10 Ways to Explore the Florence Griswold Museum in Lyme, Connecticut

We enjoy visiting art museums with our children. Some people may think art museums are not an ideal spot to bring children, but there are a whole variety of reasons why you should- read them in this post. We’ve recently been researching local museums in Connecticut and were pleased to see that the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme is open and taking very good steps to honor pandemic restrictions and keep everyone safe and healthy.

Home to military sea captain Robert Griswold and his family in the middle 1800s until Florence Griswold’s death in 1937, the 12 acre estate includes art galleries, the main mansion, three additional structures with exhibits, an artist trail, gift shop, and seasonal cafe. The Griswold family harvested a large collection of gardens, producing much of the food the family ate, and later served to guests. Griswold inherited the home from her family and began welcoming boarders in 1899 as a way of making money. Up to 18 artists, who became known as the Lyme Art Colony, would stay in the home at one time,. Famous guests include President Woodrow Wilson and his first wife, an aspiring artist. Old Lyme became known as one of the biggest Impressionist art colonies in America, in large part to the Griswold campus. Today, it is open to visitors and welcomes families to explore what life was like for the artists in the early 20th century.

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10 Ways to Have Fun in the Berkshires in Massachusetts

The Berkshires, compromised of over 30 towns and villages, is located in the most western part of Massachusetts. It includes towns ranging from Sheffield and Great Barrington in the southern part of the state, bordering Connecticut, to the towns of Wiliamstown and North Adams in the northern part of the state, bordering Vermont. The region is popular year round for outdoor activities, performing arts venues, galleries, museums, and historic homes and landmarks. The Berkshires have been home well known figures such as authors Edith Wharton, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and activist W.E.B. DuBois. Dubbed the “Inland Newport” during the Gilded Age of the 20th century, the area became well known for its over 75 estates, in addition to its thriving farming industry. Today, there are many spots to learn about the important history of the area and many preserved outdoor spaces to enjoy nature all year long.

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Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Disclaimer: I have chosen to continue my weekly blog posts sharing our recent adventures exploring America. Our family has been safely quarantined for over a month and we will continue to do so until it safe to head out on our next adventure. The travel tips and recommendations we share were current at the time of visitation in 2019-2020. We recommend helping our country (and world) by staying home and planning for future adventures. We hope these posts bring you inspiration and motivation to plan your next trip!

One of the oldest buildings in Washington DC and now a National Historic Landmark building, The Donald W. Reynold Center for American Art and Portraiture is home to both the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. The complex first opened to the public in 1968 and completed renovations in the early 2000s. Both institutions, overseen by the Smithsonian Institute, are housed in the same complex. The Portrait Gallery has over 23,000 pieces of art in its collection and began officially commissioning portraits of presidents, beginning with George H.W. Bush. The American Art Museum is home to one of the largest collection of American art in the world and includes The Luce Foundation Center for American Art, housed on the 3rd floor. The Luce collection has more than 3,000 pieces of art in mediums from paintings to sculptures to medals to jewelry.

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Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, MA

A New Yorker married to a Bostonian in the late 1860s, Isabella Stewart Gardner and her husband, John, travelled extensively and were inspired by the art they saw throughout the world. Gardner began collecting art and built a home, which she named Fenway Court, in Boston in the early 1900s. Today, all three floors of the Palace, as it is now referred to, are opened to the public, as part of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Some of Gardner’s collection of 7500 pieces of art, 1500 books, and 7000 artifacts are on display throughout the Palace and the new Renzo Pino Wing, which houses a reception area and services, administrative offices, Calderwood Hall, Bertucci Education Studio, the Living Room, Cafe G, and museum store.

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Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts

Celebrating its 150th birthday in 2020, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts is the 5th largest art museum in America. The museum owns over 450,000 pieces of art in its collection, which includes paintings, photography, prints, drawing, musical instruments, textiles, and jewelry.

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20 Indoor Places to Explore in New England in the Winter

New England is my home. I love it. Every trip I take outside New England is wonderful- and a wonderful reminder of how much I love where I grew up and where I now live with my family. New England is known for its beautiful beaches and ocean water in the summer, stunning foliage in the fall, countless places to ski and skate in the winter, and open spaces to enjoy the outdoors in the spring. However, if you’re prone to sunburns, frostbite, and allergies, consider these places to visit for plenty of indoor fun (and yes, they’re just as great in the summer too!)

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