. In addition to being home to the first president of The Victorian University of Lewisburg, (later known as Bucknell), every Pennsylvania governor from 1831-1901 was said to have been a guest at one time or another (and not always in August).
Views of the room decor in the Lewisburg Hotel

hotel room

Today the business serves the community as a meeting place, hotel, motel and bar. Guests can choose from casual dining in the Cameron Bar, or fine dining with a side of Victorian ambiance in the Governor's room located on the first floor.
hotel lobby
Take a peak behind the elevator doors when you visit.

The patio outside features live music during the warmer months and Tuesday's "Grillin' and Chillin' on the Patio" is an area favorite.

Before you leave the building, be sure to take a look across the street where you'll see another handsome, old structure by the name of the Lewisburg Club.
Pennsylvania club
The Lewisburg Club--a community hub

The Lewisburg Club started out as a simple, brick residence built sometime between 1800 and 1814. The building was later sold to Rebecca and Joseph Nesbit who are responsible for transforming it into the beautiful brownstone you see in the picture, done in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. In 1911, the couple sold it to the Lewisburg Club, which continues to use it for community activities.

A Stately, Comfortable Bed and Breakfast 
Our second stop was to check in at the beautiful Copper Beech Manor, named for a Rohan Copper Beech tree located at the rear of the property known to be approximately 125 years old.

Owners Linda and Bill Petry lovingly care for the Federal Style Manor, which dates back to 1857 and was built by Jonathan Nesbit, who also built the First Presbyterian church (located across the street) and Christ's Lutheran church, located on Third Street. In 1861, Nesbit built an addition on the house and according to local lore, a hidden room on the third floor sheltered slaves on their way to freedom on the Underground Railroad.
View from the second floor

breakfast room
Breakfast room


sitting room
Sitting room
The home has four, original working fireplaces that have been converted to gas and four large, first-floor public rooms. Breakfast is served every morning.
Breakfast fruit
A beautiful, winding staircase leads guests to five, comfortable guest rooms located on the second floor. Our cheery room was not only comfortable, but quiet and conducive to a good night's sleep. Bill and Linda spent many hours renovating the house and they recount the story of their journey in a book they've made available to guests, so be on the lookout for that as well. The hospitable couple are warm, welcoming and eager to assist visitors in making the most of their visit to Lewisburg.
The 1857 room, named for the year the home Copper Beech Manor was built
At the end of the evening, many guests take the opportunity to relax in a lovely sitting area in view of a Koi pond to enjoy the tranquil surroundings.
The Koi pond located in the rear of Copper Beech Manor

Patio at Copper Beech Manor

koi pond

 Visiting a Neighborhood Jewel

The Campus Theatre marquee
Art Deco became all the rage just before World War I. Representing glamour and modernism, it influenced the design of everything from architecture to fashion and furniture. The Campus Theatre, which debuted in 1941, was done in the popular style that began to wane with the onset of WWII. Shortly after the Campus Theatre was designed, it could be said that the once-popular style was falling out of fashion. Today the theatre is appreciated and treasured as one of the few remaining art-deco movie houses in the country.
Courtesy of the Campus Theatre

Courtesy of the Campus Theatre
Courtesy of the Campus Theatre
Entrance to the Campus Theatre

Situated at 413 Market Street, the Campus Theatre was designed by Philadelphia architect David Supowitz and built by a Russian immigrant by the name of Oscar Stiefel. Oscar opened his first movie theatre in Philadelphia and soon business was booming, so he enlisted his brothers Harold, Barney and Morris to lend a hand. The Stiefel brothers would eventually operate 11 theatres in Pennsylvania. Those closer to South Central Pennsylvania may be interested to learn that Steifel owned The Roxy in Ephrata, which was destroyed by fire in 1955. 

In 1953, Morris' son Harold Stiefel took over the Lewisburg theatre and managed it with his wife Jacquie until he passed in 1988. The couple was dedicated to the Lewisburg community and are greatly missed. Many of their outreach programs exist to this day. In 2001, the Campus Theatre transitioned into a non-profit organization and in 2004 underwent a major restoration. "The Jewel of Market Street" partnered with nearby Bucknell University in 2011, when the college assumed ownership of the building. Both entities are dedicated to preserving and promoting this historic landmark. 

Free family films are shown every Tuesday during the summer and on Saturday the BYOB night draws quite the crowd. To learn more about what's playing and when, click on the monthly schedule here.

Shops Galore
Marc Williams Goldsmith has been creating handcrafted jewelry for more than 35 years.
There's no dearth of shopping opportunities in Lewisburg, from ladies fashions and accessories, to antiques and more. Some old mainstays are housed in buildings with mid-century modern charm (like the one above), while others tout more contemporary storefronts and cater to the college crowd offering a selection of the latest styles and apparel.
One of the many women's shops in downtown Lewisburg

"The Famous Street of Shops" at 100 North Water Street is a favorite of shoppers both near and far.  Once used as a woolen mill, it now touts 375 shops and a lower-level flea market. A restaurant located on the main floor offers customers the opportunity to grab a bite in between browsing.
Scenes from the House of Retro in the Street of Shops

Not far away from the Street of Shops is the "Roller Mills Marketplace" located at 517 Saint Mary Street. Roller Mills dates back to 1883 and was originally constructed as a flour mill, with product that was sold under the brand name "Oriole." For the past 20 years, customers have been rising to the occasion to visit the business which spans three floors and 60,000 square feet.

The Street of Shops touts 375 shops in a restored, historic woolen mill

Another shot inside the Street of Shops

Just one of the many unique items you'll find in Lewisburg--this was spotted at the Roller Mills
This little beauty will cost you $2800. Keep an eye out for my story in June 2018 issue in and see what happened to a few Harrisburg horses.

Cuddle a Cat if You Please

Heck, you can even shop for a cat in downtown Lewisburg. If I hadn't just adopted my second terrorist, err, kitten, I'd likely be heading home with one of these little cuties. Whether you're in the market, or not, for $5 an hour, the Scratching Post Cafe permits people to cuddle and play to their hearts content and perhaps find it in that heart to adopt one of these furry felines.

And talk about coincidences--one of the very sweet and helpful staff members shares a name with me--her first name is Kalina, which is my maiden name. She informed me that the rather chubby girl in the last picture below has a reputation as being a bit of a treat hog.
Play all day at the cat cafe

This one reminds me of Frankie
The guardian of the treat galaxy
A Delicious Dinner at Brasserie Louis
Did I mention that we managed to see a lot in one afternoon? By now it was time for dinner at Brasserie Louis, which, at 101 Market Street, was just a short walk from our B&B. 
Brasserie Louis--exterior

Brasserie Louis--interior

A delicious salad was the prelude to a wonderful selection of small plates at Brasserie Louis.

Once again, we found ourselves admiring the old woodwork in yet another historic building. Brasserie Louis dates back to 1825 and once served as The Lewisburg Inn. It was the home of James Fleming Linn, whose two sons were authors and historians. The house was equipped with a water tank stored in the attic, which supplied the first running water in a home in Lewisburg.

Today it serves the community as an attractive restaurant and tavern that features not only delicious food, but inventive libations. After dinner, consider relaxing with a Vesper (gin, vodka, lillet) in the inviting bar area (featuring more stunning woodwork). Chances are you'll have the opportunity to enjoy the talented vocals of local resident Billy Kelly.

Street Views
Before I wrap up this blog post, I will leave you with a few street views. I hope to publish a later post on a "Walking Tour of Lewisburg," with additional pictures and a few details on each building. Enjoy.


covered bridge
police station
Can you believe this is a police station? Neither could I.
Susquehanna Life Magazine--where my articles sometimes appear
Bucknell University offices