» posted on Wednesday, September 30th, 2015 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas — I was invited to speak at the September 24 meeting of the Caddo River Art Guild (CRAG), an avid group whose mission is promoting art and artists in south central Arkansas, http://caddoriverartguild.com/. My mission of course is capital cities, so I talked about “art in the capital cities,” that is, the community’s support of the arts. How Art Thrives was my topic, leading with the question: What does it take to have a thriving arts community?
It takes four things, I proposed, to nods of agreement from around the room:
I selected five uniquely different cities to illustrate:
Santa Fe, New Mexico, Population 67, 947 (about 6 Arkadelphias) because it supports and focuses on the artist more than any other capital city.
Montpelier, Vermont, Population 7,855 (about 3/4 of 1 Arkadelphia!) because it’s the smallest capital city and has the 2nd most artists per capita and the biggest group of volunteers.
And Helena, Montana, Population 28,190 (about 3 Arkadelphias), Lincoln, Nebraska, Population 258,379 (about 24 Arkadelphias), and Indianapolis, Indiana, Population 820,444 (about 77 Arkadelphias) to show it’s not the size of the city that matters, it’s the attitude of its residents. » read more
» posted on Thursday, April 30th, 2015 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas – I was invited by Charlotte Jeffers, Regent of the Arkadelphia Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, to speak at their April 14 meeting. “Do you want me to talk about the history of the capital cities, or my travel experiences?” I asked. “What will everyone be most interested in?” “We are interested in everything,” was the reply, so I decided to focus on our likeminded objectives, which sent me to the DAR national website.
I learned that DAR was founded October 11, 1890 and incorporated in 1896 by an Act of Congress. Objectives are listed as Historical, Educational, and Patriotic, so I honed in on the “educational” factor, since that is a primary objective of Capital Cities USA. For DAR, “to promote…institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge, thus developing an enlightened public opinion.” For Capital Cities USA, “to build community, character and citizenship through humanities education.” From Objectives to Methodology explains the Journey Across America: Item 1 – to assess civic, community and historic resources in the 50 capital cities of the United States and their capitol buildings by gathering data through on-site visits to each capitol and capital city. In a nutshell!
I began my talk with bottom-line statistics – departed February 28, 2012 and concluded December 18, 2013 for a total of 659 days. Traveled 31,710 miles and spent time in 50 state capitols and the national capitol in DC. Shared neighborhoods with 12,947,450 people as I lived two weeks in each capital city. (With my two cats, no less.) I shared a map showing the 75 overnight stops I made before settling down in Arkadelphia, and then moved into story telling.
“What learning opportunities did I find in the capitols?” I focused on five that were exceptional:
• Austin, Texas – Most Extensive Visitor Services
• Boise, Idaho – Most Inspiring Kids Tour
• Atlanta, Georgia – Tie With Springfield, Illinois as Most Welcoming
• Springfield, Illinois – Tie with Atlanta, Georgia as Most Welcoming
• Montpelier, Vermont – Most Intimate & Inviting, Best Volunteer Program, Most Meticulous Restoration
» posted on Saturday, October 26th, 2013 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton posting from Providence, Rhode Island – Life is full of the unexpected. For instance, I didn’t plan to be working from the edge of the bathtub this Saturday morning. Yet here I sit, laptop on my lap, door closed to the outside world. Now, why is that? Because, just outside my window, just a few feet from my workdesk, is a gravel-sucking truck. And that truck is doing what it was designed to do. It is sucking gravel off the roof of my hotel. The manager explained. “I know it’s noisy, but we have to get the re-roofing done before winter sets in. We have to remove the gravel in order to put down a new layer of tar.” Well, I understand that. So I’ll spend the day exploring Providence, no prob. “You’ll be done soon?” was my plaintive question. Ah no, the work continues through next Wednesday. The gravel-sucking truck will be replaced by a tar-spreading truck. Swapping noise for the nose-burning smell of hot tar? I’d rather adjust life plans. Instead of spending another day with my friend Sandi; instead of leisurely wandering Water Place Park in downtown Providence; instead of having Sunday brunch at CAV as planned; I’ll shorten my Providence stay and move ahead to Hartford. I’ll use today to pack, and I’ll use today to summarize. I have company in this tiny bathroom. Alex and Jack crouched in the tub, watching me. If the sound of gravel rattling through a giant metal tube before crashing into the metal truck bed is deafening to me, I can only imagine how excruiating it must be to the cat’s sensitive ears. Suddenly I realized – 90% of the Journey Across America is done! “So Alex,” I said, slipping into interview mode, “what’s your favorite part of the Journey so far?” » read more
» posted on Wednesday, September 11th, 2013 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton posting from Montpelier, Vermont – Meticulous. That’s the word. When it comes to restoration, there are two ways to go about it. You can recreate the general mood of the past – who would really know, after all? Or you can pay meticulous attention to the smallest detail. Such as the antlers on a hand-carved deer, so tiny no one would ever notice they were missing. I stood in the Governor’s Office as David Schutz, Curator for the State, pointed out the deer. It’s part of the Constitution Chair, so called because it was carved from the timbers of the frigate USS Constitution (aka Old Ironsides) and has served as the official governor’s chair since 1858. Now that’s a pretty awesomely unique chair, right there. But, as David pointed out, it suffered from years of use, and modernization. It was reupholstered with modern fabrics, and somewhere along the way, the delicate antlers of the deer were broken off. During the restoration of 1985, the decision was made to restore the chair, and give the deer its antlers back. But not just any wood was used. A trip was made to Boston, where the USS Constitution is berthed for public tours. By special arrangement, a small piece of “Constitution timber” was obtained from which to carve new antlers for the deer; the Constitution Chair was made whole again. Meticulous. There’s another word that describes the Vermont State House, and that word is “intimate.” The building nestles between the river and the hills; inside its granite walls there’s warmth and color in every room. It has a cozy feel, but touches everywhere that make it grand; soft red velvet draped against shuttered windows; gilt-bronze radiator screens with delicate patterns of cast-iron curving vines; tiny warrior cherubs perched on the gasoliers. » read more
» posted on Saturday, September 7th, 2013 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton posting from Montpelier, Vermont – “There’s no other capital quite like it.” That’s the answer; the question is: why Montpelier, Vermont? I’m reading the brochure I picked up at the Information Center on I-89 near Sharon. Why Montpelier? See for yourself, the brochure implores; stop off at Exit 8 and experience the architecture, art, artisan beers, restaurants, shopping, music, café culture, river walks, and stunning views in the smallest state capital in the United States. Smallest it is, with a population of 7,855 (US Census 2010); the next smallest is Pierre, South Dakota, which is almost twice as big; and then Augusta, Maine, my next stop, with a population of 19,136 (US Census 2010). Tucked in a quiet Vermont valley, on the Winooski River, centrally located. Stay in Montpelier, the brochure continues. Unfortunately, none of the hotels in Montpelier are pet-friendly, so I’m forced to stay 35-miles away in Burlington, Vermont’s largest city (where Alex and Jack are welcome at the pet-friendly LaQuinta chain, as always). Peter, the helpful volunteer at the Information Center, had commiserated with me on that problem; “We travel with pets too. I wish hotel owners were a little more understanding.” He made some calls to find a place in Montpelier I hadn’t already tried; no luck. So I’ll be driving into Montpelier; I’ll stop off at Exit 8 to check out the architecture, restaurants, and general ambiance; today I’m making up my list. The brochure offers suggestions for a day, starting with morning at the golden-domed State House and a guided tour. Maybe a hike in Hubbard Park? Some of the trails wind through the woods just behind the State House, and there’s an observation tower for those promised stunning views. Sounds interesting, I’m warming up. Then, afternoon? » read more