A Winter Tour at Yellowstone National Park

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Peach Loop. Today we are exploring fun you and your family can have this winter.  Read along as I talk about some of the winter tours of Yellowstone National Park you can take!


My wife, daughter and I have been to Yellowstone National Park just once as a family.  We spent 3 days visiting as part of a trip we took to visit Cindy’s family as part of our 5th anniversary, way back in 2005.  Since we were there in August, this is part of what we were exposed to for that trip.

Yellowstone

Gorgeous scenery, incredible temperatures, and believe it or not, we actually received quite a bit of hail on our last day there — enough that it looked like snow.  But despite the incredible scenes and memories we have from that trip, one thing I really want to experience once is the experience of visiting Yellowstone National Park in the winter!

Yellowstone

Yellowstone Alpine Guides is just one of the companies that offers tours to Yellowstone in the winter, and they utilize some of the original snowcoaches that were introduced into Yellowstone, back in the 1950s. You can read more about these unique vehicles on the Yellowstone Alpine Guides website. There are a full line of different winter tours that you can take, with rates that vary depending on the tour you take.  Here’s a breakdown of the ones that YAG offers:

Old Faithful Winter Tour

This tour is offered from December 15 – March 15.  Rates for this trip, which includes options for skiing and snowshoeing if you wish, are $145 for adults, $135 for seniors, and $110 for children under age 16.  There are some extra costs that aren’t factored in these prices, such as park admission, taxes, gratuities, and any lunch costs.  The Old Faithful tour is done via snowcoach.

The Canyon Winter Snowcoach Tour

You can take this tour from December 15 – March 6th.  This all day tour runs from 9AM – 5PM, and you’ll need to bring your own lunch for this because there are no locations for food during this tour.  Transportation is also via snowcoach, and features the following highlights of Yellowstone: Yellowstone Falls, Norris Geyser Basin, Natural Thermal Features, Yellowstone’s Wildlife.  This tour offers the same prices as the Old Faithful tour.

Yellowstone Quick Escapes Tours

If you have more time and want to experience both tours, then a Quick Escape Tour might be just the thing for you.  From $209/person you will have two nights and be able to pick one tour.  Lodging is in West Yellowstone and includes lodging, breakfast and the tour of your choice.  However, if you have the time, you can schedule the 3 night/2 tour package.  I’m not sure what the pricing for that one is, but it would cover both tours.

Yellowstone Winter Photography Tours

If you have a big group and you like to take photos, you may want to look into a chartered winter photography tour.  These tours are for up to 8 guests, travel by snowcoach, and are flexible enough to give you the ability to chart your own course and draw on the experience of your guides to get the best settings possible for some incredible photography.  You’ll want to bring your lunch with you on this one!

Obviously, these sorts of tours aren’t for everyone.  My wife has already told me that I’ll be taking this one on my own while she sits in front of the fire drinking hot chocolate!  From our location in North Carolina, this will be something that will take more planning to accomplish, so obviously I don’t have a timeframe on that just yet.  But what about you?  Have you taken a trip like this before?  If so, what did you think?  Please let me know in the comments, and thanks for stopping by today!

For more winter travel ideas,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Blogorail Peach | Family Adventure | Winter Travel

Escher and Da Vinci

Museum of Art – Escher and Da Vinci Exhibits

Escher and Da Vinci

The East Building is the location of special events, such as the Escher and Da Vinci exhibits.

Museum of Art – Escher and Da Vinci Exhibits.

By Mike Ellis.

{Editor’s Note: Yesterday we looked at the Permanent Collection at the West Building of the Museum.  Today we are taking at look at the special exhibit they have as well.}

Over at the North Carolina Museum of Art, the East Building is home to two exhibits that are just about finished with their run here in North Carolina.  The Worlds of M. C. Escher and the Leonardo Da Vinci Codex Leicester exhibits have been here at the museum since the end of October, but they are finishing up this month.  In fact, the Da Vinci exhibit ends this Sunday, January 17, 2016, and the M. C. Escher exhibit ends on Sunday, January 24, 2016.

My wife Cindy and I had some free time yesterday, so we decided to take in the exhibit.  Tickets can be purchased at the Museum of Art website, or directly at the museum.  Pricing is listed below:

Escher and Da Vinci

Those prices include seeing both exhibits under one ticket.  For Cindy and I, it took about two hours to see it all, so I think that is well worth the cost!

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Codex Leicester and the Creative Mind

Escher and Da Vinci

Photography rules for Da Vinci’s Codex Leicester were that you could take photographs as long as no flash was used.  The room was darkened, with very subtle lighting, and in the room were individual pillars containing the actual pages of the Codex, along with a translation below the pages talking about what those pages referred to.  First, though, some information was on the wall that talked about the exhibit in general.

Escher and Da Vinci

In reading this information, I feel like I gained nearly as much information from this as I did from the pages themselves, and I was struck with the knowledge that the Codex Leicester is the only one of his manuscripts that exists in North America.

Escher and Da Vinci

Escher and Da Vinci

Escher and Da Vinci

“Above the plains of Italy, where flocks of birds are flying today, fishes were once moving in large schools.”

Escher and Da Vinci

This digital copy of the Codex Leicester allows you to translate, paraphrase, reverse the image, and more so you can learn more about the Codex.

Escher and Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci artist background.

I enjoyed the Codex Leicester, even if most of it was over my head, so to speak.  One thing that really strikes me is that at the Museum we are looking at a manuscript that is 500 years old! The Leonardo Da Vinci Codex Leicester is here at the North Carolina Museum of Art until Sunday, January 17, 2016, and is on loan by Bill Gates.  If you have the opportunity to do so, I urge you to check it out!

The Worlds of M. C. Escher — Nature, Science, and Imagination

Escher and Da Vinci

Other than this sign, photography was not allowed in the exhibit.

I wish that photography had been allowed — there were so many great pieces on display, more than 130 of them! To look at some of the ones you can see here, go check out the gallery at the M. C. Escher Gallery.  Better yet, if you have the opportunity, go check it out!  Remember, the M. C. Escher exhibit is at the Museum until Sunday, January 24, 2016.

The Escher and Da Vinci exhibits are a really great reason to go check out the North Carolina Museum of Art, but if you do visit, I think you’ll find that the permanent collection and the Museum Park are great reasons to visit, even when those exhibits have moved on to other locations.

If you make it out to the Museum, please stop by and let me know what you think of it, and thanks for stopping by today!

 

Museum Park

On the Road at the NC Museum of Art

NC Museum of Art

The West Building of the North Carolina Museum of Art. Image Credit: On the Road with Mickey.

On the Road at the NC Museum of Art

By Mike Ellis.

Yesterday we talked about the Museum Park that exists on the grounds of the North Carolina Museum of Art; today, we continue our look at this museum by exploring the museum itself, and tomorrow, to wrap up our look at this great museum, we are going to talk about the special exhibit that is wrapping up soon, featuring works of M. C. Escher and Leonardo Da Vinci.

The NC Museum of Art features two buildings; the West Building and the East Building.  East Building is where the special exhibits are featured, and where the Escher and Da Vinci exhibits are housed.  Today, Cindy and I explored the West Building, which is home to the permanent collection.  I don’t know exactly how big it is in terms of square footage, but it houses a large collection of paintings, sculptures, and more, including the tranquil Rodin Garden.  At just two miles from my house, the Museum of Art is conveniently located to be able to get over for a visit almost any time.

Background History

In 1947 the state legislature appropriated $1 million to purchase a collection of art for the people of North Carolina. The appropriation, which was unheard of at the time and drew national attention, was in response to a then-anonymous challenge grant from noted philanthropist Samuel H. Kress of New York through the persuasive efforts of Robert Lee Humber. Humber was an international lawyer and native of Greenville, N.C.

Humber worked tirelessly with the legislature to ensure the bill’s passage. An amended bill was finally passed in the waning hours of the last day of the legislative session. Rep. John Kerr of Warren County, in support of the bill, famously said, “Mr. Speaker, I know I am facing a hostile audience, but man cannot live by bread alone.”

The initial $1 million legislative appropriation was used to purchase 139 European and American paintings and sculptures.

The Kress Foundation matched the $1 million appropriation with a gift of 70 works of art, primarily Italian Renaissance, adding the Museum to its program of endowing regional museums throughout the United States with works from the Kress Collection. The Kress gift to the Museum became the largest and most important of any except that given to the National Gallery of Art. The Museum’s original collection, along with the Kress gift, established the North Carolina Museum of Art as one of the premier art museums. (NCMA)

Until today, I had no idea that North Carolina’s art heritage went back that far, or that the State had such an early attention towards the arts.  That in and of itself is pretty cool to me.  What follows is some of the pieces that I enjoyed the most, I hope you like them, and that it is a driving force towards getting you over to the Museum on a visit of your own one day!

NC Museum of Art

Lines that Link Humanity, El Anatsui, 2008

 

NC Museum of Art

Indian Fantasy, Marsden Hartley, 1914

 

A201 Ribat, Jackie Ferrara, 1979.

A201 Ribat, Jackie Ferrara, 1979.

 

Tar Baby vs. St. Sebastian, Michael Richards, 1999.

Tar Baby vs. St. Sebastian, Michael Richards, 1999.

 

Untitled, Kay Hassan, 2013

Untitled, Kay Hassan, 2013

 

Egungun Costume, Artist Unknown, 20th Century.

Egungun Costume, Artist Unknown, 20th Century.

 

NC Museum of Art

Coffin of Amunred, Egyptian, Possibly from Heracleopolis, Third Intermediate – Late Period Dynasty 25-26, circa 715-525 B.C.E.

 

Inner Coffin of Djedmut, Egyptian, possibly from Thebes, Third Intermediate - Late Period Dynasty 25-26, circa 715-525 B.C.E.

Inner Coffin of Djedmut, Egyptian, possibly from Thebes, Third Intermediate – Late Period Dynasty 25-26, circa 715-525 B.C.E.

 

NC Museum of Art

Sawfish Headdress, Artist Unknown, 20th Century

NC Museum of Art

 

NC Museum of Art

The Kiss, Auguste Rodin, Modeled circa 1881-1882, cast later.

 

NC Museum of Art

Part of the Rodin Garden, a tranquil setting outside the NC Museum of Art.

 

NC Museum of Art

The Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, Pierre-Jacques Volaire, 1777

 

NC Museum of Art

St. John the Baptist, Jusepe de Ribera, circa 1624.

I hope you have liked exploring the NC Museum of Art with me.  There is a lot to see and do here, and it is well worth your effort to make the trip if you are a local or in the area.  Have you been to the Art Museum? Tell me, what did you think of it?  Let me know in the comments, and thanks for stopping by!

 

Museum Park

On the Road at the Museum Park at the NC Museum of Art

Museum Park

Museum Park is located on the grounds of the NC Museum of Art. Pictured is the West Building of the museum. Image credit: On the Road with Mickey.

On the Road at the Museum Park at the NC Museum of Art

By Mike Ellis.

Hello everyone!  Today we are On the Road over at the North Carolina Museum of Art!  This museum is located at 2110 Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh, and features both the museum as well as the Museum Park.  The hours for the museum itself are Tuesday – Thursday, 10AM – 5PM, Friday 10AM – 9PM, and Saturday and Sunday 10AM – 5PM.  The museum is generally closed on Monday except for certain times when special events are going on.  The Museum Park, though, is open daily from dawn to dusk, and today, that’s what we are going to focus on.

Museum Park features walking trails, connections to the Greenway system of trails, and dispersed throughout are various works of art that add to the landscape.  Here are some of my favorites from today’s visit!

Museum Park

Naked Muse, Without Arms, Auguste Rodin, 1905-6. Image Credit: On the Road with Mickey.

 

Museum Park

Wind Machine, Vollis Simpson, 2002. Image Credit: On the Road with Mickey.

 

Museum Park

Collapse I, Ladelle Moe, 2000. Image Credit: On the Road with Mickey.

 

Museum Park

Gyre, Thomas Sayre, 1999. Image Credit: On the Road with Mickey.

 

Museum Park

Gyre, Thomas Sayre, 1999. Image Credit: On the Road with Mickey.

 

Museum Park

Crossroads/Trickster I, Martha Jackson-Jarvis, 2005. Image Credit: On the Road with Mickey.

 

Museum Park

Paper Crane Circle, Elin O’Hara Slavick, 2015. Image Credit: On the Road with Mickey.

 

Museum Park

Wind Sculpture II, Yinka Shonibare MBE, 2014. Image Credit: On the Road with Mickey.

 

Museum Park

Image Credit: On the Road with Mickey.

 

Museum Park

Knife Edge, Henry Spencer Moore, 1961. Image Credit: On the Road with Mickey.

 

Museum Park

Askew, Roxy Paine, 2009. Image Credit: On the Road with Mickey.

 

Museum Park

Ogromna, Ursula von Rydingsvard, 2009. Image Credit: On the Road with Mickey.

 

Museum Park

Unusual Selfie, Mike Ellis, 2016. Image Credit: On the Road with Mickey.

As you can see, there is quite a bit to see and look at in Museum Park.  In addition to the trails, the Museum has an Amphitheater, and often on Friday nights in the Spring and Summer months they’ll have movies that you can come see.  The museum itself is free, but special exhibits, such as the M.C. Escher and Leonardo DaVinci exhibit that are currently installed, are an extra cost to view.  Tomorrow, I’m going to go visit the museum and see the exhibit, so check back for part two of our On the Road segment!

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!  If you are local to Raleigh, have you ever come over to Museum Park?  Let me know in the comments, and thanks!

Umstead State Park

On the Road at William B. Umstead State Park!

Umstead State Park

Image Source: On the Road with Mickey

On the Road at William B. Umstead State Park!

By Mike Ellis.

Today my wife, daughter and I went to William B. Umstead State Park for the first of their “100 S’more Years Events”!  The weather on this day was cool, kind of cloudy, but that didn’t stop us from having a great time!

Umstead Park is located at 8801 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC (telephone 919-571-4170), and features two main entrances — one on the south side of the park off of I-40 and Harrison Avenue (known as the Reedy Creek Entrance) and one on the north side of the park off of Glenwood Avenue.  Here are some facts about the park that may make it worth the visit:

  • Umstead State Park is approximately 6,000 acres of land.  That’s over 9 miles of park!
  • Umstead Park features 22 miles of hiking trails, and 13 miles of bridle trails for those that wish to ride horses.
  • Additionally, the park features mountain bike trails for those that wish to ride their bikes — Umstead Park is one of the few North Carolina State Parks that features mountain bike trails.
  • Camping: Umstead Park features both traditional camping as well as primitive camping opportunities.  The tent/trailer campground is open from March 15 – December 1st, and the primitive campground is open year round.  Additionally, there are two group camp locations that are open from April – October for youth and non-profit camp organizations.
  • Fishing is allowed, with a North Carolina fishing license.  Common catches include bass, bluegill, and crappie.
  • Umstead Park offers canoe and paddleboat rentals from April through the second week in October.  No private boats or gasoline powered engines are allowed.

100 S’more Years Events

Umstead State Park

Image source: On the Road with Mickey

In addition to today’s event, Umstead Park is offering these events on the following dates and times:

  • Sunday, January 17, 2016, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Sunday, January 31, 2016, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Saturday, February 6, 2016, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Sunday, February 14, 2016, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Saturday, February 20, 2016, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Sunday, February 28, 2016, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM

So, as you can see, there are many opportunities to enjoy some great S’mores!  This is just one of several opportunities across the state to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of North Carolina State Parks.  Will you participate in any of the events?  Check out the Centennial Events page for more details, and have fun!

In addition to enjoying the S’mores event, we also looked at many of the exhibits they have in the visitor center and drove around the park a bit.  Here are some of the photos that we took from our day, I hope you enjoy!

Umstead State Park

The canoe and paddleboat rental location on Big Lake. Image credit: On the Road with Mickey

Umstead State Park

One of the creeks that winds through the park. Image credit: On the Road with Mickey.

Umstead State Park

Right by the road was one of the parks wildlife, just watching us. This was one of three we saw. Image credit: On the Road with Mickey.

Umstead State Park

In the Visitor Center, a taxidermy of a beaver is on display. Image credit: On the Road with Mickey.

Umstead State Park

A taxidermy of a coyote at the Umstead State Park visitor’s center. Image credit: On the Road with Mickey.